Monday, December 30, 2013

Things I learned in December...

I was inspired by Emily P. Freeman at Yes, sometimes to grow we need to be inspired by others.

I learn way too much on a regular basis, so I will keep this short and sweet.

1. I need to Plan Ahead!! This is number one on my list for a reason. I love Christmas and all the activities that go along with it, but for some reason I cram it all into one month. I need to start planning for the holidays probably in October. Some of the things that I could have wrapped up before December-- Christmas cards, buying presents and wrapping them. Hopefully, next year I will be ahead of the game and be able to enjoy the season better.

2. This might go along with # 1, but it's like the Murphy's Law of parenting. If you are planning an event or something fun, one of your kids will get sick. It never fails at my house. Always have a plan B.

3. I've been eating clean and exercising regularly this past year, but I don't know what happened this month. Probably all the stress of getting everything accomplished lowered my will to eat healthy. I ate cookies, cake, pie and lots of other fattening foods and of course wine. Too much. When you eat healthy on a regular basis, folding to junk food isn't just unhealthy but painful too. Stomach ache city.

4. The kids have been out of school for awhile, so I did plan on them getting bored being at home. So I stocked up on $1 craft kits at Michaels. These came in handy on those rainy days before all their new toys arrived.

I hope you learned some lessons this month too, so we can all move forward and prepared into 2014.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I've been busy...

Sometimes, just saying I'm busy is an understatement. I had so much planned for my blogging in December, so many gift ideas to share ( a personal training certificate or a Garmin running watch, hint), or the Pinterest collage I was going to make.  December happens, and if you don't get it done before (I didn't) then you get it done in December.

It all started with a trip to Charlotte the first weekend in December for a family gathering. It was a lovely time of visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins, and eating lots and lots of good food. I got in trouble with the eating part, especially when your body is not used to eating such rich, high calorie foods. So the following week, I hit it hard and heavy at the gym. I was determined not to let my overindulgence get to me. I was pretty sore that week too.

I ended the week with a cookie decorating party for my boys and friends from their school. I had six boys and two girls at the house (not including my own). The kids decorated 4 cookies each with an assortment of colorful frosting and sprinkles. We had so much toppings left over, I made another batch. We are still eating cookies.

The weekend was a soggy rainy mess, but we had our family Christmas portrait scheduled. We bundled up and ran to the studio. My hair didn't weather through, but we made it. So later this week, I can send out our Christmas cards. Thankfully the rain cleared out on Sunday so we could attend the Holiday Express at Pullen Park. We got there early and rode the Santa Train. The entire park was decorated with lighted images of Christmas, Santa and winter. They had stations to make ornaments, play bingo and cornhole, visit Santa, and watch Christmas movies all while being lightly dusted by snow. Although we bought tickets for Sunday evening, we were also joined by other tickets holders that were rained out the following evening. The park was crowded. Their were lines for all activities and the lines for the carousel and train literally wrapped around the whole park. Shuttle buses were headed in different locations and crying babies, tired children and cold parents were getting frustrated. I'd love to do the Holiday Express again, but I hope Raleigh Parks plans for inclement weather next time.

I started the week, watching my 5-year-old's Christmas play. He played a tired sheep. Only 3-days of school this week then Christmas break. I hurry and drop my oldest off at school, then rush to the gym for a quick workout. This morning I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill, then focused on my arms lifting weights. I felt good squeezing in a little me time and relieving some of the added stress. I hope to do the same thing tomorrow before I wrap up my shopping.

I'd love to hear how you are celebrating the season and staying stress-free. I'll be giving away some coupons to Brilliant Sky Toys and Books, just in case you have more shopping too for the those that comment.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Hard to Say Good-Bye

I usually leave the gym feeling refreshed and confident, but yesterday was different. It was my first day back to the gym since the Thanksgiving break. I only got to enjoy the newly remodeled gym one day last week. The kids room was stocked with new toys and a play house. I was excited to show my 2-year-old, Liam the changes. As we rode in the car to the gym, Liam kept repeating his friend's name. He knew his friend would be there because his parents operated the gym.

I walked into the gym, it still smelled of fresh paint and vinyl. It was Monday, so things seemed a little sluggish. There was no one at the counter to greet me and sign-me in. So, I just signed the sheet. I walked Liam back to the kids room. Liam's friend wasn't there. He was probably sick, I thought to myself until one of the staff asked me, "Have you heard what happened?" "What do you mean? I answered. "They let the operators of the gym go," they responded. "And Liam's friend won't be coming," they concluded. My heart just sank at these words. Liam just loved playing with his friend, and his parents were couple of encouragers on my fitness journey.

Their sweet family with one on the way created a family-like experience at the gym. It wasn't all about the tough guys and body builders, but about moms and dads, brothers and sisters being welcomed with a friendly-smile and putting in a great workout.

I hear it's not all about the smiles and the sense of family. Fitness is more than getting in shape; it's about a bottom line. I wish it was more about the warm and fuzzy and the good-feeling endorphins than the financials. I had to remind myself that Fitness is also an industry ran by corporate big-wigs. Corporations aren't bad; it's just tough. I personally believe that customer service goes along way especially in a market over-saturated with gyms, yoga studios, and dojos. It's a survival of the fittest kind of world, and sometimes the good get cut.

I didn't get to say good-bye or thank you to this wonderful family, so here goes. Thank you for your welcoming smile. Thank you for providing the best childcare workers to watch my kids. Thanks for encouraging me on my fitness journey with capable trainers and equipment, and thank you for creating a family atmosphere. May better job opportunities present themselves and may you know you will be missed and remembered.