Some Things I’ve Been Thinking About

Hey y’all! Craig and I have been busy baby makin’ and I just passed my big audit for work (another excellent progress report!) so needless to say I’ve been a bit preoccupied. In other news we got a new car… YAY! Here’s a pic of my beautiful new baby. We really enjoy her and have named her Bindi (yes, that’s Steve Irwin’s daughter’s name). Since she’s an Outback we figured we needed something Australian and Bindi is Aborigine for little girl. Cute.

Also, our first baby, Jethro, has commandeered the guest room bed. He loves to sleep with his head on a pillow (or arm rest, etc.) and evidently the couch is too far away from us at night. This is a new thing he’s doing but he’s simply precious. We love that little dude and can’t imagine our lives without him. I mean, look how precious he is! I can’t get mad at that fluffy guy for wanting a little comfort.

Next up, we bought a new vacuum. My other vacuum finally bit the dust and after quite a lot of research and not wanting to spend a fortune we settled on the Shark Navigator. So far, so good. It really performs well. Jethro likes it (as referenced by the picture below). I mean, just look at that happy face!
In other news, I’ve really been struggling with not commenting on or posting about every little political and/or cultural war happening right now. I’ve definitely posted on facebook a few times too many for some of my friends but it’s hard to keep my mouth shut when I feel so passionate. There are two sides to every story and I feel like some of my “friends” keep speaking from their limited point of view where they cannot possibly understand the whole picture.

Besides that, most of these “friends” call themselves “Christian” and as a Christian I find it hard to stomach their intolerance. From what I have read of the Jesus I follow, He would have been the first to sit down with the “sinner” over dinner and really get to know them and pour LOVE into them. Yet, these very people who claim to be His disciples are those who are the loudest in judgment and hate. It breaks my heart.

So, I will continue to post things I think help open up the debate and help to cross barriers and I will continue to do my best to LOVE my neighbor (John 13:35). That’s all I can really do, eh?

Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about going back to work once this future baby is born. I know that children of working mothers are more successful and I know that as a working mother I will be a better role model for success outside the home, yada yada, but I can’t help but fear the coming day when I drop my child off at day-care and head off to work. My friend, Emily, recently had this discussion with me. She always thought that she’d have no problem going back to work but now that her baby is here in her arms she’s finding it incredibly difficult.

I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. I know that financially we just really cannot afford to have me stay at home. I also know that the benefits I receive through my state employee position are unlike anything I could acquire on my own. I’m praying that something flexible will arise when the time comes and I will feel greater strength in leaving my child with others. Too soon to tell but I will continue to pray about it anyway.

So, to end this random smattering of thoughts on this hump day I leave you with another picture of my boy Jethro when he was outside playing in his pool. I mean, what parent doesn’t shove pictures of their baby in your face every other second? Just wait until we have a human baby… HA! It’s almost the weekend y’all! Chin up!

  

  

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No Soda No More

SAD FACE!

2015 is the year of no soda for me. Even if I only ever had one soda a week when out at a restaurant it still will save me around $100 this year. Which I will promptly spend on a relaxing (and much needed) massage. I’m not even doing this for the financial aspect, although I know that’s a powerful motivator. I have read that sodas aren’t good when pregnant and since I’m already just an occasional drinker I figured I’d just go ahead and give them up entirely.

We already don’t keep sodas in the house so I rarely have them to begin with, however, every once in a while I like to have an ice cold Coca Cola Classic fountain drink when I’m out at a restaurant. There’s nothing better than an ice cold Coke. So, needless to say, I’m missing it.

One of the main reasons they say to avoid soda (especially diet soda) is that people who drink them don’t drink enough water. Soft drinks tend to take the place of water in the average person’s diet. “”Individuals who drink a lot of soft drinks aren’t going to drink as much nutritious liquid as others,” says Bess Dawson-Hughes, M.D.

With all that said, I’m still drinking coffee every morning and there’s the caffeine that I need to be weary of so I’m not completely out of the woods. I have been soda-free since the first of January and it’s May now so I’d say I’m doing pretty well. It’s not easy but it’s good to know that I’m setting myself up for the best possible success when we start trying to get pregnant.

I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners so I’ve always been a full test Coca Cola Classic kinda girl. Every once in a while I’d partake in a Dr Pepper or Root Beer but we never really had sodas growing up so I’m thankful it wasn’t a terrible habit to break. So, what about you? Are you a soda drinker? Full test or unleaded?

Monday Catch Up

Wassup!?! Long time, I know. A lot has been happening and I’ve been so hesitant about sharing my personal life on this blog. I’ve written about it before (here,¬†here, and here). In addition to both my father and step-father passing away last fall, my great aunt passed away a few days ago and another great aunt of mine isn’t doing well.

On top of the family stress, my husband is working on his Certified Financial Planner license which requires him to be in class on Friday and Saturday for four weeks with only two weeks off in-between modules. He started the program in January and will be finished in November. This, plus tax season, meant that we’ve been feeling stretched thin.

Really though, I think the main thing holding me back has been my fear of allowing myself to get personal and ultimately the fear of rejection. So, here I am… trying once again to move past the fear.

As I mentioned in my New Year – New Goals post one of the goals was for more healthy living. Y’all know that I’m pretty healthy overall. I make good choices when it comes to my food intake and my exercise but I definitely could do better.

So, here is where I am today… contemplating what I want from my life, what I want from my blog, what I want for the future… where am I headed and do I even want to go there?

How about a goals update?

  1. Focus on Christ – Better but not what it could be. Busy is not an excuse. I really need to get back into the habit of daily reading. I’m working on this. Gotta make time for what’s most important.
  2. Nurture Relationships – I’ve been making this a priority. Craig and I have so little free time right now and I feel silly booking out weeks in advance but I’m making it happen! Gotta make time for my relationships.
  3. Healthy Living – I’ve been off and on with Pure Barre. It’s great but I don’t feel like I get the instruction I need and I find I’m injuring myself. My joints just need extra careful maneuvering and I don’t feel like I’m getting the instruction/ attention I need/ deserve. I’m going to start running on the treadmill again after work and working out at home as often as possible. At least it’s free (Pure Barre is ridiculously expensive). I’m taking prenatals (yay) and not drinking soda (ugh) so at least I’m keeping up with the other stuff.
  4. Better my Budget – Craig and I have really been reigning in the spending. I feel like now that we’ve accomplished the major renovations on the house we can just squirrel away the money until the little one comes.
  5. Personal Development – Well, I definitely did not re-enroll in graduate school (darn that GRE) but I contemplated it once again. I know I really don’t have time but I don’t have time to waste either. I really am thinking about just taking the dang GRE as soon as possible and applying with whatever score I have just to get the ball rolling. I’m so close to my master’s that it just makes sense to try and squeeze it in. I’m still spending way too much time on Facebook and I haven’t picked Fluenz back up but I am trying to do more reading and less surfing the internet. Progress? Hopefully.

Are you up to date? Almost. Next month I get my IUD removed. It’s for real happening. We’re really going to try and get pregnant. As of next month there’s no turning back. I’m both excited and petrified. I have grown so accustomed to doing life my own way that I’m super scared of what it will mean to be responsible for another human being. I can’t even. I’m so close to throwing in the towel and staying childless… but then I see those Publix commercials and my emotional side takes over and I feel super strong about procreating asap.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my fears and excitement and conflicted nature. I’m hoping to share with you more. I’m hoping to move past my fear and to be honest with you. Maybe someone out there has the same concerns? Maybe this little bit of sharing will help someone? Who knows? I do know that I’ll be back in a few days with some more thoughts so stick around! ūüôā

Ballet Barre Workout

So, this month of December I decided to torture myself by joining my local Pure Barre¬†group. Okay, so it’s not really torture but the classes are definitely giving me a workout. The movements are very small and designed to really work all those hidden muscles you don’t know you have but you really need to be strong.

I’ve been going for a few¬†weeks now and every single class has been slightly different. I really like that each time we do similar movements but they mix it up a bit. By the end of class I’m exhausted. The classes don’t really get my heart rate up like other kinds of aerobic exercise would (which means I still have to keep up with running or jumping rope) but I definitely feel the burn!

Each class starts off with some body movement in a standing position designed to warm you up. Then, we work on some arm exercises (with or without weights). Next, we utilize the ballet barre to really work our quads and glutes. After that, we work on our core by doing various abdominal exercises (similar to Pilates). Finally we stretch it out and give one last boost to the glutes before the cool down.

I tell you, this stuff is not cheap but it’s totally worth it. I am, by far, the worst in the class. I can’t do half of what everyone else can do but I’m sticking with it. I like that I pretty much know what to expect but that it’s also varied so I don’t get burn-out. My quads, glutes, lower back, abs, arms…. all feel the burn after every workout.

I’m glad I started in the middle of this crazy holiday season because I know that if I make time for this now I can certainly make time in the new year. My new year goal is to find a program and stick with it. So far, so good. I really feel like this is varied enough that it will keep me engaged and coming back for more. I thought I’d share with you some thoughts about my new workout routine in the hopes that it will encourage you to make some positive changes as part of your new years resolution.

