Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Not your average girly girl

We have a black tie event coming up.  It happens each year at this time.  Some of the women who go to this event look like they are going to the Grammys.  Others look like they are dressed nicely for a wedding with a little glam thrown in.  In years past I have worn formal gowns I already had around from other event in my life.  Last year I found a cute shimmery gray cocktail dress for cheap.  This year Jeff gave me permission to go find something again.  I went shopping.  I went to SEVERAL stores.  I hate shopping.  I like new clothing, but I hate trying things on, getting discouraged, and especially leaving without anything to show for it.  Such a waste of time.  I am not your stereotypical woman who loves to shop.

After a half a day of shopping for a gown, I came home empty handed.  It wasn't that I couldn't find anything, it was that I couldn't find anything I was willing to spend money on.  To get a nice formal gown, I would have to spend 100 dollars plus.  It is SO hard for me to justify spending that kind of money on a piece of clothing I will only wear once, maybe twice if I rotate my gowns for this event.  Then there's the chance it won't fit when you do want to wear it again.  Blah!

I would much rather spend that money on something I can wear more than once. I want my moneys worth!

SO...this year I am wearing a simple black dress I bought on clearance several months ago.  It is oh so plain, but I spent a little money on accessories to add a color pop and dress it up.  It won't be anywhere near the fancy as what I will see that night, but I will feel a lot better knowing I can actually rewear my purchases for concerts at school and such.  Maybe some day when I have a job that pays more, I can make a splurge and get the over the top gown, but not this year. 

I know some women right now think I am crazy.  What kind of woman doesn't like getting all done up and looking fancy smancy?  I guess this woman.  Dressing up is not as fun as it used to be.  Skin isn't as tight, tummy not as toned, thighs not as small.  You know what I'm talking about middle aged ladies.  I'm working on it and I'm making progress.

I felt like this year no matter what I chose, I was going to feel guilty.  Guilty for not dressing to the hilt and impressing my man (I could sense a little disappointment in my decision), or guilt for dressing to the hilt and spending a whole lot of money doing it, FOR. ONE. NIGHT.  A girl can't win!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Change for age

My weight has been an up/down cycle.  I have never let it get to the level of obesity because when I get to a certain weight, I feel uncomfortable and my confidence levels go down.  This alone boosts my motivation to do something about it. I've tried different things and been successful at them all.  Among those things is counting calories and exercising, going vegetarian, and portion control.  Out of those things, the only thing that seemed like it should be a lifelong change is portion control.  Staying vegetarian....super hard.  Counting calories the rest of my life....no thanks!

Both Jeff and I got to our upper points with our weight at the end of last year.  We both wanted to make changes.  This time we are approaching it differently.  Our motivation has changed.  I'm not sure if it's a middle aged crisis thing or what, but this time we are motivated to change our diet and exercise because we want to be healthy.   We no longer hold the hope that we can have the perfect bod, but know we can have a healthy one.   We want to grow old gracefully and feel good as we age.  I have told myself that I will not weigh myself because I don't want my efforts to be driven by a number on a scale (I only cheated on this once so far). I just want to exercise on a regular basis, eat a well balanced diet, get a good night's sleep, watch my portions, control my sugar intake, and see what happens and where my body settles in.

So far we are three weeks in.  I have noticed a difference.  I do think I have lost weight but have no idea how much because I am not weighing myself.  My clothes feel better and I like the little changes I am seeing in my body in the mirror.  I have plenty of energy too.  We are exercising 4 days a week, together.  I am packing my lunches so I'm not tempted to eat more (way too easy to do when you eat at home).  I am trying to stick to my sweet Saturday rule (cheated a couple times because of Valentines, tisk, tisk).  I am going to bed consistently at 10:00. 

One difficult transition is portion control.  My eyes are always bigger than my actual stomach.  I am trying to retrain myself to realize I don't need as much as I think I do to get full. I'm trying to listen to my body when it gets to it's full point.  And....I'm trying to force myself to wait 10 minutes before going for seconds to let my full button have a chance to kick in.  It usually does and I usually am glad I did wait. And because I'm eating lots of fruits and veggies I don't get hungry at all. 

So I'm hoping the way we are going about this is a plan that will literally be a lifestyle change that lasts instead of just having a goal of loosing weight then going back to your old ways when you get down to your magic number.  I'm tired of yo-yoing with my weight.  I'm ready to just do the right thing and be happy with myself.  I want to really feel that age is just a number.  I don't necessarily have to feel my age.  In fact,  I want to defy it.  I don't fear getting older, I fear what can happen to my body if I don't take care of it. 

