Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Looks easier than it is

I've managed to get my hands on the Hoopnotica instructional videos and have gotten back into hooping.  I try to get in a little bit of practice every day, though it is hard at home with my limited space.  When I can, I go to the Y where there is more space to practice some of the stuff I can't do at home.  But I find it hard to practice at the Y as well, where everyone is able to see me and I'm not able to just let go as much as I can at home.  So I make my best progress in the comfort of home.
These videos have been so helpful!  I was feeling a little bit in a rut as far as hooping was concerned, because I had learned a lot of new tricks and then hit a wall, and had no one around to teach me more tricks to work on.  Hoopnotica has not only brought some more new stuff for me to learn, it's also helped me refine all the stuff I already know. 
I tend to learn things really quickly, but breeze through them and don't always practice the individual moves until perfection.  I realized I had done this with a lot of hoop tricks, I had learned them yes but was too eager to just hoop that I didn't spend time practicing all of them properly.  After watching the Hoopnotica videos, I was really able to fix some small problems I had noticed. 
And I've learned so much new stuff!  I can hoop on my waist, hips, chest, shoulders, neck, and have finally got the hang of leg hooping (remember this post?).  I can do corkscrews with both hands, up and down and I can do hand off corkscrews which make it look like the hoop is a cyclone around me.  Most recently I have figured out angle hooping both forwards and backwards, and now I'm trying to figure out how to do a 180 turn with it.  I'm also working on ways to move through the hoop.
When I watch the videos on how to do all these cool moves, it looks so easy.  My brain watches and all the while it's saying, "I can totally do this!".  And then I go to try it and it's a whole different story.  I used to feel the same when I'd watch bellydance videos.  I'm trying not to get discouraged that I don't look like the girls in the videos (who have obviously been hooping for years).....yet.  Actually I should be impressed with myself for practicing so much, and I am mastering new tricks very quickly.  At this rate, I'll be a great hooper in no time.
Getting the Hoopnotica videos has given me lots to work on for now, but once I've gone through those and learned all I can I'd like to start purchasing the tutorials on Hoop City.  There are tons of classes there and the great thing is that you can post videos of yourself hooping plus questions and get them personally answered by the instructor.
I need to get a new hoop though.  I have two, and one is too big (great for learning new tricks, but too big for me to do angle hooping because I'm short and the hoop hits the floor) and the other is too small (good for high cardio hoop dancing, but not so good for practicing tricks).  Maybe after Christmas I'll buy a new hoop from my friend in town who makes them.  Though what I'd really like is a travel hoop.  Maybe in the new year!
I love hooping!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Crunchier by the Day

