Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Thoughts on Excercise...

Having just had day light savings time, our days (at least where I am) have actually been quite bright and sunny!  In addition to the lack of general gloominess, the temperature is rising!  I hear we are actually supposed to reach fifty degrees sometime this week!  For the people on the coasts or down South, that's cold, but for a Midwestern girl like me, that is flip flop weather!  Well, not quite, but close enough! 

What does this have to do with exercise you may wonder?  

Well... for me it is the indication that I can no longer hibernate and I have no choice but to go outside and be more active.

Ahhh winter, such a lovely excuse for a chubby girl, such as myself, to not have to work out.  Especially this winter, when when we were bombarded with 18 inches of snow!  However, the sky is blue, the grass is green and it is getting warmer and warmer each day that goes by!

Which brings me to my new theory on exercise...

Have you ever tried really hard to stick to a work out regimen just to have it fail miserably?  Like really royally backfire?  Yeah, me too.  Several times.  My basement is essentially where work out equipment goes to die.  It is not funny, we have a treadmill, an elliptical, an Ab Lounge, a Gazelle, a Total Gym, weights, a bike...I think that's about it.  Although there is a good chance there may be a few other small things down there as well, like some Perfect Push-Ups and jump ropes.  Anyhow, the point is their current and only use has been to collect dust.

This is what caused my "ah ha!" moment, so to speak.  I thought to myself, "With all of these resources at your disposal, how are you still so out of shape and why won't these pants button?"

Once I posed this question to myself, I quickly began creating as many excuses as possible, I am quite good at that.  Essentially what it boiled down to is this:  I like my sleep and I do not like having to wake up any earlier than I have to, especially working a full-time job that requires me to chase after children all day.  However, if it isn't completed in the morning, it will not be completed because by the time I come home, my energy supply is usually depleted. 

Once I had come to that conclusion, and I was thinking about my job and my students and how this nicer weather would mean time on the playground I thought, "By golly, I've got it!"


Whoa!  This was a whole new concept for me!  I mean, I knew I did not enjoy exercise (in the adult sense,) however I again began thinking about my students.  They have no clue how many calories they are burning when they are wildly riding bikes in the gym or running and playing tag with their friends on the playground.  They are doing it because it is FUN!   So I asked myself this question: 

Is it possible, can exercise be fun?

I immediately answered myself with, heck yes it can be!  I work with children, these are the little ones in all of our lives that often sit and laugh for no good reason other than it is fun!  So what happened between the time when we were all children to now when we are all adults that has made being active tiresome and feel more like an obligation and less of a pleasurable activity?

Sure, sure, we all have our responsibilities and we do not have as much spare time as we once did.  But I have realized we have sucked the fun out of being active, therefore, we are not going to be prone to make time for it because who wants to?  When we were all kids, we played soccer, kickball, dodgeball, rode bikes, etc.  As adults, we walk/jog in place on a treadmill until we have burned the appropriate amount of calories.  Now, is it written somewhere that once you hit a certain age you cannot enjoy those other, way more fun, activities anymore?  Why do we torture ourselves needlessly?  

I remember a time in my parents' neighborhood when all of us kids could regularly be found in the road preparing for some intense bike racing, roller-blading or tag playing.

Now, I did not involve myself in those activities because I was worried about the long-term affects of being overweight, or trying to fit into my school clothes or because I knew I was going to have one of my mom's famous cookies that night.  I did it because I loved it, because it was fun and I enjoyed myself when I did it!

Now I am going to say something that may seem crazy to some... it is my belief that if there was more of an emphasis on fun active lifestyles and less of an emphasis on these dreary, get up early and drag your butt to the gym lifestyles, perhaps obesity would not be such an issue?  Just a theory.

Either way, it is a theory I am going to test wholeheartedly.  This Spring, Summer and Fall, my husband and I will be devoting free time to being active and engaging in fun activities that will cause calories to burn while we enjoy ourselves!

To get us started we bought a video game, yes, I wrote video game.  We purchased the Zumba Fitness Party game for our Wii.  We figured this could be a fun game or activity that can be played indoors on rainy or cold days, and let me tell you friends, it is FUN!  You have no choice but to shake your booty if you want a high score!  I am ashamed to say, my husband currently has a higher score, but that will soon change.  If this game is something you want to try, prepare to feel it throughout your whole body!  I've never done an activity for only forty minutes and felt it in so many places!  It's truly wonderful!

