Posted in Expectations, goals, Humor, I hate exercising, Mom Confessions, Self Care, Uncategorized

How to {Accidentally} Exercise Every Day

I hate exercising.

I know some women love it. It’s like an escape to them…from their kids, house, stress, life. I admire these women; they inspire and baffle me.

Personally if I want to escape, it’s in a good book or netflix series curled under a squishy afghan with a glass of milk and a slice of chocolate cake.

That, my friends, is my definition of “escape.”

I am a really busy person. I have four kids. I have a house to take care of. I have meals to prepare. I have a mountain range of laundry to cross every week. Oh, and I also work 30+ hours a week from home as an online professor and freelance editor.

I have 6-8 exercise DVDs that I attempt to do every 9.5 months. Usually by the time I get half way through, one of my children is crying or pooping somewhere inappropriate.

So, what’s a busy mom to do? I decided that instead of trying to squeeze exercise in, I should take a backwards approach. I decided to look back at my day or week and see where I have accidentally exercised.

The Accidental Exercise Plan is simple. All you need is some creativity and a good memory (though once you add more than two children to your life, the later is hard to come by).

The only equipment required for the Accidental Exercise Plan is a house and children.

And the exercises are simple–you are probably doing them all every day! You just need to recognize them so you can give yourself a pat on the back at the end the day.

Tell me more, you say? Well, let’s begin! I’ve broken the Accidental Exercise Program down into Legs, Arms, Abs, and Cardio.

Legs:

The Basement Laundry Room
Do you have a basement laundry room? Lucky you! Don’t curse the cold concrete floors, the swinging lightbulb, and the spiders that freak the living daylights out of you! Thank your lucky stars that you get to “do stairs” every day!

Yes, every time you run up, run down, lug up, lug down, you are exercising, my dear. So do your laundry with PRIDE! Your thighs are thanking you.

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Work out gear

The Two Year Old
Do you have a two year old? Then you also have a personal trainer! The two year old will help you run every day. To take advantage of your two year old’s expertise, take him to a grocery store, Target, or any department store. Turn around for 1.2 seconds then turn back around. Your child will be 100 yards away and will be urging you to begin your Accidental Exercising for the day. Run, mama, run!
Mengs_51-1716401590-OArms:

Dinnertime Bicep Burn
It’s 6:00 at your house. That means dinner time prep. It also means Accidental Exercising! Don’t distract your clinging, crying baby with toys, wooden spoons, pot lids, goldfish, and a kitten! Hold that baby on your hip while you stir that pot!

Do you feel that burn? Ahh…your biceps are thanking you.

BONUS Workout: Have twins. Then you can do this:

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Why, yes! These ARE my work-out clothes!

Abs:

Midnight Maneuver
This Accidental Exercise technique takes some skill but most moms are already completing this move with dexterity.
First, pass out from exhaustion in your bed while your baby is curled up beside you.
Next, wake up. Realize that it is only 8:45pm and you are an adult who promised herself that she would have an grown-up conversation with her husband that night.
Next, hoist your baby over your stomach, cradling her body with your arms. Do not wake your baby!
Carefully sit up without using your arms or elbows to help you. Flail your legs if necessary–no one is watching.
Place your baby carefully in bed.
Pat yourself on the back for getting your baby to sleep AND doing a crazy-hard sit-up.
Repeat as necessary throughout the night.

The Squishy Belly Laugh
Did you know that laughing burns 1.3 calories per minute? To take advantage of the Squishy Belly Laugh Accidental Exercise, pull up your shirt so your belly is exposed. Let your baby squish all that postpartum goodness while you blow raspberries. Your baby will laugh. You will too…WHILE YOU BURN CALORIES!! WIN WIN!

Cardio:
They say the point of cardio is to elevate the heart rate to strengthen the heart muscles. Here are a few ways to integrate an elevated heart rate into your Accidental Exercise regimen.

The Crash
Go about your day as normal. Hum. Sing. Be happy and joyful and unassuming. CRASH!!! In the moments after The Crash (usually from your child’s bedroom), your heartbeat will elevate. If you hear the “bad cry,” RUN (bonus exercise!!!) to your child’s room. Your heart rate will continue to elevate until the crash and the “bad cry” are resolved.

“Cardio” accomplished.

The Daredevil
Is your child a daredevil? Lucky you! You get to experience Accidental Exercise cardio more than most!  To take advantage of your daredevil, look for ways to be scared out of your pants: jungle gyms, parking lots, bunk beds, knives in your dishwasher, etc.

Caution: a side effect of The Daredevil is gray hair.

Of course, you could always accidentally exercise by doing this too…

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Lift and Kiss. Repeat as many times as desired.

So fellow mamas, if you are like me, let go of your guilt. Let the dust collect on those Jillian Michael’s DVDs. Plan some quality “escape” time in your day, because you know what?
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You already (accidentally) exercised today.

