Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Apple Orchard...

Today Lexi's preschool went on a field trip to an apple orchard. I adjusted my teaching schedule so that Brea and I could go with. It was a bit of a drive, but it was very much worth the time in the car. The trees were sagging under the weight of the MANY, MANY apples. After watching the Orchard owner feed his cows (live animals seemed to be more of draw that apples for most of the little ones), we visited a section of the orchard that had Golden Delicious and Jonathans. After learning how to pick an apple without hurting the tree, each of the kids (and the parents present), got to pick an apple, shine it up, and enjoy it as a cool, crisp mid-morning snack. Lexi choose Golden Delicious. I went with a nice Jonathan. It was a beautiful morning for a stroll in the orchard. In fact, we had so much fun that this weekend we're planning a family trip back to pick our very own basket full of apples...the perfect Sunday afternoon activity I do believe!



Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My growing girls...

Mile stones have been reached this week. On Wednesday afternoon, Lexi emerged from playing in her room with this look of horror on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her tooth was loose. After making sure that she hadn't bumped it while playing, I assured her that everything would be just fine. That wiggly baby teeth just meant her big teeth were starting to make their way into place. Of course then it hit me...my little girl is growing up. She's taking another step into big kid world! How can that be happening? The tooth, now wigglier, is still hanging tough. Now the question is, which will happen first...her tooth coming our or her 5th birthday?

As if the stars aligned to maintain the balance of the universe or something, Brea has had her first baby tooth poke through in the past 24 hours. Interestingly enough, her first tooth is on the lower left while Lexi's first tooth was the lower right. Brea has also gotten her first tooth one full month earlier than Lexi did, one full month almost EXACTLY...the 16th of vs the 17th.

Also this week, Brea has decided that cereal IS edible. In fact there's been a total shift from clamping her mouth shut as tight as possible as to make cereal time as messy as possible to "can't you shovel it in any faster mom?" grunts and looks. Fun times!

peace

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Visitors...

We had surprise visitors for lunch on Monday. My grandma and grandpa Hall (my mom's parents) happen to be in Iowa as they were driving back to Nebraska from a Wedding in Michigan and decided to take a little detour over to have lunch with us. It was a quick visit on a very foggy, cool day, but Lexi loved getting to see her great-grandparents again only a month after our visit to Nebraska.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Ah-Ha Moment...

It's been 6 years since I've worked full time in the fitness/wellness industry. Needless to say, over the past several weeks I've had an unwelcome companion...self doubt. Do I really have what it takes to get back into the field? Do I still know the important, necessary information to safely and successfully coach people on their wellness? Will people look at me at my current size (still 20 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and 50 pound over my target weight) and really believe that I can help them reach their fitness goals when I don't look like I've met mine?

Yesterday I attended an all day Orientation to become a Spinning Instructor. Having only taken a few Spinning classes at the studio where I teach over the past 2 years, I wasn't quiet sure what to expect but I knew I wanted to be able to teach classes at least on a substitute basis. Like many of these all day fitness trainings, I went in fresh, energized, with granola bars and water in hand and left hungry, exhausted, tired, yet excited. What I didn't expect to happen was the Ah-Ha moment at the end of the day. For most of the day we learned about the program, the bikes, the exercise science behind the training, etc. Then we finished out day with a 45 minute "class" on the bike lead by our trainer Dawn. Dawn is a cyclist, a cycling coach, and has a strong background/education in exercise science and obviously is very passionate about what she does.

By the end of our ride it was like someone had flipped a switch for me. We finished our ride with a 5 minute time trial, a very intense push to the finish line so to speak. When it was all said and done this overwhelming feeling to cry suddenly hit me. I had done it. I had physically pushed myself beyond where I thought I could go right now without pain (well, besides unmentionable areas that were screaming that they wanted off the saddle), without giving up on myself, and without feeling defeated. While I've always found Spinning classes at our studio to be a good workout, I've never necessarily enjoyed them and I didn't quite see how cyclists could willingly spend HOURS on their bikes. After yesterday's training and ride...I totally get it. I have a new, deeper appreciation for and understanding of the Spinning program and more importantly to me emotionally right now, I got a huge reminder of WHY I LOVE working in the fitness industry. It was a much welcomed confirmation that I've made the right decision to once again make this work my main professional focus.

I collected myself emotionally, thanked Dawn and let her know how affirming and enjoyable the day had been, showered and took off. As I walked out of the club it was lightly raining. Rain, especially this slow, gentle type of rain that's been happening for the past 12+ hours has always been very comforting to me as it brings renewal, cleansing, and growth to the earth...and at the end of the day yesterday I felt as if the rain had come to welcome me back into the world with my renewed sense of self. It's a great place.

peace

Friday, September 8, 2006

Pressing Reset...

In a way, that's what I've felt like I've done over the past month...pressed the reset button on life as I knew it. Professionally, I wasn't happy. Personally I was torn working full time (plus) and not being as available to my family as I felt I needed to be. So, with the support of my family and friends, I made the decision to leave full time employment to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) with a part time job/business that gives me income with flexibility. One month ago today (in the count of Fridays) I made the jump...and while I'm happy, I would have never expected the many thoughts and emotions that have occurred over the past month as a result of the change.

Making this decision for me was a no brainer on one hand. I LOVE being a mom and after being on maternity leave this spring, I realized just how much I was missing of my girls' lives. Not the big things, but just the little, every day things. The little joys. The time to go to the library for story time, or to the coffee shop to hang out and have a treat, or just to enjoy a sunny day by taking a walk to the park. I feel so much more relaxed now and have found that our evenings and weekends are more enjoyable because instead of using that time to stay on top of the house work, chores, grocery shopping, etc, we use our time to spend as a family. The girls and I can take care of most of those other things during the week while daddy is at work.

I'm also more relaxed because I'm doing something professionally that I love. My full time job, while great in many aspects, did not make my heart sing...and over the past few years I came to realize that promotion out of my position was probably not going to happen (even though it was well known that was what I was working towards), and even if it did, it probably wasn't going to result in me liking my job any more, I'd just have more pay and different benefits...which don't get me wrong, wouldn't go unnoticed or unappreciated. But when it comes down to it, I pursued an education in exercise science because I'm passionate about helping people gain and maintain good physical and mental health for quality of life. And while I've made some choices in my education and past employment in the field that if I had to go back and do over, I might, I feel good about the path I have taken and the place where I am at the moment. I've always wanted to be my own boss, and now working as an independent yoga instructor, fitness coach, and wellness educator, I am doing just that.

So the choice was easy...or so I thought.

Now a month into our new "arrangement" as we refer to it, I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision, for both me and my family. Most of the concern centers around finances...what seems to be a constant thorn in our paw so to speak. Yet, when you crunch the numbers, financially we're probably at about the same place with me bringing in part-time income and NOT paying full time child care, than if we would have just kept status quo. But I do sometimes wonder if I made the right choice financially in regards to retirement (as now the only one contributing to a retirement plan for myself is...myself...and well, let's just say, the pot ain't gettin' any bigger) and insurance (though having your husband work for a Fortune 500 financial and insurance company does have MANY benefits in that area). Moving from working full time for someone else who supplies your benefit package and who pays business expenses, to doing it all yourself is quite a change...especially for someone like myself who isn't necessarily business minded. Income (and expenses) are still a little unpredictable and that's a bit scary for me when I know my family needs my income.

Though we have come a long way in the past 11 years, our finances still seem to be a sticking point. I guess it's frustrating because as 2 intelligent, hard working, law abiding, college educated, socially responsible adults, one would think we'd be able to to eventually get to a place financially where we can just BE and not constantly feel like we're struggling just to pay the monthly bills and provide our family with the simple basics of life...with the occasional luxury or treat. Right now, I'm not seeing that place in our sights. What adds to that frustration is that we can't seem to figure out how to live and have gainful employment for BOTH of us in this small mid-west community in which we want to raise our family. My dear husbands has been commuting 50+ miles one way to work each day for the past 6 years, driving into "the city" because he's been unable to find a job here in our little community that utilizes his skills, interests, and experience and provides the salary we need to afford our basic needs...even with the increasing price of gas! A few years ago I read a newspaper article on the frustration young couples face when trying to make it "work" in smaller communities and why so many young families choose to move to more urban areas. I felt like they were telling our life story, yet we're not ready to give up the fight just yet. We like our small town life: our friends, the schools our kids will attend, and the great sense of community you find in rural communities such as ours.

Financial troubles aside, I sometimes feel a little bit guilty at times now that I've made the move to SAHM. I worry that my dear husband, who goes to work everyday (not necessarily to a job that pays him what he's worth or that fills his passions) to provide for his family, who gets very little out of his efforts besides a house to live in and food in his belly (which I know we both know is a blessing of its own), will burn out and start to feel under appreciated for what he does. I get the luxury of being with the girls each day; of doing special (mostly free) things with them like our library time; of doing something personally and professionally that I love and which feeds my passions...because of that I feel rich beyond what any money could buy. I hope that my dear husband feels as rewarded for his efforts, even though we're currently unable to splurge on a few luxuries of life I know he'd enjoy.

I've had many mom's who have/had made the choice to stay at home while their kids were young tell me I'll never regret the decision I've made. I know, in my heart, that they are right, I just have to get my head out of the way. We're still adjusting to this new life, a process which I'm sure will take some time considering all the factors and feelings involved.

So it has been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts this past month...but over all...I'm so happy. My life, my focus, and my priorities needed a reset. I am so thankful for my family and my friends who have been so supportive of the choice I (we) have made in giving this new life a go.

Now...before the hubby comes home...I must go do the dishes... :)

peace!