My new ritual for greeting the day

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Hello! I have officially survived the first full week of summer vacation and I feel like things are going well. I am even discovering new things about my kids- like that they both love bowling! Who knew?!

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One concern that I had this season was about how I was going to manage finding enough time alone to get my workouts in. After considering my options- either take the kids to the gym with me or get up really early, I decided that I would start getting up early to exercise before my husband leaves for work in the morning. It isn't always easy to get out of bed but, I must say, that I am LOVING this time that I have carved out for myself. Not only do I get the exercise that I need physically, but I also get a little head-clearning "me time".

For the past 22+ years I have done the majority of my exercising in a gym. I am finding lately that I MUCH prefer being outside and away from crowds and annoying grunters and machine-sweat-coverers. Getting my nature fix first thing in the morning is almost meditative for me too. I have loved greeting my days this way!

Some early morning scenes: 

A mama turkey and two babies on the bike trail:
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Sunlight and oak trees around 6:30am:
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Me as a "biker chick":
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There is also something about a morning workout that makes coffee taste even better- cheers!

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Do you have an early morning ritual for greeting the day?





Confession: I am a recipe hoarder

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I am in the process of getting organized for summer and, as a part of this giant undertaking, I have been trying to make meal planning a little bit easier for myself. I am not really all that control-freaky about it now, but I would like to be a bit more organized with my sources of inspiration (cookbooks, websites, emails from friends' recipe exchanges...)

Today I sorted through an old email folder labeled "recipes" that contained a ridiculously huge number of recipes that I've never attempted. Big deal, right? Well, some of the emails were dated all the way back to 2007. Either those recipes didn't sound good enough to get my attention over the course of FIVE YEARS (!) or I am just too scattered to remember to look in that folder in the first place.

So, for my own sanity (and so that you can benefit from my hoarding too!), I have pinned as many of those as I could find online to my Pinterest "Food" folder, here. I am still a recipe hoarder, but at least I have more of them in one place!

(PS- I also have many Get Natured recipes, with photos, pinned here).


Summer manifesto

Wow, it has been awhile since I have written a blog post! There isn't an unusual reason for my disappearance. I've simply been swallowed up in the routine of my life at the moment. I have very little time alone to focus on anything creative (or to do any one of about 500 items on a list of things that require any amount of concentration or aloneness...including writing this post, which took three days...)

Days blend together. I drive the same roads. I follow the same schedule. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of comfort to be found in this rhythm. Predictable is manageable and repeatable. On the other hand, though, not venturing out into new things tends to make everything stale. I have no new surfaces off of which to bounce ideas. No new inspiration. Nothing new to reflect on or mull in my mind with the wide-eyed excitement that comes with novel thoughts. Summer is here just in time to mix things up and to send me out to play and explore.

I had an amazing dream the other night. I was in a desert with my husband and our kids and the light was a perfect pinky-gold. It looked like we were walking around inside of an Instagram filter! Each of us had a huge bunch of colorful balloons and we were running over the dry and cracked ground with our bundles and laughing. As we let the balloons go and watched them rise slowly into the sky, I felt more carefree and happy than I have in a long time. The only thing on my mind was that moment- the laughing and the sweet light and the balloons. Nothing was inching its way into the "what is next on my list" slot in my brain. Simplicity.

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The dream created a strong craving in my soul to have more moments like that. To spend more of my time playing instead of to-do-ing.

So, what am I doing now? I am planning ahead for summer. Fun stuff, projects, camping trips. I also have what some might call a "summer bucket list" but I don't really care for that name as it implies that I will be "kicking the bucket" at the end of the summer. No, I like to think of this more of a manifesto of sorts. Or, at the very least, just a list of things that I want to do this summer.

My summer manifesto:

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Summer reading:

I loved this book: Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong


This quote from the book captures a little piece of what spoke so loudly to me from its pages. I love the shift in my thoughts about running that this simple paragraph gave me:
"There is a restless place inside me, and if I don't intentionally access and relieve it, it groans at me, distracting me. There are too many thoughts in my head, too many feelings in my heart, too many things I want to do and say- and if I'm not careful, I can get overwhelmed with myself. Running restores my equilibrium, quiets the noise within, reprioritizes my list, repairs my state of gratitude, and returns me to myself, but a better version, nice and roomy in my own skin."
I will be swimming, biking, and running this summer too. So far I have one 5k run and one sprint distance triathlon on my race calendar and there are a couple more races that I'm considering. This is how I access and relieve my restlessness too!

A little bit of my summer reading list:
I use a private Amazon wish list to keep track of what I want to read in the summer. I do tend to lean heavily into fiction this time of year- it feels so fitting for afternoons at the beach or on the patio.

Do you keep a summer reading list? What are you planning to read this year?

Summer Vacation

While I'm in summertime mode, while I'm reading fiction and dipping my toes in the ocean, I will likely be blogging less. I will share highlights and memorable moments here and there but I'll be taking the pressure off of myself to write for the sake of frequency. I will check in on Twitter and Facebook a little more often and goodness knows that I'll be pinning things on Pinterest!

This is a summer vacation of sorts for me and this kind of unplugging is something that I don't do well or often. I need to focus on my kids and their summer without the sound of my voice saying, "just a minute. Hold on a second. Give me five minutes, please." I need to thin the chatter in my brain that constantly urges me to have good ideas. I need to exist, moment to moment, in my world in this season of downtime. I need time to read and daydream and garden; time to watch honeybees at work with my boys; time to sip cold water with strawberries and mint; time to draw crazy pictures with brightly colored markers that make my kids giggle; and time to gather with friends and talk about good juicy things until it is way too late to still be awake.

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Happy summer!

"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air." 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson