Pick Your OWN 5 Day Challenge: Donuts, Shakeology and Meat, OH MY!



Happy Monday, All!  (Or should I say Y'all?)

Day One of my Five Day Eat Clean Challenge using Shakeology.  I first posted about this Five Day Challenge here. I didn't think this would be a big deal since I perceive* that John and I eat fairly well...but when it comes down to his challenge to ME for the week "Don't Deviate From the Menu."  I got a little breathless.  

BUT...


I'm going to see Jean at Indian Lake...isn't fried chicken SUPPOSED TO BE INVOLVED?  Or sweets and chips and....oh no.  So I packed lunch for all of us, an innocent turkey wrap. And my walnuts + banana morning snack, my Shakeology shake afternoon snack.  I plan to be back for dinner: Honey Mustard chicken boobies and steamed well seasoned broccoli.  Well.


I am so grateful John and my friend Tracy are doing this challenge with me.  John reminds me it is only FIVE DAYS.  I remind me we spent $30 on shakes for the week.  FOR THE WEEK PEOPLE!  (Or week minus 2 days, right?)  And I bought more meat for meals this week than we have probably eaten in months.  We eat Smeagan, as I've mentioned. So that was a little gross and expensive, but nothing else is working.  John did the best EVER on Men's Health Diet, and my Dad is slimming down so nicely with the Paleo  AKA Caveman Diet.  I am kind of stoked to eat more meat.  And if I can get over my squeamishness about what it might do to my health...cottage cheese and greek yogurt are on this week's menu too!

I could've eaten junk yesterday but I turned it down THREE TIMES, People!  Long John Donuts, Cheese Pringles and a Cupcake.  I said "No" in order to ramp up for this week.  To practice so it isn't as tricky.  I eat a lot of sugar.  Every day.  Y'all know it.  

I SO LOVE THIS MAN!

Do you know since I got my FIT BIT from my Dad for my 41st bday in November last year I have actually GAINED 2 pounds overall?  I have lost ten, but as of this week gained a total of 2 overall.  I have become active, I bike for my errands, trailering 50 pounds of little girls behind me...so it is totally THE FOOD I am eating.  

*I lie to myself.

I also measured my real waist last night.  I've come to terms with my hips, they have always been voluptuous...but I like my tiny waist.  Even as I've developed my "Mummy Tummy" after having kids, I'm still smallish at the waist.  Our Team Beachbody Coach Dan Vukmirovich asked us to measure ourselves and weigh in on Sunday and we did.   So when John started measuring me for our Jump Start around the wide part of my belly I say "WHOA!  That is not my waist." 

I DO NOT have a 40 inch waist.  Do. NOT. 
You bet that is an empty plate!
We consulted our pal Google.  We watched a hateful one minute video on, I am not kidding you, how to measure your waist.  (At. the. belly. button. Who. Knew.)

I have a 40 inch waist.  Sooooo.  I will be sticking to the food plan, and I will need to exercise later today.  It just isn't there this morning.  But I will do it.  At least 20 minutes of breaking a sweat, or maybe I will get a long walk in today around Indian Lake with Jean, and count that?

Please send me some encouragement in the comments...I'm going to need it.  Maybe pick your own 5 Day Challenge and share with us....we can encourage each other to Live Our Love (and our LIVES!) Out Loud!

"Look at all the weight I lost!" Join the 5 Day Challenge with Shakeology NEXT WEEK!

"Look at all the weight I lost!" Is what I hope to say even after just ONE WEEK.  No matter the outcome, I am  excited.  Even sick and lethargic today...I am STOKED.  (THANKS DAN!)

John and I are both languishing and struggling to work out, eat well....vegan stuff can be FATTENING y'all!  So Dan Vukmirovich, who we both adore...or rather, John would say he "enjoys him" or "Respects him" but I ADORE him and his wife and darling girls.  

ANYHOO.  

Dan became a Beach Body Coach and keeps offering us ideas and opportunities without hassle or obnoxious multi level marketing stuff.  TODAY we both committed to the 5 Day Jump Start Challenge. It is a Clean Eating, Shakeolgoy and Workout based challenge and I would love to see you and yours JOIN US! 

