Growth through Change- The #5 Things I Learned in 2015

It’s been a year since the start of my blog and shared my 2015 Resolution goals. It’s been a truly eye opening year! Many goals were accomplished, but along the way I learned some things about myself. I was reminded about my inner strength and perseverance, but also had many old fears and insecurities rear their ugly head; leading to a fulfilling yet, emotionally challenging year.

Setting goals and publicly striving for more, it leads to growth and discovery. Here are the top things I learned in 2015!

#1- The Importance of Setting Goals and Making a Planning

If you’ve heard the saying, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail,” it is incredibly true. I had many goals I wanted to accomplish over the year; fitness goals, personal relationship goals, and organization goals. Many were accomplished, but many were not…. At the start of the year I made a monthly calendar that included all of my “To Do’s,” but I found that there really weren’t enough hours in the day (with 3 children to care for) to get to everything most days; so I needed to prioritize. At first I was discouraged when I wasn’t be able to get to everything, BUT I realized that having a schedule and planning when I was going to accomplish my tasks resulted in getting A LOT more done than had I not planned to begin with.

Until you get into a routine of setting goals, developing a plan and then sticking to it…. it can be overwhelming; but it’s worth the effort.

Admittedly, I slacked a bit on my organization goals. I was able to make some good progress and I will be making that a priority again this year. I was, however, able to meet my fitness goals for the year and, making date nights a priority with my husband (almost every month), was great since we had a crazy busy year!

#2- Only You have Control of YOU!

This has become my personal motto! Not just to keep myself motivated to stick to my workout schedule and nutrition plan, but also with helping me manage my anxiety issues. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it’s a struggle I have had to deal with most of my life and I’ve wanted to share about this more, but I haven’t quite gotten up the courage to let that heavy, dark side of me out.

Simply reminding myself that ultimately only I have control of me and my life has been a huge help. Life and circumstances are something that every person needs to deal with. We can get weighed down by outside negative influences, inner struggles or a hectic busy life; or we can remember that we DO have CONTROL! Choose to be positive, choose to take action (on your own personal goals & dreams) and choose to have gratitude for the things in your life.

#3- Technology and the Need to Disconnect!

I knew this prior to starting this blog, but after spending added time on a computer, on social media and researching now forms of social media (Twitter, Instagram and so on), I was often left feeling a need to detach and disconnect! One of the reasons I decided to stay home and leave my career was because I didn’t like being at a computer all the time. Now, as a mother, in a world that is packed full of technology distractions, I have found more than ever a need to disconnect. I want to try and show my children that we shouldn’t depend on technology in our day to day lives. It offers many benefits and is a necessity in today’s day in age for school and work, BUT it is a distraction from the world and people right in front of you.

#4- I am a Private Person

The biggest discovery for me during this year was to realize that I am really a pretty private person. This surprised me and probably surprises those of you who know me well! I’m the type of person who will talk your ear off and over share at times; but I do that with my tight inner circle. Sharing my life with the world, honestly, I found it is not something I fully enjoyed. It brought out old insecurities and made my anxiety levels sky rocket; It is a pretty one-sided medium. It’s been fulfilling to share, but I don’t know if it will ever be something I love to do in this type of format. I much prefer a face to face genuine connection.

#5- Very few things in life are easy, but the things that take effort are worth it!

Setting goals and sharing my successes and failures was a challenge. Going through my own day to day struggles with anxiety and depression battles most of the year was hard. But I didn’t use them as an excuse, I used them as my reason to preserver, and I can say that I grew in many ways. It was a year of hard work, self discovery, struggles and accomplishment. It was the good, the bad, the ugly and the amazing all rolled into one! I’m glad I pushed for more and shared along the way. It was a great experience of growth through change!

Going into 2016 I have set new goals that make me feel excited, scared and totally out of my league. It will be a tough 2016, but I am going to make it another incredible year because only I have control of my success and my life.

If you want to live your best life, to be a better you (not a new you; but your best, authentic self), then I encourage you to push for more. Take on a new challenge or follow a dream. It will be hard and you’ll likely face negativity and doubt that you’ll need to power through; but making changes to live a more fulfilling life is worth it. And as I say to myself on a daily basis, “Only YOU have CONTROL of YOU!”

