27 days, 27 things


I have not blogged in 27 28 days. To say I have been busy would both be an understatement and a cop out. I have been busy working my many jobs and loving on my family. I have also been taking pretty good care of myself. My priorities are shifting and I wasn’t sure where this blog fit in and/or if I wanted to continue this blog. Well, I am still here. I like this little place on the internet where I spill my guts. Its a place to talk about the things I need to work through. So, I am sticking around the interwebz and today, I am feeling very random.

In no particular order, here are 27 28 random things about the last 27 28 days.

1. I have switched back to wordpress as opposed to paying a hosting site….this means absolutely nothing to my readers (all 4 of you, lol) but it takes a bit of pressure of me. I don’t have to feel guilty about not blogging regularly when I use the free site.

2. Work. I picked up even more work – a few hours each Monday, I will be teaching a homebound student. [For the last few years, I have earned extra money/salary running a grant program at my school. This year, we did not receive that grant so I lose out on some money. Picking the homebound hours and my other part time jobs has helped offset the lost salary]

3. I like working but I am actually a bit relieved to not need to work the grant program. I had several very stressful experiences last year while working the program. Stressed out so badly, I was in tears on more occasions than I really want to admit. I am happier with a part time job waitressing because I get to leave the restaurant at the restaurant when I leave.

4. School has gotten off to a great start. I am really staying on top of my lessons and grading. To know me is to know this is not the usual case. I tend to procrastinate grading but not this year so far. I am making little to do lists of things to get done every day. I am leaving school on time, not bringing work home with me and all the while, getting more tasks completed each day.

5. Speaking of school….I am focusing on character development and I am loving it. The kids are adjusting to the new Mrs. Newman. I feel like we are being more productive than ever. And only good can come from this!

6. Apparently, I have no idea how to blog. I wrote some of this last night with the intention of coming back to it throughout the day. I didn’t save the post correctly, so I couldn’t find it on my computer at school. I didn’t have that much time but that isn’t the point.

7. I thought about blogging a bunch of times (technical term there) of the past 3+ weeks. I think I came as far as to compose an entire post in my head on a drive to work. I need to keep my phone close by so I can record these thoughts. Go figure, I put my phone in my bag in the backseat while I drive and then get the brilliant ideas.

8. I need routine in my life. Every time I go off my normal routine, I realize just how important routine is to my life. I can handle spontaneity and adventure but in small doses. Or maybe, it would be better to say, I need more control.

9. Me and the big man have not been on a vacation in entirely too long. We finally got a string of days off and the opportunity to visit our friends in PA and hit the Bloomsburg Fair. An away football game, a cancelled homeshow and willing teenagers meant Q and her BFF could join us.

10. I wore my GladSoles for 8 hours at the fair.  Over 17000 steps  (or approximately 8 miles) were logged at the fair with over 21K total that day. In my bare feet. I have been wearing these sandals almost every day to school and beyond. The only time I wear “real” shoes is when I work shifts at AppleBee’s.

11. I never want to wear real shoes again. It may still be 70+ degrees around here but winter is coming so I am going to need to come up with footwear options.

12. I have totally been a bit obsessed with wearing dresses and skirts. I especially love my long/maxi skirts.

13. I may be going just a little more hippie with each passing year.

14. I have written this post in starts and stops and starts again. I just came back to writing after a Leslie walk (me walking in my bedroom with Leslie Sansone and her #walkathome videos). I have been on quite the walking streak. Today was Day #85.

15. I started my walking streak 3 weeks before I started my part time waitressing job at AB’s and that was one month before school started. Sometime during the second week of school I decided my shifts at AB’s (on school days) would count as my walk. I get almost 10K steps on most shifts so it is definitely a walk. I was being stubborn trying to teach, waitress and walk.

16. I started piyo back in mid-July and by the end of the first week in August I stopped piyo. I just did not have the time or energy to continue with my walking streak and piyo and working. Something had to give. At the moment, I am bummed I sacrificed piyo. I really really enjoyed that workout. Last week I squeezed in a random piyo workout in and it was so hard yet so good.

17. yep, I just read that and realized how dirty it sounds.

18. and I said it anyway. and I kept it there.

19. I have been walking every day but I have not been stretching enough. I’ve only been stretching at random times. I can’t even tell you when the last time I practiced yoga.

20. It may be time to set a challenge to yoga every day for the next week. Starting today, this morning after I hit publish. Piyo will count towards this challenge.

21. I need to get more sleep! The six hours I have been giving myself is not enough,  I am crashing on Saturdays (my one day off from jobs)

22, Is it ever possible to truly keep up with the laundry?? I do not know how mamas with more children do it.

