Brief Reflections on the Year Ahead…a Little Late, which is A-Okay

Hello friends! January is already over and I am really late to the party on making resolutions. Last year, I had a pretty kick a$$ list. My therapist even said so.  🙂 Thank you very much.

This year, I am boiling it down to the most essential ingredients. My 2018 is all about intentionality and mindfulness. What does this mean exactly? Well, in everything that I plan to do from day-to-day I want to do it with intention and awareness. As parents of two highly energetic young children (10 and 5, one who is a competitive gymnast and the other who keeps us on our toes, literally), my husband and I were talking about how to make life less hectic. Y’all it comes down to this rubric. If you cannot answer whether you want to do something with a “Heck Yes!” then make it a “No.” There are too many times where many of us spread ourselves too thin. Come on. I know that you have been there. You might even be my neighbor on the street, “Do More Avenue”, for crying out loud.

One of my resolutions last year was to incorporate a mindfulness practice. I am happy to say that I am pretty proud of my efforts here. What has really helped is that I track this on my smartphone. Woo hoo! How cool is that! There are many phone apps for this kind of thing and I like the one called, Strides. What I absolutely love about mindfulness, besides all of the cool, empirical, neuro-based science and how it literally rewires one’s brain (more on that in a future post), is that it truly helps us find the pause between our thoughts and our actions.  I am a huge fan of this on a personal and professional level because there are lots of chances to practice this. Am I right?

I decided to write a blog and call it Body Appreciation and Self- Kindness because I believe that all balance and wellness starts with ourselves.  I would like to share a super eye-opening, messy moment that illuminated my need to be intentional about self-care as a habit.

In the fall, I had a very busy day doing the usual, (prepping for my clients the next day, cramming all I could in before picking the kids up, driving them all over God’s gorgeous green earth, picking up grocery items, making dinner for a 5 year-old who wasn’t really too interested in eating dinner, etc.) and when my husband came home, I broke down into a pile of tears and told him I was going to Body Pump.  Say What? Yep! This is the class that I have not attended since our DINK (Double Income No Kid) days. I told my husband I just had to go. Now. In case you’re wondering, this is no way to welcome your spouse home. He was pretty sweet about the whole thing and didn’t balk one bit about my plan to jump ship… I mean go take a much needed self-care moment. I ended up not getting to go the class because I would have been late and this class fills up quickly. However, this moment, among many, served as a huge sign of “Take care of yourself” and that everyone, aside from you, truly deserves the best version of you. So as a small start, on the weekends, my husband and I make our exercise like breathing air. It is absolutely sacred and we have learned the hard way not to compromise these basic wellness strategies.We both need to get it done and take turns so we can tackle the many tasks of parenthood and run a household without losing our patience.

How is your 2018 shaping up so far? What kinds of resolutions have you made? I would love to hear about any wake-up call moments that motivated you to make an important change. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.

With Kindness,

 

Kerry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Time with Kids is the Key

As my husband and I have started to learn more about connecting with our children, we have been getting down to basics thanks to our own family therapy support. It sounds so simple, but since it had not been part of our daily life, we have had to work at it. What is special time? It is quality time spent with one’s child that is 100% led by the child. No questions, no commands, no directions, or re-directs are allowed. That means no “How about we…or  Let’s do…”  In our adult-centric world, children thrive and need a sense of control over at least some part of their world. If you think about it, children are being told what to do all.day.long. It starts in the morning when they are getting ready to head to school. It continues with all of their school administrators, and then it continues again with coaches, parents, and any other adult who “is in charge” at the time, and then it happens more at bedtime.The benefits of special time for the child are numerous and include “feeling more settled, less stressed, and more confident and connected” (Simperingham, 2013).

What does special time look like? For my daughter, it may be coloring, doing a craft, playing UNO, our favorite Bananagrams, Headsup, or any other game/activity. For my son, it can be cooking/baking, doing a puzzle, building Legos, playing trains, etc.

One day, my dear son, the self-proclaimed chocoholic, just like his mother and father, was insistent that I take him to his favorite grocery shop for chocolate covered pretzels. We were on the verge of a true meltdown. I felt his pain. Sometimes I literally could have had a meltdown about not having chocolate. The struggle IS real, y’all!  I like a good chocolate fix like the next person.  However, I was not going to make a special trip just to get chocolate covered pretzels because 1) he had just gone with his father this weekend and they had blown through their supply, 2) it was out of the way, 3) and it was expensive. So since we both love chocolate and needed an activity to do together, he decided that we would make our own chocolate covered pretzels.

DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Melt half a bag of chocolate chips (the darker the better 🙂 and 1 T of butter (helps make the chocolate shiny) in a bowl. Dip the pretzels or paint the pretzels with a spatula. For the sticks, I dipped my spatula in the chocolatey goodness and twirled it to get an awesome coating on the pretzels. You can leave them plain or jazz them up with caramel sauce, sprinkles of toffee bar or any other topping like round sprinkles. The topping possibilities are endless. Place them on a cookie sheet to harden in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pretzels        Toppings        Final product

We had so much fun making our own as you can see. They didn’t last long, but the memories of making them will last a lifetime. This activity was such a good reminder that kids need special time with their parents and parents need it just as much. Enjoy. You will wish you made more. Trust me. There weren’t any when I got home from work. 🙁 It is okay because they are easy to make.

What activities do you like to do with your child? How do you like to slow down and truly be there with your child? Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindly Yours,

 

Kerry (your friendly chocoholic)

References

Simperingham,G. (2013). The benefits of spending quality one on one time with your child. Retrieved

          from http://www.peacefulparent.com/quality-one-on-one-time-with-your-child-fills-their-emotional-cup/