Saturday, June 13, 2015

Own Your Body

Two days ago, I decided not to care and I wore a bikini at our neighborhood pool.  In the eleven years since I've had kids, I very rarely walk out in public without a shirt over my bathing suit.

About five years ago, we were on vacation in Malaysia and I saw a 70+ year old woman in a bikini (practically a thong)- she did not care about her cellulite or any other skin imperfection, she was with her husband at the beach and she was happy.  I thought, if she can wear a bikini, why can't I?
That day, I wore a bikini without a shirt and I felt free.  Since then, I have not really been around people I know without a shirt over my bathing suit.

You know what?  I don't have a bad body.  I should not be embarrassed by my stretch marks.  My slightly distended stomach and umbilical hernia were carefully curated over 45 months of pregnancies.

Wouldn't it be great if we could do anything and our bodies would be perfect all the time.  A mom gives birth and magically her body returns to normal as if it didn't just grow a 9 pound human being.  We eat whatever we want and our bodies don't extend.  We get burnt or cut, and scars just fade away.
Reality is we all have imperfections, some we've had all along, some we acquired along the way.  Own your imperfections.  But most importantly own your body.
Your body is yours and yours alone.  You may think your nose is too big, or wish for a smaller waist, or less curly hair, maybe if your eyes were blue, the world would be kinder- these things, they are what make us who we are.  I may not like that my stomach isn't as flat as it was when I was 25, but I'm a mom, I've had 5 babies and I'm OK with the fact that it will never be perfectly flat again.

The other day when I went to the pool without my shirt on, at first I was nervous, I started looking around to make sure people weren't giving me that "glance".  I made sure I wasn't being classified as the lady who was at the pool in a bikini who definitely should not be allowed to wear one.

I've watched a lot of episodes of What Not to Wear to know what's age appropriate and style appropriate for me.  I know the suit I was wearing was cute, comfy, and looked good (to me).  The bottom line is, I'm the only person whose opinion matters.  If I feel good, if I like the fit and style, then why should I even consider if other people are staring at me.  I know if people are making small talk about my body, then they are not really important to me.

I don't go to crossfit to lose weight from my body, I go to lose weight off my shoulders. I go to free myself of burdens of life that we carry day in and day out.  I work hard to make myself stronger and more capable.  I focus on numbers that I can move, times that I can finish in, not the ones a needle points to.  I am more capable now than I ever have been no matter if I'm 115, 135, or 155#- I'm going to own my body because it can do miraculous things.
Your imperfections make you unique.  Without them you would be someone else.  Own your body, own how you take care of it, and own what it's capable of.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Iron Sharpens Iron

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17
This verse means so much to me.  Over the last year, I've done a lot of soul searching.  I've really realized how important it is to surround yourself with people who bring you up.  People who make you want to be better, and people who allow you to make them better too.

Last year I made a choice to put myself in a better situation with more supportive positive people.    The first day in my new situation, I felt free and alive.  I had found my sharpening stone.

I recently bought myself a shirt, with the verse "iron sharpens iron" from a crossfit company.  I loved the parallel between the weightlifting and the relationship with human beings.  CrossFit is an important part of my life, as are people.

The day after I bought the shirt, I was reading in one of my books, and literally, no lie, the page I opened to was entitled "Iron Sharpens Iron".  All the hairs on my arm stood up!

The past year of my life, I have been sharpened so much, I have grown, and I have learned.  Mostly I have been freed to be me and see an even greater me.

Do your friends lift you up?

Does your spouse make you better?

Do your coworkers support you?

Life is too short to spend with plastic.  Are the people in your life strong, supportive, and challenging?  Do they make you want to be who you want to be?

As I've been growing into my own, one thing I've been realizing is we can't change everyone.  We can be supportive and helpful, but there is only so much abuse and complaining we can take before enough is enough.

If you want to be stronger, you need to sharpen yourself on something stronger and sharper.  If the people in your life are constantly bringing you down, it is time to move on.  You can be their iron, but if they are constantly coming back dull, it doesn't matter how many times you sharpen them because they are making you rust.

I used to be in a situation where I felt as though my friend needed me to help them through a tough situation.  But, what I found was the situation wasn't going to change, what did change was me.  I became more and more exhausted from feeling trapped into hearing the same miserable story day in and out, with no resolve.  I was allowing myself to be brought down by my friend's misery.  I was more frustrated, irritable, and tired as a result.  Once I removed myself from the situation, I felt happy and alive again!

You may feel like you are the iron for someone you care deeply for.  However, if they are constantly putting you in a position where you are the one doing all the giving, and you are left feeling down- it is time to move on.

Life is too short to spend it with anything less than the sharpest iron.

Put yourself in situations where you are surrounded with supportive, loving, positive people.

You are not alone, you can be better, there is always a brighter side- you go out there and you find your iron and when you do, you will rise up.





Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Murph

I wrote this exactly one year ago as I was gearing up to attack my first crossfit "Murph" WOD.  That very same day, I began reading The Lone Survivor, possibly one of the most influential books I have ever ever read (DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE- read the book!!!)

Tomorrow we celebrate Memorial Day.  It is a day to specifically honor those who have fallen to protect us and our freedoms.

It seems to me that the true meaning of this day is not understood by most, and admittedly, I will include myself, until recently.  Most people look at this day as another free vacation day from work or a chance to have a BBQ to kick off summer.

In this great country, America, in which we live, we are so sheltered from so many things that go on in the rest of the world.  Our reality is skewed by the delivery from the nightly news report or a quick article we read online.  Most of us do not even realize how fortunate we are for so many things.

These things we would not have if our brave men and women did not stand up for us in battle and protect us from evil, from dictators, from selfish rulers, from malicious people.  

A few years ago, I read a book about an American hair dresser that moved to Afghanistan to secretly teach women how to do hair and how to wax.  Awful things were happening to the women in the story, and then she mentioned the year, 1994- this was the year I graduated high school.  Then it hit me… while I was worrying about what college to go to or who to go to prom with, girls were being forced into marriage and women were not allowed to learn.  War was happening, but in my safe country of America- tanks and bombs were things I did not have to worry about.

These are things we do not have to worry about because of brave men and women who serve for us, who have served for us, and who have died for us.  

We can pick up a Newsweek or a Time magazine and read about what’s going on, but then we put it down and we can forget about it, because it is not our reality.  Reality is some day our sons or daughters may be the ones going overseas to defend our freedoms.  Reality is we enjoy our freedom and we want to keep it.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”- General George S. Patton

Take the time tomorrow, even a brief moment to thank a hero for the freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted.  Problems like the apple TV not working in my bedroom and having to walk down the stairs to the living room to watch TV pale in comparison to not being able to sleep at night because you hear bombs going off in the distance.

Amongst us, we have many heroes- thankfully none of whom we need to mourn tomorrow- but they put themselves at risk for us in their daily jobs.  Firefighters who will go into homes to rescue us and our precious belongings- sometimes they don’t make it - we honor them.  

We honor police who risk their lives keeping us safe in our community, safe from theft, attack, drugs.  They risk their lives with the most gruesome of people so that we can sleep safer at night.  

We honor military for they go to places we cannot even imagine going, they experience such tragic things, we can’t really understand.  We thank them for their bravery and honor in defending our country’s name.

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:  their courage nerves a thousand men.”  Minot J. Savage

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and we have a lot of fallen heroes to be thankful for.  You do not have to know one personally to thank them.  You could visit a cemetery and place a flag or flower on a tombstone, you could thank a parent who lost a child fighting for us, you could place a picture of a lost loved one on display at your bbq and share their story, you could read online about one, you could just take a moment of silence and be thankful for all the freedoms you have, and just be proud to be an American and wave your flag high.  