23. Two weeks ago at my back to school night, one of my students brought her newborn baby brother. I held that itty bitty squishy baby for over an hour. I totally fell in love. If Q wasn’t 15, I think I might want more babies.

24. I can’t tell you when the last time I went to the movie theater to see a movie.

25. I watch a lot of TV shows with Big Man. And even though we haven’t been out on a date in a while, we have made some of our TV time, date time. We eat dinner and watch a show. And we chat. Its like our date version of a staycation.

26. We have been broke for a long time, and even though we are starting to come out of it, we are still getting there. We don’t/won’t go into debt for fun. I think it has made us stronger as a couple and as a family.

27. But I still constantly struggle with the “am I doing this thing right, am I doing enough for Q” questions and insecurities. Thankfully, Big Man is my partner and I can talk to him about this and he ensures me we are doing great!

28. I needed to add another number here….It took me a day and a half (not straight thru) to get the post written!

And there ya have it! 28 things for the 28 days I have not blogged. I am going to push myself to blog at least once a week. Not too much to cause any stress but enough to at least get a brain dump out. I promise, my next post will have lots of pictures! I will blog about the Fair and my mini-vacation.

DID YA MISS ME?!?! What have you been up to?

trues & toots, late-summer edition




Holy Moly Holy Wow.

It has been three-or so  weeks since I have blogged. I have so much going on and it is mostly all good. I have been working all my jobs and taking care of me. It has been a crazy few weeks, I need to blurt out all the random true confessions and horn toots to see it all.

  • I have walked 58 days in a row.
  • Just this morning, I woke up at 5:45am to get in my mile and keep my streak alive.
  • I have set the goal to keep my streak going for as long as I can but also to walk one mile every day before school.
  • most of my walks are #walkathome with videos from my girl Leslie Sansone.
  • In June I joined a 90-day challenge – I just kept challenging myself, one day at a time.
  • Without counting calories or restricting like crazy (or really at all) I lost 17 pounds.
  • I joined the next 90-day challenge, this started Monday. I took pictures, and measurements weighed in. And, I will not do any of this again until day 45 and again on day 90.
  • I feel like I am actually working on lifestyle changes, healthy habits for healthy living.
  • I am learning more and more about myself.
  • More than that, I am retaining and applying what I am learning.
  • I am taking care of myself on many levels – I am taking lots of epsom salt baths, resting every chance I get, saying no to some challenges because I know they are not going to work with my schedule, asking for help more often, planning ahead, etc
  • I am worried that all the progress I have made will come to a standstill because school is starting or because the weather will change and it will get darker earlier.
  • I have to plan and prep because I have not been eating enough. My schedule can be crazy and when I am at the restaurant I don’t eat.
  • I spent two days getting ready for school to start today. I cleaned the house and washed many loads of laundry, all of which has been neglected due to my crazy schedule. I cooked and chopped and assembled food to be at the ready in the fridge.
  • I am not drinking enough water either. Between the not enough food and the not enough water, I am having headache issues.
  • In August, I walked every day and my step count for the month totaled 522,166 – this is my highest number ever.
  • I took my measurements last night and I am most impressed with my right calf. At the moment, my right calf is only 1/2 inch smaller than my left….this means my calf muscle is working properly and is growing. (for reference, prior to my surgery almost 3 years ago, my right calf was more than an inch smaller. it was a very visible difference in size.)
  • I have not piyo-ed in weeks. I miss it. I really like that workout. I am going to get back to it this weekend. I have decided I will complete this program but I will have to do it my way. I wrote out every workout in order of the calendar provided, minus the rest days. I will simply work thru that order but when I get a chance. I will not piyo on days I teach and wait tables. I am aiming for 2-3 piyo workouts each week. It might take me 4 months to finish but I will finish.
  • I am sure I could keep going, but it is getting late and I need to get ready for school and get my butt in bed. 545 is gonna come early!

Mad love and big hugs,



taking care of me



August has already been quite the eventful month. I decided to look into a part time job. If you are counting, this makes 3 outside of the house jobs.

  • teaching
  • cleaning, tourist changeovers
  • server, Applebee’s

And don’t forget:

  • mom to human child
  • mom to furbabies
  • wife
  • band booster secretary
  • band mom
  • and I am sure I am missing some…

I have set out to start taking better care of Jen, (no, I will not be speaking any further in the 3rd person….it s just plain weird)

I have walked every day since July 7th. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I did not set out to walk every day for 30+ days. But once I hit day 16 or so, I felt like I could do anything!! And, I figured I could set a goal of continuing the streak until I started back in school September 2nd. At first I kept this goal a secret. I didn’t want to jinx myself. I kept going. Adding one day at a time.

