the best summer

So….this may just be the best summer ever!

Why? But, what about last summer when you had a baby!?!

Yes, yes last summer was AMAZING! I got to meet my tiny human and it was beyond incredible. BUT I spent a lot of that summer inside recovering physically and being an emotional wreck because I had a TINY HUMAN!?!? And I was just so clueless on how to feed him, comfort him, and everything else. So last summer was tremendous but it was also very very intense.

This summer though has been truly the very best. Henry has SO much personality. I LOVE this kid (you may have noticed based on my Facebook and Instagram accounts which are entirely consumed by the little dude). He is just so darn playful and funny. We have little “inside jokes” now too. When we are upstairs in his room, he will flash me that mischievous smile and dart around the glider, then he pops his head out from behind and wants to play hide and seek. When I “find” him (which is so hard, where ever could he be?), he laughs and laughs. My little boy is a little fish and can hardly stay out of the water. From the lake to the baby pool, he wants nothing more than to dunk his head, splash, and stay in there ALL DAY long. He speed walks through the house and even likes to sit on the potty and pretend his is using it. But mostly he just wants to laugh and flush the toilet or pull all the toilet paper off the roll. I remember thinking before I had a child that I would never be able to tolerate messes and play that “destroyed” my things. And, what is hilarious is that I love watching Henry explore so if that means pulling out an entire box of kleenex because it is just magic. I will watch him laugh his way through the box. They all fit back in anyway, right?

When I went back to school after maternity leave (summer vacation), I was a mix of emotions. I was scared to leave my son primarily and angry that I had to return after 8 weeks and overwhelmed by the daunting school year ahead. I felt alone, isolated, and sad mostly. But, looking at this approaching school year, I am sadder but in a different way. This summer has been so great exploring New England with my little boy and having so much mommy-son time that it is going to be very hard to say good-bye to our routine. The mornings in the park and afternoons playing and evenings picking up David from the train and being completely carefree together before bed have been just awesome. I guess having the best summer makes the end of summer quite bittersweet. These August days will have to be savored then. Henry is going to get lots of kisses, hugs, and trips out and about because I am just not ready yet to say good bye to this.

the key….

Since the day we took Henry home from the hospital, he has hated the car. When I tell this to other parents they look at me in disbelief. “What do you mean he hates the car?” they blink open-mouthed. “Our little one falls asleep after 5 minutes of rolling along,” they say in such a way as to suggest we must be mistaken about Henry. But, alas, we are not. Yes, the majority of babies can barely hold their eyes open once they are cruising along the highway or casually driving around town running errands. Henry though is not that baby. Never was. Instead our otherwise totally chill dude goes wild. Screams at the top of his lungs are common place as are shrieks and shrill hysterics. We could be driving 5 minutes down the road or 5 hours away. The pitch, frequency, and duration of the scream is constant. Needless to say, we have not gone on many road trips. And when we do, no one is happy (or very sane after).

We have tried everything to make the car a more enjoyable space. We started to consider that if he is such a pleasant, happy, and easy baby everywhere else in life (including sleep), then maybe this is our burden? Maybe this is the bad that we have to take with all the rest that is so so good. And then….

Something changed. Quite unexpectedly, Henry started to carry a book with him to the car. Sometimes he would even try to muster the strength to carry two books. We buckled him in, placed his desired books on his lap, shut the car door and….silence. For the entire car ride from our house to Boston (approximately 30-35 minutes), he read. It must have been a fluke, no? We tried it again, and again, and again. Henry LOVES to read in the car. It keeps him entertained as he flips through the pages, points at various characters and images, and babbles to himself. The longest car ride so far has been 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes of silence! WHAT!?! That was completely unheard of in this house. This might not be a total silver bullet, but I am happy for a little reprieve and watching him sit cross-ankled in his carseat paging through a book is SO CUTE!

