Exercise really DOES work!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

I am exercising again!
I know that I'm so on again, off again about this, but who isn't? However, this is a commitment for the long haul because unlike the other tries, this has a financial investment.

Yes, my husband and I have a membership to the local gym.

This wasn't necessarily a New Year's resolution. We've been trying to join the gym since October. However, we got the membership through his work (the regular monthly $50 premium is down to $32 when we enrolled through his company), and first, we missed the deadline (15th of every month), and then missed the deadline again (oh, we have to have it in 2 weeks BEFORE in order to START on the 15th of every month?), and then when it all finally got sorted out, it was December. Oh well, better late than never.

So, I actually love fitness, but when my children came along, many things went to the back-burner – exercise being one of the first. How can a parent exercise when most of your day is consumed with child-related activities? So when this offer came up at my hubby's work I was excited to enrol, but truthfully for his sake. I thought, sure, I could use some activity, but the focus was on my spouse.

And since we started going eleven days ago, I've already been seven times. I forgot how much I enjoyed going and I underestimated how much I would benefit from it.

My moods have evened out. I didn't realize how cranky I was getting. My energy has been low ever since the weather has gotten cold outside and the lack of sunshine and outside air has really gotten to me. Exercising has gotten my body moving and I feel so much better.

Related to the above, my stamina has improved a lot. My sessions have steadily improved since I started going. Thank goodness my body has forgiven me and I've been able to bounce back quickly. I realized how out of shape I've gotten when a light job almost winded me the first time I climbed back on the treadmill and tried to run for twenty minutes. I was out in seven. Just five sessions later, I can run for a half hour at a 4.6 mile per hour pace. I'm pretty pleased about this.

Ready for a weird result? I procrastinate less. I find that since I started exercising again, I actually feel more motivated and just feel more focused, as well as less frustrated when faced with tedious tasks at home or at work. This, I find as an unexpected side benefit.

And when we decided to fit exercise into our day, I honestly didn't even know where the time would come from, how watching the kids would work and all of that, but I decided to make the decision and figure it out later. Amazing to find all these little pockets of time that reveal themselves when you make something a priority.

Just in a short week and half I'm already experiencing a massive improvement in the way I move through my day, the way my body feels, and even in my headspace. A friend on Facebook shared that her New Year's Resolution was to take care of herself more, and that totally resonated with me, and so far I've found that almost-daily exercise is certainly the self-care that I've been missing for a while.

Christmas at My House

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Write about Christmas now? Sure, it might be seven days into the new year, however, every mother of two small children knows that time to write a blog post doesn't always come when you want it to!

Christmas, this year, was unusual for our family. Every year, since I was ONE, we've gone down to spend Christmas with my Uncle and Aunt and cousins in Batavia, New York. I think that we only missed one or two because of trips to the Philippines. But, other than that, it has been EVERY SINGLE YEAR. And it has been awesome. My Aunt's favourite holiday is Christmas and she sure does it up. They've got the real tree. Snowmen and Santas everywhere. We get spoiled rotten with presents and stockings that are so full, my Aunt has to put stockings into bags to catch all the overflow! And Christmas dinner is a full banquet table. It's wonderful!

When my husband and I got married, Christmases got a little more busy, but it was even more awesome. Where my Aunt and Uncle celebrate Christmas in good North American fashion: on Christmas morning, my Chilean in-laws celebrated it on Christmas Eve. We didn't even have to compromise! Although it meant that we had to dash from Oshawa, Ontario to Batavia, New York at 11 pm, and once arrived at 4 am and had to throw rocks at the window in order to get someone to let us in, all the craziness was totally worth it.

When my first born came along 4 years ago, we continued to do this. I'd get lots of frowns and concerns my way when the subject of Christmas came up with our parents. "What if the weather is bad?" "Are your tires in good condition?" "Aren't you going to be tired?" I chalk it up to being young and stupid. I didn't care. I loved the running around and being tired was part of the exhilaration!

Now, when my second came along, being tired was now actually getting in the way of enjoying myself. And also, my husband's scheduling at work was increasingly becoming an issue. He almost missed celebrating Christmas on Christmas Day with his own kids last year. He was very upset. He ended up coming down for the day, and then driving back home after Christmas dinner.

We had to make the decision that we should start to have Christmases here at home. After all, since my own sister got married, I hadn't had Christmas with her at all. Because of her husband's work, he always has to be home for Christmas. Now, my other sister got married this past fall, and her husband's schedule also prevents them from traveling down. It was time. Our own family is getting larger and it was becoming increasingly difficult to move that many bodies down to our usual Christmas traditions.

So, I was excited, but sad. So excited to try my hand at preparing stockings for the family. Deciding the menu for dinner. Hosting the Christmas spirit in my own home. I was sad though, that I would breaking 30 years of traditions that our families had built up over the years.

Fortunately, at the last minute, my American family, they decided to come up for Christmas dinner! We didn't have to be without them. I was SO happy.

How was it? Having Christmas at my own house? It was really, really nice. Less busy? NO! It was still super busy, but totally in a different way. We didn't have drive everywhere, take unwrapped presents over the border in the case of inspection, and then wrap 15 gifts in 15 minutes and throw them under the tree. But I was cooking from 9 am to have dinner at 7 pm. And it was awesome.

I would say though that it also has to happen because it's the next generation's turn. My aunt, as much as she'd like to continue to have us make our Christmas lists (my last Christmas list was at the age of 31 – no kidding), and buy us all too many presents, and stuff us silly with food, I think that it's now my turn to take my place to bless others in my family in the same generous fashion. The expression may be different, but I hope to be as generous as she has been to us all these years.