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Family Movie Night: Kids Baking Championship

KB0104_Duff-Hollis-Valerie_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni10colLike many families, we love a good movie night.  Lately, instead of a box office hit from Disney or Pixar, we’ve been watching DVR’s episodes of the Kids Baking Championship on Food Network.  My daughters love helping in the kitchen and I am admittedly tired of the rotation of cartoons that they want to watch so I hoped it would be a hit.

Boy, was it.

We all loved it instantly.  These kids are only 10, 11, 12 years old.  Amazing skill, poise, confidence, humor.  So entertaining and very brave.  I immediately loved that my girls were not only watching a show about baking but also about the amazing things kids can do all by themselves, and sometimes, as in my favorite moment in the series, together.

In this clip, Jackson burns his hand on a pot and Annika comes over to help him finish his task.  Unfortunately, I’ve been trained by other reality competition shows (and life) to wonder, “does  she thinks this will help her chances?”  A minute later, her expression never changing from honest concern for Jackson finishing the competition, I realized, no, she’s just a great kid.  They don’t think this way.”  She gave new meaning to the word competitor, in a way that I’d never be able to articulate to my daughters.

Now, more than ever we play “The Cooking Show” at meal times.  As I sit down I’m often asked (with a twirl of the hand and a motion to my plate) “what did YOU make?” insisting that I explain my dish in a way that is worthy of moving on to the next level.  Fortunately, I know just what the judges like so I can usually describe their favorite dishes with ease.  But I’ll be honest, I do love moving onto the next level as much as they do.

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I Want a MySuperTicket! ***GIVEAWAY***

You might want to come in a little closer for this news, because it’s really fun.  MySuperTickets are out again!  If you were with us last November, we launched our first MySuperTicket contest and had a blast watching the winners roll in from across the country.

This week, we launched MySuperCookies in the cookie aisle at 500 Target stores.  To celebrate, we hid 50 MySuperTickets inside 50 boxes across the country.  In fact, a lucky winner found one in Seattle on the first day we were on shelves!  What did they win? A Target gift card and a CASE of MySuperCookies.

mysuperticketWant to see if we are in a store near you?  Click HERE.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Find your nearest Target store where MySuperCookies are available.  If there isn’t a store near you, call a friend who IS near a store and have them buy a box for you.

2. Buy MySuperCookies with your fingers crossed.  (Ask for help if you need it.)

3. Once you pay, look inside and see if you are a winner!  If you are…

4. Snap a photo with your MySuperTicket and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we will send you a case of MySuperCookies.

GOOD LUCK!!

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When Your Brain Feels Like a Jar Full of Glitter, Shake It Off – Mindfulness For Kids

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have changed a lot over the last 2-3 years.  Not just because of the obvious happenings in my outside life but because of the not-so-obvious happenings in my inside life.  I meditate.  Regularly.  And it’s completely transformed my life.  Those same people who know me well might be getting tired of hearing me talk about it.  But that’s how big it is.  I can’t keep it to myself.

I’ve always been a loyal friend and a compassionate thinker.  I am creative and thoughtful, intelligent and brave.  But I rarely gave myself the credit for it before meditation.  Back then, I was a chronic perfectionist, a worrier, a “finethankyouhowareyou” respondent.  I pleased and thank you’d and hoped everyone liked what I had to think, say, wear, and eat.  Since meditation, I’ve learned to create space between my thoughts and reactions.  To carry empathy in my front pocket.  To go easy on myself and everyone around me.  I still remember the day, over 4 years ago when I was first introduced to meditation and I felt like I was walking with my girls through our neighborhood for the first time.  Except they were over a year old.  Where had I been before that?

The beautiful part of this is that I found it.  Or, as they say, it found me.  The crazy part of this is that it took me over 30 years to get here.  But thank goodness I got here.

Now, as I look at my perfect little kiddos, I try to find little ways to introduce this idea of slowing down, being present and breathing.  Which, ironically, often comes very naturally to children in the first place.  Watch a 3 year old dig in the sand for the first time.  Really watch.  And get comfortable because you might be there for 2 hours.  That’s how THERE he is.

Realistically, in between the wonderful kid-moments, we have our fair share of negotiations, confrontations and sometimes (lately) full on tantrums.  I have been feeling helpless, since I assumed most of this would be over by now.  They are 5 1/2 year old twins.  I keep chalking it up to a growth spurt or being hungry or tired…but who can explain what’s going on with THEM??  Seriously, I want to do better for them and time outs just aren’t making sense these days.

A couple months ago, I saw a short video called “Just Breathe” from a Super Soul Sunday show.   It’s beautiful and simple.  When we feel big, strong emotions, our brains and bodies react similarly.  Chaotic on the inside.  Kids are no different.  Except maybe they aren’t so sure what to do with those feelings all the time.  Here comes the glitter.

A simple glitter jar explains what many of us cannot.  The shaken glitter jar represents our inner turmoil.  Not making the team, losing a best friend, feeling different.  Our responses vary, but can often be or feel chaotic.  Sitting with the glitter jar, noticing the swirling, sparkling flecks of color, then noticing as they settle to the bottom of the jar allows a couple minutes of rest.  A couple minutes to breath in and out, to notice how we feel.  What a great lesson for kids.  And by kids I mean all of us who know, or have or used to be one.

This morning, we made our own.  As we gathered the ingredients, I explained the project’s purpose (since all they thought was “GLITTER!!!”)  I said, whenever I notice that you are starting to feel overwhelmed by emotion and maybe about to make a bad choice with words or actions, I’m going to say “glitter jar” and then just go shake it up and take a minute to relax.

What you’ll need:

Small jar with a secure lid

Colored glitter glue (1/2 of a large bottle or 1 small)

Matching colored glitter (1/2 tube)

Warm water

Add ingredients together and shake to let glue combine.

glitter jar 1

glitter jar 2

glitter jar 3

glitter jar 4

glitter jar 5

glitter jar 6

Once they are shaken, watch the glitter swirl…

glitter jar 8

Then settle…

glitter jar 7

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Business Update: Say Hello to Summer

passion never failsWho can believe we are at the end of May?  Certainly not I. But the gentle reminder of a slowly setting sun late in the day and an afternoon temperature today that’s creeping toward 90 seems like sufficient proof.  We are headed straight for summer.

The coming month have some exciting things in store for MySuperFoods.  Here are 5 things we are celebrating this summer:

1. Nearly 500 Target locations and over 250 Kroger stores are lining their shelves with MySuperCookies Heroes (Blueberry Vanilla, Honey and Chocolate).  We’ve given our store locator a heads up but are still nervous that it might explode on impact.

2. The 4 oldest SuperKiddos (2 sets of twins and the reason Katie and Silvia met) are finishing up preschool next week.  Kindergarten, here we come!  We couldn’t be more proud, honored and amazed to be their moms.  What an awesome group of kids.  (Little brother Tristan will continue to believe he is also 5…instead of 3)

3. The summer interns have entered the building.  Thank you, Kayla and Lauren! (huge sigh of relief…until September)

4. New products are in the works and the taste testing begins next week.  It’s tough job but SOMEONE has to do it!

5. We celebrate our 4th birthday on July 8th!!  What should the theme be…?

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What I’d Like For Mother’s Day (Not an Exhaustive List)

Mothers-Day1. Smiling, happy children.  All day.  Like, to the point that maybe I think something is wrong.

2. High quality, delicious, organic meals that everyone loves, prepared for the entire day week month.

3. A leisurely morning wake-up that includes stretching in bed before getting stepped on, gut punched or having my eyes literally peeled open while being asked, “are you awake?”

4. Six consecutive sentences that don’t begin with “Mommy” “I don’t know how this happened, but” or “What’s that smell?”

5. No Whining.  Or Wrestling.  Or I’m-Not-Touching-You’ing (#1 needed a solid back-up).

6. Something outside.

7. Something chocolate.

8. Something by myself.  Maybe yoga or coffee or staring at a tree.

9. A gift that was clearly made entirely, unapologetically, amazingly by my five-year-old daughters.  Preferably 3-dimensional.

