Things I’ve Learned from Kiddos

Hey, world!

Since I have been back in my hometown this fall, my life has basically revolved around studying for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, which is a big, nasty exam so I can work in public accounting! I have been studying about 6-8 hours a day, which can be brutal at times, but those hours are also very flexible. I can wake up early, run and lift, study for a while, go do something else for an hour, study again, etc.

Because I am so flexible, I have been able to babysit for several families over the last few weeks! It has been so much fun hanging out with the kiddos, playing tag for hours, and getting my creative juices flowing! I babysat a few different times this week and am now reflecting on just how much I LEARN from these little guys. Here are some life lessons from the mouths of babes:

1. You can feed poison soup to bad dragons so they will fall asleep and you can capture the baby eggs. There is nothing more refreshing than playing make believe with a four-year-old. Sticks are not sticks, they are ingredients for a soup! Plastic balls are dragon eggs, and we’ve got to be the heroes!

2. Coloring pages are suggestions. So what if there are lines tracing out a bear? Draw whatever the heck you want!

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                                    Perfect.

3. Laugh like you mean it. Have you ever noticed that kids don’t “fake laugh”? You know, that little chuckle you give when you feel it’s courteous to laugh? Never. Kids laugh with their whole bodies, and they truly mean it.

4. Everybody can be “it” in a game of tag, and it is AWESOME! Forget the longstanding rules sometimes. Make up your own game!

5. Weeds are flowers. Today, I took a walk with a six-year-old and a two-year-old for about an hour. They were both in awe of the little yellow, white, and purple “flowers” that littered the grass! Without these kids, I would have never noticed these little splashes of color, nor would I have plucked enough of them to fill the storage bag on the back of the stroller. (Granted, kids are also much closer to the ground and walk slower, so they notice things…but all things aside…) 😉

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                       All the leaves, flowers, and acorns we collected!

After we brought all the flowers home, we arranged them into a fall centerpiece for the dining room table! Mom was very excited when she came home to her surprise. Pretty awesome, huh??

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                                        The leaves on the left smelled SO good!

6. As much as I love Greek yogurt and homemade granola, GoGurt and Quaker Fruit and Oatmeal bars are AWESOME. Snack time is a glorious thing.

7. Imagination — use it or LOSE it!

8. Bedtime stinks! Bedtime means the day is over and all the play has to come to an end. When is the last time I was bummed to go to bed?? I usually can’t WAIT to fall asleep at night and get some rest. Kids have a much different perspective.

9. Make up your own songs. They are 10x better than what’s on the radio these days anyways! My current fave: the “oodie doodie song” courtesy of a two-year-old.

10. Let your perfectionism go, pick up a marker, and draw. Or pick up a toy, and play. So often, I am too afraid to stink at art that I refuse to try. Live, act, do, and forget about what the world thinks.

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My drawing from art time today– oh yeah, it’s on my fridge!

I hope you guys take some time to embrace your inner kiddo today!

Kaitlin

— What was your favorite game as a child? Mine was hide-and-seek, FO SHO!

— What do you admire about kids that you wish to live out in your “adult” life?

Adventure 002// The Power of a Pint

Disclaimer: If the thought, mention, or even the sound of the word “blood,” makes you queasy, you might not want to read this! I’ve included pictures of baby animals to give ya something to look at in case this gets too real.

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A few weeks ago, I gave blood for the first time! I have been curious about the donation process since I was in high school but had not gone through with it until this month. Blood drives were held at my high school once a year, but needing to attend sport practices restricted me from being able to give. I would think about it every so often in college when a blood bus would show up on campus, but always seemed to be on my way to a class when I saw it. Once I even stood in line for an hour, but needed to get to class before my turn in line! Needless to say, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to go through with it!

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The process was incredibly, and surprisingly, painless! I walked into a blood center in Ocala on a Saturday afternoon, and was in and out in 30 minutes. I met with a nurse and did a “mini-physical” as they call it. She asked me screening questions (e.g. Have you ever received human pituitary derived growth hormone? Umm…no HGH here), took my blood pressure, and did a finger prick test to check my iron and blood type (A). Once I was screened and accepted, I hopped into a chair with a Gatorade and fresh baked cookies, and squeezed a rubber ball. Five minutes later, I had one less pint of blood and an honest feeling of surprise for how easy the process was (okay—I skipped details on the needle-entering-vein part but it really was no problem!).

