Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Non-Religious Easter Wishes

My intent for today's blog isn't to offend or upset anyone.  Although, I'll bet a package of Cadbury's Caramel Eggs that I've already offended or upset someone with the title of this post.  I just know that someone has scrolled through their blog roll or seen my blog on Facebook and said to themselves "how on earth can she send non-religious Easter wishes?  That's just not right!"

Hold your horses offended people.

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you know that one of the subjects I avoid like the plague is discussing religion.  Not because I'm ashamed of my personal beliefs - but because I appreciate and respect the opinions of others.  I don't feel like my beliefs are any more superior or right or legitimate than anybody else.  In fact, the only time I do touch on religion is when I'm expressing my acceptance of others.  You probably won't see me share my own beliefs.

Easter has many different meanings to many different people.

Some are celebrating the rising of Christ from the dead.  Others are celebrating fertility and the coming of Spring.  And many are celebrating by combining the two.

Myself and my family will be gathering at my parent's house this afternoon to hunt for Easter eggs, eat a large meal, and enjoy the company of loved ones.

Being in a family that has many different religious beliefs, or none whatsoever, causes and produces a person like me.  A person who is both fascinated and accepting of all religious beliefs and traditions.  I've been this way my entire life.

I grew up in an area that had a large Hindu and Muslim population.  I had many friends that were Hindu and friends that were Muslim.  I was able to witness and take part in many of their holidays and traditions.  I attended a school that observed Christian, Muslim, and Hindu holy days - because there was no minority of the three.  You either celebrated all or none, and the schools stand was to celebrate all.  The Muslim and Hindu children participated in Christmas and Easter activities at school - just as the Christian children participated in Diwali and Ramadan celebrations and customs.  It promoted an environment of acceptance - and parents knew that complaining or pulling their kids away from the activities would lead to no observation of the holidays at all.  And no one wanted that.  In addition to the customs of the children that attended, we also took part in learning other customs and traditions: Chinese New Year, Passover, Guru Nanak's birthday (Sikh).

When Christian holidays were taught in my school, there was the discussion of Pagan traditions and roots.  Mainly because I attended school in England - basically the birth place of the Pagan culture.

Inside my home I was raised by two parents that had religious backgrounds - one a Catholic and the other a Protestant.  Although neither was forced upon me.  My parents didn't attend church regularly because of their own opinions and beliefs in the faiths that they grew up with.  I attended church occasionally with my grandmother, and I attended a Catholic preschool.  That's about the sum up of my religious upbringing.

Growing up, and after moving to America, I discovered a huge difference in the way holidays were discussed and celebrated.  Not so much in the way they were celebrated, more as accepted.  I moved to a small town that was basically 100% Christian.  Maybe a small percentage of Catholics.  There were no Muslim children or Hindus...and I don't ever recollect seeing a Jewish person in my town.  So, it was customary that only Christian holidays were observed.

And then, I shared my stories of Pagan roots to Christian holidays one time during a class discussion - and I was just sure they were going to tie me up, drag me to the closest tree, and hang me for blasphemy.

But, when someone asked why Easter was celebrated with eggs and bunnies - I was able to answer that question.  I was able to explain that Pagans celebrate the beginning of spring as the time of fertility.  Flowers begin to bloom again, animals start to bear young, etc.  The Pagan people celebrated with the representations of fertility:  Eggs (women's fertility) and bunnies (the most fertile animal on the planet).  Of course, in my completely Christian town, talk like that was black listed - and I was to never speak of it again.

I attended Christian church regularly with friends.  I was a devout Christian all through my teen years and in to my early twenties.  I attended every and all church functions and classes and Bible studies.  But the sad truth is I did all of that not because it was what I truly wanted - but more because of the fact that it was expected of me.  It took a while (and some growing up) to sort out what I believed and how I wanted to proceed with my religious future - doing it for myself and not because others expected me to.

Thankfully, I never lost my appreciation or fascination with culture as a whole.  Nor did I ever lose my acceptance and appreciation for how different cultures are represented and celebrate different Holy Days.  In my family, holidays are more symbolized with spending time with each other, being thankful for the blessings that have been put in to my life, and appreciating that - for the most part - I am free to believe however I please and no one (in my family) is going to disagree or hate or degrade me.

So, on this day, I wish you blessings.  I hope that you are able to enjoy this day celebrating whatever customs you and your family use.  If you don't celebrate Easter, then I wish upon you a great day anyway.

I send to you my utmost non-religious Easter wishes of health, happiness, and enjoyment.  Spring is here... life is starting over... the dead has been risen.  And regardless of what you believe in any of those statements... I appreciate and accept your feelings with love and respect.

Happy Easter, Everyone!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

BYOC - On Saturday

I didn't post yesterday because after I stumbled out of bed, I had to get ready to take my car in for it's scheduled service.  It's a very responsible and mature thing that I'm now doing to take care of my brand new car.  Even if it means getting out of bed early on the first day off of Easter break.

So, I didn't get to do BYOC yesterday, so I'm doing it today...  Draz posts the questions, I copy them and answer them, and my blog gets a decent post for the week.  WIN, WIN, WIN!

1. What’s your first reaction when you get really angry?

My very first reaction when I feel my blood pressure rising is yell.  At whoever is closest enough to take the lashing - regardless of whether or not I'm actually mad at that person.  The yelling gets worse if I hear the words "calm down!"  Those are my trigger words that lead in to more yelling about why I won't calm down and why I have every right to yell and be angry.

Usually, the yelling only lasts a couple of minutes, and then I either feel better and let it go or I resort to my second reaction which is locking everything in and giving the silent treatment.  My kids, Hubby, and other people that know me very well will tell you that this stage of my anger is WAY more scary than the first reaction.  When I'm silent and stewing it means that I'm internally processing the reasons for my anger...and that will ultimately lead to another blow up or some form of over reaction.  Over reactions depend on the circumstances of my anger.  They include but are not limited to taking away every possession owned or operated by the child I'm mad at, bringing up every flaw or situation that has happened between myself and the victim in the past, cursing like a sailor, and possibly throwing stuff.  The second reaction happens very rarely, as usually the yelling just helps - and then I feel guilty for a while for yelling, and end up apologizing and letting it go.

2. When is the last time you cried in sadness or in joy?

Well, I cried last week after watching the first episode of Army Wives of this season.  I teared up watching this week's Chicago Fire last night.  Does that count?  Sappy, sad TV shows will get me every time.

In real life, I've teared up a few times over the course of the past few weeks with joy because of certain situations that are taking place in my life right now....and I know that in exactly one month - when I can come on here and scream and happy dance my way through my news - I will cry like a baby from pure, exhilarating joy.  Or pure, heartbroken, worse than I've ever cried before sadness if it doesn't work out.  The clock is ticking on which one it will be... but my gut is telling me that it's going to be tears of joy.  Positive thinking!

3. If the stars aligned and everything was perfect from your partner to your job and income and everything – how many kids would you choose to have?

Growing up, I always imagined having only two children.  A girl and a boy.  I got my wish at a very young age, and honestly told myself that I was done and didn't need to have any more children.  But because I had my first two kids when I was so young, and despite Hubby being perfectly content with his "ready made family", the baby bug started to get to me and I yearned for another.  And then Jelly came along.

Six years ago, I would have sworn that two was the magic number.  Having three made it uneven.  Bedrooms would have to be shared, there would always be a middle child, and there would be an unbalance.  But, it appears I was wrong.  Three is the magic number.  I have no desire to have any more children.  I'm perfectly content with my children.  Yes, there's a middle child.  Yes, there are two girls and only one boy.  Yes, a bedroom is being shared.  But, I can do something about that last one hopefully one day soon.

The two oldest fight like cats and dogs, and Jelly has nothing to do with that.  Whether she came or didn't, I don't see that there would be any change to that.  Jelly has, in fact, put some peace on that situation.  She is young enough to keep Butter occupied and out of Peanut's space.  There's enough of an age gap that the two oldest can "do their thing" and Jelly doesn't feel left out.  Yes, I definitely think that 3 if fine - and most definitely enough.

4. If you won the lottery – what is the first purchase you’d make?

This is a no brainer.  I'd buy a new house.  And, not a fancy, lavish mansion.  Just a house big enough for us. It would have to be four bedrooms with a nice, big yard.  Maybe a pool.  Just because I had millions of dollars doesn't mean I need to live in a house worth millions of dollars.  The one and only reason for that is because I would be the one that would have to clean it.  I would never hire someone to clean my house... so why on earth put myself out with a house so big it would take me days to clean?  I'd pay cash for it, so no mortgage payments...and that would make me very happy and content.

5. Repeat question. Summarize your week in real life and in blog land.

Well, blog land has been a little dry and boring.  I'm sure that one of the hardest things I've ever had to do is keep my mouth shut about stuff going on in my life.  And that's what I've had to do the past few weeks...which has majorly affected my blogging.

Real life has been exciting and stressful and good.

I had to give my kiddos at school their Mock MAP test last week, and now I get to wade through the numbers to see what I have to cover in the next four weeks before the real MAP test is given.  I was very happy with the numbers that came from the Communication Arts portions of the tests.  Not so happy with the math part.  But, there was growth...on both...and that's something to be happy about.

Outside of school, my life has been like a baseball game.  Waiting for the winning run.  I rounded through first base, waited just a little on second, third base was a steal, and now I'm sitting on third base waiting to head on home.  It looks so close, but yet so far away.  For an entire month I'm going to be sitting on this base wondering if I'll be able to score that home run or be tagged out at the last second.

I know too well not to count my chickens before they hatch.  Too many times I've played this baseball game.  I remember last year....sailed my way through first base and submitting applications, sat on second for a while waiting for interviews, getting the interviews on third, and then just when I thought home plate was mine for the taking - BAM, tagged out in the last second.  OK, I finally did score a home run - but after many, many outs.  I just pray to all things holy that I don't have to go through that again with what I'm dealing with now.

And, just how amazing is my metaphor for my life?  A baseball game.  Huh.  It appears that my writing mojo is still working...I just need to think about writing in code...or metaphors.  Food for thought going in to next week, I suppose.

Alright, time to get ready to head to P-Momma's for some Easter fun.  I'm going to ignore the fact that it's absolutely pouring rain outside...indoor egg hunt it is!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thank Goodness It's Friday! Urm, Thursday!

This week is one of those week's I can sing the annoying and nasally "Friday" song on a Thursday.  That's because today is my Friday.  I only have kids until 1pm, then a two hour training, then it's buh-bye until next Tuesday.

And that disturbing picture of the cat is exactly how I feel this week.

Since Monday, we've been doing our Mock MAP testing at school - which MAP is what Benchmark testing is called in Missouri.  Our real tests aren't until the beginning of May, so we've been having a dry run with the kiddos this week so that they are aware of the stuff they still need to work on, stuff the teachers still need to work on, and the procedures and protocols of testing.

I think I can safely say that there aren't many teachers out there that enjoy Benchmark testing.  It's stressful for both the kids and the teachers.  But, I can also safely say that it sure is nice to see how much growth your kiddos make after almost an entire school year.  We took a mini Mock Map not long after school started, and it's amazing how far the kids have come since then.

Testing is tiring, though.  For the first half of the day, the kids work in silence while I pace back and forth across the room.  Since Monday, I've probably walked a couple of miles just pacing back and forth and around desks in my classroom.

Usually, when I get a four day weekend, it's the beginning of four days of resting and recharging.  I won't be so lucky this time around.  In fact, there's a good chance I'll go back to work next Tuesday even more tired and worn out than I already am.  Tomorrow I have to take my car in for scheduled maintenance and an oil change, and do some grocery shopping while that's going on.  Then it's back home to begin Spring Cleaning 2013.  That's where I go through all of the junk that's accumulated in my house since last year and toss it.  And because one day is definitely not enough time to take care of it all, I'll be going at it all day on Monday too.

Saturday is Easter at P-Momma's.  Lunch, eggs, and fun is the agenda for the day.  The kids will hunt eggs, we'll all eat lunch, and then the adults will sit around and catch up on our exciting lives while the kiddos play and stuff themselves silly with candy.

Sunday is a repeat, except at my parent's house.  And with twice as many kids.

Once I get back to work on Tuesday, there'll only be 34 days of school left until Summer break.  Throw in a day I'm gone for training and a field trip day in that, and that brings the count down to 32 days that I have left with my kiddos.  Of course, that translates to 8 weeks - which is almost double the time.  But weekends and another four day weekend will make those 8 weeks fly by.  Oh, and let's not forget the entire week of actual MAP testing.

Before I know it, I'll be packing away all my stuff from the year and sobbing over the fact that my first class of kiddos are moving on to 5th grade.

Which reminds me, I got my first ever class picture.  Unfortunately, it's a terrible picture.  It was taken outside on a sunny day, so what is me shielding my eyes from the sun translates to me looking like I'm ticked off and miserable.  Instead of looking delighted to be taking a picture with my beautiful and sweet first class - I look like I'm ready to beat every single one of them.  Not how I want to be remembered or how I want to remember my first year of teaching.  But, it's what I'm stuck with...and I'm sure will make for a good laugh twenty years from now when I'm looking back at it.

Alright, time to contain all my excitement for a little while.... Now I must go and throw on my jeans and a t-shirt and get ready for my Friday.  Urm, Thursday.  Well, you know what I mean.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Not Sure of a Title, So This Is What I've Got...

It's another one of those days where I've sat here for the past 30 minutes, looking at this screen, and wracking my brain as to what I can write about.

The easy option would to just not write.  Walk away.  Come back when I have something witty or personal or fun or annoying to talk about.  But, I can't do it.  I'm tied to the bond that keeps me coming to this computer each and every morning.  A force that requires me to just type away whatever thoughts pop in to my head at the moment...and it appears my brain is running out of thoughts.  Or is too full of them to categorize them well enough for me to find a few in there that are writing worthy.

On days like this, I literally sit at my computer and have inner dialogue persuading myself to do the writing.

"Come on, you have to write something."
"Why?  It's not like anyone is reading it."
"You know full well people are reading it.  Besides, it's not about who's reading it - it's about you writing it."
 "Yeah, but I sometimes wonder what the point is.  I mean, my blog has started to fall of the's getting lost in mindless banter that doesn't mean anything."
"It means something to you, or you wouldn't write it."
"Yes I would.  I don't write because what I have to say is important.  I write because I enjoy the time I spend writing, and the feeling it gives me after I've left my stress or worries on a blank page."

Inner me is right, of course, it doesn't matter what I have to say.

I know that I really want to find something that occupies my mind again - like weight loss used to - so that I have stuff to talk about.  Of course, I could get back in to the weight loss stuff.  That's on the agenda for the next few months... when the weather starts to warm up.

And then there's my secret that's consuming my mind, and the worst part is that I can't talk about it yet.

Which is totally the reason why I'm having trouble coming up with other stuff to talk about...because all I want to do is talk about what I'm constantly thinking about.

Just a couple more weeks.

Until then, I guess I should probably apologize in advance for what's to come and for the past few week's worth of stuff.

I'll get my groove back...when I'm able to share what's grooving me right now.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Truthful Tuesday

To be honest... I could so go and get back in to bed for a few more hours this morning.  Blast you cold weather!  I was really looking forward to Spring putting some pep in my step... but instead it's cold and just makes me want to sleep and be lazy.

To be honest... I was terrified about testing my kiddos this week.  I have absolutely no idea why - but yesterday morning I had rumblies in my tumbly because of it.  And then they took the first two sessions of the test and did totally great!  It put me at ease for testing the rest of the week.  Even though I've given a mock benchmark test once already this year, this one is different.  This one should show some pretty good growth. If yesterday is how the rest of the week pans out, I'll be A-OK.

To be honest... I'm pretty sure if the weather is as cold as it has been for the past few days, I should not have to deal with allergy problems.  I know there's a rule about it somewhere.  Allergies are something to deal with when the weather is warm outside and the flowers are starting to bloom.  Not when there's ice on the ground and cars and the flowers are screaming from underground "Are you crazy?  I'm not coming out anytime soon in this junk!".  I just know it's supposed to be cold weather, no allergies and warm weather with allergies.  Once you start mixing cold weather AND allergies, that's just not fair.

To be honest... I think I complain blog too much about weather.

To be honest... I've rekindled my relationship with Pinterest.  I have 17 boards ranging from school stuff to recipes to gardening ideas.  Yes, gardening.  Don't laugh.  One day, I'll have a garden that I can do awesome Pinterest inspired stuff to - just you wait and see.  The board that's getting the most activity since revisiting Pinterest is Ideas for My Future Dream Home.  That's what I love about Pinterest.  It gives me dreams.  It makes me believe that I can turn any house in to a multi-million dollar looking mansion.  Or my classroom in to the most organized, fun, awesomely cool classroom in the world.  Of course, I guess I need to learn how to use some of the ideas I pin all over my boards.  That's a step to learn another day, I suppose.

To be honest... I started decluttering my classroom yesterday afternoon.  I just don't know how I managed to collect so much paper and junk over the course of the past 7 months.  I spent over an hour going through piles of stuff and tossing what I didn't need.  Which, hardly accounted for much.  I'm just sure I'm going to need everything I have at some point or another.  So, then it became more of a filing all the paper away in a file cabinet to be discovered at some point in time all over again situation.  Which is just as good as throwing it all away.  At least now I can rummage around file cabinet drawers looking for that graphic organizer I just know I saved this time next year instead of just printing off another copy.  Which I know will never happen.  Unless of course I need it on a day that the printer isn't working.  Totally can happen.

To be honest... Even though I've only worked about two full weeks since I last had a day off, I'm really excited about the long weekend coming up.  I didn't realize how stressful this time of the school year can be. Not so much stressful, but the days seem really long.  And I, surprise surprise, have so much on my plate that I feel just a little overwhelmed.  I'm tutoring twice a week after school, I'm trying to run a school newspaper three days a week before school, I'm taking a sign language day I'll learn that I don't have to volunteer for everything offered to me.  And, of course, I signed up to teach summer school - so I'll have that to enjoy for the first couple of weeks in summer break.  *sigh*

To be honest... I'm thinking it should only be about two more weeks before I can share my big news.  Or heartbreakingly devastating news if it doesn't pan out.  I'm a firm believer in keeping stuff quiet so not to jinx myself... but that's just dang near impossible.  It's like waiting the first trimester before telling people you're pregnant.  And of course, I've blabbed my mouth off about it to lots of people - so now I'm risking everything because I just couldn't keep it to myself.  And no, I'm not pregnant.  I just can't wait for the day I am told - "Go ahead, shout it from the rooftops".  Because if I wasn't so dang scared of heights, I totally would do that.  But there's a few major hurdles to jump over before it can get to that point, so I just need to calm myself already.

To be honest... I think I've rambled on enough for one day.  Should probably go and dig through my closet for some warm clothes to wear today.  It's going to be another cold one.  You know I couldn't leave out one more grumble about the weather... right?


Monday, March 25, 2013

Goodbye Weekend, Hello Short Work Week!

What another fun filled weekend it's been.  In the last few months, I definitely can't complain about the amount of time spent with my parents.  If anything, I will have to start complaining about the lack of time spent with Hubby - because he's the one I'm hardly seeing on the weekends at the moment.

Saturday morning, I was up early taking care of a mound of paperwork before getting the kids and I ready to head over to my parents for the night.  Mom and I went and spent the day doing our normal birthday tradition - playing bingo.  Except this time, it was Mom's birthday.

Unfortunately, we weren't very lucky.  My mom won - but with 7 other people winning at the same time.  That meant she won a whopping $11.  But as she says, we can't win all the's more about the fun than the winning.  Which is very true.

We got back to her house around midnight, and then we sat up until 3am talking and laughing and celebrating her birthday without the kids around.  I love nights like that with just my parents and me.

I went to sleep and woke up around 10am when I heard one of the kids yell about it snowing.  That's a surefire way to bring me from any form of slumber...announce that snow is falling from the ground, especially when I have to drive in it at some point, and I'm wide awake.  Thankfully, the snow falling wasn't too much to worry about.

Once awake, I saw that my dad had built a fire in the fireplace and was in the process of cooking breakfast for everyone.  And I was delivered a hot cup of coffee from one of the kids.  Talk about the perfect winter morning...except for the fact that it's supposed to be spring.

My mom woke up to birthday wishes and the breakfast that my dad had prepared for her - and everyone else.  Bacon, sausage, garlic mushrooms, biscuits, and gravy.  My dad, like Hubby, definitely knows his way around a kitchen.

For the rest of the day, Mom, Dad, and I lazed around on the couch and watched DIY network.  We dozed off here and there... but I just couldn't think of a more perfect day.  Freezing cold outside, nice and warm inside.  It was one of those days that reminded me why I love the cold weather so much - as long as I'm not out in it.  Plus we got to watch shows and discuss plans for my future dream house... a girl can wish, right?

Then, my dad was back in the kitchen cooking dinner for everyone.  He pulled off another fantastic creation - fried chicken, baked chicken, roasted potatoes, and green beans.  Absolutely delicious!  Shortly after we got to sing Happy Birthday to Mom and Butter around the cake that my sister had prepared... a pineapple cake.  And, once again, totally delicious.

Being that it was so cold outside, and the time was getting on, we had to pack up and leave shortly after cake.  I have to admit, had I not had to work today we wouldn't have come home.  I was having such a good time.  I was kinda sad it had to end.  I just can't wait for the time when I can feel that warm and comforted in my own day.

Once we got home, the kids promptly took themselves to bed.  I think they were pretty worn out.  I decided to watch an episode of Army Wives before taking myself to bed.  I hadn't watched any of the new season since it started...and I boo-hooed my way through the first show of the season.

I will say, that I'm a little nervous about how much I'm going to like this new season....especially since my favorite person is now gone from the show.  In fact, my three most favorite wives are now gone...two just showing up here and there.  There are supposedly three new wives coming in to take their places - and I just don't know how I'm going to feel about it.  Just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Anywho, now it's time to get back to the grind.  This week, we're mock testing.  It's a dry run of our benchmark testing.  That will take up every morning this week, so I didn't really have to do a whole lot of planning.  And the kids are getting out of school early on Thursday - and we're having another four day weekend.  That I'm excited about.  There's going to be lots of Easter activities happening which will keep me nice and it will be nice to have an extra couple of days to relax.

Alright, that's my weekend recap over with... now time to get ready for work.  Better bundle up - it's freakin' cold out there!


Friday, March 22, 2013


Thank goodness for Drazil!  I really don't know what I'd do without her sometimes.  Just when I think I might have to skip my blog post for the day, because I've just got too much going on and not much to say... she pulls through by bringing back one of my most favorite blog questionnaires.  Thank-you, Draz!!

BYOC is Bring Your Own Crazy.  You visit Draz's blog, copy the questions, answer them on your own blog, and share with the world.  Simple.  Here goes...

1-What was your favorite cartoon as a kid? Is it still on today?

Hmm... I actually liked a lot of cartoons.  I liked Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, and Thundercats.  I think my most favorite was Dungeons and Dragons.

I know that Cartoon Network still shows Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry, but I haven't seen an episode of Thundercats or D&D in YEARS!

2-Describe your favorite piece of clothing.

Warm.  Comfy.  Fleecy.  Feels like I'm walking around in a blanket wrapped around my legs.  If it's hot outside, I opt for the version that are light, airy, and not as heavy.

I would be describing my PJ's.  All of them.  Which is technically not what the question asked, but Draz answered with the same answer - so it's legal.

