With Effort…

Hi friends.

Did you miss me?

I sure missed you. I haven’t written one blog post during my summer break. It feels weird but it was intentional for several reasons. However, the main reason was due to the fact that there was something that I’ve been needing to do but have been putting off.


You see, I’ve had this project burning in the back of my head, a book that I’ve wanted to write for over 6 years. It was something that scared the crap out of me because…

1.) With effort comes the possibility of failure.

2.) Some of the content required me to dig deep and address the insecurities I had growing up in order to make my character authentic.

I knew that if I got into the swing of writing blog posts again, I would justify not finishing the book because I was writing something else. The blog has been my excuse for a few years now. For some reason this summer I knew that I couldn’t use the blog as a crutch anymore. In order to be happy I needed to fulfill a promise I made to myself. I needed to finish this book.

So I created a routine that allowed me the creative time that I needed to finish my project but also the down time I needed to enjoy with my family. My daily routine mainly consisted of a variation of the same thing. Waking up early enough to watch the sun rise, drinking my first round of iced coffee and soaking in the moment the world seems to come to life again…


Then I would go to the gym and listen to music that matched the tone of my story and imagine all of the adventures my characters would have that day when I had the time to write it all down.

After the gym we always went on some sort of random adventure. Sometimes it was just Penelope and I since Bridget was working at a summer camp and Brent was busy checking things off of his list for Paramedic School. And then sometimes we all got to do things together.

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No two days were exactly the same. Usually after our daily adventure, and after I was assured that Penelope had been thoroughly worn out, I would either put her down for a nap or let her watch a movie and rest. While she was preoccupied, I would take the time to sit outside in the shade of my back deck, drink round 2 of some home made iced coffee and write.

And that is where I proceeded to write, and write, and write.


I wrote more than I ever felt possible and the process didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. I started the summer with 40 pages already complete and by the time I was done I had completed over 300 pages. The completion snuck up on me and when I was done I was in awe of myself.

I actually did it!


I couldn’t be more satisfied with myself. This was probably one of my greatest accomplishments. Not because writing a book is hard (which, sometimes it is), but because I was so scared to do it. Once I committed to finishing it the process was surprisingly easy. The book just seemed to write itself. The characters just kind of took over and took the book into a direction I never could have planned out in advance. It was like they had been waiting all this time for their story to be told.

Now with that under my belt, I can get back to you… or me. Because when I write this blog I’m addressing you, but mostly I’m addressing me.

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted on this blog. Some of you may have noticed that sometime during last summer I started to disconnect. At one point I was writing a post a week and on a roll. Then suddenly there was a drastic decline. This stems partially from my leg injury and subsequent surgery/recovery, but some of it was due to other personal issues I was having.

Now we all know that sharing personal issues isn’t really a problem for me. (Butthole Problems, Get Your Toes Off My Nipple, The Sun and the Moon) I tend to find freedom in discussing things that I’m struggling with. However, I draw the line when other people are involved.

I really struggled with writing around these issues because for me writing is about sharing the truth. So I ended up not writing as much because I couldn’t be completely honest with you… and ultimately with myself.

Last year was rough. I was physically maimed, not able to even bathe myself or walk and I was battered and floundering mentally and emotionally as well.

Due to the nature of my injury and the severity of the surgery (leg sawed into, bone moved and leg screwed back together) and subsequent recovery I couldn’t really invest any energy to the other things I was struggling with.

So that’s what I did during the summer. I took care of myself (both mentally and physically) and it ended up being the best summer I’ve had since I’ve started my teaching career. I set some goals based on who I wanted to be. I created a routine that was both productive and fulfilling. And through it all I found that elusive balance that I’m always looking for, even if it was only for a fleeting moment.

Now that school has started I have to create new goals, a new routine and a new type of balance. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’m getting there.

And so goes the theme of my life…

Redefining Health

Hi guys! Long time no talk… er write.

I’ve been MIA because I’ve been busy well… living.

I’ve been known to go off the grid. I’ll “lose” my phone or let it die (and not charge it). And when it’s not lost or dead I’ll have half a dozen text messages that were semi constructed during the red lights I hit during my commute home. And by lights I mean just the one light. I live less than a mile away from work, so I don’t have enough red lights to finish my texts. They tend to be forgotten the moment the light turns green.

