Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nourish - 4, 5, 6, 7, and update

Warning - Super Long Post 

So I completely dropped the ball on sharing my Nourish plans.  For several reasons:
1 - I don't get to update my blog as much as I'd like to
2 - I have too many other things to share
3 - I'm not sure you all are really interested in my Nourish plans.

The 3rd reason is not a cry for comments or attention - just a statement.  So don't feel compelled to respond.  But in an effort to be accountable to myself - because I promised to share publicly here - I'm going to finish everything up in this one post. 

I love our house home.  Notice I make a distinction.  Because a house is not a home.  A home is what we've done with the walls and window treatments, the ambience and decor, the love and comfort we allow to flow within the structure of the building.  Is our house our dream layout or design?  No.  But I'm so proud of what we've done here.  Over the past 9 years, we have re-done every single room in the house, putting our touch and flavor on it.  Which was very important, because its the house Paulo grew up in, and it was important for us to make it feel like our family home.  I love decorating, picking paint colors, making design decisions.  I love everything in the house. 

You think I'm bragging now don't you?  I'm not.  I'm going on and on to remind myself how much I love it here, so that I can  Because I want to stress home and not house, I want it to feel like we live here, that we love here, that we play and snuggle and hunker down here.  Which means I need to LET....IT....GO when the house is not perfectly picked up.  When there are toys strewn everywhere, and stuff is all over the dining table, and the coats are hanging on the back of the chairs (my #1 pet peeve of all time).  I don't want to live in a show piece, I want to live here.  And I don't think we're living when all we're doing is picking up and cleaning.  Know what I mean?

In that vein too, I do need to be better about the simple everyday things I can be doing to keep the house in some semblance of order.  And so what I'm striving to achieve is balance - between what should I and can I be doing on a regular basis in the realm of housekeeping and what should I and can I let go of.

Now that the early years of parenting have passed - you know, that time in life when you can only plan the hours between feedings, I can get back to some of my passions.  I've noticed that I miss having these outlets.  So I need to make time for them, which in essence becomes time for me.  And there are 4 passions I want to focus on this year:
1 - Crafts and cardmaking:  I just get such a feeling of satisfaction when I can complete a quick craft project.  I feel like I'm making something, and using my brain.  Cardmaking has really been good for this because its so quick and I feel like I'm sharing my heart a little more. 
2 - Reading: need I elaborate on this?  I just need to keep on reading as I have been. 
3 - Photography:  I've always been interested in photography.  I even wanted to study it in college (and I have no clue whatever happened to that dream).  Now I have the camera, all the equipment and accessories, and in today's digital age, its simple and inexpensive to practice and print, so what better time than to study and learn more about the art.  I've got some books and have tapped into some great websites, I just need to make more time for it. 
4 - Scrapbooking: I tell everyone I love to scrapbook, but then I haven't done any lately.  What's up with that?  Everyone assumes T's baby book is fabulous.  Well, here is the truth - I've only scrapped the 1st 4 weeks of his life!  Yes really!! I'm so ashamed.  I just get so overwhelmed.  So I'm starting a new project to keep me on track with documenting his/our lives, and will help me practice and develop my photography skills....

Project 365.  This is an idea I found on another blog I follow and its fabulous.  You take at least 1 picture a day for the whole year.  It helps you see things in different perspectives, gives importance to the simple things of every day life, and helps hone your photography skills.  The trick is not just taking the picture each day, but actually keeping up with the printing and scrapping - which I still need to do.  I swear, when I get back from our next trip, I'll get right to it. 

The past year has brought Life brings many relationship changes.  Some relationships end, new ones begin, small connections grow into bigger friendships, and deep connections begin to dissipate into lesser ones.  Its all okay.    Relationships are for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  I'm learning to accept that.  God brings people in and out of our lives, but it is our responsibility identify which relastionships are fruitful and add value and relish in these, and identify which relationships we just need to let go of.  This year, I know there are relationships I need to develop, and in order to do so, I need to step out of my comfort zone and put some time and effort into them. 

Additionally, we've been blessed with extended family living close by, especially now that my parents have moved to town (which I still can't wrap my head around).  Paulo and I do not look at this as a burden at all.  We feel so lucky to have close relationships with his dad, my folks, our brothers and their significant others.  We feel lucky to make time with them all a priority in our schedule.  I don't want to be morbid, but I never want to be saying "I wish I'd spent more time with xxx" if anything should happen to any of them.   We're even spending our winter vacation with our family.  Some people think "I could never do that", but we really enjoy it. 

