Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where do you want to be?

April 19, 2017


Go ahead... ask yourself...

Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there? What steps are you taking?

I will tell you this... if you are not taking any steps... you will not get there. Waiting, watching, wishing, will get you nowhere. Success is not handed to anyone who waits for it. Success comes from hard work, time, focus, dedication and pushing yourself to do things that make yourself uncomfortable. If its "easy," your not doing it right. If you make excuses like you are too tired, you dont have time, you dont know how or you "cant..." then you wont. No questions asked.

Im excited for the things to come at 696 this spring. I have never really been one for "running" workouts, but for some reason this year, I am itching to get outside. One of the fantastic things about the programming at 696, is that Chris likes to change it up, give us something that is not expected, make us think about what we are doing in a different way and challenge our minds (and muscles) with new movements... or movements that arent done very often. He tests the "functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity" portion of the definition of CrossFit. This morning was no different, a variety of movements in short high intensity amraps. You felt the burn, you mentally fought through that sticking point, knowing it was short and it would "end" soon. It was fun and challenging. All the things I love about the sport of CrossFit.

There is a method to the madness. Each movement becomes an accessory movement to another. He dosent just program something because its fun, or new. There is thought that goes into programming (which isnt just exclusive to 696, all good coaches put a lot of thought into their programming). Every movement, in a way, gets you closer to either doing a different movement for the first time or getting better at a movement that you can already do. From rowing and kettle bell swings to glute ham raises and bent over rows... there are a multiple movements you are "working on" even if you dont realize it. Slowly, you are getting closer to where you want to be... constantly a work in progress.

In life, its important to keep with this same mentality. If you have a goal, whether it be to rid yourself of credit card debt, pass an ARE exam, or finish your basement... unless you start and chip away at the goal... it will be left just as it is. If you dont put in the work to not spend extra money, make the time to study or order the supplies... the goal is not attainable. However, if it you implement small changes (just like the accessory work) like, a budget that you can not break, a schedule to study from or just make a simple list... the goal becomes a little less daunting. Before you know it, you are debt free, ready to test and sitting on your new couch in your new space.

Keep moving forward. Build mental toughness. Say no. Make time. Never say you "cant" do something.

If you want something... go get it.      

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Thank God its Tuesday."

April 18, 2017

Good Morning Y'all!

As one of my coaches like to say "Thank God its Tuesday!" He coaches us typically on Mondays and Tuesdays and we start the group each of those days with his words. Its funny, because when you first hear it, you think "yeah right... thank God its Tuesday," but then, you really start to think about it... and realize the power behind the words. It gets you mentally moving, it gets you thinking ahead, it makes you really thankful that you are here, you are working hard and you are ready to face the day with whatever it is that is waiting for you.

Motivation is huge. When you have someone in your corner, reminding you to push, what the goal is and that they have the confidence in you to do something. That shit can take you so far. When you stand back and look at the bar and think not "I can do this," but rather "I will do this," the whole game changes. Not to say, you will magically be able to move more weight, or PR every time, but it puts your head in a place to not question your ability. It drives you to push to another level and even if you fail, you WILL get it. Maybe not today, but you will. When you have the support, someone right by your side... its almost as if your will gets stronger. You get one more rep, you add a little more weight... and you might even finish a little faster... but better than all that, you will have the confidence to do it again and again and the drive to get better and better.

Mental toughness plays such a huge roll in so many things in life (even out of the gym). I was reminded of that yesterday when I was asked, by the same coach, what I was shooting for for my 1 rep max clean and jerk. I responded with a weight and then followed with a comment. He reminded me to be confident in my response. Don't make it a question, make it a statement. Get in the game and get at it. Step up to the bar and do it. Know you can.

You know what... I did.

I feel the drive. I feel the need for more and the will to get better. I have been working hard to complete accessory work, stretch and take care of my body. I also feel the support. Support from all of my coaches as well as my community, from my family and even some of my friends (and I say some because most have no idea what I am doing). I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.


To reach some of my goals I am making some lifestyle changes. I decided to do a "cut" with my macros to try to drop some body weight... thus helping with my body weight and gymnastics movements. Im sharing this here for a little bit of accountability. Today is day #2. I joined Avatar Nutrition to calculate my macros and I will continue to use MFP to track my daily intake. This will be a bit of an adjustment for me... as I kinda fell of the wagon for a while. I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

I try to wake up every morning with a fresh start. This gets complicated. Life happens. There are struggles, there are ups and downs. I can only control what I can control. I need to be happy for my #1, my son. I need to be strong, I need to fight and I need to set a good example for him. I need to be the best I can be, for myself, which in turn will give him the best life I can give him. I need to make changes, struggle through the hard stuff to be rewarded with the good stuff.  I have a goal in mind and I am going to get it.

Day #2.

"Thank God its Tuesday."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Burn Baby Burn

March 29, 2017

Have you ever watched a fire burn completely out? Sat at a campsite, in the quiet hours of the night… cool air at your back and heat on your legs? As the trees seem to still with the darkness, stars appear, the glow of the fire starts to dim and the moon takes over as the nightlight… everything seems really peaceful.


I spent years at girl scout camp, nights (and days) around the campfire… and many of fun (and sometimes drunken) nights as a teen and “adult” doing the same. There is something really magical to me about fire. I was always the one to volunteer at camp to “man the fire” or “cook the meal” so I could be at the fire. As I got older and would go camping with friends, I always had my hands in the fire, getting it started and keeping it going into the night. I could watch it for hours. Something about how one piece of wood catches the next… eventually both, still two separate pieces of wood, create one flame… the embers glow an amazing color as the fire gets hotter and hotter and as you add more wood. Each added piece, after being placed with the other, catches and becomes a part of something pretty spectacular. Eventually, as the fire burns down, the pieces start to collapse, they break apart, mix together and become one foundation for the next pieces to catch the flame. The cycle repeats until it is time to let the fire die out. The large flames stop and the foundation glows and crackles…

If you watch a fire in the “burning out” stage you can see its fight to stay alive. You watch as small flames try to flicker up every now and again… re-igniting a small piece of unburnt wood, it stays lit for a small amount of time, but has nothing to catch so it slowly softens and burns out. A slight breeze might pick up and the embers instantly glow brighter looking for something to catch. A random flame might pop up, soon to die out again… unless more kindling is added… the embers will cool with the night air and smolder out.

