New Website


Hi Everyone!  I have my own website now!

Everything that you loved about this blog will be even better over at Embracing Life: Writing for Joy.

http://www.writingforjoy.com

If you have subscribed to this page, please, please come on over to my new site and subscribe and follow me there!

Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Aly

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Taking a Step


img_20170215_085814-1Pictured Above: December 2016 (left) and February 2017 (right) post-Whole30

Hey All,

I mentioned the other day in my Mom of 2 post that I was doing a round of Whole30. Basically, the premise of a whole30 is to eliminate foods that are triggers for inflammation, digestive issues, pain issues,unhealthy eating habits, and so on. You can read more about it here. I first heard about Whole30 two years ago when my mom mentioned that she would like to try a round. So I agreed.

At that time I was 9 months postpartum from the birth of my daughter. Completing a round was tough, but rewarding. I did another round 3 months later  because I felt so good. Many of you know or have read on here that I suffered from severe postpartum anxiety after my first pregnancy. The Whole30 really helped calm my anxiety, get my gut health back on track, and lose some extra weight (20 lbs total). Over the last two plus years I have done a few rounds of whole30 or shorter “mini rounds” whenever I felt the need to kick start my healthy habits.

Fast forward to pregnancy with my son I didn’t suffer from anxiety as much, but I really didn’t practice my healthy eating habits either. (I consumed a milkshake a day which for me was triggering digestive issues and pain). Over the past 9 months since Max was born I have been learning how to be a mom to 2 beautiful kids, getting back into my freelance writing and editing, bought a new house and moved in! With all of those wonderful events, I let my eating habits slide out of control. I went from never drinking soda to choosing that first. I usually avoid bread and cakes, but I would find myself overeating or snacking ALL day instead of just making a decent meal.

I am not blaming myself or saying “woe is me” because I was busy keeping my babies happy and healthy. The truth is that is not enough. My husband always encourages me to get out of the house, write, and just do things that make me happy. I am happy taking care of my little ones, but I want to show them that Mommy is strong. That I treat my body well by eating right and exercising (okayyy, I’m still working on that part) and treating my mind right by reading, studying, and pursuing my passion to write. I want my children to be happy in mind, body, and spirit. To me, this starts with FEELING good. So, I came back around to another round whole30.

My mom did the January 2017 whole30 with me and it helped to have a team mate. Together, we learned to cook some wonderful new recipes (Looking at you Chicken Chowder, pg 336 from The Whole30 book by Melissa Hartwig). This is an amazing non-scale victory (NSV) because before Whole30 I would have never, ever tried something like chowder and I LOVED it.

I struggled with this round emotionally. I didn’t realize how much of a hold that my eating habits had over me. There were times over the 30 day period that I cried and wanted to quit because I felt sad. I did realize though that it wasn’t healthy to be ruled my cravings and sugar like that. I wanted to use food to comfort myself and that is exactly what the Whole30 program wants to help you move away from. So I stuck it out. The sense of accomplishment, the NSV’s including less headaches, shinier hair, more confidence, and losing 10 lbs* was worth it.

The  successful completion of whole30 led me to signing our family up for the Y (shout out to my husband who has been going to the gym almost every day for 7 weeks), starting a planner, meal planning, continuing with a family budget, and making a promise to myself to write more often. I would use the excuse that the kids “need” me, but right now as I type Max is playing with toys at my feet and Sophia is watching an episode of Daniel Tiger. I have to make the time where I can spare it.

So here it is, last night I was scrolling Facebook and I saw a picture (Me in the white shirt) from a Christmas party. I laughed because I was wearing the same PJ pants. I had to do a side by side because I knew just looking at that first picture there was a huge change from December. The second picture says so much more to me than weight lost. I am standing up taller, I feel prouder, and I know I am healthier than I was before.

It is not that every day is easy now. There are some days where I will decide that pretzels are an essential food group and I am not going to get out of my pajama, but I’m going to keep trying to better myself. I’m not saying that the Whole30 is for everybody or that everyone needs to change their lifestyle, but as a self-proclaimed “lazy” girl  I want to show my family that you can still enjoy Gilmore Girl marathons and dessert without giving up a strong, healthy lifestyle.

xo AT

*The Whole30 program is NOT  a weight loss program, but for someone with  diplegic cerebral palsy  (read: mostly affects my legs) maintaining a healthy weight is essential. This helps me avoid joint pain, problems with walking, and even breathing. I’ve written more about my life with CP here.

