Day 1 (of 90!!!)

Sooooooooooo, I turned 37 last November.

I’m 125 pounds, but only 5’3″ on a big hair day.  I realize that I am not overweight, or unhealthy, or anything, but I also know that I’m not overjoyed by what I see age doing to the image in the mirror.  One of my biggest fears is accepting my current state as “part of the process” because then what was an exception becomes the rule, the status quo, the norm.

I enjoy working out, but I love cooking, baking, and hosting get-togethers that are centered around food much more.  I think I’m pretty active, but I also choose to curl up on the couch with a good book over most any other activity every chance I get.  The past 12 months have also taken a toll on me because of this house-building nightmare (which is another topic to dissect when I finally decide to face it…).  I know dealing with it has made me a little depressed at times.  I see the worry lines and sullen color on my face.  I feel the changes this “adventure” has wrought in who I am.  I see the worry on Coach’s face when he looks at me, and that breaks my heart.

Ultimately, I know that I want to be more CONSCIENTIOUS about how I feel and how I look, and I am doing something about it!  I am taking a 90 day challenge.  Yes, you read correctly.  NINETY!  As in 9 x 10, the number after 89…as in A WHOLE LOT OF DAYS!!

I heard about this nutrition challenge through my friend Tammy who I totally respect and admire when it comes to healthy, beautiful living.  The plan is pretty basic. I purchased enough of her Vi-Shape Nutritional Shakes to replace two meals per day for the full 90 days.  I also eat one regular meal and have two “smart” snacks throughout the day.  After the 90 days, the company recommends continuing with one shake per day, but I think I will be all shaked out at that point 🙂

So, today was DAY 1.

I think I did pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  I had my first shake (2 scoops of shake powder, the chocolate flavor packet, one banana, 7 oz. skim milk, and 7 oz. ice) for breakfast.  After taking the kids to school, I headed straight for the Y so I could not be tempted to climb back into bed.  The classes I choose were a nice little mix of several exercises I like: abs for 10 minutes, toning for 30 minutes, and power yoga for an hour.  By then, I was starving, but had forgotten to bring a “smart” snack with me, so I grabbed a Protein Bistro Box from Starbucks.  I love this little box!! It comes with a few apple slices, natural peanut butter, a hard boiled egg, some red grapes, two cheese triangles, and a scone.

I ate half of my Bistro Box while I ran errands, including going to the tanning salon.  I know, I know…it’s bad for me, it’ll fry my ovary (I am down to only one anyways!), and it’ll make me look like leather, but I HATE being so pale and sickly looking.  I feel energized and healthy and young and vivacious with a tan, so I went to the tanning salon…

By the time I got home, I was ready for a shower, which was heavenly. Then, I did a load of laundry, replied to a couple of emails, I cleaned up the kitchen, and I made a few phone calls (in an attempt to stop the house-building nightmare, so keep your fingers crossed!).  I even laid down for a 20 minute cat-nap that extended itself into a 40 minute snooze, which was also quite heavenly.  Now I was getting hungry again, and since it was dinner now or dinner at 8:30 pm, I heated up my TX Roadhouse leftovers from yesterday: grilled BBQ chicken, sweet potato (yes, loaded, but it takes a stronger person than I to turn THAT down), and baked beans.  Oh yeah, and a roll, but WITHOUT the perfect cinnamon butter that I had brought home solely to doctor that roll.

That lasted me through the rest of the afternoon (while I fed my poor kiddos frozen pizzas that they both loved and devoured) and an incredible Zumba class with the awesomest Zumba instructor EVER, Susan B!!  PS: Thanks for playing my song: Ropah 😉

I'm right smack in the center...blue pants, turquoise top...flying ponytail.

My precious babies were a little hungry before bed, so I made my 2nd shake for the day while they each had a bowl of cereal.  This time, I used the strawberry flavor packet and 6 fresh strawberries with my powder, milk, and ice.  Both shakes were good!  I’m not quite on the “shake that tastes like cake” bandwagon yet, but they were not difficult to drink and  didn’t taste chalky or vitaminy (I hope no one is counting how many words I have officially made up in today’s post!).

So, tomorrow’s DAY 2…hopefully I’ll be proud of my progress at it’s end as well.

Good night, sweet friends.

Pumped up for 19 Minutes?

Foster the People’s PUMPED UP KICKS is present on most all of the “Best of 2011” music countdowns.  You know which one I’m talking about…

Pumped Up Kicks

Robert’s got a quick hand.  He’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan.  He’s got a rolled cigarette hanging out his mouth.  He’s a cowboy kid.

I remember the first time I heard that song.  It was late summer, early fall.  I had just dropped Angel Girl off at school and was sitting in the parking lot next to SonShine’s football practice trying be a good mom and actually pick out my kid among the 75 7th graders who all looked a whole lot alike out there on the field.  I remember turning up the volume because it has a really catchy lead-in, and I thought the voices were kinda cool…

Yeah! He found a six-shooter gun.  In his dad’s closet, hidden with the box of fun things, I don’t even know what.  But he’s coming for you.  Yeah, he’s coming for you.

“Wow!  That’s a little hard core,” I thought, but I didn’t pay too much attention; after all, most every song on the radio has some sort of shock factor built in these days.  And the beat really is quite catchy!!!

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.  All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

Did they say, “pumped up kicks?”  Is that what I think it is?  Fancy tennis shoes??

I was pretty sure that I had it right, but what better source to consult than my 13-year old?  So, after thinking about it in the back of my mind all day, I asked SonShine as soon as he got in the car after school:

Me: SonShine, what are “pumped up kicks?”

SonShine: I don’t know…where’d you see that?

Me: I heard it in a song today…

SonShine: Oh.

Yep, that was the extent of the conversation.  Obviously, I was over-thinking things which is NOT uncommon at our place.

So, I dropped it.  Until I heard the song again.  And again.  And again!  And I found myself singing every word (don’t forget that tune is REALLY catchy),  and I found my kids singing every word.  And we’re jamming out, we’re singing silly, and we’re dancing in the car every time it comes on.  And then I couldn’t decide, “Do I even like this song or not? Should I like this song? CAN I like this song? And if I DON’T like it, why can’t I turn it off?”

See, here’s my hang-up.  Here’s the reason I can’t determine if it is good or bad:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game.  In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five.

Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the play-offs.  It’s the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials.  It’s the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, New Hampshire.

In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered.  You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed.  You can walk a mile.  You can sew a hem.

In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Like all the very best books that change lives and impact the world, Nineteen Minutes is really, really tough to read.  There are times throughout the story, when reading the words on the page cause a sickening, nauseas sensation.  At other times, I couldn’t see through my tears or catch my breath for the pain in my heart.

Yes, it is that good.  And it is a story that every educator and every parent MUST read.  A second reading won’t be necessary, though, because the story will never leave the reader once the words and the sadness are absorbed.

Every parent and every educator have to read Nineteen Minutes because kids with guns and fancy shoes are every person’s problem, and yet no single person is to blame for violent tragedies.  There is no ONE enemy because EVERYONE is at fault.

I wish I was a magical writer so that every person who reads this brief review would run out and purchase, borrow, or download Nineteen Minutes – immediately.  I wish I had the words to convey how hugely important reading this story is to being a complete parent.  I wish it wasn’t necessary to talk about (or sing about) youth bullying, school violence, and kids with guns.  I wish I could snap my fingers, blink my eyes, twitch my nose, or wave my wand and make this a world in which 19 minutes aren’t the difference between a happy childhood and a dead child.

I wish I could say for sure if I like that stinkin’ song or not!

But I can’t.  So, instead, I’m gonna dry my eyes and go hug and love and kiss on my two gifts, my greatest achievements, the two blessings I could never deserve.  I’m going to tell my two kids how beautiful they are to me so that they can never doubt, not for one second, how much they are loved and accepted and needed and wanted.

And I hope you’ll do the same.

My 2 Greatest Gifts: Giggly & Goofy

Word of the Year: Conscientious

Happy New Year, world!  It’s here: 2012 🙂

Many people are making resolutions for the next 12 months, or 12 days, or maybe just 12 minutes, but I know myself better than to even attempt a list of resolutions…I know (without an ounce of any doubt) that I will never stick to them.  Oh, I would LOVE to lose a lot of weight, workout every single day, never fall behind on the housework, iron the underwear, and save the planet…I am just being realistic, not lying to myself on what I am really disciplined enough to accomplish.

Instead of defining the new year with a list of tasks, I chose a word.  My goal is that my decisions will reflect my word and my word will guide my decisions.  So, the word I will focus on this year is – drrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuu (That’s my drumroll. Use your imagination!!)

CONSCIENTIOUS

According to Webster’s it officially means the following:

1. Governed by or conforming to the dictates of conscience.

2. Meticulous or careful.

Linking back to the definition of CONSCIENCE, I find the wording that really resonates with my choice:

1a. The sense of moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good. (LOVE this!!)

1b. A faculty, power, or principal enjoining good acts. (Pretty good, too!)

1c. The part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonishes to the ego. (OK, that’s getting a little clinical, but we get the point.)

So, how did I arrive at my word?  My big sis helped 😉  She, being the clever and innovative gift giver that she is, used the cutest Gone with the Wind cloth shopping bag for my holiday goodies.

I LOVE GWTW!! As I was admiring the bag sitting pretty on my kitchen island, thinking about how terribly I need to go buy some food for my poor family to eat and envisioning myself using my adorable bag when I finally go grocery shopping, I realized that I am usually too forgetful – aka: LAZY – to take my reusable bags with me when I go shopping.  Then I thought, “I’m gonna do better about that in this new year!”

From that thought, I made the jump onto a really, really painfully long train of thought: all the things I’d like to do better about this year.  As the train became a scene out of that movie Unstoppable, I reeled myself back in a bit, recognized that I am really quite awful at declaring a ton of things I’m GONNA do, and remembered the guilty feeling of failure that is typically the end result of those grand intentions.

Then it hit me…I CAN do better at everything I do if I only approach the things, tasks, projects, and ideas in a BETTER way.

Voila!  My word of the year popped into my head.  I will strive to be CONSCIENTIOUS this year.  I will do things with purpose and intention.  I will carry my reusable bags to the store!

I won’t get everything done on my imaginary to-do list, but what I DO complete, I will do with focus and meaning, and THAT will be me being conscientious in 2012 🙂

So, happy 2012, world.  May you all find your word, embrace it’s cool definition, and love it throughout a fabulous new year!!

xo,

A.