I encourage you to take a moment tomorrow to stop and look around, look at what you have- be grateful.  Life is precious and short, and no matter how bad you think you have it, you are alive and you live in America, land of the free, home of the brave.  Thank those brave people for all you have- because we all have a lot to be thankful for.

Work hard and always be proud of what you do.  Do not be afraid to stand up for what you believe is right.  Push yourself harder than you thought you could.  This week, you step foot into the box to do some hero WODs and when you think you can’t go on, you stop take two breaths and you push on.  

These heroes we celebrate, they were human just like us- they did not wake up and say “hey I want to be a hero”, it happened and in that moment, they did what was right.  A hero lives inside each and every one of us- exercise your potential each and every day so that when your opportunity arises, you will be ready!

We are training too, we are training for life, for something greater than we know- if I have to carry my kids out of a burning house, I want to be capable, if I need to save my drowning child from a pool, I want to be capable, if I need to fend off an attacker, I want to be capable, if I have to run to escape danger, I want to be capable, if I want to spend my life enjoying every minute, I want to be capable.  


Take the time this summer to read a book about a fallen hero- find the whole story behind them.  There are so many incredible stories out there, I encourage you to read one and be inspired.

"The Murph"
WOD:  1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Technology Obsession #1

I've been feeling very frustrated with technology lately.  The technology that is causing a rift between my son and I.  The technology that is replacing personal interaction.  The technology that occupies our free time and makes everything quick and easy.

I've noticed that many of us parents feel frustrated and seek the advice of others on how to handle screen time with our kids.  I have searched for a class for my child on video game obsession with no luck.  In an effort to help myself and others, I thought I'd start a little series on technology obsession.

I'm not a PhD in technology obsession, or even master's degree.  I'm a mom of 5 children, I'm a coach, a former teacher, an observer, and also a technology user.  I speak from my own experience,  knowledge I've gained from books I've read, and observations I have been making.

Technology is good and fun.  It helps us, but it also hurts us.  When we lived in Japan, I bought our first gaming system, a Nintendo WII.  I had read many reviews of it in Family Fun and Parents magazine, rating it a great family game system.  The system came and the kids were thrilled- we could play games "together" and some were interactive.  It was great, FOR FIVE MINUTES.  Games that kids play together brought on many fights, "he took my mushroom, I wanted to be Mario, his game is still going and I'm dead"..... This game was supposed to bring my family together with lots of smiles, laughter, and sparkles.

We had to set rules, time limits, etc.  Instead of being the magical electronic Mary Poppins that I thought it was going to be, it ended up causing aggravation, stress, and resentment.  The kids loved it so much, they wanted to play all the time, more often than I wanted them to.

I also noticed, I resorted to it as a big reward.  "Hey kids, if you clean your room, I'll let you play the wii, I know I punished you for not finishing your dinner, but if you vacuum the living room, I'll let you play the wii.. If you put all the toys in the front room away, I'll give you five extra minutes on the wii..."  Soon, it became an issue of the kids holding out to do what they were supposed to do until I offered the wii as a reward.

Along came the Nintendo DS', (which I will never resent them), for the 20 hour trips from Japan to Boston.  They were a lifesaver for that 20 hour journey.  What I don't like about them is now whenever we travel, the kids can't seem to think of or want to do anything else but play their devices. What happened to the alphabet game or guessing game, even for a ten minute trip, they began asking for their devices at all times in a moving vehicle.

Moving back to the states, commercials were in English, kids could see and understand what was being sold.  Next thing you know, we have to live up to some expectation and be super cool and get the X-Box for Christmas.  We lived in a place with cold winters and surely the Xbox Kinect will keep them moving, smiling, having fun, and just enjoying being trapped inside for months.  "Mom, he's off the screen, he's in my way, I want a different song, I want my game now!!!" More torture.

Finally, with a graceful swoop in like a bald eagle, come the Kindles.  Oh kindles with your free time capabilities to control the kids' time usage and your e-books for reading time- how you will be perfect for us!  NOT!  I don't think my kids have read one book on those damn things, and not to mention, free time, not so easy or convenient to set up.  Kindles are just a porn magazine hidden inside a National Geographic.  Next thing you know, I'm changing my amazon password because the kids started accessing it through the devices, etc etc.

After all these devices, you'd think I'd learn.  Well, I have learned some things- that's what this series of posts will be about.  It's inevitable kids are going to play video games, kids are going to fight, kids are going to have too much screen time, and kids are going to be sneaky.  But we, as parents, can find what works for our family and our kids to prevent these devices from taking over and ruining our families.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother's Day---Let'ssss be honest

Mother's Day is this coming Sunday.

Many people hem and haw and complain it's just another Hallmark holiday.

I'm going to be honest here, now that I'm a mom, I love Mother's Day.  It's a day to celebrate us mothers and all the hard work we do.  The saying "a mother's work is never done", it is just so true.

Vacations are not "vacations" when you're a mom, it's just packing, unpacking, laundry, cooking shopping, keeping the kids hands off other people's property, stress in the car, at the airport, weeks of planning, days of catching up on return.

Birthdays, holidays, etc. turn into many gifts that you can use with your kids, or to help you in your parenting, but Mother's Day, this is a day that should be about you and how you want it to be.

So often, I hear ladies upset because their husbands will not recognize Mother's Day.  They say, "well you're not my mother".  Shame on you husbands, shame on you!

This woman, carried your child, this woman is raising your child, this woman takes care of things- she deserves to be recognized on Mother's Day.

One time, my husband forgot Mother's Day- like the time we were living in Japan and we were on a trip to Australia and he turned to me and said "Oh today is Mother's Day".  That was the year that I said to a neighbor, "you know, I don't care about any other holidays, but golly, I care about Mother's Day, I work so hard, and I want to be recognized".  At this point, we had four kids, ages 4, 3, 1, and 6 months and we were living in Japan.

One time, he didn't forget, but he had to travel.  Did I mention I got 3 wisdom teeth taken out the day before he left for the trip and I could not eat anything or raise my voice?  At this point, we had five kids, ages 9 and under and no family nearby.

I'm not mad at him, but I have no justification to complain that he did not give me my 'ideal Mother's Day'.  Why?  Because I never told him what it was or how I wanted to spend the day-- in my mind he should just know.

I had a lightbulb moment this year when I was reading Carry On Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton. She was upset about her husband's efforts for her birthday when they were first married.  She sat him down and explained what she was hoping for and how she wanted to feel.  The next day they did a birthday redo and she was very happy.

You see, complaining or feeling sad or unfulfilled is fine, but how are your husband and kids supposed to know how you envision your Mother's Day to be if you don't tell them.  Unfortunately we are all not psychics and some people need a little extra guidance and that's ok.

If your husband or kids ask you what do you want to do on Mother's Day, don't say "I don't care"- because we all do care.  You may not care about red carpet treatment, but you do care.  Being a mom is tough, so take that one day to celebrate yourself.

We all feel special different ways.  Maybe you enjoy gifts, or quality time, or hugs, whatever it is, speak up and tell them something- here's a few things I can think of:
homemade cards so I can save the kids handwriting and remember their sentiments.
a day of no housework
a day of no cooking
a day spent entirely with the family
a gift
a movie
a picnic
breakfast in bed.

Whatever it is you envision, let the cat out of the bag.  You may not get the perfect day, and don't expect it either.  But it's hard to have high expectations when you have given no standards.  If you ask for a tiffany necklace and don't get it, don't be angry, maybe he will take this that you are a gift person and will bring you some type of gift.

As for me, I like small surprises and I always want handmade things from my kids that come straight from the heart.  I also would like no laundry, dishes, or homework.

Mother's Day is to celebrate you and all that you do.  Don't set yourself up for disappointment or a week of complaining when you give an answer of "I don't care" or sit around waiting for the impossible.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Invincible

You are not invincible.

None of us are invincible.

We show up to the box, day in and day out to make ourselves better.   The goal is to move better, to live better, to be better.

If you want to get better, sometimes you have to do things you didn't plan on.  Sometimes you have to modify the workout.  Sometimes you have to do a completely different workout.

Have you noticed that not every crossfit box in every city in every state in every country is doing the exact same workout?  Just because you can't do the workout at your box does not make you less.

If you looked at all the 11,000+ boxes in the world, you would certainly find a box each day that does a workout that you would not have to modify.  That search would get old really quick.

Why are you so opposed to having to modify?

If you are at a really good box, then you should have really good coaches, who know what they are talking about.  The coaches are prepared to give you an appropriate modification so that you are spending 60 minutes getting better.

If you are achy, or can't sleep from a constant nagging shoulder pain, or getting up from a chair is difficult because your knees are bothering you, etc, answer me this?:  What have you really been doing to make yourself better?

Your score and your numbers, they are yours and no one else's.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, as a coach, I am more impressed with the athlete that is smart enough to recognize they need a modification and that they need to work the parts before the whole, than the athlete who suffers through and makes themselves a little bit worse.

You are here to get better, not worse.  Modify if you have to, maybe you won't get a gold star, but in my eyes you did.

Skipping a wod to spend an hour on mobility or using half the weight you think you are capable of are not signs of weakness or defeat- they are signs that you want to get better.  They are an acknowledgement that you have realized what you need to do for you to get better.

Your score is viewed by all, but your aches and pains are only felt by you.

Go to a chiropractor and get an adjustment or maybe you need PT because you've got to set that time aside to make that injury better.

Seeing a chiropractor, going to PT, doing mobility- they are not signs of weakness, they are necessary steps to improvement.  They can make you better, when you are not doing it yourself.

If you are here to be better- be better!  Do your mobility, get a massage or an adjustment- they do not mean you suck, they mean you are taking the steps you need to insure that you continue to head in the right direction.

You are not invincible but you can prepare yourself to be.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Breath of Fresh Air

It's easy to fall into a rut, follow the beaten path, do what everyone else is doing, act like a robot, and breath stale dusty air.

Sometimes you just talk down to yourself, you talk yourself out of everything, and you think "why even bother".

Nothing is going to be perfect.  Not all things go the way you planned.  Not all days are full of adventure and excitement.  Sadly, your coffee order won't be perfect every time.

There isn't always an easy way out.

Every day your hair and make up won't be perfect, you won't PR every single time, and your kids won't always say "yes mom, whatever you say".

This is reality and you know it.

Don't give up.  Don't stop.  Don't quit.  Don't talk down to yourself.

Get a breath of fresh air.

You need to have breaths of fresh air.

Find a way to take a breath of fresh air.

Breathe, that is what you have to do to stay alive, but breathe for a different reason today.  Breathe for a new perspective, breathe for new joy, breathe for a newfound interest, breathe for hanging on, breathe for sanity, breathe to come to grips with something, breathe to bask in the fact that you are alive, breathe for strength, breathe to get calm, breathe until the day is over- just breathe!

It's easy to want to throw in the towel.  It's easy to get bored.

It's hard to climb out of a rut.

Take a breath of fresh air- fill those lungs with pure fresh oxygen.  Now look up at the walls of the canyon you are in and start climbing.  Walk this way and that until your perspective is changed and that fresh new oxygen has shown you something that wasn't there before.

Things aren't always going to go the way you want.  But that doesn't mean the way you are going is wrong.  Take a breath of fresh air and face your challenges.

Stop spending time worrying about things you cannot change.  Put away your phone or get off the computer.  Stop reading gossip or other people's opinions about stuff that does not affect your life.

Stop refreshing the scoreboard to see where you lie.  You did what your body was capable of and be happy with that.

That mess will still be there tomorrow, stop what your doing and go get a breath of fresh air.  Go for coffee, take a walk, read a book, or write a letter to a friend.

Over and over you feel like you're dealing with the same problem and you can't seem to figure it out.  Stop. Get a breath of fresh air.  Pray about it.  Ask for help.  Think about it differently.  We don't always have all the answers or instant solutions and hey, that's ok.

Do whatever it takes to get that breath of fresh air.   All you have to do is open the door.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Everyday a Friday

The first half of last year was very difficult for me.  I went through something I had never been through before, gossip, drama, the whole nine yards- it was awful!

I felt like I was in the middle of the movie Groundhog Day.  I'd wake up each day with a smile on my face, telling myself that I was going to ignore it and be the bigger person.

More and more stuff would happen- I would lose my smile, I would lose myself.  I would lose my temper on my kids and husband- trying to be the bigger person was just not working.

People would ask me what was wrong and it was the same old story, he said/she said.  When I'd tell it out loud to someone not involved, it sounded ludicrous.  When I'd tell my family and close friends how I was being treated, they'd always ask me why I was allowing people to treat me that way or how could someone even say such things about me to begin with.

I was trying to be upbeat and always see the good.  I bought a book called Everyday a Friday by Joel Osteen to help me find the good.  The premise behind the book is that people are always happier on Fridays and how can you make every day like a Friday.

You don't need to read a lot of pages to get a message that you probably need to hear.  I pretty much read 3-5 pages every other day.  Even if I read the same pages over and over, they lift me up and remind me to see the good and be the good.

Within the first chapter, I came across this phrase over and over, " never let anyone steal your joy".  That is a phrase I carry with me all the time - NOTHING AND NO ONE is going to steal my joy!!!

What I realized was I was letting these gossipers and bullies steal my joy, I was letting them control my emotions and affect my life, something I had the power to stop.

"The abuser, bully, or critic isn't hurt by our anger or bitterness.  We're just poisoning our own lives with it."  There are just so many awesome points in this book!  I never want to feel like I felt last year or go through that again (I don't think I would ever allow it again).  I don't want any of my friends or family to feel like that either.  If you are looking for something uplifting to read, I'd suggest give this book a try.  

Sometimes you feel lost in a situation, like there is no way out.  Tell your story to someone close, someone not involved in the situation.  Hearing it out loud is oftentimes the key to realizing how foolish it actually is.  Your joy is yours and no one else's- don't forget that!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Advantages and excuses

How often have you looked at the workout and immediately thought, "that's not fair for me" ?

I hear it all the time, "tall people have an advantage for wall balls and rowing.
Short people have an advantage for burpees.
Small people have an advantage for bodyweight movements".

It's easy to see this and to rationalize this, isn't it.  And maybe it's even true.  But here's the thing, I don't want to approach any workout and say, "well, I have an unfair advantage".

I may have to work harder on the row because my legs are shorter, but heck if I'm going to let that long legged person take me down.

I have seen a woman shorter than me beat myself and many other people who were longer legged and larger legged on the row.  That was an unfair advantage for her, but she killed it.  Instead of making up excuses, she worked.

I have heard of a 225# man running a faster mile than me- that makes me want to work harder.

Sometimes it seems easier to excuse your score or sell yourself short before starting because the workout "wasn't fair to you".  But, reality is, your score is your score because that's what you were capable of getting.  So what if someone beat you that you didn't expect- if you gave all that you had, that's what counts.

I realize I have some disadvantages, but that makes me work harder.  I work hard because I don't want to have any excuses.  I don't want to look at the guy next to me and think "well he's going to beat me, he's a guy".  I will work harder to give him a run for his money.  I want him to know that if he's going to beat me it's because he earned it by training harder, not because he has an advantage.

I'm not going to let anyone else's advantages become my excuses.  Neither should you.

