One of my favorite ways to stay active is to play games with my children. I have three between the ages of 3 and 7, and they are running around constantly. The more they run, the more they seem to want company -- "Mommy, Daddy, come play with me!"
It's music to my ears, really.
For today's Fit Mommy Friday tip, I give you another no-brainer. Try to channel your inner kindergartner and play outdoor games with your children. Here are a few to try.
Tag and Freeze Tag: One of the best ways to get running with your kids is to chase them or be chased. In the game of tag, one player is "it". He chases the other players trying to touch them. As soon as he catches one, the caught person becomes "it." In freeze tag, the tagger touches people to freeze them. Tagged players must stand perfectly still. They can only be unfrozen by another player crawling through their legs or running in a circle around them. The goal is to "freeze" all the players but one. Whoever is the last person left unfrozen becomes "it."
Blast Off: This is a great game to play with a playground ball and lots of room to run. The person with the ball gets ready to throw it while the other players stand in a circle around her. Everybody counts: 5-4-3-2-1, Blast off! She throws the ball as high as she can straight up into the air and calls out a name of one of the players. Everyone but the person whose name was called runs as far away as they can get. The child whose name was called tries to catch the ball. If they do: they automatically win. If not, they get it and call out, "1-2-3 STOP!" Everybody freezes. The person with the ball then has five giant steps toward the closest person. If they can throw the ball and hit that person, they get to be in the middle and the ball gets thrown up in the air again. If they can't, they are out. The last person remaining wins.
Monkey Races: We play this game at the playground. Essentially, it is an obstacle course race on the playground equipment. We call it monkey races because it always starts with a side-by-side race on the monkey bars. What a workout for Mommy! (I don't mind telling you that I usually lose to my 7 year old.) Set up the course, ready, set, go! There's nothing like winning to make any game irresistible.
And now, for a different sort of Tag -- one that doesn't work up quite as much of a sweat!
My bloggy friend Melissa at Green Girl in Wisconsin tagged me the other day to participate in a meme called "Love Me, Love Me Not". I have to list 5 things I love about myself and 5 things that aren't so lovable about me. (Trust me, my husband had a ball "helping" me figure out what to write! Who knew he loved it when I let my hair dry naturally? Who also knew that he notices how grumpy I am before my a.m. coffee infusion?) Then, I have to "tag" 5 bloggers to play the game next.
Because I like to end on a positive note, I'll start with the 5 things I don't love about myself.
1. I am a worrier. I worry about my children and my parents, about their health and their futures. I worry about the country because I want us to finally have our priorities right. (Lately, I worry about that a lot less.) I worry that I'm not doing enough for everyone else. I worry that I will fail. Worrying is something I try to turn into positive action, to use it rather than succumbing to it. But in my heart, I know I will never be entirely free of it.
2. On a lighter note, I am far too ticklish -- physically ticklish. It is a terrible weakness because it means that my children (or my husband) can completely immobilize me at a moments notice. It has all but dashed my dreams of ever becoming a ninja. Ninjas can't be ticklish. But I totally am -- virtually everywhere.
3. I am risk averse. There is always this voice in my head that is telling me all the ways something could hurt before I do it. I often wish I could just turn that voice off instead of always having to overcome it or act in spite of it. My risk-averse nature comes out in my parenting; I know my children will tease me later in life for the number of times the words "be careful" came out of my mouth.
4. In the mornings especially, I am hopelessly grouchy. And when I say grouchy, I mean terse and crabby. My three-year old daughter calls my hairspray "grouch spray". (That disarms me right away, for sure!) Fortunately, my grouchiness is easily overcome by the caring look on her face when she asks if I'm feeling grumpy today -- and coffee... plenty of coffee.
5. I cannot eat anything I want. Trust me. I so totally wish I could, but I have always had to watch my weight and curb my appetites. Life has had a way of throwing that little foible in my face by making me fall in love with the one man who could eat pancakes and bacon for every breakfast, fries at every lunch, and cheesecake for dessert every day and never gain an ounce. He is metabolic perfection. I, sadly, am not.
Okay. Now, for the fun part! What I truly love about myself.
1. My teeth. I have always had straight teeth -- I get them from my mother. I've never had to wear braces, and was cavity-free until I was about 17 years old. Even then, I only had a pit in one tooth. My older sister had to go through a variety of face-altering devices so that she could look more like a human and less like a shark. Growing up, I tried not to gloat over my perfectly straight teeth. But as she moaned in the night from the pain of the medieval torture devices she was forced to wear by sadists we call "orthodontists", I secretly thanked the Lord Above for giving me a mouthful of dental perfection.
2. I have an abiding, honest-to-goodness L. O. V. E. of sports. I love to play them. I love to watch them. I love to talk about them. A side-benefit of loving sports is that my husband's friends have openly labeled me as being pretty darn close to the Ideal Mate. When we were dating, we went to a party for the Michigan-Ohio State game. After a great play, I noted that the guys on SportsCenter had been talking about the player involved. Hubby's friends looked at each other as though their world had been fundamentally altered. "You watch SportsCenter?!??!" they exclaimed with incredulity. Then, to Hubby, "She's a keeper." If my love of sports put me in the "keeper" category and makes me happy, anyway, it should definitely be on this list.
3. I love my sense of humor and my willingness to poke fun at myself at least as often as I poke fun at other people. Laughing is good therapy -- so is laughing at yourself. I would not change my sense of humor. It's one of the essential parts of me.
4. I love that I have a green thumb. There is something profound and powerful about being able to help the earth bear fruit. It is a gift I am grateful for because it nourishes me as much as I nourish it.
5. Finally, I love having an open heart. There are few people on this planet that I have no use for or that I believe are beyond hope. It is a wonderful feeling not to judge my fellow human beings, but to simply appreciate them and care for them. I have often said to friends and family members who have been hurt that, for me, one of the surest ways to know God is through the act of loving again. I have always tried to let love guide my decision-making. It hasn't steered me wrong yet.
And now, (drumroll please) for the five fantastic bloggers I hope will carry forward this fun game of Tag...
1. Laurie Rodak at The Playground Observer
2. Susana at Firefly Shop - My Thoughts
3. Suzen at Erasing the Bored
4. Julie at Octamom
5. Abby at My Sweet Babboo
Have a great weekend, everyone!
- Midwest Mom