3-In the hopes of convincing Summer to arrive – I’m asking this question. Name a summer tradition you currently have or a tradition you want to start for every summer.

Hmmm...another tough one.  I guess a summer tradition I currently have is to go swimming over at my parent's house or P-Momma's house.  Being that I don't have to work during the summer, it gives me time to spend a lot of time with them.  Also, we ALWAYS go to the zoo.  Every year.

What I want to start is having the tradition of having family and friends over to our house during the summer. Cook-outs, pool parties, sleepovers.  Where it feels like we don't always have to go somewhere to have some fun, but people will be able to come to us.  Wouldn't that be nice?

4-For all of the newbie bloggers out there getting to know everyone – let’s answer this one. How long have you been blogging, what is your theme and how did you pick your name? Why did you start blogging? What kind of blogs are your favorite to read and follow?

I started my blog in 2009, but I really became an avid blogger in May, 2010.

My blog started out as a strictly Weight Loss blog.  Then it developed more in to a blog about a busy woman who's trying to lose weight.  Then it moved to less weight loss, more family themed.  Then it became a how to find a teaching job blog.  And now it's a miss mash of family, teaching, life in general, with the occasional sprinkling of weight loss - when I'm feeling like losing weight.

My blog name has been through a few changes, also.  It started as Diary of a Mad Fat Woman and then transitioned in to The Life and Times of Jo, because that really fit me and my theme much better.  Plus, I got really tired of people telling me that I shouldn't label myself as a "fat woman" - even though I really liked the name and thought it suited me perfectly when I first picked it.  However, Diary of a Mad Fat Woman was my strictly weight-loss minded blog name, so once I wanted to move away from that persona, I had to come up with a different blog name that fit the topic a little better.

I started blogging because everyone and their mother had told me that the most successful weight loss tool was a journal.  Of course, I didn't realize at the time that they meant a food journal to record what I was eating.  I might be a whole lot thinner now had I known that back then.  Of course, I might be thinner but I'd be a whole lot more crazy.  My original intent with blogging was to just share what I was doing to lose weight.  Then, once my fingers started doing the talking... it became a release for all things stressful, wonderful, scary, sad, exciting, and challenging.  I realized, quickly, that blogging was my outlet - and that it would always be an important part of my life.

I like all kinds of blogs and follow tons of them - even though I don't have near enough time to read them all every day.  I follow a lot of weight-loss blogs, general life blogs, teaching blogs, etc.  I like humorous blogs - and not a huge fan of blogs that aren't somehow personally connected.  I like to feel like the bloggers I'm following are more like friends rather than information providers.

5-Repeat question: Summarize your week in blogland and in real life for us:

Blogland has been tough because I've been so cryptic and cautious with information that I'm sharing.  There's a very good reason for it, and I know it's driving some people crazy... but it will all make sense eventually.  Hopefully.  Although, I know many of you have figured out what it is... I'm neither confirming or denying your suspicions - because I don't want to jinx us.  Karma is watching, I know it.   I did get to write a nice post about Butter's birthday, and share about the crazy weather we're having in our neck of the woods.

Real life has been good.  Minus the cold I had this week that seems to be on its way out.  Thank goodness.  I've been extremely busy.  Testing at school is looming in the near future, so I'm busy busy trying to prepare for that.  Hubby and I are in the midst of a life changing decision that's causing all of my crypticness.  All I can say is that it's moving along well, and hopefully it will only be a couple more weeks before I can scream our news from the rooftops.  

This weekend, I'll be gone - again - celebrating birthdays and spending time with my family.  I'm looking forward to it, although I really need to tackle the mountain of laundry in my bathroom before I step one foot out of this house tomorrow.  Maybe.

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body....and Vice Versa

I know I've blogged about this before... but I haven't really made a "health" related post in a long time, so I'm a gonna write about it again.

I am a firm believer in a healthy mind leading to a healthy body.  In fact, I verge right on the edge of being a gung-ho naturalist in terms of never putting medicines in to my body to fight sickness.  I like for my body to use its natural defenses to fight off infection and viruses.

At a young age, I found out I was a "carrier" for illnesses.  My body may pick up colds and bugs and sickies, but I don't present the typical symptoms but still have the ability to pass them on.  Because of the fact that I never appeared to be sick, my body received very little in the form of any kinds of medicines growing up.  I now have a over-active immune system.  I'm still a carrier, but the doctor told me once that my chances of picking up common illnesses would be a lot less likely for me because of the defenses my body has built up over time.

And I can prove my point a thousand times over.

It's not like I don't ever get sick.  But, my symptoms and problems are mild and last a lot less time than most.  Take the flu epidemic for example.  I sat around while my poor students dropped like flies.  I literally sat under a five year old that was sick close to two weeks with the stuff.  My other two kids got sick and I was taking care of them.  Me?  Nada.

I truly believe that a lot of my health comes from my mind.  I don't let myself get caught up in the possibility of becoming sick, or worrying about it, or thinking about it.  When I do start to feel a little weak, I can usually thank some form of stress that's going on in my life that has allowed me to get off my game...and it comes out through my body.  If that happens, rather than run to the first box of Tylenol or NyQuil I crack open a bottle of honey, make some lemon tea, and sleep.  I can count on one hand the amounts of times I've taken medicine over the past few years.  And that would be two.  Both being for a toothache.

But, the point I'm getting to with all of this is the fact that I am sick right now.  It started yesterday.  I was burning up, even though it was only 40 degrees outside.  I had the windows open in my classroom for as long as possible before the teeth of my students started chattering - and I was still feeling like the room was a sauna.  When I took my sweater off, I started getting chills.  My nose was running.  My throat hurt.  And I could have curled up in bed and slept for a week - I just know it.  A quick check from the nurse confirmed my suspicions...I was running a low grade fever.

And why am I sick?  Because I'm stressed to the max.  My defenses are down because I'm spending so much time worrying about stuff that it's caused my body to break down and require some TLC.  And what happens when my body starts to break down?  I become susceptible to sickies.

Thankfully, my symptoms are mild.  I'm tired.  My nose and throat are sore from sneezing.  And that's about it.. but that's still an inconvenience that I don't want to deal with.  I would consider taking a sick day to recover if I could bare being away from my students.  But, I can't.  And I know that if I were to take a sick day, I'd end up stressing even more and that would just make things worse.  I need to keep myself busy.  I need to stay focused.  And I need to get rid of this stress.

I guess it's good that it's Thursday and I only have two more days left this week.  Then I can get some rest over the weekend.  Plus I can do some de-stressing.  I'll be able to spend some time with my Momma, enjoy some birthday celebrations, and take my mind off of stressful stuff.

Sounds much better than medicine from a bottle.  The medicine of life!  Can't beat that!

I'm going to try really hard today to take a few deep breaths, let the worry slip away from my body, and hopefully it will take away these nasty sniffles.

Take care of your mind - it's what keeps your body healthy!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Butter!

Exactly one year ago today, I shared the story of a wonderful boy I have the privilege of calling my son.  It was his 11th birthday, and he'd been to to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks and back in only a few short years.  If you didn't read that post, then, you should take a second to read it now.  It will really give you some insight in to what an amazing boy Butter is.

This past year has really seen some huge changes in Butter.

Every day, he lives with an illness that can flip the switches to his emotions in a micro second.  He can go from laughing to rage in a blink of an eye.  He can tell me he loves me to telling me how much he hates me in about the time it takes to pour a cup of coffee.  But, everyday he learns more, he copes more, and he's really learning to develop ways to understand what's going on inside his that he can have more control on his situations.

This past year has been far from perfect.  But, when I stack up this past year to the past five years - it's been probably the best year so far.

