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June 2015
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August 2015

Got goals? Here’s how to achieve them.

1. Identify the goal.

2. Note your motivation and how you will know when you’ve achieved your goal. (Journal, post-it, but don’t skip this step).

3. Begin.

4. Keep moving in the direction of your goal even if you have to return to step 3 more times than you’d like to count.

Yeah. Number four is something I can write a lot about. Who lets go of 30 pounds, feels awesome and then collects every single one, plus more for good measure, back???

Well, me.

And, truthfully? I’m in pretty good company.

I listen very carefully when people share what they’ve done to accomplish specific weight loss goals. What I’m looking for is a plan where you eat all the Nutella you want while watching Friends re-runs. But instead everyone’s all “diet and exercise.” How original.

It is excruciatingly discouraging to set yourself so far back from your goal, no matter what the reasons for it happening are. I know how it happened. And I know some of it was beyond my control, but a good chunk (er, so to speak) was on me.

Re-committing out loud feels scary and stupid because what if I fail again? But I’m not sure it’s a failure as much as a setback. Albeit a frustrating one, but still. If I let frustrations and setbacks prevent me from working toward what I desire, what I believe to be best for me, I might as well not try anything since life comes with all kinds of obstacles and (spoiler alert) no one gets out alive.

It’s funny what motivates us, right? Vanity for the win. I mean sure, being healthy and body as temple and all that good stuff … but for real … when I wave at someone and feel a little … uh… flapping sensation under my arm I’m all “Oh. Hell. No.” Clearly I must stop waving.

Nah. I’m pretty committed to enjoying the journey as it is, instead of getting tangled up in how I thought it would be.

 

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In this post “Cracked,” I wrote about that how it’s a slippery slide down the rabbit hole…

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And what a long climb back it is:

 

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But that climb starts with what?

A step.

Just one step.

One small thing can shift everything.

If you have something you’re wanting to start (or start again), if there’s something you want, or need to do, for yourself: I invite you join me in my #onesmallthing challenge.

This idea came from many conversations with friends all over the country struggling with different challenges – all of which require: starting again. Being willing to let go of “failure” from the past and being able to begin again.

I told my friend I was going to start the next day, because that’s always more appealing right? Instead I texted her this shortly after:

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When I have an urge to binge on sugar (which is roughly all the time) I’ll start with a glass of water. That’s it.

I feel kind of itchy just thinking about not having the sugar, I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything.

#onesmallthing

If you feel motivated to do multiple one-things, do it! In addition to the water I’m going to go back to what felt good to me but is hard to get started on – the green smoothie thing. So here’s me, this morning on Day 2 of that … I’d rather have a soy, white-chocolate peppermint mocha but … I need to be ready to wave at y’all when Ellen’s people call to book me on her show!

Shake day 2


Mining for memories

B0052162*

As usual this time of month, I went looking for a little deadline distraction. But I call it research, so it’s allowed.

I’m writing about savoring the season we’re in, because the leaves are always turning. I took a little trip down memory lane peeking at old blog posts and realizing I can’t even put into words how rapidly we move through seasons and stages to the next and how easy it is to forget the little details that once defined a particular time.

Like, say, when I see things like sippy cups, bibs, and diapers hanging to dry in the background of pictures from not long ago – but it seems like a lifetime ago now that the boys can reach their own glass in the cupboard and put them in the dishwasher. I’m saying they can, not that they do. We’re learning. I still do things for them they can do for themselves because I am constantly surprised that they’re as old and capable as they are. They are seven and five now. Seven and five. And I know in a few more seasons they will be 17 and 15. I’m so thankful I took so many notes and am reminded that I’ve fallen out of the rhythm of noting and sharing these slice-of-life stories that seem so ordinary in the moment, but are exactly what I cherish now.

I just peeked at July archives since Sam was a baby. What a view. I forgot all about that one time we were vegetarians. For a month.

New readers be warned … I used to swear a lot more on here. And I was a little less politically neutral. And some other things. So read at your own risk. 