I feel very blessed that my husband and I are on the same page with this.  It makes it SOOOO much easier when you do it together and can hold each other accountable.  We have carved out a exercise schedule and call it "family workout time."  We want our girls to see us taking care of ourselves so they grow up knowing they should do so also.  I also feel very blessed that we have the means to work out in our own home. We have made an investment in exercise equipment.  Both Jeff and I feel that in the long run we will stick with it if we have the ability to exercise in our own home and this is the first home we have the space for the equipment. We find ourselves making too many excuses when we try to commit to doing it to a gym.  Scheduling that time away from home is super difficult with a young family.  There are no excuses NOT to do it when you have the ability to do it in the comfort of your own home.  

I do not desire to give monthly updates to hold myself accountable.  That never works for me.  I only posted this because it's what's going on in our lives right now.  A family update if you will.  So there you have it.  A change we are trying to implement in our family.  Lord willing, it will last this time.  We shall see.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I am not entitled....

(this has been swirling in my head for a few days now, thought I'd get it down as future reference for myself)

I am NOT entitled....

to a nice 3 bedroom home, but God freely gave anyways
to two wonderful, gorgeous children, but God freely gave anyways
to a wonderful, supportive, husband who provides, but God freely gave anyways
to supportive parents, but God freely gave anyways
to live in a beautiful area of the world, but God freely gave anyways
to a nice well running vehicle, but God freely gave anyways
to have extra money to go on occasional vacations and/or fun outings, but God freely gave anyways
to have breaks with my children, but God freely gave anyways
to have a husband with a job that gives him ample family time, but God freely gave anyways
to great, friendly neighbors, but God freely gave anyways
to food on my table, hot water, and flushing toilets, but God freely gave anyways
to a heated house with running water, laundry machines, and a dishwasher, but God freely gave anyways
to my life, but God freely gave anyways

"Blessed are those who do not see, and yet still believe"  (John 20:29)

When you reflect on your life, I mean really reflect, you realize how true this verse is.   I really have a hard time being around people who have a constant sense of entitlement.  We are all sinners and probably don't deserve a fraction of what we've been given.  This is not to say that I haven't taken for granted on occasion my blessings, but for the most part, I try to count my blessings and remain content with what I've been given.  Not all these blessings I have listed have I always had.  Some have come to me after years of wanting them.  I am beyond blessed.  It isn't always easy to remember this, but it keeps me grounded when I do.  The grass isn't always greener on the other side.  It's green right now in your own pasture.  You just have to be willing to sit back and take a look through God's lense.  Then it becomes clear as day how much he loves you, how often he shows it, and how selfish we all can be when we lose sight of this. 

This year has felt like a year of healing for me.  I'm not sure I could posted this a year ago.  Being at home with my children was great, but being homebound because I had to watch other people's children all day was tough, really, really tough for me (not one of them was easy to watch).  It literally turned me into someone I didn't recognize anymore.  For the first time in a long time, I finally feel like me.  I just want to shout, Darci's back!  If one thing my trials in years past have done for me, it's helped me to really feel empathy for those who are in the midst of their own trials.  My heart aches for them. Even though I don't know exactly what it's like to be in their shoes and go through what they have or are going through, I know what it's like to be stuck in a dark place that seems never ending.  I know what it's like to loose sight of who you are or want to be and loosing your hope of a better tomorrow.  My prayer is that God will shower them with his neverending love and that they will feel it, really, really feel it.  I know trials are necessary and important in the life of a believer.  It draws us closer to our creator, but I can't help but dread those to come in my own life because I'm sure I have many more ahead of me.  However for now, I'm happy for this year of healing and a break from the hard times.  I'm hoping this post will serve as a reminder to myself during the next trial, that there is light at the end of each tunnel, hold on, count your blessings, and be thankful that you have a savior to forgive you when you let your circumstances get the better of you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


The cats out of the bag at work.  It has been weird and awkward for me to look for other jobs and keep it secret at work (other than 2 other teachers who agreed to keep my secret safe, I needed a reference from work ya know).  I wasn't sure how my boss would feel knowing I was looking.  I also didn't want it to motivate her to let me go at the end of the year or make things awkward between us. 

Today I was asked point blank if I was returning next year.  I had no choice but to tell her I was looking and wasn't sure.  We had a heart to heart and she understands that my real calling is teaching music full time and it is what I'm passionate about.  She totally understood saying she can hear the joy coming out of my music room when I teach.  She didn't seem hurt or put out by this news at all.  She even teared up and said that I am really good and the kids love me and she would totally miss having music at school so she obviously doesn't want me to go.  It was good to hear that. 

I now feel like I am in the best place I can be.  If I get another job, there will be no hard feelings.  If a future employer needs to call her and ask her about my performance, I'm confident she will do the right thing and give me a good review.  It won't be a shock to her and she can be prepared if God opens doors for me elsewhere.  On the other hand, if doors remain closed, I will still have a place at my current school.  I have no reason to believe she would try to get rid of me and know she appreciates me and likes having me at the school.

Sigh!  That's relief you hear.  I hate keeping secrets.  God bless my boss!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The last leg of her journey

Those who know me know I own what some would call repulsive creatures....rats.  Too us, they're furry little balls of fun and love.  We love them so much!  When they came into our lives 1.5 years ago I knew that they would be a short term pet as their life expectancy is 2 to 3 years.  So I guess you could say they are now on the final leg of their journey with us. 


Daphne is the lazier of the two rats.  She is also the porker of the two.  I always thought she would be the first to go because she is more lazy.  I think my assumption may be accurate.  We have noticed in the past few weeks Daphne is acting a lot more sluggish, even more than normal.  The way she moved in her cage made me wonder if she was getting arthritis.  Then tonight I found a lump.  Female rats are known to get tumors, so I can't say I'm surprised.  I have no idea how much time she has, and I'm dreading seeing this thing grow.  We will have her put down when the quality of her life is no longer good enough to go on, but for now we are going to love on her as much as we can in the time we have left with her and let her have as much time as she can with her sister.

The good news is that her sister, Daisy is still as lively and spry as ever.  She has always been our mischievous rat and the most affectionate of the two.  She begs to get out every time you pass her cage.  I love her to bits!

I'm not looking forward to this last leg.  I'm not looking forward to seeing the ratters decline, especially Daphne with her tumor.  And most of all, I'm nervous about watching Daisy grieve when her friend passes.  Rats are extremely social critters and it is very common for them to grieve for each other when the other passes.  This could be a sad couple of months.  Sigh!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Toothless wonder

...and she's got two more loose ones.  If they don't start growing soon, she's going to have to go back to baby food.  Poor girl.  Sure is cute though.  She recently discovered the truth about the tooth fairy (and the Easter bunny, and Santa).  After this one came out she looked at me, held out her hand, and said, "I want my two bucks!"  Stinker!  Luckily, Bren hasn't caught on despite our candid talks in front of her about those things.  Kadyn says she'll try to keep the secret alive for Bren.  We shall see.

From inconvenience springs ideas

So we are on day 7 of no hot water, but we have found a better way to take baths.  I finally dug out the biggest pot I had.  It was being used as a storage container for long utensils.  It isn't my favorite pot to use because the lime is so bad in our water that when we boil water in it, it sticks to the bottom like glue and it takes FOREVER to clean (even with vinegar).  The metal is different than my other pots  Therefore, even boiling plain water creates more work for me in terms of dishes.  Plus, it is so large it takes forever to start boiling.  However, we are all getting to the point where we want to wash up in a normal way, rather than a sponge bath in a cold bathroom.  So...I knew it was time.  The thought crossed my mind, if our water heater shows up damaged we may be out of hot water yet another week.  I had to do something, just in case.

I emptied one of our blue storage bins, filled it with a big pot of boiling water (which filled the blue tub half way) then cooled it down with our faucet water until it was the perfect temperature (which made it completely full).  The girls LOVED it.  They liked it better than their normal baths.  It was WAY easier than a sponge bath too.  When they finished and I dumped it in the tub, I realized that I could probably manage to take a normal bath with that amount of water myself.  Granted, the water was very shallow in our big tub, but it was warm and a whole lot easier than doing a standing sponge bath.

  Weekends are always laundry days for me.  I wasn't sure I could make my homemade powder detergent work in our frigid ice cold water, so I tried to dissolve it in boiling water.  BAD, BAD, idea.  It probably would've worked if I would've just dissolved the detergent, but me and my brilliant mind decided I'd throw some oxyclean in there too.  It bubbled up just like vinegar and baking soda and started overflowing instantly. I grabbed it (because it was on the stove) and tried to get it to sink quickly, and the boiling water overflowed all over my hands and all over the cabinets and floor.  OWWWWW!  I know, genius!

Needless to say a phone call was made to the hubs to pick up some cold water detergent from the store.  This is the first time I've used it and the first time I've used store bought deteregent since Bren was in diapers.  Even then I only used it for diapers only and used homemade for everything else. I haven't used store bought detergent on a full time basis for almost 5 years. 

