Birthday musings and huge giveaway!

Today is my birthday, and it always resembles a new start for me - much more than New Year's day. I love reflecting on what was good, what lessons I learned, and what I want to achieve this coming year. Most importantly, I count my blessings, I make a huge list of everything I am grateful for. Of course life isn't always sunshine and daisys, but it puts me in a much better mood if I focus on the things I am grateful for, no matter how small.

The fact that I have a roof over my head, running water, food on the table, and a warm and cozy bed to sleep in is more than what most people have in this world. It is the basic things we have that we often take for granted. Yes, my yard is a ton of work, and I like to complain about it. The reality is that it gives me so much joy to garden, to grow my own veggies, and for Baby Zand to have a place to run around and go on adventures in. I complain about all the cleaning of our house, and yet again, we are so lucky that we have enough space to have my entire family come over and stay with us for holidays, that we can entertain all of our friends (like we did this Saturday), and that we can have a space to work, and relax, and exercise, and draw, and cook in. My list was three pages long.

What I am most grateful for right now is the fact that I am becoming my own person again. These last three years I have felt a little in limbo. Pregnancy took everything out of me, and the first couple of years with Baby Zand at home were a blur of happy milestones, endless doctor's visits, soppy kisses, explosive poop diapers, sleepless nights, hours of singing and story reading, so many tears, and so many smiles, plus a ton of house hunting. I suddenly became Baby Zand's mom, not Martina. I completely lost my own identity in being the best mom I can be. I often didn't eat, because Baby Zand was more important. I didn't sleep, because Baby Zand was more important. And I haven't done any hobbies or activities that I used to love, because Baby Zand was more important. And with Arman traveling a lot, I was often the only parent at home. Hard is an understatement - I think we can all agree on this. And all I can keep thinking about is how do people do this with more than one child?!?

Baby Zand has definitely taught me to be more patient (yes, it might take 5 minutes for her to get her own pants on, but that smile of success across her face makes it all worth it!), to live in the moment (hello little pebble on the middle of the side walk, let's look at the ants crawling all over you), and to be more playful. The joyous moments of goofing around in the kitchen together make up for the tantrums on that same cold tiled floor, the numerous calls for more water once she is in bed, and the lakes of pee that have been on our floors while potty training. The more she grows into her own little person, the more I want to be the best role model I can be. It's ok for her to see me cry, or curse (yup, that totally happened a few weeks ago!), or need a break from it all.

The biggest realization is that I need to be my own person. I need to have my own time to do my own things, so that I can feel like my brain is getting used in a different way, that I get to help other people. While my most important job is and will always be being a mom and raising an amazing human being, who is kind and cares, at the end of the day I also need to realize that "old Martina" used to help so many more people on a daily basis. It is what gave me so much joy, so much energy to keep going, to keep learning, to keep sharing everything I know. Because at the end of the day, we all have our battles, our ups and downs. And if I can help someone make just one thing easier or better in their lives, then that makes me so happy.

The last 6 months have been wonderful in terms of dipping my toes back into my work. I have started seeing one-on-one clients again both in nutrition and personal training, I have started teaching workshops again, and I have been more active on this blog. It's been wonderful. It's been giving me the extra energy I need to photograph food while Baby Zand is sitting at the table hungry, screaming her head off waiting impatiently to finally dig into the meal, to write at night when she is asleep and all I really want to do is go to bed myself, and to film exercise videos with puppy Haigo desperate to cuddle with me on the mat. I feel so blessed that this community has welcomed me back with such open arms, even after being gone for so long. I am deeply grateful to you reader, who cheers me on, who sends me love notes, and topics you would like me to write about. So now is the time to give something back to you!

The big giveaway

For my birthday I have been blessed with so many beautiful moments with friends and my family. I have decided I want to give presents, not just receive them. So here we go: I am giving away three one-on-one nutrition sessions with me, each worth $120. To win one of the three one hour long sessions, all you need to do is hop on over to Instagram and share any of my posts or make a recipe from the blog and post that on your news feed. Make sure to tag me @martinazand in your post (in order for me to see your post you can't have a private account), and you are in to win. Every post equals one entry, so you can post as often as you want. I will choose a winner this Sunday, June 3rd. That gives you plenty of time to get cooking and posting. I can't wait to help you on your journey.

Lots of love,