Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Baby bend over, let me see you do that yoga...

In an occurrence that becoming increasingly common, I went way out of my comfort zone today. Today, discomfort looked a lot like Downward-facing Dog.

Marla has been having increasingly serious issues with her bone density, particularly with her hips. She needs to exercise, but her delicate body can only handle so much. I need to exercise, too, even though my body is dense and indelicate. One of us is a fat-ass and one of us is a brittle-ass and, either way, our asses needed to move. We need to be careful when we move. So...what?

And one day, it came to me. It came to me, and it was horrific because, suddenly, I knew the truth.

We needed to do yoga.

I have tried yoga a few times before and I hated it. I am not good at being peaceful and relaxed unless I am laying on a massage table. It is impossible for me to clear my mind. When I am in a quiet room, my first inclination is to start giggling. And I am not a touchy-feely-mother earth loves us kind of person. When the sun comes out, I don't offer it salutations; I use my coffee mug to shield my eyes from it while I frantically gulp. But I kept going back to fat and brittle and resigned myself to yoga.

I don't even own yoga clothes, so when we stepped into the room I was decked out in running gear (side note: I haven't gone running in a very, very long time). I eyed the piles of yoga stuff- mats, strappy things, block things and...wait. Blankets??? Maybe this wouldn't be so bad! I was just about to snag one in the hopes that maybe someone would just turn off the lights and let me nap when I noticed that nobody else had one.

I glanced around the room for the instructor and noted a cute guy at the front of the room. He had a beard (of course he had a beard) and was wearing baggy pants and a shirt. I was thinking that he was actually cute when he turned and I saw it.

A man bun.

That left me kind of alarmed, like I was in for some serious tree-hugging shit. But I had laid out my mat and blocky things and taken off my shoes (but kept my socks on) so there was no turning back. The class began, and the exercise in and of itself was okay. The class was for beginners so I was able to keep up well. But I had terrible acid reflux every time I had to bend down too far (fat girl problems) and I almost burst out laughing when Man Bun McCrunchy stopped to adjust the stance of a classmate and murmured "There....how's that feel?"

*snort*

But that brief stifling of giggles aside, the class was going well. I was cold because I wasn't really working up a sweat, but my body felt pretty good. I was getting a good stretch in my legs and hips and even though my boobs are a little too big for yoga to be 100% comfortable, I was feeling good. We were on our mats in some kind of lay-out-on-the-floor pose when the woman next to me, somehow, touched my hand with her DAMNED FOOT AND OH MY GOD WHAT IN THE HELL and then everything went into Complete System Meltdown.

Remember earlier when I said I kept my socks on? That was partly because the room was cold but mainly because I hate feet. I hate feet. I don't like pedicures, I can't even deal with a foot rub. And above all else, I really just can not deal with other peoples feet. It's bad enough if Pete's toes creep over to my side of the bed and graze me in the middle of the night. Stranger feet?

via GIPHY

So, I had Foot Contact and my poor little brain basically melted. Thankfully, there was only about ten minutes left in the class because I had completely lost my chill. Everything Man Bun said went in my ear and turned into some sort of innuendo an eight year old would come up with and I had to bite my lip to keep the laughter in. I was also keeping my limbs as close to my body as possible to avoid any further contact with my classmates, making it hard to "unfold and stand on the mountain" or whatever the instructor was talking about.

Clearly, yoga is not 100% for me. My body felt good after, even if my mind fell apart but that is, I'm pretty sure, the exact opposite of what yoga is supposed to do for you. Still, I'm going back to Man Bun's class next week and this time, I'll put lots of space between myself and the person next to me.

Friday, October 23, 2015

...and I am sorry but I am not a maiden fair.

It was a warm, early September evening. Muggy, the kind that lends itself to my natural curls and also to frizz. It was one of the many times that I wore my skin awkwardly. One would think that, at almost 40, I would be past that awkward-feeling stage but, on this this night, I felt sweaty and dull and not lovely.

But we were going out- my own little family along with the large extended one I inherited when I married my husband- to celebrate the 70th birthday of my father-in-law. There were many children in tow, PJ included, so our chosen destination was hardly the Ritz. Still, it was nice enough that I had to skip my typical uniform of jean, flip-flops, and a tank top.

My little Prince.
Age and motherhood both have left me with a body that I am still not used to. Extra weight sits on my small bones in a manner that is not kind. I remember having to struggle to stay above one hundred pounds. Now, I am nearly forty pounds overweight. I forget sometimes that I am not the lithe creature of my 20’s. Generally, that moment comes when I need to get dressed. Clothes didn’t matter to me, even as a young person with a great figure. Now that I am in a body that is difficult to dress, it matters a little bit more.

I tell myself that there are more important things on my plate. I am the mother of a child with Autism. It takes so much energy sometimes just to stay afloat, even though raising him is a joy, an honor, my life work. The idea that I might hold some beauty seems silly. Who is even looking?

I opened my closet to get dressed and found a dress I had not worn before. It is something that happens to me often- I purchase something only to get it home and lose faith. I have a penchant for maxi dresses despite my short stature, but this one was a bit dressier, a bit more structured. It hung softly on its hanger, a coral glow among the other brightly colored rejects that joined it. I slipped it over my head and adjusted. The long skirt floated to the tops of my feet and the halter tied in a ribbon about my neck. I stood in front of the mirror, all coral and floated skirt, and gave myself the stink eye. The dress didn’t cling too conspicuously, and it wasn’t filled out to its breaking point. There was nothing outwardly wrong and yet I could plainly see that it did not look good. It was not flattering.