I have so many opportunities to serve in my church, and I am grateful for that.  But I also want to teach Thomas how to serve others in need, to support our community.  Actually, I don't want to teach Thomas, rather, lead by example.  Its time we as a family start finding ways in which we can  contribute to our community and the world. And not just in writing a check.  Not that there is anything wrong with giving money - but I don't think that Thomas can see that.  But I also don't want to do something just to do it.  I want to be connected with something I believe in so much that I want give my time and energy.  Would I love to go to Haiti right now and help with the clean up and rebuilding?  Absolutely.  But we all know that's not happening - realistically, I can't get away, and more importantly there are FAR more qualified people there.  But I can make a difference here, in Hull, in MA, in the USA, in the world.  We all can.   I just need to determine what that is and how I can. 

So those are my NOURISH plans.  Seems like a lot right?  But they are all in line with each other so it should be "easier" to work on them, focus on them throughout the week.  How've I been doing so far?

Well, I wish I could say I've been exercising more, but I have been eating much better.  I decided to do a 3 day cleanse/de-tox.  It was good - in 3 days I feel like I got all the junk out and gained control of my eating and cravings.  Since then I've been eating "clean" - eating as many whole foods as possible and as few processed foods as possible.  Its making a HUGE difference in how I feel, and in my control over my eating.  If you don't have junk in you, you don't crave it.  I'm eating much more fruits and veggies, yogurt and nuts.  I'm avoiding crackers, chips, pretzels - all the empty calories.  And I've cut out soda and crystal light - just water, coffee, tea and the occassional juice.  It feels good.  I can't emphasize that enough.  Have I lost weight?  Yes - but that wasn't my only goal (though it is a goal of course).  In addition to the weight loss, I'm not feeling or looking bloated, and I actually feel hungry.  Don't take that to mean I'm trying to be restrictive.  Its just nice to feel hunger again.  I've been grazing and picking and eating so much for so long that I swear I didn't know what hunger felt like anymore.  I wasn't eating cause I was hungry - I was eating because it was time, or because someone else was eating, or because I was bored, or because....just because.  So I feel like I'm in control again and that I'm choosing foods that nourish my body, not just my cravings. 

As for some of my other nourish goals - last weekend was our wedding anniversary and we spent some real quality time together and the feeling of love and satisfaction from that time together has kept me flying high. The good kind of high of course. We just have one more week to get through, and then vacation for TWO WHOLE WEEKS (gasp!) and I'm looking forward to lots of quality time together then! 

Alright, I've postured on and on long enough.  Back to your regular scheduled programming.  happy weekend.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Train Ride

Last weekend, I took Thomas on the train into Boston.  Vu came with us (Paulo's dad).  Consider we eat, breath and sleep Thomas the Train and Polar Express, this was Thomas' dream afternoon!  The ride was about 35 minutes.  The conductor gave Thomas some tickets - they were like gold for him!  It was a wonderful afternoon.  We might be doing this a lot.


Monday, February 22, 2010

No itch here

Today is our 7 year wedding anniversary.  I cannot believe it has been that long!  I have been blessed beyond measure by my husband.  He has brought more to my life than I even expected when we said I do.  There are no words to describe how grateful I am to be married to this man.  Thank you Paulo - for all that you do, for all that you are, for all that you give.  I love you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The problem with reading

I have had phases in my life of voracious reading.  (a phase I'm apparently in right now seeing that I used a big fancy word like voracious).  I loved to read as a kid and teen, dropped it in college for obvious reasons, then got back into it again when I was a working gal and commuting on the train or boat 2 hrs a day.  Funny thing, when I was on bedrest during my pregnancy, one would think I read a lot.  However, I didn't. I let my brain go to mush then.  With all my anxiety and stress then, I couldn't concentrate well enough.

This past year or so, I've gotten back into reading again.  I just love a good book.  And it does so much for my brain and my vocabulary.

However, when I get a good book, I  CANNOT put it down!!  So my house, my chores, my husband, and yes my child, suffer greatly.  Case in point - this weekend I was completely engrossed in my book, so thankfully Paulo was around.  Yesterday though Daddy had to work, so during nap time I got involved in my book, instead of my laundry, cleaning, and dishes.  By the time Thomas woke up, I was at such a pivotal point in the book, I couldn't just put it aside for 5 hours until bed time.  So Thomas watched a movie.  YES - there it is - I put on a movie for my child so I could be selfish.  I'm sure he'll be damaged for life.  And now that I'm posting it my blog, he'll even have written proof to take with him to his shrink.

Something else happened though.  I got to finish my book, and felt relaxed and rejevenated, so after the movie I spent attentive, devoted time with Thomas.  And he loved that!

Here are my recommendations from the past month:
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown: if you love history, you'll love this book.  Its not heavy reading, very fast moving, and it takes place in DC so there's tons of really neat info about our capital city.
Firefly Lane - Kristen Hannah: I discovered Kristen Hannah summer of 08 and fell in love.  Have read many of her books and this is THE BEST one of them all.  This is the book you want to take on your vaca, or to read on the beach this summer.
Susannah's Garden - Debbie Macomber: Also discovered this author summer of 08.  Her books are simple and clean (no smut or language) -  very heartwarming.  This book in particular had a few twists so it was gripping!

What have you been reading lately?  I'd love to know.  BUT - don't tell me Twilight!  I'm not against it - I've just  been told 100x over already that I MUST MUST read it, but I haven't yet started.  I guess I'm afraid of what damage would occur around here once I'm engrossed!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mini vacation

Despite all of us having mean colds at one point or another throughout the weekend, we had a fabulous time away in New Hampshire.  We rented a house and went up for 4 days.  Surprisingly, New England's winter playground didn't have a lot of snow, however, we still enjoyed sledding, a sleigh ride, and warm, cozy fires in the wood stove.  A special treat was having Buck and Alyssa join us.  Buck is my brother - his real name is Andrew.  We just call him Buck - as in Uncle Buck.  It was a silly joke that just sort of stuck.  And Alyssa is Thomas' Buck's girlfriend.   Thomas looooves Alyssa.  They are athletic, outdoors people - so they went hiking.  Like, real hiking. We curled up by the fire and watched movies.  That's the kind of people we are.  All in all it was a great time.  Wish we were going back this weekend.

 Mt Washington

   Our weekend retreat

 Belly up to the Bar

 Tough Day

Thomas being cheesy

 Buck and Alyssa

The evolution of a sunset - this is the view is from the living room  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NOURISH - Part 3 of 7: My Marriage

Valentine's Day is this weekend.  And eight days later is our 7 year wedding anniversary.  WOW!!  Seven years.  Its hard to believe.  Sometimes it feels like a lifetime....and sometimes it feels like its just not possible that its been that long.  I meet/talk to other couples that have been married in that 5-10 yr range and they tell me all they've done: moved xx times; bought and sold x number of houses;  had 1,2,3,4 kids; changed jobs, or even careers. 

I look at Paulo and I.  Same house, and one child.  Notice I don't say only one child because that sounds negative and there is nothing negative about that one boy!  But I digress.....

But then I look back on all that has happened in our seven years of marriage and I realize how far we've come, how much we've grown, how special our relationship is.  I also realize though that there is so much more room for improvement. There is ALWAYS room for improvement.  Because over our seven years together our lives and circumstances have changed, have bettered and now we need to live up to this level.  I have to admit - the plans I have for improvement are all of my own - they aren't expectations I'm putting on Paulo, or things I've told him he needs to do.  I do not expect to change him, or expect him to change.  I expect me to change, so I'm better for him.

I know I'm being very vague here.  I wanted to share with you my goals this year, and wanted to share a little in depth about these goals, but then I realized that some things need to be kept between a man and wife.  Some aspects of marriage should not be made public.  Sharing with you all on this blog is such a privilege for me, but it also leaves a lot of our info out there, for the world to see, and know, and even comment on.  And this is just not info that I want to share.  I hope you understand. 

We are going away this weekend - the 3 of us.  It is a much needed weekend away.  We need a change of scenery, a change of pace.  I hope it is all we are looking for.... and more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A boy's 1st haircut

I thought about entitling this post "Mama can't take much more of this"....but it sounded too negative.  Negative is not my intention - because its all good.  What I can't take much more of is all the growing up my boy has been doing this past week.  Big boy bed, 1st haircut, and 1st lollipop all in one week!  Isn't that just too much for anyone??

So after months of nagging pleading from my husband to take the boy to his barber for a real haircut (I've been trimming his whipsies for about 7 months now), I caved in yesterday.  And while I wiped the tears from my eye, these are the shots I snapped.  Enjoy.

L-R: Daddy, Pat the barber, and Vu (Paulo's dad)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

NOURISH Part 2 of 7 - Spirit

Spirit can be whatever you want it to be for you, but for me, its my relationship with my Lord.  Which right now, I fear, is lukewarm.  I say that because although I've given my life to Christ, and I believe I am following, at least listening to and trying to follow, His plan for me and my family, I don't have a fervent prayer life and I'm not a faithful reader of the Bible.  Of course, I have a million excuses.  Actually, make that one very good, very active 2.3 yr old excuse, but either way I put it - its not good. Its not right.