When I think about things in life that I am passionate about, my relationships (husband, parents, family, friends), my career (in the office, continuing education, licensure), my fitness and lifestyle (crossfit, macro counting)… they all burn like a fire. I have to continue to tend to the fire to keep it from burning out. I have to keep the passion alive, I have to keep adding new experiences, people, education, challenges and goals to drive myself to want more. Each experience I have adds to the foundation of the next. Each bump in the road of a relationship, each failure or mistake in my career, each missed lift or large cheese pizza is just as important to my growth as every “I love you,” bonus, publication, personal record, muscle up or pound lost. What is most important to me, what makes my fire burn, is the passion and drive to be the best that I can be in all of those things. The best mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend…. The best project manager, architect…. The best I can be at crossfit… The best I can look in the mirror.  Sometimes, the fire burns out… sometimes, I allow the flame to burn down… I forget to add to it. I just let it go and maintain its self for a while. That’s when life becomes stagnant.

A little over six weeks ago I made a choice. A very hard choice. I left CrossFit Wachusett, my home of the past 6 years. I walked into CrossFit 696, the “new guy” looking for a new place to call home. I was not sure what to expect, not only of the new box, but from myself. My “CrossFit Fire” was one that had been left smoldering in the corner for quite some time. As expected, in the time after The Little Monster was born, I was focused on him. While I didn’t let it go completely, I let what was happening in my fitness life take a backseat. Nothing wrong with that… priorities often change in life, but I soon started to miss the feeling that I had when I pushed to that awful place that only CrossFitters know about, or when I set a new PR on any given lift… or even that challenge, fight and struggle for a muscle up or something I have never done or haven’t done for a while. I want to work hard again, I want to fail, I want to create new challenges for myself, I wanted to feel that passion again. I felt stuck. Every once in a while a stray coal would catch a breeze, fire up some of the foundation, but soon fade out. I needed to make a change, build the courage to make the change and do it.

I had honestly been considering not competing in the Open this year. I wasn’t heartbroken about it… I wasn’t really “feeling it.” All of that changed when I took control. When I decided that I needed to get out of my own head and find what I loved about CrossFit again. A fresh start. From my first workout a month and a half ago right through this mornings workout… my motivation, my determination and my drive to get better, faster and stronger each day has returned. I am so glad that I took the bull by the horns and signed up to compete as a member of 696. Each week, a group of people who barely know me, surrounded me, to encourage, push and cheer me on to be the best that I could be at that very moment. My new coaches, who were (and still are) learning about me, how to coach me, what motivates me and what I need to work on… supporting me, challenging me every with every workout, Opens workouts or not. The members who I have met, who work hard every day to grind through a workout… inspiring. All of the firsts that I witnessed, the huge smiles, the cheers, the high fives… even the tears, the red faces and rolling around on the ground… whether scaled or rx… inspiring. The conversations Ive had with people around why the crossfit, learning their lives and making new friends every day… inspiring. All of it. Its like a breath of fresh air. Im throwing new logs onto that fire every single day.

I came out of the Opens this year with a positive attitude and an outlook on the year to come that is finally clear. I did better than I could have imagined. With each workout, a challenge was faced head on and it felt so good to feel that “I will no let this defeat me” attitude that I once had come back with a vengeance. The thought that with every workout that The Little Monster was able to witness, I was showing him that his Mama is a fighter and is strong and in control just reinforces the fact that I made the right choice for myself. I want him to know that he can do anything and everything he sets his mind to. That change is good and while it can be hard, scary and challenging… sometimes you have to take a risk and do it.  I hope that he tends to his fires and keeps passion alive with the things he chooses to be passionate about. I want to lead by example for him…

To my CrossFit Wachusett family… my foundation is with you. The 6 years spent within those walls will be in my mind and heart forever. As one of you told me “its just a building.” The friendships we have formed are stronger than those walls. Just because I am no longer part of the 5:30am group or a member at Wachusett… doesn’t change anything. I will not forget where I came from. The community of people who supported me, challenged me and friended me over the years, thank you. Keep working hard, keep supporting one another and keep kicking ass!

To my 696 family… thank you. Thank you for welcoming me in and making me feel at home every single day. I cant thank you all enough for how awesome the Opens were, I don’t think words can actually describe how full my emotions are. Friday Night Lights were epic! Each one of you inspired me to push as hard as I could and be the best I could be. The coaches; Chris, Jay, Kiwi and Lindsay… I cant say thank you enough for the encouragement, coaching and well… yelling at me. Your excitement and confidence in me motivates me. The best is yet to come and I am holding on tight for the ride.

My goal right now is to tend to all of the fires in my life. Get those that I know need help, back blazing again.

Sometimes, if your lucky… when you wake up in the morning after the campfire goes out while your sleeping… and you drop a piece of newspaper into the fire pit… it starts to smoke… the fire you thought had burned out… just needs a little attention. Remember that. 

CrossFit 696 #homeiswhereyouliftheavyshit

17.2 - Walking Lunges, TTB, Bar Muscle Ups

 My First Bar Muscle Up!


17.4 - Deadlifts, Rowing and Handstand Pushups





17.5 - Thrusters and Double Unders


DONE AND DONE... 


Final Standings for the CF Opens 2017

91 of 2,329  women ages 35-40 in the North East region
1,265 of 26,957  women ages 35-40 in the World
799 of 13,857 women of all ages in the North East region
9,510 of 153,242 women of all ages in the World…

Not too shabby for this Mama!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Change...

