Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekend Fun

The way the weekend worked out; you’d have thought I was on vacation! It was not a good weekend for eating right/exercising… More like a weekend with ZERO healthy food and exercise! My four older kids were home this weekend and all I wanted to do was spend time with them. How can a mom pass that up? So instead of busting my rear and getting into the gym Friday evening, Saturday morning, or Sunday afternoon; I chose to just be with my kids. Friday consisted of a late evening run to the grocery store and just chillin out with my kids. We all went to bed a lot later than usual but it was so nice! Saturday, instead of running from the moment my feet hit the floor—I woke up to realize my honey got off work early so we got some extra time in the morning together. Honey and I just celebrated our Two Years of being together! One of my sisters came to watch the kids while we had a day date! We tried a new restaurant and headed to a spot to catch the football game. It turned into one of the most relaxing days we’ve had without kids in a very long time.

Honey and I have only had TWO dates out alone without children since Cheeks was born almost a year ago! Sunday, Honey had to work so the kids and I got some chill time just watching some movies before we went outside to paint pumpkins the kids got from our pumpkin patch evening a few week ago. The kids had a great time getting their hands covered in paint—which led to being covered in paint from head to toe! How else are you supposed to hand/finger paint!? I threw together some taco soup for dinner and we all enjoyed the warmth after a nice cool fall day! Needless- to- say, the kids and I were all a little sad when bedtime rolled around and everyone had to prepare for school the next day along with early bedtimes. Overall—we enjoyed a nice weekend together and now back to the grind! 
Today was a weight check (post weekend)—Not good instead of progress a few added pounds. A slow metabolism makes it so hard to lose weight and experience more than one day of no exercise! Although I will not let it get me down! Weight naturally fluctuates anyway by 2 or 3 pounds so it’s not too big of a deal. Now to get off here and go work on that sweet and tackle all the millions of things that need to be done today before 4! Have a great week everyone!


Friday, October 13, 2017

So Close--So Very Close!

First off, it’s been a hell of a week. Between the schools cramming all the parent-teacher conferences and IEP meetings on top of the weekly appointments and constant running; I do believe I have reached the end of my rope! It’s been an unsuccessful week getting to the gym like I should; with the exception of a few trips and such I have successfully completed; I finally caved and did some things at home to make up for the lack of gym attendance. An item of my grandmothers, her Gazelle machine, was going to originally be sold and I asked if I could take it instead; so my mom let me have it! I finally dusted it off and set it up in the living room got the babies busy eating and watching cartoons while I plugged the ear phones in and went to town!
Let me just say, it was extremely hard to get used to the movement of this particular machine as it tends to force you to lock your knees while trying to maintain the same movement for long period of time. I finally figured out different angles to slant my body and make the conscious effort to keep my knees slightly bent. I did make it through 40 minutes before I just had to get off that thing! The elliptical at the gym is SO much easier on the joints and create a much more flexible movement for a long, high-endurance work out. BUT I cannot complain too much because I did work up a good sweat and burned some good calories here in my own home all while I could watch my daughter and niece.

Once I got off toweled and watered down, I stowed the machine and flipped through some hip-hop work outs on YouTube. I found a lady who has a whole series of workouts available right there on YouTube, Keaira LeShae. I found a 30-minute video of high intensity hip hop work out-- it was SO much Fun! I am extremely sore today, I feel like I’ve been limping around all day! This lady is fun, energetic, has some fun dance moves, and can work it like no other! I had to share with all the ladies out there who want to burn some fat, calories, and tone and sculpt all while having a good time! Let’s just say, you’ll need a lot of ice and heat to help post work out! Click Here for the first work out video I did with Keaira LeShae. I hope you all get a chance to check her out and experience the sweet burn! 

