Two Pretzels

July 19, 2016

Best excuse ever.

So while I'm in Ohio, I'm working remotely.

I make let the girls have "quiet time" in their room in the afternoons, after a bath and after horse camp.

Today, Lila came out and said, "My shirt has a weird texture."

"I don't think I can rest."


What do you even say to that?


I think I may try to incorporate that into my life:

"I'm sorry, I can't take care of you two today.  My shirt has a weird texture."

"I'm sorry, I can't come into the office today, my shirt has a weird texture."

"I'm sorry, I wasn't able to pay my bills on time, my shirt has a weird texture."

"I can't agree with you. My shirt has a weird texture."


Who is this kid?

And, is she on to something?



There's something strange about returning to the city of your birth; the neighborhood, the streets.

I have a memory for everywhere in this little place.

This is the library I biked to everyday during the summer. The same library that I'd pull my little sister to, in the Little Tikes wagon. I remember every curb, every house. The yards. The sidewalk cracks.

There's our church where we planted petunias in the springtime every year. There's the restaurant that we'd go to every Sunday after church. That's the school gym where I went to my first dance; the entry fee was a canned good.

There's a memory for every restaurant, every park. For the point on the expressway when you know you're almost home. There's my Grandma's house that I drive by each time I'm here... that yard. Oh, that yard. So many memories; the pool, the pear tree, the swingset, the big wheels, the bird bath, the garden, the raspberries, the lilacs... the pigeons. (blech.)

There's our house, the ice cream store, the grocery store where I was first a bagger. There's the A&W-style restaurant where I worked when I met my husband and tried to put a tray on his non-window-having Jeep.

There's my elementary school.
There's the yard where Danny Turner (Yep, that's his name) TACKLED me and tried to beat me up.

There's the river, the boats. The ice skating.

There's the cemetery where my Dad is buried, not too far from my Grandpa.

Everyday that we're here, I'm besieged by memories.
They come fast and furiously and... I can take it.
Before, after my Mom died, it was too much. It was sensory overload and I'd drive past the Chinese restaurant and cry, because she liked the wonton soup there.

Today? It's different.

We bought a little house a year or so ago and we're very close to my babies' Mimi and Papa and it's wonderful. They stroll down or scooter down to their house whenever. They take boat rides. They giggle and laugh with Craig's cousins' children, with my brother's kids... they're surrounded by humid days, cousins, aunts and uncles who love them and fireflies.

We sit in the driveway, in lawn chairs, and watch cars go by.
We collect leaves and remark how "cold" it is here, as compared to Mexico.
We sidewalk chalk.
We take naps.
We sit.
We sit and walk and just "be" and I love it.

The bittersweet reality of memories are made sweeter for me as I watch them make memories of their own.

Ohio will always feel like home.


July 10, 2016

The 10 Reasons why...

Here are the 10 Ten Reasons why [my] Accountability Groups Rock:

1. You don't need a lot of time.

You just need 30 minutes a day to exercise. And about 5 minutes a day (maximum) to check in in our secret (no one knows you're in it) facebook group.

2. The support.

You're not alone. We're a group of women working toward a common goal. We're busy Moms, single professionals, empty nesters trying to eat better & get stronger. Together.

3. The daily motivation.

How many times have you started and stopped on your own? We all need daily inspiration and support. You'll get it with me.

4. Consistency.

You don't need to be perfect, but you need to be consistently working toward a goal. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backwards.

5. You'll get an eating program that works.

Don't know where to start? Start with me. You'll be eating whole, in proper portions, cutting out sugar, salt and other not so great foods... with support. And, you can still have a glass of wine.

6. They're a way to pay it forward.

But supporting OTHERS you'll feel better about yourself. Trust me.

7.  You'll gain confidence and change your body and your mindset.

When you focus on taking care of you, both physically and mentally, you'll be more at peace, happier and more confident. And it'll show. And, you'll be able to take care of everything (and everyone) else.

8. They help you get either ON track or BACK on track.

We all go off the rails sometimes, and that's ok. Once you're in my accountability groups -- you're always welcome back. Life gets in the way, I get it! If you want to make a change, you must tell someone about it. Accountability means checking in daily and finally doing it this time.

9. They help you stretch and get out of your comfort zone. AND you can do it at home.

Doing the same thing, everyday, won't get you anywhere. Do something new, try something different -- and be supported all within the comfort of your own home, based on your schedule.

10. We're in in together.

Over the course of 2 years I've lost and kept off that last pesky 10 lbs. While obviously results vary, whole-food eating and solid exercise will change you. No question.


If you've been thinking about it, but weren't sure where to start, let's talk. Email me here.


July 7, 2016

Where it starts. Where it continues.

My daughters take yoga in school.

