Tuesday, November 30, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Gift Swap

Don't be alarmed...yes, I'm posting two blog posts in one day.  I was going to wait until tomorrow morning to post about this - but I thought I'd do it now...

So, many of you know that I follow and read several weight-loss and other interesting blogs.  I try to read them as often as I can - and often find some great things happening.  I was lucky enough to find a new blog to follow this evening AND I'm going to be involved with a cool, fun, event being hosted by the blogger.

Her name is Kenz and she is the author of the blog All the Weigh.  She is hosting a very fun event, and I'm so excited to share it.  She, and a fellow blogger, have decided to host the 12 Days of Christmas Gift Swap.  Participants will be partnered up with other participants.  You then send your partner 12 individually wrapped little gifts in a box.  For full details - click on Kenz's blog link. 

I am really excited about doing this.  I love Christmas, but now that I have kids - I don't get many gifts.  Being able to get 12 little gifts before Christmas is so exciting...I feel like a little kid.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in - hop on over to Kenz's blog and sign up.  All of the details are laid out there. 

My Plan to Eat, Pray, and Love

Is it too early for New Year's resolutions?  NO?  Good - cause I have a couple.  I don't know if they should be categorized as resolutions - they are plans, goals, aspirations for the new year.  OK, so resolutions is about right - except I'm kind of already doing one of them right now.

I was watching some TV last night, and my mind started wandering.  I was thinking about reading some more, and then I got consumed with guilt - because I shouldn't of been watching TV or thinking about reading...I should of been doing homework.  Anywho, I started to wonder what it would be like to just move away for a year and travel the world - eat, find spiritual guidance, and a balance of happiness and harmony in my life.  Then I thought to myself - I really don't have to move to Italy, India, and Indonesia to do all of that stuff - I can do it right here, in my own home, surrounded by the people I love.  *Just a note, if you haven't seen or read Eat, Pray, Love - you'll have no idea what I'm yammering on about.

In a matter of three minutes, I had a fully developed plan in my head.  I have now decided I'm going on my own Eat, Pray, Love mission...OK, I'm not going anywhere - already said that...but you get the idea.  I mentioned, last week, I believe how the book had started to touch me - give me some motivation - but now I've decided it's going to have some different effects on me.  So, I decided to write out a little plan - you know...I got to be all scheduled and stuff about it **eyeroll**.  I now present to you the first stages of my plans to Eat, Pray, and Love...

Eat - This is the easy one.  I started this back in October when I started falling off the health wagon.  With the stress and lack of time and the stress, I started emotionally eating, convenience eating, and well - just eating things I shouldn't.  I have now decided that it's almost Christmas.  The last thing I'm thinking about right now is healthy food and exercise.  So, I'm not going to worry about it.  I'm going to enjoy the next month - eat what I want, when I want...just like I have been since October. 

This morning, I decided to step on the scale...I was nervous - I didn't want to see a terribly huge gain, but I couldn't possibly think that I wouldn't of gained some...I mean, I've been eating - bad eating.  The scale said:  209lbs.  OK - so not an incredibly huge gain.  I can live with it.  I've noticed my size 16 pants are a little more snug than they were a few weeks ago - so I'm holding on to my size 18s - just to get me through December.

Pray - I'm not a religious person.  Not sure if that will come as a shock to anyone - but I'm not.  I have my own beliefs that I'm not going to discuss here.  The "pray" portion of my journey isn't going to be about religion...not really.  I want to find a more spiritual mindset.  I love yoga and meditating...used to do both quite frequently.  I haven't in too long.  So, on January 1st, I move in to the second stage of my plan.  It won't be to discover God or connect with a higher power - it will be building the temple that is my body. 

After the damage that will set in after all the eating - it will be time to start repairing the damage. On January 17th of this year, I began my weight loss journey.  I haven't forgotten that - I did great, and I'm very proud at what I accomplished.  I haven't given up, either.  I'm taking a hiatus - but I will not be starting over.  I've decided that in January, I will start the C25K program, start doing yoga again, spend time meditating - and get back to healthy, cleansing food for my body. 

I know that I will still have the stress of school to deal with - but it really won't be anything compared to these past few months (I hope).  Even if it is as bad - I will have to suck it up.  I want to get down to my goal weight next year... I got half the way there this year - I can finish the journey next year.  It's not all going to be about the weight loss, though, it's getting back into my "healthy lifestyle" mode - and not finding reasons to flake out.

Love - This stage is a little more fuzzy to me at the moment.  I'm kind of hoping it to be a continuation of the pray section - but with no effort.  I will enter this stage when I love my body, I'm happy with my lifestyle and choices, when I have found a balance of home and work.  I believe I will reach this stage when I no longer think about the food that's going in to my mouth or force myself to work-out or try to schedule time to spend with the family.  It will all just come naturally.  It will be who I am, not a focus on who I want to become.  Will all of that happen over night?  Of course not - that's why it's a journey.

I see those people who live healthy as naturally as I live un-healthy.  I want to be one of those people.  The people that wake up at 4am and do yoga because they want to - they need to.  The people that make healthy food choices easily- no counting, weighing...when they know that what they pick up and eat is healthy because that's all they eat.  The people that want to work out every day because it's their regular routine - and they get really cranky if they miss it...not find ways to escape from it.  You get the picture.

I think things will start to fall together once I graduate in May.  If I find a job quickly, then I will reach the "happy place" a lot faster.  If I don't, then I will have to work on finding comfort in the fact that it's not the end of the world - and that I will make it.  Either way - I will find my way to "love" when I'm truly happy with myself.  Some people say that it might never happen - I disagree.  I used to be that way - I used to be happy and carefree and not stressed....I just have to find my way back there again.

So - there's the plans, the resolutions if you will.  I really don't like the word "resolution" because it often means a promise that is broken.  I don't plan on breaking the promises to myself.  I want to find myself again - I've been lost in my own mind for way too long and those closest to me have been the ones to feel the wrath.  This isn't just for me - it's for them, too.  They deserve the real me back - I plan on finding her again.


Till next time.  ;)
"There's no defeat in straying off course a little - as long as you have a map to show you the way out...and you follow it."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to the Grind

I actually expected to feel much crankier this morning.  I mean, I had a week off work that flew by too quickly, I was up late last night, and I slept terribly....apart from that, I'm not feeling cranky at all.

Last night, I really had a hard time going to sleep.  Once I got there, my body wouldn't stay there.  There's nothing worse than looking at the clock and seeing the hours pass by in what seems like minutes.  I'm not really sure what was wrong with me.  I was tired - it was a long day yesterday.  I had to take my little brother and sister home to Oklahoma.  I didn't get home until after 6 last night, and then had to cook dinner and finish up some lesson plans for the week.  I finally got to bed at 11.  Then Jelly woke up a couple of times - so that kept me awake until midnight.  Once back in bed, I just couldn't get my mind to quit working.  Why is it, I can sit in front of my laptop for hours - and not a single idea or spark will go off, but the minute I try and go to sleep my head is full of them?  It was so bad last night, that I actually contemplated getting up and working.  If it wasn't for the fact that I had to be up at 4am, I probably would have.

So, I finally got to sleep, only to wake up at 2 and then again at 3.  When the alarm went off at 4 I hit the snooze button.  Then I laid there, worrying that I wouldn't have enough time to write my blog and print out my lesson plans for the week or any of the other stuff I do between 4 and when it's time to leave.  Needless to say, I got up, got the coffee going, and started getting ready for work.

I'm not sure why I'm so dedicated to getting up at 4am - or in this morning's case 4:30.  I really don't have to leave for work until around 6:15.  I love the quiet of the house when I get up.  I love having the chance to have a cup of coffee - or two - before the kids get up.  It's funny how even with such little sleep, I still manage to drag myself out of bed an hour before I have to....but I do.

I know it's weird to say, or admit, but regardless of the lack of sleep I'm actually looking forward to going back to work.  I miss my kiddos when I'm gone, and thanks to the conference I've been gone for almost 2 weeks.  That's a long time to be away from them.

I think I've said this many times, but this week is going to probably be the most stressful week thus far for me.  I really want to knock out EVERYTHING that's homework based - which now is just the Unit.  I'm going to try something I've never done before.  I'm going to take my laptop to work with me and try and knock out some of the unit while I'm on my break and during my planning time.  Maybe I'll have a little more inspiration if I'm working on it while in my classroom - let's hope, anyway.

I know that once I've said good riddance to the Unit, I will have my life back again.  I will have inspiration to write about other stuff, I will be able to fill my time with my kids, watch Christmas movies, reading, maybe some meditating and working-out (GASP!!)....oh, it all sounds so good...so close to reality.  I can almost taste the freedom.  I'm not sure I remember what life is like without the burden of homework - without something being due, having something to work on.  I can't wait to get my creative juices flowing again so that I'm not boring you all with the same topic over and over and over and....well, you get it. 

I used to think I was OK at this blogging stuff - until I spent an hour reading over my posts from the last couple of months.  Wow, what a snooze fest - no wonder the comments have disappeared.  Why anyone has chosen to read my ramblings is beyond me - but I love everyone of you that does and has.  I promise you all that after this week (fingers crossed) I will be finding more exciting stuff to talk about.  Right now, my life is consumed with the Unit - so it's not surprising that my blog is consumed with it too.  If you can bare it any longer - try to stick with me.  If you've had enough - I understand - but come back next week...don't disappear forever.  Believe me, I'm just as ready as you are to have some new material.

"When there's no one else around to give you the encouragement that you need, strap on a pair of pom-poms and be your own cheerleader."

Till next time.  ;)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chrismas Buzz

I'm really starting to get into the Christmas spirit.  I was kind of worried that I wouldn't get the fuzzies like I get most years...just because things have been so stressful lately.  Luckily for me, the fuzzies have conquered - and I'm in full blown Christmas mode.

Since Thanksgiving day, I've been sipping from the spirit glass.  The plan was just to get a little excited...but not tipsy.  I still have to concentrate and work hard this next week to get everything finished.  Unfortunately for me, I drank too much....the spirit got to me and now I'm warm and fuzzy and happy and giddy and excited and all those great feelings that come with Christmas spirit.

If you're reading this and thinking "oh, that's nice...she needed some cheering up" well, yes I did - but not yet, not right now.  I don't want to be a Scrooge...but I really can't focus on school work when all I want to do is watch Christmas movies, drink egg-nog, and snuggle up on the couch in front of a crackling fire and twinkling Christmas lights.

So, how do I fix it?  How do I try to compact the fuzzies - just for a while - and get everything accomplished like I'm supposed to?  Well, there's only one way to do it.  It means plugging Christmas music into my ear while I'm at my desk and pounding away until I'm done.  I don't want to think "well I still have over a week to finish".... no, I want to be done NOW!!  The sooner I'm done the sooner I can do all the wonderful Christmassy things - without feeling guilty. 

So, that's exactly what I'm going to do.  All I have left to do is the Unit.  I've finished everything else - WOO HOO!!  Yes, I'm so happy.  Now is the big Kahuna...the big cheese... the project that has literally pushed me to the edge and straight over it.  There is no more excuses, no more distractions, just me and the Unit - mono a mono.  The fight till the death, and I'm pretty sure I will be the victor. 

In other Christmas related news:  Little Jelly has caught Christmas fever.  It started out Thanksgiving night when the Christmas tree was going up.  To her, though, the tree was "pretty" but of course she really has/had no idea what was going on.  The next night she sat with me while we watched The Polar Express.  That was it - she was hooked.  She loved it.  Yesterday, I made all of the kids videos from Santa. 

Oh, side plug.... if you have kids, friends, family - anyone - that you want to send a creative Christmas message to, you should visit http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/  It's a website that allows you to create a customized video from Santa.  It's so much fun, realistic - and my kids absolutely LOVED IT!!! 

So, back to my story....Jelly has watched her video from Santa about 15 times.  She thinks it's the coolest thing EVER. Santa talks to her, uses her name, shows her a gift that she asked for (she really likes that part).  Last night, Jelly watched Santa Clause 3 and Polar Express with me. 

It's a big deal for me to have Jelly so excited about Christmas.  Peanut and Butter are getting older now.  They say they still believe in Santa, but I feel it's because they think they might not get Christmas if they say otherwise.  Hubby is a Scrooge.  He really can't stand Christmas.  Don't get him started or you'll hear all about the commercialism and excuses to spend money, blah, blah, blah.  So, with the two older kids loosing the magic - I needed Jelly to stick with me, be my Christmas believer.  I think she's ready - and a mall Santa is definitely in our near future. 

OK - Operation: GET THE DAMN UNIT FINISHED is commencing.  I want to be done, Christmas is coming - and I want to celebrate for as long as possible.  Work begins in T minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3....

"Find determination and anything is possible"

2, 1.....

Till next time!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dear Motivation...

I know that I took most of the day Wednesday and all day Thursday off from doing homework, but yesterday I was supposed to get a lot of homework done.  I didn't, and now I'm very upset.  I know that you are completely burned out, tired, ready for a break - but the end is in sight.  We just have to get through this next week, and then you can rest all you want.

I still have so much to do.  I have the group paper to write, the lesson plans for next week's lessons, and 75% of the Unit left to finish.  The lesson plans and the group paper really need to be finished by Monday.  I know that's a lot to ask - but we can do it.  We just need to work together, and we can knock it out in no time. 

If you work with me to get these things done, we won't have to do anymore homework until January.  Can you imagine?  A whole month off of doing homework.  I really want to work extra hard today and tomorrow to get the group project and the lesson plans out of the way.  I promise to give you little breaks, when you need them, but we really have to knock it out of the park today - OK?

Your boss,

Dear Brain,

The boss lady wrote me a letter about all the homework she still has to finish.  Does she not know how tired we all are?  That woman has had us working non-stop since August!  Whoppty doo, she gave us two days off this week - but now she wants to put us on double time to make up for it.  Is she crazy?

I'm not sure why she just wrote the letter to me, I'm not the only reason she's having a hard time getting anything done. I know that all of the distractions - like her family being in the house, the Christmas movies...they aren't helping me any.  How does she expect me to do my job when she sits in front of the TV? 

Anyway, I know you're just as burned out as I am - but I can't do what she asks without you.  She's going to need your power to make me go, and she's going to need you to come up with all this stuff that she has to get done in the next week.  Not really sure why she wrote to me in the first place - you're the most important part to this whole equation.

Your friend,

To all that I control:

My dear friend, Motivation, just let me know that the boss isn't very happy.  Of course, I knew this -I know everything that goes on with her.  She chose to contact Motivation - which is understandable.  She has this delusion that Motivation is running the show - of course, we all know better.

You all know that I've really been feeling the burdens that the boss has - and I'm very tired.  I want more than any of you to be done with this whole mess - but we have to see it to the end.  You know it's not in our blood to quit.  That is why, I am contacting you all.  Effective immediately, we are all going to work together - as equals - to help our stressed out leader complete the tasks that have been asked of her.  We all know that the next week is going to be tough.  It's probably going to mean little sleep for us all.  I know that we can do it.  To help us a little more, I've come up with a few special tasks that I need to delegate, in order to be the most effective body we can be:
  • Stomach: Make sure the woman remembers to eat...and it wouldn't hurt to recommend a few healthy choices and try and avoid all the junk.
  • Legs: You're going to really have to work on being so restless.  Any time she sits down at her desk, you get the urge to move her.  Try and stay focused, relax a little when she's working.
  • Bladder:  You're big, your strong...show your power now.  I know she keeps drinking the coffee by the gallons - but be resilient!! 
  • Fingers:  You're going to have to work the closest with me this week.  I know that you and I haven't really gotten along very well lately.  The connection between us seems to have gotten strained or lost somewhere...but we must now come together once again as a team.  As I give you the ideas, you have to type them.
  • Nose and lungs:  OK, she's been sick all week - don't you think enough is enough?  She really can't focus when she's sneezing, coughing, or wheezing.  If you two don't pull yourself together, things are fuzzy for me.  It's hard for me to see how everyone else is doing if I'm in a fog - you two are the ones causing the fog.  It's time to give it a rest, now.  You've had your fun.
  • Heart:  My equal, my friend....you are stronger than any of us here.  Whenever I want to quit, you are the one that pulls me back to my senses.  She really needs you this week more than ever.  I know that she's counting on you - probably more than the rest of us.  In my opinion, I think the woman thinks that you and Motivation are the same.  I want you to stand with me and help control everyone - you've always been the nice one, but this week...you're going to have to be strict - like me.
  • To everyone else:  Work as a team.  If you work under one of the mentioned parts listed above - do what your supervisor asks. 
This is it, folks.  We've been training for this moment for many years.  We always knew that the stress levels wouldn't hold - and eventually she would reach her breaking point.  Well, that time has come.  Do your best.  I can't ask for anything better than that.  Let's make her proud.

Your fearless leader,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Countdown Begins

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving - just like I did.  It was awesome, actually.  The weather was TERRIBLE - icy, cold...just how I LOVE it!!  Poor Hubby didn't care for it, as he had to cook the turkey on the grill out on the back deck - but he did a fantastic job, regardless of the frost bite.

I cooked everything else - ham, potatoes, veg, etc.  For the first time since I've hosted Thanksgiving at my house, I didn't have a single problem with ANYTHING.  Everything came out perfect.  My timing was perfect - the whole meal was...well...perfect.

I didn't lose my patience with anyone, I didn't get ticked off, my parents didn't argue, the kids all got along with each other....there was laughing and jokes and compliments and adult conversation.  I couldn't of asked for a better day.

My finished Christmas tree
 As the day came to a close and my parents decided to head home, Thanksgiving was pretty much over for me.  On the night of Thanksgiving, there's only one thing that runs through my mind....no it's not those stupid Black Friday sales....it's decorating for Christmas.

Thanksgiving night is my official kick-off to my Christmas countdown.  The tree comes out.  The Christmas music goes on.  After stringing lights and decorating the tree, it's time to curl up on the couch in front of a crackling fire and watch a Christmas movie - or two.  Last night's picks were The Santa Clause and Elf. 

When the movies were over, I curled up in bed for the night.  I realized for the first day - in way too long - I wasn't preoccupied with school or how much homework I have to do.  I got to spend the whole day with my family - doing family things. 

Of course, things are "life as usual" today.  Back to homework, back to the stupid unit.  I have to go back to work on Monday - and there's still a week's worth of lesson plans waiting to be written.  I have exactly 11 days (including today) until the unit is due.  That is the day I get to kiss it goodbye - until January anyway, but that's a whole different project, a whole different story.  I am going to work my little heart out to get all of the work finished and completed this week.  I'm ready for it to be gone - I'm ready to be able to enjoy my Christmas...and that officially starts the day I turn all of the work in.  The race is on and it begins in three, two, one....NOW!!

"Just 11 more days and I can have my life back for a month!"

Till next time.  ;)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Thanksgiving Thanks

It's only fitting to do a Thanksgiving post about the things I'm thankful for.  The list is in no apparent order, I will type them as they pop into my head:

I am thankful for...

My Hubby.  My soul-mate, my best-friend.  He doesn't hesitate to clean, cook, and take care of  the kids.  He is my shoulder to cry on, my brick wall to kick when I need to, and will listen - no matter how much he doesn't want to.

Peanut.  My oldest daughter.  The "assistant manager mommy" of the house.  Despite the fact that she's only 10 years old, she has helped me take care of things around the house, take care of her little sister and make things easier for me when things are at the craziest.  She never asks for anything in return, and never ceases to amaze me with her kindness.

Butter.  My middle child.  I am thankful that he has kept me on my toes.  Even though it's been no bed of roses with Butter this year, I'm thankful that he's made me realize that I have other priorities than just school.

Jelly.  My sweet, playful, energetic, bundle of pure joy.  She keeps me laughing when all I want to do is cry.  I'm so thankful for her amusing sayings, her ability to help me see the logic behind the illogical, and her snuggles late at night. 

My parents.  I am thankful for their understanding when they don't hear from me in weeks, their willingness to help whenever I need it.  I am thankful for my mom being there whenever I need someone to talk to - no matter what time of the day and night.

Sanity.  For being my sanity.  For dragging me away when I can't take another second of homework, and making me forget all about it for one night.  For the encouraging words and the support.  I will always be thankful that she helped me get through my final year in college.

OK, now all the cutesy stuff is out of the way here are a few more that I have to throw in to the mix...

The Unit:  My never-ending school project.  The project that has consumed my life the past three months.  Thank you for making me realize how much I'm SO ready to be done with school!!

Amazon.com:  Because my life is so consumed by The Unit, I thank Amazon being available to get some Christmas shopping done...cause Lord knows I would not have done any without it.

Facebook.  Without Facebook, I would have had hardly any contact with anyone the past three months.  Thank you for keeping me connected to the world while I'm in my cave working on that damn Unit.

December Mommies Forum:  My virtual family. Thank you for being there the past three years.  It's been so nice to have wonderful woman to talk to, share stories with, and go to for support when I'm in my cave...YES, working on the damn unit.

My Blog and blog followers:  For listening to me bitch and whine about my life.  I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for, yet I come here far too often and banter on about how hard life is.  Thank you for never judging me, being a great listener, and letting me get my thoughts out in the world.

Eat, Pray, Love: The book I'm reading one or two pages at a time.  The first book I've read for pleasure in way too long.  The book I will still probably be reading in May, when I graduate.  I'm thankful for offering me calming words, giving me a new outlook on life, and making me realize that I am happy - regardless of that damn Unit.

Denise Brennan-Nelson: One of my favorite children's authors.  I'm thankful for the lecture you gave, and that I was there to hear it.  You have me a whole new perspective on life - one that will lead to a happier me....hopefully.

For anyone else that I'm forgetting:  I'm thankful for you too, but because of the damn Unit I've forgotten to mention you separately....it's all the Unit's fault.

Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

"Take two seconds to think of who you're thankful for, and then take a few more seconds to let the people you're thankful for know."

Till next time.  ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Need a Plunger - For my Nose

Yep, still sick.  Not better, but not worse thank goodness.  I was hoping that if I try and rest today, I'll feel a little better by tomorrow....then I remember, I can't rest today.  It's the day before Thanksgiving, my family are coming here tomorrow, which means my house has to be clean.

Maybe working up a good sweat by cleaning will also help flush this crud out of me - I can hope.  Right now, I'm just praying to all things Holy that I have my tastebuds back in working order tomorrow.  My nose is so stopped up that I haven't been able to taste anything in more than 24 hours.  It's going to really bite the big one if I spend all day preparing a cooking a great meal - only to not be able to taste it.  I'm having butter rum pecan pie!!! I'm pretty sure it's a crime against Thanksgiving to not be able to taste such a wonderful treat.

This year, Thanksgiving in my house is going to be much smaller than it used to be.  Four years ago, while 8 1/2 months pregnant with Jelly, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, my grandparents, my pseudo mother-in-law, my real in-laws, my brother and sister, and my kids.  Then slowly over the years, that number has dwindled down.  Now I'm down to just having my parents, my brother and my sister. 

Some people might take it personal.  I can't.  I have been so consumed with school the past couple of years - it's all my fault that my extended family isn't going to be here with me. 

For the past three years, I only really saw my grandparents on special occasions: birthdays, summer parties, Christmas.  This year, I haven't seen them since Christmas.  How horrible is that?  Now, they just don't want to make the 1 1/2 hour drive here anymore.  I can't fault them for that.  It's a long drive - and they're getting older.  They'd much rather stay in the comfort and warmth of their own home.

Up until this semester, I saw my in-laws almost every day.  My mother-in-law would babysit Jelly while I was in school.  Then, once I began my internship, it was too much trouble to drive Jelly all the way to their house...I can't say it was too much trouble, it wasn't feasible...there that sounds better.  Anywho, since I don't take Jelly over there anymore, I have seen my in-laws about three times since June and today.  Again, very embarrassing on my part.

My pseudo mother-in-law is like another mother to me.  It's a long story as to why I call her my "pseudo mother-in-law" but that's just what she is.  Again, before this semester began, we spent a lot of time together.  I haven't seen her once since the fall semester began...not once in three months.  SHAMEFUL!!

Reading back over what I've typed, I can't help but swallow a lump that is building in my throat.  I know that my family loves me and supports me, and I'm sure they understand why they haven't seen me...but it hurts a lot to know that school has consumed me so much that I haven't even had any contact with the ones I love the most.  The time of year when I should be embracing my family. Instead I hold my head down in shame knowing that they won't be here with me because I was too damn busy to contact them and invite them.  I was too damn busy to stay in contact, and just make a quick call every now and then to let them know that I haven't abandoned them...but no, I didn't even do that.

All I can do now is learn a valuable lesson from all of this.  I have just six months left until I graduate.  Six months until the hard work, sleepless nights, and the "I'm too busy right now" attitude is gone.  I could just say I'll wait for the time to go buy, and then work on repairing all of the wrong that I've done in regards to my family - but I can't.  I have to do something now.  I love my family very much.  This gives me a new long-term goal to add to my list:  I will spend the next year making up to my family for abandoning them.  My goal is that this time next year, I will have a house full of the people that mean the most to me - even if I have to drive all the way to them and drag them here kicking and screaming.  Next year, I will have a huge Thanksgiving...and I will be truly happy again.

