Let the Kids Join In: Checking Out Fit2B Kids

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I’ve been a member of Fit2B Studio for five years. During that time I’ve explored the site for all it’s worth and Beth Learn and her team have been growing faster than I can keep up with. I love discovering new routines and returning to old favorites. But the one area I’ve barely made use of it the kids workouts! My children are 8, 5 and 2. My five year old just started occupational therapy and vision therapy and one of the therapists mentioned that he has very poor core strength. (Which makes complete sense given that he constantly falls out of chairs and has trouble sitting still). She suggested that they could add a little bit of yoga to his therapy to help promote better core strength and awareness. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to review the Fit2B Kids routines.

 

I’m trying to get in four routines a week with my kids. Sometimes we’ll target my 5 year old son, others time the focus will be on my 8 year old daughter. While they do get gym class at our homeschool co-op, I also like to think that doing this makes an additional dent in our phys-ed requirements.

 

To be honest, prior to this I was a little bit resistant to letting my kids do videos on Fit2B. Because mostly I’m a fan of outdoor exercise for kids. I want my kids to run around, climb trees and generally be kids. That being said, sometimes it rains, or snows or is too hot or cold to go out. (Or at least my kids think it is). I want my rambunctious five year old to learn what gentle and sustained movement lots like. I want to start helping my daughter learn how to control her limbs before her body begins to change and she feels completely out of control. I also want to set a good example for my kids. When they seem me working out, they want to do it too.

 

I want them to see that sometimes exercise can be a video on Fit2B, but other times it can be carrying baskets of laundry, or raking leaves. I may even track down some of the Beth in Real Life videos of her outside being active with her kids. Because that’s really what it’s all about, helping our kids be strong and healthy enough to do life the lives they want.

 

(This is also a great place to mention that soon you’ll be seeing info about the upcoming Fit2B Girls course! My daughter is on the younger end of the age spectrum it targets, but I’m still excited to go through it with her. )

 

Check out the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2017 which includes Walking as a Workout e-course by Beth Learn!

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Or use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off
an annual membership at Fit2B Studio

Join Fit2b.us

 

 

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How to Hate Your Life in 3 Easy Steps

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Here are three great ways to ruin your life.

 

1. Expect perfection of yourself and everyone else.

Make sure that you settle for nothing less than perfection. Make sure everyone knows this about you. Demand others follow you example.

 

 

2. When you don’t achieve perfection, be immediately disappointed and allow it to color even the good experiences in your life.

If some thing is nice, but not up to your standards, make sure you focus on the flaws and allow them to entirely overshadow any success you may have achieved. When looking back on past events, only focus on the things that didn’t go well and entirely forget any positive aspects.

 

 

3. Keep always looking forward to the next thing. Hang all of your hopes on what is to come and tell yourself “My life will be finally have meaning if I can just get to _____”

Never engage and live in the moment. Always stay one step ahead, planning for the next thing. If you have time to stop and enjoy yourself, you obviously have too much free time and need another project to tackle.

 

 

Yes, I meant this to be sarcastic. But I also wanted to highlight some things that I’ve struggled with. Having high standards isn’t inherently bad. But it can keep us from being able to see the success we’ve had, even within our failures. If we are always looking forward to the next thing it can cause us to miss out on where we are right now.

 

 

For a few years when my older two children were tiny I literally lived for the weekend. Each day was a count down to nap time and bed time. I realize that is pretty typical of stay at home parenting. But for me it was almost pathological. I would text my husband dozens of times throughout the day in desperation, wondering how I was going to cope. I didn’t think I was depressed but I knew I wasn’t happy. When my son was around 18 months old, he was finally a healthy weight and I was finally free of the nurse, pump, repeat cycle. Finally, I could just feed him and not obsess over how many calories were in every bite. But my husband commented that I didn’t seem very happy. I thought, well so what. Life isn’t about always being happy. But I wasn’t enjoying my life either.

 

 

So I went to counseling for a while, and my counselor and I concluded that I needed time to invest in something mentally stimulating that fed my creative side. For a while, that looked like regular nights at Panera to focus on my writing. During a very stressful week if all I did was read a good book (preferably fiction) that was Ok too.

 

 

Hubby walked in after work and I walked out, not to return until after the children were in bed. That was the key. At first it was difficult to concentrate. Some nights it seemed like more work to go than to just say home and deal with stuff that needed to be done. The key was that it be as regular as possible so it was something I could count on. But also have low expectations of the time. The goal was enjoyment not necessarily efficiency.

 

 

We are again approaching a season where I could use a regular night off. Not sure yet how I’m going to manage it, but I feel the bone weary, soul tired exhaustion that lets me know I need to find an outlet soon. I’m someone who generally has high standards, though I’m not usually a perfectionist. Yet I always tend to look at what could make something better. When looking forward, this allows me to continue learning and growing. But when looking back it can rob me of the ability to rejoice in my victories and leave me feeling perpetually inadequate.

 

 

Find a way to enjoy at least some things about your life as it is, even as you plan for a time when it will hopefully be better. Some struggles, like a baby who doesn’t sleep, will be temporary. Others may be long term difficulties, but even within those situations we must find a way to engage and be thankful. It’s Ok to look forward to the next big thing, but if we don’t learn to appreciate our lives now, we’ll always be chasing newer, better, different and wish away our lives.

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photos courtesy of Kaboompics

 

 

It Can Look Like Coffee: Five Minute Friday

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photo courtesy of Kaboompics

 

It had been a rough week, a rough month if I was being honest. I had been running on adrenaline, procrastination and survival mode for long enough and I was almost out of juice. I hit a wall. A wall that looked like PMS plus a two day headache and a daughter who decided to die on the hill of not doing her school work, while all I could think of was all the writing and blogging I needed to be doing.

 

I could feel myself sinking fast and I wanted to run and hide but there was no where to go. I felt pathetic reaching out to friends, especially when lately it seems most of the people in my life have even bigger problems than I do.  That day support looked like a friend stopping by with a vanilla latte, even though she wasn’t sure what kind of coffee I like and then chatting for an hour. It looked like another friend affirming my decision to quit something. (I firmly hate quitting things and doing so, ever, is a long term struggle of mine).

 

The problems are not gone, the impasses far from solved. But I don’t feel quite so alone anymore. That friend who brought the latte is recovering from PTSD, but she was having a good day. The other friend is currently without a job and scraping by on unemployment. Even when we are dealing with our own stuff, we can still support others. It doesn’t always have to be formal, sometimes it’s as a simple as saying “I know you feel alone, but you aren’t. I know it sucks right now, but it won’t always be this way.”

 

If you are having one of those days that is eating you alive, I wish I could bring you a cup of coffee and a brownie. But since I can’t I’ll just say this.

 

You aren’t alone in feeling the way you do. I know it’s hard right now, but it won’t always be like this. I know what it’s like to feel like you can barely keep your head above water. It can get better.

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How’s the Weather Where You Are?

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I recently texted a friend with these words in moment of desperation with a particular situation in my life.

“I feel like I’m watching a storm roll in. I can see it coming, I know there is nothing I can do to stop it, and I wonder if this will be the one that takes me out for good.”

 

Some of us are experiencing an emotional and spiritual hurricane season. (If you live in an area of LITERAL hurricane season you are in my prayers). We know the atmosphere and the weather patterns. We can feel a shift in the air even before we see the dark clouds. Then we see the swirling storm on the horizon and the feeling of powerlessness comes. There is nothing we can do to stop the storm except batten down the hatches and wait.

Sometimes it just all feels like too much and we wonder if we can weather another storm. There are two pieces of truth that I have been clinging to.

 

“And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:28

 

This is the theme verse for our church’s kids program this year, but every time I hear it, I’m reminded that it applies to me too. The storms will come. It is part of life. How we weather them is based on how strong our foundation is. If we build our lives on the rock, the rains and winds may come, but we will withstand it.