The word 'crunchy' gets tossed around a lot these days.  Especially in this little town we live in, people seem to gravitate towards healthier lifestyles, more natural diets, and living green.  It's nice to see the effort the whole community puts into these endeavours.  In the big city sure there are crunchy people, but there are just as many non-crunchy people so it's easy to blend in with the pack and get away with not trying so hard.  It doesn't make you feel so bad to not live healthier and greener when so many people around you aren't doing it either.  Here on the other hand, there's almost like a bit of 'pressure' to live a crunchy lifestyle.  It's not a bad thing in many ways, though I'm not a big fan of being pressured into anything.  Still, seeing the people around us make positive changes has helped us get on the bandwagon as well, and make more positive changes in our own lives.
When I look back to how I have lived my life over these past 31 years, I can see a definite upwards slope in the right direction.  It has been gradual though, the change has not happened overnight.  I think back to how much fast food we used to eat, and how much we used to eat at restaurants.  Then I think back to how much processed food we used to buy, and I would tell myself that we were 'eating healthy' because we were eating at home and not out at a restaurant, but the truth is all that boxed and packaged stuff was just as bad. 
It's hard to pinpoint such changes when they happen gradually, and only looking back can I really see how far we've come.  I know the first thing many people think of when they're faced with making  huge lifestyle and diet changes for the better, is that it is too overwhelming.  And so they do nothing at all.  I have felt that way too, I have felt that it is easier to stay on the path I'm already on than to tackle all these changes.
The thing is, you don't have to change everything at once.  Start small with just one thing, whether it is changing your household cleaners from chemical to natural ones, or cutting out one item of junk from your diet.  Then when that becomes second nature, make another change.  You'd be astonished to realize how much change can happen in a short period of time if you just take it one step at a time.
For quite awhile now I have been wary of calling ourselves 'crunchy'.  There are so many variations and levels of crunchiness out there, and it seems that the extreme people who run the pack set very high standards.  While we had done so many things to improve our life and try and leave the world a little greener, it always seemed like we still could not match those who went all out.  It can be a little discouraging to be trying as hard as *you* can and yet someone else is still doing so much more.  I have learned to use those people as a motivation to keep striving to be a better, healthier, greener family but not be setback because I'm not doing all the same things as them.  I am also happy and comfortable with all the positive changes we have made as a family, and I know there are still lots more to be made but like I said we are making them one step at a time.  Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say.
So I am going to do it, I'm going to officially say we are a 'crunchy' family.  And I'm proud of it.  We may not be able to tick off every single checkbox yet, but we can tick off more than most.  I'd put us on a 7 out of 10 on the crunchy scale.  Hey, that's not half bad!
I don't really believe in living in extremes, so we may never be there 100%, but I'm ok with that.  Extreme diets, extreme opinions, that kind of stuff isn't for me.  I just want to do what's right for my family.  And we'll continue to do more.  Like I said, when I look back at how our lives used to be, even just a few years ago, I can't believe how far we've come. 
We use cloth diapers, which I wish I had done from the start because I now cringe at the thought of all those disposibles lying in a landfill.  I try to hang all my laundry year round to reduce the amount I have to use the dryer.  I am very conscious of energy and water use.  We're working on buying more locally, and buying healthier food.  The amount of food that we buy organic has increased a lot over the years.  Most recently we have cut out about 95% of packaged and processed foods we were buying.  We have been doing well with avoiding junk food in general but were still buying a lot of packaged snacks like cereal bars, granola, crackers, and chips (sticking to natural and organic brands, but the bottom line is organic junk food is still junk food).  Now we are making much of this stuff our own.  The only thing I am still really buying in a box is cereal, just to have something on hand.  But I am ok with that. 
Next step is I want to look into the Collingwood Food Co-op that has been in the works here for a few months.  I've kept an eye on it with interest and I think it's something we will join in the not too distant future so that we can continue to buy locally.
And of course we have been growing a lot of our own food, and continue to do so with winter crops in our hoop house.
Let's not forget my ongoing mission to lead a more active lifestyle through daily fitness.  I want to be a role model for my kids so that they see how important exercise is to overall health.  I want them to grow up enjoying being active, and not being couch potatoes. 
Another aspect that has really brought us around to this whole crunchy lifestyle, is taking a very holistic approach when it comes to our overall health.  Over the past few years we have started using more natural health practitioners like chiropractors, osteopaths, and naturopathic doctors to help us with our goals of becoming healthier individuals.  We have learned so much about what it means to be healthy from the inside out, and now I am such a firm believer in taking care of your body and treating it with respect.  Too often we see the situation of people going to their doctors with problems and the doctors are treating the symptoms and not the causes, and therefore people's health issues are never really resolved.  This is what happened to Tyler with his digestive issues, for years doctors dismissed him and treated the symptoms, when the solution really came from within:  a better diet and taking better care of himself altogether.  And too often still I see people who suffer from multiple issues that they treat as separate problems, when really it is one big problem, for example a food allergy or intolerance.  But they refuse to believe that the problem could be the very food they are eating, and still seek medical advice and then are given medication after medication to treat the problems.  It actually makes me quite sad.
We love our chiropractor.  We really believe it is part of helping our bodies be healthy.  A healthy body doesn't need medicine to heal itself, it is perfectly capable as long as we take care of it and let it do it's job.
I'm so happy to say that since we have started living this way we have had far less sickness in our house, and when a bug does pass through it passes quickly and without much issue.  My kids get the sniffles and that's about it.  None of them have every had a vomiting or gastro bug.  I know kids that are sick all the time, and even Tristan's teachers have commented on how he is rarely sick compared to other children.  Some people may say we are lucky, I say luck has nothing to do with it.
When it comes to products in the home, whether they are cleaning products or health and beauty ones, I used to feel so overwhelmed at the thought of changing over to more natural brands, especially because of the cost.  But again, we started changing one thing at a time and now we pretty much exclusively use natural products in our home.  When it comes to cleaning, I am far more afraid of chemicals in cleaning products than I am of germs.  When it comes to beauty, I believe less is more.  I used to buy and wear so much makeup, and buy so many skin care products.  Now I have hardly any.  I have stopped using nail polish because I can't see how having that toxic stuff around is any good.  I use very few skincare products compared to the past, and rarely wear makeup anymore.  And I'm ok with all of this, I'm comfortable in my own skin.  Even for my children, I put very little on their skin.
I think I could sit and think of lots of little changes we have made that I am proud of but I'm just about out of time for now.
Obviously I've had a lot to say on this topic, and I say it not with the intention of trying to change other people's minds (I actually don't care for people who go on and on about their healthier choices with the obvious intent of guilting others into doing the same), but because I am proud of what we have done for ourselves.  And I look forward to more 'crunchy' choices that we will make in the future.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