Moving along...  We plan to regularly engage in these other fun activities throughout the next few months as a way of being active:
  • Going for bike rides!  (Just bought my husband his own bike!)
  • Rollerblading!
  • Hiking!  (Luckily there are three areas right in our town that are conservation areas with hiking trails!)
  • Canoeing/Paddle Boating
  • Bowling (Yes, you can burn calories doing that!)
  • Softball (My husband will be joining a recreational team!)
  • Shopping (Haha, you burn calories while you walk around the store, right?)
In general, the goal is just to spend more time outdoors, whether it is playing bags in the backyard, walking to the neighbors or playing catch with my husband.  I think all of these things sound way more appealing than going to a gym or going down to my basement where it's dark and boring...  Essentially, we have made a choice to enjoy ourselves and have fun, not to take things too seriously and certainly not to make ourselves do something we do not want to do.

I would love suggestions on more activities that would be fun and calorie burning!

Hopefully, soon I'll be able to report some weight loss as well as fun moments we spent enjoying these types of activities!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Thoughts on My Own Delinquency...

I need to apologize...

I began this blog on a day I had off of work.  Since that day, I have been extraordinarily busy!  Working with children, as many people are aware, can be exhausting.  On top of that, I only like to post items that I have written if I am 100% confident they are grammatically correct and meaningful.  Hopefully that explains my tardiness, seeing as how it has been quite a while since I have last written.  Long story short - I am sorry!

Now, on to more exciting and important things, to solve the mystery of what book has me so spellbound, it is a lovely book by the title "The Red Tent," by Anita Diamant.  I will not go into too much detail (as I have not yet finished it,) however, I will say, that it is a glorious tale of the relationships between women and how essential these relationships are in our lives.  It is solely based around the biblical figures Jacob and his four wives, and narrated by his one and only daughter, Dinah.  Truly a wonderful read!

In addition to working like a mad woman and reading, I have been on a quest to find the perfect grocery store.  My husband and I have jumped feet first into the world of coupons and bargain shopping in an effort to be as financially responsible as possible.  However, we have found that more often than not, there are not always coupons for what you need.  In addition to that, when one particular store has a large sale on certain items, their other basic items may be more expensive than another store.  

I feel like this is a losing battle.  

We are getting quite frustrated and just want to know how to save some money on every day items!  If it were up to me, I would live on a chunk of land in the middle of no where and do my best be like Laura in the Little House on the Prairie books/show.  I wish it were easier to be completely self-sufficient and not so reliant on all modern conveniences.  Ugh.  That is what I have to say about that.

I will, however, remain optimistic.  We are trying out a new grocery store tonight that is having a pretty good sale, so that should be interesting.  I feel like such a dork, I'm a 24 year old woman who's Saturday night plans consist of trying out a new grocery store in an attempt to save money.  I don't know, is that funny?  Or just sad?

Moving on, my poor little kitty, Zoe, was just spayed yesterday.  I cried a little bit.  I think it is really hard taking these tiny animals in and not having them know what going to happen to them.  I felt like a monster.  Now she is home and I am her nurse.  I have literally been feeding her out of the palm of my hand, rubbing her head and sneaking her pain medication inside of treats.  I'm praying for a speedy recovery!

Another topic that has been on my mind is SPRING!  It's so close I can almost taste it!  I have already bought some seed packets for my vegetable garden, my patience is growing thin because I want to dig down in that dirt and see some little plants sprouting!  Furthermore, I cannot wait to sign up for our first CSA.  What is that, you may wonder?  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Essentially, it's when someone, like myself, pays money to a farm or "buys a share," and is rewarded with fresh, organic produce each week.  Luckily for my husband and I, we are surrounded by nothing but farms so we have our pick of the litter, so to speak.  Most CSAs range from $20-35 a week, so essentially what you might spend at the grocery store on produce anyhow and this comes to you straight from the farm, it is organic and you are helping to support your community.  I am in the planning stages of one whole blog entry about this where I will discuss the contenders, the pros of each, the cons of each and of course, which one we choose to "invest" in!  I'm very excited!

Lastly, my husband and I have been majorly struck by spring fever and are planning several projects around our house.  Now our house, which we purchased in 2009, was built in 2005 and is fairly new and contemporary.  However, it was a foreclosure and needs some tender loving care.  Plus we are still in the process of making it our own.  I am thinking I am going to need to upload pictures when we are done! 

For now, that is pretty much it for me!  I promise to try harder to write more frequently!  But now, I need to get back to my little Zoe!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Thoughts On Staying Focused... Or The Inability To!

I am currently at work, on break of course, and I am feeling so scatter-brained. I am having a super difficult time remaining focused today...

I failed to mention in my first blog that I am super passionate about reading, the library was essentially my favorite place to go as a child.

Anyhow (see what I mean regarding my inability to focus?), as of lately, I have been reading the most lovely book. I even stayed up past ten o'clock to continue reading further last night, utter craziness, I know!

So where is all of this going, you may wonder... I am at work, surrounded by adorable munchkins and all I can think about is this book. It never fails to amuse me when that happens, the power of the written word.