Go in, work hard.  Train your weaknesses to become your strengths- you will no longer need to worry about advantages and excuses.




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Being a Mom

One reason I enjoy this blog is because it allows me to be me.  I enjoy being able to inspire others whether it be to cook something from scratch, crossfit inspiration, self improvement, project idea, etc.  

It has made me aware that being honest is not only ok, but necessary.  In life, oftentimes, we look to the surface of people and our imaginations write a story.  We judge ourselves and compare ourselves to others.  We hide things for fear of what someone else might say.

I'm over that.  I'm going to be an honest mom - I always have been, but I'm going to write more about some of my experiences and my honest thoughts about them because I'm real and those situations are real.  The more real we hear, the more ok we feel- I'm tired of feeling alone.  Being alive is hard, being a parent is hard too, let alone when you feel like you're a bad one.

I often question whether or not I'm a good mom. Just because people tell me I'm a good mom, I still don't always believe it. There have been days when I just don't know what to do.

I have acquired a lot of parenting books, but they do not predict or mention every single situation I am going to be in.  I do enjoy reading them, because to me they are my ammunition for situations that I might be in, I like to be armed and ready for anything one of these kids of mine brings my way.

Sometimes these books frustrate me though because the author has everything perfectly laid out, and I'm over here like really, OK, "use your words" when your son is shouting at the top of his lungs and your other kids are running crazy about the house, or "yes, let's bargain" when your son just told you that he has "the worst family in the world and you are the meanest mom in the world."

Have you ever felt alone, like your kids do things that surely no one else's kids are doing?  I have five kids, my parents and all my brothers and sisters live 17+ hours away, my husband travels out of the country sometimes- things can get very very hard.

Recently I've been at war with a Nintendo DS2 and a kindle fire.  Right now, they have me on my knees with a white flag half raised.  I have tried everything and it seems like nothing is helping.  I finally took off my shield and put on Facebook how alone I felt and how desperate I felt with the situation.  Immediately, I got many responses from others in the same situation, and how they dealt with it.

We don't need to share all of our dirt with everyone all the time, but let's be more honest with our struggles.   Share them with someone because you will not feel so alone anymore.  Even if no one has the answer you are looking for, there is bound to be someone that has been hanging by a thread and you just saved their day by giving them the realization that they are not alone.

Parenting keeps getting harder and scarier as my kids get older.  I'm doing the best I can do, but sometimes I wonder am I really doing the right thing.  At the end of the day, I tuck my kids in, kiss them on the forehead and tell them "I love you", no matter how strugglish our day was.

Sometimes I then go to bed with a guilt ridden mind of how I could have had a better day or what I could have done differently.  I think of all the ways I'm ruining them and their lives.  Honestly, I'm a positive upbeat person, but this is the truth, my biggest fear that I can single handedly ruin their lives because I have no clue what I'm doing.

The truth is, no parent is perfect, kids do have minds of their own, and mistakes will be made.  It sure is hard to make those mistakes or see them happen, but that's why it's important to be honest, so we can all learn from it. We can all see that none of us are perfect and that day by day we are doing it- we are living and teaching and growing, one day at a time, together, not alone.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

RX

What's the big deal about RX?

Remember when you came to your first foundations class, you had to ask what RX meant.

Why are you bending over backwards killing yourself just to say you did RX?

Rx- a shorthand for prescription, pronounced "arr- ecks"

RX as you used to know it, pre-crossfit, wasn't always good.  Getting a prescription, or Rx, meant you had something wrong that needed fixing.

RX in crossfit, still means prescription.  But not to fix something wrong-- to define an intensity.  Rx is a coach's way of telling you if you are to go fast, slow, heavy, or light.  RX is a coach's way of assigning movements and ranges of motion that they want you to perform.

RX is not a death sentence or some set of golden letters for you to wear on your chest.  RX is a goal, an intensity you should be achieving.

I'm not going to lie, it sure does feel good to click on that button to say "RX".  But, you know what, it feels really really good to put in any score- to be capable of doing the workout.  I love feeling my heart racing, shortness of breath, my face burning up because I got so hot, my sore calloused hands, smelly sweaty shirt, chalk all over my clothes--to me that is my RX.  My RX is to work all my crazies out to be a happier, better, more patient, tolerable person.

Two and a half years ago, I could not RX anything, but I kept showing up and I never complained.  I just kept working hard- there were lots of things I could not do.  Um, yeah, there are still lots of things I can not do.  I do not let these things get the better of me because my goal is to get the better of them.

Don't let RX be a thorn in your side, instead let it be the fire under you.

Maybe you can do the weight, but you can't do some of the movements.  You have lots of muscles and memory patterns to sync to get that movement.  It isn't going to happen with a sprinkle of pixie dust, it takes hard work.  Instead of using your voice to release your frustration by complaining, use your body.

So, you didn't get that muscle up, well how will you know what to work on if you don't try.  Attempt complete: you could not get the swing, well get in the rings and practice your swing, strengthen your hip flexors to give yourself more power- practice holding yourself up in the rings.  That push press at 95 setting you back?  Well, practice at 65 or 75 until people are looking at you like DAMN- that form is legit!

Envision yourself getting that double under, then go practice- have someone film you so you can see what you're doing.  Weak abs holding back that HSPU? Stay after class once a week and do some L-sits or sit-ups.  You got 140 as your 1 RM but you can't get 145, well, you go for 142, you approach that bar until you're the one intimidating it.

Just because you didn't RX a workout doesn't mean your workout is any less valuable.  Do you feel good about yourself, were you pushing as hard as you could?  Maybe if you RX'd, you would have had less reps, maybe your form wouldn't have been as good, maybe you would have given up on yourself.

If you didn't RX a workout, you are not a failure.  I came across this great quote today:

" There is no such thing as failure, only feedback."

If you can't RX, figure out why and strive to get better at those things.  If you did RX and you got a whole lot less reps than everyone else, figure out why.  Stop looking at yourself and your performance as an excuse to have a pity party- because nobody wants an invitation.  Instead, rise up, and tell yourself some positive feedback.  Every mistake you make, every failed attempt, is one step closer to getting it right.

There are 26 letters in the alphabet.  Stop focusing on two of them.  Here are some letters that I like to focus on:
YES  
STRONG
BEAST
GREAT
POSITIVE
FUN
FIT
HEALTHY
HAPPY
CHALLENGE
LAUGH
ENCOURAGE
ALIVE

You can add your own.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Because of You

Because of you standing next to me moving, I don't stop.

Because of you continuing to put forth effort day in and day out,  I work harder.

Because of you cheering me on, I got that extra rep.

Because of you and your desire to be something better, I am inspired.

Because of your voice and your enthusiasm, I got better.

Because of you and your presence, I look forward to coming to class every day.

Because of you, our box and our class are complete.  Maybe you can't RX every WOD, maybe you can't do any advanced movements, maybe you are still using the trainer bar for your lifts- you are important and you matter to me.  Without you, something is missing.

You are all the members of my box.

Because of you and your programming, I do things I am bad at.

Because of you and your knowledge, I am getting better at things I would not normally try.

Because of your compassion, I feel safe.

Because of your cues and attention, I feel confident.

Because of your smile, I feel welcome.

Because of your trust, I have a job that I love.

You are the owner of the box and my coach. You give us a wide variety of movements, weight schemes, rep schemes, wod designs, and time frames that keep the workouts interesting.  You recognize it's more than just a competition, you strive to make us better and keep us safe and healthy.  The time it takes to program like this is not short, that I know.  The grief you deal with, the time you take, the ear you lend... because of you we have the best box around.

Because of you I strive to improve on complex movements and increase the weights I can move.

Because of you and your unknown, I have something to look forward to.

