Friday, November 5, 2010

Use Shutterfly for Holiday Cards

I don't send Christmas cards out every year.  It gets hectic around the holidays and I just don't get to it every year.  This year, I really want to do nice cards.  The kids have changed so much  and I want to share that.  I know someone people have a love-hate relationship with the Christmas letter.  I love to receive ones that aren't just a list of awards and accomplishments.  I like to see the family and hear fun things that show their personalities.  I think these cards are a great substitute for the Christmas letter.  While my least favorite cards are ones that just have a photo on them, I think using folded photo cards are an option.  Once you receive the cards, you can write a personalized note inside the cards for your friends and family.  Finally, once the holidays are over, photo thank you notes are a great way to let everyone know how much you enjoyed your gift or their party or whatever the case is.  While these are great for Christmas, you could create generic ones to use all year round.

While I can't say for sure which cards we will use this year, I highly suspect the story cards will be at the top of our list.  Look for them in a mailbox near year in another month or so.  Shutterfly cards are easy to make, quick to ship and excellent quality.  I've always been very happy with the results of my orders.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My First 5K!


Yesterday was my first 5K race (as an adult).  I think I might have participated in some as a child or teen.  Since this was my first race, I wanted to pick something meaningful.  I chose the 3rd Annual Butterfly Dreams 5K.  You can read all about why I chose this race here.

It was a glorious day here with a glimpse of fall.  The sky was clear and the temperature was great (in the high 60s at the start of the race).  I was excited and nervous and happy to be checking one of my goals off my list.  I has moments where I was afraid I wouldn't be able to complete the race.  It was silly for me to think that way, since we regularly hike more than a 5K on the weekends with the kids.  However, when you are nervous, you aren't always rational.

Carole* (of Classic Race Services) called us to the starting line and gave us instructions.  Then we were off.  The course was through a pretty neighborhood with lots of rolling hills.  I wouldn't consider it an easy course, but it wasn't really difficult either.  Overall, it was a lot of fun.

My goal was to simply finish the race.  In the back of my mind, I wanted to finish under an hour.  I did that, too.  My official time was 53.23.1, which is a 17.13 min/mile.  I wasn't last, which was also a mental thing with me.  I did a combination of walking and running.  I wish I could have run more of the race, but I just wasn't ready for that.  
 This is a horrible picture, but it is me at the finish line.  My son wanted to run the last short leg of the race to the finish line with me.

I've set a new goal and I am going to run one 5K a month until the end of the year and see how much I improve.  I have several races for October and November to consider.
The family!  (My son is hiding behind us.  He was grumpy.)

So, that was my first 5K experience.  I'll do that again!
*Carole is a friend of mine from graduate school.  We both went to UGA for our MEd in Mathematics Education.  Upon graduation, we went our separate ways to different schools.  After a few years, we were both teaching at the same school (Morgan County High School).  We taught there for a year together before I quit to stay home and she left to go to another school.  We've crossed paths many times over the years.  She is still a teacher and took over the operations of Classic Race Services when her partner (Will) died earlier in 2010.  It was great to see her again and I know that I will participate in CRS races in the future.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekly Update #7

It was a light week because I had a sick child for a few days and my first 5K is on Saturday morning.  I hope to do well, but I'm pretty nervous.  I haven't run a race as an adult, so I'm not sure what to expect.  I'll update tomorrow after the race.

Here are my workouts for the week.
  • Saturday-Rest
  • Sunday-hiked 4+miles at Bot Gardens
  • Monday-interval training; weights
  • Tuesday-walked 3/4 mile (sick child)
  • Wednesday-walked 1 mile (sick child)
  • Thursday-walked 3/4 mile
  • Friday-Rest

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekly Update #6

This week I needed to change things up a bit.  On Sunday, I tried to do the Couch-to-5K, Week 4, Day 1 workout.  It felt like a really big jump from the Week 3 workouts.  My friend, Kelly, is doing different intervals with her trainer, so I thought I'd try something similar.  You can see what I did below.

I actually think the intervals I'm doing are better for my cardiovascular health.  My heart rate stays elevated longer.  The key to all of this for me is that these new intervals are easier on me mentally.  I am at the point in my training that I feel like I can do nearly anything for a minute or two.  However, when I'm staring a 5 min run in the face, it is still very daunting.  Although the entire package is important, at this point, I need to focus on keeping my internal motivation going so that I will want to go to the gym everyday.
  • Saturday-Rest
  • Sunday-attempted Couch-to-5K, Week 4, Day 1--it was too hard and I was really starting to get down on myself
  • Monday-Intervals:  5 min warm up, 60s run (4.0 mph)/60s walk (2.8 mph) intervals for 15 min, 5 min cool down (incline 0); full strength training workout w/2 sets
  • Tuesday-Rest
  • Wednesday--Intervals:  5 min warm up, 60s run (4.0 mph)/60s walk (2.8 mph) intervals for 20 min, 5 min cool down (incline 0)
  • Thursday-Intervals:  5 min warm up, 90s run (4.0 mph)/60s walk (3.0 mph) intervals for 20 min, 5 min cool down (incline 0); full strength training workout w/2sets
  • Friday:  Treadmill:  5 min warm up, 10 mins of intervals (same as Thurs), 10 min walking at 3.2 mph at incline 2.5, 5 min cool down
In other news
I'm nursing a slightly sore knee.  I don't think anything is wrong.  If I had to guess, I would say that 6+ weeks of exercise in my obese body is catching up to me.  My knee is revolting.  I can push myself and get through my workouts; however,  my biggest concern is pushing and actually hurting myself.

I think it is time to work on my food intake.  I need to make a plan so that I have the right kinds of foods to eat available to me when I need them.  More on this later....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weekly Update #5

This week I repeated the Week 3 workouts.  I'm really glad I did.  While I won't say it was easy, it was easier than last week.  My knee has been bothering me some this week, too.  It isn't sore, but there is some aching immediately after my run and again the next morning.

So, my training for the week...
  • Saturday-swam 6 laps, but mainly a rest day
  • Sunday-Couch-to-5K, Week 3, Day 1 (repeating this week)
  • Monday-20 mins on the elliptical machine, strength training routine (1 set)
  • Tuesday-Couch-to-5K, Week 3, Day 2 (repeating this week)
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday-Couch-to-5K, Week 3, Day 3 (repeating this week)
  • Friday-20 mins on the elliptical machine, strength training routine (2 sets)
I've been exercising regularly for over a month now.  I'm on my way to a new lifestyle.  Now that I've got the exercising in my daily routine, I need to work on my diet.  This is the hard part for me.  Being gluten-free isn't bad once you get used to it.  I've done it for over a year now.  However, when I start focusing on food more than I already do, it feels overwhelming.  I have gained 6 pounds in the last month.  Crazy, huh?  Regardless of what my friend says about it being muscle, I know it is not.  One doesn't build that kind of muscle that quickly.  I really think my body is some mild state of shock.  I know this exercise is good for me and I know that adding the diet component into the plan will help.  I'm trying not to focus on the scale, but it doesn't make it any easier.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We are getting back into our 2nd full week of our back-to-school routine.  With my daughter's gymnastics' schedule (2 nights a week for 2 hours a day) and my son's soccer schedule, our dinner time can be chaotic.  I'm trying to find a good routine that allows us to eat together early enough to get good food into the kids before practice, but doesn't leave them feeling sick while running around in the 100 degree heat.  It is a work in progress.  I'm trying to use my crockpot often to have good meals available when it is time to eat.

Monday:  **crockpot**Country Captain chicken,  white beans, salad, fruit

Tuesday:   Crab cakes, oven fries, lima beans, salad
                      Prep:  Soak black beans

Wednesday:  black beans and rice

Thursday:  **crockpot**Sweet Mustard Beef Roast w/ potatoes, carrots, celery, pinto beans, fruit

Friday:  pesto w/ pasta, salad, white beans

Saturday:  **crockpot**Cheese enchilada Stack

Sunday:  Living Room Group (dinner with friends)

For more meal plans, visit Meal Plan Monday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekly Update #4

This week was the beginning of the Couch-to-5K, Week 3 of training.  Week 3 workouts consist of 5 min warm up, 90s run/90s walk, then 3min run/3min walk (repeat twice), and a 5 min cool down.  Let me tell you something!  There is a big difference between running 90seconds and running 3 minutes.  I struggled on Day 1 and Day 3 of this interval training.  So, I think it is best to repeat this week and get a better handle on running the 3 minutes.  This week was the first full week of school for my kids and we are all adjusting to our new routine.  Also, I did the weight training "prescription" at the Wellness Center on Thursday of this week.  So, next week will be my first week of regularly adding weights to my routine.  Below is what I did this week.
  • Saturday-Rest
  • Sunday-Couch-to-5K (C25K):  Week 3, Day 1 workout (missed 30s on both 3 min runs)
  • Monday-walked 1 mile (stress relief)
  • Tuesday-C25K:  Week 3, Day 2 workout
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday-1 mile warm up walk, 1.25 mile bike ride, and weight training orientation
  • Friday-C25K:  Week 3, Day 3 workout (missed some time on both 3 min runs)
On Monday, I really didn't want to do anything.  It was a very long day and rough day for me.  The husband suggested we go walk around in our cul-de-sac after the kids were in bed to get some fresh air.  It was just what I needed.  I have to remember how much it helps when I'm feeling down. 

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Weekly Update #3

    I'm still hanging in there.  This week the kids started school on Thursday, so I am making the transition to working out in the mornings rather than in the evenings after they go to bed.  I like the mornings better, but I will be happy when we no longer have 80+ degrees and 92% humidity at 6:30AM.  I think the fall weather will feel good in another couple of months, as long as I can keep my allergies in check.  I feel good this week.  I think the day of rest was good for my body.  
    • Saturday-hiked Cook's Trail ~4 miles
    • Sunday-Couch-to-5K, Week 1, Day 3--it was painful, but I did it
    • Monday-Couch-to-5K, Week 2, Day 1 (5 min warm up, 6 intervals of 90s running/120s walking, 5 min cool down)
    • Tuesday-sit ups & push ups
    • Wednesday-Couch-to-5K, Week 2, Day 2 (same as Day 1)
    • Thursday-REST
    • Friday-Couch-to-5K, Week 2, Day 3; arms workout on machines; 2.5 miles on bike
    On Thursday, I joined St. Mary's Wellness Center.  It is a gym opened to anyone, but the focus is on fitness and health rather than who can wear the tightest spandex and flirt the most.  There are a lot of older members and it feels like a comfortable place for me to be.  Next Thursday, I will work with a trainer to design a program that works well with the Couch-to-5K.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Mama said there'll be days like this

    The first thing that comes to mind after my Couch-to-5K, Week 1, Day 3 workout, is this song by The Shirelles:
    Mama said there'll be days like this.
    "There'll be days like this," my mama said.
    (Mama said, mama said.)
    Mama said there'll be days like this.
    "There'll be days like this," my mama said.
    (Mama said, mama said.)
    At first,  I wasn't sure why today was so difficult.  I sat with the idea for a while in the quiet of an empty house.  Then I realized how unexpectedly emotional today was.  The day started with us attending the worship service at church.  Our pastor is leaving and this was the first time I'd attended a service since she announced that she was leaving.    I thought I'd dealt with the emotions already, but that was obviously NOT the case.  As Pastor Pam started preaching, I started crying.  She had moments where she talked through tears in her eyes.  I'm a very emotional person anyway, but I absolutely cannot watch someone else cry and not cry myself.

    I've been to many, many churches in my years.  Some were good experiences and some were not.  Some left me feeling scolded as I left the service and others left me uplifted and ready to tackle the week.  Most of Pam's sermons were of the uplifting variety.  Regardless of the topic each week, she gave me something to think about.  Pam is the only preacher I've met to which I truly related.  I've enjoyed hearing others over the years, but none as much as Pam.  When I came to Oconee Presbyterian Church for the first time, I was out of sorts.  I felt out of place at our old church.  It was so large that we never truly made friends.  Of course, I knew people there, but not anyone really well.  Our former church had several pastors and none were as easy to relate to as Pam.  I felt a tugging to find another church home.  Really, the tugging wasn't for me.  It was more about my children.  I wanted them to have a church experience as a child, so that they can make informed decisions about their religious future.  I had a good friend who came from our old church and invited us to visit.  It was a hard decision at first, but we decided to give it a try.  Our church is a different type of church and  our beloved Pam is just a different type of pastor.  We have 3 more weeks to listen to her stories, enjoy her presence and savor her words.

    Before anyone assumes that this is all sad, it is not.  It is really bittersweet.  I am sad that our congregation will no longer have Pam as our pastor.  However, I am so excited that we get to share Pam with others.  The people at Trinity Presbyterian are so lucky to have her.  She will bless them in ways they haven't even considered, yet.  It is exciting to know that she may bring others closer to Christ as she has done at OPC.  I'm thrilled she is following her calling and I hope she knows that she will always hold a special place in our hearts.

    Later in the day, I attended my son's PreK orientation.  In general, I'm excited for him to go to school.  He loves it and thrives in the structure.  I found out that he has an excellent teacher...the same one the girly had for PreK.  It will be a great fit and it will be a good year.  While sitting in the orientation, I started to think about how big he is getting.  He is nearly 5 and has grown so much.  There are no more babies at our house.  It isn't the way I thought it would be.  I thought I would enjoy their infancy and then move on to enjoy them as preschoolers and school-aged kids.  I am excited that some things are easier with older children, but it still doesn't relieve the ache to have another.  Today's orientation clarified that.

    So, I tried to do my 3rd C25K workout today, but it was really difficult.  Maybe it was my emotional state.  Maybe it was the 4 mile hike we did yesterday.  I don't know exactly why it was so hard.  Today was the first day since I started this that I thought I was crazy for even having such a goal.  I quickly put that out of my mind.  I will try again tomorrow and see how things go.

    We all have bad days, right?

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    Weekly Update #2

    I've had a good exercise week.  I ran for the first time in YEARS.  It feels good to be active and enjoying my time outside.  It will feel even better when we get rid of the 100 degree heat with daily heat advisories.  
    • Saturday-swam ~600ft in 30 mins & walked laps in the pool for 20 mins
    • Sunday-hike at the Botanical Gardens ~ 2.5 miles in the 100 degree heat
    • Monday-2.28 miles in 47 mins
    • Tuesday-Couch-to-5K, Week 1, Day 1 workout (5 min warm up, 8 intervals of 60s running/90s walking, then 5 min cool down)
    • Wednesday-walked about 30 minutes (extremely hot & humid)
    • Thursday-Couch-to-5K, Week 1, Day 2 workout (same as Tuesday)
    • Friday-Yoga, sit-ups, push-ups

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    In Honor of Nicolas

    I have chosen my first 5K!  I will be running (& walking) the 3rd Annual Butterfly Dreams 5K on September 4, 2010.  To encourage me to train, I'm choosing races that have a special meaning to me.

    Let me introduce you to my friend, Nicolas.  Nicolas is an awesome little boy who has Autism.  He is one of the sweetest little boys you will every meet.  Nicolas goes to our church and we've become good friends with his family.  Nicolas has very attentive parents (Bonny & Stephen) who are doing everything in their power to give Nic-Nic all the opportunities in the world.  His big sister, Natalie, is always there to help him out, too.

    So, why did I choose this race to be my first?  Butterfly Dreams Farm is a therapeutic riding and hippotherapy farm in our community.  The farm serves children with a variety of special needs, but one of those is autism.  According to their website, hippotherapy aids the children by:
    The horses walking gait almost perfectly simulates the movement of a child walking. This provides the perfect opportunity for children with motor deficits to develop muscle strength, normalize tone, and gain endurance. This movement also facilitates improved auditory and verbal processing, communication and interactive skills.
    Although, Nicolas doesn't currently have therapy at Butterfly Dreams, I am very thankful to have such a wonderful opportunity right in our own neighborhood.  I want to support these types of local businesses so that they can continue to provide for our friends and neighbors (and possibly our family, as well).

    I want to challenge you.  What will do you to make sure that opportunities such as these remain in your community?

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Wow! What a Day!

    Today was just the kind of day I needed.  Isn't it cool how that happens, sometimes?  I woke up with a headache and a heaviness in my chest.  In the last year or so, I've been very prone to bronchitis and at times have asthma-like symptoms.  I've been checked for asthma and the doctors say I don't have it.  However, I respond to bronchitis like an asthmatic.  (This is all because of my autoimmune issues stemming from celiac disease.)  So, I thought this was going to be a pretty bad day.

    I needed to get the kids out of the house, so my husband could work from home.  I took them for new haircuts for the start of school, to lunch at Barberitos and to see Marmaduke at the dollar theater.   Even though I wasn't doing anything strenuous, breathing was rather difficult at times.  I have 2 different inhalers and used both, but I didn't have much relief.  I wasn't in distress, but it was pleasant, either.

    So, after our errands and the girl's gymnastics class, I knew I needed to walk, but I really didn't feel like it.  Guess what?  I did it ANYWAY!  I walked 3 laps in my neighborhood (2.28 miles) in 47 minutes.  When I left the house, I planned to walk very slowly and just see how I felt.  My first lap was very slow.  During the other 2 laps, I picked up the pace.  I finished in the same time it took to walk the laps a few days ago (without breathing issues).  The BEST part of today is that I feel better right now after walking than I have all day.  My breathing is still not 100% normal, but it is better.

    I had LOTS of reason to not exercise today.  My head hurt all day, I needed my inhalers for normal activities, the temperature has been at 100 for several days now, there has been a heat advisory for the heat index over 105, etc.  However, I didn't let the excuses get to me.  I walked and I feel pretty darn good about it.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Weekly Update #1

    I've done some exercise daily, which is a good start for me. The best part of the week is that I feel pretty good. I've been tired each night and feeling some muscles I haven't felt in a while, but overall it is a good feeling.
    • Monday-walked steps for 5 minutes twice during the day
    • Tuesday-walked around the parking lot while waiting for my girl to finish gymnastics
    • Wednesday-walked a mile in our neighborhood in 20 minutes
    • Thursday-hiked for an hour at Heritage Park with friends
    • Friday-walked 2.28 miles in our neighborhood in 47 minutes
    I know this doesn't look like half-marathon material, but I'm starting from NOTHING. The more I think about my goal, the more excited I get. No one has said I was crazy, yet, but I have gotten some interesting looks that told me exactly what the people were thinking. That's okay. It adds to my motivation. I have the internal motivation, but when I experience the ebb and flow, I will draw on my external motivation. People who doubt me, don't know me very well.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    One of My Obstacles

    In a previous post, I mentioned my health problems. Here is the beginning of my health journey.

    After much frustration and anger with a previous doctor, I made the decision to change primary care physicians in March 2009. I liked my former doctor well enough. He was a kind man and had a decent bedside manner. His office was easy to work with and I’d been a patient of his for several years. I was nervous about change, but I knew it was what I needed to do. The voice in my head got louder and louder until it was finally louder than the voice telling me it doesn’t like change. I sent out a request for recommendations for a new primary care doctor from my local friends. My ideal doctor would be easy to talk to, have good listening skills, be a good diagnostician, have a good office staff and welcome my input. I’m a reader and a researcher. I like to be informed. I am the patient that will ask the doctor why this or that is the case and what all of the options are before proceeding. It isn’t that I doubt the doctors, but I am an intelligent person who wants to partake in her own health care. My friends had several recommendations, but one name came up over and over again. Luckily, she was covered by my insurance.

    I had my first appointment with my new doctor (Dr. L) in late May of 2009. I went in with an open mind; although, I thought I knew what I might hear from her. I told her about my symptoms and she immediately thought a celiac panel was in order. Although, I had recently had digestive symptoms, those were not my primary symptoms. The most frustrating of my symptoms were fatigue, anemia, depression, and an inability to regulate my thyroid levels for any length of time. The fatigue I felt was indescribable. I would have slept for days on end without getting up, if I didn’t have a family. I didn’t have that option. I needed to get up and care for my family. For months, I got by with doing the bare minimum of everything.
    After that appointment with Dr. L, I was referred to Dr. G (a local gastroenterologist). I had an upper endoscopy, a colonoscopy and more blood work and we finally confirmed that I had celiac disease. I got the diagnosis on August 4, 2009. That day I ate one last Big Mac and started by journey to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. It is NOT an allergy. There is no cure. There is no medicine one can take. The only treatment is to live the rest of your life gluten-free.

    I’ve been on my journey for nearly a year and it has had many twists and turns. I’m not free of issues, yet, but I’m working on it. There is much more to the story.

    Pleasantly Surprised

    This past weekend we took a trip that I’d been dreading. It wasn’t the trip so much, but the things we had planned to do. I know it sounds crazy. Why would I PLAN a trip that I was dreading? Well, my mother-in-law and father-in-law live in our old college town and very near a water park. They really wanted us to bring the kids down to play at the water park. I really didn’t think the water park would go well. I thought the kids were not great ages to go and really enjoy it. I was WRONG. Okay, I said it….doesn’t happen often, so pay attention. We got up early Friday morning and made the 3 hour drive. We dropped my husband off at his parents’ house to work (he telecommutes some days) while I took the kids to the water park. It was a great day and we probably would have stayed longer had we not been completely exhausted.

    I knew the kids would love the beach (our day trip for the following day). Even so, I underestimated how much they would enjoy it. We looked for sharks’ teeth and walked along the beach. After a short walk and finding a shark’s tooth, we were ready to play in the surf. My son (nearly 5) had the best time. He’d been to the beach at Dewee’s Island when he was about 17 months old, but he doesn’t remember. Since then, we’ve taken trips, but none to the beach. My daughter (8) LOVES the beach and would go there all.the.time if we lived close enough. We introduced the kids to one of our favorite restaurants and they had fun there, too.

    Lesson learned. Think positively. Your children may really surprise you with their love of new places.