10. A gift that was clearly hijacked from a list of “top 10 things to get your amazing wife for Mother’s Day” from my husband.

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My SMALL Business Feels Anything But

K&S May 2014 _MG_0080 Kelly Photo May 2014 MSF Company Picnic 2013This week (May 4-8 2015) is “Small Business Week”, dubbed so each year by the sitting President for the past 52 years.  With more than 50% of Americans owning or working for a small business, this seems like an appropriate nod to the hard work and innovation coming out of small businesses every day.

As a small business owner, I have to admit, this is a nice little week-long fiesta I’ve been invited to.  Virtual high-fives from the Small Business Association, Twitter parties and nationwide events and promotions.  It feels pretty good to take a week to celebrate the hard work we are all putting in to make our dreams a reality.

But I have a secret: This business is anything but small.

True, my sales stacked up against the industry leaders is meager.  My office of 500 square feet doesn’t require a campus or cafeteria.  My annual company picnic is held in my back yard with ease.  And when I show up to work, Wall Street isn’t watching.

But my first Granola Bite batches were made in my kitchen while my toddlers sat in high chairs eating breakfast.  Ingredients everywhere.  (and you should have seen the mess I made!) My house has served as an office, warehouse, storage facility, conference room, and delivery location for the post office, UPS and FedEx.  We even had a meeting with our insurance agent on the deck one summer while 4 three-year-olds ran around us.  My children have been turned into cookies, coloring pages, buttons, stickers and cartoon characters.  My husband has held down the fort while I’ve worked nights and weekends,  handed out samples in new stores to new customers, gotten on 4 planes in 30 hours for one 20 minute meeting and put our savings into this dream.

When any of us make a sale, we celebrate.  When we decorate our office, it’s with pictures of our kids.  My work is a member of the family.  My business partner and her family are my own.  My co-workers are friends.  We dream big and set lofty goals.  We meet many of them.  We believe in big things, including ourselves.  There’s nothing small about this ride.

But I’ll keep that (mostly) to myself.  I was never one to turn down an invitation to a party.

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The Day I Let My Daughters Drive to School

Now that my daughters are five, I’ve been thinking it’s time to give them more of the space they are craving.  So, today I let them drive to school.

Not really.  But hear me out.

This morning everything was moving on time.  Lunches were packed, shoes were tied, jackets were zipped.  We were in the car with 5 extra minutes to spare on our usual 4-minute-commute to their preschool.  It felt awesome.  As we headed down the driveway I called back to daughter #1 and asked, “Left or Right?”

She immediately dove in, excited to go “the other way”.  The road less traveled.  All along the way toward school, I chose a street here or there that didn’t take us too far off the beaten path, getting us more or less in the direction of where we needed to be.  Almost every time I asked “Left or Right?” I heard, “which way do we normally go?”  Then they would choose the other way.

It was a good reminder to take the road less traveled.  To slow things down and mix things up.  Maybe even release some control in the endless morning ritual of asking, “is (fill-in-the-blank) done yet?”

My daughters left the car laughing and smiling.  Grabbing my hand as we walked into school they both asked, “can we do that every day?”

I felt a little bit like Super Mom.

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My Favorite Ideas for Easter – A Little Less Sugar, a Little More Fun Together

easter-family-fun-dayI consider myself a mom that falls somewhere between “it’s a BIRTHDAY PARTY, enjoy what you want to eat” and “Did we just go to 4 parties in a row? No more pizza for a month”.  That’s why I encourage my daughters to enjoy the yummy food they find at birthday parties and holiday gatherings but try to talk to them before and after (never during, because…what’s the point?) about the importance of healthy eating.  And maybe even enjoying the moment a little more than figuring out how to cram 3 cupcakes into their mouths at once.