Until next time……Thea 🙂

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Don’t let your Opinion of your Appearance Affect your Physical Capabilities

I’ve spent countless hours critiquing myself in the past; picking out the things that were wrong with me or not good enough! Looking in the mirror and seeing my flaws instead of my strengths.

How many times have you done this yourself? I don’t think I’m alone with these negative lenses I look through. For some reason we live in a society that has a general level of superficial focus…..Do you have a nice big house? A fancy car? Are you thin? Are you attractive?  It’s sad, but true. I feel over the past few years there has been a bit of a change, focusing more on strength over being thin; but it still feels like a competition out there about LOOKS and SUCCESS and not about just being your best you.

After I had my children like many new moms I felt as though my best years (from a physical standpoint) had passed. After 3 c-sections, and complications with recovery on my third, I did feel as though maybe my body was just ruined in ways that could never be repaired. But I decided I wasn’t going to succumb to those feelings and I changed my focus to strengthening and challenging myself. I wanted to get back to a place where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I started taking pictures about 8 weeks postpartum and began training for a half marathon; which was just 5 months to the day after I had delivered my youngest!

I’ve written previously in Respecting my postpartum body about the physical and mental challenges and changes that training and accomplishment had on me. And recently, after completing two half marathons this year, I looked up those old postpartum pictures I took to see what progress I’d made.

Progress Collage-0915 text

Here is a comparison showing my progress. It’s humbling to see myself in the left pictures. I was 5 months postpartum and had just completed that half marathon I was training for. I used that training as my motivation to help me get back into shape. I had lost weight and was feeling good about the progress I was making. Looking at them now it’s interesting to see what perspective and self-appreciation will do to those lenses we critique ourselves with!! That body still needed some work, and the one I have now still needs some work! But I didn’t let my negative opinion hold me back because I started focusing on new motivations. It was no longer a motivation to be thin or look my best, it was a motivation to challenge myself and appreciate what I could do regardless of how I looked. This change in focus has helped me get 10 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight and has helped me have confidence in how I look for the first time in, well, I can’t tell you how long.

The best take away I can share from my experience is to stop setting weight loss goals, and start setting physical goals that challenge you in a way that seems impossible! Follow through with those goals and the weight will come off, you will appreciate your reflection, but most importantly you will find a real, true sense of self-appreciation and respect. And THAT is the best gift you can give yourself!

Until next time……Thea 🙂

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A Dance Recital through Layers of Tears

My oldest daughter, Miss Piece’s, had her first dance recital Sunday. She joined the group late in January and is the youngest in the class; it is a 6&7 year old class and she’s only 5&1/2.

After trying soccer last fall I was nervous about how she would do on stage; if she would get nervous and freeze, or if she had grown beyond her nerves. When she started soccer it was half practice, half full game play, and she was overwhelmed and intimidated from the start. She ran around in the direction of the ball, but would freeze once it came close to her, letting the other kids kick it without even trying. It was heartbreaking to see her struggle with her confidence and ask to stop playing. I’ll add my husband and I love soccer! We both still play as adults on leagues weekly. Yes, maybe I wanted her to love the sport as well, but what I wanted most of all was for her to have the confidence and competitive spirit her father and I both share.

We discussed other activities and she said she wanted to try dance. We did a 2 week trial and luckily she LOVED it! She put on her tap shoes to “practice” for days after her first class. My heart melts thinking about her dancing around giggling and smiling ear to ear!

Sunday we rushed to get her dressed and makeup applied, gasp!! Remember I’m a soccer player, I love my makeup but at 5 years old, I didn’t like that part very much. Well, we got her dolled up and rushed there with the WHOLE family in tow. Not only did I have nerves about how Piece’s would do but I also had huge nerves wondering how her younger brother, Mr. Man (3 &1/2), and Miss T. (18 months), would do for 3 HOURS! So, I packed tons of snacks for the younger two and brought Miss T’s stroller, hoping and praying she would fall asleep for at least a little while being her nap time. I dropped Piece’s off with her dance group and kissed her good luck….leaving with a few tears welling in my eyes; my first layer of ears.

