create a dream: nutrition coach (part two)

As part of our photo session together, Aly wanted photographs with her family in their garden this year. Their hard work is inspiring…but so is the beautiful location. It was my favorite part of our time together (you know how I feel about photographing children…my favorite!)

MY QUESTION FOR ALY:

As a mom, knowing and understanding the importance of nutrition has come slowly for me over the years. I struggle with how to teach my children. I know force and full restriction isn’t healthy. I am wondering how someone, with your knowledge, implements and inspires your family in nutrition…

This is one of the questions I get asked most frequently. It takes A LOT of work, intentionality, and preparation to take care of our own nutrition. How in the WORLD do we help our kids? 

Obviously, the best way is by example. But also with dropping hints along the way. haha! I try to offer my young kids different foods multiple times for them to have the opportunity to like it. Sometimes they never do. But there is a statistic that says it could take as many as 12 tries before you like a certain food. I also like to tell my kids what different nutrients or foods “do” for our bodies. For example, I’ll tell them that broccoli helps heal their scrapes and cuts. Or eggs can help keep their eyes strong. They think that’s pretty cool. I actually remember my mom telling me the same sorts of things growing up. 

I also talk A LOT about the effects of junk food on our bodies and moods. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE treats and desserts. But I can tell in myself and my children if we’ve been having a lot of sugar.  I can tell because we all get so grumpy afterwards!! I’ll tell my kids, “Sugar tastes SO good. But it doesn’t make me feel very good. Those brownies are kind of making my stomach hurt and I think we all may be a little grumpy from it.” Or “I had a CRAZY dream last night, do you think it could have been the chocolate ice cream I ate before bed?” I want to teach them there is a connection between what we eat and how we feel. I am VERY careful not to use words like “fat” in front of my kids. We like to talk about the benefits of how healthy foods help us be STRONG. Or I tell them things like healthy food helps us be awesome soccer players or ballerinas. 

For older kids, which I haven’t fully experienced yet, I have offered the idea of having kids track their food in an app like, My Fitness Pal, for just a day or two. So they can have a better understanding of what calories are and which foods have more or less calories and nutrients. I don’t believe kids, including teenagers, should track their food intake long-term. Kids bodies are growing so rapidly and I don’t believe they should be worried about restricting calories. Besides putting their growth at risk, it could also cause more self esteem problems and unhealthy relationships with food. However, teenagers are old enough to understand what different nutrients can do for their bodies and how balanced nutrition can help them perform better in school, in sports, and in life. If you could challenge kids to go sugar or junk food free for one month, I think they’d be surprised at how good they feel and how clear their minds are!

I also think it’s very important to involve kids in cooking and preparing food from an early age. Preparing food at home is the healthiest way to eat and they need to know HOW to menu plan, grocery shop, and prepare food. 

Anxiety and depression are on the rise, as we all know. And I can’t help but suspect that our diets are a huge culprit in those illnesses. Blood sugar regulation helps with mood stabilization. Adequate water helps with energy and proper bodily functions. Protein helps rebuild ALL our cells in our bodies. Healthy fats help with brain and hormone function. It also keeps our hair looking good! I know there are so many facets to mental health. But for the sake of our kids, cleaning up their nutrition should be one of our first lines of defense. And I believe we need to teach our children these things!

I want to thank Aly (and her beautiful family!) for taking the time to share, not only what she is passionate about, but also details on how to put her work into practice. If you don’t already, follow Aly on IG, you can find her wisdom there @food.rebel

getting ready to GO!

My daughter Ellie is preparing to leave for her humanitarian trip to Tonga. I am so excited for her. It stops my heart a bit to think of her on the other side of the world so far away. She will be without a phone…and gone for 17 days! I know her perspective of life and the world will open. Her heart will expand with love for the people she meets through this experience. These clothes…that have been sprayed with repellant and dried in the sun, are sure lucky to tag along. I hope she remembers every detail…and I can sit and listen to the highlights for hours…17 days!

money doesn’t grow on trees- or does it?

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I was sitting in a home that was beautiful and inspiring. It was filled with relics and artifacts from around the world. It was set in a breathtaking spot, surrounded by trees with massive windows to let in the beauty. I was there for a parenting seminar. The family that was teaching this seminar is amazing. They have sold millions of books. They are asked to speak and teach all over the world, and rightfully so. They are very intentional and proactive individuals. It was inspiring to learn from them. Toward the end of the seminar, a concept came up that I disagreed with. A question was raised to the attendees:

What do you want your children to know about money?