 

“The disciples went and woke him, saying,
‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another,
‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.’  “
Luke 8: 24-25

 

I also need to remember that I serve the one who makes the wind and waves obey. I am, in fact, powerless, but He is all powerful. Sometimes in my fear and frustration, all I can see is the storm. But I forget that I am not standing alone in it.

 

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We Were Meant to Work: Five Minute Friday

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photo courtesy of Kaboompics

 

I usually think of work as a synonym for hard or drudgery. But that isn’t really fair. Last Sunday our pastor reminded us that even before the fall, humans had work to do. Even in paradise, we were being challenged and had to expend effort. He believes that heaven will also contain the ability to continue to grow, develop and work.

 

Often, if I’m honest, I don’t want to work. I want things to come more easily.  I want the words to flow more easily, the children to play happily, the chores and daily routine to go smoothly (if chores must be done at all).  But that is rarely how things go.

 

Yet, i want to teach my kids that hard work is worthwhile. I don’t want them to look for the easy way out or the shortcut. Most of the best things in life will require work. My marriage doesn’t thrive on happy thoughts, nor does my house hold run on wishes. Sometimes, you just have to accept that hard isn’t bad. It’s just the nature of our world. In fact, things that come easily are often undervalued. It is the things we fight hard for that we could dear, because we recognize how much they have cost us.

 

What does it cost me to be the mother, wife and friend that I want to be? It is some of the hardest work I will ever do, but I want to believe that I will truly find it worth it in the end.

 

My kids learned an excerpt from a longer poem by M.A. Stoddard called One Thing at a Time. The excerpt is entitled Work.

Work

Work while you work,
Play while you play;
This is the way
—To be happy each day.

All that you do,
—Do with your might;
Things done by halves
—Are never done right.

 

I sometimes have to remind myself the truth of this poem as well.

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Hope for the Financially Frustrated: A Review of More Than Just Making It

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Photo Credit: MrJamesBaker Flickr via Compfight cc

 

From the time we were first married, my husband and I always had a budget. In fact,we had to make a list of all our bills to prove we could pay them each month before my parents would agree to let us get married. We were very young and I had never really known a life of financial struggle. For the majority of our marriage we were just making it. Most of the time, it didn’t worry me much. We had each other and if something terrible happened (which fortunately rarely did) we had family nearby. Certainly we were a bit naive but we also had faith that if we honored God with our lives and our money that he would be faithful, and we always had what we needed, if not a bit extra. I remember what it’s like not to have any financial margin, and many ways, I’m still there.

 

 

Tomorrow morning, More Than Just Making It by Erin Odom will be officially released by Zondervan publishers. I had the opportunity to preview the book and share my thoughts. I wasn’t positive what I was expecting from this book. I was expecting some budget tips, though I know that wasn’t the primary purpose. But the best feature of this book is Erin’s incredibly encouraging story. Yes, she has found success after years of struggle but this is not a how-to book. It’s not a step by step guide on how to get out of debt and build a financially healthy life. But it is filled with encouragement on how to slowly crawl out of a financial hole, no matter how you got there.

 

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I really appreciated the chapter on creating more income, though not for the reasons I expected. Some of her suggestions were good ones. But I was especially drawn to her wisdom not to select a side business that doesn’t mesh well with your personality. There are many times I’ve been tempted to take on a side gig that I knew wouldn’t work well for my personality of lifestyle but I felt desperate. There are times to be desperate. But truly, we weren’t there. Our kids were eating. We were surviving. We just had mountains of student loan debt that seemed insurmountable. We couldn’t seem to build our savings without it being drained every other month by the next crisis.

 

However, Erin did inspire me to take a hard look at the financial state of our household. I redid my budget and managed to scrape a couple dollars from each category to make sure we have SOMETHING going into savings each month instead of spending virtually every dollar as it comes in, toward the goal of rebuilding our savings account after a lot of moving expenses at the beginning of the year. We even tried a No Spend Month. While that didn’t net us the large amount of excess I was hoping, it did help to fill a few holes in my budget and helped answer some questions about how much we really can do without.

