Sunday, January 31, 2016

If You're Reading This

Most of the heartbreak songs on the radios have to do with relationships or death.  Have you ever noticed that?  I think in the course of life so far, I have suffered more heartbreak from distance from loved ones that aren't dead and that aren't a significant other type person.
When loved ones have died, there is the reassurance that they are in a better place, that their suffering is over, and that they still know they are loved.  That doesn't lessen the grief.  But it is something of value.
When loved ones stop talking, what is there to do?  I won't compromise who I am because a loved one can't see the real me.  I will just be here, hoping and praying that some day they remember who I am.  I pray that they remember that I mean them no harm, no ill-will, no sadness.  All I want for them is love and happiness.  But I won't turn myself in to a doormat for them to keep them in my life.
At least five times in my life now I have had someone very, very dear to me move away from me (metaphorically).  Each one of these times, I have not yelled or threatened or hated.  Yet, I hear from others that the other party says that I hate them, that I hope they'll fail, that I don't want to see them.  But these are not things that I've said.
I think it is easier to be mad at me and blame me, then it is to come and talk to me.  There were misunderstandings.  Maybe I said something wrong.  Maybe I didn't say enough.  But I can't fix it by myself.  And I won't grovel for the chance to fix it together.  I will ask for that chance.  I have asked for that chance - an open ended lunch invitation two years ago, my treat.  But I won't beg.  It's not pride.  It's respect.  Respect for myself to handle this on mutual ground.  And respect for my loved one to expect that they can meet me on this mutual ground.
If you're reading this, I know you are thinking of making some big life changes.  No one has wished unhappiness on you.  No one is celebrating at your sadness.  We are here, praying for you, loving you, and wishing you could see that our hearts are pure when we say we care about you.  Please make your next decisions with both your head and your heart.  There is a world out there ready to take advantage of you. And your heart's so big that you want to believe the best of everyone.  Look at the facts.  God gave you a heart and a mind to use equally and in conjunction.  If you believe that what is in your heart is real, then time won't change that.  So take some time.  Take some time by yourself.  Search your own soul.  And use your own logic.  No matter where you go, or what you'll do, I'll always love you.  And I'll always pray for you.
Tonight I am thankful for the chance that maybe the eyes and heart that weigh heavy in my heart tonight will read this and hear what I am saying.  And even there is no call or no text, maybe there will be understanding that love never changes, never fails, never turns away, and never ends.  And I will always, always, always be here if you need me.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sniffley Friend

You know you're an adult when you put drinks with a friend on your calendar so you don't forget.  Many moons ago it would be a phone call and hoping in the car.  Now, we are all adult-like and have responsibilities and have to put such things in writing and check with households.  It seems like quit a to-do.
With all that effort, it is a bummer when one adult is sick when we finally get to the night in question!
So tonight I am thankful for my friend who was sick, but still came out to meet me tonight!  I must admit I felt a little guilty seeing her sniff and sneeze.  But we still had a good time, so it was all worth it!  I hope she sleeps well tonight and wakes tomorrow feeling better!

Hmm

I think I'd been on a roll.  I seemed to have been scheduling thing alright.  Even earlier this week when I worked hours in the double digits a few days in a row, it was scheduled and I knew it was coming.
Somehow though, today I messed something up time wise.
So tonight I am thankful that I did get to go to a field trip today and spend time with my daughter.  And I'm thankful that I now have my work done and can go to bed!  Swimming lessons await in the morning, so my time with my pillow will be precious.  Good Night All!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Duct Tape

Does anyone else have a child that refuses to tie their shoes?
I have one.  He can physically tie his shoes.  He will tie shoes for others.  He has more than once removed the shoelaces from his shoes. After being made to put the laces back in to the shoes, he continues to walk around with the laces flopping to the sides.
I have told him to tie his shoes hundreds of times.  I have stood over him and made him tie his shoes countless times.  I have stepped on his floppy laces so that he couldn't move away - proving to him that it is important to tie laces.  Nothing works.
Today while I was in Meijer's I found a solution!  On clearance I found these stretchy, no tie laces!
Tonight I am thankful for something that will keep shoes on my child's feet, he thinks look cool, and will prevent me from duct taping shoes to his feet!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

  It's funny how there are some things in life that I just can't understand until I'm in the place that you were in when I was younger.
  See, I still remember being around teenage years and listening to you.  You would encourage me softly to not lose myself when I was trying to fit in at school.  I remember thinking at times that you were rather sappy about it sometimes.  Of course I was going to be me, who else would I be?  But I see it now.  I look at my daughter, trying to find her way.  I see her being brave and confident one minute and so unsure the next.  I see all the influences around her, making her question herself and her dreams.  I see those who would want to change her.  I see those who don't see who wonderful she is.  And I want to beat them off with a stick.  But I know this is slowly turning in to her fight, not mine.  I'll always be one step behind her . . with a big stick to beat off the bad when she needs me.  But before that, I'll encourage her to stay true to herself.  I'll build her up so that she won't need me to fight off the bad; she'll learn how herself.  And when she isn't home, I'll pray.  I'll pray for her to be strong, for her to be solid, for her to be brave, and for her to keep her softness, her innocence, and her genuine heart in the face of a harsh world.
  I don't think I can even guess at how many cards you gave me that said stuff about how proud you were of the young woman I was growing in to.  I think the first one probably made me blush from the praiseful sentiments.  After several of them, I remember smiling because it was nice.  But I had no idea how genuine the feelings of being proud could be from the first card to the last.  I know now that every single card was hand picked because that was what was in your heart.  I remember thinking with one card that you may have just wanted to reassure me that you were still proud.  I know better now.  I know those cards weren't picked just to reassure me; they were picked because your heart was over flowing and there honestly wasn't any way that the nice words in the cards could have ever captured what you felt.  And I've already decided that when my baby turns 13 this year, her birthday card is going to tell her how proud I am of the young woman that she is turning in to.  Because I am.
  On our walks down the road Mom, I used to talk so much.  I had so much to say and you always were there listening.  I can still talk an ear off when I get so inclined.  But now I see that you held your tongue so that I could run mine.  I sit now, listening and listening and listening to all the angst of growing up, the drama among friends, the crush of the week, the difficulties of school, and I listen.  I interject sometimes, just like you used to.  Because it is so easy for her to get too caught up in life.   I let her interrupt me too and she keeps talking, and I keep listening, just like you used to.  I had no idea then how much energy it took to keep up with my ramblings; but I do now.
  I remember you staring at me some times.  I always thought that was a little silly.  You of all people know what I look like.  But sometimes at breakfast, or in the middle of the day for no reason, I'd look at you and you'd be looking at me.  There was usually an emotion in your eyes that I didn't quite grasp.  But I know that emotion now.  You weren't just looking at my face.  You were looking at me and seeing right down to my heart.  You were looking at me and seeing me when I was 5.  You were looking at me in awe that so much of your heart could be outside your body wrapped up in your child forever.  I know that look now.  I give that look now.  And I see the look in her eyes now, that she doesn't quite get it.  But she will one day.
 Tonight I'm thankful for a good example of how to transform as a mom to be what the kids need.  Because these kids of mine just keep on growing.  They don't need me for the things they used to need me for.  And they'll need me even less for things as they grow.  But I'll always be their truest friend, their biggest fan, and the one who wants the best for them.  Just like you Mom.
 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cold

