Anyone else hear about this new fad called “spring cleaning?” It’s where you clean stuff simply because the season has changed?  It’s all the rage in my house right now. We are pulling apart closets and cleaning in corners we didn’t even know we had. It all started because I was tired of my ugly wardrobe. I don’t know about you but I am kind of over selecting outfits based on their ability to camouflage snot stains and glitter.

Before kids if something didn’t fit I would just go buy something new. I didn’t worry about labels like, “machine washable,” or “dry clean only.”  I had plenty of stylish clothing to wear to work, out with friends and while lounging at home. Now, I can barely tell those outfits apart. So, I decided to spring clean my wardrobe.

I started by thinning out the clothes I could no longer wear based on size, location of stains and tatters. This left me with a sparse amount to work with, but I’m a creative mom! I can make toddlers believe terrible things will happen if they don’t eat their peas!

Next, I coordinated a few outfits to have at the ready for moments beyond the standard issue mom uniform (t-shirt, jeans and sneakers).  I waste so much time over thinking and rethinking an outfit before leaving the house. Having outfits I can just grab and go saves me from all that!

 

My sparse, but clean ensembles

My sparse, but clean ensembles

I layered accessories right on the hanger so I have a complete outfit.

Hang coordinated belts, scarves and necklaces with outfit

Hang coordinated belts, scarves and necklaces with outfit

When I finished, I realized my makeup bag could use a little rehab. I have some “vintage” pieces in there it was time to let go of.  I don’t have a lot of time for make-up, but there are days I want a casual look. My new dash out the door (can’t tell I didn’t sleep a wink) look consists of a tinted moisturizer with an SPF, cream eye shadow I smear on with my finger, mascara and lip balm. Kiss My Face Lip TreatMint is  the only lip balm I wear ever ! Feels great and the SPF covers me for play dates at the park!

Streamlined make up routine

Streamlined make up routine

After I cleaned everything up I realized my nails looked shabby too. It seems the mani/pedi is the first thing to get the boot when moms go on a budget. A friend of mine shared her secret for a one minute manicure- press on nails. I know sounds really tacky (no pun intended). But, not only did my husband think I spent big bucks on a manicure, I also got a lot of compliments from friends and strangers. These are great for date night, mom’s night, grocery shopping, or whatever. I don’t have to find time to get out to the salon. No dry time! No smudging!

Instant manicure- no baby sitter required!

Instant manicure- no baby sitter required!

Three and a half years into the mom gig and I realize how easy it is to get sucked into a wardrobe rut. It’s sad how little I’ve invested in my appearance due to time and feeling overwhelmed. Now I have a simple, clean wardrobe to select from and I gain a few extra minutes in my day with a simplified routine.

What does your mom routine look like? What are some tips for keeping your wardrobe current?

 

 

Me: “This week I’m writing about the reasons why we should have sex even though we’re so busy.

Husband: “Because it’s fun. Blog done.”

What else could I say?  The man had a point.  But after our stimulating conversation, I continued to think on it. After all, I had 300 to 500 words to write.

For me, fun isn’t always enough to combat the overwhelming business of life.  What I need is a whole host of whys that I can refer back to when I need motivation to get busy even though I’m busy.

So here goes…

“Why Busy Parents Should Have Sex: A Comprehensive List”

1. Because it’s fun (some of you may be able to stop here)

2. Your partner will be in a better mood.

3. You will be in a better mood.  (this magically makes your children seem easier to take care of and all around more lovable and cute.)