February 10, 2017

Change... how many times in 5.5 years have I written about change? I talk to myself about it all the time. I understand what is is... how it works and to make anything happen in life, more often than not change has to happen. The thing is... change is freaking scary.

Ask yourself this. Are you happy? Happy with your job, the way you eat, how you look, where you live, how much money you save, how often you see you friends? Any of these things... and beyond... really think about. One at a time... dont try to address ALL of these things at once, because its painful and overwhelming... but one at a time, really think about it.

If the answer is yes, keep on keeping on... your doing great. If the answer is no... ask yourself if you really want to be happy. If the answer is yes, change something. Otherwise, nothing will change. You will remain unhappy with whatever it is you are unhappy with.

I realize... from experience... that change can be scary. Depending on the amount of change necessary to really make a difference... you might have to make some sacrifices, step out of your comfort zone, or do something you never thought you would do. The thing is though... the result can be amazing. The feeling after the fact that you know you made the right decision makes all the difference in the world. There is almost nothing better than the "why didnt I do this sooner" feeling to let you know you made the right choice.

Take a chance. Make a change. Give it a chance and dont fight it. You will be happy that you did it...


Friday, January 27, 2017

"Better and Different"

January 27, 2017

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.  – Jim Rohn

Funny when your worlds suddenly collide when you are least expecting it.

I have used this quote as the header of my blog since the very first day it launched in 2011. I often stumbled across quotes from Jim Rohn when looking for motivation through the years of struggles with my health and fitness. I started blogging after I had hit what I felt was rock bottom, felt like I dragged my way through every day and began to understand that it was in my power to make a change. It was in no one else’s hands, it was no one else’s “fault but my own” and until I made a change, everything was going to remain the same. His words often propelled my writing, inspired me to blog about how I felt when I read them and made me really think about what it was/is that motivates me. What is it exactly that I am looking for? How am going to ultimately reach my goal? Can I make it past he road blocks, struggles and doubts… and who are the people in my corner helping to encourage and support along the way?

There are not many people in the world that are “lucky” enough to have decided what they wanted to do with their lives (professionally) in high school, go on to college, continue for a Masters and land a job in the field of their choice. I am one of them. Not only that, but I happen to work at a firm that is very much unlike any other I know. The importance of how we feel as employees holds a very high regard. We are respected as individuals and there are often conversations about how we feel about certain things, our personalities, how to deal with difficult conversations/people and what we can do to better ourselves.  We are strongly encouraged to continue our education, broaden our skill sets and challenge ourselves both as a company and individually. It’s a pretty nice feeling to not feel “replaceable.”

Yesterday, my office held our annual “launch” meeting. I suppose a lot of companies have meetings like this (I understand not all do) where all the employees are gathered, and discuss the previous year’s goals and if we reached them, the coming years revenue projections and what the trends are in our industry. Each year there is a new idea. A focus for the company, a goal is set and a discussion was had as to how we as a whole will reach that goal. This year was “better and different” from the rest.

A guest speaker joined us, Steven Melanson from Melanson consulting, he is a “Verbal Branding” consultant. Did I remember that in those exact words… no. Did I have to email someone from my company to ask what his last name and company name was… yes. Was one of Stevens main points of his presentation that when you introduce yourself to someone and tell them what you do, that they won’t remember… yes. However, I did remember his message, and to be quite honest, that was the whole point of his presentation… funny how that works (and apparently he is very good at what he does).  He explained to us what his purpose is and what makes him “better and different” from others who speak on verbal branding. He simplified in the best possible way, why I want to talk to him about this and no one else, how he can help me get better at it. He proved to be “better and different” because of that. He was real, he was casual and he didn’t talk above us, he talked to us. He discussed the importance of simplicity and how your first interaction needs to be simple, clean and to the point, no rehearsals, no gimmicks… just a real 5 second conversation telling someone not what you do… but what makes you “better and different” for doing what you do. If it goes beyond that, that’s when the real meat comes out… but if you cant get the person interested enough to understand why they would be “crazy” enough to not want to work with you, you are no different from the next. I spoke with him for a few minutes after the presentation about how I feel personality and confidence plays a roll in this as well. If you are not likeable, it ends at that. So how do you become likeable? How do you build confidence? Repetition. Repetition is key. Practicing good habits over and over until whatever it is you are shooting for becomes part of your life.

Following the speaker presentation, The Big Man had his turn to present to us. Very excitedly he discussed an “ah ha” moment that he and others had following our company retreat. He then began to speak about change. About how important it is to achieve love, health, happiness and wealth; “The Good Life” so to speak. How at some point in your life you don’t want to look in the rear view mirror and think “what the heck just happened, how did I get where I am?” We did an exercise where we had to think as big as we possibly could at a goal… attainable or not… we are talking “winning the crossfit games” or “owning a bed and breakfast on the North Carolina shore, while practicing architecture from home with a wealth of clients and the ability to have a flexible schedule and not have my kid in daycare” kind of stuff.  Then we had to ask the question to ourselves… “how do we get there?”

Big Man brought up a few mentors, but when the quote from Jim Rohn scrolled across the screen as one of the firsts… “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going,” my brain had a complete “ah ha” moment of its own. As an employee of this “company,” I am considered family. I know I have a team behind me, support. We have been granted a window into being our best selves. We are being encouraged to succeed… be it at whatever we want in life. To become a group of EXTRAordinary people. The goal is to accelerate growth by helping us and giving us the tools to reach our goals and helping us to keep motivated to push ahead. Its exciting. Its new... and uncharted territory for a lot of people. Scary, Im sure. 

Why not use the same “motivation, determination and drive” I wrote so many times about, over and over again in regards to my fitness with other goals that I feel “stuck at.” I am in control. I am the only one who can make these decisions, I am the only one holding myself back from being EXTRAordinary. Its not the things in my life... its me. The way I look at things, the way I handle situations, the way I do things that I hate that do even though I hate that I do them (got that?). It’s time to get in the driver’s seat, its time to show what makes me "better and different." Its time to get started.