In August of last year, I took him out of the first school he's ever found full success and moved him to a different school.  What should have caused anger and disruption had neither of those affects.  He looked at it as if he were getting a completely fresh new start.  Everyone at his old school knew about the troubles he'd been through, the past that he had dealt with.  At his new school, however, he didn't have to worry about any of that.  Nobody knew him.  No one knew where he'd come from, what he'd been though.  He looked at it as his chance to start his life over and prove to the world and himself that he can be a "normal boy".

And normal boy he's been.  Sure, he's gotten in to trouble at school.  He's gotten angry and upset when things haven't gone his way.  He's even had to visit the principal's office a few times and feel the swift licks of a solid paddle on his behind.  But, he's walked away from each situation as if it was totally normal, and having nothing to do with his disorder.  Heck, there are lots and lots of kids that get in trouble, get angry, and have a paddle to their behind each and every day.  He's no different from anyone else.

He and I have even had our share of differences.  He's gotten pretty mouthy when he doesn't want to do something I've asked him to do.  He's defiantly not done chores he was supposed to do.  He's yelled at me.  But I can count on one hand the amounts of times it's happened in the past year... where as a year ago, I had to use two hands to count the occurrences for a week.

Butter has also reached a major milestone this year.  Back in January, he was taken off all medications for his disorder.  His doctor truly believes that he's gotten to the point where he can manage his issues without the need for medication. You have no idea how big of a deal that is.  Butter has been on medication consistently since the 3rd grade.  For 3 years he's had to pop pills every single day.  Not anymore!  That in no way means he's cured... but he's come to terms with his problems and has found ways to deal with them on his own.

Today he is 12 years old.  Just one year away from being a teenager.  He loves his school.  He plays the trumpet.  He can't wait until next year when he can start playing sports in Junior High.  He has friends.  He's happy.  What more can a mother ask for?

While it's always been my goal that each of my children get to have a big celebration for each of their birthdays, Butter has to wait a few days for his...and a few weeks for an even bigger one.  And he's totally OK with that.  He knows that this weekend, we'll all make a big deal for him at my parent's house.  He'll have a cake and cards and get money...that he's going to save up to buy stuff for his bigger gift that should be coming towards the end of April.

I love my little Butter.  I'm so proud of him.  I'm hard on him at times, and know that one day he'll grow up and understand why.  But, at the end of the day he knows how much I love him and believe in him and want nothing more than for him to have a long, happy life.

Happy birthday to my sweet son.  Mom loves you very much!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Truthful Tuesday

To be honest... I really don't have that much to be honest about today.  I'm trying to distract myself from blogging about what I really want to blog about... but I have to make myself wait until the time is right.  I don't want to jinx myself.

To be honest... I'm sad that this season of Biggest Loser is over with.  I watched the finale last night, and I'm happy with the winner.  I won't say more than that - because I know that some of you may have recorded it... and I don't want to be your spoiler.  This season really restored my faith in the show after the disaster that was last season.  I just hope that the Biggest Loser peeps stay on track with the dynamic that was expressed this season and stay away from drama.  Leave that to the trashy reality shows that are on every other 5 minutes.

To be honest... I finally remembered what I'm going to be doing weekend after next.  It's Easter weekend, so we'll be going to my parent's house for Easter dinner and egg hunts.  Duh.  Can't believe I didn't remember that.

To be honest... It's Butter's birthday tomorrow, but the poor dude will have to wait a little while before we can have much of a celebration.  While we will be having a small party for him and my mom on Sunday, we'll be able to do a little more for him in a few weeks for now.  With what's going on, he doesn't seem to mind.

To be honest... I think if we only get two days of nice weather before winter comes blasting back in full force, I should not yet have to deal with spring allergies.  My nose has turned in to a dripping faucet...and the congestion is making me cranky and uncomfortable.  I really don't mind so much when the weather is at least warm.  But, when it's freezing cold outside, my nose is running non-stop, and my head is pounding - all I want to do is curl up in bed and not come out until I feel better.  Like mid-May.

To be honest... I don't get the fascination that some people have with their technical gadgets.  Last night, Hubby helped his brother put together what I can only describe as a 'Super Computer'.  The thing was about the size of my kitchen table, could fit my laptop and Hubby's computer inside of the thing, and had so many parts and fans and places to store memory that I could only imagine my brother-in-law as putting together a network to take over the world.  I mean, seriously, who needs that kind of power in a computer?  Unless you're starting up your own business or more like Fortune 500 company.  My only hope is that the drool that was being drizzled out of Hubby's mouth doesn't give him any crazy ideas.  I can only imagine what that thing cost when my brother-in-law said it cost more than his car.  Don't even think about it, Hubby!  Unless of course you plan on winning the lottery some point soon.  Then, by all means, buy a ginormous computer.

To be honest... Speaking of huge computers, I remember not so long ago when the fascination with technology was to make it smaller.  Huge desktop computers and monitors were replaced with slim-line versions.  Cell phones that started out looking more like a brick (think of Zach from Saved by the Bell), turned in to teeny, tiny contraptions the size of a candy bar that when placed on the ear barely came to your cheek bone.  TVs that weighed a ton and required an entertainment center half the size of a room moved toward TVs that were as thick as a book.  Even monster sized cars and trucks started to move more towards Matchbox toys.  But, it seems as though smaller wasn't better...because now we're switching back to bigger.  Cell phones are getting bigger again, and I'm convinced we'll eventually be placing iPads straight up to our ears.  Apparently, computers the size of kitchen tables are becoming a thing again, and car companies are now figuring out a way to place eco-friendly in to bigger vehicles and SUVs.  And even though TVs aren't getting any thicker, they sure are getting bigger.  If you don't have at least a 42" screen in your living room, you are far behind the times.  Craziness, huh?

To be honest... I apparently had more to say than I thought I did.  But, now I'm done.  For now.  I must think of subjects to occupy myself over the next few weeks until I will hopefully be ready to share my news.  And to be really honest, that will probably be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.


Monday, March 18, 2013

I Thought We Had Worked This Out, Mother Nature

Just when I was really starting to enjoy wearing a light jacket, even ditching the jacket all together and enjoying the beautiful sunshine...Mother Nature has another little tantrum.

Friday afternoon, I was outside enjoying almost 80 degrees of heavenly sunshine.  Saturday, I did the same trading in my pants for a pair of capris and flip-flops...and then yesterday?  I had to put my winter coat back on the battle the rain and freezing cold that was dumped down on us.

This week, the temps are going to barely make it in to the 50s...and there's even a slight chance for snow or a wintry mix by the end of the week.  Really?  I'm sorry, but once I dust off my capris and flip flops - I should not have to hear the words "wintry mix" until the following December.

And of course there's going to be lots of rain.  At the moment, I hate rain.  No.  Loathe rain.  That's what happens when every window on the back side of the house leaks during rain or the back wall in my living room looks like we've installed a fancy indoor water feature.  We haven't.  It's just rain running down the wall.  UGH!

I so can't wait for that time when I can start loving the rain again.  When I can sit on a comfy couch with a good book and absorb the sounds of the rain outside - and not absorb the actual rain with towels and pans.

In all my life, I've never hated rain.  I've never been a fan of days and days and days of rain... but a good thunderstorm and rain shower here and there were fine.  But, since having to deal with our leaking problem - rain and I have become mortal enemies.  I don't like being mortal enemies with anyone or the sooner I can say sayonara to this house, the better.

All this mess has made me realize that when we have an inspection on the house we're going to buy... they better triple check every window, shingle on the roof, water pipe, and anything else that could lead to water leakage.  If there's even so much as a soft spot on the roof that could possibly lead to any form of leak, I will run for the hills.

Moving away from my morning rant.... Hubby and I have been really happy this weekend.  Not that we're normally not happy, but there's been some tension in the air for the past few weeks.  This weekend, he was back to his old self.  We laughed.  He cooked.  I didn't feel uneasy or uncomfortable at all.  Just like we used to be.  It appears we're going to be A-OK.  It's totally normal to have a few bumps in the road, I suppose... we've just gone 8 years since we hit our first one.  That's a pretty good record, if you think about it.  If every 8 years we have a few differences... I can live with that.  It's just nice to know that we can make it through - unscathed.  And with learning the lesson about how important it is to actually talk to each other and not avoid hitting subjects we just don't want to talk about.  No good ever comes from just trying to avoid situations.  Especially when those situations are dumping gallons of water in to your living room during every rain storm.

