Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Legacy


Hi all!  What an amazing weekend I had with my family! My Grandfather passed away February 28, of this year, and due to the crazy weather and my family being scattered throughout the United States, we decided to wait until Memorial Day weekend to hold his Celebration of Life.  The weather was perfect, the food fantastic, and the memories of my Grandpa precious.  I could not have asked for anything more than what we had. To hear and see so many people show up to celebrate with us was incredibly moving.  He was a stubborn, opinionated old coot, but well respected and liked by many.  Though not a compassionate man, you knew you were in trouble if he didn't comment on something you could have done differently. Criticism, though it didn't always feel constructive, was his way of letting you know he noticed what you had done. If he didn't offer that feedback, you had been snubbed.  A compliment was rare and if you got one it was like the brightest ray of sunshine you had ever seen and heard. As a little kid I was always kind of afraid of him.  As I grew older I realized how much knowledge he possessed.  The stories may have been repeated often- how many times can you hear about going west in the Model T with the family- but they were obviously treasured memories to him.  I'm so thankful my boys were able to hear the stories too. For several years, my boys have taken care of his yard while he was gone.  Sticks and leaves picked up and raked, mowing in the spring, summer and fall.  Help in the garden, either tilling or harvesting.  You name it, we helped and the boys loved it almost as much as he did.

More than anything my Grandparents taught me the importance of hard work.  He and Grandma had seven children.  I'm 11th of the 19 grandchildren.  You don't have seven kids and not have to work hard, especially on a farm coming out of the depression.  My dad was the youngest of the seven kids. His siblings make fun of him for being the baby and getting away with things they didn't.  It's funny to hear them give him grief even now in their 60's.

Grandpa's personality was one of quiet observation, blunt opinion, and boldly helping others.  His philosophy was to give to others when he had more than he needed. He was known to pick things in other's gardens and give that away as well.  He'd be sure to let the owner know someone else needed them more than they did.  He was often quiet.  Our society often does not know what to do when people are quiet.  It's awkward to be in a room with someone and not talk or have noise.  I grew up knowing quiet reflection.  It was not uncommon to sit in a room and not talk, not because we were rude or bored, but because it is ok to be still.  My Uncle David state it so eloquently on Sunday. Grandpa was a man who understood, practiced and taught us all the meaning of Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.  He knew how to be still and taught us all to be thankful for what we had.  For that I am ever grateful.


                  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fear Is A Liar

I think I may have shared some of these demons in a prior post.  Obviously I struggle with these thoughts often to be writing about them again.  I am am oldest child.  If you have studied any birth order theory, you know oldest children tend to be more authoritative and often perfectionists.  Perfectionism grips every fiber of my being, wringing and twisting my insides to the point I either a) quit something before finishing to avoid the ridicule, or b) work tirelessly- literally not sleeping- until I'm finished.  I usually end up crashing from exhaustion & get sick upon the completion as well.  I still manage to find things I didn't do as well as I should have and beat myself up about that until I consume myself in the next project.  I hate it.  It makes me feel empty and lacking self-worth. I want to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor without finding flaws.  It's absolute craziness! The definition of insanity is doing something over and over expecting a different result.  I must be insane!

Why do we let ourselves say negative things to minimize our accomplishments?  Why do we allow self-sabatage to even be a part of our repetoir? Why do I feel the need to compare myself to others?  Negative self-talk seems to be a thing with women.  Or maybe women are more open to talking about it.  I've had plenty of male students through the years who were negative self-talkers or self-saboteurs.  We address it in their behavior plans, talk about the roots, implement some new behaviors & rewards; behaviors improve but then negative behaviors seem to creep back in.

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I've been taking part in a health challenge over the last 3 weeks.  It has my wheels turning.  Personal fitness has always been a passionate hobby for me.  Unfortunately more of a yo-yo hobby, but much more consistent in more recent years.  I like working out.  I enjoy learning new ways to workout.  I can workout with a group or by myself.  I like how I feel when I'm fit.  Since my first step class in college I have wanted to lead others in fitness.  Had it not been for major discouragement in high school,  I'd have pursued a career in PT or exercise science in college.  This challenge has me seeing potential in me.  In my capabilities and skills in fitness and nutrition from learning to take care of myself.  The only thing holding me back is this crazy negative self-talk.  That nagging little voice in the back of my head spews little seeds of doubt; you can't even last 30 days gluten free, how will you ever lead others?  People won't listen to you if you can't even stay on track yourself.   Sure you're thin, but not skinny and muscular.  No one will take you seriously.  You can't be a successful fitness coach.  You have no credentials. Bah!