July, 2008: http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2008/07/my-mullet.html

July 2009 http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2009/07/dusting-pandoras-box.html

July, 2010

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2010/07/index.html

July, 2011

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2011/07/eating-in-the-image-of-the-beast.html

July, 2012

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2012/07/reporter-mama-observations.html

July, 2013

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2013/07/the-orange-rhino.html

July, 2014

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2014/07/beyond-the-bon-bons.html

July, 2015

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2015/07/pro-tip-dont-freak-out.html

* This picture was taken in shortly after Sam was born. It was not long after it was taken that Lucy was terribly injured at that very park. A few years later, we would move away from Carlton, a town I loved so much I never wanted to leave. To a town that would become home again after a few years of feeling very alone and lost. And then Jake came into our lives. And we lost Lucy Baby. This one picture brings all of that, and some other stuff I can’t quite put out there yet, back. The memories stay, and still the seasons change.


Pro tip: don’t freak out

GuideForTalkingFeelingswithKids

 

Feelings and other freaky things

July, 2015

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

Raising the Hardy Boys

 

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Eight years ago, I spent two days in a stuffy room full of other pregnant mamas and their birthing partners, learning the ins and outs of, well, getting the baby in my belly out into the world. 

That weekend, I learned a lot from the lovely Margy Porter of Sprouting Hope Midwifery. But there is one lesson in particular that sticks with me to this day. I think she was talking about some of the weird, unexpected things that are actually totally normal for babies to do, but I’ve found it applies to pretty much everything.

“Don’t freak out,” she said.

Because I’m a note-taker by nature, I wrote it down. And underlined it. I looked up in time to catch someone else taking note of it, too. 

“Don’t freak out,” she repeated. 

And, frankly, that simple phrase has carried me through some fairly freaky times in the last eight years. Babies, toddlers, kids — and I can hardly wait for teenagers — continue to do some weird, unexpected things that are actually totally typical.

It has come to my attention recently that not everyone leans into awkward, messy, possibly painful things like, say, feelings, be they our own or those of others.

Then, there’s me. I’m about all the feels, as the kids say.

Not only am I a fan of feelings in general, I especially love talking about them. Yours, mine, the stranger on the plane, I’m in. 

Not surprisingly, my 7- and 5-year-old are pretty good at carrying a conversation about feelings. So much so my friends tease me that they want to enroll their children in my feelings academy. 

There’s just one thing. They have to go first. 

My research shows people think about feelings way more than we talk about them. We also want our kids to talk about them even though, ahem, we do not want to talk about them ourselves. We want our kids to tell us about their day beyond the basics, yet we resist doing the same. 

I have some ideas that can help change this. But be forewarned, these activities require adult participation, not to mention patience and leadership.

This isn’t just for parents, either. This is for people who want to foster good conversations and trust with children to pave the way for long-term engagement.

Remember our motto: Don’t freak out and have fun with this process. I’ll warn you that if you haven’t done a lot of this until now, your family may blink at you in confused, awkward silence.

Push through. It’ll be worth it, I promise. 

If you’re wondering where to start, I have good news. It’s like getting in a pool. You start in the shallow end, and you spend a lot of time wading in the shallow end so your kids learn they can trust you if they venture into the deep end. 

You start with something really simple, like playing “take a bite” at mealtimes.

Kids love choices. Kids love sharing small details with you. And, get this, they love knowing little things about you, too.

Go around the table at meal times taking turns being the leader.

The leader says, “Take a bite if you like spiders.” Odds are, few will bite.

That’s perfect. That shows they have a choice, and it is honored. 

“Take a bite if you like ice cream,” “Take a bite if you like Hello Kitty,” “Take a bite if you like Minecraft,” and so on. There will be side conversations like, “Mom! Why don’t you like Minecraft?”

Take the detours and have unexpected conversations about mundane things. Trust me, your attention, interest and sincere desire to know and notice what they care about will help kids trust you to come to you when the thing they don’t like is being bullied at school, or even when they feel like being mean to a kid and need help sorting through how to handle that.

