Every summer for the past 12 years, our family gets together for an annual beach camping trip. Everyone comes - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And every year its the same. My dad and my uncles hit up the reservation line the minute it opens (9 months in advance) to secure our spot. The guys bring their boats and spend their days fishing for salmon, while the girls hike the nature trails and soak up sun at the beach. In the evening we all gather together at camp for a big family dinner, the kids ride their bikes around and play in the sand while we clean up, and then we cap it off with s'mores and beer around a campfire. We follow this same routine, year after year, yet somehow I come to love it more each year.
Its funny how your perspective changes as you get older. I didn't think much of our family camping trip in my early twenties, and even skipped out on in a few times because I was bored of the same old thing. Now days, I wouldn't miss it for the world. Part of it, I think, has to do with becoming a parent. One of the most fulfilling and joyful things to witness is my little one developing unique relationships with each member of the family. There is no other time in the year that we all get together for quality time like this, and it really brings out all the feels in me. Its time uninterrupted by phones and televisions and iPads. Its time spent worrying about nothing more than how to get the sand out of your ears. Its time that us girls get to talk, for hours, about anything and everything. Its time for the guys to wake up and fish every single day to their hearts delight. Its time that the kids get dirty and stay dirty and its ok. So even though its the same thing every time, its become one of the most treasured times of the year in my book. Bonus - we go home with SO MUCH FRESH CAUGHT SALMON!
Hello hello! I have an awesome lower body workout to share with you guys today. It doesn't require any equipment except an elevated surface for step-ups, however you can choose to use dumbbells if you reeeeaaaaally want a killer burn. This was one of those improvised workouts that left my legs sore for days, and therefore worthy of sharing.
In other news, our summer continues to be bustling with outdoor fun. We've had an unusually long heat wave here in Oregon, which has landed us in a routine of water play during the day and going out and about to enjoy the warm summer evenings at night.
Some our daytime shenanigans...
And then those summer nights...
I know that Halloween decor is already out in the stores (ugh), but I plan to hold onto every last drop of summer over the next month and then some. Hope you are all having a great summer so far too <3
Confession: patience has never been one of my virtues.
I'm big on quickness and efficiency. I'm an organizer, a planner, and a multi-tasker so that I can make the most of my time every day. I don't like to diddle-daddle. There are days when I measure my success by the number of "to-do" items I've accomplished. It's not one of my proudest personality traits, but I can't help it. As much as every inspirational infographic on the internet tells me that I need to slow down and just live in the moment, its against my grain. Both of my parents are type-A people who never stop going, moving, and doing, and I've definitely taken after them. And this has been one of my biggest challenges in parenting. Especially parenting a toddler.
Anyone who has ever spent a few hours with a toddler knows that there is NOTHING quick or efficient that happens in their presence. Parenting a toddler takes patience. A lot of patience. For example...
And then of course, there are the times that my toddler purposefully throws her plate of food on the floor because she doesn't like what's for dinner. And times when she pees her pants in defiance. And the list goes on. The point is, my patience is tested on a daily basis. I'm trying hard to be an intentional parent and recognize areas that I need improvement in, and patience is definitely one of them. From various parenting books, advice from friends, and my own trials, I've been learning some strategies that help me stay grounded during the times when I lose my patience with Avery. Here they are...
I Breathe. Ah, the miracle of deep breathing. Taking a good long breath or two before reacting seems to help me avoid an explosion of anger/frustration and focus more on how I can turn the situation into a teaching moment (both for Avery and myself).
I remind myself of her age. She is only two. She is not a mini adult. Her frontal lobe is far from developed and there is no way I can expect her executive functioning skills to be on par with mine. Sure, she experiments with pushing my limits at times, but this is an age-appropriate thing that all toddlers to in order to establish boundaries and as sense of themselves and their personalities. By reminding myself of her age, I really try to be realistic in my expectations of her.
