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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ties that Bind

Crocheting by a very warm fire and thinking about so many things. I am thinking of all the ties in our lives that come undone, seemingly without our knowledge. The stitches slip out and the connections end. It is sad to think about those lost connections, but I know there must be a reason that connection was made in my life in the first place.

 I am a solitary person by nature. I was raised to be independent,  the middle child of 7, and though I had a lot of friends, none but a few were especially close. I have sat alone through so many doctors' appointments, both for my heart and my infertility.  I was alone when 9/11 happened, teaching in a small town and not knowing a single soul.  I was by myself frequently, working late at my job through most of high school.

I am not usually lonely, but tonight I wish I could reach into my past and fix those broken connections. I so want to have deep theological conversations with my friend Nathan. I want to talk nonsense with my old roomie Diane. I desperately want to talk with my friend Sherri again, Sr. Catherine that is, now.

 I remember riding my bike to my friends' houses in my hometown and just chatting with them about school and nothing and everything in our small microcosm of life then.  Why is it so difficult now to pick up those connections?

I think for me, the hardest thing is knowing that sometimes I'm the only one trying to keep the connection alive. I used to send cards for everything, but I received no acknowledgment for them. Not even letting me know people received whatever it was I sent. I would feel so crappy afterwards, like they just didn't care. So, I stopped. I am not letting that kind of emotional baggage drive me crazy.  (Let's face it, I'm close enough I could walk there!)

I guess what bothers me the most are the people that I've really tried to be there for, in their good times and their bad times.  I would have done just about anything to support and help those people.  I have done many things to support them and show them they are loved.  People that I considered good friends, that simply found others and didn't need me around anymore.  Some of them just didn't have time for me anymore. Some of them apparently forgot I existed, lost my number, and totally forgot all about the memories we made.

Look, I'm not saying I must be the center of attention here.  I hope that's not what this sounds like.  I'm not trying to throw a pity party.  I'm just saying, people, acknowledge those you love.  Call them, write them, text them, pray for them and let them know.  We are all so busy in this world, but are we really too busy to comfort each other, support each other, and talk with one another for longer than 5 minutes?  Obviously, there are some people that cut those ties with me and I am aware of the cut.  Some of them healed.  Some of them are scabbed over and some of them are still open wounds.  I'm not a perfect person.  I'm not even anywhere close!  BUT, I am a different person from the one I was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 25 years ago, even 6 months ago.  I am someone who has learned to forgive, to acknowledge fault, to read people's faces so I know when I need to shut up and stop talking.  About the only thing I have yet to learn is to lose a bit more graciously.  I am working on it, really!!

Fortify the ties that bind with double knots and extra string.  Maybe some glue or tape, or even plaster if needed.  Rebuild those connections and reach out to those you feel need it.  Put the scissors away, and remember at the end of the day, that connection you lost will one day sit by the fire, crocheting, and think of you and all the awesome things they loved about you and smile and maybe hope for a better connection going forward. 

Love and light to you all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday 5: Bookends

1.  I am trying to get more into reading right now, instead of just playing around on the Internet.  That's a small part of the reason I haven't blogged at all in a week or updated anything on my Facebook page either.  I need to read!  I finished Paige Kellerman's book,  "At Least my Belly hides my Cankles", which was hilarious! I read Pope Francis's interview with America magazine, entitled "A Big Heart Open to God", which was brilliant and gave me so much hope.  Once that was finished, I immediately downloaded "The Betrothed" by Alessandro Manzoni, since Pope Francis loved it so much and then downloaded "Yes, Please" by Amy Poehler, because I just couldn't resist.  I started "Yes, Please" today on my lunch break at work and it is already fantastic.  I need more suggestions for faith books, though.  Do you have anything for me?