But how do you bridge that gap?

The next game you can introduce is also simple, we call it “Highlight/Lowlight.” 

From oldest to youngest, work your way around the table to share a high point and low point from your day. It’s important to make it just one that comes to mind or stands out at the moment, because trying to think of The Best Part or The Worst Part of a day can paralyze the conversation as children (and adults!) try to come up with The Right Answer.

Really, it’s just a conversation starter. But if you haven’t played this before you might be surprised at the little, interesting things that come up.

To tell you the truth, I learn even more about my husband’s day-to-day life during these rounds of highlight/lowlight than I do about the boys’.

The key to this game is to be open and honest yourself.

Note: this would not be a good time to mention passive aggressive digs. For example, my true lowlight was an exchange with my spouse, but the point of this exercise is to build and strengthen relationships, not to create awkward silences.

So if I were playing right this minute my turn would go like this:

“My highlights so far today are getting an extra morning snuggle with Jake, and finding that Sam made his breakfast and did his dishes. My lowlight so far is feeling nervous about a doctor’s appointment.”

Sometimes there is follow up and questions, but usually we just keep going around the table.

If you’ve ever been to a 12-step meeting, one of the coolest, weirdest parts is the open sharing time with no cross-talk. That means no one one-ups you, no one minimizes you, no one tries to talk you out of how you feel, no one advises you.

Others just listen. They just hear you. It’s a beautiful gift.

A third suggestion is to cultivate a dedicated “talking time.” That is, literally, what we call it. It’s part of our bedtime routine.

I snuggle the boys separately, with the lights out, and we have “talking time.”

Sometimes they pick a theme, like an upcoming trip or holiday and sometimes it’s just random bits of the day. Sometimes it’s big stuff like, “How old will I be when I die?” Luckily that one was when Matt was there and he answered perfectly: “At the very end of your life.” 

By the way, don’t worry about having the right answer. “Hmm, that’s an interesting thing to think about,” is perfectly fine. “What do you think?” is another favorite rejoinder of mine.

If they push it, I might say, “You know what? I’ll have to think about that. Let me get back to you.” 

Something about the dark and safety of a snuggle is disarming. Something about knowing they have this time with you to count on paves the way to good conversations.

The other night was a tough one because Sam wanted to debrief on something he observed that falls into the category of “adult things.” I let him tell me what he thought, how he felt about it and validated his feelings.

I told him, “It is OK to love someone and be sad about something they do or say. It is OK to be mad or confused. Someday we will talk more about the details, I promise. Your dad and I love you and your brother more than anyone in the world, no matter what.”

Then I stopped talking. The important part here is to make room for whatever they have to say. Or just to let them ponder it in silence.

After a few minutes, he said, “Mama. Promise to tell me the truth? I promise not to be hurt or mad.”

I froze. Do not freak out. Do not freak out. Do. Not. Freak. Out. 

“Yes. I promise.” 

“Is Santa real?”

That was even harder than the one I was bracing for. I told him the truth, but no spoilers here. I answered his very specific questions honestly and ended with: “You can believe for as long as you want.”

“OK, thank you,” he said, relieved. 

Usually, we talk about details from the day, plans for building in Minecraft and other seemingly insignificant things. But the point of spending time in the shallow end is so we can handle the deep end. 

As far as how long to do this, it’s good to set a fairly consistent window of time so they know how much time they have. I usually start wrapping up with a back scratch or some tapping so they can relax into sleeping through the whole night.

This is a subject I’m passionate about. I’d love to hear about your experiences if you are already doing things like this, or let me know how it goes if you incorporate some of these ideas after reading this column.

Just remember. Whatever you do, don’t freak out.

 

If you enjoyed this column, it would be an honor for me to see it shared with your people!

 

Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons” available at local bookstores and online. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting. To contact her, visit www.nathaliesnotes.com. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting.