Monday, February 24, 2014

FRIENDS BECOME FAMILY


Sometimes. Very rarely. Friends become family.

Friends like this, they open their home, their hearts and their vulnerable places to you with wholeness and say, “There hasn’t been enough time..” as you drive away. These are the friends that make your life more meaningful with each encounter and you drive away knowing that God has blessed you with their presence.

These types of friends are family, and maybe family of the best kind.





Thursday, February 13, 2014

{meet my guest} MOMMY'S BUNDLE

Hi there! If you are tuning in for the first time, welcome! If you're already familiar with All My Happy Endings, then you might know that I've just had a baby. On the heels of that, I'm taking a few days off to recover and become acquainted with our newest blessing. In the interim, however, I'm hosting some truly amazing bloggers to keep the crickets at bay.

Today you get to meet Ana from Mommy's Bundle. She calls herself a rookie mom, but don't let her fool you -- she's a plethora of great advice! Please love on her a little and leave a comment below.

::MOMMY'S BUNDLE::

Surviving Toddler Tantrums: What Every New Mom Should Know

Oh toddler tantrums. I always thought they were years away, until it hit me that my little boy was no longer a baby.  He was approaching the dreaded terrible-twos stage, often characterized by outbursts and random fits.

So what was this all about?

For starters, I quickly realized that this was a natural part of early childhood that I needed to learn to adjust to.  It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. According to What to Expect When Expecting, the terrible-twos name is actually a misnomer because it can begin as early as 12 months and last several years. 


Second, temper tantrums can also come about from a number of things including the inability to express feelings and desires through words, the need to assert independence, lack of control, hunger, overstimulation and tiredness, to name a few.  So you have to remember it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with your child.  That is often a misconception, new mothers have.

And knowing all this, what was a rookie mom like me to do??

Start with prevention. I never realized I could somehow prevent the tantrums, but I guess if you look at the causes, it’s a no-brainer.  You can ward off the culprits by ensuring your child is well-rested and well-fed, avoid over-scheduling, and bring healthy snacks and toys when venturing out.  It’s also important to remember that there isn’t necessarily a one-size fits all solution; you have to work with your child’s personality.  I learned that sticking to a daily routine often helps reduce some of these outbursts.

Soften your tone.  Sometimes the natural reaction is to raise your voice to reprimand the little ones, but this can backfire. I learned that toddlers love to mimic what they see…so it’s important to speak softly and keep your cool so they can do the same.

Distract.  When my little guy decides to act out I oftentimes have to grab a favorite toy or book to distract him.  It may seem counter-intuitive to avoid the issue at hand, but sometimes this is all their little minds need to calm down.


Be funny.  That’s right.  Just like laughter can calm a fussy baby, silly faces and tickling can work wonders on cranky toddlers.  There’s just something about seeing you lighten up that also relaxes kids. Again this really depends on the personality, but use what works best!

Time-out.  When all else fails time-out can do the trick.  Have a designated chair or corner you can use and set a timer.  Let them sit and think about what they’ve done, but don’t give them too much attention during the process.  When the timer goes off, let them know that they are “all done”.

Do you have any unique ways to deal with temper tantrums? Let me know!

You can keep up with Ana on all of her social sites…



Monday, February 10, 2014

{meet my guest} SAMANTHA HEATHER


After having “met” you, so-to-speak, your beauty, faith and heart stand in the forefront. You’re a gorgeous soul! Tell my readers a little bit about yourself. Maybe something out of the ordinary?
Oh you are too kind. Thank you.

I have always been terrible with self-introductions to be honest. To cut a long story short though, I’m a twenty-something girl living in the heart of Sydney who has a passion for love, photography and story telling. Early last year I went through a bit of a rollercoaster in my life and I knew I needed to do something for myself, something I loved that allowed me to express myself. SamanthaHeather, the blog, then began and I’ve been loving every second of it. I get to write and photograph and express myself the way I want to without life distractions and judgments getting in the way.  I think it’s so important to find what you love and pursue it.

Something out of the ordinary? I am a huge Lego collector (awesome, right!?). My mum started our collection before I was born and now I have happily taken over. I am a huge advocate for letting out your inner child. Who says that being an adult means you have to grow up?

What is your photography style? Or otherwise, what do you most like to capture from behind a lens?
I guess you could say my photography style is very natural and candid. I like to photograph moments rather than poses. I don’t give much direction in my shoots; I just let the moments create themselves. I wait for a mother to naturally kiss her child on the forehead or for a father to hold his wife’s hand as she nurses their baby. It’s these natural instincts of love that I aim to capture in a photo.


There are a lot of websites and/or books about photography. Are there any in particular that you recommend, and why?
To be honest, my best piece of advice is to go along to a photography workshop rather than teach yourself online. I tried YouTube videos, and a few little photography blogs here and there but what I really needed was a hands-on course to show me the ropes. If you’re in Australia, I recommend Tim Coulson’s “The Nursery” – it is a one day workshop that teaches you everything you need to know about shooting on manual. Not only did I get to meet one of my favourite photographers but he taught me so much about emotional shooting and how to get those tricky settings right. So I recommend checking out local photography courses in your area! Highly valuable.

You can see Tim’s work HERE.

My readers are predominantly mommies – what tips do you have for photographing children?
Be patient. I can’t stress this enough. Children (as I’m sure you would know) are a rollercoaster themselves. Getting them to sit still or smile can be quite a challenge. When I go along to my shoots, I make sure I introduce the children to the camera so they’re not overwhelmed when I shove a big, black object in their face. Secondly, I make sure they’re in an environment they are comfortable in. I don’t make them pose, or wear things they don’t like – I let them be themselves and then I wait for the perfect moment. If it doesn’t work, then take a break and come back later. Wait till they are ready and comfortable with you rather than the other way around.


You can keep up with Sam on all of her social sites…



Thursday, February 6, 2014

{meet my guest} LIVING LOBPRIES

Hi there, lovely! If you are tuning in for the first time, welcome! If you're already familiar with All My Happy Endings, then you might know that I've just had a baby. On the heels of that, I'm taking a few days off to recover and become acquainted with my new sweetie. In the interim, however, I'm hosting some truly amazing bloggers to keep the crickets at bay.

First off, meet Channing from the Living Lobpries blog. I personally asked Channing to visit with us during my absence, to share some of her blog content with all of you, so that you may become familiar with her all-so-beautiful-and-talented self! Please love on her a little and leave a comment below.


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Hello all you gorgeous readers of All My Happy Endings! I am Channing and I blog over at Living Lobpries. I am a wife, mom to 3 beautiful girls, a new stay at home mom, a lover of cooking and anything DIY and most importantly a lover of Jesus. I found Mandi's space here in the blog world about 5 months ago and have been hooked ever since! Today I am excited to share with you some of my favorite Valentine Kids Crafts I will be doing with my brood this year. I mean, who does not LOVE a cute little Valentine created by one super cute kiddo!

heart_finished

Valentine Heart Leis- from Makezine.

Crayon Shaving Hearts

Crayon Shaving Hearts from Skip to My Lou.

 
ValentinesDayTruckCraft

Valentine Dump Truck from No Time for Flashcards.

 
Salt Dough Valentines

Salt Dough Valentines from Crafty Texas Girls.

From the Bottom of My Heart

From the Bottom of my Heart from Tons of Fun Preschool Activities.

And, a little something we have doing this year to show some L-O-V-E in our family is.....

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dropping a cute little note in a different family members mailbox each day reminding them one of the many reasons that we love them! I found these cute mailboxes in the $1 bin at Target and placed them on each night stand. We will continue to drop our love notes to each other through the 14th. We plan on opening up our mailboxes full of love on Valentines evening and reading our love letters before bed! Happy Valentines Day to you! Now, come on over to Living Lobpries and check out some more Valentines Day fun!



