Out of Touch

I realize I have been possibly the worst blogger since I haven’t made a post in months.  Being too busy, is that a viable excuse?  I made it through my first semester teaching full-time.  What can I say, I am absolutely HOOKED!  I love connecting with students on my two favorite subjects…Economics and Finance!  Many people may roll their eyes but truly these subjects can change a person’s life unlike many others.  But I promise not to bore the readers, at least not this time.

The holidays are upon us once again and I know many of you will remember that I have four children.  Because of this, my husband and I set very strict budgets for gifts per child.  This year we determined $120 per child and it still adds up very quickly.  As most parents, I believe I have the best kids and really I know they would not be upset with whatever they received.  For them, the greatest gift parents can give is their time.

Today is my first day of my semester break and I have done some cleaning, finished all my grading, realized day time television sucks, and whooped the kids at Sorry.  Yep, I am competitive and will not allow the kids to win by allowing them too! 🙂  I will save my philosophy on that for another blog as well.

What can I say life is great and basically I wish for you all to enjoy your holidays and don’t be a jerk to anyone!  People are stressed and just chill and remember you probably are too!

It Is That Time of Year Again!

First, I would like to point out, I am completely aware I have not even remotely come close to keeping my goal of blogging more often. It is almost as if once I set the goal, my life decided to be come slightly more chaotic than normal and I have failed. But I am also ok with the fact of failing. Maybe this will be a goal I can achieve in the future. I do appreciate everyone who continues to read my blog, despite my heavy absence at times.

So what is that time of year again….school starting, fall is making its presence known by the chilly mornings. The kids have had about as much of sibling bonding as they can stand and the outbursts are becoming more frequent. This fall will be different for me as this will be my first semester teaching full-time. I feel behind in my preparation but talking with my peers I think I am actually probably just fine.

I could be preparing now but it is late, everyone is sleeping, and no one seems to appreciate my inability to sleep at night. During this time, I have been studying up on numerous articles written by numerous economists. I am beginning to realize I will be studying more as a professor than I did as a student. BUT I love it! I have three classes under my belt and I am completely filled with satisfaction and joy.

This fall also brings my oldest beginning her college career. Oh I have my fingers crossed that her experience is a good one! She has chosen to stay at home and attend the local community college, where I just so happen to teach at. My second child will be a freshman in high school, my third is beginning his middle school career, and my baby will be in the 3rd grade. All of them are attending different schools and WOW I am already feeling overwhelmed about keeping all the various schedules together. My calendar never leaves my side because of course, they all have numerous extra-curricular activities on top of the school obligations.

Lots of new adventures for the Nielsen Family! Here’s to a great school year to one and all!

No Vacation

Once again, the summer is almost ended and my family and I have not been on a vacation.  Typically, we try to go somewhere for about a week but between everyone’s schedules, I could not coordinate anything fun.  We will be making our annual pilgrimage to my hometown to visit my parents for a long weekend.  Here is my dilemma….my kids are bored!

Every year we do the same things:  visit Dad’s ranch and watch him work the whole time, have breakfast or dinner with mom, go to a local water park, shop and come home.  They are growing up and these activities are boring.  They really wanted to go to the nearest metropolitan area to see minor league baseball, an amusement park…etc.  While I agree that would be an amazing, fun time, I feel “obligated” to visit my parents.

I live close to a 5 hour drive away from my parents, but the road only travels from me to them.  The road never seems to travel from them to me.  I understand, my dad has lots of cattle to take care of, and that is a full-time job in and of itself.  My mom doesn’t like to drive alone and when she has come to visit it has been two days max and she gets very anxious to return home.

I know I shouldn’t try to please everyone.  It is important for us to visit my parents as you never know when it will be the last time we are all together. (Sorry for being a little morbid but it is reality) and maybe one day soon we can go to the city on a different long weekend and do those things we want to do.

What do you do when you are visiting family for your vacation and everyone is bored?  Help!  I need ideas!

What Has Happened?

I think all parents of teenagers go through a roller coaster of emotions.  Not the teens, the parents!  I know one second I want to hug my baby girl (she is 18) and the next second I was wishing she would just leave.  Of course, good mothers never have these feelings…right?  What I have found through commiserating with other parents of teenagers is I was actually normal!

But the strangest thing happened…my daughter graduated from high school.  Now that is strange right?  That isn’t what I mean.  She graduated and almost overnight she changed.  I now have a daughter full of confidence and excited about her future.  First thing she did was ask for a raise, after asking her parents the best way to ask for a raise.  She got the raise and rightfully so, she has had the same job for three years now.  Secondly, she is taking (of her own volition) practice placement tests before she actually enrolls in college courses.  Thirdly, she approached her Dad & I about purchasing one of our vehicles.  She wants a contract, to pay insurance, etc. But MOST importantly, she wants to be around us.  She still likes her freedom but she no longer pouts in her room.  She likes watching her little brother play baseball.  She wants to help in the concession stand, she wants the responsibility of making sure her younger siblings are taken care of during the day.  She likes to watch Meet the Press and is very excited about being a first-time voter!

