Dear Highway Rest Area

Dear Highway Rest Area


Let me begin with sincere thanks for facilitating the briefest of layovers on long road trips. Your convenient location provides a much needed respite from the cramped confines of our car. Providing a refueling station for humans and automobiles alike is a service that is often overlooked but much appreciated by yours truly.

I am loathe to find fault, yet I feel obliged to bring one complaint to your attention. I can’t help but notice that the sustenance offered to your patrons is sadly lacking in nutritional value. I will take most of the blame as, in providing food and snacks of maximum nutritional benefit for my children, I failed to provide the same for myself and my spouse. In lacking such forethought, I gained the unique opportunity to trod your gleaming halls and share road weary greetings with my fellow travelers.

So, having little choice, I sampled your wares and could weep as I feel my body absorb each salt and grease laden bite. I flatter myself in speaking for my fellow travelers in begging you to please reconsider your meager offerings. I will be forever grateful if you’d deign to provide options with a hint of greenery, the snap of fresh vegetables or even the enticing aroma of ripe fruit.

In closing, I leave you with one final thought. “Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.” – Walt Kelly

Your humble guest,
~ Mom…in the works

Twenty One Days…seriously.

Twenty One Days…seriously.

Studies show that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I know, I didn’t believe it either. But I have seen the evidence…it works!

I’ve shared my story about needing a healthy change in life. In just 21 days I saw not only a change in my body but more importantly a change in my mindset. I had been in a place where I felt like losing weight, feeling energetic (with two kids in tow) or having time to work on some goals were all impossibilities. Now, I’m finding ways to do all of those things.

The beauty of it is, there was no life altering change or big hurdle I had to manage. Over a few months I made small, almost imperceptible changes and stuck with then. No excuses. After 21 days (give or take) it no longer required much effort and I just continued to build on that premise.

Want to write more? Spend 5 or 10 minutes every day writing. I bet you’ll find you start building on those few minutes as time goes on. Want to get fit? Set aside a 30 minute window every day and exercise. Want to eat better? Choose one unhealthy item/food type a week and eliminate it. The trick is to start, and start small.

So pick that goal you’ve had lingering in the back of your head for the past few weeks or months and start working toward it, create a habit. You’re going to be amazed at what you can accomplish!

PDF can be found here!

Raising self confident kids.

Raising self confident kids.

In the midst of all the social media and environmental pressures kids are up against, I want mine to understand that it’s more important to be an individual than to fit a mold. Weight is just a number, not a defining characteristic. Confidence is infinitely more attractive than thigh gap (I mean, really!). Self worth is a far more apt measure of your future success than what brands you wear. Drive and determination are pillars of success, not lack of failure. That just means you might not be trying hard enough!

I was a tom-boy, when I was little I was daddy’s little helper, I chopped wood to get in shape for softball season, I climbed trees and built forts with my brothers. I wore a uniform until 8th grade and didn’t care much about fashion or trends. To this day I hate shopping for myself, “tall” and “long” sizes didn’t exist so I constantly waged a battle between baggy clothes or too-short pants and sleeves. If my nose wasn’t stuck in a book I was probably playing sports, tinkering with the computer or inventing a new adventure with my brothers. My parents managed to raise me in such a way that I never felt compelled to follow the crowd. I was OK with being a little different and even relished the fact. I had my ups and many, many downs just like any kid.

I’m petrified at the idea of raising two girls in this media centric world where the values that are held as the norm couldn’t be farther from the truth. I want to wrap them up and let them evolve free of unrealistic expectations (even my own?). But I realize that I can’t protect them from everything. Often times, their lives will be the richer for the things they experience outside the safe little bubble we try to build for them. One day, I might even learn to accept that fact.

Our mission, as I see it, is to give them the tools to achieve their dreams and to empower them to live happy, healthy and enriched lives whatever paths they choose. To do that we must bring to life those hopes we have for them and model those behaviors we feel are most essential. Live the characteristics you want to see in the world and you can’t help but raise self confident kids!

Inspired by family and friends, I finally feel like I’m actively working to embody those goals and I’m going to try my hardest to enable my kids to do the same. So here’s to pursuing your dreams, being an individual, finding your healthy and above all… being fulfilled and happy.

So not ready for three!

So not ready for three!

