Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Anti-Zen Exercise Routine

You know what's not relaxing?

Yoga when your kids are home.

I have a half marathon in a few weeks that I'm not all that excited about running. Back in October when I signed up, I was super trained, pretty fast and feeling great. And I was pumped. I would've ran that sub 2:00 half easily and with zeal. That was 7 months ago. A lot can happen in 7 months.

Winter happened. The longest and most snowy winter Reno has seen in ages. I ran in the wind and cold temps and eventually became bored of it all. And slower. I'm not sure I'm the type to be a long distance runner and I definitely have no desire to ever run a full (though I'm so amazed at my friends who do and love keeping up with them!). The 5-7 mile range is definitely my happy zone. A few weeks ago, my IT band started giving me problems and I'm seriously convinced that runners are always injured. I've had a groin pull and this IT band issue now and I've only been consistently running for a couple years.

For two weeks now, I haven't ran at all. Instead of my long runs, I've been spinning for an hour (bonus, I get to watch TV!) three times a week followed by 20 minutes of abs and stretching and doing 30-60 minutes of yoga the other two weekdays through Amazon Prime. I'm hoping with all this stretching and resting from running that my upcoming half won't be a total disaster. Whatever it is, I will run that race in completion, even if it takes me 25% longer than I was originally trained to run. 13.1 miles are 13.1 miles no matter how long it takes you.

My neighbor even commented on my "abs" the other day that she could allegedly see protruding from my shirt (which I totally doubt because I have open diastasis). From the right angles before eating anything, I can pull off a unicorn ab or two.

But back to the main focus. Practicing yoga that I'm only average at while my kids are building forts around me and traipsing on my mat and periodically yelling at one another really doesn't give me that whole namaste feeling. For reals.

We do yoga together, but you know the attention span of preschoolers-- it's minimal. They start and then stop within a few minutes and then carry on with their chaos.

Maybe this is why all the moms at preschool have gym memberships.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Itching.

I'm going back to work this fall. I'm not sure what I'll be doing or if I'll even have a job, but the kids are going full time and I'll be free to join the working class once again.

As much as I'm grateful for the 5+ years I've spent being home with my kids, I'm so ready (more if you count our Germany experience and sub teaching during my entire pregnancies with my two boys).

In fact, I'm antsy. I'm finding myself counting down the months until that will be my new reality. (I know, the grass is always greener and some people would kill to have my position!) I love my kids, I do. But, as they grow more self-sufficient, I find myself seeking intellectually challenging life outside the home. It could be that I'm also watching my husband in a job that he just loves and talks about how "fun" it is to work there and how it's more intellectually stimulating than his last two jobs. Gimme a piece of that. I'll take what he's having.

The thing is, I wouldn't take a day back of this full time mothering experience, despite knowing I'd be further advanced in my career and with options galore. Because what I did do when I chose to be at SAHM for those years, was shelf those advancements, pension... and contacts. I have zero recent or relevant networking to my name. All of my professional contacts are at least 4+ years old. It doesn't help that we've moved twice and plan to move once more before I officially find myself back on campus.

Teaching is an interesting career. It semi-favors parents, because you can leave and return with relatively little risk, but when it comes to switching states, that's not entirely the case. Each state, though "reciprocal" as they claim, favors their own. For whatever reason, the candidate who was educated through their system, attended their in-state university and student taught in their zip codes has the upper hand in the process. People, even at educational institutions, favor familiarity. It's more comfortable (and easier) to compare their needs, interests and even personal hobbies with someone who has been on their turf the longest. They're a presumed easier fit and even truer, an unlikely flight risk (which admittedly, I am).

It's been 11 years since I first interviewed for a teaching position. Recently, I went through the screener interview (with the only district I'll consider in Arizona). If I'm being honest, it wasn't my best interview. There were 12 questions and I aced 11 of them, but that 12th was a total brain drain for me. I drew a complete blank. I'm definitely rusty on the interviewing front and that was likely evident. (Forgive me, as I spend my days repetitiously reading the same Mo Willems stories.)

The mediocre interview was for the district my kids will attend school and frankly, I feel uncomfortable having my long-ago network of employers and colleagues writing recommendations for the laundry list of districts that exist. I'm a hustler, but I don't expect my retired boss from 2006-2008 to have emails blowing up her computer. I've chosen to stick with one district. If it means I'll be a substitute for the first year or so, great. Being an elementary teacher is one of the most sought-after teaching positions around and the shortages are in the least desirable positions. Perhaps I should've considered that when getting my degree in K-8!

For the record, I spoke with the hiring coordinator for the district and she assured me that contracts aren't due for awhile and she requested that if I did get a job elsewhere, to let them know so I could be removed from their list (which obviously means my totally bombed question didn't eliminate me from the pool entirely, but I'm not naive to assume I'm anywhere near the top of the list of those 60+ interviewees).

