Looking the Part

Toned muscle, low body fat, and bad-ass abs! 2013 I walked across the stage to complete my first and last competition. I had a snobby ass attitude to go with my purple crushed velvet competition suit. My friends and family cheered as I walked across the stage and completed my well rehearsed routine. It was my time to shine. It was my time to sell it. I was in fact a mom of 2 who lost 80 lbs and defeated the “mom bod”. Yes, I was a bad mamma jamma!

 

In fact the words bad mamma couldn’t begin to describe my downward spiral and loss of self identity. My kids 5 and 3, my husband serving our country in Afghanistan, and me drowning my self in workouts and secret binge eating. The words “You need to look the part” pumped like a heartbeat in my head. I was not worthy yet to be a tier two personal trainer, because my body fat still sat at 20%, you couldn’t see muscle striations, and I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to push more and I needed to eat less. I needed to be more than myself, because my self wasn’t good enough. I needed to look like the women in “Muscle and Fitness Her’s” Magazine. I needed to be able to say I was a fitness model. But really I was just a momma looking for a sense of accomplishment. I needed to prove doctors wrong about my strength. Doctors whose opinion should not have really mattered to me. Doctors who were long since out of my life. “LEG DAY NOV 21, 2012-100LB sumo dead lift! Get it! They told me nine years ago I wouldn’t! ha” I posted and bragged on instgram. What the hell did it matter what was said 9 years ago? I proved them wrong the first time I ever road a BMX bike again and that was in 2004, less than a year after my car accident.

20170801_225101Why was I steady trying to prove greatness. As if I needed anyone’s approval besides my family, who I abandoned so I could workout and binge eat in secret. I pushed everyone aside and thought of no one, but my self. I was a selfish nightmare who was constantly seeking approval of people who didn’t matter. Everyone loved me, but me? No, I hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t small enough, I couldn’t lift enough, and I still had stretch marks. I was never good enough.
I wasn’t a good mom and I failed at being a good wife. I failed at every aspect of life, but I sure did “Look the part.” That’s what mattered to me? Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to impress?

My kids didn’t want someone else to put them in bed at night because mommy was completing her 90 minutes of cardio and her 60 minute weight lifting session. No they wanted their mom to read them a story and sing them a song, but mommy was too busy posting “flexy” pictures on instagram and striving to look the part.

20170801_225123 They wanted mommy to take them to the park to play, but mommy was too impatient and had too many workouts to write. That’s right I was a bad mamma jamma. In fact a horrible one, I greeted my husband with anger over skype, meanwhile he was serving in Afghanistan not guaranteed tomorrow. Yeah, I was bad mamma jamma. He built me up and I tore him down.

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2014 I lost twins to a miscarriage and it didn’t matter if I looked the part. No it didn’t matter if I looked healthy, because I really wasn’t. Improper nutrition and secret amenorrhea took its toll on me. Who cares that I was really healthy as long as I could lift and compete? All of that training and carb cycling for what? I wasn’t fooling myself anymore. I was not healthy at all. In fact I killed my self in the gym and hurt those close to me for nothing. I trained to look like something I wasn’t. I couldn’t fool my body by the way I looked. Now, it was not a fact that my “fitness” habits had any bearing on my miscarriage, but I am sure they didn’t help.

Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
http://www.krystalcphotography.com

Since 2014 I haven’t trained to look the part. No I have trained to be healthy. I have trained so I can keep up with my four kids. I have trained to hike up a couple thousand feet and recover without regret. I eat to fuel my body and not shape it. Yeah, I don’t “look” the part anymore. I look like a mom who loves to be with her kids, a wife who adores her husband, and a woman who loves her self with all her flaws. No, I don’t have that bad-ass six pack anymore or that 12% body fat, but I do have endurance and strength to carry 2 kids plus essentials up the side of the mountain. I don’t have 25k of personal training revenue a month any more, but I do have the time to spend raising my family. No I don’t look the part anymore, I am the part. I am the trainer who loves training clients to feel and move better. To teach them that the real value comes from feeling and moving better, the looks are a bonus. When someone tells me they want to look like some one else, I discourage it with every fiber of my being. You don’t need to look like someone else, because you were never meant to be someone else. When someone tells me you don’t look like a mom, I tell them looks are deceiving.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Bindi Irwin

 

 

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11 things I have learned from my kids

Everyday I learn something valuable as a mom. Children are so innocent and compassionate they remind us daily about the important things in life.

