Back to Business

Come Monday, we're back to business as usual. Well, semi-usual. To ward off the boredom, I'll start doing math and writing with DJ in the mornings. This time, though, I'll have to bring Lynne into the mix because she is primed for learning and I just don't want to waste it. I think I"ll work on reading with her.

Today, I felt relatively productive. I cleaned out the den desk because DH wants to take it to work and put it in his office. While I was in the den and cleaning out the desk, I figured I'd go through this year's work. Oh my goodness! Talk about paper. I had tons of it -- everywhere! I threw out two trash bags full of trash by the time I got done (a good three hours worth of work). I also boxed up this year's text books and rearranged the ones I'll be using for next year.

I found my Teacher Direct catalog and browsed through that. Some of the items are impractical in a home school setting. Some things are just too expensive. But I did find a few things that were a really good deal -- most notably, their page protectors. I can get a box of 100 of them for $6.50. They have other items, too, that I'd like to get. And if nothing else, I can use the catalog to get ideas about what I want in my 'classroom' for next year (I use the term loosely).

I do have high hope about next year. There is just something about starting a new year fresh. There is no denying that I'm glad that this year is over and I'm glad to be taking a break, but next year holds so many promises. I haven't bought any curriculum, so technically, I'm not 'ready'...but I'm gearing up mentally to be ready.

I'll have two at my table next year, full time, so I've been trying to think of ways to make our year successful. I would love to get one of these. But the cost is just too ridiculous. Perhaps I can get something comparable locally? I want a table that's long enough and deep enough for me to sit on one side, while the kids sit on the other -- everyone can see and everyone has lots of space. Oh to sleep is perchance to dream. I just have to remember not to get idealistic in my goals for next year. My kids are still my kids and I'm still me...as imperfect as we are. If I can remember that each child is on their own journey (and not that of the school systems or even mine), I think we'll do fine.

I'll discuss in a later entry what I plan on using as curriculum for next year. That's going to be one interesting post!

Stay tuned!

Jordin won...now what?

I was one of the millions (billions?) of people who tuned in last night to watch the next American Idol winner. I wasn't surprised to see Jordin take the prize. Don't get me wrong -- Blake is great. But he does have his genre and that last song from Tuesday night killed him. I have absolutely no doubt that Blake will go on and succeed. Look at Jennifer Hudson, after all!

After the show was over, I wondered how Jordin felt. Okay, so I know she was probably on cloud nine all night long -- but will it last? Taylor Hicks was thrilled when he wont last year. How long did his euphoria last? Did he wake up every day thinking, "Am I dreaming? What did I ever do to deserve all of this?" Or has the schedule bogged him down a little? Did touring drain him? Is he looking to achieve another goal?

What I want to know is does everyone go from goal to goal, barely enjoying the fruits of their labor?

I am a prime example. Here I have lost 30 pounds and have gone down two pants sizes, one cup size and two shirt sizes. I feel great! And I am very proud of myself. I am! But I also felt a little let down. Of course I didn't think there were going to be trumpets playing when I reached 1/2 of my goal, but I really think, in my heart of hearts, that I expected more. I expected my husband to complement me more. I expected his employees to compliment me. I expected perfect strangers to say how great I looked! (Okay, so not to that extreme, but that's what the let down fell like.)

It occurred to me -- my goals are all my own. I am the only one that can complete them (although my own cheering section is greatly appreciated). And more importantly, I am the only one who can truly enjoy the fruits of my endeavours. Sure, my wonderful husband can compliment until he's blue in the face. But what good will that do? I have to be internally motivated and internally proud (glad?) for my successes. I cannot look to others for my happiness (or my kudos).

This week I have taken a lax approach to my healthy lifestyle. I haven't exercised. I haven't logged and I don't care. This was our first week of summer break and I wanted to enjoy it. Did I pig out? Not exactly (although there was that tough PMS day...but ultimately, I did pretty well).

You might be wondering why I would self-sabotage myself after losing 30 pounds. I don't see it as self-sabotage. I'm not giving up. I still have another 30 pounds to lose and I plan on losing them! (I caught a glimpse in the mirror of myself at a smaller, healthier size and I liked it! There is no way I am going to give up now!) But this is for me. I came to the realization that I had to do this journey by myself and for myself...but I don't think I really believed the other side of the equation until this week.

Yes, this is for me. This is something I want to do. But because I want to do it and because it's for me, means that I need to be happy with the results. I need to focus on the inside for acceptance instead of constantly looking outwardly for it.

Until I started this journey this year, I had no idea I was seeking acceptance from the outside. Of course, now that I pause and think about it, I realize that I've constantly lived my whole life look for acceptance from an outside source. I wasn't to the point where I was committing lemmings suicide, but I did whatever I was told and whatever was expected. Ten years ago, I started waking up. It started when I did the complete opposite of what my mother wanted me to do. It continued when I married my husband and got pregnant. It lay dormant for a few years when I sought my husband for my own happiness. (You can imagine how well that went over!)

But slowly, over the years (and I can't pin-point exactly where it began), I started to think for myself and learn about me (a person I really didn't understand for the first 20+ years of my life, believe it or not!) It's only now that I've been on my journey that weight loss, and self are so deeply intertwined. Who would have thought that the way to find the real me, was to lose weight? I certainly wouldn't have guessed it!

Have I come full circle yet? No. Will I ever? Well, I turn 31 next month and I've always told friends that since turning 30, I've felt more grown up. I want to go one better. I want to spend my 30s really getting to know me -- how I tick, what motivates me, how I can best meet my personal goals in my life. I want to do in my 30s, what I feel most women do in their 20s--discover myself.

What about my 40s? I hope that by the time I reach my 40th birthday, I will be really comfortable in my own skin. In who I've become in the previous nine years. To be the best that I can be so that I can be the best wife/mother/friend/sister to others.

My advice to women/mothers everywhere

I am one of those mothers who always puts herself last. If DH needs work clothes or shoes, he gets them. If the kids need new shoes or clothes, they get them. Meanwhile, I have bras that have seen better days and underpants that have elastic coming out of them.

In January, I joined Sparkpeople and rededicated my life...this time, to me. I figure (and rightly so) that I cannot continue taking care of everyone else when I'm not taking care of me. So, every day for at least 30 minutes (sometimes closer to an hour), I spend time taking care of me. I get my 30 minutes of cardio in six times a week. I do my strength training three times a week. Sometimes it's hard. But I have to make myself take this time and I have to tell the kids (specifically) that this is Mommy Time. I will be with them in an hour...but this is my time. (It's important to note that before I get comments telling me what a horrible mother I am, I do dedicate the next 23 hours to the kids and to husband, so taking an hour out for myself isn't that much). I didn't come by this decision lightly. Mother Guilt set in pretty hard for the first couple of months. Wife Guilt set in harder. (Hubby is at work from 8:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night some nights. The only way we communicate during the day is through various phone conversations during the day. For the first couple of month, hubby would get angry (frustrated?) when he would call me and I was working out.) Thankfully, after five month, the family is in Momma's Groove and DH will ask if I'm working out. If I am, he says he'll call me back. (I think the begining of my journey was hard for him...then he saw that 1) I was sticking to it and 2) I was getting results! Just between you and me, I think hubby *likes* the results!

So anyway...suffice it to say, I am not the kind of woman who does for herself very often (this weight loss journey has been the only thing until now).

Today, on a whim, I stopped at our local spa to see about getting a manicure. Now, I have to be clear here. This manicure was not for Mother's Day. It was a reward -- a non-food reward -- for losing 30 lbs!

I stopped in and found out that they had a deluxe manicure, but being that I had never gotten one before, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. (Oh, I am so naive!) They had a mini manicure reserved for the under 10 crowd that was only $7 and she could see me immediately. I figured Why not? I was here anyway.

The manicure -- even it's mini version -- was wonderful! The spa was awesome. It was full of women who were spending a few moments pampering themselves. (As I was walking in, there was a nurse who had just gotten a pedicure walking out. If anyone deserves a pedicure, it's a nurse, wouldn't you say? Her toes looked so cute!) The nail tech asked me what I wanted and to be honest, I didn't know what to get. She suggest a French manicure. Again, I figured Why not?

Let me tell you why not: Hubby's wrath! Oiy!

I called hubby after I got it done, thinking he'd be proud of me for spending a few minutes on something that would benefit only me. Wrong! Instead he was angry (frustrated?) that he was married to a woman who wouldn't take any time for herself all year long and two days before Mother's Day, she decides she's going to!

Does his rant make sense to you? A typical hubby rant would be spending money on something frivolous, right? Not my hubby. My hubby was irked because I took something away that he could have done for me for Mother's Day.

Moral of the story: if you're going to do something for yourself (even if it's completely unrelated to Mother's Day) don't do it two days before Mother's Day.

Where does she get those nifty templates?

For those of you who have Blogger accounts, you can do a Dogpile search for 'free blogger templates'. (Dogpile is an all-in-one search engine that combines MSN, Yahoo, Ask.com and Google. "All best search engines piled into one." Many thanks goes out to Ber for directing me to such a great service. If you ever want to set your default search engine in IE 6.0, contact me and I will walk you through it -- it's super easy!) I found this pretty one when I went to About.com and clicked on this. There is a small sampling of templates here...I saw the Shrek the 3rd one and almost went for it. Then I saw the Pirates one, and almost went for that. I decided on the one you see here because I haven't seen anything like it anywhere. (Special note here: the only way I could get it to work was to download the coding to my computer and then upload it to the site. It took all of two seconds...I'd like to take credit for being some computer guru, but alas, I cannot. It's a simple case of copy and paste -- or in this case, download and upload).

As far as using templates for other blog sites like Wordpress, I'm not familiar enough with them to know if you can alter the HTML coding in the templates or not. But it's certainly worth a try!

Why doesn't she just stay put?!?!

It's a fair question. Why don't I just stay put? I can't help it. I don't like it over at Brave Journal. I want more out of a blog. Maybe this will suit me? At least I can label these posts. Brave Journal doesn't allow me to do anything cool like that -- even if I pay them -- and Blogger is free!

So, here I am. I make this solemn vow: I will update this blog more often than I've updated any other blog. (That is, after I learn how to use this blog.)

Enjoy your stay!

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