So here I am, on break, in the teachers' lounge thinking about how I wish I had that book with me, haha. I should be thanking my dear friend Bridget who lent me this wonderful story to begin with!

Ever felt the same way? What book occupied your thoughts?

I think that will be it for me for now, perhaps I will write more on this topic later and reveal the mystery of what book has me so... distracted!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Thoughts on Writing...

Hi!  I'm Jamie.  This is my first official blog.  I could not help but to smile just then.  This is exciting!  I am a young woman in her twenties, so of course I have used other popular means of social networking to write "notes" or "comments," however, this feels different.  This feels liberating and much, much more personal.  

Considering this is my first official blog, I think it is necessary to explain a little bit about who I am, what my life is currently like and my motivation behind this.

So, to begin with, I am a bit of a talker.  Not so much because I like the sound of my own voice, however pleasant it may be, but simply because I have a voice and because I have a lot to say.  Had my husband known I would talk his ear off every single morning in the car ride to work and on the way home, perhaps he wouldn't be my husband.

The point is, I need an outlet.  Life is, well, life just is.  There is so much that happens to us.  So much that we must experience, things big and small.  I for one, am certainly not the type of person who can keep my thoughts inside.  I feel like what makes all of us human is a yearning for connection.  And more often than not, when I experience something or have an opinion about something, I want to connect with people.  I want to share my thoughts and ideas.  That is why I have joined the wonderful world of blogging.

So, now that leaves you wondering what in the world will this lady be blogging about?  I will now tell you a bit about myself and what I may or may not share thoughts on so you can decide whether or not reading any of this will be worth your time.

I am a newlywed woman in her twenties, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be writing about that.  Ahhh relationships... One of God's greatest gifts to us, the ability to share so much of ourselves with another person.  My husband, well, he is incredible.  However that story, is for a different day all together.  

This passage brings me to another topic I will be writing about.  Being the young person that I am, I am on what I call a spiritual quest.  I consider myself a Christian and whole-heartedly believe in the Lord above and am always on a journey to learn more and do more to be the best possible version of myself.

Some other issues I will more than likely have thoughts on and therefore write about will be that I am of the large variety.  Yes, yes, yes, I am an overweight gal.  It's partly genetic and partly, well, you know those great excuses we are all pros at making.  I'm one of the very best you could ever find when it comes to those excuses, I could blame society, fast food chains, the couch, my job, the list goes on.  What it boils down to is I like food and dislike exercise.  However that is another adventure I am hoping to begin and will definitely be writing about.

Which brings me to another topic I may be writing about!  Yay!  I have begun a quest with my husband to live a healthier lifestyle.  Yes, we actually look at the ingredients in a food item before we put it in the shopping cart now.  We do not live 100% organically because it's very expensive, but we are certainly doing what we can, when we can.

Let's see now, in addition to my relationship, my body type, my lifestyle, I will probably also touch on the fact that my husband and I do not have children but dearly dearly want them and will be planning for a family in the future.  As well as the fact that I work with children, that's a super fun topic! And that I am a bit of a weirdo.  You see, all of these people out there who like these new gadgets and gizmos that will do just about anything now, well I am sort of the opposite.  And according to my husband, that makes me a bit odd.  Let me give you an example:  

My husband and I are a bit frugal, that is nicer than saying cheap.  While turning our house into a home, I decided we were missing some important elements that truly affect the atmosphere.  Candles.  However, at just about every store, the candles were like a million dollars!  (Okay, that is a total exaggeration, but I have seen them go up as far as $50. Ridiculous!)  So, this is where my oddness comes in.  I decided I was not comfortable paying any of those prices for something I was just going to light on fire anyway, so I got to thinking one day and decided...How hard can it be to make candles?  And that was all it took.  Now I make my own!  I've taught family members, neighbors and given them as gifts.   It's truly wonderful.  

I guess the moral of this little story is that I believe in the practicality and awesomeness of homemade.  That is for sure something I will be writing about.  I plan on gardening this spring and summer.  I also hope to learn many skills that may be new to me, but are traditional.  Such as making more complex meals, canning, quilting, knitting (tried that once before - miserable failure.)  Anyhow, the list goes.  I am ambitious and hope to fill my brain with practical skills that can be useful and fun!  Finally, I seriously enjoy interior design,  I always have projects or ideas for projects in my head.  I'm a super visual person and love decorating.  So I'd imagine writing about that is in the near future as well.

I think that about sums it up.  I am positive I will occasionally deviate from these few topics, however, these items are what I spend a majority of my time thinking about.  If you think any of these topics interest you, please stay tuned as I will do my absolute best to give you the details so you if you are a newlywed, somewhat overweight, trying to change your lifestyle, or interested in spirituality, do-it-yourself projects or decorating, we can all do it together!  Why not?  It could be really fun!