freeing containment

Yesterday I had my monthly therapy appointment.

Yup, I’m down to monthly.  This is a BIG DEAL for me since for a while I was going weekly. Truthfully there were times when I felt I could go every day.

My therapist has said I could just be “done” until I feel I need it again, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that.  The monthly visits make me feel like there is an accountability for me. It helps me know there is a check-in to make sure I am maintaining and managing my anxiety, depression, and OCD.

In fact, yesterday the first thing Dr. M asked me was “So how has going back to school gone for you?”

I have been seeing Dr. M for about two years now. She is awesome at her job and knows when my yearly meltdowns typically occur.  This is the first time in years that I haven’t had weekly appointments during this time of year to help me manage the big shift in schedule.

And it was fine.

I told Dr. M that it was going great.  And I wasn’t lying or sugar-coating anything.

Yes, I have had a couple slips, but Cortney and I recognized them quickly and we worked to “contain” (that is what Dr. M calls it) my anxiety.

In fact, this fall is busier than ever for me, but I am doing well with it all.  Dr. M says that this is because I have set up a containment strategy for myself.

I know that working three jobs (teaching high school, teaching college, and freelancing) plus taking two classes, PLUS wanting to be a quality parent and wife AND help keep my house from being condemned would have been way too much for me in the past.

But this year, because I really love all of the things I have taken on and I want to be successful, I devised a schedule for myself.  One that I have shared with Cortney and that is printed and on my desk and school and taped into my blog/freelance planner at home.  It looks like this:

KatiesSchedule

To some people this might look like I am putting myself in a box, and I guess I sort of am. I mean, the schedule is shaped like a box.

But for me it’s incredibly freeing.

Because I have so many things I have to work on at any given moment, I can get overwhelmed and shut down and forget how to prioritize. I also have the tendency to prioritize certain things right out of my life like family time or sleep.  This is problematic for my mental health since lack of down time (and sleep) are major triggers for my anxiety and depression.

If I don’t have set times when things get done, I also tend to procrastinate which further exacerbates my anxiety.

I realized a couple weeks ago that in order to feel free, I needed to box myself in.

So I created the above schedule.  Not only does it keep me focused, but it tells me what to do in each “work time” slot. For instance in the “school planning” areas I ONLY do school planning.  No blogging or freelancing.  That is what the evenings are for.

It also helps me to realize that if I am sent a possible freelance assignment, but because of the date assigned and the date due, I won’t be able to write on a Sunday? I won’t take that assignment.

This schedule makes us go device-free for time every. single. day.  It makes sure I am being present for my husband and kids each day.

Because of all the open family time on the weekends, we are flexible for putting fun things on the calendar or for tackling house tasks.

I also have the opportunity to look forward and say, “I didn’t get all the essays graded I needed to, but I have time tomorrow to do it again.”

I realize at first glance it’s easy to say, “but you have ever single minute of your life SCHEDULED!” But if you look closely, you will see that I have scheduled the unscheduled as well.

The other benefits to this is that it puts our whole family into a sort of predictable routine which has been wonderful for Eddie and Charlie and has made communication between Cortney and myself much better.  We share bedtime duty with Eddie so it’s not a same-day decision.  It’s expected that I will be gone during nap on Sundays to go work at Starbucks on my writing, so no one is being resentful of that time.

Our weekends have been much more fulfilling and happy since we started this schedule, as have our evenings.

I don’t think this sort of box-style scheduling is for everyone, but it is definitely what is working for me and my famly right now.

cautiously optimistic

I have always said resolutions are stupid.

They always sound so…stock. Hackneyed.  Trite.  Unoriginal.  And then? They are forgotten before January is over.

There is a reason gyms give you the first month free.  They know you’ll be lured in with “free”, then pay for more because “free” rocked, but then never come back.  Easy money.

So for the 35th year in a row I wasn’t going to make a single resolution.  It’s not that I am perfect or that there aren’t aspects that can’t be worked on, but well, I don’t enjoy setting myself up for failure.

I don’t like to be called a pessimist, by the way.  I don’t just assume everything bad will happen.  I prefer the label “cautiously optimistic.” I mean, my glass is half-empty because I drank the first half, not because life sucks.  I like to believe the waitress will probably come back and refill it.  But she might not.  And I will be prepared for that disappointment and be happy for that delicious first half while looking forward to the half I have left.

2013 is the year I will turn 35.  For some reason that is already bringing some serious introspection to my brain.  But with this new year and this big birthday, I am feeling cautiously optimistic.

