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.

Summer Snackin’…

FYI: The title to this post is supposed to be sung to the following song…

Because it’s summer and lets face it… snacking is the same as loving, healthy or not.

Since school has let out I have relished in my freedom via making all of the home-made concoctions I didn’t have time to make during the school year. But once I actually made some of these things I realized that it didn’t really take any time at all and I hope to continue the trend throughout the school year. Because there is something just so satisfying about making home-made products that are healthier, cleaner and not to mention… cheaper.

(Take that you unseen corporate force… damn the man!)

Ahem…

Take for instance this easy home-made hummus

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(My husband is a die-hard Cardinals fan as you can see by the cutting board my sister made him. Therefore, it was only appropriate to serve this hummus with red bell peppers. GO CARDS!)

I had put off making hummus for a long time because I didn’t want to have to buy a ten dollar jar of tahini for something I wasn’t so sure would turn out. Then I stumbled upon a tahini free recipe (link above) and I fell in love. Ingredients include canned chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt.

That’s it. So Good!

I served this when we had an impromptu deck party with some of my fellow teachers and once again when I rode my bike over to my friend’s house for an Outlander watching marathon… (You know, that one time I got called a goddess. No big deal.)

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Being the super host that she is my friend KJ was already prepared with snacks, so we had a feast that night. She even made a strawberry lemonade cocktail that went down like kool-aide. (Needless to say, the bike ride home was a bit interesting. But I digress…)

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In preparation for our festivities I had also managed to sneak over some of my home-made jalapeno yogurt ranch made from herbs in my garden. (Yay me!)

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I wasn’t able to bring much because Brent (the guy who can’t eat anything without a condiment) didn’t want to share. We actually served it with Avocado chicken burgers for dinner one night and it was seriously the yummiest meal. Ever. Brent has taken it a step further and has put it on everything… including eggs.

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(Don’t make fun of my scratched up plates.)

Things kind of turned for the worst nutrition wise the next night we went to one of Brent’s beloved baseball games. We managed to mow through nachos, beer, popcorn and even the saltiest pretzel known to man. But I didn’t let myself feel too bad, because well… when in Rome.

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I did however feel a little hung over the next morning when I woke at five to meet my friend Andrea for one of our morning walks. I don’t know what made be feel worse… the salt or the beer. (Or maybe even the fact that I had partaken in drinking shenanigans two nights in a row. But who’s counting?)

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By the end of the walk I felt so much better, even if I did get rained on and my hands were swollen.

When I got home I tried to sneak in through the back door so that I wouldn’t wake anyone up. On my way in, I passed the strawberry patch and noticed that a lot of my strawberries were already over due for picking, even though Penelope goes through the patch nearly every night.

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When all was said and done I had more strawberries than I knew what to do with so I decided to make jam.

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I don’t know what possessed me. It’s not like I had ever made jam before. But I had remembered stumbling upon a strawberry jam recipe that included chia seeds during the winter months when strawberries were super expensive to buy. I dug through my Pinterest account, passed all of the pins that I had never put to use, and finally found it…

Strawberry Chia Jam

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It turned out awesome! The smell of the simmering strawberries wafted up to Bridget’s room and woke her up from her slumber. She thought it smelled like cotton candy. Then later Brent came home from his walk with the dog and thought I had been toasting marshmallows over the stove again. (What can I say? It happens…)

Later that day, Brent had plans to watch the Cardinals game again, this time with some of his firefighter buddies, and Bridget had an important rendezvous at the pool. That left Penelope and I alone for lunch. I felt like it was only appropriate that we eat Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches…

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… and s’mores

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Because now that you mention it, toasted marshmallows do smell pretty tasty.

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It’s a work in progress, a little yin for the yang. As long as we keep moving this summer there’s nothing wrong with a little summer snackin’. Amiright?

(Don’t answer that…)

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Losing weight is hard because in order to be successful you really need to have your family on board. You would think that they would want you at your best but sometimes change is scary. Bridget has told me before that she didn’t want me to lose weight because she likes me squishy… flattering huh?

In the midst of all of this blogging I had a feeling everyone was feeling a bit neglected so I took a day off to spend some individual time with each of them. But first I had to log into my grad class and say a little hello.

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Penelope and Scout wanted me to say hello for them too.

Penelope is teething, has some sort of virus and has learned how to pull up (but not get down) so my morning was spenting bathing in drool and snot. Penelope likes to refer to this as “quality time”. I had promised Bridget that I would take her for an outing by ourselves sometime during her winter break so as soon as Brent got home from training people the two of us took off for the mall.

Bridget was so giddy to have me to herself! It was like a scene out of an 80’s movie. Click on the link, leave it open and come back to me to enjoy my lame attempt at a shopping montage.

Try not to get distracted by Cindy Lauper’s awesome street dancing like I did… where was I?

Oh yeah! The montage…

I’m hoping you can read and listen at the same time. (Pay attention to me! You can watch Cindy later.)

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We did all of the things at the mall that we never take time to do. Like, try on sunglasses and let weird guys at a lotion kiosk show us how much dead skin is on our hands. (It was gross.)

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We went to Lululemon and awkwardly stood outside and took pictures of it…

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and then dreamed about actually being able to fit into their clothes. Technically Bridget can fit into them, which kind of breaks my heart.

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But then she wanted to go to American Girl, even though she didn’t want to be seen going in because she’s too cool. This is her, “Oh no, she’s really going to take a picture of me” look. She’s in fifth grade, it’s so conflicting… kid? or tween? kid? or tween? We don’t know.

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A little bit of both maybe? She wanted to hold my hand while we walked, so I’m okay with whatever she decides. We were having so much fun but our montage wasn’t complete without a picture of us giggling together and dancing in public. Bridget was absolutely terrified when I suggested we ask a stranger to take a picture of us engaging those activities. I was this close.

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Then she got hungry so we got her a garlic pretzel dripping in butter. I took one bite and then suggested she eat it while we walked because it was getting to be pure torture. She wanted me to hold it while she was putting on her jacket and she caught me sniffing it.

“Mom! You can’t sniff people’s food! It’s creepy.”

She’s right.

It wasn’t long before we got a text from Brent saying that Penelope refused to take a nap and was screaming her head off so we cut the trip short and headed home.

I spent the rest of my afternoon at the dr’s office and continued to bath in her snot and drool while we waited a century to be called back.

I had made arrangements for Bridget to have a sleepover so that Brent and I could have some alone time. I wanted to make him a nice healthy dinner and have  a glass of wine but when it was all said and done we were both exhausted. He picked up a Papa Murphy’s delight pizza and I changed into something a little more comfortable… if you know what I mean 😉

Seriously, it was my comfy ratty nightgown that he hates (but feels so good to sleep in).

Needless to say, I didn’t workout. I took two rest days. But as I’m typing this I realize that I have to hurry up and get ready because I need to meet a friend at the gym in 15 minutes! GOTTA GO!