Teach-It Tuesday: 10 Min Hip/Low Back Stretches

With my past two pregnancies, around 20 weeks I started to experience TERRIBLE hip, pelvic and lower back pain. I couldn’t even walk a mile without almost being in tears. I would describe my problems to my doctor and they would just write it off as pain that is common with pregnancy. I would go to the grocery store and end up leaving early, because the pain was so unbearable that I could barely handle pushing the cart. Lots of crying. Lots of frustration, that only got worse the second time around having to chase after an active two year old. I started going to a chiropractor, which was a great temporary fix, but later that night, I was back to the same pain. Turns out I suffer from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or (SPD), and no one could give me any answers on how to make it better. 

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After giving birth to Verona, I still struggled with that back and hip pain, it was so bad that I wasn’t even able to pick up my right foot to get dressed, I could barely handle carrying Verona to and from the car, and walking up and down stairs became almost impossible. It was pretty scary to be 31 years old,  unable to sit on the floor with my kids or take my kids for walks and push them in the stroller. I felt weak. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, bought a stationary bike, started stretching, yoga and taking spin classes and I ended up feeling so strong and the SPD pain was completely gone. 

When I found out I was pregnant in November 2018, I made my husband promise to make sure I don’t give up on cycling and that I stay active. Now at almost 32 weeks, I feel great! Granted, I’m still pregnant and there is always a level of discomfort that comes with that, groans when getting out of bed, getting up off the couch, etc. But last weekend, we almost walked/hiked three miles and there was no complaining on my part. These stretches have helped me immensely, and when I start to feel a little sore, I stop what I’m doing and make sure I stretch to reset my body. I hope these are able to help you as well! 

All you need is a yoga mat, yoga block & have your socks and shoes off!  I’ve linked the ones I have. 

THE ROUTINE 

  • Start with a few rounds of Cat/Cow. (3-4x)
  • In a cross-legged seated position, right foot in front of left, walk your hands forward and keep your back long and straight. Hold for 10 sec. Walk hands to the right and then the left & then back to center, holding for 10 sec each way. Switch feet and repeat. (To modify, I sit in a butterfly pose and use a block on my feet to rest my head) Then I added a few side bends.
  • Lower your body to the mat, feet should be hip width apart, and bridge your back and bum up, then slowly articulate your spine back down to the mat. Concentrate on getting each vertebrae to touch the mat individually, upper back, middle back, lower back. (Repeat 3x)
  • Marching Flow- lift right leg to the sky, cross over left knee letting your leg relax and open up, then back to the sky and back down to the mat. Repeat the same with the left leg. 2x each leg. 
  • Repeat again with your right leg, cross over left knee, but this time hold it and press down on your hips making more space in your spine and hips. Then thread the needle, by placing both hands around your left leg and pulling it into your chest, holding for 10 sec. Then slide both legs, and grab your ankles for “cow-face pose on your back” and hold for 10 sec. Place both feet on the mat, reset with a bridge and repeat with the left side.  
  • Walk your feet to the edge of the mat, and bring your knees together so you are “pigeon kneed” then drop both legs to the right, then both legs to the left, almost like windshield wipers. Repeat this 4x total. Then both knees to the left and take your left foot and place it on top of your right knee. Repeat on Right side as well. 
  • Using your block, place it at the base of your spine, lower back. Pull your right leg to your chest, then stretch your left leg long. Try to rotate your left knee inward to feel more stretch in your hip. Hold for 10 sec. Repeat with other leg. 
  • Happy Baby: On your back, grab the inside of your feet and rock from side to side. 
  • Come to a seated position, and repeat the second step, seeing how much more loose and open your lower back and hips feel.  

Please let me know if this has helped you, or if you would be interested in more posts like this. We need to stay active! I refuse to go back to all that discomfort and back pain, when carving out 20-30 min a day to make yourself a priority is so easy! Happy Tuesday! <3 

The Parable of the Peonies

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I felt the anxiety welling up inside as we pulled out of the driveway for a long weekend away. All over Instagram were gorgeous photos of Peonies, beautifully styled photos, and ours were just starting to bloom. "I know they are all going to bloom this weekend while we are gone and I'm not going to get to photograph them, style them or even enjoy them." 

