On Being Average

You can ask my parents (and most people who know me), and they will tell you I’ve always, always been competitive.

I honestly can’t pinpoint anything in particular that led me to be this way (being an only child? attending a small school where I was always one of the top students?), but you could say that I’m a bit hard on myself.

In some aspects, this is a positive trait. I’ve never rarely let peers influence my behavior, I long to learn as much as I can, I don’t half-ass things (that matter—things that don’t matter, such as cleaning my house regularly, I’ll gladly overlook!), and I realize I deserve good things (like an incredibly intelligent, handsome husband!) and don’t often settle.

In some ways, though, this nature can be my downfall. I’m notorious for falling into the “comparison trap.” I get upset when I fail (and often blame others instead of accepting that maybe I wasn’t the right choice or didn’t prepare as well as I could’ve, etc.). I sometimes sit on the sidelines rather than take a big risk.

Nevertheless, I’ve learned over the last couple of years that being average is pretty sweet.

I read this post on Monday, and it got me thinking about how I’ve come to terms with living my life in the middle of the road, so to speak.

I’ve embraced the fact that I’ll never be one of those women who “lean in” at all costs.

I truly have no desire to work day in and day out to achieve something extraordinary.

As much as I miss academia, I don’t feel inferior to my friends (and husband) who have post-graduate degrees (although I have entertained the idea of going back to school when Baby M is older—but that’s just an idea right now).

I have my moments, but it doesn’t really matter to me that I’m not in tip-top physical shape almost a year after giving birth.

StandardOfGrace

I’m proud of the balance and normalcy of my life.

I’m a working mom.

I’m healthy.

I still love learning—even if it’s not in a classroom or for some measure of merit.

I make time for soaking up the little things in life.

I actually enjoy being in the background rather than the spotlight.

No, I don’t look down at the concept of average anymore.

This isn’t to say I’m lazy or that I don’t strive to be better.

I’m not complacent. My eyes are always open for new ideas and realizations. I empathize with those less fortunate than me and aim to influence others by simply being a friend.

image

//via//

I guess you could say my purpose has changed.

In my simple, average life—my purpose is to be the best wife and mommy I can be. It’s to take time for myself, but it’s also to show my sweet son his potential. It’s to help or encourage everyone I encounter in small ways all the time as opposed to achieving one great thing and nothing more. (That’s not to say you can’t do both or that we no longer need groundbreaking insights or achievements—we certainly do, and I admire those who aim high and work tirelessly to reach their dreams!)

I guess what I’m saying is that my current goals are not measured in academic letters or trophies or promotions right now.

We all have different goals. Perhaps I’ll make some notable achievement days or months or years from now, but right now, my purpose is to find balance and enjoy each moment possible of my “average” life.

Thinking-Out-Loud

[linking up for thinking out loud]

Freekeh-Stuffed Peppers + A Giveaway!

Let’s get our freekeh on!

I know, you’re probably thinking, “excuse me?!

Let me explain. As a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I recently had the opportunity to sample a new-to-me grain, freekeh.

freekeh foods

So—what exactly is freekeh? According to the Freekeh Foods website,

Freekeh is a process which means “to rub” in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created.

photo 1-44

Freekeh Foods sent me 2 samples—original (unseasoned) and rosemary-sage.

Aiming to get a feel for the grain, I opted to try the rosemary-sage first. We cooked it according to the package’s directions (adding a bit more water toward the end), and served it alongside pork tenderloin and green beans.

photo 2-41

Mark and I both found the freekeh heavy on the rosemary, but a little bland otherwise (we added extra salt, as suggested on the package). We both loved the texture, though. The cooked freekeh reminds me of farro (a favorite of mine), and I think it would hold up wonderfully in a soup or stew.

With the unseasoned freekeh, I wanted to get creative and stuff some bell peppers. These turned out fantastic. We normally make orzo-stuffed peppers, but I liked how the freekeh added more texture and heft to the peppers.

photo 1-43

Freekeh Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 bell peppers*
  • 1 lb ground turkey**
  • 1 cup original freekeh
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning to taste
  • grated cheese, for topping

Directions

  1. Wash and dry bell peppers; chop off the tops (reserving and chopping the pepper flesh) and carefully remove the seeds/membrane from the peppers. Stand upright in a baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, cook your freekeh according to directions on the package.
  3. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet; add your chopped onion, pepper, and tomatoes, and sautee until tender.
  4. Add your ground turkey to the mixture, cooking until browned.
  5. Once your freekeh is fully cooked (and water has evaporated), add it to the turkey/vegetable mixture.
  6. Scoop a portion of the mixture into each pepper. Top with a sprinkling of grated cheese.
  7. Add a bit of water (or stock) to the baking dish (an inch or so is plenty); in a 375° Fahrenheit oven, bake for around 20 minutes until pepper is tender (but not falling apart) and cheese is melted.
  8. Allow to cool for a few moments, then serve.

*We used only 4 peppers and had a lot of leftover stuffing.. I’d recommend using 6 peppers—you can always freeze them to eat later.

**You could easily make these vegetarian by nixing the turkey and adding a can of beans, more chopped vegetables, etc. We just happened to have ground turkey that needed to be used.

freekeh-stuffed-pepper

We shared the peppers with my in-laws—and they approved. Baby M even ate some of the mixture. His palette is far more sophisticated than mine was at ~11 months!

Some other facts about freekeh:

  • has up to 3 times the protein of brown rice
  • is equal to quinoa in terms of protein and fiber
  • is low glycemic (and thus a good alternative for those with Type II Diabetes)
  • is low in sodium

I still have some leftover original freekeh, and I think I want to try it in a sweet breakfast recipe. Seems like it would be similar to steel cut oats! For more ideas, visit Freekeh Foods’ recipe page.

freekeh-giveaway

Now it’s time for the giveaway!

Complete as many of the following options as you wish to be entered to win your own bag of freekeh. Please leave a separate comment below for each entry. *US residents only*

  1. Tell me which flavor of freekeh you’d most like to try (original, tamari, or rosemary-sage).
  2. Follow @freekehfoods and @foodiecology_ on Twitter.
  3. Follow @freekehfoods and @cdmiele on Instagram.
  4. Follow Freekeh Foods and foodiecology on Facebook
  5. Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtags #LoveFreekeh and #Freekeh

Giveaway is open until next Monday, September 7. I will announce a winner Tuesday morning, September 8.

** I received 2 freekeh packages from Freekeh Foods free of charge in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

Fall “Bucket List”

I am completely over summer.

It’s been hellishly hot ALL summer long. We had a few cold snaps during our absurdly short spring, and then, BAAM! We were hit with ~90 degree temperatures in late May that haven’t let up since (well, last week we did have some pleasantly cooler mornings—which I savored).

Unless you’re a teacher or work for some gloriously progressive company with extended vacation hours (what would I give to be European?!!!!), an adult summer becomes like any other time of the year.

I know autumn doesn’t technically begin until September 23, but I more or less associate the beginning of fall with September (even though I will still be wearing sundresses, sandals, and such well into October here in balmy Alabama).

To put myself in a cheerful mood, I’m sharing my FALL BUCKET LIST with you all.

fall-bucket-list-15

Essentially, I want to enjoy ALL THINGS FALL.

Last year, Baby M was just a couple weeks old for Halloween, so we stayed in and simply dressed him in a pumpkin sleeper. He was also too young to enjoy Thanksgiving (he had turkey and cranberry infused breast milk, I suppose!), but this year he will certainly be eating table food. How exciting for him to join us at the table in his high chair (instead of his swing)!

We are so blessed and have so much to look forward to this upcoming holiday season.

  • Which do you prefer—summer or fall?
  • What’s something on your fall bucket list?

Firmoo Glasses Giveaway Winner

Good morning!

I’d intended to blog a little this past weekend, but errands and life got in the way. I have to say I’m not too upset about it.

This weekend feels like it flew by (but don’t they always?). We tried our darnedest to sleep late, but Baby M has started to wake a bit earlier. It’s hard to get mad when he sits up and giggles in the bed (after he wakes for a feeding, we always bring him back to our bed to sleep another couple hours).

Maybe it’s old age, but I can barely remember what we did this weekend. I guess Saturday we ran a few errands—ate a snoball, did some grocery shopping, and grilled hamburgers for dinner. Sunday we invited my parents over for dinner—red beans and rice!

It was ultimately a quiet weekend.

I’ll be back later this week—but I wanted to pop in real quick to share the winner of the Firmoo giveaway. Congratulations, Belinda! You will be emailed a voucher to apply toward your order.

Have a great week!

What I Ate (…While Staying Home With The Baby)

Happiest of Hump Days, my friends!

(Don’t forget to enter my Firmoo glasses giveaway from Monday!)