I’m one of those.

It’s really annoying for most people in the age of instant gratification.

But for the most part I’ve been busy with work and hanging out with my family. I’ve been rearranging my priorities. I’ve been giving myself head space, taking long walks and pondering life and how I want to live it. You know, the usual.

I haven’t written quite as much lately because I haven’t needed to. I’ve been getting my creative outlet through teaching. I spend a lot of my creative energy manipulating the education system in a way that allows me trick kids into enjoying school. This is actually pretty funny because in my latter high school years I spent the majority of my creative energy manipulating the education system by skipping school.

I was a master I tell ya. I mean, I literally walked through the front door, waved to the office ladies on my way out, and made my way to my car which was parked in one of the temporary parking spots at the front of the school. So cheeky! I know.

The past couple of weeks I’ve also been busy redefining what health means to me. My perspective has changed quite a bit since my surgery. Right before spring break I was feeling particularly weak and unhealthy. I stumbled upon a Pinterest article on how to use social media to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle. Mostly it consisted of women dedicated to attaining the perfect body.

When I first saw the before and after pictures I was super impressed. I followed them on Instagram and then slowly as I watched them pop up on my feed I began to notice what was really going on. Hidden behind their inspirational quotes about not giving up was a lot of loathing and self doubt. It seemed to me that the “Don’t Quit” theme started to warp itself into, “Don’t quit picking out the parts of you that you hate… because there is always something that needs to be improved!”

What started out as a motto of belief in oneself turned into a motto of “You’ll never be good enough”.

I soon discovered that these women were just using social media to scrutinize themselves. You could tell that they were relishing in the attention they gained from their success and were feeling the pressure from it. Through this they were beginning to lose sight of what it means to be healthy, constantly comparing themselves to these unrealistic standards.

Being a middle school teacher I can spot this type of desperation a mile away. These grown women were doing the very thing I try to encourage my daughter and all of my students NOT to do.

Instead of finding freedom in their newfound health they were chaining themselves to an unending torrent of selfies in which they judge themselves. I’m talking ab selfies, butt selfies, arm selfies, boob selfies, stretch mark selfies, food selfies… It’s never ending.

It made me wonder if that is what I had been doing all along and maybe that was why I was losing interest in my blogging journey. I mean, I’m not a huge selfie fan but look at the title of this blog. “Too Hottie For That Body” what does that even mean?

I’ve been thinking about my own journey and all of the self-deprication I’ve dished out to myself. I would make healthy choices in order to lose weight, end up feeling really good about myself regardless of whether I lost weight or not. But I would ignore how great I felt because I felt obligated to focus on the superficial end result. At one point I did it for you. I felt like I needed to apologize for being happy with myself the way that I was.

By putting my journey out there I felt like people were waiting for me to succeed and by succeed I mean posting a final AFTER picture of myself in a bikini.

With this vision in mind I would calculate how long it would take me to reach a certain number. I would come up with these restrictions that I felt needed to happen in order to obtain my goal. I would implement these restrictions, get pissed off by the restrictiveness of it all and then rebel against it.

I don’t think that’s healthy.

Maybe I was rebelling against all of these restrictions because deep down I knew it was shallow and unfulfilling.

I hate to break it to you but I kind of doubt I’ll ever post that bikini picture. Not because it can’t be done, but because even if I did get to that level of fitness I wouldn’t need your validation on it. I don’t have anything to prove. In fact, I like my imperfect bathing beauty look just fine…


When I was in 8th grade I remember being in the locker room with a bunch of girls. Somehow we all started talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I thought about it long and hard. When it was my turn I said that I wanted to be happy. Everyone thought I was a weirdo, but it didn’t matter because that was truly what I wanted.

Over the past few months after my injury I’ve been thinking about that more and more. What does it take to be happy? Lying there with my crippled leg I wasn’t happy and I rediscovered that a true piece of the happiness puzzle is health.

In reality, true health feels good. I’ve learned how to tune in to my body and acknowledge what feels good to it. Real food makes me feel good, sweating on purpose feels good, sore muscles feel good, the sun on my face and a good endorphin pump feels good. Taking a deep breath and feeling grateful for that very moment… that, that’s what feels good.

I’ve decided that this whole diet culture has screwed around with my head long enough. Healthy is just a path you choose, it’s a road I’ll have to choose for the rest of my life. Because in reality, there is no end result… not unless you’re dead. And that’s kind of the opposite of what I’m going for here.

Bust A Face

Guys… I used to be a bad ass but now I can hardly walk in public without my leg giving out on me. It kind of looks like I’ve randomly decided to bust a move Carlton style when in reality I’m just trying not to bust a face.



I’m not a very vain person, but I must say that among all of my flaws I’ve always loved my legs. I’ve always had naturally muscular legs that look toned no matter what the state my muffin top was. And I was fast, I could move stealthily no matter what my weight was.

Needless to say… things have changed.


(Don’t look at my leg hair… that’s rude.)

I want to be a haus again. I used to be ashamed of my muscles, and now I can’t wait to feel them stretch and flex. I can’t wait to feel powerful again. I can’t wait until I feel as physically capable as I used to feel.

The other day a few of the kids in my hall at school were trying to jump up and touch an exit sign that was hanging from the ceiling. Upon witnessing this I told them to stop it… and then promptly tried to do it myself.

I barely got off the ground.

The kids were nice enough to congratulate me on my effort and not point out the fact that I looked like a baby penguin throwing a fit.

I’m making small strides. I’ve finally been able to work out consistently even if the workouts I’m capable of doing are really lame. One early morning I found myself on a treadmill next to an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a long time. She ran effortlessly beside me not even noticing me as I wobbled along side her.

It was four thirty on a Tuesday morning. I was wearing the t-shirt I went to bed in and she was wearing a cute workout outfit meant to be athletically cute. (Damn her.) At first I didn’t notice that she was beside me because I was sleep walking trying to convince myself that working out at such and ungodly hour would later make me feel good. Then I glanced over and recognized her.

I’m not really much of a social butterfly when it comes to working out. I kind of just want to do my thing and then sneak out of the gym unnoticed, but I felt rude not saying anything to her.

Finally, I tapped on her shoulder and gave her a quick wave hello.

We exchanged a few niceties and I awkwardly kept trying to put my headphones back on even though she wasn’t quite done asking me questions. She was really friendly, but I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious due to the fact that I looked like an albino without mascara and she looked like freakin Bambi with her black eye lashes batting in my direction. I tried to simultaneously focus on what she was saying to me and the belt moving beneath my feet, so I didn’t end up doing one of my accidental Carlton moves.

The competitor in me couldn’t stand the fact that she was having a full conversation with me while she ran. I couldn’t stand being lapped by her (even though she couldn’t technically lap me due to the fact that we were on treadmills). Plus, I’m pretty sure this woman runs 50 mile races every other weekend and could probably kick my ass on a good day, but this didn’t stop me from wanting to provide an explanation for why I wasn’t as awesomely fit as her.

As the conversation finally ebbed I blurted out, “I had surgery.”

She looked at me.

“That’s why I can’t run.”


“Yeah, it was pretty intense.” And that’s why I’m fatter than I was the last time I saw you. Even though that shouldn’t entirely take the blame because in reality I was fat before I had surgery and I kind of hate how your boobs stay still while you run while mine shimmy uncontrollably under my oversized pajama shirt despite the efforts of my too small sports bra. Anyway, I used to be a bad ass and still totally could be even though technically I’m not. Thought you should know… you know in case you were wondering why I can hardly walk beside you. 

“Oh, well good luck with that.”

The conversation ended shortly after. My time on the treadmill was up so I stopped the belt, gingerly stepped off the machine and hobbled out the door wondering what the hell is wrong with me.

The Monday Diet


Teaching is taking over my life guys.


I came upon this realization the other day while I was putting on my quotation mark earrings.


This isn’t the only questionable fashion choice I’ve made recently. I’ve also taken to wearing jeggings to work.


My normal pants are just a wee bit tight. Not tight enough to cause me to run to the store to buy more, but tight enough for me to want to avoid them. You see, I had been on the Monday diet for the whole month of February. You know how it goes, you decide that Monday will be the day that you will be super strict on eating. You make all of these plans and get all hyped up. Then Monday sucks, so you come home, eat cookies and drink wine. Then Tuesday rolls around and you are just one day away from Wednesday which is practically the weekend, soooo you might as well just wait start again next Monday…

I was on that diet.

Lately, I had been treading water just trying to keep up. Work life was kicking my ass, family life was kicking my ass, the size of my ass was kicking my ass. This doesn’t mean I’m not having fun. I just have a whole lot of life happening all at once.

It appears I am allergic to many things in life (stress, knee injuries, having babies, almost having babies, working full-time, surgery) all of these things make me fat.

I’m fat again ya’ll. True story.

For some people this may be a one time thing, but for me I have a trigger in my brain that causes me to get fat. I’m not alone, I know that, but it still bums me out.

Every time this happens (I hate that I have to write that phrase out) I go through the same cycle. It goes a little something like this…

  1. Oh shit I’m fat!
  2. How did this happen?
  3. Don’t worry it’ll go away.
  4. It’s not going away!
  5. Do something about it.
  6. What the hell do I do?
  7. Oh shit I’m fat!
  8. This is stupid, get it together.
  9.  I still don’t know what to do!
  10. Ok, I’m ready now.
  11. What was my problem? This is much easier than I made it out to be.

It takes about a month to go through all of that emotional turmoil. It’s exhausting, and kind of ridiculous. Which is probably why I didn’t want an audience while I went through it. (That and I didn’t have time to write it all out.)

I’m pretty sure this cycle has a little something to do with my own biological seasons. I have my own summer, fall, winter and spring. Having the predisposition to depression can cause any season to show up at any moment. For the past month I was plunged into winter… sluggish and unmotivated. But suddenly little buds are starting to pop up, and I just know that it won’t be long before I’m blooming all over again. In fact, I can feel it coming now.

I think it all started with a walk around the block.

I hadn’t exercised (other than my weekly physical therapy sessions) in months. Walking around the block was such a hard core workout. I was sweaty and my right leg was exhausted. But I finally got to just listen to music that wanted to listen to. I got to feel the fresh breeze on my flushed face. And I got to gulp down clean fresh air. It was divine.

After that, I started walking every day, going further and further.

Then I started waking up earlier than normal just to have a moment to myself before the day begun. I swapped my nightly wine for morning tea. I gave myself some time to read, or write. You would be amazed at what can happen if you force yourself to relax and be mindful.


Slowly I started to come a live again and in addition to my quiet time in the mornings I chose two days out of the week to go to the gym in the mornings before work. It took some bartering with Brent to make it work. He’s in paramedic school, so he works out in the mornings since he’s in school all day. I begged him to give me two days of his five days. He agreed but said that he would take them back the first time I didn’t do it. This only motivated me more.

I’ve also gone back to having my weekly sunrise walk with my friend Andrea. We switched it to a weekend morning, so I don’t have to rush to get to work. Last time we ended up walking for almost 90 minutes just talking and catching up. It didn’t even feel like a work out, but when I got home and looked at my fit bit I had already walked my 10,000 steps. I ended up burning somewhere around 3,400 calories that day.

After a while other things started to fall into place again. I guess all of my previous attempts at being healthy and losing weight weren’t a complete waste after all. It turns out I had developed some healthy habits before that I was able to jump right back into.

A few weeks ago I felt like I was missing out on life because life was consuming me whole. I didn’t think I could add one more thing to the equation. I was just too busy and too stressed out. But surprisingly, the key to my happiness was adding more and prioritizing it. I added more alone time, more self-reflection, more yummy clean food and fresh clean air. It is surprising how quickly the little things add up.

Before I knew it I was five pounds down and that much closer to shedding my jeggings.

It works the other way too. The little things can be what derails you from the life you want to live. I always forget this, but it really is a matter of deciding what kind of life you want and simply living it… one step at a time.

Tricky Territory


It’s three o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting in the warm spot on the couch where Scout was sleeping before he heard me sneak down the stairs.

He must have jumped down when he heard me bumbling around in the dark and is currently looking up at me groggily from his new lesser station in life on the floor as I type.

He’s probably wondering when I’ll come to my senses and go back to bed so that he can climb back to his warm forbidden spot.

But it won’t happen, not tonight anyway.

You see, he wasn’t the only one trespassing  throughout the night. Just one hour earlier Penelope had made her way into our bed where she initially snuggled the sucker who invited her in (Brent) and eventually made her way to the soft comfort of her reluctant mother (me).

