Sunday, October 31, 2010

ZIP-a-dee Doo Da

Oh yes.  I am in a great mood today.  Was in an even better mood yesterday.  Why? You ask - well, because yesterday I did something I haven't been able to do in at least EIGHT YEARS.  I say at least 8 years, because that was the first time I tried to do this thing - and couldn't.

Now, you know me well enough now to know that I'm not just going to tell you what this "thing" is.  You know that I'm going to share the background story - ramble on about stuff that really isn't related, but is in my head - some how - and then finally get to my point.  Today is no exception - so here goes:

Like a lot of women, I have a certain "fashion" weakness.  Well, actually, I'm lucky enough to have two.  My weaknesses are purses and shoes.  Up until recently, when I started to actually like going clothes shopping - the only things I would shop for were purses and shoes.  Really, I never actually went shopping for shoes and purses - I would just have to look at them no matter what store I was in.  If there were purses or shoes in the store - I hunted them out like a dog, sniffed around for a long time, and finally grab a handful...because I could never decide the 'one' that I liked the best.

If you were to look into my closet right now - you'd be amazed.  Well, maybe you would.  Hubby isn't amazed - he sighs, huffs, and pouts anytime he goes into the closet.  He should just feel lucky he has a spot in the closet to hang stuff!  Anywho - my closet is full of shoes and purses.  I have purses and shoes that I have never used.  Hubby has begged and pleaded for me to give some away **GASP**...that's right, he wants me to part with my babies, my darlings...never going to happen.

So, weakness probably isn't a good word to use for my like of shoes and purses - obsession would be a better word.   Among this obsession I have a certain favorite - boots.  Boots make me weak at the knees.  I absolutely LOVE boots.  And so I reach the point of the story that you have been waiting for - almost.

Eight years ago, I saw a pair of boots that I wanted...REAL BAD!!  They were knee high, small heeled boots - they made me weak at the knees.  They were cute, they were sassy - they were going to be MINE!!  I walked over to the little stool to try on the boots that would be coming home with me.  Placed my foot in - oh, it felt so right!!!  Then, I started to zip up the boot.  I got just below my calf - and then devastation hit me.  My calves were too big - the boots were not going to zip up.  I felt the blood drain from my face.  I felt tears well up in my eyes.  It hit me like a ton of bricks that I was not going to be able to have the boots. 

Since that day, I never looked at boots with the same eyes.  No longer did I swoon over them.  Every time I saw a pair of the knee high boots - that I loved so much - I felt nothing more than sadness, disappointment, and envy.  I was jealous of the beautiful legs that walked around with those glorious boots - rubbing them in my face every Fall.  That was, of course, until Wednesday of last week.

You've probably guessed where I'm going right now - but stay with me...for my own amusement.  I was doing a little shopping for things I needed for my Halloween costume.  I walked past the shoe department, and there staring at me - calling for me - were a pair of knee high, black boots.  I walked past them, head held low.  Then I started thinking - I've lost 60lbs.  I'm in a size 16.  I've dropped a whole shoe size.  Is it possible that my calves are smaller - small enough - to fit into those glorious boots?  So, I walked back.  I grabbed my size and marched over to the stool.  I took a deep breath.  I psyched myself up, just in case I still wasn't ready to wear the boots I had longed to have for so many years.  I placed my foot in - started to zip.  Zipper stopped mid calf - DAMN!! Then I realized it was snagged on my pant leg.  I pulled my pant leg up...continued zipping.  Slowly, slowly, the zipper went up. 

As I looked down at the boot, fully zipped, on my leg.  I felt tears.  This time, there were no tears of sadness - they were tears of complete and utter joy.  I'm pretty sure that if someone had been standing close to me, I would of jumped up and kissed them.  I composed myself - carefully placed my boots back into the box, and headed straight for the check-out as if somehow between the time I tried them on and the time I paid for them - my calves would grow too big to fit back into the boots. 

Yesterday was the first day that I got to wear my darlings.  I wore them to the wedding.  I was a little nervous about wearing new boots to an event that would have me on my feet the whole time - but I did it anyway.  You know what? They were worth the wait.  They were worth the money.  They were comfortable, I looked damn good in them - and I am now a very, very happy woman.  I have accomplished something that I have been waiting years to do.  ZIP-a-dee Doo Da, ZIP-a dee ay!!!

Here's a pic of the new addition to my family:


PNOTD:
"Small accomplishments leave the biggest impact."

Till next time.  ;)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wedding Bells are in the Air

Not mine.  Don't get excited.  Nope, today I'm going to a wedding.  A few weeks back, I mentioned to the bride-to-be (who I barely knew at that point) that I used to do wedding photography back in the days when I had a life outside of school and well, school.  She looked at me with a look on her face like I had somehow been sent to her by the Heavens above.  Uh oh!

The bride-to-be is a teacher.  She explained that she's having a very small ceremony and would love it if I could find it in my heart to take some photos at her wedding.  This woman is so sweet and nice, that I could have been scheduled for major surgery on her wedding day - and still agree to do it.  So, I'm going to do something I haven't done in over a year - take photos of a wedding.

The good thing is, I'm no longer just the "photographer".  I have now gotten to know her a little better, and will feel more like a guest.  There will be other teachers there I know - so it should go great.  I'm a little worried because I will be using a new camera that I've never used for "professional" jobs before.  I'm also driving to a place that I've NEVER driven to by myself before.  The drive is nothing but curves, and mountain sides, and well - to be honest, anytime I go there, the drive makes me nauseous.  Today, it will just be me, myself, and my camera on the drive. *GULP*

After the wedding, I haven't decided if I'm going to come straight home and get back to work - like I should - or hang out a bit and do a little shopping - like I want to.  The wedding just happens to be taking place in one of my favorite little shopping towns.  Hubby and I take a few trips there each year, just to walk around and enjoy the sights.  I've never been by myself - so this could be a great opportunity to do some of that stuff by myself.  I always get a great work-out when I go - because the whole town is built on a hillside...so I'm walking up and then walking down.  Hmm, kind of sounds like I'm trying to convince myself that I should definitely go with the shopping.

Whenever I do finally decide to bring myself home - I have to get to work.  The next few weeks are going to be completely consumed with working on two big projects that I have going on for school.  Looking at the calendar, I still have 5 weeks to complete them...but in school terms, I only have three.  I really don't want to be working all of Thanksgiving break, and the week before - I'm taking my first "professional" trip to a conference in Little Rock.  I will be gone for three days - and I will NOT be taking any homework to work on while I'm there.  It's a professional trip - but it's also a break.  A break that will be well deserved, well needed, and something I can't wait for.

OK, I'm going to stop here - it feels like I'm rambling, and I don't like to ramble.  Everyone have a safe and enjoyable Halloween Eve.  If you're taking your kiddos Trick or Treating tonight - have fun!!  I will be passing on that - my kids have enough junk in the house, and I don't need anymore.  I know - I'm a mean momma - but really, I can walk into Wal-Mart on Monday and pick up a bag of candy for each kid - 50% off what I'd pay for it today....and it doesn't require anything more than the drive to Wal-Mart.  They'll be happy, I'll be happy...now that's what I'm talking about!!

PNOTD:
"Life is like a box of chocolates - and I'm a chocoholic!!"

Till next time.  ;)

Friday, October 29, 2010

For Halloween, I'm a, Urm....Dressed Up

Today, I get to dress up so that I can spend the day having fun with the kiddos at school for Halloween.  Before I go into what I'm dressed up as, I just have to say I'm so happy that the school I'm in still allows this.  Of course, like most schools, we are not having "Halloween" parties today, we are having "Fall" parties.  To celebrate, the teachers and students get to wear costumes.

For the teachers to be able to dress up, each grade member had to come up with a theme.  The theme had to be something that is related to literacy.  Some groups are dressing up as Dr. Seuss characters, for example.  My grade decided to do Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Well, then we decided to do Snow White and the Seven Dorks - a spoof of the Saved By the Bell episode of long ago.  Then, we kind of realized that we loved watching Saved By the Bell as kids - but our students would have NO idea what the heck we were doing.  Once again, we went back to the drawing board and came up with Snow White and the Seven Superstars.  "Superstars" being the nickname of the second grade teachers.

So, think for a second.  What comes to mind when you think of "Superstars"?  Glamour, glitz...fancy gowns or rocker type outfits?  Hmmm, that's kind of what I thought.  Then again, what fun would that be?  I'm lucky enough to be working with a bunch of people that are bursting at the seams with creativity.  They want fun, quirky - something that will make the kids laugh.  I'm 100% behind them.  So what do I look like today? 

Well, I will have pics tomorrow - because my ensemble isn't complete yet.  Right now, I'm wearing purple and black striped thigh-highs under rolled up jeans topped with a black t-shirt.  How's that mental image for ya?  Once I get to school, I will receive my pink boa that has a large blingy star attached to it that says "Dopey"...yep, lucky me - that was the dwarf name that I picked out of the hat.  On my head, I will be wearing a visor - worn to the side, of course - that has "Superstar" written across the front of it.  Mental image a little better, now?

We've got some dwarf, dork, and superstar rolled into one - now that is genius!!  Now, I know I will spend all day saying "I'm a superstar" after the kids are wondering what the heck I'm dressed up as, but I know that they will ask with a smile - maybe a chuckle.  That is the hope with all of this.  As long as the kids get a good laugh from it - I will enjoy it. 