What has happened?  Probably what happens to us all eventually.  We grow up.  We realize our parents weren’t the enemy and actually maybe made some sense.  My baby girl is growing up and I couldn’t be prouder!  Watch out world, Patricia, without a doubt will be doing and getting what she wants out of life.

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Exercise

I will be the first to admit, I do not enjoy working out! No matter what it is…and CARDIO is the almost worst! I literally feel like I am dying when I have to run. My heart feels like it is going to explode! I don’t know if it is because it feels like that to everyone or if because I have short, stubby legs!

Some may say it has been a blessing that I have an extremely fast metabolism, so I haven’t really ever had to worry about my weight. The one thing that has bothered me was I definitely knew I was out of shape and needed to tone my muscles. I have struggled with being underweight and the only time in my life I have ever been over my ideal weight was when I was pregnant. I know that does not count but as soon as the baby was born, my metabolism kicked into high gear and I was sometimes thinner than I was before the pregnancy.

I have been working out six times a week. Three times a week, I attend a strength training class at my local college. Three times a week, I am also attending cross fit. Now I am definitely not one of those elite cross fit athletes you see, in fact, very far from it. I do have to say I do enjoy the personal accomplishments I have achieved under the direction of my coach. The results physically, psychologically and emotionally have been amazing!

But to my biggest surprise, I have began putting on weight. Good weight, muscle weight! I love getting “the look” from my husband as I know he sees the changes my body is going through. Working out this much forced me to actually track my caloric intake. My coach recommended a high number of calories especially on the days when my workouts are doubled. My point is it is never too late to change how you feel, look etc. You just have to remember that once you are 40, you can overdo it and it is painful and takes MUCH longer to recover from your own stupidity!

I worked legs during both workouts and really tried to do every rep! Big mistake, I can hardly walk, sitting on the toilet is painful! Don’t even get me started on what it is like trying to stand back up! So be careful out there but know you can accomplish great things even after 40!

Ups and Downs–On that Roller Coaster Again!

Life is always going in different directions than we are preparing for, little wrenches now and then can be almost too much to bear. But right at those moments when you feel like you are at the brink of going over the cliff something amazing happens or sometimes just something enough to make you feel like it is worth it!

A few weeks ago my Dearest Grandma Arlene passed away. The world was graced with her for 93 years and she was truly a gem among people. I have never known a person to never complain, never talk about anyone, and only give love and acceptance towards everyone she met.

She had been suffering for a long time with dementia. She also had broken a hip, her body was full of infection but she passed comfortably surrounded by loved ones. This was the first funeral my two youngest children had attended. This was a traditional funeral with the viewing, funeral and burial at the cemetery. It was a beautiful service and we all enjoyed sharing stories of Grandma and it was so nice seeing her legacy all in one room.

During this time, I had decided I was ready to make a career path change. I successfully interviewed for a teaching position at our local community college. I get to teach some of my favorite subjects economics and finance! This is my dream come true! I believe my Grandma’s strength is what helped me to realize my own and allowed me to pursue my dreams!

I am so happy about my future and while I am sad about Grandma I know she is finally at peace! I guess now we will see what the next roller coaster brings in….

Volunteering

My Grandmother used to always say “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Took me years to finally understand exactly what she meant. I must admit time is something I always wish I had more of, however, I know I would just jam pack it with other activities.

Disillusioned, I believed after I received my MBA, I would have all this time to do whatever I wanted. At the time this was absolutely nothing and to sleep. The lack of sleep was incredible and I couldn’t wait to “catch” up on sleep. The reality is my schedule is as busy as ever, except I am no longer a student.

I have taken on additional work responsibilities, coached a 5th/6th grade boys basketball team and now I am coaching an AYSO U8 girls soccer team. Everyone will tell me, you could just say no. But I felt like I couldn’t…I tried. I originally said no weeks ago but NO ONE else would volunteer. My daughter would have been on a team with at least 11 players, which for this age group would have meant no playing time. Soccer at this age is meant to be fun and an opportunity to learn the fundamentals. It can’t happen if parents are unwilling to volunteer.

Now I know very little about soccer, so I have taken the additional time to learn the rules, drills, etc. After our first week of practices, I am hoping to give these girls a great season! Go Cheetahs! They voted on the name which was a process in and of itself!

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone tells me they do not have enough time. None of us do but we as Ghandi once said “Action expresses priorities.” My priorities are my children and ensuring they have the best experiences possible. Volunteer–it truly is rewarding!