This weekend was a bit hectic. Baby M came down with a cold of some sort (yes, I blame daycare!), so very little sleep happened in these parts. He was super congested over the weekend, and Sunday he was running a mid-grade fever. Luckily, some TLC has helped, and after staying home with the little man Tuesday, he’s back in daycare today (fever-free for at least 24 hours, of course!).

Here is What I Ate Wednesday What We Ate Tuesday at home.

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

My Breakfast: Cinnamon roll (not the healthiest choice, but delicious) and fresh fruit…plus some (re-microwaved) coffee

breakfast1

Baby’s Breakfast: He nursed shortly after waking up and later had Plum, Berry & Barley purée with some oatmeal and melted coconut oil mixed in (I try to sneak extra fat in his meals when possible!). He wasn’t feeling it and just ate bit (might have been that dirty diaper I didn’t realize he had #badmom). He also ate a couple veggie straws and puffs (this is usually how we coax him into the high chair).

breakfast-2

After breakfast we went for a leisurely ~30 minute walk (close to a 1.5 miles). Baby M fell asleep in his stroller, so I let him take a (short, thanks to Iggy’s barking) nap. It got hot quickly, but I felt a lovely hint of autumn in those cool(ish) breezes. Gosh I can’t wait until Fall!

Snack: Once little man woke up, he nursed. I had a broken piece of cookie, a cheese stick (shared with Baby M and the dog), and plenty of water.

snacks

(Side note: I absolutely cannot believe I’ve been breastfeeding for over 10 months. I feel like the last time I did a breastfeeding WIAW or day-in-the-life post, I was talking about how difficult breastfeeding was and wondering if I’d ever reach my short-term goal of 1 month or my long-term goal of 6 months. Well, we stuck with it and I just know I’m going to miss this bonding I have with him. I’m aiming for a year—and don’t have the desire to go past that—but it’s all about what Baby M wants.)

In an effort to be productive, I started some laundry and played with Baby M before whipping up lunch (since a longer nap was not happening).

My Lunch: Leftover rotisserie chicken (from last night’s nachos) and leftover noodles (with butter, garlic and Parmesan) and green beans from Sunday night’s dinner. I had seconds on the noodles/green beans and a few of Baby M’s veggie straws (addicting).

my lunch

Baby’s Lunch: Some bites of chicken and parmesan, veggie straws, and the rest of his puree from this morning

baby's lunch

Afternoon Snack: A while after lunch (and after another short nap for the babe) I ate a chocolate chip cookie as well as a few crackers with hummus. The baby nursed a couple times. (Un-pictured)

vino

My Dinner: A glass of red wine (been waiting all day!) and pseudo fried rice…plus chocolate cake for dessert (from this weekend, we don’t always have cake on hand)

dinner

Baby’s Dinner: Some un-pictured mixed veggie puree, more shredded chicken, and a couple veggie straws. Followed by another breastfeed before bed.

Be sure to visit Sprint 2 The Table for today’s WIAW link-up party.

Firmoo Glasses Giveaway {Closed}

Just in case the Monday Blues have you feeling down, I’ve got a little something that should cheer you up!

firmoo-giveaway

Last February I reviewed a pair of stylish eyeglasses from Firmoo, and they’ve offered to give away a pair of their glasses to one of you!

If you’re not familiar, Firmoo is an online optical shop.

They have an impressive collection of fashionable frames, and receiving your own specs is as easy as uploading a headshot, virtually “trying on” different frames, choosing your favorite style, and entering your prescription onto their website.

I liked my original frames so much that I purchased a second pair of glasses. Both were extremely affordable—and, with daily wear in the evenings after work—they’ve held up nicely so far.

Now’s your chance to win a pair!

firmoo-1

Giveaway is open now until Sunday, August 30.

Winner will receive one pair of Firmoo glasses* with free shipping to the US only (sorry international readers!).

*includes: frames of choice from this collection and standard 1.50 single vision lenses (upgraded lenses and add-ons will be charged an extra fee)

Ways to enter:

  • (Mandatory) Visit Firmoo.com and leave a comment on this post with the link to the pair of frames you’d choose.
  • (Optional) Follow both @firmoo and @foodiecology_ on Twitter
  • (Optional) Tweet a link to this giveaway 
  • (Optional) Like both Firmoo and foodiecology on Facebook

For each optional entry, please leave an additional comment letting me know you’ve done so. I’ll randomly select a winner and announce it on the blog Monday, August 31.

**This giveaway is sponsored by Firmoo. However, I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

#1MillionMinutes: Wrap Up

Happy Friday! Hope you’re enjoying the evening.

