I can’t believe I take boxing classes

Boxing graphicIf you had told me six months ago that I’d join a boxing club, I would have told you that you were nuts. But that’s exactly what’s happened. Let me start from the beginning.

Back in May, I noticed that a vacant space in a local strip mall had a Title Boxing Club sign on it. I looked it up on Facebook to discover that it had not opened yet but would soon. I posted on their page in late May asking when the opening would be and I learned that it wouldn’t be until late June or early July, but they were offering “pre-opening specials.” I messaged them and explained that I’d never done anything like that before and they offered me the opportunity to try a class at a club in a nearby town.

The night before the class, I was wondering what the heck I’d agreed to and I was scared. I had a back injury two years ago, so I was praying that my back didn’t hurt after this workout.

I went to the 6:30 a.m. class the next day and, long story short, I loved it. I joined and I’ve been going three or four times a week for the last month and it’s been a game changer for me. I’ve lost eight pounds since I joined and all of my clothes are getting too big for me (I’m down 20 since Christmas — go me!). The local club isn’t opening for two more weeks and it’s tough to drive 15 minutes to get to a 5 a.m. class, but I’m doing it anyway. I cannot wait, though, until the new club is open because it’s five minutes away. More sleep for the win!

Boxing makes me feel like a bad ass and really helps my stress levels. I have a new spring in my step each day each day with a bit more confidence and I feel like I can tackle anything the day throws at me. My back feels great, which is huge because certain activities aggravated it and that always made me feel defeated. I look forward to going to these early morning classes and the boys have even started coming with me. I really think they can develop more confidence with boxing classes and a few classes a week can supplement their cross country training for the fall season.

My biggest lesson learned from this? Challenge yourself. Do something outside of your comfort zone that scares the crap out of you. Push your body in a way that you didn’t think you could. You just might like it.

Mid-Year Bad Blogger Check-in

Ok, my last blog post was like six months ago and I said I wanted to blog more in my last one. I kinda suck. I’ve started a few potential posts that I never finished, which, for me, is progress, but…..I know, I know.

Anyway, I had some 2017 goals that I put out there in January and I’ve been mentally evaluating how I’m doing.

  • More yoga, meditation and exercise Yup, yep, and yep. More on that.
  • Watch less TV. Seriously, it’s a time suck and hindering me doing other things Getting there. I have a few core shows that I won’t give up, but I love the DVR, so I can watch them when I want AND fast forward.
  • More reading. I’ll have time for this if I watch less TV. Duh Getting there. I discovered that the library near my office is on the same network as my city’s library and I can get books there. I’ve also downloaded the library’s e-book app, too.
  • More fun times with friends Yup. Realizing how lucky I am that my best friend of 23 years and I ended up living so close to each other and that our kids are close.
  • More date nights with my husband. We do get out—it’s great having older kids who can stay home for a few hours so we can spontaneously grab dinner together—but we don’t make it a priority and don’t plan to do different things We’ve done a few different things lately and went to the movies a few weeks ago. We realized we hadn’t gone to see a movie just us since we were dating.
  • Visit more new places, both local and further away We went to NYC over the boys’ spring break from school. I’d never been before and absolutely loved it. I want to go back.
  • Teach my kids to cook I think my husband has been working on this one with them. I’m a lousy cook. I should probably join in on the lessons! 🙂
  • Spend more time outdoors Yup! More walking in the beautiful areas near our home.
  • Blog more We all know the answer to this one.

So, bullet point one: I do yoga a few nights a week. I use an app and do it at home and keep it simple. I love restorative yoga and it helps with my flexibility, relaxes me and helps me sleeps on the nights I need some help there. I was better about the meditation at the beginning of the year and have kind of slacked off on this one, but I’m trying to get better about it again. I was also doing various exercise DVDs earlier in the year and while they provide me with great workouts, they aren’t ideal for me. I’m not as motivated to do them regularly and it’s easier to skip a day. I recently DISCOVERed boxing, however, and that has kind of been a game-changer for me. That actually deserves its own post, which means….I might actually have a new topic to write about soon!

Goals graphic

Life isn’t perfect and it’s not always easy to stick to the goals one sets, but I’m definitely trying to be more mindful of the ones I set. I think that’s a success in and of itself. 

Looking ahead…..

Instead of looking back on 2016, a year that was busy for our family and definitely had its ups and downs, I want to look ahead to how I can make my 2017 better. Sure, some things are out of my control. Life happens and we can’t control it all, as much as we’d like to.