Alright, I guess it's time to get to work cleaning my house. 

"Sometimes life takes over, and before you know it - time has passed. There's no way to get back the time that has been lost, but there is time to make up for it now."

Till next time.  ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Really? Two Days Before Thanksgiving?

I'm sick.  Whoopie Dee for me - NOT!!  It's not just a little stuffiness either - it's full blown sore throat, cough, and runny nose.  Technically, this is the perfect time for me to get sick - because I'm already off work all week - but I'm also the person that hosts Thanksgiving dinner at my house.

My family will all be arriving Thursday morning, and the last thing I want to greet them with is germs.  I do all of the cooking, except for the turkey.  Hubby cooks that on the grill.  I just have to hope that whatever this stuff is - it's gone, or at least non-contagious by Thursday.  I'm not canceling Thanksgiving, no way, no how!

On a brighter note, yesterday was a great day.  The kids were at school, Jelly was at daycare, Hubby was in bed sleeping...I was at my computer, in my office, pounding away.  I had my "study music" on, a candle burning (not that I could smell it) and was totally relaxed as I worked.  This is a totally new experience for me.  I can't remember a single time that I was working from home - really working - and totally relaxed and stress free.  It felt fantastic.  It felt so good, I will be doing the same thing today.

Yesterday, I also made a very big decision.  It's a decision that I really made several weeks ago, but haven't faced the reality of it.  I haven't worked out in...oh...urm...well, several weeks.  I haven't felt the desire to - and that makes me sad. I've also been on a roller coaster with my eating.  I have NOT been sticking to healthy choices - and I'm sure if I got on the scale right now, this very second, I would be in complete despair.  That's why I'm not going to.  My big decision is, I'm not going to worry about what the scale says, not working out, or about sticking to my healthy eating until January. 

Now, before you all think I'm giving up - I'm not.  This is just a vacation, if you will.  I have so much going on right now that the last thing I need to worry about is making food lists, menus, and fitting in working-out.  I need this time for me.  I have two weeks off in December - and minus Christmas day, I will probably spend those weeks catching up on the sleep that I have been so deprived from in the past 4 months.  It's not like I'm just stopping, like I said - I kind of made this decision several weeks ago. 

When I started my weight loss journey in January of this year, I was excited, motivated, ready to shed the pounds.  Now, I just don't feel that excitement anymore.  It's not because I don't want to do it - it's because I'm so busy with everything else that I panic at the thought about having to fit another thing into an already jam packed schedule. 

My goal - yes goal - is to start again January 1st.  No, it's not my new year's resolution...it's just my goal.  I'm not going to completely gorge myself over the next month, but I'm not going to feel guilty or worry about what I'm eating either.  I lost 60lbs this year - I'm proud of that.  Next year, I want to beat that...and if I do, I will be at my "goal weight".  That's motivation, inspiration, and desire - and I will succeed.  I just need a break from it all right now.

"Live life for today, focus on the important stuff that matters now.  If it's not that important, and can be put off for a while - put it off.  You have to take care of yourself before you can be expected to take care of anyone else."

Till next time.  ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

De-cluttering of the Mind

Yesterday started out a little rough.  After sharing my desire to begin a journey to self happiness and inner fulfillment, I spent most of the morning frustrated, stressed, and mad.

After finishing my blog yesterday morning, I decided to start working on my goals for the day.  The first goal was to finish up what I'd termed "Operation: Christmas Condensing".  It basically means I decided that it's about time Jelly gets rid of some of her toys - just so there's room for more once her birthday and Christmas get here.  The Operation started on Saturday.  Peanut and I sifted through two huge toy boxes making a pile for toys to be donated and a pile for trash.  Yesterday, I still had two toy boxes left to sort through - an additional two boxes. 

As I sat down at the pile of toys around me, I took a second to look around the living room.  There were toys scattered all over the floor, empty pop cans on the coffee table, Peanut's desk looked like an extension of her bedroom - clothing and school stuff on it and around it.  While I was looking around, a huge wave of defeat hit me.  I, all of a sudden, just got a feeling like I was fighting a losing battle.  No amount of sorting or cleaning was ever going to get me ahead in the mess....my house was destined to be cluttered and messy.  The feelings were so strong that they put me into a depressive funk for a while.  I ended up in my office, head in my hands, ready to give up.

I sat in my office for a while.  I kicked myself over allowing these feelings of anger and frustration to consume me over something so stupid.  It was that thought that was my epiphany, my motivation.  How could I possibly begin to try and make my life less stressful and more happy if I got so upset over something so unimportant?  Yeah, my house is a little messy...I have three kids.  My house isn't dirty.  It doesn't smell.  My kids are not living in filth.  The mess is from toys, and my kids' obvious inability to pick up after themselves.  It's no use getting all frustrated about it - I just have to let it go - do what I can - ask for help.  It was all so simple in my mind.  So, that's what I did.

For the rest of the afternoon, the kids cleaned their mess, my sister helped Peanut clean her room and then helped Butter clean his.  My brother helped me in my office.  We got all of the books off the floor, got them on the bookshelves where they belong, and went about turning my office back into my "oasis" of calm and productivity.  It didn't really even take that long, with help.

The house still isn't perfect.  I'm OK with that.  The important lesson I learned from my meltdown was that the mess is insignificant.  I have to do what I can, ask for help when I need it, and it will all fall into place.  My biggest accomplishment from the entire day was learning how to deal with my frustration - I just had to simply sit for a few minutes and de-clutter my mind.  I took a second to think about the goals on my list - sorting Jada's toys was one, but cleaning the entire house was not.  I am so conditioned to my "to-do" list that I have one constantly in my head....I had to let that go. 

I now truly believe that my goal to reach inner happiness and fulfillment is going to take time, it's going to be challenging.  I have to learn to recondition my mind, only focus on the the things I think are important...I'm positive I can do it. 

"If you spend all of your time focused on the small and insignificant areas of your life - when do you have time for the big and significant?"

Till next time.  ;)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A New Journey or Just a Fantasy World?

When I read a book, I get totally and completely lost and memorized in it.  OK, let me start that one again - because that's not true.  When I read a good book, one that I have chosen to read for enjoyment, relaxation, and is generally for adults that's when I get totally and completely lost and memorized.  As I read through the pages, I become the main character or an on-looker watching all of the drama unfold before my eyes.  Once the book or my time reading a few chapters is over, I come back to my world, my reality, and life goes on.

Yesterday, I started reading a new book...a book I wanted to read.  Yes, folks, I found time to open a book and begin reading for enjoyment.  A luxury I haven't had in way too long.  I wanted to read this book because I had been told by several people that it would be a great book for me because of "my situation".  By that I assumed they were referring to my crazy life, my hectic schedule, and all of the stress I've been under lately. 

So, while in Little Rock, I found the book at a cheap bookstore and bought it.  I didn't really think I would get to read it any time soon - but something came over me yesterday to be a little rebellious.  I had this urge to forget about the mountain of homework that still waits for me and just take a little time to enjoy some reading.  That's exactly what I did.

I opened the book and began reading.  Within two pages, I was swept up in being the main character.  I could see her pain, feel her frustrations, and related with her in more ways than I imagined.  When I stopped reading, I couldn't shake her.  I didn't immediately come back to my world - I kept her in my mind.  I went about having dinner and taking care of a few things that I had planned on doing.  After all of that was over with, I went back to the book. 

Again, as I read I felt her words - envied her visions, her inspirations, her devotion to take risks and think about herself - for once.  It was then that I began to realize why I had so much trouble disconnecting from the book after reading it - I wanted to be like that.  I wanted to throw away all of the stresses, the schedules, the frustrations - and just think about me, find a way to discover and connect with a side of myself that has been lost for a while now. 

I then stopped reading, found a journal that had never been opened and a pen, and I began to write.  Words flowed from me faster than I could write them.  I started a journal, of sorts.  What I was writing was different than what I discuss here - it was somehow more meaningful...not that my blog isn't meaningful - it's just very hard to describe.

After only 15 minutes, I had filled about 5 pages.  I had made the decision as I was writing that I am now going on my own journey - a new journey.  I'm not leaving the country, or my home. I'm going on a journey within - a soul searching journey, if you will. A journey filled with enjoyment, goals, purpose.  Gone are the "to-do" lists that I prepare each and every day.  In their place I will be creating little goals for me to accomplish now, bigger goals to accomplish over time.  If you're thinking that I'm just creating a fancy new name for the "to-do" list - then you're wrong.  The horrid "to-do" list has anywhere from 10-30 items on it at all times.  Clean, laundry, grocery shopping, lesson plans, reflections, homework....on and on it goes.  As soon as something is checked off, I find another to take it's place.  My goals list is different because I chose just 2-3 things that are important for me each day.  Yesterday's goals were:  condense Jelly's toys ready for Christmas; play a game with the kids; start reading a book for enjoyment.  That was it, that was the list...and I accomplished everything.  It felt great - and I feel great.

So, after this EXTREMELY long post, the point is I am now working on becoming a new person.  This all plays hand in hand with what Denise Brennan-Nelson told me in Little Rock, and the book just seemed to be a sign of how to get the wheels in motion.  I want to discover a way to handle everything that life throws at me - but always focus on the things that are important.  It will take time - something that I believe to always have too little of -but I want this, I need this.  I will succeed! 

 "If bumblebees can fly when they're not supposed to, imagine what could happen if we didn't let fear and doubt get in our way."
                                                                                                   Denise Brennan-Nelson

Till next time.  ;)

P.S.  If you're wondering what the book is - it's Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  A book I never thought would have such an impact on my life - and I'm only 1/4 of the way into the book.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Back....Did You Miss Me??

I hope you missed me.  I know I missed all of you.  I can't believe I got to stay in the swankiest hotel in all of Little Rock, and they didn't have Wi-Fi Internet in the room...sheesh.

Denise Brennan-Nelson and I before
 the luncheon
So, I'm back from my two day adventure.  It was such a great time.  I got to listen to amazing speakers, meet one of my favorite children's authors, and bask in the freedom of being away from the normal hustle and bustle of life.

I'm not going to bore you with a recap of the whole conference, and the extra-curricular activities that happened while I was away...but I am going to share the experience of meeting one of my favorite authors, listening to her wonderfully powerful and motivational speeches, and the insights that I bring home thanks to her.

Who is this author, you ask?  Well, her name is Denise Brennan-Nelson.  She's the author of several children's books such as Buzzy the Bumblebee, Someday is Not a Day of the Week, and Willow.  She's won tons of awards, and Williow is on Oprah's childrens book list.  Despite all of that, she is the most energetic, humble, friendly, and down-to-earth "celebrity" I've ever met. 

The fantastic lunch I had during the luncheon
I got to meet Denise on Thursday when she was hosting a luncheon for 75 student teachers.  I was lucky enough to have snagged a ticket for that, and I was so excited about it.  When I got there, she came over to our table and introduced herself.  She was so friendly - talking to us like she'd known us forever.  I was lucky enough to get a photo with her.  I loved listening to her talk so much that I decided to go to the break-out session she was hosting yesterday.  The session was about her book Someday is Not a Day of the Week.  What a powerful message she gave in that session.

Denise touched on the importance of living life in the now, not putting off the important things in life, setting goals and doing everything possible to reach them, and the most important part of her message: taking care of ourselves.  By the time the talk was over, I felt uplifted, ready to take on new challenges, finish the challenges I've been struggling with - and taking care of myself in the process.

Denise Brennan-Nelson speaking
 Denise signed two books of hers that I had picked up while at the conference.  I felt like a little teenager meeting their favorite teen idol for the first time.  I've read her books, I've used her books in the classroom - to hear her story now adds new meaning each time I pick up one of her great books. 

Meeting Denise was the highlight of the entire trip.  Don't get me wrong, I listened to other great speakers, learned a lot, gained some valuable resources, and had a FANTABULOUS time with my gal-pals.  It was three days in which "The Unit" didn't matter, other homework didn't matter...OK, so they mattered - we basically remained on constant "hunt" mode to find resources and ideas for the unit - but none of it stressed us out.  In the evenings we relaxed, we enjoyed each other's company, we laughed...just what I needed.

Things are different for me.  My stress level is now basically back to normal.  I feel clear-headed, refreshed, ready to tackle the world...and my first goal on my agenda?  Spend the entire day with my kids.  I've missed them - and they deserve some "mommy time".  That's what they're going to get...which I'm going to start...NOW!

My wonderful gal-pals and I our first day

"Moral is like a bank account.  If you keep giving it out and making withdrawals and never taking time to make some deposits, you will eventually become overdrawn and bankrupt"
                                                                                                                 Denise Brennan-Nelson

Till next time.  ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

See Ya....

It's here...the day is finally here.  In a few short hours, I will be in my car and on my way to my three day getaway.  I get to spend 3 1/2 hours in the car with three great friends....yes, ROAD TRIP!!!  HA!  Then, we spend two nights in a luxurious hotel.  OK, so during the day we'll be attending break-out sessions and general sessions...but they are with famous authors and the best of the best in the world of literacy and education.  The "best of the best" is my personal opinion - don't want to say anything I'm not supposed to.  I am actually excited to learn new things - it's truly going to be an educational experience.

Yesterday was an interesting day.  My second graders spent the morning taking tests - and then I had the pleasure of trying to teach an hour long math lesson.  Well, I had to teach an hour long math test that was being observed by my university liaison.  I knew that the teaching would be tough...the kids would be antsy, they would struggle with concentrating, and it was going to be very hard to keep them under control long enough to get them to learn.  All of those things happened.  Luckily for me, the kids absolutely LOVE math - and I will boost my ego up enough to say that I know how to motivate these kids to want to do math.  Yes, they struggled a little with listening to my explaining and showing examples - but when it came down to them working and doing the assignment....they did what they were supposed to.  All in all, it wasn't a complete flop...it wasn't a disaster...it was OK.

So, I'm going away for a few days - I'm leaving work behind me.  Now you know what's physically going on with me - but I figure I should update a little on my mental "situations". 

I'm still crazy...just kidding, well maybe.  After the weekend I had this past weekend, I'm not as crazy.

Things have calmed with Butter.  The phone calls have stopped - for now - and he's basically been keeping his head down...which I will take. 

I still have a mountain of work that needs to be completed by December 7th. I have a plan in place - staying with the plan will be the challenge from now until then.

My stress level is back down to "tolerable".  My loyal readers know that tolerable is still unacceptable - but I think if I can keep it in the tolerable range between now and May 14th..when I walk across the stage and receive my diploma...I will be happy.

I did not participate in the final weigh-in for the Biggest Loser competition.  I'm a little disappointed - but right now I have bigger fish to fry, and I'm not going to let it bother me.  I know that I've been doing a lot of emotional eating the past month - the scale shows me the effect it's had on me.  I'm the only one that can make those changes, and get back on the road to losing the weight.  January 17th is my anniversary of starting my "journey" and I will matter what the scale says on that day...I don't have time to worry about it now.

I'm ready for the holidays.  As much as I was stressing about being able to give the kids a little Christmas - I have moved along in that...and even though they aren't going to have the "extravaganza" of a Christmas they're used to, I still think they will be happy.

OK - so that's what's going on with me right now, at this very second.  I've noticed that there has been no comments on my blog lately.  I'm OK with that - I reiterate that I really don't write my blog for the purpose of others...it's my therapy.  I assume that the posts that have spilled out from me lately are far from amusing or interesting...I understand.  Hopefully, now that I'm feeling a little better, things can change with that.


Till next time.  ;)
"When you feel like you can't fit another thing on your plate - then don't.  Focus on eating what you have, and if you have room....go back for more.  Trying to eat too much at once will ultimately make you sick."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Few Nerves Bubbling Within

It's Tuesday....just one more day to go.  One more day to get through - then I'm off.  Off for a 3 day conference.  Off for Thanksgiving break.  I don't return to school Nov. 29th. 

I know you won't believe me, but I'm not excited about being away from school that long.  OK, I am excited - but more for the opportunity to have a few days to really buckle down on all the work I have to do.  I know - there's that word again....work.  **Insert eye roll**

I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I mention the word "work" I'd be one very rich woman.  I'm kind of sick of it being the most used word in my vocabulary.  I bet I couldn't get though a single day without uttering it at least 6 times.  Geez.

So, today I'm going to be observed while I'm teaching.  No biggie, right?  Oh yes - biggie.  It's a formal evaluation - the big kahuna - a practice run of what I'll go through when I apply for my teaching license.  My stomach is a little on edge right now - well, that's definitely an understatement.  I must of swallowed a flock of seagulls in my sleep last night, and right now they are trying to find a way out.  I wouldn't mind butterflies - butterflies 'flutter'...how can there be something scary about a word like flutter?  I'm not feeling fluttering - I'm feeling full on scratching, clawing, tilt-a-whirl belly flops.  Not really sure why I'm this nervous - it's not really like me to get this way.  I'm just ready to get it over with - then these damn seagulls can go back to where they came from.

