Finding Time and Motivation to Focus on Me

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

2016 is a big year in our household. My oldest son will not only officially become a teenager, he will also have his Bar Mitzvah in the fall. A few months later, I will turn the big 4-0. One of the items I am working on is making more time to focus on myself, specifically my health.

 Finding time and motivation with Fitbit

The winter was long and I have been looking for something to motivate me to get moving more. While my diet may not be horrible, I know I need healthy lifestyle changes. These include more sleep thanks to insomnia kicking me in the rear. I also need to drink more water. Fluids will help with my headaches and much more. The biggest issue for me is not moving enough. I know I need to get up and move more than I do, but the cold did not motivate me all winter. With sedentary hobbies like reading, crocheting, and working at home in front of a computer, I need reminders to move.

Enter the arrival of a Fitbit Charge HR – Heart Rate and Activity Wristband from Verizon. I could not get my Charge to charge fast enough to get started. While it was getting ready, I set up my phone. I installed the Fitbit app and checked out some features that were new since I had a Fitbit Zip a long time ago. I immediately noticed my steps, heart rate, hourly activity (250+ steps each hour during the day), distance, calories burned, sleep (or lack of sleep), stair case floors traveled, active minutes, exercise tracker, place to add a food plan, and water tracker. There is more, but these immediately caught my eye and I went to fill up my 32 ounce bottle of water.

Even though I didn’t have a full first day, I wanted to test things out. I was curious how it would track walks, monitor my heart rate when resting, and more. The first evening, JSL brought his scooter out with me for a walk. Keeping up with my kiddo was motivating even when my feet were complaining a bit.

Walking with my kiddo

Over the weekend, I had a chance to get to know the Charge a bit more. When we took the kids to the park and the boys were playing, I headed off on my own walk. It was a beautiful and breezy day. It was perfect for wandering around the walking paths to check out the views.

Walking at the park just because

For my first full week day with the Charge, I tried something different. After the boys were in school I went for a walk. It was still cool outside and it gave me time to think. I grabbed my phone, Bluetooth headset, and was ready to go. The night before, I put some extra music on my phone and made sure a new audio book was ready in case I was more in a mood for a tale.

Ready for my walk thanks to tech goodies

What I noticed was that I walked faster and was less worried about time in the morning. I knew I could go as far or for as long as I wanted. The laundry would still be waiting for me when I got back and I had hours before the kids had to be picked up at school. After my walk, I actually decided to do some laundry. This is where I was able to see how the Fitbit Charge tracks stairs. By the time I had to pick up the kids, I had gone up 11 floors and still had more clothes to finish drying.

Later in the day, I figured out how to track my exercise. The GPS on my phone works with the Fitbit app to map out my route. Then, when I am finished, it gives me the total distance traveled, average beats per minute of my heart rate, and pace. This has been great to watch as my walks grow in length and my pace picks up. I still have to get to know more about my Fitbit Charge HR, but so far it has motivated me to get up, get outside, and do more activities with the kids. With time, I look forward to adding friends for more challenges as well.

If you have a Fitbit, what do you suggest that I check out next?

It's Me
Disclosure
: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive cool goodies like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Fitbit Charge HR to test out and share ways that I use them in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Finding the Right Cruise

Last summer, we went on our first cruise. We booked it rather late and simply did not over think things.

Finding the Right Cruise

Fast forward to almost a year later. Both of our boys were bit by the cruise bug. They loved the activities for kids, swimming, relaxing, and food. We all had fun and never had to think too much once we were on the ship.

NHL really wants to go on a cruise for his Bar Mitzvah. He does not want a party and would like to go away. I am over thinking everything and there are very few options in times that work for us. School and the actual Bar Mitzvah complicate things. In addition to this, there are not a lot of cruises out of the New York City area.

