Wednesday, October 1, 2014

If I Won the Lottery

"If I won the lottery"

Golly a couple options come to mind.

1) I would make Yosh quit his job and I would get a job. High school English teacher. (Is there somewhere I can just BUY teacher certification too? Kidding, kidding!)

2) I would hire a teacher and we would do a traveling home school. Like us parents, too. History class? We're hitting up DC and Gettysburg and all the other important cites. English class? Take me to the streets of London, or to a cafe in Paris, and let's all write. Shoot and I'd probably need to spend some money on having the kids' friends come and visit every now and then because, heaven help us, I love spending time with my kids and my kids love spending time with us and we're a happy family…for about three days, maybe four. And then we need diversity.Yes, there would need to be a "friend" budget.

3) Travel, travel, travel. Current travel wish list:
St. Thomas
Boston Marathon
Seaside, FL
road trip through West Virginia while listening to John Denver
Costa Rica
 always Hawaii
like maybe once every three months Hawaii

4) I would hire a photographer to candidly shoot our day-to-day lives and then organize it all in a keepsake book.

That's a good start!
Only problem is….
I've never bought a single lottery ticket.
And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
So I need to come up with a solid plan B because all these ideas I wrote out sound like must-happens.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Silver Linings Playbook

I watched a documentary on The Great Jimmy V (click on link!) back in July and have been trying to live by a bit of his sage advice ever since:
Everyday laugh, think, and cry.
He cited that as a key to a happy life.
Today I checked all three of those off while watching Silver Lining Playbook.
Now, I need to give you some background on this movie. Not the actual movie, but my experience with it. I originally saw the movie whenever it came out. How many years ago was that? If I were to guess, I'd put it in 2012. I was rolling solo that day and went to sit down with my diet Coke and popcorn because, truth be told, we know I go for the DC and popcorn just as much as I go for the actual movie. Now before booty found seat, somehow my popcorn was spilled. Like completely gone, on the floor. An appropriate beginning to a movie titled silver lining.
I sat back into my seat with feelings of both curiosity and excitement to watch this movie. I had heard a lot about it and knew the basic premise was right up my interest alley. I didn't have to wait long before something was happening in my feeling department- there was no beach entrance into the heart-wrenching drama. I instantly was engaged and attached. I watched for two hours as layers of complex crazy were piled one right on top of the other. Jennifer Lawrence repeatedly screamed out in disgust, "I don't give an eff," and each time she said it, I felt my guts being pushed further inside. Some of the crazy was so relatable. 
I left that movie angry. I was shocked by my own emotion. I drove our Range Rover at speeds that made me feel something. I only mention The Range because, let's be honest, the visual of me peeling out in the minivan just isn't the same, and visuals are important. So anyway, I'm mad for a couple of days. Like something deep inside was awakened. I felt I related all too well to the movie and I also felt it was completely unfair that on top of just dealing with life that we all also have to deal with crazy. Because if that movie proved one thing, it's that we all have a little bit of crazy coursing through our veins. I was disturbed. That disturbed feeling in regards to the movie has stayed with me ever since I saw it although the anger left.
Fast forward to today when I decided to revisit all those disturbed feelings and see if I could figure them out a little better by watching it again while doing some housework. Or computer work. Or possibly none of the above. Whatever.
First and foremost, let's take note of the amazing character casting. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence? I mean, nailed it. Perfection perfection perfection.
Ok, now for the things that made a little more sense to me this time around. 
This time around every time our girl JLaw found herself in situations that left her yelling, "I don't give an eff", I recognized the lie, that she was screaming those words with the passion of a girl that felt exactly opposite of what she said. It was a girl sitting on so much feeling and so much caring than she knew what to do with and was therefore left to declare time and time again, that she didn't give an eff. Every time she said it, I heard her. And slowly I connected it: if there could have been a theme for my teenage years, it would have been I Don't Give an Eff. That may have been my catch phrase. I said, thought, and believed that more times than I can possibly count.  I don't need to continue on in the explaining, in the connection, in the paralleling, of a troubled girl who had so much screaming going on inside that all she knew how to say and do was I don't give an eff. I believed JLaw's unmistakable passion, and this time I didn't believe her words and I heard and felt every single thing she wasn't able to say. I recognized her as me.
That's a hard way to live, to have your words and feelings so at war with each other. And apparently I had forgotten what it feels like to live that way. But when those buried feelings resurfaced, I remembered and they did something drastic to me. I'm glad I've changed.
And the next thing that was a game changer for me. She gets so mad at Pat (Bradley Cooper) for not only bringing a book into HER time slot, but a book  that is riddled with negativity and sadness and as if the negativity and sadness alone weren't bad enough, it didn't even have a silver lining. IT DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A SILVER LINING. That's the name of the movie, how had I missed the significance of this line?!!  And as I've been thinking about that line for the last couple hours, I really think that's what I missed overall the first time around, I think I missed the silver lining. The crap they dealt with, which make no mistake was absolute CRAP, wasn't for naught. No, I'm not stupid, I noticed the first time around that they fell in love, that damaged relationships were repaired, that wrongs were made right. Yes, I caught onto the silver linings the first time around. But I think I was so focused and disturbed by the mess in between that I couldn't even give the silver linings credit. The work it took to create those silver lining were too painful, too much work, just too hard for me to deal with. 
I don't do messy, I don't do crap, and I might be missing out on love and repaired relationships and wrongs made right and silver linings. It might be time to reconsider my relationship with crap and messy.
I feel a lot better this time around. Some might call sitting around for 2 hours a waste but I call it therapy. Not to mention,  I didn't even have to pay anyone $75/hour. Already recouping my loss due to a spilt Diet Coke and popcorn the first time around. Now if that's not a silver lining then I don't know what is.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Workout!