I’ve been inspired by a Facebook friend who chooses a word each year instead of making resolutions. She’s shared her words for a few years and I decided it’s a more positive way to go. I struggled to pick a word because there are so many things I want to accomplish this year. After much thought, I decided on DISCOVER. I was also inspired by a recent TED talk I saw on how to gain control of your free time. The point that stuck out the most to me is that sometimes there is a difference between “I don’t have time” and “It’s not a priority.”

So this year, I want to make certain things a priority in my life. I want to DISCOVER new places. I want to DISCOVER new books. I want to DISCOVER new things. I want to DISCOVER new ways to take care of me.

discover

Last week, while contemplating the new year, I made a quick list on my phone of things I want to do in 2017:

  • More yoga, meditation and exercise
  • Watch less TV. Seriously, it’s a time suck and hindering me doing other things.
  • More reading. I’ll have time for this if I watch less TV. Duh.
  • More fun times with friends
  • More date nights with my husband. We do get out—it’s great having older kids who can stay home for a few hours so we can spontaneously grab dinner together—but we don’t make it a priority and don’t plan to do different things.
  • Visit more new places, both local and further away.
  • Teach my kids to cook.
  • Spend more time outdoors (in nicer weather—this New Englander hates the cold, even though I’ve dealt with it all my life).
  • Blog more.

These were the first things that came to mind. I want to make some changes, prioritize my time differently and DISCOVER things I haven’t prioritized before. Maybe it’s the fact that 2016 brought my 40th birthday with it, but it’s time to start thinking differently. And writing more, even if no one else ever reads this blog. 🙂

Happy 2017! What changes are you planning to make?

 

What I’ve Learned During My Blogging Hiatus

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve published a blog post. I miss writing for me and really hope I can get back to blogging, but let’s back up a bit and you’ll see why I haven’t written.

2016 has been a busy  year.

I changed jobs last December, my husband’s role at his company changed in January and he started to travel much more, one of our dogs hurt his knee and later had surgery, our other dog wasn’t doing well in the spring and we had to put him down in July (one of the hardest things I’ve ever done), we’ve been doing home improvements to the house…..and I’ve barely felt that I’ve been able to take a deep breath all year.

Most of the time, this doesn’t feel interesting enough to write about. It’s life, right? It’s what families with two working parents and two middle school and high schoolers deal with on a regular basis. (Side note: how the heck is it that I have a child who’s in high school?) It’s carpooling and figuring out how get the kids where they need to be, fitting in all the errands and grocery trips and being thankful that there’s this wonderful thing called Amazon Prime to make at least some things easier.

In the midst of all of this craziness, I’ve had a hard time feeling like I’ve got it all together. I live by my calendar and have felt like I’ve been going a million miles an hour all year. It’s not a way I want to live. I like having downtime and over the last few weeks I’ve started to find ways to try to get some into every day.

Enter yoga and meditation. 

I’ve been meditating with one of Andrew Johnson’s apps on my phone for more than a year. It helps me fall asleep. I was trying to go to yoga last spring at a local studio, but it got really hard to get there regularly. Between my kids’ schedules, the fact that the classes are across town and the fact that I don’t want to get home from yoga at almost 9 p.m., I stopped going. But I loved it and knew I wanted to find a way to incorporate a regular practice into my life. I discovered the Down Dog Yoga app after a Google search and I can do a 15-minute restorative practice before bed. It’s helped. I got an email about a sale so I could unlock all the member-only features, and the pricing was so good that I purchased the membership. I think I’ll like having it and will really be able to do more with it.

mindfulness-isnt-difficult-we-just-need-to-remember-to-do-it-sharon-salzbergI’ve also tried to practice mindfulness in hopes to be more focused and calmer. The Calm app has been on my phone for a while, but I’d only used it once. They offered a free trial of one of their most popular features last week and I had ten minutes at the end of a particularly busy day to try it and figured I had nothing to lose. I felt wonderful after I did it, so I’ve been trying to use the app after dinner if I can fit it in.

What I’ve learned through all of this is that I need strategies for me to ground me a bit and help me slow down. My favorite past time of going to get my nails done isn’t cutting it anymore, especially when I’m cramming an appointment into my lunch break. I need regular exercise, I need to breathe. I need to try to slow down when I can and mindfulness, whether through meditation or yoga, seems to help. And writing for me, something I haven’t taken the time to do in a long time, also feels good, so if you’ve made it this far in my attempted return to blogging, I thank you.

 

Taking Time for Mom

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I love having my nails done—I loved nail polish when I was a little girl and was always giving myself manicures, complete with base coat and top coat, even when I was 10 or 11. I generally find going to a salon for a mani/pedi to be a relaxing experience. I used to joke with my husband that when I got a full-time job after gradutation, I needed to make enough money to be able to pay my student loans back and get more regular manis and pedis.