After work I'm going straight to the track.  I didn't get there last night.  *Warning* Lame excuse is about to follow:  I stayed at work to discuss my lesson for today with my mentor.  We hashed out some changes and some ideas for me to use.  I got caught up on a mountain of paperwork that I've been putting off.  I did some reflecting on my lesson plans.  I look at my watch and it's already after 4.  I know what you're thinking..4? Whoopty doo.  Most people are still at work.  Well, my school gets out at 2:30 - so giving myself some credit, I'd already stayed almost 2 hours late.  I looked at my gym bag.  I could hear the tears from within it - as it realized I was going to leave it sitting where it was for yet another day. 

I don't know what's wrong with me.  A good run would have probably been great.  I didn't do it.  Oh well, no time to wallow....I will go tonight.  Then, after my good run, I will be heading home to prepare for my 3 day adventure....my getaway...yes, I will dare to say it: My mini vacation. 

I will be cleaning out my car, packing my bags, getting my GPS directions ready to go....I can't wait...no, really, I can't wait.  I feel like the kids in the Disney World commercials - I want to jump on my bed with excitement. 

OK - so I don't know if it's the nerves or the excitement that is making me ramble on and on - but I have to stop NOW.  Time to get ready for work...the place I go every day to increase my teaching knowledge and skills.

"Sometimes it's OK to sweat the small stuff - as long as you're prepared with a towel to wipe it away.."

Till next time.  ;)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ssshhh, What's That??

I know it's only been 7 hours since I posted my last entry.  I have to stay in my routine, or I'll get all messed up. Right now, I'm listening to the hum of the house.  There's nothing more relaxing than being the only one awake, and having complete peace and quiet.  I'm ready for this week.  After the amazing weekend I had, I'm fully charged and rearing to take on whatever is thrown at me. 

Tomorrow is the final weigh-in for the Biggest Loser competition.  I'm not going to win.  I'm still on the fence about whether or not I'll even participate in the final weigh-in.  I know that I've gained a few pounds the past couple of weeks - so unless all of the other competitors lost absolutely nothing - I don't stand a chance.  This time last week, I was really disappointed in myself.  Not only was I disappointed that I basically let myself go - but because I let go of the chance of winning $150.  Lord knows, I need it right now.  This week, I'm still disappointed, just not as much.  I realized that I've been dealing with A LOT the past couple of weeks.  Not only the crazy of school and teaching...but the incidents with Butter has also really had me standing on the cliff of staying sane.  This weekend, I realized that not winning a weight loss competition is small fish compared to the whoopers I've been hooking lately.

Even though it's too late for the competition -  I really plan on getting some much needed exercise in this week.  I have a golden opportunity.  Jelly is staying at my mom's house until Wednesday.  Being that I'm going out of town on Wednesday, my awesome parents volunteered to keep Jelly at their house until then so that I can focus on getting everything ready - and so that my mom can make her way over here on Wednesday whenever she feels like.  I will admit, I'm already missing her.  It was weird last night being able to work on the couch without a single distraction...but I missed the late night snuggles.  I missed "momma, carry me to bed?"  I missed the 3 or 4 goodnight kisses before she finally decides to go to sleep.  OK - must move on.  What was I talking about?  Oh, getting the chance to exercise...

So, being that Jelly is at my mom's the next two days - I don't have to rush off from work to pick her up from daycare.  That means there's no excuses, no time restraints.  It will be me and my own stupidity if I don't take the chance to get out to the track.  My work-out clothes are ready and waiting to be used - might as well make them happy.  I'm sure I will feel even better, also.

Well, it's time for me to start getting ready for work.  Everyone have a great Monday. 

"When the world seems dark, and you continue to hear the expression "there's light at the end of the tunnel" reach out and ask someone for a flashlight...it doesn't completely take away the darkness, but allows you enough light to see straight."
Till next time.  ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend Warrior

Wow, what a weekend it has been.  Despite the fact that I'm writing my post at 10:05 at night - I feel rejuvenated, refreshed...my stress level has gone from a 14 on a scale from 1-10 down to a 5.  In a matter of 2 days, I've managed to control the crazy that is my life - the feelings, the stress, being constantly on the verge of tears.  For the first time in several weeks, I finally feel like I can handle all of the crap that's piled on my plate.

Instead of giving you a full recap of my weekend - I'm going to keep it brief.  I've decided I'm just going to do a little "things I'm thankful for" post instead.  It will hopefully kill two birds with one stone: a recap and an explanation of why I'm suddenly all sunshine instead of the rainstorm that I've been lately.  Here goes:
  1.  I'm thankful for my wonderful, amazing, terrific fiance.  He gave me the opportunity to get out of the house for a full day (and night) to have the opportunity to get some work done and to release some stress.  Not only that, but he also cleaned the entire house while I was "dealing with my issues". 
  2. I'm thankful for wonderful friends.  Having close friends to bounce ideas off of, friends that are in the same boat as me - in regards to school - and know what I'm going through. 
  3. I'm thankful for Sanity.  OK, so she fits in the last one too - but she deserves her own.  She's there to listen when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm so frustrated I'm ready to rip my hair out, and when I'm so stressed I want to bury myself in a pile of blankets and never come out.  She is the one person that I can share my deepest secrets with - and know that she will hold no judgment.  I can be totally myself around her - and know that she loves me, no matter what.  I can be be crazy, stupid, and do things that I will forever regret with her...and love every minute of it.
  4. I'm thankful that I got to get out of the house for a full day to work on "the unit".  The big project.  The cause of 60% of my stress lately.  No, I didn't finish it - not even close - but having the one day to escape to work on it was worth it.  I now feel like I know where I'm going, have gotten a great start, and now feel certain that I will be able to finish it in time.
  5. Lastly, I'm thankful to have amazing parents.  They are always there to help me when I need it - like taking Jelly for two days while I prepare for my trip.  Also, a mother who is willing to come and spend 3 days at my house just so I get the opportunity to go away and a father that is OK with the fact that his wife won't be around for 3 days.
So, this weekend has been great.  I feel better.  This week is going to be great.  I'm at work for two days, and then I'm off to a teaching conference for 3 days.  I'm really looking forward to that - just for the break more than anything.  OK, now I really have to get to bed - 4am is going to come very quickly.

"Always show your appreciation for those closest to you.  They are the people that will be there when you really need them."

Till next time.  ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Day in the Life of a College Student

Today I will be doing something I've never done before.  I have been a college student for 3 1/2 years.  Let me say that again..I've been a "non-traditional" college student for 3 1/2 years.  Being "non-traditional" means that I didn't go straight to college from high school - I'm one of those people that waited almost a decade before deciding I needed a college degree.  Not so much decided I need one, decided that I want to work in a job that I love, do something I've wanted to do my entire life.  Unlike traditional students - most of them anyways - I have kids, I have some experience working in the corporate world, I have lived an adult life - knowing what hard times are, working from pay-check to pay-check to make ends meet, working long hours just to get a little extra money to pay the bills.  Now, I work a job where there is no paycheck.  My pay is received in experience, enrichment, and enjoyment.

I've worked fast-food.  I've worked in a factory.  I've worked in a call center.  I've worked as a receptionist.  I've worked for the biggest retailer in the world - in a nice little cubicle.  I've been there, done that.  The pay wasn't always great - but it was something.  Now I work anywhere from 8 - 10 hours a day and try to work another couple of hours each night at home - the difference is, though, I LOVE IT!  It's weird to say, but I don't mind not getting paid for it.  I don't think about how many hours have to pass until it's time to go home.  I choose to stay late some nights.  I don't count down the days until pay-day just to see the fruits from my exhausting labor.  The money doesn't matter.  Of course, I'm sure Hubby doesn't share in my feelings - he's the one picking up the slack. 

The job I do during the day is great.  I love it.  Then I have to come home to my second job: my life as mommy and college student.  On top of taking care of three kids, I also have to keep on top of my class work.  There is a LOT of classwork.  I have to do all of that at home.  Working at home is almost impossible.  Jelly has built in radar for days when "momma" has work to do.  I swear the child will play quietly all day by herself if I'm sitting on the couch doing nothing.  The minute I go into my office to work the "momma, momma"s begin.  "Mommy can I have a snack?" "Momma, can I have some milk?"  "Momma, can I watch Spongebob?"  "Momma, can I have a book?" "Momma, can I color?"  It's constant - always something else to ask for.  I'm up and down so many times, I'm wore out before I even get a sentence out on the computer.  You'd be amazed at how long it really takes me to write my blog every day.  There's just no hope to really get a dent on the mountain of work that has to be done if I try and do it at home.