I've got a lot of work to get through this week.  My goal is to get all of my plans written for next week before the weekend - just like I did last week.  It was so nice to enjoy my entire weekend without having to work.  If Peanut is going to keep me at the school until 5:30 every night so that she can be in Track, I really have to start making the most of the time and using it to my advantage.

There's only 46 school days left this school year.  Actually, only 42 because we get 4 days off between now and the end of school.  Only 9 weeks and one day of actual days.  That's not a lot of time.  Which means the next few weeks will be crazy busy.  But, I'm ready for it.

Which I should probably start getting ready for it right now...


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Keeping Myself Busy

I didn't post yesterday.  Not because I didn't want to... but because my day was so jam packed, I just didn't have time.  And that's weird for me to say, because I always make time to write my blog.

I had a bazillion phone calls to make, I made plans to go see P-Momma, had to make a trip to my in-laws, and then my mom decided that she wanted Butter and Jelly to go and spend the night with her - so I had to fit meeting her to drop them off in to the mix.

By the end of the day, I got all of my phone calls made, wasn't able to see my in-laws because they weren't home, had a wonderful visit with P-Momma, went and did a little shopping and dinner with Peanut, and made it back home by 8pm and watched Breaking Dawn Part II with Hubby and Peanut.

All in all, a pretty good day.

Got some exciting news to share with the world... but can't do it just yet.  I have to make some notifications, follow through on the bazillion phone calls, and get all of my ducks in a row before I start making official announcements.  I'm pretty sure those of you that have been reading the past couple of weeks may have a pretty good idea what the good news is.  But, you'll have to wait a little longer before I can officiate your suspicions.

My next few weekends are going to be as busy, if not more busy than this weekend.  Wednesday is Butter's birthday.  Next Sunday is my mom's birthday.  So, that means we'll combine the two and have a little shindig at my parent's house next weekend.  It will be a bingo day for Mom and I next Saturday- which is our birthday tradition.  Then on Sunday, we'll have a mini birthday cook-out for Mom and Butter.

The next weekend I have a 4 day weekend.  I know I have something going on that weekend, but of course I can't think of it right now.  That's how my head is working right now.... I had totally forgotten in was Butter's birthday on Wednesday until P-Momma reminded me.  Don't judge.  I'm a good mother... not my fault if current events skewed my thought process of upcoming special days.  That's what my calendar alerts are for, after all.  Kidding.  Kinda.

Today I'm going to dinner at my parent's.  Mom invited us.  I have to admit, I'm really liking the time we've been spending together lately. It seemed like there was a patch of several months where we hardly spoke or saw each other... but I've been making lots of time on the weekends to get over there and spend some time with them.  They've been spending a lot of time having the kids, too... so that's always a bonus.  And when I get a free meal out of it?  Super extra bonus!

Which because I am going to their house today, I should probably get off of here and do something productive... like put away my laundry, wash more laundry, clean something.  Or not.

Decisions, decisions.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday's Letters

With my brain a jumbled up mess full of anxiety and nerves and excitement and worry and happiness, I figured it better to write another "whatever pops in my head post".  Enjoy.

Dear Karma... If there was ever a time I needed to cash in all of my bonus points with you, now would be that time.  I'm not in the business to pray just to get stuff I want, nor would I even joke about making deals with the devil.  But, you my friend?  You are the one I can come to at a time like this and ask for help.  I know over the years that I've made a few karmatic stumbles... but I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping my tally on the plus side.  If there's a few extra good juju points to give... please let me have them now.

Dear Obstacles... You know who you are.  I'll openly admit that I'm not the best obstacle jumper in the world - but you can bet your last dollar that I'm going to do everything in my power to swiftly and gracefully jump over each one of you in the next few weeks.  Just promise that there'll be no cheating and trying to trip me as I go.  That just wouldn't be a very nice thing to do.

Dear Sore Throat... OK, you can leave now.  Either take away my voice or move along.  Don't sit in idle giving me false hopes that you're starting to ease off and then make yourself known when I have a fit of sneezes or yawns.  Who ever heard of only having a sore throat when you sneeze or yawn?  That's just silly. You can go find someone else to torture, now.

Dear Seasonal Allergies.... Couldn't you at least wait until the first day of spring actually gets here before you start knocking at my door?  We have two days of nice weather and my nose lights up like Rudolph's.  I guess if it's just going to be a runny nose, I can live with it.  But, I don't want any funny business happening with swollen eyes.  OK?

Dear Daffodils.... Thank you for popping up all over the place and putting a smile on my face.  I just don't know what it is about you that I love so much.  Maybe it's your sunny color.  Maybe it's your funky looking flower head.  I don't know, but I know that just the sight of a bunch of daffodils sends warm and tinglies to my heart.  There's a very good reason you are my favorite flower... because no other flower has that affect on me.

Dear Warmer Weather.... How nice of you to finally join us!  You are staying for a while, right?  This isn't one of those situations where you pop in for a short visit and then go away again, is it?  I just don't think I could stand it if you teased me with your warm embrace just to run out on me again.  And yes, I know I'm the person that loves winter.  I know I'm the person that usually expresses my love and desire for snow and cold.  But, I figure if I'm ever going to cheat on anyone - it will be the seasons.  Let's you and I have a fling!  We can have some fun while you're warm and enjoyable and fun.  Then, once you start getting too hot for me to handle - it will be time to call our relationship quits.  But, then again, there may be a pool helping me out this our relationship has the potential of turning in to more than just a fling.  No promises, though.

Dear New Bathing Suit... I finally got to take a good look at you last night, and I really liked what I saw.  You're cute, colorful, and fun looking.  I'm a little nervous about actually trying you on, though, because you are beautiful right now - probably won't be so much when you're covering what I've got to cover.  But, if Karma and Obstacles work with me - I'll try hard to get to working on improving that situation.

Dear Awesome Students... Thank you so much for being much better behaved this week.  Apparently it does pay off to yell and whine and act like a 5 year old to get what you want.  Me doing those things, that is.  I yelled and whined - you listened.  And I appreciate that.  I just can't wrap my head around the fact that in 43 short days, our time together will be over.  No.  I can't talk about it.  Can't even think about it.  Already feel the tears.  We'll just leave it at that...and move forward through these next few weeks happy.

And, that's it for me for one day.... I'm so glad it's Friday!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thoughtless Thursday

With the recent house hunting situation, I've actually had a pretty easy time coming up with stuff to write about.  But, while decisions are being made and stuff is being worked out, I decided I needed to take a day off from that.

I've had so much running through my head, lately, that I kinda feel like the woman in that picture.  Of course, anyone that knows me know that none of those things that she's dealing with are things I'm thinking about.  Ironing?  HA!  I don't even think we own one.  Cooking dinner?  Not likely.  But, I do have laundry and school work and children to tend to.

So, being that I wanted to just clear out some clutter from my head... I decided to do another Thoughtless Thursday...

I think I'm getting sick.  Or maybe it's just a sore throat.  But, I have a sore throat that hurts to swallow - and  I don't like it.  It's not really affecting my voice, but I can't yell without it being somewhat uncomfortable.  How on earth can I yell at children with a sore throat?    I kid.  Maybe.  Not really.

I had to pull the whole "if you can't get along, you'll spend every waking minute together" routine on two of the kids in my class yesterday.  I don't mind kids not liking each other or not wanting to hang out or play together - but I just won't tolerate constant bickering and arguing and just being plain mean to each other.  And I have two boys that are like that.  So, I did what any good, loving parent would do.  I made them spend all day together - sitting together in the classroom, having lunch together, even sitting together at recess.  I was one, not very liked teacher all day yesterday.  But, I gotta do what I gotta do.  Hopefully, one day they'll understand that.

This whole time change thing has really messed with me.  Much more than it usually does.  I'm having a hard time going to sleep at night, a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, and just feeling exhausted by the end of my work day.  Throw in the not feeling so well situation to that, and it's one zombie like picture of me.  I think I'm going to officially designate this Saturday as a sleep until noon day.  Maybe then I'll feel like I've caught up on some sleep.

I don't know why, but I think adding color to the words on the screen makes them so much more fun to look at and read.  Of course, all of the colors clash... but I'm a little limited on the colors I can use.  I'd love to use something spring like - like pastels - but it would be so hard to read my amazing writing in pastel blue.  HA!

I can not believe that there are only 44 days of school left.  There would only be 41 if we didn't have a couple of snow days to make up.  I haven't officially heard if we are going to lose some of our breaks between now and end of school or if they are going to tack all three on to the end of the school year - but my guess is that we're going to lose a day from each of the breaks that we have scheduled between now and the last day of school.  Which I'm kinda upset about, even though I was one of those people wanting some snow days.  But, in my defense, I didn't want snow days on the same week that we had a four day weekend to begin with.  I'd have been perfectly content with a four day weekend a month between February and May.  Now, that's jeopardized.  So, I guess from now on I'll keep my mouth shut about wishing for snow.

I still haven't tried on my new bathing suit, or even got it out of the package yet.  Mostly because when I roll through the front door between 6 and 6:30 each evening, I have only one destination in mind:  The couch.  And that's where I stay until it's time to drag myself to bed.  Plus, this may sound a little silly, but I don't want to try on a bathing suit and get all excited about how much use I could get out of it if I were to buy a house with a pool.  Better leave it be for now.

I finally made it through the level on Candy Crush that has kept me stuck for over a week.  It happened by accident last night.  For days and days and days, I have attempted that level and not even come close to collecting the amounts of candy I needed to complete the level.  Then last night, bam, swish, cluck - it was done.  Not sure where the cluck came from...but it didn't feel right only using two onomatopoeia.  

And now I have done something I never thought I'd do...use the word onomatopoeia in a blog post.  My life is complete.  Well, almost.  Not really.

I really should go get ready for work now....


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Life is an Open Book...Urm.. Blog

There are two types of bloggers in the world.  Open bloggers - those who don't hide who they are - and Anonymous bloggers - duh, those that hide who they really are.

I read fantastic blogs from both varieties.  Anonymous bloggers usually reveal less information about their private lives - or use cover names and locations.  They don't connect their blogs to their social networks, etc.   Open bloggers basically write an open book on their lives...sometimes still using cover names, but obvious enough to people that actually know who they are.

I am of the open blogger variety.

I like being an open blogger because people I know will walk up to me or call me and provide me insight to my blog posts, offer advice if I asked for it, or pick up on hints that I don't have the guts to say to someone in person.

I don't like being an open blogger because people I know will walk up to me or call me and provide me insight to my blog posts, offer advice if I don't ask for it, or pick up on hints that I don't have the guts to say to someone in person.

There are pros and cons to being an open blogger, as you can see.

One of my cons is that it drives Hubby nuts.  He is a firm believer in keeping our lives between us - and occasionally family members.  But, he can't stand it when I publicly post all of our news for the entire world to read about.

But, being the ego-feeder that I am, one of the greatest highlights of my day is when someone I work with walks up to me and tells me how much they enjoy reading my blog (Hi, Jan!!).  Or, I can write a heartfelt blog post about a family member - and tell them things I find it hard to say to them in person (Hi, Mom and Dad!)

As hard as this may be to believe for people that actually know me, I often find it very difficult to put in to words how I'm really feeling.  Especially if it's a topic on something close to my heart, or that is causing me anxiety, or I'm just too chicken to say something to someone that I really want to get off my chest.

My blog gives me the voice to do all of those things.

This whole house hunting thing is one of many situations that cover all three of the topics above.  It's something close to my heart - one of my life dreams, actually.  I had a small list of accomplishments I wanted to fulfill in my life.  Have a family.  Go to school.  Become a teacher.  Buy the house of my dreams.  Not necessarily in that order, but that's the order that it happened.  All except the last one...that's the one I'm going through now.

Once Hubby and I are able to find the house of our dreams, I would have officially accomplished all of my adult goals.  My life will be complete.  Of course, then I can start adding new goals - like watching my kids graduate high school and college, have families of their own, sit on the back porch and watch my grandkids play.

It's something that's causing me anxiety.  Are we financially ready?  Will we be able to find everything we want?  When we find the perfect house will the offer get accepted?  And the biggie - what will happen to the house we're currently living in?

And, my blog gives me an outlet to say stuff to people about it that I don't have the guts to say to their face.  Like to Hubby.  I want to scream from the rooftops how excited I am and how big of a deal it is for me to check off this last goal from my list and how I want to share something like this with the world because it's a big deal to me and I want to be excited about it.  To my father-in-law, who will ultimately be the most affected if we do get the house we want.  The last thing I want to do is put him in a financial bind moving out of his house.  I don't want to affect the relationship between father and son.  Or parents and son.  But, at the end of the day, I have to think about what's best for MY family - meaning Hubby and the kids.  And this house, in it's current state, is NOT a healthy environment for any of us to be in.

Blogging really is a win-win and lose-lose situation.

But, the sad thing is, I don't think I would have accomplished so much in my life without my writing.  It's my outlet.  It's ultimately what keeps me sane.

I am so blessed to have amazing people in my life.  To a very supportive Hubby.  To loving and uplifting parents.  To amazing friends and co-workers.  And awesome children...both biological and not.

Hubby listens when I really need someone to talk to...except when it's something he doesn't want to talk about.  That's where my blog comes in.

My family - especially my mom - is always a phone call away if I need someone to talk to...except when they are too busy with their own lives and foster children and such.  That's where my blog comes in.

My amazing friends and co-workers are always willing to lend an ear in a time of need or moment of excitement...except when it's something I don't really feel comfortable talking to them about.  That's where my blog comes in.

You see, my blog is the only "person" I can comfortably talk to without fear of a response or retaliation or hurt.  I can lay my whole life of feelings out on the table and walk away with a clear mind ready to tackle the battles of the day.  I can vent.  I can celebrate.  I can hurt.  I can love.  I can express it all - easily.  Something I just can't always do with words from my mouth.

I know that I often share too much.  I know that there are things that should be kept private.  I know that being an open blogger means I need to pay more attention to what I'm saying or how I'm saying it or what topics I chose to write about.  But, sometimes not worrying about those things brings clarity to messy situations.

At the end of the day, my blog is always there for me.  It will never judge me or hate me or get mad at me because what I have said.  OK, the people sitting on the other side of the screen may have those feelings - and believe me, I get to hear about that - but when I'm writing, I don't care about any of that.

And that's never going to change.

I am a blogger.  It's who I am.

And I love it.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Get to Review a Bathing Suit? Awesome!!

Several weeks ago, I was sent an email from a representative from NAYAD Sportswear asking me if I'd be interested in having a custom made bathing suit to review for the blog.

At first, I thought " hate bathing suits"  then I thought "well, maybe it wouldn't be too bad" and then finally I was all like "It's a bathing suit I can wear to work-out, do yoga, and swim? OK!"

Being that my blog isn't just about weight loss anymore, it's kinda weird to be asked to do a review for something associated with working out.  I mean, lately, it would have been more appropriate to be asked to review new dry erase markers for my classroom or a new website designed to find a house.

But, I figured that with spring ushering her way back in -it's a great opportunity to get ahead of the game and put my mind on working out once the weather starts to warm up.  So, I agreed to do the review - on the condition that I wouldn't be forced to say nice things about it if it wasn't something I really liked.

I emailed back and forth with the rep for a little while, perused the website, and got to pick out the bathing suit I wanted.  The colors, the fit, everything.  They have such a large selection to choose from, I was a little giddy with narrowing my choices down.

I wasn't so thrilled, in the beginning, to find out that I would be looking at trying out a two-piece.  The last time I wore a two piece bathing suit was before the carrying of children in my stomach that turned my midsection in to a road map of stretch marks,  But, it was no trouble finding a two piece that would give me complete coverage.  Believe me, no one wants to see me parade around with my tummy hanging out.  I can just imagine what nasty website I'd end up on.

It seems weird to me that the day after I look at a house I fell in love with - that happens to have an inground pool - I receive my Nayad Suit.  Maybe Karma at work?  Telling me that I'll be able to get good use of that suit in my new home?  Man, wouldn't that be awesome?

To be honest, I haven't even gotten the suit out of the package yet.  I had so much going on last night with running numbers and talking to Hubby and emailing my banker and realtor that the last thing I was thinking about was looking at my new suit.

In fact, it will probably be this weekend before I get it out and try it on.  Well, I probably won't be able to wait that long... I will at least try it on just to make sure it fits before then.

I will say, right off the bat, I don't see me using the suit to work-out in public.  It's a little too bathing suit-ish for me to actually wear it out where other people will see me.  But, if for once, everything works out and we get our house and I have all that open space and privacy and a will definitely get some use over the next few months.

Fingers crossed!!

And more Nayad news to come.

In the meantime, go check out their website.  It's a pretty cool concept.


Monday, March 11, 2013

What's In Store This Week?

It's Monday.  Again.  And thanks to springing forward in time, a bad tooth ache, a sick child, and house hunting - I'm so ready to crawl back in bed and not wake up until next Monday.

But, I can't.

Got to get ready to get back in the classroom for another fun filled week of learning.

This is going to be a really tough week for me.  I just know it.  Because my mind is going to be somewhere else...consumed with thoughts and anxiety and maybe even a little fear.

I found the house I wanted, yesterday.  It happened.  The moment I've been waiting for...where I walked in to a house and just knew it was the one for me.  From the brand new floors, to the high ceilings, to the floor to ceiling rock feature around the fireplace, to the large bedrooms, the country style kitchen, and the inground pool.  I pictured myself living in that house within a few minutes of walking in the front door.

While everyone else was walking around asking important questions about utilities and neighbors and structural problems - I was already placing the furniture in the living room, assigning kids to bedrooms, and imagining myself drinking a cup of coffee on the private deck attached to the master bedroom that just happens to overlook a mini lake that is behind the house.

I'll even admit that Phillip Phillips started playing the background music in my head.

Within an hour of leaving, I was on the phone to my banker talking numbers.  Wanting to know what could we offer, what would our payments be, what type of inspections and assessments would need to be done....I was on the ball.

And then, I got home and faced the look on Hubby's face.

Surprise, surprise...he has reservations.

The monthly payment is going to be about $150 more than we're currently paying.
We have no idea how much our utilities are going to be on such a large house.
What type of insurance payment are we going to have to pay?
Are we really ready to take on such a big commitment?
And the million dollar question...
What happens to the house we're in now?

I could feel the anger well up inside of me.  I knew that would happen.  Him having the reservations - not me filling up with anger.

The Realtor, the banker, and my parents all admitted that we're not going to find such a beautiful house for such a cheap price anywhere else.  In fact, just waiting a few days to put in an offer could compromise our ability to buy the house - because a house that nice at that price won't last long.

Plus, if we pass and decide to try and find something cheaper....we may be waiting a very long time.  Not just that, but another month and house buying season starts...meaning a lot more people will be looking for houses to buy, increasing the housing market prices.

Of course, I understand some of his reservations.  I surely don't want to jump in to something we can't handle.  But, I'll also be fuming if we let this house pass us by and end up back at square one looking at houses in the same price range that need major work that we just can't afford.

I also understand him not wanting to just walk away from the house we're living in, because it will put his parents in a terrible situation with what to do with the house if we're not paying for it.  In fact, I love that he cares so much....

But, at the end of the day, I strongly believe that if the roles were reversed he'd make one statement to me "We have to put us first".

Do we continue to live in a rundown house that could possibly be verging on the level of dangerous - and not just structurally but also medically if there's as much mold in this house as I think there is?

I don't think so.

So, I don't know what this week is going to hold.  Will we put in an offer?  Will we sit on it a while and it be too late?  Will we decide to let it go and keep looking?

I just don't know.

But what I do know is that many of those options could lead to the road to disaster and utter turmoil in my mind.

Let the anxiety begin!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Did You Remember to Spring Forward?

Thanks to the wonder of all the technology I keep in my home, putting my clocks forward during daylight savings time isn't really that much of a big deal to me.  I just get to wake up and think "It's that time already?"

Not that it would have mattered much, last night.  Worst night of sleep ever.

It started around midnight, while I was still up watching House Hunters on HGTV.  I'm pretty sure a ghost walked up to me and punched me right in the jaw.  That's the only logical explanation I can think of being that all of a sudden I had the most worse shooting pain go from my jaw up the side of my cheek.  The pain was so intense, that it brought tears to my eyes.  I had been fine all night..then BAM!

It may have something to do with the fact that I watched both The Awakening and The Possession last night.  It must have angered some spirit living in my home.

And the reason I was up until midnight watching HGTV was because it was pouring down rain outside, so the back wall of my living room looked as though we had a fancy water feature built in to it.  Water was pouring from a hole in the ceiling, and coming in through the window.  I hate this house.

Hubby was busy changing out towels, and I was placing pans to try and catch the water.

If that wasn't bad enough, Jelly decided at 3am - technically 4am due to springing forward - that she was going to throw up all over the living room floor.  Awesome.

I had a feeling something like that was going to happen.  The child had the WORST gas all day yesterday.  Like so bad she passed gas on one side of the room, and within seconds everyone in the room was ducking for cover from what can only be described as the fumes of a dead animal living inside of her.  It was sure sign indicator that she was experiencing some tummy troubles... I just didn't expect it to come out of the end it did.  I was already for a back draft explosion.  Which I guess I'm happy about.  If I had to choose between puke or the diarrhea, I'll go with cleaning up puke.

So, pretty sure I can put that down as one of the worst nights for sleep.

On the up side, Hubby and my visit to the building company yesterday gave us a lot of great information - and has put us in the place I'd hoped we'd be.  I wanted to walk out of that place knowing whether we were going to build or buy.

We're going to buy.

As much as both Hubby and I would love to have a custom built home, the price just isn't something we can work with.  For $125,000 we could get a 1440 sq. ft home built.  Or we could look at houses in the 2200 sq. ft. range pre-built.  The building price is not even including land and clearing the land and hooking up utilities.  It would be pretty easy for that $125,000 to grow upwards and closer to $150,000 by the time it was all said and done.

What we did consider is the fact that if we buy now, we could always build later.  Find a house that's big enough for all the kids to enjoy the remainder of their youth, and then when they've started to move away we could spring for a custom build that was smaller - perfect for just the two of us and the occasional visit from the kids and grandkids.

Hubby had to agree that spending the next 5-10 years in a house we're buying is much better of an investment than trying to wait out whatever crazy scenario could play out with where we are now.  Even the contractor told us, after hearing our story, that we should basically run and never look back from what we're dealing with now.

Which makes me a lot happier.  Just having that information in front of us really helps with the house hunting. It was so hard before, because we'd look at house and leave wondering what we could afford to just build a home.  Well, now we know.

Of course, Hubby is still on the weary side.  His concern with a pre-built home is the costs that could come from repairs and such.  But, the way I look at it - we either spend a lot more money each month paying for a brand new house, or we pay much less money over time and run the risk of needing a large sum of money should we need to repair anything.  But, I'm pretty sure that's what home insurance is for.  If we buy a house and a couple of years down the road something happens to it, we call the insurance company.

So, this afternoon, we're going to look at the three houses I discussed yesterday.  I'm keeping an open mind, and hoping that Hubby does the same.  Fingers crossed.