Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oregon 2010

We had a reunion in Oregon this last week. I've just read Megan's post and love all the old pictures of "going home" that she pulled out. Mom always called it that because it was where she grew up. The trip was a lot of fun and not as difficult as I anticipated since I went solo with my three kids.

The trip brought out some unexpected feelings in me. It gave me new perspective on remembering my past. We went to Oregon every summer at least. Usually I stayed with a sister or two for a couple of weeks. I loved seeing my cousin Joanna. We spent hours playing in the ditch, walking the canal, or stomping down wheat to make a fort. I can still see Grandma cooking eggs on the stove for a big breakfast while we all sat around her small table. I can remember sunlight streaming in her windows and making rainbows all over her carpet. We played Husker Du a million times and tried to stack playing cards into houses on her floor. I can hear the creak of her old wooden steps and see the view of the farm from the attic window. All that is changed now.

Looking up the road to Grandma's house and land.

My cousin Joanna and her new baby "little Don".

I drove by her farm and my heart sunk. From the main road looking up, it still looks very similar to my childhood. The same land, same grove of trees hanging over the road. But as I approached, it was difficult to see the changes to the house and yard. I didn't want to look. I just want to remember it the way that it was. I guess I just never realized that those memories would stop being made. Going to Oregon was just something that we did every year. My grandpa died when I was around 17 years old. I don't even know the last time we had been there previous to that. I went up a couple years later for my cousin's wedding around 1994 or so. Then that was it. Grandma got alzheimer's and moved down here. I didn't return to Oregon until her funeral in 2005 and that was for one brief day in early December. I didn't keep in touch with my cousins very well. Facebook has helped us reconnect.

When mom told me about the reunion, I really wanted to go this time. I wanted to see this special place. It felt so good to drive those roads and to see the parts that are still the same. It seemed like FOREVER driving in "to town" when I was a child. In reality, it took about 10 minutes. I loved seeing my cousins and their children. I loved watching our children play together. Paige ran around all day with the "girl herd".

Loni and Tonya's place.

Aunt Carolyn's farm.

We had a great time visiting at Loni and Tonya's. Loni made the kids snow cones and they chowed them down. We spent all day Saturday at Aunt Carolyn's. All six of her kids were there, all five of Mom's girls, and Aunt Sharon with her daughter Shannon. I renewed friendships and learned more about lives that I hadn't really been a part of for fifteen years or more. The kids were great the whole time. I was up bright and early Sunday morning to drive home. I was surprised by how well my kids did on the drive home. We were eager to see Daddy and to hear about his weekend riding at the Fire on the Water event.

When I returned home, I found myself very emotional. There is something so peaceful about the countryside. I almost detested driving through our cramped city and longed for a little space to roam. I felt so connected to that place again. I don't want to forget that feeling. I don't ever want to forget Oregon and the memories growing up. I hope to return often with my children to watch them make their own special memories. As the week has progressed, I've sunk back into my daily routine and adjusted back to city life, but I loved my time in Vale.

The little trouble makers.

I love my cute boy!

Preston with his favorite cousin, Logan.

Paige playing with her cousins.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A 2-wheeler bike!

Paige can ride a 2-wheeler bike! We were out running errands on Saturday and on the way home she asked “Mommy, when we get home can we take my training wheels off and ride my bike?” I was a little surprised by her request, but told her we would. The last time we tried, she got upset real fast and begged to have the training wheels put back on. So, while Daddy went to the store, we set out to practice riding a bike. She got on it and started peddling. I ran beside her with my hand on her back. I let go a couple times and she swerved a little. The second attempt, I was able to completely let go and by number three she had it down. She was so proud of herself. Especially, because this meant she earned a new basket and a bell for her bike. The next day, I asked if she wanted to ride and she cheered so loud. I love it. I love seeing that excitement on her face and pride in her accomplishment. She learned to start on her own and is turning around in the street. I am so proud of my cute little girl.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Self indulgence is a good thing

That's right, it's a good thing. When I indulge, I am enjoying the little things in life. This is because I appreciate being able to. I am learning that many of the things worth getting in life require self discipline and self control. Indulgence is the opposite of these traits so why is it so good? Well, it depends on how you look at it and how you handle it. The two areas I have worked on controlling most in my life are food and money. It's funny how these two things are so related. Calories are like money- you want calories in to be less than calories out. Whereas with money, you want dollars in to be greater than dollars going out.

I first started “eating right” after I had Paige. I have never been really heavy, but the same principles apply regardless of where you are on the scale when you start. Jen introduced me to eat2get fit. You can find it here (and I can get you 2 weeks free). I learned what foods make up our diet and which are the good ones to eat. Over time, I started thinking about different combinations and made my own recipes. It was a tough change, but now it's so normal to me. I eat five times a day and all the meals on the website are interchangeable. I lost 19 inches in 9 weeks that year. Five inches came off my waist. At the age of 30, I weighed 15 lbs less than I did for most of my twenties and I felt great. I gained a little back but maintained a healthy weight. With my third baby, I was eager to kick it into gear again and this time I lost 20 lbs in about five months. It's amazing what you can do with some self discipline and a little time. I continue to eat this way and exercise even though I'm at the weight I want. I feel healthy and capable.

However, I need my indulgences to keep me going. This is where it gets fun. I get to choose my indulgence. I get to think about it carefully and decide where I'm going to splurge. And I deserve it because I have worked so hard every other day of the week. My usual indulgences are chocoloate- especially cadbury mini eggs. That's a once a day thing usually. My other is Oreos. They are harder to resist every time I open my pantry. The trick is that once I indulge, it's over. I have to jump back into discipline and keep myself from continuing. Last night, my treat was an apple from Rocky Mountain Candy co. Carmel dipped, then white chocolate, then Oreo. It was divine. So yeah, I'm a little obsessed with dessert, but that's because I give myself a reason to deserve it.

Before and After pics from August 2009 and January 2010. I have maintained my loss.

The other area, finance, is equally tough and requires attention. I remember looking into budgets, but never found a way to do it that worked for me. I found Dave Ramsey made the most sense and began a budget on paper and working his total money makeover. Then Jen introduced me to YNAB software. You can find it here (and get a free week trial). I absolutely love this budgeting software. I plan every penny that I'm going to spend at the beginning of every month.

What I love most about this guy's plan is that he recommends living on last months income. You save money in a buffer each month and figure out what you need for an entire month. When you hit that amount, you live on it for that month, and your paychecks that come in get forwarded to next month. So, on July 1, I have all the money in my account from my June paychecks available for my budget. The beauty of it is that my entire month's budget is sitting in my account at the first of the month with a FINITE dollar amount. I can budget every penny because I know exactly how much I have. No waiting for the next paycheck before I can buy groceries. I don't have to guess at what we'll make that month because it's already there. I also don't have to worry about bouncing a check or using any overdraft. I have a one month buffer. Seriously, it is the coolest thing and gives me a lot of peace of mind. Of course, it doesn't work without discipline. I have to stick to the numbers I choose. If I spend more somewhere, I have to sacrifice in other places.

The indulgence side comes from budgeting for indulgence. Yep, I get my blow money each month that I can spend on whatever I want- and I don't feel guilty for spending it. Not that I budget a huge amount. Also, we are better able to save using these methods so when it comes time to spend on something, we can get good quality and enjoy spending because we have saved for it.

Indulgence and self-discipline are opposites, but we need them both. The indulgence has to come with moderation or it can take over. Sadly when we let it take over, we are not happy. I am amazed by the feelings of confidence I have because of daily discipline. Many would say that they aren't motivated to eat right or budget. Well, motivation is emotional. We can't depend on our emotions to move us through temptations and struggles. We have to simply make a choice. Once you make that choice to eat better, exercise, or control your finances, you have to keep going. It's the same choices made EVERY DAY that lead to success. Then indulge a little, savor it, and get back on track. It can be hard, but so worth it.

What do you struggle with? What obstacles keep you from disciplining yourself? Have you felt the satisfaction I'm talking about? What success have you had?