As a child, who wanted to grow up to be a teacher, I couldn't wait to get to do fun stuff like dressing up and being silly.  If there's a need for a teacher to dress up, dance, sing, or just be goofy for a day - I'd be the first in line to volunteer.  Then things became different as I got older.  It was no longer OK to celebrate Halloween in schools.  Christmas parties started to get the axe.  Valentine's Day? - Nope, not appropriate for young kids.  I was really upset when I started to see the things I was so excited about being a part of dwindle before my eyes.  Then someone got the magnificent idea of celebrating the seasons.  Hey, let's have a "Fall" party - and dress up in costume.  Let's have a "Winter party" and give gifts to celebrate.  When we have a "Spring" party - let's give little cards and candy.  That person, whoever it was, deserves a medal.  I still get to do the things I wanted to do, the kids still get to have a great time, and no one is getting offended. 

I know that there are still some schools that won't allow the parties.  That makes me sad.  I can only hope that when I finish school and start my job hunt, that I'm lucky enough to get a job in a school that celebrates the seasons.  Do you think it's appropriate to ask that during interviews? 

PNOTD:
"Purple and black striped socks: $3.50.  Pink Boa: $3.00.  Having the chance to dress up, be silly, and make the kids laugh:  Priceless."

Till next time.  ;)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little of This, A Little of That

I'm quite proud of myself this morning.  I got up, dusted off the treadmill, and did a little walking.  Not just that, but I also dusted off my stair stepper and did a few minutes jogging on that.  Wasn't anything too major - sweat isn't pouring off of me - but it's something. 

The last couple of days, well weeks, I've struggled - there's something you haven't heard before **insert sarcasm**.  I've struggled with making myself work-out.  I've struggled with eating.  I've struggled with finding the motivation to be good at both. 

Last night, I bumped into an old friend at Wal-Mart.  I haven't seen her in quite a while.  She was totally shocked when she saw me.  It was great seeing her expression, and I felt really good hearing "wow, you look amazing" then she added something "you can definitely see how hard you're working".  DOH!!  When she threw in the last statement, the sizzle of guilt bolted through my system.  I hummed around about how I'm not doing as much as I was because of work, and all that jazz - but inside I knew that I was lying to her and myself.  I've not been doing as much, because I haven't been doing as much - period!  I'm in my groove now at work, there is no more being able to use that as an excuse. 

I keep making these goals for myself - like I'm going to be in a size 14 by Thanksgiving, and I'm going to work out twice a day up until my BL final weigh-in...and then I don't work-out once...not once after making that goal - until this morning.  I'm tired of trying to find reasons why I don't have my heart in it anymore.  Six months ago, I lived and breathed "healthy living".  You couldn't keep me away from the track to run, going to boot camp, eating healthy - now I just can't get myself to do it. 

I know that it's really bad when I walk out of work on a nice, chilly day and think "wow, what a perfect day for a run" then hop in my car and drive home.  WTF?  I can tell myself that I should be running, but making my body cooperative with my brain I can't do. 

On January, 17th of this year - I set myself a goal.  That goal was to lose 100lbs in a year.  Nine months later, and I've lost 60.  Not exactly what I had envisioned - but the most weight I've lost at one time EVER.  I am very proud of my accomplishments - I just don't understand why I've reached this plateau.  I don't feel like I'm ready to give up - but it's kind of how I've been acting.  I keep telling myself that I want to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep losing - yet I sit on the couch or at my desk night after night. 

Before I went to bed last night, I watched this week's episode of Biggest Loser.  I've become a little teary eyed during several episodes - but it's usually because of someone talking about their struggles or their accomplishments.  Last night, I got misty because I thought "why don't I have that motivation anymore?"  Then I told myself "I WILL work-out when I get up in the morning".  I set my alarm and went to sleep. 

Alarm went off this morning, I hit snooze.  Then as if I'd been poked in the ribs by a supernatural force, I jumped up "I am going to work out this morning!!!"  Even after I got my work-out clothes on, and got my treadmill set up, I still had to force myself to get on it.   I'm walking away at a measly 2.0 speed.  I think "I'll do 5 minutes" - then the poke hit me again "move that speed up!"  So I went up to 3.0.  My feet started to hurt, so I told myself I'd had enough...."don't you quit!"  I ended up doing 15 minutes.  Not great - but my feet were really hurting by then.  Then I hopped off and jumped on the stair climber.  I started walking on it as if I was walking up a flight of stairs with two bags of groceries...one....two....three....four.  Then I realized that I wasn't really doing much.  One..two..three..four.  I could still do more.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.....I was going at a good jog.  It's weird, but I actually did more on the stair stepper than I did on the treadmill.  I think it's because I don't like the treadmill anymore.  It was kind of a wake-up call.  If I don't like the treadmill - then maybe I should be making myself go to the track. 

I have to say, I feel pretty good now.  Again, a whopping 20 minute work-out isn't anything to brag about - but I didn't stay in bed.  I didn't give up after 5 minutes like my body wanted to.  I didn't let myself walk on the stair stepper like I was ticked off because the elevator was broken.  Is this something I could do every morning?  I think so.  Is it enough?  No.  But if I did a little 20-30 minute work-out in the morning, and then MADE myself go to the track and run every day after work...I might find my groove somewhere along the way.  It's a process - I made the first step this morning (no pun intended). 

Everyone keep your fingers crossed that I can find my mo-jo again.  It's been lost, now, for far too long.  I want to be the powerhouse of a person that was kicking ass and taking names when it came to working hard.  Oh, and...

Dear Brain: 
You control my body, so please do something to take power back.  I know that you are a "visual learner" so I type this for you to read.  My body has been on strike now for far too long.  I'm not sure what the demands are behind the strike - but whatever they are:  BE STRONG!! You are in charge for a reason, don't let my limbs be the boss. 
Thanks, Joanna

PNOTD:
"Mind over matter.  Translation:  It does matter if I don't feel like doing it, because I set my mind to do it for a reason."

Till next time.  ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh Come, Sweet Cold Weather!

I'm driving to work yesterday morning, listening to the radio like I always do, and on comes the weather forecast.  "Chances of rain... [blah, blah, blah], partly sunny... [yady, yady, yada], highs in the upper 60's...Friday morning, NW Arkansas will have it's first freeze"  Now, that got my attention!! 

We've had a little Fall this year.  It's been mild - 60's, 70's...but you have no idea how excited I became to hear the words "our first freeze".  I know, I'm crazy.  Unlike the other couple of million people I share the state of Arkansas with, I LOVE cold weather!!  In my personal opinion - and you know that my opinion is important - there's nothing better than cold weather.  Not being out in it - that's not fun - but being curled up on the couch with a warm blanket, cup of hot chocolate, watching TV or reading a good book.  Unfortunately, living in Arkansas means we might get our first freeze on Friday morning, but no doubt the weather will be back in the 70's during the weekend.  That I am hoping for, because I'm going to a wedding on Saturday - and it's an outdoor wedding.  The bride-to-be deserves nice weather for her wedding.  Sunday can be cold, though, and once again - the weather in Arkansas can quite easily grant my request. 

Cold weather sets off a spark in me that I can't explain.  I get excited about everything.  Maybe it's because I know that Thanksgiving and Christmas are now only weeks away.  My Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving and lasts until the day after New Year's - although I start my celebration on Thanksgiving day.  Christmas "season", as I've termed it, means time with my family, snuggling up with a fire in the fireplace, the blinking of Christmas lights....ahhh, my mind is relaxing as I type!!

Cold weather also gets me excited about working out.  Yep - I said it - excited about working out.  I don't like to run when it's hot outside.  I want to work up a sweat when I'm cold - it means I have to work harder to heat my body, and I'm not wanting to rip my clothes off 3 minutes in.  Being that I run in the afternoons, it's really hard to find the motivation to run when I'm sweating by the time I get to my car - just to go to the track.  The heat makes me tired, uncomfortable, sticky - just doesn't feel great.  When it's cold, the air is crisp, I can fill my lungs with it - and not gag.  I want to keep moving, because I know that if I stop - I'm going to get, well, cold. 

Of course, cold weather also has it's pitfalls.  That would be comfort food.  Big pots of chili, stew, and pot roasts.  Cups of thick, creamy, hot chocolate.  Mmmm, so good - but so bad! I will admit, I am very nervous about my eating once the cold weather moves in.  In my family, we have one custom during the holidays: eat.  I'm hoping that because we started using our slow cooker as a staple, lately, that healthy meals will continue.  Hubby has been great at trying out new recipes that will satisfy my craving for cold-weather food, but won't pack on the insulation.  I did have a moment of weakness while grocery shopping on Sunday, and bought a tub of Mint Chocolate Cocoa.  There's 140 calories in a cup - ouch - but I figure if I have one cup in the evening, it won't be the end of the world.  I also saw a good idea on another weight-loss blog, and she uses half of the "good stuff" and half sugar-free cocoa...so it cuts the calories down quite a bit. 

OK, so I think I just wrote my first blog post about the weather.  Wow.  It goes to show that I really write about what I'm feeling and thinking.  I guess if means if I chose to write about the weather - all is good in my life right now.  That's true.  Things are good.  I am happy.  Still nervous about the BL competition - but I'm hoping that Jack Frost is going to give me the kick in the caboose that I really need.  On a side note, I put on a pair of my pants this morning - size 16 - and they are a little loose.  Looser would be a better word - still fit well, but I feel a little more "give" in them.  Let's hope that's a good sign.

PNOTD:
"Enjoy the simple pleasures in life - it declogs the brain of stress and drama"

Till next time.  ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pushing the Fast Forward Button

On Tuesday morning, for the past couple of weeks, I have been telling you my "Back in Time" story.  Basically it was the story of my life since 2000.  I was telling the story, because I blame a lot of the bad things that have happened to me to be accountable for my weight issues.

After giving up on the whole "topic of the day" thing - I hummed and harred about whether or not I should continue with the story.  It would definitely give me something interesting to write about - I mean, who doesn't love to read a good drama story, right?  So, I thought about it, decided to do it, and then I had an interesting conversation with someone yesterday that made me reconsider.

It started out with a question of why I decided to wait until my late twenties to start college.  What should of been a response that consisted of "I had kids when I was young, so I had to wait until the right time" turned into a fast-forward rant of my past.  I told her about being in an abusive relationship, being so broke that I had to move over and over again with just the clothes on my back, turning to food to comfort me through depression, being single for four years to get over the pain and self-esteem issues of my past relationship,  meeting a guy that gave me the ability to be able to go to school, yady yady yada.  The person that I was telling the story to must of thought I was nuts - she asked a simple question, and in return got the drama of the past ten years of my life.  Then she said something that was like a slap in the face - "wow, I'm sorry to hear that you went through so much, but I guess you are the person you are today because of it, right?"  When she said it, my response was "you're absolutely right!" 

I have used the words that she said to me many, many times.  I am a firm believer that the struggles I have dealt with in my life have turned me into the person I am today.  I should be proud of that.  I am proud of that.  If I had the choice, would I do my life over?  Heck no!!  Every moment of my past - both good and bad - has molded what I am, who I am, what I have...why would I want to change a thing?  If I didn't get pregnant at 17, I wouldn't of met Fabio.  If I didn't meet Fabio, I wouldn't of had Grover.  If I hadn't been depressed and emotionally unstable and it taking four years to get over it, I wouldn't of met Hubby.  No Hubby would of meant no Zoe.  No Hubby would of also meant no going back to school and becoming a teacher.  Every moment in my life has accounted for something that has affected me now. 

So, after my conversation, I decided that I would not finish the story.  The reason is because I was telling the story as an excuse of why I put on all the weight.  An excuse to blame someone for doing horrible things to me that caused me to drown my sorrows in food.  An excuse to not hold myself accountable.  Excuse after excuse after excuse.  It really doesn't matter how I got to be as heavy as I was - what matters is I finally decided to do something about it.  It doesn't matter how many times I failed at losing weight - it matters that I'm succeeding now.  There is no time dwell on the past, I must use it only to remind myself that every moment made me who I am today.  I am strong.  I am smart.  I am healthy.  I am a mother - a good one.  I am with a man that loves me for who I am.  I am finally losing weight - already lost a lot.  I am following my dream, and striving to be the best teacher I can be.  These are the important things - not what happened to me ten years ago, eight years ago, five years ago - or even last week. 

At the end of the day, I love who I am.  I am so proud of everything that I have accomplished in my life - having amazing children, an awesome fiance, a supportive and loving family, and a job (although unpaid at the moment) that I love more than any job I have ever had in my life.  These are the things that are important.  I want to live in the moment, not dwell on what happened or didn't happen in the past.  The past being ten years ago, or yesterday.  If I don't do a work-out that I planned, I won't dwell on it - I will do what I can to learn from it, and move on.  If I don't get as much homework done in a weekend that I'd like to get done - I will finish it when I get to it.  It's all about the present - what's happening right now, this very second, on this day - and I have to make each and every day the best that it can be.

PNOTD:
"Live every day to the fullest, because once the day is over - it's the past.  Don't wait until tomorrow - for tomorrow never comes.  There's nothing you can do to change the past, there's nothing you can do to form the future - you have total control on what you do today."
Till next time.  ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Do or Die!! No Time Left...AAAGHH!!!

Last night, I laid in bed for about an hour.  I couldn't sleep.  Thoughts were racing through my head - not about school, work, or the curriculum unit I'm building...no, I couldn't stop thinking about the Biggest Loser competition I'm in.

I'm really beating myself up.   I've been doing the competition for 7 weeks, and lost a measly 5lbs.  There's only 3 weeks left before the final weigh-in, and I just can't help but feel like I've let a golden opportunity to win this thing slip through my fingers.  It was mine for the taking - but 5lbs?  Really?

I watched last week's Biggest Loser last night - thank you DVR - and that's probably what really got me thinking, no, it's definitely what got me thinking.  A woman got brought on to the show that didn't make the first cut.  In 5 weeks, she lost 39lbs at home!!  After she got off that scale, that's all I could think about.  How much weight would I have lost if I really put my mind to it the past 7 weeks? Is it possible to still have a chance?  $150 is a lot of money - especially a few weeks before Christmas.  That's a big incentive, but I guess it hasn't been enough to put me to work. **SIGH**

So, I was laying in bed, beating myself up, looking at the clock thinking "ugh, I have to be up in 5 hours".  Then I started thinking about what I could do to at least give myself a chance.  It has to be extreme.  It has to be something I'm not used to doing, or have done before.  It's something I don't know if I can do - but I've decided I have no choice.  It's time for action.

My decision?  Two a day work-outs for the next 3 weeks.  *GULP**  I figure if I don't waste my "free" time in the mornings, I have over an hour that I could be doing something...anything.  It can't be too loud, cause the kids are still asleep -but some weight work, push-ups, sit-ups - maybe a DVD work-out?  Then in the evenings, it's to the track I go...every night...no excuses.  The food situation has to change, too.  I'm in a new class now, and the class I'm in has a break from 8:45 - 9:45 each day and lunch from 11:45 - 12:45.  That means that I can eat breakfast, have a snack in the morning, eat lunch, and then have a snack at 2:30 when school gets out.  Yep, it's time to go back to eating 6 times a day. 

I'm nervous.  I mean, if I can lay awake at night worrying about it - it means that I really want this.  The procrastinator in me must not be gone after all, it was just waiting for another opportunity to shine though.  Waiting until the last minute to get serious about this competition - well, it may be the first time that the procrastinator in me will get burned...ironic, huh?  Especially after bragging about it the other day. 

I weighed myself this morning - I know, I told myself I wouldn't do that - but I had to get an idea on where I'm starting.  I'm still at 205 *eye roll*.  I'm surprised I haven't gained - not been a great week.  Oh well, not going to worry about that.  The second part of my "procrastinator challenge" is to try and stay off of the scale for the next 3 weeks.  Last week I told you all that the school nurse, who happens to be the one running the BL competition, told me I didn't have to weigh in each week.  Well, I'm thinking, how cool would it be to really work my butt off in the next 3 weeks and just wait and see how well I do at the final weigh-in?   Everyone that's in the competition with me knows how, urm, "great" I've been doing...they probably think that I've given up..and in a way, I did.  What they don't know is, the show ain't over until the fat lady WINS!! 

I owe it to myself to at least try.  I've put it off long enough - if I want to at least have a chance, it's finally do or die.  It's time to get the gift of procrastination to do it's thing.  I'm down to the wire, now, there's no more time to "try harder next week". 

Two weeks ago, I set myself a "mini challenge".  That challenge was to be in a size 14 by Christmas.  How f'in awesome would it be to complete that challenge by Thanksgiving?  Well, that is now the new challenge.  Not only do I want to "rock my socks off" in the BL competition at work, I want to be in a size 14 when I go to the final weigh-in.  I can do this!!!

To end on another motivational note.  Two weeks ago, I had pictures taken at work.  I received my first "teacher" school photo.  I have NEVER had a school photo taken that I liked...until now.  I am really happy with how the photo turned out...wanna see it?  OK, here it is:



PNOTD:
"Sometimes it really takes getting close to the wire to get the drive you need to finish things through"

Till next time.  ;)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Babies, Toddlers, and Teenagers

Yesterday was a startling day for me.  I tested the waters to my statement "I'm done having kids".  I stated those words after my second child.  I had a boy and a girl - I was good.  Being in the relationship I was in, the adult life I'd had, and other factors like oh, getting no sleep, I was adamant that I was done. 

Then I met Hubby.  Before our relationship got "heavy", he told me that he didn't want kids.  He was thrilled that I already had two children - and loved the idea of a ready-made family.  He had never seen himself as the father type, so he wanted me to be aware that things wouldn't work out between us if I wanted more kids.  Well, when he told me that, I was in agreement with him. 

About a year into our relationship, I started getting "the itch".  You know, ladies, that twisting, scratching feeling you feel in the pit of your stomach every time you go to a baby shower, see a pregnant woman, or get to hold a newborn in your arms.  You watch a show on TV that has a woman giving birth, and you get all misty eyed.  You walk past the baby section in any department store and "ooh" and "aah" over the cute, adorable, little onesies and socks.  Well, that started with me.  I didn't dare share my feelings with Hubby, because I didn't want to scare him.  I thought my itch would pass, and I would just get over it. 

Then, I was having some "woman problems".  I had to go and see a gyno and I heard the words that sent an unprepared shock wave through my system: "Ms. Hill, it's very likely that you won't be able to have any more children".  The reasons were due to some cysts I had on my ovaries, and some nasty side effects from being on the Depo shot since Grover was born.  Aunt Flo hadn't visited me in almost 4 years - and the doctor thought it was very likely that I wouldn't see her again, and if I did she wouldn't be in full force.  The news was devastating to me - even though I had decided I didn't want any more kids.  To  try and fix some of the issues, the doctor took me completely off of birth control.  For another year, no Aunt Flo.  I started to feel OK about not being able to have any more kids.  Hubby and I discussed me going to school to get my teaching degree and how I could finally do what I've always wanted to do: teach.  I will never forget the day we discussed it.  We were sitting having breakfast in a restaurant.  I told Hubby that just to be sure, I was going to go back and see the doc about getting on the pill - or some other form of birth control - just in case.  The minute I said those words, I got a warm sensation in my stomach - and I knew it wasn't the food I had been eating.

The next day, I made an appointment at the doctor.  On my way to work, I received a phone call from Saving Grace.  She was calling to tell me that she was pregnant.  As soon as I heard her tell me that, an adrenaline surge took over my body.  My whole body came to life - I knew that I was pregnant.  I can't explain why I knew, or how.  Saving Grace and I have 3 children.  Her second and my first were born only a few weeks apart.  Her oldest looks just like my oldest.  Her second child looks just like Grover.  I knew that I was going to have another baby - because she was having another baby.  Before going in to work, I stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a pregnancy test.  I have to point out here that Aunt Flo still hadn't come to visit - I just had this inkling that I was pregnant.  No guessing dates, no figuring it out - I just knew.  Sure enough, when I took the test, there were the two lines that I knew that I would see.  I took the rest of the day off work, and decided to go home and face Hubby. 

His reaction wasn't what I expected.  No, he didn't jump up and down with excitement - but he didn't get all upset and leave, either.  He just said "OK", and that was the end of it.  Eight months later, my amazing Zoe was born.  To see Hubby and Zoe, now, you'd never think that he didn't want kids.  She is definitely a daddy's girl. 

Oh my, I've rambled on and on - and my point of my story hasn't even started.  Getting back to what I was going to talk about.  Yesterday, I went to a baby shower.  The beautiful mother-to-be walked around, and not once did I get "the itch".  As I watched her open her gifts, not once did I think "oh, I miss that so much".  I finally feel like I'm done!!  I have a toddler who I adore, but sometimes trying to get stuff done can be very difficult.  She wants attention, I have to give it to her.  Thinking about having another baby after dealing with this - yeah, not gonna happen.  Then I have my older two.  Prairie Dawn is 10 going on 17.  She's already a teenager, despite her age.  She's dramatic, into boys, wants to "hang out" with her friends...yikes.  Grover is my middle child - and he's right in the middle of Zoe and Prairie Dawn.  He enjoys playing outside, building things, playing with toys.  So - I have a toddler, and pre-teen, and a teenager...what more could I ask for?  I can now say, I believe, that I'm completely done having children.  Point of this very long winded blog. 

PNOTD:
"I no longer wish for what I don't have, I appreciate everything I already have.  My life is perfect."
Till next time.  ;)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

TGITW - Thank Goodness it's the Weekend!!!

The weekend is here - so much to do, so little time.  Of course, that's my life every day - always so much to do but not enough time to get it all done.

I used to be the worst procrastinator - always putting everything off until the last minute, and then busting my behind to get it done.  I was lucky, because I never had to learn my lesson about being a procrastinator.  During my first three years of college, I don't ever remember doing a single assignment in advance.  I would wait until the night before, then pound away at my keyboard to get my papers, projects, and other miscellaneous assignments pumped out.  I always seemed to do pretty well - and never did I receive a bad grade because of it. 

I remember my freshman year during English Comp I.  I had to write a paper for my midterm.  My classmates panicked, stressed, and worked on their midterms for days and days.  I didn't even crack my book until the day before it was due.  I sat at my computer for a little over an hour - and I was done.  One of my classmates laughed at me, and told me how sorry I would be.  Of course, I should mention how much my professor had gone on and on about not procrastinating - he expected us to draft, revise, edit and then type up the final product - a product that would take at least a week.  I turned my paper in the next day - and two days later, I received my grade: 95%.  The laughing classmate received a 87%...and she had done exactly what she was supposed to and had spent about 5 days working on it.  What can I say, I was blessed with the gift of B.S. HA!

Alas, my procrastination days are over.  Not by choice, by necessity.  I no longer have the pleasure of waiting until the night before to knock out a paper.  I'm now in a situation where I have to spend almost every night pounding away right here at the computer - or nothing will ever get done.  There's always lesson plans to write, reflections, papers for class - not to mention the curriculum unit I'm designing that's due in about 7 weeks that requires so many parts that it will take 7 weeks to put it all together.  This is now the reason I get so excited about weekends.  Most people celebrate the coming of the weekend as their days to relax - I celebrate the coming of the weekend because it means I get two whole days to sit in front of my computer and try to get caught up on some work.

Of course, the work never gets caught up.  I just get less behind.  I'm happy with that.  I think all of my classmates and I are happy if we're not drowning - we just want to have our heads above water.  Although, we never really get two whole days to work - weekends mean other stuff we have to do.  This weekend, for example, I'm going to a baby shower and Prairie Dawn has been invited to a birthday party.  Then I have to factor in grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning house - things that have to be done on the weekend, cause they sure aren't going to get done during the week.  Ah, all work and no pay....and no, I didn't misspell that - the life of a student teacher.

If you have the pleasure of getting to relax this weekend, do some for me - will ya?  If not, know that there's someone else in your shoes. 

PNOTD:
"All work and no play may be a hard concept to grasp now - but it won't be long before the motto becomes 'all work and great pay'.  Not necessarily money - but the hard work will pay off."
Till next time.  ;)

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Just Can't Do it Any More!

So, I've been going back and forth with the whole "I want this blog to be a weight loss blog" stuff for a few weeks now.  I thought that because I wasn't focusing my blog posts on weight loss topics, it was causing me to not focus on my weight loss - well, I've now determined that was a load of crap.

I don't know what ever gave me the idea that my writing this blog somehow had a hold over me.  It didn't.  It doesn't.  I write because I want to.  Having topic starters was great - but now I read back over my posts and I have to wonder..."is this really me?"  After much deliberation, I've come to the realization that no - it's not me.  I love my blog.  It is the place I come to vent, share, laugh, cry...not fret over whether or not my post is aligned with the "rules" that I created for myself.  I don't want rules.  I want to be able to talk about whatever is on my mind, be it weight loss, my personal life, or any other topic that has my interest for the moment. 

I made a big mistake in being wrapped up in the thought that people won't be interested in reading about my personal life.  Then I realized that I didn't really start this blog for other people to read - it's great having people that are interested in my life, but that's not what I want my blog to be all about.

Well, I've decided, I don't care about this blog being a "weight loss" blog anymore.  I'm not Jillian Michaels, and I am not qualified to spill out post after post of "weight loss advice".  I am me.  My life is my weight loss advice.  Sometimes it's not great advice.  I don't always see the results I want to see.  I'm fighting the fight to lose weight - but that's not the entire focus of what goes on in my life.  So I've decided I'm going back to writing about whatever the heck I want.  If people are interested, they'll read it.  If they're not, they won't. 

No more "do this and do that".  If you read the little blurb under the title of my blog before today it said "a journey to the realization that diets don't work, but sharing what does."  Well, I have been sharing for a very long time - that blurb is now gone.  The description of my blog finally says what it needs to: "How a mad, fat woman deals with kids, work, and school  and finding the way to becoming a crazy, thin woman.  That's what it should of said from day one.  My life is the journey to losing weight.  Sometimes I will succeed, sometimes I will not. 

From now on the topics of the day are gone.  It's going to me - raw, loud, telling it how it is, or how I think it should be.  My life is a crazy whirlwind - and I just need a place I can let it all out...this is the place.  Do you know how hard it is to make weight loss advice fun to read?  Damn near impossible - how so many people have read my blog is an amazement.  I want my blog to be fun to read - a story, of sorts.  I know that there's people out there that wonder how they deal with how much they have on their plates - well, I feel ya.  I know what it's like.  If I had any more on my plate, well, a plate isn't a good word - more like buffet table.  If I didn't get up at 4am each morning, I wouldn't even have time to write this blog.  Sometimes people just want to hear that they're not alone - there are others out there dealing with the crazy that is life.  That's what I want this blog to be about.

So, my friends, get ready for this blog to make yet another change.  You're probably used to it by now - I change the focus of this blog more than I care to recall.  Hopefully this is it.  No more prompts.  No more weight loss advice.  Just me.  Sometimes it will be fun, sometimes it won't.  But that's life - not always a bed of roses.  This is a diary about a mad, fat woman.  Not so fat anymore - but still mad. 

PNOTD:
"Pretending to be someone I'm not will never let the true me be free."
Till next time.  ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catch Up Post - Weighing In and Working Out

I have to play catch-up today, because I didn't get my post up yesterday.  I slept in late yesterday morning and had to rush around to leave for work - and then I got home really late last night...so, no blog post.  I just figure I'll mish-mash two days in to one.

I will start out with my weigh-in.  Not real happy this week.  I mean, I know I didn't work out - at all - but I didn't over do it at any point with my eating.  I really did not expect to see a gain or a loss, I figured I'd just be sitting at about the same.  Nope, not the same, a gain...and not a little gain either!!

Last week I weighed in at 203lbs.  This week I weigh in at 205lbs.  I've gained 2lbs.  Of course, I'm not happy - but I really only have myself to blame because I didn't work out a single time this past week.  Oh well, no time to dwell on it now.  The nurse told me Tuesday morning that if I didn't feel like weighing in each week, I didn't have to.  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I kind of like knowing how much I weigh each week - to keep track of how I'm doing.  On the other hand, I could keep track at home, work really hard, and knock the socks off everyone when I weigh in on the last day.  What would you guys do?

OK, enough about that.  Time for some working out - not literally...right now anyways.  This past week I have not worked out once.  Now, that doesn't mean I haven't 'moved'.  Saturday and Sunday I did a lot of lifting, walking, and playing the Move.  Monday I did a lot of bending and lifting.  I have been on my feet for about 10 hours every day this week.  It's been a long week.

When you're at work all day, it's sometimes really hard to find ways to get some exercise in.  That's especially the case if you work at a desk all day.  Luckily, I no longer do.  I don't think people realize how much teachers "work-out" each day. It's not strenuous, but you'd be amazed how much my legs and feet hurt the first couple of weeks.  I've figured out a few ways to help increase the opportunity for getting a little exercise in at work - not necessarily high cardio, but it's something.

If you work in a job that has you at a desk all day - then movement is especially important for you.  Try spending about 10 minutes every hour without your chair.  Instead of sitting at your desk, try squatting down at the knees.  Make sure to keep your back straight - or you'll definitely regret it.  All day I'm squatting down to be at my student's eye level as they sit at their desks.  I squat down, I stand up, I squat down, I stand up...often for 30 minutes at a time with only a 15 minute break in between.  You can do the same at your desk.  Squat down for a few minutes, stand up.  Squat down, stand up.  You don't have to do it all day - but trying to do it several times throughout the day.  I'm not expecting you to build up a good sweat, but I really notice a difference in leg strength because of how much I squat and stand. 

I've said this tidbit of information several times before, but I'll say it again.  If you work in an office all day, try parking as far away as you can each morning so you at least get the walk in to work and the walk back to your car in each day.  If you're not 15 stories up, try taking the stairs.  If you are up 15 stories, walk up the first two flights and then catch the elevator.  Look for those golden opportunities to do what you can.  I realized the other day that I took the "short cut" through the office anytime I needed to get to the other side of the school building.  I was missing out on a great opportunity to get a little extra walking in.  It was only an extra minute on my time, but every second counts - right?  Wrong!  If you're not in a hurry - take the extra minute to walk.

I know I've thought to myself "is it really going to make that much difference if I do that little bit extra each day?"  You may be thinking the same.  Seeing my weight constantly flutter up and down like a yo-you has me wondering that A LOT.  What I have to remember, though, is that just by it's self - that little bit extra isn't going to make a huge difference.  What I try to think about, though, is if I'm not "working out" then every little bit is better than nothing.  I wonder what the scale would say if I didn't find my little extra opportunities - would I gain even more weight?  I don't know - but I really don't want to find out.  I'm just going to keep doing that little bit extra whenever I can.  Look at my results from last week.  I lost 4lbs in a week.  Grouping the extras with some working out paid off. 

So, there's my words of wisdom for this week in regards to exercise.  If you have a great idea of how to get a little exercise in at work - please share it in a comment.  I'm always looking for advice - and others are, too.

PNOTD:
"It's easy for me to make excuses as to why I didn't do what I planned to do.  Thinking of ways to get around those excuses, even if they outcome isn't as great is always better than nothing."
Till next time.  ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back in Time Tuesday - In To 2001

I left off last week with Fabio being ejected from the house by Lone Ranger.  Fabio had gone psycho on me after I refused to give him the keys to my car.  Now, the story continues...

After the "incident" with Fabio, I was done with him.  He was told by Saving Grace not to show his face around the house any more.  I tried my best to go on with life.  I kept on working at the nursing home.  MIL helped with watching the kids while I worked, and Saving Grace helped keep me sane.

After a month or two, I met a guy at work.  He was a very sweet guy.  He loved spending time with me, loved the kids, and was smoking hot to boot.  We dated for a month or two, and I had finally got to the position to be able to get my own place.  New Guy told me that if I got my own apartment, that he wanted to move in with me.  He wanted to be with me, treated me like a queen - finally life was looking up.  We moved in to a place together.

At first, things were great.  My life was better than it had been in a very long time.  I finally had a man that loved me, and wanted to be a father to the kids.  Things started to move a little down hill when we were put on different schedules.  Being that we lived together, our supervisor didn't think it was "appropriate" for us to work on the same shift.  So, she put me on first - him on second.  He would get home close to midnight each night, and I had to be at work by 7 the next morning.  Being that we didn't get to see each other very often, he wanted to spend time with me when he got home from work.  After a few weeks of very little sleep on my part, I started getting a little cranky.  I told him that I didn't want to be woken up at midnight to talk.  I didn't want to snuggle for a couple of hours before having to go to work.  I still had a baby that liked to wake up in the middle of the night to be fed - and him waking me up every night didn't help matters.  We slowly started drifting a part - and I ended up pushing him away for good. 

As I think back now, I could really kick myself in the a**.  I had such a great guy - his only fault being that he wanted to spend time with me.  *Rolls eyes*.  I guess I was so used to being treated like total crap, I couldn't appreciate a good thing...and it ended up pushing away a great guy.  Oh well, back to the story.

Shortly after New Guy was out of my life, I received a visit from Fabio.  He told me that he wanted to try to start over.  He spilled his guts about how the drugs caused him to do what he did, how he wanted to change, how he wanted to be a father.  He told me that he didn't just want us to get back together - he wanted us to completely change our lives.  He had spoken to his father, that lived in Texas.  They had discussed him moving down there to get away from the drugs, and to start his life over.  Fabio was all for it, on one condition - that I went with him.  I really thought that completely uprooting my whole life might work - so I did it.

Fabio went to Texas first.  He wanted to get down there, get a job, and get some kind of establishment for me and the kids to follow.  When he left, half of me was thinking that I would never see him again.  The other half kept the faith that we would move and life would be wonderful.  Well, unfortunately for me - half of the second part was true.  After a few weeks, Fabio called and told me he was ready for the kids and me to head to Texas.  I packed up the car with as much as it would hold, kissed my life goodbye, and drove 12 hours to start a new life with Fabio in Texas.

When I arrived, I found out that we were going to be living with his dad and step-mom.  Fabio had a great job, and he didn't think it would take very long to find our own house - but he wanted us there with him.  His dad was OK with it, so I was too.  Things started out great.  Fabio actually went to work every day.  I kept myself busy with the kids at home, and enjoying the company of his dad and his step-mom.  Things were good.  Then on September 10th, 2001, Fabio got hurt at work.  He hurt his knee and needed to go into the city to get an MRI done.  We scheduled the MRI for the next day.  The next morning, we took the 1 1/2 hour drive into the city.  We arrived at the hospital a little after 10am.  Things were weird.  It was hard to find anyone to help us, because everyone was huddled around TVs in the waiting rooms - doctors, nurses, patients, families waiting.  It wasn't until Fabio got checked in that we found out what was going on.  Two planes had just hit into the Twin Towers.  After Fabio got his MRI, it was straight back home to spend the next three days glued to the TV.  I will always and forever remember what I was doing on September 11th, 2001.

The days that followed were pretty much consumed with the events that had taken place.  Fabio had to take time off of work, but his worker's comp check kept him satisfied.  Things remained good until Christmas.  Tune in next week to find out what happens next.

PNOTD:
"Reflecting on the past makes you stronger in the future."

Till next time.  ;)




Monday, October 18, 2010

Motivational Monday - Bring on Some Self Esteem!

Happy Monday, everyone.  Another week is here - can you believe that October is already half over?  If you read yesterday's post, you know that this is going to be a tough week for me so I definitely need to kick it off with some motivation.  Thank goodness today is Motivational Monday.

Today I'm going to discuss something that hasn't really been a topic I think about much.  Being in a slump for the past couple of months has really brought about a lot of bad feelings, and not seeing much progress in the scale department really put the pressure on.  Today, I'm washing the physical aspect of my progress away and focusing on the "me" within - self esteem.

Now, if you were to talk to a person that knows me pretty well and asked that person to describe me - I guarantee that the words "self confident" would come out.  Depending on the person you ask, the words could be negative or positive.  I think of myself, and others agree, that I'm very self confident.  I have learned, though, that there is a huge difference between self confidence and self esteem.

My self confidence can sometimes be a fault.  I often describe myself as a little too confident in the way I carry myself.  I'm honest, tell you what's on my mind, and don't hold back.  I don't get stressed out over big assignments, situations, or other things that cause people to doubt themselves.  No matter how people think of me because of it, it's who I am - and I'm proud of it.  The difference comes though, when I describe myself.  I will tell you that "I'm good at what I do" but hearing words that describe me such as "pretty" or "beautiful" cause me to cringe.

It's so funny how I can look at myself through two different eyes.  I've always been confident, but always lacked self esteem.  I'm not about to declare that I've had a major break though and all of a sudden I think I'm smoking hot - but after a conversation I had with Sanity and another close friend the other day I did realize that I'm slowly but surely building my self esteem, feeling better about the way I look, and liking what's looking back at me in the mirror. 