PRAYER: I'm tired of being a crisis prayer warrior.  Cause let me tell you people, when there's a crisis, I can pray!  And actually, when something great happens, or some serious prayer request has been fulfilled, I'm really good praise too.   But you know all those other days.  Those other hours.  Those other moments.  When things are just going along as a typical day does.  I think they call it the daily grind.  Its those times that I'm not in prayer the way I really want to be, the way I'm really meant to be.  Because I do believe we are put here to glorify God.  And I'm just not glorifying the way I should be.  So I want to work on this area of my life.  I have some ideas and plans, but what I need to do is just put my money where my mouth is.  I certainly know how to waste a lot of time blogging, cruising the internet, and don't even get me started on how much time I spend lurking on facebook, or watching useless TV (Lost doesn't count).  If I could just apply 1/2 of my time in those activites to prayer, I could very well move mountains! 

THE WORD: I keep saying I need to be in the word more.  I keep trying to start the "bible in a year" track.  I keep putting the bible in a key spot in my home so I'll have no reason not to open it.  But with no success. Because apparently, as I've learned in these year, just putting a bible out in the middle of the dining room table, doesn't mean the pages open up, the verses jump in front of you, and the message is memorized.  Hmmmmm - are you as shocked as I am?  I also belong to a bible study, in which we study....wait for it....the bible.  But in my years in this group, I have never once completed one full study, day 1 to last day, beginning to end.  So rather than trying to re-invent the wheel on this whole "how do I stay in the word more?" why don't I!  So that is my commitment this semester.  To actually do the entire study, the whole thing, beginning to end.  THAT will in and of itself accomplish me being in the word, don't you think?

Filling my head with and my spirit with the truth, the right message, the goodness that God has planned for me in this life, on this planet, would certainly do a lot to Nourish me.  I'm looking forward to it. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How I know he's staying

Still to this day, when I put Thomas to bed at night, I have to remind myself that he is ours, here to stay, and that we get to do it all over again tomorrow.  I guess when you wait 5 years for your miracle, it takes more than 2.3 yrs to settle in.

Well, that is until Mon Feb 1.  Now I know he's staying.  And here's why.

That, my friends, is a big boy bed.  And that is a big boy in that bed.  When you set up the crib, you know that's only step one.   And the whole time its up and in use, you know its only temporary.  But this bed, its here to stay.  And the reason we have it is here to stay too - that boy.  While I wish I could say the transition is going well, I cannot.  And it doesn't help that the mama is an emotional wreck because she can't deal with the fact her boy really is indeed a big boy. 

Reason #2 how I knew he's here to stay?  The honeymoon is over.  Thomas is definitely 2 now.  And for those who keep saying 3 is the new 2 - then I'm dead meat.  Cause 2 is pretty rough these days.   I can officially say its not cute anymore, that I don't care that his excuse is hunger or tired, and that his "adorable squeal of delight" is now a piercing, shrill screech that goes straight up my spine and explodes in my brain.  Hmmm, maybe I'm being harsh.......Nope, just re-read it - its true.  

Let the games begin.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nourish Part 1 of 7 - Body

Its seems like "fixing my body" is always on my goals list.  I'm always wanting to lose the weight, get healthy, exercise more.  But I know I'm not alone - don't we all feel that way?  This year, I'm hoping that changing my perspective on this matter will help me to have a "breakthrough" and help me to really embrace a healthy way of life and finally make a dent in this goal.

Instead of losing xxx pounds so I'll look better, and yes, be healthier, I'm going to focus on doing things for my body that nourish it....and by that I mean, nourish my whole body, and mind - not just the little gremlin screaming for junk food every night about 10pm.

So here are some areas I will be working on:

COOKING: I love to cook - I mean L.O.V.E. to cook.  I taught myself about 2 yrs ago and now its a passion.  I love how you take these xxx ingredients and one day they make a really savory pasta dish, but another day they make a spicy mexican casserole.  That's neat.   I actually find cooking relaxing - must be all the yummy smells.  It helps me unwind.  And I've also convinced myself that whatever I'm making, since I control the ingredients, its gotta be healthier than ordering it out - even if just a smidge.  So I want to get back to cooking regularly.  It seems like the month of December I didn't cook.  But I know that's not true.  I just didn't try any new recipes or dishes.  So I want to back to being adventurous in the kitchen.  I also want to learn how to bake healthy snack-y food and healthy baked goods - muffins, "bars", cookies.  I guess now that I know how to cook, its time to learn how to bake. 