 

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Most significantly, I feel inspired to try and expand my blog further. I’ve always been nervous about doing this. Because sometimes the words just don’t come. It seems easier to stay in the holding pattern of low readership and a trickle of income. I don’t necessarily plan to build a full time income or anything. But I need to start taking some major growth steps, some of which will eat into the tiny income that we are currently making and mostly need.

 

I’m also trying to get back on track with my book. I’ve been working for several (we won’t say how many) years on my Lenten devotional. My Advent devotional, As We Wait, came so easily that I thought a devotional for Lent felt like a natural extension. Except it hasn’t been easy, it’s been like pulling teeth and most days it’s easier to just tap out another blog post or get caught up in the general chaos of my life homeschooling with three small children and helping to run multiple church ministries.

 

 

This book also helped me recultivate gratitude on my heart. Too often I focus on what we are lacking or the size of our financial difficulties than on all of the good things. Earlier this year, we were finally able to move into a home that is better suited to our growing family. Even just three years ago that seemed impossible. I am able to continue to stay at home and homeschool my children, yes it takes great financial sacrifice to do this, but it is nice to have the option at all. I know not all families do.

 

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It has also renewed my commitment to generosity regardless of our circumstances. Many times over the years we have benefited from the generosity of others, whether it be personally or anonymously. Sometimes it was random money, other times it was an item at a time we needed it most. When things rare tight for a season it can be tempted to be less giving because it feels so difficult. But I think maybe those are the kind of times I need to hold much more loosely to what I am and realize that it all comes from God.

 

No matter where you are in your financial journey, you will find encouragement in Erin’s book. If you have a spending problem or an income problem, have survived hard times or are only just now coming into difficulty; there is hope for you. If money is so tight that you can’t even think about purchasing this book, then try going to your local library and requesting that they purchase a copy. If you have the means, consider purchasing a copy for a friend that doesn’t and ask that she pass it on to another friend in need when she is done.

 

There is hope for a better future, not because of any magic formula or special method but through trust in Jesus and a little bit honesty and logic as we assess our financial lives. Someday, we will be more than just making it.

Read the first chapter here!

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I received this book for free in exchange for my review but my opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

What Makes a Neighbor? Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: starmist1 Flickr via Compfight cc

 

We’ve lived here six months and I’ve officially met most of the neighbors. If by met, you mean spoke to once and now occasionally wave as I park the car and shuttle the kids into the house. Most are not home during the day. There are a few kids in the neighborhood but they are all five to eight years older than my kids. The luxury of not being directly attached to the family next door also limits the chance for interaction. As an introvert I mostly welcome this. (My husband is just glad we can’t hear the people peeing through the wall anymore).

 

It is truly lovely to feel like we have some privacy again. At least now when I yell at the kids I worry less about what the neighbors will think. But it has also caused me to think about what makes a neighbor. There is something to be said of community formed my close proximity. I do wish I had a best friend living next door or even down the block. (I know my daughter does). Even the idea of three generation household has its appeal at times. Yet I value my privacy.

 

But I have built a community of my own. The women of my MOPS group, they are my emotional neighbors, by proximity of children’s ages rather than our house locations.  I’m trying to form relationships among other friends who home school, because that too can be lonely. My co-teachers at my co-op, they are my neighbors too.

 

I’ve even become part of online community life. No, it isn’t the same as having a friend sit on my couch with a cup of coffee, but it has become an important part of my support structure. My fellow members of Fit2B Studio (especially the long time clients like me), and the faithful members of the home school spin off group on Facebook.  These people may not live close enough for me to yell out the window, but they answer my questions, and share my frustrations.

 

Last but not least is Five Minute Friday. I’ve found neighbors who love words as much as I do and we are all spurring each other on to put those words out there into the world, in all their awkwardness and beauty.

 

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