We plan to follow a veganized version of the meal plan, work out on our own without the official work outs, and measure, photograph etc.  ONE WEEK PEOPLE< surely we can do this for one week.
Nope, not pregnant, just Portly with a side of FLUFF.


If you want to do this, but want more, Dan also runs the Ultimate Reset Challenge you can read about here.  

We tried the Shakeology sample packet last week, splitting it like lovebirds.  It was the tastiest I have tried...and even my husband John, who is rarely impressed, commented on how many solid ingredients were in it and how good it tasted.  Keep in mind, I make smoothies for us almost every morning.  I use just produce and water, or I use hemp or soy or whey protein added into fruit smoothies. I have tried LOTS of shakes. LOTS.

The PRICE of Shakeology makes me think about getting a job.  Seriously.  The most expensive I have seen...but THIS VIDEO explains why.  And I do not bat an eye at shelling out this kind of moolah on junk food and sugary treats, do I?

What if for one month I did not eat out more than once a week, and I did not eat treats and junk?  I wonder....anyone want to do this challenge with me?  Anyone else want to try a month if this week goes well?

Please let me know if you choose to do this challenge with us. John and I are struggling to be healthier and fight a potential future including more weight, diabetes and cancer. I will be sharing my cold hard facts, and if you want a little public humiliation MOTIVATION I could certainly share any before and after pictures or info you would like to share.   Contact Dan here.

I need to shake things up A LOT.  So does John.  I'm so grateful he is doing this with me...I need help!  

Enjoy a Better Life NOW: Get Your Bike Out and RIDE IT!

Do you wish you lived somewhere else?   Do you want some fabulous life change to shake up your days?  More money?  An adventure, new job, house, town?  Something (anything) different.   I bet lots of us  wish we could escape the dull ebb and flow and status quo of our daily life.  (Parents, can I get an amen since we add fanny wiping and the stress of littles to our daily rhythm?) What if you could make some life change happen in a magical way right now?




Am I snorting fairy dust?  NOPE.  You can.  For example....I want to live in Colorado.  I love the breathtaking views, lots of my family is there and our family cabin too.  I also love the healthy atmosphere and lifestyle living in Colorado offers.  BUT:  We have family here too.  John has a great job and we have good friends and our parents nearby so moving away is not a great option anytime soon.  

When I first moved away from Denver  Colorado and realized on a trip back how much I missed it, I asked myself some questions about what exactly I missed.  I think a lot of the times what we THINK we want, simply has some components in it that look like how we want to live.  If we can discover that and recreate that for our life NOW...WOWZA!

For me, one of the facets of the Colorado lifestyle I envy is bicycling.  At the time I lived in South Bend and worked in an office about eight miles from my house.  I decided that even though I didn’t live in Colorado....I could live like I do and bicycle to work.  It involved a bad hair day, wet wipes and a shirt change...but I did it!  I was so thrilled and scared and proud of myself.  I biked to work through a non bike friendly city several times.  It was an adventure, a conversation starter, fun and  it allowed me to change my life now instead of waiting for someday to come.

Then kids happened.  Well marriage first for me, then the kids, and a move to Valparaiso.  Still in the area, one hour closer to Colorado....but not quite there.  I got a bike trailer from my husband for Christmas two years ago and the kids didn’t love it right away.  Poor Libby was all head and helmet and too little to even be able to turn her head.  Hilarious in that Yes-I-Laugh-AT-My-Kids kind of way.  But last year it was better.  Last year they started to enjoy the ride.  And I was adventurous...we didn’t just go around the neighborhood, people.  We ran errands.  Without a car.  In a somewhat bike friendly city this time, but still.  Drivers aren’t aware of bikes and I have to be vigilant and often (sorry) ride on sidewalks.  I’d rather run over a pedestrian than have the girls and I hit by a car...a mama has priorities.