Because of the challenges you present, I am able to test my limits.

Because of the movements I know you will test me with, I am constantly striving to achieve the next level.

Because of your deadline, I know I have to have a timeframe to achieve my goals.

Because of you, I have focused my training to make my weaknesses my strengths.

Because of you, I am forced to try things I normally talk myself out of or don't make the time for.

You are the crossfit open.  Even though I may not be good at all the moves, be able to perform all the standards, or even rank high compared to others, it's the one time that I am truly 100% motivated to finally attempt or train that move.  Thank you for challenging me and even if it was only for 14 minutes, you made me try something that I want to get better at but in all the other 364 days a year, can't seem to find the 14 minutes to do it.  Because of you, our Thursday nights are exciting, because of you, I have an excuse to get out of the house on Friday nights.  Because of you, I am having fun.

Because of you, I am getting better.




Thursday, March 12, 2015

You are awesome no matter what

You are awesome no matter what.

You did not sign up to walk in and compare yourself to people you didn't know.

You did not sign up to focus on what others are doing.

You signed up to get better, fitter, healthier, stronger, more confident.

Stop looking at what everybody else is doing.

You have 60 minutes from start to finish.  Use your time wisely to move more, lift better, build muscles, get good positions.

During the workout, focus on your range of motion, get into an unbeatable mindset- pay attention to yourself.  If you are using someone to pace yourself, fine.  But don't get caught up in watching people go through motions with bad form or not full range of motion- if you are focusing on the count of someone else's reps, you are wasting your own energy.  Use your energy to become more awesome.

You are awesome no matter what that person next to you is doing.

You are there for you.  You are not getting better if you feel spiteful, bitter, angry.  Let those emotions go.  This is life, people are going to lie, cheat, steal, take short cuts, but you do not have to be one of them.

If that person doesn't perform to standard or even skips a set, that is their loss.  You may show up lower on the whiteboard than them, BUT you are awesome no matter what.

Your score is used for you to push yourself against the clock, for you to push the you of yesterday to get that extra rep or that extra pound.  Do not allow your progress or yourself to be poisoned by the actions of others.  Instead, be humble, because you know deep down inside, you did the best you could do, you did the full range of motion, you know that the next time, you will get that extra rep, or you will be able to replace the 2.5's with 5's.

You have 60 minutes from start to finish- focus on you.  You are awesome no matter what score you get!  If today was the day you decided that you were going to hit the target on every single wall ball or no rep yourself on squats that weren't to depth, don't let that sour your attitude and poison your day when other people who didn't meet this standard scored higher than you.  Walk away, the only person your score really matters to is you and the person you want to become.

You are awesome no matter what!  Even if you have the lowest score on the board, you showed up and worked hard. You put in effort, which gave you a score.  You decided it was time to follow through and meet the standards for every single rep.  Don't get down on yourself because someday, that score will be higher or faster.

Everybody signed up for a reason.  Everybody keeps showing up for a reason, even if their score isn't their score, even if they can't get that position- they keep coming.  It's ok to be last, it's ok to be first, it's ok to be in the middle- everybody is awesome no matter what.  Some people need more convincing of this than others.  Instead of focusing on negativity, focus on making them feel confident with where they are and what they can do.

Work hard and leave with a smile on your face no matter what.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Attitude is Everything

That workout was NEVER going to be easy.

It is inevitable that there is going to be stuff you are not good at.  Stuff that will push you to your limits.  This is what you train for day in and day out- this is no different than the workouts you walk in and do every.single.day!

You got a PR?!  Well way to go!! It finally clicked!  Maybe your coach's cue rang in your head and you finally got it that time!  Maybe the adrenaline was rushing so hard it finally blocked your fear of pushing that weight overhead.  Maybe you were just ready because your hard work and training for hours and hours was about to pay off.

You didn't get a PR?, Well, way to go- you finished anyways!! No one can PR every single time they do a workout, that would be way too easy and boring.  There are still plenty of things to be positive about and grateful for.  Maybe you didn't make that PR lift, but maybe you raised the bar an inch higher than last time, maybe you felt your hips carry through for the first time.  You are now one attempt closer to the PR you so desire.  You are one step closer to being where you want to be, but you can't get there if you don't try.

Walk away from that non-PR and when someone asks you how you did, you put your chin up and you find something positive to say, "well I got less than my PR, but you know the bar felt lighter today", "I didn't die", "my hand didn't tear".  Who would you rather strike up a conversation with, someone sour or someone upbeat?

I'd like the share a small story from last year when I did the crossfit open.  This happened, it's embarrassing, but true, and I hope the same thing will not happen to you.

I got really mad after my 14.2 WOD. Here’s the thing, something happened, out of my control, and I got messed up and I couldn’t break through it. Guess what, I spent the rest of the night angry about it- I mean angry, so angry that my head felt like it was going to explode.  
Why was I mad? Because I knew I could do chest to bar pull ups better than last year, and my score did not prove that to me. It caused me to wonder, "how did I improve?" You know what, one WOD is not a testament to my whole year’s worth of training. We are going to have good days and we are going to have bad days.

I was eating dinner Friday night right after the workout and boy did I want to be alone, I didn’t want to hear any more whining and complaining from my kids- I just wanted silence and to eat my dinner while it was hot. I told Maeve (age 2) that I wanted to eat alone, she looked at me and said “Mommy I want to eat alone too”. Then, she proceeded to pull her chair as close as possible to mine and sat as close to me as she possibly could- so close I could not even move my arm. It made me laugh because she had no idea what she had said and went about her normal business of trying to eat as close as possible to me. 

The whole situation shed some light on the fact that getting mad over a bad workout- was so silly and if you can’t laugh about it, what can you do. The more time you spend doting about it, analyzing it, excusing it, isn’t going to change the fact that it happened and it is what it is. You cannot change the past, but you can let it help you change the future.

So, I did get better at chest to bar pull ups, in case you were wondering. Maybe my score did not show it, but since last year, I was able to use a normal grip while doing it and kipped through five in a row, can you say PR?!!! Looking at all the possible movements we have in crossfit and how you are going to get good at ALL of them is a very daunting task. Projecting a year in the future and how you will master something the next time it comes around seems easy, just an hour here, and an hour there. Well, a year passed and I really did not put in much extra work outside of the normal WODS. Maybe I am not as smooth with them, but I was stronger, faster, sleeker than last year, that’s for sure. 

“If you can brag about a low 4 minute mile or a high 400 bench press, you could also be a lot fitter. (No one has both).” -Greg Glassman

Right?!

So, I’ve gotten a little better at a LOT of things and that’s where I want to be. Last week, I had to give a testimonial at church. I was baffled for weeks about what I wanted to write, when it hit me. We are all finite. Someday we will no longer be here and what do I want to leave behind?  I want to leave behind memories, I want to affect people, to encourage them, I want to leave behind spirit. I’ve been on a kick of getting rid of stuff so I can have more free time to have fun doing stuff rather than taking care of stuff. I came across a HUGE pile of medals I had won in various races between high school and now. I decided to throw them away. At the time I won them, they meant something and made me feel special. Now, I find that they are just taking up space. Each of my kids asked to keep one- a while back one of my neighbors came up to me bewildered and asked me when I was in the Olympics. I was like “WHAT?!” I had never been in the Olympics. She said, “Oh your son brought your gold medal to school for show and tell.”

Remember what you may shrug off as a bad performance may be a great one in someone else's eyes.  It's all about perspective.

