Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: relaxation
Showing posts with label relaxation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label relaxation. Show all posts

Friday, September 25, 2015

Active Recovery Yoga

Oh I love my Sundays because after church we come home and the kids go down for a late afternoon nap, I usually catch an hour or two of a good nap and that evening I choose to do my yoga.  I used to not workout on Sundays at all as a true day of rest, but since I started to incorporate yoga on Sunday I have felt more rested and relaxed on Monday for the start of my working out for the week, and overall I am so much more limber. So now I use Sundays and Wednesday as an active rest day. (Pilates on Wednesday)

Why are rest days so important? The entire purpose of recovery is to allow the muscle to repair itself and to engage muscles that are tired and sore from previous days of exercise. To keep your body working at it's peak, you can choose to do an active rest day which is just remain active without pushing yourself as hard as you were a day or two before. Low intensity is what you want to aim for. Running at a slower speed, or doing less amount of exercise or a more slow paced exercise like yoga or pilates!

These are not easy routines I do for my yoga or pilates, they still require me to work, but I focus my mind and breathing to help clean me mentally and also using deep cleansing breaths. It really does work!

Yoga can be done by all shapes and sizes. If you are a more curvy girl, like me, you will have to modify some moves and that is ok! Listen to your instructor and do what you can and over time you will be able to do more and more! The stretching though is so good and feels amazing! For years I felt so scared to do yoga. I didn't think I could because I wasn't a skinny twig of a girl! I started yoga when I was pregnant with Collin and loved it every week that I went, all the way through 39 weeks pregnant. It was amazing. And helped so much, especially since I was running during most of my pregnancy. Even in the last few months I have struggled with Bow Pose. I couldn't not get it. But I kept trying, often just holding one leg at a time and switching halfway through. Then one day, I did it. It just worked! So keep going at it and you will be amazing at what you can accomplish!

This Sunday I challenge you to try out some of these poses. Or Hulu, Amazon they have FREE yoga workouts you can watch. Follow along. Focus on your breathing and allowing your body to release tension. Comment below if you are going to try this, this weekend! I would love to hear from you!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Collin Baby!

Here we are. 1 year old. My baby is 1 year old. So scary how fast this year has gone and how blessed we have been with this amazing year. Collin was our surprise baby. The one where I decided that it didn't matter if I sat on my butt or kept running. I had no control over if I miscarried or not. (I had 2 previous miscarriages just before him, and he stuck!) I still worried that what I was doing would make me miscarry but I put my faith in the Lord that if he was meant to be with our family he would be with our family. AND HE IS!

Collin is THE most laid back baby ever. He doesn't really fuss, doesn't really cry, doesn't really get mad. If he gets hurt he stops crying very quickly thanks to his 2 fingers that calm him down, and mommy of course. He is just a super observant baby and loves to watch his big brother do anything.

Collin loves to follow brother around too. Wherever brother goes, Collin is sure to follow because he doesn't want to miss out on any cool things. Or if dad is home Collin is always hanging out with daddy. Such a daddy's boy.

He is our little runt of the litter. He is still in 9 month old sized clothing. He is a little short but he will hit a growth spurt and get taller. He is also the healthiest eater in the house. His favorite meal of the day is breakfast that he inhales, actually he inhales everything he eats, all 2 cups worth of it! HE IS A BIG EATER. But check out what he loves for breakfast everyday: 1-2 eggs soft over easy cooked, 1 banana mashed, 2 teaspoons flaxseed, 1/4-1/2 cup oatmeal all mixed together. He loves it and is so sad when it is all gone. Healthy eater! He has his yearly check up on Wednesday so I will post his stats after to show he is growing and how much!

Here is a photo purge of some of the pictures I took at his Birthday Party this past Saturday!
~I made the comic book cover banner and we will be hanging it in the boy's room!~

 ~Sugar Coma~

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Survival Guide For The Gym In January: Regulars

Hey all you regular gym attendees! This one's for you! If you missed part 1: Newbies check it out!

We all know what January is like. The gym is usually packed for the first 3 weeks. We all know it is coming and when it happens we all feel a little frustrated. We are so proud of the new people attending but what happens is our routine gets thrown off a little because we either have to wait for equipment to be available and our circuit gets changed up, or we have to hurry off the machines because someone is waiting. And the classes get filled FAST! All week it seems like every spin class has been packed! No bikes available where last month there were at least 2-3 open.