4. It counts as exercise (this is a helpful one if you’re like me and never get up to squeeze in an a.m. workout)

5. Chocolate tastes even better after you’ve done it.

6. You can enjoy G rated snuggle time afterwards (without anyone trying to grab your boobs)

7. Your stress will wash away for at least 5, maybe even 60, minutes.

8. You will be practicing mindfulness (nothing’s better than being in the moment)

9. You will remember your wild side.

10. It gives you a reason to change the sheets (Ew!  Gross, but true)

11.  It gives you a reason to take a shower.

12. You will most likely share a laugh with your partner either before, during, or after.  (What’s better than a laugh?)

13.  You will sleep better.

14. You will catch a glimpse of the couple you used to be, remember how far you’ve come, and you will love each other even more than you thought you ever could.  (Now granted this won’t happen during every little quickie you’re trying to fit in here and there, but it happens when you need it most. Sometimes you can  look into the eyes of the person you love, really look, and you will see the whole life you created together.)

Why do you make time to do it?  Add to my list!

 

 

 

 

 

Even the Discount Diva is not immune to spending binges during the holidays. In fact, it’s probably because I’m frugal by nature that I didn’t see some of the pitfalls of Easter spending coming. I totally discounted that I was not immune to the cuteness factor. If you have small kids, it’s easy to get swept up in the “magic” of the holidays and forget that all that “magic” comes with a price tag. Here are some tips to recover from your holiday spending hangover.

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1. Admit You Have A Problem – They say you can’t begin the process of recovery without first admitting that you have a problem. Though I was terrified to check my bank account the entire weekend for fear of seeing those awful red overdraft charges, I knew I couldn’t avoid it forever. Turns out my binge didn’t take us into the red (this time). So after you see the full extent of the damage, it’s time to refocus your budget and get back on track. Take a second to feel the full impact of your binge, but beating yourself up is counterproductive. Instead look for other ways to save money until your next paycheck comes in.

I instituted a No Unnecessary Spending Freeze in my household. That means that for the rest of the week my husband needs to bring his lunch and coffee to work in the morning and other than gas or groceries we don’t spend a dime until Friday. I’ve done these freezes before and although we aren’t always perfect at executing them, it definitely helps to get on the same page with your spouse. This is especially helpful in households like mine where one person tends to hold primary responsibility for paying the bills and tracking the spending.

2. Eat Those Leftovers – The thing that makes leftovers unappealing to almost everyone is the idea of having a rerun of the same meal (no matter how great the original meal was). Instead you need to look at leftovers as ingredients for new dishes that you would otherwise pay for at the store. If you cooked a big meal for Easter like I did you probably have tons of your main meat dish leftover (ham in my case). Meat is expensive at the store so before you throw it out, get creative in making new meals to use it up. Tonight it’ll be cheesy ham and rice casserole with leftover veggies and sour cream purchased for yesterday’s meal. For lunch today I’m thinking crumbled hard boiled egg over leftover salad and egg salad sandwiches for the kids. Even if you didn’t cook for the holiday, I bet you have some pretty colored eggs in your fridge. A quick internet search could yield tons of ideas to keep those leftovers out of the trash and keep more of your grocery money in your pocket.

3. Get A GREEN Easter Bunny – Gather all those plastic eggs, baskets, unused Easter grass, cute bunny ear headbands and the like and tuck them away for next year. At our house the kids know that we leave out our baskets for the Easter Bunny to fill, much like Santa does with stockings, so they don’t expect a new basket every year. This year, I tried to be even more practical since it was the first time I had to buy new baskets since the ones we’ve been using the past three years or so fell apart. The dollar store had great Easter pails we can use this summer or even next winter. Sand and snow are both fun for kids to shovel and scoop. Before you go shopping next year, pull out your Easter stash and assess what you have before you hit the store and you just may prevent a binge spending spree.

4. Get Dress Clothes For Less – I didn’t plan on buying snazzy new duds for the kids this Easter. That left my husband vulnerable to my daughter’s fashionista whining about not having a pretty new Easter dress. So he hit the store and bought my daughter two new dresses and my son a little suit with tie. I had to admit that when I saw how cute they were I couldn’t even be mad he spent $40 on just a few outfits they’re only going to wear a handful of times, if that. Had I planned better (this is my vow for next year) I would have begun scouring the thrift shops earlier to avoid falling prey to the high price of buying cute Easter outfits right before the holiday. While killing time before Good Friday Service we stopped in a thrift store in Pine Bush and found the cutest little suit and tie for my son. Let’s play a game, which suit in the photos below do you think was the one bought new and which was the one bought used.