2.  I am addicted to Trivia Crack.  There, I said it.  I'm a trivia aficionado, so to speak and was that nerdy girl on Scholar's Bowl in high school.  Why can't they have an adult version of that that isn't located in bars?  I'd be totally down with that!  I sometimes get bored with the regular one-on-one game in Trivia Crack, though, so I started playing the random challenges vs. 9 other people and I love them!  12 questions in a row, 2 from each category.  It's timed as well, so you have to be fairly quick.

3.  I watched 3 hours of Friends last night.  In a row.  On Netflix.  It was so great!  I totally remember why I enjoyed that show.  Chandler Bing.  *sigh*  Could he BE any more funny and adorable?!  I think my husband is very similar to Chandler.  He is very quick-witted and cracks me up a lot.  He's also severely adorable, though he looks a bit more like Ross.  I, on the other hand, am horrified to find out that I have grown up to be Monica.  A friend on Facebook, bless her heart, said she thought I was more like Phoebe, because Monica was mean.  Well, I'd say I'm a mixture of them, but I am strongly Monica when it comes to cooking, OCD tendencies, and competitive nature.  I'm more like Phoebe when it comes to my goofiness.  I am not afraid to stand out from the crowd and I am comfortable with being different.  Well, I guess Monica ended up with Chandler, so hey, that worked in my favor!

4.  My left knee was killing me during my workout tonight, so I had to skip the majority of the lunges.  (Not all bad.)  It would pop, then ache like crazy, then pop again and be okay, then pop again and hurt again.  I maintain that it's due to not enough cartilage in my knee.  I played volleyball in junior high and freshman year of high school, as well as a few years ago when I played with a work team and I played softball all the way through high school.  Anyone who has played those sports can tell you that they do a number on your knees.  I'm not saying I was a great player, but I think the fact that I loved to throw myself on the floor and dig volleyballs combined with my weight and age all add up to some very creaky knees.  I can't imagine if I didn't work out what they'd be like!

5.  My husband found a lovely cookbook at Target the other day, when we were supposed to go for 'a few things' and ended up with a cart full of stuff, the majority of which were NOT on my list.  Isn't it crazy how Target does that to you?  Seriously, I went for like 3 things and ended up spending $20 just on knee high socks to wear with my boots!  Oh dear.  Anyhow, the cookbook is a cooking for two cookbook put out by America's Test Kitchen.  I adore America's Test Kitchen, so I checked it out and it's GREAT.  It's specifically tailored for recipes for two, obvs. but we desperately need this because when I cook, I COOK.  A lot o' food.  Even when it's just Rick and I during the week.  I'm trying out 4 recipes from it this week.  I will have to try to report back.  Pork Chops with pears and blue cheese, garlicky green beans, parmesan crusted asparagus, and Spaghetti with pecorino romano, which is basically like an alfredo.

Have a great week, everyone in the fatherhood, motherhood, and otherhood!  Love my peeps!

I LOVE BOOKS!!  Check out my Facebook page soon, because I intend to give away related prizes.  Let's just put it as within the next two weeks.  You will have to do something to earn it, though, so keep an eye out and like my page to be sure you don't miss out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday 5

1.  Today is the last day before Lent and I have some last minute decisions to make.  I really thought about it today and I want to do a sugar detox.  However, there is a problem with that.  I have already bought everything for meals for the week and they include things that are on the NOT list for the detox., including whole wheat tortillas and granola for my greek yogurt.  I'm not sure I can even eat the greek yogurt since it's probably sweetened in some way.  (It's vanilla.)  I don't know how to get around this.  Maybe I'll just eat everything I have now and detox after this week is over?  I really want to do a sugar detox, but I don't think it's feasible right now for those reasons.  Hmmm.  I'm already adding in other things, but that would be the one big thing.  I used to give up meat for the 40 days of Lent, but it's not really a hardship for me anymore and I really don't eat a lot of it, so I don't want to fall back on that.  What say you, oh readers?

