Who are you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I wrote this post a few months back, but did not post it. Now I feel that it needs to be seen. I did not go back and change all the wording to say it was a few months ago that I was in a women's group, but know that this all took place months ago!

Original Post

I had a groundbreaking moment that I need to share with everyone! I feel like not only was this a major breakthrough for me, but I believe this post can help a lot of people put their life into perspective.

I have been working with a women's group based upon the research and teachings of Brene Brown. If you haven't heard of her, you should, go out and buy her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
It was the first "self help" book I bought when I started to work on myself this fall and it has stuck with me. I have recommended it to multiple people and I am now working on her book, Daring Greatly.

The topics we are working on in women's group are based upon the information in Daring Greatly. We talked a lot about your authentic self, shame, empathy and vulnerability. The group was amazing because although everyone has a different story and are at different times in life, we all share a ton of the same feelings. It is such an amazing group of women who came together not knowing each other and almost instantly became connected in such a vulnerable way. They know more about my feelings on certain things than some of my very best friends.

Last week, we had to share a creative project. It had no instruction other than you should be presenting something about you in regards to the information we had learned. This is where my groundbreaking moment happened.

I decided that I was going to bring in a few of my scrapbooks and pass them around for everyone to look at. This shows a big part of my life. Then I created the following sheet...

I talked about how my biggest shame is about body image. This has been huge for me for the past 10 years, but I am beginning to realize that I am so much more than how I look. I am all of the things on the sheet and more! Not one of these things require me to have a skinny perfect body. I can do all of these things and do them well, just as I am.

Authentic Self

Creative, etc, etc. etc. 

No where on my list is fat girl, because fat girl is not what makes me, me. It is purely just the way I look at this moment in time. This moment in time is just a blip on the radar of this crazy ride we call life. Do I want to get healthy and thinner? Yes, that is still a goal, but that is a goal so that I am healthy and I live a long time and set a good example for my kiddos. But do I have to lose weight because I can't be me, if I don't? Heck no. I am still me under this padding :)

After I shared my list and scrapbooks, I also shared a picture that I made that I shared with you all a long time ago...

I made this picture when I started talking about being worth it and being kind to myself. I shared it with the women in my group and handed out a small pocket copy for each of them because let's be honest, who doesn't need to be reminded how beautiful and amazing they are every once in a while??!! 

I have thought for such a long time that I wasn't happy because I was overweight, but truly I had a lot of other junk that was making me unhappy. The more I work on the big picture the nicer I get to myself. My groundbreaking moment really was when I started to realize that my authentic self has nothing to do with my appearance. Being skinny isn't going to make me happy. It is going to make it so I am less self conscious and I will pull at my clothing less, but it isn't going to change me. I am not going to be a better friend because I am skinny, I am a good friend when I put effort into being a good friend. 

I have learned to be nicer to myself. When I decide to eat a piece of chocolate because I "need" it, I don't call my self a no willpower loser (at least not all the time, I am by no means perfect yet!) I just move on and make better choices the rest of the day. I am being kind to me. Trying to be as kind to me as I would be to a friend. When I take all my negative thoughts and change them to positive thoughts it is amazing the difference my world feels. 

Does this resonate with anyone? Do you feel that your appearance defines you? Try making your list about your authentic self. I bet you find that inside you are so much more than what everyone sees! And that is what should be most important to you and everyone around you!

Take Care of yourselves!

Where have I been?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Well it has been a long time...again! I still think about this blog all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. But, time just slips away from me. I honestly don't know how some of these bloggers do it. I really don't. They work, take care of kids and their house and still manage to post multiple times per week (some 5 days/week) and stay on social media.

I can not do any of it consistently. When I was working at this blog every day, I was posting to social media, trying to keep up with different blog groups, reading and commenting on tons of other blogs and it was super time consuming. I still want to blog, but I had to think about why. I miss putting my thoughts down. I miss the creativity of putting together a post. I miss getting comments that I have helped another person, because isn't that what makes it all worth it?

So I had some decisions to make. One was to take the Facebook app off of my phone. Although it may seem unrelated to the blog, it is such an incredible time sucker for me. I can easily waste an hour on there because one things leads to another and I have read about a ton of useless celebrity gossip and random other stuff as well as stalked a few people I barely know. I know I am not alone here! Since I have to either look at it on the computer or I can pull it up on the internet through my phone, I am only doing it once a day and I am telling you, I have been so much more productive. There have been days that I have not opened it even once. It feels good and gives me more time for things that are important to me.

You know I love me some ecards! 

