Category Archives: family

I need some catharsis

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What to do, what to do. I had a pretty horrid experience last night that is making me wonder if I have truly gone over the edge. Maybe my 3 readers can help me decide if I’m nuts. Last night, my youngest daughter had freshman orientation at the high school she will start next week. My older daughter will be a senior. A bit of backstory, this is the high school that I used to work at. I was there for 3 years teaching English and coaching cheerleading. When the second high school in our town was full, they needed to shift some people around to accommodate changing student populations, and they sent me back down to the middle school I had worked at previously. I was CRUSHED. I had worked for 10 years to finally get the job there, and I would have happily worked there until retirement. I questioned my worth as a teacher, and even as a person, when all of this went down.

So try to imagine going back up there with both of my kids to enroll them in the school that, in my view, threw me away. It SUCKS. I didn’t have to do much for my oldest because she isn’t a school spirit kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, she’s in varsity choir and did yearbook for two years, so she is involved, just not in things I need to be up at the school for very often. Enter my little one. She made the dance team her freshman year. Which ROCKS. It will give her an immediate identity in that school, which is so important. It also means that I have be up at the school quite a bit more often than I have in the past.

It hurts.

It makes no logical sense. I love my job now more than I ever thought I could love a job, and I know I am where I am meant to be. But the resentment runs deep, my friends. When the AP that helped get rid of me pretended not to know me last night, when my daughter’s schedule wasn’t right and the counselor was kind of a jerk, when I realized we had waited all this time for her schedule, and she still wasn’t going to know where her classes were, well I just lost it. Full on tears of complete frustration. I despise that school, and it’s where my kids go. I know it hurts me more than it hurts anyone at that school, and I know it’s not right for my girls. I know all the logical things, but my darn emotions don’t care about logic, no matter how loudly I yell at them.

I’m hoping that writing about this brings me some catharsis about this topic. It can’t hurt, right?

Are they ready?

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As of next Thursday, my husband and I will have a senior and a freshman in high school. What? When did this happen?

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Celebrating the tiny one’s 14th birthday

I’ve been thinking about this craziness for some time. My husband and I have talked extensively about the fact that we only have a couple more years with our girls under our roof. It’s TERRIFYING.

Have we prepared them? Have we sheltered them? Have we given them too much? Have we not given them enough? Can they make it in this crazy world, or should we move somewhere that lets you have basements in your house? Texas bedrock doesn’t allow for basements, and my hubby and I aren’t moving to another state, so that’s out. Let me just say, our girls are wonderful in many ways. They make good grades, they don’t do crazy stuff (that we know of), they like to spend time with us…and all of that is great. But have we instilled common sense? Do they have a good work ethic? Can they keep themselves safe? Is this world going to be harsh to them? I can’t answer those questions with any certainty, and it is maddening.

Our oldest hyperventilates at the thought of anything resembling adulting and HATES driving. Our youngest is convinced that she wants to move far away for college, and she is ready to drive NOW, even though she’s got a couple of years before that’s an option. Polar opposites, as usual. Sometimes I wonder how they could grow up in the same house with the same parents and end up so vastly different.

All of that aside, I’m not confident that either one of them will be okay because this world is MESSED UP. Have we given them the strength of character to make rational decisions in the face of pressure from others? Can they keep their living space clean enough to avoid contracting a flesh-eating virus? Can they navigate the grocery store and keep themselves fed? You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

And I did this. I guided them to this, right? Well, my husband and I. So WE, we did this. Did we cripple them by giving them too much of this and not enough of that? It’s keeping me up at night, this anxiety. And I can’t fix whatever I should fix because, number one, I don’t know what to fix, and number two, I only have a year to do that for the oldest. Not enough time. Never enough time.

You know what I can and will do? I will LOVE them. Fiercely. And if that means pushing them outside the comfort zone we have created so they can start to make their own decisions, then so be it. If it means that they get mad at me because I’m making them do things they don’t want to do, fine. I have to do this. I have to give them everything I can before they go out in the big, bad world.

I wish parenting came with a manual.

Feeling Entrepreneurial

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Teachers sometimes need extra money. Did you know that? I mean, I know everyone thinks we make the big bucks because we educate the youth of America, but sadly, we don’t. I can’t even begin to address the fact that people that throw or kick a ball around makes millions of dollars while teachers worry about paying their mortgage, but hey, whatever.

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Look at me, branding myself and stuff. 🙂

So to pad the old bank account, and to keep it from collecting cobwebs, I have a couple of part-time gigs. I just started selling curriculum that I have created on Teachers Pay Teachers. See my awesome store here:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Johnstons-Ela-Gems

I also do the website and manage the social media for my dad and stepmom’s distillery in South Texas, Hill Country Distillers. You can visit their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/hillcountrydistillers/

So, yeah. I’m an entrepreneur. But sometimes I feel like I completely embody the old saying, “Jack of all trades, and master of none.” I guess that’s not entirely true because I feel like I’m a pretty awesome teacher, but the other stuff, I could stand to learn more. Maybe if I learned more, I could branch out and get out of education, but I’m having such a good experience at the school where I teach, I’m okay with being a teacher until retirement. For now. But I have options! Maybe I’ll be that older woman going back to get a second degree so that I can learn more about the website/social media stuff. I could get a marketing degree. I could do business photography. I don’t know! There is whole world out there!

I love that my girls are seeing me do new things. I love that I can contribute to our household budget because Chris works so freakin’ hard. I love that I can pay down debt with money that is truly extra.  I love that I can put the Zulily app back on my phone and not feel bad looking at it every once in a while!!

Maybe I’ll become the new Joanna Gaines and have a curriculum/media/photography empire. People will make t-shirts!

Hey, everyone has to have a dream, right?

Full Disclosure

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Many of you have shown an interest in beginning a journey to a healthier life. I applaud you! I must, however, be completely honest about what you may encounter. In the first three weeks of this journey, when you cannot have more than 20 carbs a day, no one and nothing with be safe from your wrath. 

I’m serious. 

About midway through the second week of induction, I was walking up the stairs in my house. I was not angry. No one had done anything to irritate me. I was calm. By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I was enraged. ENRAGED. I went into my bedroom and almost put our laundry basket through the wall. For no reason.

As you go through carb withdrawal, which is really sugar detox, your brain goes a little crazy. Maybe a lot crazy. Please do not kick your cat or scream at your spouse. The fact that they can still eat bread is not their fault. Just breathe, and redirect your energy/outrage. Clean the top floor of your house. Detail your car. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. Whatever. Just try to make it through without harming members of your inner circle.

That being said, I promise it gets better. By the end of the third week, you will have lost pounds, gained energy, and that crap will have left your system. Then the real work, of actually changing your diet, can begin. If it helps, you can be mad at me. I can take it, and I understand. Plus, I’m far enough away from most of you to be physically safe. 

Please don’t think I’m preaching to you. You will never know how many times in my life I tried to do this before it worked. Countless. I promise. No , really. Just get some Atkins chocolate, and hang in there.

My Cup Runneth Over

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Before and after 🙂

It has been almost one full year since I began eating differently to try to manage my energy level. It was the first time I didn’t try to eat differently to lose weight, but to actually feel better. The weight loss has been a nice side effect, but it wasn’t the goal when I began. I can tell you, in my life I have probably tried every diet from cabbage soup to NutriSystem, and this is the only time in all these years that it has ever stuck. I think it is because I began looking at food in two separate categories: what makes me feel better and what makes me feel awful. When I started realizing that food could make me feel bad, i.e. tired, cranky, lethargic, etc., I started making better choices. Forty pounds later, I think I’m actually smaller now than I was in high school! I’m thankful that my husband was willing to support this crazy journey and eat the stuff that I put in front of him. He has been my biggest cheerleader!

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My beautiful babies

These two cuties are so amazing. My oldest will be a SENIOR next year (how the heck did that happen?) and my youngest just made the high school dance team (she will be a freshman next year). Oh. My. Gosh. Life is moving WAY to fast for me right now. I think my husband is even more freaked out than I am. He doesn’t like the thought of the baby girls getting bigger.

Life is sweet, and I’m so grateful for it. We have been through some trying times, but things are definitely on the up (knock on wood). I want to thank the lovely ladies on my Facebook board “I Can Eat That”. They have helped with my recipes and tips and encouragement while I’ve been on this food journey. I also want to say that the encouragement and positivity that I have found on my board “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” has been so instrumental in keeping a positive outlook. It’s so nice to have a group of ladies behind me building each other up and posting positive, uplifting things for each other to see during what might be a tough day.

I know this post isn’t written in my usual snarky tone, but I needed to take a minute to be sincerely grateful for the good things going on in my life and my family’s life.