Easter photo 3  Easter pic 1

If you can’t tell, that’s why you should buy used and save money on these special occasion outfits. If you don’t have younger children to pass these clothes down to next year, take them to the consignment shop and get store credit on new duds or get cash depending on what consignment store you use.

I wish you all a speedy recovery and here’s hoping next year’s holidays don’t hit our bank accounts quite so hard.

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Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays.  I don’t have to buy anyone presents, and it’s a reminder to appreciate the beauty of Earth and to stop taking it for granted.  The Hudson Valley is one of the most beautiful places on this Earth, and it’s our job to keep it so.  The best way to do that is to educate our children of the importance of taking care of our planet.  Thankfully, our community makes this pretty easy with several events going on in the next week.  Earth Day is officially April 22nd, but don’t limit yourself to just one day- get crazy and live like it’s Earth Day everyday!

 

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1. Greater Ossining Earth Day Festival will be held April 19th from 11-4 at the Louis Engle Waterfront Park.  They will have free family events, green vendors, craft beer, and live music.  They will also be hosting an athletic gear swap so if your child has switched sports bring that old gear and trade it for what you need.  Have e-waste?  Bring it and they will teach you how to repair, repurpose or recycle it.  They will also be collecting e-waste for recycle.  Restrictions apply so be sure to check their site.

 

2. Earth Day at Bear Mountain will be April 26th from 10-4:30 and will be featuring family friendly fun with an Earth Day focus in addition to their regular activities including making a special snack for the bears. $8 per vehicle

 

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3. Hudson Highlands Nature Museum will be hosting an Earth Day celebration on April 26th from 10-3 at the Outdoor Discovery Center.  The day will begin with a hike at 9 am.  There will be several hikes to chose from to meet different abilities from a stroller friendly hike to a hike for the more experienced.  Then the children will receive a planet protector passport to be stamped at each booth and be entered to win a prize.  There will also be nature play, story telling, and music.  The day is free with a suggested donation of $5 to park which will be donated to support environmental education.

 

4. New Paltz will be hosting their own Earth Day fair on April 27th from 11-3 at the New Paltz Reformed Church.  They will have family friendly displays, activities, food and music.

 

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5. Usher in Earth Day with the Lyrid Meteor Shower taking place currently and will peak the morning of Earth Day, April 22nd at or before 5am with a minimum of 15-20 meteors per hour.  It goes against everything I believe in but wake up those kids, grab a few blankets, and enjoy in your own backyard.  Obviously the darker the sky the better which might inspire you to join the Dark Sky Movement and reduce your own light pollution.

 

6. Disney Nature’s movie Bear comes out on Friday.  See this movie in its opening week (18th-24th) and Disney will donate a portion of ticket sales to the National Park Foundation.

 

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7. Earth Day is super easy to celebrate with your kids.  Talk about the importance of taking care of our planet, read a book about it, check out kid friendly apps and websites, and then get out there.  Take a walk and on your way pick up some litter.  Don’t forget your reusable bags every time you go shopping.  Turn off those lights when not in use.  Role modeling is the most effective with our kids so be sure to set that good example.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend in our very own Hudson Valley!  Happy Earth Day!

Our sunny funny photo booth

Our sunny funny photo booth

I wanted to do something really fun for the girls Easter pics this year. Short on time and money for a professional photographer, I decided to create my own funny bunny photo booth. But once I made the booth it was too cute to keep to ourselves. So, we invited a few friends for an impromptu bunny bash. Luckily, my very awesome (and talented) friend Danielle brought her fancy camera along to get some great pics of our little party goers.  A total bonus!