I have, in fact, let myself resolve on some specific plans of action.  That’s right…I made some resolutions this year.

First, I have been thinking a lot about this blog.

Next week Sluiter Nation will get a shiny new look.  I’m working on making my pages match without looking too similar.  I am reworking my About Section so that besides giving our story in a nutshell, it also effectively spells out my intent for this space: To be a legacy.  To be the stories of our life when we are no longer here.

My resolutions for this space are to tell our stories honestly.  To put more of our beliefs and practices here for our children to know about.  To talk more openly about topics I wish my parents had talked about with us…or at least written down for us to pour over as adults.  To remember that when I write about us, I am writing about US. It has nothing to do with what others think of me/us or what they choose to do.  To be honest anyway.

I’ve also been thinking about my job and my education.

Today I applied for another Master’s Program.  I already have a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education with a major in English and minor in Spanish.  I also have a Master’s Degree in English with an Emphasis on Teaching.  This program would give me a Master’s in Educational Technology/Media Center Specialty.  Not only is technology something I am interested in, it will also open a few more options for me in my field be it training other teachers or moving from the classroom into the Media Center someday.

Most importantly it will help me get the 30 credits needed to get to the top of my pay scale at work, which my family desperately  needs.

I applied to begin in the fall of 2013, so that gives me time to figure out financial stuff and put away some bucks so we can afford to pay for it.  Also, the classes are almost all online, so I won’t have to spend more physical time away from my family than I already do.

Of course, my relationships have been on  my mind too.

I want to spend more quality time with my friends.  It’s not that I need to go out more or pack more into my busy schedule, but I do want to spend time with those who are important to me.  I have a handful of close girl friends who I just want to get coffee with once in a while.  Or lunch on a Saturday.  It doesn’t have to be hours and hours. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate play date.  I just want time to chat and catch up.

I want to date my husband.  I miss being alone with him.  Alone in a restaurant or a movie or out shopping.  Getting in an out of the car without unbuckling car seats or lifting babies.  Having a conversation that isn’t interrupted.  Saying the inappropriate thing we are both thinking, but can’t say in front of the littles.  And then giggle madly about it.

Lastly, I have been thinking about me.

I need to find time to spoil myself.  And not with coffee treats or cookies.  That just ends up making me feel bad about myself.  No, instead of eating my feelings, I need to use some of the bits of money I make here and there with freelance writing and ad revenue and treat myself to a pedicure.  Or go to the library to actually just read.  Or let myself buy that pair of skinny jeans I am afraid of, but really REALLY want.

Not because I met some goal or resolution, but because I need to like myself. I need to remember how it feels to just be Katie.  To just smile about things that are a wee bit selfish because they make me happy for me.

I need to feel better about me.  Maybe that means cleaning up my diet even more or taking the time to hit the gym or maybe it just means going to bed a bit earlier.

Maybe it’s all of these things and more.  But this year I will try those things and find what makes me feel good.  I will pay attention to my mind and body and learn to take on or turn down opportunities depending on what my gut (and tear ducts) say.

And I will moisturize.  Because dang it, I am sick of dry hands, feet, and elbows.

2013 is going to be great.

I am cautiously optimistic about it.

2013 looks pretty good from here.

2013 looks pretty good from here.

Syndicate? No, SEND-A-KATE!

Let me start this by saying I am not asking for your money.  Cool?  No money is being asked for here. Ok?  Ahem.  Anyway….

my BlogHer jar

 

 

It’s official.

Cortney bought me a ticket to BlogHer in San Diego at the beginning of August.

And that is as far as the Sluiters can go with funding this huge endeavor.  That is why every post I have syndicated on BlogHer (three so far!  Dang!) and every sponsored post you see on this blog?  Is money going toward my trip.

Even though I believe in my writing ability?  I know it’s probably not possible for me to save up the close to $1000 I will need to make this trip happen in that small of increments.

So I have applied for some help.

One that is for a sponsorship through a company is announcing this weekend.  With over 200 applicants, it’s sort of a long shot, so we will see.

The other is for a grant through Mom Central–a $2000 grant to be exact.  My application was accepted and right now, on faceboook contest apps, they are holding public voting.  Voting is open until April 15 and people can vote once every 24 hours.

To vote for me, click here and then click the big, green VOTE button.  It’s that easy.  Every 24 hours.

Clearly if I win this grant, I will get more money than I need to go to BlogHer.  With whatever is left, I plan to take a writing course and put the rest into The Red Dress Club. I believe that ever since I began linking up with their prompts, I have been producing better writing, and since becoming one of the hostesses?  A whole new world has opened to me.  I credit those ladies with pushing me to be the best writer I can.

