Weekly Motivation #6

Backslide

Over the weekend, Cadence turned eight years old. Family came over to celebrate and we had so much fun. I cannot believe she’s eight years old!

I spent most of the weekend so stressed out. Birthday shopping, juggling four children who each have completely different needs, laundry, keeping the house cleaned, getting things in order for a birthday party, and baking a cake. All of it combined with sleep deprivation just completely overwhelmed me.

Stress is a bitch. It can, however, be a manageable bitch. I just wish I had thought about it that way before I let myself get so completely out of control this weekend.

I am so disappointed in myself, y’all.

I haven’t gotten a workout in since Thursday morning. On top of that, I’ve eaten like crap and I haven’t logged a darn thing in my food journal. Not one single thing. It started on Thursday afternoon. The backslide. I promised Cadence I’d put together her Valentine box for her Valentine’s Day party. Her box took a lot of work, but she was so surprised. It was a unicorn! I was, however, exhausted by the end of the night and decided I would workout on Friday morning instead. That workout never happened.

On Friday morning, while she was at school, her dad texted to let me know he’d be picking her up after school to spend her birthday weekend with her. I knew I had to make sure a weekender was ready for her before she got off the bus, so I went to her room to gather clothes. As I started looking, I noticed that a majority of her clothes were completely missing. The laundry room was devoid of anything waiting to be washed. She hadn’t left anything in the bathroom floor. And Ava, her older sister with whom she shares a bedroom, keeps the room clean, so there was also nothing in the bedroom floor. Where on Earth were all of their clothes?

I started snooping and oh, how I wish I hadn’t. How I wish I hadn’t looked in the closet or under the bed! Y’all, there was so much under the bed and in the closet that it completely took up the middle of their room. And here I thought Ava was keeping things clean. After all, she had been telling me for weeks that they were good on laundry and didn’t need anything washed.

Just looking at that pile of laundry made me want to pack my things and go to a hotel for a few days.

That pile of laundry is where my clean eating and routine workouts went to die. I swear it! So, here we are, going into an already busy weekend and now there’s suddenly a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest staring me right in the face. Sure, Cadence would be leaving most of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean her needs went with her. After all, most of her clothes were in a pile on the bedroom floor and there was a birthday party to prepare for.

On Friday evening, the husband took me out for Valentine’s Day. We had sushi and I ordered a soda because bottled water wasn’t an option and our city water is disgusting. By the end of our meal, I was proud of myself. I didn’t drink even a third of that soda. I took small sips to wash down my meal, but otherwise didn’t drink it. Then we got home and, again, I was tired and decided to put my workout off until the next morning.

That workout never happened either. Washing, drying, folding, tidying up the house. It was a cycle that repeated itself the entire weekend. I ate whatever was easiest to get my hands on. Doritos, Little Debbie snacks, Valentine’s Day candy. And I didn’t workout even once. The only thing I was successful at was drinking water instead of soda. My husband loves Coca-Cola and keeps it in the house at all times. I craved it a few times, but I managed to talk myself out of that craving. I’ve finally gotten past the caffeine headaches and I do NOT want to go back to that, so I inhaled water every time I craved one.

Here I sit, however, and, as of the writing of this post, I still haven’t worked out and I spent the day eating like crap. I also still haven’t written down a single thing that I’ve eaten. Looking back on all of it, I probably don’t want to write it down. I treated my body like a waste bin this weekend. And I am not proud of it. This post is here as the turn-it-around notification to myself. I can do so much better. My body deserves so much better. And I will not reach my goals by allowing stress to trigger a backslide. There are much better methods of navigating stress. A thirty-minute workout, going for a walk, getting in some Yoga.

Backsliding is like falling down. It’s only a failure if you refuse to get try again.

Small Victories!

Yesterday, I started working out for the first time in EIGHT YEARS!

My goodness, it was rough. By the third set of jumping jacks, I was ready to call it quits. But, I didn’t. I kept going, pushed through, and came out on the other side of that workout feeling pretty proud.

Today, despite being sore, I pushed myself to do it all over again. It’s only the second day, but I was able to get myself through it a bit easier than yesterday. I still had a hard time, but I got through it!