Here you your tips to survive the Gym:

~We know it happens. The gym is more busy in January and that is ok! Great for the gym. It helps keep your prices lower, right because they are meeting their membership requirements and they won't raise the price on anyone because of that.

~Plan accordingly knowing that you might be at the gym for 2 hours instead of 1.5 hours. Last year I did 30 minutes on my favorite treadmill. Someone was waiting behind for me to get off. I got off and went to another treadmill for the last 30 minutes. It happens. (I had to do that 3 times last year on a Saturday when I had a super long run.) But there is a limit on cardio of 30 minutes. Yes I have a favorite treadmill type, I call it the tank! I feel more secure on it and not like I am on a belt. But I am not the only one that prefers that type of machine. (and those machines are on the second floor right under the fans, where a bunch of the other treadmills are like 20 feet under the fans. Without fans, this ginger is even more RED faced!)

~Support and encourage the newbies. If you see someone kind of deer in headlights, help them out. Say hi to more people than usual. It is scary going to the gym and not feeling like you fit in, so help them fit in. You never know, one smile today could make them come back tomorrow.

~Go during off peak hours. Yes this will throw off your schedule because you always go to the gym at 10am to strength train. But guess what, 10 am is when everyone else wants to be there too. I have been going around 11:45 and haven't been kicked off my machines yet. The kids zone is less crowded too. I am so thankful to have the flexibility to go at different times during the day, but if you go when it is super crowded try to see if you can change it up, at least for the first month.

~If you plan to do a group class. Plan on being at the gym 15 minutes early to get a good spot or to sign up if it is limited size. Or pre-sign up if that is available. But just know to be early, or you might not get in the class you wanted or will be squished in Zumba!

~We are all going for the same reason. Let's be happy that we have a place to go to when it is only 11 degrees outside and feels like -2! SERIOUSLY!?! Do not want to run in that!

Final thoughts! It is sad but true fact gyms are super packed in January but this is only temporary. I wish that it weren't true because that means that more people are sticking to their new lifestyles and getting fit. I know many people that have these expensive gym memberships and don't go. Just wasted money. If you are a newbie reading this...PROVE ME WRONG! Stick it out. Don't do too much at once. Keep coming back no matter what. Make this your lifestyle and next year, in January, you will be a REGULAR TOO!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Survival Guide For The Gym In January!: Newbies

I am going to write a 3 part series over the next few days about this topic and it will be for EVERYONE! Today's post is for those that are new to the gym.

The new year is the #1 time of the year for gyms to maximize on their membership rates. So many people start out the new year with a new membership because they want to get into shape. They are tired of living the way they are and want to change for the better.

Is this you? Did you get a gym membership for Christmas???

YOU DID! WAY TO GO! So happy for you and welcome to the world of the gym. I am so proud of you to commit to yourself, and to your family. You are amazing. I know this wasn't easy and I know it was a little scary too! Going to a gym is very intimidating. There are so many fit people there to begin with and you might feel like you just don't quite fit in. There is learning the equipment, what exercises to do, how to fit in and just getting used to adding a new thing into your daily life.

Just know that you are not alone. Everyone new to the gym feels this way. We were all new at one point. My biggest fear about the gym when I went was because everyone was so thin and fit and I was not. I was overweight. What would they think of me?

Honestly, they probably don't even notice you or if they do, they are super proud of you for what you are doing and know that it is hard. No one should ever make you feel less because you joined a gym to take care of you!

The first few months of my gym I wore baggy cotton shirts and cotton shorts to work out in to hide my belly and fat. But I sweat like a Beast because I wasn't wearing the right clothing. I then felt self conscience of how much I was sweating. I felt weak in front of everyone because I was struggling to do squats and even just lift the bar for the bench press. I could barely walk on the treadmill before I was out of breath. I could hardly do the elliptical for 10 minutes without dying! But I kept going. I finally decided that I needed to be comfortable at the gym. I ditched my baggy shirts and cotton shorts. Got tank tops and fitted exercise pants. If the guys at the gym wanted to look well, that was their choice I was doing this for me. I wore no makeup and frankly I wasn't going to the gym to pick up guys. After a few months of dedication those same guys I was nervous of looking at me, judging me because I was fat, started commenting on how much stronger I was getting. And how much slimmer I was. I was losing inches and I WAS stronger. When I maxed out the weights on the leg press machine, not the one where you add barbells but the actual machine, the men were impressed! I was a force not to be messed with.

