Monday, August 30, 2010

A Creative Celebration


My husband and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I love that it doesn't feel like it's been that long. We are blessed to still have that honeymoon feel in our relationship, most of the time. Our anniversary is Aug. 22nd, just as summer is ending and school is starting for the kids. It often happens that by the time we get to the 22nd all our summer fun money is spent from making great memories with the kids before they have to start another year of school. We have had our share of romantic getaways, but sometimes we have to get creative. This year was one of those times. It was actually the perfect year to be "creative", not only was the fun money gone, but my husband had injured himself severely (surgery to follow) and we were exhausted from all the "fun" we had been having all summer long. Nothing sounded sweeter than a nice quiet dinner for two, besides 11 years is worth celebrating, but not necessarily a milestone, so no big deal. He and I had been chatting about it and I had made a joke about it being our "anniversary week", and that's when the idea came to me. Why not celebrate all week with a few little things, so I came up with a plan. Here is what we did, I hope it inspires you for your anniversary or just to add a little romance and always needed connecting time. Monday we did foot massages, Tuesday we danced to our wedding song before bed (in our pj's), Wednesday we watched our favorite movie together, Thursday we shared a bottle of wine, and Friday we went out for dessert. It was so great. Just what we needed, a little time to just be together. It really felt like we were celebrating something special. There are so many more little things you can do, you could also make it big. Think of the little things you both enjoy, or you know your spouse enjoys. Have fun with this and please post your ideas as well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I have learned

I just spent some time rereading a few old posts about a new me, changes in my life and my diet experience. Making changes can be so challenging, I know it took me nearly 13 years to finally do what I needed to do to get my body back after having kids. It was finally my time. I know I posted the beginning of my experience, but I haven't posted a day since. I have learned a lot. As I got ready to start the diet I posted how I was saying goodbye to friends by visiting my favorite restaurants and ordering my favorite foods. I knew I had an unhealthy relationship with food and thought it would become more clear just what the issues were as I got further into my diet, but that didn't happen. The truth is that I learned I will often turn to food when I'm lonely. Having a husband that is at work for days at a time and being a very social person, I could get lonely very easily. I quickly found other things to occupy me (mostly housework) when I couldn't turn to food. Through this experience I also found that some of my worst eating habits were just laziness. By being forced to eat such specific foods I not only had to make all my meals, I had to get creative. I learned to make great sauces and dressings from scratch! Also being forced to have so much vegetables brought me to a place where I can now very easily incorporate veggies into my everyday life, not only for me but the kids as well. After being deprived of sugar, I now see and have experienced for myself what a poison it is to a woman's body. I told my mom recently that you couldn't pay me a million dollars to have a piece of chocolate cake, and although I would take that money in a heartbeat, I will be much more selective about when I do have a treat. These seem like silly little things, but they all lead to what I wanted most, a healthier lifestyle. I can not believe I am here, finally at the end of this phase. I am proud of myself. I love putting on my swimsuit and going to the pool or getting on the boat. I am afraid of putting the weight back on, but I have to keep pushing myself and believing in myself. This was just the beginning, a place for me to start. All in all, I lost 35 pounds, now I want to take what I have learned and move forward. Phase 2, the gym. If you know me, or have read any of my past posts, you know the gym and I aren't best of friends, but that is all about to change. I can not wait to get back to the gym. It has been 3 months and I am ready!
The most important lesson I have learn, I already blogged about, that I am strong enough, that I have what it takes to make things happen. Whatever I want, I can achieve. I have to thank God for bringing me to this place in my life and guiding my heart, body and mind every step of the way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strength?

I have never thought of myself as a strong person, but I am often reminded of the truth, by a memory. When I worked at Chili's I had a great group of girlfriends. We would often get off the lunch shift during the week and grab our own lunch over at Chevy's. It was always about food, margaritas, complaining about our boss, planning our next shopping trip and of course boys, but for some reason this one afternoon the conversation was a little different. We decided to share what we loved most about each other. (I know, SO girly)! I don't remember how is started, or what I said about each person, nor what they said to me, except for one. She told me I was the strongest person she had ever met. I was shocked. Before that day, I would have never used that word to describe myself. I'm not sure what I had done to give her that impression, but it has stuck with me all these years. Right now there are a lot of women struggling that need strength, so sometimes my struggles seem a little silly to me, but it's my blog, and I can only speak for my experiences. I have been struggling with my diet. I am losing weight and gaining momentum, but it has been, and will continue to be an uphill battle. There are so many people who have told me "wow, I know I couldn't do it!", which is exactly what I thought, but here I am doing it. Winning the battle, each day inching a little further up the hill. Proving to myself that I truly am strong, I truly have what it takes. It's funny how we often need to be reminded of our own character. I was sitting on the couch tonite, alone, thinking, "how could you not see that you are strong? You are the wife of firefighter. You keep everything going and hold yourself together while he is gone. Something so many women say they could never do. It looks like you are capable of so many things others would consider unthinkable." (And then I thought about a military wife, so don't think I don't have it all in perspective or I'm just tootin' my own horn). But I have learned as I continue up this hill which I decided to climb, that she is still there. That strong girl who was an inspiration to her friend at Chevy's. And now that I see what I am capable of, I am thinking about embarking on many other climbs. Once you open the door, and see that it is possible for you, no hill seems to steep to conquer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 1 and counting...

Some of you may know that I have started a diet called Ideal Protein. It is extreme, especially for me, but if all goes well I should be where I want to be in a matter of a few months. Alot of you have wanted to know what it is and how I did yesterday, so I thought I'd post the experience for you. I heard of it through Aaron's co-workers, spoke to a representative and decided to do it. It is a protein diet, cutting out all sugars and carbs. There is prepackaged food, supplements, a menu I follow, and the dreaded NOT ALLOWED list! I got up yesterday, hopeful, and made my omelet, it was ok. At lunch I had mushroom soup, which was good, and choked down 2 cups of veggies/salad. It's not that it was bad, it's just alot more than I'm used to eating. I decided to break it up a bit, so I am eating more often throughout the day. I was doing fine until I went to the grocery store. I just went get veggies and it was the worst experience of my life! All the things I've had to give up for the next few months were staring me in the face. Why do they have to put the cake mix and the spices on the same isle! :( I also realized I will have to stop entering the store on the bakery side, the smell of fresh baked bread nearly brought me to tears (literally!). The funny part was when I went to check out. The clerk asked me what was for dinner, and I nearly teared up again, but tried to answer. When I tried to summarize what I was doing it was very hard for me to put the words together. Then when I paid I got the change all wrong. I was so flustered and just wanted to leave! I know that the mind works off of sugar from carbs, but as I was home alone all morning I hadn't interacted with anyone and hadn't realized how my new diet was affecting me until that moment. I had to laugh, knowing this will only be temporary and I should have known better than to speak to anyone. I'll have to keep it simple the rest of the week. I felt a little spacey and drunk, but was still in good spirits, til the kids got home from school. I was really starting to get hungry and they were eating pretzels and cantaloupe for snack. As I was helping Bobby with his homework at the kitchen table and had to fight the urge to reach into the pretzel bag at least 4 times. It is strange to realize how often you put something in your mouth without thinking about it. So after homework I made my dinner and ate it before we left for baseball and had to save some for later, cuz again I couldn't eat it all, but by the time I got to the baseball field, things were getting rough. I was starting to get a headache, but I made it through the game. Thankfully, Bobby pitched well, so it was a good game. I got home and knew through the headache and the haziness, it was going to take everything I had to be kind to the kids and get them through dinner and showers, storytime and bed. My menu calls for an evening snack, which is a cappuccino drink, which really helped get me through the last few hours and I made it. I went to bed around 9:30. I was exhausted. I felt like I had been run over by a truck. The flu had nothing on the exhaustion I felt. I was done! I thought I had made a huge mistake. I wanted to get my money back! I slept like someone had hit me with a 2 x 4, and this morning I am relaxed, refreshed and ready to try again. I am tired of not feeling that I am the best I can be, I am tired of my life revolving around food. This is my final battle to reclaim the me I know I can be. That's what will keep me going for the next few days as I am struggling to get used to this new diet and then will get me through the next few months as I reshape my body and my life! Thank you all for your support!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saying goodbye to a way of life

I am saying goodbye to a way of life that I have known for a long time has needed to go. I have created and nurtured an unhealthy relationship with food. Honestly, the scary thing is I'm still not sure what void it fills. So the scarier thought, is as I move forward the voids will become more apparent and therefore I will not only be struggling in regards to my diet, but also with some possible demons. YIKES! As I began to realize I wanted to make this change, and got serious about it, gathering information, filling out forms and placing orders, I also started saying goodbye to all of my favorites: McDonald's, Mikuni's, ice cream sundaes, Strawberry Shortcake at the Cheesecake Factory, spaghetti, El Super Taco, frozen coffees, burgers and fries, and even wine and margaritas. I didn't notice it right away, but as it gets closer, now I've realized I'm saying goodbye to my friends, my comfort. That's exactly what it felt like. Like I was moving, and wanted to be sure to see everyone before I left. This is a bizarre concept for me to accept, because I have fulfilling friendships. So as I said, this will be an extremely difficult and eye opening journey. I'm sure in the next few days, weeks and months, as I struggle, I'm going to need to vent a lot, so come back to see how it's going.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Hannah Montana moment

Will she ever stop? If you read about my blog name, you know it was inspired by something we saw on Hannah Montana. My blog tonight is also from something I saw as part of a montage of the show. There was a tender moment where Miley tells her Dad he gave up his dreams for her and he says "Being your Daddy is my dream". -TEAR- This sentiment really summed up my life. I have had a long time struggle with the idea that as a stay-at-home-mom I am not enough. I am not important to the world. I should be doing more. I need to shine. And I think I will always have those moments, but I will not let that thought drag me down or let it make less of who I am. Dreams come and go, dreams change. I am living my dreams. There are a lot of things I wanted to do when I was growing up. I wanted to be an animal trainer, I loved playing school and waitress. As I got older and my talents began to flourish I thought I might want to be a writer and was very interested in helping others by becoming a counselor. But through it all from tea party days to high school days I couldn't wait to make a life with my husband, and be a mother. As life moves forward some dreams are put aside, others have been forgotten, but some are very much alive in our home. I am privileged to have these boys. I am honored to be making a life for them with Aaron. I am blessed to be living my dream.

Monday, April 12, 2010

FAILURE


I could feel the words, all of a sudden, stamped on my forehead in bright red for all to see. I was loafing around town today, shopping, as usual, and as I got in line for my totally unnecessary finds, I happened to check my phone for the time. I should have done this 30 minutes ago! I saw that it was 2:35 and my first grader gets out at 2:20! FAILURE! I immediately THREW down my items and ran to the car as I dialed the number to his school. In a panic I tried to explain to the secretary that I had lost track of time and could she please check the place where he waits for me and bring him in to the office. (Keep in mind, it's raining today, and he's been waiting 15 minutes for me)! I got there 10 minutes later, so now he has been waiting for me for a total of 25 MINUTES!!!! I was shaking all the way to the school. All I could think of was what a FAILURE I am! I am a stay-at-home mom! It's not that hard! I don't clean much, I don't cook much, all I really need to do is BE THERE for the kids, and today I couldn't even do that! To be honest, it was a boxing match in the car, I completely beat myself up. I went through my days of lunches, shopping, pedicures, and social networking. I spend very little time on my family unless I'm with them and a lot of our money, much more than I deserve, keeping myself occupied. All God has asked me to do is be a good wife and mother and I am miserably falling short. I know if you ask my kids, I do all that they need, if you ask my husband, I'm sure he could come up with a few things he'd like to see me improve upon. If you ask me I am a huge FAILURE today. The good news is, I know I have made some improvements recently and I will get right back on track. Thankfully I am blessed with grace, and I had to use it today.
As I parked the car at the school and ran toward the office my son came out running toward me. No tears, no whining, no questions, he just gave me a smile and a big hug. I followed his lead and made little of the whole situation, although I apologized and explained myself. He accepted my apology and we headed to the car. And as I helped him into the back seat I saw the word GRACE stamped on his forehead in big red letters, and I have been hugging him ever since!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What does parenthood mean to you?


It is heart-wrenching. It's an adventure. It is exhausting and exhilarating. It is a role I never thought would be so defining. It is so many different things to different families. I know parents who just don't know how to put their children before them. I know parents who put their children before all else. I know parents who's children who battle with social disorders or serious illness. There are so many parents with so many different perspectives, this is just mine.
The night I found out I was pregnant with Matthew is a night I will never forget and my life changed forever. I am blessed that being a parent has been full of joy and light on pain. Our boys are the light of our lives. It has been a strange journey as a parent. So many things that once seemed important have just faded away. So many things I thought I would never say or do I have said and done. For me it is a bittersweet journey. I know my role as a parent is to raise men. I can not do that by babying them. I can not do that by holding on too tightly. The only way I know how to do that is to teach them, let them try, be there to support them if they fail, celebrate with them when they succeed and know that someday, and a little bit everyday, I have to let them go.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just another day

What does it say about your life when nothing you did today was noteworthy? You have no exciting activity to share, no perspective on an event you might have taken part in, or even neighborhood gossip! Is this a good thing? Make no mistake my life is busy. I do my best to always put my kids first, spend time playing, reading, joking, talking, but I do have things I have to get done each day as well. But for some reason today I've got nothing but a list. Here are the highlights: I took Bobby to a great park, where he got a little dizzy on the tire swing, we had a fun lunch at BJ's totally enthralled in the amazing Magic Bullet infomercial, I had my stamping friends over to make some projects which turned out really cute after stressing all week about what the hell I was going to teach, and I even MADE dinner, no take-out. Funny how we can eat out at breakfast and lunch, but if I make dinner the day was a huge success for me! :) I am looking forward to the plan for tomorrow which is to get the house back in order. Why is it when the house is in order, life is in order. It's a paradox that makes me crazy, because I HATE cleaning house. Thankfully tomorrow is just "picking up" day. :) Then something fun with Bobby again and off to baseball. It's a simple life, but I love it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ain't no "Soccer Mom"

The boys have done soccer, basketball, and football, but I AM A BASEBALL MOM! I love this game! I love watching my boys play. I love being out in the sun. I love seeing all my friends out there. I love watching the battle between the pitcher and each batter. I love the suspense of a fly ball to the outfield; will he catch it, will he not? I love the action of the infield, especially those close calls at first. And let's not forget the hot dogs! Yum! I have a hat or a t-shirt, or both for each boy's team, and baseball bracelets. There are lots of similarities between soccer moms and baseball moms. They all have the fan gear, and there are those of us that love to cheer loud (no matter how many times the kids ask us to stop it), but I bet the largest similarity is probably the back of our cars. It's most likely a minivan or SUV, cuz how else would you fit all that crap! Bat bags, extra clothes, shoes, a towel is always a good idea, spectator chairs for those fields that don't have bleachers, a blanket for the cold nights, a sun umbrella for the hot days, a cooler with drinks and snacks for the kid that doesn't have a game (and Dad), and then the bag with sunscreen, water, an extra ball and mitt (again, for the kid not playing), there are a million other things that can go in that bag! What's in yours?
Anyway, Monday and Tuesday were the boys first games and they both looked great. I love watching them be proud of their own performances and seeing them encourage their teammates. I am a baseball mom. I feel like I've come back to life after being stuck inside all winter. Yay spring! I can't help but wonder, though, what life will look like when it's all over. I am not afraid to admit, it is a huge part of my life. I identify with the whole thing probably a little too much. It will be a sad season when I'm no longer the baseball mom. I know it's a long way off, but if you have kids you know, life goes by so quickly. I'm going to try to enjoy it year after year and when it's all over, I'll jump in the car and head to SF to see the Giants, and the only thing I'm bringin' is my mitt and beer money!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I remember the day Aaron argued his point of why we should move to Elk Grove. He had gotten up for work and I was still in bed. He made all good points, in fact I couldn't come up with one rebuttal, which if you know me, you know is nearly unheard of! I had to admit defeat! I threw the covers up over my head and told him to go, pick a house, call me with the address and I'd meet him there! It was a hideous toddler style tantrum. I was born in San Jose, I lived my whole life in the same house, my ENTIRE family lived within a 1 hour radius. I knew Elk Grove would be a good move for us, but I just couldn't imagine being away from the city and the family that I knew.
We have been here 8 years. We are still exploring the area, and experiencing the local traditions. My favorites; Leatherby's and tubing down the river. As we were sitting at Palermo's Ristorante, a new Elk Grove tradition (and a must try! www.palermos-ristorante.com) I realized how at home I felt in this town. I don't know that it matters that it's Elk Grove though. It is being with my husband and my boys. Experiencing life in this town together and with all the people we have built priceless friendships with that make Elk Grove our home town.
I have written and rewritten this entry, but try as I might, I can not express how blessed I feel to be surrounded by such amazing people in this community. I have beautiful girlfriends that I can call on to go to lunch with, stamp with, pick up my kids, vent, laugh, cry, all who help me be a better woman. Having a support system like that makes me feel at home.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What happened to me?

Do you ever ask yourself this question? Do you remember waking up one morning and thinking "Who am I?". I know it's the case for so many of us. Our lives are ever-changing and often in the chaos of work, children, and other responsibilities we lose sight of who we were, the things we loved. It's not that change is bad. I think change in the form of growth is positive and strengthening for our spirit. But the repercussions of discarding what makes us light up inside due to lack of time or replacing them with responsibilities can be devastating. You only get one life, right? We all want to live it to the fullest. You wanted to be an astronaut or a baseball player or a concert pianist. Maybe that's not the path your life took, but do you have to give it up? Couldn't you still visit the planetarium, organize games with friends and family or teach other people to play piano? What did you love when you were a kid? For me it was dancing. I still love it! I am lucky, dancing is a simple thing to continue, at the gym, at the club, at home in the living room with my kids. Different seasons of our lives allow us different opportunities. I may take a class soon, when I have the time and can afford it. Maybe tap or ballroom with my husband. These are the things that keep us happy. Remembering the dreams, maintaining the whimsy in our lives. There are so many ways to fit in what you love. You may not love your job, you may have young children you are caring for, but be creative. Find a way to keep the light inside shining!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A memory

I heard that a friend from school past away last night. I have seen so many people in my life from the past and present die before their time. I am saddened for the loss and for his family. Kenny Lipska and I didn't keep in touch after high school and until this happened I hadn't heard what he had been up to. But I think that sharing your memories of the person is what keeps their spirit alive in the hearts of their close friends and family. So here is my most vivid memory of Kenny. It was the summer after 6th grade. He and I had just met that year when we started at Steinbeck. I don't know that there was a girl at school that hadn't noticed that smile and those eyes. Looking back, he may have been our "McDreamy". I knew I wasn't ever going to be his type, but as a girl that age does, I could hope. So, back to our summer day. I was at home alone, with my 7 year old sister, while our parents were at work. We were passing the time playing, as we did everyday. That day it was restaurant. We had gotten into our dress up box, and some of our mom's clothes and shoes and jewelry to play our parts. We were just about to wrap things up when I noticed someone come to the door. They hadn't knocked, they were just stopping to drop off a flyer and was I shocked when I noticed it was Kenny. Here I am in my mom's clothes, playing with my little sister, not the ideal way to been seen by "McDreamy", so I thought I'd just let him keep going, right? Well, the mistake was telling my little sister who it was. She flew open the door and yelled something at him (I don't remember what) that caused him to turn around, and hello, there I was at the door. I panicked for just a moment, then asked him what he was doing in my neighborhood and if he might want something to drink, whew, quick thinkin'! I thought I had almost avoided too much embarrassment, until he asked what we had been doing and my sister spilled the whole story.
Looking back, it's a sweet story to laugh at, but I will never forget how mortified I felt in the moment. That's my Kenny memory, that's always the one that pops in my head when I think of Ken. But tonight as I watched my husband show our son how to improve his swing my heart broke thinking of Ken's boys and what they and his wife have lost. For that I am so sorry and I pray they will find peace.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A blog a day...

In an effort to write more, and at the urging of my friends I will be blogging every day. I'm not sure this will help to gain the 100 followers I am hoping for, as I don't know that my life is that interesting...
Tonight my son and I went to In -N- Out for burgers. (If you are noticing that a lot of my blogs have to do with eating out, please look past it, I have issues that I will not be tackling in this entry :) As we walked toward the door I noticed a man in grungy clothes, pull up on his bicycle, stop at the front door to get something to eat as well. I thought to myself, this guy might be able to use an In N Out gift card. He came in somewhere behind us, we were already sitting down when he went up to order. We had a table very close to the register, so I was able to listen in a bit. He ordered a double cheeseburger in a very definitive way. It was almost funny how sure he was of what he wanted, I came to the conclusion that the man was just HUNGRY! As he was counting out his nickels, dimes and quarters, I got up to fill my drink with ice. (Whenever I ask one of my kids to get me my drink, they always forget the ice!) I turned from the drink station and noticed the look on the cashiers face and then looked at him looking back up at the menu, and I knew what I was going to do. I had known it from the moment I saw him pull up on his bike. I only had $2 in cash. I quickly grabbed it out of my wallet and hopped over to the counter. I asked them if he needed a little extra and the cashier said he needed a dollar. I put the 2 bills on the counter and said "here, this is for whatever you need", gave him a pat on the shoulder, and headed back to the table.
I was thrilled to be in a position to do something to help someone. More importantly, my son was moved by it. I know it was a small gesture but it made a huge impact at our house and I hope it restored that man's faith in humanity for the day. It made me wonder how Jesus must have felt. He was able to do this times 1000! I just thanked God for letting me be there to help this man today. I would challenge you to keep your heart and eyes open for these small opportunities to give someone a hand. The feeling is an indescribable blessing. Please share these moments with me as they arise. I would bet that the more open you are, the more opportunities will come your way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A whispering...

Everyone has heard the old adage "live for today" in it's many forms. It's a great sentiment and the idea behind it sounds like a perfect way to live, but most of us realize it's not practical. So we go on about our day to day lives and get caught up in the little details, and every once in awhile, when our schedules clear, we have a perfect day or that getaway that gives us a sense of spontaneity, that we are living in the moment. I know it's the best most of us can do, we actually do have to live our lives, most of us do have responsibilities that need our attention. But what if a little birdie told you you wouldn't be around for that? What if, while you were sitting on the couch, with your cup of coffee and your calendar, filling in important dates for the year, a soft voice faintly brushed across your consciousness and whispered, "you won't be here for that", as you filled in a camping trip for July. What would you do? I think most of us would want to see all the things we haven't seen and do all the things we haven't done and most of all be with the people we care about, as much as possible. What would you do? Is Paris really that important? Would you be disappointed if you never made it to Mardi Gras? If you had 6 months what would you do? What if you weren't sick? All you heard was that little voice. Would it make you stop and think? Is there anything you would do differently? Would you tell anyone?
I know my first thought would be to be sure everything is taken care of; life insurance, will, letters to my husband, kids, parents and sister and probably get my scrapbooks up to date! :) (I actually already have the letters, I would just update them. I know it seems strange, but I've lost a lot of people in my life before it was their time. It was something I wanted to do.) Then I might just live like I do everyday. Praying for my family, taking care of things, visiting friends, going out to lunch, shopping. I would be much more selective about how I spent my time and maybe it's just me, but I don't think I would feel the need to see the things I haven't seen, experience the things I haven't experienced. I would want to experience life as it will be when I'm gone. I think there is a sense of peace in that. There is one place I would have to go, the beach, I'm a cali girl, it's where my heart is.
I know this seems like a strange entry, but I hope it gives you the opportunity to take stock in your life. I think what I said in the beginning is true, few people can live like they were dying, but if you truly take a moment to consider it, what becomes more clear for you? Hold on to those things, help this enlightenment bring balance to your life. To cut out the things that are wasteful or detrimental and concentrate on all the things that bring light and joy to your life.