What if we loved ourselves?

What if we loved ourselves?

This week, I was hanging out on Facebook and saw in one of my groups, a woman who had taken her book outside to read. She was sitting, prettily, in a lawn chair on her porch with a huge smile on her face. She wore a dress with flip flops. She looked happy and frankly, excited about the book in her hand. The snow around her would have been up to Hank’s knees. There was a child in the background, in full snow suit, playing in the snow.

She captioned the photo that she was going to be outside reading while in the middle of a hot flash. She ended her comment that she looked like a whale.

I was so happy for her until that last line. In fact, it made my tummy drop. I immediately responded that I hoped that she enjoyed her book and that she was beautiful.

Why do we do this? Why do we allow ourselves to be so rotten to ourselves? I have looked at my stomach and my stretchmarks and belittled myself. Why? I don’t usually care what other people think about my appearance, but I really care about how I think. I know that my body housed two + children and has walked me miles, has treated me with care, but I look at myself and think about my faults.

What if we looked at ourselves and are thankful to those stretch marks? Our bodies expanded to allow for babies to grow. Or our bodies expanded to allow for more of us to love? How amazing is it that our skin does that for us?

What if we look at those added pounds and dismiss them? I’m not saying that being unhealthy is amazing, but not every pound over our “ideal” number is a pound of awful.

What if we look at our curves and be grateful that we have them? What if we look at our straight lines and love them for what they are? What if we look at our puckers, scars and blemishes and just shrug and move on?

What if we tell ourselves that we’re allowed to take that selfie and post it without adding a disclaimer to the world that we know of our faults?

And to those who may decide that they need to point out anything that they feel make us less than perfect? What if we let them go along with our own feelings of discontentment?

What if we choose to be happy with ourselves?

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Let those resolutions live and die!

Let those resolutions live and die!

It’s that time of year! It’s time to say good bye to 2020 and hello to 2021, time to air out the house and bring in the fresh air. It is also time for half of my Facebook friends and family to post that they hate going to the gym and seeing those who made resolutions and then watching them fail. BUT, I say, yes! Yes, to the resolutions. Yes, to going to the gym, only if it is only for the free trial period. Yes, to moving a yoga mat from the closet to the livingroom and letting it sit there.

I think that as humans, we look at new beginnings as an important reawakening, but what are we awakening? Is it the resolution or the idea that we deserve some sort of inner change? Do we need to follow through? No. Did we do harm by failing? Also, no. We get into our heads every day and bog ourselves down with how we’ve failed ourselves, but even through those “failures” there is something we didn’t fail. We put ourselves first.

How do we continue thinking of ourselves when our resolutions get away from us? Small changes! Even the very small.

I will:

  • Carry a reusable bag with me to limit my plastic usage from quick trips to the store. Stored in the car or in your purse, you can pull it out and know that you are making a difference to our world. If we’re taking care of the whole, we are also taking care of the individual.
  • Walk after I eat my lunch. A quick five-minute walk – brisk or otherwise – can put us into a better mood. Get that blood moving!
  • Seek the sun! (with, of course, proper protection.) We need the sun to live, but we also need it to feel good. All that Vitamin D is free for the taking, get out there and soak it in.
  • Drink your water! How many of us are living on coffee, wine, or pop (soda?) and forgetting about water? Drink it up!

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

  • I will NOT berate myself for not being able to run that mile, finish that puzzle, have flat feet in downward dog, or finish that book that all my friends are raving over. I will look at my limitations or growing disinterest and decide that sometimes, it is better to let things go. I highly doubt that when I look back at the age of 80, that I’m going to feel bad for not finishing one book out of the thousands that I did read and enjoy.

We’re not competing with ourselves; we should not be seeking approval to treat ourselves poorly because we couldn’t do or follow through with something. We’re coming from a hard year. A really hard year, and it is ok to treat ourselves kindly.

So, feel free to make those resolutions, feel free to tell others about them, feel free to be ok if you can’t follow through with them. But don’t create an inner atmosphere that is more toxic than 2020 was.          

Hank and I were talking today about resolutions. And he said that he had one for me, but wasn’t sure how I was going to work on being even better at it. So, all, here is my resolution that he suggested and I’m going with:

I will be great.

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The Wishing Bridge

The Wishing Bridge

Everyday, Hank comes to me. “Mom, I have a question for you.” I get this question up to three times a day. Rain, shine, snow, wind, bitter cold, blistery hot. I know that it is coming, whether he’s in pajamas or in his day time clothes.