I have decided that when I do a post, I will share it on my Facebook page, but I will not share it with blogging groups. Of course, I want people to read my blog, but I don't have the time to devote to the groups, so if you find my blog and love it, great, I will be so happy about that, but I am not going to add additional steps to my sharing process. I changed my focus from writing because I loved it to trying to share and make money from the blog and I realize that isn't the road I wanted to go down. I want to put the work into writing good posts, but still have the time for the other things going on in my life.

So, what is going on in my life, you ask??

1. Renovations - Oh you know, we just took off the roof and turned our 50's style ranch into a colonial. No biggie :) Huge amount of work, huge amount of stress, but huge amounts of excitement as well. It deserves a HUGE post all to itself which I will get out as soon as possible!

2. Back to School - Summer came and went. The kids and I had a great time together and tried to make the most of the chaos in the house. As much fun as we had though, I am grateful to be back into routine and having a little time to myself to focus on other things. I can't wait to fill you in on some of these things really soon.

3. Health- Let's just say I haven't focused on this since the roof came off...enough said.

I'm back sharing my life and my world, but I am not going to try to post 5 days per week, right now I am going to do only once per week and move on from there or stay there! Each week of the month will have a different theme based on house, family and health. One week I will update you on the house and the next will be totally different and I will show you the scale...ahhhh! Maybe we will get back to...

I think this will be a great strategy for me and I feel you will finally hear from me consistently, but not too often :)

I am happy to be sitting here again, typing up my thoughts. I truly miss this, so why is it the first thing I put on the back burner so often?? I am not going to let it happen anymore. One post per week! I can do it!

Hello, out there....

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wow, time just keeps flying by between blog posts. I still think about this blog all the time, but just haven't been able to keep up with consistent posts. There is so much going on lately and I want to give you a little glimpse at some of it today!

Last time I posted, I shared my goals for 2016 and I wish that I could say that I am rocking each one of my goals. Unfortunately, I can not! But I do have a fun reason why not....

One of the things that has been a struggle in my our life has been our house. I know I have talked about it a few times on this blog about how small of a space we are working with for 4 people and a large dog. How I feel I constantly organize and rearrange just to keep things neat and myself somewhat sane. Since we moved in 10  years ago we have planned to put a second floor on our ranch style home. We have held off on big family vacations and sooo many other things because we are saving for this upstairs. I am sure there are people out there that thought it was never going to happen, myself included. But guess what? At the beginning of March we did it. It is still a work in progress, but the roof came off and there is a second level on our house. I could not be happier, more excited and more stressed than I am right now!! Ha!

Check it out...

Since you know, we could see sky in the downstairs, we had to move out. 3-4 weeks turned into 7 weeks due to the weather deciding to be freezing late March/early April. With an open upstairs and no heat we really couldn't move back in. Which means we were out of routine for 7 weeks. My sleep schedule that was going so well before went off the rails. My eating out of control. We lived with my in laws who have lots of yummy food right out in the open, cookies, snacks, candy etc. and I totally know why I can't buy these things. Exercise, eeehhh. I still went to jazzercise when I could, but was not as consistent about it. But if you call packing and moving exercise I got quite a bit of that!

Now that we are home, I am eating soooo much better. I started tracking on My Fitness Pal again and I am reading the book, Eat What you Love, Love What you Eat. I need to get back into my nightly routine again where I am going to bed by 10PM and I am working on that!

We are settled back in to our downstairs. The upstairs still looks like this...

The goal is to be sleeping up there sometime this summer! I can not wait. I lay awake at night envisioning how I will decorate each room and I can't wait to show you all how it comes out!

What else has been going on? Well I have been working two mornings a week at the preschool that my kiddos went to. I prep and plan art projects, bulletin boards and special activities at home and go in two days to do them with the kids. It is such a rewarding job.  Here is one of my bulletin board creations...

We have been practicing a lot of baseball/softball around here. The kids are always wanting to play catch and go to the field to practice. We have been watching 3 games a week and loving every second! My two cute ball players....

We are in full blown dance mode right now too, as Olivia gets ready for her dance recital! Can't wait to see this beauty do her thing on stage....

I am super nostalgic lately as my babies are growing up so fast. My baby is finishing kindergarten and my little lady is going into her last year of elementary and will be double digits in less than 2 months...What??!! How did this happen? So if you see me around and I am looking at my kids with tears in my eyes, you know why!! Especially watching Olivia play softball this year, just like her mama did. She looks so grown up out there! 

Anyway, enough about that. I am always thinking up ideas that I want to write about, so hopefully you will hear from me more often! I can't wait to show you all continued progress on the house, tell you all about a couple of books that I have read that are changing my life and there are a few other fun things going on that I can't wait to talk about!

The Year of Sandy

Monday, January 25, 2016

I know we are now almost a month into the new year, but I am working a little slower these days! I couldn't be more excited about a new year! I have been telling everyone that I think 2016 is going to be an amazing year and almost a month in, I still feel that way! Hopefully two months from now, I am still saying it ;)

If you read my last post, you know that the end of 2015 was a dark, trying time in my life. I am getting much needed help and each day is looking brighter. This isn't happening just from the medication and counseling, this is happening because I am working hard at it. This is why I am calling this "The Year of Sandy!" I don't mean this in selfish way. I am not saying that I don't care about anyone else's needs, but this year is about working on me! And you know what I am realizing, the better I feel, the better I make everyone else feel. It is turning out to be the opposite of selfish!

This year my resolution was to work on making my body and mind healthy. It is broad, but covers everything I am trying to do. I want to lose weight, but I am NOT giving myself a number that I want to reach this year. I want to work out more, but I am NOT telling myself that I am going to work out everyday. What I am doing is making small positive changes that will allow me to accomplish this without it being my sole motivation. Today I am going to show you the things I am doing different this year than last year...

So here it goes, everything that I am working on, with a little fun mixed in because who doesn't need a little fun on a Monday? 

1. Regulating my sleep cycle - I am working on getting 8 hours of sleep every night, even on the weekends. I am a night owl and hate the mornings. I stay up way too late and then drag myself out of bed each morning. I am always tired. This year I am fixing this!

2. Meal Plan and Eat Out Less - I am pretty good at meal planning, but really fell off the wagon at the end of the year. So starting at the beginning of the year I started again and it is going great. We have only ordered take out once and that was when we were watching the Patriots game with my parents, so that doesn't count! In my eyes, it was a special occasion, if you can call a game a special occasion! 

3. Move My Body - I am rocking this one already! I started working on this one in October when I joined Jazzercise. I LOVE Jazzercise! This is a great workout, but doesn't feel like one because it is fun. I go at least 2X/week while Olivia does dance in the same building and I really enjoy it! I also added in a Yoga class two weeks ago. I am "moving" right along on this goal :)

4. Learn to say No - I am a Yes girl. I don't like to disappoint anyone. I like to help out. I like to be involved. To a fault. This year I am working on being less busy. Having time to just be, relax and enjoy my little family of four. This means I am saying NO. This is a tough one for me, but I will say that the benefits of this are fast showing me how good it is for me to learn this skill! 


 5. Relax More - This goes right along with #4. I am learning to relax. Even when I would be home, I never relaxed. Ever. I would be up cleaning, organizing, doing whatever as to not sit, be quiet and think. Now I am learning to let things go a little bit. Take a nap, sit and read or play games with the kids and enjoy a little bit more of each day.

6. Read Inspiring Books - I ended the year reading my first book by Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection and I loved it. I then bought her second book in the series, Daring Greatly. I am finding these books extremely helpful in the work I am trying to do personally. I plan to keep up with reading personal development books this year, with of course, some fun books mixed in as well! 

7. Be Kind and Understanding to Me - I am not perfect, nobody is. I am so kind to everyone else when they have a problem, but treat myself like crap. This year I am trying to change my self talk to be more kind and understanding. I deserve the same love that I give out to everyone else! 

So that's the plan for my 2016! I am excited about it. I have been really working hard at it and I can see the benefits already. I will be talking in more depth about most of these topics in future posts. Think, How I became a morning Person, Meal planning for the family, What I learned from Brene Brown's books, etc. I hope you continue to follow me on this journey

Tomorrow I am linking up this post with Andrea and Erika for Let's Talk!

Have a great week! See you next time! 

A New Year and a New Me!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Wow! I have not even logged onto Blogger since October 7th. Almost 3 months. It is a little weird to be back here, in my chair at my desk, getting ready to write down my thoughts, but it is making me so happy! I have missed this! I have missed all of you!

You might be wondering why I just dropped out of the blogging world so suddenly. In September the kids went to school and I was ready with a blogging schedule and I was going to flood you with posts five days/week with all of my extra time. As with all the best laid plans...this did not happen. Reality happened...real life happened.

In order to understand, I have to first take you way back. September 10, 2005 the day I lost my little brother to suicide. The day that changed the course of my life forever. The day that I went from being a 25 year old newlywed, having fun, enjoying life to being the caretaker, the strong one. I was the one who answered the phone at my parents when it rang, answered the questions everyone had and when everyone finally went home, I took care of my parents. Did I grieve for my brother, sure, on my own time I had my moments, but for the most part I held it together, on the outside I stayed my happy self and plowed through.

