My Year in Review: 2017

Reading over my goals for 2017 (January 2017 Post) from last year and I find my goals for this year are pretty similar. I also find that some goals I flat out ignored and probably would have been more meaningful if I did more than write them in my blog and forget them…so new goal…physically write them down and look at them often.

And my girls and why I never really tell their stories (February 2017 Post) on my blog or IMG_4749social media anymore. It feels weird…it really does. I mostly talk about myself, my job and my fitness which probably makes me seem so self absorbed. I am not and honestly those sides to myself are probably only like 30% of me. The rest are stories I don’t want to share because they are their stories and they didn’t choose to live their lives so publicly. I did. My guy hates all social medias. So it is teacher me, fitness me and me me that you get. Sorry Not Sorry.

Or the post about my guy and this boring, every day moment that makes marriage feel magical (March 2017 Post).

My heart wanted to burst. The last three months of each of us coming and going and quick kisses in the hall or before one of us falls asleep for the night. The boring, routine married life I dreamed of as a child. The mundane of my happiness in my heart swells my heart. I am grateful for him, for that moment because this is my life. I have dreamed of this life my whole life.

So many times we think love looks like the movies and the breathless meetings and protests of undying love that we would die for. I never wanted or needed that. I needed that stoic, strong man who showed up. The one who loves unconditionally, who stands watch over the world and me. Someone to protect me and my world and in that moment that is what I saw.

After this year in review I am finding one thing incredibly disappointing…I am not writing enough. When I check out the month of April 2017 post and all I have is one and it is about fitness I get sad. There is so much more here to me than this. I started writing a book last year and then some massive life happenings kinda derailed my writing life. I am working on that post now. I will write more in 2018.

In May 2017 I said something that as I read now scares the crud outta me. I said and I quote:

The second and likely most impactful to me as a professional and personally was feeling my own calling and purpose shift and change. The world has been trying to tell me in awhile, but I ignored it or just wasn’t picking up on it. I am not even sure I have entirely figured it out. But I am getting there slowly. It isn’t a story I am ready to tell or even have put all together. But I have found a voice I didn’t know I had. Now I just need to articulate it. My dream is bigger than I could ever imagine and it scares me. But I trust that signs I am seeing are God, or the wider universe nudging me or maybe even kicking me in that direction.

I do not remember writing this as I contemplated the end of the school year last May. I do not remember what I was even talking about here or where I was headed with this thought. The weird thing is since then I have taken some scary but brave steps since then. So clearly I took the universe’s nudge and made some moves. Nothing at all that I am willing to share, but it is happening. What I am proud of is my ability to note my own feelings and needs to address those feelings. I am always in tune to myself in ways I never realize at the time. Oh and this was the month I became a Youtuber. Sadly, I need more time to do it. I will also work on this more in 2018.

downloadOne of my more emotional posts as a teacher (June 2017 Post).  Suicide has touched my life more times than I can to acknowledge in the last 8 years as a teacher. The stories are too numerous and too personal to share. But specifically, this month another story and more heartbreaks and I was sick and tired of feeling helpless, so I tried to decide how to make more of an impact. I became an advocate for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I felt like I took some of the power back in the stories that made me feel so powerless. It is all done through my computer. You could become one, too.

And most of July 2017 was about recovery and renewal and no real post stands out to me as more important than another. I did learn the importance of taking care of yourself and listening to your body. The surgery was the most important thing I could have done for myself and my health. As a caregiver to my husband who has a chronic issues with his health, a mom, and a teacher it is SOOOOO easy to put myself dead last in the care department. But after years that caught up with me and signing the papers for my surgery was the absolute best decision I could have made after years of issues and pain that were unnecessary.

I kinda always knew that my family motivated me, but I never realized how much until August of 2017. I make them a promise and it happens. End of story. Nothing will change that. Nothing has.

The one post (September 2017 Post) where I found Keto and its amazing benefits. I loveFullSizeRender 2 Keto and I love 21 Day Fix portion containers. But what I really love about September is I once again took my health back. I gained some weight over the previous month or two. But guess what I took that all back in September and here we are looking January 2018 straight in the eye and nothing has changed. I am still working hard and eating healthy. Some people say Keto is a fad and maybe it is. But I learned so much science behind what we eat and how it effects our bodies. For me that is a win; not to mention look at the weight drop on the right (what…what?!).

