Fitness Friday: Christmas Edition

First thing first on this weekly Friday post…. Merry Christmas (if you celebrate).

As I wrote about a few weeks ago my Christmas Traditions start on Christmas Eve- dinner with my parents, church, watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Christmas morning is opening presents and breakfast with my parents, than Christmas night is spent celebrating my nephews birthday. I still have 2 more days of family get togethers, but its weird that it hasn’t felt like Christmas. I blame the weather since it’s been in the 50s and 60s in upstate NY for the majority of December. I have gone through the motions of getting & wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music, but it’s not the same when there isn’t a white Christmas. It also different as my youngest brother is serving in the Army and hasn’t been home for Christmas in 3 years. It’s weird to write about how much I want all of my brothers to be around seeing as my brothers would often tease me relentlessly when I was younger, leave me out of things, and were just being brothers who didn’t want anything to do with their sister. But when it comes down to it, all of my brothers make my family whole, and with one of them away for the holidays the puzzle is missing a piece. If all goes as planned, the puzzle will be complete next year.

As for a more personal side versus general family dynamics, Christmas may be losing its spirit to me some because I am getting older and do not have children of my own to watch their faces light up when they see ‘Santa’ came and they receive something they have asked for. I received great practical gifts this year, so I have nothing to complain about on that aspect, but the one thing I would like to receive between now and next Christmas would be a relationship. I haven’t talked about my relationship status much here, but I have been single for over 3 years, and being completely honest, seeing all of my brothers in a relationship makes me want to be in one as well. Everyone tells me it will come in time, when I am least expecting it, etc and some days I am ok with waiting, and other days I can’t help but wonder when or if it will happen. I see my brothers have children, and I know that someday I want some of my own. I see the companionship and friendship my brothers have with their significant others and I can’t help but want that too. So that is my Christmas wish for 2016….all I can do is wait and hope.

On another note….back to my regularly scheduled post about fitness related topics.

As I mentioned last week, I am recovering from a sprained ankle. It is doing MUCH better, still not 100%, but I am walking on it fairly normal now with occasional stiffness. My workouts this week were still mostly upper body. Since I am not the greatest of coming up with workout routines on my own I decided to start Jillian Michaels Body Revolution back at week 1 with the idea that it wouldn’t be as difficult as week 11, and I would improvise as necessary if it bothered my ankle. It was surprising how much I was able to do, I only ended up having to slow down or skip some cardio intervals, and I couldn’t quite flex my ankle for lunges but I worked out all but one day this week and I was able to get into a pool this week. I did some ‘aqua jogging’ it felt good to feel like I was running, even though it is definitely more difficult in the water! I figured the water would be good therapy for my ankle, and it was until the end when I forgot about my ankle and went to kick for momentum and tweaked my ankle a bit… oops! So I had to ice my ankle  for longer than I had the last few days. Thankfully the next morning my ankle felt better, but I have decided to keep my ankle wrapped for at least a few more days to make sure it heals as best it can because I do not want to re-injure it and have it impact my 2016 running goals.

As I reflect back on my year I haven’t decided whether to continue with the fitness fridays, though it has kept my on track to write at least 1 post a week,but with my domain name expiring in less than 60 days I need to decide whether to continue with my blog. I feel confident in saying that I know of a handful of people who enjoy reading my blog, but I wonder if there may be a more efficient way to share my life with my ‘biggest fans’. I would appreciate any feedback from you.

“Take chances, take a lot of them. Because honestly, no matter where you end up and with whom, it always ends up just the way it should be. Your mistakes make you who you are. You learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel, always. Be you, and be OK with that”

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Christmas Decorations

Since my vacation I have been trying to play catch up on life, but also getting things in order for Christmas. Last weekend I had something going on every day –swim meets, volunteering at my church and organizing a program for freshman students at the college I work at. Despite all of that, I used every minute of free time to get into the Christmas spirit.

My first task of the week was to buy enough baking supplies to make cookies and goodies for various parties and events I have coming up in the next few weeks. I had never noticed how quickly chocolate chips, M&Ms, sugar and hershey’s kisses can be expensive!  I am looking forward to finally trying some of the recipes I have collected.

My first batch of baking consisted of a Healthy Lemon Greek Yogurt Loaf  and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies for the program I had at work. I had organized a community service project to make Christmas Cards for Soldiers overseas. We selected a unit from Anysolider.com that specifically asked for Christmas items. In about 3 hours, 6 of us made nearly 50 cards. It was nice to create something to send to someone in hopes that it would brighten their holidays. I left feeling very proud of the first year students I work with, and it inspired me to go home and starting working on my personal Christmas cards to friends and family.