Once upon a tween 

When I found out that our niece Alyza was coming to visit us for two weeks, I was excited and scared! What do you do with a preteen for two weeks? Do you play dress up or talk about boys? Do you go to the playground or sunbathe at the beach? Not-quite-a-teenager-but-still-a-kid is a tough age. I remember it and I remember not liking it. So how do we make the most of this visit?

Turns out preteens are sort of awesome! She talked about boys, toys, life goals, growing up, friends, bullies, playgrounds, drama, dreams, and everything in between! She was playful with Henry but enjoyed having “grown up” conversations too. It was quite a great visit. Each day we did some little adventure. A visit to the water park, city, lake, or mall to name a few. My favorite times were when we were all together hanging out at the zoo or our fancy date family date night. Two weeks flew by and our super cool niece had to head home. Now we just need to work on getting her back here!


my health challenge: becoming a coach


About 4 years ago, David and I were walking to Coolidge Corner and talking about how restless I was, (restlessness is what I always called it until my friends Laura and Kaelin pinpointed it as anxiety). Why was I so restless all the time? Things were going well and I was happy, but my energy was just off. As we got closer to our destination, our favorite pizza place, David started asking what I was passionate about. I drew a blank. Obviously I was passionate for my family and friends and passionate about being an educator. The list ended there. David has always been immersed in dozens of hobbies. From chess to locking picking to trumpeting and guitar, David is never at a loss for new interests and personal development. What do I do in my free time other than stare at David, lesson plan, and drink coffee, I wondered. Desperate to find a hobby or a personal development tool that was separate from work, I started to knit. It was a fun activity, especially in the cold New England winters, but the repetitive activity was so relaxing that I often fell fast asleep after a handful of knits and purls. It was therefore quite short-lived.

What I love to do most in life is coach, cheerlead, facilitate. It is why I am a teacher. I love working with others to make their goals, to acquire skills, and to achieve something they never thought possible. Working through writing assignments, debate protocols, projects, and quizzes, one-on-one is my absolute favorite and it is the one place where all that restlessness quiets. The celebrations are huge as an educator: students finishing a course feeling confident, getting that grade they thought would be unreachable, and graduating fill me with complete pride. It is an honor to be a part of their journey. How do I continue these experiences into my personal life beyond the insular confines of my immediate family? Could this somehow translate into something else?

After completing the 21 Day Fix Challenge through Beach Body with my fantastic coach Jenna, I have decided to become a Beach Body coach myself. Crazy, right!?!? I am nervously excited. I have never, ever done something like this. Yes, I share a lot of social media but sharing my fitness, nutrition, and personal growth in this raw way is going to be tough. Why become coach then? Why not just continue to do challenges on my own in a challenge (accountability) group?

Why am I doing this? This is my why, the greatest motivations I have for starting this new endeavor:

  1. To have fun! This is an awesome program and I love doing it
  2. To support others in their physical fitness and well being
  3. To cheerlead for you and your successes
  4. To build a community of  excited individuals to share experiences and motivate one another
  5. To continue to push myself to be fit and not lose momentum
  6. To be held accountable to my challengers and coaches
  7. To grow personally and professionally by actualizing a healthy mind and body
  8. To get to know more people through this community and to work with that community to practically tackle health and wellness
  9. To be inspired everyday #fitspiration
  10. To help support my family more and to demonstrate strong nutritional and fitness behaviors to my family

Wish me luck! I hope there are individuals out there who will trust me to care for them as they set personal fitness and nutrition goals. I hope these individuals will be open to my support, open to my determination and cheerleading, and open to the program. The 21 Day Fix program truly helped me feel strong. After having Henry, I assumed that my new mom-bod was it. I would love my new mom-bod with all of its curves and softness. But, there was a part of me that wondered, if I could refocus my energy on fitness and change my diet without having to give up on my time with my family. Could I make time for me and keep my time with them? Yes. Can I help others find this balance and find themselves achieving their goals? I will work my very hardest to do that!

If you are interested in learning more about the 21 Day Challenge or in joining my first challenge group starting on July 27, please e-mail me at coach.fitnessmom@gmail.com or leave a comment below.