MYLO Obstacle Fitness

Can I just tell you that training for something like American Ninja Warrior all at home is incredibly hard?  There’s only so many ring rows and push-ups I can do before I get so bored!  And I am constantly disappointing myself with my perceived lack of progress.  I have no one to motivate me, and no one to show off for.  I am my own worst cheerleader, and there’s always something I would rather be doing,  or someone calling for me, crying for me, or pulling on me.  Laundry needs to be done and dishes need to be washed.  Plus I have to prepare around 15 meals a day, give or take.  15!  That’s a lot of time suck.  When you add in Harvey, kindergarten and the holiday trip, my workouts had come to a screeching halt.  And I didn’t have much motivation to get started again.

It was time for a field trip.

But let me paint a little picture for you.  I keep 3-4 kids all day long, depending on if the oldest is at school or not.  The evenings are filled with fixing dinner, baths, bedtime routines.  Or shuffling kids between gymnastics, Awana, or hubby being out for his commitments.  It’s non-stop, and I’m so overstimulated and overwhelmed all the time, by the time it’s bedtime, I’m about half comatose.  Any parent out there reading this can relate, I know.

BUT!  Light at the end of the tunnel.  It appears that Wednesday nights will now be mine.  All mine.  To do whatever I want.  All 5 of the rest of my wonderfully lovely family members will be out of the house.  FOR. THREE. HOURS.  I hope you can appreciate the magnitude of this.  3 hours to myself.  And I have given myself permission to keep that 3 hours all for me.  No laundry, no packing tomorrows lunch, no chores.  Just time for me, for whatever I want to do.  And the list of possibilities is endless.  I could take a hot bath.  I could curl up on the couch and catch up on the DVR.  I could sit in a quiet room and rock myself while staring at the wall and enjoying the silence.  I could use 3 hours of time to catch up on my enjoyable list of projects that I can never finish because I can never go more than 5 minutes without someone interrupting, crying, screaming, or yelling, ‘MOM! I’M DONE!’ from the bathroom.

This past Wednesday was my first ‘me night’.  I was tired.  I wanted to sit and do nothing.  But I also knew I needed an exercise field trip and a swift kick in the pants to get motivated again.


My brain decided to go, although my heart wasn’t in it.  It was a 45 minute drive to MYLO Obstacle Fitness, so I took my on-its-last-leg Shuffle with me to listen on the way.  Since I can’t actually shuffle or skip ahead anymore, I was stuck listening to whatever I got.  And I got slow song after slow song after slow song for 45 minutes.  Y’all, by the time I got there I was ready for a good cry and a nap.  I had no energy and no motivation.

I’ll spare you the story of trying to find the place and then thinking I would get axe murdered on the way in.


Needless to say the place was not quite what I was expecting.  No frills for sure.  But I decided since I drove all the way, and the first class is free, I might as well try the ‘obstacle fitness’ class.

And I’m so glad I stayed!  Mylo was very complementary of what I could do, very encouraging, and it was something new and different.  Definitely the kick-start I needed to get back to it.  It was ‘leg day’ so we didn’t get on any of the actual obstacles, but we did do some team building log stuff that was pretty cool.  You can see the whole video on their Facebook page here, it’s only about a minute long so check it out.  But here’s a couple of screen shots I took of the video he posted.


I don’t know what the rest of my Wednesday’s will look.  Hopefully they still stay mine, although life has a funny way of getting in the way.  It would be great to have the discipline and motivation to use every Wednesday night for some athletic endeavor, but that realistically won’t be the case.  As our schedules get busier, I will probably want to stay closer to home.  And having the commute to and from the workout take longer than the actual workout…that’s rough.  I wish we had something closer, that I could visit weekly.  I know that would help with my motivation and progress.  But it is what it is.  Another life obstacle to overcome, right?

And I don’t know how this whole wannabe-ANW story is going to end, but I can say I have been out of my comfort zone more in these last few months than ever in my life, I think.  I’m a homebody.  I’m shy, and I have social anxiety.  I don’t like going in to new situations, and I certainly don’t like doing new things by myself.  But I have walked in to so many new situations, doing things I’m not totally sure I can finish, and been in more groups of strangers for this training stuff.  I’m pretty proud of that.  And I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of stepping out in the world by myself and trying new things.  And that lesson will last far longer than whether or not I get on American Ninja Warrior.  Although that would be pretty cool, too.


Labor Day Obstacle Course

The family we were visiting over the weekend has a huge yard.  And a work shed full of odds and ends.  So we got the idea of setting up an obstacle course in the morning before it got too hot.

I’m not the most ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to seeing random items and putting them into an obstacle course, but we did our best.


It started with a box jump onto the upside down bucket, then down the balance beam, across the top of the ladder rungs, and down the remaining balance beam.  Then you had to step inside the half deflated inner tube and carry it by the handles while you ran down around the tree and back.


After that you had to jump side to side down the 2 pool noodles, jump across the rails, then push your brother in the stroller around the pots.  It would have been cooler had we had catchy names for the obstacles, but I didn’t get that far.  Finally, you had to take a lap around the perimeter of the yard.  She did a couple different runs with a few obstacle variations, but that was the jist.


Then it was time for the pool.  Because this…


Harvey, Kindergarten, and the Zombie Apocalypse

So weekend before last we had Harvey come through.  Thankfully, we are about 3 hours inland, and not right not on the coast.  We were very blessed that we only got minor damage to the house, and everything that was destroyed is replaceable.  The fence will get rebuilt, the siding and roof will get repaired. I can’t imagine having our entire home, and all the precious mementos within, washed away.  My heart goes out to those families that have to rebuild their lives.  And now those in the line of Irma.


Having said that though, last week was filled with fence contractors, roofers climbing around, and insurance adjusters.  Man, the insurance company. I think I would rather go to the gynecologist AND get a root canal before dealing with the insurance company again.  I think I’m thankful to have house insurance.

So in addition to Harvey, my oldest started kindergarten this week.  She’s never done any kind of school before, so this is a big adjustment. All 4 kids have to have new schedules to accommodate dropping off and picking up, and man she’s cranky when she gets home. Everyone’s exhausted.  And then it only took about 2 days for her to come home saying one of the girls was mean to her at recess and a boy spit on her.  This kindergarten stuff is not for the faint of heart.

Last weekend for the long holiday we traveled to visit family. And there was a gas shortage. Actually, that may or may not be true. The rumor of a gas shortage
started circling on social media, due to Harvey and the refineries in Houston. So everyone freaked out and started hoarding gas. So then all the gas stations were out of gas. But was there really a shortage to being with?  Who knows.  Some say yes and some say no. I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg.

But the night before we left, Kevin took the car (which was on empty) to fill it up.  He literally had to go to at least 6 gas stations before he found one with gas.  They had cops out watching for hoarders, employees directing traffic, long times, the whole bit.  Then Saturday as we were driving, there was only gas at 1 or 2 stations out of the dozen or so we passed.

I’m not so worried about the gas problem now. It’ll pass, and we’ll all be fueled up again soon. But it did get me thinking about what happens when the zombie apocalypse comes and we for real have a gas shortage.  I think it’s probably inevitable that the pumps will dry up at some point. Hopefully that comes after we’ve conquered and moved on from our dependence on petroleum, but what if it doesn’t?  I guess we’d start walking everywhere.  Maybe buy a horse?  The Amish might have the right idea.  They may have the last laugh.

Harvey did get me thinking about being more responsible about having a disaster plan in place for the family. When you hear the announcement to either evacuate or else write your name and social on your arm with a Sharpie, you start thinking about things a little differently.  Thankfully we weren’t close enough to the coast to need to evacuate, but how scary would that be? IMG_8759


I do also think I need to start building up a supply of food at home. I’ve seen different websites about how to build up enough food to feed a family of however many over the course of a few months, buying here and there. It was eerie to see so many empty shelves at the grocery store. We are so dependent on others to take care of us. What would we do if we couldn’t just go buy what we need? No gas? No food at the grocery? We’d be sunk. We’d all want to be friends with Bear Gryllis, he’d probably be fine.