So today wasn’t a humid day and not too warm so we biked again.  Libby and I biked Portia to VBS, then we headed to Target, Bath and Body Works and Sally Beauty Supply.  We waved at helpful drivers, rang our bell at other bikers, walkers and folks in their yards.  We saved money on gas, took great care of the environment, got great exercise and enjoyed life at a slower pace. Wonderfully rewarding despite the sweaty shirt.  And underpants.  (Just being transparent here friends!)

This works for me.  Maybe it isn’t your thing, but can help you pinpoint something that will add excitement and adventure or even life change to your days.   You could share with the rest of us your version of life change....we all want more fun more adventure in our daily lives....what works for you or what do you want to try next?

I DARE YOU to Watch: Listen To Your Mother Show Goes Best with Blueberry Pancakes

Today I am up early to catch up from a week long vacation.  I want to write, but I also need to plan my week, pay attention to food for this family of mine, etc. It could be the only writing I will do is to write down the errands I need to run. UGH.

I get a few things done before hearing pitter pattering baby feet at 6:30am.  I decide to make blueberry pancakes since I have a friend's daughter, Isa, coming to help me with the girls this morning.  What a gift it is to have her play with and distract my two girls for a few hours.  I pay myself back for the expense of a luxurious babysitter by being productive.  

Except.

I am not productive today.

In my email was a blog post by Just Another Mommy Blog.  I only know the blogger, Tracey, well enough to be annoyed this morning.  She has this post that I read instead of writing lists or writing my own blog post.  I read it and I cry.  Then I follow her link and watch this video from the Listen to Your Mother Show and the woman who Tracey wrote about.

Listen To Your Mother Bottle Caps, Apple Trees and Hope by Shelia Quirke

And then I click to another page and then donate to her cause.  And I comment on both blogs to let these two precious women know they were heard.  That their words mattered TO ME.  

And I haven't gotten much done today, but I did eat some blueberry pancakes with my daughters. Quite frankly I cannot remember anything else I should have could have would have done that would be better use of my time than breakfast with Portia and Libby.  Thank you God, for using Tracy and Shelia today to remind me of my priorities.

If you want or need some life change, laughter or tears in your day today, check out the Listen To Your Mother YouTube Channel!


You could watch me in our first SOLD OUT Listen to Your Mother Show delivering  "Reluctant Motherhood" from LTYM NW Indiana's Show  the 2011 show here.  I talk about how I never wanted to be a mother, miscarriage, parenting by faith and how much better becoming a mother is than they could possibly tell you in books. Enjoy my LTYM cast mates as they tell their precious, hilarious and moving stories too.









You can also see me doing "Nightmare After Midnight" from LTYM NW Indiana's Show in 2012 by clicking here. I give myself permission to be a marginal mother at times. Enjoy all of the pieces from this sold out show...they are MARVELOUS.









And if you like these, check out  NW Indiana's 2013 LTYM show you can find here.  It was my first time as an audience member and I laughed and cried and it was SO WONDERFUL.


WARNING:  If, like me, you think "Geez, I already have my own motherhood experiences and issues, why waste my precious time watching other people talk about what I already live????"  

Oh trust me.  Mamas, Dads, Non Parent Types...TRUST ME.  I dare you to watch one or two Listen To Your Mother videos and tell me what you learned about life.  It will be MUCH.

Random Things ELEVEN: Valparaiso Art and Ice Cream


Our local Valparaiso Library had this cool exhibit from the elementary school kids.  There were hundreds of cartooned interpretations of the famous American Gothic painting.  I'll never see Homer and Marge Simpson or Spongebob Squarepants quite the same.  Check out the library on FACEBOOK!!!!





My pal Whitney and her Hubby Richard have been highly amused this past winter at Lake Effect Snow.  It seemed to them, coming from The South that we all got real excited over Lake Effect Weather but it never panned out to be remarkable in any fashion.  When I saw this ice cream flavor I had a good chuckle.  


So  I thought I might waste your time with it.  

Has anyone tasted this fine specimen?

The Simple Potty Training Guide for Frustrated Parents (Our Notes on Booty Camp Potty Training)


If you have screamed with frustration at or near your sweet child over dirty diapers and potty training this post is for you.  Actually, if you have a child in diapers, this post is for you.  Parents, you aren’t the only one who is eager to get your kid into underpants....they want to be ‘big’ too!