Monday, February 3, 2014

{meet my guest} THE JESSICA L BLOG | RUNNING 101

Hi there, lovely! If you are tuning in for the first time, welcome! If you're already familiar with All My Happy Endings, then you might know that I've just had a baby. On the heels of that, I'm taking a few days off to recover and become acquainted with my new sweetie. In the interim, however, I'm hosting some truly amazing bloggers to keep the crickets at bay.

First off, meet Jessica from the Jessica L Blog. I asked Jessica to share with us her knowledge of running and how to get started if you're new to the sport, or otherwise aspire to be. And don't be fooled, she's no stranger to the enjoyment of food and wine! Please love on her a little and leave a comment below.

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First off, let me start with this standard disclaimer: I am not a certified trainer or nutritionist, nor am I a professional runner. I am your "average" runner, whatever that means, and I have experience running both in the military and on my own while training for races or just running because I love to run. When I refer to runners, I mean the person that just recently started running- today maybe?- to anybody that likes to run regularly- be it once a week- to the person who has been running for at least a year. If you walk-run, don't be mistaken: you're a runner. As with anything in life, there is no guarantee that if you do everything right, you won't get injured. But you can decrease your chances significantly, if you heed the following principles of injury prevention.


According to Runner's World "79 percent of runners are sidelined each year". That's about 8 out of 10 people who run. While that number doesn't differentiate between beginning runners, average runners, and runners who log more than 100 miles a week, it's almost safe to assume that it includes anybody who considered themselves to be a runner. I've met people in the military and in running circles who have been injured due to running, who continue to be injured because they continue to run or just never  received the proper medical treatment for it, and who have had injuries so bad that they were told they could never run again. Ouch! I couldn't imagine being told that I will never be able to lace up my running shoes and just go for a run. It would break my heart, and I know that those who have heard those words have had to come to terms with that stark reality.

So what are the time-honored practices and habits for runners who have never been injured according to the average runner, experts, and elite runners (Think Ryan Hall who has been declared the fastest American.)- and myself? I am fortunate to have never been injured, but I am getting older, don't consider myself to have "natural" running abilities, and don't have the runner's body type. So it's important for me to be very careful when I start training for races. 

1. Listen to your body. This is definitely the one thing that I've heard and read from elite/professional runners, experts, and physicians. Your body sends you signals that it has been stressed beyond its threshold. If you are feeling pain, stop running and see a doctor. While some people don't actually feel the injury until after a run or race is over, you will feel the pain eventually. Pain means something is wrong and you should go get checked. You don't need to be a hero, and you're not showing weakness if you admit that you are hurting and can't take it anymore. What you are doing is saving your health and future ability to continue to run. 

2. Consult your doctor before you run and as you run. This is really important for "beginning" runners, as in, you've never run before, have a lot of questions, and/or you just started running on your own very recently (within the last 2 to 3 months). Did you get cleared by your doctor first before you started running? Running is a high impact sport and not everyone, at least right away, is primed to just start running. Even though human beings were genetically made to run, if you've only walked before, you might want to think about gradually easing into running, by doing intervals of walking and then running.  Here is a good walk-run program to start. Also, as you continue to run, if you are otherwise generally in good health, at least get an annual check-up once a year just to make sure you are still healthy. 

3. Eat a diet consisting of natural, unprocessed foods. While runners are known to be able to eat more than sedentary people or those who do not run, this isn't always completely true. When I was in my 20's, this might have been the case for me. But was I at my optimal health or did I miss a chance at peak performance because of my overindulgent diet? I will never know the answer, but I do notice that when I eat healthier now, I feel better. Every fad diet, sports physician, medical journal, etcetera appears to focus on one common theme: that is, to eat a diet consisting mostly of vegetables, fruits, lean protein (beef, chicken, fish, etc.), whole grains, and healthy fats. The consumption of meats, dairy, and grains is debatable depending on whether you're speaking to a vegan, vegetarian, paleo convert, or whatnot. The most important premise, as you may have noticed, is that a healthy diet consists of whole food that hasn't been created and then packaged, which is the diet so many of us have become accustomed to. It's important to remember that we are all different, and that different things work for different people. But by eating natural, unprocessed foods at least 80-90% of the time, you can easily maintain a healthy weight and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to fuel your runs and recover properly.