There were answers spilling out that I feel can poison potential…

  • “take care of what you have, because it is limited”
  • “when you spend it, it is gone”
  • “money doesn’t grow on trees” with a chuckle

These are well meaning thoughts that I was taught growing up. They sound good. They sound like the building blocks to inhibit entitlement. They sound responsible and like common sense. But do we really want to believe this? What if instead we taught our children-

  • “making money is easy and fun”
  • “there is always enough”
  • “money is there for you whenever you need it”

I am letting go of scarcity. I am teaching myself, and hopefully teaching my girls, that life and it’s resources are abundant. That they are there for whatever we need. That I know what to do and how to find it. What if they believe that now, at their young ages? Imagine the good they could do in the world!$

lifeguard on duty

photo taken October 29, 2017 in California

Do you feel like a lifeguard as a parent? There is such a fine balance between trust|openness|limitations|independence when parenting teens. There isn’t an exact science. I know many parents would say that we are too strict and others would say we are too lax. Lately Danny, the girls and I feel like we have come a long way and are making progress. We have had some inspiration that has helped us recently. I thought I would share some of them here and would love to know what is helping you at your house.

FAMILY SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE by Anna Macfarlane was a great conversation vehicle for us. It really helped us see that we aren’t maybe as far apart as we thought we were on the ideas around social media. I especially loved that the lessons had questions for the teens to ask the parents along with questions for parents to ask teens. It is great.

THE SELF DRIVEN CHILD: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. I don’t have a straight A student in my home. And I wasn’t a straight A student either. We have had a few years of focusing that way, and truly they weren’t good for any of us. This book opened my eyes to a different perspective and tools that not only help us survive when things aren’t going well, but change our environment here to help us thrive. I think it might be my very favorite parenting book that I have read.

SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. This book helped me see the need for more movement and exercise in our family. I was drawn to this book because of issues I was seeing in focus, grades, and confidence in my girls that can be brutal in upper elementary-high school. We have made changes. Ellie bought and pays for a gym membership, Kate is competing on the high school lacrosse team, Sophie is in competitive tumbling, I increased my yoga attendance and just began running again (Danny has always been great in this area!). I do love music and lessons, but the more I learn about the correlation of exercise and mental/emotional wellness, the greater pull I feel towards athletics. Had I known then what I know now, I would have made the sports we tried when they were young a greater priority.

I am grateful for THIS article. The parents desire to make all of us more aware allowed for a great discussion at our house that I hope will remain open and continue.

KNOW HOW MOM: I signed up for her parenting prompts that I enjoyed. We also bought her Buddy Quest books for my girls. Several times on her IG account I have stopped, so grateful for the perspective she offers.

THIS talk this weekend was one of my very favorites. It touched my heart has a parent.

I have mentioned both of these before, but the podcasts from Brooke Castillo and Jody Moore have really helped me put parenting in perspective. I have learned to see the root of many of my anxieties as a parent. Analyzing my thoughts and separating their choices and decisions from who I am as a person has allowed for a greater love and respect between us. I am so grateful for all that I have, and will continue to learn from them.

Monthly dates: In our regular living, I definitely have time one on one with each of my girls. Along with that, there is something greater about scheduling something and making time for it each month. I meet my girls for lunch (generally take them out) during the school day every month. They LOVE being checked out. We work hard to get them back before the bell rings for their next class. They choose where we eat, and I LOVE sitting across from them to hear all about what is going on that week in their lives. It is one of my favorite things about my month. I think I initially got that idea from 71Toes (I have learned a lot from her as well.)

How are you balancing the lifeguard duties in your home? I would love to know any tips or resources that have helped your family. We are making progress…and have plenty of room for improvement!

10-10-1 as a family

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We have a money system in our house where our girls pay for their own clothes, entertainment with friends, shoes, spending money for gas, to go out to lunch, etc… Part of earning money within our finances, is to complete checklists. They hate them. They rarely do them. SO their desire for money can be a motivator to do things they might otherwise roll their eyes at…like life coaching. I am drawn to self help resources of all kinds. SO I often find things I know not only benefit me, but really could help all five of us. Danny and I decided a bit ago that we would pay our girls $5 a week to participate in some type of life coaching activity. We have mainly listened to podcasts (like Brooke Castillo, Better Than Happy, and their new favorite, Show Up).

Like I mentioned yesterday, I love the 10-10-1 concept Rachel Hollis teaches in her book GIRL STOP APOLOGIZING so we listened to chapter 12 together around the dining room table. I had pens and paper on the table. As the audio book played, they were taking notes! We paused after Rachel spoke about envisioning your life in ten years. We did the exercise right then together. My girls pushed back a bit on writing about life that far in the future and we encouraged them to pick a year. When two of my girls said, “nothing we are doing today will matter in 10 years” we had a great discussion. I explained how my inattention and lack of drive in high school and the first few years out of high school effected my ability to graduate college in a timely manner. I did it. I graduated at 30, but what could I have accomplished if I had believed in myself earlier? They were back on board. We finished the chapter.

10 dreams…then 1 goal. They were writing their dreams with absolutely no input from us. We actually cautioned about sharing them if they thought they would be influenced by other’s opinions. (who isn’t influenced by other’s opinions…ugggh!) These are YOUR dreams. We did dangle a carrot. If you write down your 10 dreams everyday like Ms. Hollis suggests there will be NO MORE CHECKLISTS…we will pay you your “checklist money.” They were IN!