We had great success twice with Booty Camp Potty Training but only borrowed the video.  Both of my girls were in cloth diapers and at 2 1/2yrs Portia would pee on the potty...but poop she liked to put in the cloth diaper and I was pretty upset and frustrated.  I never wanted to do a potty training bootcamp because I thought the idea of accidents on the floor or sitting in one room for days would be awful. 
At last I was desperate, we tried it and it worked.  We loved it and were surprised how simple it was. I did a detailed timeline you can read and learn from for the first day. Then I did the same thing for Day Two!

With Libby, as soon as she seemed interested at 18 monthsish we did the boot camp.  The first day was awful and we thought maybe she jsut wasn’t ready...but I didn’t spend all day in our dining room focused and working to just let it go..and day two was the charm.  I started a timeline but it was too much trouble...just read the two day timeline I kept when we potty trained Portia.  No matter how Day One appears to go...STICK WITH IT!  Day two was awesome...and Libby has had fewer accidents and was out of an overnight pullup even faster than Portia.  I wish I had known about the Potty Training Booty Camp when Portia was 18 months.


Lots of people ask about how it worked for us so I typed the basics out here.  This is the most detail I can offer without typing my fingers numb.  Stuff in quotes or italics is the SPECIFIC language or process they say to use.

Choose two days you can lie low and focus.  Kid in underpants only, potty 'station' in one room.  They say kitchen we did dining room and just blocked off smaller rooms.

Wake kid up raving about underpants day etc.  Have THEM put a bunch of underpants in a bag and take it to the potty station.  Have THEM place the potty too.(They are taking responsibility for their own poop and pee almost 100% is the gist.) Then THEY set toilet paper, paper towels and wet wipes at their potty station.  You explain they are not wearing dipes/pull ups anymore.  Today they learn to take care of their own poops and pees.  

You say "You listen to your body, and if your body says it has to pee/poop you say STOP PEE!  STOP POOP!  and you run run run to your potty, you pull down your underpants and you sit down, then you say OK PEE Ok POOP!  I am on the potty you can come out now!  You are responsible for your own poop and pee, so be sure to listen to your body."


 ( You will use this 'sentance' often the first few days. We still ask PK if she is 'listening to her body' instead of 'do you have to go potty?"  LATER We chose to explain to her there are FOUR times we won't ask her to listen to her body, we will ask her to sit and try regardless:  after sleeping, after eating, before sleeping and before leaving the house.)

You tell them they can help themselves to snacks or drinks as often as they want and as much as they want.  I took PK shopping and she picked out all her own junk food.  I didn't even know where juice boxes were in our grocery store!  The sugary drinks make them thirsty and so do the salty and sweet foods.  She was over them midway through the next day.  You do not really stop for meals, just offer all you can eat junk food for two days. I think we kind of offered meals but didn’t require them.

You do a pants check pretty soon after you start and REGULARLY maybe 15 minute increments and have them feel their panties too.  "Oh Good your pants are clean and dry, feel that, doesn't that feel great?  You should be so proud of yourself for keeping your pants clean and dry by listening to your body!  I can give you a treat for that!" (M&M or such. )

IF they have an accident you say "STOP PEE!  STOP POOP!"  You DO NOT have them sit on potty then.  You cup your hand over theirs and have them touch the wet or poopie pants and go on and on about "Gross!  Oh we do not poop/pee in our pants...isn't that gross?" UNTIL THEY PULL THEIR HAND AWAY.  Then you direct them to remove and throw panties in a dirty bag, wipe up mess, put new panties on etc.  If it is poop you clean first, then let them "clean" up the floor and their bodies.  SHE HAS YOU STAY BEHIND THEM.  If they will not do something you put your hands over theirs FROM BEHIND THEM and 'make' them do it.  I think this is so the visual imprint for them is that THEY are still doing the actions, even if you are directing/'forcing' them.  Of course your voice is calm all through out.  Then you give the speech:

"I love you very much, but this is unacceptable behavior and I will not tolerate it.  You are responsible for putting your poop and pee in the potty. You listen to your body, and if your body says it has to pee/poop you say STOP PEE!  STOP POOP!  and you run run run to your potty, you pull down your underpants and you sit down, then you say OK PEE Ok POOP!  I am on the potty you can come out now!  You are responsible for your own poop and pee, so be sure to listen to your body."

Check again in five minutes for dryness and reward with "dry and clean speech".

When they sit on the potty they get a treat even if nothing happens.  You talk a lot about "Oh you should be so proud of yourself!!!!"Lots of M&Ms.

NO NAP the first day.  They can lay on a blanket on the floor if they get that tired.  When they go to sleep you are supposed to slip a pull up on them AFTER they fall asleep, and wake them up a little earlier so you can hustle them to the toilet right away.  She wants you to have them set up a potty station in their bedroom when they are there too. They wash hands with a wet wipe throughout this process too.

They earn a toy or tv time (15 min) for every success in the potty.  There should not be any toys or books in the room(s) you are using to start with.

I hope this is enough info and I am not forgetting.  We watched the video once and maybe there is stuff online.  I found this great article on toilet training in one day.

Every baby is different, but every parent wants the diapers to end!  I wish you luck and would love to hear about your experiences potty training your child.

The Simple Potty Training Guide for Frustrated Parents: Booty Camp Rundown


If you have screamed with frustration at or near your sweet child over dirty diapers and potty training this post is for you.  Actually, if you have a child in diapers, this post is for you.  Parents, you aren’t the only one who is eager to get your kid into underpants....they want to be ‘big’ too!

We had great success twice with Booty Camp Potty Training but only borrowed the video.  Both of my girls were in cloth diapers and at 2 1/2yrs Portia would pee on the potty...but poop she liked to put in the cloth diaper and I was pretty upset and frustrated.  I never wanted to do a potty training bootcamp because I thought the idea of accidents on the floor or sitting in one room for days would be awful. 
At last I was desperate, we tried it and it worked.  We loved it and were surprised how simple it was. I did a detailed timeline you can read and learn from for the first day. Then I did the same thing for Day Two!

With Libby, as soon as she seemed interested at 18 monthsish we did the boot camp.  The first day was awful and we thought maybe she jsut wasn’t ready...but I didn’t spend all day in our dining room focused and working to just let it go..and day two was the charm.  I started a timeline but it was too much trouble...just read the two day timeline I kept when we potty trained Portia.  No matter how Day One appears to go...STICK WITH IT!  Day two was awesome...and Libby has had fewer accidents and was out of an overnight pullup even faster than Portia.  I wish I had known about the Potty Training Booty Camp when Portia was 18 months.


Lots of people ask about how it worked for us so I typed the basics out here.  This is the most detail I can offer without typing my fingers numb.  Stuff in quotes or italics is the SPECIFIC language or process they say to use.

Choose two days you can lie low and focus.  Kid in underpants only, potty 'station' in one room.  They say kitchen we did dining room and just blocked off smaller rooms.


Wake kid up raving about underpants day etc.  Have THEM put a bunch of underpants in a bag and take it to the potty station.  Have THEM place the potty too.(They are taking responsibility for their own poop and pee almost 100% is the gist.) Then THEY set toilet paper, paper towels and wet wipes at their potty station.  You explain they are not wearing dipes/pull ups anymore.  Today they learn to take care of their own poops and pees.  

You say "You listen to your body, and if your body says it has to pee/poop you say STOP PEE!  STOP POOP!  and you run run run to your potty, you pull down your underpants and you sit down, then you say OK PEE Ok POOP!  I am on the potty you can come out now!  You are responsible for your own poop and pee, so be sure to listen to your body."

 ( You will use this 'sentance' often the first few days. We still ask PK if she is 'listening to her body' instead of 'do you have to go potty?"  LATER We chose to explain to her there are FOUR times we won't ask her to listen to her body, we will ask her to sit and try regardless:  after sleeping, after eating, before sleeping and before leaving the house.)