I really need to get to BlogHer.  I want to be a better blogger.

Oh, and Nichole, Natalie, and Tonya will be mad if I drop out of our roomie pact.

So please?  Vote for me every 24 hours!

And if you love Thirty-One and all their SUPER cute stuff?  You can go shop now!  I am having an online party!  Click here and go over to “my events” on the right and choose to “shop” at Katie Sluiter’s party!  I would really, REALLY love if you did.

it’s all about me

Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight.

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I am busy.

I am up and out of the house by 6:45am each morning  (earlier if there is a meeting or bad weather threatening my commute).

I teach from 7:30-2:30 with no planning period and only 25 minutes for lunch.

There are usually students in my classroom from 2:30 until around 4:00 working on absent work, getting help, or retaking failed tests.

It’s difficult for me to get out of the door by 4:30pm so that I can be home in time for Cort to leave for his night class.

And once I am home, I am in charge of Eddie until bedtime at 8:00pm

Me time?  Is hard to come by these days. At least not without loads of mom guilt with it.

But if there is one thing I have learned from my ppd support groups, it’s that if I want to continue my healing, I have to cut out some me time every single day.

So every day, after I tuck Eddie into bed but before Cort gets home from class, I take my laptop and cuddle into my big brown chair.

My laptop is my me time when I am at home.  It’s where I read and connect and write.  I can get lost for an hour  in chatting with my friends and writing what’s on my heart.

I have found that my at home me time is not always enough though.  You see, other than when Cort has class?  I am never alone in our house.

Since Cort is unemployed and Eddie is a toddler, when I have days off from school?  They are here with me.

I have to carve out “away” me time too.  For my sanity.

That is why at least once a month I try to carve out a Friday night with friends.

To be honest?  I always dread the night out.

Not when I plan it…then I am excited about it.

But as it approaches I start to dread my time away.  The mom guilt and the wife guilt set in.  I worry about being too tired and not any fun.

I am always, ALWAYS wrong.

Getting out of the house with my girls is always good for me.  It reminds me that I am not just a mom.  I am not just a wife.  I am a friend too.  And I am Kate.

When I am reminded of who I am?  I am a better mom…and wife.

How do you find time for yourself?  Do you get the mom guilt thrown at you too?

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Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

McFatty…er McHottie Pants…Monday

Last week a few of you expressed concern that by calling myself a McFatty, I was being too down on myself.  I will have to direct you to the lovely Heir to Blair for the name of this lovely meme.  It is her creation.  I don’t really think of it as CALLINNG myself a McFatty necessarily, but talking about McFatty-ish issues.

That being said, I have lost another pound!  Woot!  I am now at 195 which is ELEVEN pounds down from the beginning of the year when I was 206 (ouch, holiday food.  just ouch).  That means I have lost 5.34% of my body weight.  Yay!

I have to say I am a bit surprised.

This week we had two snow days, which for me equals sitting around eating cheese balls all day.  We also had Taco Bell one night (yes, I know…not real meat.  I can’t help it, it’s yummy fake meat).

And the biggest cause of bloat?  It’s Lady Week here in Sluiter Nation.

But I still managed to be down a pound.

Besides the cheese balls and taco bell, I have been drinking WAY more water and been WAY better about my portion size.  So even though there was junk in the week, it was controlled junk.  Which is a step, right?  RIGHT?

I’ve also done a couple sit-ups this week.  Just a couple.  To remind myself how much I hate sit-ups.  I don’t think those helped the weight-loss…they just reminded me of how out of shape I am.

I am getting excited about exercise though!  I talked with my aunt this weekend about a gym Cort and I have been talking about joining.  It’s only $30 for one person and then $15 more for an extra member of the family.  So for $45 a month BOTH of us would have access to some great, clean equipment and a pool and classes (for just a bit extra) at a location that is only about an 8 minute drive away.

This is now on my wish list for this spring…a gym membership!

So there you go.  This week I will continue to try to make good choices with my portion control and my meal-planning, and continue my quest to be the McHottie that I know I am!

Wish me luck!

**Tomorrow’s Top Ten Tuesday will be the Top Ten Things I Could Do Without.  Join in!

McFatty Monday

Here we are again.  Monday.

Last week I skipped McFatty in lieu of doing For the Love…Of Blogging.

No more skipping.  I’m back to laying it out there for you all.

This week I weighed in at 196.5–two pounds lighter than two weeks ago!  Yay!

I’m still struggling with this journey, to be honest with you.