These thoughts are all ridiculous!  I know I am capable.  I know this could be a good thing for me and my spirit.  My entire life's work has been based on helping others.  It's what I do.  This is a good thing I need to pursue.  My gut says go for it.  My mind is doubtful.  How crazy!  I just ran a half marathon!  I have completed multiple rounds of difficult fitness programs.  My body has learned to live without sugars and processed foods without shutting down.  I have what it takes to be able to do this well.  I can do this.  I can do this well.

The next step is to ditch the perfection syndrome.  Not just attempt to ditch it; ditch it for good.
Stay tuned for the crazy about to happen..

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Playing in the Dirt


It's no secret I'm a country girl.  Grew up and currently live on a farm. The smell of freshly tilled dirt is one of the best things about spring. I'm happiest when I can be outside getting dirty and sweaty.  No joke.  Gardening can be fabulous exercise, whether you are digging holes, squatting to pick fruits & veggies, weeding, climbing ladders to reach fruit, etc, etc, you're bound to get dirty and sweaty.  Win-Win in my book!  Spring has sprung and I'm itching to get out and get stuff planted.  I have spinach and lettuce in the ground now.  It's been so warm I hope they aren't bitter from the start.  I'm ready to get my hands in the dirt!

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I love flowers and decorative plants.  I can't say I necessarily have a green thumb; I read the tags, put the plant in the dirt, sprinkle a little water and some fertilizer every so often, and enjoy the fruits/vegetables/flowers of my labor.  My garden always looks amazing until about July 4.  The plants are all small enough I can still maneuver around them with the garden tools and get to the weeds easily.  After that point it seems we always get busy, go on vacation for a few days.  When we return the plants (and weeds) have grown 3 feet and everything is out of control. And that's how it stays.  Weeds make me itchy. I dislike being itchy.  I should suck it up but whatever.  

Hydrangea is one of my favorite flowering plants.  They re-bloom all summer long when pruned correctly.  The colors vary from violet blue to green to pink.  The blooms are huge and not too fragrant to cause allergy issues.  Cut blooms last for days and dry well for a touch of summer all winter long.  I had to work on mine to get it to survive the first couple of years.  They are finicky little suckers.  Honestly, I considered digging it up and giving it away for a while.  I just couldn't get it to bloom right.  There happened to be an article in our monthly electric co-op magazine about Hydrangeas a few years ago.  Turns out the advice I had been listening to was all wrong. Did you know that soil type can change the bloom color?  You can actually change the acidity of the soil, and therefore change the color of the blooms from pink to blue, by placing my used coffee grounds around the base of the plant.  10-10-10 is a fantastic fertilizer as well.  I can never manage to get my soil acidic enough.  The first blooms will be blueish, but never a true blue-purple color like I would like.  I really love the deep pink I get out of them anyway.  I don't think I'm going to try so hard this year to get them to be blue.  Plus I've not been keeping my coffee grounds like I did last year.  I never fertilize after they start blooming anyway and usually just hit it during the off season (late fall and early spring). It seems to work.  For me. 

From my July 4th BBQ last year

Pruning:
Pruning should be done in the spring once the stalks have begun to put on leaves.  Pruning before winter can actually stunt it's growth in the spring.  The dead looking stalks can actually re-bloom in the spring so if you cut them off it takes more energy (and a really long time) for the plant to regrow the stalks, put leaves on, and so forth, therefore using the necessary energy to bloom.  Makes sense, right?  Dead stalks can often be plucked out without even needing to be cut.  Maybe I leave mine on too long and they rot off?  Whatever it is, it's easy to tell which ones need to be removed.  Snip, snip, done.

Wintering & Weather:
Hydrangea plant base need cover during the colder winter months.  We have heavy mulch around ours, but I also try to make sure there are plenty of leaves around the base as well.  Our are also close to the north side of the house so the direct exposure to damaging wind and elements are reduced.  The plant closest to the edge of the house gets the most exposure, and usually takes the longest to put on leaves and flowers.  It also gets the more sun than the other plant to the east of it.  It tends to have more sunburn issues on the leaves, needs more water, but has fewer bugs.  I have one on the east side of the house along the retaining wall that gets sun almost all day long.  It's tiny compared to the other two (all 3 were the same size when I planted them), but the blooms do well.  The sun bleached pink is one of my favorite blooms to cut for the table.  

Water: 
Give 'em a drink on hot days. They like to be hydrated, but not over hydrated.  Soil should stay damp, but not have standing water.  Dry heat is not kind.  Direct sun is not kind.  Honestly, where I live isn't the ideal environment.  Mine look fine.  I'm sure they could be better, but they bloom and look healthy so I'll keep doing what I'm doing.  Warning:  It's best to soak the soil around the base of the plant rather than spray the leaves and blooms with the hose or a sprinkler.  Cold water from the tap directly on a plant on hot afternoon will shock the plant and it could die. This goes for any plant.  We have soaker hoses buried under the landscaping fiber and mulch in many of our beds for this reason.  Well, that and we have the hoses on a timer during the hot months.  You can get any of these things, hoses and faucet timers, at the local hardware store or Walmart.  I usually pick them up after the season when things go on sale.  I'll talk about the negatives to the soaker hoses under the fiber in another post....

Want to know more about Hydrangeas?  I googled it and found a TON of sites.   One I really liked was  Hydrengeas! Hydrengeas!   They have listed several varieties that aren't prevalent in my area.  I love seeing new things to add to my future gardens!

Happy planting!



Monday, May 12, 2014

Being Mom


Happy Mother's Day!  I know it was yesterday, but I get to celebrate an extra day because it's my youngest son's birthday!  He was born the day after Mother's Day and I've always said he's been the best Mother's Day present ever!! He's such a sweet little thing.  I asked him this morning if he could do me a favor and stop getting older.  He said no.  He told me I would't get any older either, as if it was a threat.  I'm all for that! Can we start now?

I'm not normally one to obsess fret worry dwell on past decisions but lately I have been doing just that.  Why do I do this to myself?  I can't change it.  I have no control over these decisions any longer.  They are past.  Done.  Finished.  Except the repercussions continue to effect my life to this day.  These decisions have not been negative; on the contrary, they have been enormously positive!  So why would I possibly be worried about anything?  Because I'm the mother of two very special boys.  I take care of them.  The breadwinner.  The emotional constant. Everyone's cheerleader.  The fixer of things.  Mom. The biggest job title in the universe.

It's an enormous obligation to be responsible for the development of kids.  In my case, not just my two heathens, but dozens of other kids throughout the last 14 years.  Many of those kids  I have maintained contact and relationships with.  You don't just separate yourself from them when the school year is over, despite how many times you wish you could. Like I've said before about our basketball teams, these kids become a part of our lives and our families.  I've been to high school and college graduations, weddings across the country, bought baby gifts for first borns (and second borns), and I've witnessed far too many tragedies and loss.  You do your best to boost their confidence as well as academic skills.  My job has always been in a support setting- special education, reading instruction & intervention, and as a professional school counselor.  My role is more about instilling confidence and developing character than it is in developing academic skills.  Academics fall into place once they have the confidence in themselves to try.  I usually have one to two years to do this with my students.  It's an enormous task and one I don't take lightly. It's exhausting and emotionally draining. I go home devoid of feeling or emotion more often than not, with nothing left for my own boys. That is one thing I forgot about education when I jumped back in this past fall. I was just looking for the familiar.  A "safe" place.  

I look at my own boy's sense of adventure and willingness to try new things.  They are fearless.  I'm envious.  My self confidence seems to be lacking as of late. My faith too adult, too narrow. Fear sneaks in and takes over too easily. I let myself get pulled down by the what if's, the what's safest, the excuses that someone won't like it and will be mad if I do it.   Am I willing to stay in a place where familiar, albeit uncomfortable, or take a leap of faith?  Is it more important for me to mentor these lost kids even though it leaves less for my own? Am I willing to exercise my faith? I look at my boys, admiring their spontaneity.  It leaves me wondering how they learned this fearlessness.  Did I pass this on to them?  Am I passing on the skills they need to overcome rough times and emerge stronger from them? How did I get so blessed to be their mom?

