Thinking about wellness…

It seems to me that the word wellness has become a movement. As I am approaching another birthday and getting increasingly closer to that mid-century marker, I find this word “wellness” to be a much more frequent word in my vocabulary. So I was thinking, “What exactly is wellness and what does it mean to me?”

I thought back to my childhood self. I guess for that kid on her bike riding to the 7 Eleven to get a pack of Hubba Bubba it just meant, “Am I sick or not?” I never thought about if my Grandma’s fried chicken and okra was good for me. It was just good. As a young woman heading down fraternity row or out on the town I started to add fitness into the sick or not equation. Unfortunately, in the 80’s fitness was all about Jane Fonda and how tight you could get your Guess jeans. Neither of which I would have scored too highly in, but I did try. In my 30’s as a young wife, mother and teacher, wellness wasn’t even on my radar. It was definitely about survival and juggling. I guess it was in my 40’s that “wellness” became something I really started to think about. At first, if I am being honest it was really the same as that 20 something girl, but as my 40’s have crept along it has changed significantly. Sure being sick and fit are still a component, but it is really about so much more. Now it is really about how I FEEL. My state of WELLNESS has as much to do with how I am feeling mentally and emotionally as I do physically. I have really bought into the mind, body, spirit mentality. I am not sure if that is just a natural progression that happens with age or a reflection of the wellness culture that is growing around me.

I am realizing that my Simply Laura Lee blog is my wellness project. When I purchased the domain I was going to dive head first into the world of Ayurveda and change my life and the world;0) That didn’t stick. I think it was too singularly focused and way too rigid. Next, it was a place for me to deal with the drastic changes my life was taking and figure out what I should do now that being a mom doesn’t take up my days. Then I was going to become the next great baker. Today, I realize that this blog has all and nothing to do with these things. It is about cultivating a life of wellness with or without a plan. Simply Laura Lee is my place to be creative, feed my interests and share my life.

What does “Wellness” mean to you?

Make A Plan Monday!

Hello and welcome to Make A Plan Monday! So, I have determined I have a bit of a problem with distraction. I have lots of ideas and plans, things I really want to accomplish that never quite seem to get completed. I make lists, but somewhere along the way I lose the list, the drive, or both. So I have come up with Make A Plan Monday as a possible solution to my terminal distractedness. The plan is to sit down every Monday and put all the things I would like to accomplish in my weekly planner. I mean everything, down to cleaning the toilets and mopping the floors. Then I am going to pick 3 to 5 tasks/projects off my list to share. Don’t worry, I will spare you the housekeeping crap. But I am thinking if I put it out THERE that I am working on these projects I might have a little more focus and a little more accountability.

So here goes! I have made my list in the planner. I have decided to star 5 projects from my list and share them here. All are things that I enjoy and bring quality to my life, but often get put off or rushed through. I am not making them goals, but things I AM going to do. Trying a little power of suggestion.

This weeks projects:

  1. Books– I am going to read at least 50 pages this week. I wasn’t sure what a reasonable goal would be. I have a tendency to set goals way to high and then give up when I fall short so I went for a number that sounds easily doable to start with. I love to read and it always seems to be the first thing that gets cut. I want to make sure I get this in.
  2. Blog– I will blog a minimum of 3 times this week. Doesn’t matter what it is about, Just Do It!
  3. Wellness– Get to at least one Yoga and one Pilates class this week.
  4. Create– Create a gift for a friend.
  5. Play– Play with fall cake ball ideas.

So that’s my list for this week. I used take aways from two different books in making my list, The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown and The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. If you’re looking for a little light reading to add some inspiration into your daily life I recommend both.

Have a great week!

Friday Follow UP

I spent most of this week working on a Sweet 16 Cake Pop Cake. I made it for a neighbor’s daughter. We started out talking about a basket of pops, but I was thinking that a sweet 16 birthday was in need of something a little more special. I had never made a display before.I made several trips to Michaels and JoAnn’s looking for ideas and just the right materials to make it work. I found a great deal on cake forms on-line, much better prices than anything I could find locally. I had so much fun this week in the kitchen making the pops and in my crafting corner working on the stand.  I had a “oh I remember moment” of a science project of long ago that taught me you can’t paint styrofoam with spray paint without priming it first! Nasty mess, hopefully this time I will stay in my working memory;0) I ended up using crafters paint and that worked awesome! I had a great time! I am hoping the birthday girl is as happy with it as I was!

