Dirt and Monkey Bars

June has been a sweet mango of a month. Colorful and juicy.

Asher has been out of school for just over a week, and the last nine days have been chock full. So much so that we took today off, staying in jammies and napping on the couch together.

In all honesty, I was pretty terrified for the summer to arrive. I had lots of ambivalence about being home with my six-year-old after an entire nine months of kindergarten, where he was in school from 9-3. Despite the absolute joy of seeing him grow and being fortunate to interact each day with his ever-curious brain, he wears me out even more than he ever has, in some ways.

The mental challenge of debating with a small person who is persistent and super smart can deflate me quickly. And then, there’s the Eveready-boy-energy! I am already seeing the growing need to eat smarter, keep up with my running practice, and take regular naps (!) during his hour of TV a day. Conserving energy is something I have written about before, and it’s not easy.

Beyond conservation, there’s the rebuilding and revitalizing of the body. I have a friend who has been eating what she refers to as  “the dirt” diet – more raw foods, no dairy, no gluten, more probiotics, more conscious effort to eat the right kind of fish or chicken. She is doing the dirty research, so to speak, to find out the difference between farmed fish vs. wild caught, and so on.

Eating well is not foreign to me. My husband, Eric, and I began eating mostly organic everything about a decade ago, and even though our pocket books took a hit, we felt better – physically and emotionally, without much digging into why. We just did. Purer, more energetic. I got into reading and watching more documentaries on health at that time, too. One book that inspired and encouraged my health kick was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle  by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is both a beautiful memoir and a well researched source on the necessity of farming, eating organic, and all that.

Over the years, however, the noticeable effects we once felt, in terms of energy, have begun to significantly diminish. Speaking for myself, I am a dedicated short-distance runner who takes pride in my regular exercise regime. And even the effects of that practice have begun to dwindle.

So I am committing to being more mindful and dedicated to how and what I eat. (We eat, I should say.) This means, taking a leaf from my friend, Janine, by eating more like a rabbit and less like a hunter-gatherer who needs a quick and easy recipe that will fill everyone up.

And then, there’s the whole idea of how we move and in what ways we exercise. I found an article in Prevention magazine, while Ash snoozed at my feet, about nutritional movement that was inspiring and awakening. Has anyone heard of this term? Here, you can find a snippet about Katy Bowman, a biomechanist and the focus of this piece, who has rearranged her daily activities around lots of gentle exercise and simple strength toning exercises, including sitting on a floor cushion at a coffee table to do her daily computer work. Even climbing monkey bars, which she has installed both inside and outside of her house, once or twice a day!

I know I won’t be building monkey bars for my living room any time soon, but working in more nutrition – in food and in movement – is in the spotlight during a juicy summer.



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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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