I worked with a registered dietician. I don’t recall the impetus for seeing her, nor what results I gained from her expertise, but I do recall some sound advice she gave me. When it came to food choices, and still enjoying indulgences, she suggested to look my food choices over three days versus just one day. For instance, I might have a celebratory meal on a Saturday evening that included everything from a cheesy appetizer, to a decadent dessert to a night cap. But on Sunday I might start the day with a nourishing bowl of oatmeal, a high protein lunch and homemade soup for dinner. Then on Monday it might be hot cereal again for breakfast and a salad for lunch but also a couple freshly baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon and pasta with veggies for dinner. I think you get the point. She wanted me to look at my nutrition over a few days rather than try to ‘perfect’ each day of eating. I have been thinking a lot about this perspective during quarantine. Not so much as it relates just to food, but as it relates to, well…everything.
Take yesterday for example. Did I get in any exercise? Negative. Not so much as a stretch or walk around the cul de sac. But I had other “wins”. I made homemade yogurt. I cut my 3 month old baby’s tiny fingernails (no easy feat!). My son and I cleaned our glass slider with him shooting far too much Windex on the glass and me catching it with the shammy. It was actually quite comical. Later we made homemade vanilla ice cream. I had a total of five minutes to myself that day. I used it to catch up on a few emails. Today was different. We spent a lot of time outside, I exercised with my TRX and got in a modest walk. My oldest honed his scooter skills. Meals were quick because they were based on leftovers. No desserts today, but goodies from my son’s Easter egg basket (did I tell you we used all the leftover candy from Halloween and Valentine’s for his Easter eggs??? SHHHHH!! Don’t tell him!!) I “wore” my tiny human a lot so I could multi task and pick up the house. Tonight I write. Tomorrow I will try to make stew, get in some Pilates and try to encourage my son to play with something other than trucks. We will likely Facetime with a family member because we haven’t in a couple days. Maybe we will plant more seeds in the backyard in our little raised bed we are nudging along. Maybe Giove and I will give Eliano a bath – an event the oldest enjoys more than the youngest. Maybe we will watch one too many cartoons and have a melt down when we turn off the TV. (We hope this doesn’t happen, but come on…we ain’t perfect.)
All in all, after three days a diversity of things have been experienced.
I have never been much a hard core schedule person, so perhaps this is why this view of life during “safer at home” works for me. I guess, in a spiritual sense, I am trying to give myself grace by knowing that I can’t get it all (good exercise, home cooking, cleaning, educational enrichment, virtual socializing, etcetera, etcetera) in one day. But three days? Yes, more doable. Good enough.
Ahh “good enough.” That phrase makes many of us twinge, no? At least it used to have that affect on me. But two very different situations led me to be convinced that good enough was not a cop-out, or a fail. The first was in Brené Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection. I think the title hints at what I am getting at so I won’t elaborate on her writing but I will say GET THE BOOK. The second was about two months ago, when we were all living our normalcy and I was just one month postpartum. I was getting out for regular walks by myself. In fact, it was the single daily goal of mine (besides keep tiny humans alive). My mom would come, watch the kiddos and I would go out for a breezy walk by myself, solely limited by either my energy levels or when I received a text that the baby was awake and wanted to eat. But there was always one tricky thing about these walks…Giove always wanted to come. Often, I would take him willingly. But that day, about two months ago, I really wanted to get out by myself. And so, as my mother will tell you, I started to reason with my four and half year old son (for better or for worse) as I tied up my shoes.
Me: “Honey, mama needs to go on a walk by herself. It’s good for mama. It helps me be a good mama.”
Giove. With a pouty but sincere face:
“But you already are a good Mama.”
Me…holding back a smile and a tear:
“Well, I will be a BETTER Mama after a walk.”
Giove (who by the way, continues to play with his front loader through this conversation):
“But Mama, you are a good enough Mama. You are good enough for me.”
Me…Speechless. Raw. Whole. Loved.
I gave him a hug. I looked him in his chocolate brown eyes and I thanked him. I said I’d be back soon. Yes, I still went on my walk. Yes he was fine and content with Grandma. But that day I was reminded that good enough is often more than enough. Not a cop-out. Not what I didn’t accomplish in one day but instead took me three days. Not an ounce of failure or a measure of inadequacy. Good enough can actually be just what you have the bandwidth for in a given situation. What you can do whole-heartedly. What others see in you that makes a positive difference to them.
So my friends, I encourage you to see your efforts during this unstable and unsure time as good enough. That the Zoom call you hosted to wish your family members hello on Easter or Passover wasn’t the same of course as last year, but it was something. That the homemade gym you have made in your garage or living room by rolling out your mat and grabbing some dusty weights is not your first choice, but you are moving. That you don’t have a masters in education, but you are doing your best to enrich your children with their homeschooling or well, through…life.
Do what you can. Do it well. Take pride in yourself and how you are reinventing your work, your home, even your relationships. One day this will all be over but we will most likely be different because of it. Amist the sadness, loss and confusion, let’s also remember our resourcefulness, our courage and our resilience.
Who’s with me?
In being good enough,
I had a much different newsletter composed to you all earlier this week. One that talked about trying to order child face masks online that sold out in an hour. I explained how my frequent walks have changed from constantly getting stopped by neighbors to shoot the breeze to now…well, us talking briefly from door to sidewalk. I mentioned how strangers used to smile, say hello and comment on the amazing weather. Now one of us crosses to the other side of the street with just a head nod. No risk of exchange of airborne anything. I vented about how weird I think Zoom Meet ups are for four year olds (sorry…I said it!) and how awkward social distancing is with kids when they ask if their friend can play in the backyard or come over for this year’s Easter Egg Hunt.
Yikes, I guess I still needed to get that all off my writing desk.
But dear readers, let’s not focus on all that right now. Let’s again, turn towards the positive. For my part I am still delighting in some consistent pre-quarantine daily creature comforts – like my delicious aromatic Royal Raspberry Tea from All Things Tea. I was running out last week and rummaged through the cupboard to find something else that would suffice for my morning ritual and nada. Lucky to find out Donna, one of our very own small business owners here in Camarillo, is still open for business. Take out “Tea Time in a Box”, sweet treats, savories and best of all her loose tea is available for pick up or tea can be shipped anywhere in the states. Mmmmm more comforting caffeine is coming to my door in a couple days. Check it out friends. I know we all feel passionately about our small businesses surviving this pandemic.
Ordering groceries online, social distancing with my favorite neighbors, not celebrating Easter with my family…these things leave me feeling a bit, odd. I chose to remind myself that all these efforts are not only for the collective good in my immediate household and neighborhood but for the world. That each gesture we do – making masks for friends (thank you Judy and Carol!!!), respecting space on much needed outdoor jaunts (thank you conscientious citizens) and checking in on friends, colleagues, and family via whatever virtual media one prefers (let’s hear it for modern technology!) is helping us feel as safe, healthy and connected as is possible right now.
I think my mom summed it up the best. Yup, I am pretty sure you could have skipped my whole newsletter and just read this…
(I am the blue boxes, she is the grey boxes.)
It’s all how you look at it. Thanks mom, for everything. 🙂
And thank you friends, for taking the time to read and connect here. Be safe and well and have a wonderful holiday, however you are able to celebrate.
PS To end the week, I am throwing a little more yoga your way. This one is more challenging especially in terms of balance. Have a soft towel for under your knee and practice near a wall for safety. Good luck and enjoy 🙂 As always, let me know how you like it and what you would like to see next.Yoga Flow 3 from Francine on Vimeo.
I know what you are thinking. Quarantine + two month old baby = lots of naps for Mama. Um, not really. Though my second son is proving to be a very good sleeper, I usually use his nap to be with my oldest son or to get outside to clear my head and get much needed exercise. Sometimes I’m able to eat a meal slowly and with two hands (which is not something to take for granted, people!) or I putter around the house picking up cast away socks, piles of books and little tiny cars that I inevitably trip on. But Saturday afternoon the only thing calling my name was a nap. And while I was sleeping, I had another dream.
