Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Operation Weekend Recovery

I just finished my first week as Primary President at church. The Primary is the children's organization of the church. It's a fantastic organization--and being the president is a whole lot of work.
You'd think that a 4 day weekend would mean a little bit of R&R from the crazy hustle and bustle of life, but alas, this weekend it was not so. Looking back, I think it was probably one of the most stressful we've had in a long time.

Today, I am left to pick up the pieces. There are countless hours of sleep I will never make up. There are loads of laundry that are starting to back up. There are kids who haven't had enough attention. There are projects that have been ignored. There is bread that needs to be made. There are toilets that need to be scrubbed.

When life gets hard, and overwhelming, and almost to the breaking point, I am one who knows that one of the first things you do to deal with it is to start counting your blessings. Last night before I went to sleep, I was reflecting back on the weekend we had. It wasn't horrible, but I started feeling a lot of guilt for all of the things left undone, and for all the stress that was everywhere. And I thought... for someone as happy as I am, I sure am unhappy right now.

Today I slept in. If you can call sleeping until 5:00 sleeping in. Yes, it means I didn't make it to the gym. I still feel like I've been hit by a semi, I'm so tired. I may even go back to bed in a while.

Most of the time, I will agree that you should let nothing stand in the way of getting your exercise and taking that time out to accomplish those goals. Today, I have to say that taking care of yourself, and your health, and your overall well being, also means getting enough sleep, and trying to keep the stress out of your life as much as you can. Relax. Simplify.

My quest for today is to figure out how to make peace with everything I have going on. To keep myself from getting so stressed out that everyone around me suffers for it. I know that the Lord did not call me to be the Primary President so that I could lose my grip on life--rather, as I serve Him in this capacity, I am blessed with the extra blessings I need to not only keep up on what I had going on before, but to be able to do it better. So I know that requires some extra effort on my part as well.

Today I am going to work on getting to a more peaceful place. Unfortunately, at first, that means a little extra work, but I'm okay with that. Today I am going to watch some webinars for work, catch up on the laundry (which should actually be only 2 loads), make some Christmas presents, and spend some time with my kids. Two of my bathrooms also need some desperate attention.

I am also going to schedule in some breaks. I can be relentless when I get going, not wanting to rest until everything is done--I just rest so much better when it's all done! But I really think that going all day like that, no breaks at all, exhausts me to the point where I become snappy and stressed.

I know I can't be the only one out there who has had to figure out how to manage all the potential stress. What are your tricks? What have you figured out? How do you do it all?

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I don't know about you.

But most of the time, even at my fittest, by Thursday I was just done. I want to exercise 5 days a week, and Monday - Friday are just the most logical days to do it. Then the weekend comes, and you can sleep in and just give your body a break.

But Thursdays always screw that up for me. By the time I hit Thursday, I need a break. And today is no different. Today was supposed to be toning day. And guess who's not toning? Right. That would be me. And you know what? I'm okay with that. Because it's Thursday.

Tomorrow I'll be back at the gym for cardio. And on Saturday, I'll tone. I'll probably get up at 4 on Saturday, exercise, then crawl back in bed and sleep in.

So I'm curious...what do YOU do? I guess there are people out there who are die-hards and work out 7 days a week, or maybe 6, I think the big thing is to make sure and have at least one day off. But for "normal" people, I'm curious about how you plan your exercise. Do you get cardio every day? How do you work in toning/strength training? Do you think it's bad to do toning/strength training every day? Just what is the deal? I want to know.

In the meantime, Happy Thursday, my friends.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gearing Up

I guess it's pretty pathetic to confess that I feel the need to "train" for Couch to 5K. I mean, the whole point is to take someone who is used to being a couch potato (which really, I'm not) and get them to where they can run a 5K.

I looked over the schedule for it over a year ago, and it seemed pretty do-able. That was also several pounds ago, unfortunately.

Anyway, back to the gym I went today for some work on the treadmill. I'm not doing any Biggest Loser type workouts that make me want to puke (LOL), but I think I'm doing pretty good for myself. Today I did 45 minutes. I did a warm up at 2.5, but quickly went to a 3.0. (Don't tell me how pathetic that speed is, I know!), with an incline of 3.5. After about 5 minutes I took it up to a 3.5 speed and an incline of 4.5. That's where I was most of the time. I did spend about 4 minutes on 4.0, and then a little later at 3.7. So it wasn't the greatest, but it was work for me. I burned 517 calories and...can't remember my distance.

I have blisters on the bottoms of my feet, and I'm in that place where my muscles are all sore and complaining. As for the blisters, I've seen my husband come home with way worse, and just have to deal with it. That's the Army for ya, I guess. So I kept reminding myself that if a little blister (or a big one) doesn't stop him, I certainly shouldn't let it stop me. As for the sore muscles, I know I just have to push through and before I know it my body will be used to it and it won't hurt, and that's when life will be a lot more productive!

My time at 4.0 today was pretty cool. I hope it won't be too long before I am ready to try out the Couch to 5K. (Can you tell I'm a little bit chicken?)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Toning and Trash

This morning I got in a great toning workout, and it feels really good. I love how good it feels to exercise! Although I'm in that newly-back-into-exercising sore stage, I can tell that my body is moving a whole lot easier--I just feel better! For that I am truly grateful.

I am trying to make peace with the new changes. My plan this morning was to get up at 4 and go to the gym again. But going to bed at 10:30 and getting up at 4 is really hard, especially when you know your kids will absolutely not give you a moment's peace to rest at all during the day. (Tried that yesterday, didn't work so well for me).

I did try to go to bed earlier last night, but ended up discussing something with my husband about work that really needed to be discussed. So although I went to bed just after 9, I didn't go to sleep until 10:30.

In addition to that, I was just given a pretty heavy duty calling at church (voluntary assignment--they asked, I accepted. I always accept a church calling). It's going to take a lot of my time. I'm excited about it, I think it will be a great opportunity for me to serve others and it will allow me some personal growth that will bless my life. BUT. I still have to make peace with all the things I have to do! Between mothering and homemaking and working and exercising and preparing for Christmas (lots of homemade gifts this year because we're broke and I'm addicted to pinterest) and now some heavy church responsibilities--I really have to get enough sleep!

So anyway, this morning I woke up at 3:45--without the alarm. I seem to have this ability to just tell myself at night what time I'm going to get up, and I will wake up at that time. I still set the alarm just in case, but 99% of the time it never has to go off. At any rate, I just could not get up. I knew that my window of opportunity to go to the gym wouldn't last too long, so I kind of groggily decided that I'd just stay home and get up at 5:30 for an at home toning workout.

And I'm glad I did! It does feel super amazing. I'm still trying to solidify a good exercise schedule. I like the idea of getting cardio every day, but I need the toning really bad, too. And I'm also trying not to exercise more than I'll be able to keep up all the time--that whole avoiding extremes thing, you know? So it's probably good to alternate cardio and toning for now. Ideally, I think I want to work in doing cardio every day and toning 3x a week. But we'll see.

At any rate, I slept in today AND got in a workout, so I can't really complain!

In other news, I did finally throw out all the Halloween candy. Last night I found myself saying "tomorrow morning I'll toss it in the trash," and then I decided I'd better just do it right then before I changed my mind and decided to have one more day of picking through skittles and tootsie rolls and all that other crap. So it's gone. (I think the reason I'm so against Halloween candy is because of me, not because of the kids).

I should also note that although I did have candy yesterday, I had steamed brussels sprouts for breakfast!

Onward and upward. No sugar here anymore to tempt me, and lots and lots of produce around. Tomorrow I should be back at the gym at 4 for some more cardio...

Monday, November 5, 2012

On A New Path

The last time I had a gym membership was when I lived in Georgia, and we moved away from there in 2006.

I've been to the gym here and there since then, but other than that, any exercise I've done has been at home with a DVD, or on walks or hikes.

I have missed it. I loved the YMCA in Georgia. But I didn't know how much I missed it until today. On Saturday I got a membership to the gym across the street, and this morning I woke up at 4:00 and headed over.

Jared usually leaves for work at 5:00. For the rest of this month his schedule has shifted, and he'll leave at 5:30 and get home a little later than normal. So I decided I just need to get myself up and get over there so I can be home when he needs to leave.

It's hard. I love my bed. The sheets are nice, the memory foam is nice--I'm in love with my pillow. Last night I didn't sleep well. I was super tired, but I guess I had too much on my mind. So I kind of wondered if I would actually go. (Luckily Jared told me that if he heard my alarm and I didn't get up he'd shove me out of the bed--which is GOOD, because he knows how bad I really do want to, and how I'd regret it if I didn't). I woke up at 3:40, though, so luckily for me he didn't hear the alarm. =)

Today I stuck with the treadmill. Elliptical is my true love, but I'm kind of starting small. I think I'll just do the treadmill this week and just remind my body what a good workout is like. Then when I feel like I'm back in the groove enough, I am going to get the Couch to 5K app on my phone and see what I can do with that.

My gym is small--a no big deal thing, really--there's not even a pool. But it has the machines, and it's only $19 a month. And being so close to home, it makes it possible for me to get there in the morning before I work.

This morning I got a little taste of how I used to feel when I felt amazing. I sweat more than I have in a long, long time. I love exercise, and I love early morning, and when I combine those two I feel like I can do anything!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Humbug

Last night I was revisiting a thought I have had a few times before. Why do we have Halloween? I mean, I know why, I guess--but I kind of stripped it down to the bare bones of what we do with Halloween. It's so cute to see all the kids dress up, and it's fun. And it's fun for the kids to go trick-or-treating and all that. My heart melted every time my girls said "trick-or-treat" and then "thank you" after being given candy. But really, people go to the store and spend obscene amounts of money on Halloween candy. Then they pass it around to all the kids, who go home and have piles and piles and piles of HORRIBLE, yummy things. Yes, sweets are fun. I get it. So then what happens next is usually:

a) The kids keep their hordes of candy in their rooms and eat it at will. That's what we did when I was a kid, and it didn't do me any good.
b) The kids' treat buckets are stored in the cupboard or on top of the fridge, or wherever, and they are allowed to have a few pieces each day until it's gone. (This is okay, I suppose, unless you're one of those parents who can't keep your hands off it, and then it does you no favors).
c) You let the candy fun last a few days and then the rest goes in the trash.
d) You have the Halloween Fairy come and take all the candy and leave the kids a present in exchange (a movie or toys or whatever). And what happens to the candy the "fairy" takes? Right. It ends up in the trash. Or in your mouth.
e) You can also donate Halloween candy to all kinds of causes. I thought it was great to send it to the troops--but guess what? Being married to a man who served 2 terms in Iraq, I know that hordes of Halloween candy doesn't do them any favors either--they work hard to stay fit so they can keep their jobs, so adding to their opportunities to eat crap just isn't the nicest thing, necessarily.

So anyway, all this money is poured into the purchase of Halloween candy. Most of the candy either ends up in the trash, or eaten in unhealthy quantities. For days before and after Halloween, offices and businesses have bags and bowls of candy sitting out for people to take. Nice, but probably nobody out there really needs it!

Really, the Halloween Humbug in me says this has absolutely gotten out of hand. It's like Halloween commercialism, but with the salt-in-the-wound add on of extra pounds and rotten teeth. With 5 kids in my house, ALL trick-or-treating age, I am sincerely contemplating switching things around a bit in the future. I think I'll let them go to 10 houses, and then have some really amazing at-home celebrating for them to do. Right now we have 2 Tupperware thatsabowls (those are the huge mixing bowls, people--huge, I tell you) full of candy. One is almost all chocolate. The other is all the other, less desirable candy. And that is AFTER we passed out candy to trick or treaters (yes, we passed out candy that was previously collected by our own kids, we didn't spend a penny on Halloween candy this year), and after we let each of the kids pick out FIFTY pieces to save in ziplock bags, that I can bribe them to eat their vegetables with, AND after my husband and I raided. One bowlful would have been bad enough, but TWO?

Today I'll be putting it (at least the chocolate) into ziplocks and burying it in the freezer in the garage.

And I am promising myself that this is the last time my house will fill up with such insane amounts of candy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Crazy Mixed Up Thing We Call Life

Life is so good. I have had the best week EVER so far.

Other than worrying and praying for those on the east coast who suffered the wrath of Sandy. I don't think I know anyone over there who was close enough to have experienced even a power outage. But I've seen the pictures. I've read on facebook what others are saying about all the devastation. I truly hope that all of you out there weathered the storm and came through it alright.

As for me, I have my own storms to weather. They may not be pouring rain (although I do get plenty of that these days in the great state of Washington), extraordinarily high winds or flooding, nevertheless, they do require preparation and endurance. I don't always come through them so well. Sometimes they don't even touch me.

Overall right now, I'm keeping my head above water. I'm glad that I'm staying in control. But I can't exactly say I'm staying "on plan," because I still don't have any official plan. The binder is there waiting for me, the food journal pages are ready to be printed. I don't know if it's that I'm not ready yet to focus more on that stuff, or whether life has just been so crazy (will I ever get to stop saying that life is crazy? Just once I'd like to remember what it feels like to actually be bored. I don't know how many years--or decades--it's been since I was truly bored) that I really and truly haven't had the time to sit down and focus on outlining the guidelines I'd like to set for myself.

I do have guidelines in my mind. And I do mostly stick to them. Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the progress I've made over the past few weeks. I don't eat perfect. My exercise is hit or miss. But I feel amazingly better, and I'm accomplishing more because of it. I don't have very much time. But I'm trying to get the most out of the time I do have.

I'm also waiting for a chance to get over to the gym and find out some details so that I can make a decision about whether or not joining would be a wise move at this point.

Still--I've got so much to be grateful for! On Monday I had a wonderful visit with a new friend. We just connected, you know? One of those "kindred spirits". That was a huge blessing--I think for both of us! Then I went to the mall with my husband, who got a surprise half day off, and my girls. We were able to knock some things off the Christmas shopping list, and then we went home to pick up the boys after school, and headed out to eat dinner, shop at Target, and treat the kids to Menchies (one of those frozen yogurt shops). The kids all behaved well and we had several hours where we truly enjoyed everyone's company with no fighting and no major behavior issues. It was fabulous.

Last night our kids got all dressed up and we took them over to the church for the Trunk-or-Treat. In the rain. We got soaked. But listening to my little girls (2 & 3) saying "trick or treat!" and "Thank you, Happy Halloween!" was just so cute. The kids got a major haul--what else can you expect when you have 5 trick or treaters out there?--and I love that it's not calling out to me.

We dump everyone's candy into a big family bowl, and then let the kids pick out 20 pieces that go into ziplocks with their name on them. The rest of it is "family candy." We'll most likely be handing out a lot of that to trick or treaters who come to our house after we get home tonight. (We're big into recycling around here, LOL).

Other than that, I have been insanely busy--barely sitting down for a break. But I have been living life. And that's what life is all about.