Last week in my therapy session, I admitted that I knew I would feel better–healthier–if I could find time to exercise.  I miss going to the gym.

Before I got pregnant with Eddie in 2008, I was going to the gym regularly and eating much healthier meals.  I was losing weight and feeling really good about myself.

While pregnant with Eddie, I continued to work out and eat great.

Since starting this weight battle again, my eating habits have improved.  A typical day for me looks like this:

Breakfast: cereal with 2% milk and coffee

Lunch: a fruit, a cheese stick, a fiber one bar, water, and some sort of healthy meal (usually leftovers from dinner).

Afternoon: a diet coke or coffee

Dinner: a protein, a small portion of carbs, and a veggie (sometimes fruit too), and water

I have stopped eating snacks in the evening opting for more water.  I have also been being better about taking my multivitamin, my calcium, and my vitamin D sup.

But I can’t find time to move my booty.

So I asked my therapist if she thought I should give up the hour I spend blogging and writing each evening after Eddie goes to bed, and instead spend it on the treadmill.

She told me, “absolutely not.”

Her reasoning is that being here, on the blog, is the way I verbalize…it’s the way I work through my thoughts when I am not in her office.

It’s important to my MENTAL health.

We agreed that until my schedule allows me to do both blogging and exercising, blogging needs to be a priority–especially since I am eating and sleeping better (which is obviously having a positive effect already).

That doesn’t mean that I won’t still be looking for room in my schedule to occasionally walk or run or do yoga, but I am not allowed to stress out about not doing it.

As long as I am making good choices, the rest will follow.  Exercise will come when my schedule opens up.

You all can hold me to that.

Tomorrow’s Top Ten Tuesday will be my Top Ten Causes that I Support.  I hope you will join in and share the causes you believe in too.  Plus?  We have a snazzy new button!  Yay!

Back on the McFatty Wagon

Well, first Monday of 2011.  Here we are.

I promised that I would start back up on McFatty since the reasons I quit doing it are all gone.

My evenings are not stressy anymore (or shouldn’t be).  I let go of teaching at the community college for this semester since it was driving my anxiety levels sky-high.  Plus, Cortney will be gone four nights a week for class/bowling, and this way I will be home each evening with Eddie.

That being said, I can make better meals for us.

So for this week’s McFatty I am giving you some facts and goals.

Fact: I am back up to my original weight of 198 from before I started McFatty the first time.  (Thank you cream cheese-based dips and sugary treats over Christmas break).

Fact:  BOTH medications I take are anti-weight loss.  Awesome.  I’m not pregnant or depressed, but I AM fat.

Fact: We own a treadmill but I can’t remember the last time I was on it.

Fact:  I do not have to work in the evenings anymore, but Cort won’t be home three of the four nights for dinner.

That is what I have to work with this semester.

With that said, here are my goals:

Goal: to lose 10 pounds (or more) before school lets out June 2.

Goal: to wean off one medication (not the one preventing pregnancy) before the end of 2011.

Goal: to get back to running a full mile on the treadmill at least 3 times a week.

Goal: to cook a good (meaning meat, veggie, carb, fruit) dinner at least 3 times a week with enough for leftovers the other nights/lunches–even if it’s just me and Eddie eating the meal together.

I also plan to adjust these goals as I see success or struggles.  For instance, if I find myself losing 10 pounds by February?  Clearly I will not just say “ok, I’m done” when I so have more weight to lose!

So there we go.  My McFatty plan for 2011.

What is your plan?  Any tips for my goals?

Also?  Tomorrow is Top Ten Tuesday: the Ten things I WILL make happen in 2011 (not resolutions.  I am resolving nothing.)

Why it’s Called McFATTY

If you are into punctuation and the art of editing your writing?  I am getting all English teachery over at The Red Dress Club today.  Take a read.

______________________________________________________________________________________

First of all, I am not unaware of the hullabaloo this article has created all over the internet.

It makes me crabby that someone cares more about overweight people kissing on TV than the fact that they have everyone constantly making fat jokes about it all.

Something is wrong there, people.

Where were all these grossed out people when Rosanne was getting frisky with Dan 20 years ago?

Oh wait, people liked it because it was REAL.

Anyway, I am a REAL person and I am overweight at 191 pounds (yes, I went up a pound.  I blame the Halloween candy).  I am 5’7″ (roughly) and 191 pounds.  That is way overweight.

And you know what? To my knowledge?  No one has ever gagged or thrown up in their mouth when Cort and I smootch on each other.  I mean, if I have ever offended someone by holding my husband’s hand or kissing him, well, then…TOO BAD!