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.  – Jim Rohn


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gerald the Giraffe

January 18, 2017

Tonight after coming home from daycare and watching "a snowman," Mr Z actually said "no" to watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse... which is a miracle in itself. It was too early for bed time and it was bath night, so I brought him up early to hop in the tub with his other favorites, Nemo and Dory. After we ran around and chased each other all over my second floor while the tub filled up, he took a long (and bubble filled) tub.

Its really one of my favorite times of the day. I take him out of the bath, we giggle while I kiss his little feets and tell them they are "my feet." He is all warm and snuggly and smells like Johnson Bubble Stuff... his eyelashes are still a little damp and hes sleepy in his eyes after a fun energy filled day. We lay together in his bed (the twin bed in his room), he makes sure he is positioned just right in the bed with his head on his pillow as tight to my side as he can be... legs crossed (always) and we read books. Sometimes he reads along with me when he knows the book... its awesome.

The last book of the night is always The Little Blue Truck, at the end of that one, he says "night night truck" and he gives kisses and hugs and I put him in the crib. However, tonight I decided, since I had a little extra time, to read him another of my favorites, "Giraffes Cant Dance." My cousin Melis gave this book to me and "The Little Monster" at my baby shower, there is a hand written note inside the front cover telling him that there is "always time to dance!" It makes me smile every time I look at it.

The book is about a Giraffe named Gerald who "cant dance." He is embarrassed, at a party,  in front of all the jungle friends who of course, can dance. They make fun of him and he leaves the party. In the woods he talks to a cricket who teaches him a lesson and the next thing you know, he is dancing... and one of the BEST dancers around! He is soon surrounded by all of the animals in the jungle asking him how he did it... in the end he explains that anyone can dance... they just need to find the right song.

When Gerald talks to the cricket in the woods is where one of my favorite lines occurs... "sometimes when your different, you just need a different song." This phrase brings me right back to when I was a little girl and my mom sat me down to pep talk me when "the popular" girls made fun of me, I didnt feel like I belonged anywhere. It makes me think of every moment since when I have felt insecure or unsure of myself in any situation or when trying something new... it reminds me of the struggle of trying to "fit in" when really, you dont have to fit in, you just have to "be you" and that should be enough. If people dont like you, thats ok too... they dont have to.

I hope to teach my son that its ok to be different. That being different is what makes you awesome. That he should always stand up for himself, be brave and be the best he can be. Some days will be sad, some days will be harder than others, some days will feel like nothing will go his way... but... If I can teach him what my Mom and Dad instilled in me, that He is amazing, He can do anything he puts his mind to and He can be anything he wants to be... then I will be doing alright!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When it Rains... It Pours

January 17, 2017

When it rains... it pours...
Definition:
Misfortunes or difficult situations tend to follow each other in rapid succession or to arrive all at the same time.
Yeah, that sounds about right... it sums up the last 5 days of my life. Its funny how things seem to happen that way. It really feels like a common occurrence for me. Its the reason why I have such a hard time looking a the "bright" side and being optimistic. I am constantly looking for the giant bomb that is going to drop on me... then burst into flames... the sink into the ocean... then get eaten by a whale...

I hate that I am that way. I hate that once things start to spiral, I feel like I cant get out of my own way then suddenly there are now 5,000 things "wrong." Certainly makes me feel like throwing in the towel and hiding in my bed with a bag of chewy sprees crying my eyes out.

In reality. I would never, could never, do those things... rather, I stand tall and face whatever it is that is happening with my feathers ruffled and feet planted in the ground. My little guy has made it even more clear to me that facing these obstacles head on, is the way to go. Nothing can get in my way and really... each "thing" that happens is just that... an obstacle... an obstacle in the giant race of life that we are all racing to the finish line of. Why? Im not sure. Maybe we should all slow down and take it all in... might make the road a little more enjoyable.

The most important thing to me in my life is that my child is happy. In order for him to be happy, I have to be happy. I have to be happy at work, at the gym, at home... not "sing songs" and "rainbows and butterflies" happy all the time, because that is just not logical. However, overall, general happiness with the choices I have made, and continue to make, the things that I do and the perspective I have on things... those are what assures I am happy. My happiness will translate into his happiness. You cant fake that. Hes almost 2. I dont need to tell him that I am happy, he has to FEEL that I am happy.

When the rain starts to fall... I look at his sweet face... then, even as the rain increases and it begins to pour... I remember, I am his Mama. I am the world to him right now. I help influence his every minute. He can feel my pain, my sadness... turn it around. Smile at those little brown eyes as he asks "Mama, you comin'" and show him the best possible life he can have.




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Scares You?

January 11, 2017



I love this. I love the feeling that I get right before I do something that "scares" me. The uncomfortable jostle of my stomach. The feeling of my heart beating a little faster. The hair standing up on my neck and arms. That moment when I close my eyes, take a deep breath and then approach whatever it is I have to do. The uncertainty. Its refreshing to me. It reminds me that life is for living and shouldn't be boring and predictable. That not everything comes easy. Reward takes risk, with risk, you get reward. Kind of amazing.

As we get older we sort of land somewhere in the world of "everyday life." We do the things we do the way we do them... because that is how we have always done them. I fold my clothes a certain way because I worked in retail for a lot of years and it just comes natural to do it that way. I do my laundry a certain way, because that is how I was taught, might not be the same way you were taught... but in the end its the same result. We take the same roads to get from A to B (both physically and hypothetically) because its a "risk" to do it any other way. We are comfortable with the way we have "always" done something.

By "scary," I'm not talking about walking on a tight rope or jumping out of an airplane (however, if faced with those two things I would probably do them)... I'm talking about simply doing something that makes you question just for a split second, if you know what you are doing... Maybe its something you've never done before, talk to a client, present an idea that is outside the box, lift a weight that you've never attempted, take a country western dance class when you haven't danced in years, take a new way home, wear your hair in a different way than usual... hell, buy a pair of skinny jeans... just do SOMETHING that keeps life interesting, fun and moving forward.