I Miss Naptime

Ok, following up on my last post, now that I have actually stopped to think about it, I am really really missing the two hours in the middle of the day that I used to have while the boys napped.  I hadn't really thought that I missed it that much before, maybe it's because I'm just too busy to stop and think about it.  But now that I'm bombarded with all the stuff I want to blog about, and I sit here at night with my brain full of mush unable to put together anything that makes sense, I am mourning the loss of  the afternoon nap in this house.  I will never get that back.  Tristan is done with napping, and Finn is napping less and less.  Until both of them are in full time kindergarten, I will never have an afternoon to myself, and even by that point I will still have Lily and knowing my luck she will be done napping.  And then by the time all three kids are in school full time it will officially be time for me to get a job so I won't be able to relax midday and do what I want, like writing.  Boo hiss!
Even when it was just Tristan not napping and having 'quiet time' I could maybe find a bit of time to sit and do something quiet, like writing.  Usually during that time Tristan would be interested in just sitting on the couch with me, and we'd watch a movie while I would write.  We both liked the downtime.  But there is no such thing as downtime with Finn.  When he is up he is just a whirlwind of energy, he never stops getting into trouble and therefore I never get a break.
So when am I supposed to write all my wonderful thoughts?  I want to blog about hooping, and our new attempts to be healthy, and exercising, and the holidays, and probably a million other things that I think about on a daily basis.  I'm beginning to realize that evenings are not an option.  I just cannot function long enough to write anything worthwhile, nor do I want to.  I just want to shut down and veg out before bed.
Oh naptime, how I miss you.  I never thought I would, but I do.  That is all my brain can spit out for now.  Bed.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

I Want to Write More

So the other day I had a browse back to the beginning of this blog.  April 2011, right after I started it, has 25 posts.  Twenty-five.  That might even be more than I've written in 2012 altogether.  I remembered what it was like to be so keen on writing all the time.  It's a shame I don't write to the same extent.  I do always think about things that I would like to write about on a daily basis, but never get around to doing it.  I think the biggest thing is, I used to write a lot in the middle of the day while the boys were napping, and now one or sometimes both of them don't nap anymore.  So I don't have any downtime to blog during the day.  I find that I can't write well in the evenings.  By the time the kids are in bed I'm just too tired to string together any thoughts that make sense.  Even when I write on my other blog, I find I just sit here staring at the screen struggling to find the words for what I wanted to say. 
I would like to find the time to write about more things again, even the boring day to day things, because I like to go back and reread them like I did the other day.  It takes me back to another time and place and it's nice to remember.  It's not likely that I'm going to find much time in the middle of the day to write anymore, not while the boys are up and about.  Usually even if I do manage to find a little time to myself, I need to get housework done or I want to use it to practice my hooping (a hooping post coming up soon, hopefully).  But maybe soon I'll be able to focus more in the evenings so that I can enjoy writing again.
But not tonight, I'm already having trouble putting together this post even though I've thought of it in my heads many times.  Plus I'm not feeling great.  And I still have laundry to hang.  Never.ending.laundry.  So I'm off.