Our photographer Danielle and her daughter Sydney

Our photographer Danielle and her daughter Sydney

I selected a fun background to give our photo booth a casual feel. I used a chevron designed wrapping paper taped to an extra piece of paneling we had lying around. You could tape it to your wall, but hanging the paper on the wall is a two person job and I am a one mom operation. Using the panel was easier and allowed me to hide the back drop so I could surprise the girls in the a.m.

Use painters tape to keep wrapping paper in place

Use painters tape to keep wrapping paper in place

I strung a line of foam shaped chicks across the patterned paper. I simply taped some twine to the back of each chick. You could easily skip the paper and just hang a string of fun themed shapes to a clean colorful wall inside your home. Or, move outside and hang the shapes along a fence, around a tree, or on the side of your house.

Tape foam shapes to a piece of twine for an easy garland

Tape foam shapes to a piece of twine for an easy garland

This time of year you can find bunny ears at every dollar store- a must have for a funny bunny photo booth!

Bunny ears from Target

Bunny ears from Target

To make a bunny face I used a wooden mustache prop I found at Michael’s.  I added a fuzzy pom-pom nose and some colorful pipe cleaner whiskers for a touch of whimsy. I tried to use Elmer’s glue, but the hot glue gun worked the best.  Of course I had to add in some recognizable bunny teeth. I used white craft foam with adhesive backing and attached directly to the mustache.

Easy to make props

Easy to make props

I situated our photo booth in the sunniest spot of our house. Natural lighting makes for the best photos! Then, we handed the kids the props and let them have fun! I wasn’t worried about them posing angelically; I was just shooting for nobody crying. My goal was to make some fun memories with our friends. Mission accomplished! How cute are these kids?

Friends posing as bunnies

Friends posing as bunnies

Bunny buddy

Bunny buddy

Little bunny

Little bunny

For less than $10 I now have some fun pics to commemorate our Easter holiday. I can print as many photos as I’d like and email copies to distant relatives (thank you Danielle!).

A themed photo booth is a great alternative for kids who are afraid of the Easter bunny, or maybe too little to meet the EB yet. It’s also an easy, affordable, fun activity to do for birthday parties, play dates, or holidays. Just change up your props!

 

 

When Sara was 4 she contracted encephalitis. After a major illness like this you can expect delays and health issues. Some residual problems were more of a surprise than others. Sara takes medication that help with her seizure disorder with the unwanted side effect of altering the way her food tastes. If we change a medications we often change her likes or dislikes of a particular food. Sara would LOVE baked Ziti in December, in January, after a medication change she might not.The next eating challenge she has is with her medical device, a Vagus Nerve Stimulator. It is a small pacemaker like device that sends a signal up to her Vagus Nerve in the brain, helping with seizure control. This signal then travels down through her bariatric system causing many of the food issues we now have. This signal will make Sara feel full or giver her indigestion. The device has settings which the doctor will increase over time. When the gastro-intestinal side effects started getting worse our doctor and our family thought we should hold off any increases in the Vagus Nerve Stimulator settings. Slowly we have been able to increase the setting on Sara’s device and slowly we have seen an improvement in her appetite. This can be rough on a Mom, the one who takes care of the family. Feeding difficulties are real issues for many families with or without children with special needs. Once I adjusted to the new challenge, breathed, and accepted that this would be one of the difficulties of the new device, I was able to focus on things that help Sara at 25 eat more, eat healthier, and gain improved health.

 

Sara is a social eater. She loves people, inviting friends over for lunch always helps her eat more. When we dine out buffets and salad bars are a great choice. There is no waiting, Sara can find foods that appeal to her visually. Sadly, it is fine to serve Sara the same thing over and over again. If she is not in the mood for a vegetable, sliced strawberries and bananas make a great dinner side dish, not just for breakfast. Feeding Sara before she is hungry helps. If she helps cook the meal it tastes better. Get some substitute cooks. Sara will not complain to friends or other family members about what they cook as easily as she can complain to Mom. When Sara’s Dad started making breakfast into animal shapes there was a huge increase in her interest in breakfast.