It makes me think that I need to get a little survival training. Here in our neck of the woods the beer and tortilla chips were the first to sell out. What if rather than just eat like the paleolithic people, we had to hunt and gather like them, too? Would that happen? What would we hunt?  Or gather?  Would we all be hiding in bunkers, fighting each other to the death over the last bit of supplies like in the Hunger Games? Or would we be doing whatever it is that they do in The Walking Dead? (I’ve never seen that show, but I don’t think it turns out very well for most of them). I hope when the apocalypse comes I’m not wearing a red shirt.  I at least want to make it to the sequel.

The Death of an Era

Last trip we took, the Oklahoma one, (One Week: Barenaked Ladies) my husband left his beard balm in the glove box.  Which of course melted, because it was 3000 degrees and August while we were there.  Which means that the beard balm turned into a pool of beard oil.  And our glove box became a beard oil swimming pool. And guess what went swimming without its floaties on?  One of my most prized possessions.  My iPod Shuffle.


Yes, a Shuffle, 3rd generation to be exact.  (Masquerade: Phantom of the Opera soundtrack) I would have guessed I bought it about 2004, but Wikipedia tells me they came out in 2009, so I guess that’s when I got it.  Man I thought I was so cool when I bought it.  I think it was about $50, and probably the most technologically advanced thing I owned.  Probably still one of the most technologically advanced things I own (I didn’t bite the bullet and buy my first smart phone until 2015).  It has the soundtrack of my life on it.  All my favorite songs from the last 20ish years.  Most of them were even painstakingly copied over from my CD collection. (I’m the Greatest Star: Barbara Streisand)

You know what stunk, by the way?  Really loving 2 or 3 songs on a CD, and then having to go buy the whole dadgum CD for those couple of songs.  Tracks 1 and 2 were great. Sometimes 3 and 4 were sleeper hits you ended up liking, but then you always had to skip tracks 5-12 to get back to 1.  Man, that was the worst.  I digress.

(Just to see you smile: Tim McGraw)

I still distinctly remember trying to decide if I wanted to buy it at Best Buy or order from the Apple website.  If I had ordered it from the internet, I could have gotten the silver clip engraved. Engraved. But instant gratification won out and I bought it in-store.

That’s why the shuffle was so great!  Just copy over your very favorite songs, and then it automatically shuffled them around to get the most fantastic mix tape of all time.  My goodness, I love this thing.  It’s got 486 of my favorite songs.  All genres.  Eminem to Elvis Presley, Gospel to Garth Brooks.  And I’m such a scanner, even if it’s my favorite song, I usually just want to hear the first 30 seconds and then go to my next favorite song.  And I can do that!  (Come What May: Moulin Rouge)

And I love the surprise that you never know what song is coming next.  At the end of every song, I wait expectantly for what’s next.  And as soon as I hear the first couple bars, I break out in a huge smile, sigh, and say ‘I love this song’.  It’s like Christmas every couple of minutes.  One song might transport me to high school and my first heartbreak, the next song reminds me of driving around in my first car with the windows down and my hair blowing in the wind, and then a couple of minutes later I’m sitting in a theatre on Broadway or standing at the altar.  The Shuffle is more than just a little piece of metal and circuits.  It’s my memories.  It’s a time machine.  It’s the story of my life.

(Show Me How You Burlesque: Christina Aguilera)

Kevin has tried many times to get me interested in Spotify, and such. Pffft. No thank you. I have a very carefully curated collection of the very best songs. I don’t need Spotify. I don’t need to put the songs on my phone. My Shuffle will live forever.

Until it took a dip in the hot oil bath.  Actually, to be fair, it was lounging in the glove box before it filled with oil.  As a testament to the quality of products that once were, it does still play a little bit.  But when you get the headphones in there, you have to put pressure with your finger just in the right spot for you to get sound in both ears.  And the controls that are on the headphones (because this was before the time when controls were on the device itself), no longer adjust the volume or skip ahead to the next song.  My Shuffle no longer shuffles.  I can’t click once to pause, twice to skip ahead.  I can’t even click 3 times for the pre-siri to come on and tell me what song is playing.  And it appears I can’t get it to connect to any other device to transfer the songs to something new.  It’s like 20 years of my life is dying in front  of me.  (The Dance: Garth Brooks, Live Version) 

I’m going to have to mourn this for a while.

I would never karaoke, but I can belt them out in the car.


At this point, the Dramamine started kicking in a bit and I zoned out, staring out the window of the car.  I was writing this post on our way out of town.  And the rest of the songs I heard before I dozed off were:

  • Your Star: All American Rejects
  • In a Real Love: Phil Vasser
  • Girlfriend: Bob Guiney
  • There’s Your Trouble: Dixie Chicks
  • No Thinkin’ Thing: Trace Adkins
  • How Do I Live: Trisha Yearwood
  • Can’t Fight the Moonlight: Coyote Ugly soundtrack
  • Wannabe: Spice Girls
  • some Hillary Duff song I don’t know the name of
  • There Is No Arizona: Jamie O’Neal
  • Hey There Delilah: Plain White T’s
  • I Just Wanna Live: Good Charlotte
  • Empire State of Mind: Jay Z and Alicia Keys
  • Don’t Be Stupid: Shania Twain
  • I Like It, I Love It: Tim McGraw
  • Aint Goin Down: Garth Brooks
  • Only Hope: Mandy Moore

The 10 Commandments of School Lunches

This has absolutely nothing to do with ninja, but guys, it has to be addressed…

My oldest is starting kindergarten this week, tomorrow to be exact, and I decided last Friday night that I better think about what I’m going to be packing for her lunches.  So I started making my lunch idea list.

  1.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Fruit.  Pretzels.

I didn’t get very far.  She can’t take mac and cheese because she can’t warm it up, and that pretty much exhausts our lunch rotation around here.  Don’t judge me.

Plus, she’ll only eat fresh mac and cheese, and not leftovers rewarmed.  It’s a whole thing around here.

So I went to google.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I had no idea what big business kids school lunches are.  Are you kidding me???


I was overwhelmed in about 2.3 seconds.

Gone are the days of a PBJ, in a plastic sandwich bag, inside a brown paper bag.  That’s absolutely unacceptable these days.

Now I certainly wasn’t going to send her lunch in a brown paper bag (I mean, we had to search through every. single. lunch box in town to find the. perfect. Hello Kitty one), but I had no idea that if I sent my child with a PBJ, in a plain (gasp!) sandwich bag, how much I would be communicating to all the other parents and school employees how little I actually cared about my child.  Or the planet.

So I did a little research, and I found out the new acceptable rules for school lunches, so that your child feels secure in your love for them.  And the Earth does too.   I’m passing these rules along to you, so that if you have also procrastinated on the lunch front (or were totally ignorant like I was), it’ll save you some time.  And your child will be spared from a life of sex, drugs, and jail since you got kindergarten lunch figured out early.

**Disclaimer:  Since I have only researched the appropriate ways to pack a kindergartener’s lunch, I can’t speak personally to whether or not these rules apply to any other grades.  Don’t blame me if you ruin your first graders life because you packed them a kindergartener’s lunch.**

The 10 Commandments of (Kindergarten) School Lunches:

1.  All the containers the food is packaged in should be reusable. A bento box lunch container is preferred. They are available in 1-7 separate compartments, based on how much you love your child. You can also get versions with labeled compartments so you can be sure to remember to include all the food groups. If you love your child just a little bit, you’ll get an inexpensive plastic version. Just beware that every time you serve your sweet child a meal in it, you’re slowing giving him/her cancer from all the chemicals leaking in to it from the plastic. If you really love your child a lot, you’ll go with the stainless steel version that is cancer-leaking chemical free. And it’s $70. Yes, I said 70. Seven. zero. Dollars. FOR A LUNCH CONTAINER! But I mean, whatever, if you don’t love your kid, I guess that’s your prerogative. Choose the plastic then. You might as well not buckle them in on the way to school either.

BONUS POINTS:  You purchase 5 different bento lunch containers so their creativity is sparked anew each day with the variety.  And it’ll probably make them smarter.



