I’m Going To Have To Mentally Bitch Slap Myself

Happy Sunday friends!!!

We’ve had a crazy beautiful weekend here in Colorado so instead of sitting inside writing about myself on my stupid laptop I decided to take the time to go outside and play!

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We went on our first bike ride since Fall and Bridget took the opportunity to lay outside in the sunshine while she read her book.

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In fact, the only reason I’m sitting here talking to you now is because I just got back from a run with Scout and I’m waiting for Penelope to wake up so that I can do my grocery shopping.

This week was crazy busy and I felt like I needed some alone time to just sort out all of the stuff that has been rattling around in my head. After my run I felt much better and was able to jot down a few things that I need to accomplish within the next few days…

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I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting my ass kicked at the moment.

I busted my butt this past week trying to balance it all.  I did all of my assignments, I worked for nine hours a day and I even managed to go for a run a few times this week after school.

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I ran as fast as I could trying to beat the sun as it slipped behind the mountains. I have a feeling the longer the days get the longer my runs will become. I also managed to carve out some time with Bridget doing what we do best…

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Hoard books!

Is it weird that we have a tendency to pick out the same books from the teen section? It’s bad enough that my students love the fact that I’m addicted to Teen Wolf… I‘m just kidding I don’t really watch Teen Wolf. Yes, I do.

Over all, I feel like this week was the best week I’ve had since I’ve started this student teaching adventure. Brent really stepped up his game and made some really yummy healthy dinners for us this week. But then Thursday rolled around and I was really wishing it was Friday so I pretended like it really was Friday and ordered pizza for dinner. I did this during a moment of weakness. To be honest I was just really feeling sorry for myself for having worked so hard.

After eating the pizza (and drinking the beer that I bought to go with the pizza) a realization hit me. I was totally making excuses for why I should be able to eat like crap.

I’m tired.

I’ve worked so hard.

I just want to relax.

I’ve been responsible in all other aspects of my life, I deserve a chance to let loose.

Well guess what else is going to be let loose this May when my student teaching stint is over?

My thighs that’s what!

The weather is going to be deliciously warm and I’m going to want to go for a run in shorts so that I get can a tan on my pasty gams while I run in the sun. Only I’ll end up with a half wedgie sunburn line because my thighs are going to devour my shorts. Then I’ll hobble home with chapped thighs leaving a trail of traumatized people behind me on the running trail.

Don’t spend too much time trying to visualize the picture I just painted for you because it’s not pretty.

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is that for the next 13 weeks I’m just going to have to suck it up and do my best. My true best… not the fake best I try to sell to myself when I don’t really want to apply the self-discipline it takes to actually meet goals.

This means I’m going to have to mentally bitch slap myself every time I try to justify what I know is wrong.

Here is a list of things I’m going to have to force myself to do in order to reach my goals:

  1. Eat lots of veggies.
  2. Drink lots of water. (Even if I’m not allowed to have a key to the big people bathroom at school.)
  3. Limit sugar intake.
  4. Only have one alcoholic beverage a week.
  5. Get over my mommy guilt and work out!

My goal is to weigh somewhere in the 170’s by the time I’m done with my student teaching simply because I’ve been stuck in the 180’s for WAY too long.

Weighing in the 180’s wouldn’t be a problem if I were healthy in that weight range but the truth is that I’m not. In fact, I’ve avoided going to the doctor because they are going to want me to test my cholesterol again. Last time I had it checked my levels were high and I don’t want to have to go back in and be put on cholesterol meds. The other goal will be to make a doctor appointment for the beginning of May in order to face the truth and see where I stand on all of that stuff. Hopefully all of my hard work will have paid off by then.

So I guess, this is the part where I tell you how much I weigh. Honestly I keep forgetting to weigh myself. So once again I missed out on the golden post morning pee weigh-in opportunity and had to run up stairs to weigh in for you guys again. I weighed 189.4. This is less than last week but still not where it needs to be. I’m also going to have to take monthly pictures next weekend. Honestly, I’m not really looking forward to it. Since I haven’t been lifting weights everything has gotten fluffier again. But this blog is about being brutally honest with myself so… brace yourself.