Finally - I'm getting to the point.  I like a build up - but my goodness can I rant on sometimes..geez.  Today, I'm getting out of the house to work.  Sanity and I are loading up our laptops, our books, our earphones - and heading to a little coffee shop to spend an entire day working.  Today, we live the lives of college students.  I don't know how many times I've been in to a coffee shop and seen the ocean of laptops.  Coffee shops are kind of like libraries - but smell better.  They are quiet.  They are relaxing.  They offer my favorite beverage in the whole wide world in so many varieties that I get giddy just thinking about what I'm going to order.  We are going to work together, with another great friend of ours, and bounce ideas off each other.  We are going to plan, get our thoughts in writing, and hopefully make a dent in what has been dubbed "The Unit".  It is our end of the semester project - what the whole semester has been about - the do or die of the class. 

I never thought I'd be so excited - but I am.  It's silly, but I really feel like this is going to be such a great day for me.  I can destress a little, relax a little, but work my ass off in the process.  No interruptions from Jelly.  No distractions from the other two kids.  No worries about getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  No laundry, no cleaning.  Just me, my best gal-pals, a never-ending cup of coffee, and my faithful laptop.

"Taking some time for myself can sometimes be the greatest way to deal with everything else that life throws at me."

Till next time. ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Little Blog Game - Why Not, Right?

So, the mood of my blog has hardly been joyful the past few days.  I'm not apologizing - it's my life right now - can't do much about that.  Then I got a comment from a fellow blogger, and she had tagged me on her blog to play a little game.  It's a game in which I answer 4 questions she's asked of me.  I figure, why not...I need something to take my mind off of things, so here goes. 

The 4 questions come to me courtesy of Sarah at My F.A.B. Challenge:

1. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree, where would you spend it at and on what?
Hmm, this is tough one.  I would probably say some new furniture for my house and a nice vacation for my family.  Lord knows, we could all really use a getaway. 

2. What is one of the top 10 on your "bucket list"?
I'm going to have to say that probably the top of my bucket list would be to get a teaching job in a great school district.  I want, probably more than anything, to have my own classroom - and hopefully right after I graduate (wishful thinking). HA!

3. What is one thing you are looking FORWARD to over the holidays?
TIME OFF!!!  I love the holidays, but just having some well deserved time off with Hubby and the kids is all I need to really have a wonderful time.

4. Finish this sentence.. "All I want for Christmas is..."
TIME OFF!!  Nah, just kidding - I'm already getting that.  I guess I would have to say just a nice, family Christmas.  I don't really care if I get a single thing - I just want to be able to give my kids a good Christmas.  They deserve it...all of them.
That was fun!!  It's nice to take a break from writing about the crazy that is my life.  So, it's my turn to tag 4 blogs and think of 4 questions.  Here are my questions:
1.  What is the your favorite way to relax?
2.  If you could meet anyone - living or dead - who would it be and why?
3.  What is the kindest thing that a random stranger has ever done for you?
4.  If you could pick the occupation for your oldest child (or first child if you don't have kids), what would it be and why?
Here are the people that will hopefully answer the questions for me....
Drazil @ It's Just Me, Drazil and Shaniqua
Renee @ Renee's Ramblings
Maggie @ I'm Losing It
Colleen @ The Fit Bee

So, now on to my post.  Today was kind of a crazy day.  I woke up at 6:17am.  I usually leave my house at 6am.  Needless to say, I was frantic to get ready and get out the door.  To make matters worse, today was my first day teaching solo in my classroom - I could NOT be late.  I managed to make it into work at 7am - have no idea how I did it...but I did.

The day was really good.  The kids were awesome - behaved, worked hard...a true pleasure of a day.  I'm exhausted now, but it's not a bad kind of exhaustion. I feel like I worked hard today - but I enjoyed the day too...that kind of exhaustion I can live with.  Tonight I plan on working on some paperwork that I need to get done.  Tomorrow, I will be spending the entire day with Sanity.  We are going to hang out at a coffee shop all day and work on our big project that is due in a few weeks.  I need to get away from the house to work on it - because trying to work here is well, urm...difficult.  Getting to spend some quality time with Sanity will make it a lot nicer, too.

So, that's it for now -

"Breath.  As long as there is air coming out of your lungs - it's a good day."

Till next time.  ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Turn the Frown Upside Down

OK, today I want to get out of the fog of depression that has spread through my blog the past couple of days.  Yes, I'm dealing with a lot right now.  Yes, I'm stressing.  Yes, I'm nervous about the coming weeks - not only with what is going to happen with Butter, but also if I am going to be able to get caught up on all of the work I have to do.  Regardless of all that - I need to start somewhere in turning things around...so that starts today.  I'm tired of being tired.  I'm stressing over stressing.  There's only one person that can fix it - ME!

Yesterday, I went on my first field trip as a teacher.  I pushed everything out of my mind that was weighing me down, and was determined to have a good time.  So, eight teachers loaded up 115 second graders on three buses and headed to a state park for a day of learning about the park and nature.  The bus ride there was hardly de-stressing - but we all made it one piece.  The state park was beautiful. It's nestled in the Ozark Mountains.  This time of year, with all of the leaf colors made it breath-taking.  The weather was a little chilly - but I think I'd rather it be that way than 80 degrees.  We got to see a few snakes, go on a 1 mile hike, learn about  bears, what lives and grows in the state park, and some of the history of the area.  It was just as educational for me as it was for the kiddos. 

While we were there, I really felt a load be taken off of my shoulders.  Maybe it was the air, maybe it was the surroundings - but while I was there, I was at peace.  OK, so handling 20 second graders wasn't all that peaceful - but I felt much better just being out there.  I did a couple of things I never thought I would do.  I'm terribly arachnophobic.  I mean REALLY bad.  The sight of a spider - any spider - usually makes my palms sweaty, my heart beat fast, and my body freeze.  Yesterday, I felt none of those things as a daddy long-legs approached the class that was sitting on the sidewalk.  I just walked over to it, and used my foot to shoo it away.  I felt no fear.  Then, later in the day, I thought nothing of picking up a walking stick that the kids were trying to catch.  Not something I would really ever do - but I didn't want the little thing tortured by curious hands.  I picked it up, showed it to the kids, and placed in back in the woods.

The point of this field trip recap is that yesterday, I was happy.  I felt free.  I had no burdens, no stresses - just me and the outdoors.  Being there helped me clear my mind, de-clog the stress and worry, and just be at peace...even for just a couple of hours.  On the bus ride home, I realized that something had awoken inside of me.  I was ready to battle everything that was going to come my way the minute I left work for the day.  I was ready to deal with issues that are weighing me down.  I was ready to make some decisions on how I am going to keep not only my head above water - but completely get out of the pool. 

I AM a strong person.  I AM a rock.  I know how to deal with the unknown, the scary, and the bad.  It's all in me - the power, the will, the courage.  I just had to find it.  Do I suddenly have all of the answers I need? Well, of course not.  All I can do is take one step at a time, one day at a time, one challenge at a time.  I know that there's not much I can do about Butter for the next few weeks - so I need to focus on all of the work that needs to be done.  I'm going to get the work done.  I will pass this semester knowing that even though I dealt with uncertainty and doubt - I didn't let it overcome me.  I didn't let it win.

PNOTD - yes, it's back...
"My life is like a baseball game.  Sometimes I will strike out, sometimes I will hit a few foul balls, sometimes I may be pulled out of the game - but I will do everything in my power to to play my best game and hit that home-run that leads me to victory!"

Till next time.  ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quick Update - Also a Big Change to Pseudo-Names

Before I start, I need to announce a new change.  It will be very confusing - and I'm sorry - but I just need to do it.  For a while now, I've been using the pseudo-names Prairie Dawn, Grover, and Zoe for my kids.  With everything that has been going on, it seems that those names are a little too confusing - a lot of people think that those are my kids' real names.  That being the case, I'm changing the names I use when talking about my kids.  From now on, my oldest daughter will be Peanut, my son will be Butter, and my youngest daughter will be Jelly.  I figure that maybe no one will think that those are my kids' real names.  I'm sorry for the confusion.  From this point on, I will be using those names to describe them.  Grover will now be called Butter.

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on how things went with the doctor today.  The counselor emailed me and told me that the doctor approved the request for residential treatment - yet the facility is full.  There is a 3-4 week hold on new applications. 