“Want to take a walk with me?”

I hesitate a moment, whether to debate the weather, to finish the drink I was just about to swallow, to decide if the laundry can wait an extra 20 minutes (it always can).

“Please, Cheese, Freeze, Breeze?”

We have a few routes for these walks. We’re lucky to live in a large neighborhood with connecting walkways and sidewalks. Our favorite path takes us in a large circle that has a bridge over a brook.

As we are heading toward it, he collects a rock, snowball, leaf, stick, pinecone – as long as it is small. Well, except the snowball, the bigger the better. Once on the bridge, he takes a second to think about something he wants and then he throws the object over the side to see if it makes it into the water. If it does, his wish comes true. When it doesn’t, he isn’t disappointed, he can do it again tomorrow.

His wishes are for health, for Covid-19 to be over, for us to have a good Christmas, for him to see his friends.

My wishes are for the same, although, I always tell him that I wished for a million dollars.

Taking a moment to focus on the clock as it hits 12:34 or 11:11, I always make a wish. I usually wish for the same things as Hank does.

Do you have a wishing bridge? What are your wishes?

Wendy Price is the author of 10 Little Rules of Hank, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores.

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The cure for jealousy is basil

The cure for jealousy is basil

There is a Smith’s song that I have had in my head while I was writing this post. “I am human and I need to be looooovvvveeeedddddd, just like everybody else does”. I am human. I have human reactions and right now, I have one. I have full on jealousy. I am currently hosting the green-eyed monster (I’ve named him Stan) for the weekend. Why do I have this guest? Well. Looking through Facebook and Instagram, I am seeing my friends and family on vacation. Adult-only getaways. Fun in the sun with the whole family. A singleton who decided to just drive away.

I’m jealous.

So, while making a cappuccino for Stan, I reflected on what else do I not have that I want? Well, for one, I want a clean house. Like, I would be jealous if someone started posting pics of clean floors or bathrooms so spotless, you know that they must smell of lemon.

I finished my coffee and told Stan that I would be back, and I started to clean. I started on one side of the house and worked my way to the other side. Though, I did skip the nightmare of the boy area that is the upstairs in my house. I made my bathroom smell like basil; I don’t have the lemon scent. I vacuumed the carpet and took joy at watching clumps of grass (?!? WHAT?!) being sucked up. I removed dog hair from behind furniture and scrubbed the back splash in the kitchen. I handwashed pots and pans. I refilled the dog food container.

I sat down and can smell the basil scent on my clothes and hands. Stan joined me for a drink; he and I switched to water. He also smelled better, like a favorite herb. It had taken five hours to deep clean one floor of my house. I was now too tired to give Stan much more attention. The hubs sat down in Stan’s seat and asked what I wanted him to order for dinner, because he was not going to get my kitchen dirty. Oh, how I love this man.

I’m less jealous, and I know that next week when I have new grass clumps in the living room, I’ll be too tired cleaning to invite Stan back.

I may be stuck at home, but I am lucky to be able to be stuck somewhere I like. One that smells like delightfully like basil.

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Saying goodbye to 2nd grade

Saying goodbye to 2nd grade

I’m sitting on my deck as I write this.  I’m only half watching Hank as he is playing with a water gun, “not” getting me wet. We’re alone out here, his brother and dad are inside playing a card game. We get a lot of moments like this, him and I. I love them. We talk about nothing, or everything. He makes up games that he takes me through like a storyteller – oftentimes we work together to defeat a larger monster. He tells me what the dog is thinking – she thinks a lot about food and love and bunnies. I really enjoy listening to his voice and the content he shares. He’s interesting and entertaining.

I usually use these times to float topics that I need to discuss with him so that he isn’t distracted by his brother’s responses. Today, I broached the topic of school in the fall.

I asked him about what he thinks about going back into an actual classroom in the fall. He was not excited. I mentioned that he and his brother may be staying home for school again and that if he does, he’ll have to take it as seriously as he does when he is sitting in his classroom. We discussed that what I would be helping teach him would be new information and important to learn for his growth and to be “on track” with the others his age.