Risk the failure. Risk the embarrassment. Face the uncomfortable. Feel the pride when you succeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Good Morning

January 10, 2017

Geepers, I found myself at the end of last year suddenly accidentally dating things 2015... and this morning I typed 2018. Slow down time... haha! I am certainly not ready for it to be 2018, we just got 2017 off and running.

I stopped blogging way back when, because I felt like everything I needed to say, I had already said. I didnt want to repeat myself, be a broken record or bore anyone (not that I really know if people read this anyway). Over time, I would see something and think, "I could write about that." However, I didnt have the time or the mindset to get back into blogging. Now, today, I saw something and it hit me. I needed to write about it and if its a repeat, youve heard it from me before... or whatever... I am sorry. Though Id be impressed if there is someone out there (aside from my mom <--- HI MOM) who reads my posts every day.

So, here we go. I saw this this morning.



It hit me. It hit me right in a place I needed to be hit. Over the last few years, especially since I have become a mom, I have consciously been working on facing every day as a new day. I try to go to bed and shed the days bullshit, let anything that is bothering me go. It is the only way to get a good nights sleep. When I talked to someone about how to do this, three or so years ago, they told me to lay on my back in "corpse pose." This is a yoga pose where you just lay flat on your back, arms to your sides, palms up, head neutral, and take long deep breaths. I do this on nights that I am feeling tense or frustrated about something. Sometimes it works... I might even fall asleep like that. Others, I have to roll to my side to sleep. Either way, I can usually ground myself, rid my brain of the crap from the day and get ready to start the next day.

Funny how much our actions, mood and attitude affect other people. Each day, if I start new and let the day unfold, I feel like I am much more likely to have a "good" day than bad. That is not at all to say that by 6:00am... after I trip down the stairs, endure -3 degree weather or have to clear snow off my car... or by 7:00am have had a shitty workout and forget my bra and underwear for after my shower... or just been up all night tossing and turning... cant happen. I just have to be strong enough to turn it around and know that all of these things are so very small in the grand scheme of the day and life in general.

So, take a que from the note above. Dont be a shitty person today. Understand that you have no idea what is going on in anyone else's life at any given moment. The guy that just cut you off might be headed home from work in a rush because his kid is sick. The woman in line in front of you at he grocery store who is moving at a snails pace might have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. A person you work with may be in a horrible mood because they just found out their health insurance is going up and they dont know if they can afford it. Maybe someone had a miscarriage, or someone knows someone who died, has a addiction... or any of the million other things in the world that can happen to someone and if you were that person, you would be doing the same thing.

Remember, the smile that you glance at someone and give, the "good morning" you toss out or the joke you tell... it might make a difference in someones little world. Dont be a shitty person today.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Life Lessons from a Toddler

January 9, 2017

My son Z. He amazes me every single day. The way that he looks at things, the way he smiles at things, the way he tries to figure out how things work or why they are doing whatever they are doing… He is constantly learning. Every day new words and phrases like “have a good weekend” and “mommy wake up” come pouring out like they have been trapped in there waiting for the perfect moment to make us laugh. There were days where I thought he would never roll over or crawl… and now he is a running, jumping, climbing machine! I have absolutely loved every single moment of these last 22 months as “Z’s Mama” and wouldn’t change it for the world.

One year ago today, my 10 month old started swim lessons. We signed up for a parent/infant class and had no idea what to expect. My goal is to assure that he is safe around a body of water, as I 150% feel that all kids should know how to swim at least enough to stay safe in the case of an emergency. I do not want him afraid of the water. I grew up with a swimming pool in my back yard. I learned how to swim at a young age and while I am not winning any metals at the Olympics, I was able to pass a lifeguard level swim test at girl scouts when I was 13 and I can certainly hold my own in a body of water. Z took to the water instantly and loved “swimming” with me and singing songs and splashing about with the other infants.

This is us at Z's first lesson 1 year ago. 

As with everything in life, time is flying by quickly. My 10 month old is now 22 months. He has since “graduated” to the parent/tot class and proclaims, “going swimmin” when I put him in his suit.  He shouts “the poooooool” as we drive up to MWCC on Saturday mornings. I am no longer wrangling a slippery infant after class, but a little boy is quickly emerging before my eyes. However, he is a toddler, he is curious, he is unpredictable, you never know if he will want to play with whatever it is that is presented that day or if he is going to just want to ask for the ball (that Mr D hands out at the end of class) for the entire 30 minutes. It’s a crap shoot. However, its one bet I am willing to take week after week to assure he learns how to swim.

This Saturday morning will hold a special place in my memories. You see, we haven’t been to swimming in about a month. The last class of the last session was canceled due to snow, than we had Christmas and NYE fall the following 2 weekends. We arrived, got changed and headed to the deck as usual. He sat like a big boy as we waited our turn to get into the pool as other kids were pulling their parents to the edge. I got in the pool and told him he had to “safety slide” into the pool like we have been practicing week after week. He sat on the deck, put his hands to the side of him and slid right in like a pro. He laughed as he splashed me and Mr D showed us the barbell we were using for class. Then he reached for it while it was in his hands. Mr D took a que from that and grabbed his hands and I let go. I watched my little man kick his little feet and get pulled around with his arms over the barbell. As Mr D spun him around to see that I was not holding him and his face lit up with a huge smile as if to say “Im doing it Mama!” my heart melted. He is such an inspiration to me. He was so proud of himself… and so was I.

We spent the rest of the class kicking and swimming with the barbell. Then we practiced climbing out by himself and safety sliding in. Once we did that a few times I let him do a few of his favorite jumps from the edge. He stands all by himself and we say “one, two, three… JUMP” and he jumps off the edge into my hands!! Such a big boy!!