I would love to hear comments from you guys. Post away!

Oh So Grateful

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Oh So Grateful

You know what sucks? Admitting your faults to yourself. Yep. I’m not perfect. *gasp* As a matter of fact, there are so many things that I need to work on, it would take several blogs to list them all. In the interest of my self esteem, we’re just going to focus on one- complaining.

I am the all-time champ at complaining. Traffic on the way home? Complain. Lady in front of me in line takes too long? Complain. Waitress doesn’t hoof it to our table fast enough? Complain. I can suck the joy out of almost any event, just give me a minute and I’ll find something to complain about.

The worst thing about this is that it becomes a habit. A horrible, miles-deep rut that you get stuck in. Unless you start to consciously combat the negativity, you’re going to be stuck forever. Well friends, I was STUCK. Stuck like Chuck. For yeeeaarrss. Ask anyone who knows me, and they can attest. So what to do?

What’s that old saying? The first step is admitting you have a problem. OK, I have a problem. Great, now what?  Well, writing has always been a catalyst for me, so let’s start there.  Enter this little gem-

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Gratitude-Journal-gold-dots/dp/1519127138/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1491827962&sr=8-15&keywords=gratitude+journal

I started writing in this every time that nasty urge to complain would rear its ugly head. It was hard at first to know what to write. Sometimes, I could only think to say “Thank you for my family” or “I’m grateful that I have a job to go to”. Gradually, I began to feel that angry, negative complaining urge was going away. I wouldn’t blow up as quickly when something didn’t go my way. I wouldn’t freak out in traffic and wish I had a brush guard on my Mazda.

Now, let’s not get it twisted, I still have my moments. And they can be doozies (just ask my hubby or my girls), but they are fewer and farther between. I still want to take people’s heads off sometimes, but I can say that the monkey on my back doesn’t have the hold he once had.

Eventually, I’ll shake that monkey off completely.

Haven’t done this in a while!

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I’ve been thinking about writing for some time, but I haven’t been sure what I wanted to say. What direction do I want this to take? Do I want to talk about teaching? Do I want  to talk about my family? Do I want to talk about my weight loss journey? Do I just want to make snarky comments about life in general?

Decisions, decisions.

So maybe we’ll start with a little bit of each and ease back into this blogging thing.

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Teaching: I’m on the downward slope of my 18th year of being a secondary English teacher, and I have to say, I finally found my way back to my love of this job. I don’t know if it is the school I work at, the people I work with, or medication, but whatever it is, it’s workin’ for me! I have a renewed sense of purpose, and I’m actually writing my own curriculum again. It’s been such a long time since I could muster up the interest in my subject to create a lesson for my students. Call it burnout, call it laziness, call it whatever you want, I’m just glad it’s finally gone. Like a cloud lifting. I even started implementing flexible, alternative seating options in my classroom thanks to generous donations from the parents of my students and my husband’s ability to fix anything. My classroom looks amazing, and I can’t wait until we move out of the portables and into the main building next year!

My family: My husband is AWESOME, and we are going to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this summer. He has had to travel quite a bit for work lately, but hopefully that will settle down soon enough. Our girls are 17 and 13, so we always have teenage girl drama at the house, but both make good grades, and are generally OK people to hang out with, so we feel like we haven’t completely messed them up. The oldest will be a senior next year, and she hates any mention of anything having to do with or resembling adulting. She hates driving as well. Apparently this is a common thing with kids her age. Weird. I couldn’t wait to get my license! The 13 year old will be trying out for the high school dance team at the end of this month, so pray for us all.

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Weight loss: On May 9th on last year, I decided to cut carbs in my diet. I have hypoglycemia, so carbs make me super tired anyway. I wanted to see if I could manage my low energy levels and tendency toward depression by changing my diet. I will tell you, I have tried EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink to lose weight in the past, but this time I was doing it for something else, and the weight loss was just a nice side effect. What a difference! When I started looking at the food as either fuel or poison, it finally clicked in my brain that I could eat whatever I wanted, but that didn’t mean I should. To date, I have lost 40 pounds, and I am thinner than I’ve been since before I had children, and I think thinner than I was in high school. It’s very cool to be able to buy new, smaller clothes, but it’s even better to feel good and awake at the end of the day.

I’m in such a good mood that I don’t have any snarky comments, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something soon, and I’ll be sure to share. 🙂