I had joined their ranks, but honestly I joined their ranks long ago. The day I decided to join a gym. I was a gym rat!
 Here are a few things to know to help you out:

~Don't worry about what other people are thinking of you. It doesn't matter. Honestly. I know at some point you will see someone and be like, to look like that. Well, to look like that, takes hard work and dedication. I frankly admire the women who lift weights. I want arms like some of those women someday.

~Right now know that the gym will be busy when you go. Because when you go, probably mid morning, is when everyone else will want to go. So to avoid the morning rush go a little later in the morning. Also the afternoons are just as crazy if not more so. Times to avoid might be 9:30-11am and 4:30-6. But your gym might be different. You can ask your gym when their busier times are and they will tell you!
~Limit your time on the cardio equipment to 30 min unless the gym is not that busy. In my current gym there are 3 different sections of cardio. I have a specific type of treadmill that I prefer to run on. My rule of thumb is if there are at least 2 machines open around me than I can go beyond 30 min. If not then I know that my workout could get cut short. Once that second machine fills up. I have to get off. There could be someone out there that prefers the same type of machine I do.

~Please use a towel when siting down at machines. Or at least wipe the seat down after you use the machine. You don't like sweating and nobody else wants to sit on your sweat. EWWW! And wipe down your cardio machine too. Wherever you touch just wipe it down.

~Take a little time for you after you workout. I have the kids in the kids zone and they can be in there 2.5 hours a day. I don't do 2.5 hours of working out. I do an hour to hour and half at most. Then I just lounge for a little while longer. Read a book, browse the internet. Use the changing rooms and get ready for the day, take a shower. Take time for you to relax.

~Don't take every class in your first week. Spread out the love of classes because if you do too much too soon you are going to hurt. You won't make it back to the gym tomorrow because you are sore, and then something else comes up and before you know it you haven't been to the gym in awhile. Don't fall into this trap of go to the gym and stop before you start. Take it easy. Go walking on the treadmill and watch a class going on or go to the class but at the back of the room and take it easy. Limit yourself to 1-2 classes a week at first. Know that if you take spin that your butt and other areas will be sore for at least 3 classes, you take! Go slow and over time you will be able to do more. It's ok to only do a little at a time!
~There are trainers there to help you. More than likely when you signed up you got a free 1-2 sessions with a trainer. They can take you around the equipment and show you how to use it, because they don't want you to get hurt anymore than you want to get hurt. DO THIS! It is a must! Have someone show you the ropes.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My 7 Favorite Stretches After Running

Stretching is a must, especially as you start to add more mileage on. Your body takes a beating and it needs to relax. Stretching should only be done after the muscles are warm. So don't wait too long after you finish running to stretch. I try to do it within 30 minutes of running. Really right after I finish at the gym I tend to go to the stretching and plop down and do it, and if I do outside running then I stretch right as I walk in the door, and take off my shoes of course!

So here are my 7 must have stretches after running. Please listen to your body and don't bounce. Hold each stretch for a good little while. I count slowly to 30 or 45 depending on how much I need the stretch. Check out this AWESOME article about THE BENEFITS OF YOGA, ACCORDING TO SCIENCE by Jen Reviews!

1. Standing Quad Stretch
Just like you did in Jr. High school. Kick the heel of your foot up to your butt and hold. Do not pull the foot to your outside leg or let your knee flare out. Tuck your pelvis under and use a couch or chair for balance if you need. You should feel this in the front part of your thigh. Do both sides.

2. Standing Single-Leg Calf Stretch
You can use a wall to lean against, like the picture shows, or you can just brace yourself on your front knee. Place the right foot in front of you and extend your back leg back, you are doing like a mini lunge. Do not let your front knee go in front of your ankle. Keep a 90 degree angle on your front leg. Try to plant your left heel on the floor. You will feel the stretch in your back leg calf area. Repeat on other side.

3. Standing IT Band Stretch
You can use a wall for balance as in the picture. But I just cross my right foot in front of my left and bend to the left. You can raise your right arm up and over your head for more bend in your waist. You will feel this on the upper side part of the leg that is being crossed over. Repeat on the other side.

4. Straddle Stretch
Time to sit down. Your standing is done. I do it in this order cause if I got down on the ground I would not get up! Just like in dance growing up, just spread your legs out to the side. I like to lean over one leg to stretch each leg individually then go to the middle for the final stretch in this pose. I grab my toes so that I feel the stretch in the back of my legs on the hamstrings.