It's been exactly 5 years since we signed the papers and got the keys to our little Burnt Orange Mid Century Mod House. In those five years, we've completed MANY MANY projects, but my most favorite outside addition was the two peony bushes that we planted out front. 

Every year since we planted them, I wait in anticipation to see how many blooms I will get that year. I panic and obsess over them. I fear that if I don't cut them all and bring them all inside that I'm going to waste them. One year, I even went as far as to try and put them in the fridge and save them for months later. But as I was showering the other day, I had this crystalizing epiphany. 

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Which is where the "Parable of the Peonies" came from. There were two maidens, both with gorgeous gardens full of Peonies of various colors. The first maiden would wait with anticipation as her garden blossomed. She would obsess about trying to make sure that she enjoyed every second of her garden, to the point that is caused her so much stress that she spent the entire time worrying she was missing it. She would anxiously plan out things to do with her flowers, photo shoots, social media posts, but then she would blink, and just like that the flowers had died and she forgot to enjoy the beauty that she was blessed with. 

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The second maiden, like the first, waited with anticipation for the joy that these gorgeous blooms would bring to her, and with pruning sheers in hand, she snipped a few stems for herself to enjoy inside. The sight & fragrance of the flowers brought her heart so much joy & as she looked over the bushes, she saw so many flowers and realized that there was no way should keep these all to herself. So she snipped a few more, wrapped them up, and decided to make a few deliveries to others who she knew would enjoy their beauty as well. Because when the day is done and the flowers die (as they always do), you will be left with nothing. But using something as simple as a flower to spread love, joy & friendship to those around you, that's a way to make them last far longer. 

I'm learning to work on that whole contentment, & living in the moment thing and in case you were wondering, I haven't quite figured it out just yet, but I'm trying. Maybe it's the photographer in me, or the fact that I'm sadly too obsessed with social media, but I never feel like I can truly live in the moment if I'm not able to take photo documentation of said moment. 

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Have you seen this photo of the sweet little old lady enjoying the moment, as everyone around her is feverishly trying to document every second with their phones? It was like a punch to the gut for me, because it's easy for me to be one of those people looking at life through the lens of my iPhone. But when was the last time that you sat back, put away the phone, and enjoyed life as it was actually unfolding, minute by minute, and truly felt content with the season of life that you were in. Not telling yourself, well if I could just get to this point I would be okay. If I could just declutter the whole house, and get everything clean, maybe I won't feel so crazy. If I could just lose 20 pounds, maybe I'll be happier. 

There will always be goals to accomplish, laundry to wash, a house to clean, but there will never be another day just like today, so enjoy where you are and share your joy with those around you. Life isn't about the things you have, its about the relationships you build, the legacy of love that you create, and the ability to love others the way that Jesus loves us. 

I Said a Change... A Change Will Do You Good.

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Pretty sure I just dated myself with that song lyric quote, but for real, change will do you good!! With the exception of the hour I lost just a little bit ago, as I watched a few random youtube videos from Ellen, and this battle that I'm currently losing with this bag of Pretzel thins, I have been REALLY GOOD and intentional with my time! My kids have been happier because mama is happier, and I even fit in time for some family time with a trip to the local greenhouse to pick out our flowers for our summer patio pots! 

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The past few days have been the restart I've been needing. Instead of hitting the ground running, already behind the gun because I wasted 30 min scrolling through Instagram first thing in the morning... I've been getting up, washing my face, getting ready for the day, sipping a coffee and listening to podcasts. Followed by breakfast with my sweet kiddos as we laugh and listen to music. As they play on the floor in the living room, I try to accomplish a few small tasks here and there that I had previously written down on my list for the day. Naps. A workout. And so on and so forth, and finally ending the night early, cuddled up with my husband as we are both present to either have a conversation or watch a television show together before bed.

