Alert! Alert! A Podcast Alert!

It’s no secret that I adore the Another Mother Runner podcast. And I can tell you that some of my very favorite episodes have Ellison Weist co-hosting, especially when she’s covering books. I eagerly anticipate the annual summer reading podcast, and I covet her recommendations. I mean, how does it get better? A runner talking about books?! *looks up at title of blog*

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So you can only imagine how thrilled I was when Ellison announced she’d be starting her own podcast a couple months ago. And now, The Book Bully is here! Christmas came early!

The first episode features none other than Sarah Bowen Shea of AMR fame, and it’s delightful. Please take a listen, and subscribe to her wherever you go for your favorite podcasts.

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Brighter Lines on the Horizon

In the past 3 years, I can’t say there has been a time when running wasn’t the focus of my health journey. I’ve lived it and breathed it and been consumed by it. And when I wasn’t consumed by it, I felt guilty for not being consumed by it.

The past couple weeks, though, it is not my focus. And I don’t feel guilty. (Okay, I guess I might have an iota or two of guilt, but I feel guilt and anxiety over 90% of things in my life.)

A few months ago, I read the book Bright Line Eating by Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. And it made so much sense to me. I looked up studies she had referenced. I read and re-read passages. I nodded and yearned for the freedom from food that she presented.

“Bright Line Eating is grounded in cutting edge psychology and neuroscience, and its tenets fly in the face of almost every commonly accepted weight loss strategy. It gives you a plan to follow that is effective and proven to work. It’s not a quick fix or a gimmick. There are no pills and no powders. We are precise with our eating, but we don’t restrict portions to tiny amounts and we eat a lot of whole, real food.

The core principles of BLE are Bright Lines—clear, unambiguous boundaries we don’t cross just like a non-smoker doesn’t smoke, no matter what. The four Bright Lines are: Sugar, Flour, Meals, and Quantities.” –Susan Peirce Thompson

More specifically, here are the bright lines:

  1. No added sugars
  2. No flours
  3. Eat 3 meals per day. No snacks.
  4. Fixed quantities: measure out each bit of food that goes in your mouth.

And after I read all this stuff that totally made sense to me, what did I do? I put it all away, because how could I ever follow that life? It seemed too extreme, too overwhelming, too much.

A few weeks ago, the book popped into my radar again. It came up on Audible as a heavily discounted Black Friday special. So I bought it. And I started listening. Again, I thought, “Too extreme!” But a passage resonated with me in a way it hadn’t before.

Either way, you’re probably asking me right now, “Isn’t that extreme?”
To which I reply, “I’ll tell you what’s extreme.” Each year in the United States alone, over 70,000 people have to get a limb amputated because of their Type 2 diabetes. Seventy thousand people. Their doctors have warned them it’s coming, but it doesn’t matter. They can’t stop. They eat until they lose a limb. That is extreme. That is how powerful this addiction is. Giving up processed drug-foods isn’t extreme. What’s extreme is the way our society eats – and the consequences we’ve decided we’re willing to tolerate as a result.

And of course the answer is to quit. When someone is losing critical lung function because they smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, we don’t tell them to moderate their smoking. We tell them to quit.
“But how?” you’re asking. “Cigarettes are easy to avoid. Food is everywhere! And I have to eat to survive and there are special things I love to eat that have sugar and flour in them and I don’t know if I could give them up forever and you’ve just pointed out how hard it is to stick with anything…”
I hear you. And it’s okay to feel panicked – that’s actually coming from the dopamine receptors in your nucleus accumbens. They are about to get their supply cut off and they don’t like it. Not one little bit.
Which is why I’m happy to tell you that this program is stronger than they are. Your brain will heal, and there’s a very, very bright future ahead of you. Relax. It won’t be nearly as bad as you think.

And I felt it pulling me again. But I also fell the pull of a bunch of destructive thoughts.