Sometimes it's difficult to have faith that the decisions you have to make will be the right ones.   The kind of decisions that will continue to mold your kids into the wonderful people you hope them to be.  The kind of people they are when you aren't looking.  The kind of wonderful, compassionate, fearless little beings, full of faith that all things happen in due time, for a reason, make us stronger; the kind of people they are now.  It's not easy being a parent.  I am forever grateful to God for giving me these little boys, testing my faith each and every day, reminding me that life is not just about me.


My sweet babies :)



Friday, May 9, 2014

Winner Winner Fish Taco Dinner

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  It's been a week full of festivities thus far.  Monday we had lunch provided by one of the local Mexican restaurants, yesterday students dressed as their favorite teachers, and today was dessert day.  Lucky for me someone thought to include a giant fresh fruit tray!  Woohoo!  Sugary things upset my stomach as of late, so I've been staying away from fruit lately.  I'm not going to lie- I kind of went on a sugar high afterwards but it was totally worth it.  I love a good pineapple. 

I have some of THE best students & parents!

While we're talking about food, I just had to share  my newest favorite dinner: Fish Tacos.  This was super easy and didn't take long.  I ate a decent fish taco over the weekend and went on a hunt to replicate the parts I liked.  In searching for the perfect combination of savory and sweet, I found some other things and decided to try them all together.  I made extra in hope they were really good so I had some for lunch today. The result: Success!  My husband LOVED them, my picky kid at just the fish on a wheat tortilla, and my oldest, and usually the least picky child, went to Nana's for beef and noodles. It's a win all the way around.  We'll be having this again in the near future. 

Coconut Lime Fish Tacos


Yum!
Ingredients:
1 point whitefish
3-4 limes
3 T Rice wine vinegar
1 T olive oil 
1 t honey
3/4 cup Coconut milk, full fat
1 bag Chopped cabbage slaw mix
1 Avocado, sliced
Cumin
Salt & pepper
8 corn tortillas


For the Fish
1 pound of whitefish (I used Swai)
Cumin
salt
pepper
Juice of 1 lime

Arrange fish in a boiler pan or a 9"x13" baking dish.  Sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper.  Squeeze juice of a lime over the fish. Place under broiler 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. **side note- you could also grill them**

For the slaw:
Precut slaw mix- green and red cabbage, radish mix
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 t honey
salt & pepper to taste

Mix vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a glass mixing bowl and whisk until blended.  Add slaw mix and toss.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

For Lime Dressing:
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk, mixed until solids are dissolved
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/2 cup)

Mix juice and milk together until smooth. 

Warm tortillas in nonstick skillet. Remove and plate. Place 1-2 tablespoons of slaw and fish on tortilla, followed by a slice or 3 of avocado and a spoonfull of coconut like dressing. Fold and enjoy! 

Serves 4

Monday, May 5, 2014

Indy Mini Recap


I did it!  I RAN the One America Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon on Saturday!  The whole thing.  I RAN (slowly) the whole 13.1 miles!  If you subtract my stupid port-o-potty stop, I averaged 11 minutes per mile, and finished in 2 hours 20-ish minutes.  Not too shabby.  Not gonna lie, mile 13 was a bitch.  My time in  13th mile suffered greatly. But never, ever did I consider walking.  Like Forest Gump, I just kept running.   The realization I had just run 13.1 miles was overwhelming! If I had one ounce of fluid in my body at that point I'd have cried when they put the medal around my neck.  What an amazing feeling to know I trained and completed this goal.  After stretching and grabbing all of the goodies after the race, I did what any self-respecting goal-achieving person does- I took a selfie and sent to my hubs and kiddo.  I attempted to send it out on the inter webs but there were so many people downtown there was no reception.  When I got back into my hotel room I received the following tweet from my son.  At that point I was hydrated enough to cry. That boy makes my heart swell with pride! Then to hear/see him cheering me on made me melt.  Oh sweet child <3



Had I known the Indy Mini was the LARGEST half marathon in the country with 35,000 participants I would likely have not registered.  Being a part of that is a tad bit intimidating! You can bet my nerves came back Saturday morning as I was listening to those stats on the news as I was getting ready.  The most awesome thing was seeing the firemen and military folks in full suits, oxygen tanks, masks, back packs loaded with all of the stuff they would carry in combat, and so forth, walking along side all of us.  How humbling an experience!  I made sure to say thank you to all of them I passed along the way.  They are so strong to compete with all of their gear.  Thank goodness the weather was great.  Sunny, light breeze, and 60 degrees.  It was perfection.

