Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues

I have mixed feelings regarding summer. On one hand, I love the ease of it, not HAVING to be anywhere at any particular time.

Summer me: summer hair, no makeup, tank top because it’s hot outside.

Except wait, no. That’s not true at all. My kids weeks are scheduled to the brim. In fact, I think I might actually be more busy carting them from place to place in the summer than I am during the school year.

As a person who thrives on routine, this proves summer time living… not easy. I enjoy the routine of the school year. During these pesky summer months, things fall by the wayside.

Case in point, I’m just now writing this blog post at 10:30pm on Sunday night. For reference, I usually schedule my Monday blogs for early hours on the blog. (And honestly, I’m considering just putting the computer away and finishing it when I wake up.)

This is so not me.

I’m trying so, so hard to get myself into a summer routine and to find myself a way to make these next 8+ weeks productive, not-too-stressful, and hopefully (mostly) fun.

Ashley mentioned in her blog post last week that she spends most of her summer days alone. On the flip side over here, it’s hard for me to be alone in my house in the summer. My kids are here, my parents are here, and lately my husband’s travel schedule for work has been a little last minute.

Yet, I’m feeling surprisingly good for being a week into July. I’ve gotten a lot accomplished these past 7 days in my home life and volunteer life. While I have been going to the gym, I’m lacking balance in my running life (practically nonexistent the last 2 weeks; I’ve also been dealing with a reoccurring injury).

I’m attempting to train my brain to focus on what I’ve been able to accomplish rather than what I’m skimping on. Jenn shared her love of the Clever Fox planner and I got one too. It’s purple, of course. Colored pens, bullet lists, and introspection are my friends.

A few things I’ve been successful at lately:

  • Home ownership
  • Podcasting
  • My kids being more self-sufficient

Home ownership

Ah, the never-ending fun of home ownership. We moved into our current home 3 years ago and it will never be done. It’s a continual work in progress, filled with bathroom renovations, updating light fixtures, lawn care, pool maintenance, and more. There is never NOT a project. Some are bigger than others.

This week’s huge project? Replace the largest window in the house.

Before and After

New light fixture and window.

New light fixture and window.

To be clear, it wasn’t anything physical for me in terms of the replacement, but it was not a cheap venture. It’s crazy that replacing a window can be so exhilarating but here we are. We’ve been marveling at the window for the past week. Adulting.

On a smaller scale, we also finally found a ladder shelf for our bathroom at Home Goods!

There’s so much else to do including another bathroom renovation, painting, organizing, blah blah blah, until forever. But PROGRESS!

Podcasting

Podcasts are my jam. I love listening to them; it helps mundane chores go quicker and I’m always learning something new.

As the Director of Social Media & Communications for The Bullock Garden Project, Inc. non-profit, I’m always trying to think of good ways to share our story and get our message out to our target audience.

The more I spoke with my friend and CEO of BGP, Inc., Sonya Harris, the more the idea of creating a podcast grew. Sonya is so animated and we are both passionate about educating and bringing gardens to every school, the podcasting forum makes sense.

 

Not only have I been working on that but I also had the pleasure of being invited as a guest to my BibRave bro, Corey’s podcast!

Having the opportunity to chat with him about life and all the good things going on was so much fun. (Plus, we both have kids going into HIGH SCHOOL, which is sort of bananas.)

Click on the picture to listen!

Kids

I didn’t take this pictures of my son in Florida.

Nor did I take this one.

Because I sent my 14 year old alone. On a plane. By himself. (To my parents house.)

I suppose this is partially my success but more so, his. Last week it was Florida. This week he’s off at Boy Scout camp. Maybe one day I’ll see him again.

Part of growing up is becoming more independent and I’m glad that he has the confidence to do so. His younger brother is taking great strides too, not relying on me as much.

I’ve seen a meme floating around on Facebook recently about only having 18 summers with your kids. You guys, that’s not true. It’s not. Because hey, my parents are spending the summer with me and I’m 42 years old. #truthbomb #perspective

You grow, you mature, but unless something goes amiss or you choose to cut ties, you don’t stop having a relationship with your child after they become an adult. You just hope that you’re doing right by them and that they’ll want to spend summers with you forever and ever.

PS – Yep, I totally finished this on Monday morning.

On Wednesdays We Do Wellness

Every Wednesday, I tag up with my nutritionist, Dr. Kyle. I’m at the midway point in her six-month wellness program and now is a great time to check in and share what’s working, and what’s been challenging.

The hardest thing so far is a lack of variety in my diet. I’ve always been on the picky side of eating, and veggies were not my favorite things. That’s all still true. If I eat hummus and carrots again for lunch I. Will. Scream. The solution here is to experiment more with new recipes. I admit I’m not a great cook so this one scares me a bit, but onward I must go.

Cutting out sweets has also been hard, but has gotten easier over time. Instead of craving the triple chocolate layer cake, I’m going for pumpkin spice scones. I’ve swapped out ice cream for vanilla honey Greek yogurt. Things like cheesecake and Starbucks drinks are WAY too sweet and I can’t eat them anymore. Sadly, my sweet tooth is still not satisfied and temptation is hard to fight. My solution here is to try my hand at paleo baking and treat-making. Wish me luck!

Part of the Wellness journey with Dr. Kyle is to learn how to do self-care right. Making time for myself has become a priority instead of a luxury. When I make time for self-care, I find I don’t need or crave the bad foods, like baked goods and candy, as much. I’m being fulfilled in other ways, whether that’s reading a book for fun, painting my nails, or taking a bubble bath, my soul is getting time to rejuvenate as opposed to my seeking refuge in sweets only to still feel depleted of energy. I’m loving this new perspective.

This might be my favorite place in my new house.

The best thing by far about this whole journey is the fact that I’ve lost 7 pounds. Once I cut refined sugar and gluten almost completely from my diet, the pounds fell away. My clothes are fitting better, and I’m able to squeeze into pants I wasn’t able to before. It feels great!

The goal with starting this journey was to learn how to eat properly to avoid diabetes. My blood sugar levels were high and I really don’t want diabetes. Since I’ve changed my diet, my sugars have dropped from consistently between 130 – 150 to 95 – 115. While I’m not at my target of 60-90, I’m getting closer and that is a huge win.

I’ve learned tht it’s not an all or ohiotng game, either. I’m shooitng for 80/20 where 20% of my calorie intake a week is sugar and complex carbs. While it seems like a big number on the healthy side, I’m learning it’s totally doable!

What’s your favorite self-care activity? DO you have any paleo recipes for me? Extra credit if they are Instant Pot friendly!

How Not to Burnout

I typed that title, read it out loud, and my sister laughed at me, y’all.

Maybe it’s because I am very, very bad at taking it easy. As a teacher, the end of the year is VERY STRESSFUL, OKAY?

I’M FINE.

Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to procrastinate and I’m going to do things right…but here we are again. Some things start piling up and it feels like you can never catch up. Somehow it kind of always works out.

I feel that the same can be said about training, too.

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a little over two months now and things are really coming along nicely. My friend and I are using a Hal Higdon training plan and we’re both enjoying it. As the year comes to a close it’s hard to run together, but I’ve stated before that we have plans to train together this summer. I’m definitely excited and nervous about training during a lovely Florida summer, but at least it will be character building!

One thing I noticed when I first started training was that I was ready to go ALL IN BABY. I’d also started a weight loss journey and I just knew I was going to get svelte and everything was going to be amazing.

That was clearly not what happened. I was tired. I was working out or running every single day, and I wasn’t losing how I wanted to. I got kind of obsessed with closing the green circle on my Apple Watch. It was so satisfying to close those rings! I was so proud!

I was also burning myself out. So. I stopped cross training. I realized that the running and stretching was more important than anything else. As a runner, I know that cross training is important at the right time. I love working out. I love finding new things that my muscles can do. But I hated forcing myself to do things for no reason. (Obviously being healthy is a good reason, but it wasn’t part of my training plan.)

I’ve felt a lot better since I stopped and reevaluated my workout plan. I’ve made it to my goal weight and, with my marathon training, I’m getting read to actually add cross training back into my plan. It’s perfect timing, with summer just around the corner.

Training has been an interesting experience for me. I’ve had plenty of good runs, but I feel like the bad run outnumber them. I’m out there, though. I’m moving and getting the miles in. I’m feeling strong

Except today.

Today I put my pajamas on at 5PM.

You’ve got to take care of yourself.

When Things Aren’t Perfect

Life can be fricking hard, yo. I don’t have it figured out, but I do know what helps me when things get tough. Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about dealing with life’s struggles. I hope they help you, too, and always be kind to yourself.

 

Why I Hate “Cheat” Days

You know what phrase I actually hate? “Cheat Day.”

Why?

Because “cheating” connotes bad behavior. Cheating says to me that you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Cheating implies that the food that you’re eating is bad and wrong and you should have to rationalize when you allow yourself to have it.

That’s messed up.

Or at least it is from a “I want to eat healthy and look fit but maintain a healthy relationship with food” perspective.

It’s a real struggle to meal plan every week, prep healthy lunches for work, count macros and ensure that my body is getting enough protein, fat and carbs to fuel my workouts (and my life). It’s also a struggle when I’ve eaten the same thing for lunch for three weeks and dinners have consisted of salads and chicken. Or salads and turkey burgers. Or X meat + Y vegetable… and all I’m looking for is a little pleasure in the food I’m eating.
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In order to make sure I don’t start hating food, or seeing it merely as a tool, I make room for those “bad” things. Like this weekend – my boyfriend has worked for nearly a month straight, we’ve had little time together in the evenings after the gym before we both collapse with exhaustion, and every weekend has been busy, between travel, work and other commitments. We both needed a break.

Rather, first we needed sleep. Then we needed a break.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

So, Saturday was an unplanned rest day. No alarms. Slept until 10:30. Woke up, got donuts, toodled around running some errands and doing a little shopping, picked up some used books, and then had an amazing date night on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. And THEN we got ice cream.

Not once throughout the day did I think “oh man, I feel so gross.” Or “I should have worked out today” – because I know that 1. I work hard enough every other day that one (or two) days off in a row is necessary. 2. My body has been so tired for the past week that my workouts have been lackluster at best. I’d rather be rested and healthy in the gym than tired and dragging. 3. I really like donuts and ice cream and my boyfriend, and enjoying those things together just made my soul feel lighter.

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I love this guy. I love him even more than I love donuts and ice cream.

Basically, what I’m saying is that 80% of the time, my diet is very much dialed in to my fitness goals. But 20% of the time, my diet looks different, but still dialed in to those goals. Because ultimately, I know I can’t achieve the gainz or the pr’s I want if I’m not feeling my best and I’m not happy. Stress and fatigue are killers. And a disordered relationship with food only exacerbates those things.

So, yes. This weekend, we were off the meal plan wagon. But do I feel like I cheated? Not even a little bit. Taking care of your body also means taking care of your whole self – and my whole self feels a lot better after a weekend away from schedules and details and obligations and plans.