    Setting Myself Up For Success (Part 2)

    The next order of business is planning my training program. My plan is to spend the first couple weeks making sure I get in SOME type of exercise every day. At this moment, I'm not being overly concerned with how fast or how far. I just want to get moving.

    Once I'm consistent at making time for exercise daily, I plan to start the Couch-to-5K program. The goal is to fill in the other days with an appropriate exercise. I'm not sure whether that will be strength-training or something else at this point. Remember, this is all new to me. I want to do the best I can, but not burn out on trying to do too much too soon.

    When I have successfully completed the Couch-to-5K program, I plan start Jeff Galloway half-marathon training schedule.

    Setting Myself Up For Success (input needed)

    My first order of business is choosing my races (2 5Ks and a Half-Marathon), so that I can plan my training accordingly. I'm not concerned about the 5K races, because there happen fairly often close to my house. The most important choice at the moment is the Half-Marathon. I live in Georgia, so I would like the race to be within driving distance. I need all the time I can get to train, so I think a spring race would be a good fit. In the spirit of setting myself up for success, I need a race that is doable and good for a beginner.

    I've found the following races:
    • Callaway Gardens--Jan 30, 2011
    • Critz Tybee Island-=Feb 5, 2011
    • Mercedes Half in Birmingham, AL--Feb 13, 2011
    • Disney's Princess Half in Orlando, FL--Feb 27, 2011
    • Seaside School Half--March 6, 2011
    • Georgia Half in Atlanta--March 20, 2011
    • Country Music Half in Nashville, TN--April 30, 2011
    I know there are others. Do you have any suggestions? What do you know about these courses and which would be the best choice for a beginner?

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    The Year of Dawn--My List

    This list will probably be added to throughout the next year, but here is the beginning.

    1. Complete a 5K--walking, running, crawling, whatever!
    2. Run a 5K--no walking
    3. Have a minimum of once-a-month "me" time to do whatever I want outside of the house and without my family
    4. Declutter the house & organize what's left
    5. Camping trip with the family
    6. Decorate the living room including curtains (finally)
    7. Decorate the dining room
    8. Sew a skirt for me
    9. Knit a sweater or shawl for me
    10. Complete a Half-Marathon
    11. Enjoy a day at a spa sometime after the Half-Marathon
    12. Spend more time doing daily devotions
    13. Have a family picture made
    My plan is to check these items off and have my list finished by July 15, 2011.

    As I look down the list, one item stands out above the rest. Can you guess which one? Of course, it is #10. For a long time, I've wanted to complete a half-marathon...13.1 miles. No, I'm not a runner. Heck, I'm really not even a walker if we are talking about doing it for exercise. I don't know why I want to do it other than I need a BIG goal to work toward. I want that sense of accomplishment when I cross the finish line. I know it will be a difficult journey to complete that goal, but I think I will learn a lot about myself in process. I will need a cheering section. I can do it. I will do it. I'm excited to begin.

    Today is a Big Day for Me

    Today is my 35th birthday. I enjoy celebrating my birthday with my family and typically the number doesn't matter very much. For some reason, that is not the case this year. This birthday has had an emotional affect for weeks before the big day. A couple weeks ago I was overly sensitive about my daughter turning 8 at the end of June. My children's birthdays are always bittersweet for me, but this was over the top. My health has not been great (more on that later) and I'm trying really hard to do whatever it takes to get healthy again and live life to the fullest.

    As I look back over my last 35 years on this Earth, I think about what I've done in those years and what I want to do. The last few weeks approaching this day have been a time of reflection. It has been good for me. While I won't go into great detail in this post about my reflections, I will mention a very important one and the main reason for my blog.

    In a lot of my 35 years, I've been the caretaker in some form. Most of the time I'm the keeper of everyone's emotional and physical needs. There is one own. In my constant concern for everyone else's needs, I've neglected my own to a degree. That will change this year. I am hereby declaring this year the Year of Dawn. I have created a list of things that I want to accomplish in the next year. This is not a "bucket list" of to-do items before I die, though. Some items on my list will seem mundane to people, but they are things that I *think* will help my emotional, mental and physical well-being.

    This declaration of Year of Dawn does not mean I will be neglecting my husband or children. Quite the contrary. I will be taking care of Dawn, so that I am better able to meet the needs of my family to the fullest extent. I look forward to sharing this journey with you. This will be an AWESOME year.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere

    I'm glad you came by to read my blog. Tomorrow we will get things moving and I'll share my intentions for the next year or so.