5. Pigeon Pose
My favorite yoga pose. I could seriously stay in this position forever. It feels so good! Bring your right leg in front and make a 90 degree angle bend at the knee with the foot turned in. Straighten your left leg behind, almost like a half split. Try to sit into that position and you can even lean forward over your bent leg in front. You will feel this in the IT band area, the upper part of your side leg that is bent. Repeat on the other side.

6. Lying Hamstring Stretch
Now going all the way to the ground. Lie all the way down. Raise one foot, flexed or flat, into the air trying to keep the other foot on the ground. Don't round your lower back. Keep that planted on the ground too. Hold your leg at your thigh or calf or grab a towel and sling it over your foot and pull on the ends of the towel to reach more easily. You will feel this in the back of the leg that is straight up in the air. Repeat on other leg.

7. Lying Hip and Glute Hug
Still lying on the ground keeping your lower back panted down, foot on the floor and cross your right ankle at your left knee. Grab the back of your left thigh and pull your legs to your chest. Also try to push your right knee out to the side and you will feel the stretch more in your butt and hips.

8) BONUS STRETCH! Corpse Pose

Lie all the way down on the ground. You can keep your arms to the side of your body or above your head. Just relax! Try not to fall asleep. If you have a 3 year old, this position can be dangerous because he will come and jump on your belly right when you aren't expecting it! TRUST ME! 

~Hope these help you! I just want you to start your year of running off right and taking care of your body, especially after a run, is the way to stay injury free and enjoy years of running! Happy Stretching! ~

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Shin Splints Recovery Tips

I have Shin Splints down the inside of the leg on my right leg only.

Now that I am picking up my milage and actually running more the dreaded SHIN SPLINTS have made their appearance. Oh yes, such a wonderful painful experience if you have ever had them.

Shin splints can be caused by a couple of things. Poor foot support, meaning you need new shoes and increase in mileage too soon for your body to get used to it. Personally my shoes are only a year and a half old and I haven't had too much mileage on them. I did have a baby and my feet changed while I was pregnant and I still have some excess pregnancy fat between my legs so I know that my stride is a little different and that has some to do with my current shin splints. But they are in the same spot they were a year ago. And that tells me, personally me, that it is just from a lack of training! I give it another 2 weeks of regular training to get my legs used to the abuse I am putting them through.

In the mean time here is what I am doing to help me recover from shin splints.

1) R.I.C.E, is the first step. REST, ICE, COMPRESS, ELEVATE. So after I run now first thing I do when I come home is stretch and try to foam roll, or rolling pin works well too. Then after a shower, I grab my ice pack and sit up on the couch, put some pillows under my foot and elevate my leg with the ice pack resting on it. I then put on a good show.

2) Get compression socks to help while running or exercising for support. Might as well get fun ones! Check out these from A-Swift.

3) Get a massage.When I am training hard I get my monthly sports therapy massages! It is part of your self care to take care of your body. Or use your partner to massage your sore muscles.

4) Take a hot epsom salt bath to soak your muscles. My favorite epsom salt is Dr. Teals Epsom Salt Soaking Solution in Eucalyptus and Spearmint. Not only does it help my muscles but totally relaxes my body and mind!

5) STAY CONSISTENT! Don't take too many days off in a row.Make sure you walk the next day to help keep your muscles limber

6) Stretch, stretch and stretch some more! They are tight because and need to be loosened up. A good stretch after you get back is key! My favorite post workout and run stretch it Pigeon Pose.

7) Invest in new shoes if you think your shoes are problem. Go to a Running Shoe specialty store to have them look at how your run and fit your foot with the right shoe. Go in with your running log and show them how often you run, where the pain is and such and they should be able to help you out too!

disclaimer- I am not a medical professional. Please know I am just giving advice that has worked for me in the past. If you have any questions please seek the help of your medical professional. Do not continue to work out if it is causing you too much pain. There is discomfort and there is pain. I am just in typical shin splints discomfort.

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Survived!

~Collin at 18 days old!~

This past weekend was my first time alone with the boys, ALL. DAY. LONG! Matt had military training over the weekend up in DC and I stayed back at the house with the two boys. Matt even called to check in on my Saturday to make sure I was doing ok.

