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Happy New Year New You!

Ah, the beginning of a new year!  So full of hope and renewal.  Big plans to change lives, change the world!  OK, hands up if you’ve decided this is the year you’ll exercise regularly or start running or begin a new diet or go to church weekly or “be a better you” in some other way.

Yeah, they all start off that way, don’t they?  We start off with all this enthusiasm and we’re so gung-ho.  But by March all the beginning enthusiasm has worn off and we’re back in the same old routines, probably disappointed in ourselves for failing when we’d set ourselves up for failure in the first place.

So what can we do instead?  How can we make ourselves and our world better in 2017?  Certainly not by trying to do it all up front.  No, it needs to be a more gradual process to succeed.  Baby steps!  And we must be forgiving of ourselves when we don’t make a goal or a new routine doesn’t stick after the first month.

It’s true that we often don’t push ourselves hard enough and don’t reach our potential in any given area because of it.  It’s also true that sometimes we push ourselves too hard and sabotage our efforts that way.  I know I’m guilty of both!

Face it, you aren’t going to go to the gym every day.  Probably not even 3 days a week every week for the whole year.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise several times a week.  Go for a walk.  Do a 20-30 minutes workout video or follow along with an exercise sheet easily printed from various websites.  I’ve seen some designed to be done at a desk!  You also won’t follow a strict diet of severely restricting what and how much you can eat, either.  But you can find a healthy eating program to help you make balanced choices and eat more whole foods instead of sugary treats.

How will I be a “new me” this year, I guess is a question.  Well, certainly not by making any Earth shattering resolutions and failing by mid-February.  No, that won’t do at all.  That’s just “me” not a “new me” 😛   I’d rather continue studying to learn more about networking and computer repair until I finally get a job and then continue on from there.  I’ll also continue meditating and reading daily (or almost daily, anyway) to grow both spiritually and as a person.  I’ll try to do a better job to help those in need and to recognize when someone doesn’t need or want or can’t accept anything I have to offer.  I could also do a better job of accepting help when I’m the one in need.

So how about it?  Do you have big plans for the new year?  How do you intend to make it work long-term?  Can you be forgiving of yourself if you stumble along the way?  Remember, dear.  You’re only human.  You will make mistakes.  You will run low on steam to keep up a big project.  You will probably even find yourself forgetting because it’s not part of your pre-set routine.  Love yourself because of this, not in spite of it.  It’s okay, really.  You are going to be great and do great things!  Even if it’s not what you planned 🙂

The little things

It’s all about the little things.  The random hug from Tyler.  A note in Riley’s daily agenda saying she’s having a good week at school.  A friendly message from someone I wasn’t sure if I’d hear from again.  Purr therapy from my cat.  Realizing I chose the PERFECT shade of blue to paint my dresser.  Knowing someone who can find great homes for all these orphaned clothes we’ll never wear again.  My Libman Freedom Mop.  Slice-o-matic… never will I dice a cucumber with a knife again!  A fresh peach dipped into Greek yogurt with honey.  Feta.  The scale saying 1.5 lbs lighter than the day before.  Seeing Riley excited about the book fair at school next week.  Baking soda and vinegar.  Borax.  Being able to put my right hand flat on the floor when I try to do a push-up.  OK, that’s not a little thing… it’s HUGE!  Wearing those jeans that have been hanging in the bathroom for a month waiting for me to be able to squeeze into them 🙂  Walking the block with my neighbor for a little morning “walk n talk”.  Saying goodbye to the kids in the morning.  Welcoming them home again in the afternoon.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll bake them some cookies.  Beautiful days like today!  White, puffy clouds.  Opening the windows.  Just BEING!  I guess the little things really are the big things, aren’t they?

And it begins…

That nightmare that made 3rd grade so difficult for Riley and me started again today.  Just a week into the school year and she’s already whining and complaining when it’s time to do homework.  Everything else is great.  She gets up on her own.  Gets dressed without a fight (with a bra, even).  Bounces happily to the bus.  Even bedtime has minimal fuss.  But homework… What is it about homework?

There is something about having to do any sort of homework that just turns her into a whining, procrastinating, complaining diva.  You know what her homework was tonight?  She had to spend 10 minutes reading her library book (about cats, as they often are) and practice multiples of 4 for the quiz tomorrow.  That’s it.  It really didn’t require the 10 minutes of whining that preceded the 15 minutes of actual work.  Or maybe it did.  What do I know?

Starting tomorrow she will begin homework at 330.  That’s right after snack time and only 30-45 minutes after arriving home.  Maybe doing it earlier means it won’t interrupt the flow of her evening.  If that’s what causes the mood swing.

She also has an absolute obsession with going into a cartoon world or having cartoon characters come visit her.  Listening to her go on about what it would be like if she found a way into Ninjago City gets a tad tedious after a few hours.  She was working on a great little story about the Pound Puppies going to Ponyville.  I was really enjoying that one!  But she hasn’t worked on it in a few days.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll find her pages and ask her to keep going.  She’s so creative!

Around here I really never know what tomorrow will bring.  But, truthfully?  I’m okay with that 🙂  Each day is a new adventure and most of them are quite enjoyable lately!

Productivity!

I tell you what, with the kids back in school, my productivity has shot through the roof!  Finally I was able to put a coat of paint on my dresser.  It’s been sitting on my balcony for a week now.  The primer took days to dry because of the humidity.  Then it rained.  I could have painted it yesterday but Riley wanted to go for a walk.  How can I turn down an offer like that!  But today… high around 80.  No humidity!  Clear, blue sky.  Kids at school.  Yep, that thing finally got a coat of paint on it!  I really want it back in my room.  There are no words for how much I HATE having my clothes on the floor and in a laundry basket!

I also did some prep work for my healthy lunches and snacks for the rest of the week.  As well as some of the more prep-intensive ingredients for scheduled dinners.  I made hummus!  I put a bunch of stuff into my blender (a food processor would have been useful) and a few minutes later had some hummus!

I didn’t get any crafting done today but the dresser really is the top of my priority list until I get it back where it belongs.

Tyler seemed to have a decent day today, too.  He didn’t complain about school at all.  When he got home the cupcakes I’d made were just ready to eat (yes, I was THAT productive!).  Then his usual theater group had their first meeting of the season and he didn’t have rehearsal for his other play so he got to go!

Riley was pretty good today.  Poor kiddo has the first-week-of-school sniffles.  I know not all kids get that but mine get it bad.  Go back to school and within a week sniffling, sneezing, coughing, etc.  No fever as of bedtime but I do need to find her Symbicort.  It sounds like her asthma is flaring up.  Of all the traits I wanted the kids to inherit from me, my tendency towards respiratory distress was not on the list.  She was good all afternoon and evening, though.  She even did three yoga workouts that she found on the video on demand through our cable (sniffling and coughing the whole time)!  But she wouldn’t eat the dinner I made 😦  Quinoa with lightly sauteed veggies (just a tad soft but still crunchy), baby spinach, and balsamic vinegar.  I thought it was amazing and saved the leftovers to have for lunch.  Neither kid would eat it, though.  Their loss.

And tomorrow is Tuesday… oh yes, I have plans for Tuesday!  My dresser will either have a 2nd coat of paint on it or be pushed back to my room.  I’ve got some other kitchen prep on my to-do list.  And crafting!  Will it be card-making, jewelry, or something random?  Hm, I wonder what the muse will bring!  I haven’t done any cards in a while.  That’s tomorrow’s decision 🙂

Meet the teachers

This evening was “parent orientation” at Riley’s school.  I find it helps me a lot to go to these things so I can get a feel for the classroom and the teachers and how things work.  Yikes, I’m glad I went this year!  I don’t know if it’s an experimental thing or a budget thing or what but her classroom has 4 teachers!  Two ladies take turns teaching math and science.  One is there on Mondays and Tuesdays.  The other on Thursdays and Fridays.  They alternate Wednesdays.  Then the kids go to another teacher for reading and language arts.  And, of course, our friend from last year, the special needs teacher, is staying with the class all day.

I expressed concerns to the teachers about Riley adjusting to the daily changes.  She hates having her routine disrupted.  Yesterday when she was getting ready for bed she was upset that we weren’t going to therapy today… it’s Thursday, that’s what we do!  But the one teacher will be there all day every day so that’ll provide her some of that consistency.  They suggested they could put a note on her desk every day to tell her who will be there the next day so she won’t be too surprised.

But I just never know with her.  I’ll think I have her figured out and then she has to change the rules.  Just this afternoon Little Miss “I hate music and melted cheese is gross” told me she wants to be in the school choir this year and then asked for Bagel Bites for dinner.  I felt like I’d dropped into an alternate reality!  Such a goof!  But while I was at the school I talked to the music teacher about her being in the choir and she said we should let her try.  If it doesn’t work out, she doesn’t have to go back.  Easy peasy, right?  I hope!

First day of school

What a successful first day!  Riley came in about 230 and seemed very excited about her day.  She didn’t say much, other than she brought me homework, but she was really happy.  It must have been a fun class 🙂  About an hour later Tyler came in.  I asked how his day was expecting a rather typical teenage grunt in response.  He gave me a very enthusiastic, “Yeah, it was really good!”  So, yay!  They won’t fight too hard tomorrow about going back again!