We were discussing going out.  It has become quite common in the past few months for me to get dressed up and hit the town with Sanity.  I always thought it was because I really didn't have anyone to go out with - and once Sanity came in to my life, I had someone that would hang out with me.  Then I realized that having a close friend had nothing to do with it.  To be totally honest, a year ago I HATED going out.  The thought of having to dress up, put make-up on and go out in public was like ripping my finger nails off with tweezers.  The rare occasions that Hubby and I decided to go out for the evening was torture.  I would spend hours in my closet, emotionally ripping through clothes trying to find something - anything - that would magically turn my fat into fab.  Of course, that never happened.  I would end up getting dressed and feeling miserable about the way I looked.  I would feel frumpy, fat, unattractive... and it bothered me.

Now, things are different.  I LOVE going out, and maybe too much.  I go out at least once a month - if not more - and when I do, I have such an amazing time.  I don't spend hours in my closet.  I can grab a pair of jeans, a cute shirt, and BAM I'm ready to go.  While I'm out, I don't obsess over who's looking at me and thinking "DAMN that girl should not be wearing that" or "wow, that is one big girl".  I can relax, have a good time - and I've gone from being the elephant in the room to the life of the party. 

Something else that has really fueled my fire in the "self esteem" department is the new attention I get from guys while I'm out.  It's mind boggling to some people, but I actually enjoy getting a little attention from guys.  Hubby doesn't go out very much, he'd much rather stay at home.  He's fine with me going - and wants me to have a good time.  He knows that I would never, EVER cheat on him.  In fact, I come home after each night out and share every detail with him.  A few weeks ago, I received my first number from a random guy in a bar.  That has NEVER happened to me before - and you'd think I'd won the lottery.  I was so happy that I had received the attention.  I shared it with Hubby, and he was happy for me.  I know you're thinking "is he crazy?"  No.  He's not.  He's supportive.  He knows that losing 60lbs is a really big deal.  He knows that I'm starting to feel better in regards to the way I look.  He's happy that I no longer live in baggy sweats and t-shirts.  He knows that he can say the word "lingerie" around me - and won't end up with a black eye because of it.  I am changing - and he's liking the changes.

The conversation with Sanity really opened my eyes - like always.  I still have a long way to go before I hit my target weight - but the changes that have already happened are huge.  With every pound that I lose, I gain in self esteem.  With every dress size that I go down, I get more excited about how I look - and love what I'm seeing.  The old me is disappearing before my eyes - literally - and the new me is ripping through.  A me that is self confident AND has self esteem.  A me that nowlikes to go shopping, likes to hang out with my friends, a me that likes to get a little dressed up and wear feminine clothes...I like her, she must stay around.

Thus, brings me to my long winded point.  I like the person I'm becoming.  I know that I have to work hard to keep her - at any moment she can start to fade away.  If I let myself slip, if I falter...she will be gone.  There's the motivation. 

PNOTD:
"Hearing others tell you that you're beautiful is nice - but worth nothing if you don't believe it.  Being able to tell yourself you're beautiful, now that's priceless."
Till next time.  ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Summarize it Sunday - Bittersweet End

Wow, what a week it has been.  I just can't wrap my head around the fact that I've been a student teacher for nine weeks already...where did the time go?  My first placement is coming to an end, and next week I begin my new placement. 

I'm full of mixed emotions right now.  For nine weeks, I've been an intern in first grade.  I never in a million years thought that in just nine short weeks, I would fall so head over heels in love with a group of kids.  For three years, I've had a "preference" in the grades that I wanted to work in - third or fourth grade.  It's so amazing that after such a short time, I could do a complete 180 and be so gung-ho about another grade...especially at the other end of the spectrum.

When I received news of what my first placement was three months ago, I was happy.  I wouldn't say I was over the moon excited, but I figured I would do what I had to do, learn what I had to learn, and move on.  I've just never really had a connection working in the lower grades - the kids are cute in first grade, but I don't do "cute" very well.  First graders don't really have any boundries in regards to personal space - they have no concept of the invasion of it.  I was the kind of person that had boundry issues.  Not a real "touchy-feely" person.  I never really cared for anyone, even kids (except my own), to invade my personal space.  That's what I thought, anyway.  I'm now a changed person, a convert of sorts...things are happening to me that I never thought would happen.

The big change - I'm so emotional!  Yes, me, emotional.  It's crazy!  All week, I've had to suck up the tears over the silliest of things.  I kept thinking "this is the last time that I'll ______ with these kids" and then my eyes start to fill up.  Listening to a student read that wouldn't even say two words to me nine weeks ago, and I'm grabbing for the Kleenex.  A boy that never really shows any emotion drew me a picture and wrote me a note with the words "I love you Ms. Hill" and that was it - I totally lost it.  They have changed me far more than I have changed them.  I see their improvements, seen how much they've grown, but the effects that each of those kiddos have had on me is like a Hollywood make-over.  I'm hugging them, saying cutesy little things...it's so weird.  No more am I the stern, one eyebrow raised, "don't get too close" person I was nine weeks ago...I'm now...urm, well....nice.  They love me, and I love them even more.

Tomorrow is a professional development day, so I won't get to see the kids.  My last day in the classroom is Tuesday.  I know right now that Tuesday is going to be one of the most emotional days I've had in my life.  I am writing each one of the kiddos personal letters.  My mentor teacher is putting a hold on the regular schedule for Tuesday afternoon, so that the kids and I can have plenty of time to say our goodbyes.  I will read the kids their letters, through wet eyes and sniffles, we will share some good times, and then that will be it....placement over, time to move on.

All of this emotion, and I haven't even mentioned my mentor teacher.  I don't know where I can even begin.  She's amazing.  I believe I owe her just as much recognition for me becoming this emotional wreck as I do the kids.  The way she teaches, the way she interacts with the kids...it's definitely something I will always strive to mimic, although I never think I'll even come close.  On the first day of school I really thought to myself "wow, that's just too much cutesy for one person to handle" because of the way she treats the kids.  Using the word "nice" to describe her is the biggest understatement ever.  The kids absolutely adore her, and I now know why.  I told myself on day one, that I would never be like that...well, eating my words as I type.  Her kindness and sweetness is contagious, and you just can't help yourself when you're around her.  I will miss her very much.  I could talk to her about everything - and did.  She is so helpful, honest, positive - and I was truly blessed to be given the opportunity to be in her classroom. 

My next placement is second grade.  I've had some time to observe my new classroom, I've already learned my new kids' names, and I get along really well with my new mentor.  I'm looking forward to the new opportunity, the new environment, and the new learning that I will get from this group of kids.  I'm sure in 18 weeks, when the second placement comes to an end, I will be saying the same things about this new group of kids - but for right now, I love my first graders.  I don't want to leave them.  They were the first group of kids I got to teach on a regular basis - and they will always have a special place in my heart because of it.

I can only hope now that at the end of this year, I will get a job in a Bentonville school.  I think it would be absolutely amazing to keep in touch with these kids, watch them grow, and 11 years from now, be able to attend their graduation ceremony.    

PNOTD:
"Never underestimate the power of children.  If I'm feeling down, I know that I can surround myself with the joy that children bring - and life is good.  I was born to be a teacher - the kids reinforce this in me every day."

Till next time.  ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Share it Saturday - Starting Out Simple

OK, so in all honesty, I bought a product last week to try out for this post...but it's still in the box, unopened.  Can't really review a product that I haven't used - so I guess I'm just going to have to hold off and review it next week.

So, today, I'm going to talk about a product that has become a staple in my home - don't know what we'd do without it.  The best part is, you don't need a specific brand - they're available at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target...any department store, probably.  This product makes cooking delicious, healthy meals a snap when living with a crazy, busy schedule.  What is it?  It's my slow-cooker/ crock-pot.

I call it a slow-cooker, others call it a crock-pot - whatever you call it...it's AMAZING!!  There's nothing like being able to throw all of your ingredients into one place, leave it cooking all day, and have a great meal waiting for you when you get home. 

When I started teaching, the job of "dinner" was assigned to Hubby.  There were nights that I wouldn't get home until after 5 - and that's no time to start cooking a meal...I wanted to eat when I got home.  Well, he didn't feel like running around and cooking dinner, either, so he decided that it was time to break out the slow-cooker and see what he could come up with.

We've had our slow-cooker for a few years, but we only ever used it for things like stew, pot-roast, soups...stuff like that.  Then, we realized that you can cook just about everything in that thing.  The food cooks without having to add any fat or oil, the flavors are all kept in the pot - and the end result is delicious!!  During the warm months, there's no added heat given off a slow-cooker, so the house doesn't get too hot.  Now that the cooler weather is coming - the soups, stews, and pot-roast are all coming into the dinner line-up and making cool nights into warm, relaxing nights.

So, if you're struggling for a way to cook healthy meals, but have no time to do it - break out the slow-cooker.  Get creative.  Add some meat, some veggies, and experiment with spices and flavorings....you might be really amazed at what you can come up with.  If you're not really the "experimenting" type - there are tons of slow-cooker cook books available at pretty much any bookstore - and if you shop at Borders or Barnes & Noble, they always have the cook books on sale.  If you have a great slow-cooker recipe you'd like to share - please do, by posting a comment. 