Surprising thing is that Mason (my almost 3 year old) was amazing! He helped so much, and didn't really throw any tantrums. When I had to nurse Collin he would just go and play with his toys without being asked or watch his tablet. He never would hassle me at all or ask for anything. He knows and understands what I am doing and it is kind of cool and freaky at the same time. I was expecting so much worse from him and I am happy to say that I am pleasantly surprised!

On top of that Collin is going through his first growth spurt which means that he is sleeping deeply and eating a ton. He is sleeping so well during the days right now in his swing or the bassinet. I don't have to constantly hold him which is really nice. To give you an idea of how lucky I was this weekend. Mace went down for "Mommy quiet time" (nap/play in his room time) on Saturday at 11:30. Collin fed and went down for a nap in the swing for the next 1.5 hours in the swing. I was free for an hour and a half. IT WAS AMAZING! Then, after I fed Collin we both took a nap until about 3:30 when Mason got up from his nap.

I feel very blessed and fortunate to have Collin and Mason be so good with this transition of adding a new family member.

Now the hard part begins. Matt is back to work full time starting today! Time to learn all about balance and not just luck!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tips And Tricks To Recovery

There are a few things that can help speed your recovery and make you feel back to normal, sooner!

View my recovery post to read about what happens just after birth. Here are some other things from the hospital and through my own research to use to help speed recovery.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. These are from my own experience and personal research. If you have any questions please ask your doctor! And as always, please wash your hands before and after you use the restroom when recovering as you are healing and to avoid any possible infections.

Hospital Will Provide: 

Dermoplast: The hospital will have this for you. It is a numbing spray. Spray after you use the warm water bottle to rinse you off. It is awesome!

Tucks Pads: Also the hospital will provide these for you. Put a line of 3 on top of the pad which is on top of the mesh undies.

You Provide: 

Depends:  Yes, I am recommending these! Use them when you get home instead of the mesh undies. But put your pad on them and then the tucks pads on the pad.

Maxi Pads I use: Kotex Overnight pads for the first 2 weeks and heavy days/nights. Then Seventh Generation Ultra Thin Pads for the lighter days. You will need some pads when you get home too. Make sure you have these on hand before you arrive home from the hospital. Postpartum bleeding can last as long as 6-8 weeks! You never know how long your will last for. Amazon makes it easy for reordering though!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm Spray: This was my first pregnancy recovery using this and it was awesome. I sprayed it before the dermoplast. Used this every time until 10 days or you run out /it stops working well. I took this to the hospital and started using it right away!

Earth Mama Bottom Balm: I started using this in addition to the spray after 10 days. To allow the stitches to heal first and to avoid the possibility of infection because you have to slather it on yourself. It is not hands free like the spray.

Ibuprofen: Have plenty on hand at the house because you will have good days and bad days. It is ok to take these. You don't have to be super women and suffer silently.

The biggest tip and trick to a speedy recovery is rest, rest and more rest. Seriously. If you do more in the day, you will bleed more. Allow your body time to recovery from the crazy experience it just went through. Have people at the house to help you, to take care of your other children for you, to cook for you, clean, and just help out around the house. I'm over 2 weeks out and yesterday and today are the days where I really felt more like myself! But I have been waking up/getting out of bed around 8am, taking a 2 hour nap everyday and going to bed around 9pm. And resting or sitting on the couch and just taking it easy. The days I didn't take it easy I would have a step back in my recovery the next day.

This recovery has been more difficult for me but that was an internal pain I was feeling more from the traumatic birth of Collin. But I did these other tips and tricks and they have helped the external healing speed up. Hope these help you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sweet Relief

I love my chiropractors! Yes I have 2. It is a husband and wife practice and they are both amazing. Dr. Brian is my go to for when my back needs to be "cracked" and I need a good purring. (Yes, I actually purr when I am getting my adjustments because it is so, so very nice and feels so very good.) Then there is Dr. Jen. She specializes in pregnancy and children chiropractic care only. She has been adjusting Mason since he was 3 days old. She will do the same for baby when he arrives!

I have been suffering from from low back pain for most of this pregnancy. The sacrum area to be exact. Ask my hubs, he can attest to the countless massages just rubbing that one little area. It hurt from running, walking, standing, sitting. It was a constant pain in my...low back. This past Thursday, I had a prenatal massage at their practice, a weekly occurrence until baby arrives (so lucky, I know), and also my normal "cracking" from Dr. Brian. Later that afternoon after my OB/GYN apt I made my way back to the office and met with Dr. Jen. She did a little bit of this, a little bit of that with the jackhammer like adjuster. She had me lean against a wall in a standing squat position putting most of the pressure on my sacrum and within 5 minutes I felt this little twinge in my low back just a smudge of discomfort, then sweet relief of my low back pain.