  1. Keep trying. My children never give up on anything. They always push through whatever challenge life may face them with. It took me years to understand “Child like faith” and I can finally say that I whole heartedly understand. When children are faced with a challenge they rarely walk away. They have a unwavering faith that they will be able to complete said challenge and come out on top. They don’t second guess themselves. They just do it. Just push and try try again. Giving up is a learned behavior. When a child learns to take the first step, you don’t see them fail and never try again, do you? It’s not how they operate. My children don’t stop they keep trying again and again. You see my son really wanted inside that toilet. I’m not sure how he got in there, but I’m almost positive it didn’t happen his first try. He was playing while I was doing laundry and it couldn’t have been an easy task, but he wanted in there and he kept trying. 
  2. Keep learning. Children are always learning new things. And they don’t stop developing. We as adults stop trying to learn and we get the “What more is there” attitude and then we stop developing. We send our children to school so they may learn new things. It is so vital to keep learning and developing. Amazing things happen in our brains when we learn something new.
  3. Keep smiling. My children’s sadness last for a total of like five seconds. They don’t have “bad days” only bad moments. They continue to smile no matter what they were just crying about two seconds before.
  4. It’s ok to make mistakes. Kids are always making mistakes and learning from them. Krystina, is queen of mistakes. She once stuck a key in an outlet, she has not done it since. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. It’s when we continue to make the same mistake over again that it becomes a problem.
  5. Smiles really are the best medicine. One smile from their sweet little faces and it can melt away the toughest situations. My daughter lost her two front teeth recently and when she smiles, I instantly become filled with joy. You can’t even help, but laugh.
  6. Love unconditionally. No matter how many times I correct them or discipline them, they love me absolutely unconditionally. No matter how much Jaydon’s little sister drives him crazy he adores her. My children have the most forgiving and unconditional love it is amazing.
  7. Make messes. When I first had children I struggled OCD something fierce! Every time they left a mess I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. Over time I’ve learned to let them make messes, and let them be responsible to clean up. If we never allow the house to be a mess we will always stress. So sit back and let the mess happen.
  8. Sleep is entirely overrated. After delivering my fourth child I have decided I am never going to sleep again. I know that if it’s not the baby, it’s the two year old or maybe on some off moment it’s an older child. Most nights I’m lucky to get 5 hours straight.20170713_073057
  9. Farts are always funny no matter where you are. Recently my two year old had discovered the noises his body makes during these bodily functions and boy does it make him giggle. I’m not sure why, but every child laughs hysterically when someone farts. It doesn’t matter who did it, you can almost guarantee it’s funny!
  10. If they break something it’s not the end of the world. Everything is replaceable, but your children are not. One of my kiddos broke an irreplaceable trinket. It was just a piece of memorabilia. It shattered everywhere. My concern was not for the fact that that my pretty was broken, but if my child was OK.
  11. Don’t blink. The most important thing they’ve taught me is not to blink. As soon as you do you will miss it. You’ll miss their tiny smiles, their little toes, and little steps. Don’t fret the small things and just don’t blink ever. . .img_20161214_161552_0030001

Dinosaurs and Fern Clyffe Waterfall

I don’t see my sister to often, but this year I surprised her by visiting her for her 30th birthday. Sara had been calling me multiple times in the weeks prior to her birthday really saddened about her birthday. She was telling me how she felt forgotten, because people had made other plans the week of her birthday. So when Garon (Sara’s hubs) messaged me to ask if I could make it home for her birthday, I without hesitation said yes.

We have always been pretty inseparable. So much to the point everyone always thought we were twins, which we kind of are in a way. Sara and I are what they call Irish Twins. We were born pretty close.

Sara always raved about her adventures of the beautiful Fern Clyffe waterfall in the Shawnee hills of Southern Illinois. “There are rocks as big as houses, and you can climb inside the waterfall from the bottom and the top.” She would describe.

We had went there a couple of times when we were younger, but I had lost these childhood memories in a car accident when I was a teen. Many of my childhood memories are gone, unless there are pictures I don’t remember much.

So while I was home to see her for her birthday, we took a trip even further south to hike the beloved Fern Clyffe. Sara would light up with joy showing her husband some of the awesome cliffs. Garon is talented photographer and cinematographer in the St Louis area and Sara knew that he would love the opportunity that laid in the Shawnee hills. And love it he did. We explored the caves, rocks, and creek. We took our time and just enjoyed the time together.

The waterfall was dried up, so this gave us an opportunity that Sara had not yet had. We hiked to the top of the waterfall and laid on the spout of the falls in the sunshine. Garon pulled out his handy drone and took some fun shots of us from an aerial view.

I really do miss my sister and spending her 30th birthday with her, was the best day I could ask for. I call my sister at least 3 times a week just to chat. Sometimes we chat about our Etsy businesses and sometimes we chat about the ups and downs of the week. It is hard being away from her, but hiking with her for her birthday brought my heart so much joy. I will impatiently wait for the day where we hike together again.

God made Dirt and Dirt don't Hurt

 

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My favorite look on a child is a dirt covered face. Seriously seeing the little dirt lines on their cheeks just makes me melt. I spent my summers on the muddy banks of the Kaskaskia River. Digging in the banks where the craw daddies gathered and the fishin’ was good. When I wasn’t digging in the mud I was playing army in the woods with my brothers. We were covered head to toe in dirt, grass stains, and probably worm ooze from baitin’ our fishin’ hooks.

Fortunately my minions take after their momma. They love to dig in my back yard and collect “samples” of grass blades, rocks, and dirt. So honestly when they come to me offering a mud pie, I am well aware that they have probably already taste tested this amazing dish. Their offer for me to taste as well is very sincere. It is amazing to watch them learn and make new discoveries daily.

Muddy Girl

It doesn’t bother me that they’ve just shoveled grass and dirt into their mouth. It doesn’t bother me that they’ve licked the shovel that they used to dig a hole for their dirt pie.God made dirt! Oh so often kids are found in therapy offices playing in sensory tables and gadgets designed to help with their occupational therapy needs. They play with sand, beans, and more trying to awaken their senses.

However, we seem to forget the best tools for therapeutic play are literally outside our front door. 

This flower box is meant for a beautiful display of colorful floral arrangements, but instead I left Raylan to play, feel the dirt on his hands, and run his fingers through it.

You see children need to build their immune system and be exposed to the environment around them. Exposing our children to the germs and allergens around them helps produces immunity too many adulthood challenges such as allergies, bacteria , and microbes.

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So, yes I let my children eat dirt and play on the mud. When we are camping or fishing they possibly don’t bath for two days or so. Aside from the generic face wash their little bodies are covered in the dirt and grime of nature. Between mud pies and grassy dirt smoothies my children are always eating or drinking dirt and I let them.  I would not have it any other way, because God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.