Writing Challenge October 2017 where I failed and yes I need to write more, but challenges are so hard for me because I am busy. Everyone is busy I know. What I mean by I am busy is that every single day I am taking care of four other people, my students and myself so my day today can sometimes be stupid, easy predictable and other days it is all chaos and survival. So goal again for 2018….MORE WRITING!!!

IMG_5899And I just love everything about the month of November. I accomplished a week of gratefulness, an outfit of the day challenge that helped bring my teacher clothing game to the next level. I do laugh though because I made one whole week of wearing heels every single day and then I spent the next two weeks letting my feet recover. I want to be a heel wearer so bad, but dang they hurt your feet so much when you stand on your feet all day long.

And per usual I was super sentimental most of December. I gave tribute to my best friend most of my life. The one on the other end of the line. My surgery, my mammogram, my health and the holiday all connected me to mom. This was and has been so meaningful to me. Oh and less of me is still a thing and I honestly don’t think it will go anywhere in 2018 if I had to make a guess.

Thank you 2017 for the lessons. Most of them still too new and raw for me to cover here. Most of them personal and mostly for me. But life…oh life is bigger (Lyrics from Losing My Religion REM).

Best – MR




My 21 Days of Not Weighing Myself

The best thing I ever did was break up with the scale. Seriously! The day came to step back on the scale and the crappy feeling of inadequacy creeped back into my mind. The feeling that always begs these questions of me.

  • When will it be enough?
  • Why is any number not enough?
  • Do you really get a value from yourself from THAT?
  • I should have worked harder or worse you should have deprived yourself more? (WTH???!?)

Not stepping on a scale every day is so freeing and something I have practiced since the day I stepped back on the scale. Immediately, I began to beat myself up when my actual goal for the 21 days was to focus on showing up for myself, being healthy and feeling good in my skin.

I have had doctors tell me no more, I have had friends say no more and my husband and kiddos just plain do not care like at all what I weigh. So why? I have created this mentality for myself that I need to prove to me that the work and effort means something and unfortunately I have placed that value in the number a little white box gives me.

That is just plain wrong. I won’t do that to myself anymore. So the scale is going up. When this journey started I was at 210. I needed that scale. Now I am where that scale means so little and how I feel is so much more important and not stepping on the scale every day felt amazing.

So it is back. I haven’t done it since.

But since I am guessing you are wondering…I lost 1 lb and 4 inches. My goals were to not step on the scale for 21 days, and to complete the 21 Day Fix for the first time. Guess what I did…..BOTH!

What I did gain was abs, like seriously I have abs and a core. Somehow Autumn gets me to stick in it a bit longer with my abs. I have massive protruding hip bones. Who knew??? I like living fairly low carb. I won’t, will not ever deprive myself. Life isn’t about hating it and punishing yourself for your choices.

I am going to 21 Day Fix Extreme after the first of the year and then to get me through winter I will probably do 80 Day Obsession and that scale….well it can bite it! 😀


January 2014 – December 2017

So  my advice moving forward to myself and all of my readers…..

Love yourself and the rest will follow – MR

E Gang Christmas 2017

Gotta be honest…pictures haven’t been much of a priority. The biggest goal for my break was to unplug. I spend so much of my time always connected to a device. A computer, a phone, my laptop, or my ipad. I just wanted to be with my family. My guy. My girls. My puppy. So I have. So I have mostly just captured bits and pieces of my holiday break.





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Hope you and yours had an amazing holiday!  – MR

21 Day Fix will always have my heart!

IMG_0265I have been doing 21 Day Fix for the last 18 days and there is just something that feels like home when it comes to 21 Day Fix. I love it because once you master it it is literally the most flexible and easy thing to do.

It doesn’t feel like a diet and I don’t ever feel deprived and like I am missing out on something. I haven’t been perfect. If I plan it works amazing and what I mean by that is when I knew my husband and I would be going out for tacos I could plan and save my carbs for it.

I also like it because if I want to have chocolate I can. It truly is about portion control. Again like last time the containers are so easy to know what they look like. I rarely need them other than to confirm what I already know.

