Van Metre Nature Preserve

Monday, July 21, 2014

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Living in the suburbs can feel a little monotonous at times; driving around you see a lot of  beige houses all lined up in perfect rows, everyone’s grass is cut and landscaping looks pretty much the same, but we moved to Loudoun County for the top rated school district and the fact that it’s a safe place to raise kids so I deal with it. This summer I am making an effort to go explore places I hadn’t before. This nature preserve is about a mile from my apartment and I had driven by it a million times before I decided to go check it out the other day. I wasn’t expecting much so I was pleasantly surprised at just how beautiful it is.

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I got excited when I saw what I thought was a hummingbird, turns out it’s a hummingbird moth, womp womp womp. What a tease.

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This orange and black bird flew in and started making all kinds of noise about 2 feet from the kids and I. My kids were terrified and now call it the “scary Halloween bird” because if it’s coloring. I believe it was actually a Red-Winged Black Bird. Yes, I’ve been hitting up the Google.

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When I got home and viewed my pictures on my camera I realized I took about 100 pictures of lily pads and ducks.

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I had never noticed how female Mallards have those purple feathers on their wings, it’s quite pretty.

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My daughter was at a science camp all last week so we put the outdoor adventures on hold, but she’s home again so we’ll be continuing the Loudoun County adventures again. If we find something interesting I’ll be sure to share.

Some of our other “Around Town” adventures: Algonkian Park, W&OD Trail, Loudoun Valley, Clemyjontri Park

Soul Food

Sunday, July 20, 2014

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On learning to accept my new body

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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I’ve had insecurities about my body for as long as I can remember. My hair has always been curly and I used to hate it. My nose was always too pointy, my teeth used to be crooked. My breasts were too small, my stomach was never flat enough, my butt was too big, my skinny calves weren’t proportionate with my thighs. I would stand in the mirror and pick myself apart. Then skip a meal, then work out. Then when I feel like I’m starving to death, tell myself I like my body so I deserve some cake; one piece would be sufficient for most people, but not me…I must eat the whole left side. After eating the cake I will inevitably feel disgusting and go right back to hating myself. I’ll start my diet tomorrow.

This has been my cycle since I was a teen. I was never officially diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia, but I went 3 years either starving myself to the point of passing out or binge and purge everything I ate. I became a size 0 but that wasn’t good enough, I needed to be a size 00. There were only a few stores that sold size 00 so I only shopped there and took great pride in the fact I could fit the smallest size on the rack. When I got pregnant with my first child at 19 I was under 100 pounds. I only gained 22 lbs that pregnancy, most of it came right off immediately, but my stomach stretched and wrinkled and never went back to normal. That bugged me. And so the cycle of starving, working out and binge eating began. I was able to give up the purging, but it wan’t easy.

So here I am, 9 days left in my 20′s and my goal for my 30′s is to rid myself of this hatred I feel for my body.  I was reading Justina Blakeney’s blog the other day and she had written a post about her post-pregnancy body; she linked back to a May 2013 post on the same topic and after I read every word I started reading through the comments. She had asked people to share one thing they love about their body; there were a lot of  “I like my eyes, my arms, my neck” type comments, but one comment that stuck out for me was by someone named Yvonne; she wrote “…the thing I love most about myself is I no longer hate myself…” Yvonne will probably never read this and will likely go on with her life not remembering having left that comment, but what Yvonne should know is that she really changed my life.

I never realized that what I was doing was hating myself until I read that comment. I just thought it was the American way to strive for the unattainable; you know, that runway model body 99.9% of us will never have. Ever since I read that comment I’ve tried to mutter the words “the thing I love most about my body is that I no longer hate it” at least once a day. Usually it has to happen when I’m just getting out of the shower and standing in front of the mirror, or sometimes when I’m trying, unsuccessfully,  to get back into my pre-pregnancy pants. Whenever I want to get depressed I repeat those words and force myself to perk up and think positive. While I know that I will probably always be able to find something I dislike about my body, I am learning to live in the moment and accept what I have while still working towards a healthier version of me.

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