The Dream Job


I never imagined I would be a stay at home mother. I never imagined that I would find so much joy in being with one little tiny person day in and day out. I guess that’s motherhood. My mother used to say, “You’ll never understand until you have kids of your own.” (You know your mom said it too). I would just laugh and brush her off. I knew everything. I knew that she just didn’t understand ME or MY FEELINGS.  Wrong again. My mother was right. (Hear that, Mom?). I never understood how much love I could feel for my own child. So I’m glad that I have been given the opportunity to stay home with her. I haven’t worked outside of my home in almost two years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

But, as I mentioned in my previous post I have been job hunting and looking at opportunities for writing and editing. I LOVE writing. I really do. It’s been my creative outlet for twenty years. I also love being home with my baby girl. She’s still my baby and I want to be here for her during the day. We are still proudly breastfeeding at 19 months old and I know it would be hard on both of us for me to be gone all day. (Oh yes, Happy World Breastfeeding Week!). I’ve been submitting article after article for publication as well as applying to writing and editing positions. I have even had one decent interview, but no luck so far. I have also been working on my memoir. I’d love to be able to work from home to still have time with Sophie.

It’s not truly about money. Though, being paid to write would be ideal. It’s more about keeping up with the other parts of me. I’m not just a mother (though I am devoted to that part of me) and I’m not just a wife (also one of my favorite parts of life). I am many things among them a devoted mother, wife, daughter, and friend. I’m also a writer and (if my husband is to be believed) I’m pretty good at it. I’d like to keep writing, share my words, express myself in that way, and grow in my craft.

Yes, I’d love to get paid for it too.

I know there really is no “dream job”, but there is something out there for me, I hope. Something that I can do to share my writing and editing skills. To take the passion in my heart and the knowledge from 7 plus years of schooling and do something amazing with it. Know what I mean?

Journey On


Being a stay at home mother to my darling girl is the joy of my life. I love being able to wake up with her, feed her breakfast, play and learn and grow with her. I also enjoy being able to work on my memoir during nap time. I know there are so many people who can’t afford this opportunity. There is a reason for that! This job while wonderful and fulfilling doesn’t pay anything in monetary value. Living on a single income is a challenge for so many people. Another great challenge is returning to the workforce after staying home to raise children.

I’ve been out of work for two years now and I am slowly easing my way back in by applying for work-at-home jobs. I would love to have the flexibility to work from home doing something with writing, online media, editing, or something similar to these fields. I don’t want to end up sitting home alone in 10 years when all my kids are in school and my husband is at work. I want to keep myself sharp and relevant.

The toughest thing about the job search is the rejection. You feel so hopeful when you click “Submit” just to get let down when they have “decided to pursue other candidates.” I know it’s not personal, but it feels like it sometimes. For now, I’ll just keep pushing forward. There is the perfect position out there for me and hopefully I can find it. In the mean time hopefully I can publish some of my writing. Don’t forget about me, world.

Write on, my friends, write on.

Healing is contagious… once inspired, anything is possible!


Team Inspiration is a nonprofit organization that provides online and community-based resources to promote the healing process and foster a better quality of life for persons living with illness. It is our belief that we should help and inspire one another in our life journey, especially when faced with challenging circumstances. In addition, TEAM INSPIRATION will work in partnership with other nonprofits who share similar missions such as the American Cancer Society, the Livestrong Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

When you click on the Team Inspiration home page their mission statement is the first thing you see. Team Inspiration is a foundation started by my Aunt Roseann, my dad’s sister, an amazing aunt and a pretty phenomenal triathlete as well.  Her dear friend, Kristen, a fellow triathlete, was diagnosed with cancer about ten years ago and Roseann became her caregiver.  Roseann and Kristen spent two and a half years on a journey together while Kristen was fighting cancer through treatments and ultimately beating it to become a survivor today.  During the treatments and sickness, they learned that beating the disease was not the end of the journey. Healing and recovering were also a huge part.  The mission of Team Inspiration is to help those with cancer, cancer survivors and families on a journey of hope and healing.   Aunt Roseann is now an oncology nurse at University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Healing is much more in addition to medicine and our mission is to help those who need healing explore their needs and deliver resources that serve to heal body, mind, and spirit. This includes exercise, and alternative modalities such as meditation and yoga.

She has so inspired her patients and her co-workers that they even wrote an article about her journey and Team Inspiration.  It’s an amazing article, especially for a family member to read because it’s uplifting to hear that not only has she touched the lives of our family but so many others as well.

That’s a great story, you say?  Yes, I think it is too. Now you are wondering why I am writing about this. Well, let me tell you.

When I was in the tenth grade, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was forty-five years old.  My mom along with my Aunt Roseann helped him get through all of the chemotherapy, radiation and heart break.  I know that for a man who took pride in taking care of his family, it was difficult to become so vulnerable.  My dad passed away two years later from complications due to the cancer.  I was 17 years old.

Team Inspiration to me is hope. Everyone can come together and support one another whether we are fighting cancer,  survivors, family members, friends or anyone whose life has been touched by cancer.

In August, I will be running a 5k as part of a Team Inspiration relay team in the Iron Girl triathlon.  This is my first race and I will need all the support I can get.  I have also been asked to work with Team Inspiration as a writer and editor (yay!) to write the stories of cancer patients, survivors and members of Team Inspiration.

Please show your support by spreading the word about Team Inspiration! We can all heal together. Together, we can do anything.

Check it out on Facebook!

xo Aly