I've been doing good for several weeks now making meal plans for the week.  I'm on a really good streak actually . . I'm feeling pretty proud.
I found a snag in my plans though.  Two days in a row now I had crock pot meals on the list.  And two days in a row now I've forgotten about it before I left for the day.  I just don't think about dinner at 10am.  
I've tried sticky notes to remind myself, but that doesn't seem to be working well.  Today I had an idea!  I'm going to start putting a reminder in my calendar!  I don't know why I didn't think of that before.  But now both my phone and my computer can ding at me and remind me!
For now, we've switched Monday with Friday and Tuesday with Saturday - so I'll have another chance to get this right!
Tonight I'm thankful for the electronic calendars that I fought for so long.  They've really been helping keep me organized.  And now they'll help with dinner!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Last Night

The hubster is off for his last night at what will be known as his "old job"!!  He is taking a couple days off to get used to sleeping at night again.
The kiddos have hung streamers and balloons and little curly things from the ceilings and doorways!  We'll all be long asleep when he gets home.  But he'll have the house looking all excited to great him!
Tonight I'm thankful that this his the hubster's last night working nights!  Hooray!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hope

I only debated with myself a little bit about the topic for tonight's blog.  It's kinda personal.  But, when I wrote about my fibroid tumor, I had several of you contact me to talk.  Honestly I couldn't believe how many had been affected by similar issues.  So here we go:
Right from the beginning of deciding to have a family, I wanted four kids, and I wanted them close together in age so they could all grow up best friends.  I have never and will never regret the way we had them.
Depending on what you read, there are reports that a woman's body needs 6 weeks (no way) up to a year to go back to "normal" after having a baby.  My babies are roughly about a year and a half apart each.  Which means that my body had roughly 9 and a half months of recovery after each baby.  According to some studies, that was not a long enough time.
About a year after the last baby it became evident that some of my insides were permanently altered.  About 2-3 years after the last baby I started to have some issues.  I'm not going to get in to the nitty gritty here . . anyone can message me privately if you'd like to discuss.  But I did go to the doctor, repeatedly.  Tests were ran, etc.  I was given two options . . . neither of which I liked.  I actually did try one, with apprehension, and the experiment supported my thoughts that it was not for me.
So it's been this way ever since:  I'll be walking around life fine and then Wham!  My body gets too mad about something (I've never been able to figure out what) and I am just down for the count for a few days.  There used to be a lot more pain.  When I added the Kelp a year or so ago to combat the fibroid stuff, it wonderfully got rid of a lot of the pain that I was having.  YAY for Kelp!
Yesterday started one of these little episodes of mine.  I should have known it was coming probably because of the way I'd been feeling.  But yesterday was just like I hit a wall.  And my body is just done with being coherent and operable.  I can sleep all day and all night.  Unexplained fever.  And a few other weird things.  I know where it started though.  I can feel it in my belly.
Last night I decided to look again online for other options.  I don't like the doctor's options.  I don't want them.  Well I don't know what I typed in differently this time, but I might have found something good.  Page after page, site after site, of women who have written their stories and sound like me; except now they are better!  There were a few natural supplements discussed.  The main one, that all of them shared was red raspberry leaves.  Can you believe it?  Something so simple and so . . non-exotic!  Of course this is not the season for raspberry leaves to pop up in the backyard.  So I ordered some crushed up leaves in capsules.  Seriously for only $5.99 and it'll be here Tuesday with Amazon Prime.  Even after I ordered it, I kept searching.  The more I research, the more I find women who sound like me who praise this stuff and the wonderful things it has done for them.
Tonight I am thankful for hope.  I have hope for the first time in many years that there might be another solution here . . a natural, safe, solution.  I'm going to feel like a kid at Christmas on Tuesday!   And I'll be praying it works!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Not Fish

When I was a kid, we couldn't afford swimming lessons.  This was a bummer, since I am not a natural swimmer.  I remember almost drowning . . . twice.
Somehow I learned enough to kill myself in the water.  And I was very proud of the swimming that I can do.  Then I started dating this Ron fellow.  One day we went to a pool.  He saw me swim and laughed at me.  The Nerve!!!  So I threw him in to the pool . . . I don't always take it well when people laugh at me ;)
Turns out Ron and his brothers all had done years of swimming lessons and are like fish people.  So he gave me some pointers.  And I my swimming is better now than it used to be.  Although the Olympic team won't be calling me anytime soon.
Sadly, my offspring have natural non-talent for the water.  Although they all do love the water immensely.  We have done swimming lessons off and on for the past 6 years.  We haven't done them consistently because of many reasons.  But it has been off and on for the past many, many years.  During the first lessons for the older two, Cody was a baby in his stroller sitting on the sidelines with me and toddler-Gracie.
The last set of swimming lessons was last summer.  We had a break for fall sports and today we were back at it again.  I am happy to report that I see progress.  One child can swim . . like for reals!  Like probably better than me!  That is some exciting stuff!  We have set a house goal for all the children to have better handwriting than mine.  And I think we now have a goal for all of them to be better swimmers than me.  I see it can be done!  There was a glimpse today!
Tonight I am thankful for not giving up on swimming lessons!  Seriously a few times over the year, I thought about just giving up and duct taping life jackets to the children for the rest of their lives.  But we are making progress . . . slow and steady progress.  I'll take it!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Warm Buns

For Christmas I had asked Santa for a heated seat thing for my car.  Since getting the van with heated seats last year, I've been in love!  But the hubby usually drives the van.  He tends to get car sickies in the car.  I like the car, so I drive it more.  But it has cold, cold seats.
I was so excited when Santa delivered my heated seat at Christmas!  Cleaning up after Christmas though, I didn't take my heated seat thing right out to the car.  And I forgot where I had put it.  Almost a whole month later, I found it!
Today was my first day out with my nifty heated seat!  It was such a great feeling to be out in the cold, measuring outside a house and freezing my keester off; then to get back in the car with heated seats!
Tonight I am thankful for my best Christmas present this year . . my heated seat thing!  It will never leave my car!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Holding On vs. Letting Go

Well the title of this blog tonight sums up what I anticipate to be a life long issue for myself.  I can tell when to flip an egg over in the frying pan to have the white part cooked and the yellow part gooey still; but where some people are concerned I have trouble making a call.  I hold on way too long.
I don't like letting go.  Why should I?  Letting go sucks!  So I hold on too tight or for too long and I ruin things.  I think maybe if this person knows that someone cares about them, it will help them.  Everyone needs to know that someone cares!  But some aren't ready to accept that - because it opens themselves up for hurt if they care back and something goes wrong.  And something will go wrong.  Something will always go wrong; because people are people and they let you down.  I know I let others down.  I know I've hurt others.  It isn't intentional.  It's just that I'm me and they are them and we think and process things differently.
I know I've been hurt and I've been let down.  Over time I've been working on the practice of reminding myself that most of the hurt and let down that I feel is unintentional.  Just because I'm hurt, doesn't mean it is the other person's fault.  I try (after the initial blow of course) to take a step back and really analyze intentions.  It makes it much easier to forgive, to move on, maybe let go if needed, and to establish boundaries.
My problem is that when I am the one who screwed up, then I go too far to try and fix things.  I can't just apologize and walk away to let the other person have space.  I want to know, are they ok?  Is there anything else I can do?  Can I say anything else to make it better?
I'm pushy.  I'm relentless.  I forget to not feel every emotion magnified by 1000.  I'm human.  I mess up.  I hold on too tight - that's me.
Tonight I am thankful for holding on.  Although it doesn't always work out for the happiest endings in life, I know at the end of the day that I did all that I could in most circumstances.  I guess I'd rather have it that way than to let go too soon and second guess that I could have done more.  I'm only mildly thankful for letting go . . . I still think it sucks . . . but I know sometimes it's just time.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Laughing At The Boss

I was at physical therapy today and we were talking about past jobs.  I was interested first of all to learn that my physical therapist first got a degree in agriculture.  He enjoyed that work also.  But then went back to school to become a physical therapist.
Anyway, I was telling him about some of my past jobs.  There was my most favorite job to quit - that was the one I quit when I was pregnant with Elaina.  I had hired in as a quality manager at the ripe old age of 21 in a manufacturing plant.  In retrospect, maybe they thought I'd be a push over and that's why I got the job.  Turns out I actually was knowledgeable and researched the things that I didn't know so that I would be competent.  That made some people mad and the company decided to eliminate my position.  My employment there was saved by a very nice man in the production department.  In whose department, I wrote a program to track their inventory - they were always losing parts.  It was nice to have a boss who appreciated me.  And it felt good  to know that the old jerk boss had to use my program every day :)  But it was even better when I quit!  I did feel bad quitting to the nice boss.  There were some health hazards at that facility that I was not willing to be around while pregnant, so I was done.  And as nice as the nice boss was, the place was tainted after the ridiculous meetings with the jerk boss - I actually laughed out loud in one of the meetings.  Career tip -  bosses don't like to be laughed at.  But I'd do it again in a heartbeat, the man was a joke.
Anyway the part of the conversation about old jobs that made me reflect the most was my first full time job.  My first week after high school graduation I worked full time in an engineering department, cleaning up old CAD files.  I went away for my first year of college.  And when I moved back home to finish college, I hired in to the same place full time in the quality department.  It's funny how things in life shape a person.  I made some good friends while I was there - a couple that I still talk to today.  I learned some things about life, and myself.  I didn't realize it towards the end of my employment there, but I was finding out how easy it was to become someone other than who I wanted to be.  I was there just reacting to things around me.  I was becoming petty, and whiny, and honestly I was losing my work ethic.  I was laid off after almost three years there.  In retrospect I'd like to say, not a moment too soon.  Now, owning my own company, if I had an employee with an attitude like I had back then, I would have laid myself off too!
And now I'm thankful for these times.  I'm thankful my first experiences were going in as a 18 year old girl in to a mostly male dominated field.  I had been learning not to be shy anyway, and those experiences definitely helped with that.  I'm thankful for being laid off because I had some time to look at some recent choices I had been making, or rather not making.  I'm thankful for having the opportunity to work somewhere where I did make a difference; and where I could hold my head high knowing I didn't let myself get walked on and I didn't let anyone intimidate me.
Tonight though, thinking back at past jobs, I'm very thankful for the job I have now!  Some days it seems to be too much trying to be in three different places at once.  Some days I think of how nice it would be to have set hours and clock out and be done with a job at a certain time.  Some days I hate the thought of answering my phone or checking my email.  But on those "some days" I remind myself how I have gotten to be here for my family.  I remind myself to be thankful that I can work at 10pm or 2am or whenever I can find the time; because that means that during the 9-to-5 or the 7-to-3 or whatever - I can be elsewhere if that is where I am needed.  And to be completely honest, 99% of the time I'm thankful that my office consists of me and my animals!  Sure the cat lays on my paperwork and the dogs randomly bark for no reason - but there are no games here!  No drama, no back stabbing, no second guessing the person at the next desk.  I could make a very good hermit most days!  And this job makes me leave my office so I don't give in to those hermit temptations!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Little Things

I've been sitting here thinking about what to write about.  Today was a good day.  There was nothing big and special about today.
I woke up earlier than the alarm, wide awake.  So I thought I would start my work out early and get a little extra Umph in this morning.  I was showered and dressed before the kids woke up. Everyone got ready for school well.
I had another wonderful opportunity to sit with grandma today for awhile.  She is doing so much better! 
Then I had to get moving and get my work done.  Luckily I had enough daylight left.  I pulled in my driveway at home while the sky was getting darker.  I was even home in enough time to take my daughter to dance class.  And I had a good half hour alone in the car to work on my classes, interruption free! 
Tonight I am thankful for my everyday, ordinary life!  I am thankfull for the flexibility of my job that lets me take care of my family.  I am thankful for my family.  I am thankful for being able to take classes in a car in a dance studio parking lot.  I am thankful for all the little things in life today!







Monday, January 18, 2016

WOO HOO!!

I was going to have to wait on this blog topic . . . but, I just got approval by the hubster to announce:  HE JUST ACCEPTED A NEW JOB!!
This makes me all kinds of excited!  I have known the hubster for 19 years.  In that time, he has never worked a Monday thru Friday, daytime hour job.  He has always worked at least one weekend day.  And he's usually worked weird hours.  And now, it will all change!  Hooray!
So now we have to wait the polite two weeks notice time for the current job.  And for all common sense purposes, I'm not going to mention where he will be going.  But I'm so excited!!
So tonight I am thankful for this upcoming job!  It sounds like it will be a good fit for the hubster.  A lot of the people at this company have been there for decades; it sounds like a good place to work.  I believe this will be a great thing for the hubster and for our family!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Around $1400

I wanted to write this blog, but I was kind of changing my mind about it because I am so bad with remember numbers.  Honestly though, this is what I want to write about, so here goes.
After my first baby, I would go over to my mom's house a couple times a week and run on her treadmill.  That worked well.  I got to run off some weight.  And Grandma and Grandpa got time with the new baby.
After my second baby, that seemed like a lot more work!  Some time that summer I was at a garage sale and found the exact model of treadmill that my mom had!  The lady plugged it in so I could see that it worked.  It was in like-new condition.  And I already knew it was a good one, because I had been using one just like it.  I think I paid around $50 for it.
After the third baby I think I got an ab lounger - not impressed with that buy.  After the fourth baby I bought a power tower.  I had wanted one of those for a long time, so I saved all thru the pregnancy to get that as my after-baby purchase for myself!  Those last two things I paid retail for . . . on sale.
In the last three years I've added an elliptical, from a garage sale for $20 (negotiated that one down!) - works well.  Program #5 kicks my butt regularly!  In the past year, I've added a universal machine, total gym, and more reclined exercise bike for around $260 total.
From what I can figure comparing the things I've bought used versus their retail costs, I've saved somewhere around $1400.  These things were never my first choice for working out before.  I'd always rather run, Zumba, dance, bike, or any of those things.  Now that I am limited, I'm appreciating my little gym a lot more!  Being able to work my muscles, and knowing that I am doing something positive for myself is a great thing - and has been helping me start the day a whole lot better.  This morning I couldn't do anything with my knee.  But the universal machine gave the rest of me a lot to do.
Tonight I am thankful for a home gym that didn't cost a fortune.  This gym has been 11 years in the making, but it is paying off for me now immensely.  I don't know exactly body wise, how much of an impact it is actually happening yet.  But mental, this has been huge . . just being able to do something that I know is good for me.  I don't sit still well.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Too Young for This

I don't remember caring much about what I looked like in Fourth grade.  I remember wanting glasses when my friend got her glasses.  Sure enough, a few months later I needed glasses too.  I was so excited.  I picked pink frames.  My love for the glasses faded quickly.  But, really the glasses are the only thing I really remember caring about as far as appearance wise at that time.
My older daughter cared more about appearance at that age.  That didn't really concern me though.  She naturally loves fashion.  It wasn't all keeping up with appearances for her, it was a love of making outfits and trying out different clothes.
My younger daughter is more naturally the tomboy.  You can't always tell when you are around her, because her older sister has taught her a few things - as she has also taught her older sister a few things about climbing and wrestling.  But I watch her to see how much of her actions are her and how much are from outside.  This year has been rough.  She has cried because another girl called her fat.  She has called herself fat because of her belly.  Today we were downstairs working out and she asked me if she is fat now, will she grow up to be skinny?  Because skinny people usually grow up to be fat, right?
I would ask where this is coming from, but it really doesn't matter.  And I already know.
My Seventh grader has wanted to skip meals.  She has had multiple friends who have admitted skipping meals.  They are all, already skinny.  But they call themselves fat.  Others call them fat.
This isn't just for the girls.
My Fifth grader says he is too thin.  He has been called scrawny.  He's been asked if he eats.  He thinks of himself as wimpy and puny, but he's not.
I have one out of four kids who hasn't had a body image yet . . but I know it's coming.
We shoot for healthy.  "Skinny" is no longer a word I use.  I used to want to be skinnier myself - honestly, I'd love that right now.  But the kids wouldn't hear it the way I mean it.  I mean I want to be healthy and fit in to my jeans in the closet.  They hear a smaller size.  They don't know my plan is to eat healthy and work-out.  They just hear size.
I am not happy with my body right now.  It is too heavy.  But I won't say that in this house.  I talk about wanting to be healthier.  The kids know that my knee prevented me from exercising for an extended period of time and that I (self proclaimed to them) got out of shape.  They see me put the chips back on the shelf at the store and grab the grapes.
I tell them they are beautiful, all four of them.  But I realized awhile ago with my older daughter that I can't make her believe it based on my words.  I can tell her how silly I was when I was her age and her size and thought that anything beyond skin and bones had to be fat.  I can tell my younger daughter that I admire her love of healthy foods and I wish I loved veggies like she does.  I take my son out in the yard to work with me and tell him he amazes me when he challenges himself to move the big, heavy things out there.  They need to see their bodies as something to be proud of.  And they need to have that strong enough to keep out all the other voices they will hear.
We talk about what eating healthy does for a body.  We talk about what not eating healthy does.  We talk about what exercise does.  They have the knowledge.  But we'll keep talking about it, so that they keep hearing it.
And I'll point out to them how wonderful they are inside and out.  Every chance that I can.  I want them to hear that.  I want them to think about it.  I want them to see themselves as amazing.  And I want them to see themselves as amazing.  This morning my son ran a mile on the treadmill . . in snow boots - not mom-approved exercise shoes!  My daughter had given up on the Total Gym . . until she tried her brother's exercise of laying on her tummy and pulling herself up with her arms on the side rails.  She was so proud!  She could do it!  I want them proud of themselves in all areas!  I celebrated with them!
Tonight I am thankful that this battle of body image does not end with the outside voices that come to their heads.  For now, they will hear my voice and their father's voice . . encouraging them and praising them.  And soon, I hope that they hear their own voice, giving themselves credit and being proud.  I pray in ten years that none of my children will be in tears because some called them fat; and that none of them will skip a meal to try and be skinny; and that none of them will call themselves names because of how they look.  I am thankful that they are already starting to see their bodies as a tool to work with and that we have a chance to build a strong base for them to build a healthy body image on.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Frustration

I am one of those people who sets high goals . . which is fine.  It is fine until I run in to things that are out of my control.  Sometimes I am very good at ignoring the reality of what is out of my control and hanging my hopes on what I want to happen.  Then I crash in to reality at some point.  Reality sucks sometimes.
Tuesday I went to physical therapy and I did so good!  He said that on Friday I would be re-evaluated.  I asked him, very hopefully, if I would be able to run again!  He said we would have to wait and see how I did.  So today was the day!  And I was not cleared to run.
It is ridiculous, the sadness.  It is truly ridiculous to feel this way.  I knew it was a long shot.  I knew I still can't kick my shoe off my foot without cringing or yelling.  But I was rocking the exercises I had been given!  So maybe, just maybe . . .
Not only did I not pass.  I made my knee swell way up again with these other exercises that made me hurt.  *sigh*  So now I have new things to work on . . new, hurtful, painful, tedious, annoying, frustrating, things to work on.
Although I am fighting this pity party I've got going on here, tonight I am thankful that this is temporary.  I keep reminding myself of this.  I will heal.  I will, one day, be whole again.  I will get there.  I just have to be patient and realistic . . . unfortunately, these are not always my strong points . .

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pepper Powder

I am cold a lot.  My internal thermostat is broken and I really don't have a lot of hope for fixing it anymore.
But on a whim, last year I bought 100 capsules of ground up Cayenne pepper from Nature's Way off Amazon.  I had been reading up on how to naturally be a warmer person.  The article I was reading suggested eating cayenne peppers.  That is a great suggestion for a person who can stand hot food . . . which is not me.
These pepper capsules work pretty good!  When I remember to take them when I'm cold . . which isn't very often.  So for now, they are living on my desk, right by my keyboard, so that I'll see them and remember to take them and stay warm!
Tonight I am thankful for ground up veggies in a capsule for people who can't quite take the real thing!  And I am thankful for pepper powder to warm me up on a cold day . . or a warm day really - I get cold on all sorts of days!
P.S.  I know, I know, I really need to make some time to either paint my nails or remove what is left from the last time I painted my nails!



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Opportunity

I mentioned in a blog earlier in 2015 that I started writing a paper, Mason Today.  Recently it has become Ingham Today.  This was such a great thing for me, to be able to write more professionally than my blog - although I love and appreciate all you blog readers out there!!
After writing for the paper for several months, I received an email that there would be a picture being taken for the paper opening a new office in downtown Mason.  The best part is that families were invited!
It was a little bit of a struggle to get the kids focused on a weekend to be dressed and presentable for a picture.  I thought I explained what we were doing, but as we were driving in to town the kids were talking like we were doing family pictures like we had the year before.  Silly kiddos!  So I tried to explain again.
We got there for the picture and the kids were excited to find donuts!  Yum!  They all smiled nicely and we were done and on our way.
I'll be honest, I hadn't picked up my January issue yet.  I've been slacking . . . I know.  I heard a few comments from people that had seen this issue with the picture.  And I'll be honest, I hadn't thought of how it would affect the kids.  One kid in my child's class brought in the paper to make sure he saw that he was on the front page of the paper!  Tonight at a basketball game another mom told me that her son thought my son was famous because he was in the paper!  I told my son that, and all the way home he was exclaiming, "YES, I'm Finally Famous!!"  :)
Tonight I am thankful again for the opportunity to write for Ingham Today.  I am thankful for being able to bring my family to celebrate the opening of the office.  And I'm thankful that it is making the kids feel special too!
Grab your copy soon, they're going quick!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

6 am

Almost every day of the two week Christmas break, my kiddos tried to wake up every morning at 6am.  And almost every day for the two weeks of Christmas break, I sent them back to bed.
Almost every Saturday and Sunday when we have nothing planned, my kiddos try to wake up at 6am.  And almost every Saturday and Sunday when we have nothing planned, I send them back to bed.
Every morning when the kids have school, I have to pry them out of their beds with a crowbar and a Mariachi band, and a smile of course so they can learn to be morning people.
This morning was a blessed combination of a morning when the kids naturally would sleep in, because they were supposed to wake up, and when school was cancelled so they didn't have to wake up!  *Cue Angels singing Hallelujah!
Tonight I am thankful for a Snow Day!  :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Roast

I have successfully / unsuccessfully been meal planning consistently for many weeks now.  And at least once a week I write down pot roast.
I have a wonderful freezer with some good quality meat that just waits for me to use it.  This is where the pot roast lives.
For weeks I have very consistently never taken the pot roast out of the freezer . . or even thought about doing it until around 4 in the afternoon.  Today, that all changed!!
Tonight I am thankful that this morning I finally remembered to take the roast out and put it in the crock pot!  We had a wonderful dinner of pot roast, potatoes, carrots, and crescent rolls. :)
P.S. If you are thinking, why didn't I just take the roast out in the afternoon and put it in the crock pot the following morning?  I would answer because I've tried that before and then when I forget for several morning in a row - the roast is wasted.  I am that good at remembering :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Changing the Future!

I bought the book Smart Money Smart Kids awhile ago.  Recently I finally have started reading it.  What an amazing book!!!!!!!!  I simply can't put enough exclamation marks here!!!
For a little over a year now we have been implementing some Dave Ramsey techniques in to our lives.  I'm loving the momentum we have going.  Seeing how God has blessed this road has been inspiring.  And I can't wait until the day we owe no money to anyone . . including the house ;)
But here's the thing, I've thought often about the kids.  I want them to know what we are learning from the beginning.  See, I've always been a good saver myself.  I was four years old when I first started saving attendance tickets from church to earn the stuffed bear that I wanted.  I started saving for my first car at 14; and at 16 I bought it, by myself!  At 18 though, I entered the credit game.  I got a credit card as soon as I turned 18 to start building my credit - because that was what I was supposed to do, right?  A person needed a good credit score, right?  Soon I got a truck loan.  At 19 I bought a house.  With my awesome credit, I bought a few new pieces of furniture.  I was doing well at the credit "game"!  I mean, just a look at my credit score would prove that!
I got engaged and Ron's credit was horrible.  He handed his finances over to me so I could fix his credit.  We wanted to buy a bigger house and start a family eventually.  And again, I was so good at the credit "game", that we got his score raised in no time.  We got married.  I graduated college, so my student loans payments started calling.
It soon became clear that the credit "game" wasn't a game that anyone but the banks win.  Sure our credit scores were good.  But we were paying so much in interest a month, it was sad.  I would read that passage from  Romans 13:8 to "owe no man anything but to love one another".  It sounded like a dream.  How could anyone except a millionaire owe nothing to anyone?  It didn't even sound possible.  But that verse came back to my mind regularly for years.
Now reading this book, Rachel Cruze (Ramsey) says she has never had debt.  Can you imagine?  And it isn't because her rich daddy has paid for her life.  It because her smart daddy has taught her how to win at the money reality rather than at the credit game.
I want that for my kids.  I want them to have that freedom!  I don't want them to ever worry that they won't be able to pay the bills, or buy groceries, or afford a place to live.  I want them to do better than I've done!
We are learning now how to handle things differently.  And we are still a work in progress.  I can't wait until we are perfected to teach the kids.  I've tried different things over the years.  Some of my ideas haven't worked well.  We've modified and changed things when needed.  With this book I've got some better ideas!
Today we had a family meeting.  We have eliminated the term "allowance".  This was a point that I'm not sure the exact significance, but we're rolling with the idea.  The kids now work on commission here at the house.  We have changed some of the tasks, because assigning whole rooms wasn't working too well . . . in fact it was overwhelming for the kids and making them give up.  Best of all, we have found a way to merge my preference of assigning a chore a day for the week and the hubster's preference of assigning chores on a whim.  They start with their chore for the day/week from me.  And they can fill in the blank spots with chores from dad.
We changed our payday to Sunday night when we are all home.  Because, frankly I sucked at Saturday paydays . . not my most organized day apparently.  And the kids now have 3 envelopes each to divide their money on payday.  1 envelope for giving, 1 envelope for spending, and 1 envelope for saving.  This saving envelope will be great for the kids.  We've had some mixed feelings and issues about their savings accounts at the credit union because I provide a dollar a week when the credit union comes to the elementary school.  Since this was free money to the kids, I feel that I should have a say in how it is spent . . I mean they didn't earn it, so they get my opinion . . made sense to me; and left them frustrated.  But the envelopes are their money and they will be able to set their own plans with whatever they earn to fill the envelopes with.
Tonight I am thankful for some new ideas; some time proven ideas; and for a chance to change the future for my kids to be better than what I could have taught them myself.  I would love for each one to be in their 30's and state that they have never had any debt.  And that they have worked and paid for whatever they have needed in life.  What a wonderful legacy for my children!  I want that for them!



Saturday, January 9, 2016

Game On!

Today was my most recent birthday boy's birthday outing.  Yes, we are still sticking with our birthday outings instead of parties for most birthdays.  Party ages are 5, 10, and we haven't decided yet on 13, for the whole teenager experience, or 15 to stick with our increments of 5 years.
Today myself and three boys went to Zap Zone.  As I was leaving, the hubster suggested that I take my knee brace.  But, ya know, the boys were already loading in to the van . . . and yes, I may have upset my knee slightly.
See the first round of laser tag was just our group of four people and another group of four people.  I thought, Great!  So I took it slow, being very mindful of my knee.  And I ended that round 7 out of 8.  Our group won . . in spite of me!
Round two had 31 people in it!  So I had to move quicker.  And there was absolutely no way I was going to score as low as I had the first round!  I did try to move a little gingerly, just at a faster speed.  Our team came in second in that round.  But I am pleased to announce that at least I was 12 out of 31 . . better than half!
I'm not usually the most competitive person out there.  The boys cared about group scores, not their individual scores.  I hid my concerns, since they really had more of the right attitude!
We played some arcade games while we waited for pizza.  I found a couple games that I could clean up on tickets!  I love that!  The boys found me at one of the good ticket games and took over.  They were so excited to score lots of tickets!  And at the end, I let them split my tickets so they could get bigger prizes.
Tonight I am thankful that all in all I'd say this birthday outing was a success!  All three boys had fun in the van on the way home too:  playing with their new prizes, burping, throwing things at each other, and being boys :)



Friday, January 8, 2016

I Thought It Was A Traitor

Two nights ago I was sobbing as I took a pair of scissors and cut my hair.  I've been trying to grow it out.  But after finding a very thin spot of hair on my head, I thought maybe my hair was too heavy.  Or maybe I had been pulling it in a ponytail too much.  What was going on for my hair to be thinning?  I was devastated and felt betrayed by my body.
My body has been a traitor lately.  For weeks now I've been doing so much better with sleeping.  Seven, eight, nine, sometimes even ten hours . . . and it's never enough.  I still need naps.  I still look like I haven't slept for weeks.  It's made no sense.
And my weight.  Oh my weight.  I refuse to even step on a scale for the time being.  The last time I stepped on the scale, I was the heaviest I have ever been except when pregnant.  I almost cried then, looking at those numbers.  It didn't add up.  I had been eating pretty good.  I mean, I could do better.  But it certainly wasn't the worst.  And I've been exercising.
The hair was what sent me in to panic mode though.  I am not prepared for that.  I got online and did some research.  Hormone imbalance was a top answer - but I've already went through that a little bit and it wasn't like this.  Thyroid was another top answer - I'm pretty sure that is more straightened out now too.  Stress was number three on the list.  Maybe that was it.  Maybe I was letting stress get to me.  I sure have been tired and I get more stressed when I'm tired.  But why am I so tired?  It just made no sense.  And I was getting headaches again and nausea - which I blamed on the headaches or the exhaustion.
Switching gears here, the plumber came today to fix some issues in the basement.  Shortly after we bought this house we noticed some smells from the basement.  It was easy to see the culprit - cardboard and duct tape around the lift station lid.  But it was hidden in a closet in the basement bathroom - not easy to get to.  We asked one plumber about it and he said to add more duct tape; we did try that with no results.  That plumber and the county (when we bought the house) both did not notice that there was no check valve to keep sewage from coming back down the pipe.  Some days the smell was horrible and we would shut all the doors to trap the smell down there.
About a month ago we had taken the final bits of finishing out of the basement - and the bathroom walls were the last thing to go.  That opened up that area and has been allowing methane gas to come right in to the living area part of the house.  My bedroom and office are above that area.  All day and all night long, I've been breathing in methane gas.  And when I work out, I'm in the basement - breathing heavily in large amounts of that tainted air.  It didn't dawn on me until today, so I hopped online.  Symptoms of exposure to methane gas include weight gain, thinning hair, headaches (I had blamed my headaches on my being tired), exhaustion, nausea, sinus issues, respiratory issues, and more - those last two have been the hubster.
Tonight I am thankful that my body has not turned against me.  Tonight I am thankful that the methane gas is now not an issue - a check valve has been installed and a proper lid with a proper seal has been installed.  I am thankful that the mold in the house and the water issues have been fixed.  Three years of being exposed to mold and gas are over.  May 2016 be our healthiest in years!  And now I'm going to lay down . . .

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Worst Mom in the World

How to Feel Like the Worst Mom in the World:  Run over your child's kitten and kill it.  :(

How to Feel Like You haven't Screwed Completely Everything Up:  Have wonderful, understanding, and kind hearted children who are so concerned that their Mom is so upset and crying that they wouldn't dream of not forgiving her.

How to Try and Make it Better:  Take in a kitty in need of a home in hopes that he won't be frightened by your mini-farm and will prrr the sadness out of today.

Tonight I am thankful that I have such wonderful children.  I am thankful for a friend looking for a home for a stray that had moved itself in to her yard.  And I am thankful again for wonderful children that have forgiven me and love me still.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tough

Here are things that I believe to be true about being a parent:
Smile around your children and they learn to smile at life.
Laugh at your mistakes and your children learn to laugh at theirs.
Apologize to your children and they learn to graciously accept their own mistakes.
Understand that your children don't always think like you think and bridge the gap to their minds - because you are the grown up . . so that's really on you.
Hug your children and they will feel love.
Tell your children that you expect their best and they will challenge themselves on occasion.
Expect great things from them on their terms and they will dream great dreams.
Be proud of your children when they do good and they will learn to be proud of themselves, even when they may not have reached their goal.
Teach your children to encourage others and they will know that the world is filled with others who need love too.
Tonight I am thankful to be able to watch good things from my children.  Sometimes being parent is tough.  And sometimes silver linings that come thru in small things are the best encouragement there is!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Motivation . . . draining . . .

Here it is, only five days in to January and I've had to re-evaluate my game plan.  I guess I'd feel more like I messed something up if I had changed life goals actually on January 1st.  It's been a few weeks though, so I guess I'm allowed a little slack!
The last several days I've felt like I'm floundering.  I've got good goals.  I've got good plans on how to achieve those goals.  And I'm left feeling slightly overwhelmed by my own ambition and a bit disoriented.  I've made plans for the day, but that hasn't been helping a whole lot.
For a few days here, I've been struggling.  Today though, inspiration hit.  I'm looking out on so much right now.  And even breaking it all down in to smaller tasks is just so much.  It's all do-able, just SO MUCH.
What do you do if you want to run a 5K, and you've never ran one before?  You get a running program all set, right?  You get training towards your goal.  You break it down.  And at times, you want to quit.  Those are the times that you look back and you see how far you've come!  You see that you can run farther today, than you could last week.  And you get your motivation back!
So that is what I am planning on with life.  I am going to start making a list every night after I write my blog here.  The list won't be published.  It'll just be fore me.  And it is going to have written down every accomplishment I did that day.  And this will keep me pumped!  And this will get my motivation back!  Some days, my biggest accomplishment may be just getting the laundry done . . but that is a big deal!  People need to dressed!  Other days, my biggest accomplishment may be landing a big client or something.  That will be a big deal too.  And it will be just as big as the laundry.  Because it all has to be done, and I have to fit all these things in to my days!
Tonight I am thankful for a new strategy to stay focused and inspired here!  I'm off to write my first list!  Ta Ta!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Crashing

There are some simple things that just make a parent feel like they are rocking this whole mom or dad thing.  Today was one of those days.
Now I did send a second grader to school without winter boots, and a fourth and fifth grader to school without a hat or gloves.  But I had the cupcakes ready and at school on time!!  Don't worry I drove the winter gear up later on my way to Meijer's.
Yes Meijer's.  I had to go there this morning because on the birthday day, I did not have enough frosting for the cake.  He has hinted for months about relighting candles, so I needed to get those.  Balloons are always fun.  And I felt the parent guilt of getting just one more birthday present because one that he really wanted is not available in stores and I didn't order it until last Friday . . . oops!
I got back home close to 1.  That really sucked because I didn't get enough work done this morning before the kids woke up because I was making cupcakes and muffins.  So I had to work awhile after bringing the kids home - which cut in to cake decorating time.
Yes cake decorating time . . am I going to make a cut-off age for cake creations?  I really can't.  They look so forward to it.  This time for Sammy was  a Pokemon named Mega Swampert.  These kids have the up most faith in my cake decorating abilities.  Hmmm.  I didn't time myself (because that would have been discouraging!)  I know I spent over an hour putting colored frosting on a cake for people to cut in to it and devour it just minutes after completion.  Ah well, it meant to so much to him!
We had his requested birthday dinner of waffles, bacon, and toaster strudel.  I even surprised him with chocolate milk; purchased from my earlier last minute trip to Meijer!  He loved the balloons with mustache faces.  He loved the trick candles.  He loved his dinner.  He loved his presents.  He loved his cake.  He loved his birthday!  Success!
Tonight I am thankful that my wonderful, smart, kind-hearted, funny, stubborn, talkative, and sweet Sammy had a wonderful birthday!  He will drift off to sleep tonight one happy boy.  And his mom will crash in to bed in a couple minutes one happy mommy!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Monday Cakes

It's been three years I think since I had a child this excited to go back to school after Christmas break!  The child:  Sammy.  The reason:  His birthday is tomorrow!
Usually his birthday falls over Christmas break.  And, if you can remember back to your school days for a moment please, it is a bummer to not be able to bring in your birthday treat on your birthday!  Ah but this year, 2016, is his year!  Sammy will get to bask in the glory of providing cupcakes to make people happy on the first day back from break, a Monday no less!  And on his birthday!  And the extra, added bonus is that this is the last year that Sammy will bring in cupcakes (mommy tear here . . sniff, sniff).  So the boy is ending his cupcake school time on a great note!
Eleven years ago I was just happy the boy waited until after the holidays.  I had no thoughts at all about the possible school treat situation that would be present!  And now here we are!
Tonight I am thankful for Sammy's birthday being on a Monday this year.  It sure has made him one happy boy!!
See, he's always loved cakes :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Feels Like Sneaking Out

I was at a movie sometime last summer when I first saw a preview for Creed.  It was set to come out around Thanksgiving.  And I just knew I had to see it!
This is a big deal because I rarely go to the theater for adult movies.  Usually I am taking the kids to whatever cartoon thing looks good.
Today I had to go do some work and run some errands.  By the time I was done, my family was out visiting.  So I had a rare opportunity of an unplanned night off of life!!!  So I went to the movies!
The first time I ever went to the movie theater by myself was during a very troubled time in life.  There was so much stuff going on that I just wanted to run and hide.  So I did, at a theater.  It was Michael Clayton; which I didn't really know anything about . . . but George Clooney is my Hollywood crush, so it seemed like a good choice.  And it was a relaxing 119 minutes.  I went by myself and just unplugged my brain from all things reality.
Tonight was not quite as needed to unplug from reality . . . although the break from reality was nice.  Reality is always demanding.  So escaping it from time to time is always good!
For the record, Creed was fantastic.  I knew it would be.  I love the shows with heart.
Tonight I am thankful for a window to run away and do something that I wanted to do that was just for fun and just for me!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Negative

Today I was reflecting on things I've messed up.  We all have those moments, don't we?  Past failures, personal shortcomings, and all things negative about ourselves just bombard our thinking.
These times are hard.  I think the most difficult thing is that the negative stuff is not untrue.  If it were lies that I was thinking about myself, then I could call them lies and move on.  But the stuff is true.
I know by now though, that I can be my own worst critic.  So here's what happened today.  I acknowledged my own thoughts.  Yes, the negative things may be true.  But they are not what define me.  That will never be what defines me.
Today I am thankful that a self-defeating attitude is not welcome here.  I won't get caught up in my downfalls.  I won't just ignore them either.  I will use them as motivation to improve, always improve, and always stay humble.