Worth It

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It’s over… my time at home has come to an end and now I have to go back to work. And surprisingly, I’m okay with that.

When I first started this blog I was a stay at home mom looking for an outlet. I felt a lot of guilt for not being one hundred percent content with staying home with my kids. After all, it had been a suburban dream come true to have the opportunity to do that.

This is my first year back to work since having my youngest and I’ve learned that I actually enjoy going to work. I like being somebody other than Mom. I like wearing different hats and exploring the parts of me that have nothing to do with the kids that I’ve given birth to. I find fulfillment in it and I no longer feel guilty about it.

That being said, I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with my kids this week. It will fuel me through the next few months as I teach my way through the rest of the school year and into summer. Then I’ll be able to go back to frolicking in sun with my kids and soaking up all of the quality time with them that I can until they start to get on my nerves again.  Then, magically, it will be time to go back to work.

It’s all about balance my friends.

In the mean time, I’ll bask in the joy that I’ve felt the past few days. I’ll file it away into my memory bank to be retrieved when I’m old and in the mood to reminisce about the good ol’ days. It’ll be filed under “that one spring break when I managed to actually cram everything in that I actually wanted to do and didn’t feel one bit of stress during the process”.

So here it is, a list of things that we did for the remainder of spring break…

1.) Play dates that included backyard romps, iced tea with lemon and mint along with some garden planning.

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2.) Post weed pulling picnics that included strawberries, sugar snap peas and green smoothies.

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3.) A picture book inspired trip to The Butterfly Pavillion so that we could be just like Fancy Nancy!

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Even if being surrounded by a million butterflies turned out to be less glamorous that we initially thought…

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“Ahhhh!!!”

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“Whyyyyy?!?!”

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(She didn’t mind touching the creepy crawlies as long as they didn’t touch her.)

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“This place is wack… but kind of awesome.”

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She ended up talking about it non-stop when we got home 🙂

4.) A trip to The Denver Zoo…

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…with smoothies provided by our friends.

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We heart smoothies! And cars that are big enough to tote our friends around in.

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I also heart leg hugs from sleepy toddlers. (Please stop growing:( )

I think Penelope’s favorite part was probably the carousel…

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even if she had a hitchhiker ride along with her.

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“Hey… so uh, do you think I can catch a ride?”

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“Well… only because you are my best friend’s little brother.”

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“This is awesome!!!”

5.) Long Runs with Sir Scout…

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I mean long hobbles… Scout and I both seriously need to get in shape before bathing suit season and he is long overdue for a good waxing.

6.) A mommy play date that included red wine, tapas… 

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and Flamenco dancing!

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And a friend who is probably currently nursing a hang over.

Yep, I would say it was a pretty great break.

Now, it’s time for me to gather all of the papers I didn’t grade and pack them up for my return to work tomorrow. I’ll go back feeling rejuvenated. It’s good to hit a restart button every now and then, get out of the funk that you were in. Who knows, maybe I’ll even ride my bike to school in order to keep in the spirit of things.

Oh! I almost forgot! I managed to lose two pounds this week too, but that was before the red wine and tapas. Worth it.

Patchouli and Herbs- Spring Break Edition

Oh the joys of not working…

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So far, Spring Break is everything I had hoped it would be. All of those idealistic visions I had in my head on how my break would unfold have come true.

My brother and sister-in-law came out for a visit the first half of the week and we spent three and a half glorious days frolicking around Denver.

Uncle Ben, (as the girls call him) and Bridget are the same spirit animal. They both could spend hours and hours perusing through comic book stores, listening to records, talking about the bands that they like, or judging which movies are the best.

While we were eating dinner together one night I commented on how they would probably be school friends if they were the same age and you know… he wasn’t her uncle and all.

Ben agreed, “Yeah, we’d totally be emo together and could bond over our angst.”

Then everyone at the table proceeded to bust out their smart phones and show what kind of music they listened to when they were in middle school. Uncle Ben admitted to having a thing for Kelly Clarkson but Aunt Stacie won the battle when she busted out some hardcore heavy-metal-screaming-lead-singer type of song.

We all just gaped at her because you never would guess. She’s a middle school math teacher who wear’s adorably fashionable clothes and knits with her small group friends in her free time.

I admitted to my R&B phase. But what I didn’t tell them was that I used to dance in the mirror to TLC’s Waterfalls wishing I had T-Boz’s abs. Or the fact that I went to bed at night listening to All For One’s, I Swear wishing I had a boyfriend.TLC

Ahhh, I can smell awkward tweens from the early nineties as I type this (CK1 and mint chewing gum). And I can’t help but cringe at the fact that we slow danced to Boyz II Men- I’ll Make Love To You at junior high dances. (Umm… eeew?) This is obviously before my discovery of Gwen Stephani.

Ahem. Anyway, back to the present…

The first full day that Ben and Stacie were in town we headed for downtown Denver in search for Voodoo Donuts. According to Bridget it is a tradition to stand in front of the store and take a picture of you holding the pink box. At her school this is an instagram must.

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We didn’t even know what to choose donut wise, so we let the guy at the counter pick out a dozen for us. Then we took them to a used comic book store/coffee shop that Bridget had been wanting to visit called Mutiny Information Cafe where we each took little pinches of the different donuts so we could try them all.

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Then Penelope proceeded to run amok while Brent and I chased after her threatening to put her in time out if she screeched out loud in public again. Stacie sat back and drank coffee while Ben and Bridget listened to records and checked out the comic books.

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Two peas in their pod… (Notice Brent in the back ground trying to corner Penelope before she darted around another book shelf.)

I actually forgot my phone on this occasion so I used Bridget’s phone to take pictures. I had to text them to myself in order to write this post. Have you ever looked in a tweenager’s phone before? It’s equal parts weird… and awesome.

When I tried to text the photos to myself I couldn’t figure out what my “name” was.

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Turns out I’m under “Where am I” which is actually pretty much spot on… However, I would actually prefer to be referred to as “Strawberry milk” or better yet, “THE UNIVERSE ITSELF”.

Anyway, here are a few moments from Bridget’s perspective on this trip.

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This area is very much what you would expect from Colorado. A lot of shirtless blonde dread headed hippies out and about playing hacky sack in their front yards smelling like patchouli and “herbs”.

“What’s patchouli?” Stacie asks.

“Hippy deodorant,” Ben responds.

After scoping out the local shops we headed toward Cherry Creek to our favorite burger joint, Cherry Cricket. We were all in agreement that we needed something in our bellies beside sugar and caffeine.

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I debated on whether I should get a salad or a grilled chicken sandwich, but I caved in. It would be a shame to go to my favorite burger place and not order a burger. So I went the moderation route and ordered the smallest size burger. I opted to eat only a few fries from the communal basket and ordered water instead of beer or soda. Later that night we created a salad bar of sorts to try balance out all of the other debauchery.

The next morning everyone ordered breakfast burritos from a local joint down the street. I decided not to join in and made eggs for breakfast instead. We had debated on what to do for the rest of the morning and decided that Ben and Stacie should go on a hike in order to get the full Colorado experience.

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Afterward everyone was still full from their breakfasts so we had frozen yogurt for lunch. We were all pretty worn out after the hike, so we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the back yard testing out the ol’ hammock. That night I made skinny taste chicken enchiladas and we tucked in for the night and watched the old Star Wars movies in our jammies.

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Ben and Stacie’s last day was spent in true Colorado style, hiding indoors during a spring time snow shower. Stacie, Bridget and I braved the elements long enough to go to a local artisan shop so that Stacie could find a souvenir for a friend. Lo and behold we found some patchouli soap just in case she wanted to head back to Missouri smelling like Colorado… minus the herbs.

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As Ben and Stacie drove off toward the airport that afternoon the sun came back out again just in time to give them a sunny Colorado goodbye.

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Stay tuned for Spring Break Celebrations part 2… and we’ll just pretend like I didn’t listening to Boyzzzz 2 Men the whole time I was writing this post.

*** What kind of music did you listen to when you were in Junior High???***

…LYLAS 🙂

Head Start on Spring Break!

Let’s do some math. Tons of exercise + eating super clean and healthy.

According to my calculations that should equal about a twenty pounds weight loss this week.

Unfortunately, I’m horrible at math… and super impatient and entitled.

What?! I did what I was supposed to do for five days, so that means I should get what I want. Right?

I weighed in this morning feeling deserving of the calculations above. Instead, I weighed in at 198.2… exactly what I weighed last week.

Upon further reflection I realized there may be a slight difference between what actually went down and what went down in my head. I exercised five days in a row. I mostly ran, and ran, and ran… only my run isn’t quite what it used to be. Instead, it was more of a run, and then a hobble, and then a walk. Repeat that process over and over again for about three miles and that’s pretty much what I did.

Eating wise I made healthy recipes, some of which my family deemed as questionable but ate anyway, because they love me. I was prepared for work, bringing well thought out breakfasts and left overs for lunch. And if I drank coffee I opted for no sugar.

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Then on Thursday I had the brilliant idea of making rice crispy treats for my students in celebration of the impending spring break. I followed the microwave recipe in order to save time and ended up making rice crispy bricks. It took ingesting about six treats to figure out that they were inedible.

It didn’t matter because even if they did turn out, I wouldn’t have been able to share them with the kids anyway.

I was halfway through my first period class on Friday when I got a call from the babysitter alerting me to the fact that Penelope got bit by her dog.

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The babysitter felt horrible, but Penelope wasn’t even phased by it. I got my classes covered and picked her up to take her to the doctor right away. She didn’t cry when she got bit by the dog but cried when I came to get her because she wanted to stay. (What a little weirdo.)

After the appointment we stopped by the school so that I could make sure everything was set for the sub for the rest of my classes. When we walked in everyone crowded around her with concerned looks on their faces. At first Penelope was confused as to why they were coddling her. When they asked her how she was she simply said, “Good.”

Then she figured out what they are fussing over and when they asked her she would say, “Not good! I got bit by a dog!”

When they asked if it was a big dog or a little dog it started off as a little dog and then she got into the art of exaggeration, “It was a big dog!”

Before I knew it she was making announcements in the hallway, “I got bit by a DOG!”

And of course they gave her all of the attention she was craving, she roamed the halls giving fist bumps and high fives. After her moment of celebrity she insisted that I take her to the “worm factory” to make her dog bite better. The “worm factory” is actually a burger joint that serves ice cream with gummy worms in it.

So that’s what we did.

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… and I helped myself to a burger and fries too.

Yes, I was eating my feelings. Because lets face it, this dog bite was more traumatic for me than it was for her.

The silver lining was that we got a head start on our Spring Break! Spring Break is my dress rehearsal for summer.

SUMMER!

The next morning we started our break off with the cutest birthday party ever. Penelope’s best buddy Lucy turned three and had a Curious George themed party. Seriously… Cutest. Thing. Ever.

It was everything you envision when you decide you want to have kids. I just love this age!

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Later that after noon it was time to celebrate Lucy’s mom’s birthday. Andrea had Lucy two days before her own birthday and decided this year to treat herself to a spa day. She invited me to come along. I couldn’t justify an entire spa day but I did offer to pop by for a pedicure and provide some company.

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Andrea was still getting her facial when I arrived at the fancy shmancy hotel. So what did I do? I found happy hour in the adjacent bar of course!

It was the perfect way to kick off Spring Break. Andrea and I giggled and talked in the dark ambient light. Then I left her to enjoy her hair treatment and makeover while I went home and played in the yard with my kids.

For me, perfectly painted pink toes in green grass is a true sign of good things to come. Sure enough, as we dug around in the garden clearing the way for the new season we found a little surprise.

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A little head of lettuce that somehow rebirthed itself from last year’s crop!

It’s just the beginning of good things to come. We have exciting plans make for the week ahead… family coming to town, kites to fly, picnics to be had, frolicking to be done. You know… the usual.

So if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go ahead and get started on that 🙂

Something Clicked

I’m back guys!

True story…

I don’t know what happened, one minute I was dying a slow death, zombie walking my way through the work week, and the next thing I knew it was Friday. When I woke up that day my cold/flu was gone and the sun was shining.

I came home from work to a sparkling house, dinner on the table and a bouquet of flowers…

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Best. Husband. Ever.

Brent was heading back to the mountains the next day and was trying to boost me up since I had been feeling so crappy.

The next day I couldn’t help but take advantage of my new-found health and the weather. So, first thing in the morning the girls and I went on our first hike of the season.

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The melting snow was rushing down the mountain in rivulets and streams. It was the sound of Spring making it’s arrival known. In just a few months we’ll be sticking our toes in the water to cool off.

The hike took two hours but we still hadn’t had our fill of fresh air. So, when we got back home we continued to play outside. I ended up prodding through my dilapidated garden only to find that some of my flowers and herbs are already trying to make their appearance.

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Oh yeah… and the weeds too.

I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling weeds and clearing out last year’s dead stuff while my little gardening partner kept the lady bugs and worms entertained.

“Oh! They love me!”

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We were both filthy and exhausted by the time we were done.

That was supposed to be our day of relaxation since we were booked solid the next day…

We had Bridget’s swim meet to attend,

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and Brent’s St. Baldrick’s fundraiser to go to.

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I don’t know what it is but this spring weather has really kicked my motivation into gear. I just want to spend every moment I can playing outside and all I want to do is eat fruit and vegetables out of my garden.  Spring break is only a week away and before I know it it will be Summer.

In my first year of teaching I have managed to snag another higher paying job for next year. But I’ve also managed to lose all of my muscle mass. I’ve been pinching the skin where my biceps used to be and I kind of want to cry when I look at the lumpy skin where my quads used to shine.

I’m feeling really antsy for that time of year when I can read books for fun and run when the sun rises. In the mean time, I’ve really kicked my diet into gear. When I weighed in this morning I weighed in at 198.2 four pounds lower than last week and 13.2 pounds lighter than my first weigh-in after Christmas.

 I’ve decided that I am going to lose at least twenty pounds by the time school lets out at the end of May, and an additional 10 pounds for the fourth of July.

I need that internal competitive process in my life right now. It always feels exciting knowing that you are challenging yourself. I love the feeling you get when you see the changes happening before your eyes.

 I hate this about me, but I’m more of an all or nothing kind of gal. I’m either all the way in or I’m half-assing it. Frankly, I’ve just gotten really bored with where I’m at so it’s time to make a change.

Something just clicked for me this week. Maybe it was the weather, or maybe I was just sick of being sick. But for some reason I woke up one day feeling more motivated than I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve got that gut feeling, the one you get when you feel like a fire has been lit from the inside. I know that feeling well, it’s the feeling I get when I’m about to conquer something. It’s not something that I can fake or summon, it’s just something that comes around every now and then like a wave. It will eventually ebb away so I have to grab onto it and take advantage of it while it’s here. And that’s what I intend to do.

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And I Wake Up

It’s warm out and I’m running… finally, after months and months of being trapped in doors, I’m free to run. The breeze is cool against the sweat beading up on my skin.

I don’t have to go to work and I’m not weighed down by my parental obligations. I’m just running. My legs feel powerful and capable. My steady breath falls into a perfect rhythm with my stride.

Then my lungs start to burn and my breath becomes labored. The breeze is gone and the heat radiating from my body is trapped.  I’m burning up from the inside out. I try to clear my throat and start to cough. I cough and cough with no relief until I start to gag. The burning in my chest pulsates through my throat and down my upper back. Each time I cough my head throbs.

And I wake up.

I’m currently sitting in my chair drinking coffee in an attempt to gain enough energy to go buy some medicine to relieve the phlegm that is stuck in my chest. I’m listening to Penelope ping pong back and forth from one end of the room to the other, pushing an obnoxious toy along the way. Spring has decided to stop by for a few days prompting that stupid wood pecker. The confused one, who insists on doing his mating call on my metal chimney instead of the tree in my front yard.

I think of all of the violent things I could do that wood pecker to get him to shut up.

It’s beautiful outside… and I hate my life.

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(Sick selfie… keepin’ it real.)

I weighed myself for my obligatory weigh-in post to discover that I have some how managed to gain 3 pounds this week. I’m pretty sure all of that weight can be found in my puffy face…

It all began last Sunday when Penelope came down with a fever and a cough. It was Brent’s last day home before heading up to the mountains for work and it was my turn to call in to work for sick duty. I spent four hours putting together my sub plans to ensure that everything went smoothly in my classes while I was gone.

The first day was glorious. It was cold outside so we snuggled reading books, coloring and watching movies.

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I got all of the laundry done in the house and managed to make healthy meals to eat throughout the week. I felt so productive and I was grateful for the time I was getting to spend with my little one.

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By the time Brent made it home on Wednesday and I was ready to go back to work I had caught the cold/flu. I toughed it out for the rest of the week thinking I would be on the mend by the weekend’s end.

I was wrong…

When Saturday rolled around our frozen tundra was being washed away by a wave of spring like weather. I felt like crap but the girls and I couldn’t help it we had to go outside and play!

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Penelope ran…

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and ran…

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…until she couldn’t anymore. She was still just too sick.

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The nice weather is mocking us. We wait weeks for the sun to melt the snow, and when it finally arrives we are too sick to enjoy it.

I can’t call in sick to work tomorrow because I have to administer a standardized test. This entails staring at children for hours on end while they blankly stare at computer screens. It is my job to walk around the room, I can’t assist them, but I must lurk around them in a way that doesn’t make my shoes squeak or my ankles pop. I usually end up imagining what kind of animal they would be based on their appearance. A tiger… a koala bear?

It’s important stuff.

Since I work at two schools testing really screws up my schedule, so finding a sub is pretty much impossible.

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I’m just going to have to tough it out, trying not to distract my testing students by gag coughing or wheezing. My salary schedule depends upon it after all… even if they refuse to answer the questions and opt to write the lyrics to the My Little Pony theme song instead. Not that I would be able to say anything if they did, but I would have done my job by walking 118 laps around the classroom staring at my students and determining what kind of old people they would each be in the nursing home one day.

                                                                            A.

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                                                                    B.

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                                                                                C.

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In the mean time, I’ll fantasize about feeling well enough to go on a nice long run on a beautiful sunny day.