Monday, January 16, 2012
Well I've been back at my jobs since last Wednesday, and I was called in to work on Thursday AND Friday, and I foolishly agreed to work tomorrow when I was cornered by one of my bosses in a grocery store.... long story short, I was staring down the barrel of eleven straight work days with at least two days working at both of my jobs. I couldn't blame anyone else for what I did, but I WAS pretty annoyed about being called in to work on 1) my day off and 2) after already working over 8 hours at my other job. I asked if it would be possible for the person who I covered for to work my shift today, and got super antsy waiting for my boss to get back to me! I e-mailed, I called, I got NO RESPONSE! I just needed to know that I was going to have a much needed mental health day, so I stepped around her and asked the oncall staff if he would approve the switch. Lucky for me, I was working with him on the two days that I got called in, and he promptly agreed that I needed a mental health day!
Considering the person who is covering for me today has been calling in left and right and is a breath away from being let go, I have to admit that I'm not QUITE believing that I won't be getting a call at 3:45 asking me to haul my booty in to work. But, I got verbal confirmation that she would be there yesterday, so I've been planning my day accordingly!
This morning I put together my first crock-pot dinner of Indiana Farmstand Chicken Corn Chowder. I got this slow cooker mix back in the summer before I even owned a slow cooker, and since I'm a total newbie, I decided that I would graciously accept help from this salf-free mix my first time out of the gate! That said, yesterday I went for a long (3 mile, in the snow!) walk with one of the boys I work with to the library just to find out that the library was closed! Should have done some research beforehand! So, we ducked into a bookstore along the main road in town to warm up and be with books. While I was there I found a Better Homes and Gardens special issue magazine called "Skinny Slow Cooker" over 125 recipes with reduces calories, fat, and sodium! I checked it out and decided I had to own it. I've been drooling ever since, haha!
M and I bought a 4-quart basic slow cooker when it was on sale for $8.88 impulsively, and for our wedding we got the bells and whistles slow cooker we had on our registry. Since I have Five more days of work coming up, we started looking through the cookbook to see if we see anything else that we would like to try our hand at today. M is at the local grocery store RIGHT NOW picking up some ingredients so that we can start round two of slow cooking glory!
We STILL haven't found the time to get a new dryer (though thankfully, we DO have the money to do so now!) so I'm washing all the laundry now, and plan to go into town around the start time of my shift to dry it at a laundromat JUST in case! I plan on going in to Curves for to do a traditional Curves work out for the first time in a LONNNNNGGGGG time while it dries, and then coming home to finish up the meal that is in crock pot number one!
We're also planning on taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, and hopefully finding homes for the mounds of presents that are still under the tree! This is the first time in a long time that I haven't been working in an urban school celebrating MLK day, but I think that by NOT working, I'm going to be able to remain more sane and promote more peace! I'll try to find a more concrete way to honor this fantastic American hero too!
Have a great one guys!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Ok! I'm trying to be real with myself, and I have to admit I'm a little nervous about going back to work today! It is my first day back in ten days (thank you honeymoon!!!), and I can only say that it was a MUCH needed break! I work with at-risk teenagers that have been removed from their families, and even on the easy days, it's so draining to have to be "Mom" to these kids. Coupled with that, the week and a half before my vacation I was with them ALL. THE. TIME. I am the newest hire, and the low lady on the totem pole. All the other employees were able to get in their requests for Christmas off before I was even hired, so I might as well have brought a blanket with me and slept on the couch - that's how often I was there. Between my two jobs, I had one day off over a thirteen day span, and the line between following the program, and surviving my increasing exhaustion started to blur towards the end.
Now I am nervous that there may be some expectation that I will be more willing to bend the rules than before those days together. I am hopeful that the girls understood that since THEY were on break from school, it was bound to be more laid back than when the structure of the school week was upon them. I do NOT want my first day back to be a battle in any way, but I'm also quite prepared to lay down the law now, so that there is no mistake in the future.
I spent four years teaching on the west side of Chicago with students that were CHALLENGING. I do NOT have a problem with setting boundaries or dishing out consequences for actions when warranted, but this job is a little more complex than teaching was. I'm with them in the parenting hours, the hours when they are fully aware that they are NOT at home, that their parents have failed them, or that their own bad choices have caused them to be removed from their "normal" life. Boundaries are more fluid because they need more than just a strong authority figure, they also need a counselor, and someone who can help them work through their choices and learn new cooping skills. It's tricky to be black and white sometimes when you can see that they are picking a fight because they need to get something off their chest, but don't know how to do so in a respectful manner.
I do think it's ironic that this is the job that I finally found after months of fruitless searches... the ONE thing I declared when I left Chicago is that I did not want another high-stress job. Over the past few months, I have been regularly cussed at, disobeyed, and in one particularly terrible night, I was separating a physical altercation and one of the girls turned on me and started to punch, hit, and kick me. I've saved a girl's life when she was trying to take her life, and been a shoulder to cry on when one of the girls found out she is pregnant. I have grown to care deeply for these girls and in many ways I'm really glad that I DID land in this roll. It really does take someone special to stick it through with kids that are used to watching people give up or leave them. I constantly pray that I am doing the right thing with them, and that my influence is a positive one that will help them in the future when they are not in the program anymore.
Within two weeks of working here, I was asking M if he would consider becoming a foster parent with me sometime in 2012. It has absolutely broken my heart to see how terribly some of the kid's parents have failed them. I KNOW I can't save everyone, but I also know that we could make a real difference in some kid's life, even for a short time. If and when we decide to make that leap, I'll let you know! But for now I'll just say that I thank my lucky starts AND my parents that I was raised in a loving family, and hope that you will remember to be good to your kids!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Wow. I guess I have no right to be as shocked as I am that I have slid back this far. I haven't logged on in a month! I hadn't logged in before that for many weeks either! I have basically been MIA, swimming in stress, and losing control little by little.
It was truly a blessing when I got hired at my jobs. We were in financial straights like you wouldn't believe, and I was so thankful to be DOING something that I said YES to everything that was asked of me. The week before we went down to Illinois was the first week that I REALLY got a taste of what working two 30 hour a week jobs was like. In six days, I worked 62 hours, and I was EXHAUSTED. I was working up to 14 hours a day, not sleeping well, not working out, freaking out about the wedding, and my eating habits were ridiculous. I gained three pounds in that week alone!
The wedding week was WONDERFUL! It was a fantastic celebration of life and love, and I'm so thankful that it went so well! I posted a few of my favorite pictures on here right after it happened, and I hope to share more of the day with you in another blog some time too! We were rushing back here the day after the ceremony because I was working at 2 the Monday after the ceremony! No time to rest!
December just KICKED MY BUTT! I worked every single day of December save four. The majority of my days were over nine hours long, and many of my days I was working both of my jobs. It was crazy pants! Since we got some money from the wedding, M FINALLY started to get paid again (in December!!! FOUR MONTHS!!!), and I was making good money between the two jobs, we knew that financially, we were starting to get into a better place. Hooray! But we also knew that we had to get a second car and FAST when we lost control of our sweet, 200k+ car on an icy patch and the engine started to smell funny. We went to the car dealership the next day and found the perfect vehicle for us, we we are now the proud parents of a 2003 Ford Explorer! It only had 81,000 miles on it, and the four wheel drive has made traveling SO much nicer!
I really wasn't working out at all during December unless it was with the kids. I ran around with the preschoolers, and I would workout with the teenagers from time to time, but I was not in any sort of a fitness groove anymore. I am still bummed about this because I worked HARD to make it a pattern in my life, and in a matter of months I'm back to square one! But, I know how much better I will feel when it is back in the mix, so I am ready, willing, and able to schedule it in with everything else!
The biggest problem I'm facing right now is food. I am required to eat what is served at both of my jobs. For the preschools, we are supposed to be modeling how to eat, and we eat with the children. My other job is with at-risk youth that have been removed from their homes either because of their parent's loss of custodial rights, or because of troubles with the law. It is a 24 hour facility, and you are required to be with the teens every minute you are on shift, so yes, you eat with them. Now, the food that is served is really NOT that bad for you overall. But when you are used to knowing exactly what you are putting in your mouth, and the exact amount that you are putting in, and suddenly food is being served that you have NO idea of the caloric value... well... let's just say bad stuff is happening! The hardest thing for me has been watching the wastefulness that happens at the preschools. They send WAY too much food to the children, and it all gets thrown out! This hurts my soul - especially since we didn't even have enough money to buy food on a regular basis for a few months! I started to compulsively overeat to reduce the waste, and I would bring home leftovers when I was allowed. The main problem with this food is that it is extremely oversalted. Our cooking was at a point where we added NO salt to anything, and I know I started to retain water like crazy!
In the last month I have gained TEN POUNDS! Granted, some of this if period weight gain, and some of this is residual from our all inclusive honeymoon in Mexico that we just got back from. I KNOW we overate, drank, and indulged, and I would guess that three of these pounds are honeymoon pounds. One or two are period pounds, and the other five are a combo of stress, bad food, and no exercise.
I want to be totally honest so that I know where I'm starting from. I am BEYOND bummed out that I am over 250 pounds again. I was in the 230s just months ago, and clearly I am spiraling! Time to pull it together and get a plan started!
My New Year's resolution was so easy for me this year: FIND BALANCE. I can not and WILL not continue to work 50-60 hour weeks with a maximum of one day off a week. I will SAY NO, especially to subbing. It pays nearly $5 less than my more steady counseling job, and while it is a GREAT deal of fun, so is sanity! I will start with basics again; drinking 8 glasses of water a day, working out three to four times a week, sleeping seven to nine hours a night, and maximizing the meals that I have absolute control over. I will control the portions of the food I eat at my jobs, and not overeat just because I see people being wasteful! Control the controllable, and start there!
2011 really didn't go at all like I thought it would, and overall I was happy to kiss it goodbye! I think I have learned a lot about my self over the past twelve months though, and I think that I have all the tools for success necessary, I just have to use them correctly! Here's to 2012 - the year that I reach onederland!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I've been off my game for INSPIRE the last few weeks, lots of traveling for the most part! I didn't weigh in twice because I was out of town, and got 0 points both weeks too! That's not normal for me, and I realized this morning I was on my way to another 0 week for points! So, I decided to at least do this blog and get some points since my weight seems to be staying steady this week.
This blog is supposed to be an update on our personal challenge of completing 100 pushups or the C25K program. I was totally gung-ho about the C25K when I heard about it, and did the first three weeks before I started to get less consistent. I didn't have a good plan in place for crappy weather, really didn't have good running shoes, and I found that i actually didn't LIKE running much (which I already knew, but thought might have changed as I am more fit than in high school!).
One of my teammates suggested the five week wogging program that Spark sponsors, and I thought it sounded GREAT! But, truthfully I never started it! I am determined to get a 5K under belt before my birthday next year in June. I do plan on doing this program, but right now I have an AWFUL lot on my plate! I'm getting married two weeks from today, I've just started two jobs and I'm averaging over 50 hours of working between them right now. I'm also quite sick, and I'm hoping that this weekend I will be able to shake it off.
Truthfully, my exercise and food intake has taken a back seat right now, but I am not abandoning ship! I'm just not single mindedly focused on weight loss right now.
So that's the non-update update!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I never really fell off the wagon. Nothing that drastic. I've kinda been in a holding pattern, and haven't been moving much in the ways of up nor down. But maintaining is not where I want to hang out. I DO want to continue on this weight loss journey, and I know that I have oodles more to lose!
That being said, I actually think I'm sorta okay with were things are right now, and I'm going to try to not put pressure on myself to do more than my body is ready for. I'm eating great homemade foods, I'm exercising frequently, and my stressors are starting to calm down - FINALLY! So why try to add stressors back into the mix???
As you know, I moved to the UP of Michigan almost five months ago thinking that everything was just weeks away from being tied up in a neat, perfect little package. I was ready to start my perfect new life with my perfect new fiance, plan my perfect wedding in my perfect new house, and go to work at my perfect new job. Within a month or two we were going to have enough money to get a new car, and weight was going to just melt away like ice cream in the summer heat. Even when I write that I have to smile because obviously I was living in la-la land if I thought all that was going to happen! This is LIFE! It's unpredictable, messy, and likes to throw curve balls at ya!
So what DID happen? In June I got shorted on one paycheck, and my summer paycheck was slashed to heck due to the combo of lump sums and taxes! I wasn't too concerned because I had done a great job at my job interview, and was expecting to get offered something in early July. M was told that the grant his advisor had been waiting on was being delayed again, and that he would only be paid through July, and would not get paychecks in August. That was a little nerve wracking, but we weren't concerned.
When early July came and went I contacted my interviewers and was told that I would here at the END of July. I took that time to start working on my diet and exercise, and started to lose weight again for the first time in months.
Then August came. I still hadn't heard about the job, so I called again! I was told I wouldn't know until September. Well... that wasn't going to fly. I started applying to everything under the sun. We didn't have any money coming in, and our savings was quickly headed south. By the end of the month we knew we would not be able to pay our mortgage, nor survive. It was with broken spirit that I contacted my parents to ask for help. We were super blessed to get a cash influx in the format of passed along inheritance from my grandmother to my father to us. We were all confident that something was just around the corner! How could it NOT be!
September was filled with job applications, interviews, rejections, and no paychecks. M's money hadn't come through, and his advisor asked him to become a single credit student and work in the lab. He was still working full time, but wasn't getting paid. His advisor assured him that he had talked to people, and that come October, he should be a full time student again, and yes, be getting paid. Stress was building up.
So now we are one day shy of the end of October, and I haven't blogged hardly at all. There is a really good reason for that. Because i've spent most of this month freaking out all over the place! Oh wait, that's a BAD reason to not blog! So here's the skinny! This month, we went yet another month without any money coming in, and again our savings is getting thin. M's advisor is FINALLY realizing that we can not survive on air alone. He says that if the grant is delayed any longer, he will set Martin up as hourly wage. I do NOT know what he is waiting for. When I went over our finances and bills, I realized that we will be able to pay or mortgage, but not our other bills, if we like to eat at all. M is going to have to have another uncomfortable conversation and find out if he can expect a paycheck on the 10th of November. BUT WAIT! I have some good news! Things ARE looking up! On Wednesday I got offered a job as a sub for the local preschools, and on Thursday I got offered a counseling position at a residential youth center. Neither are full time, and the hours will vary greatly, so I accepted both! Finally, I have a purpose! I did start working right away for the preschool subbing, so I will have a paycheck come the 10th. But, it will only be for nine hours or work, so it won't be a big one!
So, there has been stress. A lot of it. Money is a worry-maker when you don't have any! Like I said, I haven't been gaining much weight (other than TOM weight), but I also haven't been losing much! I was making some steady progress, but I seem to be stalling. I've been thinking about it, and I think I'm okay with it! I'm eating well, and pretty much all homemade stuff (as we can't afford much else), I'm working out regularly, and in general feeling pretty healthy. I've done my first and last dress fitting, and there is a lot of wiggle room if I gain OR lose weight. I'm not going to go nuts over the numbers. I want to work on toning up my arms, back, and shoulders, but other than that, whateves! I'm going to be happy with myself and be great with where I end up come November 26th.
So that's my recap of the last five months! I think that November is OUR month! I have high hopes for the rest of this year and beyond! Right now the plan is to try to relax and not worry so much about weight, but I'm not going to ignore it either! i'll be rested and ready for attach when I'm ready!
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