That's it for today in regards to my first "product review".  Not what I had planned, but just means it's time to break out my product for next week - and actually start using it!!

PNOTD:
"There's nothing wrong with finding things that make life easier.  An easier life is a less stressful life."
Till next time.  ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fuel It Up Friday - Tweaking for a Busy Schedule

Back a few months ago, before my blog steered off course, I did a post about the importance of eating 6 times a day.  I called that post Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat.  It is a very extensive post, listing out the hows, whys, and whats of eating 6 meals a day.

This morning, I'm going to revamp that post.  Everything I said in the original post is 100% true - if you can do what I said, there, you should.  The only real discussion I'm going to have today is for the people that work in a situation where it's impossible to eat 3 or 4 meals during the day.

Up until August, I'd always been pretty lucky in regards to my jobs.  I worked in office type environments, where it was just fine for me to eat at my desk.  I ate breakfast before I left, ate a mid morning snack, ate lunch, afternoon snack, and then home for dinner.  Being a teacher, I no longer have that privilege.  I can't just eat whenever I feel like it - it's not possible - so I had to figure out a way to make it work.

I will start with breakfast.  I get up at 4am, I leave my house at 6am.  That's really plenty of time to eat a good breakfast.  Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to eat that early.  I don't know why - I'm just not hungry.  I'm the kind of person that's not going to eat if I'm not hungry.  A benefit I have is that there's a school cafeteria ready and waiting to serve me breakfast once I get to work - not many others have that benefit.  So, if you're one of those people - what can you do?  Well, there are several options.  Some days I eat a fiber full granola bar - FiberOne, FiberPlus...something along those lines.  You would think that there would be no way a little granola bar would be very filling - but because of the fiber, they actually fill me up pretty well.  Protein shakes are another option.  I used to buy Myoplex Lite shakes - haven't drank one in a while - but they are pretty good, and full of the nutrients you need to start your day.  If you have time to eat breakfast, but not to prepare, opt for some oatmeal or a bowl of cereal.  The very best cereal I've found is Kashi cereal...it has the same protein as an egg, lots of fiber to fill you up, and tastes great.

OK, so you've started your day off with breakfast - the best way to start the day.  Now, you're off to work, you don't get a break until lunch time, and you are in a job that doesn't allow you to eat a mid-morning snack - what can you do?  This is where not eating before 6am comes in to play for me.  If I know that I'm not going to eat again until 11 - I really don't want to eat my breakfast too early.  Eating breakfast at 7 gives me only 4 hours before I can eat again.  Unfortunately, there's really nothing you can do about it.  You might not be able to eat - but I haven't found any jobs that won't let you drink water.  That's what I do.  Between breakfast and lunch, I try to drink about 48ozs of water.  Water helps curb your appetite, and is a VITAL ingredient in losing weight.  If you find that you get hungry, try drinking a protein shake.  Those handy little shakes are basically liquefied meals - so they are an AWESOME alternative to actually eating.  If you're allowed to drink, but not eat - then opt for a protein shake or just stick to water. 

Now it's lunch time.  Currently, I'm lucky enough to have a break from 11 - 1:15.  I get 2 1/2 hours to think about the rest of my day.  That will change next week, but right now I'm taking advantage of having such a long time.  I eat lunch at 11.  For lunch I try to have a good meal - soup and a sandwich, protein and rice, leftovers from the night before.  Because my schedule is so quirky, I know that I need a good lunch to give me sustenance to last the entire day.  I wouldn't suggest eating something like a side salad or just a sandwich - you'll be very hungry again in no time and that will be a problem. 

I know at 1:15, I only have an hour and fifteen minutes before the school day ends - but then I'm going to be at the school for a while, so it's possible that I won't eat again until dinner time.  That being the case, I eat a snack about 1pm.  I go for something light - a fat-free yogurt, a small serving of almonds, or some baby carrots.  If you're like most people and only get 30 minutes to an hour for lunch, then this option isn't really feasible for you...and another reason why you should get a good lunch in.  During the afternoon hours, if you can't eat a snack, repeat the plan from the morning - drink water or a protein shake. 

I don't eat again until dinner time, which is about 5pm in my house.  I then eat a snack about 7.  My rule is to not eat after 8pm.  The evening snack is usually some fruit, maybe some almonds, a yogurt, or something along those lines - again, not heavy. 

If you're reading this post and thinking - OK, she's not eating 6 times a day anymore...then, you're absolutely right.  In a perfect world, I would be eating 6 times a day.  I stand by what my original post says - eating 6 small meals a day is the best way to really lose weight.  For many people, now including myself, we just don't have that option.  That doesn't mean we don't try our best and do what we can.  We eat when we can, we still plan ahead, we make our situation work - whatever the situation may be.  During the week, I have no choice but to eat three meals a day and two snacks...that's not exactly a huge leap from my original plan.  I don't eat the portions of protein, carbs, and fats at each meal like I should - but again, doing what I can.  The real point is exactly that - you do what you can. As long as you're being conscience about what you're eating, drinking LOTS of water, and not coming home starving - then you'll be just fine.  If you find that you are coming home starving, and over-eating at dinner time because of it, then you need to figure out what's going wrong.  The worst thing you can do is over-eat at night...over-eat at anytime really.  If it's happening to you - really take a look at what you're eating during the day.  Are you getting a good breakfast?  Are you eating a good lunch?  When do you start to feel hungry?  How much water are you drinking?  I guarantee if you really look at those questions, you'll find where you need to make your "tweaks".

PNOTD:
"Everyone has their own set of rules in the game of life.  Everyone has different obstacles that they need to overcome.  I know that my way of overcoming my obstacles may be different to others - but I there is no rule that says I can't share my strategies to help them win."
Till next time.  ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Throw it Down Thursday - Circuit Style

Welcome to the first Throw it Down Thursday - Exercise Edition.  I'm excited to be writing about weight loss stuff, again, and feeling more motivated to start trying some new things and sharing it with you all.

This week, I've decided to talk about Cardio Circuits. When I had to quit boot camp my second time through, I was really upset.  Boot camp was the one thing that kept my butt in line - literally and figuratively - in regards to my exercise.  No matter what we did while I was there, I knew that I was going to walk away getting an AMAZING work-out.  I know the boot camp made a difference in my life because I'm now able to do push-ups, I can jump over things, I can sprint, and that's only the physical stuff.  My body is stronger, I am stronger.  While in boot camp, I always dreaded circuits...they were so hard.  Going from exercise to exercise over and over...I would be exhausted - but every week, I noticed I could do more and more.  It's crazy but after I left boot camp - the circuits were what I missed the most.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that there were a couple of ladies at the school I'm interning in that were doing Cardio Circuits twice a week.  No, they're not as intense as the circuits I did at boot camp - but I still walk away knowing I got a great work-out.  Even though I haven't been able to go twice a week most weeks, I love going - and have decided to start doing my own circuits at home.

What are cardio circuits, you ask? Great question!  Let me explain.  Cardio Circuits are just a set of cardio type exercises.  They could be jumping jacks, high knee lifts, push-ups, sprints, sit-ups, jumping rope, etc.  You pick 5 or 6 exercises.  You perform each exercise for an allotted amount of time, then switch to the next exercise.  Once you've completed the circuit, you repeat. 

Want some ideas to get started?  Okie dokie, then.  Here's a cardio circuit rotation you can do at home, out in the yard - anywhere really.  When I do circuits, I do each exercise for a minute and then rotate around the entire circuit three times.  If you're new to exercise, you can opt to start out with doing 30 seconds at each circuit and try and rotate twice.  The key is not to do what your body can handle, but to get to a place where you  feel like you can't do anymore - and then push yourself a little harder.  I've found that I can do 1 min on each circuit pretty easy - but when rotating three times - the last rotation I really have to push myself to get through it.  Once I've gotten to a place where I can comfortably do the third rotation - I will push my time up to 1 1/2 minutes.  So, here's an example.  These are not the only exercises you can do (especially if you plan on doing everything inside) - there are little hundreds of variations.

Exercise 1:  Jumping Jacks - JJ are a great way to get your heart rate up with not much impact.

Exercise 2:  Sprints - Measure out a space (I opt for about 25 yards) and just sprint up and back.  Indoor alternative:  Run in place, and bring your legs back far enough to kick your butt with your feet.

Exercise 3:  High Knee Lifts - You can do this in place, or walk up the sprint track doing it.  Be sure to lift your knee to waist height.  If you want to add some pressure, try jogging while doing it.

Exercise 4:  Straight Arms - Hold your arms out straight out to the side.  You can rotate them, dance, pump - the key is to not let them fall to your side...you must hold them straight out for the entire minute.

Exercise 5:  Jump Rope - Self explanatory, you just jump rope the entire time.  Indoor Alternative:  jog in place and act like you have a mini-punch bag in front of you.  Punch out, quickly, rotating each arm.

Exercise 6:  Side lunges - Stand in place, lunge out to the left, lunge out to the right.  Twist your body slightly to get the ability to really get your leg out for a deep lunge.

REPEAT CIRCUIT

Cool Down - after finishing your rotations, be sure that you spend some time cooling down. Take a slow walk until your heart rate comes down, stretch out your arms and legs....don't just stop.  That will cause your body to tense up - leading to unnecessary muscle pain.