Their checklists consist of practicing instruments, household responsibilities, exercise, etc… They will still be helping around the house, and taking their turn with what MO needs but they don’t have to spend anytime or energy tracking it. That energy can go toward remembering their dreams and rewriting their goal daily. In my opinion, that will be much more powerful than any checklist we have ever created. The checklists felt like a list of what they haven’t accomplished. Their dreams brighten their futures and motivate them today.

I wasn’t sure if they would like it, or need reminders. The next day two of them had already rewritten their dreams that morning, without any prompt from Danny or I. (YAY!) The other completed it excitedly in the evening. I am so excited for us. Some daily goals are hard, but when it is something that feels so good to do, there is a bit more motivation behind it.

the sign is found here and the letters are found here

I am amazed by all of the fantastic resources out in the world that are free, or very inexpensive. The tools and motivation found in podcasts and audio books are incredible. I could listen all day. I have tried to make sure they are off when my girls are in the car…that we are talking or listening to music so I don’t oversaturate that for them. As Rachel said in this chapter, “If everything is important, nothing is important.” Even though I love all of theses resources I am learning to slow down…and instead of consuming too much, start listening less and putting into practice more. If I only have these on for my girls during our “life coaching time” they will be more likely to listen and take it seriously. Having said all of that, are there any podcasts or audio books that you know I would LOVE?

teenagers

We had the studio light up for my nephews (here) so the teenagers (Ellie & Kate with my nieces Lauren & Rivers and their friend Johnny) decided to play. I set the camera for them and plugged in the light and they had so much fun. And I LOVED the photos they downloaded to my computer!

I honestly LOVE having teenagers so much. (I claim these nieces of mine too!) . You know when you meet people for the first time and over small talk they ask you how many kids you have and their ages, etc… When they learn I have three daughters (currently 12, 14 & 16) there are responses like-

  • wow, you have your hands full
  • there are a lot of hormones in your house
  • your poor husband
  • how are you doing?

But truly, I LOVE being a mom to teenage girls. They are independent in so many ways, which makes room in our relationship for more fun. Teenagers LOVE to have fun! I love seeing their personalities shift and change and become their own. They share more with me now, because they are deeper thinkers than they were in early elementary school. They want adventure, which stretches me out of my comfort zone…which is good for me!

  • Are they sometimes moody? yes.
  • Do they love their cell phones more than me? sometimes…ok, maybe always 🙂
  • Do they have perfect grades and on a direct path to ivy-league? nope
  • Do we agree on everything? again, no

And yes, I love that too. I remind myself frequently, what I was like at their age. They are so much further ahead than I was! I have learned a bit of what is natural development at this age- how important their peers are to them and their desire to be more independent and can relax when that comes up. I have let go of the idea of wanting “perfect kids.” I really did want that when they were younger. I am so grateful that my relationships with them have taught me not only to be at peace with not having it, but I truly do not want that. Especially because no human is perfect and hiding imperfections is not a healthy way to live and weakens relationships. They have taught me so much…and we are just getting started. I feel so lucky.

Now let’s take a look at a few more of their photos:

and my very favorite…

I will be using the light box a few more times this week- photo booth for the 6th grade Valentines and I want photos on my wall over our new couch in the basement…I will share the details of the equipment AND my favorite setup for the best light next week!

2019!!!!!!!!

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The first day in 2019 began in CA! Any year that begins by the ocean has to be a good one! In my first yoga class in 2019, the instructor talked about goals: 17% of the population have goals. 14% of those have a plan in mind but are unwritten. 3% of those people write down their goals. The study stated that those with goals are 10x more successful than those without. And those that write their goals down are 3x more successful beyond that 10x. The study she was quoting wasn’t referenced in class—but it definitely worth putting to our own test!

some NEW YEAR goal inspiration I have found:

  • These books: THE LIST by Yuval Abramovitz (the idea is a fun one…an more than anything got me in a mindset of thinking up dreams and possibilities) THE SELF DRIVEN CHILD by William Stixrud (totally changed my parenting approach in 2019)
  • episode #76 from the RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis
  • this checklist
  • this planner
  • I can’t stop thinking about this podcast- training ourselves to think! I LOVED IT!
  • another podcast…but really! I think I am going to have this episode on repeat for awhile.
  • The challenges given in this talk. As the year 2018 was drawing to a close I felt spiritually disconnected. Doing my best to keep the challenges suggested in President Nelson’s talk, I have felt a shift in my heart. A shift from cynicism to faith. A greater desire to seek spiritual sources. My heart drifted from some distractions that were pulling me, not in a necessarily bad place, just away from my goals.

I would love to know what is inspiring you at the start of this year! I am ready for 2019 to be the best year yet!


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