As for me?  Yeah, I had a pretty good first day of school, too.  I cleaned the refrigerator (mostly).  At least there’s no expired/bad food left in it and the main shelves are clean!  Worked on some crafts.  Did a couple things I’ve been putting off.  I hope tomorrow is just as productive!  Or even better!

Oh, but the excitement didn’t end when the kids got home!  No way!  Today was also the first day of training for the Special Olympics equestrian event!  Now THAT is amazing!  She hasn’t ridden in several months and she has a different instructor now so she had a leader and sidewalkers today.  It won’t be long before she’s independently riding like she was in the spring.  I’m so thrilled for her 😀

But for now, even though today was a really good day, I’m glad it’s coming to a close.  Because tomorrow is a brand new day with new adventures!  I’m excited to see what’s next!

WOW! Finally!

I seriously was starting to wonder if this summer was going to end!  But, finally! School starts in the morning!  My son is starting his senior year at high school and my girl is in fourth grade.

We didn’t do a whole lot this summer.  No big vacation or anything exciting.  But we did okay, I think.  Riley and I went to the pool a few times.  She loves swimming!  She’s not what one might call a “good” swimmer but she has fun and what else matters?  We went for some walks on days when it wasn’t blazing hot.  And every Thursday we spent the day at the therapy clinic for OT, PT, speech, and therapy.

Tyler spent most of the summer doing teenage stuff and landed a part in a local production of Oliver!  He’s so excited!  The play opens this coming weekend.  It’s been a great experience for him.  He really had to break out of his comfort zone to go to a new theater to audition and it paid off for him!

As for me, I’ve spent a lot of time working on crafts and some other projects.  A while back I took some things to a local store because the owner sells local crafts on a commission basis.  Nothing has sold yet but it’s a new store still.  It’s not particularly profitable yet.  She’s planning a street fair for November and my goal is to have enough doodads and whatnots put together to have my own booth!

I did make another change, too, about two weeks ago.  I started writing down everything I eat and how many calories it has.  Wow!  When I pay attention to what I’m eating, I really don’t want it as much as I thought I did!  In fact, just by calorie couting, I’ve gone down 10 pounds in 2 weeks!  Next I’m going to add some exercise to see what happens!  Wootwoot!  Heck, if I could lose 60 more pounds, not only would I be ecstatic, I’d also be slimmer than at anytime in my post-pubescent life and might consider a bikini for the first time ever 😉

Right now, though, I have to wake up at 5:30AM and I couldn’t be happier about it!  Good night!

May angst

Every year for as long as I can remember, May has been a difficult month for me.  This year it seems to be hitting me particularly hard.  Even when I was a little girl and unable to identify the problem, I was always just more emotional in May.  You see, my birthday is in May.  And this year I turn 40.

40.  What does that mean.  My walk here on Earth is probably halfway done.  (Genetically speaking, my family doesn’t hit 80 gracefully).  I could very well have more years behind me than ahead of me and I feel I haven’t accomplished half of what I set out to do with my life.  I’m easily distracted and love detours!  Most of it’s been great.  Some of it I could have done without.  But it’s all been part of this amazing, meandering journey!

This journey has taken me from the pits of Texas to the paradise of southern California, from the icescapes of Wisconsin to the countless waiting rooms that define the parent of a special needs child.  Possibly my single biggest skill is waiting.  As a military wife I waited for orders, for phone calls, for deployments to begin and end, for 72 hour shifts to end, for furniture to be moved in on Christmas Eve.  As a special needs parent I wait for reports from schools, reports from therapists and doctors, appointments, diagnoses, first steps (17 months old), first words (5 years old), end of a session so we can go.  I’m an expert at waiting.

But this year isn’t just about another birthday or marking the beginning of a new decade.  No, for me this year marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life.  I haven’t told many people this yet but for those who have heard, or suspected, it’s true.  Jeff and I have reached a point where it is time for us to travel independently.  There are many reasons; however, what truly matters is we are and want to remain great friends, even if being married is no longer right for us.

So here on the cusp of my 40th birthday I find myself starting over.  Not in the same way we all do every year but as an almost-divorced mother of two, a teenaged boy with Asperger’s and my little girl who still needs so much help.  Now is the time for me to stop waiting.  No more bi-annual moves, no more waiting for orders. There may be more diagnoses coming with my Rileybug but PT, OT, speech, behavioral analysis and regular therapy are already set up.

Please forgive me if I seem a tad more emotionally volatile than usual over the next few weeks.  I am OK, just adjusting to a lot of changes.  But change isn’t a bad thing!  It can be scary but who wants to live in a world full of caterpillars with no butterflies?  Soon I’ll emerge from this chrysalis and spread my wings!  I’m not asking for an easy transition, just a worthwhile one 🙂