July 26, 2012
March 28, 2011
I can't tell you if it has to do with the fact that the weather is constantly getting my hopes up and then dashing them with a freak snow storm, or if it has to do with the fact that I have not been eating great, or just the fact that life gets stressful. But whatever the reason...
February 16, 2011
However, last week I started thinking about something that I decided was a topic I wanted to explore a bit more.
I don't know how many times I have thought that someone did something really well and rather than tell them, I kept it to myself. Why?
This could be anyone. Ranging from the checker at the grocery store, to the person working out next to me, to my own child.
I have been trying to come up with good reasons to withhold true compliments or praise...and guess what?
I couldn't come up with any.
Now, I am not talking flattery. False compliments serve no purpose and are patronizing, in my opinion. You can find good, noteworthy things about almost anyone, without making crap up.
So here are a few of the excuses I conjured up:
"I am sure they already know that they are doing a good job, why make them cocky?"
That is pretty selfish of me, right? I mean, how do I know what goes on in their head, and more importantly, why does that matter? Do I really think my opinion is so valuable that someone is going to let it go to their head. And what if they do? Not. My. Business. They still deserve to know that I think they "rocked"!
Telling someone that you admire them, are proud of them, or even admitting you are just a touch jealous, is not going to hurt you. For all you know it may mean the world to them, and even if it doesn't, it won't kill you.
Another lame excuse I came up with was:
"They are doing what they SHOULD be doing, they don't deserve a medal"
Again, says who? I am not talking about celebrating mediocrity, but appreciating someone for doing what they should.
For example, a few nights ago I was watching TV and there was a father on talking about paying child support. I can't remember the entire context but it was just that he needed to make sure he paid his child support on time. Part of me wanted to say "Congrat-a-frickin-lations, you help support YOUR kids!" But as I thought about it, I realized how many parents don't. How many parents choose to walk away?
I am not thinking that this guy deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, but his efforts should be appreciated. He is taking responsibility in a society that often doesn't.
From the perspective of a mother, I can't count how many times I have just wanted to feel appreciated. It feels so good to have someone say "Thanks" or "Good Job" - even when it is "part of the job description".The last reason I came up with is just plain laziness.
Maybe I am having a bad day and want to bring the world down with me. Maybe, I just think I will tell them later, call the store later, text someone later and it doesn't get done. I don't know...
What I do know is that NOW is time to seize the moment, not later. Offering praise to someone can only be positive and it is time I bring a little more positive reinforcement to the world.
February 4, 2011
I did it!
I know that statement probably sounds very prideful, but dangit I am proud. I finally finished the inital stage of my food experiment. My Whole30 is over!
I do however, have a confession. On the whole 30 not only can you not have sugar of any kind (including honey, agave nectar, or pure maple syrup) you also cannot have any artificial sweeteners like, splenda, nutra-sweet, etc. The one thing I just couldn't drop was sugar-free gum!
Now for the excuses: I only chewed gum during tough workouts when I had to use my inhaler. Any of you who use an inhaler know that between the taste and the fact that it gives you awful dry mouth makes it a challenge to go without gum. I tried the suggestions offered by the Whole 30 folks. Chewing on unsweetened coconut flakes (Imagine trying to do burpee pull-ups with coconut flakes in your mouth - didn't work). I even tried sucking on a mint leaf. (I almost choked and died mid double-under). So I went back to gum! Now I know that is not earth shattering and it is not like I sat down to a pint of Ben & Jerrys - but I felt like I had to get it out there...Don't Hate!
So I guess the important part of this journey was "What did I learn?"
First, I learned that I am a beast when I am hungry. You drop my calorie count below a certain threshold and I become freaking MEDUSA. Should there ever be a real food shortage crisis, y'all should probably kill and eat me first, because I will make your lives hell otherwise.
Second, I actually do have will-power. SUPER psyched about this! If it wasn't Parsons donuts, it was my aunts "crack" cookies (named that because of their addictive properties), or a smothered Burrito, or peanut M&M's. The list goes on. To be honest, there was not a single time when I just looked with disdain at any of that. It all looked awesome. However, I knew that I had a goal to accomplish, so I would grab my raw almonds and apple slices and deal with it.
Third, I have some great (albeit crazy) friends. One of my very favorite people on the entire planet and someone that I can honestly say I would love to be like when/if I grow up, is my aunt Andi. For those of you who know her, you know what I am talking about....I could write a whole post about what an incredible person she is on a million different levels. ( I could do that about a lot of people in my life - how lucky am I?) Sufficeth to say, she did this with me and it made such a difference. We would call each other and vent about how hungry we were or share recipe ideas. It was nice to have someone whoe really knew how I was feeling. My other partner in crime was my friend Jen. She is always fun to have around and has such a positive attitude that she honestly made it "fun" at times! When we work out together we sit there and talk about all the stuff we want to eat when this is all over. It really does make 5000 meters on the rower go by more quickly :). Of course I owe a huge thanks to Nicole, who gave me the idea in the first place and kept me alive with some of her recipes. Thanks to all of you! You will never know how much influence you had on getting me through this - without tearing someone's head off!
I learned a lot of other things too - like how hard boiled eggs get old fast, but scrambled eggs can be eaten at any time day or night. I learned that I hate eggplant, but LOVE peppers. I learned that I am an awful cook, but I like it more than I used to. I learned that smoked meat is modern day manna, and if anyone is in my neck of the woods they should stop by Holy Smokes Barbecue - for SURE!
I think what I really discovered is that NOW is when the learning begins! Whether it is seeing how fueling your body can drastically change the results your body can produce (for good and bad), or figuring out what to eat, now that nothing is technically off limits.
For the last 30 days I have had specific guidelines..."Eat This, Don't Eat That!" Now it is my turn to make the choices about what goes in.
I think I am just going to keep it simple. I don't need to over-think it. What makes me feel stronger and what makes me feel like junk? I want to feel good. I don't want to feel tired, or sluggish. I want to feel like I have energy.
Of course there is the occasional - "It is okay to eat this because of the simple fact that it TASTES GOOD." It may have zero positive attributes for my body but it may do wonders for my emotional state. Peanut M&M's anyone......??
So what was I going to do on Day 31??
How could I reward myself for sticking to what felt like an eternity of green leafy vegetables and smoked chicken?Well, I will tell you what I did...
I put myself through the ringer at a Crossfit Competition called Fitness Elevated.
It is still a bit blurry how I got talked into this but somehow I was crazy enough for a few moments to sign up for a competition that left me in lots of pain, lungs burning, entire body aching and hungry for more...Go Figure!
The competition consisted of 4 workouts:
Frun: (not sure why the name rhymes with FUN...it wasn't) 4 minutes of 65lb Thrusters and Pull-Ups in Progression (ie 1 thruster 2 pull-ups, 3 thrusters 4 pull-ups, and so on)
2 Mile Obstacle Course Run: There was a sled hill, a wall and hurdles...seriously. (For those of you already searching for the you-tube video of me attempting to jump over the hurdles...it doesn't exist. I stepped over)
Atlas Stone Lift: Lift a 70lb cement stone from the ground up on your shoulder as many times as possible in 2 minutes. Then move right into 4 minutes of trying for your Max Weight Snatch.
Sand Bag Shuttle Run: Run down and back the length of a basketball court, pick-up a 40lb sand bag and run down and back again, drop the sand bag, down and back, pick it up, down and back...
Sounds like a good time right??
Now I would hate for anyone to get the impression that I thought I was going to go in there and win or anything close. In fact, for me it was all about finishing. It gave me a good benchmark for the things that I need to work on. RUN RUN RUN - this should be my new Mantra!
It also gave me a great opportunity to observe some stellar athletes (some of whom I have the pleasure of being friends with) that have a ton of mental toughness and inspire me to train harder.
Granted, I am a Wood. We were born with an abnormal amount of competitive spirit. I feel like I got the least amount in my family (due to the fact that I am the least athletic) but I still probably have twice the normal human level. It took a lot of "pride swallowing" to not get discouraged by the fact that I got my butt handed to me in the majority of the events. I tried to stay positive and to keep telling myself that I just had to push as hard as I could go and be happy with the results. But let's face it: No one likes to be embarassed in front of hundreds of people. So I am going to continue to work hard and focus on the areas that need improvement. I am planning on doing it again next year, so we will see what happens...
For now, I am going to be taking a lot of ibuprofen, icing pretty much my entire body, and adding a bit of variety to my diet.
After that - we shall see.
I also just need to give a quick but ever so important THANK YOU to all of those people who came out to support me. My parents and a few siblings, my niece and nephews, my husband and my two beautiful little boys. I could not have done it without seeing their faces in the crowd and knowing that I had to give more. I also appreciate you guys talking to me after the work-outs when it probably would have been easier to preted you didn't know me...;)
Finally, I want to post a poem that I memorized before the competition so that I could recite it in my head when I needed that extra push...
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable sole.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the mance of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
~William Ernest Henley
January 25, 2011
I recently read an article written by a woman who was contemplating what she was "chasing" in life. At the end of the article she asked "What are you chasing?". That got me thinking about what it is I am chasing.
That is simple...
The overwhelming desire to make everything, including myself, perfect.
If I am throwing a birthday party, I want the following:
- Darling hand-made invitations that match the theme and color scheme of the party. (Which would be determined months, if not years in advance)
- The party must have coordinating decorations, wrapping paper, food, cake, games, and prizes.
- All plates, cups, utensils and napkins must match (If someone even reaches for a non-matching paper towel to clean up a spill - there will be bloodshed, USE THE MATCHING NAPKINS).
- The house must be spotless (in order to adequately see the coordinating decor, etc)
- Everyone HAS to have a good time.
- My children must be well behaved. (Even if that means they will have to aquire mind reading powers in order to know what I expect of them in that moment)
- My hair, clothes and make-up must be perfect. (If my hair does not comply with my wishes, which tends to happen, I may have to sacrifice by throwing it in a messy bun and acting like I didn't try for the better part of an hour to make it look like I don't care..sigh)
- My husband must help, while friendly mingling with our guests and obeying my every command without question (and without making any wierd faces, which may or may not be intentional).
Did I mention this party was for a 2 year old who could not have CARED LESS, as long as there was cake?
After reading that, I think I conquer with the statement my husband so eloquently made after the festivities had concluded...
There may be something wrong with me.
So, how in the world is chasing perfection healthy? (Or sane for that matter) Bottom Line - It isn't.
It is the continued chase of perfection in my life that has led to let downs, frustration, resentment and self-loathing.
Who can be happy when they are often in a state of self-imposed dissapointment?
I find myself becoming angry at those people in my life who I think "halt" my progress toward perfection. I am resentful because I focus so much on the stuff I just can't do and I assume everyone else sees only those short-comings. I find that I try to get validation by magnifying my "accomplishments" or I do the reverse and "call myself out" regarding my imperfections, so that no one else has the chance. (I guess I take it better coming from me) And if, heaven forbid, someone (Jared) happens to point out something I did not do perfectly, even if it is a passing innocent comment??...May God have mercy on their (his) soul. (Poor Guy - you should pray for him) I usually lash out in some over-dramatic fashion, or let it completely tear me up inside.
So what is the cure for this obsession with perfection?
STOP. RIGHT. NOW.
Guess what? No one cares if you use Dixie paper plates at the Birthday Party. Your kids won't notice or care if you are wearing skinny jeans or sweats - but they certainly notice when you keep giving them the "I am going to tear your limbs off when everyone goes home" look, because they are not living up to your unrealistic expectations.
When I get all worked up over something like this, my mom always asks me "If you went to a... insert event... that someone else was having and everything didn't match perfectly would you care?" The truth is: NO probaby not! So why am I freaking out about it?
This is not to say that planning a BAD-A birthday party is wrong. There are just those people who are equipped to pull it off without causing WWIII. I can say with a high level of confidence that I am not one of those people.
There are so many examples where the intentions are GREAT. The unintended side effects - not so much. I want so bady to do everything for everyone that I end up dropping the ball in crucial areas of my life.
So I didn't make Cache and Cruz's Christmas Pajamas from recycled, organic cotton that I collected while feeding the homeless at a "Save The Rainforest" convention? Christmas came and went and we had a blast being together!
It is now time to change the chase...
I will be happy to be a WIFE, a MOTHER, a SISTER, a DAUGHTER, and a FRIEND. Even though I may not feel like I am good at any of them some days. That is okay!
I may not have the perfect body, house, car, or wardrobe, but I am blessed to have them at all.
I am committed to being proud of my accomplishments while acknowledging the things I need to work on, without feeling like a failure.
I will try and stop comparing myself to everyone around me who appear to have it all together. Everyone has their "stuff" to deal with in life.
I will do my best to seek opportunities to serve others within my capacity and with as much love as possible.
I will make those things that truly benefit my family and my interactions with them, a priority. I will try and resist the urge to involve myself in those worthy causes that sound crucial, but that sacrifice something far more important. (family, relationships, my budget or my sanity!)
So, does that mean that I must stop planning my boys' Birthday Extravaganzas? (which are creeping right up...in OCTOBER)
It just means that if it is going to make me a stressed out mess, regardless of how "cute" or "fun" it would be. It is okay to make (or buy) some cupcakes, slap on some frosting ( or just eat a spoonful of it), throw a candle in (or a match if you forgot to buy candles) and make sure my boys (big and little) have a mom/wife who shows them how much she loves them and how everything else is second...
January 18, 2011
How many times in a day do you make a choice? Probably hundreds, right? Little day to day choices about what to wear, what to eat, what cartoons to watch, how nicely to fold the laundry...the little things.
Growing up, my Dad constantly talked about choices. "You can make your choices, but you can't pick the consequences"...I heard this about a gazillion times.
In a lifetime people make millions of decisions that shape and mold their lives. Even when two people make the same decision the consequences can be drastically different.
There is the mom who walks away from her kids playing in the tub, not for more than a few moments. She walked down the hall to grab some clothes and noticed an unmade bed, and her baby boy almost lost his life. How do you find "normal" again?
There are the stupid teenagers who get in a fight and in the heat of the moment, take it too far. Several families forever changed.
And then there is the young man who for reasons that no one will probably ever understand, takes a gun to a grocery store and takes the lives of 6 innocent people and injures several more. What millions of choices led to him to that moment?
I am not offering any judgement or placing blame. That is not the point of this post. I have made so many stupid, negligent decisions in my life and luckily I have not been "caught" to badly by my own poor choices.
I have never pointed a gun at someone and pulled the trigger, but I have driven my car way too fast.
I have never beaten someone up (hard to believe, I know), but I have watched two boys beat the crap out of each other and stood by and laughed with my friends.
And I may never have had to look at my husband and tell him that my bad decision hurt our child, but I have gotten distracted. I have left them in the bath, the car, on the bed when they were little. They have run around the house with toothbrushes in their mouth and gotten lost at a football game - on my watch.
It is time to re-focus.
It is not okay to stand by when I can intervene. It is not okay to let the little inconveniences or distractions stop me from doing what I know I should. It is not okay to neglect other people through the choices I make, because I get so tied up in my own "stuff" that I start to forget that the world doesn't revolve around my life.
Easier said than done?
Definitely. But, I am not sure I could live with the alternative.
January 12, 2011
Here is a little food experiment update: Feeling pretty good! Cravings are way down from what they were before and although the thought of Ice Cream is not revolting AT ALL, I do think I can live without it for another 21 days. YAY!!
Enough about that. On to the next...
Over the next few weeks I want to start focusing on the "little" things that I do (or should do) every day that I either don't do, or I don't do them well. I have heard conflicting ideas that it takes anywhere from 21-30 days to form a habit. I intend to form some good habits surrounding the things that seem small but can have a significant impact.
Below is a list of the first 5 things I want to start doing better. (In no particular order). Once I have "mastered" these, I will pick 5 more.
Wear A Seatbelt.
I always make sure my kids are buckled in and safe, yet a lot of times I just jump in and off I go. According to the internet, which is always accurate and reliable, about 100 bzillion lives are saved by seatbelts everyday. (Okay maybe not that many, but you get the point) I really want to be around for the next 50+ years so this shouldn't be a big deal. Cache has promised to be my little helper and remind me to put on my seatbelt too! It is always nice to have that extra push...Get in. Get Buckled - words to live by!
Read To My Kids.
This is an opprtunity I miss FAR too often. Honestly, there is no downside, yet I find myself making excuses for not doing it. (Too busy, Too tired, No New Books, Biggest Loser is on, etc.) Reading to my kids would benefit both myself and the kids and best of all, it allows me to spend time with them. In my opinion, my kids are some of the funnest people to hang out with! Earlier this month, Cache set a goal to learn to read prior to starting kindergarten. I am not sure if I just thought he would pick that up on his own, or in my mind I was putting the responsibility on his pre-school teacher, but I need to STEP IT UP. So...at least one book everyday!
Gas Up The Car.
How many times have you jumped in the car and seen that you are almost out of gas and said "I can probably make it."? If you are like me, you even have little contests with yourself to see if empty really is EMPTY. Well, no more! First, it is better for the car to keep it at or above 1/4 of a tank. Google it if you don't believe me. Second it is better for my husbands sanity! Last week, we were in a fairly big hurry and we got in the car to head out...and WHOOPS! For about the 10th time the car literally had 1 mile until empty. I suppose I can see how that would be just a touch irritating - and it was totally my fault. (sometimes I have a hard time excepting blame, so that little confession was big for me!) So from now on I am not going to let the car get below 50 miles left. That is easy to track because it is right there on the console, so I have zero excuses.
Be On Time.
Easy to say...HARD to do! At least for me. I have an awful habit of constantly rushing. I absolutely SUCK at time management. This is maybe the cause of a lot of my other shortcomings. Here is a little story problem: If I know that I have to be somewhere by 5:00 and it is 30 minutes away - when should I leave the house? Logic would say - leave at or before 4:30. Somehow in my brain, that doesn't register! The problem is that I start preparing to leave about 10 minutes before I have to go. Who in the history of the world can pack two kids complete with all their "stuff", including diapers, wipes, sippys, blankies, movies, and anything they may possibly need for any possible scenario and get themselves dressed and organized to leave in 10 minutes??? That's right! No One! And yet here I am, still trying and failing to do the impossible. And you know what happens when I am running late? I turn into frickin MOM-ZILLA...How fair is that? My poor kids suffer for my poor planning. I find myself apologizing once we get in the car and drive away. Me: "Sorry Mommy got mad, it wasn't your guys' fault. We just needed to hurry" Cache:"It's okay Mom, you were just frush-rated" Cruz: "AAWWEE" (translation-"sorry"). I end up feeling about this big... So, I am going to be making a focused effort to prepare as much in advance as possible and give myself a lot of lead time. I hope my family is okay with me setting my clocks 3 days fast!
This is another thing that is probably much more easy for some people. It should be easy for me, but I am embarassed to say, it isn't. Sure, we say our "grace" at dinner, and I say prayers with the kids at night, but I don't personally take the time to have a conversation with God. You would think that if you owe everything you are and everything you have to someone, it would be easy to call them up and say "Thanks". You would think that if you know you have a friend who loves you unconditionally, who wants only the best for you, is so proud of the things you do well, and shares your discouragment when you fail, you would want to talk to them all the time. A parent who sees the good in you when you don't see it in yourself. Whose heart aches for you because of the tough things you go through, even when they are your fault. The person who doesn't judge you and always has time. I know it is not a lack of effort on His part, only on mine. It is time to put in the effort, to be humble, grateful and willing to exercise some faith...
I read this today and thought it was very applicable:
"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like a breakfast of eggs-and-ham.
The chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'."
Time to be committed