And with that I will leave you with two recipes that I plan on making this week…

The first one is Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice, which I plan on making tonight with grilled chicken and roasted asparagus.

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Doesn’t it look yummy?!

I was also in a French peasant kind of mood so I think I’ll make this split pea soup recipe from Ina Garten.

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I’m waiting for the cold weather to creep up again so that I can sit by the fire with my weekly glass of merlot, slopping up the last bits of this soup with a crusty piece of whole grain bread. Bridget and I will probably practice our French accents that night and Brent will rolls his eyes and pretend like he didn’t marry such a big dork.

Welp folks… I hear Penelope chirping in her crib. So I better head for the store…

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Hope you have a great week!

Lessons Learned in 2013

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Happy New Year!!!

Can I just tell you that I am SO excited for the coming year?! Today marks the one year anniversary of releasing my blog for all to see. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done because I displayed my vulnerability for all to see. During this time I’ve not only developed relationships with readers but I’ve also developed a connection with myself. By truly looking inward I’ve learned a few life lessons that will stick with me from now on. I thought I would share them with you as you make your resolutions for tackling the new year ahead.

1. Life is what you make of it. 

Life is all about perspective. If you are too busy looking for ways to validate why you should be able to feel sorry for yourself you miss out on all of those fleeting moments that make life beautiful. Life is like a mosaic, the tiniest most broken moments can come together to make the most beautiful life. You just have to learn how to recognize it.

2. Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goals to enjoy your life.

I’m a very goal driven person and I’ve found that I’m left with an empty sense of purpose once I’ve reached my goal. I’ve discovered that it isn’t really the end result of the goal that I strive for but the road map that goal provides me that I seek the most. It really is all about the adventures you encounter and the things you learn about yourself while you are striving to better yourself that matter the most. So as you march forward, look around you and acknowledge that you may not be perfect in the moment but you are still pretty damn awesome.

3. Don’t be so freakin mean to yourself.

I would never want my girls to talk to themselves the way I talk to myself sometimes. Forgive yourself, love yourself and appreciate all of the complexities that make you YOU.  Life really is about the relationship you have with yourself as you go through life. You can’t live to the fullest if you are too busy pulling yourself down.

So there you have it folks lessons learned from 2013!

And with that I will leave you my new resolution for 2014… BE PRESENT. By that I mean that I will acknowledge where I am in the moment and appreciate it for what it is as I carry forth with all of my goals. I want to be present with my girls, be present with my husband and be present with myself so that I can truly appreciate where I’ve been, where I’m going, and where I am.

On Top of The World

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Today was a day I’ve been waiting for quite some time. I took the PLACE test for my teacher certification. While I was sitting in that stuffy room filling in bubbles with my number two pencil I was catapulted back to my younger years, back before I actually knew I was smart.

I spent the majority of my childhood school years day dreaming instead of paying attention. When I was little I actually gave numbers personalities to kill the time. They were all characters in a drama that only I knew the plot to. Looking back there were actually patterns connected to why they were who they were and why we liked them or didn’t like them… and by “we” I mean the audience and by the audience I mean me.

To this day you could call out a number between one and one hundred and I could tell you whether they were male or female, a good guy or a bad guy and who they had a crush on. I’m not kidding… although, I kind of wish I were.

Later on these numbers continued their sagas through multiplication and division. It was like reading through to the seventh book of Harry Potter only not quite so riveting.

When I was younger I was an awful student. Having to sit still as a monotone voice read a script aloud from a printout was the equivalent of listening to static on a television. It did nothing to peak my interest. There was also something about multiple choice questions that always bugged me. The answers I had to choose from were never interesting enough. They did nothing to convey my thoughts on the subject matter. I would have worded it so much better.

This eventually led to severe boredom and that boredom led to my uncanny ability to walk out the front door of my high school when I was actually supposed to be walking into a classroom.

The trick to skipping school was confidence. With confidence you never get caught… That is, until they look at your attendance record in the office and call your dad to notify him.

I had plenty of time to daydream about the love triangle between 8, 9 and 16 while I sat in my corner during in-school suspension.

Early on my dad had made it very clear that when I went to college it would be in my hometown at the local college. There was no choice about it. I knew that pretty much anyone could get into that school. There was nothing really to work towards. It was just going to be a continuation of high school. Kind of like the movie Ground Hog Day… I hate that movie.

