By Jennifer Stevens Jones, sponsored member of the Maine Dairy Promotion Board’s Moo Squad
I feel that I live a pretty ordinary life. I am married, have two kids and two dogs, work full time, and enjoy staying active. Over the last couple months, I have focused on finding a balance that works best for our life right now. I have come up with some catch phrases that have helped me when I need a reality check on my life.
Make Memories – This as a reminder to simply do things. Having two small children usually makes things difficult, but that’s not an excuse because life is not always easy. Keith and I have tried to remain as active as we can with our girls. We go hiking, camping, fishing, out to dinner, shopping, and lot of other things, however it is all slightly different. We have learned to adapt to having the girls for our adventures. For example, we schedule most of our activities around naps because our girls are terrors if they don’t get naps. Adventures filled with joy and laughter are my favorite, but adventures that don’t turn out exactly as planned won’t be forgotten. When we have (what feels like) a horrible experience, I remind myself that we are making memories. All our memories are not going to be picture perfect or Pinterest worthy and that is okay. Sometimes the ‘horror adventures’ make the best stories. Keith and I are fortunate to have some great friends enjoying life with us that don’t shy away from making memories too – such as ice fishing on Moosehead Lake in February … with 5 kids under 3.
Life Goes in Phases – This is a reminder that what life is like today may not be applicable in 5 years, 2 months, or even tomorrow. I have learned that it is important to remember that life is going to keep moving, time doesn’t stop. When life is difficult, whether it be a tough day at work or cranky and stubborn children, I remind myself that everyday isn’t going to be that way. With 2 kids under 3, Keith and I are in the “young children” phase of my life; our schedule is pretty predicable and we spend more Saturday nights at home on our couch than we do out. I know that before long we will be chasing the kids around from place to place. We have decided to embrace this phase of life, and joined the minivan club!
Pick Your Battles – this is a reminder to let the small things slide, and not get upset about all the little things. There are so many things that we can dwell on or go crazy trying to micro manage, but I have found that most things don’t deserve that much attention. Right now I am trying to focus my attention and energy on things that matter most for me. For example, I want my girls to eat well balanced meals, but I refrain from getting worked up if they don’t eat all their vegetables at dinner because I know that tomorrow we can try again. I also want to be consistent with my workouts, but I don’t beat myself up if I stop and walk during my training runs because I know that some days are harder than others.
I hope that you’re able to relate to one (or all) of these catch phrases and they help you as much as they have me.
As the weather starts to warm and the family is looking to start their adventures bright and early, it is the perfect time of year to try Overnight Oatmeal – all the healthy benefits of oatmeal, but in a cold version. Children love it, and you will too. While you can make Overnight Oats fit you and your little ones’ tastes in any number of ways, the basic recipe is the same:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Mix and refrigerate the above overnight, and you’ll have breakfast ready to go as soon as you get up. Finish off however you like – with fresh berries and a little honey, with dried fruit and nuts and sweetened with maple syrup, with peanut butter and banana, or if you need a chocolate fix, add mini chocolate chips, sliced almonds, shredded coconut and vanilla.