Today wraps up the 1 Million Minutes Challenge with Fit Approach. Here’s a quick re-cap of the last 12 days.

1-million-minutes

  • Aug 10: lunchtime walk + cardio barre
  • Aug 11: lunchtime walk
  • Aug 12: lunchtime walk
  • Aug 13: lunchtime walk + part of my jump rope circuit
  • Aug 14: lunchtime walk
  • Aug 15: rest
  • Aug 16: rest
  • Aug 17: lunchtime walk + cardio barre
  • Aug 18: lunchtime walk 
  • Aug 19: lunchtime walk 
  • Aug 20: lunchtime walk
  • Aug 21: lunchtime walk 

Total since June 21 = 1,105 minutes (give or take)

I never wrote it out, but my goal was going to be 2,000 minutes—almost double what I actually did. Still, 1,000+ hours isn’t too shabby.

I’d hoped to get more into a real fitness routine since I had something to hold me accountable, but it’s just too difficult working full-time and caring for a little one.

When given the choice, I’d rather spend time cuddling with Baby M!

Have a great weekend. :-)

Women Bashing Other Women: My Thoughts On The Alpha Phi “Controversy”

I’m trying to pinpoint when it became acceptable—encouraged, even—to criticize other women.

To judge them for embracing their femininity. To reprimand and shame them for showing off their physical attributes in a manner we more modest types might never do ourselves. Or to discourage them from having light-hearted fun before they enter the “real world.”

I’m referring to the controversy surrounding the University of Alabama Alpha Phi sorority recruitment video that’s been circulating since last week.

alpha-phi

I’m not going to stand on my political soapbox regarding the “war on women,” but I think it’s safe to say that most women are tired of being told we have to act or behave a certain way in order to be taken seriously.

What I’m really here to talk about is the judgment from other women.

The most negative and vitriolic opinion piece I’ve read concerning the video has come from a woman (A.L. Bailey, who has since apologized).

In her words:

It’s all so racially and aesthetically homogeneous and forced, so hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives: College Edition. It’s all so … unempowering.

What gives?

Although I don’t like labels, I’d say, at my core, I’m a feminist. I am grateful for the women before me who have overcome obstacles—voting rights, sexual discrimination, the (lingering) pay gap, etc. I realize we’ve come a long way and that women are still treated as second-class citizens (at best) in other countries.

But I don’t think these achievements—and the efforts to gain greater equality and respect—mean we give up our femininity. Or that we have the right to tear apart women.

This may shock some people, but women can be (and are!) both intelligent/hard-working/philanthropic/creative/etc. and beautiful/charming/feminine/etc. The either-or dichotomy is foolish.

beauty-brains

I was a member of a women’s fraternity during college. We were a relatively new chapter, so we didn’t have much of a reputation when I joined.

We certainly didn’t walk to class in our bikinis or spend every hour together, holding hands and blowing kisses.

Glitter was reserved for art projects—making signs for campus events or decorating cards for the children we supported with our philanthropy.

We often held the highest cumulative GPA on campus—and now our alumnae have begun successful careers and are raising beautiful families.

But you know what? We had silly inside jokes. We learned etiquette from an advisor who loved beautiful things (she just recently passed—RIP <3). We attended Founders’ Day teas, dressed up in gowns for our annual formal, participated in other Panhellenic events, and enjoyed all of the less-serious but equally-important aspects of sisterhood.

The same aspects these young women in Alpha Phi were advertising in their YouTube video.

Although I respect my sorority’s commitment to education and philanthropy and “doing good,” many of the reasons I joined were social.

sisters

//via//

I wanted to belong to a diverse group of intelligent, caring, talented, funny, beautiful, and inspiring women with whom I quickly forged a common bond—a sisterhood. I wanted to go to parties and participate in campus life.

I have a sneaky suspicion that the thousands of girls who saw this recruitment video desired the same things.

If I have one genuine criticism for this Alpha Phi chapter, it would be a lack of diversity (there is some disappointing and questionable history at the University of Alabama regarding racism among Greek organizations). I agree the video presents a homogenous, “pretty white girl” image, yet I know there are more diverse organizations out there.

Alpha Phi ladies, keep doing what you’re doing. Nobody has the right to bash you relentlessly over the internet. You don’t owe anybody—man or woman—an apology, and you’re not any less intelligent or capable because you’re also beautiful and feminine. Continue showing the fun aspects of sisterhood to your potential new members, but do not sell yourselves short by failing to highlight your academic and philanthropic achievements.

bold

//via//

Fellow women, we should support one another. Donald Trump calling a woman a pig or insinuating Megyn Kelly’s assertiveness is due to her period is absolutely not the same as choosing to wear a bikini or makeup to enhance one’s appearance.