With Easter right around the corner, I want to share some quick, easy, fun, and sometimes delicious ideas for enjoying the fun day without overdoing it on sugar and excess:

1. Plastic Easter Egg Filler Ideas (NON FOOD): bouncy balls, stickers, erasers, coupon for screen time, quarters (especially great for younger kiddos), whistles, seeds to plant a garden

2. Plastic Easter Egg Filler Ideas (FOOD): UnReal candy (no artificial flavors, dyes or preservatives and non GMO), MySuperCookies (of course!), dried fruit (my daughters are obsessed with pineapple at the moment), dark chocolate or yogurt covered nuts or raisins.

3. Turn the Egg Hunt into a scavenger hunt in your yard or neighborhood.  Get outside and enjoy some time together!  Get your friends and neighbors involved.  Create a list of items and divide the group in teams.  Each team needs to find and take a picture of every item on the list (a blue car, a bird house, a house with the number 3 on it, etc).  Then hand out clues to find the eggs (“This is where granny sleeps when she comes to visit” – all the eggs are hidden in the guest bedroom!  (WARNING: To avoid a massive fight if someone arrives at the guest room first, separate the eggs by color – each team gets to collect only one – or place each team’s eggs in a different room)

4. Easter Basket Ideas: DVDs, books (The Day the Crayons Quit and Rosie Revere Engineer are two of our favorites), MySuperSnacks, clothes, reusable water bottle (we love Thermos FUNtainers), tickets to a local kids play or triple A baseball game, art supplies, all of the ingredients to their favorite meal (and they get to help in the kitchen), a personalized set of magnets or new place mat from Shutterfly, bubbles, yoyo, kite, water balloons.

Above all, have fun!  It’s a family day.

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Family Meals Are Not What They Used To Be…and That’s Okay.

family-dinner-table-y8l5mgl8Yes, we get it.  Sit down.  As a family. Every day. Eat together. Share stories.  And they better be meaningful!

I just did a Google search on the “importance of family meals” and over 75 MILLION results surfaced.  One even touted “8 Reasons To Make Time For Family Dinner.”  I know that the idea behind this article was not to make me feel bad about myself, but I also know that for some people, it did.  Eight reasons feels like a lot when all we want to do is our very best.

A friend of mine recently made a relatively big move with her husband and 3 kids to allow for more time with all of them together.  Her husband works very long hours and was hardly ever home.  It was a great decision for their family, even though it presented other challenges in space, comfort and what was expected of them by their peers.  Now, they have breakfast as a family.  Most mornings, those three little kiddos spend amazing time with their dad who was previously out the door before they woke up in the morning.  My friend now gets to share her coffee with the man she described as her “best friend” the first time she mentioned him to me.  Everything about this makes me happy.

And they will almost never have a family dinner together.

Mind you, breakfast at their house is probably not much different than breakfast at my house.  Minus the presence of my husband who leaves the house at 6:30am.  Rousing of children, dressing little limbs, reminders of teeth brushing and packing of lunches.  Nevermind the actual breakfast part.  A blur of yogurt and pancakes, peanut butter and milk.  Their family breakfast is not a leisurely Sunday brunch that we all dream about.  But is their time together that they careful carved out of their lives.  More importantly, they changed their lives to make it a priority.  I bet their kids feel that every day without asking someone to pass the mashed potatoes.

I think that’s the point of the urgency to reconnect over dinner.

More than ever, we are over worked, over scheduled, over stimulated.  I know that things have changed in many ways since I was a kid and even more so since my parents were kids.  But it’s not all bad.  I’ve figured out lots of ways to connect with my family.  At the dinner table and elsewhere.

1. Last weekend, my husband was out of town.  I took my daughters to lunch and, not wanting to eat and run, I spontaneously told one of my daughters to open her mouth and close her eyes.  I proceeded to give her a taste of two muffin remnants on the table and asked her to properly identify what she ate.  Not only did she guess right but both daughters LOVED this game and we ended up sitting and laughing for 30 minutes more than we would have otherwise.  They can’t wait to play again.

