Tag Archive: kids


Just two more days until my next weigh-in! I’m excited! I spent part of the morning watching videos of Chalene Johnson (Turbo Jam, TurboFire, ChaLEAN Extreme), Brett Hoebel (Biggest Loser, RevAbs), Tony Horton (Power 90, P90X, 10 Minute Trainer), Shaun T (Hip Hop Abs, Insanity) and more leading the Super Workout at Coach Summit in LA which is extremely motivating. Can’t wait for next year in Vegas!

11:00am 12oz water and 2 Beachbody Slimming Formula tablets

12:45pm Breakfast – I have really got to start doing better about eating right after I get up and BEFORE I get on the computer! Chocolate Shakeology made with 4oz water, 4oz 1% milk, 1 Tbs. natural peanut butter, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost and 3 ice cubes

3:00pm Snack – 1/2 large cucumber, sliced with 2 Tbs. Trader Joe’s hummus

4:00pm – 12oz water

6:00pm Lunch – 12oz water with 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Smothered chicken burritos. Here’s the “recipe” inspired by Sam the Cooking Guy. Love him!

1. Shred some rotisserie chicken (Costco has the best deal by far) I used 3 oz in my burritos

2. Warm the chicken and enchilada sauce on the stove – I used about 2c. sauce for the whole family – make sure there’s enough sauce so that after you take the chicken out there’s enough to spoon over the burritos

3. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet on medium until soft and pliable, about 20 seconds, flipping halfway through (don’t leave them in the skillet too long or they’ll become hard and difficult to deal with) – I used Mission flour tortillas for the family and whole wheat, low-carb, high fiber tortillas for mine. Let’s compare…200 calories for one regular tortilla or 80 calories and 12g fiber for one of the kind I used. Seems like a no-brainer to me. I had two which were fewer calories than one of the other. Why didn’t I give the same to my family? Because they taste like whole grain and getting them to eat stuff like that is a work in progress. Baby steps.

4. Put warm tortilla on a large plate and sprinkle the center with shredded cheese – I used part-skim mozzarella because that’s what we had. Monterey Jack would be great. I weighed out 2 oz for my whole plate and divided it between the two burritos and top.

5. Top the cheese with some of the shredded chicken. I used a fork and kind of pressed it against the inside of the pan so it wouldn’t be too saucy, leaving some of the sauce for the top.

6. Roll up the tortilla to make a burrito. I fold in the sides first, then fold the bottom up over the filling and continue rolling up.

7. Once you’ve made the burritos, place on each person’s plate, spoon the remaining sauce over the top, sprinkle with shredded cheese and shredded lettuce then top with some sour cream. I used 2 Tbs. and it was the light kind.

8:00pm 12oz water

8:05pm Was feeling really sleepy and knew I was in great danger of slipping into that mental state where I blow off my workout, finding a myriad of ways to rationalize it, so I went out for a walk/run.

9:30pm 12oz water

10:00pm Dinner – 12oz water and 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Chocolate Shakeology made with 4oz water, 4oz 1% milk, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost, a little mint extract and 3 ice cubes

12:30am Snack – 6oz Yoplait Light Blueberry and 10 raw almonds

Total calories consumed – 1343  Total calories burned – 2925

Protein – 116g, Carbs – 145g, Fat – 47g, Fiber – 52g

Water – 72oz

 BONUS – Photos from my walk. Please forgive me for getting so excited about pretty clouds, but when you live in a place that’s overcast 75% of the year seeing some blue sky and clouds that have actual shapes other than “blanket” is a big deal. Once the sun had gone down to the point where taking photos with my not-so-great camera was pointless I decided to try some running intervals again. This time I took the advice of a friend and payed more attention to being light on my heels. It made a huge difference and I found myself going farther each time. Instead of counting steps I looked ahead for a landmark and told myself I could make it…and I did. The last interval was even uphill and I went farther than my goal. Booyah!! LOL

It’s amazing how often we hold ourselves back from accomplishing things because we tell ourselves we can’t. We were watching a fascinating show on the Discovery channel earlier in the day about a man who, if you didn’t know what he was doing and you believed in that stuff, you’d swear was a psychic. He’s actually a professional mentalist and he did share a lot of what he was doing. In one part he was explaining how car salesmen use little “tricks” to get you to think a certain way and do certain things like buying a car you didn’t really want when you went in. He also gave tips on how to counteract what they’re doing so you can get the best deal.