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In the library I started a couple new books, although I didn’t finish any of the others I already had in my basket. I am hoping to set aside more reading time this month. One of the books I started was a recommendation of a friend. She sent me a copy of Adrenal Thyroid Revolution by Aviva Romm, M.D. on audible. I started listening to it while I was working on my project and it rang true for this over 40 not quite 50 lady. I did pick up a hard copy because I am thinking I could use a little wellness reboot(the whole graduation and sending a kid to college had a significant impact on my scale). I like to keep notes in my nonfiction, trying to be better books like this so I definitely wanted a hard copy. Hopefully I can get some more reading/listening in this weekend and start on the program next week, but no promises.

I must confess my time on the mat was next to none and I can feel it! I am challenging myself to do better next week. I know it makes me feel and think better, but for some reason it is the first thing to go when I get busy.

Well that is my week in review. Have a great weekend! I know I will! I will be enjoying fall and watching a little football with my hubby, Roll Tide!

Looking Back On October

Hope everyone had an Outstanding October and a Happy Halloween! As I look back on the ups and downs of the past month, overall I am pretty pleased. I really started to embrace the “new normal” over the past month. I am starting to get used to having  one less human living here with us. Although it will always pull at my heart that I don’t talk to Hugh every day.  I am getting accustomed to him be so very far away and Bella being an independent senior and needing less of my time. I am embracing the extra time on my  hands to get a little crafty and creative. I have done a few projects around the house that I have been trying to get to for months (possibly years), but most of my time I have been playing around in the kitchen. I have been baking for friends, family and neighbors. Here are just a few images of my October fun.Image-1

I would have to say as much fun as I had working on my projects the two highlights of my month would have to be my college road trip with Bella and Hugh’s first visit home from college. Both went by entirely too fast and seemed to last no more than a minute. I am coming to terms with the fact that they are beginning to formulate their own lives and futures. I know that I will always be part of their lives, but over time my daily role will become less and less. It is important it is to cherish anytime that I have one on one with them, even if it is over in a blink. I miss those little pumpkin heads that followed me around and asked for my help and attention on a daily basis, but it is exciting to see the transformations taking place in each of them. I am trying to focus on the beauty of what is rather than what was.

As I begin to settle into November I have a few goals for myself. I am thinking that I am might do better if I share my goals here. I have recently learned from Gretchen Rubin that I am a textbook obliger. Actually explains a lot

  1. Blog regularly
  2. Devote more time in the library
  3. Spend more time on the mat
  4. Prioritize health and wellness
  5. Keep having fun in the kitchen

Let’s see how I do shall we.

Cooking Up Something Sweet

It has been a crazy couple of weeks! My daughter and I took our last college search road trip for this year. We had another one scheduled for later this month, but unfortunately will not be able to make that one. On a positive note, as of yesterday, all her applications are in and it is now time to cross our fingers, kiss our elbows and wait! In between all the traveling and computer time I hit the kitchen. Last week I made almost 300 cake pops! 2 things I learned; 1. I love making cake pops, 2. They take a long time to make! It started out that I wanted to experiment with making Halloween themed cake pops, but it quickly grew into a bigger project. I made pops for my daughters bake sale fundraiser, made some for a friend that I wanted to make smile, some for a custom basket for my mom’s birthday, a few for a friends daughter that had made a huge accomplishment at school, and of course some for my darling son oh so far away. When I was done I was really tired, but very pleased with my accomplishment. Here are a few pictures of my pops:

Mindful Monday

Placeholder ImageIt’s Monday! Oh the excitement!LOL! Actually, I am only half way joking. There is something about Mondays that I do enjoy. It is that feeling of a fresh start. I can let go of what I didn’t accomplish the week before and be full of hope and excitement for what I might accomplish in this new week. I am thinking maybe I should make Mindful Monday a thing for me. Use Monday as a sort of ritual to take stock of what I learned the week before and consider what I might want attack in the upcoming week.

So here goes! Hugh, our son, has been off to college for a month now. I wish I could report that I no longer miss him EVERY day, but I cannot. It is crazy how you are expected to devote your life to caring for another human being for 18 years and then wave goodbye and go about your merry way. Seriously, some of my friends take pride in saying things like, “Oh, I am just so excited for him/her that I am not sad at all.” I call BS on that one! I am excited for my son, but I still miss being part of his every day life. Those little conversations over a snack after school or those late night recaps after a night out. I know that I will survive and carry on. I will eventually fill my days with activities and grow accustomed to the new normal. But for now, my heart still hurts sometimes.