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Since the unit we selected had 100 soldiers, I was am grateful that my mom was able to have her middle school students make the remaining 50 cards. It worked out perfectly and I could not have been more proud of organizing this.  In the package we sent to the troops we also included candy canes, paper snowflakes and some chewy caramels. “Christmas Spirit is about giving without the thought of getting”. I would like to continue to send cards to troops in the coming years, and maybe turn it into a tradition.

 

I also put up my Christmas tree and decorations last weekend. Living in an apartment I do not have a lot of decorations, so it usually only takes me a little over an hour to get everything out. My decorations consist of an artificial tree (due to allergies) some garland and a stocking that my mom made me. The decorations on my tree include ornaments from my childhood that my mom has passed on for me to have, ornaments that I have bought for myself that remind me of my travels, represent my hobbies, or have a sentimental significance.

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Inside my apartment I also set up my nativity scene, and hang garland and mistletoe on an archway where I also hang any Christmas cards I receive. It’s pretty simple, but it suits me.
Do you decorate for the holidays? Do you have a special ornament that has been passed down.  I’d love to hear about your decorations.

 

Christmas Traditions

It is December already, which means many holidays to celebrate. I celebrate Christmas and as a way to help me write more, I came across some daily writing prompts and this month they focus on Traditions. I know realistically I won’t be able to post daily so I am going to combine a couple prompts every few days.

Tradition is defined as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way or “ a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on in this way”

What traditions do you look forward to at the end of the year?

Christmas Eve and Christmas morning have the most traditions for me. Growing up I remember going to mass on Christmas Eve, not midnight mass, having pasta for dinner. Starting when I was about 9 my parents allowed us to open one gift that had arrived early from a relative or a gift from one of my siblings (which we would get from the dollar store thanks to my Dad). Then we set out the milk, cookies and a note to Santa, and I believe my Dad would read us ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and were off to bed.

The next morning it was a competition to see who would wake up the earliest to sneak downstairs and see all the presents that had arrived. My brothers and I would usually wake up around 5, but were only allowed to open our stockings until our parents woke up. Sometimes our excitement and chatter would wake them up a lot earlier than they liked! Christmas morning also included my mom making a nice big breakfast that varied to be served either before or after presents depending on how hungry we were.

Speaking of presents, since there are 6 people in my immediate family, we would take turns opening gifts in the order of oldest to youngest or vice versa. This allowed us to take our time with gift giving and enabled us to see what each other received. Plus we were able to see the reactions when someone opened the gift from each other. After we opened gifts the afternoon was always spent lounging around, playing with our new toys or video games or watching our new movies. Then we would have a nice Christmas dinner.

Since my brothers and I have all moved out of our parents house, our tradition is a little different now especially because 2 of my brothers do not live close by and my 3rd brother has his own family to create memories with. Now, I usually host my parents on Christmas Eve for pasta, then we go to mass together. On Christmas morning I will go to my parents house and exchange gifts with them and have breakfast, then we will go to my brother’s house for dinner and to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. Christmas is so much more exciting to see the joy it brings to a young child. My oldest brother will come home either the weekend before or after Christmas to exchange gifts, and my youngest brother is currently serving in the Army so this will be his 4th Christmas away from home. I am looking forward to next year when we will all be together again.

These traditions help to know what is going on when trying to coordinate various Christmas events and activities with extended family members. The time I spend with family is something I value more with each year and am glad I still live close to my parents so I don’t have to stress about traveling.
If you have children, what traditions are you trying to instill in them? If you don’t have children, what is a tradition someone passed along to you?

I don’t have children, just nieces and a nephew, but a tradition that I value is spending time with those who mean the most to you and remembering what Christmas is really about-giving and faith. I feel that is the core of what has been passed down to me. Even though I am not always very good at going to Church throughout the year, I always make a point of going for Christmas along with set out my Nativity scene.

When I do have children I imagine new traditions will form, whether its reading ‘The Night Before Christmas” or maybe “A Christmas Carol”, making Christmas cookies, driving around to see Christmas lights or decorating the Christmas Tree as a family, but I also plan to continue the traditions above as much as I can.

 

I’d love to hear from you……What are some of your traditions?