Reese before

I met up with my husband and two younger children as my Mom and Grandma got there. I see them dressed nicely and realize in all my hustle and bustle I forgot to change out of my jeans and t-shirt. Mom brain at its finest! I worried about that for a little while, probably as a distraction just to stop worrying about everything else. So we sit and it starts! I relax briefly as dance number 9 is coming, her first dance of two.

I was impressed with how smoothly the show went rotating between dance, piano and voice performances. Mr. Man and Miss T were doing well, enjoying the performances clapping and being amazingly quiet. I was relieved and hoped it would continue. Than it came, 6&7 tap…..my heart pounding probably harder than my Miss Piece’s! The music started, she smiled and she started dancing!!! My second layer of tears well and dripping down my cheek as I feel pride for her bravery and joy from her smile; she was dancing and having fun…she was doing it!

Phew, so we had made it through the first performance; Miss Piece’s and her siblings holding it together. Now we just needed to make it past intermission and her second performance. Luckily, Miss T fell asleep in daddy’s arms for the remainder of the first half and Mr. Man, though a little squirmy, was enjoying the show and speaking quietly. I had prepared myself for a VERY stressful time with them and I was pleasantly surprised at their excellent behavior.

At intermission we took a break, went to the bathroom, changed Miss T and all had a snack. I sat there feeling relief that it was almost over. I hope I’m not alone with my feelings of excitement and relieve when it comes to my children’s activities. I love that they want to participate in activities, I loved doing so as a child, but everything that goes into it and the busy schedules, it’s exhausting sometimes and I’ve been ready for the lazy days of summer to come.

We returned to the auditorium and Mr. Man started asking when he was going to see Piece’s again. He told me he was still hungry and thirsty and no food was allowed so I hoped he would just make it through her final dance. He surprised me again by sitting still, whispering with questions and quieting when I told him it’s polite to be quiet during performances. Piece’s came out to do her final number, 6/7 Ballet. Miss T. and Mr. Man smiled and clapped and yelled, “Good job Pieces!” My final layer of tears well and roll down my cheeks. I felt relief that Pieces did it, our younger two were complete rock stars; I thought to myself that we must be doing something right! They were all growing and thriving. Sure maybe I wore jeans and a t-shirt but did it matter? No! Everything that mattered was beyond great and as close to perfect as you could get!

Reese recital Collage

Until next time… Thea

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Recognition (2 awards) and a Few Things About Me

Thank you-award Collage

What great support there is in the blogging world!! I was recently nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award by my friend and fellow blogger Nicole at Mommy Talk! It reminded me that I totally got lost in the chaos of life and never thanked AND recognized another award I was nominated for. Shruti at DeepLifeInsights nominated me for the Liebster Award back on March 1st!! So Thank you BOTH so very much for your support and thoughtful nominations!!

Both of these nominations come with an assignment to answer a few questions and to share the love and nominate other bloggers! You will see the answers to my questions below along with who I have nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award!

