High Five Friday: 5 things I’m grateful for this week

high five friday

I stumbled upon the High Five Friday concept while browsing the blogosphere and decided to join in on the fun! The purpose is to share five things that you are grateful for this week, so here we go.

1. Jack is back! Did you see the trailer that ran during the Superbowl for the return of 24? My husband and I are such huge fans…our cat is even named after the show. Meet our Jack Bauer:

orange cat photo

2. This article on Huffington Post made me feel inspired: This Guy Stopped Charging Clients And He Has Zero Regrets. I’ve been considering a similar business model for my online marketing consulting business. My idea is in its infant stage, but reading the article gave me hope that my goals are achievable. So thanks for the gift economy inspiration Adrian Hoppel!

3. Making snow angels with Cole. We had a big snow storm this week and I captured a little video clip of some of the fun we had on Instagram: Cole’s Snow Day Adventure

4. I did a headstand on a balance board! Inversions have been my most recent yoga obsession. I’ve been taking a Balance Board class at Windsoul Studio in Tyngsboro, MA. The balance board is meant to mimic the feeling of being on a paddle board in the water.

5. I highly recommend reading The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. I finished it last night, and after reading some pretty heavy books over the last few months, this book was like a breath of fresh air. It’s a wonderful, light-hearted mix of comedy, family and a bit of history.

The All-Girl Filling Station Reunion

There is my list for High Five Friday! What are you grateful for this week?

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You’re not a person, you’re a mommy

Kids say the darndest things. Cole came out with this gem the other day after I finished explaining to him that I’m just one person and therefore can only do one thing at a time. He stared back at me as if I had just said the most hysterical joke he had heard all day and giggled, “You’re not a person, you’re a mommy!”

I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. It’s an adorable observation because in truth our kids should only think of us as their moms and dads, and not as individuals, until later on down the road. On the other hand, Cole inadvertently hit a bit of a sore spot for me. It’s easy to get lost in parenthood, or anything for that matter, and forget to keep in touch with the things that make us feel like a real person. Describing a person as real might seem a little weird. Like, aren’t we all real? I don’t mean real in the physical sense; I mean real in the spiritual sense.

Last month I challenged myself to start setting aside some time to reconnect with myself. My journey to rediscover the person outside of the mommy has led me to writing, running, a meditation group, and most importantly (for me) a yoga studio. I’ve always been able to count on yoga to bring me to a happy state of being, but I’d forgotten how important it was to me. Unrolling my mat was like reconnecting with a dear, old friend. Apparently being a human pretzel is all it takes to snap me back to life!

Maybe there is something you’ve lost touch with too. For a moment, think about all of the roles, responsibilities, lists, noise and clutter that we face throughout the day. Now think about doing that thing that lights a fire in your belly and makes you feel good and balanced. The thing that makes you feel like you’re putting some sort of good energy out into the world. Did something come to mind? I bet if we all set a little time aside each week to do something that makes us happy, really happy, then our other roles and responsibilities would become more manageable and enjoyable.

Set a date with yourself and have a happy week!

happiness

Vinyasa Flow at Banyan Tree

It felt so great to get back on my yoga mat! Since I moved up to NH in summer 2012 I haven’t been practicing much. I came across Banyan Tree Yoga online and decided to check out the studio. So glad I did! They offer everything from vinyasa flow and yogalates to prenatal and family yoga. The lighting and music playlist during the Vinyasa class was perfect and created a lighthearted and friendly atmosphere. Maureen, our instructor, maintained a perfect balance between giving technique and breath reminders while cracking a joke here and there throughout the class.

We did a transition of poses I had never done before and thought it was so fun I wanted to share. During class I turned to my mat neighbor and said “That was cool… I felt like a rocket ship!” Things you don’t expect to hear in yoga class, right? Anyway, we transitioned from crane pose to plank or bakasana to chataranga. Please understand that I am not a professional yoga practitioner. I just thought this pose was fun and wanted to share! Just a quick video my husband made for me.