Also, the newest updates on PROGRESS: Down 1 lb. since the previous weigh in--Yes, it is not A LOT but never-the-less it is progress! I’m down a total of 70 lbs. from delivery! Also in positive news, I can now fit back into my Ariat jeans! They are still a little snug but they DO FIT! What can I say, that is progress all the way around! It’s been nice slowly getting back into all my old clothes. One thing I am making a greater effort to not let the number on the scale control my overall outlook on my progress! I am not anywhere near my end fitness goal; however, I am well on the way in achieving it! Only 10 more pounds and my first goal will be achieved! Then from there it will be lowering body fat and increasing muscle. (A good back and forth of weight loss-gain-loss gain-loss etc.) You see it’s all in correcting the ratio of muscle vs. fat and increasing strength, endurance, and HEALTH! Healthy is the new “skinny”!

In other news, today is my last day watching my niece Monday-Friday like I have done for the last 4 months or so… I have enrolled back into college to finish up where I left off when I became pregnant March of 2016 and have the entire degree planned out and graduation with the first degree will be the next major event in the near future! Until school starts in January, the new Monday-Friday will consist of up early, kids out the door to school, Cheeks and I off to the gym first thing each day leading the return to fit on a more consistent schedule! Cheeks can hang out in the child watch a few hours while I continue to complete my fitness goals and see more consistent progress in this journey! Watch out Monday here we come, those results will be blown out of the water! Woo!


Friday, October 6, 2017

Parenting Thoughts, Fears, and More

The topic today is one that hits deep... The entire country is struggling with this right now. The mass shooting in Las Vegas has everyone in complete shock and for many Americans mourning a sudden loss of a loved one, angry at this coward who took innocent lives and cowardly took his own life instead of facing the consequences of his actions... this leads us all to the common question, why? As when any crime occurs, officials are doing their job and working toward finding the answer to this question. A question I am almost too terrified to learn what they find. As a mother I'm reflecting on the kind of world we live in... Unfortunatly, tragic events such as this are becoming all too common. Living in America, we're supposed to be in the greatest, most advanced and safe country in this world! If that is the case, why has all this violence become the forefront of America? What are we doing that is allowing our own people to terrorize each other?

 I won't get into politics but I am not in agreement with a lot of issues and how things are handled by our current administration. Although, I do believe the divide the current administration has cultivated ever so passive-aggressively, has contributed somewhat to all the dismay. People are so passionately defensive of our administration and decide to discount all the facts as to why so many do not support the administration or vise versa. Overall, this country has devloped such high tensions and it's hard to decipher if this could be a contributing factor to these horrific things that continually happen. Being an every day average person, people like myself will never really know.

What has plagued me is how does a mother, such as myself properly educate my own children about the world around us. How do we teach the magnitude of tragedy that any of us could wake up one day to face? How do we prepare ourselves much less our own children to recognize this can happen anytime, anywhere? When I became a mother all I wanted to do was create my own family, enjoy motherhood, and raise good people to send off into the world and successfully contribute to society leading happy confident lives. All we want is for our children to inherit strong morals and allow them the opportunity to go into this world and make a difference. How can we teach them these things all while the world around us has desensitized children and hardened their hearts?

 This life we live is so precious and we only get one chance. Our children only get one chance to really enjoy the lives their given. It's hard to do things like send them to school, take our kids to the movie theater, a ball game, a concert, or any multitude of events where they could potentially become the next victim to the next person who "falls off their rocker". How are parents supposed to allow independence in their children without placing them in a bubble, with all that is happening around us? Parenting isn't an easy task by any means; then you add all the extra elements going on and it sometimes makes it feel practically impossible!

It saddens me my children will never  know the same freedoms and enjoyment I experienced as a kid growing up. Yes, there were bad things happening even then, but the world was still a much safer place back then. With every new generation the ways of parenting have to become tighter and forces us to hold our kids hand in all they do not just as children but teenagers! This day and age I will not drop my kids off at the mall, movie theater, skating rink, or the swimming pool like when I was their age. My oldest daughter even has a cell phone! I can call her at any moment and have direct contact with her. I have a tracking device on her phone so I know were shes at when shes on the bus, at school, or out with other family members. When I was growing up cell phones didn't exist. I just cant even fathom how my parents so freely let us be kids! The times are so different and regardless of how hard we try to give our kids the "same good childhood" we had, we will never truly be able to allow them that opportunity for their safety is constantly at risk doing the most mundane things.

I am not a helicopter mom by any means because I do firmly believe my kids need to experience things for themselves. I do hold them accountable for their actions, they do have small responsibilities, and I allow them to face the natural consequences when things do not go right. Their provided structure, routine, and discipline. That's the only way they will learn to be sucessful individuals. I also love them so fiercely and make sure they know they are loved every single day. I believe a good balance of the two is really the only way your going to fully provide your child all the social and emotional tools they need to be their own person. I still just CAN NOT get over the anxiety and fears this world has instilled in me as a mother that no mother should ever have to think twice about, especially living in the country we do.

My heart aches so badly for those lives lost this past week and all the pain their loved ones are facing in their losses. I just can not imagine the parents who have lost children, even though they were adult children, no parent should ever have to lose their child. It isn't how the cycle of life is supposed to work. I have held my own children a little closer and a little tighter this week and will continue to do so because each day I am so thankful to have another day with them. I am praying for the families of experiencing loss and I'm praying for the courage and strength of our officials to find justice for these families and for our country over- all to set aside their differences and become one. It's times like this we are reminded how much we all need one another.


Friday, September 29, 2017

"Take It All One Day At a Time and Enjoy the Journey" -Kristi Bartlett

Our journeys through life are all different and unique to our individual person and circumstance. Not everyone has the same family structure or support system; not everyone has the same life plan and goals. What is a big deal to one person isn't a big deal to another. In life it is always so good to be considerate of others. Generally speaking, we need to always look out for our individual needs as well as our family needs; but to some degree we have to maintain a sense of respect for others and see things from a broad perspective. If we limit our thinking to just our own lives, we miss whats happening in communities, the people around us, and even our close friends or family members.

The other side to this could be viewed as one who constantly puts others before themselves or their own individual/family needs. It's a slippery slope when you find yourself dedicated to people who have zero ability to see you have obligations and things happening that require your dedication to that person to shift onto the back burner; even if its only for a few days or a week. We can not constantly stretch ourselves thin for others, especially when the dedication is out of balance between two people. At the end of the day, we can only do so much for someone before they have to realize you can not be the answer to their needs/problems all the time. All we can do is the very best we can and know we made our best effort.

Let me just say, there is not a day that goes by I don't push myself to my absolute limits--between chasing babies, getting kids off to school, errands, laundry, cleaning house, home to recieve the kids after school, homework, reading, picking up someone from an activity or geting someone off to appointments,dinner, talking about our day, and trying to find time to just enjoy one another all before bedtimes--this has become such a challenge. I am pushing myself so hard at the gym and work hard to really stay on top of healthy eating habits. It's been so caotic I have been crashing so hard at the end of the day.

 Last night I had a combination of good/bad sleep. I dreamt all night about the strangest things, then the dreams went on for what felt like all night. I know I slept hard by the way I felt when I woke up, but toward the end of the night my dreams turned scary. I woke up to a pounding headache, stiff muscles, and sore all over. I was afraid the headache would reach the point of no return and become a full fledged migraine. Thankfully, taking a 800 IBP, moving around this morning and drinking coffee outside with the fresh air at a temp of 59, I recovered and the headache has subsided. Still sore as all get out-so today there will not be a visit to the gym. Myself and the babies will head out for a few hours this cool morning and get some walking and playing in for the day.

Otherwise, progress on the fitness front is well on its way. I weighed in this morning with a -2 lbs loss for the week; that's over all -69 lbs. I am beginning to notice my clothes fitting looser, and the constant having to pull up my pants. I don't think I'm quite ready for a size smaller-but definatly going to need to belt them on till its time to transition down the next size. This week at the gym I fcoused on cardio with arms day 1, cardio with legs day 2, cardio with abs day 3, and just cardio the last day. Each all included a good 10-15 minutes of stretching/yoga at the end of the work outs.

This evening the kids and I are excited to kick-off fall by heading out to a pumpkin patch this evening and roast marshmellows over the bon fire. Tomorrow will be a gym morning--It'll be my combo day: a little bit of everything-cardio, arms, legs, abs, stretching/yoga. This weekend is going to be great one and I'll be pulling out the fall decor to really warm up the house for this cool weather that is hopefully here to stay! Until next time...


Thursday, September 21, 2017

"If You Get Tired Learn to Rest, Not Quit" -Banksy

Have you ever done something once and things went well then go to do it again and it's a lot harder the second time around? I'm really struggling with weight loss this second time around... Granted there are several key factors that have changed this experience from the last experience. The first time around my body never experienced pregnancy, I had 4 kids, but they were older. I was married to their dad whom had a consistent schedule, therefore I could depend on his help and support with the kids. I was working, which means I dropped my kids off at daycare or school everyday, went to work a full 8 hour day, then went straight to the gym and home to my family. This was my day every day--my work day was extremely predictable and always had my shakes for meals prepared the night before; meals were simply a breeze with quite literally no thinking involved. Lastly, I was doing the Visalus shakes twice a day. Visalus shakes had all the ingredients in the mix to help provide energy, vitamins, nutrients, and fat burning/cleansing all within those two scoops per shake. The weight literally just melted right off. Granted when I got involved with school while working and raising four kids as a single mother, time was my absolute worst enemy. I literally had zero time to do what was necessary for my own health and meal prep all while playing mom&dad, working full time, and attending college fulltime. Outside exercise went straight out the door and exhaustion was my daily state-of-being.

This time around I am in a relationship with a supportive man by my side whom has contributed to my ability to stay home with my children and be a full time mom. That is such a blessing and all at once such a curse. My job went from dividing my attention among children, work, and school to KIDS ALL DAY! Then watching my niece during the day has only contributed to the crazy I live every single day. My honey's job has a wildly inconsistent job causing him to go from working nights some days to working day the rest of the week. Sometimes he's lucky to get a full month of all nights or all days--however lately that has not been the case. It's been a mad house on the home front for a multitude of reasons; one large factor being my son recently diagnosed with Intellectual Disability along with a behavioral and other neurological development disorders. In the last few weeks it's become official after years of knowing deep down something was wrong. It's like experiencing grief all over again after recently losing my grandmother. I've realized his brains capacity will hold him back from so much in life; and now that he's receiving services at school to help him-- I now have to take him twice a week to private speech and once a week to behavioral counseling were he is going to learn about things we know without ever thinking and take for granted everyday. He just turned 9 and he is such a beautiful loving soul and knowing all this has brought on extra stress, doubt, fear, anxiety, and loaded my plate with more than raising 5/6 kids every single week.

As you can see motivation has been a lot more difficult this time around. These days are filled with so much more than I ever imagined; thankfully I am surrounded with support and for that I am so grateful. However, one thing my mother continues to remind me of it, "You have to take care of yourself; or you will not be strong for everyone else." She is absolutely right and my new mantra is strive for balance. If I can achieve a sense of balance with all these things happening I'll continue to stay on track of keeping myself healthy and becoming the FIT I need in order to be the supermom my kids see me as...

Although progress is slow going, I'm still making progress. This is becoming more of a mental game rather than a physical one. Getting the mind right will contribute to getting the body right. So far in September I am down another 2 lbs putting me at a grand total of -67 lbs. In the grand scheme of things it is a lot! I have done very well at keeping a regular gym schedule despite the crazy. Since Honey is working during the day, I am taking my two younger girls with me to the gym; they go to child watch and I go work out--then my older three stay with my oldest daughter for the 1.5-2 hours it takes to drive there, work out, and drive home. I've still accomplished getting kids homework done, my sons appointments, dinner, and bedtime routines all within the short time frame I have between 3pm and 8:30pm. I'm kicking my own ass keeping up with it all--but I am DOING IT! At the gym on the new schedule I have so far completed 65 minutes on the elliptical (high intensity) and alternating days 45 minutes on the elliptical with incorporating core and circuit training. Days honey is home, I can go alone and get a lot more done. Little Cheeks just can't hold out in child care much after 7pm--she used to being at home winding down for bedtime at 8pm. All in all I am getting there! "Go the extra mile it's never crowded" -Unknown