Here’s the deal, we’ve all had accomplishments in our past and by looking at us now, no one really knows- but us, right? So, maybe you mess up a WOD or don’t do something you know you can do, don’t sweat it because it’s going to be in your past and no one is going to walk up on you on the street and ask you “how could you not have finished that last round”. You are the one who makes the choice to react a certain way or to let it go. Let it go, there's always another new WOD ready to be posted tomorrow- Focus on the big things- your friends, your family, your health.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The CrossFit Open Is Coming

So, there's some excitement in the air at the box. The CrossFit Open is coming in about two weeks. It's funny when someone asks me why I care or why I'm doing it. Friend: You pay $20 to do 5 mystery workouts and you know you're not going to make Regionals and you're going to put your body in extreme duress for anywhere from 5-15 minutes? Me: Didn't you pay $30 to run a 5K over and over again last summer, what's the difference? Here's one main difference: The CrossFit Open only shows up once a year, it's like Christmas for cross fitters.

Let me stress this again:  $20 for a 5 week fitness test/competition that you get ranked and scored.  I've done several team and one individual competition last year, you're talking $60-100 for each one.  This is bargain city!

Let me set up a scene that happened to me last year: I had a class Thursday night (WODs are posted at 7PM on Thursdays), and I secretly had my phone on my lap hidden under my notebook so I could keep hitting refresh because darn it all, it's 7PM according to my iPhone, and Apple doesn't lie, so where was the workout, what is it, why isn't it posted yet? My heart was pumping, was it going to be something I could do, please don't be overhead yet, I want to rest my shoulder one more week.  Finally, the actual workout popped up, I could do it,- there I was in class planning "how will I do it, how will I do my best,". That night, driving home, I'm running through a playlist, get in the house, don't even care if the kids ate, I've got a million things to do to prepare for this workout, like make a playlist-most importantly, also yes, choose an outfit because how will I be successful with snatch without my snatch shirt.  Then, Dave drops a bomb, "I have soccer"- buzz kill, now I am hustling to get my kids in bed so I can make a playlist with upbeat music that makes people want to rip a tree out from its roots and toss it across the street with one fell swoop- pick out my magical PR outfit and get to bed before 11. Now it's AMRAP search and download on iTunes!! I put all my WOD clothes on to save time in the morning, jump into bed, and I couldn't fall asleep, I kept thinking, how many snatch should I do at a time, I wonder if my double unders will be fluid, it literally felt like I was a kid so excited the night before Christmas and couldn't fall asleep- I literally resorted to counting sheep (and it worked).

Let's pause for a second. Rewind, Wednesday night, I worked, I came home, put the kids to bed, did dishes, switched the laundry, checked my email and Facebook, watched Cake Boss, and fell asleep. Compared to Thursday, my Wednesday was super boring. One thing I love about the open is it adds some excitement to our lives, gives us something to look forward to, something to get our heart rate up, something to keep us guessing. In life, as we get older, I feel like these moments become fewer and further between. I love the fact that even on a daily basis, CrossFit gives some excitement to my life, be it when I'm dropping in at another box and I don't know the WOD, or I'm repeating another WOD, looking for an improvement, testing one of my maxes, trying something new, attending a class with people I don't normally WOD with,  there's always something different and it keeps me coming back for more.

Forward to Friday: opened box, warmed up, drank pre WOD drink late- who cares if I pee my pants, not this girl, WOD's about to start, got my outfit on, wrist wraps tight, sneakers are tied tight twice, hair is secured, I set on my music nice and loud, walk up to the bar, my heart is pumping, I'm kind of sweating already, almost out of breath before the clock starts, this is it, the next ten minutes it's me, the bar, and the jumprope, nothing else matters... errach insert record scratch forward to the first 5 seconds of the WOD... I keep messing up my double unders, instead of focusing on my rope, I'm listening to all the other ropes moving still and I'm jammed up, I start, get two, jam it up again, my heart is in my stomach, in my head, for the first time in crossfit, I say to myself "just quit, do it again later". I kept going.

That's right, I kept going. The entire WOD I was out of breath, it was unbelievable to me, I have pushed through some 25 minute WODS and not felt like that, not even in the sprint ones like Grace or Fran had I ever felt like this. Honestly, I kept defeating myself in my mind, over and over again. I kept telling myself "who cares, just drop the bar, you aren't going to Regionals, just get ten double unders, who cares". 

I'll tell you who cares,.... I DO!!! I care, I realized I was trying to perform to meet someone else's expectations, when really do people have expectations for me?- NO, they don't. CrossFit isn't about you vs. me it's about me vs. me, it's about me being happy with me and me being the best I can be. Do I think I was the best I could be that day?-... heck no!!!!

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.”
― Mandy Hale,

I took a wrong turn, I kept beating myself up through the WOD. Normally during a WOD,  I keep repeating to myself that I'm not just a mom and that who says having kids has to set you back, or that I'm small and who says you can't be strong because of your size.  No, I'm not going to Regionals, but I want to end the WOD knowing I tried the best I could, I pushed as much and as hard as I could, and that I feel successful.  Having this opportunity to put yourself on the same level playing field as everyone else, it's exciting. It's eye opening, and puts things in perspective. 

Remember this: No one else cares how you do as much as you do, it's you against you.  If you leave feeling satisfied, everyone else will too. Leave your fears of what others might expect from you at the door, come in and give it your best shot.

"We are practicing not weightlifting but commitment. Commitment spawns success. Only by redoubling our efforts do we best succeed. Expecting success to motivate our efforts is the loser's gambit." -Greg Glassman

I am motivated this year to do the open by the things I could not achieve last year.  I am excited to approach each and every workout with my best foot forward, I'm not looking for Regional status, I'm looking for 1 rep, 1 second, 1 pound, 1 more positive thought, even 1 breath to show me that yes, all my hard work this year paid off and I am a stronger better version of ME!   I am motivated by what I struggle with to train hard for what I want to achieve.

This week, set your mind straight. Don't say "I can't do that." Instead, how about, "I'm going to find the strength."

Hey Crossfit Open 2015 I'm not afraid of you, but you should be afraid of me!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Celebrating PR's

PR- Personal Record

What do you consider to be a PR?  Is it a number, a value, a weight, an accomplishment that has a measurement, an ability, an action- I consider it to be all of these.

Today, at crossfit, one of my friends did something she had never done before.  When you enter your score in our system, if you achieve a higher weight, you get a gold medal next to your name.  This is nice for a coach to see to show that the programming is effective and that people are getting results.

I'm not going to lie, it is nice to see a gold medal by my name.

Back to my friend, she was upset because she had never done this movement before (PR right there) and so her entry was new and did not get a PR since there was no previous record to measure against.

The coach said "you don't need a fake yellow measure to tell you that you are doing great!"

I loved it so much.  Seriously, the little yellow medal only shows up for weight lifting numbers, and for benchmark wods.  It does not show up for the following:

- you committing to join.
- you signing up and showing up
- you showing up before the sun rises day after day
- you showing up when the thermometer doesn't even tip 0'
- you showing up the morning after a blizzard
- you sweating profusely through your clothes because you are working as hard as you can
-you willingly admitting and modifying movements you are not yet capable of, but still participating with 110%
-you never ever ever quitting
- you gasping for air, but still moving
- you completing a task you were not capable of before
- you reaching a range of motion once unattainable

The gold medal does not show up for lots of things, but here's what does.  Shouts, cheers, claps, jumping- that's what!  Sometimes we don't need a gold medal to be near our name, we can let everyone else know by our reactions.  I tend to do a cartwheel when I do something I once could not do before.  The gold medal is not watching you day in and day out, but I'll tell you who is, your coaches and your wod mates- we are there for you, we notice things and we recognize things the gold medal knows nothing of.

I can see the determination in your face when you are pushing hard, I can see your frustration when you are trying something that is difficult, I see your excitement when you surpass your own expectations, I see the glow in your skin, I see the confidence in your stride, I see the gains in the muscles you are starting to build, I see the progress in your movements, I see the sweat angels you leave on the floor- I do not let these things pass me by as the gold medal so often does.