I don’t know if it’s just me. Maybe it is. I got to a point where I just didn’t care about my weight. Somehow, I was comfortable with being lumpy, with being out of shape, and with eating every time I became even a little bit stressed out. Sometimes, it wasn’t even about stress. Sometimes, I ate simply because I was bored.

My husband wasn’t concerned with my weight, so I told myself it was okay. Eating out of boredom was fine. Filling up on sweets was fine. Drinking several cans of Dr. Pepper a day was fine. I don’t know how I got there and I don’t know how I was so comfortable with it.

Last Sunday, I decided I was done with soda. Period. I was also done with sweets and other junk food. When I bought my little journal, I knew I didn’t want to ever have to write down four cans of Dr. Pepper in a day. Nor did I want to write down cakes or cookies or a whole bag of Doritos.

This weekend, I will be a full two weeks without pop or junk food. I drink several bottles of water everyday. I’ve even gotten to where I don’t mind drinking it at room temperature. That’s huge for me!

It’s not all about being comfortable with a different lifestyle, of course. A huge part of it is my kids. When Presley is old enough, I want to be able to go outside with her and run around the yard without feeling like I’m going to die. I want to have the stamina and energy to keep up with her. Ava, my oldest, wants me to go for jogs with her. And, most importantly, I want to teach my kids a healthier lifestyle. I don’t want to be tired and unhealthy, because I want to be there for as many of their big moments as possible. Longevity is key in all of that.

And, of course, I want to feel confident in myself. Putting on a pretty shirt only to pull it back off after noticing how it draws attention to your lumps and bumps isn’t a good feeling. At least not for me. I don’t enjoy sitting down and watching my tummy bulge out or seeing the dips in my hips with that awful little muffin top hanging out over the top of my jeans. For me at least, it’s a mood-killer. I look down, see my rolls, and immediately look for something to cover it with. It embarrasses me.

I want to feel happy and confident in my own skin.

So, here’s to workout number two and my journey to a healthier, stronger version of myself!

Weekly Motivation #4

This week’s motivation comes from my previous post. Being told you’re too old, too thin, too fat, too whatever is not a reason to stop being who you are nor it is a reason to stop doing what makes you happy. Do you for you without worrying about the opinions of others. At the end of the day, you’re the only one responsible for your happiness.

No matter how you feel get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.
Live everyday like you are Elle Woods after Warner told her she wasn’t good enough for law school.
Let your confidence shine, pretty girl.
Reminder: You can be a good person with a kind heart and still tell people to fuck off when needed.
Darling, you’re a goddess, a badass, and you’ve totally got this.
I hope you know how brave, important, sparkling, and wonderful you always are, even if you don’t feel like it.
Life is too short to spend it at war with yourself.

“You’re Too Old”

As of writing this, I am 33 years old.

I am a 33 year old who loves clothes. More specifically, I love skirts and dresses.

Then I heard that awful six-word phrase used in an attempt to admonish me against wearing such things.

“You’re too old to wear that.”

It hit me hard. Being in my 30s means I am suddenly too old to wear certain things. Those things are intended for early 20s and not early 30s. My reluctance to wear or purchase such things since that warning got me wondering. Is there really a magical point where you suddenly become too old to wear certain clothes? Is there an age limit on skirts and dresses?

My husband loves the way I dress. He is the same age as me and has never once made a negative remark about my choice of clothing. Most of my non-work clothes look like the above image. Skirts. Tights. Rompers. Dresses. Feminine blazers. They are an obsession. I love them. I feel happy, feminine, and very comfortable in them. He only ever has nice things to say about the way I dress.

I still worry, though. I’ve been sticking to pants and blouses ever since hearing that I am too old. It’s such an awful thing to hear. It’s right up there with negative comments regarding your physique. No one wants to hear that they’re too thin, too fat, or too old. Whether or not you believe it, those statements stick with them, eating away at them, making them question themselves constantly. It destroys how a person views themself.

Is it entirely impossible to just allow people to feel good about themselves? Having an opinion is fine, but is it really worth voicing if it tears someone’s self-esteem down even by the smallest measure? Am I really too old to continue wearing skirts and dresses? Is it best to stick with shirts and blouses at my age?

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

Weekly Motivation #3

Finally! I am over the six-weeks postpartum hump! Honestly, I have been waiting for this day since the day that I was admitted to the hospital to have my little girl. I am thrilled to have her, but I am also thrilled to have my body back to myself. Being beyond six-weeks postpartum, I am officially cleared to start getting myself back in shape. Since there are no more babies in my future, that also means it is the best possible time in my life to start working on improving my health and fitness.

This week’s motivation is dedicated to the beginning of a new journey:

Getting into the best shape of my life!

“Love your body.”
“Let exercise be your stress relief; not food.”
“You will never always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.”
“Don’t eat less, just eat right.”
“Don’t use the weekend as an excuse to give up on your goals.”
“Only you can decide what breaks you.”
“Girl, you got this!”
“Don’t kill my vibe.”

Sunday Funday: Recap

It was a lazy Sunday. I didn’t plan it that way. It just kind of happened that way.

On Saturday night, I decided to escape the insanity that is my home most days (kids are so much fun!) and went to do a bit of shopping. While I was out, I bought myself an adorable little fitness and food journal.

Being six weeks postpartum, I can finally start working on getting myself into shape. Oh, how I have been waiting for this! I’m hoping the journal will keep me a bit more conscious about what I put into my body. With heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes being very prevalent throughout both sides of my family, I think it is so important to take care of myself.

Probably more important than taking care of myself, I want to teach my kids healthy habits. I want them to understand the importance of really taking care of themselves. And, along with that, I feel like it’s time to start showing myself some love and stop putting me last.

That mantra is probably one of the most important things that my mom has ever said to me. I haven’t really taken it to heart in the past, but I am now. So, Sunday was mostly about setting myself up for an active week, healthy week.

My kids left for church with my neighbors, as they do every Sunday, and I actually made myself breakfast. Oh my goodness, you guys! I made bread in my microwave to go with my eggs! It took a whole ninety seconds and it was so good. Even my husband liked it.

Recipe courtesy of Eating on a Dime: https://www.eatingonadime.com/the-best-90-second-bread-recipe/

Presley woke up right as I wrapped up breakfast and she was hungry. She snorts when she’s hungry. I think that’s how I tell the difference in her cries. Her hungry cry comes with snorting. Once she was fed and happy, I put her in the wrap and we had a dance party. She fell soundly asleep as we danced to Taylor Swift.

The rest of the day was super lazy. I tried to take a nap, but that didn’t work out quite as well as I planned. Tristin’s mom and sister came for a visit when he got off of work. We talked for a while as they took turns holding little Presley. Once they left, I made my husband and I each a salad for lunch. I love a good salad. I could have absolutely used more veggies in mine, but it was still yummy.

I had every intention of putting together my new desk today and getting rid of my old one, but that didn’t happen. I think I’m patiently waiting for my husband to have a day off so he can do it for me. No part of me wants to put a desk together, honestly. We spent most of the afternoon relaxing and watching ‘Raising Hope’. He made dinner for all of us and then it was time to get kids to bed because they have school this morning.

I went to bed early thinking I would get some sleep before Presley woke me up. She routinely wakes up at 2am, so I just knew I’d get plenty of sleep if I laid down between 8 and 9. Joke’s on me because she woke up quite promptly at 11 and I have been up ever since.

I definitely need a bit more sleep before the kids get up, so I’ll end it here. Because I am starting a journey to a healthier me, I will leave you with a picture of myself shortly before I had Presley to remember where I started.

Have a happy Monday and great week, guys!

2019: A Year in Photos

I can honestly say that 2019 was the best year on record. At least for me. So much happened! We brought home a new puppy and a new kitten. I got a promotion at work and successfully survived my first inventory as a Department Manager. We celebrated some major life events. Throughout the year, there was no shortage of happy moments.

Here are my favorite moments from 2019!

January wasn’t a particularly eventful month, but we had some great weather which made for plenty of spontaneous trips to the park. During this particular trip, my daughter and I ended up wrestling in the grass. I swear she’s laughing.

In February, we celebrated this gorgeous girl’s 7th birthday. She shared cupcakes with her class at school on the sidewalk. The weather was perfect for a trip outdoor and being outdoors made for easy clean up and no messes in the classroom.