I'm going to conclude with the top 10 things I learned from this experience:

10. Use the bathroom at the hotel again before the start of the race even if you don't have to. Port-o-potties are disgusting and will kill your time.

9. iPod's are probably going to be discouraged but take it anyway.  They did have good music in places, and I enjoyed the band's effort and time.  It was awesome.  I would have benefited from additional music to help me keep my pace throughout the longer stretches.

8. Take your ID.  There's beer at the end but they will card you.  Free beer is the best beer, even if it's low carb watery beer #truth

7. Wear sunglasses.  I went out before the sun had fully risen.  I knew better than to not take them.  The wind will kick dust in your face and the glasses will save you from the discomfort of sand digging in your eyeballs every time your dehydrated eyelids swipe opened and closed.

6. If you're not running with someone, find someone of similar pace to hang with.  It helps a lot.  Thanks University of Chicago T-shirt lady ;)

5. People will talk about anything while running.  No topics are off limits.  You will hear about people's sexual habits, excessive drinking the night before, lack of training, and food that people are planning to eat after the race.  Any one of these will either motivate you to run faster,  keep their pace and do some "ethnographic research, " or punch them in the throat as they run past you (yeah, that's you 20 year olds who didn't train and still ran faster than me).

4.  Plan your pre-race food accordingly.  My hotel was awesome, but they didn't prepare breakfast very well.  I was counting on oatmeal but it wasn't ready in time for me.  Luckily they had plenty of protein and some other gluten-free carbs for me to munch on.  I should have done more research and eaten much more than I did.

3. People spit.  A lot.  You will get spit on and you may spit on someone by accident.  Try not to throw up.  But for those who spit their water at the water station- just wait until after you get past the volunteers.  That's just gross and uncalled for.  Germs.. Eewww

2.  Take pictures and enjoy the run.  I did take a few, including my sweaty selfie at the end.  Tweet it, IG it, FB that pic and tell everyone what you did.  You just ran 13.1 miles.  Not everyone can say that.  It's kind of a big deal.  Feel good about it.

1. Thank the volunteers copiously along the way.  They have generously given up their day to be there.  After I saw how many people are needed to help fuel all 35,000 runners, I was inspired to be a volunteer/spectator/cheerleader at races in the future.  Thanks to all of those who give their time to help.  You are all awesome!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Germophobic Much?

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. I love the emerging grass, leaves and flowers. The addition of color to the drab post-winter landscape makes my heart happy. I could do without the bipolar weather patterns of Northern Indiana, but what are you gonna do. Tuesday was 75 and today it's 45 & rainy. The weatherman seems to believe allergies are going to be brutal this spring. Lovely. Not looking forward to that, tho usually it's fall that gets me. Spring isn't too bad for me. Really, I'm just happy I don't have to sit at a track meet in this weather. 

We are wrapping up our yearly state mandated torture, er I mean, standardized testing this week. This week is so stressful and just down right exhausting. I don't even have to take the test and I'm exhausted. Make sure everything is locked up. Do kids have the correct accommodations buttons showing up on their computers? My calculator doesn't work. Did you bring snacks Mrs. Reinholt? Then the rest of the day with 30 minute class periods which is just enough time to start something and have to stop for the next class. Ugh. Shoot me please! Then today it's as if the germ fairy visited EVERY.SINGLE.KID.IN.MY.ROOM! To til it off they all have some kind of aversion to using tissues so all I hear is snort. Sniff. Cough. Sniff. Sniff. Snort. Hack. Sneeze. Sniff. 



By 9:00 I was rubbing hand sanitizer onto every exposed surface of my body to kill the germs. After the first test I made them all get up, blow their noses, and wash their hands while I wiped down desks and door knobs with Clorox wipes and sprayed Lysol like champagne in the winners circle of a Nascar race. 



I wish it had ended with that group but it continued ALL.DAY.LONG. Only to continue when I got to my after school tutoring session. Shoot me now before I succumb to the sickness. 

Please excuse me while I go bathe in Clorox. 

Maybe I should get these for tomorrow instead of snacks? 😷