It’s too close to Christmas. How can you do this around the holidays? You might as well wait until after cookie baking, after Christmas parties, after Christmas day, after New Year’s, after, after, after…

And then I realized I was sabotaging my own motivation to feel healthier and better. It’s no secret that I’ve yearned to lose weight most of my adult life and much of my adolescent life as well. I’m not going to hide that. It used to be for purely vain reasons. It’s not like that now, though. Now, I have a million other reasons. I want to feel better. I want my waist-line to stop expanding, even when I’m eating well and exercising. I want to know what else I can do with my life when I’m feeling like a better physical version of myself. I want to be the best possible “me” I can for the people in my life.

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One of my reasons.

And yeah, that’s going to be hard. But maybe there is a way to get there. From the BLE support groups I’ve joined, I’ve heard from dozens of people who have been doing this for a long time, and the results are phenomenal. It works. It isn’t easy, but like Susan said above, it wasn’t nearly as bad as they thought.

So, the tl;dr version of it all is this: I’m making my food choices a priority right now. I had a fabulous first week where I didn’t blur a single darn line for 6/7 days. One of those days was our annual cookie baking day. I kept my lines for the morning and most of the afternoon, and then I made a conscious decision to let them go. (This is totally not recommended on BLE, but I decided that it was necessary to make it work for me.) The next day, I could feel cookies and sugar and flour and other things pulling me in, but I rejected them. I felt like junk, and so my body kept asking for more junk. But I said no. Those foods are not for me, and I kept my lines bright for the whole day.

Guess what? It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. It took effort and it took planning, but it took a lot less willpower than I expected. And by Friday, I actually felt pretty great.

So I’m getting things under control. And once I feel a little steadier on my feet, you can bet those feet will be running again. I bet you anything, they’ll be moving a little faster, because they’ll be running on clean fuel that is meant to energize my body and keep me going for the long haul.

Have you read Bright Line Eating or heard of this lifestyle before? What changes are you trying to make for your own health? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

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P.S. Whenever I get a little too “deep and thoughtful” in a post, I feel the need to make it a little lighter. Has anyone’s elf shown up at their house yet? Beatrice was there this morning to ask LJ, “Do you wanna build a snowman?”

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Silly toes and inhalers

 

If I used the words to describe the illness(es?) I’ve had for a month now, I’d have to put a naughty word disclaimer on this post. I’ll try to keep the swears to a minimum.

Finally, I was fed up last week. I was finally starting to feel better last Monday and got out for a good lung-clearing, nighttime run.

Can I just mention that my dog is hilarious? She walked in on me doing silly toes for a warmup, and she just…wasn’t…sure about it. She couldn’t decide if she was horrified or embarrassed for me or if she needed to rescue me from some sort of demonic possession. Ahh, sweet girl.

Anyway, by Wednesday, I was congested and hacking again. I visited my virtual doctor (brilliant invention, btw), and she said it’s likely I am just suffering several concurrent bugs being shared by my generous little preschooler. How lovely.

She did believe that my lungs are pretty worn out from not having a break, so I now have my very first inhaler. It is giving my lungs a few hours of “break-time” where they can do some deep breathing or yoga or something, and I’m hoping this all fades away soonish. I particularly have trouble when going from indoor warm air to outdoor cold air. Since this is something I can’t avoid doing in beautiful Minnesota, it’s something I just have to deal with for now. Makes running the pits, though.

The only way I’ve been able to cheer myself is with usual Christmas nonsense. We put up decorations. We sang carols and listened to Christmas tunes. We trimmed the tree. And it makes me feel so much better in general. My kiddo has inherited my love of all things festive, and it is so fun to share this time of year with her.

The vague-booking in my last post is ready to revealed, and it’s another reason I’m kind of in a funk. I am not participating in the WDW marathon in January. Luckily, my parents and family were incredibly supportive when I told them. I mostly didn’t want to be a disappointment to them, since they are joining us on this trip. But like I said…they are supportive and awesome and amazing, so I mainly just have to cope with disappointing myself yet again. I will move forward, though.

H’okay. That’s all I’ve got the mental faculties to type today. Good things are on the horizon. I just have to get myself there, one step at a time.