On March 16th, Tristin asked me to marry him. Obviously, I said yes! We also welcomed a new little nephew into the family and celebrated Jack’s 10th birthday.

A few wonderful things happened in April. We brought home a sweet little puppy and named her Elune. My daughter and I went on a field trip to Science Museum Oklahoma. Shortly after that, Jack and I went to the Cowboy Museum with his school. Both places were a ton of fun, but Science Museum Oklahoma is my most favorite place in Oklahoma. Towards the end of the month, we learned that our family would be growing!

My oldest daughter, Ava, spent the month of May taking lots of photographs. She decided she’d like to be a photographer. This is one of her many photos and certainly my favorite. For only being 12, she has so much talent. Aside from taking photographs, she also loves to bake. Her mini apple pies are amazing!

My kids always leave for summer at the end of May and it makes for a highly uneventful June. Most of June was spent working or going for long drives with Tristin. We turn up the radio, put the windows down, and just drive. In July, however, we brought home a new kitten. Meet Bella! I promise she’s not as sweet as she looks. She has a huge personality and she’s extremely mischievous.

August is such a great month every year. I go home to visit my family and my kids come home from a long summer break. This August, the drive home seemed to take forever. Being in a car for 18 hours while you’re super pregnant is not fun. Not at all. We stopped in the middle of the night at a little hotel in Tennessee. We were unable to see much of the area due to it being so dark but, the next morning, we were greeted with the most beautiful scenery. As we sat together eating breakfast in the hotel lobby, we watched the clouds roll over the mountains across the highway. It was gorgeous. During our short vacation back home, we had the privilege of spending a few days in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This photo was the view from the balcony of my dad’s suite at our hotel.

You’ll have to forgive the goofy Snapchat filter. My daughter insisted on it and she took the picture with her phone. The three of us spent our evening out at the Woodward County Event Center watching Darci Lynne perform. My daughter is a HUGE fan, so I surprised her with tickets. Also worth noting, I celebrated my 33rd birthday in September.

October is always an eventful month. From family birthdays to Halloween, there’s always something going on. My husband turned 34, my niece turned 16, and my sister-in-law threw me a baby shower. It was so much fun! My favorite part of October this year, however, was the unexpected snow day on October 24th. Look at all of that, y’all! It was breathtaking. I love snow. It makes the environment seem so blissfully quiet.

Oh, November! My second favorite month of the entire year. We celebrated several birthdays in November, including Ava’s 12th. Thanksgiving with Tristin’s family was just amazing. I’m already looking forward to doing it again. The best part, though, was marrying Tristin. November 5th, 2019. I chose the date to commemorate my grandfather. He passed away three years ago, but his birthday is November 5th. Choosing that date was about commemorating him and giving myself a new reason to celebrate that day. My makeup, of course, was done by me.

December started out a bit rough. Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia meant being put on maternity leave earlier than originally planned. One week from being placed on maternity leave, though, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced due to oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid). After 52 hours worth of being induced, our beautiful Presley was born. We spent six days in the hospital and then went home to celebrate her first Christmas. Her birth put my husband more in the Christmas spirit than I’ve ever seen him. When we walked into the house, there were Christmas lights everywhere. Around the ceiling in the living room. Strung across the room from one wall to another. The lights had snowflakes and ornaments hanging from them. It was incredible.

The year 2020 has some very large shoes to fill. I do not think it’s possible to top the excitement, happiness, and pure joy that came from 2019. It was definitely a year that I’ll never forget!

Problem Child

Parenting is tough. Each child is so different and, as such, has completely different emotional needs. When it comes to being a parent, it goes so far beyond just providing shelter, food, and clothing. It requires a genuine understanding of your child’s emotions, thoughts, and overall psychological needs. For the longest time, I thought I had it figured out. After all, my older daughters are flourishing in their own rights. They both perform well in school and exhibit generally wonderful behavior.

My son is a completely different story.

Over the last couple of years, he has rebelled so much. His grades at school have suffered as a result of that. While he and I both know that he is completely capable of doing the work, as demonstrated on several occasions, he simply refuses to do it. For a while, I focused on what he was doing wrong.