4. Do a bit of research and consult the professionals before you start running, as you run, and before you start training for races. Here are some good articles that I've consulted to help me on my journey: 10 Tips for Beginning Runners, The 10 Laws of Injury Prevention, Nutrition Guide for RunnersAm I Overtraining? . You can also contact me and ask me questions directly, however I'm going to tell you what has worked for me and what I've seen work for others- and then tell you to make sure that you also do your research.

5. If you are overweight or outside of a healthy weight range for your body type, you run a greater risk of injuring yourself when running. No, this doesn't mean that you should stop running altogether. I've seen runners of all body types cross the finish line in a marathon, and weight doesn't tell the whole story of fitness or health. Even I, at certain points in my life, could have been considered to be overweight depending on which charts I looked at. However, when you consider the force of your entire body weight hitting the ground and then coming back up at you, it makes sense that if you weigh less, that this impact is less detrimental to your joints, bones, and muscles. In the military, I've seen quite a few knee injuries resulting from sports activities which are attributed to people who are out of body composition standards and who are carrying extra weight around. There is also a difference between healthy weight, ideal weight, and "racing" weight, and if you want to minimize your risk of injury, getting to your healthy weight range is a good start. Yes, running is a good way to get there. Again, proceed with caution depending on your own health and fitness level. 

6. Increase effort and distance slowly. Some of us want to run faster. Some of us want to run farther. Either way, we should do it wisely, and every runner's ability to increase distance and speed is, again, different. Most trainers advocate the 10 percent rule. If you've been running 15 miles a week, and decide to increase your mileage to 30 miles a week without a slow progression towards that mileage, you could be setting yourself up for injury. 

7. Warm up before runs and stretch after runs. Experts and runners alike debate about how this should be done, but I've learned through experience that I perform better, am less sore, and am less prone to feeling the onset of injury when I warmup before any runs and then stretch properly when I'm finished. If you don't know how you should go about doing this here are a few articles to give you ideas: Warmups for Runners and Key Stretches for Runners.

8. Keep a training and food journal. This is one of the most important habits I developed this past summer. The value of having something to look back on to see where you succeeded and may have failed cannot be overstated. I've always been an intuitive runner, even when in training mode for a half marathon or marathon. These last 20 weeks have been the only time that I've consistently trained and followed a training plan. It was in these last 20 weeks that I've also learned a lot about what I am now telling you. Had I kept a log of miles run in the past, I would have discovered my "threshold", which is around 35-39 miles. Apparently, I'm convinced that I've never run more than that amount in any given week in my past because it was when I got to the two weeks of that mileage, that I began to feel a weakness or tenderness in my right hamstring, and it lingered there off and on, for about the last two to three weeks. I searched for explanations furiously through books and the internet, and I found information that led me to believe that I (a) might be at the onset of a muscle strain or (b) have a grade 1 muscle strain. Although, the biggest thing for me was that I wasn't feeling any sort of pain, just that I felt that if I were to push my limits during a tempo run or during a race, that I would injure myself. Of course, I was worried because my marathon is fast approaching, and I have to run to eat! UGH! The point I'm trying to make is: had I logged my diet and training approach then, I would have noticed that I should have proceeded with this weekly mileage more carefully. Now I have something to look back upon not only to remember important milestones in my training, but to see what has worked for me in the past and understand where and when I should take extra precautions. 

So now that I've peaked your interest- or made you really uninterested- in running, click those links and start a journey that has changed not only my life, but the lives of others. Thanks to Mandi for giving me the opportunity to share a lot of information with you!



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