I spent my first semester of college attending classes, staring at the back of the same heads that I had been staring at the previous thirteen years of my life as a TA read aloud from a scripted printout… in a monotone voice. It was torture. So, I dropped out.

Fast forward a few years…

I was a single mom who had moved back to my hometown to raise my little one. I went back to school with conviction. It didn’t matter if school struck my fancy because I had another little person to take care of. I needed an education so that I could get a good paying job. Once I got beyond the freshman courses I discovered that I actually liked learning. Not only did I like it, I was good at it. After two years of college, cramming in as much course work as possible, I was only a few semesters shy of graduating with a degree in education.

During this time I was in a long distance relationship with the love of my life. Bridget was getting older and the distance was getting tiresome. Brent and I wanted to get married and raise Bridget together. We wanted to be a family. After a lot of soul-searching we decided to take the plunge. I moved from Texas to Colorado.

The plan was for me to work until I got residency and then transfer my credits and pick up where I left off.

It wasn’t that easy…

Being newlyweds with a two and a half year old posed its challenges. The amount of education that I had obtained was enough for me to land a great job as a preschool teacher at a private school. It was a dream job. I got paid well, I was encouraged to be creative and Bridget was able to attend for a minimal fee.

It was a great situation but as the years slipped away the nagging feeling of not finishing what I had started got greater and greater. The thought of not being able to get my degree was heart breaking. There were moments when I didn’t think it would ever happen.

When Bridget started kindergarten I decided it was time to go back to school. There would be no stopping me. Luckily, Brent had my back and we made the necessary sacrifices to make it happen.

Unfortunately, in the process of transferring my previous school work I lost 32 credit hours. (That’s the equivalent of a year of school.) The education programs between Colorado and Texas were completely different. After talking to an advisor it was determined that it would take just as much time for me to complete a basic bachelor’s degree and get my master’s in education as it would for me to simply get a bachelor’s degree in education.  I’m still confused on her math but I didn’t question it because this gave me the opportunity to get a degree in anything I wanted other than education.

This was the perfect opportunity to plunge into a degree in creative writing. It’s kind of like getting a degree in philosophy or classical guitar. If you actually want a job you’re going to need a backup plan. The beauty of it was that I already had mine in place. I was just taking the scenic route to becoming a teacher.

It was amazing! I went to CU in the heart of downtown Denver. I was part suburban housewife part urban intellect. I was exposed to culture and weirdos and I was encouraged to think independently. In fact, all of those tendencies that got me in trouble when I was younger actually helped me thrive. When my weird insights were transferred to paper they yielded high marks and praise from highly esteemed professors. I could chase any avenue my brain wanted me to, in fact it was encouraged.

One day as I sat in my professor’s office to discuss a paper she urged me to continue on and try for a Ph.D. I was taken aback. There was no way I was smart enough to go that far. But she insisted, she was absolutely certain that I had what it took. All of that stubborn independent thought that I had struggled to reign in all of those years was actually the key to my education. I carried this key with me during those formative years and I never knew it because the system was too busy trying to fit me into the wrong lock. I think having this perspective will help me when it’s my turn as an educator. I want to help my unconventional students understand that just because they don’t thrive right away it doesn’t mean that they aren’t brilliant. It just means that they have to find they’re own special way of shining bright…

So here I was, ten years since I had started this journey.  I found myself sitting in a high school classroom crammed in a tiny plastic desk reading an excerpt from a piece of literature I know quite well. In fact, I had written several papers analyzing this particular author’s works. I tapped my number two pencil against my mouth looking over the vague options that had been presented to me in the form of A, B, C or D. I couldn’t help but think, “Oh brother, here we go again…”

There’s no telling whether I passed that test today, but it doesn’t matter because I’ll continue to take it until I do.

Walking out the front doors of that high school today I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride. I had made a promise to myself several years ago that I would get to this point and I’ve kept that promise. As I walked across the asphalt toward my car I could feel a grin start to spread across my face. For some inexplicable reason I couldn’t help but feel like I was on top of the world. Who knows, maybe I will go after that Ph.D. after all.