You tell them they can help themselves to snacks or drinks as often as they want and as much as they want.  I took PK shopping and she picked out all her own junk food.  I didn't even know where juice boxes were in our grocery store!  The sugary drinks make them thirsty and so do the salty and sweet foods.  She was over them midway through the next day.  You do not really stop for meals, just offer all you can eat junk food for two days. I think we kind of offered meals but didn’t require them.

You do a pants check pretty soon after you start and REGULARLY maybe 15 minute increments and have them feel their panties too.  "Oh Good your pants are clean and dry, feel that, doesn't that feel great?  You should be so proud of yourself for keeping your pants clean and dry by listening to your body!  I can give you a treat for that!" (M&M or such. )

IF they have an accident you say "STOP PEE!  STOP POOP!"  You DO NOT have them sit on potty then.  You cup your hand over theirs and have them touch the wet or poopie pants and go on and on about "Gross!  Oh we do not poop/pee in our pants...isn't that gross?" UNTIL THEY PULL THEIR HAND AWAY.  Then you direct them to remove and throw panties in a dirty bag, wipe up mess, put new panties on etc.  If it is poop you clean first, then let them "clean" up the floor and their bodies.  SHE HAS YOU STAY BEHIND THEM.  If they will not do something you put your hands over theirs FROM BEHIND THEM and 'make' them do it.  I think this is so the visual imprint for them is that THEY are still doing the actions, even if you are directing/'forcing' them.  Of course your voice is calm all through out.  Then you give the speech:

"I love you very much, but this is unacceptable behavior and I will not tolerate it.  You are responsible for putting your poop and pee in the potty. You listen to your body, and if your body says it has to pee/poop you say STOP PEE!  STOP POOP!  and you run run run to your potty, you pull down your underpants and you sit down, then you say OK PEE Ok POOP!  I am on the potty you can come out now!  You are responsible for your own poop and pee, so be sure to listen to your body."

Check again in five minutes for dryness and reward with "dry and clean speech".

When they sit on the potty they get a treat even if nothing happens.  You talk a lot about "Oh you should be so proud of yourself!!!!"Lots of M&Ms.

NO NAP the first day.  They can lay on a blanket on the floor if they get that tired.  When they go to sleep you are supposed to slip a pull up on them AFTER they fall asleep, and wake them up a little earlier so you can hustle them to the toilet right away.  She wants you to have them set up a potty station in their bedroom when they are there too. They wash hands with a wet wipe throughout this process too.

They earn a toy or tv time (15 min) for every success in the potty.  There should not be any toys or books in the room(s) you are using to start with.

I hope this is enough info and I am not forgetting.  We watched the video once and maybe there is stuff online.  I found this great article on toilet training in one day.

Every baby is different, but every parent wants the diapers to end!  I wish you luck and would love to hear about your experiences potty training your child.

DIY Spa Goodies: Body Butter Adventures

I make body scrubs, here and there.  I throw sugar and olive oil together with some of my essential oils and slough all that nasty dry skin right on outta here.  

Then I see these  fabulously beautiful blogs like Keeper of the Home and this one and this one.  They write about simple living, green living, whole food, making your own food and other things...like lotion, body scrub.  

Keeper of the Home had this beautiful article on making gifts around Christmas, and in it was two recipes for scrubs & body butter.  My artificially flavored chemical infested body butter from Bath & Body Works was almost empty.  I have been saving small containers and such for awhile now.


Keeper of the Home Picture
I decided to buy the “Simple Scrubs to Make and Give" ebook of recipes for $3.99.  Imagine my joy when it was only $1.99 on Kindle AKA my smartphone!  WHOOP!  I know I can find recipes online, but somewhere is a woman like me clever enough to package her ideas up into a book and I chose to support her with my few bucks.  I waste as much on junk every week. 

Then I bought the four ingriedients I do not have from the supplier they link too (hope they get some $$$) and spent $35 on that stuff:  Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Vitamin E Oil.  (equal to one trip to B & B amIright?)    I eagerly awaited the arrival of these things,  measured and melted them down, added my essential oils, and started slathering on fabulous body butter I made my very own self after my 3 minute showers. 


