I Hold Too Tight: Five Minute Friday


Photo Credit: Natesh Ramasamy via Compfight cc

I spent so much of my life holding on so tight, to things and people. Not necessarily in a loving or appreciative way but in a strange, possessive way. Because I worried that there wouldn’t be enough. Whether it was money, time or love I was worried that there just wouldn’t be enough to go around. Three kids later I hold onto things a bit more loosely. (Though I’m challenged by that daily as my four year old destroys something else that once felt important to me, and I’m forced to remind myself that it is just stuff).

People are more important than things, I tell my daughter. (Also, that’s why you can’t beat your brother up when he crumples your drawing or messes up your stuff, as angry as it makes you.) My husband is a bit of a pack rat, he associates things with people and he is fiercely loyal to people. When I want to give something away or god forbid, throw it out, he has trouble letting go.

Maybe it’s the phase of life that I’m in. I’m constantly drowning in stuff and mess, so the idea of owning less and loving what I own is appealing. But people are more complicated. I’m having to be more deliberate and intentional about keeping up with people close to me. This isn’t always easy either, when I’m desperate to be alone most of the time. Making new friends is hard, and maintaining old friendship can be nearly as difficult, especially over distance. (I’m also married to a massive introvert for whom it takes great effort to agree to anything social after a long day/week at the office). It often feels like this time of life filled with little people who can or won’t do much for themselves, is destined to be a lonely one. I worry that I’ll find myself on the other side of fifty trying to start from scratch like I’m in high school again. (I wasn’t great at making friends then either).

I can’t go through life worried about what I might lose. Yes, it has hurt, the friends I have lost over the years. But the friendships I never gave a chance hurt too. Where I was too afraid, or too busy and I never really put myself out there. Because if I hold too tight to what I know, to what I have; I’ll miss out on too much.


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Fit2B Beginning (Again): Week 5


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I was hoping to be more consistent by now, but truthfully, I’m just barely getting through my workouts right now. (If I don’t quickly get my act together there is no way I’ll be able to review Week 6 next week). It’s not just a matter of building strength, it’s finding time. Because in my head, prioritizing exercise is the right thing to do. But the reality is that the urgent things in my life (baby that needs to nurse or nap, children that won’t stop whining or fighting until they are fed, bills to pay, laundry to do, etc) always seem to get in the way.

Thigh Workout II

It has been a long time since I’ve done this one. Last tried when I was in my third trimester, I didn’t have enough muscle control and flexibility to do the “Thigh Thing.” But now I can, while still keeping my core steady. It’s very encouraging. Yes, it is a tough workout, but not insurmountable if you’ve made it this far.

Plain Ol’ Pilates

While I definitely didn’t find it as relaxing or enjoyable as one of the Pilates in Pajamas routines; this is a good, solid Piilates workout. It reminded me of some of my favorite pre-Fit2B routines.
Kelly’s Total Body Toning

Ah, it’s good to see you again old friend. This is still one of my all time favorite workouts on Fit2B, because in less than half an hour, you get a full body workout with constant core reminders. I was pleasantly surprised how well I was able to engage and squeeze my core almost every time Kelly reminded me too. Yes, my lower back and shoulder blades were a little sore from some compensation, but when I put my hand on my stomach I felt my belly button pull inward almost every time. This is huge. My separation may not be shrinking the way I’d like and my stomach may not look any smaller, but here is an encouraging sign of growing strength. The arm routine section especially taxed my muscles, but sometimes it feels good to know you still have muscles places that feel so jiggly.
Tummysafe Gentle Blend

This is a gentle workout, but don’t confuse gentle with easy. Whenever I come back to this, I’m always struck by how physically demanding it is, while also being slow, steady and gentle. I had to workout, especially the side leg series, but it felt good to move for a longer period of time as well. Getting in longer workouts is so difficult, but it’s also something I know I need to do to grow my strength and endurance.
Daily Double

Totally Transverse

Basic Step Aerobics

Since my DR has not been making the progress I’d like, I was happy to see Totally Transverse back in the schedule. Plus, I’ve been looking forward to doing step aerobics again. I really like Basic Step and I was able to pick up most of the combinations fairly easily, except for the turns at the end, which really through me. (I’ve always found mirroring turns hard). I’ll definitely be coming back to this one. Once you’ve grown stronger, you might even be able to add some light weights to this, for an upper body challenge.


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I Would Like . . . to Be a Living Sacrifice, Not a Burnt Offering: Five Minute Friday

“I would like . . I would like a trip to Europe”

My husband often quotes this clip. (Please ignore the cartoon gun violence in the clip.) So whenever he asks me what I want, this is what I imagine in my head.

Because as a mom, rarely does anyone ask me what I want. I kind of knew and expected this. Motherhood is a thankless job and materially I have more than many if not most in the world. But at the same time, needs are a real thing. As moms we can’t just keep putting every need, desire and passion on the back burner (especially when it comes to our marriages) until the kids are eighteen. Plus, we don’t ever really stop needing our moms; just ask mine.