I don't know what happened. It was amazing though. Like my sacrum just aligned, or popped back in place. And my low back has not hurt once since last Thursday! IT IS A MIRACLE! No more hobbling around, no more bending over at the sink because it hurts to stand for long periods of time. I've been healed and it is such a blessing!!!

I highly recommend finding a great chiropractor and trying them out to see if they can help you too.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Yesterday I had a Kick in Energy!

I haven't had a kick of energy like I did yesterday in a very long time. I seriously had no downtime whatsoever and it was pretty cool, however I was dog tired by the time we got home last night. But I didn't need a nap during the day I just kept going, going, going. Who knows when I will have another day like that. Here is what I did:

8am-Kid woke me up
9- breakfast with said kid
fed the dog, took out dog, stepped in dog pee on the stairs, ew!
9:45- started 1st load of laundry, vacuumed downstairs, cleaned Mason's room, with his help and vacuumed his room and upstairs hallway.
10:30- cleaned the kitchen, unloaded dish washer, switched out the Christmas plates for the everyday plates.
11- get kid dressed, snacks packed for gym. get me dressed for gym. move laundry from washer to dryer and start load #2.
11:15- out the door to go to gym
11:30- drop kid off at the daycare at the gym and went and did my 2 mile run
1:45- pick up kid and run home asap
2:05-arrive home, eat lunch
2:15-try to coupon as fast as possible
2:35- Matt arrive home, I run upstairs to change out of workout clothes and get dressed
2:45- leave house
3:15- Me and Mace arrive at chiropractor office for adjustment
3:30-hour massage- AHHHH! SO NICE!
4:50- arrive at Kroger to shop
5:55- eat dinner at Chic-fil-a
6:30-Arrive at target to get last minute things and cheaper priced items
7:30- arrive home, put all the groceries away
7:50-change kid into jammie and get him into bed
8:05-sort laundry #1 and move laundry #2 from wash to dryer
8:20- I can rest, finally, oops have to make the hubs lunch for tomorrow, then rest!

I felt go, go, go all day long. Yes there were some things for me to relax and unwind but I still felt rushed even in yoga. It just went by too quickly!

Hoping for an eventful day tomorrow to, but I am packed with teaching tomorrow. It is good to be blessed with students!

QOTD: Do you get days where you have no idea where your energy came from and look back at all you accomplished in the day?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Christmas Tree- vol 1.

I thought it would be fun to start showing off some of my favorite ornaments on our Christmas tree. Our tree is FULL of memories. We have ornaments from my parents tree that they gave us to fill our tree a few years ago that I grew up with. We have some from my own tree that I had in my room growing up and then we the the ones that Matt and I have been given or collected. We get at least 1 new ornament a year generally we get 3-4 which is pretty cool!

On our tree we have mostly Disney ornaments. I also have quite a few french horns and pianos all over. I have my students look for the hidden pianos and horns and try to see if they can count all of them. I have about 50 horns and pianos all over the tree. I kind of collect them.

We have our small but growing Star Trek collection for both me and Matt. Mason loves it because we have a Borg cube and when you turn on the tree it says, "We are the Borg. Enjoy you holidays. Resistance is futile."

Then we have a small smattering of other stuff, Arizona State stuff, Santa and other fun stuff.

So here is the start of some of my favs this year! In no particular order!
~Mason salt dough ornament that my mom and I made last year with his hand print. Needless to say, his hands have grown.~
 ~Gma gave this to us for Mason's first Christmas! I LOVE IT!~
 ~One of the many french horns all over my tree.~
 ~First ornament on the tree every year. It's tradition! Our first Christmas ornament!It is near the top in the very middle~
 ~Another collection from my mom and dad. Each blue ball, and there are I think 9, has a different image of favorite original attractions at Disneyland. The castle always goes near the middle. Sad story, a few years ago during a move a few got broken and I glued them back together. So the ones with the most cracks are in the back of the tree. Thank goodness my fabs were unharmed.~
 ~One of my former students went to WDW in the beginning of the year and saved this through the year as a Christmas gift to me. The daughter picked it out and everything since Cindy is one of my favs. (she was my fave till Brave came out. Sorry Cindy.)
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