WALKING / DANCING: You'd think I'd put exercise in general, but after 20 yrs of being at this deliberately, I've realized the only "aerobic" activity I enjoy is walking and dancing.  I'm not a good dancer, but with the sweatin to the oldies dvd's, anyone can dance.  So now that I've identified what I like (yea, cause that was my obstacle all this time - figuring out what I like), I need to make make it a higher priority.  I love a nice long walk on the beach, I feel so energized.  And its not just because of the endorphins from working my body at a higher level blah, blah, blah.  Its the fresh air, the free time, the communion with nature - one of Gods greatest works.  I love the carefree feeling after a good 30 minutes sweatin to the 80's music - like I've just been out for a good night of dancing without the learning men and drunk women in a stale smelly bar scene.  Now that Paulo is home so much more during daylight hours, there are no more excuses.  Cause let's face it folks - the other to do's on my list aren't that important.  At least not as important as my health. 

YOGA: I took a few sessions last summer and really liked it.  I bought a really good book too - its has great pictures, the best written directions I've ever seen for any "learn from a book" activity, and really good descriptions and explanations of the benefits each of these poses does for the body.  Descriptions I can get on board with and really understand the "lamens" reason for wanting to do these.  So I'd really like to practice more - even if its just once a week.  You may wonder why I'm listing yoga seperate from exercise.  When I've done yoga, I certainly feel like I've worked out, but not in a sweaty way, or a "kill me now" way.  And I certainly feel all the benefits the next day, or next several days actually.  I just know that I feel different when I'm doing it and therefore I think of more as an activity that's good for me, that relaxes me, but it just doesn't feel like exercise. 

PLAYING:  a n y t h i n g.  Yes I mean it.  Having an active toddler around makes me realize everything and anything can be movement and play.  And I want to move with him and play with him.  He's already into running around the yard kicking the soccer ball, and he loves to chase, and he wants me to drag him around in his sled.  So if I could get myself in shape enough to do all these things with him, without huffing and puffing, and without having to beg off 5 minutes in, then that is my ultimate goal.  I figure since I'm so out of shape now, I can set my fitness goals to grow with him - chasing a 2 year, to playing on the beach with a 3 year old, to playing soccer with a 4 year old, and so on.   I just hope my 18 year old isn't a long distance runner who wants to do the Boston Marathon to put on his college applications.  But who knows - if I really do grow with him, maybe we'll run the marathon together.

So, you see, rather than listing the number of pounds to lose, or a deadline for my perfect size (as in my 20th high school reunion weekend sometime in 2010 - yikes), I'm changing my thinking to more like that of a mom who provides nutrition and activity for her child.  Only I'm the child, and its me I need to provide sound nutrition and activity for. NOURISH. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Nourish - so what's it all about???

As I sat down to write my list of goals for 2010 - goals because resolutions gets too bad of a rap - I reflected on the idea of word of the year.  This is not a concept I created, but one I've read about on many blogs.  Its the idea that your goals, or your life, or your situations, or your activities should reflect this one word, or be driven by this one word. 

So I picked a word for 2010.  I wish I could say I came up with this word all on my own.  By that, I don't mean of course that I wish I had created a brand new word.  Rather, I wish I had independently decided on THE word that fit MY goals and ME.  But, alas, I did not. I blog I love to read had a word that I just knew was for me. Check it out: http://courtneywalsh.  While I did not want to be a copy cat, the word just kept resonating with me, over and over, and I knew I too had to apply this word to me and my goals.

The word is NOURISH.  Let me first share with you the Webster's definition of Nourish:
to supply with that which is necessary for life, health, and growth.  To cherish, foster, or keep alive, as in a dream.

As I looked at my list of goals, I could see that many of them had common themes - to spend more time, to take more care, to give more value and importance to.  And the few stray goals I had that didn't seem to fit the word I re-evaluated.  Some I decided just had to come off the list.  Why?  Because no matter how I looked at them, they just didn't fit into the Nourish theme, and that seemed to tell me that they weren't really something I wanted to focus on.  They were items I thought I should work on, but my heart wasn't really into it.

So the last items on my list of goals were things that kept tugging at me but I didn't know how to go about them.  When I started to put them in context of NOURISH, these goals took their own shape, became more clear, and I knew they were items I needed to keep on my list.

So my goals list of 2010 (as posted on the right) is NOURISH: Body, Spirit, Marriage, Home, Passions, Relationships and Community.

Each day this week, I will go into more details about how I will go about Nourishing each of these areas of my life. I hope you will consider joining me on this journey to NOURISH myself this year.