  1. What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger? Honestly, I worry about everything! Is my grammar correct, is my post too long/short, and mostly, does anyone care what I have to say?
  2. What has been your greatest success so far in life? Being a Mom and wife! I put most of my effort and energy into raising my 3 young children and supporting my very amazing and hard-working husband.
  3. What made you start blogging? I started my blog to document my 2015 Resolution Goals. It’s evolved since I started and really I don’t think I have a niche like a lot of bloggers do. I post about whatever is on my mind; motherhood, fitness, recipes and so on.
  4. Which blog post is your favorite? Please provide a link. It’s a tie for me! My first vulnerable post was The Important of a Positive Inner Monologue, I cried writing it multiple times and it’s an important message I wanted to share about the impact of our own thoughts. The other is Respecting my Postpartum Body; another vulnerable post where I even included pictures of myself ready-to-pop pregnant and current pictures of my very average body! The feedback from moms struggling to love their bodies after babies was worth putting myself out there!
  5. If you could meet one blogger in person, who would it be? The Scary Mommy blogger. She has a lot of strong opinions on things. Some I agree with and some I don’t. I think it would be fun to discuss hot topics with her. I like a good conversation and debate! LOL
  6. What kind of music do you listen to? I have a pretty eclectic taste in music! I like almost anything but I’m not a huge country fan; even though over the past couple years it’s been growing on me a little. My favorite artists/bands include; Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and I really enjoy classical music during the dreary fall and winter days.
  7. What’s your favorite dessert? Anything involving chocolate. If I had to pick ONE….peanut butter pie!
  8. Which social media do you like best to support your blog? Facebook, twitter or Pinterest? Facebook, only because I am a newbie to Twitter and a total virgin to Pinterest….I think I should get more involved on them but the time….?
  9. What’s your dream vacation spot? With kids or without? I feel like I’ve been on my dream vacation. My husband and I vacationed in Tahiti for our honeymoon. We island jumped, staying on the main Island a few nights, then Moorea for a few doing excursions, and lastly Bora Bora in an over water bungalow. BUT our next dream vacation we want to take, probably without kids, would be to maybe Scotland/Italy/France?
  10. What are you most passionate about in life? Fitness! I love to play sports, run, workout in any way. Working out is the best medicine! It’s free therapy, helps you feel better about yourself and keeps you looking your best!

Now I get to pass on the love to some great bloggers I know! I nominate the following:

I would like each one of you to answer the questions below, and also link your post back to me so I can see your answers!! Then pick 5 more people who you would like to nominate, and come up with 10 new questions of your own! Can’t wait to learn more about you all!

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What was your most popular post? (include a link) And was it also your favorite?
  3. What’s your favorite vacation spot?
  4. What is your favorite hobby (outside of blogging)?
  5. Do you have any special talents?
  6. Who is your biggest inspiration in life? And why?
  7. What is your favorite TV show?
  8. What is your goal with blogging?
  9. What is your biggest regret in life? If you have any.
  10. What is your greatest success in life so far? (had to steal this one from Nicole)

Thank you again to Nicole and Shruti for your nominations!!

Until next time…. Thea 🙂

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I was nominated for The One Lovely Blog Award!

I’d never heard of this until I was nominated by yummymummysblog.wordpress.com, but she was kind enough to nominate me for The One Lovely Blog Award!

Thank you very much!! As a newbie to blogging I am so honored!

Thank you

I am new and I wasn’t sure what the rules are so I have outlined them below!

  1. Thank the person nominating you and link back to them in your post
  2. Share seven things about yourself
  3. Nominate ten bloggers for the award

So, here are 7 things you might not know about me:

  1. I have 3 children ages 5, 3 and 1. They were all born via c-section. (Even though I had plans with my first to go drug free). Oh well!
  2. I love to run! It’s like therapy for me. I also love playing and watch sports; mainly soccer.
  3. I worked in sales for over 10 years before staying home. I was very good at it but got burnt out! My dream job is to become a personal trainer!
  4. I love wine and hard cider but I am finding after 3 kids I have a very low tolerance! Like 2 drink max or things get sketchy!
  5. I have an eclectic taste in music. Some of my favorite bands/musicians are Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Splashdown, Jose Gonzalez, Foo Fighters, Sigur Ros, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and I also enjoy Classical music. I am not a fan of country though!
  6. I love to sing and have sung in many weddings and funerals over the years. My best natural talent is probably singing, but with kids it’s just not something I have, or make, much time for.
  7. My husband and I have been together for over 13 years and we will celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary in May! It’s funny because when I was in high school I thought I wouldn’t get married until I was 30. I thought I’d get involved in music or travel the world. But I am SOOO happy that those plans didn’t happen. I love my life! My husband is my rock and my best friend; and being a Mom is the greatest blessing!

Here are the 10 Bloggers I now nominate for The One Lovely Blog Award!

  1. http://godswillnotmine.wordpress.com/
  2.  http://mamabeesimple.wordpress.com/
  3. http://thepinterestedparent.com/
  4. http://mommytime365.com/
  5. http://hellbillymama.wordpress.com/
  6. http://shrutiinsights.wordpress.com/
  7. http://truthtellermom.com/
  8. http://lovegrowsbestinatinycabin.wordpress.com/
  9. https://musingsofalondongirl94.wordpress.com/
  10. https://joetakesphotos.wordpress.com/

Thank you again yummymummysblog.wordpress.com!

