What happens when you re-evaluate your life?

Hi there!

I have really been thinking about what I want to accomplish career-wise over my next 40 years or so. For the last year or so I have been determined to pay off our loans and move us back to Fort Wayne. So what’s changed?

Well for one thing: We paid off my student loans. It was a great feeling last month when I finally received notification that there were no more payments to be made on that. On to the car loan, right? Well…not so fast. We decided to take a couple months to build up our savings a little bit before paying off the car. During that time we have interviewed for positions close to where I’m from. While the company wanted to pursue me as a strong potential, they did not find a place for J, so I withdrew my application.

I have been going through a stressful project at work. I have hated and detested everything related to what I do for the last year because of the stress and a few difficult co-workers. This week seemed to be no different. I found myself literally sick with anxiety as I held each meeting, just trying to get things wrapped up. As a big issue came to a head I found myself in my boss’s office. I left feeling defeated and just down-right in the dumps. If I couldn’t do a simple remediation project like this, could I ever handle an important project? As the day dragged on I was able to alleviate some of the issues brought up in my meetings. I was feeling a little better, but not enough to want to stay another minute.

My last meeting for the day was my bi-weekly one-on-one meeting with my manager. Oh great. I can’t imagine how this will go. I buckled down and prepared for the worst. After all, I spent most of the day convincing myself that I was useless and shouldn’t even be working outside of the home. The meeting didn’t go quite like I thought. As I delivered the status on each project I was able to breath out a little of the stress. When it came to the review of the project I’ve been mentioning…well that’s where things got interesting.

My manager seemed fine with the status update. I think that it was clear that I was not holding up to the stress, and that I was afraid that something was going to go horribly wrong (to be more specific, I was sure I would be fired here soon). That’s when the word of encouragement came. He told me that I was doing a good job and that I would get it done in time. “I really hope so. I feel like everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong.” The truth came out even thought I didn’t want it to.

 

I’m not sure what it was, but that moment was a turn-around for everything I’d spent the last year feeling. I felt like I just might be able to pull this off. Even more bizarre, I felt like maybe I could cut it as an engineer. What a shift in thinking so quickly….

 

After discussing this with J, I confessed that I would like to just try to keep going and not put a time limit on our time here. He agreed that it would be better financially. So now…haha… I am a working mother, and I plan to be a working mother.

 

This is to all of you mom’s out there struggling with the question of whether or not to leave the workforce: This is not an easy decision for us. On one hand we have our beautiful children, who we miss so much time with. On the other hand, we have a career that is going to help our kids go to college and have a childhood that’s not filled with financial struggles. It is not easy. You are not a failure for choosing to stay home with your children. You are not selfish to choose to continue to work outside of the home. What you are is a mother, who is doing the best they can for their children. So keep your head held high and think about that when you make your choice. 

**Blink**

Well hellllloooo and goodbye June. I don’t really know what happened this month to be honest. We came back from vacation and haven’t stopped running in our household.

The biggest thing is that J went back to his 9-80 schedule, so he is basically getting home an hour later than normal. I’ll be quite honest; it doesn’t work well for me. I know he like to have a day off every other Friday, but that means that I am left picking up all the extra slack from him coming home so late. This problem, coupled with the fact that the majority of June was filled with ridiculously hot and humid weather conditions, meant we did not get much exercise in at all.

With that, I will definitely lose my Dietbet for this round. I still had 5 lbs to go this morning and I have until Saturday morning at 3 am to weigh in. I accepted the fact that I would lose pretty early on. I have sat at 185 for pretty much the whole month. I really need to buckle down and lose some more weight, because I only have another few months before we start trying for the next child. I would love to throw away a lot of this extra weight before I got really pregnant.

Oh! Another really exciting note: We are offically done with student loans! Wohooo! Even though it threw the rest of the month out of whack, it was definitely worth it. We will have saved so much in interested just by being frugal with our finances and paying off these giant weights of burden.

As we are about to enter a new month I am hoping for a fresh start. I want to minimize my evening snacking, which was a big part of my downfall this month. Also, I would like to make exercise more of a routine. I have been very inconsistent with this and feel that I have so much room for improvement.

 

What are your goals for the month of July? What is one step you will take to achieve them???

Farewell, sweet vacation!

Annnnd just like that it’s back to the grindstone. Vacation always goes so fast. I think this was a very good time off though, and it helped me re-fuel my batteries to make it through a while longer. Since the blog has been quiet lately, I am just going to recap about what’s been happening:

I spent yesterday having my parents stop in on short notice. It was great to get to spend time with them and let C play with her grandparents.

I made a card for my cousins bridal shower. It was lots of fun and not very hard, thanks to my cricut!

Cricut Craft

 

I spent today trying to dig up these monsters:20160605_120634

I only got 1 of 3 bushes out. They are very heavy and bunched together!

20160605_142756

 

I’m counting that as my workout! I got LOTS of sun too!
20160605_160409

 

Well let’s make this week a great, active one! What’s one thing you hope to accomplish by the end of the work week?

Another Dietbet!

Yes, you read that right; another Dietbet. After the last one ended, I have struggled to keep losing. I’ve just been in a rut. This Dietbet will have me weighing out in the 170’s if I win (or should I say, when I win?). That accomplishment would be huge, because I haven’t weighed that much in three years. I believe I was in the 170’s when I got married, anyway.

Dietbet June

If you’re interested in joining a Kickstarter, you can follow this link here. It started yesterday, so there is still time to sign up.

So after thinking about being healthy and all, I really need to get out and run today. I was planning on doing it last night, but then it started storming. I’m in that lull of not wanting to push myself and I can’t have that. I really want to push my limits to get down the farthest I can before we try to have another baby. My initial high goal of 155 is not feasible right now, but that doesn’t mean I should give up. If you find yourself about to fall short of a heft goal, reevaluate and select a new goal. Having goals is important to  help keep you motivated and determined to rock it out!

My new goal is to hit the 160’s before we get pregnant. I believe that will help manage things a little better this go-around. Being in the mid-200’s was NOT fun at all! I remember getting so winded from walking the stairs. Maybe this time I will have built a good running base that will allow me to continue to run throughout my pregnancy!

I’d love to hear your experience of being healthy during pregnancy. Maybe you don’t have that same story. Maybe you were more like me. Tell me about it! We’re all working on who we want to become, so there’s no shame talking about difficult times. 🙂

Mini-Trip = Lots of Steps!

Hey everyone!

I hope your day went well. We spent our first real day of vacation in Cincinnati visiting the Newport Aquarium (okay, that was in Kentucky), and the Cincinnati zoo. Check out all the fun we had!

Babywearing Kinderpack Crocodile Chameleon Hello Big Guy! Tom + Chee Elephant Flamingos Cheetah Cub Manitee

The Newport Aquarium was so much fun. We had been told by some friends that it was better than Shedd’s Aquarium, and I have to agree. I really liked all of the different exhibits they had. More importantly, C really enjoyed them! We knew the zoo would only be so-so with her, so I had hoped she would like seeing the marine life up close.

After the Aquarium, we headed up north to the Cincinnati Zoo. Thinking it over now, it probably would have been better to visit both places in reverse order, because by the time we arrived at the zoo it was hot. I like the sun and the heat, but this was a little too much for even me. Overall, there was so many things to see at this zoo, but we felt the layout was kind of goofy. C wasn’t too interested, so the zoo was more applicable to J and I. We did so much walking around at the zoo that I am still recovering. Even at our unhealthiest, J and I have always preferred the vacations that we’re out doing stuff and learning. I always love learning more about the animals from their caretakers at the zoo.

I am closing in on 15,000 steps for today. This will be the single most amount of steps I have done in a day in a very long time. It also won’t hurt my weight loss goals. I am hoping to get out tomorrow morning and run my Week 1, Day 2 run for the C25K app. Yesterday I had something weird going on with my knee, and today it seems to have flared back up. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it goes away.

What do you enjoy doing on your vacations? Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Funny Things Happen When You Have Time

…to be healthy.

Hey everyone! As you can tell by the title, these last few days have been GREAT for my health. We have walked a bunch, I have run my first day of the C25K program, and both J and I have lost weight. Our weekends are generally the time we get the most off track, but I think with being on vacation, we’ve been able to focus more on our health and less on making sure the laundry is ready for the work week (though, we should probably do some laundry….).

Fitbit Stats

Yesterday I had over 14,000 steps! That is a big accomplishment for me. I am hoping to blast that step record out of the water later in the week, but we’ll see how things play out. I do plan on working out every day though, regardless of step count. The Mom’s group I’m a part of has recently started doing running check-ins to help us stay accountable for keeping up. I found this all too appropriate:

Run Food Wine

This week I have really thought about what I wanted to do in terms of preparing the house for the future sale (it’s still a long way off), and one thing I think would be good to take care of is painting. Even though we are the second owners of this house, and it is 11 years old (!!), the upstairs still remains 95% unpainted. This week we’ll stop in to Sherwin Williams and get some paint samples to try out in the various unpainted rooms. I can tell you that J is so very excited to paint again haha. <— That’s a joke. J hates painting. Can’t blame him either.

What plans do you have for Memorial Day weekend? 

Weigh-In Saturday — 5/28/16 + My Road Back to Running!

Last Weight: 182.2 lbs

Current Weight: 184.5 lbs

Weight Loss this Week: +2.3 lbs

 

I am not at all surprised by this gain because of the fact that I was actually up another pound over this last week. I didn’t make an effort to be active at all, and even though my eating was pretty good, it could have been better. I actually expect to see more of a loss over the next few days as J has another round of is Transformer ending at the end of the month.

Speaking of exercise, I started the C25K program today. It was easier than I thought it would be. In the 30 minutes that the first session is, I ended up hitting 2 miles before the time was up. I plan on continuing this program throughout the week, and will hopefully have established a good base before vacation is over with.

For me, running has never been easy. Worth it? Totally. Easy? Definitely not. I was an overweight middle schooler when I first got the crazy notion that I wanted to do track. Thank goodness I went to a small enough school that you didn’t actually not make it on the team. Throughout that first season I fell in love with the 800m and 1600m races. I was terrible, but I loved it so much. That love of running carried on through High School, where I also picked up cross-country, and even into college. Was I ever good? Never. I can tell you though, I ran with my heart in every race, and in the end that’s what matters to me now.

89041-286-015f

(Yes, I’ve already used this picture. No, I don’t care. It’s my favorite! It’s my inspiration!)

Running is a fantastic way to relieve stress. There’s something special about lacing up your running shoes, hitting the pavement, and letting all of the days frustrations flow into something spectacular. Even if the last thing you feel like doing is running, just give it a shot. When I would tell myself I was just not into it, I would give myself a small goal. Just run to the apartment entrance and then come back if it’s just not feeling right. Yet usually I would find myself far past the apartment entrance before I realized that I really needed this run.

Does running work the same way for you? What about another sport? How do you relieve stress after a long day? 

Hello Vacation!

The day is finally here! As of 4 pm today we are officially on vacation. And the best part? We’re not really doing much. Sure, we’re heading to Cincinnati for a day, but other than that, nadda. I am looking forward to some  true time off. I also think that having time off will help jump start my workout routine. It’s always hard when you have to juggle a job, family time, and a healthy routine at once. This will at least give me the flexibility to workout whenever is the most convenient for us.

Not much on the nightly dinner here. We have surprisingly stuck to our meal plan pretty well. Tonight we enjoyed salmon, asparagus, and a piece of garlic toast. It was really simple, but so delicious!

Fish and Asparagus

 

What is your favorite end of the work-week meal? I’d love to see some recipes!

Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

Here’s the thing…. I have always had some form of a blog in one way,shape, or form, since I was an early teen. It started out as a way to vent so that my friends could read it, but my parents couldn’t. Eventually we used it to write stories, which were…amusing to say the least. I slowly let the writing die out once I started college, becoming wrapped up in my new social life outside. Now that I’m settled down and have some weight to lose, a blog seemed like a good idea. My only issue is that I don’t really have any friends to read it.

I have really struggled with making friends when my weight ballooned up. I lost my confidence, and my voice. So when I think about the fact that I could let this blog get out to those I know in real life, I get nervous.

For now I’ll keep it on the down low, regardless of whether anyone reads it. It is, after all, a place for me to vent about my weight loss journey.

Speaking of which…

I have taken a few steps back. I made my dietbet goal and then completely slacked off. Part of me wants to desperately start running again, while the other half is afraid of all the people making fun of me as I run by. I am quite a ways down from the 247 I used to be, but I still see that girl. I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything at all.

181

It’s hard to think positive and be healthy when you get so used to a lazy lifestyle. Together, my husband and I have lost over 100 pounds in the last year, because we decided that enough was enough. Now I want to take it one step further and commit to being healthy because I like it, not because I have to.

So what can I do?

  • Take more pictures — It is so motivating to me to see the side-by-sides of others and see where they’ve come and where they’re going.
  • Start small — A major lifestyle change can’t happen overnight. It takes time and perseverance.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail — I’ve failed so many times already. It’s getting back up that defines who I am, not how many times I fall.
  • Gain an accountability and support group — For me, having that group is key to maintaining the hard work I’ve done. I have always had an easier time talking with those who share the same struggles over social media; it’s just the engineer in me!

Now that I feel slightly more motivated I think it’s time to put my plan (AKA: baby steps) into action!

Financial Check-in

Hi all!

I know it’s been a long time since I last gave an update about our goal to pay off all student loans, so I thought it would be a good time to share.

May2016 Update

According to this budget sheet, we will have everything paid off by October of this year. We have been able to stay within budget each month this year and have even put in extra. Our tax return went straight from our bank to one whole student loan. Since beginning our journey to financial freedom last July, we have paid off five out of seven loans! I can’t even begin to describe how great it feels to be one step closer to eliminating that monthly payment altogether.

Now for the even better news….

We have been sitting on some extra savings for over a year now, and have decided to take the plunge to put most of it towards this goal! That means that all student loans will be completed by the end of June. I am so very excited to have this debt done!

So it got me thinking….. what if others need guidance to help them become financially free?


I am not for paying to take a course to learn how to handle your money. That is why I am going to leave you with 5 things that I have found to be super helpful:

  1. Use a Tracker — We use Mint to track all of our accounts, our paychecks, our debts, etc. I am on there at least once a day making sure all our transactions are flowing into the right budgets. Mint is a complete free tool that a number of my financial-savvy friends recommend, as do I.
  2. Give Yourself a Little Fun Money — It is no fun having to budget. At all. Seriously. So why not reward yourself with a small budget for fun money? J and I set aside money each month for items that we might want, but not necessarily need. It helps us feel better about restricting so much, but doesn’t make us feel the need to splurge large amounts.
  3. Be Honest with Yourself — We all mess up sometimes, and that is perfectly okay. What isn’t is using your goof to go ahead and blow your budget even further. Think of it the same way you would a diet; if you end up having a celebratory donut for your co-workers birthday, don’t let it be the excuse to go out for wings with the guys. Get back up and brush yourself off. You’ve got this!
  4. Set a Realistic Goal — It would be nice to pay off that credit card debit in a week, but chances are, it’s going to need to take a lot longer. Take a step back and give yourself the opportunity to look at your debt with no emotions attached and just like you would a math problem. Always plan to need a little extra money for that one bill that pops up, or in case you run a flat tire. Setting a goal that isn’t too extreme will help you see that you are making progress.
  5. Be Patient, but Determined – While you may have accrued your debt in a day, it will take time. You’ll hit snags here and there that will make you question if it’s even worth all of this financial dieting. I promise you. It is worth it. Be patient with yourself, but also be determined. You will be so glad when you don’t have that monthly payment hanging over your head.

What financial advice do you have? What type of debt have you had to pay off in your life? I’d love to hear your experiences!