Not three kids, three years old (Maggie is only 8 months, don’t even tell me you were really going there!)! Our oldest is about to turn three and I can’t handle it. While her early stages are fading from memory she is still my baby. It feels like yesterday that she was finally sleeping through the night, rolling over, crawling, taking her first steps, saying her first words and being her silly chubby self with a ridiculous gutter laugh. How can she be almost three?!

I adore how she is evolving before my very eyes and turning into a sweet, considerate, caring, mischievous, curious, stubborn, inventive and loving little girl. But I really can’t believe it’s been three years since I first saw those sweet little hands curl around my finger. It’s been a miraculous journey and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for us next. If you need me, I’ll be going through my archives of pictures and videos….

I primarily use iPhoto to manage all my pictures and videos. I’m sure there’s a way to be more organized about it, but for me…simple is best. I don’t have the time to sort, tidy and re-sort so everything just goes in as a lump and I can scroll through based on the timeline. What are your tried and true methods for archiving your family memories? 

I want to know! 

Toy organization. Help!

Toy organization. Help!

We have recently embarked on an endeavor to earn a little extra income. In turn, we’ve had to do some reorganizing at home. The result? Kid toys need a new home!

The main goal is to have a tidy place to store toys with out overrunning our family space.

I’ve long thought of purchasing an Ikea shelving unit and baskets to hold all the bits. However, we don’t have a lot of wall space and currently the best area available is in a hallway. Too cluttered? Possibly.


Another reservation is the very modern look of Ikea furniture when we live in an old house. I was on the verge of purchasing an Expedit unit this spring only to find Ikea had discontinued it and had not yet released it’s replacement! Fortunately, this dilemma is now solved with a new model called Kallax.

Alternatively, we have a door in our living room which is not original to the house. We almost never use it so can easily put furniture in front that buys us about five feet of wall space (though not a lot of height as there is a window in the door)!

We likely need some out if the box ideas to tackle this dilemma!

The other obvious choices are:

Baskets beneath our favorite coffee table, already home to puzzles and diapering station.


Or a tall, narrow bookshelf.


Obviously this is a work in progress. Brain wracking to be continued….

Finding healthy.

Having a baby is a crazy, life altering, mind numbing, ecstatic time in your life. Shortly after you emerge from the baby bubble and resume normal life, everything just falls into place and life goes on…right?

Yeah, not so much. I honestly thought I was busy all the time before baby #1. Once Lena was born, I didn’t find any time for my self or my personal well-being. I was equal parts elated, exhausted and emotionally drained. That’s all with a reasonably “easy” baby. I mean, what new parent isn’t constantly wishing for a nap?

Baby #2 brought much the same, with a whole new level of sleep deprivation. Five hours of interrupted sleep is sufficient for most anyone, right? During the day she is a happy, easy going kid so I can hardly complain. Those few occasions I got a straight six hours I should have felt amazing…but I didn’t.

I’ve always fought this constant battle with feeling tired and run down. Having gone through two pregnancies, I just wasn’t feeling like my old self. I used to play sports, take long walks and was a rather energetic individual. Now, I felt like my body just wasn’t responding the way it should and I had aches and pains that made it that much worse. I had no energy for anything beyond our day-to-day necessities. Once the kids were in bed, we’d collapse on the couch for some TV and then call it a night. Something had to give.

My husband and I made a pact to start eating better. We both have a sweet tooth so we started eliminating dessert and making an effort to curb our sugar intake wherever we could. The next step was cooking more and avoiding take-out, I’ve written about one of our strategies here. Next up? Exercise!

With an infant and a toddler, we had mismatched nap schedules so getting out of the house for a decent walk was problematic on the best of days.  I’d tried and failed at so many home workout programs and getting to a gym was out of the question. A friend talked me into giving one more program a try. Twenty one days, half an hour a day. I could do that. With a huge assist from the hubbie, I made it work. I couldn’t go on feeling like I did.

Fast forward to today and I am so glad I took the chance. I have energy again, I sit down at the end of the day and five minutes later I’m up again doing something to prep for the next day. Not only that but I’m pushing myself to do things I haven’t in ages! Reading, writing, swimming, meeting up with friends occasionally. It’s still a work in progress, but at least I know I’m on the right track.

A few things I’ve learned?
1. Be ready to change bad habits. 2. Take small steps, make it fit your lifestyle.
3. Be realistic and make changes that you can keep long-term.
4. Find your motivation! (Mine was finding energy for myself and my family, but that’s only part of the story…more to come.)

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