I noticed my clothes seemed softer.  That's a nice perk.  I don't like that they smell like detergent though.  Makes me think it's still in my clothes.  I may try to experiment with using less and see if it still gets my clothes clean.  It got me to thinking though about the energy I am saving not using hot water to wash my clothing.  Could it be that the money I save in energy would equal the money I save each month making my own deteregent?  What if I saved more by switching to cold water store bought detergent rather than using warm water and home made detergent.  I'm not exactly sure what formula you could use to figure that out.  I don't mind using the homemade stuff.  I like that my clothes don't smell like anything when I'm done and still get clean.  I like the savings.  I hate grating the soap though.  Takes forever.  My grater always gets plugged up and then I have scrape it and then resume grating later.  It's a pain.  I'm seriously thinking about making a permanent switch to cold water detergent and forgoing the homemade stuff in hopes it will be about the same savings simply because I'm not using up hot water.  Plus.....it will mean more hot water for us to take baths with so no one runs out. 

So at least there's something good that came out of our inconvenience. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Something about being Mom

Something I have been thinking about lately is how much becoming a mother has humbled me as a person.  It has exposed things about my personality that I once thought as strengths and now realize are horrible weaknesses.  As a child my mother used to comment how stubborn, impatient, and hot tempered I could be.  She would also comment how if used in the right way some of this could be turned into strengths.  She was right.  I am stubborn to the point of not giving up when I put my mind to something and am passionate about it; I have experienced great success professionally as a teacher because of this.  I got through tough years of doing daycare in my home to fulfill my commitment to be with my children when they were tiny because of this.  I'm not sure hot tempered can ever be something that can be considered a strength, but I will say that temper has given me enough boldness to speak up about things that I know are wrong when normally I wouldn't have the courage.

I remember being in highschool and hearing that we should be on our knees asking for forgiveness daily.  I struggled with finding fault in each day because I could rarely think of things I did wrong.  I don't mean that to sound conceded, but I was a pretty good kid.  And maybe this was also a little bit of me being ignorant to my sin because of lack of maturity.  Despite this, I think I prayed more as a highschooler than I have as an adult and mother.  Sad really.  The business of being a mother (although not really a good excuse) has made for a lacking prayer life.  I go through the motions of praying with my children (snacks, meals, bed time, and other random prayers) constantly, but I don't pray personal prayers, just me and God, nearly as often as I should.  I even confess that the times I finally get myself back into that kind of prayer life is when I'm struggling with something or really wanting something.  Prayer just comes naturally when you really really want or need something.  The words "vending machine" come to mind when I think of my personal prayer life.  I want to change that.  I'm trying.

So all this is to say, becoming a mother has exposed me TO ME in ways that I didn't expect.  It exposes how much I sin on a daily basis.  It humbles me and proves to me how disparately I need a savior.  It makes me sit back and ponder how incredible forgiveness is and what Christ actually did for me, for others, for my children, for my husband.  Although I got it as a high schooler, I don't think I really got it, or really felt it until I became a mother.  You look at yourself differently and examine your own attitudes, emotions, and actions with a microscope when you become a mother.  You realize that everything you do and say has impact on your children.  There is a certain accountability that you can't deny and because of this, your eyes are opened to the ugliness of sin in your life. 

To sum it up, I have desired to make changes recently.  And because I'm Darci, I don't ever just do something half way.  When I finally get motivated to pull up my boot straps I pull up my boot straps.  The changes I desire are plentiful and I'm mature enough to know that it will be a constant process and something I will never fully conquer, and will fail at repeatedly, but I am willing to die trying.  These are not changes that have come about from new year's resolutions, but rather, from doing it wrong for long enough that I'm going to do something about it.

So here is what I'm going to work on:

1.  More patience with my children
2.  Controlling my temper when my kids make bad choices
3.  Offering more grace to my children they make bad choices
4.  Increase my personal prayer life
5.  Eat healthy
6. Eat sensible portions
7.  Exercise
8.  Go to bed at a decent time
9.  Be more positive when trials come my way
10.  Be more accepting when God's will is not what I want
11.  Give my hot buttons to God and LET GO
12.  Count my blessings more
13.  Do a little housework each day instead of letting it pile up for the weekends
14.  Limit my electronic use and spend the time I've gained with my children making quality time
15.  Be thankful even in the hard times

So there you have it!  Even though I said life has been good, and it really has, there is always room for improvement.