 

 

 

 

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When the going gets tough, the tough get help. I was lucky to attend a feeding conference presented by Ingrid Lucas of Lucas Speech Pathology in Warwick. She can offer advice that would apply directly to your family member. If your child receives special education services you might benefit from a feeding evaluation from your child’s speech teacher. Many students who have Autism need more than just the evaluation, many schools have speech therapists that are certified in feeding therapy .For more information about the services at Lucas Speech Pathology go to

http://www.lucasspeechpathology.com/

 

For more information about the Vagus Nerve Stimulator try http://us.cyberonics.com/en/vns-therapy/ .

 

Good luck, hope your family is eating healthier in no time. Lisa Bock

 

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How do we find the time to do it, Moms? And yes, I mean “Do It,” as in, “Have Sex.”

Once we’ve successfully figured out how to hit on our husbands when are we supposed to do this thing that created our children, the thing that we would actually enjoy if we stopped thinking about the grocery list while we were unzipping our jeans?  (You know you’ve done that at least once)

The most logical time, and possibly the most popular time among us parents, is after the children go to bed.  The kids are down for the count, you’ve got a good two hours before you’re turning in, why not spend it rolling in the hay?

Well, because five minutes in, someone calls for a drink of water, and then a hug, and then you realize you forgot to feed the dog and you can’t concentrate until you do, then since your downstairs anyway, you run to the basement to throw the wet clothes into the dryer so they don’t need to be rewashed, AGAIN, and then by the time you get back to your bedroom your spouse is passed out with one arm in the tee shirt and one arm out… and secretly you’re a little relived because now you can binge watch your favorite Netflix series.

How about the morning?  I know someone who always made time for lovin’ in the a.m. She called it “Set it to Get it.”  She would set her alarm a half an hour early and start her day with a bang. In college this was cool because we didn’t get out of bed until at least 10am, but in the grown-up world, Set it to Get it means 5am sex, maybe even earlier.  This is not for me.  I find it painful to even speak to anyone before coffee.

I watched an interview with a famous mom who was dedicated to co-sleeping.  She insisted that co-sleeping helped her sex life because her and her husband became more adventurous by doing it in strange places around the house.  First of all, she probably had a live-in nanny, so we can ignore any of her parenting and/or marriage advice.  But in the interest of being fair,  if you are a mom who chooses to co-sleep, please tell me she was lying.  If not, I’ll have to consider starting a new trend; I can see the headline now. “Co-Sleeping with your Middle Years Children Will Improve Your Sex Life.”

Let’s face it Mamas, we’re tired and constantly surrounded by people under four feet tall, so the when is always going to be tricky.  I think the key is to focus on the why.  Why is getting busy, even when we’re so busy, important?

Tune in next week.

 

I always tout the benefits of a budget, but I’ve been thinking that what I’m doing is more like frantic tracking. I’m more or less trying to track our money and spend it on needs before the wants devour it all. I like metaphors so I’ll use a boat.

I have a vessel I want to sail us to our goal – debt free island, but I find myself plugging more holes that doing actual steering. I’m careful to steer around the big ship sinkers, but anyone who’s struggling with finances knows that it’s those little rocks that cause all the little leaks that have you constantly in repair mode. That’s how I feel; fix, correct, repair, repeat. I am the nagging wife telling my husband to quit frequenting the ATM like it’s giving out free lottery money, or buying fishing gear when we have bills that have yet to be paid. Some small budget busters I’ve slowly overcome and others are still a struggle. So here’s my lists of what I’ve learned to get free, cheap or do without and what I’m still struggling with.