Do you Accidentally Exercise??? Share your tips below!!!

TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you, make you laugh, or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please share! Thank you! 🙂 

 

 

Posted in childhood dreams, Christianity, Expectations, goals, life, Mom Confessions, Self Care, Uncategorized, WAHM, Writing

I’m [NOT] writing a book: Saying No When you want to say Yes

I had this post all planned out a few weeks ago, the post where I would announce, “I’M WRITING A BOOK!”

But this is not that post.

The truth is, I want to write a book, but I’m not. At least not right now.

I’ve had an idea for a book for the better part of a year. Six weeks ago opened my file of notes and asked myself, “Why not now?
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I asked for feedback from friends.
 And they gave it: We love this idea!
I wrote a rough draft of a proposal.
I set up a meeting with a former professor who has published a few books.
I emailed another professor-friend who gave me encouragement and a sample of her last book proposal.
I listened to a podcast on how to write a proposal.
I got more great feedback and encouragement from friends and mentors.

I was thrilled, excited, ready to leap, and terrified all at the same time.

But I couldn’t jump.

Through all these weeks of excitement I was praying, asking God for his wisdom about my plans: Show me if this is the right time.

I got so much confirmation that this is a Good Thing, a Good Idea, a Good Plan. If I chose to go forward, it would be Right.

But as I tried to take care of my children, grade papers, spend time with my husband and the girls I mentor, blog, and move forward with the book, I realized I was being stretched so thin that I was starting to snap.
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I wasn’t loving the Little Things faithfully in all my plans for the Big.

I realized that I don’t have the time, energy or enough of me to do all the Good Things I want to do in my life right now.

So, despite all the whirlwind of excitement, the confirmations and support, and all the planning I put in, I know the answer to my prayers is this: Pull back. Not yet. Focus on what is going on around you right now. Be faithful.
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I tend to be very future-focused; I find a lot of passion and excitement in making plans and setting goals. I can see the big picture, way in the future. It’s a lot harder to put my binoculars down, stop gazing on dreams, and focus on steps that I need to take to actually make my goals a reality.

But what I really need right now is everyday faithfulness: taking care of my daily responsibilities, building relationships with my family and friends, learning more about blogging, building my audience, and writing regularly.

Writing the book right now could have been a Good Thing but it is not the Best Thing, both for my family and where I am right now as a writer.

There are so many big things in my life that I want to say “Yes” to, but sometimes, saying “No” is the best way to ultimately reach my goals.
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Sometimes the best “Yes” is “Not Yet.”

Have you had to say “No” to a Good Thing in your life?
How do you know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”?

TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please share! Thank you! :

Posted in goals, life, Uncategorized

8 Things that Didn’t Work for me in 2015 (continued)

Whew! Yesterday’s post got long so I’m doing Part 2 today.

I’ve already talked about how…
Dinner Dishes
Laundry
Bedtime Routine
…needed a makeover this year.

Next…

4. Sleeping Arrangements
The Problem: Eli has been sleeping in my room since he was born. It makes me sad to say this is a problem but to be honest, it really isn’t working anymore. My baby boy just turned one on Dec 23 and Mama is ready for more sleep at night.

I think he has slept through the night about 4 times in the last 12 months.

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Oh, this precious baby! If only sleep and babies went together…

 

The Solution: Transitions always suck (when is it the right time???) But with moving babies to their own room, I learned that you just have to do it, like ripping off a bandaid.
We moved him into his own room about a week ago. Sleep has been better (waking up 1-2 times a night, as opposed to 4-5) but not perfect (ha! With kids, when is sleep ever perfect?)

But here’s to transitions and more sleep in 2016.

5. Snacking
The Problem: I don’t snack enough. Yeah, I know this may seem like an odd problem to have, but my body starts to crash mid afternoon and I get really cranky, lethargic, and flat-out exhausted riiiiiiight around the time the boys get home from school at 3:30. Convenient right?

The Solution: I need to be more consistent about eating a snack right before they get home. Snack + Coffee is even better. Honestly, I usually forget, but I am a much nicer Mommy when I’ve eaten something and have a little caffeine in my system to help me tackle the afternoon challenges of homework, post-nap babies (mama! mama! hold me hold me!), and dinner prep.

6. Eating Out
The Problem: Oh, how I wish this was not a problem! For the past few years, Friday Night has been a blessed break from cooking for me. But as Aaron and I are making some goals for 2016, we knew that saving money needed to be more of a priority. And, let’s face it, my twins have huge appetites (and are only going to get bigger! AK!). Eating out has progressively gotten more and more expensive.

The Solution: We decided to eat out twice a month, instead of every week. One Friday we will eat out as a family and the other Friday Aaron and I will go out as a couple. I am pretty excited about this idea since our childless meals (aka date nights) were hit and miss last year.