The whole experience makes me look at things that are going on in my own life and put them into perspective. My boy, my 22 month old boy can take weeks off from swimming and then just face the challenge like a champ. He jumps right back in and shows confidence and drive… then the pride that he has from “doing it…” even if its not perfect, even if he takes a few guzzles of pool water… or jumps on 3 rather than when I say jump… he is still doing it… he is so awesome. I can only hope he continues to have that trait for the rest of his life. That he keeps on dreaming, keeps on setting goals and keeps on fighting for what he wants. One thing is for sure, Mama will ALWAYS be in his corner.

Sunday I competed in my first solo comp since October 2013. Since then, there have been quite a few pairs competitions, same sex and male/female as well as regionals and even a threesome. For some reason, I just didn’t feel the “need” to get out there on my own. After having Z, I have competed with Hubs in male/female pairs, then SH in a same sex pairs, than again with WS in a male/female pairs… it was time to get out there, get back on the horse and compete alone. After signed up, I cannot lie. I had some anxiety about competing alone. There is no one to rely on, there is no one to help. When the workouts get released, its all on me to lay everything I have on the table and do what I can. Alone. Did I think about withdrawing… yes. I did.

When workouts are released for a comp there is always a moment of doubt. You have no idea what they are going to be. You also don’t know how many there are going to be, what the time caps are, what the competition is going to be like, what the conditions will be like or how you are doing to be feeling that day. You don’t know if they will announce a workout then have to change it at the last minute. You don’t know if there will be finals, or how many people will make finals, or if everyone will do four workouts. However, it is important to remember that everyone is facing the same exact conditions you are. There is no “luck” involved. One workout might be in your wheelhouse, and another in someone else’s. That’s the beauty of crossfit. I might feel more confident in a workout that dosent involve a pullup bar or running, but because there is none of that in a workout does not make me lucky… Likewise, if another athlete has a 3:00 Fran… and Fran is the workout, she didn’t get “lucky” that it was programmed, she has that time because she works hard and is efficient and amazing at those skills.

I had my ups and my downs of the day. Had my #1 cheerleader in my corner with me who dragged her ass out of bed at the crack of dawn to drive to Revere. I kept thing all day long of my little guy. How he got in that pool and got pulled around by someone other than me… kicked his feet and had a big confident smile. After a disappointing first workout, I had to pull myself up. I had to work 10X harder and prove to myself that I could do this. I was there to lay it all on the line. Get.It.Done. And that’s what I did. I worked hard, I pulled the confidence that I was a strong competitor from somewhere within. The clock started for the remaining 3 workouts and I left everything I had right there in front of me. I needed this.

The end of the day, I stood on the podium, for the first time as an individual competitor. The box I was standing on was for me. The metal, the handshake, the “swag bag” and most importantly… the pride. Its mine. I didn’t have to share it today. 

...and guess what. Luck had nothing to do with it. 









Friday, January 6, 2017

Everything is Going to be Alright.

January 6, 2017

Everything going to be alright. 

I am a worrier. I worry about all sorts of things. Rational things, irrational things... you name it. I realize that it adds stress to my life that is often unnecessary, as worrying is really a waste of energy. Things in life are going to happen. They are going to happen exactly as they are, whether I worry about them or not. I feel like sometimes, my anxiety is heightened by life experiences. Most of the time, things dont happen to me "gently." Good or bad. So, in my brain, I just think the worst sometimes... and feel like if something is going to happen, its going to be traumatic. Im all for "got big or go home" but not in that sense. Psychologically, I have the worse case scenario playing in my head pretty quickly, then my anxiety skyrockets and I am off the charts. Good times... I understand people dont want to be around me when this happens. 

I am trying to work on this. I am trying to rationalize my thoughts and not waste energy on worrying about things that are out of my control. I am trying to take any situation and understand that really, in the grand scheme of things, more often than not, its not THAT bad. There is a solution... and as Dory says in her new "Finding Dory" movie... "There is always another way." <--- clearly I watch WAY too much Pixar. 

Realizing, that I really create more stress for myself if I worry... and consciously not worrying, is not easy! Its a behavior that will take a long time for me to change. I also realize, that I am a mother. That I will worry about my son, if he is sick, if I am doing the right thing, where he is, what he needs, is he happy... for the rest of my life, but I think I can do it in a much healthier manner without jumping to the furthest extreme. 

Having a plan helps. That "white picket fence" that I talked about yesterday. That is going to help me to make this change in my life. If I have a goal and a plan that I can stick to... it will take some of the extra stress away. The worry about money, where are we going to live if we move, will we move, do we want to expand our family? While that plan might falter at times, I can not worry that it will, I have to be confident in our plan and reach for the goal at the end. 

The other things... well, I just have to stop. I have to put an effort forward to not worry about things out of my control. I have to step away from Dr. Google and all the misc information on the web that tells me how many hours my kid should be sleeping at night or what he should be eating... I have to let life unfold and remember that things are just things... that I am more than those things. That I dont have to check that I unplugged blow drier three times before I leave the house... or drive back to my house because even though I know I locked the front door, I might not have... and I should just check. Basically, I have to stop creating more things to worry about, by worrying about things... 

Everything is going to be alright. 



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Roots of Power

January 5, 2017

One of the articles I was reading in regards to "minimizing" things in your home, talked about starting at the bottom and working up. If you clean your basement first, when you clean out the kitchen, a closet or a bedroom upstairs, you arent going to want to dump the pile of things you arent sure of into your basement, it will be way to clean and organized for that. You will have to make a choice what to do with the items at the exact moment you pick them up. "Do I want this?" "Do I need this?" "Where can I store this?"

I really like this thought process and I am certainly going to use it in my quest to minimize my belongings. I am however in a time crunch to get everything out of my basement so the process might be driven by the fact that I am going to pay for a storage unit until I have a place to put things. Pretty sure thats the only way this is going to happen, as it is going to take a while to dig through it all. Maybe if I bring it back piece by piece and make hard decisions as to where I can store things once I see how much storage space I actually have... it will be easier. Maybe I am just fooling myself, but I am sure that I will not want to pay into a unit for any longer than I have to.