Afterward, I was talking to my kids about how our minds are so pliable…so open to suggestion…and how we can actually use that on ourselves to our advantage. I gave the example of how Chalene Johnson does this in a very unsubtle way in her workout programs. She says things like, “Guess what? You’re not tired!” or “I know you saved some energy for me!” or simply “You can do this!” and you start to believe it. The next thing you know you’re pushing yourself harder than you ever thought you could and you are doing it…just like she said. We can tell ourselves things that will either hinder or help. I know I have been guilty of holding myself back with negative thoughts, but I’m learning just how powerful our thoughts and words really are. It’s a gift from God. We need to exercise our free will and use it to our advantage. We do not have to be victims of our circumstances. We can choose to believe that we are capable of so much more, even if no one around us believes it. If we say we can’t, guess what…we’re right because we won’t even try. We have to say we can, figure out how and do it. It’s 99% mental.

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OH yes, I love the 80s!! Remember this one? What in the world does that have to do with my journal? Well…the food I made for dinner was “Thai inspired”. I do need to go to the Asian market soon and get some more authentic ingredients, though.

10:30am Breakfast – had actually been up since 7:30 and fully intended on going back to bed at 8:00, but once again got distracted by facebook. To be fair, I was welcoming a new coach to my team and helping some other team members with questions so that was pretty important. 12 oz water, Chocolate Shakeology made with 6oz water, 2oz skim milk (we’re out now), 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost, a little vanilla extract and 3 ice cubes. Forgot the Beachbody Slimming Formula again…oops.

12:45pm Snack – 1 1/2 servings of the leftover veggie and cheese enchilada casserole thing from the other day. 12oz water

1:15pm Nap

5:30pm WORKOUT!! ChaLEAN Extreme Burn Intervals and Ab Burner, TurboFire FIRE45. Fun as always! Wanted to do FIRE45EZ, too, but realized it was getting pretty late and dinner wasn’t going to make itself. 40oz water and 1 scoop P90X Results & Recovery Formula (not all together – 1 scoop in about 10oz then kept refilling the glass)

8:00pm Lunch (Dinner for the rest of the family) – 20oz water and 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Sweet and spicy tofu and broccoli stir fry with jasmine rice. Browned the tofu pieces a bit before adding the broccoli and made a sauce from light soy sauce, fish sauce (oh yeah, that’s Thai), powdered ginger (really need to get some fresh or even better, galangal), palm sugar, seasoned rice vinegar (would’ve preferred tamarind for the sour) and chili garlic sauce. My serving had 1/2 c. cooked rice, 6oz tofu and about 1 c. broccoli.

8:45pm Took the kids out to the basketball court and shot some hoops with them – great bonding time

9:20pm 24oz water

11:00pm WORKOUT #2!!! Woot!! Yep, I decided to do the FIRE45EZ that I left out earlier and I’m so glad I did!! FUN!!! 20oz water

11:50pm Dinner – 8 oz water and 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Chocolate Shakeology made with 8oz water, 1 Tbs. natural peanut butter, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost, and 2 ice cubes

1:30am Snack – 1 low-carb tortilla with 2Tbs. hummus from Trader Joe’s and 1/2 a cucumber, diced

Total calories consumed – 1378  Total calories burned – 4094 (700 of those came from doing 45EZ so I’m extra glad I did it!)

Protein – 94g, Carbs – 187g, Fat – 38g, Fiber – 45g

Water – 114oz

What the hey…here’s another great song from the 80s! I used to have hair just like the guy on the keyboard. LOL Enjoy and I’ll see you tomorrow!! 

Today started off just fine, but soon after it went horribly wrong. Not to say that everything was bad. Some pretty terrific things happened, actually, but some pretty crappy ones did, too. For quite possibly the first time ever I didn’t respond by turning to food which is a huge step forward. Yay!

