Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Have to, Want to, Should do...WILL do.

"Every vice has it's excuse ready." ~Publilius Syrus

I don't know who this Publilius guy is, but they sure are right. And I hate to admit it, but I'm not just a terrible procrastinator, I make excuses for not doing the things I should. Well, I do the things I have to do, I do things I want to do....but sometimes, I don't do a lot of of those "should do" things. Like fully clean and organize my room. Like have a consistent workout and nutrition plan. Like pursue acting, or go back to school, or figure out what it really is I want for myself and out of life. Like writing on this blog! In come the all powerful excuses..."I don't have time to work out." "It's hard to eat healthy when I'm driving in my car all day and not in an office." "I will write when I have something to write about." "I'll get my desk organized on my next day off." - Then that next day off comes and something ALWAYS comes up. Mind you, the majority of the time it's one of those "want-to-do's" which I could absolutely not do. But again I say, I'm a terrible procrastinator...my brain fully welcomes distractions. Classic dog sees squirrel type situation.

Then the other side of my brain is terribly driven and likes to cross things off the to-do list, likes making goals, having a clean room, all that good stuff I make excuses for not doing. This part of my brain hates that first part I just talked about. Sometimes I think I'm just a big walking contradiction, and that's why I never feel like I get anything done. On one hand, I've got a list of a gazillion things to do, and the other I just keep saying I'll do it later, when it really needs to get done. One of my favorite sayings is "if you wait until the last minute to do something, it only takes a minute to do." That's not going to fly forever. I know it's easier to get away with all these making excuses and half-assing my way through most things now because it's just me. I don't have kids, I don't even have an animal to give up any of my time to right now...so all this time is just for me. To do not just some of, but ALL of the have-to's, want-to's and even all of the should-do's.

So my good brain side says I am setting a few small goals. I know myself, and if I set up a bunch of huge goals just because I am on a roll and ready for change, I end up failing at them all.

Step one: Caitlyn and I are doing any sort of activity for this whole month. While I may have failed 2 of the days (not making an excuse for why, and saying I will do better from here on out), yesterday I joined the gym and have an excellent personal trainer (and great roommate) willing and ready to be help me anytime...I will do it.

Step two: Writing. This has actually helped me even now realize that if I tell myself I can do something, I can sit for 20 minutes and write a blog about doing more things I have been making excuses about for so long, then I SHOULD be making these goals, and making it a priority to cross things off of the never ending lists. So my goal for writing is, whether it's on here and Caitlyn and I have topics to talk about, or if it's for 15 minutes right before I fall asleep...I will do it.

Step three: Organization. This one might take a little longer - but it has to start somewhere. Everyday I will designate at least 15 minutes to putting clothes away, or going through papers, taking things out of my car....that 15 minutes a day turns in to almost 2 hours a week of getting things done...I will do it.

Time is Treasure

It is always sad to lose someone. Even more so when you have things you wished you could have said or done with that someone and suddenly they are just no longer there.

Ellen asked me a long time ago if I knew how to iron. I said, "Well, I think so...I kind of just put the clothes out and iron them, no real plan of action."

She proceeded to tell me that there is a specific way to iron, that her mother-in-law taught her how to do so and that she would love to show me. I told her I would love that and we should plan a time for me to come over with some of Oliver's clothes.

Time went by, we continued our weekly dinners with Oliver's parents, and saw them often, but never quite planned that ironing lesson. I always thought to myself, "we'll figure it out, we'll find a time."

Ellen began to get sicker and as she began to get even more weak, I remember thinking, maybe I could set up an iron in the hang-out room where Ellen was in her bed. She might not be able to show me, but if I were right there she could guide and direct me.

It seems simple, an ironing lesson. Ironing is ironing, you get the wrinkles out, you're good, right? But it was more than that. It meant something that my mother-in-law-to-be wanted to pass something on to me that her mother-in-law passed to her. It was just really a moment to share. And I wanted that moment. And as time went on and her sickness quickly began to completely take over, I lost my chance. I lost my chance to spend the time and make the memory. Like I said, it seems simple, but it tears me up inside that I missed out on that moment. I was lucky enough to marry into the most amazing family, have the most amazing in-laws. Even if I technically only had a mother-in-law for three days.

I miss Ellen everyday. I'm not really sure I will ever forgive myself for letting that moment pass. I am extremely blessed that I got the chance to say everything I could ever want to say to her, to thank her for her son, for making him who he is, for loving him the way she had his whole life, for teaching him how to love and for welcoming me with open arms into their family. The most amazing woman, the pride of the family, the elegant matriarch. I learned a lot from my mother-in-law and I am thankful for that. This lesson, instead of teaching me how to iron, has taught me to treasure all moments and never take time for granted because you are not always guaranteed to have it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

31 Days

So, it seems to me that whenever I give myself a challenge, I seem to get more accomplished. Kind of like making short-term goals instead of big, long-term ones. For example, when I started boot camp this year, I signed up for one month and told myself that I would do this boot camp for the whole month, no excuses, no skipping out, and I did it. The whole month of January I woke up at 5:00 a.m., went to boot camp for an hour, went to the gym to shower and then continued on with my regular workday. I didn't miss one day and it felt really good to keep that promise to myself. I also give something (usually multiple somethings) up every year during Lent. I have never, not once "cheated" during Lent. If I say I will not eat fast food or order out for a month, I wont do it (even when it isn't the Lenten season.)

What I am getting at is my next challenge. Tomorrow begins a new month and my challenge, however small it may seem to others, is to do some type of physical activity everyday for 31 days. When I do things like this, it isn't just for the month, it is to jump start a healthy way of living, so that next month, I will be used to the everyday activity, know what I am capable of and be able to continue.

And since I decided to blog about it and this is a dual blog...Hollee and I will be doing this together. Whatever it may be; a walk around the block, a trip to the gym, swimming at the beach or pool, a bike ride...anything. Everyday. All month long. We will both be doing it (we tend to do better when we do things together, even from a distance.) We will also be taking suggestions of what type of activity to do so we don't get burnt out. So, keep the ideas coming! (Or really, just START them coming...no one ever responds to our blogs, we really do want suggestions!!)

We'll be blogging about our progress; how things are going, what types of activities we are doing, how we feel, etc. So, there you go. 31 days. Starting tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

For the Bug and the Monster

Sometimes throughout the year, I sit back and think, "what was I doing at this time last year?" I daydream and compare where I am in life, things I was doing then compared to things I am doing now, that sort of thing. A few weeks ago, I was reminiscing about last summer. This time last summer I was playing mommy to my amazing niece and nephew. All summer I told myself I was going to write them a letter at the end of our time together and tell them all the things they did, places we went together, adventures we had, adorable things they did or said. Daily, I would think to myself "oh, there's something I'll put in the letter" after Freddie smiled for the camera or Ainsley said something ridiculously funny (which is definitely not rare:) But as the summer came to a close, I had written nothing. Shocker. So, this year as I am thinking back, I have decided to write that letter. Things are not as fresh in my mind but it is a summer I will never forget. So here it goes:

Dear Ainsley and Freddie,

Last summer Daddy stayed with Nanny and Poppa during the week so he could work at his new job and while Mommy was still working in Richmond, I was the one to get to take care of you! Since I am a teacher and have summers off, I was lucky enough to spend the whole summer with you two!

Bug, you were not even three yet, because I came to stay with you guys in June, but you were the most amazing, chatty, witty almost-three-year-old I have ever known. And Fredders, you were just a wee three month old baby boy. The chubbiest, cutest, most amazing little baby boy I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

We settled into a routine where I woke up right before Mommy had to leave for work, most days you were awake, Bug, and Freddie was either still sleeping or laying in his swing. For a little while, you were very sad to see Mommy go. It broke my heart (and Mommy's) to see you cry when she left, but you were fine less than 5 minutes after she was out of the driveway. Then, I would make you breakfast and sometimes even set up your chair in the living room so we could watch something fun while we ate our breakfast. Otherwise, we would sit at the table together and eat our breakfast of cereal, waffles, or the chocolate cream of wheat stuff that you loved.

You were such a good helper with Freddie, always wanting to follow me up when we had to do a diaper change, or hold his bottle when I was feeding him. Freddie, you kept us on schedule. I had to make sure you had everything you needed when you needed it. You had bad reflux so you took Mylanta (Ainsley, you used to ask me in the morning if Freddie had taken "your lanta" yet because when you asked what I was giving him, I said "Mylanta." It made me giggle every time.) I even had an app on my phone that tracked when you took your medicine, when you ate, when you were changed, when you slept, when you woke up, everything. You had your bottle every three hours and you took your longer naps in the morning. So every morning we would lounge until around 10:30 when I would start to get Ainsley ready before you woke up around 11:00 and we all went out together.

Some days we went grocery shopping, sometimes to Target, we played soccer in the front yard, blew bubbles in the backyard and always went to a park somewhere. There was the park with the fountain where we threw some goldfish to the geese, then there was your favorite park with the castle! Now, that was a cool playground. You went on the see-saw, the swings, the tire swing, and we played princess games in the castle where you would tell me stories about how I was in the dungeon and the princes Brinkley and Gatsby would come save me from the "Mean Teen."

Bug, your imagination is like nothing I've ever seen. You can play make-believe for hours and never get tired, you can tell stories with the most creative action sequences I've ever heard. You also did love your movies. As much as we played outside, we watched movies. One of your favorites last summer was All Dogs Go To Heaven (although I am sure it is hard to believe there was anything before Tangled.) The credits would roll and you would instantly look at me and say "again?" Sometimes I said yes:)

We went to the pool with Margie one day and you had such a blast! Freddie kinda just chilled then passed out, but we had fun!
We had a little blow up pool on the deck and we'd play for hours in there too. You had hundreds of toys in there and I would sing you a song "I see a tiger, tiger, tiger, I see a tiger in the pool!" and you would search for the tiger and bring it to me. That game never got old! Then, after your birthday party you had a lot more toys and even a new play sink for outside. You always wanted to crawl in the sink, I even gave you a bath in there once, ha. Crazy Auntie Keek:) Or was it Crazy Ainsley? It was your idea!

One big thing we accomplished together that summer was potty training!! Mommy and Daddy had been working with you for a bit before Freddie came along, but once he was born you regressed a little (totally normal when a new baby is in the house and Mommy and Daddy are super busy.) So I thought it was the perfect time for you to try again. You did such a great job!! You got a prize every time and soon enough you were fully trained and I was so proud of you!

Fredders, the things about that time that I will never forget are swaddling you up and rocking you to sleep. It was one of my favorite things to do, even when my back ached from holding your chubby little self and swaying back and forth. You fought sleep like you were in a boxing ring and nap time was your toughest competitor. Your little eyes would flutter and flutter and you would try so hard to keep them open. Until finally, they would stay closed, your breathing would slow, you would get a bit heavier and ultimately lose out on that fight. I loved how warm and snuggly you were and how you would instantly stop squirming and fussing when you were swaddled. Swaddling is my favorite thing. You looked so snuggled up and comfy and I would just pat, pat, pat your little baby back until you succumbed to sleep.

We all took a trip to Longwood one day too. Ainsley, you got to play in the Brock Commons fountains while Freddie watched from his stroller. We visited all the Longwood sites while I told you stories about how Mommy, Daddy and Keek went to school there. I showed you the Founding Four clock in front of the library and asked you which you liked better, "Delta Zeta or Zeta Tau Alpha" you said "Delta yayda" I asked one more time just to be sure and got the same response. Maybe I didn't tell you about the CROWN part of ZTA...I think that'd be a big seller these days for my little princess:)

All in all we had an amazing summer together, I wish I had written down some of your quotes, Bug, because you are one hilarious little lady. Fredders, you didn't say much so no regrets there:) I was sad to leave you guys, every time I say goodbye to you both I leave a little piece of myself with you. You are the first niece and nephew I ever had and I love you both with all my heart and soul. I am the luckiest aunt to have gotten to spend that precious time with you, and now you have some account of it also:)

Auntie Keek

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is the lack of stress, stressful??

So, with less than three weeks until the wedding, I am feeling very excited, not so stressed, just excited. I mean, there are little things I guess I am stressing about, like how I need to print three different sets of things and I don't have Word on my computer and all the templates online are for Word only...that's stressing me out a little, but not enough to freak or anything. I'll figure it out. That's pretty much been my attitude through everything, "I'll figure it out." I try not to sweat the small stuff. I want to marry Oliver, be with him forever...does the other stuff really matter? In the grand scheme, not really. Of course I want a beautiful, fun, awesome wedding, but so many of the little details people fuss over just aren't worth fretting over for me.

Anyhow, so while during the day I am not thinking I feel very stressed, evidently my body is reacting at night. I haven't really been sleeping well. So perhaps all the things on the "to-do" list are floating around in my subconscious and coming out at night, thus disallowing this bride her beauty sleep. Everyday after school I have things planned to get done. Whether it's wedding errands I need to run or wedding things I need to do at home. But today after school I decided to go get a pedicure and relax a little, try to maybe stave off some of the stress that everyone keeps telling me will inevitably ensue. (seriously, every bride, married woman, past bridesmaid, everyone has been warning me to de-stress and prepare for anxiety during the weeks before the wedding.) But here we are, a few weeks before the wedding and I am pretty okay. What's stressing me out is people telling me I am gonna be stressed!

I have never really been great at total relaxation. When I get a massage (which is my all time number one favorite thing to do) I sometimes even then have to remind myself to stop thinking about the outside world, the things I have to do, and just be in the moment with the spa music playing, scented oils and wonderful tension-relieving hands for the next 60 minutes. But today just made me laugh a little. There was a special at the nail place to have a free chair massage or free eyebrow waxing. I don't do nail salon waxing, so I opted for the chair massage.

Here's a little bit of what went through my head during the time I should have been relaxing:

"Hmm, she just put lotion on her hands, that's gonna make my hair oily when she does the neck massage part, Ah, who cares, I need to wash it anyway. I need to buy a round brush, I left mine in Fairfax. Maybe I could go to Marshall's after this and see if they have one. I need shoes, I'll look for shoes there. Ugh, stop thinking about this, relax, just feel this massage and relax. If I go to Marshall's I could probably also look for flip flops and not just rehearsal dinner shoes. I wish I had worn flip flops today, now I might mess up my pedicure when I put my flats back on. Or maybe they will let me walk out in these silly little shoes. Or I could wear these down to Marshall's, buy flip flops and wear them home. Oh boy, she's pulling my arms now. This tiny little Asian is probably thinking, 'dang, this girl is meaty' with her tiny little arms massaging my big old chubby upper arm. Seriously Caitlyn? Just relax. Deep breaths, calming, picture yourself on the beach on the honeymoon. Maybe I should call and make a reservation for a private dinner on the beach. The resort offers that, that'd be a nice surprise for Oliver. A romantic, candle-lit dinner on the beach. Perfect. Wonder if I'll be able to make it to the OBX this summer. I hope so. Stop thinking! RELAX!!" Ding. times up, massage over. Well, it felt good at least...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The One

So...your whole life you look for "the one," right? Well, most people feel that way I think. Whether your "one" is a best friend, a spouse, a city, a home, when it comes to choosing paths in life, you choose "the one" that is best for you. And only you know what that is.

I have found that in the process of wedding planning, there are a lot of "the ones." First, I met my Oliver, he is definitely The One. The one I thought didn't exist, the one who's personality, life and love surprises me everyday. As a young girl, high school maybe, I was always a sucker for love. Always thinking, "could he be The One?" People just kind of know what that statement means, but it's never really followed by an explanation. The one who what? Well, then it was the one I would spend the rest of my life with, the one who would love me for me no matter what. I definitely didn't find that in high school, no matter how much I wanted that truth to be mine. Not many people do probably find that "one" in high school. That's all about learning who you are, how you respond to others, how to just BE in a relationship. Anyhow, I am getting off track. So, I continued to live life, still searching, whether actively or just by being, for my One. I began to think it wouldn't happen, woe is me, 20 years old and haven't found someone to marry. Ugh. Granted, that thought only crossed my mind every once in a while, I was very busy enjoying my time in college:)

So, I moved to CT, met this boy, he asked me if I'd like to go out with him, we had our first date and BAM! Found it!

Now months into the wedding planning process I have found that there are plenty of very important things in life that need the significance of being called "the one." I remember when I went with my brother (Cameron) to look for his now wife's engagement ring. He knew everything; cut, color, clarity...what's the other c? I don't even know. But he did. So we searched, we looked at diamond after diamond then finally found it. The One. It was beautiful and I don't know what set it out from the rest, but we just knew, that was it. We were finished searching. It seemed to shine brighter and sparkle more than any that we had to compare it to. The smile on his face was enough to understand that he had found it, just like he had found her. His "one."

Over the past few months I have gotten that warm, happy feeling of finding something perfect more than a few times. We chose Oliver's parents church to be married in. Without ever having been there, I agreed to it. Then, once I went to see the church, meet the pastor, I knew it was The One. The exact right place for us to get married. I shopped for a wedding gown, tried on about seven and found The One at the first store we went to. The pastry chef turned the page of the sample book, I saw the beautiful cake and knew it was The One. We looked for wedding bands, tried some on, each found The One we loved the most. Even something like the flower girl dress. After searching for months, not ever finding quite the right fit, I open an email from mom "Houston, I think we found the dress!" and knew right away, it was The One. The church, the dress, the cake, the invitations, the flowers, the rings...all such broad categories, yet under each umbrella we found The One that was perfect for us.

I only started thinking about this because we have finally made a decision about our honeymoon. We haven't even gone yet, but I know it is going to be amazing. It is the perfect place that I thought only existed in my mind. After hearing the travel agent describe it and briefly glancing at the resort online, I knew. Now, after my extensive research on not only the resort, but the entire island, I am absolutely sure it is The One.

So in a search for the perfect "something" there is always the one that sets itself apart from the others. You may never figure out what it is that sets it apart, but it just is different. It is The One. And when you really think about it, it's not very difficult to explain. There's a reason we choose what we choose because we are who we are. Everything in life leads us to where we are supposed to be. Even something as simple as a travel agent saying, "have you guys thought about Anguilla?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Sad Time for This Boot Camper

So...it's been over a month since I've written. I've been busy planning a wedding:) I have been going to boot camp faithfully since my last post (up until the past week, which you will see as this post continues) and I have felt great! At my dress fitting last weekend, they re-measured me and I am six inches smaller than my original measurements! SUPER exciting. But now let me get into the sadness. About 2 weeks ago my lower back started bothering me. I sometimes get lower back pain, and it usually is pretty painful for a few days then dissipates until I no longer feel it. While doing dead lifts (holding a weight in each hand, slowly bending at the waist until the weights touch the ground, then coming back up) I felt a sharp pain back there. I tried to push through it, I finished out the workout then at the end my instructor stretched me out because I mentioned how it hurt. That was on a Thursday. That night was Oliver's St. Baldrick's fundraiser and I was out pretty late (all the while with the pain in my lower back) so after going to sleep after midnight and the pain in the back, I decided to take a day off from boot camp on Friday. The rest helped and my lower back started to feel better. Emphasis on the LOWER back. Saturday the middle of my back started hurting, then by Sunday evening it hurt to take a deep breath. I thought maybe I sat wrong in the hour+ car ride to Hartford...but nothing made it feel better. Sitting, standing, laying down, stretching, it HURT. I went to work on Monday (no boot camp that morning) and was in a whole lot of pain. It really hurt when I took a deep breath and my job isn't the greatest for staying upright (the kids tables come to my knees so I am always either bending down or sitting in a tiny little chair with my knees above my hips.) It was an odd pain though, constant pain, extremely uncomfortable and right in the middle of my back. When I get back pain, it's the lower back, not like this. My co-workers began to worry, one thought that maybe I was overcompensating from last week's lower back pain and kinda screwed the rest of my back and she said I should go to a chiropractor, one said it might be a respiratory infection since it hurt whenever I would breathe (which, um..is all the time!) but my mom was visiting and I didn't want to spend her last day in the doctor's office. The pain got kind of worse throughout the day, so that and my mom convinced me to call the doctor. So mommy came to the doctor with me while I was taking tiny short breaths so it wouldn't hurt (which really only lead to me having to take a deep deep breath every so often and cry out in pain) and after my doctor felt my back, pressed in a bunch of places, asked a bunch of questions, he told me I was having pretty bad muscle spasms. He gave me a prescription for muscle relaxers and some Vicodin so I could sleep (did I mention the pain kept me up all night Sunday?) I asked him if I could still go to boot camp. He looked a little shocked and said absolutely not, stay away from boot camp for at least a week. I almost cried. This is the first time in my life that I have really stuck with an exercise program and liked it. Granted, it's really only been a few months, but that is a few months longer than I've ever done it before! Before leaving, I asked my doctor if a massage might help. He said definitely, so I asked if he could write me a prescription to Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Evidently they don't do that.
So I emailed the instructor and told her my diagnosis and how upset I was. She told me to rest, get better and she'll see me next week. I did end up getting a massage (no help from the doctor!) and the masseuse told me it felt like she was
"working on a rock." Those were her exact words. She said she didn't need to ask why, because I had told her about boot camp and the wedding, so she said it was a combination of the intense work out and stress, but she seemed very concerned with how tight everything was. She suggested that I come back for a 90 minute sports massage. I suggest that it doesn't cost $150. I know it will help, but that's a lot of money and when I get a massage it's usually a very big treat and it's for a nice relaxing time, I don't want to be told I have to have one for medical reasons!
Anyhow, that was last week. Over the weekend, I went to VA for Freddie's first birthday. My cousin, Garrett, is a personal trainer and I asked him what he thought about all this. He felt my back and said it felt like a bowling ball. He started naming some things I shouldn't do...all of which are the exercises we do daily at boot camp. My friend, Laura, who I have mentioned before (also a personal trainer) told me she thought I should stay away from boot camp for at least the rest of the month. The muscle relaxers are helping, I haven't had to take the Vicodin to sleep for about 6 days, and I am feeling better. Every once in a while I feel a twinge of the pain that I had before, but nothing like it was.
Today, I went back to my doctor because (surprise!) I have a sinus infection. While there, I asked him what he thought about all this. I told him how I was feeling, how the muscle relaxers helped and I stopped taking them on Sunday to see if I could feel better on my own, and I have. He said that boot camp is an intense work out and that I should not continue to do it. I told him I lost 6 inches and that I am getting married in 2 months. He said I can continue to lose weight and inches, just by doing less intense exercises, such as the bike, treadmill, or swimming. He said that the constant twisting, bending, lifting and jumping are not good for my back. I asked if I could still use free weights and he said yes, just make sure not to bend. So, there are three professionals advising that I quit boot camp. And I was afraid of failure, ha. Guess I am being forced to fail this time:( It doesn't feel much different. But even when I think of going back and trying to modify the exercises, I think about the things we do and EVERYthing would need to be modified. No squats, reverse crunches, lunges, twists, dead lifts, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, straight leg sit ups, V-sits...I could go on and on. It wouldn't be modifying, it would be a completely different work out...which is exactly what I am being told to do. A different work out. So now, I am going to email my instructor, tell her the news and hope that I can get my ass out of bed and to the treadmill at the gym EVERY morning until my wedding. Any help/words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.