They're learning to close their eyes, to be still and to say,

"La paz empieza conmigo."

It translates to, "Peace begins with me."


Imagine this world if we all clung to, revered and respected this simple truth.

La paz empieza conmigo.

Peace begins with me.

Peace begins with me.


(Friends of the 80's... watch this again. I cried. So much amazing here.)


July 5, 2016

When the stars collide and things go the way you wished...

So when I was pregnant I had these rainbow-y / unicorn-y ideas about what it would be like to raise a daughter. There were all of these things that I wanted to introduce her to:
  • Lionel Richie and the incredible contribution he's given to the entire mundo.
  • A love of dogs. (I am indifferent about don't love cats.)
  • The notion that humor ultimately helps every situation. (She's learning.)
  • Crafts. I couldn't wait to do crafts and to color.
  • And lastly, books. Oh books. There are so many amazing books to introduce her to...
  • And reading. Oh, the reading...
While Lila has proven to not adore Lionel Richie as much as I do. (No kidding, last Sunday she said that Justin Bieber was a better singer. I nearly fell to the floor in a show of distress and disbelief... Still getting over that one. Thank goodness her sister was singing, "Say you, say me..." today...)

Lila does love dogs and knows we'll never have a cat. (I may or may not have told her that I was allergic...) 

She tells jokes, we laugh.

We color. 

And she's liked books since she was a wee one. When she was a teeny person, she'd sit and "read" in cozy corners  (or laundry baskets, with her bunny Petal) for long periods of time.

She's always loved books.

But then there's the reading thing...

...reading hasn't come easy in our home. Why? She's bilingual. Learning two different languages is hard. It can be really frustrating.

So, here we are, finishing up 1st grade this week and tonight... oh tonight, my heart jumped for joy.

Here's what happened.

On Monday she brought home a book from the beloved library at school. (Nearly everyday she spends her recess in the library. She loves it there. It's a sweet, welcoming space and aside from the farm at the school, it's her favorite place.) 

So the book she brought home? It's a hard-back, chapter book in English. 

It's Tuesday and she's on page 32.

This is Donald Trump "yuge" for us.

So, I tried to play it off super cool when she told me this morning, "I was allowed to rent* this book from the library for the summer. But I'm going to try to finish it before we leave for vacation... I'm going to read it everyday..."

(!!! YAY!)
[*Yes, she "rents" books from the library. #translationIssue #BiLingualChildren]

So, tonight at bedtime she was in her top bunk with sick-Vivi in the bottom.

It was lights out time, but Lila asked to keep reading.

"Is it ok? If I just keep reading?"


Absolutely. (My heart is literally doing cartwheels. You can read ALL NIGHT IF YOU WANT TO.)

"Sure, Lila. I'll be back in a few."

So I go back in to check on her about 10 minutes later and she's huddled, in her bed, reading...

Oh, the memories of my life came pouring back in. My Mom would make me good to bed and then she'd ALWAYS give me 30 minutes to read. But she and I both knew I'd stay up far later than that 30 minutes, reading and reading and reading... So many late nights, so many amazing books.


"Listen to this, Mommy... this is so funny."

She read me an excerpt. And giggled.

And my heart skipped a beat.

That's it! Oh, sweet girl. That's the power of books. You get to fly away and become part of a different world. Keep going, sweet girl.... laugh, cry, feel it all! Just keep reading!

So I said, "Ok, Lila. Honestly, just 5 more minutes..."

(I have to be a parent, right?)

I went back in 20 minutes later.

She's asleep.
Little reading light on.
Book at her side.

Her Mommy's heart (and face) smiling...



Mic dropped.



When they're babies and then toddlers, the milestones come fast and furiously. They're sleeping through the night, speaking, crawling, walking...

And you as a parent? You totally take credit for it. "I know, she's eating solids. Isn't that great? She even eats avocado. My child is an avocado-eating genius. Look at her. Be in awe." they get older, the milestones are just as consequential, but they're less about motor skill development and more about real human being development. And? We don't talk about 'em as much.

Still, these changes, I'm learning - are just as cool as the ones we experienced years ago when she made us parents.


I know that as parents it's imperative that we don't force ourselves on our children; we need to allow them to be who they are and develop their own tastes.  We need to make sure that they know that they matter, that they're accepted as they are right now. There is nothing my children can do to separate me from loving them. But we're here to shape them, guide them... mold them...

When I was younger, my Mom read. My Grandma read. My Dad read. My sister read. Reading was a thing. It was a hobby. The library was my second home. I loved garage sales and yard sales and thrift stores so I could find new titles to read. It was what we did. It's part of who I am and I adore it and knowing that one of the things I adore just might be adored by my daughter fills my heart with joy.