Things I no longer buy:

1. Paper products with the exception of toilet paper. I have a dishwasher so I get the lure of not having to wash dishes, but unless I’m throwing anything larger than a 10 person dinner party I use real dishes, cups and utensils. I use sponges, dish towels and rags for cleaning. I use cloth napkins and they don’t take much extra room in the washing machine. Oh and possibly the biggest mess saver of all – mandatory hand-washing after meals before my kids touch furniture or anything else with dirty hands.

2. Hand soap – I use dish soap instead. No difference except the cost in my opinion.

3. Vitamins – Kids’ prescriptions and prenatal vitamins are free at ShopRite pharmacy. So my kids complain when their friends have gummy vitamins in super hero shapes, I’m still not paying $12 a bottle for vitamins when I can get them for free. For the record I have been doing prescription vitamins for a long time, but I switched the prescription to ShopRite so I no longer have to pay a co-pay.

4. Commercial cleaners. Baking soda, vinegar and a little dish soap clean almost anything.  I have a steam mop with a washable pad for my floors. I like having less chemicals in my house with little kids anyway.

5. Expensive makeup, hair dye and primping products. I know some women can’t live without these little goodies, but it’s amazing the wonders not caring what everyone thinks about your appearance does for both self esteem and the wallet. I say this even as someone with pregnancy induced acne right now. It occurs to me I should be slathering on the coverup like I did when I was pregnant with my daughter Hannah, but it usually makes my skin worse and usually only makes me think about my skin more, not less. This time I just feel like well if this is the price of having my daughter growing in me, then let it be a sign that I’m lucky because I know there are other women who would gladly pay this price for a child.

6. A cell phone. Yes I realize I’m probably the only person on the planet without one, but I’m ok with that. I’m usually home or a handful of places and honestly I think we’ve all forgotten how nice it is not to be reached about pointless stuff 24 hours a day. I remember a time when nobody answered a phone in a public restroom, when lunch dates didn’t consist of two people texting people that were not in the same room while ignoring the people with them, and not receiving notifications every time someone you kinda sorta know messages you on Facebook. It occasionally drives my husband nuts, but I don’t miss having a high cell phone bill either. He has a pre-paid cell phone which costs $49 a month.

The Leaks I NEED to Plug:

1. Eating out. I like to be able to eat out a couple times a month for my sanity. I try to use coupons when I can, but this still takes a good bite out of my budget.

2. Fast food. It’s easy to fall prey when you’re out with the kids, but all those hamburgers, fries or cups of coffee at the drive thru actually account for more than $100 each month that we don’t need to spend. That makes me feel sick in more ways than one.

3. ATM fees. This one is ALL my husband who loves having “fun money” in his pocket at all times. Here’s the problem- all those $2 and yes sometimes $3.50 fees add up. I have a credit union in Orange County, which is far for us so cash is not king in our household. I have an Emergency Fund in a bank nearby, but we don’t touch it. Whoever said you spend less money when paying with cash never met my husband. He has no emotional attachment to it whatsoever.

4. Entertainment – I try to limit it, but it’s still nice to take the kids to do fun activities and I can’t begrudge my husband all spending on his hobbies.

What budget leaks do you deal with every month? What have you learned to do without. Maybe we can inspire each other to stay the course.

 

Last night I didn’t sleep very well. I’m sure many of you know the feeling.

The next morning I contemplated playing hooky. “Do what is best for you,” said my husband as her hovered over me.

What is best for me? Not sure, but then I remembered that I was speaking at a PTA parent group at 10, so I’d better get moving.

I walked around the apartment thinking about the best parenting advice I could share. After all, I am a mom of two grown sons and a grandmother to 8-year-old Lia and 11-year-old Robert. And then I spotted the Pet Rock that my youngest son made for my mom.

(For those of you not familiar with Pet Rocks, they were developed in the 70s. It was a gift you gave, that does not need to be fed, walked, bathed or groomed.)

ImageI found my mom’s Pet Rock when we were cleaning out her apartment after she died. She moved several times and Eliot’s Pet Rock always held a place of honor. Eliot had to be about seven or eight when he created his masterpiece.

