Crazy Schedule Mom Club

Yeah… so if you can’t tell, I’m still working on that whole balance thing.

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I’ve been running like a mad man. I remember when I first started out with this whole motherhood business, I would see other older moms wearing their crazy mom schedules like a badge of honor. The more they could juggle the better they were. And for some strange reason I couldn’t wait to join the crazy schedule mom club.

I remember looking at those moms and thinking, “How fun will that be? Driving my kids to different activities, having a career, a perfectly clean house, well thought out meals… Ah I’ll be perfect.”

I would look at these moms and be so excited for that time of my life when I no longer had spit up on my tattered t-shirt from my glory days as a high school soccer player, but instead had a polished organized look about me. And along with it I had an organized schedule, an organized career, and children who were unorganized but only in a comedic, commercialized pretend messy way. And instead of wanting to pull my hair out I would just do that commercial mom smirk and shake my head and smile lovingly at my children.

Can we stop there? Because that’s not my life…

Fast forward 13 years. I’m not her. I’m not that woman, I’m still wearing my tattered t-shirt and I’m drowning in maternal expectation.

And to add to the pressure I’ve got more than a hundred other kids, who I didn’t even give birth to, who are relying on me as their teacher.

More times than not this feels awesome, but this week. This week it is not awesome because I just scheduled a knee surgery that is going to take my feet out from under me for quite a while. And the pressure of all of the people who rely on me is getting to me.

Whoa… wait, what?

Lets back up to an incident that happened in late July that I never told you about…

One sunny day I squatted down next to Penelope to help her pull up her pants, or wipe off her face, or tie her shoes (I don’t remember which) and when I stood up I did something weird to my knee. I tried to walk it off but couldn’t walk.

This is when I first slowed down on blogging by the way. I was really bummed out by the fact that I had such a stupid knee injury and I was just waiting for it to go away so that I could carry on with my regular blogging schedule without whining like a big baby.

Two weeks later and I was still limping. Two months later and I was still feeling the pain. I haven’t been able to run since and even walking sometimes was even painful. I’m a Girls on the Run coach this year at my school and was extremely irritated at not being able to run with the girls.

The pain never went away but started to manifest in weird ways. It started to shoot down my leg and radiate out of my big toe. My knee cap felt like it was always on the verge of dislocating. (In high school I had a soccer injury when this happened a few times and after being told there was nothing they could do I finally had to quit.)  This constant feeling of anxiety was making me terribly irritable. My husband started to call me the lion with the thorn in his paw from Aesops’ fable.

At my first doctor’s appointment I was told that my knee was completely unstable and that the only thing holding it together were my leg muscles. (Thank you squats from yesteryear.) She thought I had torn ligaments either during my first injury in high school or this summer pulling up Penelope’s pants (I’m such a badass.)

But after an MRI, some x-rays and a visit with an orthopedic surgeon I discovered that it’s not that simple. My tibia bone is attached to my knee at a bad angle pulling my knee cap and all of that other good stuff with it. The only solution is to saw into my tibia bone, pull it over into the right position and then screw it back in. It can take up to a year to fully recover…

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Do you know how many pity me cookies I’m going to be tempted to eat during that time???

I can’t bend my leg or put any weight on it for 6 weeks and I can’t go back to work for at least three. I would wait until summer to do this but we’ve met our deductible, so I need to get it done before the end of the year. Plus, I can’t go any longer thinking my knee cap is going to pop out at any minute.

I’m terrified, I live in a split level house, this means I have to go upstairs if I need to pee, down stairs if I want to eat and even further downstairs if I want to relax and watch tv. How will I be able to put on my pants by myself, get out of the shower, carry a cup of hot tea? I won’t be able to pick up Penelope or pace around my classroom to make sure the kids are actually paying attention to me. It’s my right leg so I can’t drive, and Brent is gone a third of the time and can’t afford to take 6 weeks off, even after 6 weeks I won’t be able to chase after a toddler by myself. Getting ready for work in the mornings for the rest of the school year is going to be ten times more irritating than it already is if I can’t quickly go up stairs to get things together…

Now do you see why I haven’t written? I’m a nutcase.

The good news is that I’ll be forced to take time to just sit and relax. The weather will be cool so I can just snuggle under the covers have a tea and pain killer hot toddy and just read. The probability of me getting bored is high so you’ll hear from me a lot I’m sure. In fact, there is a good change that I will be blogging under the influence, so it could get weird.

In the next weeks, I’m going to try to adjust my outlook on this whole thing. Instead of freaking out about it I’ll enjoy the time I have not being completely disabled and spend the rest of the time preparing for whats to come so that I can go through this the healthiest way possible.

A More Effective Quitter

Oh hey… Guess what!

I’m not dead.