I allow extra time for everything. I know that a trigger for both of us is anytime we have to rush somewhere. It's frustrating to both of us when I'm trying to rush us out the door and Avery is just trying to finish her tea party or needs one more snack or whatever. So, anytime we have to be somewhere at a certain hour, I start getting us ready to go way in advance. I give us at least 20 minutes of wiggle room. Its SO much less stressful when we are not rushed that its definitely worth the 20 minutes less of sleep, playtime, etc.
I try to tap into my sense of humor. This is hard for me to do in the moment, so my trick is to take a photo of the situation. See the pictures above? They were each taken at times that I was frustrated with Avery. By taking a quick photo of some ridiculous thing she is doing, I can step back, look at my snapshot, and realize that there is almost always some humor/cuteness in what is going on. Now, when I look back at those photos, I see nothing but a sweet little girl just being two.
I give her a quick kiss as I'm putting her into time-out. There are definitely times where I feel that her behavior calls for disciplinary action, our version of which happens to be time-outs. Both Brandon and I have tried hard to be consistent with what behaviors land her in time-out and making sure that time-out immediately follows said behaviors and that it happens the same way each time. When this does happen, no matter how upset I am, I always give her a little peck on the cheek or head as I'm putting her into time-out. It sounds weird, but it gives me peace of mind in knowing that even though I'm disciplining her, she knows that my love for her is unchanged.
If you parents out there have any other tricks/tips, PLEASE share!!
How is it mid-July already?! I think it's the business of the summer season that makes it feel like it always flies by so fast. Here's of glimpse of what we've managed to squeeze into just the month of July so far...
No doubt that all the summer fun has gotten us a little behind in other areas of life. The laundry is piled up 3 stories high. Yard work has taken a backseat. I haven't updated this blog since the end of June. Exercise has even fallen to the wayside. But ya know what? I'm beyond ok with all of that. I've been making a conscious effort to relax and go with the flow this summer, and I have to say it's been awesome.
When I have found time to get a workout in here and there, I've opted for either outdoor runs or fast-paced circuit workouts that I can finish in half an hour or less. This morning before Avery and Brandon woke up, I threw together a quick core circuit using my 10 pound medicine ball. It took me about 20 minutes but really did get my abs burning. Although this kind of workout is something I'd normally tack on to the end of a run, it was perfect for the type of get-up-and go morning before another day of summer fun. We are off to the farmer's market this morning, and then going for a swim later this afternoon. Happy Saturday everyone!
Hello, hello! I some exciting news to share with you guys. I have discovered the most phenomenal summer must-have item for anyone with a toddler. Behold:
It's basically a life jacket, but oh so much more. Avery HATES wearing traditional life jackets. I used to put them on her sometimes when we would go swimming in a deep pool, but she could never keep herself upright and we always ended up doing this awkward dance of me trying to hold her up and her trying to be independent. Enter the Stearns Puddle Jumper. Avery actually likes wearing it, and it keeps her afloat in an upright position. We tried it out for the first time this weekend, and she can actually swim by herself with this thing on (with me nearby for safety, of course). It allows her to swim on her back, on her tummy, or just to float around without inhaling the water. I'm not kidding you guys, this thing has made a WORLD of difference for both us and Avery. We get to be more relaxed when we go swimming because we know she is safe, and she gets a lot more freedom to swim around on her own. Here she is in action...
You can get the Stearns Puddle Jumper on Amazon for 15 bucks. And you should. Read the reviews if you don't believe me. Here's the link:
Disclosure: Betty's Balance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Hello and happy Monday! We had a pretty epic weekend that I thought I'd share with you guys. Friday night began with Avery's first concert: Ziggy Marley. It was an all-ages, outdoor show, but I have to admit I was a little nervous going into it that Avery might hate the noise and the crowd and that we'd have to leave before the concert even started. You never quite know with a 2 year-old. I'm happy to report though, that she actually LOVED it. She totally refused the "ear muffins" I brought her (we sat in the back, so it wasn't super loud) and ended up happily dancing the night away.
