21 August 2014

Please Don't Judge Me By The Contents Of This Blog!

So long sweet summer.  I must bid you adieu. 

My Fall semester has officially begun, and let me just say that my head is already spinning.  I got a little confused with the start date on classes, and forgot to check my intranet account.   

At least nothing is overdue and I will get my books in enough time.  (Praise the almighty Amazon.com Prime Membership and expedited shipping for inexpensive overnight shipping.)

I went in there, and checked out the assignments.  One of them happens to be to update my profile.  Okay, that one is fairly easy.  I went in and completed my bio part, and I was a little hesitant to write down my blog URL under "Website" but I did it!  Why the hesitation?  Well, I don't openly share my blog to family and friends.  I like to casually let my posts slide underneath all of the other hoopla on social media, like the hotel bill underneath the door the next morning.  You never hear or see it coming.

That, and I decided to major in English Education.  What's that one thing you do the most when you blog?  Oh yeah, you write!  The way I write to all of you is different than how I would write a research paper.  This is done with ease, with every intention of being fun.  I don't follow the same format.  Should I?  I feel like this is my creative outlet where my thoughts can run wildly onto the page through my fingers.  Of course I care about grammar and punctuation, and that my sentences don't run on and on and on.

Maybe I'm thinking too much into it.  I just wouldn't want any of my future classmates to visit me here and think "Wow there is no rhyme or reason to what she is saying."

I can flow, I promise!  I have the ability to construct a decent paragraph, a meaningful thesis, an argumentative essay in MLA format.  Please don't judge me by the contents of this blog!

Ha-ha, it was worth a shot.

Happy English Major-ing to me!
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20 August 2014

I'm Gym-less

There is no questioning or deep thought needed here.  I have accepted a fit lifestyle.  Lately, I've been feeling like I'm in a rut though.  For several reasons.

For starters, I am still not in a gym routinely.  I know, I know.  How so-not-like-me.  I belong in a gym.  If you need to catch up, here is the reason I stopped going

In the past, I tried several of these at-home workout DVDs.  Envy Girls was honestly a pretty good one, which came with 5 discs, each targeting a different group of muscles.  I borrowed Carmen Electra's strip tease from my cousin.  All I learned how to do toss a fedora and look sexy while doing it. (At least I thought so.)  Denise Austen made it into my collection as well, but I cursed every minute I spent with her.  P90X as well. 

These gym-less solutions are alright if I were not easily distracted.  My house life is a distraction.
While I'm waiting in limbo, I found that making up my own workouts in the garage is actually working.  This provides some separation, relieving me of duties for a bit.  (Not gonna lie, it's really hard to ignore the washing machine when it's right there.)  

Tabata works great when I don't have a lot of time, which happens to be my situation on most days.  I also do other high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.  Some of them I have found on the Internet.  Others have the privilege of being made up at random.  A mash-up of sorts.  This may sound odd, but Instagram is the best for researching and learning for me, lately.   
I know this all happens in due time and with hard continuous work being put into it.  With that said, the comparison monster is still known to rear it's ugly head every once in a while.  It gets me down when I start looking at other people around me, reading about their gains and personal records.  I see people on Instagram posting about epic workouts in the gym and I sigh.  I'm here like "I can dead lift a 20lb kettlebell."  Womp-womp....Impatience won't get me anywhere any faster.  Need to remember that.

I can't rightfully complain much.  I have a pull-up bar, a few kettlebells of different weight, a single 10lb plate, a medicine ball, some 8lb dumbells, and a couple of 3lbs. (Where did those come from?!)  And my trusty yoga mat.  I'm not truly wanting for anything.  There is a lot that can be done with this randomly purchased equipment.  It just takes a bit of creativity and researching on-line. 

I am still healing from my last pregnancy.  Our #4 really did my body in.  I have tummy muscle troubles, resulting from diastisis recti (separation of muscles) and there are some workouts that can't be done without possibly furthering the damage.  I happen to love ab workouts too.

Instead, I have been doing my special exercises to strengthen my transverse abdominals and I really think it's working!  It will take time, especially since I was not doing these 6 weeks or so after #4.  There's more to this story, but another time.  Ask your doc about when you can start these.

The next best thing I can possibly do for myself is eat properly, which is the one thing I am actually quite proud of.  (Have you seen me on Instagram?!)  It's not as challenging as I thought it would be, cutting out a lot of terribly delicious carbs (like cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes, homemade bread, etc).  I also cut out boxed and packaged foods, and eat as close to fresh as possible.  Increasing my protein intake wasn't hard either; I accepted the chicken life with ease.  

Buying protein is the next step, which to me is so hard!  It's like standing in the oil aisle at an automotive shop.  They all pretty much do the same thing, right?  I am in the middle of a trial can, and it seems to be going down alright.  Some of them taste horrible and I can't help but gag.

Ugh.  A challenge for another day.

What are some challenges you face on your path to fitness?

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18 August 2014

Tray Jolie! Washi Tape & Mod Podge Makeover

I love it when I'm asked to do something crafty for someone.  It really gets me going, thinking "Wow, they really think I have talent!"


I told my best friend that I would fix up her plain wooden tray.  I was originally going to give this to her with some paint sprayed on it but, in the heat of the crafting hour, this washi tape/Mod Podge idea completely took over.  The usual manner of business, no big deal.

I was able to present this tray to her when we celebrated her graduation together, a few months ago.  The tray was used as surprising decor in basket.  I think she loved it!


What you need
Wooden tray (I believe this one is from Michaels)
Fun print-out (This is from the Graphics Fairy)
Spray paint
Mod Podge
Self-healing board
Small paint brush
Exacto knife
Emory board

And of course your camera! :-D

After you have spray painted your tray with a few coats (drying between each) you want to cut your print-out to fit the inside of the tray.  I don't know what the exact science is for doing this, but I started off by placing my print-out on the underside of the tray.  I made creases where the edges were, cut them off, and continued to cut down some of the edges until it was a perfect fit for the lining of the tray.

Now for the Mod Podge.

Mod Podge can be a little tricky, because you want to aim for the in between.  It can't be too small of an amount or it will dry too quickly.  But it also can't be too much, because it will be a mess, probably causing your paper to bubble up.  These were mistakes I've made in the past, and I'm still attempting to finesse my skills in this department.

I applied Mod-Podge in sections of three.  I painted the Mod Podge on the top of the paper width-wise.  Then attached the paper really well, smoothing it down.  Next, I did the middle in the same manner and then the bottom.  I worked the long way so my sections were shorter, using a rolling action.  To me, this is much easier than applying the Mod Podge all at once and attempting to place the paper down perfectly.  The Mod Podge may end up drying before you set it down.  Again, this has been my experience.  (Yes I learn a lot through trial-and-error.)
Allow the paper to dry, then apply Mod Podge on top to protect the paper.  I'm sure you could also use the Mod Podge sealant in a spray can, or maybe a shellac, especially if it will see a lot of action with keys and other sharp items.
And now for the fun part!

Have I ever mentioned that this was my first time using Mod Podge with washi tape?  I have yet to post about the wooden frame that I used washi tape to decorate, but I did not use Mod Podge.  Big mistake.  Washi tape, I learned, is not as sticky as your normal tape.  So you need to use an adhesive.

Anyway, I applied Mod Podge in sections again.  Top, middle, bottom.  In between applications, I pulled out more than enough washi tape to cover the area, and placed it on the surface where I just applied Mod Podge.  I left it to dry and worked my way around.

Once it's dry, take your Exacto knife and carefully cut off the excess washi tape.

Using an emory board, go around the edges and sand down the rough cut areas.  If you're a pro with your Exacto knife, then you don't have to worry about this step. :-)  Obviously, I cut it too quickly.
And, I could use a little finesse here too.

I will admit, I had the goofiest grin on my face when I got to this part.  The washi tape part was a success and actually fun.  I'm a nerd about Mod Podge.
It just had to be perfect. :-)

Here she is!  My bestie has her Bachelor's Degree!  I'm so very proud of her!
I took pictures as she went through her basket of goodies.  (Hmm, that goofy face on her crafty card looks familiar.) 

Maybe by the time I graduate, she will learn how to use Mod Podge too.  She needn't worry, she has a few years to practice.  ;-)

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13 August 2014

Modified Burpees Workout

If someone were to ask "Who loves burpees?" you would not see me raise my hand.

I do not like burpees.  Everyone has that one workout (or several) that they really dislike.  They cringe at the thought of doing it when it's the day to put in some work.

For me, it would be burpees.  I'm sitting here sore from my shoulders down to my feet.  This workout nearly wiped me out yesterday.  I felt great afterwards, but the soreness hit me this morning when I did a sad roll out of bed.  I mean really.  It was sad. 
Modified Burpees

My history with burpees goes something like this:
  • I do a burpee. 
  • I curse under my breath about how much I loathe them.
And that's pretty much how the entire set and all the rounds go.

When I went into this workout, my attitude was not a good one.  The monster of uncertainty was nagging at me, saying "I'm not sure if we can do this."  So of course, being my own worst enemy, I said "Alright, I will only do 5 rounds."

What a terrible attitude.  Am I right?

I told myself "If I can't do this home workout today, what does that say about me a few weeks later when I'm in a gym again with weights?"  I had to prove to my monster of uncertainty (like that?  I borrowed it from a new friend on Instagram) that I was going to do this in its entirety.  Listening to that negative voice in my head was not going to do me any good. 

It did me no good in the past.  It won't do any good today.  And definitely not tomorrow.

If I want to conquer anything on this journey, I have to start from within.  And that's what I did.  And that is how I finished.

Modified Burpee
2 Push-ups
4 Knee-to-elbows
4 low hop squats

Do 10.  Then take a small break.  Then do 9, break, 8, break, et cetera.

Watch the video!  Follow @fitgirlvideos for inspiration!

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12 August 2014

A Duffle Bag, Cooler, And An Open Road

Road trips.  They make it look so easy in the movies.

Just you and your suitcase.

Or in my case a duffle bag, a bag of heels in their boxes, 3 outfits on hangers, a first aid/safety kit, and road munchies. The healthy kind of course.

It was just me.

And my things.

But I promise I needed every single piece that was packed. 

Before I could begin to load the truck, I needed to:
Clean out a battery hold on my roadside flashlight
Re-stock my first aid kit
Look for a Rand Mcnally but my husband assured me Google maps would prevail.
Plan my meals (around chicken I cooked that day)
Borrow a small cooler
Remove and transfer all car seats to my mom's vehicle.

The upholstery underneath looked brand new, what with the seats and towels and kid things gone. Had to take advantage of the opportunity, relish this temporary look, and give the seat a good dusting off. 

 My trip down started out as an exciting one-woman adventure.  There I was, riding solo, wind whipping stray hair from beneath my 'Bama hat, music up as loud as I've never had it before...it was great!  I even had uninterrupted phone calls while using my Blue Tooth in the truck. 

Everything was awesome! 

4 hours into the drive later.......

I'm bored!

Are there any other interesting channels on Sirius XM?

I think I'm getting hungry.

Pretty sure I need gas.

I think I need to stretch.

I wonder how the kids are doing?

Desperation was the cause for all of my stops.  I ended up taking breaks purely out of boredom.  And with all the water I drank of course the bathroom was calling.  Stretching felt so good, for my sore muscles.  And people-watching.  That's always fun and interesting.

I drank lots of water.  Stuck to eating my chicken.  Snacked on protein bars.  No need for fast food.  It was a first, traveling while sticking to my cleaner-eating diet.  I think went pretty well. 

The drive home went pretty much the same way, but with less pictures.  There's something about heading back home that makes me lose interest in smelling the roses along the way.  I just want to get there.

I went shopping and bought pre-cooked chicken, fruits, some milk, and water.  Had the radio on.  Windows down.  Though this time the sun wouldn't give me that weird tan on my legs, as I headed north with the sun on my right. 

Being on the road all the time, I honestly don't know how truck drivers do it.  It would be way more fun with a partner.  The conversations would be balanced, instead of my one-sided stream of expletives towards other drivers. 

And, there would be more pictures....

This is where my friend took me, after arriving in Clearwater.  Beautiful, isn't it?  
Gorgeous sunset from Clearwater, FloridaCan't believe I used my cell phone and it came out this good.

I am thankful for the experience of once again riding solo.  Hadn't driven alone for that long, in a while.  It wasn't as easy as I had remembered, but I'm not complaining.  I found the peacefulness I needed on that drive down.  If you can imagine what a drive would be like with the entire family, then you know I deserved it.  :-)
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03 August 2014

Sundays Are For...

Thanking the heavens that I made it through the week.

I've been consumed with emotions ranging from sadness to grief to anger and frustration and finally I'm at ease. It's been a heck of a roller coaster. 
With all that has been going on with the passing of our friend, I haven't had much time to dwell on the other reason for my grief. 

My 11-year-old, M, has officially settled in at her dad's  She decided to move up there with him, and last week I drove her. 

This and the news of our friend all happened on the same day, actually. As I drove her up there, I got the call about him having passed away.  

It has been quite an ordeal for everyone. For me, it's cancelled out my routine. I haven't seemed to care much for my own health this past week.  Workouts were going alright, up until Friday.  I haven't lifted a thing since then.  Feeling a bit guilty about that.  I managed to maintain my diet, though some days I didn't eat as much as I should have.
Any situation that is emotionally draining will kill my appetite.

Sadly, eating chocolates won't cure it. Though I have enjoyed trying that in the past.

And now I will be taking leave from my routine for a few more days.

Our friend's funeral is this Thursday down in Florida. I'm trying to make arrangements to attend, barring any obstacles preventing my mom from coming down to stay with the kids. 
I found this quote below and thought to myself "This is absolutely true."  Some people cry.  Others sit in silence with their thoughts.  Sometimes, surrounding themselves by loved ones eases the pain, lightens the burden.  And some people prefer to be alone.  

I previously wrote a post on our dear friend.  Through writing, I was able to grieve.  You can read it here, but I have disabled the comments for the family's sake.   

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28 July 2014

I Grieve, Therefore I Write

I was saddened to discover some terrible news Saturday morning.  Driving home from VA as fast as I could, half the time I was blinded by my own tears.  I rolled the windows down, wanting to feel the wind.  I felt like this was the only way I wouldn't asphyxiate on the sadness thickening the air within my truck.  I had to explain to my 11-year-old why I was crying.  My only thought was that I needed to get to Big D.  I needed to be there for him.

We lost a really good Marine and friend the other night.

It sounds so unreal, to read that sentence and know that it is true.  I won't wake up tomorrow and hear differently.  This is not a bad dream (though it feels like a nightmare).  That hole in my heart will still be there.  I will still look into the faces of his fellow Marines and brothers, and know they have been changed forever.

Death is permanent, and in this case, terrifyingly permanent.  There are no take-backs here.  No rewinding the clock.  Though we all wish we could go back in time to a moment that may have been pivotal in turning this around.

He was very much loved, as he loved those in our tight-knit group of friends.  They were all brothers.  They fought and disagreed, joked around and teased.  They saw each other every day at work, spent time in the gym together.  They trained and deployed together.  They were as close to family as it gets in this lifestyle.  He was a big part of that.

To think about all of the lives he has touched, how we all loved him, it saddens me.  I think about how this affects all of them.  How Big D made the calls and broke the news to the pack.  How his sister bore the burden of telling her family the heart-breaking news.  How parents should not have to bury their own kids.

There are moments where I feel numb.

Then I remember something about him.  I see a picture posted on Facebook and there is a pain in my chest that makes me take a breath.  I hurt because they hurt.  I hurt because he is gone.  I hurt because he had so much more life to live.  With us.

There won't be any new memories made with him.  He won't celebrate life with us.  He won't attend any of our kids' birthday parties.  He won't be around to eat cake pops and jokingly complain about how the kids once stained his carpet with the red velvet ones.  We won't hear him laugh anymore, or exchange banter with the guys.  He won't tell me I'm making him fat with desserts and such.  We won't see him with his girlfriend and a lifetime ahead of them.  Smiling.  Happy. 

Was he happy underneath it all?

Will he ever know how much he is loved?  How much he is missed?  How badly everyone is hurting?  Can he hear our thoughts?  Prayers?  Is he watching over us?  Will we see him again?

The pack is hurting, but in all of this I think they realized one thing if they didn't realize this before: brotherly love runs deep.  The pain of seeing a grown man hurting is unbearable.  They have had their fair share of grieving for the fallen during combat, but nothing ever came this close.  It was imperative to round them up on Saturday evening so that they could grieve together in the only manner acceptable: to drink in his honor and share the stories they had of him.

Later that night, they were out there on the porch, laughing and telling funny stories about their brother.  Reminiscing.  Keeping his memory alive.  Tears were choked back, cries were silenced, merely escaping under their breath.  They lamented his absence, troubled in heart, but kept at it.

If they could bring him back to life that way, they damn sure tried.
Man's best friend

I would like to think that you are up in heaven watching over us, feeling the love and finally at peace.  

You are missed and loved beyond measure.  

Rest easy, Matty.     

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