health, Our Life

L’Chaim

To life.

Are you singing the song from Fiddler on the Roof in your head right now? I am.

In the midst of all of the busyness of this season of our lives, I have been thinking about living a life well-lived. Being intentional in the pursuit of growth, while balancing the demands (and joys) of motherhood, being a good wife to Stephen, a good friend and good to my body. I find it easy to go through the motions of life without making a point to pursue a better self. Which is not to say that life is not wonderful as it is, but the continual challenge to better oneself is an admirable goal, right? `

I’m not a risk taker by nature. I don’t like trying new things because I like knowing the outcome will be successful. I like doing things I’m good at because I am good at them. I don’t think that’s an uncommon sentiment. I have my moments of unabashed adventure, like that time in 2005 when I decided to go skydiving. It took a lot of stubborn to get through that one, not necessarily a lot of bravery. Once I’d told some people I was going, I couldn’t back out. But I did it, I survived and I daresay that it was one of the more unexpected, fun experiences of my life.

 

May 2005
May 2005

 

But to continue to grow, I need to continue to push myself. There’s a saying:

My comfort zone includes cuddling on the couch with my boys, some Del Taco chili fries and a good book or a few episodes of whatever TV show we’re making our way through on Netflix or AmazonPrime streaming video.

I want to be the best mother to Jonathan that I can be and the best wife to Stephen that I am capable of being and doing so requires me to constantly pursue the best me. It’s hard for me to take time for myself because I’d rather spend all of my time with my guys. But my theory follows two very important sayings: Happy Wife, Happy Life & If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy 🙂

So, in that vein, here are my most recent attempts to better and challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone.

Crossfit

I touched on this in Jonathan’s 4 month post, but when he was 4 months old I decided it was time to focus on my health post-baby. I set apart 90 days to try something new to build my body back up after being pregnant and giving birth. I committed to 90 days of 5x per week Crossfit workouts in our home gym. I learned a lot about myself over those 90 days and I’m proud of how far I have come. Honestly, who’d have thought I could deadlift 205 lbs? For that matter, who would have thought I could deadlift at all? Barbell work of any sort was completely foreign to me, so picking up the barbell to do a variety of moves (deadlifts, cleans, push press, etc.) was a new world. As those of you who have followed my blog for some time know, my go-to workout has always been running. Now, I’m mixing cardio with weights and the variety is keeping my attention. I’m planning to continue working out (I took the last week off due to a random asthma situation that ended up with me in urgent care getting a breathing treatment and a prescription for albuterol and prednisone- after not having asthma symptoms for probably a decade plus maybe a little bronchitis mixed in there) and look forward to hitting some new goals of mine. I hope to, by the end of 2014, be able to do one pull-up and deadlift 245 pounds.

 Whole 30

Surely you’ve heard of the Paleo diet, right? All the rage, especially in Crossfit circles, the Paleo diet seeks to eat as our cavemen forefathers did. This means exclusion of certain types of foods like dairy, grains, legumes, sugars and processed foods. Essentially it’s time to party primal-style with meats, veggies, fruits and nuts. I like Nerd Fitness’ description, but that might have a lot to do with those sweet Lego pictures.

The Whole 30 is a lot like Paleo, but stricter. Since it’s a 30 day challenge, they put a few more restrictions on the diet for that time. From their site:

The Whole30 is based on a Paleo framework, but restricts some foods that might be considered “Paleo” in nature. (Of course, the exact definition of Paleo varies, based on who you ask.) The goal of the Whole30 is to eliminate all foods that may be having a negative psychological or physiological effect on how you look, feel and live. As such, some technically “Paleo” foods (like honey, or desserts made with almond flour) are ruled out for the duration of your program.

Since we all know I am a sucker for a challenge (such as the 10 Day Juice Fast of 2013), I talked to Stephen and Matt and we decided to give it a go. Today is Day 8 and I haven’t died yet. I haven’t had a hard carb crash and I’m not on-edge-going-to-kill-everyone. All good signs. I’ve been testing new recipes and so far have been met with success. It takes a lot more preparation and planning than I’m used to, and our eating out choices are quite limited.

As a note, though, Stephen and I are only doing a Whole 27. Between when my family left/Stephen returned from San Diego and when we go to California later this month there are 27 days. We don’t ever want to be those people who make eating together for family functions difficult, so we decided missing the mark by 3 days wasn’t the end of the world. Plus, there’s In-n-Out, Chin Hua and Murillo’s to be had in Vacaville that we look forward to at each visit.

At the end of this experiment we’ll discuss if we want to adopt a Paleo lifestyle, modify it (such as including dairy – surely a caveman could milk a cow if he had been so inclined), go 80/20 or just scrap the idea all together. That’s the fun part about trying these “challenges” – no one says you have to do them forever. It’s a great way to test a potential habit you are thinking of adopting by making an informed decision based on how your body reacts to it. If we end up discovering that we feel great eating this way, we may choose to continue. If we feel that we lack the energy to perform on workouts and in every day life, we might make some modifications or discontinue use.

 And here’s the next big adventure and honestly the one I’m most anxious about…

Amanda Rabon Photography?

I have been encouraged by those around me to pursue my love of photography and possibly make a job out of it. I would say that it’s just my family being nice to me because they have to, but I’ve had a few non-family members encourage me to put myself out there and explore capturing people’s special moments for a living. Being a stay at home mom is a great gig- the best in the world- but it would be nice to make a little money on the side while doing something that I enjoy.

My biggest hindrance in pursing this is myself. I lack the confidence to put myself and my talents on the line. What if someone hired me and didn’t like their photos? I would hate to let someone down like that. It’s a lot more pressure taking photos for other people than just taking photos of my sweet baby around the house.

He's a captive subject.
He’s my number one practice subject, both because he’s so cute and because he can’t object yet – haha.

I’ve been doing an online photography class as a refresher on the basics and I’m hoping to start taking a lot of photos to hone my skills. This means that I’m going to need guinea pigs. Lots of them. I’d like volunteers, but my poor husband might just have to be willing to let me take 103357346721t3761y3i2345 pictures of him. Jonathan doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. I’ll need to practice a lot and build a portfolio before I even think about trying to market myself to other people.

This is scary, guys. It seems like everyone these days is a photographer and I don’t want to be pretentious or think that I’m better than I am. I love natural photos and shy away from heavy processing. It’s just not my jam. That means I have to be that much more confident that I am taking solid photos.

We’ll see what is to come of this. Maybe I never actually pull the trigger. Maybe I do it and it’s awesome. Only time will tell.

 But for now, let’s raise a glass (of Kombucha, alcohol is not Whole 30 compliant) to the continued quest for happiness and health and drink to life… L’Chaim.

I ended up minoring in Jewish Studies in college, which makes me feel like I have a license to throw around Yiddish words and phrases. 

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