Honestly guys, I don’t know what happened. One minute I was stuffing jalepenos in my pants and the next thing I know it’s been nearly two months since my last blog post.

Some of you may not know but I’m a teacher and this year I’m teaching a new grade… again.

So mid-summer I started getting back to work. Since then it has been a juggling balance between spending time with my kids (because the working mommy guilt has set back in) and getting my job done. So the last two months have looked like this…

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There were several times within the past few weeks that I felt compelled to write a blog post. Every time I sat down to write one something else came up. My life has been absolute madness lately. Wildfire season kicked in right about the time that I started working again. Brent has had to work a ton of overtime to cover the guys who have headed out all over the country to fight the wild fires. This week alone he’s on a four day bender.

This blog is a pretty good measure of how much time I’m getting to myself. When I make my health (both mental and physical) a priority I write often. If I’m struggling with making myself a priority the blog suffers.

So… that’s what happened.

In the latter half of the summer I spent a lot of my “time off” moving into another classroom and planning my lessons. I felt guilty when I wasn’t out living it up dog days style, but then I would feel anxious and irresponsible for not preparing for the school year. After spending an afternoon in the classroom I just couldn’t bare to come home and sit in front of the computer to write a blog post while Penelope was begging for me to pay attention to her.

It just felt wrong.

Then school started and the madness really began because Brent was working and I was working…

I’ve been doing a fairly good job of cooking healthy food ahead of time so that I could have healthy lunches. I also rode my bike to school when I could and went for a few sunrise walks with my friend.

One time I actually took the initiative to wake up early and go to a spin class at 5 o’clock in the morning. That didn’t turn out so great…

I came to class pumped up and proud of myself for actually getting my ass out of bed. I positioned myself in the middle of the class where I could see the instructor but wasn’t up front and center. Five minutes into class a lady walked in and hopped on the bike in front of me. Apparently she was meeting a friend. The ladies chatted a bit while we did our warm ups and then they chatted a little louder when the music got louder and then even louder as they really got into what “Pissed them off!” The whole time peddling casually while I tried to listen to the instructor who was telling me to pump up the resistance. Every time the music got loud they got louder. Every time the instructor tried to tell us a witty story during the “down hill” portion they talked over her…

I looked around to see if I was the only one who was irritated by it. By the looks on the faces of the people around me I wasn’t. The instructor was looking at them and I was looking at her urging her to say something… but she didn’t.

Finally after 40 minutes of enduring it I snapped…

“EXCUSE ME!” I blurted out before I actually knew what was coming out of my mouth“Will you please stop talking?” I added in a calmer tone trying to makeup for the bitch that suddenly erupted from my body.

Both women looked back at me and then at each other like I was completely out of line.

“It’s annoying,” I added with finality.

They stopped talking for a while and the other spin class patrons gave me secret smiles glad that someone finally said something. I tried to ignore that it actually happened and get back to my work out but the ladies kept looking back at me and talking about me so that I would hear them in mean girl fashion.

I just stared at them every time they looked around at me all the while thinking, I’m a middle school teacher you can’t intimidate me, I confront assholes on a daily basis.

When class slowed down we were supposed to do stretches. They ignored the stretches the instructor prompted us to do and instead opted for stretches that gave them the opportunity to give me more dirty looks. Finally I had enough and said, “You know, I’m sorry if I came across as a bitch. It’s obvious that I’m not a hardcore athlete, but I woke up at 4:30 this morning to get my vagina murdered by this hard ass seat. And I didn’t do it so that I could hear you bitch about your ex husband.”

They turned around and left me alone the remainder of the time. And I came to the conclusion that it might be best if I didn’t do early morning group fitness…

Despite these efforts over the past few weeks, my pants are still tighter from being in survival mode last year. And they were tight the year prior to that from being in survival mode while I finished my master’s degree and did my student teaching.

I can’t spend my entire teaching career in survival mode while my pant sizes slowly creep up.

Since I’ve started working, my morning runs had slowly been replaced with morning lattes. And when I got home from work my workout clothes were replaced with pajama pants. The weight started to creep up five pounds at first, then ten, then… well, I don’t even know really.

At some point I’m going to have to start from scratch and post my weight with a picture. I haven’t done that yet for three reasons…

1. I’m pretty sure it’s going to hurt my feelings and I will ultimately punish myself for my slip in the health department by gaining another ten pounds.

2. Bridget used to be my before and after photographer. But I don’t feel like it’s a good idea to have her do that anymore since she’s gotten older. Girls are sensitive to these matters and I’m not sure I’m sending her a positive message by obsessing over my weight and then having her take pictures of it.

3. I’m afraid some weirdo is going to steal my before and after pictures again. In fact, I’m pretty sure my face is still lingering out there in google land pushing some weird diet pill. (Still creeped out by that by the way.)

In fact, I was tempted to stop blogging because of it.

BUT I can’t quit writing this blog. I haven’t finished what I’ve started…

I’m one of those people that always wants to quit when the going gets tough, but then I’ll change my mind and decide not to quit.

You could define this as tenacity, but I’m actually more sure that this is just another case of me not being able to follow through properly.

“I quit!… Ugh, nevermind.”

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I don’t know what it is, I just can’t stop trying even if I’m really bad at something.

For Example:

I’m horrible at spelling, yet I’ve earned the right as a Language Arts teacher to issue out spelling tests.

I was a terrible student growing up. In fact, I hated school. I quit college twice, once because I didn’t know what I wanted to be and another time to move to Colorado and get married… only to end up going a third time and finishing with a Master’s Degree.

I was a slow reader as a kid and had a hard time getting into books. My eyes used to twitch when I read. Now I’m known by name at all of the local bookstores within a 15 mile radius of my house because I’m obsessed with reading and known by many as a book nerd.

I’m a “weight loss blogger” whose pants are probably two sizes too tight…

Yeah…. we’ve gotta keep working on that one.

You know, life would be so much easier if I was a more effective quitter. OR maybe I’m just really attracted to contradictions.

So, what are we gonna do about it? I’ve seriously got to figure out the balance between life and work. (If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve tried this several times.) I’m not just talking about balancing time between my students and my kids. That’s important but I’ve also got to throw in focusing on time with my husband, and focusing on myself and developing who I want to be. That’s four things that need to be up in the air at all times and I won’t rest until I learn how to balance them all.

My plan is to write a blog post at least once a week because this is how I check in with myself mentally. In fact, I kind of forget you guys are there sometimes. Hence, some of the awkward blog posts. (Sorry ’bout that.)

Actually losing weight takes focus and I’ve got to actually focus on it… even if I am SOOOOO tired of talking about it. Honestly, I would really like to quit writing this blog, but I can’t until I figure out how to not gain five pounds every time I’ve had a stressful day.

Until then, I guess you’re just kind of stuck listening to me describe the effort it takes to keep my thighs from eating my shorts. Good luck with that.

There’s a Dolphin in My Room!

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I feel like I’m getting my balance back ya’ll!

It’s been a long time coming. The past two weeks I’ve worked 12 hour days while battling the cold from hell. I also managed to share that cold with my entire family. This nasty cold seemed to result in some strange behavior at our house. During nap time Penelope ended up having a conversation with a dolphin in her room. She was super snotty and beyond tired so Brent was sure she would sleep well. This was until he heard her screaming in her room.

“Get. Out…. Get out NOW!!!”

Brent walked in to check on her and found her looking in the corner. Brent asked her who she was talking to and she said, “Dolphin.”

“Why are you yelling at dolphin?”

“He told me to listen… and I said, Get. Out… Get out NOW!!!” The last part was said in a shrill scream.

She seriously doesn’t like it when people tell her what to do. I’m pretty sure this frustration was meant to be aimed at Brent and I because we are constantly telling her she needs to listen. When she yells at us she gets put into time out, but when she yells at a weird dolphin in her room we laugh. It’s a win, win situation if you think about it. You get out all of your frustrations AND you get the attention you were seeking.

I should try this tactic in my classroom.

Having a mutant cold at the beginning of your first year of teaching could very well kill a person. One night during the week I felt so miserable that I couldn’t sleep. Finally at midnight I gave up trying and busted out the laptop. I planned and graded until 2:30 and was up at 5:30 the next morning.

Each evening when I got home from work I felt like I was going to collapse, but I missed the girls so much that I always looked forward to bedtime when I got to read stories and bath time when I got to play with bubbles. Except for one particularly rough night…

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That night someone pooped in the bathtub before she could get her hair washed and then while it was getting cleaned up proceeded to run around the house naked with a towel on her head screaming “I’m Batman! I fly to the moon!”

It was me…

Just kidding.

But it very well could have been if I just so happened to drink as much wine as I was tempted to drink that particular night. I was on day two of Brent being at work and was at my whits end. Poop in the tub was the thing that almost through me over the edge.

For the past two weeks I’ve been waiting for this darn cold to go away so that I could have the energy to do everything I needed to do during the evenings. I hardly cook anymore, I’m too tired and Penelope is too crazy when I get home. Last weekend I couldn’t take it anymore I was convinced that the only thing that could ease my aching throat was some old fashioned chicken noodle soup. Real soup. Not the canned kind.

I didn’t have a recipe but I had a garden full of goodies so I went outside, picked some carrots and herbs and set to work in the kitchen…

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Doesn’t the carrot on the left look like it’s saying, “No! Don’t eat me!”?

