Some thoughts on the cornfields

Its been three months since we moved to the middle of nowhere...and sometimes its funny to me that it'll be in this small, unfamiliar, town that we will take so many huge steps as a family. But whether its in spite of Northwest Ohio, or because of its unique charm, we are happy.

And we are distinctly more happy when we focus on the positive. Life around here isn't perfect, but there are always enough things to be happy about if we are willing to find them. Like these cornfields - they may have replaced all of the people, community, and civilization we left behind - but they're never-ending and seem to whisper of potential (either that, or this whole experience is making me go crazy :P). 

P.S. I entered the top picture in the Suave Family Selfie Sweepstakes (I've been using Suave's Rosemary and Mint shampoo & conditioner the guaranteed dollar coupon will go to good use). If you want to enter:

1. Share a family selfie on instagram using the three hashtags #suavefamilyselfie #LB2LB #Walmart
2. Fill out this form and submit your Instagram link.

Each week 6 new winners will be drawn to receive a $175 Walmart prize pack. Once you have submitted your image you'll get a coupon via email for $1 off Suave at Walmart.
Thanks Global Influence for sponsoring this post. 

Oh and Ben's shirt is J.Crew Factory and mine was on clearance at Saks outlet. 

5 Things You Should Change About Your Husband

I really hate all of the "its just the way I am" business. Life is about growing and changing and while in relationships its important to take people where they're at, I think its important, healthy even, to expect them to be better today than they were yesterday (or at least better next year than they were this year... because on a day to day basis it might be a little trickier :P).

I know, everyone says you shouldn't try and change your spouse. But on that note, here are 5 things I think you should actively try and change about him. He'll thank you for it too :)

  1. His view of marriage: Each marriage is unique. Each couple brings different things to the table. My goal is to have Ben’s views of marriage be better than they ever were … and also for him to ditch any stereotypes he had about what a marriage should look like. Ours will be different, it is different.

That said, there are HUGE benefits for having models of strong successful marriages. I needed to realize that our relationship wouldn’t be my parents, but that didn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to treat Ben with as much respect, love, and service as my parents do.

  1. His view of himself: You should see the best in your spouse (and in your significant other, your friends, your family), and you should help them to see it. My goal is to help Ben recognize the amazing man (present and potential) that he is. Its done by treating him as if he were who he is capable of being and constant support.

This only works when I keep that view of him. When I get caught up in petty things I am no longer inspiring or motivating. I actively work to see and love his potential to help remind him of that.

  1. His hopes and dreams: Going along with #2, almost always, our dreams can be bigger than they are. Who better to help you realize this than the person who knows and loves you best?

I am not trying to say you should try and change his ambitions, just to realize his potential. If you love the idea of him being a lawyer and he’s always wanted to be a farmer...I do not advocate you continuously trying to convince him otherwise.

  1. His view of you: Yes, you should know each other pretty well before you get married (ha! that’s funny coming from a person who knew her husband for exactly 8 months before she married him), but you can’t know them perfectly. Let him continue to get to know you through open communication and being yourself.

Other than regular cuddling, one of the best things you can do for your marriage is learn how to communicate effectively and kindly. Every successful couple I’ve seen is excellent at this (the cuddling and the communicating)...and I’ve seen it do wonders for ours.

  1. How much he loves you: Now, this is a two way street. None of these things are really things you can change about your husband all on your own. But, by working together, love isn’t something you have, its something you build. I love Ben so much more today than I did three years ago… and its not just because we’ve been married for a few more years. Its because in those few years we’ve worked, we’ve struggled, we’ve grown, we’ve changed, and throughout it all we’ve made our marriage a priority. He’s changed my capacity for love, and I hope I’ve helped his grow just a bit :)

So what do you think? Is expecting change too demanding?
What else would you advocate "changing?"

and because I'm feeling a bit sentimental -- ben and me over the past four years: 

Staying Fit During Pregnancy (its hard)

This post about staying fit during pregnancy in the middle of Ohio has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone, just like always. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias

Happy Monday! 

Before my body became home to this tiny little babe, fitness was mostly about looks and feeling good. While in college, I worked hard to be better at dance and at rock climbing, but since moving to Ohio, neither happened very often. My physical fitness goals became less clear. I knew I felt better when I exercised, and I knew I looked better when I exercised (I also knew it was good for my body to exercise...and that it combatted my regular icecream intake). Now though, there is a whole new level of intension when it comes to physical activity. My physical fitness and overall health not only has a direct impact on my life, but of the potential of this little guy. 

I've been reading countless studies about the benefits of staying fit during pregnancy. Aside from generally shorter and easier labor, there are lots of benefits for the brain and physical ability of the baby. Nothing is too shocking: be healthy and your baby is more likely to be healthy. It shouldn't be new to me, but it has reminded me that all that sitting around with nausea the first trimester did nothing for me or for him.

I've been working on finding a new routine here in Findlay that works for pregnancy and the area. There aren't any mountains for climbing or trails for biking, but there are acres upon acres of gorgeous farmland to run, walk, or road bike next to. There is a beauty unique to rolling farmland and I'm starting to fall in love with it. 

Here are a few useful tips I've found for staying fit during pregnancy:
  • Keep hydrated: this is my number one for energy, motivation to exercise, beating nausea, combatting cramps...everything. It also makes sure that my baby is getting enough liquid while I work out. 
  • Don't overdo it/ listen to my body: Prior to being pregnant, Ben was really great at pushing me farther than I thought I could go (or than my lazy self wanted to go) whenever we were working out. Now though, I'm extra careful to listen to my body and take it slow. It means I walk more than I run and sometimes I walk faster than I run ;)
  • Pick a routine and stick to it: I have a few regular strength exercises I do everyday and so even if I don't get a walk/run in, I've done a little something. It really helps me to have a set time/place that I do these. 
  • Track my progress: Ben has a fitness chart he uses to mark off his progress and I've been meaning to come up with something similar for me to track my fitness goals. Lately, I've been using the Walgreens App (which I already had on my phone because it makes developing instagram pictures so easy). 
The neat thing about the Walgreens App is that not only can you track your progress for healthy goals you set, but you get rewarded for healthy habits! If you sync your account with your Balance Rewards program, you can earn points that you can use in store for products you already buy. I also love that I can sync it with MyFitnessPal to track daily workouts as well (I haven't done it yet, but I've been meaning to). Here's to a healthy pregnancy and saving money :)

^the app (go download it even if you hate being healthy so you can print instagram photos from your phone)
^^a few of my goals (clearly I was better at the walking goal than the running goal for part of last week)
^^^how you input your progress (I like the little notes) -- and the weight tracker (I'm using it to monitor my weight gain for this pregnancy and I love that it asks for time of day as well as notes so I can note what I'm wearing as well as the time)

A few more pictures from last week's walk/run. 

Sometimes on runs, you'll come across stands of fresh produce (and sometimes its free fresh produce!). 

^^little baby, we love you already :)

on me: 
jacket: Gap
sports bra & leggings; c/o Victoria Secret (I shouldn't be surprised that the best bra company makes the best sports bras, but I was. And little has jump started my fitness goals like new workout gear) via Influenster
shoes: Brookes


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