Sunday, April 13, 2014

On the Verge

So, here I am, late thirties, facing major life changes, heading into the vast unknown. We are moving in about 50 days. We have no jobs, a couple promises of help to find jobs, a fabulous place to stay, and a whole summer to get the kids ready for public school.

That's right. I am hanging up my homeschooling hat. The kids want to go to school. They haven't made many new friends since our previous move 2 years ago. We don't want them to be lonely and relying only on their cousins, so we are letting them go to school. Yikes. I'm nervous. I want to know they are ready. The ONLY way to know they are ready is to let them go. At least they will have the whole summer to make friends at church and other places before heading into the classroom.

Usually at this time of year, with standardized testing behind us, we are skating through the end of the year with unit studies and book reports. Not so this year. I am determined to finish every page of the math curriculum and give them heavy doses of grammar as a final preparation for the classroom. Some work may be done through the summer as well, something I abhorred but now see as helpful. We'll see.

On the job front, sigh, well, here I go again. I do have a job right now, one that I love, coaching homeschool PE classes. If we weren't moving, I'm sure I would be promoted next year and still be happy. But, we are moving. I am once again on the job market and it looks a little better. I have two people poised to help me get in somewhere. If I've learned anything about getting hired it's this: you have to know someone. So I know two someones and I'm feeling optimistic.

Healthwise, I am doing great. I have fibroids removed last week and feel like a deflated balloon. Could those fibroids have been the cause of most of my woes for the past few years? Yes. I was told, 8 years ago, that the polyps would come out with the baby I was pregnant with was born. Not so. These polyps have been growing and multiplying for that long. I couldn't be happier and more excited to get back to my exercise routine! Finally I feel like I have a fighting chance to make this body look like I really do workout. Finally!

Big changes all around. But we're excited!

Monday, March 31, 2014


Here we are 60 days from The Big Move. We are partially packed. The movers are booked. We are slowly cutting ties here. I keep thinking how wonderful it will be to live near my family for the first time in years.

In the meantime, this small home is feeling incredibly small. It's a daily reminder of how much we've outgrown this place. We are ready to go.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Gluten Free Adventure Begins

I keep reading that a Gluten-Free diet is especially good for people with Hashimoto's disease. I've never been one to follow a fad diet. Well, except for that 1-month Atkins no carb craze that everybody tried. I mean, seriously, bacon every day? Oh, yeah! Anyway, I'm not into organics. I eat at McDonald's a few times a month. I love coffee. I'm just not down with any special kind of eating. Until now.

Going GF (gluten-free will now be referred to as GF) was a lot easier than I thought. GF food has come a long way since the first diagnoses. Many major brands, like Frito Lay, have an extensive product line of GF food. Yay! I love Fritos. I see GF hot dog buns and hamburger buns. There's tons of cereal and granola bars that are GF. I can Google GF recipes and hundreds of pages and blogs pop up. It's not hard! And the food is pretty good.

One thing you should know about me is that I love pancakes. LOVE. I eat them with syrup, with just butter, with strips of bacon cooked in them, any which way. I love pancakes! I also love waffles, pancake's quicker to make cousin. My kids love waffles, too. Imagine my disappointment upon going GF that I could no longer eat waffles for breakfast. Tragedy! After a few days of feeling so deprived I headed to Sprouts, sure that I could find a mix for them, if not a box of frozen waffles GF. Success!

This morning I was ridiculously excited to be eating Van's GF Apple Cinnamon waffles. So good! Toasted nice and crunchy with a pat of butter, heaven! I should mention, though, they are a tad expensive. For a box of six waffles, I paid about $4, yikes. But it's an investment in my happiness and well-being so it's worth it. I noticed, too, that one serving of these waffles was over 200 calories, which is not something I would normally eat for breakfast. I like to have a lot more calories from protein for breakfast, but to eat these waffles, I might only eat some fruit with them.

Going GF as another side benefit that I'm enjoying for now: I don't have to make dinner. My DH is cooking dinner for himself and the kids, bonus! At least while I get my own recipes and food figured out. Shouldn't we all be eating GF if it's healthy and delicious? That would be easier for me. I don't want to cook two dinners. Even more than that, I don't want to cook food that I can't eat it! He made Italian sausage subs last night that smelled so good my mouth was watering! I don't eat processed meat or mushrooms, though, and didn't have any GF buns, so whatever. I had cereal. It sucked. That just shows I need to do my homework and get some GF dinner recipes!

So what's on your menu today? GF or not I would love to hear about it! I'm hungry.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, Whoop-De-Doo

Happy New Year!  A little late, but nonetheless. I hope you had a great start to 2014.

We are back to homeschooling today. Yay for the routine! I'm happy to get started again. Our vacation was very busy, but we were all sick for the last half of it and that was no fun. Life goes on. Here are some highlights.

(This is more of a lowlight) My hypothyroidism is in full swing and I checked in with my doctor for higher meds last month. My thyroid disease is Hashimoto's thyroiditis and there are so many issues involved. It's an auto-immune disease which means my body is attacking itself. Nice.  I found out I am headed toward high cholesterol and prediabetes. Ugh!

Jigga what? That cannot be right! I eat right! I exercise! My thyroid has other plans. Dang it! I am becoming that which I swore to never become: organic. Yes. My first step is going Gluten Free.  I am doing what I always do and reading everything I can to help myself. I am Gluten Free as of last week. I am taking six different vitamins a day. I have upped my exercise time to 60 minutes instead of 30. I'm doing a walk/run interval instead of just running so I can go longer. Changes all around.

Honestly, it has been a week Gluten-Free and I do feel better. It's worth the effort. I am starting out with some cereal, bread, granola bars, and tortillas all GF. I am eating a major salad with chicken breast for lunch. I am chugging smoothies after I walk instead of just milk. I haven't prepared any big dinners for myself, mostly chicken breast and veggies like sweet potatoes and salad. I am making a stir-fry tonight. I don't feel deprived and my body is losing that bloated look. Success!

Here are some other interesting things.

For homeschooling, we just started a unit study on Island of the Blue Dolphins. Please tell me you've read this amazing book! I read it many times when I was younger and absolutely love it. I'm hoping my kids will enjoy our time with it.

I watched an intense documentary on Netflix and I encourage you to check it out. "Blackfish" is about the killer whales at Sea World and it will blow your mind. No, it's not a behind-the-scenes documentary. It details the incidents of killer whales attacking trainers and why OSHA forbids Sea World to now have any trainers in the water with the whales. I was on the edge of my seat during the whole thing! Big thumbs up!

Maybe a suspenseful documentary isn't for you. How about one of my favorite genre, independent films. "Girl Most Likely" is a must-see. I am a big fan of Kristen Wiig and she really shines in this movie. I laughed so much during this one! You have to see it.

Have you seen anything good lately?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Bright Side

Today was a better day. Homeschooling flowed and I even made dinner, bonus! We had Turkey burgers, delicious!

I have my mini road trip planned for Friday. I'm picturing myself enjoying a big, fat coffee and croissant from Starbucks while driving and listening to my favorite 80s music. Now that's something to look forward to!

I'm up Kate tonight knitting on the Massive Project, giggling with Seinfeld while everyone is sleeping. Good times!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday, Why Do You Hate Me?

Oh, it was definitely Monday. I can't remember my last good Monday, much less great Monday. Add to that it was the first day of homeschool and that's a recipe for a disastrous Monday. Ok, well, it wasn't that bad, but close. A rocky homeschool start, a dreaded event weighing on me, and a very unsatisfying workout. Blah.

My child who was the most excited for school to start ended up being the one who gave me the most trouble. Huh? He's my youngest and now I see that he expects me, and his siblings, to do things as soon as he thinks he can't do it. I told him to cut paper. "I can't," and then he looked at me so expectantly a little red flag immediately went up. I told him to add single-digits. "I can't," and puts his pencil down and looks at me. Hmm. This kid was doing double-digit addition at the end of last year. I told him to cover the piano when he was done practicing. He wrestled with the cover for about a minute and then said, all together now, "I can't," and looked at his sister as he put it down. I gave the order for no one to help him and after struggling alone for a few minutes, he did it.

So, obviously, I am realizing he needs to be pushed to do things on his own. And maybe I need to read a book about youngest children and how to not coddle or baby them. I had a conversation with my daughter about this since she is usually the one on the spot to help him. She just stared at me.

"But, Mom, it's easier for me to do it for him. Sometimes I watch him and it gets so frustrating that I have to do it myself."

My response, "I know. That's when you just have to walk away. Go in the other room until he's done. That's what I did with all of you." True story. And the older two are very capable. We'll see how it goes. I definitely do not want to enable Mr. M or create a monster whose wife will have to mother him. No way.

Today was a tough day. I didn't enjoy my run because I have too much on my mind. I am struggling with an upcoming family event with my in-laws. It's two weeks away and already the back of neck burns when I think about it. Siiiiiigh. If I could get out of it, I would. I'm dreading it, big time. An event like this really drags me down. I am struggling with depression, feeling just the tips of my toes dipping in, and I hate it. I need something to look forward to, something for myself.

I do have one personal appointment this week and that is my Coaches Training on Friday. It's a bit of a drive so I'm looking forward to that. Not many things are better than cold A/C, loud 80's music, and a big fat coffee by my side for a mini road trip on a Friday morning! Plus, my time will be spent with other people who enjoy fitness and being active. That sounds good! I also get my CPR training certificate and I think that will help me get another job in the future.

Tonight I am staying up late to finish a few projects for my shop. It's been too long since I've listed something new. I am working on an afghan for a wedding and that has been my main focus. I have some mini buntings to finish and list. I love the night time hours when everyone is sleeping and I am busy cutting felt and weaving in ends of yarn. I guess that's something to look forward to as well!

How do you pull yourself out of a funk? Or not dwell on negativity churned up by people around you? Counting my blessings is one thing I like to do. I might make an effort to use every one of my senses, too. Like, smell something good, look at beautiful pictures, pet my chihuahua, eat some chocolate, and listen to my favorite music ( 80s, anyone?) Changing my mental state is not easy, but it is worth the effort. Coffee helps, too. Lots of coffee.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School!

Are you ready for Back to School? Sigh. I think I am. I would love to have another month just to be home and tackle everything I thought I would finish by now. But, oh well. The first day of homeschool is tomorrow. Sigh.

Was your summer everything you wanted it to be? Mine was everything I expected. Lots of doctor visits in June, WA in July, and a whirlwind of activity in August. I have been trying to keep up with my Etsy shop, too. My boys are both in football right now. My princess is going to start swimming lessons. We are at the beginning of a new season.

My oldest son is in middle school this year and I've been in denial. I didn't even realize he was "graduating" to middle school until our overseer presented him with a certificate at the end of last year. Wow. Only three more years and he's on to high school! For the past couple weeks, I have been feeling tense and uptight without really knowing why. Last Friday I started prepping our homeschool year and I just started crying. Like really, really crying! It hit me that my kids are no longer little. Everything seems so advanced and serious this year! I'm not ready! But I did feel better after I let myself cry.

So, here we are on the cusp of a new homeschooling year. Things will only get busier from here.

I got a job! I'll be coaching at the homeschool PE class that my kids attend. I applied last year and never heard anything (of course not) and then they called me a few weeks ago to see if I could do it this year. I was so surprised at first that I said no. (seriously, what was I thinking?!) It's not a lot of money, but it will help, and I will get paid to do two things I love: teach and play. I'm excited! I already have a whistle and plans to get "Coach Rachel" printed on my visor. Now drop and give me 20!

So my own personal exercise and nutrition are at the top of my priority list right now. I'm maintaining my weight, not losing, and I still have 20 lbs or so that I'd like to drop. I have a Nike personal training Xbox program to start and I'm still running. I invited some of the other moms at football practice to walk with me and I use that as a warm up to run. It's a great way to get almost 4 miles in every day!

As motivation for exercising, I have a new dress. It fits perfectly, so if I gain or inflate, it won't fit anymore. I am wearing it to a wedding in 2 weeks and hoping it will fit even more perfectly, not less.

I hope you enjoyed your summer! What season is starting for you now?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vacation is Good

I have been in WA with my sister and her family for almost the whole month of July. DH was here for a few days, then flew home for 10 days. He didn't have enough vacation days to cover the length of time I wanted to be here. So I was on my own with the kids for those days and then he came back last weekend for our last week.

This trip will forever be known as the "By the Skin of Our Teeth" vacation. We made it. We barely made it. But, it has been wonderful to be with my sister and watch our kids playing and making friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. It's good.

Having such a long break from home has been refreshing for me. I am full of homeschool ideas and inspiration. I have packed on enough weight to be ready for a new exercise routine. I have watched enough HGTV to tackle some projects that are long overdue.

Vacation is good. I am soaking in the last few days here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Movies and Knitting

My house is quiet. Everyone is sleeping. I am awake enjoying the night. Carpe noctem! Ssh!

I am off my workout schedule already. Sad to say, but I think I overdid it last week. I have a persistent cramp in my calf whenever I run or even walk fast. Boo. I am focusing on weights this week instead. I have a weight bench and I do a circuit of different exercises that I do 15 reps, three times each. I am sore! But, I love the way my arms look after a session. I just need some good music! My weights are in the same room as the Xbox and I'm tired of sweating to Minecraft.

This summer I decided to catch up on some independent films. Netflix is the best resource for indie flicks! I know a lot of people watch movies for entertainment and escapism, but indie films go beyond this. I consider a movie good if I have an emotional connection to the plot and characters. I love watching a movie and then thinking about it for days after. If you don't watch a lot of indie films, start with Sunshine Cleaning Company, one of my favorites. Also, anything with Bill Murray that is not mainstream like Lost in Translation or Broken Flowers. Wonderful movies!

Today I continued my Jenna Fischer marathon by watching A Little Help. Honestly, this movie was horribly depressing. Totally a downer. Beware. This movie is not a comedy. Though Jenna Fischer plays this type of character well, I felt bummed out and low after I watched it. I thought this could be the prequel to the other Jenna Fischer movie I watched, The Giant Mechanical Man, which was way better. Watch both of them and let me know if you agree.

If you want to see a great Jenna Fischer indie flick, and also see Chris Messina in an amazing role, watch The Giant Mechanical Man. Big thumbs up! I was surprised by how much I like this movie. I had never heard of it and randomly picked it. I loved the plot and Chris Messina was perfect. I recognized him from Julie and Julia, Julie's husband. He is now one of my favorites! Topher Grace is another reason to see this movie. I love seeing someone unexpected in a movie, like Topher playing a horribly obnoxious author. It was awesome!

(If there is ever a movie made of my life (don't laugh, it could happen) I want Jenna Fischer to be me. I love her style of acting and making these quirky people seem so real. I say quirky, but goofball is also an acceptable classification. I used to say Drew Barrymore should be me in my life movie, but I watched Fever Pitch the other day and...nah, I don't think she could pull it off. Jimmy Fallon on the other hand, if I were a guy, would be perfect! But I digress...)

So, of course, I chose another Chris Messina movie to watch today, Ira and Abby. I sense a Woody Allenesque portrayal in his acting this time. He can pull it off. I enjoy Woody Allen films immensely so this doesn't bother me. I am not very far into the movie, but so far so good.

How do I have all this time to watch movies you ask? I started knitting a baby blanket for my sister and it requires long periods of sitting and working a fairly simple pattern. I breezed through my Mad Med episodes today, too. Wow, I love that show! I caught up with my Breaking Bad episodes on Netflix, but I'm not recording the newest season. I like to watch those continuously or I get stressed out!  Anyway, the point is that I need to entertain my brain while I'm knitting or I will fall asleep. Seriously!

We are now counting down to our WA vacation, less than three weeks to go. I am hoping to run the Golden Gate Bridge on our way up. We'll see. What have you been up to this summer? Seen any good movies?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stop Saying Tomorrow

Summer is here! We are in our second week of vacation already! We have been off and running since day one.

Right now, my kids are obsessed with a new video game on the Xbox called Minecraft. I don't get it. The graphics are old looking and the point of the game (I think) is to build and maintain your own community, like a castle or a farm. My daughter has domesticized a wolf and my son is raising pigs. Huh? Ok. I used to play Farmville a lot, so maybe I should be able to relate. But the level of their obsession with this game is mind-boggling. You want to build something? The Lego bricks are right there! You want to raise an animal? Play with the dog! She's right there! Obviously, this game isn't marketed for people like me. Obviously.

My kids are completely absorbed. Every conversation is about what they built or want to build on Minecraft. They are watching videos on YouTube of how to build things. Professor X spent a lot of time watching a video of a kid playing Minecraft. My son even saved up his money and pre-ordered the new version for Xbox when it was released. I mean, wow. They are totally into it!

I have my own summer obsession right now, running. I struggled in May just getting out the door. We were so incredibly busy with school and baseball and gymnastics! It's almost like I haven't had time of my own since before April. I had to stop making plans because nothing I planned worked out! So I am calling this summer's running "Stop Saying Tomorrow". I love that! I kept telling myself, Tomorrow I'll get to run. Tomorrow I'll do it. And it never happened! I had to assert myself and reclaim the time to run!

So, my new running routine is actually two runs a day. I do a short 2-mile morning run and a longer 3-mile evening run during the week. Then I do a 4-mile run on Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday is my rest day. I also started keeping track of my calories with Lose It again. If you think you know how many calories you are consuming, try keeping track for a few days. You might be very surprised!

I mentioned to DH that I think I need (emphasis on need) new running shows. I'm getting blisters and shin pain again. Plus, these shoes are so big and clunky compared to what Nike is currently putting out. I decided to start a shoe fund for myself by saving $20 a week. Let's see how long it takes me to get some new shoes!

I want to be healthy. I saw someone on Instagram using a "Fit By 40" mantra and that resonates with me. I would love to be maintaining my goal weight by the time I'm 40. How about you?