This time a friend and I were going on a hike. She was to meet at my house and then we would drive to the trail head together. She arrived a bit early, and I was still getting ready. My husband greeted her at the door and welcomed her inside. He offered her some water and she accepted. My oldest son was delighted to see her and talked to her non stop for seven minutes about what his toy helicopter and crane were doing. I was finally ready and I warmly gave my friend a big hug when I saw her. We said our goodbyes to my family and we headed out in my car. It was a beautiful day in Southern California and we were excited to hit the trails.
I think dreams are little peeks into our subconscious. My dreams of late center around connecting with friends together in celebration or in the beauty of the outdoors. Things clearly that I am craving, but are not possible right now.
What is possible in the realm of connection these days? Virtual family to family living rooms chats with our friends. (Just like in person the adults are trying to catch up and the kids are clamoring in the background!) Reading lovely emails from clients past and present that have shared that it’s a treat to “take class from me again” when they stream the exercises at home. Hearing that some of you are doing these videos with your spouse or your kids, adding an element of connection that I hadn’t thought about initially.
And as for beauty? A small bouquet of flowers (pictured above) from our front yard that my son trimmed himself. The apricot tree in our backyard with hundreds of tiny green apricots. The moody sky and blustery winds that we have been soaking in during our afternoons walks. The countless photos I have of my two sons bonding as each day unfolds.
Sometimes you just have to look for it. You just have to find the ways to fill your heart, soul, and dreamy mind with the connection and beauty it’s craving.
I wonder where you are finding connection and beauty. Is it in a phone call to an old friend? A basket of fruit left on your porch from a neighbor? A walk with your spouse outdoors? I’d love to hear.
As Saturday was for napping, Sunday was for moving. We went for a walk and scooter adventure around the block. We cleaned house. Best of all, I got in some yoga and some filming. Another simple yoga flow that you can tag on to the previous one or do on its own. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy. 🙂 Till next time…
In connection, beauty, and occasional napping,
*went on lovely walks with my son
*cuddled my new baby
*missed my mom like crazy
*moved when I could, but sat quite a bit
*snacked often (maybe too often?)
*spent A LOT of time in my living room
*read from a real book (not just my phone)
*worried. cried a little.
*laughed, talked to friends, texted oh so many friends
*used Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime more than I did when I traveled
*did some yoga
And since the yoga felt so good, I thought I’d share a little. A ten minute routine you can do anytime at home. I hope you try it and let me know how it feels. As always, listen to your body, try what feels good and stop if it doesn’t. (But don’t worry…it’s a user friendly routine!) Progress over perfection, folks! Let’s get you moving.
Till next time,
I few nights I awoke from a very vivid dream. I was on my way to celebrate the birthday of a good friend. It was to be just the three of us – the birthday boy, his wife who is a long time friend of mine, and myself. We knew we could only get together in small groups. (Even in this dream there was some sort of pandemic going on but, as dreams go, the details were blurry.) I was excited to celebrate my friend, though I remember feeling reserved on my way to them. I felt safe but at the same time very cautious. Then, when I got to the location something glorious occurred. We were all together. Everyone was there. You were there. I was there. All my friends were there. Coworkers, past clients, new clients. Neighbors. It was a huge party. I recall pulling my good friend aside, the wife of the birthday boy, to say…‘I had no idea it was so many people. I wouldn’t have come had I known. But I am so glad I’m here!’ I danced, I ate, I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. It was awesome.
I think many of us are having this dream even while we are awake. We are thinking of a time when quarantine will be over, “safer at home” will be a thing of the past, and once again we can chink glasses with our friends and family at our favorite haunts. We can reschedule our birthday lunches, re-book our celebratory occasions, and catch up in person with our colleagues and coworkers. I know, it sounds great doesn’t it?
But for now, each day I am finding the awesome in “safer at home.” Like spending a lot of time in my yard with my son. FaceTime with my mom to see her content, healthy and happy in her home. Listening to Storytime with Mrs. Figs from the comfort my couch. Writing more. Dabbling in exercise videos. Eating way too much dark chocolate.
Of course there are challenges. 1300 square foot of space with a husband who is working full time from home including conducting live classes, an energetic four year old, an infant and a small dog who is wondering why she gets less walks. I always new I was a homebody but a stay at homebody is a whole different thing. Still, I feel so strongly about doing my part to keep myself and my community safer by staying in that I am 100% up for the challenge.