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A Vague Book

Earlier today, I looked up from the fifteen projects I was working on at my desk. I realized my viewpoint was a rather solid representation of my current conundrum. I know all the healthy things I should be eating and drinking (water, coffee, fruit), but dammit all, the only thing I can focus on is that Halloween candy lurking in the background. Also, I have a cough that rivals something out of The Exorcist. I’ll spare you the details, but that’s why the cough drop makes a random appearance.

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Early this week, I made some big changes. Ones I’m not ready to write a ton about here, but let’s just say my plans for future races have changed drastically. In a sense, I feel defeated and disappointed in myself. I hope others aren’t disappointed, because I do hope to redeem myself eventually. I have other things I need to focus on first, and I’m working through that. So in another sense, I am relieved. The pressure I was putting on myself was having the opposite effect I had hoped for. Rather than feeling motivated and determined like I used to in college when I’d save 20 page term papers until the night before they were due, I just felt…lost and like I was grabbing for something I’m just not ready to reach yet.

Well, enough “Vague-booking” from me. I’ll plan on expanding more another time.

Halloween has come and gone. November is here, and that means I’m legally allowed to play Christmas music in my home and car. (If you are someone who is morally opposed to this, I promise I’m not forcing it upon you. I am simply someone who basks in the glory of winter and Christmas and all the warmth and fuzzies that come from it. I love Christmas movies and snow and hot cocoa. I love trimming the tree and decorating my home until it looks like Christmas threw up in there. And I’m not going to apologize for it. I don’t ignore Thanksgiving (although, let’s not pretend Thanksgiving is based upon some warm and fuzzy event…) by any means. I just love the chance to celebrate winter and being with family and friends.

Where was I going with this? Oh, right. Halloween happened. I am hesitant to include myself in the picture below, because I am admittedly disappointed at the sight of myself in my costume. If you are overweight, maybe you understand that disappointment…when you *feel* like you look pretty good and then you see a photo of yourself that makes you want to crawl into a closet. Oh well. LJ thought I looked badass (not her word choice, but close enough), and I have to focus on that.

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My little Sith Lord had a delightful and sugar-filled day. She has such a full candy bucket, and I’ll be first to admit I’ve been sampling from it far too much this week. Especially as I am trying so very hard (for the millionth time) to be conscious of what I am consuming. I am so grossed out by the idea of sugar, and yet these rich confections still seem to keep jumping right into my mouth. Bastards.

For real, though. I have an awful cold this week. (Sorry to any of my coworkers reading this who have had to listen to my disgusting cough. Thanks for putting up with me and the massive amounts of Clorox wipes I’ve been using.) My whole body hurts from coughing, and I’m pretty sure I’ve pulled a few muscles. And this has led to me having a bit of a pity party because I can’t run without having a massive coughing attack. Which has led to some “DGAF” kind of moments when it comes to the ample amount of treats available. Goodness, I’m sure getting my use out of Urban Dictionary today.

I promise. It’s gonna get better. Did you hear that? Hold me accountable, plz and thx.

Wishing you and yours a happy Daylight Saving time. Ugh. Maybe “happy” is the wrong sentiment. Maybe “I hope we can get through this dark-all-the-time BS” is closer to the truth. Either way. Snuggle in. Have some cocoa. Watch a Christmas movie (or Thanksgiving movie or Halloween or just a movie, whatever). Enjoy yourself.

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Another month gone by…

A month has gone by since I wrote last. I don’t know that I have regrets about not writing. Disappointments, sure. But I didn’t really feel like I could get the words out on “paper” that I needed. I promised a recap of the Twin Cities 10 Mile at one point, but I don’t think I have anything to say on that race yet. It was one of those “why am I doing this?” kind of races where I was so super down on myself that I called my parents sobbing afterward. I’ve done a lot of reflecting and not enough running since then. I know it isn’t good, because I am still registered for Disney in January. I’m trying to meet myself where I am, but it sure feels crummy.

However, I AM incredibly proud of my husband who completed his very first marathon. He is a badass, and seeing him cross that finish line was monumental.

The other highlight of my weekend was hearing my favorites speak at the Health & Fitness Expo. Sarah and Dimity are a constant source of reassurance for me. On the frequent days when I am plagued with doubt and bad thoughts, they make me feel like I can do hard things. They are such an inspiration, and it is so refreshing to hear from them…in person!

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October held SO much chaos in our world. And in the midst of it all, our kiddo turned 4. I know most parents say this, but I cannot believe how fast she has grown. I cannot believe the incredibly insightful and funny and intelligent words that come out of her mouth. I cannot believe the level of compassion and understanding she has for the world. I cannot believe how fiery and determined and stubborn she is. She lives her life out loud, and I’m so blessed to see that.

Otherwise, we have just been up to the typical things. Pumpkins and Halloween movies and cider.

We’ve also been preparing for winter, which seems to have arrived this morning in full force. Snow, sleet, and gray. I didn’t make it out for my run this morning. Because that was a hard pill to swallow right away in the morning. I need to dig out my winter gear again. Before Halloween even hits. Oy.

The good people at Minneapolis Running generously published another piece of my writing today. I write about what it means to me to be a self-proclaimed “back-of-the-packer”: the doubts and fears and how those doubts and fears need to be kicked to the curb. I’m a work in progress, and I think this article shows it. But I think there are probably other runners who are works in progress, too. So maybe it’ll resonate with one of those people who has the same doubts and fears. Knowing you’re not alone is a huge, huge thing.

And we aren’t.

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P.S. I’ve been catching back up on reading lately. So I am planning on doing more regular book-ish posts. Stay tuned. (And thank you for sticking with me, because I know it’s sometimes a damn long time to stay tuned.)

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Further clarity and subsequent extreme amounts of gratitude

I am grateful. After my last blog post, I received warm comments and messages from quite a few people. It validated the fact that this blog is a good, positive part of my life. It also validated something else for me. Almost everyone who reached out expressed sentiments of, “Me too!” whether they were agreeing with weight issues, mental health issues, or just dealing with a rocky road. I hear you all. I am thinking of you all (even those who didn’t comment but had one of those, “Me too!” moments). And I am thankful you are here with me.

As I find the days until WDW 2018 passing quickly, it reaffirms the fact that I need to be taking good care of myself and sticking to my training plan.

Sidenote: Disney released pics of the medals for WDW Marathon weekend, and they are beautiful. Oh, Lordy, I hope I finish so I can get that sweet piece of bling.

I need to stick to what I know works, and I know consistently taking care of myself works. I’ve taken on a new conquest: heart rate training. And I must say I am an absolute convert. I submitted a guest blog post to Minneapolis Running detailing my experiences with heart rate training so far, so I won’t bore you with too many details. And lucky me, they posted it! Please take a look at it if you get a chance, and leave some love. They’re a great group of runners, and I’m grateful they give me an opportunity to write on a bigger platform.

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I’m a planner, don’tcha know?

I will say I’m signed up through the Train Like A Mother club, and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a training plan + community + general awesomeness. I am #coachedandloved. And you know I can never pass up an opportunity to give a shoutout to the AMR crew.

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#momlife

Other than that, you haven’t missed too terribly much of my life while I’ve been on my unplanned hiatus. Been preparing for a Star Wars bday party in October, getting super duper excited for SW VIII, and vacation preparations (I make a mean scheduling spreadsheet, y’all), which will undoubtedly include many Star Wars events…I’ve been proudly flying my geek flag lately.

Okay. I guess my kiddo had her first day of preschool. And she got a big kid bed. And my dog wore a cute hat. But only a few things other than that happened.

This seems like a good place to include this post from BookRiot. It spoke to me. Because Star Wars totally is and totally always has been a girl thing, too:

As a woman in her mid-30s, watching A New Hope and Princess Leia was very different than watching it as a kid. THIS—this was a princess I could support. This was a self-rescuing, take-no-shit princess who blasted Stormtroopers, sassed the guys who were sent to rescue her, and did it all in a dress, with those fantastic buns intact, not a hair out of place. Carrie Fisher the actress was no less amazing—a sharp-tongued, razor-wit individual who was unapologetic and open about her struggles and worked tirelessly to get rid of the stigma of bipolar disorder and drug abuse. 

