A New Year: Healthful & Happy

Bye Felicia! Closing the chapter on 2017 felt great. The world events of the past year were so intense, insane, and scary. Now when I say that 2017 was a bit like a burning dumpster pile, I am referring to primarily the political landscape and the innumerable tragedies, heartbreaks, and bloody conflicts that gripped our national and global communities. On a less serious note, odd number years always feel “off” to me. Much preferring even numbers (for who knows what reason), I am excited to start 2018. While there were numerous ways in which 2017 left us raw, pained, and concerned for the future state of affairs, there were also beautiful parts to this year for us on the microcosm level. Owen turned 1, we bought a new car and then another, Henry turned 3, we had some special family vacations to California, Florida, and Disney, we summered, Henry had his first year of camp, we spent time together, with family, and with friends.

Each new year, I always make resolutions. They are always the same: exercise, save money, commit to a hobby. This year I am going to change up the tone of my resolutions and dedicate the year to the double H: Healthful and Happy. Too often I spend my days stuck in the routine of daily chores and tasks and feeling entrenched in the to-do list. This year, I want to take time to be happy. It’s okay if the kitchen counters are cluttered, it’s okay if my grading isn’t done the day students turn in their work, it’s okay to let laundry wait, it’s okay to sit down and read. This year is about giving myself permission to slow down and be happy and to soak up more time with my family and with myself. Now that Henry and Owen are older it is easier to feel like this goal for slow and happy is achievable. The boys sleep through the night, they help tidy the playroom at the end of the day, Henry dresses himself and uses the potty, both boys feed themselves well and are not picky eaters, and they play together and independently more. They are in a new stage in life that already feels less physically demanding. They are becoming these sweet, sensitive, cuddly boys who are interested in learning new things and exploring the world around them through hands-on activities. And this stage is exciting. It means we can get out of the house faster and leaner and do more things that the whole family can do together. We don’t have to ask: What do we do about nap time? What should I pack in the diaper bag? Can both boys participate? If not, what will the baby do? We can explore new hobbies together like ice skating, skiing, swimming, and tinkering with gears and engineering. And, we can explore new hobbies independently without feeling guilty. David gifted a pottery class to me for my birthday that starts on Tuesday and I am so excited to be creative and hands-on. Without a nursing baby, I am able to miss a bed time routine without the guilt of feeling like I am wronging or depriving my child. Instead the boys get to have some quality solo time with dad who is truly the best playmate! David and I get to model to our boys having interests and incorporate them into our interests and then help them cultivate their own.

Since I stopped nursing Owen in April, my weight has slowly creeped up. It was a little depressing to step on the scale before Thanksgiving and see that I weighed more than after I gave birth to Owen. But instead of focusing on the number I saw and starting in on the negative self talk, I am choosing to focus on healthful living. Making clean, simple, home-cooked meals that focus on vegetables, lean protein, and fruits and asking myself if I am stress eating, eating out of boredom, or eating for nourishment is just one habit and mindset shift I have been focusing on these past two weeks while home for winter break. It might seem silly, but I can already feel a difference in my perspective about food and cooking but more importantly about how I feel about being in the skin I am in. My mantra this year to help me target my healthful goal is: You know what it better for you than kale? A healthy relationship with food. Prepare yourself for a lot of mushy love posts this year. I have a feeling that 2018 is going to be about loving myself, loving my hubs, loving my boys, and loving life.

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