Well, eventually that has kind of happened. I found an amazing salon that is relatively close to our house and is near my office and I’m there about every two weeks. I love it and I love that time for me.

Between my work schedule, commitments for the boys’ schools, sports schedules and my husband’s schedule, my time is limited, but making time for me is important for me. As mothers, our natural tendency is to “go, go, go” and take care of everyone else but ourselves, but I become a very cranky mom if I don’t do something for myself. In addition to regular manis and pedis, I find that it’s important for me to get enough sleep and I’m generally in bed between 9:30 and 10 p.m. I know a lot of people seem shocked that I go to bed that early, but I also get up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to do the next thing I need to do for myself—exercise! While I’m more naturally a morning person rather than a night owl, getting up at 4:30 is hard some mornings. It’s become a habit, however, and it’s the only way I’m going to get some necessary exercise in. I had slacked on exercise around Christmas last year and then had an injury from a fall in January and realized through the course of physical therapy that exercise is a must and not just to keep my weight down.

I’m a happier person when I do small things for myself. I’m a firm believer that women need to take time for themselves and that there’s truth to the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, then no one’s happy!” It’s not always easy—finding a yoga class that fits my schedule right now is hard, so I get it—but it’s important to do something that works for YOU, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in. I couldn’t go for regular manicures when my kids were younger. Life was too hectic with small children and money was tight, so I did try to paint my nails weekly after they went to bed and with the fast-dry polishes, they looked okay and it made me feel like I was doing a little something for me. When I went back to school, I treated myself to a coffee out or a lunch out at Panera once in a while when my schedule allowed for it to do something little for me. I found it refreshing. What do you do for YOU?

Happy New (School) Year!

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Photo courtesy of freeimages.com

The start of September is almost like New Year’s Day for me. Just as I wonder on January 1 how the previous year went by so quickly, I often wonder in early September how the summer flew by. Wasn’t it just early June and my boys couldn’t wait to get out of school?

The back-to-school season brings a sense of hope for the upcoming school year. Each school year produces new challenges and I often hope that our family gets through it with minimal stress and meltdowns. As the boys get older, the homework increases, the after-school activities add up and the bedtimes get later. Meanwhile, I’m getting older and love going to bed earlier and earlier.

This year presents a new challenge for us. My oldest son will be in eighth grade and remaining at our public middle school, a decision that makes the most sense for us due to his special education needs. However, my youngest son, who will be going into the sixth grade, will be moving to a parochial middle school/high school in a neighboring city. A new school, new people to get to know, new policies and protocols, a different academic calendar….and new expenses. We are excited about this new adventure for him and this seems to be the best school after researching our options, but it’s not without its challenges for two working parents. There are no bussing options and we are still researching carpool options. It’s a lot to figure out and fortunately we have some flexibility for the first few weeks. By November we’ll be in a groove and then something will change—an activity will be added to the mix or our carpool will change. We know we’ll figure it all out, as we always do, but September is always a new beginning for many families. I look forward to it with excitement, hope and a little bit of parental trepidation. It isn’t just the kids who get nervous about back to school!

 

Blooming flowers a welcome sight

A gorgeous view from inside our local garden center.
A gorgeous view from inside our local garden center.

I look at spring and summer as a time for new beginnings. Sure, we have January 1 and New Years resolutions and that’s definitely a new beginning, according to the calendar. But after the miserable winter we had this year in the Boston area, seeing flowers blooming and green leaves on the trees and my grass actually becoming colorful has given me pause many times recently. I’ve found it incredible to watch the change this year, especially when everything was so white with snow and then so brown and gross as the snow melted away.

This winter was also particularly difficult for me this year, due to a back injury after a fall on black ice before all the snow started. I’m recovering and feeling great these days and it was wonderful to not only feel good yesterday, but also to look for flowers to plant in our yard. We went to a local gardening center, spent way too much money on flowers and other greenery and the flowers in a greenhouse area actually took my breath away.

As I reflect on the beauty of these flowers and this photo, I also look ahead to a beautiful summer, one that will undoubtedly be filled with New England heat and wonderful memories ahead.

It’s been a while…….

It has been a while since I’ve written for me, as evidenced by the fact that my last post was last December. A lot has happened—I graduated and I now have a full-time job! I am a writer/marketing associate for a local hospice organization, so I do write a lot, but not for ME.

There will be more to come later, but I am in the process of revamping my blog and trying to make regular posts a priority!