Your Best Body

I just ordered a bra.

I didn’t bargain for this.  But, like everything I suppose, one event leads to another.  Our conversation might have happened anyway.  But by then, the damage may have already been done, so it was a blessing really.

The blessing was this:


Oh Self.  How I used to love you.  While I was 21 years old at the Indiana University SRSC, you convinced me it was sane to leave a puddle of sweat at the foot of the Stairmaster.  You told me which alcoholic beverage was the better choice – hello? white wine obviously wins over the margarita (200 calories saved) – like I wasn’t just going to drink whatever light beer was on special that night.  Such a great resource, seriously.

But I’m 39 now.  There is no time for magazine reading and when there is, it’s not going to be Self.  I mean, come on.  I’m married.  I’ve got him locked down.  I no longer need to know about oxygen shots or ice therapy (whatever that is…thank God I don’t have to give precious brain space to all.of.that.).

But I ordered a bra online and -surprise!- I received a free subscription to Self with my order.  And as it turns out, so much more.

My 10 year old loves to get the mail.  It’s seriously a highlight for her.  And since I’m busy reading Outlander for the third time cleaning the bathrooms, I let her relish in that mail-getting.  Until the gem above arrived.  I found it sitting on the kitchen table, both girls looking at the cover.  And then, “Mom, is this yours?  ‘Best Bodies in the World’…why do you want to know about that?”

Hmmm, good question, baby.  The answer is I don’t.  But let’s back the train up and have an open dialogue about this.  Blank stares, followed by, “What’s a dialogue?”.  Okay, scratch that, let’s stay on track and talk about what you see.

So, what is it you see?  A girl, a mention of her ‘dream body’, and letters shouting at us about the ‘Best Bodies in the World’.  So it’s about our bodies. Okay, what do you think is awesome about your body, babe?  Blank stares.  Okay, let me give you a hint.  Today we took a run around campus and you both turned it into a parkour course.  You have these leg muscles that help you to jump on the limestone wall, the stomach muscles to help you slide down the stair railing, the brain muscles to decide to not jump 10 feet into the rocky creek below.  Would you say that’s what is awesome about your body?  Then Maia, “Yeah, but I don’t think that’s what they are talking about, mama.”

Yes, honey, that’s not entirely what they are talking about.  But you have to know something….this girl on the cover?  Even she doesn’t look like that.  They do her hair and makeup and have special lighting to make her look this.  See the girls inside of this magazine?  This may be their best body.  And you have your best body.  Maia, you have long limbs that help you to reach and stretch and run fast.  Maddie, you have incredible balance and coordination…you know where the ball is going to fall before it does.  And these girls in the magazine…they may have those things and they may not.  But here is the key, and I really want you to hear me when I say this – do your best to not compare yourselves to these images.  You will see them throughout your life…headlines for Your Best Body, commercials for the thickest hair, and so on…but know that you have your best body already.  IMG_5484


It gets you out of bed in the morning.  It lets you run with your dogs.  It gives you the strength to climb the playground at school.  It is your best and it is enough.  And it is beautiful.

Proposed Plans


We have to have an entry foyer.

This was one of my initial thoughts when thinking about the house we would build on our new land.  This is the natural thought of a person who currently lives in a house with an entry foyer that is 3 feet by 3 feet.  No where to greet guests.  No where to pause.  I would usually greet or say goodbye to guests from the top of the stairs, which you could see from the front door.  I thought, if we are building a house, I want it to be what I want it to be.  Yes, I wanted to simplify and minimize.  But when you have subscriptions to House Beautiful and Dwell – and binders full of tear out sheets from those magazines – and you’re about to build a house, it’s easy to get caught up.

And we still didn’t get it, the ‘living simply’ thing.  I mean, really understand.

We (I’m using “we” loosely here.  Joe was pretty much cool with whatever – he’ll sleep in a hammock outside whenever he gets the chance) knew we didn’t need things like a formal dining room or a guest room.  We figured we could just evict the girls from one of their rooms when out-of-town guests came to visit. But we still had our list.  We wanted an entry foyer,  3 bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, an office, a mudroom… I know there were other items on the list, but don’t even remember what they were now.

We looked online for floor plans and came across one we really liked.  There were a couple of things we wanted to tweak, so we took it to a draftsman to make those changes.  And this is what he came back with:


2900 square feet.  Over a basement.  Because you know…we have the random tornado in Indiana, and we need a basement.  So over four thousand square feet, because maybe we’ll finish the basement later. Uuhhhmm…not what we had in mind.  More than double the size of what we currently lived in.  Double the heating and cooling, double the cleaning, double the cost…all of the doubling happening here.

It’s easy to get caught up.

And then we remembered.

We remembered why we were moving.  We remembered that we wanted more time outside, less time inside.  And we remembered we didn’t want to blow through our retirement savings and the girls’ college funds to build this house part of keeping it simple, was to keep the cost low and the footprint small.

I also remembered my Babi and Deda’s house (my grandparents on my mom’s side.)  They farmed.  They had a simple home.  And when you entered the house, you walked right into the kitchen.  Because when you are carrying a chicken who has recently had its head cut off, it’s handy to just walk into the kitchen.  And when guests would come over, it’s easy to sit and have a drink, because you’re already in the kitchen.  And their home was warm. And they were happy.  Here they are:


So we made a decision and we came back to the initial thoughts that excited us.  Build a small house.  Do a lot of the work ourselves.  Have nice finishes (because there is a better chance of being able to do that when the house is smaller).  And fill it only with items we love.

So here we are.  Finishing the inside of our 1600 square foot house.  It is a cape cod style house, so it has an upstairs that is unfinished.  We will eventually finish it, but not anytime soon.

And my entry foyer?  No, no entry foyer in this house.  We enter through the kitchen.