After every ill-fated attempt to have a conversation while our children are still conscious, I look at my husband and say “So I’ll see you in 10-15 years.” It makes it sound like a prison sentence and a great way to ruin a marriage. One of the great things I got out of the book His Needs, Her Needs was that it’s OK to have them; needs that is. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a weak person. Some people have an innate need for the company and conversation of others and a lot of it. Those people are often called extroverts. Others require time alone to recharge, (the amount of time and level of quiet required for this varies depending on the person). Those of us who function like this are sometimes called introverts. (Just to clarify, being introverted and quiet or shy don’t necessarily go together. They certainly don’t in my case).

We are called to serve our families, but that doesn’t mean that we become martyrs or worse, burnt offerings. Last winter I got to hear fitness instructor and owner of fitness site Fit2B Studio, Beth Learn speak. One thing she said stood out.

“We are called to be living sacrifices, not burnt offerings.”

Now she was specifically addressing women meeting the needs of our physical bodies; that pregnancy and childbirth were never meant to break us forever and keep us from living our lives and serving God and our families. It’s OK to prioritize your physical need for exercise, rehabilitation or recovery. That’s not being selfish. It’s enabling and empowering you to move forward with what God has called you to do, strong and whole. In Jesus, we have been released from that curse.

But I was thinking more in terms of other needs and even *gasp* the occasional want. Because if a quiet moment to collect my thoughts, reading a good book or time spent alone with my husband (whether conversational or romantic in nature) makes me a better wife and a better mom, enabling and empowering me to serve my family, then it is a good and important thing.

I’m not talking about indulging ourselves as a point of selfishness or to the point of completely neglecting our families. I’m saying that we are called to live for our families, not necessarily to die for them, and certainly not to slowly kill ourselves for them. God made us to have needs and desires. Yes, desires, which sounds (and looks) and awful lot like wants sometimes. Want isn’t necessarily a dirty word.

Psalm 37: 3-5 (NASB)
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

(Sorry, this went on much longer than five minutes. Apparently I felt more passionate about this topic than I thought.)


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Fit2B Beginning (Again): Week 4


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It’s been a tough week around here. Naps have been scarce, but I tried my best to fit workout in wherever I could.  I realized that if I used proper form, taking clothes from the front loading washer and putting them into the dryer is a great bonus squat routine. I can do belly pulses at a red light. Even belly breaths while rocking a fussy baby is something.

Basic Aerobics IV

I haven’t done this workout since I was pregnant, and it felt so hard then. I tried it with weights for the first time (which had been too difficult for me last time I did it) and it was difficult at times. I tried to focus on my core more than building muscles in my arms. But this is still a great all around workout. If you want something whole body, but don’t have time for something the length of Kelly’s Total Body workout, this is a great choice.
Hold It!

Neither cardio nor relaxing, it’s hard to classify this work out for you. If anything it forces you to focus on engaging your core in various postures with various levels of balance. While not a favorite of mine, it’s definitely worth trying now and again, if only to see how you’ve grown stronger since the last time.
Pilates in Pajamas

This was the first workout I attempted after a bit a break and it was a great way back in. It definitely has a relaxing component but still gets the body moving. I felt it especially helpful on my leg muscles, which in my case, is an area that needs some rejuvenation.
Daily Double

Vertical Core Workout


I was pleasantly surprised with this combination. Vertical Core isn’t one of my favorites, but it’s still a solid and short option to put a quick core focus into your workout. I’ve always loved Balanced and I remember it being fairly difficult on my upper body. But I actually really enjoyed it. I haven’t lost as much balance as I thought. I was only using three pound weights, but I was able to do the entire workout without any unplanned rests, though I need have to be very intentional about engaging my core. This workout has a nice combination of upper and lower body without being too challenging. I’ll definitely be putting it back in my regular rotation and increasing the weight as I’m able to.
Bonus cardio for 25-30 minutes on two additional days

For this week’s bonus cardio I tried new-to-me routines

Defining Deltoids

I really liked this workout. It’s always nice to see another solid upper body workout with weights for the times when I get bored with Ultimate Upper Body or Insane Upper Body. Plus this is labeled an Easy workout, which means I can still do some weights which I focus on healing my core. That being said, the length makes it a bit prohibitive to do this regularly in my workout rotation. If I’m going to find 30 uninterrupted minutes for exercise (which rarely happens around here) I feel as though I should be working my whole body, not just my arms. That being said I liked it enough that I’ll probably try it again, even if I don’t do the whole routine every time.

Squat Challenge

First time with this workout, and it was really helpful to me. I felt like I do squats pretty well, but this workout helped me fine tune a few aspects of my squat form that needed a bit of correcting. I didn’t think it seemed too hard, until I went down my basement stairs afterwards. Wow, serious wobble in those leg muscles and a core working hard to keep me balanced. While I wouldn’t say it was one of the most fun workouts I’ve done, I definitely need to do this one again.