Today, Monday, my little family will try to get into more of a routine. We will have triumphs and we will have fails. But we will persevere and try again Tuesday. Then Wednesday, and so on. And at times I will muse over that dream. That great big party. But hopefully, much more often I will stay present to my life right now and my resources at hand. Like the brilliance of the internet, my own computer on which to type these ramblings to you and my smartphone to record videos. We are wired for connection. And if we can’t connect in person just yet, I am so glad we can do so here.
And on that note. Let’s do some exercise together.
From one stay at homebody to another,
It can be hard to find a ten minute spot of quiet time in a somewhat small, very busy space. A space that is both a library and a construction site, an airport and a train station. An area that is not only used for watching movies but also for putting out fires. I am speaking of course, about my living room. A.k.a my son’s favorite place to play. When I was getting ready to film the video below, I asked Giove to be SUPER quiet if he wanted to stay with me in the room.
‘OK!‘ he said. He was on board from the start.
Me: ‘That means no helicopter noises.’
‘Right!’ he said agreeably.
Me again: ‘And no jumping up and down.‘
Giove: ‘OK, Mama.’
Me: ‘OK, good. Then you can stay.’
Giove: ‘Mama…Is breathing ok?‘
Me, holding back both a smile and a tear: ‘Yes, sweetie, breathing is OK. In fact, it is encouraged.’
YES to us all – breathing is OK. With our lives changing by the minute, our jobs on hold and our families at a distance there is very little we have control over right now. So little. But we do have our breath. I am not going to naively suggest we are all able to take calming breaths every moment to get us through this. No, our breath is so much more dynamic and powerful than that. Yes, of course we have the ability to take a deep breath when we feel safe in the comfort of our own homes. We also have the choice to hold our breath for an extra second or two as we digest the latest news. Maybe we take a long exhale when we hear from someone we love via call, text or email. Perhaps we permit ourselves to sit alone and inhale the aroma of our favorite coffee or tea in silence while we take a break from the latest updates. In other words, our breath is not only life giving, it is a tool. It can change with us and for us.
So today at some point remember you still have your breath. Play with it. Draw in an extra long inhale when you step outside. Let yourself sigh audibly the next time you feel like just can’t hold in silence. Feel your breath in your belly – let it rise and fall – when you wake up in the morning. And lastly, because I am your voice of exercise encouragement, challenge your breath with movement. Keep moving. Even if it’s just ten minutes on your mat and a short walk outside.
Now back to the video. After it was “quiet on the set”, I was able to film a nine minute sequence with a few exercises for your core. These are a couple of my favorites including one that I feel is the most beneficial to any other core exercise you could do. Intrigued? Check it out. 🙂 Oh, and in case you are curious, it was the second take. The first take was interrupted by the aforementioned four year old mimicking police car noises giving me “ticket” for invading the play area past my allotted time…
In breathing, sharing space and working your core,
I have to admit I am the person that hems and haws before she has to break down and buy new technology. It’s not exciting to me when new upgraded devices come out. I don’t crave the latest techie thing nor do I want to spend my money on new features of something I already have. I kinda prefer to run things into the ground. No, not from neglect! Instead, the conservative mindset of “well…mine still works.” Even if “working” is just barely and simultaneously giving me a royal headache. Case in point: my last phone. I loved my phone. An Android Nexus. It was great and I saw no reason to change even though it had been out shined by the new Pixels. I thought the camera was great and the phone never did me wrong. Then a few months ago it started loosing the battery charge in just a few hours, than an hour…then only worked when plugged in. Kinda of a pain when you are at the grocery store and you can’t access your grocery list because it’s stored on your phone. Or you want to text a client that you are running a few minutes late and your phone turns off. Yup. It was time. *heavy sigh* I bought a new phone. And you know, these days it is basically the price of a new computer.
Where am I going with this? I’ll cut to the chase. Turns out my new fancy Pixel 4 (you’ll be happy to know I got a great Black Friday deal!!) has awesome video capabilities.