 

I’m also looking forward to checking out some of Banyan Tree Yoga’s upcoming events and workshops. The two that caught my eye are Natural Remedies & Green Living with Young Living Essential Oils and Inversion Submersion Level 1: The Basics. I’ve always wanted to be able to do all that handstand stuff! If you live in the area please join me.

Natural ways to beat cold and flu season

Cold and flu season is kicking our butts! Your local pharmacy has a plethora of remedies to choose from to help provide some relief. However, kid-friendly and natural remedies are a bit harder to find in the aisles of a store. With a little bit of searching and a little bit of experimenting I’ve rounded up a list of natural ways that can help you stay healthy or beat that nasty cold.

1. Buy a Neti pot – Fill your neti pot container with filtered water and saline solution and use it to flush out your congested nasal passage. Seriously. This works. And it’s such a relief to be able to breath again. Check on the age restrictions if you want to use a neti pot with your kids…they need to be old enough to control their breathing so I don’t recommend using it with toddlers and real youngsters.

2. Keep a cup of quartered lemons in your refrigerator and squeeze some in your (and your kids!) cups of water.  I could list a whole bunch of benefits to drinking lemon water, but I’ll stick to how it relates to curing the common cold. Because lemon has an anti-bacterial property it’s great for helping with infections. Lemon is also a natural source of vitamin C, which makes it a great antioxidant. Lastly, I remember reading somewhere that it can reduce fever.

3. Make your own cough syrup. I mixed up a batch of this magic potion a few weeks ago when my mom had a cough coming on. She swears by it now! 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, a tablespoon of Honey, a dash of Cayenne Pepper, a squeeze of Lemon…voila!!

4. Try Oil Pulling – A friend of mind told me about oil pulling a couple of months ago and I’ve been doing it several times a week every since. I use coconut oil, but there are a variety of oils that you use. Supposedly oil pulling is most effective when you do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You take a tablespoon of oil, put it in your mouth, and swish is around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Do not swallow it! After time is up you spit it out. Here is article on some of the science behind it, but basically it’s suppose to have a “powerful cleansing and healing affect…on the mouth and sinuses.” The jury is still out on whether I’ve felt any benefits with oil pulling, but I figure it’s worth a shot!

There really isn’t any conclusive scientific studies that would back up that all of the things on this list will 100% cure you. BUT if they are harmless…why not try? It can never hurt to try out some natural, alternative remedies. Please let me know if this inspired you to try any of the items I listed…and let me know how you liked them! Feel free to add to the list too 🙂

Peace, love, and health.

World Immunization Week: Giving children a Shot@Life through access to vaccines

Vaccines. It’s become such a controversial topic in America that we might as well add it alongside religion and politics as subjects to avoid during polite dinner conversation.  As a new mom I scouered bookshelves to educate myself on both sides of the discussion on vaccine safety and effectiveness to ensure I make the best choices for my son, Cole.

Then it hits me. Choice. There are other moms all over the world, who want to protect their children from preventable diseases, but they don’t have access to vaccines. These moms don’t have a choice.  As a result, many of them will have to hold their beloved babies in their arms as they take their last breath on earth.  Every child deserves a shot at a healthy life, which is why I’m supporting the Shot@Life campaign. Cole inspires me to want to help other children that are less fortunate than he is.

For our love of children we need to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines.  With our help the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life.  There are other organizations that are working towards the common goal of providing vaccines where they are most needed.  For example, I volunteer with a non-profit organization called Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti.

Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti (SHH) is in the process of planning and developing a medical clinic and children’s hospital in Jerusalem, Haiti, a city just north of Port-au-Prince. As you might have read or seen in the news recently, the cholera vaccine needs to be dispensed immediately to everyone in Haiti.  Doses are being prepared and distributed, but there are not enough clinics to vaccinate the population.  The medical clinic that SHH is building in Jerusalem could help to meet this dire need.