Remember, you can change any or all of the exercises.  Try using alternatives such as push-ups, jumping on a mini trampoline, side kicks, front kicks, find a ball and do ab crunches keeping the ball between your knees... the possibilities are endless.

The best part about Cardio Circuits is the fact that you get a great work-out, but don't spend a lot of time doing it.  If you have six exercises, stay at each exercise for a minute, and rotate three times, then it will take a little over 18 minutes to do the entire work-out.  If a minute is too long, and you can only do thirty seconds - then you're working out for 9 minutes...but still getting a good work-out.  Try doing them a few times a week, and changing the exercises up.  You work different parts of your body, burn lots of calories...and you can control the intensity.

If you have any questions, you know I'm always here to help any way that I can.

PNOTD:
"Showing commitment isn't about how much time I dedicate, it's finding ways to pushing myself to the limit regardless of how little time I really have to spare."
Till next time.  ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weigh In Wednesday - Finally!!

Ah, Wednesday.  Hump Day.  Middle of the week.  All down hill from here.  I could go on....I'm just stalling... but I hope that everyone has had a great week, thus far.

Yesterday was weigh-in day for my Biggest Loser competition.  For the first time since the competition started, walking in yesterday I had absolutely no idea what kind of results to expect.  I guess I kind of expected some kind of loss - only because Aunt Flo left, meaning my bloat weight would be gone. 
Every week up to this one I've walked into that room knowing if it was an OK week or a bad week.  I haven't really had a great week, yet.  Code Name: MOVE has been good, but I haven't exactly been giving it my all in the exercise department.  I've skipped way too many Cardio Circuit work-outs the past couple of weeks.  Playing a video game is fun, but can it really be considered exercise? 

Weigh-in days are kind of funny.  For me, it's like I go to confessional - in my head.  Before stepping on the scale I start to repent all of "sins" in regards to the should haves and could haves.  I could of worked out much harder.  I should of eaten much better.  If I have a bad week it's all my fault - I should have and could have done better.  I think that I've been doing OK with my challenge of moving at least 30 minutes every day. Then I remember that I ate too much at the Chinese restaurant on Saturday night. Then I remember that I've been drinking lots of water each day.  But then, I remember that I've been sick for the past three days and haven't really stuck to my challenge because of it.  By the time I get to the scale, I'm a bundle of nerves.

So, I'm on the scale.  I'm nervous...I start promising myself that no matter what the scale says - I will work harder this week.  I promise to not give in to the temptations of bad food.  I promise to try harder to do more exercise...

The nurse then jolts me out of my inner-mind pleas and reminds me of my weight from last week:  207.2lbs

The scale is doing it's little calculation thing...thinking...thinking....then.....DRUM ROLL, PEOPLE!!!

My weight for this week:  203lbs!!!! 

I was in so much shock when I saw the number, that I actually got off of the scale and got back on - just to make sure the thing wasn't messing with me.  Cause, you know, scales have a sense of humor and might think it funny to mess with me head **eye roll**.

Happy can NOT describe how I felt when I saw that number.  In five weeks, I had lost an embarrassing 2.8lbs - and in one week, I lost almost double that.  WOW!!

So, I lost 4.2lbs in one week.  I can sit here and do the math of factoring in Aunt Flo bloating and deflating and rationalizing that number... but FORGET THAT - I'm just going to bask in this wonderful, amazing moment....finally I see a solid weight loss - I'm still in this competition.  I also achieved another great accomplishment this week....I have no officially lost 60lbs since starting my journey!!!  Take a looksy at the ticker...WOO HOO!!

It's crazy how motivating it is to have a loss like that in one week.  For most, it takes a bad week to be motivational.  If you gain you just think "I will work harder next week".  For me, it's the opposite.  I see a great number like that and think "if I work harder, maybe I could beat that number next week". 

This week isn't about beating that number...this coming week is so much more than that.  Just 3 measly pounds stand between me and that 200lb line.  If I really put my head, and body into this week - next week could be the week I've been waiting so long for.  It could be fireworks, celebrations....VICTORY.  I don't want to get ahead of myself, though...4lbs in a week is a big number.  I'm ecstatic - but it's going to take a lot more than just doing better to pull another number like that again next week.  Time to slip into my Biggest Loser pants...start hitting the work-outs hard.  I'm pumped to do it, I'm ready to get rid of that nasty '2' in front of my weight...GAME ON!!

PNOTD:
"Sometimes it takes success to find the motivation that's been missing.  There's no time to dwell on the failures or successes...each day is a decision - will it be filled with good choices, or not so good choices?"
Till next time.  ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2000 - Part 2

A week ago, for Back in Time Tuesday, I started the story that explains how I got to be as heavy as I was.  It's a long, long story - so rather than try to summarize it all...I decided to break it up into several installments.

Today is Part 2.  I left off last week with the birth of my dear, Prairie Dawn

Things were good between Fabio and I for about a week after Prairie was born.  We had moved into a bigger house and was living with Saving Grace and MIL.  Saving Grace gave birth to her daughter in May.  Fabio was having a hard time holding down a job - but then again, when wasn't he?  With two newborns in the house, saying money was tight was an understatement.  Fabio acted like a father when he wanted to be one, but the majority of the time - Saving Grace and I did what we could to be there for each other.

Fast forward four months later.  Things were not good between Fabio and I.  The drugs bothered me.  I had a newborn, no money, and was tired of the constant fighting.  Then, I got some news that was somewhat of a blow - I was pregnant again.  I wasn't exactly thrilled or excited - I was down right scared out of my mind. Fabio and I decided it to get our own place - to see if it would fix things between us...it didn't.  He cheated on me and then decided to leave me for the girl.  There I was, single with no money a four month old, and pregnant with my second child.  Things got pretty nasty between Saving Grace and I there for a while, and I had no alternative but to call on my mom for help.  I moved in with her for a while. 

The details after are a little sketchy.  I was so depressed, my life at that point was more of a blur.  Due to my financial problems, and my mom having a hard time supporting me and Prairie, we decided it would be best for me to go to a woman's shelter.  The shelter offered support, help with finding a job, and getting a house.  I stayed in the shelter for a couple of months, got myself a good job, and ended up with a little cheap trailer to live in.  Shortly after moving in to my new place, I ended up getting back with Fabio.  He moved in with me - and I thought being that we lived so far away from his old life that things might be different.  It was good for about 2 minutes.  I would go to work all day, come home to a filthy house - he laid on the couch all day.  I had to put Prairie Dawn in daycare because, well, he wouldn't take care of her.  As pregnancy number 2 got near it's end, I was absolutely miserable. I was eating to calm my nerves, eating to calm my depression, and eating to eat.  Things were bad.  A few days before Grover came into the world, the broken relationship between Saving Grace and I was repaired...and thank goodness.  She showed up at my house and couldn't believe her eyes.  Here I was 9 months pregnant, with a baby only 11 months old, house in disarray, and her lazy brother who did nothing but play video games all day.  She couldn't believe her eyes.  She swung into full gear and finally gave me a little support - something I was long overdue for. 

She stayed at my house with Prairie Dawn while MIL and Fabio came with me to the hospital for the birth of my sweet Grover.  As Grover was handed to Fabio, I saw something I hadn't seen in Fabio through our entire relationship - emotion.  He cried that day.  He was happy.  He was supportive.  I thought maybe, just maybe things would be different.  After I got home from the hospital, he told me that he wasn't happy living where we were - and wanted to go back to living by his family.  I couldn't disagree.  I missed having Saving Grace around - she was literally my saving grace.  So, a few days later, we packed up as much stuff as we could - and moved back in with Saving Grace.  Again, I thought things would be better.  Fabio would finally straighten up and take some responsibility in raising our children.  My life would finally be better.  Well, I was young, naive, and most of all - desperate to feel that there had to be some happiness in my life.  Unfortunately, my desperation wasn't enough.

Not even a month later, Fabio was back on the drugs.  He was back to disappearing for hours, sometimes days on end. He said he was working, but could never provide any fruit from his labor.  I decided as long as I had Saving Grace and MIL to help me - I would just ignore him.  I went back to work - working full time at a nursing home. Fabio was there one day, gone the next.  I was so tired of his behavior, tired of the way he treated me.  One night he showed up, messed up as usual, and wanted to take my car.   For the first time, ever, I stood up to him.  I had been working my a** off to pay for it - why should he just waltz in and take it?  Well, that was the first time he laid his hands on me.  I had never see him get so mad - furious would be a better word.  As I tried to hold back the keys, he went for my throat.  Thank goodness I wasn't alone that night - or who knows what would of happened.  Luckily for me, Saving Grace had been dating a guy for a while - and he just happened to be spending the night.  I didn't know what to do but to scream his name - as loud as I could.  It didn't stop Fabio - he was on top of me, trying to get the keys to the car...and I believe he would of choked me to accomplish it.  A split second later, I remember Fabio being torn off of me like a piece of Velcro.  He flew across the room - and as I looked up I saw Prairie Dawn crying in her crib looking at me.  Then, the blur of what was going on came back into focus and standing before me was the man that had come to my rescue - who shall now be known as Lone Ranger.  He wasted no time 'ejecting' Fabio from the house. 

Things after that were definitely different, for a little while anyways.  Tune in next week to hear all about it.

PNOTD
"The bad decisions we make in life do not make us weaker, as long as we know to learn from them.  I am who I am today because of how I took charge of my life - and learned from my mistakes."

Till next time. ;)