While I was there, the nurse educated me about blood donation and the benefits to both donor and recipient. Did you know donating blood is actually healthy for our bodies?? It can help reduce the amount of iron in your body, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Iron overload does not affect women as much as men, but in men who donated 3x per year, their risk of heart attack was reduced by 50%!

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A single blood donation helps up to three people and someone needs blood every 3 seconds in America alone! When I was born almost 2 months premature, I had to have so much blood drawn for tests that the doctors needed my dad to donate blood to replenish my blood volume! 60% of the population will need blood at some time in their lives, yet less than 5% of the population donates. I didn’t mean this post as a PSA, but if you can donate, I would totally encourage you to!

Get this…after donating a pint of my blood, my body replaced the entire blood volume in 48 hours. Isn’t that crazy?! It will take four to six weeks for my body to completely replenish my red blood cell count, which is why I must wait two months to be able to give again. I seriously cannot wait until I can donate again! This is something I hope I continue to do every chance I get!

Love, dance, and explore,

Kaitlin

Chattanooga Duathlon: Du’s and Don’ts

A recent weekend in Chattanooga was quite an adventure and included many “firsts”: first duathlon, first endurance race in Tennessee, first time hitting 40 mph on my bike (downhill of course!), and first time racing the course that made me dream of racing triathlons! The Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon was the first triathlon I witnessed live, and three years ago, it sparked my interest in the sport. It was incredible to finally race this course in particular!

ImageYou might notice that the title of this post is actually the Chattanooga Duathlon. While all of the entrants to this year’s race were hoping it would be an Olympic distance triathlon (roughly 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run), the rain storms that have pummeled the east over the summer months caused the Tennessee River to flood near our race venue and the swim was cancelled. This decision turned the race into a Duathlon: 2 mile run, 26.5 mile bike, 6.2 mile run. While I was a little bummed at first (I was actually looking forward to the downstream swim!), I got more excited as race day approached to race my first duathlon. It’s all about adventure, right?!

So, without further a-du, here is a weekend recap in a Duathlon Du’s and Don’ts list:

Du travel with wonderful people. It was so much fun to travel with friends who have similar quirky interests in eclectic music and are game for funky and slightly questionable restaurant choices that turn out to be awesome. There’s nothing better than a surprise jam session to Motion City Soundtrack because you all know the words. (Also, du go to Sluggo’s Vegetarian Cafe in Chattanooga).

Don’t get frustrated when traffic gets bad. You never know what you’ll see when you get off the interstate and take a scenic route…like a GIANT taco…in McDonough, GA.

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Self explanatory. A giant taco!

Du spend a “night on the town” in Atlanta by going to Trader Joe’s and buying cookie butter. Think peanut butter consistency, made out of gingerbread cookies. As our hilarious and possibly drunk new best friend from Trader Joe’s said, “It’s the best $3.69 you’ll ever spend!!”

Don’t be anxious the night before the race. At that point, all of your training is done. You can’t retroactively change/improve/challenge yourself more on your workouts. Accept what you have done, prepare for the morning, and remember why you race.

Du train on the bike. A lot. It was a monster hilly course out and back on US 27. I was very thankful for the bike specific training my friend Annette hammered me with leading up to the race. It was very cool to race my fastest Olympic bike split on this challenging course!

Don't let the smile fool you...these workouts are PAINFUL!

Don’t let the smile fool you…these workouts are PAINFUL!

Don’t race the first two miles. Don’t race the first two miles. Don’t race the first two miles. Your legs are doing all the work in a duathlon. Go too hard here and you’ll regret it later.

Du SMILE! A lot! You love this!

Don’t underestimate a set of stairs during the last run leg of the race. Your legs will act like they’ve never used stairs before.

Du wear a Florida State University triathlon uniform. There’s nothing better than meeting alumni from the inaugural women’s soccer team and getting to do the tomahawk chop mid race when people yell, “Go Noles!”