If you think about it. This can be a process that can be applied to a lot of things in life, not just cleaning your house. Right away, I think of the basement as the "root" of the problem. So if the root is healthy, the rest of the tree is going to be pretty well nourished.

I have been through some pretty tough times in my life. No, to some, the things I have been through might not even scratch the surface, but others can sympathize. I was/am lucky enough to have very supportive and strong parents as well as other roll models in my life to help me get through these times. They act as the "roots" to my life. They nourish my mind to help me keep healthy and strong. I can sympathize with someone who has gone through a tragedy (or multiple) in their lives. I know what it feels like, I know the burn, the pain, the fear. Its terrible. However, I made a choice. The choice to stay rooted, to stay strong and to keep nourished.

I can not say that my life is all roses. I am not an easy person to live with or rationalize with. I have a strong head... and maybe, just maybe thats why my roots have stayed strong.  I have melt downs. I have anxiety. I am human.

There are some people in this world who are not as lucky. Their roots are not as strong. No matter how many times they are nourished, they can not stay grounded. It is so unbelievably hard for me to comprehend... but it really makes me think about how lucky I am, that even in my darkest of times... I can still see the light. I personally, have never been clinically depressed... nor have I had an addiction. However, I have been surrounded by it my whole life.

In the last two days I have learned of two deaths that really hit home with me. A very good friend of mine had a lifelong friend commit suicide. The "life of the party" the "fun guy" with "so many friends," decided that it was time to end his own life. It makes me to sad to think how much he hurt inside to have done this to himself. That his roots were so weak that he didnt know what to do anymore or how to restore them, not by anyone's fault, including his own. He couldnt see that his friends and family all thought the world of him and loved him.

Another, a young woman, a mom, a sister, who just like me lost her big brother tragically at a young age, taken by addiction. No matter how hard she tried, she couldnt get those roots to dig into the ground so they could keep her healthy and strong. She was sick. She suffered from an addiction that made her feel good and made the burn, the pain and the fear go away. This is just such a tragedy for her children, her parents and her remaining living brother. My hear aches for them. I pray for their whole family and those children... that their roots stay strong and they are able to overcome such a difficult disease to understand.

I deal with depression in my life daily with more than one person. It is so hard to understand from the outside. It is so hard to bring back life to roots that have been damaged, but I really in my heart of hearts, feel like the person to whom these roots are connected to has the power somewhere within to make a choice. If they can get the help they need and not succumb and let it slowly bring them down they have a chance to grow stronger, healthier and live a long life.

Please, help someone, anyone you know who has an addition or you think they are suicidal... help them reestablish their roots...
Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800 273 8255
American Addiction Hotline - 877 743 1468



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

White Picket Fence

January 4, 2017

Am I doing it right?

I think I ask myself this question like 3,000 times a week. Since becoming a mother, this number has tripled. I mean having a toddler who is just starting to be able to verbalize what it is that he wants… and sometimes having a melt down because frankly, he cant live off of apple sauce and fruit snacks (at least I think he cant...) is not really helping the matter.

I remember a conversation I had with someone very important in my life about 16 years ago… He said to me “Sarah, you have your life all planned out. You can see your white picket fence…” He was right. At that time… at a mere 20 years old… I thought I could see it. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted and thought I knew exactly how I was going to get there. The point (I think) he was trying to make to me was that I needed to just let things happen. That there are going to be many obstacles, failures, changes both good and bad, that may derail that “vision.” I struggled with letting that vision go. But, I did. I had to. Life unfolded differently, even in that very moment, then I thought it would have. Did I fail? Did I not “do it right” and cause this derailment… or did life just take over?

There is no answer to that. The important thing is that I did what I needed to do to overcome what I felt I didnt do right. I worked to create a new vision and while that vision has changed again and again as things in my life change, that is ok. I am a work in progress.

I still struggle every day with if I am doing things "right." Have I put in enough effort with my husband, did I make good decisions with money, did I really push to my limit at the gym, have I worked to my fullest potential at the office, will I be able to teach my kid to sleep past 5:00am, have I made the right choice in daycare, with what to give him to eat and when, when should we let him sleep in a big boy bed, have I done something to let someone down? I dont know... 

All I can do is give it my best effort, keep that “white picket fence” in my sights and be confident in my decisions. Someday I will have it...


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Breath of Fresh Air

January 3, 2017

This morning kind of felt like a breath of fresh air. I have been off work for 11 days. Usually upon returning from a vacation I am exhausted and ready for a nap... but today, things felt different. Like I set a refresh button. I didnt sleep any more than usual while I was off yet somehow I feel more energy than I was feeling before taking a little time off. It was a mental break. It was stress free and I let my routine go for a while.

I absolutely LOVED having my Mom and Dad at my house for the whole time I was off. I was up as early as I am every day either at the gym or with Z. I was busy every day with friends coming to visit or playing in Z's new tunnel or with his new cars... I was completely exhausted at the end of every night when Z went to sleep and my parents went back to the hotel... I was the happiest person on the planet with those that I love so very much.

Today, back to the routine. See, I am a routine kind of girl. Pretty sure thats where my guy gets it from. I feel like my time off was enough to reset and reload into my routine again. Sometimes I just get so caught up in the structure of "life" that I forget how to bend the rules. I forget how to stay up a little later than normal, how to play in the snow or how to just stop... take it all in... and enjoy it.

Its hard the way we live our lives so down to the minute to do those things. I get up every day at the same time, I scramble off to the gym, shower and dress there after my workout, work all day, get Z after work, sit in traffic in the dark on the way home,  scramble to get him dinner, take a bath and go to bed... then I go to bed and repeat the next day. No wonder why time flies by so quickly. "We" as a whole just dont give ourselves the time to slow things down.