I have also been doing the 21 day fix program except for the pilates fix and yoga fix. I swap those out for 21 day fix extreme upper fix and lower fix. I have also incorporated a ton of fixate recipes because fixate wasn’t really a thing my last rounds of 21DFX.

I still hate how sore I get with 21DF, but I am finding I am enjoying them more than I had previously. I like the weights in them because if you know me you know I lift. I get a good calorie burn without feeling like I want to die with the 1 minute moves.

I have no idea if I have lost anything. I have not weighed or measured myself. The only judge I have is clothes fitting and commits others make. I can tell you something is happening because my clothes are fitting different. I also have received lots of comments on weight loss. My workout clothes have been getting more loose as well. I bought a few XS pieces today, so we will see how they fit tomorrow I suppose.

Now let me compare keto to 21dfx and I can tell you I felt deprived at times on Keto and I IMG_0243would get bored of how I would eat. I would eat it anyway and I still am in love with the way it made me feel. However, I will always dislike how I felt so blah and like I had no stamina.

21dx, is nice because you don’t feel like you cannot have anything. It just requires planning for everything you eat. Carbs are limited, but you can have them so that feels really nice sometimes.

I do find I get headaches if my carb content is too high. I feel like a keto flu headache. I don’t know what that means, but I have noted it. However, I am looking forward to Christmas day when I can check things out. I know I broke up with the scale and my obsession with standing on it and that is a good thing!!!!


Surgery Recovery: 6 Months.

Well let’s see…let’s cover the positives besides the obvious ones. Some have something to do with the surgery and some who knows? I have lost 30 pounds. Lots of inches and honestly the pain I have is minimal compared to the pain I suffered from PTLS.

I had no minor or major setbacks in my recovery. I saw and knew a lot of people that had long and slow recoveries and by all accounts I did not. I attribute that to my dedication to good health in general over all both before and after. There are a constant abundance of jokes that stem from being a hyster sister at 41. My family pokes fun at me and I poke fun at myself.

There have been some other stuff that just kinda popped up because of the closer monitoring I am getting both from the doctor and myself. Thankfully, I think they were/are all blessings and God’s work. So I wouldn’t necessarily call it negative impacts from the surgery and more just timing and awareness is needed.

I still have my hemorrhagic cyst and cystic ovaries overall. That is actually an issue I have suffered with my whole life and my doctor offered both hormonal and surgical solutions for. Both of which I turned down. Let me address the surgical issue. I do not want another surgery LIKE at all. I have had four surgeries in my reproductive organs and my scar tissue is abundant. Scar tissue causes pain.

Two options will take place here in the next 10 years. The pain will outweigh my decision to not have surgery and I will get my ovaries removed or I will quietly go into menopause and my ovaries will hush finally. The latter would be better.

Now let’s talk for a minute about the hormonal option. I have never been a huge fan of synthetic hormones of any kind. But a few weeks ago I got some scary news about my mammogram. I have been trying to not be dramatic about it, but I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been on my heart and mind.

I have dense breast tissue. There are four levels of breast density and mine is the highest. The reason that is scary is because it makes it difficult to use a traditional mammogram machine to screen for breast cancers. It requires additional testing that has a higher likelihood of a false positive. It also can be a predictor of breast cancer. From Are you dense Advocacy website:

“It just might be the greatest cancer risk you’ve never heard of.”1

Five facts about dense breast tissue

  1. 40% of women have dense breast tissue.

  2. Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography to detect cancer.

  3. Mammography misses every other cancer in dense breasts.

  4. Breast density is a well-established predictor of breast cancer risk.

  5. High breast density is a greater risk factor than having two first degree relatives with breast cancer.

Ways to fight against the increased statistics are to lead a healthy life through fitness and nutrition, monthly self breast exams and live a clean life. So no additional hormones unless the benefit outweighs my risk.

Thank goodness legislation just passed less than a year and a half ago in my state that required dense breast tissue to not only be leveled, but to be reported to the patient because before that radiologists were NOT required to report it. The statistics of women who got “normal” mammograms with dense breast tissue and then found out they had breast cancer within a year should drop because of the women (and maybe men just haven’t researched much) who advocated that they have the right to know. I thank them. I also thank my mother who shares similar issues and has been fine. It eased my mind.


My doctor has always been so supportive of my lifestyle and my choices and I never feel like any of them I have made have been alone. She is always respectful to the fact that I want to talk to my husband about them as well.

Now maybe for the most bothersome and truly related issue related to my surgery is my hormonal fluctuations which has caused me to have dry eyes. I should note I have had them before this, but it was like the surgery put it on a speed track.

Every day I would feel like I had sandpaper in my eyes. I attributed it to my make up or my glasses. Eye doctor finally said get hormones tested and I will do what I can on my end and yes hormones are goofy, not terrible but off. I ended up getting punctal plugs.

They are the absolute best thing ever invented. If you have watched my instastories you know I love them. I didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until my doctor had me do to the dry eye test and I had to have temporaries for two weeks. My life was changed and I all the sudden had normal eyes again. Finally, last week I got my permanent ones. They last for six months and are amazing.

The last and and final thing about my surgery is I still get the nerve jolts. Usually they only come when I work out too hard. That is totally normal and is actually a sign of healing. They aren’t bad at all and more just surprising.

So to answer the question…would I do it again? Yup. 100x over. It was still the best thing I did for myself and my well being.

Okay, honey!

I should have probably have known this because duh, but my family truly pushes me to be a better me. I have been yet again struggling with little things all related to my hormones. Nothing detrimental or anything. My eyes are incredibly dry, my moods…up and down. Hair loss. Fatigue in the worst way. Just lots of little annoying things.

I had a check up and had my hormones checked last week due to all of these and as suspected nothing was where it should be. The recommendation was made to leave keto for a bit. See if it correlates or not and if not….no harm…no foul.

I love keto; you know this. But I am okay with trying something different for awhile. Keto breaks work well for me and add in that it is the holidays and “dieting” during thanksgiving was not terrible, but it was still pumpkin pie that didn’t taste the same and mashed cauliflower that was amazing, but still not mashed potatoes. My kiddos were sad I didn’t get to just eat normal.

So I made a compromise. I decided to do 21 day fix eating plan. I have done it before and I am interested in doing it again. My doc mentioned about maintaining my weight soon and less focus on weight loss. So this is my last sheeebang. 21 day fix is nice for that as well because it is a very balanced perfect portioned meal for me.

My goal one upped me too and threw out a challenge and in my experience when I promise my family something I do it. I gave up pop (wasn’t crazy drinking it, but still) in August because I told my girls I would. I told my girls I wanted to lose weight and get hyper-focused on my workouts again and guess what I have done.

He challenged me to not weigh myself till Christmas. So challenge accepted. No scale December it is around these parts. I put too much emphasis on that right now anyway so it is good. My other goals for the month are to utilize my fit support circle more. I love the notion of working out being my “me” time, but I need to recognize that my story can be used to inspire and help others. And the final goal is to complete 21 day fix the exercise program.

I am not an Autumn fan, so this is a challenge.

So okay honey….Game on!

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Life makes circles back.

be5659d8d68d9c99ff78822533e222c6I was in high school and really just trying to navigate my social world that had impending adulthood starting to stare me straight in the face. Meanwhile, the girl next door (literally) was dealing with a trauma that I couldn’t even begin to grapple with. This girl next door had been my best friend since we met when she was in 5th grade and I was in 4th grade.

For those that are doing the math we have been best friends for 31 years. We grew up in circumstances that really led to lean on one another so much that at some point the lines became drawn and she became my family. My family accepted her as a daughter and vice versa for her family.

But when we were both in high school her mom became very sick. She ended up with a brain tumor that was cancerous. She watched as her mom slowly and painfully lost her life. She suddenly was riddled with adult decisions that no high school student should have to worry about. Things like paying household bills, making sure the house is kept up and everyone is fed.

I will be the first to admit at time the amount of “adulthood” she had to deal with I struggled to relate to. I wanted to worry about things like what my boyfriend and I were doing that weekend or what movie I was going to next. While she is trying to get more hours at her job to make a house payment.

This best friend and I who grew up with one another, vacationed with one another and spent almost every waking moment together when we could suddenly were on two different planes. Our friendship had withstood out of state moves, parental divorces, friendship breakups and friendship make ups. But this was a hurdle I struggled to even want to cross over.

I remember talking with her about how sick her mom was and feeling so out of my depth I would change the subject to the Algebra test I just bombed. She would follow with a story about barely passing classes because she is working so many hours. My response was always silence. What could I offer to that?

When her mom did pass and the blur of the days that followed I felt a tremendous grief that is so hard to explain. A grief so heavy and is so hard to explain. Decisions were made for me during that time. I lived about 20 minutes from her and my parents and grandparents made the decision to have me spend with the week with my grandma who lived about 10 houses away from her. I would walk to her house, or she would walk to my grandma’s. My grandma would make sure she was fed, had a place to crash and love.

I remember clearly the day of the viewing and my mom coming into town and getting me. I asked her and my grandma what my role was during this. They had simple, but oh so important words. Be there. So I did. For 48 hours, I followed her cues. I let her tell me what she needed and most of the time it was nothing. She needed me to listen when she could be a teenager. We laughed about boys, or girls and the people that showed up. We gossiped about stories that were happening all around us. Then 2 minutes later she was swept back into her grief and I was just there. But I grieved too in a different way. I grieved because my best friend had suffered such an incredible loss at such a young age.

I mean her mom was special to me, she taught me about wearing bras and was doing youtube challenges before YouTube was even a thing. Harken back to taking us to a farmers market (before they were even cool) and convincing us to not only try, but to whom could eat the most sour of gooseberries. What followed was the most amazing gooseberry pie that I can still taste in my mouth to this day. Road trips, boys, bras and a healthy way to live life. I grieved for all of that, but really I grieved for all that my best friend lost and would be without.

But she was grieving for all of the things she would not and all of the things that she should be able to. How could I even begin to understand that? But I was there. I am there. And now we are in our early 40s and she is staring in the mirror looking at her grief in the face as she nears the age when her mom passed. She is in pain again. An unimaginable pain as her son nears her same age when she watched her mom lose her battle. Again a grief I could never understand and honestly feel helpless to do anything about.

I tell you this story not to spread sadness. But instead I tell it because life circles around like that. I see it coming back around staring me in the face. I saw it yesterday as I sat next to a previous student who is very dear to me at a funeral. A funeral for her best friend’s mother. Everyone involved means a lot to me, but I sat next to a girl who was me so many years ago.

My mind was suddenly flooded all day with the “what I should have dones” and grief that my best friend has to feel this incredible loss over and over and over. It isn’t fair and it isn’t fair it happens to anyone. Love works like that you know? I want to step into her life and I want to take some of the pain of this loss.

I realized though that this life journey is long and difficult and that as I sat there and stared my own mortality in the face that this life journey I have been making with my best friend is 31 years in the making. She probably knows me about better than my own husband. That counts for so much. All of life griefs for both of us there is one consistent factor and that is that we have one another.

Love will win. Love always wins. Even with grief. -MR

Silence is the hardest part of teaching.

“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
― Jim Henson

And I would add to that quote…how you made them feel. 

The stories that we cannot tell are the hardest part. Some you just cannot tell. Some you don’t tell because it isn’t your story. Some just don’t feel right because they are tiny moments of human connection that to type it all out for the world to consume feels like it would somehow minimize its humanness.

But we do have to keep ourselves in check and acknowledge that we are humans and with that humanness comes brokenness. We aren’t unfeeling robots who don’t recognize that the world exists outside of our classroom. Or at least I am not.

Those moments when I want to clamp down the hardest because they aren’t figuring out MLA or reading as in depth as they should are the very moments I remember that the world spins outside of my classroom for them, just as it does for me.

And life is beautiful, and cruel and real. It gives and it takes away. Those are where the stories are at. The stories that they will tell; the stories just as I tell my own. The ones that shape us and make us who we are. Sometimes they leave us better than when they got to us and sometimes they leave us less than they were.

But they are real, they are human and my best asset as an educator (and honestly as a human) is to acknowledge that. I am blessed to have this job. It is hard because I am so emotional about it. But it is a blessing none the less.