Perhaps, though, it is something that I am doing wrong.

As a parent, it is easy to focus on a child’s bad behavior and never look at yourself. While I am no psychologist, I do know that children often exhibit behaviors as a way to project their feelings about the world in which they live. With that knowledge, I’ve started to wonder: Is there something that he is not receiving enough of from me, is there something that I am doing wrong to cause this? Or, is there something from our disastrous past that he hasn’t been able to deal with emotionally that has him locked in a perpetual state of misbehavior and bad choices?

Jack is a remarkably good kid. At least, somewhere in there, that remarkably good kid exists. He is as polite at the day is long when interacting with most people. From holding the door for strangers to using good manners when speaking, you’d be never know that he struggles everyday both at school and at home. Ever the entertainer that he is, he spends his time in class goofing off and inciting his classmates rather than doing his work. He gets bored easily in class, he gets frustrate easily both at home and at school, and he acts out more often than not. This didn’t use to be the case.

In the past, he rarely ever displayed bad behavior.

Things changed, however, shortly after my now ex-husband came home from deployment. We hadn’t honestly lived together until he came home. We got married and he headed down range just a few days later. Our entire first nine months of marriage were spent in different countries. During deployment, he got angry with me quite often. He’d yell at me on Skype and then I wouldn’t hear from him for days at a time. Usually not until he deemed me worthy of his acknowledgement again.

This happened often. Several times a month in fact.

Silly me, I thought it would end when he came home. Maybe it was just the long distance that made him so angry. After all, during our relationship prior to marriage, we fought a lot too. I lived in North Carolina and he lived in Texas. I chalked the fights up to distance just putting a strain on the relationship.

He came home, though, and nothing changed. We fought more often than we got along. Of course, he involved his family in all of our fights, so they were awful to me as a means of taking his side in everything. Usually because they only heard his side of things. Over the next five years, the fighting only got worse. I should have left. What my kids went through is entirely my fault, because I didn’t leave. Of course, I wasn’t aware of their suffering until well after the fact, but I still blame myself for not leaving.

Sometime during our second year of living in Oklahoma, he lost his job. Despite my best efforts at encouraging him to just take a job anywhere that was available until he could find something more suitable to his preferences, he wouldn’t try. He was too good to flip burgers even if it meant providing for the family that he chose. I worked and he stayed home with the kids. He still yelled all the time. It got to a point where I would take the long way home just to make the five minute drive take a bit longer, because I dreaded going home.

At some point, the yelling turned to physical violence. He flipped a recliner into me, leaving a large bruise on my thigh. He pressed his knee into my chest to hold me in place on the couch while his fist was at my face. It had gone from psychological abuse to actual abuse. I was afraid to talk about my feelings on anything. I was afraid to spend money without asking first. Afraid to go out with friends or talk to anyone about what I was going through. Somewhere between being depressed and being afraid, I forgot to ask myself: If he’s doing all of this to me, is he doing the same to my kids?

I wish I had just left sooner. I should have LEFT SOONER.

After he finally moved out for the last time, my kids became comfortable enough to start talking to me about their experiences. The things I found out weren’t pretty. During my shifts at work, when they were left in his care, he’d restrict them to their rooms the entire day. If they asked for food, he’d yell at them. When he finally got tired of them asking, he’d give them cold leftovers or a peanut butter sandwich and then send them back to their rooms. There were instances of being dragged by their hair, smacked, kicked, and knocked to the ground. I had no idea that they were suffering so much while I wasn’t home. I was so consumed with fear, dread, and depression, that I couldn’t see what was happening.

Jack’s behavior changed during that time. He became seemingly angry. He lashed out easier, cried easier, stopped making an effort in school. His behavioral changes are more my fault than his. As a mom, I failed him. I absolutely failed him.

We went through so much and we have come so far, but he still struggles every single day because I failed him.

The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to fix it. How do I help him heal from five years worth of living with a volatile, abusive human being and get him back to the boy that he was before all of that happened? What do I do?

I’m still trying to figure that out but knowing where things went wrong is a start. My boy is loved unconditionally beyond measure and I am proud that he is my son. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just do not know what to do to turn things around.

Thanks for reading.

-Quinn