Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reasons to Give Up Your Desk Chair For an Exercise Ball

This week I replaced my office chair with an exercise ball. Aside from being fun to bounce around on while blogging, sitting on a ball over a regular desk chair has other benefits. If you're desk-bound, here are some reasons to consider swapping out your chair for a stability ball.

From Fitsugar:

Better Posture
With no chair back to slouch into or armrests to lean on, you're almost forced to keep your back straight, which can encourage better posture. Although there's no scientific evidence to back this up I have to say that my posture has definitely improved since I started using a medicine ball instead of a chair. Using an exercise ball doesn't automatically result in better posture; you have to remain aware of your torso and maintain a straight spine. Of course you can do this on a regular chair too, but sitting on a ball with no back or arms acts a constant reminder.

Stronger Core
Sitting up tall forces you to use your core muscles, which not only tones your midsection, but can also help prevent back pain. Remember to actively sit on the ball with a straight back — slouching forward on a ball will not give you a six pack!
Continue reading to find out two more reasons you'll want to sit on an exercise ball at your desk.

Inspiration to Stretch
Let's face it — although you're using the ball as a piece of furniture, it's still a piece of exercise equipment. So you can't sit on it without being inspired to do some stretches or strengthening moves.

Reduced Damage From Sitting
A desk job often means sitting in the same position, hour after hour, but you should be aware that staying sedentary for so long could be lethal. It's easy to slump into your seat and stay in one spot, but when sitting on an unstable ball, it often rolls when you make the smallest shift in weight, which forces you to change your position often to prevent falling off. This added movement averages out to an extra 30 calories burned per day.

Using an exercise ball as a chair may seem easy, but it's pretty challenging on your muscles since they're so used to relaxing into a chair. Make sure you use the proper size ball so that you're able to reach your keyboard and see your screen with proper alignment. Start off with sitting for a half hour and gradually build up to sitting all day. For a little more stability, you might find it easier to use Gaiam's Balance Ball Chair ($120) that includes a balance ball and a base that prevents the ball from rolling away.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hoodies & Longboarding

So I recently learned how to Longboard. Go me! In fact, I went around my entire apartment complex today w/out falling once!  It's approximately 0.5mi all the way around, so I probably burned 100+ calories. Woo hoo! I would've gone longer but my board foot was majorly cramping and I was sweating like a mutha and I was only on lunch. I was really nervous when I first starting learning b/c I have horrible balance, but it's actually pretty easy. For those of you who don't know what longboarding is, it's pretty much skateboarding with a much longer board and no tricks. Longboards are strictly for cruising. I feel totally cool now b/c I know how to longboard. I know, I'm a dork like that. So now that...ahem...I'm a longboarder I gotta start supporting the longboarding community. So I went online to Zumiez to buy some cool skater clothes (like I mentioned above...b/c I'm a dork like that) the other day, btw I'm a hoodie freak, so I bought an Obey hoodie. I guess that's a skater brand? I mean Zumiez sells skater clothes right? Anyway, the hoodie I found that I fell in love with was like $80 freaking dollars. Um no, not paying that. So I googled the hoodie name and found it online elsewhere for like $30 something dollars and on top of that I googled promo codes for that store and got an additional percentage off making the grand total w/shipping $26! I had never even heard of the store...it was called Karmaloop or something like that. Anyway...what a steal! Going elsewhere to get a bargain is still supporting right? Lol! :)

Here's a few pics of the hoodie and a longboard just in case you're wondering what they look like:
And it even has thumb holes! :)

Here's my exact longboard. It's a Sector 9.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't Carpe Diem!

A Mommy friend sent this to me today and I appreciate it 100% because it's totally how I feel inside and out:

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen: An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast." Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc. I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong. I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up. And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain. Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast." At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you." That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though. There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?" I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least. Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth? That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it right...in her own way...and she happens to be honest. Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career stuff...it goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!" My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No. But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line: "It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out." Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question. Here's what does work for me: There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in. Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them. Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos. Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos. Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos. These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it. If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success. Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day. Good enough for me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday (my big) Baby Boy

Okay, so I know this post is a few days late but we haven't actually celebrated your birthday yet. Although, we did sing Happy Birthday to you as soon as you woke up on Saturday and Sissy started crying b/c she was jealous and after we were done you asked where your presents were. :( We're actually not celebrating your birthday until the end of the month to give everyone some time to get over the holidays and we're still not even sure what we're going to do but I'm sure you'll love it no matter what and get tons of cool gifts. Anyway, I can't believe you're 3. It's crazy. You're growing so fast... you just need to stop. Seriously.

I love you precious and here's a look back over the past 3 years :insert tears of joy: