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September 30, 2012

Every Day?

I just saw this photo posted by Under Armour on Facebook:

 I know stuff like this is meant to motivate, but it often tends to make me feel hopeless.  I used to do something active every day.  I used to run miles and miles.  I used to play volleyball 3-4 nights a week and do something else on the other nights.

That was before...

That was when it was just me and I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

I feel sad because NOW is the time I really need to be taking care of myself.  NOW is the time I need to get extra weight from pregnancies off my body and NOW is the time to build some muscle to help with the aches and pains of aging.  But NOW I do not have the time to devote to this.  NOW is when I should be taking care of myself so I can be there for my kids later when they need me to have the energy and the ability to support them in their activities, as they get on into high school, college even.

This summer, for seven weeks straight I made it to 3 boot camps per week.  My schedule at work allowed me to leave at 4:30 p.m., I had no obligations after work except for a one-off meeting here or there that I was able to work around, and my husband's work schedule accommodated me arriving home around 6:00 p.m. on the days I did it.  That ended in mid-July.  I was feeling really strong and fit right at that moment.  

Then...life happened (again.  some more.  still.)  The end of summer flurry of activity with family visits, preparing for school to start again, transitioning to school (four kids this year including the preschooler), volleyball coaching, swim team practices, ballet lessons, guitar lessons, swim lessons, school board meetings, homework checking, reading instruction, and a new role with my organization that seems to get bigger every time I stand back to take a look at it -- all of that has pushed out any time for me to do the level of sweating I would like to do on a regular basis.

So even though I can justify taking my sleep over workouts and even though I understand that this is just one part of my life and it, too, will pass like the blink of an eye, I still get sad when I see that I should be taking care of my body physically as well as spiritually and I am failing in that aspect.  Sure, I'm taking a step in the right direction by getting back to Weight Watchers and getting the exercise in when I can (I got two 30-minute sessions on the step-mill in during Dani's swim practices this past week), but there's always pressure (it seems) to do more.

What's an out-of-shape momma to do?  I am tired of saying to myself, "I'll get to that in a couple of years when the baby is 3" or "30 minutes is better than nothing."  I KNOW that 30 minutes is better than nothing, but I desire so much more.  It's difficult to balance this need to care for myself with the demands of my children and my work.  Thank God my husband doesn't demand all that much of me (yes, he truly is a gem) because I don't think I could stand it.

Not sure what the point of this post is.  Gripe that I hate running into ads like the one above because it makes me feel "less-than"?  Give me a place to list all my excuses for not being in better physical shape?   

It is most likely that this is my current state in life and like all the others, I need to look to find God's plan in all of it.  I'm a mom.  I work outside the home at a full-time job.  I'm active in many things at our parish and school.  Working out and sweating every day is taking a back seat right now.  Will it be this way forever?  I think that is what is causing me consternation over the whole matter.

Perhaps this will provide me an outlet and a space where I am able to collect some encouragement from you moms who have "been there done that" with large families or something.  Is there ever a time when you feel like you have the time to devote to getting into really good shape again? 


September 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes (33)

--- 1 ---
I started to write a post responding to the wonderful comments I got both on the blog and by message/email to this post from a few weeks ago.  Seriously, I really appreciate the support I get from the blogosphere.  I feel like I have gotten to know some of you so well and I never would have known you without this technology and this online community.  I feel like I have some of the most wonderful readers ever because you all seem to "get" me.  In a world where I don't have very many real-life people who "get" me, it's nice to know I'm not all weird...just a little bit weird.  :)

--- 2 ---
I have started the journey through Weight Watchers yet again.  I am determined not to be hard on myself that the time period from late February to late September was basically a wash in the weight loss department.  I am not doing the meetings at work this time because I just don't have time to take out and go there for meetings.  I am trying a Monday evening meeting and I am going with a friend.  It was surprising that we are both starting from the same point weight-wise and we are similar in height, so our initial goals (the 5% and the 10%) line up.  We've been holding each other accountable by messages on Facebook.  I really think this might be the ticket I need to get through this all the way.  It just helps to have someone going through it with me.  I always try to do things alone, but this is one of those things I need support as I'm going through, so I'm excited that we're doing it together. 

--- 3 ---
No lie...there is some sort of violent altercation going on in the street right outside my office just above me. The police are there (I heard their sirens...) but it is pretty unsettling the volume and the profanity coming out of one particular man's mouth.  (not kidding, the words, "just KILL me, M*****F*****") were shouted.  Please pray for those involved in this incident today.

--- 4 ---
I had a moment this morning.  I cried as I was eating my breakfast.  My Helen and my Dominic are missing me so much right now.  They need cuddles and hugs.  I think I'm just going to sit on the couch cuddling and hugging my babies tonight.  I am not home very much right now.  I am working a lot, I have meetings on the evenings I don't have volleyball practice and then I have volleyball practices on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  My Saturdays are booked running kids to activities and now added coaching volleyball to the mix.  Sundays have volleyball, too.  It's just one more month.  Please pray that I can keep it together and keep my kids from crying too much from missing me.  Just four or five more weeks....

--- 5 ---
I read this great article yesterday.  Thanks to my husband for linking it on my Facebook wall.  If you have time and you've struggled with losing bad habits or creating new good habits, this is a good read to help you understand some of the struggles that come about and it's all in the way your brain works! 

--- 6 ---
I decided to try using Twitter a bit more and figured a good way to start getting better with it was to document points of this weight loss journey using the hashtags #countthepoints and #sizematters (thanks to my husband for the ideas).  I'm also using some pictures on Instagram with the same hashtags.  Come join in if you want!  

--- 7---
This weekend is chock full of activity!  What else is new, right? 

Sarah has her Challenge meeting tonight.  I'm really excited one other girl from Sarah's class has elected to do Challenge this year.  It's such a great program for girls at this Preteen stage.  Really looking forward to watching them manage their Apostolic project this year.  They are going to do some stuff with Crisis Pregnancy Center and stuff to do with caring for the young, unwed mothers and their challenges.  I don't have all the details, but that's what I've gleaned so far. 

Tomorrow, Dani will swim a couple of races in an intrasquad meet.  She's only legal in the 50 Backstroke and 50 Freestyle, so she will swim those.  She's on the pre-competitive team, but they said she could do this one and I want her to get a taste of what it is like to compete to continue to spur her on with her swimming. 

Helen has Ballet and then swim lesson at 11:00.  I'll be coaching the 6th grade girls as they take on the team we are tied with for first in our league at 11:00 and then they have another match after that.  Go Girls, Go! 

Then Sunday is a Pancake Breakfast at Church and coaching the 3rd grade team in volleyball. 

Sarah has elected to do the Sunday night Catechesis programs at church again this year.  She took last year off.  But a friend from her class is doing them, so she wants to join her.  (I <3 that by the way.) 

Have a great weekend!  Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting and be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

September 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes (32)

--- 1 ---
Did you happen to read this article this week--> Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out ?  If you didn't, please take a gander...especially if you have daughters approaching 11 or 12 years of age.  Apparently, doctors recommend beginning these shots around that age.  First of all, how sad is it that in our society it is a reality (simply perceived or maybe more) that girls of such a young age are thought to be having sex.  I have had many talks with  my 11-year-old, Sarah, about s.ex, the changes coming to her body (very quickly actually) and the idea of se.x ...well, let's just say, she doesn't seem to be "chomping at the bit" to get out there and experience it or anything.   Second of all, how is it that doctors are pushing something like this vaccine when there are these risks attached to it?  Since when is it more important to push pills/medicine than to take the proper care to ensure the risks of taking it are not more than the risk of that which it is supposed to prevent?  Oh wait...we've been down this road for quite a while with hormonal contraception...

--- 2 ---
A few weeks ago, I opened up my comments to "anonymous" comments.  The only ones I have gotten are spam, though.  So I think I am going to switch that back.  When I didn't allow anonymous comments, I still got spam, but only one or two comments every 6-8 months.  Now I'm averaging about 15 a day.  THAT, my friends, is annoying.

--- 3 ---
We start playing volleyball games this weekend!  And so begins the 7 or 8 weeks of craziness that is coaching two teams.  I hate admitting this, but it's so true.  I should not have volunteered for coaching for two teams.  I was worried about Dani feeling less loved if I didn't volunteer to coach her teams like I've always coached Sarah's.  I shouldn't have worried about that.  I wanted Dani to TRY volleyball and she was only seeming willing if I were coaching.  I shouldn't have worried about that either.  As it stands, Dani doesn't really like volleyball and is just hanging in there because I want her to fulfill her commitment and due to the amount of girls out for volleyball in her class, we have 2 teams of 6, so they are kind of relying on her playing.  So, Saturdays are Sarah's games and Sundays are Dani's games.  It's all good, though!  The season starts flying by when there are games to be played!  :)

Dani does seem to really enjoy swim practice though.  She wants to go to every one available to her and she works hard the whole time she's there.  She's getting stronger every day.  Here's a pick I got of her doing stroke drills the other night:
Doing the 8-kicks-on-this-side-then-switch-sides-and-do-8-more-kicks drill
--- 4 ---
Speaking of volleyball, Sarah started getting overhand serves over the net from the serve line they get to use for their grade last night.  It's interesting.  With something like overhand serving, the girls really just need to get a feel for the technique of hitting the ball and get a little confidence.  I actually saw the 2nd two serves Sarah got over the net and started going crazy and then her friend told me, "Mrs. Hughes, she's gotten 4 serves over!" and I realized I'd missed the first 2.  Then I watched her continue to get some over as she practiced.  I was pretty proud of her.  I think she'll still be starting with underhand serves in games, but she'll progress at some point this season to overhand if she keeps getting them over like she is in practice.  

It amazes me how quickly she has grown and how the coordination and things are all coming together.  She still has not grown into her size 8.5 women's feet...but she's definitely getting there.  Those of you who have heard moms say their children "change before their eyes" during puberty and think that sounds crazy -- well, believe it, they really do change before your eyes, looking more grown up from one week to the next.

My pretty pre-teen
--- 5 ---
Helen seems to really enjoy First grade so far.  I have been able to witness this more this week as I have been off work and have brought them home from school each day.  She immediately brings out her homework and her papers that have come home to share with me.  She knows exactly what to do with her homework (they have some reading homework and spelling practice each night) and she gets right down to business.  She's very proud that she's finished the first set of Magic Tree House books we have at home and has been asking for more of those.  (She just LOVES Annie!)

Helen has suffered a bit of separation anxiety so far this school year in the sense that I have not had a lot of time for her.  Helen NEEDS her momma.  Really.  I have been very busy at work and often have meetings or volleyball practices to run in the afternoons/evenings PLUS getting Dani to her swim practices two evenings a week.  Then on Saturdays, we're running constantly with activities.  I promised her a night out with me all to herself next Friday.  She has reminded me every single day that I am taking her out next week.

She really is just too cute (seriously...I think I may need to ingest some relaxing chemicals as she enters the teen years, I don't think I'll be able to handle letting her out too often without):

--- 6 ---
Not to be outdone by the girls, Dominic is growing up fast, too.  He's such a calming influence on our family.  I know, I know, not too many people can point to their three-and-a-half year old boy and say he's a calming influence.  But Dominic really is.  One example was this week as I was getting breakfast for all the kids before I began the morning rush of getting Vincent to daycare and kids to school for the day.  I made pancakes.  The girls were driving me nuts, fighting about where the hairbrushes were, how they were going to wear their hair, minding each others' business over who had or hadn't eaten and brushed their teeth in the wrong order.  Gah!  And there Dominic sat, patiently waiting for his pancakes.  When I set them in front of him, he didn't whine that I'd cut the pieces too small or that he didn't have enough butter or syrup, he simply ate what was in front of him.  I made mention of what a patient boy he was!  Later, I took him to the dentist (his first visit!!  he was so good!) and I heard him tell the hygienist that he was a "very patient" boy.  The next day, I took him with me to a prayer group, where he announced to at least one of the moms there that he was "a very patient boy."  

Additionally, I think he's reading a bit.  He will get the "Step 1" readers down from the shelf, and every so often come to us to ask us what a particular word is and then go sit down and read the books.  I am not sure he's getting word-for-word, but he's getting more words than not.

Here is a picture I took of him after his dentist appointment (he has trouble looking at the camera for some reason): 

Clean Teeth!  He's a "very patient" boy.  Yes, he is!

--- 7 ---
Vincent is ornery as ever.  I give you exhibit A:

And then I give you exhibit B (Vincent watching his tantrum):

But he is so darn cute that he gets away with it!  

Exhibit C:  Tuesday evening, I saw Vincent crawl through the kitchen with a diaper around his foot.  I thought he must have been playing in his diaper stash, so I grabbed it, it was dry, but since his foot had been in it, I threw it away.  About 10 minutes later, I picked him up to put him on my hip and he was all wet!  I hold him out from me and say, "Vincent, how did you get so wet!?!" and I see that the diaper I had thrown away had been the one he was wearing.  Somehow, without unsnapping his romper or unbuttoning the top or removing any outer clothing whatsoever -- he had shimmied his diaper down his leg and off!!!  The little Houdini!!  haha.

But he really is very cute:

I got my shoe OFF mommy!  That's not all I'm good at, though.  :)

What a cute little helper at the grocery store!

 BONUS:  One thing I have found difficult since having 5 kids is getting good pictures with all of them.  It's hard to get all of them to look at the camera and smile at the same time.  But I really want pictures of all 5 kids!  At the Irish Fest a couple weeks ago, I got a good one and here it is:

 Enjoy your Friday!  Please go visit Grace at Camp Patton for more Quick Takes!

September 10, 2012

Ramblings of an Over-Worked Mama

I am on vacation from work this week. I am trying to get some much needed work around the house done. Of course, here I am taking a break...while the work -- ahem -- sits undone. 

I feel kind of lost sometimes when it comes to this blog.  Most of the time, I don't mind if anyone or everyone reads it.  I pray that the words I write are helpful, provide some insight into who I am and perhaps help someone else.  Other times, I feel restricted because anyone or everyone MIGHT read it and I might over-share in that respect.

Lately, certain feelings and experiences have caused me to withdraw.  I don't want to "put it out there" for people because I'm not comfortable with "it" at all.  I wonder if anyone else is going through similar things, but I also wonder if I should just suck it up and get over it because that is what everyone else does.  

I guess I'll just leave it at this.

Marriage provides some unexpected and confusing challenges at times.  

Keeping a house neat and orderly seems almost impossible...all the time.

Raising pre-teens is not for the faint of heart.  And mostly, regardless of what you (the parent) do or say or ever thought about raising a pre-teen girl -- it is heart-wrenching at times and very difficult to watch them find their way.  But you have to watch.  You have to stand back and let them learn to make their own decisions, handle their problems, learn who their friends are, learn who they can trust.  And then, when they are crying, when they are heart-broken, you have to remind yourself that this is ALL NEW to them, it's their first time feeling this way and they don't care whatever you went through 25 years ago, so you remind yourself that as much as it is the same...it is different and you keep your mouth shut and pat them on the back and give them a hug.

I don't know exactly what the homework was that my children completed - but I need some reassurance and confidence that the fact that they DID it is all I need to know and I'm not causing them a future full of misery because I can't be there guiding them through all of it every step of the way.

Oh yeah, and I wonder if anyone can provide a little bit of reassurance that Helen will be okay if most of her reading is done on her own.  I don't know how I was able to spend so much time reading with Sarah in the 1st and 2nd grade.  I just don't know how I did it.  I am finding it nearly impossible to do it with Helen in the 1st grade now.  :(  The good news is that her sisters are willing to step in (and as long as they can do so without coming off like a sibling-turned-overbearing authoritarian, it is fine).

And my boys...They have spent more time in out of the home childcare than the girls put together.  I know they are well-cared for.  But sometimes, I just have this uncertain feeling that they are getting the shaft, parental attention-wise.  

But, I don't often spend much time second-guessing my parenting decisions.  

Who has time for that?  

God be with them each and every day and comfort my weary heart all night.  Amen.

Okay...off to get some of this undone work done.