I sauteed some veggies, reduced some wine, poached some chicken and ended up making the best soup I’ve ever had. While I was out in my garden I was wading through mounds and mounds of rotting apples from my apple tree. I kept feeling bad for the apples that never got eaten. So I decided to pick a few…

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It was the first fall like day of the season, a perfect day to make apple crisp with the girls…

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Slowly as the week progressed things started to get better. I caught up with my “to do” list for work and I was finally beginning to feel like myself again. This meant more energy to frolic outside during the evenings with the girls. We went on bike rides and hung out in the garden some more. Penelope was super excited to see that the pumpkins in our pumpkin patch were ready to be plucked.

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She played with them for the rest of the evening because they were her “best friends”. She even invited them to come inside to watch a movie and eat some popcorn. They politely declined.

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But that didn’t stop her from cuddling with them until the sun went down.

This weekend I feel like I’m finally back to my self. I’ve been looking up healthy recipes, planning which days I plan on running and getting super excited about Fall. Balancing the whole work life thing is harder than I thought it would be but I’m pretty sure, with practice, things are going to be great!

Monthly Pics

Here it is folks! The pictures that were promised.

Let me tell you, when I peeled my puffy eyes open this morning to blow my nose for the hundredth time the last thing I wanted to do was take pictures of my swollen sick face. But that was precisely what said I would do so here they are.

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Guess who is taking down their Halloween decorations today?

This is that dangerous time of year where the holidays are all scrunched up together. That dreaded time where I will end up saying, “Screw it, why try to lose weight when I’m just going to eat bad again in a couple of weeks?” This is the mindset that always makes me gain weight all throughout November and into December leaving me to ponder what the hell happened in January.

I’ve got that warped mindset all documented if you want to see it in the earlier stages of my blog.

In fact, my very first blog post was written November 5th during daylight savings time… one of my many designated resolution days. But nobody saw it because I wasn’t ready to put myself out there yet.

I had actually started this blog in September but I just let it sit there untouched for a month. I didn’t want to look inward, I didn’t want to face the truth so I ignored everything until November. Then on January I took the leap and made this blog public.

You have had to endure my inappropriate musings ever since… you’re welcome.

I haven’t lost as much weight as I thought I would when I started this journey. At first it was all about losing as much weight in the least amount of time possible because to me that meant I would have reached the apex of happiness.

Then as I opened myself up I started to gain perspective. I realized that I didn’t want to exchange one warped mindset for another. The whole reason I wanted to change was because I wasn’t enjoying my life. I didn’t like where I was or who I was and it didn’t have anything to do with my weight but had more to do with my attitude and my outlook on life. The weight was just a side effect.

With the help of this blog I’ve faced my flaws head on and I’ve changed the things about myself that needed changing and I’ve accepted the other things that just simply needed to be accepted. When you find that place in life, then things just sort of fall into place, but not without effort.

With that I will leave you the obligatory sugar in the trash shot…

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because these cookies aren’t going to do anything to help me get over this cold.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A Flavorful Life

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Have you ever noticed how each stage of your life has a certain flavor to it?

I could be walking down the street and a car will drive by blasting Wind of Change and I will suddenly be taken back to lazy summer days sitting by the pool licking the left over orange cheetoh powder off of my wrinkly chlorine soaked fingers.

When I catch the scent of fresh cut grass mixed with the smell of sunblock I’m suddenly transported to my home town and find myself on the soccer fields of my childhood. One taste of cinnamon toast sends me to my Grandma’s kitchen where my Grandpa had magically turned a regular loaf of white bread into the most decadent toast I’ve ever eaten. These little triggers catapult me to a different time in my life… each memory presented with its own distinct flavor.

I can’t describe, taste, touch or smell the actual flavor that resonates inside of me. It’s just a gut feeling that is paired with a time in my life. Each phase feeling completely unique.

These flavors don’t only exist in the past, I can feel them in the present. I can also tell when things are about to change, and a new flavor in my life is about to present itself.

Things just start to feel different.

During these times I fluctuate from feelings of anticipation to feelings of dread, a normal reaction to the unknown. Fortunately, when I am stuck in the most bitter moments of life I am capable of acknowledging that these moments are fleeting just like all others and the bitterness is only temporary. Before long that bitter flavor will mingle with the other flavors in my life, creating a symphony of feelings and experiences. All of these untouchable things secretly defining me and creating who I am and who I will become.

There are other times when life is so sweet that you don’t ever want it to change.

I can’t handpick what element in my current life will be presented to my future self as a reminder of where I am today. I can tell you that when I look back at where I am in this moment I will acknowledge how truly happy I am and I will remember the feeling of excitement that bubbles up in my chest when I think of what my future holds.