One is disrespect; the other is choice.

You can choose to join a sorority and choose to become a doctor. You can flirt and run a successful company. You can play dress up and defend your country.

There are many facets to womanhood—no double standards are necessary.

Thinking-Out-Loud

[linking up for thinking out loud]

Baby M: 10 Months

I’m serious this time—didn’t I just finish typing up Baby M’s 9 month update?!

Since I’m apparently living in a time warp, I’m sharing his 10 month update today.

Let’s do this letter style.

10-months

Dearest Bazooka,

Stop. Just stop it! You’re growing up entirely too fast. You’re hardly a baby anymore, looking more and more “little boy” each day.

You’ve gone through a lot of changes lately.

For starters, you now attend daycare!

Maybe I’m naïve or just hopeful, but I wasn’t too terribly worried about you handling this new adventure. You’ve never met a stranger (although we’re not to the “stranger danger” age yet), you’re easy-going (mostly), and you’re always begging to learn and experience new things. I knew daycare would be a positive thing for you.

And, so far, it is. You didn’t cry when Mommy and Daddy dropped you off that first Monday. You ate well, you had a little trouble napping on your own (we expected this—you’ve been held in our arms since your first nap 10 months ago!), but you fit right in.

As the days progressed, things got a little tougher. That first Friday you cried, and you did so pretty much every day the second week. But you’re doing well. We think you might associate one of your teachers with your Mommy, which is why you cling to her and refuse bottles when she offers. But you do great with your other teacher!

photo 5-5

So, back at home, you’re exploring EVERY thing. You speed crawl—always lunging for Iggy’s water bowl or our flip-flops. You pull up to stand with much more ease than last month, and you’ve even taken a few steps with your walker! I have a feeling we’ll be talking about your first real steps before your first birthday. Not that I’m rushing it!

You’re still a little wiggle worm at diaper changes, and I’m terrified you’re going to jump off the table. You absolutely love baths now, though. Hallelujah! You splash around, play with your toys, and stand up a little too frequently for my comfort. I’m just glad you no longer shriek in terror.

You continue eating well. You nurse in the morning before daycare, have 2-3 bottles (plus pureed food, puffs, veggie straws, etc.) during the day, and you nurse 1-2 times in the evening, plus dinner. We’re working on training you to drink from a sippy cup, but so far, you just want play with them.

You love to sample bites of our food—hamburger, potatoes, frittata, green beans, etc. I think I said it last month, but you’re ready for more solid meals and self-feeding. Mommy and Daddy just need to tackle some meal prep!

photo 1-37

Sleep. Oh—thank goodness we’re in a good phase the last few days. During most of July, you must’ve been going through a mental leap or sleep regression. Your bedtime wasn’t consistent, you didn’t want to go down into your crib, and you woke very early in the night, spending most of the time in our bed. We love having you, but we need our space and rest! 

Whether it was being tired from daycare or having more quiet in the house after your grandparents went home (what a life-saver they were, watching you while we sorted out your arrangement!), you’re back to sleeping through the night, most of the time.

Some other things: you’re still not saying “da-da” or “ma-ma,” but your babbling is starting to sound more word-like. You’re vocal, to say the least! You seem to understand simple commands and love “singing” to music.

You don’t really use Sophie the Giraffe or your wubbanubs too often, but you love playing with your wooden blocks (they were Mommy’s when she was a baby!), musical train, and other toys. Oh, and doors! You’re still mildly obsessed with opening/shutting them—and you’ve even briefly shut Mommy and Daddy out of the room a few times! You’ve also scooted the end table against the wall and tried to grab bottles of wine from our rack. It might be time to put those in the cupboard!

photo 2-35

And how could I forget? You still adore big brother, Iggy. You try to play “fetch” with him, and you like receiving his slobbery kisses a little too much. Oh well…we pick our battles, right?

You’re even getting a new tooth! Your left bottom incisor is breaking through, which means your right one should soon follow. Every so often you grind your teeth, and we hope it’s just due to teething.

Later this month, we have to take you to the GI doctor. Everything is fine, but your pediatrician is still concerned with your weight gain—even though he assures us you are healthy and developing well. It’s just a precautionary measure, since all of your blood work and stool testing came back normal. Petite or not—we think know you’re perfect!

