Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Money language..

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows that Jeff 's money minded nature can't help but find its way into our married life. He is always harping on me about how much money I have spent. He jokes that I was raised with no concept of how money works. I am not sure that is true or fair ,but Jeff and I definitely have different approaches to handling money, and the budget. I am a "seize the day, you only live once, let's just do it and think about the consequences later". Jeff is  of the " we have this much money, don't spend more." and the "you do only live once and but one day we want to retire, right?" This difference in how we handle money is a source of comedy in our marriage ,but it is also the underlying cause for strife. Jeff feels heard and loved when I attempt to manage our money and spend according to the guidelines we've decided on together. I think many people think he dictates to me what I can and can't spend. That is not the truth. We have gone through how much we spend on average on things like groceries, entertainment. etc. However,  I tend to forget this when I have reached the end of the month and I want to spend money on say..going on with some girlfriends for a drink:)
Last night we had a good talk about the things I need to feel heard and loved. As I rambled off the list of things that Jeff doesn't do, I couldn't help but examine the things I do not do. When I spend without thinking of the ramifications it will have on our budget, it is saying to someone like Jeff that I don't care. Sometimes we get nit picky about the things we aren't feeling from one another. Why can't he call me to just say hi, why are all his calls about "What did you spend $22.30 at Target for?" He probably thinks, "Why did you spend money at Target when we just talked about not spending money last night?" I have made a renewed commitment to Jeff, and our marriage, to focus on things that are important to him. To show him I respect his wisdom and decision making in this area of our lives. He is far wiser and I wouldn't want that responsibility. I respect the fact that Jeff carries a significant amount of the burden when it comes to worrying about our financial stability. This is what the man does for a living. In fact, it is one of the characteristics that I love about my husband. I love that he is great at math and numbers. God knew what he was doing when he hooked this math and budget challenged girl up with an accountant.
Twelve years into our marriage, we are still figuring out how to navigate this area of our lives. I found an inventory that was given to each of us during our pre-marital counseling. It asked each of us where we were struggle with one another. Our answers are so interesting and somewhat humorous to me, because twelve years later, the are EXACTLY the same. At the end of the day, despite how frustrating marriage can be, it is far more of a blessing. I am lucky to have a man like Jeff as a partner. He is kind, he is generous, he is smart, he is wise. Ironically, Jeff just called and said this past month was one of the best for us as far as staying in budget..maybe there is hope for us, ahem..me, yet:)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Old habits die hard..

I am still on my diet. I am still losing weight. In fact, I am nearly to my lowest post surgery weight. Go me! But, I am continuing to realize what a mental game this weight loss crap is and really life changes in general. I am the queen of thinking I have mastered or conquered something in my life that is a stumbling block and then, in what seems like moments ,I have reverted back to the behavior that got me into the mess in the first place. Take for example what I have been referring to a the "peanut butter sandwich incident". Last weekend I worked. I love, love, love my job but working weekends is tough on my soul, my resolve, my body. I feel that all I do is work and sleep and try and cram some sustenance in. I am just trying to keep my head above water most weekends. Last weekend I did not do my usual prep for the diet. No veggies were sliced, no cabbage/meat stew (my favorite meal on this diet) was prepared, no chicken sausage in the fridge. What was there was a big ol' package of white bread and a Sam's club size container of JIF. What happened next was I awoke on Saturday, a mere two hours after a laid my weary head down, starving and before I knew it I was MAKING A PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH ON WHITE BREAD! I took two bites and then was overcome with such a sense of  WHAT THE WHAT are you DOING?! I threw it away and took the two extra minutes it required to make one of my package ideal protein foods. I went back to bed, somewhat satisfied and definitely laughing at what a diet and really, life dork I am. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am the kind of person that, every.single.day. has to decide to do the right thing. I want the easy way out. I don't naturally want to work at anything. I want to be a better mom, wife, friend, dieter, human but only if it is easy. The path of least resistance is paved with peanut butter apparently! Susan Simpson, she doesn't really want to work to hard at it.  The reality is that when I don't put effort into anything I value, like my health, my marriage, my children, I sow no seeds. The soil lies parched and any dull wind threatens to blow it all away. I have realized through this specific journey with dieting, and especially in this season of my life, how much our mind controls even the smallest actions. My mind wants to trick me into thinking, "Just have that damn sandwich, it doesn't matter." But, it does matter. Old habits will die hard and you won't be able to teach an old dog new tricks if you don't fight for it.
When I began this diet plan, I had no intentions of going past September. I am proud to say I have reached the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the summer. I actual set a goal and completed it. But, in achieving this goal, I have realized how much my mind wants to limit my body. My Ideal protein coach made a great point when we met this week. She basically said, "Your head wants to keep you at a certain weight, a certain size, your heart and your body can blow that out of the water. " Amen, sister! In these last six months before I turn 40, I want to blow the old Susan Azzaro Simpson out of the water. I want to challenge her to become more than she could ever imagine. I want to see how we can not only improve her health, her body and her fitness level ,but also how we can change those toxic ways of thinking and in turn acting.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Caroline, age 8

When I was little I so loved the Beverly Cleary "Ramona" books. I especially loved "Ramona Quimby, Age 8". I think I loved Ramona so because I could relate and identify with her. She was spunky, she was creative, she was mischievous and spicy and she wanted so badly to be loved and understood for exactly who she was. My Caroline, who will be 8 on October 12th, is my own personal "Ramona". Caroline is spunky and sweet, fiercely independent, tremendously creative and a talented artist. She is driven and will never take no for an answer. As I have admitted even recently, this has been,at times,  a source of great strife for me. I think, with Caroline and me, we collide sometimes because we are one in the same. It seems it is a constant battle of the wills which can get pretty ugly when you have two ladies who know their minds and relentlessly hold onto to our stances to the bitter end. Still, even with the struggles, I am so very grateful to have been blessed with such a force as Caroline. She is complicated, and I appreciate that. Caroline isn't easily won over or convinced but once you have her heart, her friendship, her love, she is fiercely loyal. She has never been a girl who needs to have lots of friends surrounding her and rather chooses her friends thoughtfully. I love watching Caroline compete in soccer. This is where her competitive and determined nature truly shines. She will accomplish whatever she sets her mind to. I am so hopeful and look forward to all the wonderful things Caroline will be able to do with her gifts. Counseling began over a month ago and has been wonderful for her. We are all learning skills to help her have a better handle on her emotions and reactions to others and most importantly she is learning to love herself, a gift I am sure will only continue to serve her well. She has a wonderful second great teacher who I believe "gets" her and is allowing Caroline to be herself. I am so thankful. Eight years ago when Caroline was delivered via c-section, she literally was brought out of my body screaming crying and then she suddenly stopped and had one eye closed and the other seemed to be eyeing me, like she was taking us and especially me in. I remember thinking at the time that it seemed unusual that a newborn baby would take appraisal of her surroundings. I like to think she was thinking, "Well, this  life thing should be interesting, and lady, I am going to give you a run for your money." :)  Caroline does give us a run for our money but she has brought our family so much joy and passion. I am confident and hopeful that when I look back on  parenting Caroline I will realize she brought out the best of me and herself one day. The world truly is hers for the taking. Happy Birthday to the sweetest, spunkiest, squeakiest Caroline. We love you "Caroline Simpson, age 8"