I’m not going to lie, a part of me likes it too- the sweet warmth from her tiny little body. Then the other part of me (the part that got her boob elbowed five times and her hair pulled twice) just wishes the kid could sleep through the night.

Initially I tried to go back to sleep while I felt her wiggle and grunt next to me. But before I knew it my brain had begun to roil around in my head playing out all kinds of scenarios about life. What I had and hadn’t done, what I wanted to do, what I needed to do.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one pondering life because within the darkness I heard a little voice next to me say, “Mommy, did you know that I’ve never been on a roller coaster ride?” I giggled and made a mental note to take her sooner than later, but refused to fall prey to the conversation that would surely open the door to more sleeplessness.

I eventually put her back to bed, but I had given up any hope that I would ever go back to sleep.

Since going back to work after my surgery, I’ve gotten sucked back into my routine of all work and no play. I had a lot of catching up to do upon my arrival. When I’m not working, I spend my weekends preparing for the next week ahead.

There is no such thing as sleeping in at my house so I usually spend Saturday mornings meal planning and spilling coffee on my planner, while Penelope plays with legos.

After grocery shopping in my pajamas Penelope and I will then usually spend the rest of the morning making home made snacks for the family.


Brent is in paramedic school now which means he doesn’t work on shift anymore. This also means I have a hungry man in my house at all times. Since packaged foods advertised as unprocessed packaged foods are so expensive I make my own. Here’s what is typically on my weekend repertoire…

1. Chewy No-Bake Cinnamon Cranberry Granola Bars


Technically, I was only successful making these once. The other two times it wouldn’t stick together. But boy, that one time was tasty enough to make me keep trying until I get it right again.

2. No Bake Energy Bites


This is Brent’s favorite post-workout snack. It’s also his favorite post-study, post-shower and post-watched-some-TV snack as well.

3. Baked Chicken Breast


I’ve been roasting up a couple of pounds of chicken every weekend as well. I’ll use it throughout the week in dinners that require cooked chicken, salads for lunch and it also serves as another man snack for Brent who lives off of meat, and meat, and no bake energy bites.

4. Healthy Banana Bread or other muffins.


I always make a batch of healthy muffins for an easy snack or breakfast for the girls during the week as well. We switch it up every week and use the heart shaped muffin tins that Penelope insisted we buy.

Despite the fact that I’ve been working hard at eating clean I’ve still gained a few pounds in the last month. I’m hoping that it is mostly just me building my leg muscles back up from after my surgery. I didn’t gain a ton of weight post surgery like I was afraid I would but I lost so much muscle mass my legs don’t even look like they belong to me anymore.

My first full week back to work I was scheduled to go to Outdoor Lab which is like a mountain retreat for the sixth graders. This is a right of passage for all of the kids who go to school in my district. I wasn’t cleared to go yet so my Girls on the Run co-coach offered to go for me. This meant I would have to teach her class… P.E.


I actually had a blast that week “teaching” the kids how to play flag football. However, I wasn’t quite prepared for how to navigate the tricky territory of telling middle schoolers what to do with their balls. I winced every time I caught myself saying phrases like, “Okay guys, hold your balls!”

Bridget is a student assistant during the time that I taught gym and would come and visit me every now and then. I’m also pretty sure she came in to scope out a cute boy or two. So in that case, I did what any self respecting mother would do…

I embarrassed her by taking pictures.


“Oh. Em. Gee. Mom… What are you doing?!”


“Ehhhhh… I’m going to act real awkward now.”


“Just kidding. You can’t make things any more awkward for me. I’m in middle school! Nice try though.

While I was teaching gym the other P.E. teacher told me that they had old spin bikes sitting in a closet that nobody uses. Later on that day I was talking with our facility manager about the bikes and asked if we had one in our make shift teacher lounge gym.


The next morning I came in to find that they had joined forces and put one of the bikes in my class room to help me with my recovery! Isn’t that the coolest thing ever?!


The kids think it’s hilarious when I get on it during class discussions. I also thought I could let the kids take turns using it when they need a little brain break. I hop on it during my planning period and check my emails on my iPad on it first thing in the morning.

My limp is almost completely gone now, but I’ve been warned not to over do it for fear of a set back in my recovery. It’s almost been three months since I had my tibial tubercle osteotomy. It’s hard not to be impatient. I’m so ready to be normal again.