To make this goal a reality, I am having to change the way I speak to myself and out loud. I talk about wanting to get my walk in and not how I “need” to walk. I want to continue my walking streak and as long as I think about it as something I want to do then I will keep on keepin’ on. Some days are hard, not gonna lie. I tell myself to just start moving. I can walk one mile no matter what!!

Two weeks ago, my Q and I started the PiYo program. We set out with the intentions to follow the program exactly the way it is written out on the calendar which was provided. Week one we rocked. Week two took a few twists. Taking on a new job where I am on my feet the whole time changed my thoughts on working out just a bit. I want to do every piyo workout. More importantly, I want to do every piyo workout without injury. That means I must listen to my body and not that tiny voice of guilt from not doing it. Last week, I took one rest day and then doubled up the next day and that was great!! The day I doubled up, I felt strong and ready to tackle it all. The day before when I chose a rest, I was tired and my legs felt tired and heavy.

And then there was Sunday. On Sundays I clean in the mornings but this Sunday, I also was scheduled for a training shift at AppleBee’s (AB) from 5-10pm. Did I mention this was all the night before Q started band camp?!? In between cleaning and showering for AB, I walked one mile in my bedroom. I took that walk low and slow…I use my Leslie Sansone videos but to keep it low, I don’t use the normal intensity. I keep the kicks and knees lower. I wanted to walk to keep my streak alive but I knew I would be on my feet for 5 hours. Keeping it low allowed me to walk and to stretch my legs a bit.

I am learning I can walk every day. I can do the PiYo workouts. I can work a physical job. I can do it all. I think walking every day has been good for me. I am successful in  this goal and I am starting to feel my legs responding. PiYo is hard for me but I modify and I do my best and I cannot wait to see what 8 weeks of this looks and feels like. I am looking forward to the physical changes, I am already noticing the mental benefits of both of my fitness endeavors.

I have walked late at night to get it in. I walked last night at 9:30. It is a wonderful benefit of walk at home workouts….I don’t have to worry about heat, humidity, rain, bugs, dark, etc. Even on the days I have walked late, I have felt like such a rockstar for getting in my walk. I feel like I am doing this great thing for my body. I am now realizing, it is not just my body that is happy for my daily walks!!

My new fitness endeavors are new ways to take care of me!



I like pi….yo


I splurged a bit and bought myself a new workout program.

PiYo.  (click on the word for more information) Pilates, Yoga intensified but still low impact. Watch this video for a quick visual on what is PiYo.

My facebook feed is filled with BeachBody coaches and I have been seeing PiYo craziness for a couple of months. I watched videos, and read status updates of wow. I finally jumped on the bandwagon. One of my bloggy/twitter/facebook friends is a beachbody coach and since I have known her the longest, I asked her like a million questions. Nanci made me feel very comfortable about giving this program a try.

I ordered the program and tried to put it out my head until it arrived.

And then it arrived. And I saw the calendar. There are 3 DVDs with (I think) 8 different workouts. They provide you with an 8-week schedule. Six days a week. I must admit, I was a bit intimidated looking at 8 weeks all scheduled out on a calendar.

I showed my Q the trailer video on youtube and the calendar. She decided to workout and do this program with me. For real, she even cleaned her room to make enough space for us to PiYo. AND, we finished week 1, started week 2 and her room is still clean-ish.

IMG_20140729_155946 IMG_20140728_211139_719

Do you have any idea what an absolute humbling experience it is to workout with a fifteen year old?!?

My Q is a typical teenager. She spends way too much time on her bed watching, facebooking, or reading. More often than not, she is reading and this mama who also happens to be an English teacher almost never interrupts her family when they are reading. Q, however, takes after her mama and devours books. She hates to put the book (or iPad) down until she is done.

I am out of shape and getting back to my groove. I struggle through the workouts. And yes, they are around 20-40 minutes and I die. I sweat. I huff, I puff. I curse Chalene Johnson with her perkiness and perfect blond hair. Q just rolls through and she hardly sweats. The day after our workouts, I am tired and Q not so much.


I made a hashtag #meandmyQ – even when she frustrates me with her lack of sweat, I absolutely love working out with her. I am so brutally honest when we workout. “This sucks” “ooh, I like this one” “B***ch” “This lady is crazy” “She wants me to do what” “My belly gets in the way, I have to adjust this pose”  I have worked out without a shirt on, just in a sports bra. I fall over because my balance sort of totally sucks.

Yet, I keep pushing on. I have given up and walked away from too many “hard” things but I have also pushed through serious “hard” things. PiYo is hard but fun. Every time I do a workout, I am surprised when we get to the last five minutes. It sneaks up on me. So far, that last five minutes has caught me off guard every single time.

Working out with Q is pretty awesome. We have a calendar to know what to do on what day, but more than that we have to be accountable to each other. I can’t bluff her with excuses. And even when I am so not in the mood for working out or my joints are achy and I just want to be lazy, I don’t want to give my Q any of those excuses.

Who knew this was all going to happen when I decided to try something new?!?

august already


The calendar is telling me it IS August. The weather is not what I would call normal August weather. but I am not going to complain. Yesterday morning on my way into work, the weatherman on the radio said it was 63*

63 in August. AND the humidity was LOW. Unheard of and I totally took advantage of it. Yesterday, was the last day of my summer program and I had two girls working in my office. as my assistants and I worked them hard. Lots of copying, compiling and filing. With the last half hour, I decided we needed to get out of the air conditioning and go play in the sun. We walked around the whole school & field perimeters. We wound up walking a little more than a mile.

For me, that was walk #25…in a row.

25 days with a walk .In. A. Row.

I didn’t start July with the intention of walking almost every day. I started July wanting to continue June goals….you see at the end of May I joined a 90-day challenge with some girls in a facebook group. For those 90 days (which ends in September) I set the small, reachable goals of losing 5 pounds, walking 30 walk, 30 yogas and 30 selfies.

I also joined a walking challenge where I set a goal of 325,000 steps for the month of July

As of July 31 my totals are:

  • 5 pounds lost
  • 11 yogas (which includes the last 4 days of PiYo – I am switching goals here)
  • 22 selfies
  • 34 walkies
  • July steps: 338,886

WOO to the muthafrackin’ HOO!!

I feel like a ROCKSTAR!! I set goals and I accomplished said goals!! Some goals have changed a bit (the weight goal is non-existent at this point. I will still step on the scale once every month or two but I don’t know. My yoga goal has morphed into PiYo goal…more on that in a minute)

It’s funny, a few months ago, all I would have focused on would be that 5 pound weight loss. I am so over that number. It is just not important to me at this moment.

I think I might be on a roll.

You see, in the past I would have posted big, huge goals then had a freakout of some sort followed by complete failure. THIS time I didn’t set huge goals. I figured 30 of anything in 90 days is only 1/3 OR totally doable…not huge but realistic.

Then around July 11th, I realized I had walked the last 4 days and I wondered if I could go for 7. I hit Day 7 and tried for 10…then 14…then I just kept asking myself if I could do one more day. Somewhere along the way, I secretly wondered if I could make it every day until I go back to school (well, full time).

It is NOT a secret anymore. I am setting a goal to continue my walking streak every day in August., every day until I go back to school full time, September 2nd.

PiYo just sort of happened. I had been seeing rumbles of this workout online. Some people I know and follow recently became teachers or coaches and this word PiYo kept popping up in my streams. I watched a few videos and dang, if it didn’t look superfun. A friend is a BB coach and had a good deal going, so I splurged a bit and bought the videos.

IMG_20140730_211232I have survived the first four days and I loving all the sweat and hard moves. I will write more about PiYo in another post but I am glad I splurged. I am glad I am pushing my body again. AND, PiYo is hard but it is SUPERFUN!


August Goals:

  • 10K steps every day
  • walk (inside or oustide) every day
  • keep going with the PiYo calendar (I am going to repeat week 2 while Q is in band camp and then we will move forward to week 3)
  • keep taking selfies and keep falling in love with all that is Jen!
  • practice guitar at least 30 minutes every week
  • read 12 books
  • go on 15 bike rides or walks with Big Man
  • plan out September lesson plans.

I am finding a rhythm. I am finding comfort in myself. I am going to keep moving and grooving. I am going to keep reminding myself to keep being awesome!!

Until next time,

Mad Love & HUGS,



trues & toots


I am going old school with this post.

You see, back in the days when I was just starting out on social media and blogging shenanigans, I spent a lot of time hanging around the Sisterhood (of the Shrinking Jeans). Around the ‘hood, Tuesday is for True Confessions or Toot Your Own HornI haven’t participated in way  too long and more than likely I will not blog like this very often. Today, however, both blog posts could be appropriate. I have some confessions and some brags and some of both.

 I was going to break them down but I have decided to do a bullet list ( I really love these) of the confessions and the toots combined. 

  • I am on a walking streak!! Last night was Day #22. 22 days in a row where I walked. Actually 21 of 22 walks were inside using a #walkathome video. I love Leslie Sansone. When Q was a wee little babe I discovered Leslie and as I venture into getting back in shape, I am going back to the tried & true.
  • I tend to get wrapped up in the compare game. And I have learned this is detrimental to me. I don’t do well when I try to compete because…well, I am not all that competitive. I don’t need to be the leader on some stepcount board. I will never run faster or longer than some of my friends. I am finally ok with all this. I am ok with me being me. With me doing this whole thing MY way. I just need to remember this. Why do I forget it? Why does it take so long to remember?
  • I have been seriously slacking on my yoga practice. I don’t really have a reason but I haven’t been doing nearly enough yoga.
  • I don’t want to track everything I eat or count calories at all. I don’t want to restrict and deprive. I have enough issues going on (belly gremlin, itchies) and restricting isn’t going to help. BUT, I do need to focus on eating the food that make me feel good and not eating the foods that hate me.
  • Speaking of….I have been eating like crap. Too much wheat. Too much takeout, which is just stupid for more than just the wheat. Too much ice cream. I may not like tracking but that doesn’t mean my body doesn’t know just exactly what I am putting in it. Time to crack the whip. Believe me, I have a big bloaty belly to show for my junk eating.
  • I hate calling food good or bad. I just hate it. #thereIsaidit
  •  I hate weighing myself. I don’t really care about the number and dammit I have bigger problems than the scale. My gremlin and itchies. And I am lucky enough to have awesome health numbers (cholesterol and blood pressure) even though I am overweight.
  • I have officially decided to stop trying to lose weight (not that I have really been trying). I am shifting my focus completely to my health. I will figure out what keeps my gremlin and itchies away. My joints get achy and tender. I want to feel strong again. I want to move comfortably in my body.
  • I am beautiful but I really don’t know how to dress. I need to learn how to dress. For real.
  • I sorta tried to play the ukulele since my kid brought me one home for my birthday. It does not fit right in my hand. And, seriously, my boobs make it uncomfortable to play. I am putting it down. And moving on.
  • My mom’s husband  gave me an old acoustic guitar. Q has already taught me to play twinkle, twinkle. little star. 
  • And one final note: IMG_20140728_211139_719 My Q has joined me in the piyo craze. She has committed to the 8-week program…we have a week of band camp in there so we will work it out so it works for us.

This was a fun post to write. It took me ALL day but I needed the brain dump. A lot has been going on and I needed to get my feet sturdy on deck before I blogged about it all. I am getting myself to a much happier headspace and my little corner of the universe is looking brighter.

What’s going on in your corner?

Hello Monday


Well, hello there, Monday.

How the hell are you?

Let’s just say I am superglad it is summer and I have a flexible schedule and  today is even more flexible than usual. This morning the alarm beeped at me at 6am and I got out of bed, turned off the alarm, went and made coffee…then, I climbed right back in bed.

I had an absolute horrible night sleep.

I don’t get it. Normally, I sleep great. This weekend I worked my tail off….I painted for two days with my husband, I cleaned the condo in OC and I walked every day. I should have been tired enough to get a great night sleep. But I did not.

So  today, I went back to bed. Then I got up and took my Q to work and came back home. Normally, I would try to get right into work after taking her but today I needed to come back home.

I needed a do-over.

And today, I had the opportunity, the time and the desire for a do over.

How often can one actually get a do over?

I cam back home, had breakfast and a shower and now I am sitting down with a cup of coffee and writing this blog. I had big plans for today and even though the day started rocky, I am positive I will hit today’s goals.

What are today’s goals?!?

  • walk
  • start PIYO
  • drink lots of water
  • eat mindfully
  • meditate
  • apply for 3rd job
  • play around with my new guitar

Oh yeah, and I still have work but today we are taking the kids to the movies to see Hercules in IMAX. Not a bad day to need a do over. I also know, I can’t always take a do over morning when I need one so I have to take advantage of days like today, now, while I can.

Food, a shower, coffee and I feel so much better.

Like a whole new person on a whole new morning.

I can do this!

I feel more confident starting now. It is amazing what a few hours do to change an attitude. I MUST remember this for next time.  I think I may have finally found a way to deal with Mondays. I won’t always have a few extra hours but I can take what I’ve learned today and scale it down. I bet 30 minutes would do the trick.  Oh yes, I am sure there will be a next time…..Mondays are rough.

How do you deal with Mondays?