2.  I was in misery while working out today.  My stomach hurt and I started getting a bad headache in the middle of it.  I did 3 sets of this:  15 squats, 10 alternating forward lunges, 20 sit ups (laying flat and using a kettle bell), 10 pushups, 15 rows (using a resistance band), 20 regular crunches, 10 side plank crunches (each side), and 10 high knees (alternating legs).  I think that's all.  I feel like I'm missing something, but I don't know what.  The entire time I was doing all of this, I was also clenching my gluteus maximus trying to hold in a fart.  I was successful, but it was painful.  Haha.  I'd feel bad for my trainer if she didn't kick my ass 7 ways to Sunday.

3.  We did the adult thing last night and signed up for life insurance for Rick last night.  I can't get any because of my heart condition.  The insurance agent had an abscessed tooth and was chewing on ice the whole time.  Poor guy.  I told him about my baby tooth that I had 'til I was 23 or 24 (no tooth underneath it) and when it broke in half and started hurting.  I was young and broke with no dental insurance, so I went with my friend to the bar and drank 3 very alcoholic drinks to get rid of the pain.  It worked, kind of, and I ended up wiggling them enough with my tongue to eventually rip it out.  Almost as painful as the time the immediate care physician cauterized my big toe and it wasn't numbed all the way when he started.  Yowch!

4.  My kids have put in their orders for character cakes.  Stepdaughter wants a Spongebob cake and stepson wants a Deadpool cake.  Deadpool is a comic book character, an 'anti-hero' and is known as the 'Merc with a Mouth' (mercenary that is).  SD had Patrick Star last year and SS had the Death Star.  Eh, at least Spongebob is already rectangular and Deadpool is really not all that difficult either.  I remember some awesome cakes my Mom made when I was a kid and so I've tried to do a few of those for my own kids.  Years past have seen a ladybug, a Jolly Roger cake, sea turtles and Legos.

5.  I read an article the other day that talked about what people perceive to be the 'sexiest' accent in the world.  British accents were #1.  Isn't that just a little too easy?  What about Australian or Italian?  French?  German?  Okay, maybe not German, it really just sounds like they're perpetually angry.  Don't get me wrong, I do like to hear Alan Rickman say, well...just about anything really, but I think there are many other accents that are just as appealing.  In fact, almost any accent that's not your own probably sounds pretty appealing to you.  What do you think?

Have a great week readers and please like me on Facebook.  Thanks!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Full Disclosure

Some of you may know that I am not the touchy feely kinda gal.  I don't like flowers to be sent to me and I prefer handshakes over hugs (most of the time).  If today is one of the few days that your SO chooses to validate the core of your relationship, then I hope it's everything you need and want at this time.  However, I hope that everyone reading this tries to incorporate the meaning of this day into their relationship every day.

You don't need February 14th to roll around before you do it.  You don't even need it to be your anniversary, Father's Day, Mother's Day, or your significant other's birthday.

Choose to celebrate TODAY!  Honor your spouse TODAY.  Give them a 20 second hug.  Smack their bottom as they are walking away from you.  Waggle your eyebrows at them when the kids aren't looking.  If you know your spouse is overwhelmed with housework, do a load of dishes.

Don't do it because it's February the 14th.  Do it because you love your spouse and you have consideration for their feelings, their fears, their sorrows, and their joys.

One of the most powerful things I have learned in my marriage is the power of saying you're sorry and the power of forgiveness.  Sure, things are said in the heat of the moment.  We've all done it and yes, sometimes it comes from an obscure portion of your heart that needs to be mended and recovered.  It's natural to have those feelings.  As a stepmother, I KNOW I've let frustrations over money boil over and blamed my spouse for having two children that he pays child support for.  I love those kids, wholeheartedly, but yes, sometimes your judgment gets clouded.  It's okay.  Say you're sorry.  One of the most heartfelt gifts we can give to another person, and not just our spouse, is the power of forgiveness.  I was mad and upset and as soon as those words dropped from my mouth, I wished them back inside.  I stomped upstairs, sobbing.  I was so mad at myself for doing that to my spouse.

I took a breather and after a good half hour, I went back downstairs, put my arms around him, and told him that I was so incredibly sorry and didn't mean what I'd said.  My spouse, my loving, amazing spouse, immediately said, "I know.  I was mad for about 30 seconds, but I knew you didn't mean it.  I forgive you."

Create inside jokes with your spouse.  Squeeze their hand when you're sitting at the table together.  Wake up and look into each others' eyes and smile.  Take an interest in their interests.  You don't have to go all in and don the jersey or crawl under the hood, just make an effort to ask them about their interests.

Here's the hard one:  Put your spouse first.  (Or second, you know, God first, really, if you believe.)  Kids are second (or third).  I guarantee you and your children will be happier for it.  You will model a wonderful and loving relationship for your children and still have someone to talk to when the kids leave the nest.

I've said this before and I'll say it again.  The one "rule" my husband and I live by is this:  We put each other ahead of ourselves.  Simple as that.

Do it NOW.  Don't wait.  Please don't wait.

Do it because it's worth it, not because the calendar says to go buy overly expensive flowers or chocolates or cards.  Full disclosure:  My husband and I do not celebrate Valentine's Day.  He never sends me flowers.  I never buy him chocolates.  In the end, he holds my hand at my most unlovable and I am so very grateful for that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The 7 Mysteries of Tweendom

What is it with these tweens today?  My 12 year olds really make me wonder about this stepmom thing sometimes.  They can be so frustrating and funny and crazy and great, but there are a few things I simply cannot figure out about The Tweendom.

1.  Attitude.  What happened to my sweet and loving kids that listened and obeyed without question?  They have been replaced by some kids that go from sweet angel one second to sassy pants the next!  Is it because the hormones are bubbling just under the surface?  It's a mystery to me how they can be so nice and then turn into the eye rolling, foot stomping, harrumphing over every little thing petulant children that I just want to leave at the store sometimes.  Maybe some walking would cure their eye rolling problems!

2. What is it about tweens that they suddenly become incapable of picking up after themselves?  It's like their arms suddenly go dead.  Constantly I find myself saying, "Hey, you left your socks in the living room!"  "Will you please go pick up your comic books off the table so we can eat?"  "What in God's name are these shoes laying here for?!"  I am not a maid, but apparently the true mystery is why they happen to think I am.  I have found a stellar solution though.  Anything left in the living room gets haphazardly tossed in their rooms with no consideration for order.  I open the door, chuck it in, and close the door.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

3.  The obsession with all electronic applications, including, but not limited to, texting and snapchatting.  My stepson actually texted his friend a bunch of gibberish, because he didn't have anything else to say and was too lazy to write a real text.  What?  Snapchatting, too.  Ugh, what is that?  It's basically captioned pictures, but even more boring than what the Associated Press caption writers churn out.  How did this get so popular and why can't tweens put the phones down?  I am almost sure it's from the same guy who created the Idiot Button.

4.  Tweens and their fandoms.  Twilight, One Direction, Dr. Who, Marvel, Pitch Perfect.  There are fandoms for EVERYTHING nowadays and these kids are serious.  They blow up Twitter with a bunch of hashtags related to their fandom and constantly try to one-up each other's obsession with that band/movie/show.  In my day, there were fans, but it wasn't a "thing" to be in a fandom.  You just copied Poison's logo over and over and over again, in ever increasing size, all the way across your textbook's paper cover.  (Or maybe that was just me.) Or, in the privacy of your own home, listened to NKOTB's Christmas album over and over again until you'd memorized all the lyrics and knew who was the lead for each of the individual songs.  (Again, maybe just me.)  Yeah, you talked with your friends at school about them, but it wasn't so serious I was going to bust C.C. DeVille out of the drunk tank anytime soon, no matter how much I loved his killer guitar riffs!

5.  Clothing.  Ah yes, fashion today for young girls is beyond absurd.  Apparently, clothing companies believe that girls' clothing must be bright pink, dipped in glitter, and have a mind-numbing amount of ruffles, bows, or sequins on it.  Ugh.  I have taken my tween stepdaughter to that Justice store once or twice, and those are some garish clothes.  That, the tightness of it and sometimes inappropriate length of skirts just leaves me baffled.  The real mystery here is how any of that sells!  Why do kids want it and more importantly I think, why do parents BUY it?!  Thankfully, my tween cares not one whit for crap like that and is more comfortable in T-shirts, jeans, and a pair of cowgirl boots, but it's concerning to see all these other half-dressed tweens running around.  My stepson actually dresses in T-shirts with button up shirts over the top, maybe an occasional bowtie with a sweater vest, khaki cargo pants and regular faux-Vans.  The worst thing I can say about boy's fashion today is that they wear their ball caps slightly askew.  It's annoying, but I can live with it.

6.  Surely my kids aren't the only ones who talk about all the stuff they NEED in their rooms, right?  How they NEED TVs and NEED mini fridges and NEED their own computer, their own walk-in closet and their own ponies?  It is a mystery to me where they get these crazy ideas of opulence, like we can just pull some money out of thin air.  I am totally mystified by these people who get stuff like this for their children.  Look, they are already on their phones 24/7.  If we gave them everything they claimed they needed, we'd never see them again.  While that IS occasionally very tempting, I just cannot in good conscience allow my children to never interact as a family.  We play a lot of board games in this household.  Our favorites are Forbidden Island, Settlers of Catan, and Sorry!  My husband and I decided years ago that we would not have a TV anywhere on the main floor of our home.  It has kept our kids slightly realistic and much more imaginative.  They both love to draw and of course, the SS loves his Legos.  SD loves her music and still plays with her faux-American Girl dolls.

7. The final mystery that I know I will NEVER solve.  How did my tweens grow up so fast?!  They were cute chubby little kids and now?  Now, they will be 13 this year.  They will be full fledged teenagers and God help us when they really start the hormonal roller coaster of high school and beyond.  Why can't they stay little?  And how DID the time fly?

These kiddos are spectacular people and I am excited to see them grow even more into themselves, because I KNOW they are independent thinkers.  I just hope some of these mysteries end up solving themselves before we go crazy!  Ready the straitjackets!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday 5: Opinions and Whatnot

1.  I'm worried that my apathy is consuming me.  I have no motivation for work, I'm quickly losing motivation for exercise and I'm losing motivation for eating healthy.  When I get home at night, I don't want to do anything anymore.  I don't know why or where this came from, but the last week I have just felt so blah.  I'm worried how this may be affecting my work, my house, my kids, my spouse.  I just want to feel challenged again.  I want to have that fire in my belly to go and achieve something.  I'm just so tired.

2.  I have always had little tolerance for people who are too big for their britches, so to speak.  This Kanye West at the Grammys thing is just so ridiculous.  Who is Kanye to question 'artistry'?  First of all, the Grammys haven't been relevant in years!  Secondly, Beck has more talent in his little finger than most 'entertainers' have in their whole bodies!  Thirdly, have you heard how gracious Beck was after the incident?  Gee Yeezy, you wonder why people think you're a douchenozzle?  Maybe it's because you are one, a really huge one in a 5'8" body.  You aren't even short enough to qualify for a Napoleon complex!  Get over yourself and your obsession with Beyonce.  Alternative rock is actually some of the best music out there right now.  Their lyrics and music style are much better, in my opinion, than anything on Top 40 radio.  If you haven't seen it, you should really look up what Shirley Manson (lead singer of Garbage) had to say about it.  Perfectly stated. 

3.  Okay, I know this one is controversial, but can I tell you just how over the 50 Shades of Grey thing I am?  No, I have not read the books.  No, I do not need to read the books to know they are garbage.  Why's that?  Probably because it started off as Twilight fan fiction.  Also, because I had several friends that I trust who read them and told me how horrid the writing was.  Look, I'm all about fluff books sometimes.  I read Harlequins from time to time.  It's escapism, I get it.  However, those at least are written fairly decently.  If the writer had promoted it as a Harlequin-type book, I wouldn't be so irked.  This is not literature folks. Please visit this lady's blog for a comprehensive analysis of this trilogy.  She says it far more eloquently than I.  Be forewarned, she does not hold back.  Lots of curse words for those of you not amused by such things.  She also has a word count at the bottom that tells you in a quick summary all you need to know.  186 uses of the words gasp/gasps/gasping and 777 uses of the words gaze/gazes/gazing.  Oy!

4.  My cats are being assholes right now.  I totally called Gonzo one to his face the other day, because he was being such an asshole of a cat that day.  Ugh.  I know I should have some sympathy for the guy, he was just diagnosed with diabetes, the poor thing, but he will not stop being annoying!  I'm transitioning them to wet food and he tries to eat Princess's food, too.  She only eats a little bit, then walks away.  He will eat all of his and then try to eat all of hers.  So then, I get mad at him and then Princess thinks she's not supposed to eat out of her bowl either, so she won't go near it.  Then, I have to put it away in the fridge to save for later, or else Gonzo will eat it all.  It never ends.  I finally just started squirting Gonzo with a water bottle every time he tries to eat out of her bowl.  I'm to the point that I'm just going to let Gonzo start eating her food, maybe she'll get the hint that she needs to eat it all at once.  

5.  A little game of Never Ever for you...I have never ever seen Jurassic Park, read the Harry Potter books, or seen a celebrity in real life.  How about you?  

I'm finally to the end.  Oh dear, I'm afraid this week's edition of the Tuesday 5 is appallingly bad, boring, or otherwise untoward.  I'm sorry, dear readers.  I will try to do better next week.  Don't forget that I'm now on Facebook.  Follow the link at the top to 'like' my page and offer any suggestions for topics of posts or themes for my Tuesday 5.  I'm running out of ideas.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Crazy, Exhausted

This weekend was a great one.  We had a reprieve from the Kansas winter and Mother Nature blessed us with a 70 degree day yesterday and a 60+ day today.  We were busy.  We celebrated a couple's upcoming nuptials on Friday night, worked out, ran errands, Rick took my stepdaughter to the new Spongebob movie, went to the park, and hung out by our friends' firepit on Saturday night, and then today was a blur of church, park picnic, Boat and Outdoor show (where we had a fortuitous meeting with former Royals players Dennis Leonard and Tom Bruno), and zoo before coming home.

Packed weekends are fun, but totally and utterly exhausting.  We ran around like crazy and now I desperately want to crash early in my bed.  However, I cannot.  Why?  Because in the midst of all the crazy, we didn't get much time to do what needed to be done.

Laundry was piled up, dishes scattered about, cats whining to be fed (at least one), and groceries to be shopped for.  We have nothing in the house to bring to work for lunches for the week and we ate out for both lunch and dinner.  I was so hungry earlier I felt like puking and then scarfing down a Sonic bacon cheeseburger certainly didn't help.  Now I feel worse!

I'm bloated and cranky, frustrated with transitioning my cats to wet food and trying to get them to eat out of separate bowls.  I am overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and in the midst of all of this, I snapped because my hubby was hogging the wi-fi and I couldn't finish a game of Trivia Crack.  I yelled at my stepson because he left the empty cans of cat food on the counter in the kitchen and didn't rinse them out and my cat tried to jump up there and clean them out.  I got frustrated with both of the kids because they didn't rinse the dishes before they stuck them in the dishwasher and so now several dishes have stuck on food.  

What do you do when crazy meets exhausted and you are so worn out you can barely breathe?

The kids are back with their mothers and here I sit, contemplating just going to bed, knowing I can't, because my husband is going to ignore the laundry and watch The Walking Dead instead.  That's totally fine, but I can't even enjoy that with him anymore.

My anxiety creeps up at night and especially when I watch any kind of 'intense' programming.  So I made the decision to forego the rest of the season to keep myself (relatively) sane.

I've been needing to write a post since Tuesday and can't find anything to write about.  The weekend was so busy, it distracted me from this, but has also kept me from centering myself again before work tomorrow.  I just want to scream sometimes.  My exhaustion overwhelms me and makes me wonder if it contributes to my crazy, or if it's the other way 'round.

SERENITY NOW!!!  Serenity now.

Here I sit, half asleep, wondering if the groceries will magically appear.  Probably not, but I know one thing.  I'm not getting them.  I think I'm going to finish up the laundry and read in bed instead.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

5 Things I have learned from Exercise

As some of you may know, in August I hired a personal trainer.  Her name is Jamie, she is awesome, and she comes 3 times a week for a half-hour workout.  I was to the point that I felt so sick and depressed because of my weight.  I couldn't walk fast like I used to be able to do, without my legs hurting almost immediately.  I couldn't ride my bike very far and I definitely couldn't touch my toes.

My lifestyle had become very sedentary and I needed to make a big change.  I heard her ad on the local radio and decided to give her a call to set up an appointment.  I cried as I told her that I needed a push, a big push, to get me going.  I thought that having someone who comes to my home would force me to work out, because why would I pay that much to not get results.

It has been a long journey and I am only part way through it.  I have lost a lot of inches and about 25 pounds since August.  My energy has surged and I can now walk the block to work without gasping for breath.

I have learned a lot.  Here are 5 things that I have learned from a regular exercise routine.

1.  The second set is so much easier than the first.  I feel like my muscles have warmed up and I can do all the exercises without having to stop nearly as much the second time through.  This is especially true for exercises that work my knees and thighs.  I can tolerate more pain and intensity the second time around.

2.  Pushups, even modified ones, are a killer arm and core exercise that does a body good.  I have come to really enjoy pushups, I feel more like Wonder Woman when it gets easier and easier to do them.  Try them right after you've done some hard core work.  Yowch!  It hurts so good!

3.  I really enjoy that feeling after I have done killer ab workouts.  You know that feeling.  That tightness you get in your side or your abdomen after you've done a ton of crunches in a row?  Where it feels like you can't breathe for a split second?  LOVE IT!  It's crazy, I know, but that feeling makes me smile because then I know for sure that I have really crushed it.

4.  A proper bra is key.  I have a pair of significantly sized tatas.  Let me tell you, I am dying for a new sports bra or three.  First of all, I have lost some weight and we all know the girls deflate first.  Secondly, I need to strap these babies down!  Seriously, I feel like I almost give myself a black eye every time I do some mountain climbers.  Sports bras are one item that you want to make sure you get what you pay for.  Spend it, because the girls are worth it!

5.  Burpees are the embodiment of everything evil in this world.  I'm sure most of you already know this, but in case you didn't, I'm here to tell you.  They. Suck. I can't stand lunges or squat jumps, but burpees?  Burpees are the 7th circle of hell.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Most days I actually really enjoy my workouts.  My trainer does a great mix of components and I utilize a kettle bell, some hand weights, and several resistance bands in my workouts.  I can now touch my toes with just a tiny bend in the knees.  I have actually gotten some definition in my biceps.  I've never been a big lover of exercise, beyond swimming, biking, volleyball and softball, but with Jamie's help I actually look forward to exercising.  That my friends is amazing in and of itself.

Any tips for me or exercises you love?  Let me know below in the comments or on my Facebook page at the link under my header.  Thanks and have a great week!