My BIG takeaway from my first family caregiver support meeting

My big takeaway from 1st support mtg

I’m not my mom and my mom isn’t me.

Profound, right?  I thought so.  This simple statement slapped me upside the head when I heard this from Dawn, the owner and creator of a nonprofit organization called ALOHA (A Life Of Healthy Aging).  Dawn’s organization visits my mom’s new assisted living community monthly to offer support to resident’s families.

Dawn followed this statement with a question: ‘who is your mom?’ and challenged me to find out.  I definitely know who I want her to be – I want her to be me!  But, even though she has been my mom for 44 years, I still have some detective work to do in order to answer this question. (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Six tips to stay on track during the holidays

Weighing the options

I don’t have the kind of metabolism that I can say ‘what the heck’ and eat and drink whatever I want over the holiday season.  After all, it’s a season…not a day, not a week or even a month – it’s a whole season.  I can do a lot of damage in a season..  If I let all my healthy routines and habits go, I’d literally be erasing all the progress I’ve made and be faced with starting over.  But, going face first into every delicious temptation I see will only move me further away from my 18-20% total body fat goal.

stop+giving+up

I’m also not the kind of person that is going to be able to have the willpower to not indulge a bit over the next month.  In other words, I don’t want to crawl up and hibernate under a rock…alone.  I have holiday parties, pot luck lunches, bowl game get togethers, and festive new year celebrations to attend. (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

How to minimize holiday stress and maximize holiday blessings

For many of us, ‘the holidays’ can simply mean we have even more to do than normal and the last thing any family caregiver needs is one more item on their to do list.  As the holidays grow near, I find myself reminiscing about my childhood holidays, reflecting on those simpler days when we mainly just got to show up and enjoy the fun.  I am very grateful for the wonderful family holiday memories I have.  As an adult, I realize that it was primarily my mom that worked so hard to make holidays special for us.  She trimmed every corner of the house, planned and prepared every meal, and shopped and wrapped for every gift (including Santa gifts and stocking stuffers!).  We would have ‘stacks’ of presents beautifully tied with ribbons and all six of us would have the same amount of gifts to open.  I have just two kids and it’s difficult to ensure that everything is fair and equal.  I’m sure my mom and dad collaborated on the budget but I’m also fairly certain that my mom went over budget every year.  Let’s just say I also have some memories of my dad paying the bills in January.

 

The traditional Christmas eve family pose circa 1976. I'm in the new blue Footie PJ's and so excited about my new doll from grandma.
The traditional Christmas eve family pose circa 1976. I’m in the new blue Footie PJ’s and so excited about my new doll from grandma.

(more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Five healthy grab and go breakfast options

5 healthy grab and go bfast

My healthy me time takes place first thing in the morning usually before 5:30 am…I often sneak out of the house when all (except Shadow) are still fast asleep.  I find it’s easier to just get up and go before the day really begins for others.  I love the saying ‘seize the day before the day seizes you’.

Shadow is trained to be an early riser. Too bad he doesn’t understand the concept of weekends!

Because I’m up and out early to head to the gym, I need portable breakfast options that I can either prep on Sundays for the entire work week or gather together the night before.  Here are a few of my tried and true breakfast options. (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

An early holiday gift filled with Irish blessings

irishblessingskilkenny

In a recent post, I shared that instead of showering our kids with holiday gifts, the past few years we have been investing in travel and enjoying the dividends in the form of lasting memories.  Read more about this family philosophy here if you missed the Traveling for Memories post as it will give you some background on why we do this and how we go about selecting a location.

I loved hearing one of the kids ask us to pull over so they could snap a picture.

Over the kid’s fall break (which is earlier than most places since we start school the first week of August) we went to Ireland. We purchased the 6 night package last winter from Travel Zoo.  The package included round trip flights from Atlanta to Dublin, one night in a hotel, 5 nights of bed & breakfast vouchers, car rental, and a mobile Wi-Fi device (this little buddy is a MUST have on your trip as it works in cars, pubs, B&B, etc.!).  My 15 year old daughter, Natalie, planned the general route we took and listed out the towns and attractions she thought looked interesting.  In her style, the itinerary was an over achievement but we knew that going into the trip.  We just liked having the list of options at our fingertips.  I used a web tool called Trello that also has an app and organized a list for each day with a card on the list for the details about each option, who recommended it, and any special notes.  I included a few tips that I got from Instagram and Pinterest searches, as well.  Once we knew the general route, I selected the bed & breakfasts based on TripAdvisor reviews about a month beforehand. (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Making myself a priority

making myself a priorityA guest post written by Jen Robinson, Lifewrangling blog

As parents we are always looking for ways to give our children opportunities.  We sign them up for sport, music, scouts, things that enable them to develop their talents and find enjoyment in learning new skills, working as a team and achieving their goals.  We realize the importance of this for our children.  Why then do we find it so difficult to understand the importance of these things for ourselves?  We often believe that we don’t have the time and stop doing those things that are good for our physical and mental health including healthy eating, exercise routines and hobbies.

It doesn’t have to be that way though and with a little bit of planning these important activities can return into our lives. (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Traveling for family memories

family travel memoriesEarly in our marriage, may be even before we were married, Jason and I had agreed that we would always use some of our time off to have our own vacation.  Coming from a big family, there are always events and family reunions to attend but it was important to us that we set aside focused family time together each year.  Before our children were part of our lives, we took some special trips to New York City, California and Grand Cayman.  Not to mention our honeymoon in Bermuda.

Traveling with young children

Once we had our children our vacations primarily centered on trips to visit family.  Every summer, we have been to our family cabin in Hubbard Lake, Michigan and there have been several visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. areas to see my parents and our siblings.  One exception to the normal trips is when we jumped on an opportunity when Natalie was 10 months old to go see my sister Susie and her family in Botley, England.  Her husband Dave was there for a 2 year assignment and it was Susie’s 40th birthday and we were missing their 4 kids since they had moved away.  They had been in England long enough to show us all the local sites they loved.  Susie kept Natalie one day when we visited so Jason and I could take the train into London for a day on our own.

 

Bali Indonesia family trip
Mt Batur Temple

Our first big international trip as a family was BIG!  In June 2007, the four of us went to Bali, Indonesia.  (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

30 Minutes for 30 Days: Making Exercise a Habit

bicycle 30 minutes for 30 days2A guest post by Elizabeth Hubbard

There is a truism about me: the only thing I’ve ever been able to quit cold turkey is exercise. Elizabeth of Happy Healthy Caregiver would find that unacceptable and, as much as it pains me to admit it, she’s right.

 

With a husband, three children and a mother that depends on me, by not taking proper care of myself, I’m making things more difficult. When I’m not taking care of myself, I’m weighed down with guilt and embarrassment. I’m also frequently in a less-than-fabulous mood, which means I’m bringing down everyone around me. That’s why I cooked up the following experiment: exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days in an effort to make exercise a habit. (more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Are you a “sequencing” mom?

Growing up, I never pictured myself as a working mom.  I knew I would work before having kids but figured I’d be a stay home mom, just like my mom was for us.  I know my husband may feel somewhat responsible for me not being a stay home mom but frankly he’s not the reason I am still working.

What is a sequencing mom?

A “sequencing” mom typically earns a college degree, starts a career, and decides to take a planned break
from the workforce in order to raise young children and then returns to their careers years later.
(more…)

Share the careShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone