Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday

My friend Melanie has started a new link-up called "Top 2 Tuesday" and it's her first week, so I thought I'd try it out.

This week we are sharing our top 2 hobbies.

#1: Reading

Lucky for me, one of my hobbies is also my job.  As an English teacher, I get to read some of my favorite books over and over (and over) again, all while discussing the life-altering themes with my students.  It really is a dream job.  Outside of school (whenever Connor is in bed, usually) I like to read just about anything I can get my hands on.  Whether it be reading fiction, Bible studies for my Sunday school class, blogs I love to follow, or the occasional historical nonfiction (Jason's influence), there is nothing more relaxing than getting lost in a good book.
I am currently reading:

and I would love to read this next (I need to check the public library or borrow it from someone):

#2: Kickboxing

For the past 5 years or so, I have cultivated a love for exercise (particularly kickboxing/taebo) that I never anticipated.  I am not, by nature, an athletic person.  In 4th grade, I scored 2 points the entire youth league basketball season.  Despite being relatively tall for a girl at the time, I was not (and still am not) particularly coordinated.  Therefore, throughout most of my life, I believed that exercise was my enemy, sweating was yucky, and I pretty much stayed away from physical activity, unless it involved playing baseball with my cousins or taking a walk (which is the only "exercise" I could tolerate before). 

However, when a fellow teacher started a class after school in the band room and then expanded to the local gym, I decided to give it a try.  I was hooked.  The ladies with whom we worked out were fun and sassy, our instructor made us believe we could work harder and push ourselves more each time, and I actually started having fun working out.  At the peak of my fitness, we were working out during the week for two hours, and then on Saturdays we would sometimes workout for up to 2+ hours.  Before, this would have been completely out of my comfort zone, but I came to love it and look forward to going to class.

While pregnant with Connor I continued to kickboxing up until the week before his surprise (three-week early) arrival, and I like to think that being in the best shape of my life helped make delivery so easy (that and the epidural, for sure).

With Connor, I don't get to go as often as I'd like these days, and our routine has changed a bit, but I still have a love for this specific form of exercise that I never would have before.  Hopefully once we settle into a fall routine, I can start going more regularly, and get back to feeling as great as I did before.  I still have 15+ pounds to lose, but even with that extra weight, I feel better when I am exercising regularly.  I have more energy, I feel more confident, and I am stronger.  I am so thankful to my kickboxing girls and our instructor for showing me that exercise can be fun and empowering!

They even threw me a surprise baby shower when I had Connor!  Love these folks!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking up, Laura.

I haven't read the Hunger Games series yet, but I've heard they are awesome. You definitely need to read The Help. The book and the movie were both amazing. (I usually don't like the movie after I read the book, but this one was just as good!)

Anonymous said...

I've heard "The Help" is really good. If you read it, and it is good, let me know!

Laura Ashley said...

Melanie -- Thanks! I will definitely read it now!

Jacob -- I will let you know once I read it! :)

Jazmin @ The Miller's said...

Just found your blog!

It is precious. :o)

Looking forward to stopping by often.


Laura Ashley said...

Thanks so much for reading, Jazmin!

MsK28 said...

I read the Hunger Games last spring! So awesome! I had to buy all three books to add to my home library.

I have The Help if you want to borrow it. I haven't read it because I'm trying to read way too many other things right now. I've heard that it's excellent!

Laura Ashley said...

Andrea -- I would LOVE to borrow the book, if you don't mind. :)

I just read your newest blog but it wouldn't let me comment. :( What is the retreat you are thinking of attending? I went on a similar-sounding one in high school and it really changed my perspective and brought me a long way in my spiritual walk.

Hope all is well!