A few weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant with Olivia! I was so happy to be pregnant. Not because it was originally our intention to become pregnant so soon after getting married, but because we realized after losing my brother how important family was and we were happy to be starting one of our own. So bring on more distractions for me, everything baby! Then a move when I was nine months pregnant to be closer to my parents. Olivia comes along and is the biggest joy for all of us! I begin my job as mom.

Now let's go to this past summer (2015). I now have 2 beautiful, healthy children that I am so blessed to have as mine. They are 9 and 5 years old. My job as mom is still important, but I am getting ready to send both of them to school in the fall. My life as a stay at home mom is going to change drastically. I will have more time of my own, more time to think, process and be me.

In August, I lost another very important person to suicide. My cousin. Losing one person to suicide is tragic, losing a second is just plain unfair. Of course, my family immediately went to be with his family and when I got out of the car at his house, I was transported back in time 10 years. I knew what they were feeling. I not only grieved for them, but was also grieving for me and my new loss and of course my old loss was brought right back. I gave myself one day to hug people and grieve and then the next day I jumped into, what can I do to help mode. Again, didn't focus on what I needed but what does everyone else need.

This is OK, because this is how I work, this makes me feel good to help. But I can't ignore my feelings and then go home and expect to just jump back into life without ever really giving myself time to grieve. But, that is exactly what I did. I got back home to the kids, did the fun things we had planned before school started and then celebrated the first days of school. Then I had time to myself. I had time to think. I had time to process. But, instead I continued to ignore. I made myself busy and when I wasn't, I zoned out on social media. I scrolled and scrolled, not really interacting with anyone, but just looking at everyone else's lives, in order to not think about my own.

In October, my sister in law had to convince me to go scrapbooking for the day. If you know me at all, you know I usually don't need convincing to do something fun and I love to scrapbook. I went and worked on my book and was pretty quiet. On the drive home we started to talk about things and I started to cry and I feel like I cried for three days after that. I cried in bed for a good part of the night and was up looking for a counselor online at 2am. In the morning I confided in Mike that I thought I was depressed and I cried the whole time I talked. It was messy, but it was also so good. I was letting it out, I was admitting I had a problem (even though I hadn't realized it myself for so long) and I felt a giant weight come off my shoulders.

The following week I had my first session with my counselor. I knew the first visit that it was a great fit for me. We talk about a lot of things. I never went through the grieving process for my brother. I hold in my emotions and joke things off that I should allow myself to feel. I numb my pain with things like food and Facebook. I am a huge self critic and not in a good way. I am not very nice to myself. If you listened to the way I talk to myself in my head, you would be depressed too. I also don't stand up for myself. I don't like confrontation and I let people say things to me that upset me, but I just push down the feelings instead of expressing how I feel. I told Mike we better up our health savings because I've got some issues!! Again, the jokes :)

Really, though, this is serious. I think I had depression for a lot longer than I even realize. I think it is partially the reason for my lack of energy and the fact that everyday I struggled to get out of bed. I didn't know, or I didn't admit it for a very long time. I just moved on, plugged through my daily life, until one day my body said no more, Sandy. You need help. I am getting help now, from counseling and from medication. Most days now, I feel really good, but there are days that I don't. My goal is to feel them and allow myself to feel them instead of ignore those feelings. It doesn't mean that my meds aren't working or I am depressed again, it just means the feelings that I have been pushing down for years are coming to the surface. I will tell you after one day of letting myself really feel, it felt like a cleanse. Seriously, the next day I was like a new woman!

Each day is not perfection and I have a LOT to work on, but I am working on it and that is all that matters. I am not ignoring the signs and each day I am working on me. I am so glad to be back here writing this blog, but the last few months I couldn't do it, so the fact that today I am writing, means I am doing just a little bit better than yesterday!

My goal for this blog has always been to be real and this is as real as you can get. I felt like I wanted to be honest with everyone, not only because that is who I am, but also because maybe I will help someone who also is plugging along and missing the signs. Maybe by writing this and being vulnerable, I am doing my piece of taking away the stigma of depression. I am talking about it and my hope is that if you notice the signs, you will also get help. I am not healed yet. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel so much better than I did three months ago. I am so thankful for my sister in law who started the conversation, who opened up the floodgates, for me to realize that there was a problem. Who knows how long I could have gone on as a shell of myself.

So there you have it. It's out there and I am back. You won't see a blog post every day, I am not there yet. Though, my hope is once a week to start! I am still on journey, not just to lose weight, but to better myself, inside and out. My New Years resolution is to be healthier mentally and physically. I am changing my life for the better and I will continue to take you along on the journey, just a little slower at first! Cheers to a happy, healthy 2016!!

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