As the workouts start getting longer, this is getting more difficult. Even if it take me two works to complete a one week rotation of workouts, at least I’m moving forward. Onward to Week 5!

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Haven Homes and Hearts: Five Minute Friday


I have always wanted my home to be a haven, a place of comfort and safety. But in the seasons of littles with not so little messes and not so quiet voices, our house feels like anything but. We’ve never been travelers, but this year has been and is going to be a big one for us. At best, we manage a single trip to visit my husband’s family just before Christmas and some years, if we’re very lucky a week at the beach with my extended family. But this year we planned four weekend trips, possibly more. No where particularly exciting or exotic. Just reconnecting with old friends and family. Because sometimes someone else’s home can be a haven.

The children play together with delight in new or infrequent playmates. The grownups have conversations with fewer interruptions than usual. Long time friendships are renewed, and family ties rekindled. Because to step away from the daily stresses that even the literal walls of the house represent, even if only for a little while can be restful. Having something to look forward too on the calendar, even if it means 3 plus hours with three kids in the car.

It can be so hard to maintain old friendships and build new ones when your children are small. The occasional park playdate with a harried conversation between preventing falls on the jungle gym or pushing babies on the swings. But actual adults, both my husband and I, having a conversation with another couple? This rarely happens. Because life gets busy, and hard and it feels like too much work to plan ahead. (Because spontaneous weekends away all but go out the window when leaving the house take more effort than planning a royal wedding). But the payoff of investing in each other (which is really just a fancy word for caring) and reconnecting, makes the hard work worth it.


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Fit2B Beginning (Again): Week 3


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Before I begin the review of this week’s routines, here is a quick update on my stats. I have lost some weight, which is not entirely my goal, but a good bonus. I’m almost halfway to my goal weight. Unfortunately, my busyness of our home lately is causing problems with my diet. I’m not eating enough at the preferred times of the foods that I know will power me to healing. (Though I have started Great Lakes Gelatin in my morning coffee, which is supposed to help with fascia healing).

Strength and balance wise, I am seeing some improvement, but it is very subjective so therefore hard to measure. I don’t feel as though I look any different and there is a reason. While I previously saw some healing of my abdominal separation, my DR now measures the same or possibly a little WORSE than it was six weeks after my son was born! Obviously this is very discouraging, but also helps explain why my middle doesn’t look any smaller. I may start trying to splint again at night, since the baby has finally stopped waking up repeatedly to nurse (I previously stopped night splinting because he kept getting scratched by the velcro) and the high daytime temps around here make daytime splinting horribly unpleasant.
It seems like I’ve splinted a lot in the last year; enough that virtually every splint in my house is destroyed. So I’m torn about purchasing yet another splint, but also beginning to question what I’m doing it wrong. But I’m not willing to stop and do nothing, so I’m attempting to incorporate core engagement (and my exercises from The Tummy Team) as much as possible throughout my day and keep on track with my Fit2B exercise.
Kitchen Moves

While this workout is more instructional, it is still a good one. Learning to do little exercises throughout the day is sometimes the only way to make sure you can fit it in. I know that I spent way too much of my day in the kitchen, so I might as well try to exercise while I’m there.
Basic Aerobics III

Don’t I get sick of this workout? Nope. I like that it isn’t super difficult, since I’m still healing my abdominal separation, and that it isn’t very long, since anything much longer than 15 or 20 minutes is difficult for me to accomplish with my crazy little ones running around. There are dozens of harder and longer workouts available but I keep coming back to this one anyway. It’s that good.
Ultimate Upper Body

Wow, my arms really felt this workout. I had forgotten how much strength I lost during the last few months, but I know if I keep it up, this workout is a good one to help me get my strength back. It’s also good if you need to be sitting for one reason or another. (I liked it during pregnancy for this reason).
Wood Floor Workout

This is only the second time I’ve done this workout and my first time when not pregnant. It was better than I remember. It definitely got my heart rate up a bit, but it also had a relaxing quality to the movement. Just watch your balance!

Baby Lift

Holy cow, this is a work out. My baby is about 17 or 18 lbs and it was quite challenging. That being said, my little guy loved it. I has to be extra careful to engage my core and I definitely felt some straining in my upper back, which I know is weak right now.(I also had to take quick breather half way through).


It can be discouraging when we don’t see the progress we want, but I try to remember what I heard Beth Learn say once. She said that just because we can’t measure progress doesn’t mean there isn’t healing and improvement going on; only that the technology has not yet been invented to properly track what is going on in your body. She pointed out that it used to be believed that ligaments and fascia didn’t heal, but we are now discovering that with enough time and work, they can. Patience with my body is not a strong point of mine. So if you feel like I do, don’t give up hope. Our bodies can be made whole again, even if it doesn’t feel likely right now.
(For more on this topic, check out Beth Learn’s new blog series, The Unclosed Core),

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