My point is that people who crab about fat people?  Need to shut up.  That is my McFatty lecture for the day.  There is more that I could add, but really?  I don’t think it needs to be said.

Publicly bashing fat people for grossing you out?  is hurtful. Just don’t look.

And now?  Back to me (because that is what it is really about yes?)

So I mentioned that I gained a pound.  I blame this:

This used to be full. And we only had like 6 trick or treaters. oops.

I am not even going to post on here in all of public how many bags of candy we went through..BY. OURSELVES.

It’s ugly.

And I am just thanking my McFatty stars that i only gained a pound.

Anyway, this week while I was battling with myself not to eat yet another “fun sized” treat, my friend “The Rocky Mountain Mama” informed me that she does a Meal Planning Monday.  I thought this fit pretty well with McFatty Monday since besides telling you all what I weigh, I am struggling to make better food choices.

For us, meal-planning starts on Sunday–before Cort goes and gets the groceries for the week.

First we decide together what would be a yummy meal for Tuesday night–the one night a week we get to eat as a family.

This week we decided on baked chicken with rice (recipe to follow).  Then I make the list and dig through my coupon holder to match up with what we are buying.  Before finalizing the list, I flip through the Meijer sales flier for the week to see if they have anything listed on sale that we could stock up on or use in lunches.

After all that, I add anything else we need in the house like TP or dish soap.

Lastly we think about what we will eat on the nights we are apart.  I usually eat PB sandwiches on wheat bread.

And that is it.  Cort takes a look at the list to make sure he knows what I am talking about, then he gathers up the Meijer reusable bags and the coupons and he is gone for an hour.

That’s it.

This week’s dinner:

Baked Chicken with Rice

2 cups of minute rice (I use brown)

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1 can of cream of celery soup

1 can of golden mushroom soup

1 package of dried onion soup (I use Lipton)

1.5 cans of water

**mix above together and spread in a greased 9×13 glass baking dish

**Put chicken (can be in bone, but I use 3 or 4 skinless breasts) on top

Bake for about 2 hours at 350 degrees

I like this recipe because we will have leftovers that I can take in my lunch.

We also usually have a veggie of some sort with this.  This week we are having corn.

So there you have it!  Hopefully I can make better choices now that the candy is almost gone from our house!

Want to link up for more meal plans? Click below:

Meal Planning Monday

Want more of McFatty Monday?  Click below:

Also? Tomorrow is Top Ten Tuesdays here in Sluiter Nation.  We are listing our Top Ten Favorite Children’s Books!  Join in!

McFatty Monday…some progress

Once again I am here to share my results of the past week in my quest to be less of a tub more healthy.

This week is full of good news! 

First of all, I weighed in at 193 this week!  That is 5.5 pounds less than last week.

Now, before you start congratulating me, I must say I think this is due to a few things.

For one, I failed to mention in last week’s McFatty post that some of my extra weight last time was maybe most definitely due to that womanly thing that happens every month.  I was ALL sorts of bloated.

So this week, I noticed my pants fasten a little easier.  In fact Friday night at the homecoming game, I found myself constantly pulling up my capri pants so that i wouldn’t moon the whole dang home side.

I also lowered my calorie intake.  You all totally confirmed my suspicions that 2100/day is just too much. I am now at a goal of 1700/day.  It’s a LOT harder to stay in that limit, I am finding!  In fact, I went over twice this week.  Oops.

Also this week Saturday I did the Susan G Koman Race for the Cure 5k.  I’ll blog more about that later, but that was 3.2 miles of walking/running that allowed me to have two bites of Eddie’s cupcake at a birthday party later that night…and STILL stay under my caloric goal for the day!  WOOT!

I must pause here and thank Kristin for all her help with making over my breakfasts.  Eggs, wheat toast, and yogurt with granola have been keeping me happy until lunch for sure!  This week I am making over my lunches.  Trying to add some more healthy proteins to get me through the rest of the day.  And as always?  I am doing my best to drink more water and less, well, less of everything else. 

(Although this has been a BAD week for sweet, delicious coffee drinks.  They are my rewards for things, people, and I cannot quit them).

I’ll keep you all updated if I find anything particularly wonderful for lunch.  I am sure I will.  Kristin posted some yummy ideas, and I am excited!

And of course I must give the lovely Blair big ups for creating this lovely way of keeping myself in check!  Go check out her McFatty update.  And of course the rest of them here along with the button so that you too can join in on McFatty Mondays if you so desire!.

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