2. I usually have a freezer bag filled with homemade muffins to throw into school lunches.  When I’m running low, I will whip up a batch pretty quickly.  If I’m lucky, I will catch myself before trying to plow through the task and invite my daughters to help.  By now, they are very familiar with the recipe and one time, not long ago, one daughter made it nearly by herself.  She smiled the whole time and we had that special time, when she felt awesome, together.  The next week she told me she wanted to open a restaurant and make pizza and muffins when she was older.

3. Family walks.  I often don’t feel like doing this (especially recently, when layers of clothing were involved) but we all come home in a happier mood.  I have vowed this Spring to walk outside with my family more.

I think the point is not the time or day or perfect dinner time location.  The point is the connection.  Being right there in that moment with each other when we don’t think or care about anything else but what is starting us in the eye.  And often, if I’m lucky, it’s a goofy, 5-year-old grin.

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Half Marathon – Finding and Keeping What Works as Your “Thing”

 

20150210_132141 (1)Half Marathon – Finding and Keeping What Works as Your “Thing”

Megan Monday (or Tuesday!) articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach.

So it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write a new blog post; lots of things, as always, going on in our house, but not necessarily things I’d prefer to be doing. Our family had to pack up our entire house and lives smack in the middle of the holidays for a January 1st move to another state for my husband’s job.  This is my 5th move in 5 years.  I’m someone who craves stability.  You can imagine how I felt about this move.

Then of course add on the time it takes to get settled, especially with two young kids (who, by the way, have kept their sick streak going strong! That’s a topic for another article) – it’s just been a blur these past two months. However, I have been writing this blog post in my head for quite some time, as it’s been something that was panging at me to get on paper.

Despite all of the craziness with the move, etc., I was able to get away for a few days (by myself!) back in January to run the Naples Daily News Half Marathon. It was one of my worst half marathon times to date, but doing this race taught me how to think in a whole new way – to let go.

You see, I was never much of a runner.  I was always a swimmer and rower.  Running became “my thing” back in October 2004 when I had just graduated college, was kind of floundering from a set-back in my first job where I got horrible black mold poisoning and felt like garbage (emotionally and physically).  I went to go see a friend run the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia & Washington, D.C.  and as I stood at the finish line (which is a not-so-fun .2 mile uphill climb), I saw a middle-aged man in a wheelchair with both legs amputated struggle up that last portion of the race.  He had completed 26 miles and was almost rolling backwards the last two-tenths of a mile because he was so tired and could barely muster up the strength to keep going. My heart sank at first for this man. I started tearing up as everyone rallied to get this guy to the finish line.  We were screaming and clapping so hard.  The look of determination on his face was something I will never forget. While I never knew why this man lost his legs, all I could think of was what he was thinking as he gripped the wheels of his chair with each push – did he miss his legs? If he had his legs, would he be struggling so hard? Or did he just see this moment as it was – a goal he had set that needed to be finished? All that mattered to me at that moment was this man’s perseverance and grit to push through something difficult. That man finished his race. I was moved beyond belief at that second he wheeled across the finish line. I also looked down at my own legs and became mad at myself that I didn’t use them more; I just witnessed someone accomplish something that was so far beyond anything that I was currently doing. It was at that moment that I decided I was going to start running and train for a race.  That night, I signed up for the Naples Daily News Half Marathon that was to take place a few months ahead in January.  I had my work cut out for me, but I just kept thinking about that man in the wheelchair, and that motivated me.

My training became something that resembled a friend.  It was my escape from a stressful day; I could be alone with my thoughts and let my legs work out my troubles. I started to tone up and lose weight. My energy levels were so much better than they had been.  I was sleeping better, and I felt the best I had in awhile. Plus, I felt like I was accomplishing something each time I ran. I made running friends, and we had our running dates. Instead of going out partying, I was going to bed early to get up at dawn to run. My eating and lifestyle choices became healthier and I actually started to like the way clothes fit on me. Running was officially “my thing.”  I ran my first half marathon and was hooked. My friends came to see me run and I loved seeing my parents at the finish line proudly cheering me on. I signed up for more and more races and wound up doing the Naples Daily News Half Marathon several other times in the years to come – it’s one of my favorite races and I have such fond memories of my dad driving me to the race early in the morning and being at the finish line with his camera taking pictures of me and my friends finishing. I am grateful for those memories and feelings.

