Friday, February 27, 2009

Tag! You're It!

Kids Games to Keep you Fit and More

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


  1. Thank you thank you :)

  2. What fun things to love about you! I never knew you were a sports nut, though! Active, yes, but SportCenter? No.

  3. Wow - thanks for the tag (I think). I'll respond two ways. Things I like to DO are in my profile. Things I don't like are 1)going shopping (unless I have coupons) 2) Olives 3) heavy metal bands 4)Having stains that won't come out 5) Being around over the top out of control whiners and winers.

    Now I know you really said what I like/don't like about ME. The like I'll keep brief cuz the stuff I don't like about me needs work and words.

    1) I like my sense of humor, even when its sarcastic, and self-deprecating.
    2) I like my respect and love of nature (usually I'll include people)
    3) I love my love of learning new things and/or researching and yet maintaining a beginners mind. I have never had a bored moment in my life.
    4) I like the ability I seem to have to motivate/inspire others which makes me feel I have a purpose for being. (I'll know this for sure if you comment on my blog, haha!)
    5) Always finding positives (making lemonade) even if it takes awhile. (For recipes of my lemonade, read my blogs.)

    Things I DON'T like about myself are mostly found under construction, the works in progress zone because I DO believe in change and personal evolution. (Ask me this 6 months from now, it'll probably all change!)

    1) I am easily distracted. (I make a daily list, get off somehow doing stuff NOT on the list, then I see the list and actually ADD the stuff I just did so I can cross it off!)

    2) My aging body. This is a test of acceptance I realize. The elephant skin looks better with moisturizer, hair looks best dyed, keeping fit and eating right aren't optional anymore - the maintenance of this outer me requires a lot of time and energy - so be it - I schedule me time.

    3) I have high expectations - wow, this can be a real bummer. I want so badly for those around me to be the very best they can be at whatever they do that I can exhaust myself being a cheerleader. I'm bummed by people who don't TRY. Guess you could call me a joy-monger which has its good and bad side.

    4) I'm impatient with myself and this is probably connected to #3. High expectations for me to do things, to do things right, to do things quickly, to learn it, get it, do it. Monkey mind will want to analyze and chew slowly, think things thru, then zap, I'm impatient that I'm doing more thinking than doing. (does this make sense?)

    5) I am intimidated by technology, the blogosphere, cyberland, html code, all that stuff. I've been blogging only a month. I still feel like I've been kicked off this planet and I'm (little person me) out in the universe (way big, endlessly huge and dark) wondering how I got here, and where here is exactly. I'm making the best of this (yahoo this is a fun adventure etc) while I'm secretly scared of colliding with asteroids.

    Are you baking cookies?

    I'm going out to play tag now. Call me in when the cookies and milk are ready.

    Love you kiddo!

  4. You are such a good mom. The moment Matt is old enough to play on the equipement alone I will be curled up on the bench reading a book. Meanwhile there you are organzing games and races while getting in shape at the same time. Of course right now I just hover two feet away from Matt at all times so maybe I'll have to try it.

    Thanks for the tag, I plan on playing in a little bit when things slow down at work where I am now, slacking off and reading your blog. .

  5. I can't wait for it to warm up to play outside.Nice blog. Hope you don't mind the visit. Help support my fellow blogger as I click on my way out. ;)

  6. Susana, (aka Firefly)
    I can't wait to read your 5+5. Hope you have a great weekend.

    Melissa (aka Green Girl)
    Yup. I'm a crazy gal for sports. Love 'em. SportsCenter isn't what it used to be, but I still catch it when I can.

    LOL! :D I've never seen someone respond to a tag in the comments, but I love your list.

    Oh my goodness. I was such a hoverer when my guys were little. I remember lecturing my husband about how you should never be out of arm's reach of a two year old on the playground. He looked at me and told me flat out that I needed to relax. It took some time, but I have. Now I race along right with them. Why should kids be the only ones having fun?? (I have to get playtime in while I can. Soon enough, they'll be too cool to be seen with me, right?) :D

    Nightowl Mama, Thanks so much for visiting the blog. I'm glad you came by. But, I hope that any ads you might have clicked represent actual services or information that interest you. If you click ads that you're not interested in, out of gratitude for my writing, you are cheating the people who paid for that ad space. I liken it to stealing their money, so please don't do it unless you are really interested in the ad.

    Thanks and have a great weekend!
    - Julia

  7. I'm a first-time visitor to your blog--very cute! I will definitely pop in again!
    I like your "Tag" game!

  8. Julia - goes to show you what I know! Have no idea about getting tagged, haha, didn't know what to do - oh well, it is what it is. If ya care to 'splain it to me I promise not to wreck the game next time.


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