The concert ended before sunset, which was perfect for us since we had planned to be up early the next morning to head to Seattle for a little weekend getaway. The drive from Portland takes about 3 hours without traffic. HAH. Seattle. Without traffic. Did you catch that hilarious joke? We're pretty spoiled with minimal commute times where we live, so after we made it through 5 lanes of (mostly)stop-n(some)go, we were more than ready for to stretch our legs. Seattle rarely gets days over 90 degrees, but we happened to catch one of them, so the waterfront seemed like the perfect place to start our adventure. After a quick stop at Pike Place Market first, we headed down to the pier to grab some lunch and soak in the sunshine.
After lunch we hit the Seattle Aquarium, which is right on the pier. It was definitely one worth seeing, and very toddler friendly. They had tide pools where Avery could touch all the "sea enemies" her little heart desired. And a whole exhibit of "Dory" and "Nemo" fish (where we easily spent an hour). And an underground portion where you could go "under the sea". And, they even had my two personal favorite marine animals - a giant octopus and sea otters. I think sea otters are the most adorable animals alive. Did you know that they hold hands while they sleep so they don't drift apart? #love
After the aquarium, we decided it was time to head to our hotel so that we could enjoy some pool time. I had bought Avery a new floaty (which was the best purchase of the summer so far - more on this later), and we had a blast watching her swim around "by myself!!" for the first time ever! She was beyond ecstatic. We had so much fun that ended up swimming until sunset, after which we all crashed pretty quickly in our hotel room.
The next morning, we decided to head back to Portland early to beat the traffic going south. It was a quick trip, but just the getaway we needed to recharge our batteries. Plus, it was nice to have some of Sunday afternoon to get a little R&R before the week ahead. Hope you all have a great week!
You guys. It is FINALLY here. Summer in Portland has arrived! My favorite season, hands down. Avery and I wasted no time today in getting into the spirit of summer....
We literally spent all day outside today, soaking up the first of many hot days to come. We played in our little pool, blew up a whole package of water balloons, went for a neighborhood stroll, and got ice cream. It was the most perfect summer day.
Today was the kind of day that inspired me to start my summer bucket list. It's something I've been doing every year since high school. I love the anticipation it brings. I love the idea that I won't forget to do any of the things I've been so looking forward to all fall/winter/spring. And I love the gratification of checking items off a fun list rather than a chore list for an entire season. So type-A, I know. Here is the one I came up with for things to do with Avery this summer:
Please comment and share your summer bucket list items too! In the meantime, I'm going back outside to play....
1. Family movie night
You guys. Friday night was the FIRST TIME EVER that Avery sat through (most of) a movie. We enjoyed over an hour of snuggles in our jammies with plenty of popcorn and blankets. It was amazing. Oh, and the movie was Moana. We all loved it.
2. New sandals
Every time I score an awesome coupon, I waste no time in using it. Enter DSW coupon for $10 off any $30 purchase. I used it this past weekend to buy my first pair of sandals for the season. How cute are these??
3. Oaks Park
For those of you non-Oregonians, Oaks Park is a small but charming amusement park near downtown Portland. It's one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, so you get to enjoy classics like an old carousel and a roller skating rink. We spent a fun-filled Saturday afternoon here. Avery was weary about the rides at first, but after a few rounds we couldn't pull her off the kiddie rides. The nice thing was that it wasn't crowded at all, so she got to stay on the rides round after round after round after round.....
4. Imaginative play
My two-year old is the queen of imaginative play, and I always have a blast participating in the creative games she comes up with. On Sunday evening during dinner, she lined her spaghetti up around her high chair tray and pretended that each strand of spaghetti was a snake. Each snake was affectionately named "Jelly." The Jellys were napping, so we had to be super quiet, but one by one, we snuck up on them and ate them as they slept. Avery burst into a giggle fit each time we ate a Jelly. These kinds of moments with my munchkin are so precious to me.
