“Want Happy Kids? Love Each Other”

That’s what a Catholic Priest told us as he was blessing my pregnant stomach during FamilyPica fund raiser.  The priest held his hand on my stomach & our little baby underneath, and gave a wonderful prayer/blessing. That was 12 years ago, and what I remember most are the words he said,

“If you want happy kids, you will need to love each other.”

It’s always stuck with me.

He was right.  Our kids watch us:  how we talk to each other, how we resolve conflicts or arguments,  how we solve problems that are outside of our family.   They watch much more than that!!  They watch how we walk and they mimic our movements.  They watch how we breath and they breath the same way.

If you throw a ball really far, efficiently and effortlessly, your kids–boys AND girls–will too.  If you roll your neck forward, drag one of your feet, respond with yelling, pout when you lose, blame other, pray out loud each day, get up late, get up early, enjoy life, complain about life… one thing is clear if you are a parent:  your kids will mimic you.

Our kids watch how we brush our teeth, what we eat in the morning or before bed.  They mimic how we nod to strangers.  My daughter clears her throat just like I do.  I see my kids wipe their fingers on their pants like their Dad…

It’s cool and eerie at the same time.  Lots of responsibility…but a big reminder that partenthood/marriage is important.  It’s not easy.  It takes work, but the rewards are countless.

I feel so lucky to have kids and a great husband… at least right now with everyone quiet–not asking me for food or clean clothes or a ride.

Top 4 Troubles for Self-Employed Massage Therapists and How to Avoid Them

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Take care of your hands as a massage therapist

Most Massage Therapists are good at the art of giving a massage, even spectacular.  Rarely is the problem, when Massage Therapists decide to leave this career, that the therapist is bad at massage.  Sometimes this is the case, but even a mediocre massage can be improved with practice & study.

Another reason often mentioned for leaving the massage therapist career is the strength Massage Therapy requires is more than someone can handle for more than a few years.  True, sometimes, depending on the modality the massage therapist chooses to use.

Honestly though, the top reasons therapists leave this business, which is similar to why people leave many Entrepreneurial professions:  a lack of business savvy.  I think this is why being an employee or sub-contractor is easier in the long run for those people who are good at massage, or which ever business you are in, but not so good at the business end of the business.

 

Top 4 Troubles for self-employed Massage Therapists:   (And How to Avoid Them)

  1. Not enough clients or income or both
  2. Feeling stuck or frozen about lack of clients
  3. Paperwork overwhelm
  4. Fatigue, in the hands, neck, back, forearms, feet

 

First of all, THERE IS HOPE!!  So don’t give up or stop trying because of fear.  If you are doing what you love, like massage therapy or personal training or yoga, etc, I have some ideas for your success (and a reminder for my own continued success).  My suggestion is just to be realistic, patient and persistent.  Lets look at why these pit-falls show up in the first place:

The first problems start with UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS….that:

  • clients are easy to find & easy to keep
  • money will show up often “just because”
  • expenses are low, almost nonexistent
  • paperwork takes care of itself
  • taxes are for other careers
  • your body is strong and you don’t need extra maintenance
  • self-care, hydration, rest, stretching, physical fitness is what we Preach, not what we Do. Hee, hee.
  • assuming that this is the perfect career path for you, without looking at hard facts

The second problem is a lack of knowing your CLEAR PATH:

  • List your reasons for doing massage (or personal training, yoga, etc)
  • Why do you love doing massage, so much that you’ve done many for free?  Remember those reasons.
  • What are your Goals? (answer these questions…in writing)
    • What types of massage do you want to do/not do…be VERY SPECIFIC
      • example: instead of saying: I want to work on athletes.
        •  I want to work on female Mom athletes, between the ages of 35-55 who are college educated and willing to do their physical homework in order to get better.
      • example: instead of saying: I don’t want to work on Mean people.
        • I will pre-charge for first time clients, and I won’t reschedule them if they are disrespectful.
  • Write a BUSINESS PLAN   NO KIDDING!!  
    • Start with a simple plan
    • Know your NUMBERS!
      • How many appointments do you need per week/month to pay your “nut” or minimum bills?
      • How many people do you need to talk to in order to make 10 appointments?
      • What is your rate of return? (how many new clients return?)
      • How much money are you putting into retirement from each massage? (often forgotten about)
      • Do you pay your taxes monthly or quarterly? (and put it aside immediately…untouchable!)
      • From Where are people finding you?  (where should you spend your advertising dollar?)
  • Take CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
    • In ANY profession…60 min of daily exercise, plenty of water, plenty sleep… for starters (do what i suggest and not what i do… :))))
    • Find Balance: easier said… but still essential
    • When your hands are hurting…let them rest

Don’t give up.  A career you love—-getting paid doing what you love is really possible.  Find a MENTOR!  Message me if you have questions.  Don’t give up yet…

3 Days in Boston with Family

DSC_5797Boston is loaded with family friendly activities, and these sites were helpful in choosing what to see:

TripAdvisor’s 3 days on Boston most helpful, with pics and ratings

Independent Traveler’s 3 Days in Boston My favorite itinerary

Suggested 3 Day Boston Itineraries interesting, with several ideas

Pictures of what to try in Boston I liked these pics and reviews

The best advice I can give for an outsider coming to visit Boston:  hire a guide!  Per hour. Several days in a row.  $65/hr. Next time I will plan a 6 hour tour with a guide.

It’s worth it.  I’m not kidding, nor am I loaded with extra cash.

There’s oodles of history in Boston.  Oodles.  A plethora.  Books and books worth.

In 4 days, we missed some of the most important sites on our “Must See” list.  If we had hired a guide, we would have seen everything, we would have known at what we were looking and why AND had extra time to eat more cannolli in North End at Mike’s Pastry.

Mike's Pastry, North End, Boston There is usually a line out the door, but it moves fast

Mike’s Pastry, North End, Boston

The North End was our favorite, besides Cape Cod, but that’s not really Boston. North End includes a section of the Freedom Trail, including Paul Revere’s house, several churches, and many many plaques with historic info.  But, what is most fun about North End is all the  great food.

 

We really enjoyed:

  • North End
  • The Museum of Science x 2
  • The Blue Man Group!
  • The Freedom Trail
  • Harvard Square
  • Walking around

What we didn’t quite dig… see this other post How NOT to Visit Boston with Family.

 

How NOT to Visit Boston with Family

Boston rocks.  There is so much to see and do, it should be fun & exciting…if you have planned your visit.

I have to chalk this trip up to “How NOT to visit BOSTON”.  A wonderful opportunity to experience lack of planning in action.  A solid list of Don’t’s.  The CARDINAL SINS OF TRAVELING…all in ONE trip!

DON’T:

  • Pack for the entire family the night before without checking the weather  (this paved the way for the other disasters)
  • Check to see if lodging is comfortable (and quiet…but HOW do you check that??)
  • Have a lodging back up plan in place
  • Study the subway lines to know where to go
  • Make a list of the “Don’t Miss These” places, and make them a priority
  • Have sanity, confidence, & rational thinking

This trip was a great example of how lack of planning can create “I wish we were home” type statements…which for me is like a traveling death sentence.

Why was this trip was not our favorite?  Partly because of the cold April weather and mostly because this was the least prepared I have ever been for travel in my life.

I was off my game.

It may have been because of last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, or maybe the unexpected cold weather in Spring…I’m not sure, but I was in SLOW MOTION!    It was weird.

First of all, I rolled the dice to save money with lodging, using Airbnb.com for the first time, and choosing a small condo outside of Boston Proper, in Jamaica Plain. I booked months ahead of time.   The condo was charming and a great choice to save money by taking the “T” (subway) into town instead of dealing with pricey parking and LOTS of traffic.  All that was true and money saving.

But…it was loud for our family.  It was ON a main street with traffic noise 24/7,  we didn’t sleep much.  By the 2nd day (out of 8 nights), it was like pulling teeth just to get out of bed…much less go walking for 15+ miles each day in the freezing cold to see Boston.  At 2 AM I was surfing the net to find a different place to stay…but everything was $500+ per night because of the Boston Marathon.  Lesson Learned.

Add 35-45 degree weather with freezing winds…and our family dressed for 65 degree weather (MY FAULT-I KNOOWW) then looking for/at those brass signs “of historical importance” becomes not so important.

Hot chocolate, warm feet and pasta become important.

DSCN1107So, we got to see many Italian restaurants in North End, which we could find, instead of the site of the Boston Tea Party or the Tour of Fenway Park.  We DID get to Fenway park, where we bought $35/each hats because of freezing weather for which we were under-dressed, (And a whopping $150 off budget with one purchase). But, we didn’t get to go on the tour because it was sold out.  This describes our typical luck of this trip:

  • Get up tired from nooo sleep, dreaming of getting hit by the numerous busses that pass by each hour
  • Dress the kids with pants on pants, shirts on shirts, while they grumble, tired & hungry
  • Eat out because our “budget condo” has a vegetarian kitchen…
  • Walk to the “T”, trying to find Fenway Park
  • Get lost.  Ask for directions, get lost. Walk all the way around Fenway Park to find the “tour gate”, which, btw, was RIGHT next to the “T” doors.
  • Miss our chance to go on the Fenway Park tour because of for said “Walk AROUND the OUTSIDE of Fenway Park”
  • Take the wrong “T” train, get lost, ask for directions, realize the directions are wrong
  • Have Pasta, Thank Goodness we could find THAT!
  • Get home, exhausted, to another night of no sleep.  “Yay.” whispers my daughter…

    Boston Subway... Jake dropped his new hat... it was gone in a flash. :(

    Boston Subway… Jake dropped his new hat… it was gone in a flash. 😦

For the Fenway Park Tours, fyi, noon is a popular time, so try for 11 or 1:00.  They leave on the hour, so plan for that.

Just to keep the positive of Boston positive, I separated what worked during our trip to a different post in this post 3 Days in Boston with Family.

If you have any questions about this trip, let me know.  🙂

Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

Mickey MouseI’m a Disney lover and am always happy to find so many Disney lovers all over the world!  I used to keep my “Disney talk” to my family only, but I have realized how many families love Disney as much or more than we do!  Now, we have Disney parents who compare Disney plans & past experiences.  I love that!! It’s the best way to learn.

When starting the planning process, the question is:  Disneyland or Walt Disney World??

First, it depends on where you live and your budget.  The closer option is easier on the family travel exhaustion and family budget.  If you live on the East Coast or West Coast, your option is clear. If you have a choice, here are some things to think about:

  1. Disneyland is typically cheaper and easier to see in a shorter amount of time
  2. Disneyland is 300 acres while Disney World is 30,000 acres! (47 square miles!)
  3. Disney World is good “All-inclusive” where Disneyland is not
  4. Disneyland is boxed in, so some outside hotels are closer to the entrance than Disney World hotels

Pros for Walt Disney World:

  • It’s huge…also a con
  • all inclusive: if you don’t want to leave “campus” you don’t need to.  Everything you need is right there.  This also saves on a rental car.  This also makes it easier to focus on Disney instead of other options
  • More to see:  Disney World is much bigger than Disneyland and you could take days to enjoy all it has to offer
  • Many options to stay:  the “on property” hotels & places to stay in Disney World make much more sense than the “off-property” hotels, unlike Disneyland, where the hotels by the main-gate are closer than The Disneyland Hotel to the Main Gate.  Fort Wilderness Cabins, for example, in Walt Disney World give a great “suite” type cabin with a full kitchen and 2 sleeping areas while being very close to Magic Kingdom. (our favorite!) see Tips to Planning a Trip to Walt DisneyWorld
  • There are more specials for Disney World for longer stays, but Disneyland is catching up

Pros for Disneyland:

  • It’s small…also a con
  • You can get the entire 2 parks covered in 2-4 days
  • They offer a VIP tour that really rocks 714-300-7710 (Disney World is too big for this same tour)
  • There are many hotels RIGHT there….our favorite is Park Vue Inn which is closer to the main gate than the Disneyland Hotel (btw)
  • You are not too far from the beach…we always include a few beach days during our stay
  • It’s the original and there are some historic coolness you can find

We tend to choose Disneyland over Walt Disney World because of how close it is to us and our familiarity with Disneyland and the area around it.  We know exactly where to go…

Which would you choose?

Today is My Daughter’s 12th Birthday!

Happy 12th Birthday, Elizabeth!  You are an amazing young woman!

A shout out to our daughter, Elizabeth, who turns 12 today, May 24.

Happy Birthday!

I am so glad you are my daughter! We are so proud of you!  It’s been so fun, an honor and a daily blessing to be a part of you  growing up.

I can’t believe it’s already been 12 years since our first child was born! Poof, she’s a young adult, one year from a teenager.

On the last day of school, and the day before she turned 12, Elizabeth was awarded the “Most Considerate” award in her 6th grade class ceremony, a typing award and a Spanish award, but the award she is most proud of is the “I almost Beat My Coach In Pickle ball and Badminton” award from her P.E. teacher, Brian Stinnett. I think the end score was 21-19, but Elizabeth was sure he forgot to count a point and it ended 20-20.  Hee hee.

Our Beautiful Little Girl

CZ-63-Edit-8x10Not only is Elizabeth an awesome athlete, she’s an excellent student, a self-motivated studier, very kind & compassionate, a great cook & very creative at arts and crafts.  Actually, she knits beautiful winter hats and sells them for $10 if you are interested!  I’ll add a picture if I can find one…

I know the next 12 years will go just as fast as these first 12 have, and I’m going to enjoy each moment!

Happy Birthday!  We are very proud of you!

And yes, you can have a foot massage again tonight! 🙂

 

 

 

We love Daddy!

DaddyBest Daddy Award wasn’t supposed to leave Denver until later this afternoon, but he hates it when one of his family is feeling sick. So, he left this morning after his first appointment and should be home by 4 or so today. Jake had a headache and a 101.1 fever last night which got much worse by 3 A.M. and by 9 A.M. he was throwing up and had a 102.7 fever. I canceled my personal training and massage clients, by Jake’s request, to snuggle with him and be there to support him through his illness. But, even with my constant companionship for him, he asks for his Daddy.

Everything is better when Daddy is home, especially when you are feeling sick. He seems to help everything get better and calm down. Everything is taken care of when he’s here. He is the best caregiver of ALL TIME. Even when we try our best to take care of each other as he cares for us, it is impossible. I think it’s partly his huge “Papa Bear” arms and barrel chest which hug us so completely that makes him irreplaceable. He also is very aware of medications needed, when they were given, when they should be given and so on. We can truly relax and heal when Daddy is here.

Daddy makes everything better. Even when he’s not home, but in town, he makes things better. We know everything will be ok when he is aware of our needs. I don’t think the kids really grasp the completeness that is their Daddy’s care is for them. They won’t understand how comforting and complete it is until someone else tries to care for them and they will be shocked at some other people’s attempts at caregiving.

Not only care giving, but just caring, loving, noticing, supporting & involving himself is unequaled to their Daddy. It will be hard to find a good match for them, since they have been so well cared for by their Daddy. He smiles at them, looks them in the eye, notices their moods, questions, homework, hunger, sadness and a general need for a hug. He goes to games, concerts, church, skating, playdates, shopping, golfing, swimming, walking, all to be with them.

And not only to support his kids, but to just BE with them, calmly, lovingly, being content with simplicity.

What a great teacher he is, loving his wife, honest about who he is and who his kids can count on. He is leading by example, loving, generous, thoughtful, aware, forgiving, and wise.

He is the man…and he also happens to be…my man. 🙂

Your Massage Toolbox

Jesse Byrd, NMT instuctor

Jesse Byrd, NMT instructor

A common question we hear from massage therapists is what Continuing Education classes they should take.  This is a great question. Most states require 16-32 hours every 2 years to maintain a state massage license.  New Mexico requires 16 hours and an extra 8 hours for Instructors.

Consider your “Massage Toolbox”, loaded with the best “tools” to serve your clients.  Is it well rounded?  Does it help most clients?  Is anything missing?

The basics are usually covered in Massage School.  We call that the “Square Massage”, where you learn the VERY basics of giving a massage.

Next, add to those “basics”, taking more Sports Massage or more Myo-fascial work.  Each of these modalities can help.

Every Massage Toolbox should have basic “Body Mechanics” and self care and good business practices.  Taking care of your body is AS important as learning fascinating skills.  If your body gives out…it won’t matter what you’ve learned.

After the basic classes are in your Massage Toolbox, then start looking for modalities that interest you.

Each therapist has specific talents and passions which they are drawn to.  Listen to your gut.

Medium deep trap work

Medium deep trap work

Massage CEUs are expensive, some more than others, and since each of us will only take 2-3 weekend classes each year, choosing your classes carefully is important.

Massage has so many options for Continuing Education!

  • Sports Massage
  • Neuromuscular Therapy
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Oncology Massage
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Spa treatments
  • & many others

You can choose classes to help keep your hands and body from wearing out, or how to run your business.  Ethics is required by all and is often quite boring.

We can also use communication classes, personal training, nursing classes, aromatherapy, stretching, on and on.   Instead of learning ALL styles of bodywork, be specific.