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Respecting my Postpartum Body

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This is me! Full term, 205 pounds of swollen, ready to pop, hot pregnant mess! This wasn’t even my first time where I let myself go a little thinking the weight would all melt off after. This was my THIRD! Despite trying to eat healthy and stay active I still gained 50 pounds. I was working as a waitress a couple of days a week and I was a full-time stay at home mom so I wasn’t sitting around. I was always on the move and exhausted before Miss T even arrived. Sigh! Luckily, I had done this pregnancy thing twice before and I’d managed to lose most of the weight after.

Recently I heard a Mom say, “My body is ruined. Having kids ruined my body!” I could relate. After having my first I’d gained 50 pounds and had acquired stretch marked from my ribs to my hip bones. I felt as if I was “ruined” physically. I mean, it’s not like I ever filled out a bikini very nicely, but my two piece days were over and I was pissed off about it! One thing that men don’t understand is that during pregnancy you grow and grow, and regardless of whether you enjoy the process or not, it’s gradual.  Then many of us get home we look in the mirror and wonder what the hell we are looking at. I mean, over night we go from excited to meet our beautiful creation, to a deflated stomach, engorged throbbing boobs and typically swelling from all the fluids that were pumped into us. It’s like….

dude-wtf

I felt uncomfortable in my body most of that first year after having my first Miss Piece’s. I worked out, went back to playing soccer, and started running more. But it was never really the same as before. My husband and I decided to try for our second after our daughter turned one and two months later I was pregnant! Fast forward to Mr. Man’s arrival and I knew what to expect. I didn’t gain as much so I felt a little better after, but my body changed again. Someone told me before I had him that your body changes after every pregnancy and I was like, “Really!?!? Come on! I had just started getting used to that one!” And it was true. It was different again. Because when your body stretches to support a basketball sized munchkin a couple of times it’s taxing and takes a toll! After I had him I decided to train for a half marathon to get myself back into shape and lose the baby weight. It was during that process that I started to grow a deeper respect for myself and my ever changing body!

I look at the picture of my full term self and see how insane pregnancy is and how amazing the female body is to house and grow a human! As I stated in my post Learning to Run. I never used to like running. I LOATHED it really! So to set the goal to run a half marathon seemed like a fantasy goal. I didn’t know if I would even be able to do it. But in the process of training I was doing something I had never done before and I was fascinated at what my body could do after ballooning to have a child. I was losing the weight and I was definitely looking better physically, but it was the way I was developing an appreciation for my body and its capabilities that changed my perspective on things. It’s pretty amazing how a female body can expand and contract! It morphs into a massive beast (in my case anyway) and then if you work hard, it can turn into something new and strong and impressive again.

Me now 1Me now 2

Here I am now. I’m nothing impressive really and I know that. But I actually like this body now much more than my most fit and lean 18-year-old body; I think just because I appreciate it more now. I stopped focusing on the things I didn’t like and started looking at the things that I do. After nursing three children a total of about 25 months, my boobs are never going to be the same! And my stomach which will always have those tracks of faded stretch marks and a bit of a pop; they have changed to make my beautiful children and it was worth it! But now when I look at myself I see my legs again, which have always been thick and full, but also very strong! They are getting more defined than they have been in many years and can run further at 34 than I ever even thought I could run at 18. I’ve tried and will continue to try to look at things in a positive light because that’s the example I want to set for my children. I want my two girls to appreciate their bodies for what they are and can do, and not for how they look.

It’s a constant battle in life to keep positive as I referenced in the importance of a positive inner monologue. We see celebrities out there bouncing back and looking better than ever. Well screw them! We are the ones working hard to power through life without trainers and chefs or nannies to take care of our kids. We are the REAL deal! So be kind to your bodies; mothers and women alike, and give yourself a break! It’s so much easier to be happy in your life when you love instead of criticize; and I think that goes for the appreciation of our bodies as well.

Until next time….. Thea 🙂

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