7:15am Woke up and got my older son up, too, so he could finish the computer project he worked on until midnight

7:30am Son finished project, removed thumb drive from computer and placed it somewhere in another dimension where it was completely forgotten about until a few mintues before his class started

10:40am Phone rang…it was my son asking me to bring the thumb drive to school

10:45am Called son to ask where he put it because I couldn’t find it anywhere

10:47am Began the complete and utter ransacking of our apartment to find the elusive drive

12:10pm Came to the conclusion that I was not going to find it on my own and left to meet my friend for lunch (the class was over by this point so it didn’t matter what time it was found) – Mongolian grill – chicken and lots of veggies – no noodles or rice, about 36oz water

3:15pm Son came home from school and was instructed to start cleaning his room which was a total disaster even before I began the ransacking

3:30pm Husband got involved and without understanding the situation fully got angry with me for going out to lunch before it was found

3:45pm Full-blown fight began between my husband and I that the whole building probably heard (just verbal, I did not use my awesome kickboxing skills ha ha) – not my proudest moment, but I had had it up to here (imagine me placing my hand horizontally at the top of my forehead) Did find the thumb drive, though. Something must have sucked it back into our world/hallway. Go figure.

7:00pm Stomach stopped churning enough to finally eat something – 2oz angel hair pasta, 1/2 c. Prego Heart Smart sauce, 1 c. green beans with a few mushrooms sauted in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Felt famished (that’s what I get for going so long without eating) so added a breaded chicken patty I found in the back of the freezer. Definitely tasted a little wonky from being in the freezer so long, but I didn’t really care.

8:00pm Stomach still wasn’t happy, but instead of eating more I went for an hour and a half walk which was my workout for the day. All the drama and stress (not to mention I hadn’t had my Shakeology yet) left me completely exhausted (and it turns out my elevated heart rate during and after the fight did burn some extra calories, though I much prefer accomplishing that with something fun like TurboFire)

9:30pm Came home and put the kids to bed then finally sat down to log in my food and discovered I needed to eat more

10:30pm 1oz angel hair pasta with 1/4 c. sauce (leftover from dinner), Shakeology no-bake cookies made with 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology, 1 Tbs. honey, 1 Tbs. natural peanut butter, 1 Tbs. skim milk and 2 Tbs. rolled oats (seems the quick oats slipped into that other dimension where the thumb drive went) – didn’t even bother rolling the mixture into balls, just ate it with a spoon…what??

12:30 8oz skim milk

I know I had some other water today besides the three glasses at the restaurant, but I don’t remember how much.

Total calories consumed – approx 1489 (hard to know for sure when you eat out)  Total burned – 3323

Protein – 90g, Carbs – 214g, Fat – 38g, Fiber – 32g

Water – ? Probably not enough

Sorry no food photos today, but here are the ones I took on my walk. It was gorgeous outside and reminded my to keep my head up because things will work out one way or the other if I continue to choose to be happy and not let the obstacles get me down.

Tomorrow is a new day…thank God.

Today is going to be better than yesterday because I’m not going to put my workout off until the evening, hoping I’ll be able to fit it in without interfering with the rest of the family. Fortunately, we are still not having high temps like in a lot other parts of the country so it’s nice and cool inside. When summer finally hits us I’m not sure how I’m going to balance my sleep schedule with my workout schedule. I guess I should start thinking about it now because it’s just around the corner.

8:00am 20oz water, belly was still full from last night (note to self: don’t eat 600 calories worth of protein and fiber late at night because it will take forever to digest)

9:00am back to bed for more sleep – 3 1/2 hours doesn’t cut it

1:40pm Breakfast – 12oz water and 2 Beachbody Slimming Formula tablets, Chocolate Shakeology made with 8oz water, 1 Tbs. almond butter, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost, a dash of cinnamon and 3 ice cubes

2:00pm WORKOUT!! Yep, it’s exciting again. ChaLEAN Extreme Lean Circuit 2, TurboFire FIRE55EZ, FIRE30 and Stretch10. 40oz water and 1/2 serving P90X Results and Recovery Formula during the last 30 minutes.

6:15pm Lunch – Sandwich made with 2 slices whole grain white bread, 2 slices turkey (1oz each), 1 slice low-fat swiss cheese, 1 tsp brown mustard, 2 romaine lettuce leaves, 5 or 6 pepperoncini slices and 2 black olives, chopped (technically torn apart because getting out a knife for two olives seemed silly) 2ooz water and 2 Slimming Formula tablets

6:45pm Took the kids outside and shot some hoops. Such a perfect day out!! And I was full of energy.