I have been paying attention to a few things about myself that I want to work on... one of them is just that. Having Z in my life has really helped with looking at things with a new perspective. When I watch him discover something new it is just amazing. The way he looks at whatever it is with complete awe as his little 22 month old brain tries to figure it all out. Even if its something as simple as how the hair elastic holds my hair back and I can just pull it out and my hair falls down my back... or what on earth that white fluffy stuff is that is falling from the sky and why does it feel so "cold" when it hits my nose... I watch him. I smile at him and he smiles back. It fills my heart with so much joy. I know he will never remember the first time he saw snow or the first time he sang his ABC's... or even the first time he slept in his big boy bed... but I am storing all those memories away. I want him to grow and learn and I need to allow him the time to experience all these things.

I have been talking so much about cleansing personal belongings. When I open those boxes and they are filled with memories... I feel that feeling. I remember my brother and I playing with legos for countless hours in a row. I remember the time I spent playing with My Child and the days at my Papas house cutting out all the houses in our wooden town so we could set it up and play with the wooden cars we helped assemble. I am so excited to slow down and make all of those memories with my boy... but I also remember that while I look at those houses in the box or the doll in the bin... that while they all have a story to tell me... the story will never ever go away. They will always fill my heart.

Back to routine for me... tracking my macros, going to the gym, working hard to be mentally healthy and strong so I can be the best roll model possible for Z. BUT, I will stop. I will watch. He will continue to amaze me and surprise me and make me smile.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Begin...

January 2, 2017

Apparently, I am not the only person who decided that 2017 was going to be a cleansing year. It appeared, as I went to Target to get some tupperware containers... that this is a common thing. There were LOTS of people buying tupperware... and... bonus... they were on sale!

I started my endeavor today to clean up my basement. I know this is not going to be an easy task. In fact, its very hard for me in a lot of ways. Let me start by showing you the embarrassment that is my basement...






There is a little bit of EVERYTHING down there... from booze (lots of wine) to pictures I have taken off the walls, to golf clubs, baby items of all sorts, a bike, my dollhouse my Papa made me when I was a kid, many items from my parents house that lived in the attic, my pull up bar and rings... outside toys we have had to take downstairs for the winter... and of course, my nemesis... the EMPTY box. Why do I save these things...

Some of these boxes are going to be a piece of cake to go through. I have lots of camping supplies, old tailgating bins... things like that... no problem. Clean them out and make one box with stuff I might need in the case we go camping. Others are a lot harder, they contain photo albums, misc items from when I "cleaned" and set up Z's bedroom, there are also knickknacks from my childhood my Grandmothers china... and some of my brothers belongings that make tears flow just by opening the top of the tupperware... its going to be rough.

Today I tackled the baby things... I took out my trusty label maker and sorted what had not already been sorted of Z's things and organized them into bins...


I am trying to go with a "one touch" rule... so that I dont open a tupperware, look inside then put it away for later... but I was already defeated when I opened one and had my My Child dolls and some others staring at me in the face. I had already been down there a few hours so I decided if I wasnt ready to tackle it today, I should stop. I did the Christmas decorations and all the baby things... its not even a dent in what needs to be done... but I started. 

I think a good way to go at this is to address the "easier" stuff first. Get rid of the crap I know I dont want/need... then take the time go to through the harder boxes and make choices. 

This is not going to be easy...


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Let it Go!

January 1, 2017

Hi, its me again. Geeze, its been quite a long time since Ive blogged. Life came first. In the months that have passed we have experienced so many "firsts," so many good times, lots of laughs... a few vacations... and most of all, made so many memories. All of which I hold so deep in my heart... time flying by quickly and my squishy newborn baby is now almost 2 years old. He has celebrated his second of every holiday except Valentines day... he talks up a storm... counts to 10... sings songs... and gives the very best hugs and kisses. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I just couldn't imagine my life without him.I have seen lots of posts about how bad 2016 was... I had a great year and I am not going to be sorry for that.

I am going to jump on the "New Year" band wagon and talk about what my plans/goals are for 2017. Though, I dont feel like it necessarily needs to be a new year, a new month or even a Monday to set or start or set a goal, there is something about new years that almost makes your mind think "this is the year." The start of a new chapter, day 1 of 365.

For me 2017 is going to be a cleansing year. My focus is to rid myself of both physical and mental "baggage" that constantly weighs me down. I have boxes and boxes of "stuff" that needs to be gone through and purged and I have plenty of daily mental "stuff" that I can leave behind with the new year.

I have been reading a lot of blogs and articles about how to minimize your life and how to reduce clutter. Basically, teaching yourself that if you donate or toss the hoodie that you never wear anymore but have had for the last 10 years and cant part with for some reason.... life will actually be OK just hours after it is out of the closet and in the bag for Salvation Army. That if you donate the "stuff" that is just accumulating in tubs in the basement, someone might put that frame/candle/tchotchke on their shelf and love it just like I did the day I bought it... and they will actually let it see the light of day rather than let it live in the tub. Finally... that even thought Woody and his friends come alive in Toy Story, it is in fact just a movie and if I put the stuffed teddy bear I had when I was 6 that I got from a trip to wherever, in the donate or trash bin, that it will not "feel" it. Most important, the memories that surround all of this "stuff" will always be with me, I dont need the object to make those memories come to life.

On the "mental" side of this... I have been thinking a lot about a similar concept of letting things go. If you know me, you know that that is hard for me. I am a passionate person. I am competitive, I am aggressive and while I dont like to admit it, I hold a grudge sometimes. I let things bother me, fester and sometimes, I cant get out of my own way. I know that not everyone thinks like me (thank god). I need to sit back and enjoy the ride. Take things less serious and have fun!! I look at Z and think how lucky he is. Everything is awesome and new and amazing. His drama is when he wants another pack of fruit snacks and we only want him to have two packs... innocence.

My plan...
1. Dont take things too serious
2. Smile more
3. Laugh every day (which isnt hard to do with Z)
4. In the words of Elsa "let it go" all of it... <---- I have watched "a snowman" 40,000 times!!

I am going to try to blog more this year... I think my sleep deprived days are over for now.

Welcome 2017, Ive got this!