Preach.

Alright. I’ll leave you with that. Hoping to get into some semblance of a schedule soon along with details of my actual running life and book life and all the things I actually made this blog to document.

Again. Thank you, and I’m sending light and love to YOU.

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Clarity Lost and Sorta Found

This post is a raw and humbling one that I’ve tried to write with honesty. I don’t write it for pity. I write it as both an explanation and for other people who may be experiencing similar struggles. Forgive me, though, if it is muddled; it was difficult to accurately convey some really big feelings through a keyboard.


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I’ve been in hiding as far as this blog goes. I can’t tell you why I continue to get these big ideas that I can train and run and blog and be a “with it” kind of human being. Clearly, that’s just not in the cards for me right now. It gets to a point where I don’t even know what to say here. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I don’t know if I’m making a difference for others or for myself. And if I am making a difference for myself, is it negative?

It’s time to be transparent. I’ve fallen completely off the exercise wagon since mid-summer. I don’t feel my eating has been that terrible, but my exercise and training have been completely lacking. I am in a cycle of despising myself for not exercising and then not having the energy to get up in the morning because my mind has been filled with so much yuck.

I’ve gained 20 lbs in the last few months. That may sound like a lot to most people, but I’ve  fluctuated dramatically my whole life. I can have a 5 lb difference from one day to the next. So I hope this weight will come off as quickly as it came on.

I hate seeing pictures of myself or looking in the mirror. I know it is an image of my own doing, and again, it catches me up in that cycle of being mad at myself and feeling defeated.

I want to be transparent. I’ve been building myself back to a place where I’m documenting my nutrition and my training. I’m cleaning up, both literally and metaphorically…deep-cleaning my house (something else that I fall behind on when I’m in a funk) and sweeping the cobwebs from the nooks and crannies in my brain.

My goal is to have a completely documented log of what I ate and what I did and how I feel. I won’t bombard you with it every day, but I may do a weekly wrap-up to show my (hopefully) progress.

I’m so tired of feeling bad. I gave up on trying to feel good, but I think it’s just going to take a lot more pushing than I was able to give previously. Now, though? I’m feeling like I’m at that proverbial fork in the road. I want to head down a path to all-around health before it’s too late.

I will be transparent. And I hope you can be understanding and patient. I still expect to hit those big and little bumps in the road; I have to learn to be understanding and patient with myself, too.

If anyone else has found themselves in a place like I am, please feel free to get in touch. I think the best thing is knowing that we are not alone in our struggles, whether they be mental or physical, weight-related or otherwise. You are worth fighting for, through all the shit and “yuck” the world throws your way. And I’m going to try to believe I am, too.

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Sorta Silent Saturday

Pathetic long run today. Disappointment. At the very least, I enjoyed what nature offered me this morning.


Also, happy birthday, Grandma. I miss you so much that my heart feels like it will implode sometimes. I like to imagine what things would be like if you were here now…but that hurts a lot, too. Hearts can break from wanting something so much.

So instead, I’m doing my best to smile and celebrate you today. I’m living a life of grand love for my family and friends, because that’s what you did. And I deep cleaned my camper, too, because I could hear your voice telling me it was maybe getting a little filthy.


Fitness Friday: 5 Quotes for When You “Just Can’t” + Free Printables

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve been having trouble with finding motivation lately. Okay, maybe this has been an issue most of my life. I don’t think I’m alone, though. I hear echoes of others who have days or weeks or months or years where they feel their brains or bodies or hearts yelling, “I JUST CAN’T” at them.

And sometimes, it’s okay to allow your brain and your body and your heart to tell you those things.

There are days, though, when I really, really desperately want to be able to do the things I know will make me feel better. Like running. On those days, I often rely on words to light a fire in me. Since I’m a librarian, it also should come as no surprise that I believe words can have a huge impact, whether for good or for evil.

Scenario: Maybe you’re really excited about this new dress you’re wearing today, but then someone says, “That pattern is…interesting.” And maybe it’s an interesting pattern, but the way they said it, what did that mean? Does this even look good on you? It probably looks terrible. What were you even thinking buying it? You don’t look good in anything.

Four words. Four words were all it took to crack your confidence.

Scenario: Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. And then your toddler had a meltdown because you didn’t cut the crusts off her toast. The cat threw up and you stepped in it while wearing your favorite pair of socks (that ironically have cute little kittens on them). And your hair just won’t lay right and you smeared your eyeliner right after you put it on and you forgot to pack a lunch and wait, did you even remember to eat breakfast?

Then your kid tugs on your shirt and says, “I love you so much, Mama.”

Six words. Six words stop you in your tracks and melt your heart.

Again, words can have impact in big and little ways that add up.

So when I surround myself with motivation, I find myself feeling better. Here are a few of  my favorite quotes when it comes to running and getting myself moving when I really just can’t.

Clear your mind of can't

Clear your mind of ‘can’t’.

It might sound simple, and in a way, it is. Often, my mind is my biggest enemy. It tells me what it thinks I can and can’t do. And a lot of times, it’s just plain wrong. If I do my best to remove “CAN’T” from my vocabulary, I’m not giving myself the option of giving up. Unless of course I’m saying to my mind, “You CAN’T stop me.”

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You will want to stop. Don’t.

Relating to the last one, I try to make myself believe I am unstoppable. It is so easy to think, “I’m tired! I won’t make it another mile! It’s time to stop.”

Barring injury, illness, or overtraining, don’t let your mind fool you. You can keep going, and you are so much stronger than you even know.

Hard things and impossible things

Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer.

One of the biggest things I struggle with is patience. I am not a patient person, but my body wasn’t built to be a get-fit-quick machine. Very few people have quick results while training or losing weight or getting healthier. If they do have quick results, the results sometimes aren’t long-lasting.

Dimity (from my all time favorite crew: Another Mother Runner) reminds me that the things I feel are hard will take time, but they will be so worth it. And the things I don’t think I can possibly do right now? They’ll take time, too, but I WILL get there.

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If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

Okay, going back to that first quote: remember when I said to eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary? Well, scratch that. Sometimes, there are literally times you cannot do something. You may be putting yourself at risk if you do, or maybe you just deserve some rest.

For me, this quote was particularly relevant during my injury. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t bear weight on my foot. It was excruciating, both physically and mentally. But I knew I had to keep going and moving forward. It was the only way to heal.

However you apply this quote to yourself, make sure you only give yourself the opportunities to move forward in life. Learn from your past and keep going, full steam ahead. Don’t keep looking backward. You’re not going that way.

-It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.--Albus Dumbledore

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

You didn’t think I would let you get away without a little book geekiness in here, did you? Although this quote isn’t directly about running, I have attached it deeply to running and many other parts of my life.

When I make the choice to get out of bed and lace up, that is what is important. My pace doesn’t matter. My mileage doesn’t matter. I need to stop beating myself up for feeling like I’m slow or bad or any other negative descriptor. I made a choice to defeat some sinister negative force, and there’s a little bit of magic in that.

Plus, Dumbledore quotes never get old.


As a special treat, please feel free to download the PDF versions of the images above. I made these as pretty little reminders for myself, but I’d love to share them if you feel like you could pull them out on a rough day.

Download “Clear your mind of can’t.”
Download “You will want to stop. Don’t.”
Download “Hard things…Impossible things…”
Download “If you can’t fly, run…”
Download “It is our choices…”


So what are your thoughts, my friends? What helps you to lace up when you don’t want to? How do you defeat the “I can’t” trolls? Please feel free to share a tip or a favorite quote below. You know I can’t get enough of those good ol’ words!

SHOP

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Mama Monday: 5 Picture Books for Belly Laughs

Oh, hello there! How was your weekend? Did you rest? Did you party? Did you have at least a little fun? I hope your answers are: yes, yes, and A LOT.

This past weekend was hubby’s and my 7th wedding anniversary. Has it really been 7 years already? Seems like yesterday and eons ago all at the same time. I don’t know how that works.