9:45pm Snack – Soup made with 1 can 33% less sodium chicken broth, 9oz Trader Joe’s firm tofu, 2oz sliced mushrooms, 2 Romaine lettuce leaves, shredded (spinach or bok choy would be good, too), a dash of soy sauce, some ground ginger, granulated garlic (fresh would’ve been better for both the ginger and garlic, but I was in a hurry), mushroom powder and plenty of black pepper. Yeah, I ate the whole thing and it was only 240 calories. Gotta love that!

12:15am Dinner – 16oz water and 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Chocolate Shakeology made with 8oz skim milk, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost, a few drops mint extract and 4 ice cubes

1:45am Snack – 6 whole walnuts and 10oz Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger tea with stevia in the tea bag

Total calories consumed – 1315  Total calories burned – 3696

Protein – 111g, Carbs – 137g, Fat – 44g, Fiber – 33g

Water – 118oz

Much better than yesterday!

Today was a rest day from my intense workout schedule, but I still wanted to do something so I took a little walk around the neighborhood. It’s was great to be outside and take some new photos since it’s been a while. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the honeysuckle blooms. I finally saw signs of progress and could smell just a hint of their intoxicating aroma as I was right next to them. Soon the air will be filled with their perfume. I can hardly wait!

Normally I would cross the street and head over past Autzen Stadium (GO DUCKS!) to Alton Baker Park, but I turned around to go home and see what the kids were up to. I hung out with them at the basketball court for a while where the older one was shooting hoops with a friend and the younger one was riding his brother’s scooter. As I stood there watching him we both learned a little lesson. While it’s important to look ahead at the big picture, be careful of the little things along the way because ignoring them can really trip you up.

Once I was sure he was ok, I took that photo of the tiny pebble that caused him to go sprawling on the ground. He survived with no major injuries and hopped back on which of course made me proud. I took one more photo and then attempted to sink some shots with my other son. It was definitely an off day for me, but that’s ok because we had a good laugh which I think is much more important than showing off my skills. 😉

A lot of people have been asking me lately about my opinion of Shakeology and how much I like it. So let me just make this clear. I’m a total addict and think it’s the absolute best meal replacement/protein shake out there (and I’ve tried a lot of them). To illustrate my point, here’s a photo of my shoes. Notice the gaping hole. I’m not saying my addiction has made it so I can’t afford new shoes. You see, I hate to waste things and I hate buying things unless I absolutely have to. I had another pair of shoes that I owned for about 7 years. I loved them, but I finally gave them up when they were literally falling off my feet and I could no longer hide the fact that they were falling apart. Have I replaced them? Nope. The other shoes I have are just fine for now (although my black flats are starting to fall apart and the soles are wearing very thin). If I find myself absolutely needing new ones I will buy them.

Here’s another example of how much I hate spending money. I used to have horrible, no, excruciating pain in my arches due to them being quite high and having a job that required being on my feet on a concrete floor all day. It got so bad that I actually crawled around my house when I got home from work and it often brought me to tears. This went on for years. Did I go to the doctor? Nope. Not until my husband made me. Did I have insurance? Yep. I just didn’t want to shell out the co-pay. When I finally did go I found out that I had heel spurs and agreed to wear custom insoles. Fifty dollars. Worth it, but I still hated paying for them.

I’m not saying this behavior is normal or even healthy. I think I’m this way because I grew up in a wealthy home, getting basically everything I wanted…except for a nice, normal, happy childhood. I also watched my mother waste away a fortune trying to find happiness. In my own strange way I’m trying to balance things out and realize I’ve gone to the opposite extreme. Don’t worry, my kids have everything they need and they have plenty of toys, too. They are not deprived in any way.  They could even stand to give away more than a few things that they hardly ever play with. But when it comes to things for myself I am obsessed with spending as little as possible. I even have a habit of saving all the healthy food for them and eating cheap junk myself just to save money.

So back to Shakeology. When I first heard about it I was intrigued. I could see the benefits and knew it would be perfect for me as I work on getting down to my goal weight, being healthy and having more energy, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on it. Over the next few months I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally gave in. I’ve been hooked ever since. As a coach I pay $3 a serving and to me it’s worth every penny. I’d pay twice that!