I have always wanted to do a little filming (and actually have done some on YouTube and FB in the past) but now that we are all in and having to be a bit more creative with our movement experiences I want to reach out and help you all remember what you can do at home. And as one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, suggests, “we are wired for connection.”
And as our community is in a state of crisis, heck our world, I want to keep connection, to help where I can, and to stay relevant in your lives.
I truly do.
So here you go….the first of *hopefully* more videos from my home. I’ll stop writing now so you can start watching and MOVING with this first simple video. Three stretches for your calves and hamstrings. Try it and let know what you think. 🙂
In health and connection
Like most of you, I have been receiving e-newsletters from various businesses – both big and small – in regards to the COVID-19. Some of these emails have focused on how the business is supporting customers/clients during this time. Other offer suggestions on how to maximize the time at home both for business and family. Still others are simply giving information on closures and modified hours. Many give information on hygiene. But the most compelling e-blast I received today was from Richard Davidson, the founder of an organization called The Center for Healthy Minds. In the newsletter, Davidson reminded his readers that social distancing not only limits the exposure of the COVID-19 virus to ourselves, but is also an “act of generosity and compassion towards others.” By limiting interactions, staying home, opting for online or virtual meet ups, we are thinking of the greater good and how these choices can help others stay healthy. He sums up the letter by saying …”even with the stress and anxiety and unprecedented challenges that we are facing with this pandemic, we can be grateful for the many opportunities to recognize our basic good nature and to extend our self-care to the caring for so many others.” His words gave me pause, enabled me to re-frame my thinking. For this I am grateful.
In this same realm, the owners of Camarillo Pilates have chosen to close their doors this week even as other gyms are continuing to stay open. At their request, I have copied their email below. I know it wasn’t an easy decision by any means, but I applaud Cori and Jimmy for doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus. As you all know I am on maternity leave, but please keep in contact with your subs and with the studio as the days and weeks unfold. They will be the best ones to let you know of new developments and when the studio will reopen for privates and group classes.
For my part I continue to be home in my little cocoon with my boys. Besides a mild cold that my 4 year old has, we are all healthy. Thank you for the texts and emails, I enjoy hearing from you all!
As always – be well, breathe well and stay in touch,
Eliano León Hernández was born January 25th, 2020 (Chinese New Year!) at 5:45pm weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and measuring 21 inches long.
Thank you so much for your good thoughts, prayers, check-in messages, gifts for Giove, and excitement for us these last couple weeks. Eliano came two days early (just like his brother!), and we have been recovering and getting to know our little guy ever since. The team at the hospital was awesome – everyone from our delivery doctor, the nurses, and our super compassionate and caring postnatal nurses. We are grateful for the outstanding care we had. Yesterday afternoon we came home and by some miracle we all got good sleep our first night in!
So far our oldest is a confident, curious, and eager big brother! He couldn’t wait to hold his sibling and check out is tiny tiny toes and hands. (Oh, and his diapers. He is facsinated by his brother’s poop. Must be a boy thing.)
Many of you who know us personally know that name choice is a big deal for us! We love unique names that have meaning to us, our personal past, or our adventures together. Eliano is a name that my husband thought of, and I loved it immediately. León is a city in Northern Spain, that we stayed in for a week in 2017 when we completed the Camino de Santiago with our first son, Giove. We loved that city, felt very cared for there, and it left a special place in our hearts. Eliano is derivative of “sun” in ancient Greek (Hugo calls him our little bundle of sunshine), and of course, León, like Leo, means lion. I should mention that our first son named him “Baby Jet” while he was in my belly. When his teachers asked him this morning what we named the baby he reported “Jet”. 🙂 We happily accept Jet as his nickname, but it didn’t quite make the birth certificate.
So happy, relieved, and contented that he is here, that I am not pregnant anymore, and that we have a bit of time together as a family!! Some of you have asked if you can make us a meal, and that is so kind of you. I do not have a meal train set up, as I don’t want to impose, but because some of you have offered, we graciously want to acknowledge and accept. Just send me a text and we can sort out a date. It’s so nice to have a proper appetite again, so thanks a million!
I look forward to hearing from you as time permits. In the mean time, keep up your practice! Keep moving!