He understood that he would need to be serious with me and that it wouldn’t be like it was for the end of the last school year, that he would need to actually complete his work with the thoughts that it is going to be graded. He understood that he was going to have a new real teacher, but that he may not get to meet his new teacher in person. His introductions would be through web videos. I was a little surprised of his reaction to this. He said that he didn’t want to get a new teacher yet. He didn’t feel like he was done with last year’s teachers. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

That is a universal trend, from what I have learned from my friends. Their kids understood that they would have an awkward and stunted school year and then a summer vacation that may be different than the ones that they have encountered before. But that they were not going back to those same classrooms or teachers has been hard to grasp, this wasn’t just a weird mid-year break, but the end of the year.

Hank was super lucky; his teachers held a picnic at a local park. When they learned that he wasn’t going to attend as we didn’t deem it safe, they came to our house to say their goodbyes. It was a perfect closure for me, I got to talk to them and it was almost refreshing. But for Hank, he saw that as a lucky occurrence of being able to see them again before he saw them again.

My sweet boy told me that he is looking forward to staying home with me and learning. I feel like I’ve won something. I had begun to enjoy teaching him at home in the last few weeks of last year. His teachers were sending out new lessons that were not review but completely new information and it was exciting to walk him through them. The next school year is likely to be as different and difficult as the last one, but I think that together, we can do this.

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Summertime … and the living is stressy

Summertime … and the living is stressy

About two months ago, I started writing a blog post about what we were planning to do this summer. I was talking about seasonal allergies and taking vacations and how to plan where we’re going to stay when we go and visit my mother-in-law, but now, I feel like all those plans are going out the window.

We don’t know if we’re going to be able to travel. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to visit zoos, museums or state parks. We don’t know if we have enough activities to keep two kids entertained. We don’t know anything. Well, to be honest, I know that we will not be able to. I know that we’ll not be able to visit fun places, even if they open.

Without fully understanding EOE, and all the other medical issues that Hank has, we do not feel that we can do anything that we normally would. And it is a HUGE bummer.

I think that it’s funny now. I was planning for so much. Planning on packing meds, shelf stable meats and allergen safe bread – but now I am searching to make sure we have enough toilet paper. Making sure that we have enough cleaners. Making sure that we have what we need to keep our family supplied to live within our home. Making sure that I have enough activities to keep two active boys entertained without having to constantly be the entertainer, myself.

I see our neighbors having an actual backyard party and I wonder what makes them so immune to today’s novel virus that they can allow people to stand that close to them and let their daughter play in an enclosed place with other children. We wanted to have a party this summer with homemade gourmet smoked meats and laughter. But we can’t. We are stuck with asthma and autoimmune issues. We can’t relax and seek out our friends and have a great time. We’re in the house for the long haul.

So, how do we move forward with this summer? What can we do to stay entertained while we see others gathering and playing at the neighborhood park?

So, we’re making a list of what we can do.

Science!

We are a science loving family. This summer we were GOING to go rocking picking, mining and explore Michigan and North Carolina’s beaches and rock mines. Now, we are going to open geodes that we have received as gifts or from previous adventures, but stored for later.

I have a recipe somewhere for “industrial” bubbles that don’t pop. Guess who is going to make that up? This woman and at least one child.

We have plants that we started off in our basement. We’re learning of plants, food production and how it all works to make it to our table.

I know, that in our garage, we have a package that when put together will be a Hank-sized catapult. As a family, we are putting that together and launching dog treats in the back yard. Unless, it is more industrial than I remember, and then, we may need to take it to the park with packets of bird seeds.

Music!

Dave is in band; therefore, we have a very large xylophone in our library. Dave is learning how to play by me and Hank is learning to appreciate music a bit more. Music appreciation will be loud and proud in our house. We just need to time it so that we’re not playing through the hub’s conference calls. I believe that we’re also going to be making a homemade guitar as that has been at the top of Hank’s wish list for a while. Well, he would love a real one, but … no.

Physical Labor!

I love this one.  Someone has to keep the grass mowed, weeds pulled and frankly, I need a patio area set up. My garage needs to be recleaned, as well as my basement. This all calls for two boys and many grumbles. I thrive on grumbles.

More of my chores have been slowly trickling down to the boys, certain items on my to-do list are no longer mine to-do. This summer, I plan on teaching and reteaching these chores.

I know that many people are getting excited with parts of our state opening up right now, but it isn’t opening for us. We need to do what we can to keep Hank safe, as well as, everyone else with compromised systems and other high-risk folks.

What fun, home based activities are you and your family doing this summer to keep with your sanity?

Wendy Price is the author of 10 Little Rules of Hank. We love them to pieces.