Now, knowing how I feel about spending money on myself for unnecessary things, do you really thing I’d be drinking Shakeology everyday if I didn’t absolutely love it? Of course not!! And like I said, my kids are lacking nothing. They get a shake split between them everyday, too, and not one of us has gotten sick since we started in October of last year. For me that means not having to debate whether or not I’m really sick enough to go see a doctor and spend that extra money, especially since I no longer have insurance. Believe me, those decisions can really stress me out and my husband, too. It drives him crazy the way I won’t spend money on myself. So having Shakeology in our lives has been nothing but a good thing. I hope I’ve made that very clear to anyone who wants to know if I like it. It’s not that I like it, I looooooove it.

If you want to see what the big deal is all about, hover your mouse over my picture there on the right and you’ll see a link for The Healthiest Meal of the Day. If you have any questions or would like to try it before ordering some for yourself feel free to comment or contact me on facebook or twitter.

It’s another beautiful morning! It doesn’t hurt that I’m feeling skinnier already. Day 2 of the 5-Day Inferno. I’m feeling great and ready to do this! Last night I ended up doing the workout, FIRE 55EZ (don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing easy about it) and Stretch 10 pretty late, but it felt great. Love, love, love TurboFire!! I’ve done a LOT of exercise videos over the years and this is by far my favorite, with Chalene Johnson’s other programs, Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme, coming is as a close second. Yep, they’re tied. If you want to try TurboFire for yourself you can get it through my facebook fan page AND I’ll be your coach AND you get a free bonus workout by getting through a coach…AND you’ll pay less for shipping than if you order through the regular Beachbody website. Just sayin’.

8:30am – Breakfast, which consisted of 6oz strawberry yogurt (the plan calls for lowfat, but I used Yoplait Light which is nonfat), 3/4c. cubed canteloupe and 1tsp. honey (I also added two smallish strawberries, quartered, because they were left over from the kids’ breakfast of Chocolate Banana Shakeology and strawberries).

10:30am – I was pondering if I should drink my Shakeology which was the AM snack and then try to get some more sleep or sleep first and then drink it. I opted to wait on the Shakeology because I know how much energy it gives me and was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep which has happened before. So I drank some water, about 20oz and went to bed.

2:30pm – Back up again and having my Chocolate Peanut Butter shake! Yumm! If one would consider this eating plan a “diet” then this feels like cheating.

5:15 – Started my workout. FIRE45, HIIT20 and Stretch 10. WOW!!! Drank almost 40oz water.

7:20pm – Had my second snack, celery with peanut butter (no raisins because I didn’t have any and I was going to use Craisins, but was fine with just the p.b.) I was so ready to eat. Those workouts really kicked my metabolism into gear!

8:15 – Dinner – ginger short grain brown rice, garlic sesame bok choy, grilled pineapple and grilled teriyaki wild salmon.

10:45pm – Was feeling hungry again so I had my final meal and it really hit the spot. This would’ve been lunch if I hadn’t taken that nap. My friend and I found these great whole wheat low-carb tortillas at Costco (and also saw them at Winco, but of course Costco had a much better price) when we were out shopping for this together. They have 12(!)g fiber and 8g protein and they’re only 80 calories. That was topped with 4 slices (4oz) turkey, 1/2 tomato, diced, 3 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped, 1/4 large avocado, sliced and 1Tbs fat-free Italian dressing. I have no idea how in the world I wrapped that all up, but I did and it was tasty. The avocado made all the difference. To keep the rest of the avocado from turning completely brown by the next time I use I put the two halves back together with the pit still inside and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge. I was also very pleased with the paper bag method for ripening. When I woke up this afternoon all the avocadoes were still hard so I stuck one in a paper bag and closed it up. By the time I made the wrap it was perfect.

I’ll probably be going to bed soon and plan on drinking at least another 20oz water before I do. Still feeling great and looking forward to tomorrow!!

TurboFire 5-Day Inferno shopping list

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4

Sometimes life happens and we have to just do the best we can with the circumstances around us. I certainly didn’t plan on eating fast food twice today, but that’s how it ended up. I’m sure Dr. Oz would’ve wanted me to choose some better options at McDonald’s, but I am watching our budget. Sure I’ll pay $3 for a meal if it’s Shakeology, but I’m not going to shell out over twice that for a grilled chicken sandwhich and fruit and walnut salad then not eat all of it like he suggested on his show the other day. I completely get where he’s coming from on skipping the bun and the dip for the apples and grapes, but I still have a hard time throwing away food. Anyway, here’s what I ate.

