Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year's Resolution: Showing Appreciation For Where I Am

Being appreciated is so important.
How do you show your loved ones you appreciate them and what they do? Or do you forget to?
I'm guilty of that.
So is my husband.
Sometimes its easy to have expectations for one another without showing a single bit of appreciation or even internal gratitude once that expectation has been met. I think this is very normal. The problem lies in never reflecting on when and how our expectations were met.
In the new year of 2013 and beyond, I've decided that I will do my best to be more conscious and present of the blessings around me. When I'm more present and conscious, the appreciation -- hopefully daily -- should flow much more easily than it does now.
Daily appreciation ---> warm words of kindness and thanks to GOD, my husband, family and friends and even friendly and helpful strangers. Not drawn out soliloquies, haha.
Each year, as I get older, the desire I have to be the woman that GOD created me to be deepens. As this desire deepens, I realize that having a heart of 'intentions' just doesn't cut it.
Its about doing. Its about action.
So where do I begin? I'm beginning with showing the gratitude and appreciation that I have for what's in front of me to TO those in front of me.
Lately, its been hard to show my appreciation to those in front of me when I don't connect it back to the gratitude I have [to GOD] inside of me. For others it can be an easy thing. It used to be an easy thing for me to do, but times of confusion throughout the years have proved the task of internal gratitude to be something that I've taken for granted.
Being consciously appreciative will also keep my attitudes to a minimum. {fake laugh with a side eye}
Watching the news reminds me to correct my attitude and 'pity parades' but being conscious of the blessings around me will lead me to the blessings that I want and have yet to encounter.
I guess this is my primary  New Year's resolution and sharing it for you to see will help keep me true to it.

Have a great time bringing in the New Year! I'm looking forward to seeing all of your New Year's Eve festivities!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our Ornament Collecting Tradition

Even though Christmas is over its still holiday season so a post about ornaments is still fitting.
Collecting ornaments is another little Christmas tradition of ours. Hallmark ornaments have consistently had the coolest character ornaments around.
Before we had kids, we just collected 2, one for each of us. This year we collected 3, two for the kids and just one for us---a family photo ornament. Ornaments can get expensive so it'll be interesting to see how we handle this in the future.
One way will include me making some of our family ornaments but that will be once I have full cooperation from my brood. I'm sure you can see how ornaments are seemingly fun 'balls' and 'toys' that have to be touched, tugged and just plain taken off of the tree.
Each ornament holds a 'special' meaning for us, whether it is a place that we visited or favorite hobbies (golf or shopping like Minnie Mouse).
After our first son arrived, on Chrismas nonetheless, we were given a couple ornaments as gifts.
The cookie ornament was given from our realtor that helped us find our first house. She wrote a handwritten note on that back so those 1st home memories will always be remembered on Christmas. Of course the cookie ornament is my youngest's favorite.
(And yes as of last night, he was still holding chewed-up food hostage in his mouth for 30+ minutes.)

I love this tradition and eventually our tree will be filled up with special ornaments and not just colorful bulbs. It makes putting up the tree just a bit more fun.
If you don't already collect ornaments, check out some of Hallmark's, you may find something you like.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Life Isn't Always Easy, But Its Always Precious

Disbelief, shock and disconnected.
That was my initial reaction to the tragedy that happened on December 14th in Newtown, Connecticut. All I could think about is why someone would do something like that. Of course in these situations, that's a never-ending question that never gets an answer.
I'm usually skimming my phone checking emails, Twitter and Facebook, but this past week and a half, the time I spent perusing my phone was to read articles and updates on the tragedy that took place.
Still disconnected, I had to know every update.....that is until the names of the children were released. I read stories of the teachers and Principal's heroic acts and shook my head in disbelief.
I read the names of the victims in an emotionally disconnected state just once.
We traveled to our home state for an extended weekend to have our Christmas visit with family when this tragedy took place, so even though this news was on every television of every house that we visited, I was disconnected to it.
Probably because I was trying to keep my boys from breaking anything and reminding them to cough into their elbows, share and say "Thank you."
By the end of our trip, I had a hard time looking at their names and my natural reaction was to turn away, look away, change the channel or close my browser. Well the pain of what happened finally made its connection to my heart after I dropped off my kids at their childcare/school. I ran some last minute Christmas errands and then found myself rushing to pick them up. While I was speeding to get to their school early, I felt the anxiety that parents around the world are feeling.
I said a prayer for all of the victims as well as for my kids' safety. Since I've allowed the tragedy to 'connect,' I've been crying like a baby when I think about ALL of the victims and all of their families, especially when I see the children's names written on Christmas ornaments.
I'm still in disbelief and shock but now I'm connected, and I hope that you are too.

If you've ever read the book The Shack and envisioned the innocent little girl playing with Jesus after her life had been taken from her, then you have a vivid idea of what the children and teachers are doing in Heaven.
And if you read that book, that amazing book, then I'm sure you bawled through that part of the story like me.

The last of the victims were laid to rest this weekend. Say an extra prayer of thanks for your loved ones tonight. Though life isn't always easy, its certainly more precious than we realize.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There's Christmas In July And There's July At Christmastime

It was 85 degrees on December 1st.
I wore knee-length boots, shorts and a thin long-sleeved shirt. And I was still hot.
It was in the low 70's from then until this past Saturday.
Now its 33 degrees with a high in the mid to high 40's.

Winter has reached Texas with unopened arms. Yes, it IS December but wouldn't you be spoiled too?!? Not to keep wearing shorts, but to keep not wearing coats.

For those of you that live in cold weather and have been visited by snow for several weeks....ignore my whine and give me some cheese.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Budgeting Fitness & Doing Supersets

When I first started staying at home with my oldest son, I didn't want to buy a gym membership or technically keep it because I didn't want to have an 'unnecessary' expense. I'm our family budgeter and I thought I could just work out at home.
I invested in Insanity dvds (purchased off of Craigslist) and a couple other exercise dvds that were only used consistently for about a month.
Well, like plenty other SAHMs (stay-at-home moms), that's sometimes impossible to do.
During naptime/downtime, chores and adult [reality] shows always win.
{'Adult' shows sounds so x-rated, but its funnier than saying grownup shows.
Especially when your kid repeats to your friend or family member that they got to watch an adult movie.
Iron Man is not what comes to their mind. But its always funny.}
I finally realized how important going to the gym really is and since this past late August/early September, I've made an effort to go weekly. At worst, I go bi-weekly, but that's only when I'm sick or traveling.
I realized that it IS a necessary expense. Health and fitness should be budgeted INTO the family budget because it is important physically, mentally and even spiritually.
I'm much happier because I'm in better shape than I was 3 months ago.
When you feel good, you look good. Not for vanity's sake, but for the sake of positive self-esteem.....which out precious children have a natural tendency to lower, stretch and leave all wrinkly.
Weight training is just as important as cardio.
Of course cardio burns the fat, but weight training tones and sculpts.
My cardio: intervals on treadmill and stairmaster
My weights: leg press machine and 15lb dumbbells


Calf raises
Supersets on the leg press machine are doing squats and calf raises. You work the whole leg at one time on one machine.
I do 3 sets of supersets on the leg press machine after doing cardio and then some sort of bicep curls.
I actually experiment with other forms of the same muscle-working machines just for the fun of working out.
 Of course budgeting fitness means cutting out a certain amount of shopping and dining out......darn those white chocolate mochas that tempt and taunt me on the days that I can fall asleep while singing and coloring.
Do you have a fitness routine?

Holiday Hair

Since moving out of my home state, I've decided that each year I'm going to have 'holiday hair.'
Holiday hair is easy to maintain or requires NO maintenance while traveling for extended weekends or week-long visits.

During the holidays, we do a lot of traveling visiting family and friends and this leaves little time for ensuring and perfecting decent-looking, self-maintained hair. Well, its generally because of the drying time needed that my hair usually doesn't get.

When my hair was longer and thicker, I would go home and do a twistout and it would either be a failed attempt or still partially damp. Its pretty impossible to fix a failed attempt when you have little ones to feed, dress and keep entertained before shuffling them off to visit family members.

Now that my hair is short [and still thick, yay!], I'm really not in the mood to worried about a failed hairstyle attempt that is much harder to fix.

Oh and exercising is a breeze with holiday hair!

Enjoying my frames, even though they're just for reading.

Holiday hair: Senegalese twists
Lipstick: Ruby Woo from the MAC store

Do you have 'holiday hair?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Ditched NaBloPoMo & Took An Unexpected Break

I am so not good with traveling and blogging.
I don't know how you all do it, expecially when you have little ones to tend to while on vacation. My little ones wanted to stay on the go Go GO.
It didn't help that I had caught a pneumonia/sinusitis bug the day before we got on the plane.
We were there for about a week and I enjoyed myself in the midst of my phlegm-hacking and nose-blowing (gross, sorry). 
When we got back I thought I would just take my over-the-counter expectorants and fever reducing meds so that I would be healthier and refreshed for the coming week but, my little illness really showed me.
Annnnnddddd, my husband had to go out of town for the WHOLE week for one of his projects.
That was last week.
At the end of last week when I realized that the boogeyman living in my nose and chest for 2 weeks wasn't going away, I went to the doctor and was prescribed 2 different forms of medicine for pneumonia and sinusitis.
Before finally going to the doctor, I figured I may have had 'walking pneumonia' because my chest and lungs physically hurt for several day with a fever to follow a few days after.
The kids at my boys' little MDO school just cough and cough without covering their mouths and wipe their snotty noses on their hands. Yuck. Last year, when RSV (the absolute worst virus for toddlers!) was shuffling around their MDO school, they were tested for walking pneumonia and strep throat before being diagnosed with RSV.
Just writing this is making me think about taking them out of that little MDO school until February, the end of nasty-airborne-virus-amongst-kids season.
And by the way, my oldest coughs into his elbow and wipes his nose with his shirt. He was even complimented by his teacher for it.....not the shirt part, lol.
My prescribed anitbiotics had the side effects of drowsiness and dizziness, so since taking them for the past 5 days, I've allowed myself as much sleep rest as possible.
What did my kids do while I rested you ask [this stay at home mommy]?
Sigh. Unfortunately they were snapped on pretty often, then ignored, but also fed all 3 meals. least they were fed.
There wasn't much....oh who am I kidding, there wasn't ANY learning, singing or anything going on. There was a lot of quiet time, tv watching and shushing with "Sorry honey Mommy's sick."
My poor kids.
They haven't seen any of their favorite shows since, haha. We're back on the go.
Oh and I also let them make a complete mess of their toys and my room.
Since my hubby was gone for the whole week, I never cleaned up.
But I did disinfect. {smile}
 Guess I should start taking all of the immune building supplements I give my boys. Duh.
But....I missed you guys and reading your blogs! I have to catch up on them like homework.
I'm going to be bombarding you with posts and bombarding your blogs with comments!
Hope you all are well and healthy!!!!!