So what are we looking for? Here are are a few things:

  • Family friendly cabins – We need a room that sleeps all four of us. Last summer, we learned how to make a very small space work and know we will be fine.
  • Kid and teen activities – The boys really enjoyed the kids club on our first cruise. Things will be different this time. On most ships, NHL will be considered a teen (whether he’s 12 or actually 13 when we sail). We need to make sure the cruise line we select has options for both of the boys to be happy. This also means that they must be autism friendly.
  • Sensitive to kids with special needs – From start to finish, our last cruise worked with us carefully to help NHL not to be anxious and potentially ruin the cruise experience. We told them he was autistic and they helped us to get on board in the least hectic manner. In addition to this, the kids club was aware and knew how to get to us if there was an emergency. As a teen, I still need to make sure that NHL has options that are age appropriate, but has supports that he may need.
  • Flexible dining times and options – Selecting a dining time is hard when on a vacation. With our first cruise, we were able to go to one of three dining rooms and a buffet any evening. We did not have a set time to eat. This allowed us to swim late, get dressed for dinner, and make shows at the early time for the kids to enjoy. We also found out that we enjoyed a sit down breakfast that looked out on the water over the hectic seating options found by the buffet.
  • No required formal nights – While we dressed up for dinner, we were not in formal attire. TechyDad did not bring a sports jacket, and the boys wore dressy shorts and polo shirts. This is our style and we don’t want to be forced into something more.
  • Seven day itinerary – While open to options, we really enjoyed our week long cruise. We had just the right amount of time on board to do many things and at the end we were ready to go home to larger quarters at night.
  • Different itinerary – Our first cruise went from New York City to Orlando. After a day in Florida (we went to Kennedy Space Center), we were on the cruise lines private island in the Bahamas. The last stop before heading back up the east coast was Nassau. While we enjoyed most of our ports, it would be nice to do something different. We’re not fussy and would consider a different Eastern Caribbean,  Bermuda, or Canadian option. If we can find nice air fare, leaving outside of New York City is a possibility that would certainly open up more ships. There are a lot of options up and down the east coast to look at, but New York City is still the most convenient for us.
  • Family fun – Our first cruise experience was on an older and what many would now consider a smaller ship. This meant that it did not have a fancy water area and only had a small waterslide. It would be fantastic to have something with more water fun space, a mini golf option, and family friendly night time entertainment. Our boys adored the shows we went to on all but one evening. This is a must since it is something we can all enjoy together.

Now that we are no longer cruise virgins, we have some things that we hope for on our next getaway. While we enjoyed our last experience on a specific cruise line, we are happy to explore all options. It certainly can not hurt to check out other cruise lines and ships. Our first ship was big to us, but most newer ones are much larger.

Our First Cruise

If you enjoy cruise travel, what are your musts? Do you have any suggestions for cruising with a nine and almost thirteen year old?

It's Me

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Distance

Distance, that’s what separates many families from one another. Family is Forever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is nothing new to me, but right now it seems very different. For my entire life, part of my extended family has lived in California while we are here in New York. Over the years, we have missed many things being across the United States from my aunt, uncle, and cousins. We would see each other most summers when they would come and visit my Nana and Papa. I also recall our trek to California for Cousin M’s Bat Mitzvah.

As we got older, got married, and started our own families, we have connected more online than in person. I have missed several weddings and births because of distance. We have not met my cousin’s children yet, but the boys know who they are. We all gather around the computer to see photos of J, I, E, and A as they grow up. It’s bitter sweet watching everyone grow up from a distance.

Distance also gets in the way during times when you want to be there to hug, support, and help family in a time when they need it. That time is happening right now and it sucks. There are no words. I simply wish I was with my family in California because I feel helpless sitting here in New York.

Since I am unable to be there, I am trying to recall memories from over the years. Moments captured in my head and in photos. Times where we celebrated, laughed, and enjoyed our time together. My hope is that these things helping me now will help my California family in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

I will simply say that cancer sucks and so does distance.

It's Me

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Passover 2016 Wishes

Passover Wishes

Passover begins this evening at sundown. As we welcome in Shabbat, our family will be gathering together for the first Seder. It’s a special time to be with extended family from all around to retell the story of our ancestors of long ago.

TechyDad and I have shopped over the last few weeks and have most of the things that we will need. We have matzah and other staples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We stocked up on quinoa and have plenty of fruits and veggies. We also purchased some things to try baking our own Pesach goodies in addition to the delicious banana sponge cake that TechyDad makes. The boys are off for all of Passover since our Spring Break is very late this year. If the weather cooperates, we can pack up Passover picnics and head to the park to enjoy.

I leave you with two new Passover videos that are new this year. This seems to be a tradition of many groups this time of year and we enjoy their creativity. The first one is by Y-Studs A Cappella called Passover to a familiar tune.

The second video is from Six13 called G-d Split the Ocean.

To all those celebrating with their families, Chag Pesach Sameach.

It's Me

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