Some tips:

  1. Splurge for the good “sticky socks” (you know, the ones they sell in their store or the more expensive ones online with the full bottom). The cheap ones I found online don’t hold me and I slip and slide all over the place.
  2. Go ahead and buy the exercise tights. You’re going to feel weird wearing tight clothing but it makes a difference. You don’t have to worry about pulling pant legs down, etc. Buy a longer tank-top if you feel you need coverage.
  3. Make sure you register for class online before showing up (if this is an option where you are) because there have been days I’ve come to class and they were only letting in folks who were already on the list as it was that busy.
  4. On that note, show up at least 5-10 minutes early for class. This will allow you to get a prime spot in the room and to relax a bit before the class starts (classes start right at the time scheduled!).
  5. When they say “hold” and “freeze” they’re saying the same thing. Basically it just means that when you lift your leg (or whatever) you’re holding it in place for a few seconds before releasing.
  6. Also, when they say “tuck” they want you to squeeze your abs in and curl your booty forward. It helps if you squeeze your butt muscles in at the same time. It’s awkward but you’ll get it.
  7. Finally, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing! Just focus on yourself and your movements and you’ll do fine. Even if you’re doing half as many as everyone else, concentrate on your precise movements so you’re working the muscles correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

So, go out there and try this workout if you have one in your area. I really feel like this workout, combined with a healthy diet, is a great way to get fit. There are several types of barre workout places: Pure Barre, The Bar Method, etc. Do a bit of searching… there might even be a barre class at your local gym! Good luck and have fun! #newyearnewme

S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Good morning peeps! This is going to be a great year… I just know it!

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on¬†Facebook¬†and around the interwebs dedicated to new years resolutions and weight loss is the number one goal of most folks. I’ve seen a lot of friends go through the ups and downs of ¬†dieting and I’ve participated in weight loss programs myself so I wanted to take this time to talk a little bit about not just a short-term plan for weight loss but the changing of a lifestyle.¬†The number one thing I see as I watch people (and myself) fail is not addressing the motivation behind the goal. It took me a long time to really understand that our lifestyle impacts our goals and until we address our motivation and expectations we will never reach success for the long-term. So, I decided to approach the subject of success with a helpful¬†guideline¬†I use pretty regularly. I’m not a professional by any means and I’ve certainly had my share of struggles… but overall I try to stay focused on my goals and give all my best to my maker. He is the one who provides me with the talent I need and the drive I have. To quote the awesome¬†Gabby Douglas,¬†“God has given me this awesome talent to represent Him. Glory goes up to Him, and the blessings fall down on us.” Without further adieu I’m sharing with you what I feel are the keys to success. Take from it what you will. I hope that this list inspires you to reach your goals.

success

Set yourself up for success with these easy to follow steps:

SUCCESS

The first step is to START at the beginning (a very good place to start). This may sound over simplified but think about it… in order to reach our goals we must move toward them. Think about where you’ve come from and what direction you are heading. Are you heading down the right path to help you reach your goal? Do you need to change course? Really delve deep into your motivation for change and what you can do this very moment to set your goals into motion. Make that first step by writing down your thoughts and then making them a reality.

The second step is to UNDERSTAND your thoughts and motivation and use that to your advantage. Why do you want to achieve these goals? What is your motivation and where can you find inspiration? Are you looking to become a healthier you? Are you trying to impress someone? Discover what is true motivation and what is superficial motivation. Trying to impress others will never lead to success. Your goal should be to make the change for yourself. Understand what it means to make this change and the level of¬†commitment¬†needed. Take time to fully realize not only your sources of motivation and inspiration but your potential hurdles and things that may stand in the way of your goals. What do you need to do to make room for some changes in your life?¬†Change is the process of becoming different. Isn’t that what we ultimately desire? To be different? To be a better version of ourselves? Understanding what motivates us to change is what will ultimately help us accomplish our goals.

Third, take some time to CONCENTRATE on your end goal and work your way backward. If learning a new language is your new goal (like mine) you need to figure out how to make that goal attainable. What do you need to make this goal a reality? I discovered that I needed to pursue the purchase of language course software to better motivate me to reach my end goal therefore we looked at our budget and worked on a way to make it possible. If you are wanting to get fit in the new year then take some time to go over your budget and decide if a gym membership and/or personal trainer is what would most help you achieve your end results. If you want to lose  few pounds really examine what it is you eat on a daily basis. Keep a food diary for a bit at the beginning. Really examine your lifestyle and what changes can be made. Bringing your lunch to work each day is an easy (and cheap!) way to help you achieve your health goal. When you take time to really evaluate your goals and how to attain them you are setting yourself up for success.

Your fourth step is to have COURAGE when you are faced with difficulties. When we undergo change we are faced with many obstacles and our impulses can get us into serious trouble. When faced with a tough decision it is always best to take a step back and reassess from a different perspective. I like to use the 10 second rule when facing difficult situations. I slowly count backwards and take a deep breath. This helps me to focus on what is ultimately important and not something superficially standing in my way. Even when I’m faced with something like ¬†road rage I use this technique to help reset my frustration and give me a reality check. When you go to reach for that slice of cake at the party take a moment to analyze your motivation. Is this going to help or hinder your end result? Are you making a smart choice? It’s okay to¬†indulge¬†once in a while but balance is key. Sometimes just taking a deep breath will help us find the strength we need to keep moving forward. Courage is strength in the face of difficulty. Remember that you are your best champion! Sometimes we lack the fortitude to press on and when this happens we need to build ourselves up and have the courage to¬†conquer our fears. Achieving success is more than just going through the motions. Sometimes it is about taking a leap of faith.

Fifth, you should take time to ENERGIZE both your mind and your body.¬†Endorphins¬†make us happy! Many studies show that people who¬†exercise¬†regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.¬†Endorphins are released when we exercise (they’re also released when we orgasm) so take advantage of this natural high and get moving. The more we move the better we feel. Not only will our health benefit from regular exercise but so will our mind. I like to try and run on the treadmill after work a few times a week to some of my favorite music. Some days it takes everything I’ve got to get my but to the gym but once I’m there, and especially when I’m finished with my workout, I feel like I could accomplish anything. The most important thing to remember is if you fall down, it’s not over, you just need to pick yourself back up. Mistakes happen. We all have an occasional lapse in judgment or something that takes over our time temporarily. For example: I took off two months of running between the wedding and holiday craziness. Does that mean I’m giving up? Hell no! I’m getting right back on that horse and achieving my long-term goal of health and happiness. In addition to trying to exercise my body I also try and exercise my mind whenever possible. I read an article that gives tips or tricks for the task I want to accomplish. I research whatever goal I’ve set and help arm myself with the tools necessary. Some times I take time to do a puzzle that pushes my intellectual boundaries. Life is not meant to be just lived but to be experienced!

The sixth step is to SIMPLIFY your daily life and activities. Are you finding your goals¬†unattainable¬†because you just can’t find the time to make them happen? Incorporate your kids into your exercise routine. Take them with you outside for a walk around the neighborhood or find a gym that offers daycare. You’ve heard the phrase “when mom’s on a diet the whole family is on a diet” well take that and make it reality. Diet is defined as the sum of food consumed by a person and does not have anything to do with limiting calories. Remember, to change your food habits you must change your lifestyle. I love the concept behind the new Weight Watchers 360 program. The goal should not be to starve yourself temporarily only to regain all the weight later. Our goal should be to truly adapt our lifestyle to one of health and happiness with the enjoyment of special treats as they were designed to be enjoyed once in a while not every day. Look at your schedule. Are you packing in more than you need? Reevaluate your daily activities to make time for yourself and your goals. Simplify your life to focus on what’s most important.

Finally, we reach SELF-AWARENESS. Our final goal to obtain success is to be self-aware. This is the capacity for introspection and the ability to reconcile oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals. Everything we do must be for our own benefit and not for the benefit of others. Yes, quitting smoking is something that will benefit those around you (most importantly your children) but the motivation must lie within or you will never truly be successful. It is much too easy to fall back into bad habits when the source of motivation lies externally. My goal to improve my Spanish language skills must be for my own benefit and not because it is something Craig desires otherwise I will find myself lacking the motivation to continue when the going gets rough. My desire to be trim and healthy must be my own and not a desire to impress my husband. Although I enjoy making Craig happy the goal of being happy and healthy is something that I must own so I can continue to be my own source of inspiration. Working out not only allows my husband to find me more attractive but allows me to have a long happy life with him. Self-awareness can help us identify our strengths and our opportunities for growth. One must become aware of their sense of self and identify their true motivation for success.

Once the goals are set in motion these steps will surely help to achieve the end result. Don’t forget that in order to be successful you must be sure that you are setting “smart” goals and not goals that are unrealistic. Setting a goal to win the lottery is foolish. No matter how you play the odds are never in your favor. Being specific about your desired result, making sure to track your progress, setting realistic goals that are achievable, and deciding on an appropriate time-frame will ensure that you are headed in the right direction.

SMART / SMARTER is a mnemonic to guide people when they set objectives, often called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), for example for project management, employee performance management and personal development. The letters broadly conform to the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive with the addition of the words Evaluate and Reevaluate used in more recent literature. The first known uses of the term occur in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.

When we make smart choices we are on the right path to success! What are your goals for the new year? What are your goals for the next 5 years? 10 years? Do you believe you can be SUCCESS-ful? Remember success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. What are you aiming to accomplish? Please leave a comment and share with us your goals. Maybe someone has already done something you’re looking to do and they can offer up some advice. Maybe you are worried that you won’t be able to finish the task you’ve set for yourself. Maybe you just completed a big goal and want to share your strategies. Let us work together as a TEAM (together everyone achieves more).

I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.

MissCaron

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed physician. My advice is my own. Please consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.