I sighed and walked into the living room, where PJ was sitting on the couch watching a movie. He glanced up at me as I walked in. I can’t always hold his attention very long, so his short glance was not out of the ordinary.

“Mommy’s a princess!” he declared brightly.

PJ had never made such a statement. His observations tend to run toward the more concrete (“Mommy is wearing a shirt!”). I felt my heart stop as I sat down next to him. “A princess, eh?” I asked, but his attention was already turned back to Wreck It, Ralph. I snuggled next to him and fingered the hem of the dress. My rational self knew it didn’t look good, but my son had told me, for the first time ever and in his own way, that he thought it was pretty.


I got him dressed and intended to change after, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to take off that wretched garment and flee to the safety of my jeans and a nice tank top. Instead, I slipped on a pair of silver sandals. I walked into the restaurant with my sons hand in mine. I let myself enjoy the feel of the soft skirt against my legs and carry the glow of the coral fabric. I basked in motherly pride at how well-behaved my son was and wore it like makeup. I kept my stomach pulled in, my shoulders relaxed, and my back straight. My usual insecurities didn’t matter that night. I didn’t let them weigh me down but, rather, bore the sparkle of my sons words like a tiara, just like any princess would. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How the Viva® Vantage® 7-Day Switch Up Changed My Cleaning Game!

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This is a sponsored post, written by me, on behalf of Viva ® Vantage ®.

Paper towels are definitely a thing in our household. I have often thought about going paper-free, but the fact is, I have a five year old son and a 16 year old cat and there are some things that need to be thrown away after they are wiped up. *ahemcatbarf*

So, paper towels. If they are going to work in my household, there are a few requirements. They need to be strong, so when I use my foot to wipe something up (*ahemcatbarf*) they don't fall apart. They need to have scrubbing power for the same reasons. It needs to be absorbent, so it can handle the clean up of eleventy-billion spills every day, and it needs to be soft when I need to use one as a tissue.

Allergy problems.

We were using a store brand of paper towels and they worked okay. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about. Then, like magic, an invite appeared in my in-box from the fun folks at Viva ® Vantage ® Paper Towels! "Come meet some bloggers, learn more about the Viva® Brand, and try our Viva® Vantage® Paper Towels," they said! And, of course, I said "yes!" No brainer.

Off I went, with all of the messes my family can make dancing in my head, wondering if Viva® Vantage® would pass the test.Viva ® Vantage ® Paper Towels had just been named the 2015 Product of the Year and, as someone who holds awards shows with high regard, this meant something to me.

I had prepared myself for the same old paper towels, but I was pleasantly surprised! Different stations were set up to allow me to put Viva ® Vantage® through its paces- washing AND drying glasses, scrubbing dirty mushrooms until they shone, and wiping up a spill when I knocked into my water glass (That last one wasn't a station, that's just my life). No disappointments- Viva ® Vantage® powered through! Dirty mushrooms were scrubbed clean thanks to the super-strong V-Flex Weave, glasses were washed and dried to a fingerprint-free shine with its sponge-like absorbency, and my spill was sucked up with no problem. Nobody noticed my clumsiness and our hosts counters were in no danger of being scratched up with a rough paper towel.

With those early party successes in the bag, I considered taking the Viva ® Vantage ® 7-Day Switch Up. It made sense. I had been using paper towels that were...okay. Why not see if I could switch things up and make my life of mopping spills, cleaning splatters, and scooping cat barf a little easier?


I started my Switch Up off that very night and used a Viva ® Vantage® towel to remove my makeup. I don't think the fine folks at the mall makeup counters would have approved, but our bathroom was in the middle of a huge remodel and my makeup remover was alllllllllll the way at the back of the bathroom behind piles of tools. So I eyed the Viva ® Vantage® towel, wondering if I was going to regret my decision. But, a damp Viva® Towel later (no soap, even!) I had clean skin that didn't feel like I had passed a steel wool pad over it!

Oh, yes. Viva ® Vantage ® and I were going to get along just fine.

Why we need Viva in our lives...
The 7-Day Switch Up was on, and over the week that followed, I put Viva ® Vantage® towel through its paces. I used them to rinse, clean and dry grapes for my sons lunches. The towels are so strong, I could use them as a colander! I mopped up spills, scrubbed paint off of my kitchen table, and wiped up layers of dust and grime generated by our bathroom reno. Sauce splatters on the range, dry erase marker on our kitchen white board, and the inevitable cat barf- the messes were powerless to the fantastic scrubbing power of the Viva ® Vantage ®! Their stretchy-strength means that I can rinse and reuse the same Viva® Towel, saving money and waste. And for someone who hates to scrub, the Viva ® Vantage® took our usual scrubbing game to a whole new level. It was just. so. easy!

So, we're Viva ® people now! Yup. It didn't even take the full seven days of the 7-Day Switch Up to know that Viva ® Vantage® was a great fit for my messy little family!

Now it's your turn to be a Viva ® Vantage ® family! 

Visit Viva ® Vantage ® and get your coupon so you can get started on your own 7-Day Switch Up! Shake things up by switching out your ordinary products for Viva ® Vantage®! Spend some time using Viva ® Vantage® to clean all the things, and then stop back to tell the fine folks at Viva ® about your experience for your chance to WIN a $100 gift card!

This was a sponsored post, written by me and detailing my experience with the 7-Day Switch Up, on behalf of Viva ® Vantage ®