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Hank V. Veg

Hank V. Veg

“I’m full” says Hank as he pushes his plate across the table to me. It’s funny how every piece of meat has been picked out of the surrounding vegetables and eaten. It’s funny that he has put about a quarter cup of meat into his tummy and now, he is full. It’s funny and it’s a lie.

Hank’s diet is really all meat and carbs. I cannot get a fruit or a veg into him for the life of me. I have to do it in sneaky ways. I mix dried squash and zucchini into his nugget breading. I mince veggies super fine and throw them into his curries. I use vegetable broth instead of meat broth. But I can’t get him to eat a veg, even with money tied to the completion of the serving. Seriously. Yesterday, I cut up three small bell peppers in red, orange and green – peeling off the outer skin. I did the same thing for zucchini and squash. No peels, no seeds, nothing but yummy goodness. I brought him the plate and switched to my announcer voice (BTW, both boys hate that voice).

“Today in Café Price, Henry plans to defeat the mystery food challenge. If he can complete the challenge of five bites, he wins $1.00 and bragging rights. If he cannot finish, he gets… NOTHING.”

He’s looking at me and laughing. He may be expecting something slightly different than what he is about to get.

“So, Henry, do you think that you can complete this challenge without complaining. Without whining. Without spitting out your bites? If so, the win will be all yours!”

He catches sight of the plate and realizes that there isn’t a cookie, meat or even a bread crumb before him, but instead, the colorful array of veggies.

He INSTANTLY stops laughing and starts looking … mad. Like, really mad. Over the course of the next five minutes, he does try the zucchini and the squash. He spits out each bite of pepper. He doesn’t win his mini Hank V. Food game.

I failed. He didn’t. He knows what he doesn’t like. Even if he has never tried it before.

For dinner, I make a beautiful dish with buffalo, yams, zucchinis, squash, carrot, garlic, onion and broccoli florets. I shred the veg and brown the meat and mix it all together with a vegetable/beef broth. I loved it, Hubs liked it, Dave liked it. Hank picked the meat out and then passed me his plate. Full. I deny his statement and give him the whole, “Five more bites of veg and you can be excused.” He grumpily eats it and gets ready for bed. Funnily, when I went to look into his bowl, I saw that he nibbled the tops off of all the broccoli.  At bedtime, he tells his dad that he’s super hungry. He’s not telling me; he knows I saved his bowl from dinner.

For lunch today, I made him vegan pasta with a tomato sauce. Completely out of his wheelhouse, and he … HATED it.

For as long as he lives in my house, I will continue to try to force good foods into his system. The alternative is medical food. He will drink it, but it doesn’t taste good and he doesn’t prefer it. So, here I am, trying to figure out how to hide and how to present more veg. And here he is, pushing against all of my efforts. Maybe I need to get a t-shirt printed: “I battled veggies and I won.”

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He’s got the Sisu

He’s got the Sisu

Sisu: (see’-soo) noun

strength of will; determination; perseverance; regarded as an integral part of Finnish culture.

I am about a quarter Finnish, my children are one eighth, but Hank is the definition of Sisu. And I love him for that, even if I can’t keep up with him. Which, I really can’t.

We have put off teaching the kids how to ride bikes for a few different reasons.

  1. Warmer weather brings seasonal allergies.
  2. We’re not really an outdoorsy family.
  3. Eh, bikes.

But this quarantine is the time. It really is. I’ve seen so many videos and photos of Hank’s friends learning how to ride two wheelers right now. I don’t want to continue to hold him back.

We have a bike for Hank. It is a bright gold number that has (had) his brother’s name on it stuck on with by a label maker. It has training wheels, hand brakes and a really cool vibe to it. He loves it. Like, wants to fly down the sidewalk and leave us behind him as he travels the far reaches of the two blocks he is allowed to ride.

He streaks down the sidewalk with the blue of his helmet, knee, elbow and hand pads mixing with the shiny gold bike. His “WOOS!” following behind him, to catch on me as I walk/run to keep up.

This brave child is the same who would climb a half wall to walk it like a tight rope walker, who yells at large dogs who dare bark at us (he doesn’t yell at ours, but grounds her, instead.) He is the same child who looks at bigger kids and sees them as his equals.  

I know that he isn’t excited about the idea of the trainers coming off, but he will be determined to make it work, to make the bike fly – to let the wind take him on new adventures.

I’ll still be run/walking behind him. Out of breath, marveling of how little Finn is in him, but how much of him is Finn.

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