Join me in support of the Shot@Life campaign and Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti.  Support comes in many forms: a tweet on Twitter, a “like” on Facebook, a dollar donation. And just to be clear there is no affiliation between Shot@Life and Sustainable Healthcare for Haiti.  I’m just sharing what they both mean and represent to me!  For more information and to follow updates online, please stay connected.

Websites
sustainablehealthcareforhaiti.org
shot@life.org

Facebook
facebook.com/sustainablehealthcareforhaiti
facebook.com/shotatlifecampaign

Twitter
@shhbuilds
@shotatlife

Together, we can make a difference and save lives.

Shot@Life Join the Movement

Light it up blue for World Autism Awareness Day!

We try to teach our children all about life, but really our children teach us what life is all about.

Have you heard of Light It Up Blue? Light It Up Blue, in its third year, is a global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support.Check out the Autism Speaks website for Light It Up Blue and check out the pictures – they are so amazing! My personal favorite is Niagra Falls.My son Cole and I will be wearing blue today and our hearts will be with all of the children and families that have been affected by autism.

Being a parent is a challenge, but when your child is diagnosed with autism that challenge becomes even greater. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism to be prevalent in 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls) in the U.S. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. There is no proven medical detection or cure for autism. I have a personal hunch that it has to do with both environmental toxins and genetic vulnerabilities.

The good news? A new study finds that 10% of autistic children can “bloom” and outgrow most of their disabilities by the time they reach adolescence. What can you and I do to help increase that percentage, as well as reduce the number of autistic children?

This Fall I am participating in the 2012 Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Team Mikey is named after my cousin’s son. He is a handsome, bright, fun little boy and was recently diagnosed with autism. Please help me raise funds to support this important cause. Although I’m not walking for several more months there is no better time to act than now, because April marks the beginning of Autism Awareness month. And today (April 2nd) is Autism Awareness Day! So help get my fundraising efforts off to an amazing start.

Every dollar counts! Here is the link to my Donation Page.

Being pregnant in the gym and on the mat

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to work up a good sweat.   Not only do I enjoy the physical benefits of exercise, but it also helps to keep me sane!  Naturally, I’ve always known that I would continue to exercise during pregnancy.  In fact, I can remember the week after I found out I was pregnant I hit the gym a few times and completed some decent mileage on the treadmill.  And then morning…pardon me…all day sickness hit.  For the rest of my first trimester the most exercise I got was speed walking to the nearest restroom in my office (discretely of course).

However, one sunny September day I woke up feeling like myself again.  I was ready to take on the world again, and the gym.  Doctors say that as long as you are in good condition you can continue your pre-pregnancy exercise routine with very little modifications.  Just the other day Greg and I saw a woman at the gym who must have been 8 months pregnant doing a lifting circuit.  I thought the baby could have just dropped out of her onto the mat then and there!  I admire her tenacity and I always thought I would be just like that.

The truth is that every woman’s body reacts differently to the beautiful miracle growing inside of them.  It’s up to us to listen to our bodies, listen to our hearts, and make healthy choices for our baby.  When I go the gym my workout consists of low-impact cardio, like elliptical and walking, and then a lot of stretching.  My favorite prenatal workout?  YOGA!  The poses and classes are extremely modified compared to the yoga classes I took before I was pregnant, but they are no less valuable or satisfying.

Yoga class creates moments to connect your breath to your body.  Prenatal yoga class creates moments to connect your breath to your baby.  Sometimes it becomes overwhelming to think that every bite of food, every positive or negative thought, every move you make affects your baby.  A pregnant woman is no longer the same “I” she has always associated herself with – she has become a host for her baby!  I feel empowered and blessed to be a woman and to have the gift of giving life to another human being.

I started this post by saying that exercise has always “worked out” my body and mind.  More than ever I’m realizing how important the mind-benefits of the gym and yoga are to me.  Because it’s during these moments on the elliptical and on the yoga mat that I feel most connected to my baby.  My mission from the moment he was conceived is to make sure that he has the tools he needs to be healthy, be happy, be strong. Prenatal exercise and yoga feel like the natural foundation to carrying out this mission while he lives in my tummy.

Namaste.