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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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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Ultimately, I really just want my kids to be nice!

kindness

There are many things I want for my children. I want them to be happy, confident, successful, hardworking….the list goes on! But more and more I am realizing, the #1 quality I want my children to possess, is kindness.

I feel like in our society today, being nice is so under appreciated. This is a generalization, but I feel like our society is focused on getting ahead, parents want to give their kids a “better life” than they had growing up, and our children have a sense of entitlement. The most basic expectations we had as children, please and thank you’s, seem to be a rarity with the children of today. Let alone, general kindness to others. Bullying is a norm for young children to deal with in schools, on the bus, at the playground…..where has our sense of compassion gone? I’m not sure if it’s because there are more distractions with technology today, for parents and children that everyone is fighting for attention; or if our society overall is just under valuing the basic benefits and value in being kind!

While growing up my Mom always told me if someone’s being rude, picking on you, don’t lower yourself to their level, just “kill’em with kindness!” It was great advice that I still use today. Now there is a point in which you have to stand up for yourself and I also learned from my parents to not stand for being disrespected; but there is a way to stand up for yourself without lowering yourself to someone else’s level.

I’ve been trying to teach my oldest, Piece’s, who is in Kindergarten, to simply call people out on their behaviors. If someone is being mean, simply tell them, “You’re not being very nice right now,” and if someone else is being mistreated to stand up for them. Sadly, I don’t think this is a common practice among young children these days….

In my personal experience and opinion, being a kind, polite person generally leads to getting kindness in return. The age-old saying of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is most definitely a simple and true one. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect; I have times where I should think more before I speak. But in general, I feel being nice has helped me be more successful in my career and has made me a better mother, wife, friend…the list goes on.

karma

I’m not a very religious person, but I believe in karma; I believe that the type of energy we put into the world comes back to us in that way. The more positive, polite, kind I am the more and more I will get that in return. So that is what I am trying to teach my children. And I hope more than anything that they continue to grow into strong, hardworking, confident and most importantly NICE people!

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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Mommy Wars- Can’t We All Just Get Along!

I’ve read and heard a lot about the “Mommy Wars” going on these days. Mom shaming seems to be everywhere! I know some level of judgment is natural. We all feel that what we are doing what’s right for us, so sometimes, we may feel that our choices are the right choices. But every mother, father, child, family; well they are all different. So really, what’s with all this mommy drama!

high school drama

Here’s a great example!!!

mom enough nursing

So you’re nursing your kid till they are in preschool, kindergarten, a teen, whatever it may be! Well, good for you. People either love or hate this it seems. Breastfeeding has become a really hot topic these days. I’m a big believer in breastfeeding; I nursed my kids till they were 4 months, 8 months and 13 months; but some people just can’t! It just doesn’t work for them for a variety of reasons, or medically they can’t. Whatever the reason you are not a “better” mom because you nursed (regardless of how long). You are just a mom who nursed! And nursing them longer than the average person, well I do commend you for that. I was sad, but ready to be done at 13 months with Miss T. And for me I felt having them drink independently at the age of one was a good thing. But that is what I think is best for my family.

fitness shamer mom

And here’s another example….Wow, you look great! Way to go! I might have found your story motivational had you said, “You can do it,” “Here’s what I did!” But no, you had to use the condescending angle. This really pisses me off as an active mom who tries hard but will probably never have a body like that. And honestly, it’s not an “excuse.” My body is different than yours AND I enjoy some sweets and wine on a regular basis, which can be a bit counterproductive, LOL!

sahm-vs-working-mom

The SAHM vs working mom battle! This one is so complicated to me because I’ve been on both sides. I went back to work full time after I had my first child for almost two years. I left my job after my second child was born, but worked part time until 6 months ago (for 3 years) to make ends meet. It wasn’t an easy decision to stay home. I had a good job making good money. We went from financially stable to pinching pennies and we are just starting to see the light! But that was a decision my husband and I made for our family. And no, I don’t think I’m any better of a mom than a working mom. I feel for the working moms who want to be home but they can’t. I respect and appreciate the working moms who want to work and are kicking ass in the work force. And I feel for the stay at home moms who are making sacrifices to stay home. None of these options are easy!

So what’s our problem?!?! Why are we all trying to say we are “doing right,” instead of saying “way to go?” I mean regardless of what decisions you make from feeding, to working, fitness and more; being a parent is freaking HARD! I don’t know all the nuances of your family and your situation to know what is best for you. I only know that I am trying my best to be the best mother, wife and person I can be. I don’t think I am right, I just know that I am trying my best for me and my family!

So to all of you moms (and dads) out there, I want to change the tone and say, Keep up the good work! And way to go!!

Until next time….. Thea

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Little Victories

I’ve stated before my struggle with organization! Well, I failed my 40 bags in 40 days challenge. I got to just over 20 bags, which was a dent, but there’s still so much to DO! I’m slowly and steadily making progress and here are some of my “little victories.”

I cleaned out all of my kitchen cupboards and pantry. There were quite a few things I haven’t used which I’ve boxed up to sell on eBay. I’m thinking during this process I might be able to make some money, LOL! I also went through my closet and have some business clothes and dresses that no longer fit; they were post pregnancy clothes so they were worn very few times. I’m planning to sell those as well.

I was able to get a few things done around the house that I’ve been meaning to do for YEARS honestly! I finally put up a towel ring in our master bathroom (I’ve had it for two years)! I no longer need to keep a hand towel hanging over the back of my vanity chair outside the bathroom, yay! Here are some pictures!

Towel ring beforeTowel ring after

The foyer got a bit of a sprucing up this month as well. I cleaned out the dresser we have in the foyer and adjusted a picture that is hung on the wall to the correct level. This time of year with gloves, hats and scarf’s all over the place I found some old baskets in my office that I used to sort and put them in the bottom dresser. I had the kids help me so they know where their items go and they had fun helping. Here are some pictures of before and after.

Foyer before foyer before 2

Foyer after Foyer after 2

My goal for this week is to clean out the three closets on the first floor; the hallway, bathroom and living room/main closet. I’m doing the 5 day clean eating challenge again this week so I’ll need to make sure I have time for workouts every day limiting my time to dedicate to other projects. But I’ll keep plugging along making little baby steps of progress!

Until next time…… Thea 🙂

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Respecting my Postpartum Body

Picture 090

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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