For Eliot’s 41st birthday, I asked him want he wanted. “Shoot some photos of where we were brought up,” he suggested. So there I went with my trusty Flip camera walking our Monroe neighborhood, shooting what ending up looking like the Goldstein version of the Blair Witch Project. The videos are not blockbusters, getting about 100 views, but my son was thrilled.

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So now I realize that the first thing I would share with the PTA moms is that sometimes it’s the simple things you do with your kids that last a lifetime. Has nothing to do with money or time. It’s that special moment of sharing.

Then I skip ahead ten years. My son was a member of a group that ran for county offices, like judges and the county executive. The video he created caused an uproar among adults but the kids loved it, and got voted into office. Like bad boys we were called into the principal’s office where we were told that Eliot could not take the judgeship for the day.

My husband and I turned to my son and asked him what he would like to do. Regardless of what he decided, we would support him.\

This lead to me sharing my second piece of advice: as parents it is our role to support our kids so they feel comfortable standing up for themselves. Or in situations where they cannot stand up for themselves, we have to be strong advocates for them.

You may wonder, ‘What has this to do with the Common Core Uproar?’

For some parents fighting the common core battle is their way of standing up for their kids and that’s their right. But for me, it is the small acts we do all the time that help our kids grow up to be strong individuals who love life and enjoy learning no matter how old they are.

I have mentioned before that I am not athletic or competitive, so you might be surprised to learn that I have signed up for a Spartan Race- (go ahead and click on this and just listen to the intro-insanity)- one of those ridiculous races with barbed wire to crawl under, fire to jump over, and walls to climb.  What business do I have to do this race you ask?  None really, except I have a very convincing and competitive friend who caught me at a weak moment.  She asked me to join her team with six other women to compete in the race and since I was in the middle of a self help book encouraging me to say yes to everything in attempts to bring more happiness into my life,  I was obliged to say yes.

 

Since we are all mothers, meeting up and working out are not really options, many of us running on the treadmill in the basement after the kids are in bed.  There were a few teammates that I had not even met, and the race is closing in on us.  So, in order to face a fear of heights, get some climbing practice in and get together with the team, we planned a girl’s night.  However, this was not your typical girl’s night- drinks were involved but not until after spending much of the evening rock climbing.  Yes, rock climbing.

 

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Photo Credit: The Inner Wall

 

The Inner Wall is an indoor rock climbing facility in New Paltz.  None of us had ever rock climbed before and that was ok.  We were set up with two instructors who taught us all we needed to know to climb the wall and to belay for one another. (Belay- vb. to be attached to the other end of the climber’s rope  making you solely in charge of their safety and essentially their life.)  A pretty good lesson in building team trust if there ever was one.  After we learned the basics, we were set free to climb away.  It was scary and fun and exhilarating all at once.  For a moment, I really thought this could be my thing… then I looked down and immediately ruled that out.  But, I was tremendously proud of myself for having the tenacity to conquer my fear and the physical capability to make it to the top.  I was warned but was surprised nonetheless at how sore I was the next day and in places I never even knew I had muscles.

 

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We did this as a girl’s night, but it’s also a really great place for kids.  In fact, we have plans to return with our kids in the near future.  The Inner Wall has had kids as young as two climb, but I will start with my five year old.  She was the most impressed with my new skill and immediately begged to go after seeing my pictures.  Inner Wall has different levels of climbing walls from beginner to advanced.  They host birthday parties, scout programs, summer camps, and after school programs.  The staff was friendly and extremely focused on safety taking the time to teach us everything we needed to know to be safe.  We got a group rate which included the instruction, equipment, and three hours of climbing for $28 a person.  However, they have several different options so check out their website to see what is the best fit for you.

 

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The Team!

 

If you have an adventurous and/or energetic kid (and whose kid isn’t energetic?), I would definitely add this to your list of spring break stay-cation activities.

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