Monday, September 11, 2017

We Won't be Distracted by Comparison if We are Captivated with Purpose

Goals are one of my largest priorities in life. How can one not live a life with at least one or more goals? We are constantly growing as people therefore one cannot say, "I know it all." We never will know it all. Learning in general, is a key fundamental to life and how we should strive to live... I've been a mother for 7 years now; and let me tell you I am learning something new about motherhood every single day! Having adopted 4 kids (after a 2.5 year process) and became pregnant, bared, and birthed my youngest; I have already gained a lot of knowledge between pregnancy and ages 0-11. As an adult I have experienced not only motherhood but marriage, divorce, and blending family. My career experience lasted 14 years before making the decision to stay home with my children. It's interesting how we can learn through experience but no matter what we continuously learn every day in all aspects of our lives because with every new day comes a new experience.

When I made the decision to stay home I did it with intentional purpose and goals. During my 5-6 year interim, the first goal set aside for me to adjust to my new little bundle, the growing home of now five children, and spending time focusing on motherhood--lose as much weight as possible and return to FIT. My little Cheeks was born a few weeks before Christmas, so thankfully, it will allow me to enjoy the holidays this year at home with my children with out any outside obligations such as work or school pulling at me. My second goal will begin and end in 2018. All is still in process but as of now I will complete my Associates Degree of Psychology by December 2018. Once I complete my associates degree... Beginning January 2019 I'll be attending college fulltime to complete my third goal--my under grad in Language Speech Pathology. My last and final goal is to complete my graduate degree and receive my Masters in Language Speech Pathology. This folks, will be my ticket back into the work force! My little cheeks will be entering Kindergarten and my oldest will be a Junior going on Senior of High school by the time I return back to work--This time, working in the field I am passionate about and making the desired salary necessary for my big-little family.

"The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice." -Brian Herbert. It is by choice we must push ourselves to succeed in life--whether it is meeting a goal, learning something new, or bettering ourselves overall. Life is so short and we must take every opportunity that is given to us. Each day is a new day to make new choices and to push harder than the day before. Once we are done living this life, we may take nothing with us, but we do leave behind our greatest asset--our legacy! It is up to us to make it a great one!


Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Value of Time

Each day, we live our lives thinking ahead of the current moment. "What will I make for dinner this week?" Sometimes we are thinking so far ahead we say things like, "I'll make the trip to visit Grandma in a few months." We constantly think we have more time than we actually do. It doesn't set in until someone passes away. Exactly 2 weeks and 3 days ago, I lost my grandmother, my mentor, and to me, my other parent. She lived a long full life of 95 years before she passed. Looking back, we spent more time together than some kids/grandkids get to spend with their parents/grandparents over the course of childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. For the time we had together, I am so grateful. It is just so hard to describe in words what a loss I feel now that she is gone. I keep thinking... "If I could just have one more conversation with her. I still have so many things I want to talk to her about and ask her." Thankfully my momma is still here and she is only 2 miles away so I can see her anytime. I have the best momma a child could ask for; and despite the severe pain from loosing my grandmother, I am so grateful to have my momma so close. Now that my grandmother is gone it really feels like I lost a parent in my life and sometimes it's so real it's hard to breathe...

We always think we have more time to do things or visit with someone; the truth is, tomorrow is never promised. Life can change in a less than a second. We truly must cherish all the time we are given each day. If we wake up to see a new day, we have been blessed to have the chance to see people, speak to everyone we possibly can, spend as much time with our children and family's.  Then when we lay our heads down to sleep at night, we can go to sleep knowing we cherished every moment we were given that day; knowing tomorrow may never come for yourself or for someone you deeply love. Living this fast life we lead nowadays, we spend more of our days counting down our time. How much longer before the work day is over, how much longer before this task is done, how long will it take to drive from point A to point B. It's simply amazing at how much time we waste each day and are completely unaware of it until someone is gone forever. "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." Dr. Seuss.