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again—you’re growing up so fast! I can’t believe we’ll be planning your 1st birthday party in the upcoming weeks. You’re our heart and soul, and every day I look at you and ponder the joy you bring into our lives.

Till next month, sweet bazooka-man. Happy 10 months!

If you’re catching up, you can find Baby M’s other monthly updates on my Baby page.

Weekly Links 08.16.15

Hello!

This weekend went by way too quickly. Yesterday we had lunch, ran a few errands, and went to see a community theater’s production of “Avenue Q” while some friends watched the baby. The play was hilarious, and the singing was pretty good!

Today was spent grocery shopping, chasing after our speed-crawling baby, and resting after getting home late (for us) last night.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this past week.

weekly links header

.Recipes.

Pineapple Lentil Salad // The Almond Eater

This looks so refreshing for summer!

Smoky Grilled Chicken Flatbreads With Creamy Feta // How Sweet It Is

She had me at “creamy feta spread.” I love meals like this.

Slow-Roasted Golden Tomato Bruschetta // Bev Cooks

Love this take on a traditional favorite!

Greek Pizza // Cookie + Kate

Pizza is always a winner.

Soft And Chewy Chocolate Brownie Protein Bars // Running With Spoons

I’m glad I stocked up on dates again so I can make more bars/balls. Particularly ones like these.

.Health & Body.

Body Report Cards Aren’t Influencing Arkansas Teenagers // The New York Times

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I absolutely think here’s a place in schools for teaching physical fitness (remember when we took P.E. every year?!), nutrition, and general health—in fact, it’s extremely important, since many children live in food deserts, don’t get enough physical activity, or lack proper role models. However, I think this is a very slippery slope into body shaming. BMI is just one factor in determining health (did you know that most body builders are “overweight” by BMI standards?) and children and adolescents are already under so much pressure to fit in physically. Is this just one more way to cause self-esteem issues? I think that most children who are vastly overweight are aware of it—and so are their parents. The underlying issue is not awareness of one’s size—it’s figuring out why the child/teenager may not be getting the nutrition, exercise, attention, etc. he or she needs. It’s also educating why eating well and being active is important in the first place.

Life Is Too Short To Diet // Nia Shanks – Lift Like A Girl

Yes! We owe it to ourselves to treat our bodies well (if we want to live a long life), but it’s just not worth obsessing over the minutia (eating 100% clean, fitting in 5 workouts a week, etc.). Empower yourself!

Stop Waiting To Love Your Body // The Domestikated Life

Excellent post! Why don’t we just enjoy and respect our bodies for what they allow us to do? I guarantee, when I’m (hopefully) 90 and reflecting on my life, I will remember and cherish running my first race, feeling ocean waves crashing around me, birthing and nursing my beautiful son, getting my first full body massage, and many, many other things rather than how good I looked in a swimsuit.

.Fitness.

The Introvert’s Guide to Fitness Instruction // Erin’s Inside Job

Not that I have plans of becoming a fitness instructor, but I’ve often wondered how somebody like me—a quintessential introvert—does it!

Stability Ball Strength Workout // The Fitnessista

I have a stability ball that I used for like an hour during labor, and it’s just collecting dust these days. I think I’ll put it to use with this workout.

.Marriage & Parenting.

10 Things I Learned After 1,000 Days of Parenting // Haven Life Blog

Very good advice! Thankfully, some of it I’m learning well before 1,000 days.

Roen’s Birth Story // It’s Progression

I’ve only been reading Danica’s blog for a short while, but wow! I’ve read and re-read her birth story, and each time, I have tears in my eyes. What an amazing, terrifying, yet beautiful experience, and thank goodness they’re all safe, healthy, and celebrating their happy ending.

Most Parenting Advice Is Worthless. So Here’s Some Parenting Advice // Vox

More good advice.

.Life Lessons.

The Way You Do One Thing Is The Way You Do Everything // Carla Birnberg

I think there’s *something* to this statement, but I agree with Carla’s conclusion. Just because I keep a messy closet, it doesn’t mean my work life, parenting, etc. is messy. I just choose to focus my efforts where they count.

Living With Intention // A Healthy Slice of Life

I’ve been thinking along these lines lately, too. At 31, still without a real “career,” and just beginning my life as a parent, I am astounded at how quickly my life has passed my eyes. I’m trying to focus on the little things—especially as Baby M is approaching his first birthday. Wasn’t I just starting college?…getting married?…finding out I was pregnant?… Jeez.