Crazy Busy

I know you’re not supposed to blog about not blogging but guess what? Rules are made to be broken and I have some stuff I want to say. *sticks out tongue* So there.

Posting has been sparse around here and it’s because I’ve been focused on everything else.  And I do mean everything. We’re coming to the end of the school year, spring (or more accurately, SUMMER) is in full swing, the kids are busy with stuff, and I’m trying to make a lot of changes to my habits.  I have so many, many bad habits and I’m trying to focus on changing them.

About two weeks ago, I reorganized my cleaning rota.  I included more things that need to be done and spread everything out over the course of the week.  Then, I started tackling those tasks each day.  I’ve had some pretty monumental piles to dig out from under so it’s been a slow process to get everything up and running smoothly. This week alone I did 17 loads of laundry because the mountain of dirty clothes was Everest-sized.  I’m pushing myself to not only wash and dry the clothing but FOLD IT and PUT IT AWAY, too. Shocking concept, I know.

This is turn means that my bedroom is much neater now (although there is still work to be done – *ahem* the top of my dresser) but getting there was a two hour job.

This same story is repeated all over the house.  I’m aiming to keep things more in check so that when I have to pick up a room or do some laundry, it’s a task that seems much less overwhelming and will take me much less time.

In the meantime, summer weather is here and with it summer yard work, which is something I am perpetually behind on and clearly suck at.  My gardens are nothing but weeds and my lawn gets mowed once for every two times the neighbors mow theirs.  So, I’ve set some goals for what I want to accomplish this spring. They’re manageable and I’m working on them. Clearing out weeds, transplanting in ground cover, attempting to make it look like something other than lazy people live here.  I don’t have a lot of money (read: none) to spend on this so it’s all got to be something I can do with what I already have. Luckily, that’s mostly true.

On top of that, I’m still trying to stay committed to my exercise goals. This week was less than successful on that front but I’ve been working my tail off in the house so that has to count for something.

It’s shaping up so that the days when Jamie is in daycare and Liam is at school are insanely busy for me. Thursday, while Jamie was at daycare, the first grade classes at Liam’s school performed the play “Bugz” for the parents. (Liam was an army ant.) I had a thousand other things to do that day as well as attend (and help set up for) the play.  In the end, my schedule looked like this:

I still don’t know how I managed to stay on track, but I did.

The point in all this is that blogging isn’t last on the list – it hasn’t even made the list to begin with.  I think this is something I need to change.  I frequently think “I should blog about that” and then I don’t.  Because I forget to do it or I’m tired or I’m just plain lazy.  Since I’m trying not to be lazy in other areas of my life, I shouldn’t let blogging get forgotten.

The good news is that I feel progress is being made on most fronts. I still feel like I’m not doing enough yard work (but it’s 85 and swampy out! I DON’T WANNA). But, maybe it’s like presents and it’s the thought that counts.  Yeah, I don’t think so either.

SO: I’m going to try to make blogging more of a priority – even if they’re short little posts or just a picture or two.

In the meantime, enjoy a picture of my kids sitting in a bulldozer at Touch A Truck.


Kicking Butt And Taking Names

Liam had another tournament for Tae Kwon-Do this morning and he did fantastically well.  I’m tired so this is going to be a bit of a truncated post in terms of narrative but you can get the idea from the pictures.

Liam competed in patterns, sparring, and breaking.  He did not place in pattern, took 1st in his sparring group, and 3rd in his breaking group. Competition was tougher this time around.  He’s now in a group of kids that are more practiced and to win you have to be really on point.  I wasn’t too surprised he didn’t place in pattern.  He was by no means the worst in his ring, but there were other kids who were note perfect.

But that’s OK with me because of two things.  1) He got up and he did his best and 2) I love watching him do it at all.  No matter where he places I’m proud of him.

When it came time for sparring I was practically bursting watching him. Sparring has never been Liam’s strong suit – he does pretty well but he does tend to back down to more aggressive kids.  I don’t know what exactly changed his mind today (not placing in pattern?) but he just refused to back down. He blocked his opponents and went on the offensive from the word ‘spar.’  That earned him the first place trophy in his group. It’s nearly as tall as he is.

Liam on the right, blocking the kick

Liam on the right, blocking the punch and landing a point
First place!

For breaking, he broke three boards individually (some kids were stacking boards; Liam chose not to) with various foot strikes.  I saw several much more complicated breaks in his group but those kids didn’t place because they either failed to break the board or it took them multiple tries.  Liam had to try twice on one board but otherwise broke on the first strike.  This was enough to land him in third.

An extremely proud Spud

All in all it was a really great day for him.  There was a lot of waiting and waiting and waiting (and more waiting) involved but he sat through it all without a single complaint.  He did his best, tried his hardest, and showed off his skills. I couldn’t be prouder.

Liam and his trophies

A Shocking Development

Those of you that follow this blog regularly know that I’ve been fighting to lose weight for over a year.  I’ve been plateaued in the same place for 6? 8? months now. It’s frustrating as hell.  Life keeps making me want to eat all my feelings and I keep finding my feelings in the cheez-it box and the bottle of wine.  Clearly, this is not the way to go about things.  When Scot lost his job, I promptly gained 5 lbs. It doesn’t sound like much but those were pounds I fought hard to lose in the first place. It made me feel so defeated.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I always knew that part of the reason I wasn’t as successful at weight loss as I wanted to be was that I didn’t exercise on a regular basis.  The last time I did Weight Watchers, it wasn’t as necessary – the weight seemed to come off just by making better choices about food.  But I’m older now, I’ve had a second baby, my body is just different.  It’s not that I haven’t known I needed the exercise, it was finding the time, the dedication, and the motivation that was keeping me firmly stuck on square one.

Then, we were gifted with an Xbox and Kinect.  This meant that I could get up and moving right in my own living room and I had ZERO excuse not to do so.  Of course, that didn’t mean I didn’t find all KINDS of excuses to keep right on finding my feelings at the bottom of the cheez-it box. To say that the stress level around here has been off the charts would be a massive understatement.  I badly needed a way to release all that stress.  I knew that exercise would be a way so I started making a real effort to get off my duff and DO it.

I did some walking here and there.  I played silly Kinect games to get me sweaty every now then.  But consistency is key and I didn’t have it.

Something flipped a switch around my birthday.  I was given a Zumba game for the Xbox (I had asked for it) and a few days after my birthday, I tried it out. It was fun! I could look like a total ass in private! I got sweaty and worked off calories!  AMAZING.

In the meantime, I really stepped up my game in the eating department.  If I was going to exercise I really didn’t want to waste all that hard work by going back to the damn cheez-it box again.  I started tracking more carefully, making better choices, and drinking my damn water.

I don’t always do Zumba.  I’ve mixed things up by doing a day of heavy housework, or taking a three mile walk.  But I keep coming back to Zumba, too.  Between everything, I’ve exercised 9 out of the last 11 days.

Here’s the shocking (to me) part: I find I can’t get through my day anymore without it. I need it in a way that I thought I needed the cheez-it box.  Yesterday I had a really stressful day (it was mostly minutiae) and in the midst of it, 4 different people tried to hit me while I was driving.  By the time I made the last turn for home of the day, I was MASSIVELY on edge.  I got home and all I could think about was taking my rage out for a cleansing walk.  Scot happened to be home from work so I left him to feed the kids and took my twitchy self out to sweat it off.

I walked a 12 min mile.  Over huge hills.  I’ve never before broken 14 minutes.  My overall pace for 3 miles was 13:45.

By the time I was done, I was sweating like Nixon at the Kennedy debates and I felt better than I had all day.  After the kids went to bed, I snacked on fruit – FRUIT, OF ALL THINGS.

I find myself getting up in the morning and thinking “Ugh. I’m tired.  I didn’t get all the sleep I wanted to.  I don’t know if I can get in the exercise today.”  Then, by mid-day, I’m looking forward to Jamie’s nap so I can turn on the Xbox and Zumba my way to sanity.

Of course I know people who have talked about this side effect of exercise and while I never doubted them, I was absolutely certain that I would never be one of those people; sure that exercise would always be a chore for me.  Now, it seems that if I don’t do it, I get twitchy and restless and I just gotta go sweat.

I have no idea yet whether or not this will have any effect on the damn scale.  But it has had a huge effect on my mental health and my ability to manage my stress level.  At this point, that is way more important than the number on the scale.  I really do want the number to go down – significantly – but managing my stress in this fashion is turning out to be far more beneficial than a scale number.

It turns out that what everyone says is true – you have to find something that you like to do – REALLY LIKE TO DO – and do it consistently.  Before long, you’ll find that you don’t want to skip doing it.  Gyms will never be for me, I don’t think, but I think I could do this for a long time.  For this, Mama can put herself first.