If Sports or Trigger point is more your style, then ANY type of anatomy classes are a great help.  Or, if helping in a senior center or hospital is more your road, then you can find classes to help cancer patients, aging clients, or even hospice clients.

If moms are who you want to help, you could concentrate on pregnancy massage, infant massage, massage for migraines or massage for menopause.

photo-7

Whitney Lowe teaching Orthopedic Massage

If you have strong hands, then Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Massage or the like are good options.  Like Orthopedic Massage with Whitney Lowe was great.  He was easy to learn from and he very precise, which makes him good for “anal” students as well as those who don’t pay attention to details.  Or James Waslaski’s Ortho Massage is great, too.  James’ classes are more rugged or physical.  He really gets into each move and likes to manipulate the body more than other teachers.  Each modality I have found very helpful and effective back in the office.

 

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

Robert Stevens, Core Synchronism

 

If you don’t have strong hands or would like some smarter ways to work deeper, try Robert Stevens’ Core Synchronism  classes, which are incredible.  Even though “Core” is a subtle therapy, I use it in all of my “Deep Tissue” massages.  It is by far one of my favs.

Ultimately, you’ll need to choose your own path of learning, allowing yourself to be drawn to modalities that interest you.  Go with your gut.  The amount of CEU options is crazy and overwhelming.

Each therapist has great strengths and incredible talent in certain areas.  Explore different modalities to see which type of bodywork you excel in and like.  Which modality grabs your interest? Many will.  But, the better question is which modality KEEPS your interest.  Which do you always come back to? What is your “Go-to” when sessions get tough? When a friend or family member needs help with shoulder pain, what do you think of first?  In order to find your “Go-to” modality, you need to learn several modalities…different modalities.  I admit, some of the classes I took seemed to be a waste of time and money because I never used the specific style being taught…but I still learned from each instructor, and what was MOST important is to have clarity about what I DID NOT want to do.

Personally, I don’t think each of us is great at all modalities, and each of us has a specific way of helping people feel better.  Not each modality needs to be in your tool box….and not every person is going to “click” with you or you with them.

But, when you do “click” with a client, and you feel honored and genuinely respectful of their trust & concerned with the outcome of your time together, then having many different tools in your Massage Toolbox is very powerful. Using Trigger Points to specify pain, some stretches to loosen, deep tissue to lengthen, Core to synchronize, unwinding to calm and breathing to bring everything together, is one of oodles of examples of utilizing a well-rounded toolbox.  At the end of the day, when you get to make an amazing difference in another humans life, then ALL the classes are WAY worth it.

Stay Positive After Serious Injury

Are you recovering from a serious injury? Try to stay positive.  Think about your body like a team:_MG_2523

  • You need all players at their best to play a great game…in this case, the “game” is you healing
  • Each player on the team has an important part in the game…or your “healing”
  • The players need to get along, no name calling or negative Nelly, no blaming (is Nelly really someone’s name?)
  • When the team communicates and gets along, amazing things can happen!

So, here are your “Team mates” in your healing process:

  • REST…like NOT moving, sitting still with your affected area above your heart…really
  • Hydration…drink until your lips aren’t dry & your pee is barely yellow
  • Breathing…deep breathing, think oxygen= recovery
  • Light stretches & movement (especially after surgery…move your low back! move your unaffected areas)
  • Good nutrition!
  • Staying positive, keeping hope… watch “feel good” movies like Rocky or “How to Train you Dragon” where you cheer for others

Staying positive is the MOST important part of this list!  It can be hard to keep hope and think that you won’t get out of this injury ever to play or compete again.  EVER.  We understand.  But…try to keep your chin up.  Remember statements like:

  • “Days injured make me grateful for the days I’m healthy!”

  • “This is a great lesson in being patient.”

  • “I’m learning to really slow down and pay attention to what’s really important.”

  • “My health is the most important resource I have.”

  • “Never give up!”

Support your body the best you can with everything you know to be good for it.  Do this in every aspect of your day including your self talk, the food you eat, the movies you watch, the rest you get.

Do each task with intension to heal: rest to heal, not just to rest.  Think of the cells getting more energy for healing while you are resting.  Think of your cells getting more oxygen when you breathe.  Forgive yourself or anything/one you need to forgive to have a clear mind so you can support your healing.

Use your thoughts to orchestrate powerful teamwork that makes healing happen.

If you need support, email us.  Find support.  Help others.  These all help.

🙂