I’ll miss eating out each week (we rarely do fast food or any other meals out) but I am planning simple meals like frozen pizza and salad on the Fridays when we’ll be at home.

7. Reading
The Problem: I keep a reading log of all the books I read each year and last year was an all-time low. I only read 10 books in the whole year. For me, this feels pathetic. I mean, I have my MA in English. I DO reading.

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My tiny reading log for 2015

But I also “do” 4 kids, plus online teaching, plus+plus+plus so…I’m claiming these 10 books!

The Solution: I want to be more intentional about my reading. I think part of the problem is that I often don’t know what to read next.

Since I keep a running list of books I want to read on the desk top of my computer (Thank you Stickies), I recently went our public library’s webpage and looked up the books I want to read.
I put an asterisks beside the title if the library has the book on the shelf. This gives me a plan so the next time I go to the library, I can just choose a book off my list. I can order the others through Inter-library Loan (which is really easy to do via the website too).

The other half of the battle, of course, is finding the time to read.

I’ve been trying to intentionally read before I go to sleep. It helps me relax, turn off my ever-whirring brain, and detox from all the screen time of the day (especially important when I’m in the middle of my online teaching terms).
I love reading in bed but sometimes I stay up too late to justify a few chapters. I need to work on going to bed at a decent hour so I have time time to relax and enjoy reading with guilt.

8. Doing What Makes Me Happy
The Problem: I was in survival mode all last year. I could barely see beyond the tasks of each day, let alone the week. Making time to do things I loved, like reading, sewing, spending time with friends, or writing was the exception, not the rule.

I tried to recapture a part of myself when I did the Write 31 Days challenge in October. The challenge was extremely hard, but incredibly rewarding too. Writing every day that month made me really happy. I felt more fulfilled and accomplished than I had in a long, long time.

It was weird though. For the first week or so, I actually felt selfish for writing every day, for doing something that made me so happy, for actually taking time to do something I loved.

It took the discipline of doing it every day to get over this twisted perception.
Doing what I love is not selfish, but it takes time, effort, planning, and sometimes, sacrifice.

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The Solution: For the first time in my blogging “career” (ha! if there was another word I would use it), I am planning and scheduling  my posts. Write 31 Days really gave me the confidence to do this.

My goal is to write on Mondays and Thursdays in 2016 and to plan my posts on a monthly basis.

All my posts are planned for this month! My theme for January is “New Beginnings.”

So many things in my life were not working in 2015 but I want to do better. I want to be more aware of what I need and want out of my life and to actively make changes when something is not working.

Here’s to new goals, new beginnings, and much joy in 2016!

What is not working for you right now?
What makes you happy?

What are you doing to make a change in 2016?

Posted in goals, Jane Austen, life, Mom Confessions, My Motherhood

What Jane Austen did for me this summer

Jane Austen has been a good friend to me. Never mind the fact that she lived and died over 200 years ago. She came through for me this summer in a brand new way.

Back in May I wrote a post about my desire to start something new: A book club.

And I did! 
The scary thing was, I had never started a book club. I had never even been IN a book club (does Bible study count??). I really had no idea what I was doing. 
But after receiving a healthy amount of interest, we started reading Pride and Prejudice in June. 
And something happened that first meeting, something new and strange. 
I met with 8 ladies in a comfortable living room, ate lemon tart and drank tea and discussed one of my favorite books. 
Some of the wonderful women in our Jane Austen Book Club. We met for lunch for our last meeting at the very English Ploughcraft Tea Room
And it was weird. 
I realized afterwards that it had been years since I had gotten together with a group of women and talked about something other than my home life, work, and especially, my children. I love talking about these topics….but at this first book club….
….I felt like I was exercising a part of my brain and soul that had been dormant for a long time. It was so refreshing….and foreign
I hoped I’d never be one of “those women” who say, “I lost part of myself when I became  a mother.” 
I wanted to shake those moms and say, “buck up, woman! Keep a hold of yourself! Remember who you are!”
But, I realized at that first book club, over discussions of Bingley and Jane, Elizabeth and Darcy that while I hadn’t lost part of myself, per se, I hadn’t pursued this passion in a long time, a passion for reading, literary discussion, and everything Jane Austen  (Jane Austen’s works were the focus my master’s thesis, after all!). Because sometimes those passions get buried when you are a busy wife and mother. 
So, this book club was like finding a part of myself again. 
Everything I learned in grad school about Jane came pouring out at our meetings. I dug out old lecture notes, read my marginalia to my friends, and talked WAY TOO MUCH at each meeting.
But I couldn’t help it. That passion was rekindled. 
So, thank you Jane Austen for reminding me of who I am and what I love. 
And thank you, new friends and old, for joining my book club and reading Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey with me. Meeting with me every week (or whenever you could make it!) was more that just a fun summer pastime. 
It fed my heart and soul.