We celebrated by running the Fifteen’s 5k in Minneapolis. I highly recommend this race! It is so well-organized and for a great cause. The hills are a doozy at times, but I had a good guy encouraging me the whole way. I’ll write a more detailed review later this week, but for now…just get it on your calendar as soon as you can! (The date ranges from the last Sunday in July to the first Sunday in August from what I’ve seen so far.)

Onto today’s Mama Monday topic! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about quality time with my Lula. There’s nothing I wish for more than to spend MUCH more time with her than I do. Being a working mom presents its own challenges, and I struggle with so much mom guilt for being a full-time librarian. Lula has a wonderful daycare provider, and I know she needs the social interaction with kids. That doesn’t stop me from wishing I could be with her more often, though.

The time I spend with her is important to me. I have been working on certain things that interfere with my time with her, like aimlessly surfing or playing games on my phone. I am trying my hardest to enjoy the time we do have together. And what better way to spend our time together than laughing?

One way she and I connect is through books, and she LOVES a funny book. Here are five of our very favorites I recommend you check out from your local library.

  1. The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak

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    My BFF gave me this book for a Christmas gift a few years ago. The first time I read the title to Lula earlier this year, she immediately said, “I don’t want a book with no pictures!” It only took two pages before she was hooked and begging for it again and again and again. Because…every single thing the page says? The reader HAS to read it out loud. Even if it means you turn into a singing robot monkey. Or…BLORK.

    Be ready for lots of giggles with this one. Especially if you’ve already read it a few times and your kiddo knows what’s coming. Even if they don’t know how to read, they’ll barely be able to contain themselves as they wait for you to say the words, “A HIPPO NAMED BOO-BOO BUTT.”

  2. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

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    There’s something so charming about listening to your preschooler respond to a book as though they were actually talking with the characters in it. To know that you can help them travel into a world where they can actually talk to their silly pal, Pigeon? Too cute.

    In this book, the busdriver explicitly instructs you to NOT let the pigeon drive the bus. Pigeon has other ideas and is ready to do/say ANYTHING to get his way. Lula laughs but remains steadfast in saying, “NO, Pigeon! No way!” when he argues with her.

    Pigeon has lots more adventures after this first one, so I recommend any Pigeon books you can find. In fact, I recommend any Mo Willems title that exists. He is just excellent.

  3. Toot by Leslie Patricelli

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    By the age of 3, many preschoolers believe there aren’t many things funnier than a good ol’ fashioned fart. Leslie Patricelli realized this and made it into a whole board book starring her beloved character, the baby. All of the baby books are entertaining, but none of them elicit giggles quite like this one.

    There’s not much more I have to say for this one. Just be ready to make lots of different bodily function noises. And you might just get the giggles, too.

  4. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton

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    Sandra Boynton is another well-known name in our household. Her anthropomorphic critters are a little quirky and a whole lot of fun. With this particular book, Lula loves it because it gives her a chance to read to me.

    The premise is simple. Four critters wear variously colored pieces of clothing. Everything is fine until you get to turkey. Turkey doesn’t seem to know exactly how to wear clothing. For example, he wears his pants on his arms and his coat on his beak. Ooops!

    It’s easy for Lula to “read” to me by identifying the color and piece of clothing each animal is wearing. And she thinks it’s HILARIOUS to say “Ooops” each time she sees the turkey. She looks up at me to make sure I’m laughing, too. And I am, just from seeing her delight in reading to Mama. Simple text that still manages to be incredibly engaging for preschoolers.

  5. Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown

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    Our copy of this book is so well-worn and loved that I’m considering replacing it. Even though it is a board book, I can’t imagine not reading it frequently to Lula, even as she gets older. It has been a favorite of hers since she could form opinions.

    Although it isn’t intentionally super funny, it has an amazing beat to it as the title suggests. She loves the beat and the words and the dancing farm animals. And I actually have fun trying to rap the words. So it garnered some bonus mama points.

    There’s also the opportunity to read the words really fast toward the end, and that leaves Lula laughing long after the book is done.

It was SO hard to choose 5 books! Because we love a million more of them.

What are you favorite picture books to read with your kiddos?

SHOP

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