Sunday, September 7, 2014

My, how things change...

Something has clicked inside of me.  Something has really changed.

About six weeks or so ago, I started strength training.  I worked with a trainer who gave me upper body and lower body exercises that I could fit into my normal workout which included calisthenics and fasted cardio.  The plan was to start slowly and increase the amount of strength training per week to 2x/week upper body and 2x/week lower body.  Over the past several weeks, I have been doing these exercises religiously - to the point where if I have to miss a workout (because of meatheads who leave plates on the Olympic bar that I can't for the life of me remove), it legit ruins my day.  I get PISSED.  ROID RAGE!  Only I'm not on any roids.  hahahah

Anyway.  I have lost complete interest in calisthenics and cardio at this point.  I don't want to do anything except lift weights.  Over the past several years, I have killed myself with different kinds of cardio and calisthenics all for very meager visual results.  In the few weeks I've been strength training, I have noticed more results than I ever did with cardio.  This week I am changing my routine to be doing whole body strength training 3x a week, with cardio and calisthenics on the other two days.  And I'm excited!  You guys, I've been getting up at 5am and working out at work at 7am for ELEVEN WEEKS now.  I have never stuck to a routine this long.  Working out first thing in the morning is meant for me.  And I like that strength training allows me to continue to reinvent my workout and get noticeable results.  My arms are really taking shape.  And my legs are getting so strong.

But aside from this continued motivation and excitement about going to the gym, the way I know something has truly clicked and truly changed.... is because I'm working out on vacation.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to Vegas for our 10 year wedding anniversary.  The first thing we both wanted to do upon landing was get to the hotel gym and workout.  We couldn't though, because we were way too early for check-in.  So we wandered around and had lunch.  Cheeseburgers, fries, cocktails, and a frozen hot chocolate for me.  We made our way back to the hotel to check-in, got into our room, and promptly changed to hit the gym.  Even after imbibing.  Crazy.  I have never worked out on vacation before.  I have always viewed vacation as my break from the drudgery of working out.  Not in Vegas!  We even aimed to eat healthy while there.  I mean - we ate what we wanted, when we wanted, but we really did not overdo it.

Later this week, we leave for Virginia Beach for a week.  We got this gorgeous house with a pool and of course we are bringing Maraea and my sister Caitlin is tagging along too.  I have been borderline-freaking-out about where I am going to get my workout in next week.  Because it can't be just cardio.  I can't just go for a run on the beach.  That won't satisfy me.  I MUST LIFT WEIGHTS.  Luckily I found a rec center nearby that we can go to for $8 a day.  But seriously?  I have never done this before.  Found a local gym to continue my workout routine?  Like I said, normally vacations were my break from working out too.  Not this time.  Also, we will be eating healthy breakfasts and lunches (yes I have already planned everything out), and normal dinners that are okay to eat as long as you are working out too (steaks, potatoes, burgers, fries, going out to eat, etc).  When I was in Vegas, I felt so much better about splurging a little if I wanted to, if I'd already worked out that day.  I'm sure Virginia Beach will be no different.

Another update - I quit Weight Watchers.  I got really discouraged in my last several weeks.  Even though my eating has been on target except for my cheat meals, I was gaining weight.  Now, I am SURE that it's because of strength training, and building muscle.  But that didn't stop me from feeling discouraged and bummed out.  I woke up one Thursday morning excited for weigh-in because I felt so good and I looked so good.  And I'd gained 3 lbs!  I just want to stop focusing on that number so much.  I don't want to care what I weigh - I never have.  I just want to feel healthy, and feel good about myself.  I feel amazing right now.  I have never felt better in the past 4 years since I started working out, than I do right now.  And I just didn't want WW to be the Debbie Downer in my life.  I want to continue working out and eating right and not focus on that number.

I don't want to be skinny - I want to be strong.

Do you know I even started researching CrossFit gyms in the area?  It still kinda scares me.  But I might be heading towards that.  I'm not sure yet.

Anyway.  I'm so excited about exercise now.  I love where I am and I love where I'm going and I only want it to continue and get better.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

(Other People's) Kids are Shit

Maraea is being bullied at school.

There are three different girls that are targeting her.

Really, ladies?  It starts this early?  I figured I'd be dealing with this at some point in her life but not in pre-K for goodness sake.

Girl #1 - let's call her Zeze - has actually gotten physical with my daughter.  She's punched her in the arm, tugged at her shirt and her hair, they get into screaming and pushing matches.  Clearly two personalities that clash.  The teachers are thankfully all over the situation and manage to keep them separated for the most part.  To cover all our bases, we talked to the center director about it, who assured us that she was aware of it at her level as well, and that "the process" (of documenting behavioral incidents and issues) was already well underway.  Unfortunately, it turns out that Zeze has something going on at home.  The director was obviously not at liberty to elaborate, but it sounds like some drastic change and now Zeze is acting out at school.  It's very sad and Zeze I'm so sorry but could you keep your paws off my kid please?

Girl #2 - let's call her Nene - has also gotten physical.  The most recent incident happened yesterday.  Maraea is the line leader this week, and apparently when you're standing in line you're not allowed to talk.  So Nene was standing behind Maraea and was trying to tell her something, and Maraea was not responding (because she's not allowed to talk).  Nene kept bothering Maraea, so Maraea covered her ears, which prompted lovely little Nene to punch Maraea in the throat.  WTF IS WITH THESE GIRLS AND THEIR PUNCHING.  FOR FUCK'S SAKE, I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO PUNCH.  Anyway.  The teacher asked Maraea why she didn't just tell her that Nene was bothering her, and Maraea said "I'm not allowed to talk in line".  My kid, following instructions.  Grrr.  There have been other physical incidents in the past too.

Girl #3 - let's call her Lele - has not gotten physical but is highly manipulative.  Maybe she's not really bullying Maraea.  But it's one of those - "Hey Maraea, I really like your ____________ maybe you should let me have it."  And then Maraea comes home telling me that Lele now has all her stuffed animals at nap time and she needs to bring in more, and that Lele is stealing food from her lunch, and when Maraea tries to tell the teacher, Lele covers Maraea's mouth and holds her in her seat so she can't tell.

Real gems, all three of them.

I'm shocked that this started so early.  And what's really frustrating is that I can't tell my daughter how to fight back against these little shits.  She's not old enough to understand when it's ok to fight back and when it's not.

I tried telling her - with Zeze - to look her straight in the eye, and be very brave and strong, and say "Zeze, LEAVE ME ALONE."  Loud enough so her teachers could hear.  Sadly that turned into her taking that stance with me sometimes.  She'll get an attitude with me, because she doesn't know that it's ok to stand up to Zeze but not to mommy like that.

She's been throwing ridiculous temper tantrums since this all started about 3-4 months ago.  RI-DIC-U-LOUS.  Like, thrashing around kicking and screaming, hitting and kicking me and Aaron, hyperventilating and throwing things.  All over the smallest things - she doesn't want me to brush her hair.  She doesn't want to go potty before bed.  Last night, it was because she asked me "Mommy, was I on punishment last night?" and I answered her "Yes".  She flew off the handle.  And for what?  The day was already over.  It was in the past.  She wasn't on punishment anymore.  WTF?

Awesomely enough for me, so many of these tantrums have happened in my presence only.  In the mornings, trying to get her out of the house for school.  In the car on our way home.  One day she sat in the backseat kicking and screaming at the top of her lungs for about 40 minutes straight - threw things at me from the backseat, reached up and around and smacked me on my chest.  Such a treat.  An awesome treat.

We're supposed to be past the temper tantrum stage.

We are trying to talk it out with her as much as we can.  When we see her starting to head down that path, we try very gently to get her to talk about what might really be upsetting her.  Sometimes she bites, sometimes she will furrow her brows at us and stomp her foot and be defiant.

If you ask me, it all ties back to this bullying shit.

You ever want to scare another kid that's fucking with your kid?  Sometimes I daydream about going into that classroom and twisting Zeze's or Nene's or Lele's ears and getting on their level real close to their face and telling them to leave my kid the fuck alone.  Haha.  We all know that won't solve anything though.

When it first started we tried being very diplomatic about it.  "If so-and-so doesn't play nice with you, maybe you should play with some other kids."  Because you know how kids can take something you say and completely misinterpret it and then go into school and spit it back out.  By now, I'm straight up telling her to stay away from those 3 girls.  Don't play with them.  They're not nice girls.  The sad thing?  She still thinks they are her friends.  After Lele stole her Doritos from her lunch one day, Maraea said "Lele is still my best friend though."  And I had to get real with her.  I said "You think Lele is your best friend?  Do friends steal from each other?  Would you steal anything from Toni (her BFF that lives next door)?  Friends don't hurt each other and friends don't steal from each other.  Lele is not your friend at all."

I'm kind of at the point now where I'm ready to move her to a new school.  There's a place by me that's much cheaper, it's closer, they have longer hours, Aaron could pick her up if needed, I would get my car rides to and from work back to myself again.  Sure, she may run into some shit kids there too.  But maybe not.  I suppose you never know.  I'm just tired of paying $285 a week and my kid is coming home and telling me about all these kids that pick on her and punch her and are mean to her.

Nothing makes me want to move to the middle of Oklahoma and homeschool her more than this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Look Up

In a recent random perusal through Facebook (which I rarely do these days), I happened upon this video and you need to click on that link and watch it.

It made me cry, legit.

That video speaks to all the reasons why I ditched Facebook in the first place.  But it also brought me into awareness that it's not just Facebook.  I'm on Instagram like all the time.  It wasn't a problem for me because it's not negative to me like Facebook can be - but it's still something that's disconnecting me from my life.  And I'm playing games like all the time too.  And I need to stop that.

Why are we so addicted to our phones and technology and social media?

I hate that I'm a part of it.  And I want it to change.

So I'm going to work on that.

On a similar vein, and also in a recent random perusal through Facebook (seems I've got two good things out of it lately), I happened upon this video, for Colbie Caillat's new single, Try.  This made me cry too!  I immediately added it to my Spotify playlist and let Maraea listen to it.  This is the message I want her to hear as she grows up.

Speaking of Maraea, I need to vent about some stuff there too but I just can't tonight.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow there will be a resolution I can tell you about.  We'll see.

Kisses ya'll.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

100 + 5k

This is my 100th post!  Whoa!  I actually had 100 semi-important things to share with the world from this blog.  That's pretty astounding to me.

Well, today is no different.  My baby sister Caitlin started a blog of her own to document her progress towards running her first 5k.  Check it out here.  Today I am here to declare that I am going to cross something off my bucket list this year and do that 5k with her. 

I know, I know - last year I tried it and royally effed up my knees and was out of commission for weeks.  But but but.... since then, I have been incorporating short-distance jogs and sprints into my walks outside.  I think my issue last year was that I was trying to do it on the treadmill (ps, I just started to type "TREATmill".... wonder what's on my mind?), and my doctor pretty much forbade me from ever doing anything on the treadmill except walking.  But outside, for some reason, I can handle more than walking a little better.  The only issue I run into is my lungs, which to me, means I have endurance issues.

I have endurance issues with everything I do though.  I am very easily beaten from a mental standpoint when it comes to exercise.  Especially on the rowing machine.  I really have to focus on something other than the time or distance remaining to really put in my full effort, because as soon as I see that I have 800 meters left or 4 minutes left or something, I immediately become mentally defeated and start to slow down and my performance suffers.  I don't know how to fix that.  I suppose people who row for a living or something find a way through that mental block, but I have never been able to.

I have confidence that I can do this 5k. 
a) The loop around the park at my house is 2.71 miles and I can (quickly) walk that in about 35-37 minutes.  A 5k is only a little longer than that.  I know I can at LEAST walk the 5k at a fast pace if needed, but I know that I can also TRY to jog or sprint some of it.
b) Caitlin and I probably have very similar levels of fitness.  So it will be awesome to do a 5k with someone whose fitness ability matches my own, as opposed to other people I know who run 5ks like it's their job, or they are just way better runners than me.  Together, we can do this!

I have until October to train.  And with going back to the gym this week and building back up my strength, I feel as though I could comfortably start a couch to 5k workout regimen sometime later this month.  NOT ON THE TREADMILL!  I promise.  This is very exciting.  We must get special team shirts made or something, because that would be the dorky sister thing to do.

Yoohoo!  Go follow my sister.  <3

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Fun

In an effort to spend the rest of my roll of Kodak 400TX (the only bad thing about film, in my opinion: you might not burn through a roll during your shoot but you have to spend the rest to get it developed), I took some photos of my daughter and her friend next door, Toni, and Toni's brother, Leland.  This was one of the first days this summer that the pool was out so they were quite happy to be splashing around!

(In fact as I type this, Maraea is resting after an afternoon in the pool.  It's a wonderful way to get your kids tired enough for a nap!)















Eastern State Penitentiary II

Some more photos from my recent trip to ESP.  This place photographs really, really well in black and white.  I didn't even get to use a color roll there - and I didn't even feel the need to.  All these shots are straight out of camera.  Film for the win!




My beautiful friend Courtnee




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One year later...

It struck me the other day that it's already almost July.  Like where did the late spring/early summer go?  I blinked and missed it.

But it's almost July, and I realized that it's almost a year now since I started Weight Watchers.  And I'm only just over halfway to my goal loss of 40lbs.

I started thinking about everything that has happened in the past year as far as my diet is concerned.

Last July, I made a commitment to work out every single day - and I think I only missed one day.  I was also borderline psychotic about tracking my food and my calories/fat/sugar/etc intake.  By September I had decided to start 'eating clean'.  I found some happiness and success in that.

And I realized, that was the last time I found happiness and success in what I was eating.

Let's face it - Paleo was fun and all.  And it was helpful in that I dropped 10 lbs.  But sticking to it has been damn near impossible.

For one thing, to truly be Paleo, I needed to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen.  Time that, quite frankly, I didn't have before I started my Paleo journey.  Also, I don't like nearly enough of a variety of proteins or vegetables to sustain me as a Paleo follower for a long period of time.  Not having any variety in my diet means that I end up cheating.  When you eat the same stuff (chicken, pork chops, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc) over and over and over again, you get bored very quickly, and suddenly cheesesteaks sound good for dinner.

So for a while now I've been "claiming" that I'm "Paleo" "most of the time" but that I "allow myself cheat meals".  Unfortunately what that grew into was the cheat meals were what was putting the variety into my diet.  And after a while I just started feeling icky again.  Sick of my bad food choices and tired of not being in the gym (still being repaired). 

Granted, Paleo led me to try plenty of new foods. Foods I never would have ever tried otherwise (cauliflower, anyone?)... but something kept nagging at the back of my head, preventing me from falling head-over heels in love with new vegetables and stuff: I don't need to be Paleo. There is no medical or dietary reason for me to subscribe to the Paleo diet.  There is no reason that I can't have brown rice.  Or cous cous.  Or white potatoes.  Or organic whole wheat bread.  Or peanuts, for Pete's sake.  I got tired of looking at foods and thinking "I can't have that unless I cheat".  I got tired of denying myself of food items that are otherwise perfectly healthy in moderation, for fear of failing, or not being 100% Paleo.  I got tired of trying to identify myself with any group of dieters - including Weight Watchers.

So enough's enough.  I'm done with restricting myself.  I'm done with trying to identify as one type of dieter or another.  I just want to get back to basics.  For me, that started with clean eating.

Eating clean, I think, for me, is the best path forward.  I adopted some habits when I started clean eating that I still keep to this day - shopping the perimeter of the store; making my own versions of processed foods, like mayonnaise; reading labels and eating more whole foods.  But going Paleo took just enough variety out of my diet that it sent me chasing cheats far more often than I did as a 'clean eater'.

I think this will also be my last session of Weight Watchers.  I feel as though I'm obsessing too much about food.  I don't want to live my life like this anymore.  It actually adds another layer of exhaustion to my life that I just don't have the time or energy for.  What I really want to focus on is eating real, whole foods, and exercising.  I don't want to obsess anymore about how much I'm eating or how many points it is or how many calories it is or whether or not it's Paleo.  I just want to eat real food that I love to eat, regardless of its adherence to one diet plan or another.

(Except for pasta, though.  I learned my lesson with pasta.  Pasta is not for me.  I will miss it dearly, but honestly I don't even want to cheat with it anymore.  I might try orzo again, but even my most favorite, healthy dish of angel hair with garlic and parsley is off the menu, pretty much for good.  Sayonara pasta!)