5. A new no-equipment workout
As I was lying in bed Sunday night, I was conjuring up ideas for my Monday morning workout. I wanted some simple bodyweight exercises that I could do in my garage before Avery woke up, so I came up with the circuit workout below. It really kicked my butt both cardio and strength wise, which made it a winner in my book and worthy of sharing. Here ya go:
Let's talk about fitness when you have a toddler. Although chasing a 2 year-old around is exercise in its own right, I'm the kind of person who need my regular workouts on my time to keep me sharp both physically and mentally. This is why I wake up at the crack of dawn, week after week, to get in a good sweat session before Avery and Brandon wake up. This little bit of morning "me time" always sets a good tone for my day. However. Having a toddler means that NOTHING is absolute. There are days when Avery decides its time to party at 5 am. Or nights when she keeps us up way past our bedtime. Or nights when she sleeps between us and none of us get much shut eye. And then my morning workouts are a bust.
If I still want to get some exercise on the days when my morning workout plan fails, it has to be with Avery by my side. Of course, workouts with Avery are much less intense and include lots of potty, snack, play, and snuggle breaks. But, I have to admit, they are a fun change of pace every now and again. One of my favorite ways to workout with Avery is to put on Toddler Dance Radio (her favorite Pandora station) and have a jam session. We have a dance party warm-up together, and then she continues to dance/sing/totally ignore the music and do something else while I exercise. I like to do one exercise or exercise set per song - its a manageable length because kids songs are typically shorter than "adult" songs. I put together a sample workout to share with you guys below. Enjoy and happy Monday (:
Right now, I’m sitting at my computer with a glass of wine to my left and a scented candle burning to my right. I can’t say life is bad. It’s not often that I get kid-free time to myself like this. Yet I feel incomplete. I feel lonely.
I had this grand vision that I’d get some one-on-one time with my husband tonight and that we’d spend the evening hanging out, talking, and catching up with each other on life outside the daily grind. But he was tired and his grand vision was to relax and watch sports. So my plans changed. I got on my computer and by knee-jerk reflex opened up Facebook, only to see photos of my friends happily hanging out with their husbands. Or at happy hour with girlfriends. Or having playdates with the kids. And it only made me feel even more lonely.
I know that motherhood can get lonely. I’ve read it in every mom blog and parenting book I’ve ever encountered. But it still stings. I want nothing more than to have a long, deep conversation with someone who gets me. In my twenties, I was surrounded by friends in the same stage of life as me. We’d discuss any and everything over long hikes and on park picnic blankets and over cocktails on front porches. These days, I’m lucky if I get to discuss the weather over coffee with a friend once a month.
Don’t get me wrong. I consider nothing more sacred and wonderful than being a mommy. But I’m also still human and I do miss my social life. I miss having someone to talk to about anything that’s on my heart. Sometimes the loneliness makes me feel sad. And bitter. And jealous of other moms whose husbands who are their best friends and do regular social outings and have lots of mom friends.
BUT. I try my best to remind myself that every season of life has its ups and downs. This particular season is one of a limited social life. It’s also a season of snowman pancakes and potty training and frequent visits to the park. Of daily tears and belly laughs. Of endless stories, songs, and pretend tea parties. It’s a time when my little one clings to me and wants me by her side at all times. I have never felt more loved and wanted and needed than by the little person who calls me “mommy.” And it is wonderful. And I know that someday down the road, I will look back and gladly trade every friend I have to get back this time in life.
So maybe the answer is to suck it up, step out of my comfort zone, and finally go to a moms group meetup. Or maybe just be more intentional about making friends with other moms at the park. Or maybe it’s as simple as making more of an effort to call a friend when I feel lonely and actually express that I'm feeling lonely. Its uncomfortable to put myself out there and feel vulnerable, but judging by the number of blogs/articles/books about this topic, I'm sure I'm not alone in this. The last thing I want to do is let this loneliness rob me of the joy and fulfillment that this season of life brings. I know it will be over too soon anyway.
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.