Making everything was simple. I am SO SORRY there aren’t pictures to prove it.  THis works best IMHO with a stand mixer unless you are patient enough to mix for 5-10 minutes with a hand mixer.  The other recipes online I saw had whipping the mixture with beaters, so that is what I did.  The Ebook recipe had you melt, mix and just pour...so you could easily do that.

I melted everything down and put it in my Kitchen Aid to begin mixing.  Since it was cold at the time I just set it outside for 20 minutes or so before beating it again....now that it is summer you would have to follow the freezer route.  It might not look like it is setting up, but it will.  
(Picture from Keeper of the Home) 

My first batch was HEAVENLY!  I gave some away, I used mine up and made more.

My second batch was awful because I added more Vitamin E oil.  I figured, the more the better....well NO.  Vitamin E is a wonder dealio unless you overuse it.  Then it can, in some cases(my case) give you an amazing rash I had to get a cream from the dermatologist for.  Wowzers.

So let me know how your homemade adventures work out....I’m a little scared to try this again, but the materials cost about $40, often organic, so I hate to waste them.  Mebbe I’ll try some lip balm?  Your thoughts?

God, Yoga and a Wild Mama: I Quit Church and Maybe Broke the Law

When I tell you I quit church this summer, you might start worrying for my soul.  Please don’t. God knows exactly where I am.  He said hello just this morning. Taltree Arboretum offers free heavenly amazing outdoor yoga to their members twice a week during the summer.  It is beautiful yoga taught by Suzanne Chick, a Valparaiso yoga instructor and it is free to Taltree Arboretum members.  (Although I just learned Suzanne does not get paid by Taltree to be there....she should, I will be calling them directly or finding them on Facebook and paying for my classes happily!) 
So Saturday yoga has been my religion this summer, and God showed up to love on me in a gorgeous way.  


I was admiring and envying the figures of the twentysomething set ahead of me in class and feeling Ugly Jealous. I felt like a dowdy older mother and hated it. I was also struggling to hold yoga poses which I know should be easier for me with all my yoga background.  I was feeling Less Than. I said something like, 

“Lord, help me to be grateful for my body and what it can do, and to appreciate these young girls enjoying their youth without envying them. Thank you for this breathtaking place to just breathe, and move and Be. Give me your Love, let me be at Peace.” 

Moments later I opened my eyes from an elbow down dog yoga position and there was a most brilliant emerald green dragonfly perched on my mat.  The green dragonfly sparkled and shone and a smile broke out on my face so big, SO BIG!  I love these 'God Nods’ as I call them.  LOVE THEM!  

The rest of the class was heavenly and as my pal Whitney and I left we chattered with other women and Suzanne Chick and just had a delightful stroll to the car.  Whitney drove so I asked her to roll back the top, as her VW has a full roof sunroof: FABULOUS!  If you read my post on Death and Rolling Down Hills you know I sometimes feel uptight, old, like somebody’s mother.  Oh, wait....

Whitney laughed as the roof slid open and talked about how her first car had a sunroof and they would all take turns standing up while flying down the highway.



Standing up through the sunroof?

I am somebody’s mother.  I am an older mother at that.  

I need to be cautious and set a good example.

I am sweaty and tired from exercise.  

I have long legs so it might be uncomfortable to---

---oh forget it, get this woman 

through a SUNROOF!

It was awesome.  It was exhilarating.  It was terrible and reckless and my kids better not do it.  We took turns.  It was awesome.  It was awesome. It was foolish, I know and awesome.  

“Are you going to tell John?” Whitney asked.

“Oh yes, I am going to blog about this for sure.  Just not the mph.  Right?"

I’m checking out another church tomorrow. You who may worry for my soul, Jesus is still allllll mine. And I have still been attending church here and there.  I pray often.  I might have opened my bible just last week.  But  on THIS morning, I assure you, God was at Yoga.  He says “Hi!” and that he loves me.  
Oh, He loves you too, no matter who you are or what you have done or do or will do.  GO outside today.  Breathe Deeply, and Live Your Love Out Loud!

How do you all let loose?  What ways does God ‘nod’ to you?  How and where do you feel loved like I did today?  I sure would enjoy chatting with you in the comments, to hear your thoughts.

p.s. Thank you Whitney Hibbitts, for being a woman who loves me, tolerates me, challenges me and dares me simply by living YOUR life out loud!  WHOOOOO!  

Now let’s ‘go for a drive’.

Lost In Translation: Toddlerese NPR (88.1 WVPE) Radio Commentary with Michiana Chronicles


You can listen to this piece on NPR HERE

This story first ran on Mumbling Mommy Blog and you can find it here.


Toddlerese: Lost in Translation
By Heather Curlee Novak, Michiana Chronicles 2013

I was dropping my kidlets off at the YMCA Childwatch today and Jill who was checking them in for me said “Enjoy Your Workout!”  I laughed and confessed I was already at the Y and did my workout at 5:30am that morning.  I explained that I had a writing deadline and two children who didn’t appreciate that, so I was checking them in and sitting down with my laptop in the lobby.  I waited to get in trouble or at least an eye roll.  Nada!  She smiled and said a lot of people did that. I said I figured it was the ‘healthy mind & spirit’ part of their motto. I said I’d like to come and just read a book sometime, but I usually only do it when I’m desperate.  She said she thought they ought to have a nice lounge with couches too.  I would have added a suggestion for “a complimentary wine bar”, but didn’t want to ruin our warm rapport.  So I can now write quietly for two hours without six billion three thousand seventy four interruptions for a drink, a second breakfast snack, a meaning of life question or a fanny wipe. 
I do not know if I am the only mama whose kids mistranslate my words and what they mean, but WOW!  I put a TV show on for my girls who are 2 and 4 years old and said I needed to do some work.  My littlest mistranslated this to mean “Please stand beside me tugging at your pants.  Since we are potty training I will help you immediately.   All fourteen times.  Even if you do this in one half hour’s time.”  Libby is doing great, fairly dry underpants for three weeks now, but me being on guard to avoid an accident is a bit stressfull, I’ll admit. So trying to work didn’t work out today.

We have other words lost in translation too.  “Portia, you need to settle down and get dressed for school right now.” for example.  Apparently that means, “Please stare at the ceiling, create an animal hospital for every stuffed animal and dog toy in this house and if you have an extra minute, streak through the house too.”  I think “Right now” loosely translates to “Never.” in Toddlerese. 

We took  “Love & Logic” parenting classes and this was a great chance to put it into action. I cheerfully told the little streaker it was time to go to school even though she was still in pajamas. Then she fought putting her coat on, but I sweetly said “OK!  No problem, now off we go to school!”  You can imagine when we hit winter weather as I carried her outside sans coat how she reacted.  I empathized, Love & Logic style and said sincerely;  ”Oh, I bet you are cold. I am glad I got dressed and put my coat on today!” As we stood on front porch and unhappiness escalated, I said, “Honey, I think we might still have a little time, would you like to get dressed real quick before school?”  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her move so fast. She understood in a way my nagging never showed why exactly getting dressed each day is crucial.

There are other events where my kids and I do not understand each other.  When they ask for junk food or TV time and I say “No”, they think that means “Ask your Father.”  When I say, “Please don’t hit your sister.” They think I am actually saying , “Poking in the eye is OK.” Or something to that effect. I guess this language thing has a bit of a learning curve for parents and our progeny. Knowing this, I make sure to say the words that count the most, “I love you,” as many times in a day as I can.  Being a little kid and needing to be understood is hard.  I want to make sure my ‘I love Yous’ need no translation.

Adults have difficulties with language translation too.  My husband and I work hard to communicate well with each other but even we misunderstand each other at times.  One thing is for certain though, when he says “It’s fine if you want to go out with your friends/write somewhere/get your hair cut/go to the Y/Hobby Lobby Target Kohls/Have a martini….”  I hear “I love you Darling!” Loud and clear.