Fast-forward ten years, I have completed over 100 races and six half marathons, which in reality, is nothing compared to many runners out there. I have even impressed myself with some decent times when I was actually in decent running shape back in 2008 and 2009. But with every single run I’ve done, ever – I always think back to that man in the wheelchair.  I thank that man for igniting something in me – something that saved me in many ways, and more than I would realize once I had to deal with my dad’s cancer, death, and then having my own children.

When I got pregnant with my first child, I ran a little bit in the beginning, but wound up stopping; I was definitely suffering from depression while coping with my dad’s stage 4 brain cancer at the same time of my entire pregnancy. I wanted so many times to get up and run; I missed my “friend” – my workout. But I just couldn’t do it. I felt my years of hard work start to slip away with each missed run, and in a way, I didn’t care – I was rebelling in a way out of anger about my dad’s illness.  It wasn’t until I had my son and two weeks later had to hurry across the country to get to my dying dad that I realized I needed my friend back – I needed to get back to my runs. Four weeks from having my son and while caring for my dad on home hospice, I would sneak out between infant feedings and just go for quick jogs.  Everything. Felt. Different.  Before I took that first step, I had the expectation of what it would feel like before I had kids.  This was a realization that was to settle in (and I think for any new mom) – my body had changed….forever.  I wasn’t going to let that get in my way…I needed the run, so I ran.  It felt amazing at first – like a caged bird being freed.  And then I had to stop because my bladder was protesting.  Then my hip started acting up.  I became mad.  WHY was this happening?  All I wanted was a few minutes back with my salvation.  I remember the feelings of defeat and sadness when I ended each run feeling like I could have gotten more out of it.  I would scold myself for not going faster…or running one more mile.  I kept at it for weeks – and I am glad I did.  Despite peeing my pants on numerous occasions and feeling completely embarrassed, I learned how to be humble.  These runs saved me from falling into a deep depression watching my dad deteriorate and dealing with post-partum hormones.  As my dad lost use of his legs more and more each day, I vowed to use mine more and more – because I could.  I kept thinking back to that man in the wheelchair at the finish line.  He reminded me of my dad.  He just wouldn’t give up – and neither could I.  I kept running despite hip pains, a leaking bladder, and sore breasts from nursing a baby.  On my runs, I would see other moms running. Or walking. Or riding their bike. Or doing something.  This was their “thing” – their way of taking a moment to try and keep something that was theirs before a child, or life-changing event. Maybe it was their new “thing” that they just started like I had back in 2004. Whatever the case, I felt a sense of camaraderie with them.

My dad passed away in May 2012 and right after his death, I signed up for a half marathon out in California – the Big Sur Half Marathon. The course snaked along some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer, including Pebble Beach – one of my dad’s favorite spots in the world. I was doing this race for him – and me. The post-baby me. I needed to prove to myself that I still had it. Yet I was realizing more and more that I was pretty much starting from scratch, despite my harsh expectations on myself. I pushed myself to sneak runs in whenever my husband could watch our son – which usually meant I was running 7+ miles at 8 or 9 pm.  I was exhausting myself and training horribly without realizing it. My “thing” was starting to turn into something that was hurting me – literally. A month and a half before the race, I blew my hip out.  Bad.  I couldn’t walk for a month, so I rested.  I felt defeated. However, I wouldn’t let go of the race. I still did it. I pushed myself through pain, but I kept thinking about the man in the wheelchair the entire time. I finished with a paltry time, but considering I had to walk the last 3 miles of the race, I was pleased.  I was so sad that my passion – my friend – my runs – seemed more and more of a fleeting dream as my injuries piled up. Why couldn’t I let go?

I decided to give it a rest for a while, so I stopped running and took up yoga, which was great.  It helped me heal to an extent, but the damage was still there from that initial hip injury. I was in constant pain, my movement was limited, and all I kept thinking of was how I felt like a failure. I didn’t feel like I was good at anything “athletic” anymore. Granted, I didn’t take into consideration enough that I was barely sleeping with a young child at home, I was still nursing, and yes, my body changed from having a baby and I didn’t want to accept that.  I wanted my toned muscles back – not the stretched-out marks and cellulite I saw. I think so many moms do this to themselves after having a baby and looking back on it, we’re clinging on to things of our lives pre-baby.  I envied my friends who looked like supermodels after having kids.  I hated how my hip hurt all the time. I felt like I lost so much with that injury.

I became pregnant again with our second child that following summer and actually was able to run more, as the hormones from pregnancy relaxed my hips and the pain from my injury subsided.  I ran a few races and loved that feeling again. I was learning how to love running again without all of the pressure. Once my second child was born, I was determined to get back into running again – the right way.  I trained slower and tried to be more gentle with myself, but I still fought that mental chatter of telling myself I needed to go faster, run those 7:30 minute miles again, aim for a certain race time, etc. I ran a half marathon this past November with my hip injury back again from training. I refused to not do the race, so I walked a good portion of it and did what I could. I felt with each step that my “thing” – my running life – was officially over.  My body was trying to tell me I shouldn’t do it anymore.  Having kids changed my body in a way that does not want it to run anymore. I really swayed between anger and sadness. But I thought about the other moms – how many other women out there can’t do what they used to? How many men aren’t able to do what they used to because their lives changed in some way or another?

I’m stubborn, so I still wouldn’t let it go.  I had one more race to do – the Naples Daily News Half Marathon. I had stopped training from November on.  I ran a few times in-between, but with our move and my sore hip (and nursing and two little kids to care for and sleepless nights all the time), my body was shot.  I had to learn to refocus and change my thinking.  Running is to me now something totally different than it was in the past.  Like I mourned the loss of my dad, I really mourned the loss of my “thing” at the same time – when I realized I may not be able to run the same way I used to.  Instead of trying to force something that may not be able to ever be the same, I need to embrace what I had and see what I can do instead.  As parents, we all need our “thing” – and that thing may have changed or will have to change for you for whatever reason.  But whatever it is – always find something that can be yours – your salvation. Having to let go of this passion of mine also helped teach me to let go of the things that no longer serve me.  I would hold onto things in an unhealthy way – it would cause stress and despair. Now, I try to really hone-in on what matters, what doesn’t and clean house in my head.

For my last race, I went into it with no expectations other than to finish and have fun.  This was the first time I was doing the Naples Daily News Half when my dad would not be at the finish line waiting for me and not cheering me on, which marked a newfound way to look at my running.  I was able to run the whole thing slowly without stopping or walking – and I didn’t even care what my time was.  I knew it would be slow.  I have not run since that race day in January and am healing my body with other forms of exercise before I push it to cruel extremes.  My half marathons now are caring for my kids on a daily basis – the demands of being a parent are incredible, but rewarding, like crossing that finish line. Moreover, I want my boys to learn to have their own “thing” as well – and modeling this for them is one of the best things I can pass on to them, even if it’s not a running race.

Every day, I still think about that man in the wheelchair at the Marine Corps Marathon and wonder what he’s doing now – what has he been up to these past 12 years? How many other marathons did he do after that time I saw him and how many other people did he inspire?  Most of all, I think about what my life would be like hadn’t I witnessed that man that day?  What would my “thing” have been, if I found anything at all? What would have helped get me through some of the hardest things in my life?

Whatever it may be – think about your “thing” – is it the same as it was several years ago? What are you thankful for? What are you hopeful about? And most of all – what has inspired you? Always look back to that source of inspiration and siphon daily all the positivity you can from it, as it’ll keep you going – in ways that you never thought that you could.

This article is dedicated to “the man in the wheelchair”, my dad – the other man in the wheelchair who wouldn’t give up, and all of you out there who have a “thing” that won’t let you give up. Just know when to let go – there’s a difference. J

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods, products, and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more: http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at:megan@empowerhealthcoach.com. Follow Megan on Twitter (@MPowerNutrition) and like her on Facebook: Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC.

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