2.  Sandwiches are not appropriate.  They convey laziness.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches specifically convey that you don’t care about your child’s health.  They are only okay, once per quarter, if all the following criteria are met:

a. they are made with 100% whole grain, gluten free, no sugar added wheat bread

b. no sugar added freshly mashed fruit instead of jelly

c.  organic no salt added peanut butter.  

If you can’t get past the sandwich idea, opt for a ‘pinwheel’ instead. The same rules for bread (see a. above) would apply to the tortilla, of course, but you would roll up your selected foods together, and then slice them into pinwheels. You may not use plain toothpicks, you must use BPA free reusable toothpics with little animal faces on them. Then your kids will know you love them. 

BONUS POINTS:  You include a handwritten education sheet for each animal depicted on a toothpick so they can learn something while they eat.



3.  If you are still going to send a sandwich or piece of bread of any kind, they must be cut into fun shapes using a sandwich sized shape cutter.  That way they know you love them.  The hearts and dinosaurs are kind of overdone, so you really should move on to the ‘2 dolphins with a heart’ cutter.  

BONUS POINTS: You can find a unicorn sandwich shape cutter.  Or just cut one by hand.



4.  You must include all the food groups in the appropriate ratios in the lunch.  They need a protein, dairy, fruit, veg, and carb.  This way they know you love them.  It goes without saying that all protein should be grass-fed, free range, antibiotic free.  The fruit and veg should be organic, non-GMO, and locally grown.  

BONUS POINTS:  You taught your child about cultivating the Earth while you grew and harvested the fruit and veg yourselves.


5.  If you are going to include anything that is firm to semi-firm, it must be cut into little shapes with little shape cutters.  That way your kids know you love them.  Using a plain melon baller is no longer acceptable.  Examples of foods that will be expected to be shaped: watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, banana, cheese, meat, bread, cucumbers, carrots, etc.  

BONUS POINTS:  If you’re sending a banana in their lunch, and don’t love them enough to cut it into shapes, at least give it a tattoo.

EXAMPLE:  61yRtekTKML._SL1000_

6.  If it is a food that cannot be cut into a shape, it needs to have eyes.  Then your kids will know you love them. 

BONUS POINTS: You have taught your child Japanese, so they can read the packaging the fruit eyes come in.


7.  The different foods in your child’s lunch cannot touch.  Although they may be in the same bento compartment, they can’t mix.  So get reusable silicone baking cups to put in each compartment, with each food getting it’s own container.

BONUS POINTS: You choose something other than plain round cups.  It’ll make your kids smarter.



8.  You must include a little love note in every lunch.  Then everyone will know how much you love your child.

BONUS POINTS: Your kindergartner is already an expert reader on Day 1 of class.  That way they can read the note.  And you’ll show all the teachers how much you love your child because you’ve already taught them how to read.


Love letters

9.  If you can theme it, it must be themed.  Obvious days would be Birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But don’t forget Easter, Flag day, and Earth Day.  These are the bare minimum.  You should also include a themed lunch for any topic your child is studying in school, or favorite topic they’re in to at the time. 

BONUS POINTS:  You do a Star Wars theme on May 4th.


10.  And it should go without saying that you may not repeat a school lunch.  Ever. 

BONUS POINTS:  You go all the way through senior year without repeating a lunch.

EXAMPLE: 180-Homemade-Lunches2-copy

Man, and I thought $2.55 per school-bought lunch was expensive.  Sounds like a bargain now.  Although I’m pretty sure I would doom her social life and intelligence potential forever if she was forced to buy school lunch.

Little Victories

Let me set the stage for you.  It was Saturday.  A full ONE DAY after the end of my challenge.  I had been on my own for 24 hours with no accountability.  My exercise and food choices were my own.  No meal plans, no group work outs.

I was tired.  I worked overnight Friday night, then came home and got 4 kids ready for pictures.  After wrangling the chaos, I came home and had a spinach smoothie and took a nap.  I woke up mid-afternoon, hungry, to 7 surprise guests in our home.  4 of which were teenagers who had floated the river that morning.  Nobody had eaten.  Wanting to be decent hosts, we knew we needed to feed everyone.  But what?  We didn’t have any groceries, so my husband ran to the store and bought several frozen pizzas.

We had leftover grilled chicken and salad stuff in the fridge.  And a housefull of 10 other people eating pizza, that smelled amazing.  AAHHHH!!!  What do I do?  I wanted the pizza!  But I was only one day on my own and had already splurged on a chocolate chip cookie at work, and a half of a chai latte to get me through the pictures until my nap.

I’m trying to rethink the way I look at food.  I’m trying to think of it as fuel, rather than an experience.  I’m trying to make healthy decisions a majority of the time, and not feel guilty if I indulge in a little treat here and there.

But I was really hungry.  And the pizza smelled really good.  So I put my big girl panties on and made a compromise.  I had a grilled chicken spinach salad, the only one in a room of pizza eaters, and a small half slice of the thin crust pizza.  And it was great!  I felt proud of myself for not eating a plate full of pizza, I felt healthy for eating a salad, and I still squelched the craving by having a small slice of a really yummy mozzarella/pesto pizza.

It’s little victories.  Make one little good choice at a time.  And they’ll add up to better habits and a healthier lifestyle.


Name That Ninja

I discovered this shirt for sale on the NBC website, courtesy of a Facebook ad.  (That Facebook ad stuff is brilliant coding, or algorithming, or whatever it is, by the way.  How do they know???).

ninja shirt

So I think I need to buy one.  Maybe it will give me more confidence when I’m exercising training.  Or maybe it’ll answer a few curious glances when I’m climbing all over everything at the park with my kids.  Either way, I think it would be an appropriate memento for this season of my life.

But it’s customizable.  So I can’t just put ‘Joanna’ on it.  I have to figure out my catchy ninja name before I order my shirt.  Everyone on the show has a catchy ninja name, you see.  And ‘crazy mom of 4 who thinks she can do this because in her head she’s still 20, but probably will just break her neck ninja’ just doesn’t really have a nice ring to it.

So I’ve been trying to come up with something catchy, that the producers will like, that hasn’t already been taken, will describe me, and will fit on a shirt.  It’s hard!

So I turned to google.  There are several ‘ninja name’ generators that you can try.  I won’t post the links because they’re probably spam, but I braved virus infestation to give it a go.


This is perhaps on par, pronunciation-wise, with Akbar Gbaja-biamila, but probably wouldn’t fit on a shirt.  Next.


This one is actually funny.  If you know anything about me, and anything about Lorazepam, it’s actually quite appropriate.  But as I’m not being sponsored by big pharma, I think I’ll pass.

So google wasn’t helping much.  Back to square one.

Hmmm, I could go with the fact I have twins… The Twinkie Ninja?  That probably would make people think of Hostess, and not my sweet babies.  Although the babies are as sweet as Hostess Twinkies, so maybe appropriate.  The Twinja Ninja?  It’s got a nice ring to it, but can you make up a word when picking your ninja name?

Okay, well I’ve got 4 kids.  ‘The Mom Ninja’ is too boring, and has probably been used.  And really, ‘mom’ doesn’t totally describe what all I am.  My husband sometimes calls me mama bear.  The ‘Mama Bear Ninja’?  Eh, maybe a contender.  How about ‘The crazy ringleader of this chaotic circus ninja’?  That’s pretty much the same as the ‘Lorazepam master’, so we’re back to that.

So then I tried to think of words that could be more appropriate to this journey I’ve been on.  The process from becoming nothing (fitness-wise) to being a ninja.  I’d love to somehow use my motto ‘She Believed She Could So She Did’ in there, (because really, hutzpah is all I’m going on here), but how to incorporate that into one or two words?  I have to rely heavily on and for this, but here are some ideas…  ‘Just Believe Ninja’, ‘Optimistic Ninja’, ‘Hopeful Ninja’.  How about ‘The No Quit Ninja’, that’s got a ring.  The dictionary defines ‘utopian’ as: founded upon or involving idealized perfection; given to impractical or unrealistic schemes of such perfection.  That seems pretty relevant.  The ‘Utopian Ninja’?  Thesaurus-ing for faith, hopeful, belief, strive, driven…doesn’t bring up anything good.

Then I used the thesaurus for ‘crazy‘.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  A whole lot of super applicable words came up.