Bella, our daughter, has accomplished a lot in the last couple of weeks. She has settled into her senior year and seems to being moving right along without too much drama. Wohoo! She submitted 6 college applications last week and has 2 more ready to go. She will spend the next month meeting with admissions counselors and trekking back to take a second look at some campuses. I look forward to that part. I love road trips, and no road trip is better than one with one of my kids. Hugh and I only got one, friggin football! Bella and I will have had more than I can count by the time she makes her decision. Good memories for when she has headed off to school too.

As for me, I have made a couple of decisions. My husband and daughter have been “encouraging” me to get another dog to love on since the car ride back from dropping our darling son at school. Literally, I think we might have been 2 hours into the 14 hour trip! Over the weeks I have waffled back and forth. I miss our beloved Quaker, he has been gone for about a year and a half, but I wasn’t sure about the commitment until a few weeks ago. I know it will be another pull on time and suck on the bank account, but I  followed my heart and made the leap. Bella was over the moon excited! We have already picked a name for a precious addition. In honor of our darling son/brother his full name will be Alabama Blue, and we will call him Bama for short. He is expected to make his arrival on this earth November 14th and hopefully to our home in early January. That is going to make for some cold potty training I suspect.

As I am waiting for Bama’s arrival I am working on getting the house and my personal ambitions in order. Lot’s of housekeeping stuff going on; leaking bathroom, peeling pool, and incredible amounts of clutter! In between all that noise I have narrowed down my interests into three possible directions. So I have decided I am definitely not heading back to the classroom at this point. I am thinking that of all the things I enjoy there are three that really stand above the rest; yoga, learning/reading, and baking. So over the next few months I am going to spend my free time on the mat, in the kitchen and beyond the classroom.

Last week I worked with a former student on study skills and organization. I had a great time preparing for our time and just as much fun working with her. I do love working with kids/teens on how to make the most of their time and natural gifts. I am thinking I will continue to work with students one on one when the opportunity arises, but I am thinking I am going to dive back into my beloved kid lit and YA library. I have always wanted to make some kind of companions for parents to work with their kids beyond the classroom. I am not sure what shape this might take, but I think it will feed my love of reading and improving learning.

Over years I have spent a lot time in the kitchen baking. Baking checks many boxes for me. In the last couple of years I have gotten into make cake pops for the kids sports teams and special events. I have had so much fun making them and totally love people oohing and awing over my creations. I actually was in a yoga class one day and told the lady next to me I thought she looked familar. She asked me if I had a son that played baseball at the high school. When I told her yes, she asked if I was the “cake pop lady”. Totally cracked me up and made me smile! So I am going to do a little experiment. I am going to create a few sample Halloween cake pop baskets over the next few weeks and post pictures and see if I get any orders. Worst case scenerio, my friends and family get some yummy, spooking pops!

Finally, on the mat. For the past 10 years I have practiced yoga of and on and to verring degrees of commitment. The consistant has been the knowledge that yoga makes me feel good in a way no other excercise does. Unfortunately, I still let it slip out of my daily routine. Moving forward I am not only going to make a concious effort to practice more regulary, but to learn more about yoga. I am reading The Pure Heart of Yoga, Ten Essential Steps for Personal Transformation by Robert Butera, Ph.D. I am about 100 pages in and feel compelled to keep reading. So far my biggest take aways have been about the importance of intention and breathing. I working to incorporate the suggested exercises into my daily life with some success. Woohoo! Win/Win!

This week I am going to keep moving forward On The Mat, In The Kitchen, and Beyond The Classroom! If you are reading this, I wish you a Happy Monday!

And so it begins . . .

The house is eerily quiet and I am alone with my coffee on this rainy morning. We dropped our son off for his freshman year of college two and half weeks ago, many, many miles away from home. Most days I am excited, anxious and happy for him, but I must admit there are days when I miss his presence tremendously and am sad. Today is one of those days. Today is the first day of school in our town and our daughter drove herself to school. For the first time she headed out to school without her brother by her side. And here I sit, tears rolling down my cheeks as I reminisce over the days of kindergarten picnics, little league and classroom volunteering wondering what do I do now.

And so it begins, the next chapter is here. So what shall I do? I meant to have a plan, but I don’t. So. . . I am going to dry my tears, finish my coffee and head off to my favorite yoga studio. I am not going to worry about the next chapter and just get through the day. Focus on how proud I am of my amazing children and how excited I am for them. I am going to spend time doing all things I love and haven’t really had the time for. And have faith my chapter three will fall into place.

 

 

Crafting a life after they have left the nest

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