So at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014 I was really having the itch to do something hard and stick to it. I was feeling the need for a renewal in confidence. I wanted to do something that would span over a period of time and give me the opportunity to sharpen certain characteristics: stick-to-it-iveness, failing and jumping back on the band wagon, consistency.

I'm a lover of fitness and decided to do this 16 week program with Shane Huegly. His online service provided my nutrition and workouts for the whole time period. I sent him weekly progress pics and texted/emailed him any immediate questions I had. The accountability was just what I needed to keep going when I had had a crappy week. The nutrition and workouts were catered to me. I had to google exercises and I loved finally feeling like I was learning and understanding working out. The nutrition aspect provided a solid ideal which I had always lacked, leaving me continuously second guessing decisions.

Here are my before pics: 

A couple of things that helped me stay on track:
I was very clear on my goals. Although this was a physically driven challenge, I wasn't necessarily looking for physical results. I wanted to keep on keeping on more than anything! I wanted to create a healthier relationship with food and how I fuel my body. In January, I had written down my motivation to fuel better after having dabbled in clean eating for the past few months and being astonished by the changes that came from that. It said,

"My goal is to be happy.
My motivation is happiness.
I want to do/eat things that in the long run keep my energy up and my feelings positive.
I want to avoid eating/doing things that sidetrack me from spending time or energy away from my family."

These thoughts were written down because of my personal interactions with choices. Ie: eating tons of ice cream messes with my hormones and leaves me sad and without ambition. I was shocked to make this connect, but once I did, Wow…isn't not wanting to feel that way a natural motivation to not do those things?!!

Anyway, all this to say, I was far from perfect on the assigned program. On the workout portion, I was pretty dang close! I love working out and loved feeling so deliberate in my workouts. 
On the nutrition end, I did REALLY good for about three weeks. I wanted to follow it closely for a while to prove to myself that I could do hard things. After that I was a lot more flexible and was more reliant on the note I had written myself about my goal and motivations. I didn't want this program to become an enslaving diet, a standard of success and failure. Most people who follow the nutrition program I was given are preparing for body building shows or have very pointed physical goals (i.e.: a 6 pack.) I was very good at reminding myself those weren't my goals. I learned to be a lot more flexible and was so much kinder to myself!

The 16 weeks ended 3 months ago and I can say lifestyle changes were definitely made. Notably, my breakfasts are so different, I eat a lot more protein, I eat more often.

These are the last pictures I sent to my coach (fresh out of bed at 5 am!, can barely even open my eyes as seen!). 

I can't see a huge difference in the before and after and since pictures were our only point of reference (I didn't weigh myself or take measurements), it's good to write down the internal changes that took place!

Overall I was very happy with the results I got from this. I feel like I have a regained sense of confidence in doing the best I can and discipline and sticking to something (...the best I can! Are you seeing a reoccurring theme here?!!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mountain Mama

Durango, CO.
It is beautiful.
The thousands, possibly millions, of pine trees standing tall and shedding beauty.
The layered view of mountain and trees, farmland, and the bluest of skies.
Beautiful, actually, doesn't even begin to describe it.
The view seems to host a certain peace that comes from being far away from everything.

Now, make no mistake, I could never live in a place like Durango.
In fact, I think this visit solidified what I have long suspected about myself--
I am a city girl.
I like busy and buzz and other humans' energy.
I would even go as far as to say I NEED it.
And that is not offered in the mountains.

But for vacation, it was lovely.
Not to mention, the company I enjoyed it with.
My mom and dad are always so generous in finding a place to house The Crew, whose numbers are now right around 40.
No easy feat.
Making it happen is so worth the effort though.
We all find a corner of the house to call our own and stash our suitcases and lay our heads at night.
And because we're all under one roof, after that it is free roaming!
All the cousins are constantly together doing whatever it is they do-
playing ball, climbing trees, stomping rockets, painting nails, playing with dolls, etc etc. (including getting kicked out of the basement and having electronics banned because MY GOSH you are with your cousins, get out and PLAY!)

And because we're all under one roof, the adults get to catch up. I love all my brothers and sisters and their spouses and my parents so adult time is much appreciated. As you can see, being all in the same house makes a huge difference.

I think we all noticed that our family has progressed to a different stage. The youngest grandkids were two which meant we weren't planning around naps and there were a lot more free hands than there had been in the past. That's a milestone right there!

This year's schedule was planned to perfection in my opinion.
One big outing a day:

Pope Family Reunion
Fruitland cook out
Horseback riding
Mesa Verde
Durango rec center, followed by Bar D dinner
White water rafting
(and that night, my favorite "tradition": sushi din with Auntie Gay and the older niece/nephews!)  

This trip also marked a different milestone for me. Who knows why I look forward to the things I do, but I have been anxiously awaiting the day I could rent a sedan, throw a big boy up front, and call it good. And that's just what we did this trip! The kids and I flew into Albuquerque and rented a Jeep Cherokee. Dallin and Porter took turns riding up front and we (maybe only I!) loved our 4 hour drive to Durango. The sky was endless and amazing. It was scattered with storms that sat right behind the plateaus, drawing a million different shades of blue. A rainbow (a double one if I remember correctly) capped off the picturesque view before darkness covered it all. It was the same views that fascinated me as a little girl and left me thinking New Mexico was the most beautiful place in the world!

On our way back to the airport, we stopped at the house my dad is building in Albuquerque. It made me excited to have an official house for grandma and grandpa! Can't wait to make that trek!

The whole week was a huge success. I love my family and love all the effort that goes into keeping us connected! 


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