So here is the post where I summarize everything that's been happening with My Healthiest Year Yet the past few months! Spoiler alert: It's not that exciting.
I stopped writing about it here somewhat unintentionally (busy with other things), but also because it was the ONLY thing I was writing about on this here blog and it was feeling boring...both to me in reporting it, and (I imagined) as something to read about. SOoo, I figured I'd just update you all at once and have it out and over for now. You're welcome. Haha!
Also included are random photos of my girls twirling in their Sunday dresses, for no reason other than something fun to look at.
We left off with this post, where I announced what my March goal was going to be exercising more regularly with the Sweat With Kayla app on my phone. Here's a quick run-down of how each month went from that point on:
Goal: See this post here. Or the above paragraph. Whatevs.
Summary: It went ooookay for the first few weeks. I actually really like the program! I would recommend it to anyone. I, however, have learned that I really need to leave my house to exercise. I don't care if it's just for a run, or to a gym, or WHATEVER...I am just really terrible at exercising at home. I get really distracted by all of the other things I have to do....like all the things that I'm really good at ignoring until I go to workout and suddenly feel SUPER IMPORTANT and URGENT. Like the dishes. Anyways, it's something I want to be better at. But also something to work on another time.
Summary: Okay, so this month kind of slipped away from me because my hubby surprised me with a me-and-him trip to Hawaii for a week! It was amazing. And it was honestly just what the doctor ordered. Him and I remembered that we actually like each other a lot (ha...) and the time away from regular routines was just so good. So I'm counting it as part of these monthly goals because it was an important reminder to me of the importance of breaks and rest in overall health. So, in summary, what I'm really saying is this: I totally rocked April's accidental goal (not a thing) of taking a vacation. Go, me! Haaaa.
Goal: Learn how to make sourdough bread!
Have you guys "met" Kelsey of the blog Simple Life by Kels yet (she's also on Instagram)? Or have you heard of the blog Home Joys by inspirational mennonite mama Gina? Or watched the Netflix mini docuseries "Cooked?" Because all three of those were major influences in my desire to make bread the way bread was intended to be made, old-school style with nautral yeast. Making bread with natural yeast apparently transforms bread into something that is deeply nutritious and easier to digest. Also, I was kind of romanticizing the idea of connecting with my bread-food the good ol' fashioned way: with my hands and a little time.
Summary: Turns out it is way easier than I expected and also just as rewarding as I expected...AND delicious, of course. I got my starter from Kelsey (freeze dried flakes) and brought it back to life. I love that it's a whole wheat flour starter! It all makes me feel very self-sufficient. Like, if there was an armageddon-type disaster and all you gave me were kernels of wheat I could grind them up and make bread just like that with my starter, no big deal. When I eat it, I also don't feel that bloaty, sluggish feeling afterwards. I don't have gluten intolerance so I don't sense a huge difference health-wise (though it can be remarkable apparently!), but it's enough of a difference to notice... and I like it. And let's face it: if there is a way to include bread in my life and have it be super-nutritious, then I am ALL OVER THAT. This is the recipe I used for bread and it turned out every time...except I turned the heat down because it makes a really dark crust otherwise.
Goal: Read more often.
I love reading. I love books that challenge and intrigue my trusty ol' brain, give me noble and courageous characters to look up to, and inspire me to do better and be better as a result. So this goal was just about making more time for something that stretches my heart and mind.
Summary: Oh, guys. I will never regret taking the time to read good books. I've been making a conscious effort this past year or so to make time for it in my life since I haven't made time for it much at all during the past several years of marriage and having babies (brain fried, body tired). But everything had felt SO crazy with 'doing stuff' during May and June that I wanted to give myself a good reason to take breaks and rest here and there...and rest WELL, not just shut off my brain and check out to a show or social media (though that definitely has its place! No hating here.). This past month we fiiiinally got our library cards for our local library and have been working them out good! It has felt so refreshing to turn the pages of these books I've read lately and open myself up to the soul-searching and inspiration that inevitably follows with a truly good book, especially those classics that you get something different out of every time you read it.
A few that I read/started (mostly the latter...I have several on the go currently) this past month: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Adventures of Robin Hood by Paul Creswick, Rising Strong by Brene Brown, The Christ-Centered Home by Emily Belle Freeman, Food Rules by Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I recommend every single one of them, they are all worth the time...though I did just barely finished the last one in this list and it was especially incredible: both heart wrenching and thought-provoking. I cried.
Goal: Being present.
Summary: Some days I was more successful than others, but I definitely improved. I just left the internet/social-media/texting convos mostly alone during the day and suddenly I had all this free time...? So weird. Haha! I focused on giving my kids my full attention whenever it was possible so they felt heard and really listened to. I think that was really where the goal took me this month: a deeper appreciation for good listeners and a deeper desire to become one.
What always blows my mind is how quickly and overwhelmingly my kids respond with love and gratitude when they feel more cared for and feel like they're important to me...just by my being fully present and engaged in whatever is going on. Attention-seeking behaviours go WAY down.
Also, when I focus on the moment, my brain doesn't stay in what I like to call "internet mode" either...where I'm so busy thinking about one thing after another that I read/saw/want-to-look-up that I can't "unhook" from the fast-paced generally-superficial information there to just stop and truly enjoy the story that my boy is telling me about a magic snail with a super sword (?). I feel less crazy and have waaaaay more patience with my kids (AND more energy to do fun stuff with them) when my brain is not constantly whirring in "internet mode." I find my brain settles into deeper processing when it has to focus on being truly present, and that is a very good, sometimes uncomfortable, but totally essential thing for me.
This is a goal that always seems to be on the table for me, with occasionally more focus on it here and there when needed. I am always glad when I try harder at it, though; the rewards of being present with my kids and friends and family are better connections, deeper relationships, and a full heart. SO worth the effort.
Goal: Go hardcore with F45 Training. My friend Niki opened an F45 Team-Training centre nearby and I am trying it this month! It's a pretty incredible program/system of HIIT workouts that are always changing.
Summary, so far: I get my butt kicked (in the best way) every time I go. I got a week off for a family vacation we just took, but I am craving the workout again. So far I've noticed that working out so intensely helps me stay focused throughout the day and sleep better. AND feel stronger. I really love the variety and encouragement when I'm there! So far so good!
That's that! Working on some more heart-felt writing to share here over the next few weeks. Until then, hope you are rocking your summer and soaking it all up!