Life is far from perfect. I am FAR from perfect. This week, has NOT been perfect. Believe me, there have been meltdowns, timeouts, tears, arguments, moments of binge eating handfuls of chocolate chips while hiding in a closet, I flooded the laundry room, I caught myself countless times getting caught up in the comparison game on social media... but there has also been Joy. So. Much. Joy. And I have been consciously choosing to focus on that. 

Am I cured? No. Have a fixed all my problems? No. But have I been trying my best to love my family and make them feel loved and heard? Absolutely. And I think that's pretty darn good. Small steps. Progress over perfection. 

Help Me! I'm Wasting My Own Time...

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Both kids are napping as I lay in bed, making my second round at Instagram & Facebook. As I mindlessly scroll, I think to myself "Why can't I ever seem to accomplish anything during the day?" Frustration & anxiety start to build, the pile of clothes that has been on my dresser for 2 weeks now begins to mock me and my stomach growling isn't helping matters.

I have just successfully wasted an hour of my life watching videos of the Kardashians (and I despise them), looking at random facts I didn't know about celebrity couples, trying to decide if it's "Yanny or Laurel" and the theories behind both, not to mention scrolling through hundreds of perfectly curated photos on Instagram that just make me feel even worse about my messy house & our lack of extra spending money. 

Are you starting to see any holes in my Life choices? 

I'm exhausted. I'm cranky. I'm gaining weight at a frightening speed because of laziness & stress eating. I'm resentful towards my husband for having a job and towards complete strangers who can make motherhood look easy & effortless. And to top it all off... I feel incredibly alone. And while I'm being real honest, just admitting this all out loud is making me want to crawl into a hole and power eat oreos. 

I stare at the monitor during nap time, wondering how much time I have before they both wake up, wasting time as I try to decide what task I should accomplish first before my time is up. Before I know it, the littlest one starts to stir, I start to feel the anger and frustration starting to bubble to the surface, because I just don't seem to ever have enough time. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. That is honestly how my week goes. 

Some days are honestly exhausting, but a lot of my pain and frustration is self inflicted. Phones are thieves, they steal so many hours, they steal moments away from my husband and kids, they steal my joy & confidence. And yet, I struggle putting it down. 

I’m going to start eating better. I’m going to start working out. I’m going to do more projects with the kids. I’m going to start a blog. I’m going to... I’m going to.... I’m going to.... look at my phone for hours and ignore everything I actually want to do in real life.
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Oh gosh, please tell me I'm not the only person who does this? Anyone? If you're nodding your head like a bobble head, let's make a plan. Let's put down the phone (yes, sorry, don't put the phone down just yet, if you're reading this on your phone...) & grab a pen and some paper and just start writing. Write down plans for the summer, dreams, goals, to do's, projects around the house, groceries you need to buy, dinners you want to try. Just dump everything in your head at this moment out on paper. Then color code it based on what it is... You can see how I did it in the photo. (if you can read my chicken scratch... yes I'm supposed to be good at handlettering, but I'm not that great at regular handwriting.) 

Now that we have our list, and we can keep adding things and crossing things off of this list, let's start trying to take steps to make these things happen. Maybe we make daily lists with small action steps for bigger items? For example, from my list, I realize that I have a lot of House projects I want to accomplish, mainly getting our stuff organized & Clean. We suffer from clutter. Mounds & mounds of clutter. So maybe my daily list will be...( 1. Clean off dining table. 2. Put away clothes on dresser. 3. Clean up art supplies in kitchen. 4. Put away Pack n play.) Four small tasks that will make a huge impact on my day. 

Okay, who's with me? Let's try to be more intentional, and maybe we will start to see more joy in our days, instead of the constant anxiety of never getting anything done. 

And this is my public cry for accountability. I'm going to hold myself to this, and if you need help being accountable, message me, comment on this, or just get in contact with me SOMEHOW and we will be in this together!