The gold medal is cool and can make you feel special, but so can you.  When you get a PR, whatever it is, even if it's not quantifiable or measurable, I better find out about it by your reaction, I better hear you scream or see you do it.  I want to feel the vibes shooting through the room.

What you are doing every day you show up, you are working towards that numerical PR, you are striving for that gold medal.  That gold medal pales in comparison to the rewards you are getting every day.  You are being rewarded with a healthier longer life because of a better, stronger, more confident you.

Focus on the work, sweat, range of motion, and just the bigger picture.  The work you are doing is never unnoticed.  We see it all and we are damn proud.  One of the best parts of my job as a coach is being able to cheer someone on and to celebrate PR's, big, small, tiny, minuscule, it doesn't matter.  Show up, sweat, fight, grunt, breathe hard, push through, carry on, and you will always have a gold medal in my eyes.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

How Do You Define Yourself

A while ago, some of my friends and I crossfit used to joke around about being defined by our performance in a workout.  One of my friends moved into the city and started to workout at Crossfit Defined and I begged her to get me a shirt.

I got the shirt this past weekend and decided to break it in today since we were doing a workout that previously I could not complete very well.  I did not want my past experiences to define my current ones.

I am not defined by my workout, I am defined by the hard work I put in.

I am not defined by a failure, I am defined by how quickly I get back on my feet.

I am not defined by my placement on the whiteboard, I am defined by the effort I personally put in.

I am not defined by how I measured up against the person next to me, I am defined by how I kept pushing on.

I am not defined by my time, I am defined by how I felt.

I am not defined by comparing myself to others, I am defined by comparing myself to me.

I am not defined by the plates on the end of my barbell, I am defined by many hours of practice.

I am not defined by a number of reps, I am defined by meeting standards and ranges of motion.

I am not defined by a medal, a trophy, or a first place, I am defined by my own personal success.

I am not defined by my fear, I am defined by committing to what I'm doing.

I am not defined by one rep, I am defined by doing it again and again.

I am not defined by something I can't do, I am defined by the determination that someday I will.

I am not defined by being first or last, I am defined by working as hard as I can each and every day.

You are the same!  You are defined by your hard work, you are not defined by a pull up, a muscle up, a perfect snatch, or a top score on the whiteboard.

Keep showing up, keep working hard, keep defining who, what, and where you want to be, and slowly and surely, you will get there- it may take a week, a month, or a year, who cares-- I will still be there working hard right by your side.  I will be there to celebrate your hard work with you.

Today, I walked into the box, hoping to get 1 rep at 100#, I had already decided that I would only be able to get 1, if that.  At the beginning, I warned everyone not to panic if they heard me scream because I was going to scream with joy, really loudly if I got the 100# snatch.  After I screamed, I proceeded to get 14 more reps.  I felt good and powerful and strong- I will no longer fear the 100# snatch.  Throughout the whole thing, I kept telling myself "you can!  Commit!  You can do this!  you work very hard! Keep going."  I would not let any negative thoughts get in my head and define how my workout was going to go.

Define yourself with positivity, hard work, and max effort and the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Letter to My Son on Technology

My oldest son and I have a journal that we write letters to each other in.  I started it a while back because I want a way for us to have open communication and I don't want him to ever be afraid to tell me something.

I've always struggled with his use and abuse of technology.  It started with the WII, then Xbox, Kindle, Nintendo DS- he gets obsessive about video games, and talks non-stop about them and wants to play ALL THE TIME.  I've had incidents where he has snuck them at midnight, took them to school against my permission, hidden them in his room, and I feel frustrated.  It doesn't help that at school, they allow kids to have them out at lunch and they also use technology frequently for classwork and presentations.  I get it, technology is a must at school because you will need it to advance in your careers, but where are the classes at school educating the kids on real and true dangers of internet scams and predators, let alone the effects it can have on your physical and mental state?

I have been struggling to set limits with him.  I hear other parents voicing the same concerns, but I oftentimes don't hear about how they handle it.  At any rate, I'm hoping I'm not alone with this, and thought I'd share a letter I recently wrote to him in our journal.  I'm not perfect and can't always find the right words, so please don't be judgmental.

Dear Nathaniel,
I have to tell you something- growing up is hard.  You want to be older and always wish to have privileges.  But what you don't realize is that with those privileges comes responsibility.

Sometimes our responsibilities get in the way of our fun.

I remember being a kid and wanting to be tall, wondering what my kids would look like, wishing I would have no homework, wanting to sleep past 5:50 AM, wanting to watch whatever movie I wanted, wishing I could stay up late, and many more things.

Let me tell you, now that I'm older, I take all those wishes back.  I have a job where I have to get up at 4:05 AM now, I don't like staying up late because I'm tired the next day and I can't afford to be tired, I have kids but I'm so busy that I barely even get to spend time with them, I don't like watching the forbidden movies because they leave gruesome thoughts in my mind, and boy would I love to have homework now because it means I get to learn.

Life is a gift, live for now, and don't wish to grow up too fast.  You will miss out on things you are truly meant to enjoy such as unending love and time with your family, a free place to stay, someone to do your laundry shopping and cooking, no financial responsibility, a free education, and so so much more.

I did not have to worry about technology when I was growing up.  I do not understand all the pressures you may or may not face.  As a kid, I used to wonder about technology and things that seemed like they would be cool- now these things exist and I find them to be nuisances at times.  Don't get me wrong, I love computers, iPads, i phones, etc, but not when they take the place of real people.  It is really cool the things that we can do with technology, I love being able to text and get an instant response, or have my phone with me in case of emergency (not having to look for a working pay phone), being able to FaceTime family from far away, and even being able to watch a show and skip the commercials.

But, call me old fashioned, nothing will take the place of the excitement you feel when you open the mailbox and see a colorful handwritten envelope addressed to you.  A computer generated game of scrabble is fun, but will never take the place of sitting down at the table playing the board game with another human being.

There are so many positive ways technology helps us- it's in hospitals, banks, and schools.  But, then comes the bad, people are having wrist problems, neck problems, eyes, and brains get affected from too much screen time.

I want you to use technology and enjoy it.  I want to see you benefit from it.  But, I need to make sure that it does not consume you- it is powerful and offers so much that sometimes it can be difficult to stop using it.

I grew up without it- and now I am living with it.  I have seen life in both ways.  I see all the good and the bad from it.  My job is to teach you how to live your life with it and without it.

You are 11- with or without technology, you would have restrictions--it's part of growing up and learning to be responsible.  I'm sure you will make mistakes, which is how you will learn - but my job is to keep you on track and help you make good choices, even when you don't understand.

I have seen and heard of too many people losing big things (their money, their identity, and even their life) because of being foolish with technology.  There are bad people in this world and many of them are on the internet lurking and waiting for innocent people.

My job is to teach you how to be cautious, leary, and have a good sense of judgement.  When you see a pop up, get an email from a stranger, or friend request from an unfamiliar person, I want you to know how to handle it.  When you start driving, and you get a text, I want you to pull over to read it or wait until you reach your destination to look at it.

You are my son and it is my job to teach you how to be able to limit yourself on technology.  I expect you to prioritize homework and real life demands over video games and surfing the internet.  I want you to grow up to be a successful, well rounded adult.

I am the parent and it is my job to set limits and keep you safe.  You many not understand now, but someday you will thank me.
Love, Mom

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Power of Your Name

The other day, I read a truly powerful post from one of my favorite blogs and she's also the author of one of my favorite books that has been so inspirational to me this last year.

Hands Free Mama is the book by Rachel Macy Stafford

The blog is handsfreemama.com.