I guess substitute teaching won't be so bad, anyway. I will be able to make my own schedule for awhile, as my kids will have unique needs in the beginning of this new journey (i.e. early dismissal) and it will allow me to learn a lot more about the area, district, and create those networking contacts I desperately need to update. I'll just have to set my ego aside and enjoy the ride. I'm sure before long I'll be reminiscing about those carefree park days with my friends and lamenting having to pack lunches for the whole family every single day, except the husband, who lives the #dotcom life and has catered meals every day.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Products I USED to Hate...

But now I love!

Seriously, I tried these three products semi-recently and they all sat there in closets quickly after, not catching my attention until I tried them all again. You can say they were an acquired taste, I guess, like beer or coffee. I truly don't know what my deal is, but now I can't get enough.

Somehow I found myself using all three items in the last few days and connected my hate-then-love relationship I had with each and figured my writer's block can be cured (hah) by posting these to my blog. Also, I love reading what people like, so here's my short list.


Yankee Candle Sage & Citrus Scent: If you like a musky smell, this is definitely in that category. I wouldn't go as far to say the candle smells like sage or citrus (though I love both and both scents), but it's definitely something I'm loving right now. It's a bit masculine (if a scent can have a gender anyway... eye roll).

Little Secrets Peppermint Dark Chocolate Candies: These are better quality m&ms for sure. At first, I was hoping for... m&m flavor. But then, as I savored each one (after shelving them for a couple months in between my first impression and second-- now obsessed), I loved the flavors and texture. No artificial anything and fair trade cocoa. And they're available at regular grocery stores and Whole Foods. Kinda thinking teacher gifts possibly. To go along with the Whole Foods soaps I already bought and a box of yummy tea.

Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub Skin Buffer for Men: The name is stupid, because what makes it gender specific? But anyway, if you can get past that part and get past the first wash or two, then it will grow on you. The first two scrubs with the light exfoliation were rather unpleasant, in fact. I hated the smell. I'm not really sure how to describe it, but it ends with a light menthol scent and cooling feel and is more of a neutral scent without the additional musky smell most "male" personal products tend to possess. But now? I literally find myself looking forward to my mini spa facial in the shower each night. It's not cheap, so maybe that's why I love it a little more (you know, because it's so expensive that you (I) automatically assume something has more value). The little things.

Anyone else have any products that took a little adjusting but they ended up loving after awhile? Link me up to them!

And... what about teacher gifts? What are you guys doing? School ends next month for most of the country, so the time is coming!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

No Shortage of Places to Live

We're currently under contract for three different rental properties.

I'm sitting here in Reno in our perfect-fit rental with all the upgrades we want, just enough space and the ideal price point that makes you feel less uncomfortable about throwing away the equity. The kicker is that Elliot isn't working in the state of NV anymore, so we're merely here to finish up school and get things packed and moved.

During weekday evenings and during our family spring break trip to Tempe, Arizona last week, our one-bedroom rental there is occupied, but typically it's only Elliot as he travels each week for work. It's mostly empty, but during spring training, we needed to procure a rental because the hotel rates skyrocketed to multiple hundreds of dollars per night. It's really just for sleeping and for securing spots for school for the fall because they required an AZ address that we didn't previously possess. It's served us well for the 3-month lease we wanted, but we're looking forward to a bigger place outside the university center life soon.

And then there's the house we just signed the lease for in Scottsdale, AZ. It's about as big as the two aforementioned combined and has a pool-- something we swore we'd never have (unless we moved to FL or AZ). I've never seen it, but Elliot gives it a thumbs up, so we're in.

In case you didn't gather, we're making another move, but this time to the border state of Arizona. It's an 11+ hour drive (to match our total of 11 months in NV) and we made it once already, so one of our cars remains in Tempe while the other is here with myself and the kids. On Memorial Day weekend, we will bid farewell to Reno as we look ahead to full time school for both kids starting in August... in a new state again.

The story is simple and in short, we never wanted to leave Reno, but we're adventurers and a cool, unexpected job opportunity grabbed us away from the beloved mountains once again and here we are back on our journey, this time to the Sonoran Desert.

I'm not quite sure what's possessing us to move during the extreme temperatures of the desert at their peak, but that pool is about to come in handy BIG time. Expect instagram pictures to be on overload with backyard pool pictures starting approximately June 1. #becausearizona #abouttobuystockinsunscreen

Any AZ natives out there and want to give us tips on how to A. Not melt, B. Keep our energy bills low(er) and C. Recommendations in general about your favorite local hangouts, we're up for hearing all about it!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chit-Chat with Ben + Claire

Me: Do you want to take a bath?
C: Yeah, but a short bath. Not a long bath.
Me: Why not a long bath?
C: Because my fingers will get lines on them.

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B: [Sigh] OH. That guy is smoking.
Me: Where? In that truck?
B: Yeah. But it's okay, because he's a grandpa.

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C: Um, hey Mommy. When I'm four, I can, um... drive the car.
Me: Silence {and big eye emoji}