Sarah and I at a more recent race, rocking our FSU kits!

Sarah and I at a more recent race, rocking our FSU kits!

Don’t take your body for granted! It is incredible what our bodies can endure, how far they can carry us, and how powerful they are. Not everyone is so blessed with an able body. I am thankful.

Du KEEP SMILING! Even when the race hurts. A lot.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t race as well as you hoped. Every race is different, as are race conditions from year to year. Thank your body for what it has done and learn from the experience.

Du eat post race watermelon and jump in the hotel pool in your race uniform. Best decisions of the day!

I am thankful for a challenging race, good friends, and a wonderful adventure in Chattanooga. Let me know if you ever decide to do a Du!

Keep smiling,

Kaitlin

Adventure 01// Hot Yoga!

This past week was the first week of the Summer C semester, which means my schedule has completely changed from the first six weeks of summer! As much as I love exploring and going on adventures, I thrive on having a fairly predictable and busy routine so totally flipping my schedule on its head can be tricky! After being on campus from 9-5 every day during the first half of summer, it was a major change this week to only have ONE class from 2-3:35!! So much more time for triathlon training, studying, and yes– ADVENTURES!

This week’s adventure was courtesy of my sweet friend, Jen. We were texting each other on Thursday and she mentioned she was going to a hot yoga class at Journeys in Yoga here in Tallahassee. I said sign me up! I have been to two or three yoga classes in the past, but they were all in a nice, air conditioned studio.

ImageIf you ever want to think 95 degrees and 100% humidity is refreshing…just go to hot yoga and then walk outside! The Florida heat is actually quite tame when compared to the furnace you’ve been in for an hour and a half! The class was an absolute blast. Our teacher (yogi?) was a young, fun, really personable gal who wasn’t afraid to add laughter to our practice. The tone of the class was so much lighter than the other yoga classes I had been to– I was intimidated coming in because I figured a “real, official” yoga studio would be even more focused and strict than the classes I’ve been to at the gym. Not at all! I felt freedom to laugh at myself when I lost my balance (or just plain fell over, haha!) and giggle when sweat rolled off my nose onto the pool of sweat on my mat (oh, yes, I could swim in my pool of sweat…TMI?).

I know very little about the history or religious purposes of yoga, but in my experience, it is as prayerful as you want it to be. It was an incredible experience to challenge my body and offer my heart in a fun, sweaty, and accepting environment. I will definitely be going back! Thanks, Jen!

Other Lessons I’m Learning: No matter how out of place I feel on this earth, I am always right where I belong with our loving Father.

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Quote of the Day: “We are told that we can be anything. That does not mean we have to be everything.”

Have a beautiful Saturday!

Kaitlin

 

“Where did this year go?”

“How is it already Christmas again?”

“Where did this year go?”

“It feels like just yesterday…”

As I am growing older, I have noticed an incredibly discomforting thing…time seems to speed up as I get older! Semesters fly by, weeks and months go by before I even realize it, and it feels like birthdays roll around well before a year has passed between them.

The science behind our perception of time has been studied for centuries, and many conclusions are founded upon one seemingly simple fact:

Time seems to speed up as we age, because our experiences are no longer novel.

Think about it! As children, we encounter countless new experiences each day– learning to tie our shoes, working new math problems, creating new games and stories as our minds wander. Everything is new! But as we age, we embrace routine, accomplish similar tasks each day at work, and replace novelty with monotony.

This fall, I will be moving back to Ocala, my hometown of 18 years, to study for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. As eager as I am to be in the same city as my family and dear friends again, I cannot help but long for the adventure I experienced of moving to Colorado (someplace totally novel) last summer. But who is to say we cannot find novelty within the familiar? I am determined to keep my time in Ocala from flying by.

This blog will be a place for me to reflect on the lessons I learn during my adventures in slowing time. I am eager to meet new people, explore new places, experiment with new recipes, take an interesting art class, learn life lessons from my Yaya, step out of my comfort zone, and make the most of time I have!

My mantra is this: I only have a limited amount of time on this earth. Here’s to slowing it down, living it up, and embracing the novel. I hope you join me.

 

From my heart to yours,

Kaitlin