The post is about how we gravitate towards using our kids' names in a more negative manner than positive.  I sat for a moment and realized how perfectly timed the reading of this post was for me.

Just the day before, I was pretty upset with my daughter- I instantly wanted her attention and caught myself starting to say , "Nathaniel"- that is my oldest son and he is the one who I most often need to correct or stop from doing something.

This was a powerful moment for me because I realized it was so ingrained in me to get upset with him that even when I got upset with the others, his name just rolled off out of habit.

A few months ago, I committed to writing cards to my kids and placing them in their lunch boxes, as well as just randomly placing them at their chairs in the mornings.  I used to not give my kids' cards on their birthdays because I thought they were a waste of money since they gave them a quick glance and put them down.  But that quick glance, I realized, is enough to commit those words to memory.

I started writing them cards, because written word is meaningful.  Words carry with us.  I know how I feel about my kids and I realized that maybe they didn't always assume that I loved them all the time, no matter what.  I write them cards to let them know they arere special and that they mean something.  I want them to hear my words when they need them.  If they are having a bad day or feeling bad about themselves, I want them to be able to dig down and remember that I told them they were important and special.

Life is hard, especially for a kid, but it's a lot easier, when you have some positive words ringing in the back of your head.

One thing I used to love as a kid was stuff with my name on it.  I had a very favorite decoration for my room that I got in Boston as a little girl, and it was a pennant flag with my name on it.  I used to practice writing my name in cursive all over everything too.  Names are important and they do make us feel special.

After reading that article the other day, it reminded me of how excited my kids get when I give them something with their name on it- a lunch plate, a notebook with their name, personalized notecards, stockings, a card- it's all meaningful to them in their little confused hurried world.

Most recently, I've been making canvases for their bedrooms with their names on them and something special.  I've only completed two so far, but the look on my oldest son's face when he saw his and realized that I made it for him was priceless. I want him to read that everyday and know it's true.

For every bad reaction that causes you to use your child's name, find a good way to counter it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Unicorns

Have you heard about the unicorn that walked into the crossfit box?

It PR'd every lift every time.  It made the top score on the whiteboard, every.single.time!

And, yes, in case you were wondering, it's sweat was glittery and rainbow colored and smelled like perfume.

If only unicorns were real, or if only that were me.

Actually, I'm OK with not being a unicorn and I'm OK with not PR-ing every day or being on the top of the whiteboard every day.

Some days you can walk in and nail the lift- your form is legit and the Earth's gravitational pull is aligned with your movements- there is no stopping you.  Then, there are other days, you come in and you feel like you never heard of a snatch or a clean, let alone have been practicing them for TWO YEARS!

In all honesty, we are just going to have days, days where that bar feels exponentially heavier than the last time you picked it up.  Days when your butt feels so sore, the phrase "below parallel" makes you want to barf.

Some days your knee hurts or your shoulder or your wrist.  It's always on the days when you need to use them too- "oh my shoulder hurts, um yeah those 5 million clean and jerks are gonna go up like butter!"

These are the days your body is speaking to you.  Obviously it can't speak English, but it can speak pain or pleasure.  Learn to know that pain- is it soreness or something more- you should know.  If it's something more, your body is warning you.  Figure out what is causing that pain and work on fixing it.

Maybe you just started lifting heavier and your body isn't used to it, back off on the weight some times.  Maybe you have knots galore all over your body and you just don't make the time for mobility- make it!  Maybe you have been getting by with bad form and now it's taking a toll- take a video- we all have smart phones- watch it and even ask your coach to watch it- maybe there's something you need to fix.

You're not going to feel 100% all the time.  But you can use the feeling of not feeling 100% to figure out what you can do differently.  Just because you're sore or feeling pain or your numbers haven't been going up, doesn't mean you're a toad.  It means you need to sit down and evaluate what your body is trying to tell you.

Every rep, every second you're moving, every time you walk through the door, PR, top or bottom of the whiteboard, you are working- you ARE accomplishing something.  Stop getting mad that you're not a unicorn- go buy a costume if that will make you feel better.

You are not a unicorn, but you can train like one.

You are not a unicorn, but that is ok, because you are awesome NO MATTER WHAT!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

On Competitions

Yesterday I did my first individual crossfit competition.

Over the past year, I have done four team competitions and I decided it was time to see what it was like to do one on my own.  This particular competition had an intermediate division which was the perfect fit for me.

Let me begin by saying that just because someone is doing a crossfit competition, it does not mean they are rallying for a spot in the CrossFit Games that are shown on ESPN.  Like any other sport, that is the extremely best of the best.  In my 38 years of life, I have competed in many many things, played many sports games, completed three marathons, but have never received the same awed response from people as when I say "I signed up for a crossfit competition".  I am not really sure why that is.

When I signed up, I set a goal to finish in the top 6 so I could make it to finals.  I like to have goals.

It's always awkward when you walk into the room full of complete strangers, all getting ready to do the same competition as you.  I immediately start to eyeball the competition and size them up.  Hint:  This is a big mistake!

Looking around you see all sorts of people, but the one type that always stick out are the gear people.  You know what I'm talking about?  The people who own every piece of equipment and they have it on loud and proud.  I suppose it's some sort of scare tactic- show up with your knee bands, wrist wraps, lifters, weight belt, crossfit shirt with some witty saying, most often tight pants or a shorter than short pair of shorts to show off that muscle, don't forget the obligatory headband, the illustrious shaker bottle full of magical protein in hand to top it off, and the chest up strut with the butt slightly engaged, because they've got muscle!

Sorry I'm not judgy, but it's something that happens when you enter a room full of strangers you're about to compete against, you assess- most often this is a fear tactic.  This can be good or bad.  Bad if you let it sell you short before you even started, that based off looks and equipment ownership, these athletes are better than you.  Good if you just get a good chuckle and move on.

In workout situations, I work best, focusing on myself and no one else.  When I WOD, I do not look at the clock, I do not look at other athletes, I do not move when they move, I do my own thing.  I do not like to know anyone else's times or scores ahead of time because it adds pressure which usually ruins my performance- I do not perform well under pressure.  Through each of my WODs, I paced myself accordingly, fought through fatigue, and just kept moving.  The slight disadvantage for me, was I was in the first heat and the other girls were always aiming to score better than me.

Here is what I have to say- yes, I was competing against them per say, but in the end, as I've mentioned, this was a group of complete strangers who all walked into a room with me to do this competition.  I considered this a test more than anything else to see how I sized up in this level of competition, to see how my body handled multiple workouts in a day, to see how my training had helped me progress, to see how I let my mind take over.  Working with and against other people, and with other people watching,  pushes you harder- that's what I was there for, the push, the challenge, the intensity, and the thrill.

I made the day about me and my goals.  I worked as hard as I could possibly work and then some.  I set a goal to make it to finals and I made it.  I entered finals as the underdog, many many points behind the others and that is when I said to myself that my new goal was the crush the finals.  I never looked to the side the whole entire finals. I just kept moving and repeating to myself that "I have what it takes" and I ended up taking a second place finish in that WOD and not by a little, a LOT.

Let me tell you something, I did not get on the podium, but in my mind I accomplished what I had set out to do.  I showed myself that I can do multiple WODS in a day and feel great, I pushed as hard as I could, I did not give up, and I left knowing there was nothing I would have done differently.

I encourage anyone who is thinking of doing a competition or doing a race to do so.  Remember, it is a test, but it's not a test of this person beating you or that person being stronger than you.  It is a test to show you how your training is coming along, to help you get stronger with your mindset, to push you to work harder, to show you weaknesses, and most importantly for you to HAVE FUN.  At the end of the day if you walk away saying "I did all that I could"- you win!