Some of my favorite memories are lying next to my Mom in bed, even as an adult, snacking and reading well into the night... a comfortable silence between us, except for the occasional snicker or gasp at whatever was happening in our respective books.

I miss that time. 

More sighs...

I'll hold out hope that one day, my adult Lila Pickle will be lying next to me in bed, snacking and reading, and snickering and gasping right next to me. She in her world, me in mine, still... together.

I hope that her sister joins us, too. All three of us, in silence, reading... together.

And this is how Shirley will live on through my babies.

We'll do what I did with her.

And then they'll do with their babies what I did with them.


And that's what this is all about.


July 4, 2016

Then and now. Today, I chose me. (But I still love donuts.)

Chocolate kisses.
Nutella. Oh man, so much nutella.
Toast with peanut butter and copious amounts of jelly.
Chocolate chips.
Doughnuts. Not one, not two...
All the carbs.
Not one pack of reese's peanut butter cups, two.

This was how I used to eat when I was alone. (Yep.)

I'd sit down, watch some Say Yes to the Dress for 30 minutes and enjoy my random, completely un-healthy food selection without the constant white noise of little-girl-bickering. It was me... and food.

And I'd like forward to this time, too! I'd plan it. "When they nap, or have quiet time, I'm going to eat this...."

My little "rewards" got me through.

Funny thing, though... after I'd reward myself with these delectable treats I'd feel sluggish. And gross. And guilty?

WHO eats like that?
WHO seriously eats half a cake?
Who eats nearly an entire 2-foot-long loaf of french bread with salted butter and jelly? (Yum.)

I did.

I seriously did.

Somewhere along the way in my life I started equating food with enjoyment and reward.
It became a pastime, a hobby.
When I'd go visit my Mom in Missouri, she'd not plan out our activities, but instead, the menu.
Eating has always been something that I'd look forward to doing. And, as I got older, I'd eat by myself... because donuts, oh donuts... those cinnamon and sugar covered soft donuts from Costco.

But I'm getting older and 4 reese's peanut butter cups don't come off as easily as they did when I was 21.

And, eating that much JIF peanut butter on white bread? Not good.

So, about 3 years ago I upped my workout game. Still, I ate horribly. My only goal was to keep the scale consistent. As long as I could work off my extra carbs, I could still eat them. No progress, but less guilt... right?


THEN, about a year ago (maybe longer?) I started being aware of what I put in my mouth.
Oh man... when you pay attention to behaviors you've currently ignored, it's ridiculously eye-opening.


"Ignorance is bliss" is accurate.

So, slowly, over time... the eating habits have changed.

And today I'm kind of proud.

I'm home. Alone. And have been all morning. And I've had a shake, some veggies, green tea and water.

And there are oreos in my house. And these beautiful chocolate covered marshmallow things from Costco (heaven) and there's even my old fave: toast with salted butter and jelly.

But here I sit. blogging.

Because the truth is, I don't want to feel like that.
I don't want to make those decisions.
I don't want food to have any sort of power over me. That's silly.
Today I know that every decision I make is either going to get me closer to my goal, or set me back.

It's my choice.

It doesn't matter how emotional I am. Or how sad I am. Or how happy I am. I don't need to eat to express any of it.

I want to eat good food and be mindful of it.
I want to ENJOY gelato with my family after a fun dinner, I don't want to sneak a half gallon of Haagan Daas while the kids are asleep and the husband is working late.

I want to eat one 'smore, not three.

I want to get stronger and be in the best shape I can for my 40's.

I want my girls to see that food is necessary, not an inspiration for living. It's fuel, not absolute fun and entertainment and friendship.

Sitting and eating a meal is about the experience. Food shouldn't be hidden.

And today, in the silence, I'm proud of myself for s-l-o-w-l-y getting to this point.

My splurging has changed.
My tastes have changed.
My relationship with food has changed.

Am I perfect? Nope.

I still don't love quinoa and kale is dumb.

Ask my daughters what my favorite food is. They will still say, "Doughnuts. Our Mommy loves doughnuts."

But I also love me.

"Successful people do what successful people don't want to do," has been my mantra for the past year.

And that's a tough one to hear.

We all define success differently, but for me -- not sneaking a candy bar, even if it is a 3 Musketeers with less calories, in the school parking lot is success.

It's the little things. The easy wins. The mindful decisions that change our lives.

Slowly over time, the right choices will eek out and you'll see a difference.

Every decision you make to take care of you, will be rewarded and you will see it.

If I can do it, you can, too.


(I'm a coach. If you want to hear more motivational type-y stuff, follow me on Facebook and IG as @twoPretzelsFIT. If you want to hear from me everyday, join one of my no-stress, totally-private, all-female accountability groups. They're 3-weeks long and well, I think they're great.)

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