Avery is creeping up on the ripe old age of two, and since kids under two fly for free (as a lap child), we have really tried to take advantage and do a lot of traveling this year. As part of that mission, we went down to New Mexico to spend Christmas this year with family and friends we hadn't seen in a long time.
Let me start this story by saying that taking an almost 2 year-old on an airplane as a lap child is borderline crazy. 60% of your time is spent cycling through various sources of entertainment/snacks, 30% trying to hold the child's legs to prevent kicking other passengers/the seat in front of you, and 10% is spent trying not to lose your mind. Although somewhere in the mix, there are snuggles, and snuggles make everything alright.
Brandon's parents live in New Mexico on a ranch, which was so much fun to have Avery experience. Every day, we went out and visited the animals, rode grandpa's tractor, and of course took selfies on the hay bales.
Another highlight from the trip was going to Old Town Albuquerque and seeing the luminarias. Luminarias are paper lanterns that are traditionally set out on Christmas Eve (the history of which I'm not sure about). They are popular all over the state of New Mexico, but Albuquerque and Santa Fe are known to have the best luminaria displays in the state. I remember Brandon taking me to see them the first Christmas after we got married, so it was really special for us to get to bring Avery to see them this time.
Amidst all the Chirstmas festivities, spending time with family and friends was definitely the best part of the trip. I have about 240 photos of us with family/friends, but I'll just post my favorite one...
Is your heart in a puddle on the ground yet? Merry (belated) Christmas everyone!
Oh, and here is a recap of my #joyfuldecember2016 photo challenge from the past week:
Day 19: Random acts of kindness. Today at the grocery store, the person in the checkout line behind us caught my munchkin eyeing some little elephant bracelets on display. He quickly pulled out some cash and handed it to me, saying "Please take this. I'd really like to buy her a couple of those bracelets." The crazy part? I had JUST put the exact same amount that he handed me into the Salvation Army bucket at the store entrance.
Day 21: Working out at home.There are SO many reasons I would rather exercise at home than go to a gym, the primary one being more time spent with my munchkin. Today, she delivered me a play dough ice cream cone as a post-workout snack. And totally solidified my love of working out with her by my side.
Day 22: My parents as grandparents. This transition was weird for me at first because the "grandparents" label made it feel like they were so old all of a sudden. But the truth is, becoming grandparents has brought out a youthfulness and energy in them that I hadn't seen in a long time. The love they pour into my munchkin and the incredible relationship each one has developed with her brings me a kind of joy I'd never experienced before having a child.
Day 26: Healthy eating. Don't get me wrong, I have been loving all the holiday indulgences. But my body always tells me when it's time to get back on track when I start craving fruits and veggies BADLY. So today, I loaded up my grocery cart with healthy goodies that I'm reeeaaaally looking forward to digging into this week.
Today's blog post is inpsired by my day 18 photo challenge:
Something that has really taken me by surprise as a parent is how much enjoyment I get from experiencing events/activities through my toddler's eyes. Things like Christmas morning, visiting the zoo, or getting ice cream from the ice cream truck were all such incredible experiences for me as a child, and now as a parent I find myself getting just as excited over sharing these things with Avery.
The night before we opened our Christmas presents, I had insomnia like crazy because I could hardly wait to see the reaction on Avery's face when she opened her gifts. I remember that giddy anticipation from my childhood well, but I honestly didn't expect it to return to me as an adult. But it has. I get so excited just watching Avery experience all the things I loved as a kid. Her enthusiasm sparks an enthusiasm in me that makes everything feel new all over again. It's hard to explain, and it's honestly something I never understood before becoming a parent. But it's so true when they say that one of the joys of being a parent is getting to see the world again through a child's eyes. I like the way Ralph Waldo Emerson sums it up: "The world when seen through a little child's eyes, greatly resembles paradise."
On that note, lets get right along with a recap of my photo challenge over the past week...
It's been in the 20s and 30s over the past couple of weeks, so today's high of 45 degrees felt almost tropical in comparison. Almost. It necessitated outdoor activitiy nonetheless. Avery and I started our day by riding the bus to the grocery store. For my 2 year old, riding the bus is equivalent to riding the best roller coaster at Disneyland. While eating ice cream. With fireworks going off in the background. And glitter falling from the sky.
I know she doesn't seem as excited in this photo as I made it sound, but I chose to post this one because at this particiular moment, Avery was staring at the bus driver and every once in a while would turn and eagerly ask me when he was going to say "move on back" (Wheels on the Bus reference....anyone....?) We had a blast, and by the time we got back home, she was more than ready for her nap. I took advantage of the "warm" weather and did an outdoor workout while she slept.
As for my December photo challenge, here is a recap of last week:
Superset workouts have been my jam lately. What is a superset you ask? By definition, a superset is completing two exercises in a row without rest. There are different types of supersets, like those targeting the same muscle groups, those targeting opposing muscle groups, and those that involve exercises targeting completely different muscle groups. Supersets are commonly used in bodybuilding to maximize muscle gains. Like HIIT workouts, they also incorporate short bursts of high intensity exercise, but their focus is more on muscle strengthening.
The gym is a great place to do supersets because weights are a key component in strength training. That being said, you can also use your body weight pretty effectively for strength training. I've been experimenting a lot with bodyweight supersets at home, and came up with the workout below that requires no equipment.
This particular workout targets the same muscle groups, so you will definitely feel the burn. It took me about 20 minutes to get through the whole thing. Next time, if I'm feeling super ambitious, I'll try for 2 rounds. Enjoy!
I think anyone who has ever A. had a toddler or B. tried to take posed photos of a toddler can relate to our struggle in getting a family photo for our holiday cards this year. We went to a portrait studio over the weekend to get the photo, during which Avery managed to smile a total of ZERO times and instead spent most of her time trying to bolt out of the studio. She was not having it at all. Plan B was to try and take the photo in our living room since Avery would be in a familiar and comfortable environment. Here is a glimpse of how that went down...
Seeeeeeeveral, and I mean SEVERAL attempts later, we were able to coax a smile out of our wiggly toddler by throwing her up into the air and catching her just in time for the self timer on the camera to go off. The result: a family photo that is not professional quality, our child is neither looking at the camera nor sitting still, but everyone is smiling! Parenting win. Oh, and she actually kept the hair bows I made her in her hair. Double win.
On another note, here is a recap of my December photo challenge for the past few days (I post all the photos on my Instagram).
Today, I'm kicking off an Instagram photo challenge. Every day in December, I have to post a photo of something that brings me joy. Why? Because when I think of what Christmas means to me, the word that instantly comes to mind is "joy". Of course, there are a lot of other emotions that surround Christmastime. There is anxiety in the hustle and bustle. There is stress in trying to get all the holiday shopping done on time. There is sadness in family memebers missing from the holiday dinner table. And so forth. Sometimes its hard to find joy in this season amdist all the other emotions, but for me, joy is what Christmas is all about. So this year I'm making a concerted effort to focus on my true meaning of Christmas. In the spirit of that, here is my day one photo:
This dimple-faced munchkin brings me insane amounts of joy every single day. Her wonder, her playful spirit, and her enthusiasim for life are daily doses of hapiness for me. I had NO idea going into this parenting thing how much joy a child could truly bring you. When she wakes up in the morning, I either hear her singing, telling herself a story, or calling out "mooooommmy....wanna go pwaaaay". How can that NOT put a smile on my face to start each day?
Please feel free to play along with the photo challenge in the comments!
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.