How about ‘The mid-life crisis ninja’?  Or ‘The Webster Ninja’ because I’m redefining what a typical ninja looks like?  See what I did there?  But that sounds a little presumptuous.

‘Night shift ninja’?  Because I…work night shift.

So you can see I’m not having much luck.  So I’m coming to you!  What’s your suggestions??  Name that ninja!

Letting Loose

I took some great advice from Sarah and ditched the exercise routine for the morning and just took the family to the park.  My instructions were to channel my inner child, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the kid doing the crazy climbing on all the equipment.  I think I was a ‘stick to the swings’ type kid.  I may have done the merry-go-round when I was feeing especially crazy.  So instead, I tried to think outside the box, and channel my inner ninja.

Because it’s over 100 degrees 95% of the daylight hours here, we had to go first thing in the morning.  We took some yummy overnight mason jar oatmeal’s for breakfast and just made a picnic out of it.


My MIL was in town, so she pulled the babies around in the wagon while my husband took pictures of me being crazy.  The 2 bigger kids just tried to keep up with me.  Okay, not really.  They could smoke me on any obstacle, but if I was only having to lift 30 pounds of bodyweight, I’d probably look stronger too.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

So I practiced swinging…IMG_8406

And climbing…

And holding on for dear life…


And anything I could think of to strengthen my arms…


Anything I can do, she can do better…


And I practiced balance…


And heights…


It was a really fun family morning.  And then we got stung by bees and went home.


And Then There Was That Time I Decided to Be a Gymnast


My oldest daughter, who is 5, is in gymnastics.  As I was when I was 5 a loooong time ago.  She’s been doing it for 6 months, which is probably longer than I was in it.  I distinctly, to this day, remember jumping in the middle of a huge trampoline and hearing the other little girls in the class making fun of me.  About what, I don’t remember.  But it hurt my feelings so much I told my mom I didn’t want to do gymnastics anymore, and that was the end of that.  In retrospect, had I had a little more fortitude, told those girls to shove it, and stuck with gymnastics, maybe I’d already be a ninja warrior.  Ah well, hindsight is always 20/20.

So I saw an ‘adult gymnastics’ class advertised at my daughter’s gym, and of course, since I have no realistic view of the things I can and can’t do, decided to try it out.  Because all the best ninjas are gymnasts and rock climbers, right?  (I’ve also signed up for rock climbing classes this fall, insert eye roll here).  I emailed her coach, who owns the gym, and asked if it was mostly perky teenagers or if there were any middle-aged moms.  She assured me they had a range of teens to 40-somethings.  Perhaps I should have clarified a little more.

Last night was my first class.  My daughter was very confused about why I was wearing workout pants and t-shirt and not a sparkly purple leotard like her.  I promise you I could not have stuck out more or felt more awkward had I been wearing a sparkly purple leotard.

There were 9 of us.  5 of the participants, including the leader, were the gymnastics coaches from the gym.  One was a young 20’s guy (I’m guessing) (about the age, not the gender), who was very clearly a gymnast.  You could have looked at him with your eyes crossed and tell he had been an elite gymnast at some level.  Then there was a perky teenager, and another lady who was also clearly a gymnast at some point in her life.  She was very petite and compact and was doing back handsprings like nobody’s business.  And then there was me…

bad feeling gif

But once everybody saw me, I couldn’t just leave.  It was too late to bail, so I decided to just jump in.

horrible decision gif

Wes, the coach, started with instructions.  I didn’t understand a lot of the words he was saying, but it included a lot of handsprings, somersaults, and handstands.  I did understand the ‘forward roll’ and ‘backward roll’, but that didn’t mean I could execute them.  I channeled my 5 year old, got my ‘pizza hands’ ready, and made my best attempt at a backroll.  I didn’t get all the way over.  So Wes came to spot me.  On a backroll.  Amongst a group of seasoned gymnasts.

huge mistake gif

But everyone was so nice, really.  And I kept going.  I got my second backroll on my own.  I think it looked something like this.

rolling over gif

While everyone else was doing handstand walks down the lane I just worked on kicking my feet up in the air.  Sort of like a donkey.  Although I would bet money that a donkey looked more graceful than I did.  While everyone else was doing some sort of running roundoff handspring thingy, I worked on my cartwheels.  And so on and so forth.  At one point Wes was helping me do a backbend walk over thing and told me I was ‘a natural’.  As I crumpled to the floor.  I just had to laugh at loud.  Oh Wes, I appreciate the gesture.

At the end of the class we all got in a circle on the floor, did some horrible ab exercises, and then he asked who had done anything new tonight.  Seriously?  I actually wasn’t the only one, but the other 2 people’s ‘new’ thing was getting to the top of the 2 story rope.  Mine was a front roll.  And a back roll.  And everything else I did.  They gave me a round of applause.

Y’all, I think I pulled every muscle in my body.  Nobody knew I was injured at the time, because I have more pride than that.  But I was/am in so much pain.  I pulled a groin, broke hurt my hand (there was quite a bit of audible crunching, so I’m unsure of the actual hand injury status), and hurt my neck.  I was the only one drenched in sweat.  I came home, took a handful of Advil, limped into a really hot shower, and then got a heating pad and ice pack to sit down and watch American Ninja Warrior.

I think I’m getting too old for this.  But there’s only room for improvement, right?  My goal for next class will be to only injure 2 body parts instead of 3.  I think I’ll premedicate with the Advil before I go.

Next Monday night is the evening before Avery starts kindergarten so I’ll probably stay home for family night.  I probably won’t be recovered by then anyway.  But the next Monday night after that I’ll be back at it.

It’s all in a days work when you’re training to be a ninja…


**This post, in edited form, will live at the top of my page under ‘Picky Eater’s Guide to Paleo**

One thing that’s really frustrating to me as a ‘non-expert’, is that it doesn’t seem like any of the actual experts can agree on what is a healthy way to eat. There are so many trendy, conflicting ‘diets’, and how are we to know which is right? Paleo people say we should eat like the cavemen. (I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t have a very long lifespan, although who’s to say whether it was heart disease or wooly mammoth maulings that killed them off early). Then other people say nope, that’s not healthy to eliminate a macro-nutrient altogether. Other people say meat is unhealthy, eggs are unhealthy, eat this, eat that, eat nothing, eat everything! It’s so confusing.

So while I’ve titled my page the ‘picky eater’s guide to paleo’, I’m not necessarily advocating paleo as the best or healthiest diet. Because who the heck knows, really. Certainly not me. But, I’ve had recent paleo experience, and my ‘prior to paleo’ diet was the SAD (Standard American Diet) of sodas and junk. And although I’m not sure about the status of red meat, I do know that hot pockets and Coke are not my best choice.

I don’t keep to a strict paleo diet post-challenge, and do have some grains and dairy occasionally. I don’t know if that ruins my ketosis, or if that’s even a real thing.  But I do keep a mostly paleo diet because I feel healthier eating so many veggies, and I like meat. I’m a carnivore.

I know there are a thousand and one paleo blogs out there, and I think I’ve been to most of them.  But most of the sites I visited seemed to assume I had a pretty mature palate, and an unlimited budget to buy all sorts of specialty ingredients.  I don’t.  To either.  I have the palate of a preschooler, and the budget to match. I could list the veggies I like on one hand, and about the same amount of expendable dollars.

However, in doing ‘The Challenge”, I had to do paleo for 6 weeks. I gave it my best effort, and actually ended up finding quite a few recipes and meals that I liked!! And I feel so much healthier for it.

So, I thought maybe there were more people like me out there. Folks who are self-proclaimed ‘picky eaters’, don’t want to spend a bunch of money on car insurance weird ingredients, but would like to eat a little healthier. I will say, I did have to end up buying a few things I don’t normally use, like coconut aminos and almond flour. But by and large, I didn’t make anything that has a bunch of stuff you can’t use often.

I plan on listing some recipes up in the ‘PEGTP’ page that I’ve found are yummy, and maybe even some weekly meal plans, at some point. DISCLAIMER: none of these recipes are mine. I’m not a creator in the kitchen, just an instruction follower. These will just be recipes I’ve found here and here, and will give credit where I can.