I don't really know what that means - except I will need to wait 3-4 weeks to find out anything else.  I'm not sure how I really feel about it.  Just waiting will be hard.  I worry about what Butter could accomplish in 3-4 weeks.  Things have been slowly escalating the past 3 weeks - who knows what could happen in another 3 weeks. 

I don't really have much more information, right now.  I will hopefully know more over the next week or so.  Please continue to keep us in your thoughts.  I want to thank everyone for the kind words and emails. 

Something Has to Give

Yesterday was a rough day.  I had to go into work late, then I met with my University Liaison, and then after school is was off to meet with Grover's counselor.

I was very nervous about having to talk to my UL yesterday.  I wanted to let her know what I'm dealing with - explain why I didn't have the work I was supposed to have - but I didn't want it to be an excuse session.  In all honesty, I needed someone to talk to.  I laid it all out for her.  I told her what's been going on, my inner combats on whether or not I should continue, and my feelings about being so behind and busy and never having enough time for my kids.  It was a very therapeutic meeting.  She looked me dead in the eyes and told me that she was sorry with what I was dealing with, but I couldn't give up.  She understood about my feelings on not having enough time with the kids.  She told me that the next few weeks would be rough - the end of a semester always is - but then I would have Christmas break.  Two full weeks to make up to my kids for not being around much.  Then, after Christmas, I would have four months of working hard...but then that would be it, I'd be done.

Hearing her tell me how dedicated I am, how strong I have always been, and how she has faith in me to finish what I've started really helped.  No, it didn't magically erase all of the doubt, worry, and guilt - but it helped.  I know, at the end of the day, I'm not going to quit.  I can't.  It would be like me running 20 miles of a marathon and then giving up.  Going all that way, and then deciding I don't want to finish the last tiny leg of the race - even though I know that those last couple of miles are the hardest.  That's just not going to happen.  Not only have I invested 3 years of my life into becoming a teacher, I've invested thousands of dollars - money that I can't let go to waste.  So, I left my meeting with her feeling a little better - making the decision that I'm in this until the end, and will have to think of another way to deal with my personal issues.

After work, I rushed off to meet with Grover's counselor.  We had a good conversation. For 30 minutes, he became my counselor.  I let out my frustrations, my sadness, my concern that I'm not being a good mother - and didn't know how to do what I needed to do to help with Grover's issues.  He said something to me that, at first, I thought was a way to make me feel better...then I quickly realized that was not what he meant - and the worry set it.  He looked at me and said "there really isn't anything that you are going to be able to do to help".  After the reality hit in that what he was saying wasn't a good thing - I asked him what he meant.  Well, he explained that he thinks that Grover's issues are not caused by me - not directly, anyway.  Grover is dealing with "attention" issues, but not what I was thinking.  He has his own battles going on inside of him - battles that I didn't start, nor will I be able to win for him.  He's depressed - but not because of a chemical imbalance.  He has a mood disorder, that is causing him to act the way he is, do the things he's doing.  There are medicines he can try - but the counselor doesn't think they will help.  The counselor believes that Grover may need residential care. 

Now, hearing those words didn't have the shock impact I thought they would.  Maybe, because in my mind - I've kind of expected to hear that.  I really hate to admit it - but I knew that I didn't know how to control him.  I've tried every trick in the book to try and help: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, discipline, consequences, rewards...all cause him to self sabotage himself....each time increasing in magnitude.  It's gotten to the point now where I have no idea what else to do, and the counselor is at the same point. 

No parent wants to hear that their child may have to receive residential treatment.  I don't want Grover to be somewhere else - despite everything that's going on.  The reality is, though, if it might help - then I need to do what ever needs to be done.  I don't have full details on what "residential treatment" would be involved, the length of time he would have to be there, etc.  The counselor is going to meet with the doctors today to discuss it - I should hear something later this afternoon.  The point the counselor gave me, though, is that if I continue doing what I'm doing - it may get to a point where another option (such as residential treatment) will be too late.  Grover may get to the point where he gets so stuck in his ways - and with continuing magnitude of anger, aggression, and self-sabotage - that he will end up in serious trouble, and there will be nothing I can do to fix it.

Please, keep my family in your thoughts today.  This is going to be a tough few days, as the decisions are made and options are given.  Nothing is set in stone, yet...I don't know what other alternatives they may give.  Whatever they are, I just want the best for Grover.  I want to help him - he is my son.  I love him with all of my heart.  It's very hard to admit defeat, admit that I don't know what else to do, admit that I can't be the "fix-all" parent.  I just hope that whatever I decide - it helps him get better.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Dark Place

I've really been fighting with myself this morning.  I want to - no, need to - open the flood gates about stuff that's going on with me right now...hard stuff...but I keep stopping myself.  I know it's my conscience saying "don't air your dirty laundry in public" while my inner me is saying - "you will feel better when you let it all out".

This is one of the conundrums I face when having a public blog.  I don't usually hold back - I really don't have anything to hide.  I don't consider myself to be a secretive person.  If I have a problem, I like to share it...it really helps.  This time, is the first time in...well, ever, that I'm holding back.  It's not because the issues are so bad that they would get me in trouble or hurt me somehow - but it's hard to share the things that are happening now.  I know it's hard - because my kids are involved.  I guess the only way to do it is share the problem without sharing the problem.

I'm in a dark place right now - mentally.  On the outside, my smile is there...like it always is...on the inside I'm crying.  I'm crying so hard that I can't stop.  Every ounce of my emotional being is drained.  I'm having issues with Grover.  Something has happened that has made me question my parenting skills, question what I'm doing with my life, question if I'm doing what I should.  The problems stem from Grover being in a dark place - one that I'm not sure why he's in or how he got there.  Two weeks ago, he was happy.  He was doing great in school.  He was soaking in the praise, enjoying life - and then it stopped.  The spark was gone.  The problems started - and this time, they are worse than they've ever been before.

The only thing I can think of to cause something of this magnitude is me.  I'm too busy - I'm not there enough for him.  Despite telling both of my older kids that this "I'm too busy right now" stage is only temporary - I can't help but feel that it's had a devastating effect on Grover.  He's screaming for attention, and the measures he's going to to get it are scaring me. 

Grover won't talk about what he's feeling.  He won't talk to me.  He won't talk to his counselor or his teachers.  He puts on a happy face - like I do - and tells them and me that nothing is going on.  He tells us that he doesn't know why he is doing what he's been doing.  Maybe he doesn't.  Maybe he is so impulsive that it's causing him to act without thinking about the consequences...that sounds good, I just don't believe it for a second.  When I look into his eyes, I see pain.  Not just pain - I see hurt, anger, and frustration.  He denies feeling any of those things - he denies everything.  I think maybe it's some form of chemical imbalance - maybe he has no control over it.  Then I'm blindsided with the news from his counselor that he appears to be happy when he's at school.  When he's not here - he's happy.  News that no mother wants to hear.  Am I pushing my son away?  How do I bring him back?  I talk to him.  I put things off to spend time with my kids - sometimes maybe not enough...but I don't know what else to do.

I've really come to a point where I wonder if everything I'm doing is worth it.  Yes, I want to be a teacher more than anything in the world...except be a good mother.  If what I'm doing is compromising my being a good mother to my children -should I continue?  I've come so far - just 6 months away from the finish line.  I just don't know if Grover or I can last that long.  In the 3 1/2 years I've been in school - I've never once questioned if what I was doing was the right thing.  Becoming a teacher not only fulfills my life-long dream, it also will help my family. It will give me the ability to be there more for my kids.  We will have more financial stability.  That's the final product - is what I'm dealing with now worth it all in the end?  That's the question I need to answer.  I really don't want to give up - I want it too bad.  I also want my kids to be happy.

All of these issues are tearing me down.  I'm mentally drained, physically drained.  I feel tired all of the time - even when I wake up.  I can't stop eating. I know it's emotionally motivated - but I can't help myself.  I'm so unhappy that I have started to seek the things that settle the pain - even just for a second - the food.  I'm having headaches...pretty constant the past few weeks.  I know that they are stress induced - and they hurt so bad.  I'm disconnected at work.  I put on a happy face for the kids - but the urge not to burst into tears at least three times a day are getting harder to stop.  I can't focus on my work.  Each time I sit at the computer to try and tackle the monstrous amount of work that is piled on my plate - I go blank.  I start to feel guilty for working.  I pull myself away - only to regret not getting much done.  It's so hard to share this stuff - mostly because I think of myself as a rock.  I'm tough, nothing can bring me down....stress at work is nothing - I can handle that, no problem.  It's different when it's my child.  That stress I can't tuck away and pretend like it's not there.

I really just don't know what to do anymore.