Breakfast – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Shakeology – 4oz water, 4oz Silk Vanilla soy milk, 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology, 1/2 Tbs peanut butter, 3 ice cubes – 245

Lunch – instead of eating pizza and cake at the birthday party my son went to I chose Taco Bell instead with a bean burrito and tostada – 370 + 250

PM Snack – 1 slice whole wheat bread, 2 Tbs hummus, 1 slice American cheese – 210

Dinner – went to McDonald’s because my son busted his lip playing basketball. A smoothie sounded good and we didn’t have enough fruit to make them. I wasn’t even tempted to have a smoothie, though. Just a McChicken sandwich, the new cheddar onion one. It was pretty tasty. I can’t seem to find any nutritional info online for that particular sandwich, but a regular one is 360 calories. Instead of mayo, the cheddar onion version has cheese and carmelized onions so I’m thinking it’s about the same.

Cheeseburger – 550 – no comment

Total calories – 1985

This recipe originated as one of those “dump everything in a bowl and hope it turns out ok” experiments. I’ve found that ground turkey can seem a little “wet” even after cooking so adding quite a bit of bread crumbs and only dry ingredients other than the egg seemed like a good idea. Turns out is was. Great flavor and texture. This is my attempt at coming close to actual measurements.

1. I started with a package of 93/7 ground turkey (about 1 1/4 lbs).

2. Then I broke up 4 slices whole grain white bread and pulsed it in the blender to make crumbs. It totalled about 2 cups. I added the crumbs and 1 large egg to the turkey in a large bowl.

3. Next I added about 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp dried basil, 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning that included rosemary and sage (crushed to break up the rosemary), 1/4-1/2 tsp granulated garlic and 1 tsp dried minced onion.

4. You can’t make meatballs without getting your hands dirty so I mixed it all up with my hands then shaped the mixture into balls. This batch made 48 that were about 1 inch in diameter.

5. While I was shaping the meatballs I was heating a large skillet on medium. Just before adding them I poured in 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil. Then I browned them by swirling the skillet every few minutes. During that time I cooked pasta according to the package directions.

6. Once the meatballs were cooked through I removed half to save for another meal and added Prego Heart Smart Sauce which has less sodium and let it simmer for a few minutes.

7. I added the pasta to the skillet and tossed to coat, then served it with grated parmesan cheese. Yummm!!

Hard to Say I’m Sorry

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a hard time apologizing to people and I know exactly why. I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in an abusive home after my parents divorced and my mom and I moved in with my grandparents. Though she did not have a job, my mom kept herself quite busy out and about which meant I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. I don’t know the details, but it seems my grandfather essentially rescued her from a bad family situation when he married her. Translation…she had a lot of issues. And it seems she took those issues out on me. I was not the perfect child. I’m sure I had my moments that would drive any parent crazy. But I did not deserve the treatment I got. No child should ever feel afraid in their own home because of their own family.

More often than not, those times when my mom was gone and my grandfather was either gone or in the basement working on his inventions turned into episodes of violence and intimidation. It was like she had two completely different personalities, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute she’d be out of control, screaming and hitting and pulling my hair, and then the phone would ring and she would answer in the sweetest voice as if everything was just fine. No one outside our home had a clue…and neither did my mom. Every time she came home my grandmother would make sure to get to her first so she could tell her version of the day’s events. That always resulted in me having to apologize to her and tell her I loved her. Even as I’m sitting here typing this my heart is racing as those memories I normally choose not to dwell on are still vivid, like it just happened yesterday.

So I hope you can understand why I have a hard time apologizing. Over time it’s gotten easier, but it’s most difficult with the people I’m closest to, my family. My early experiences definitely created a roadblock or wall which, to others, probably looks a lot like a stubborn streak. It’s just not always easy to separate those times when I was forced to say I was sorry when I really, really wasn’t from the times when I want to say I’m sorry because I really, really am.

Now that I’m a parent and trying with all my might to make sure my kids have a better childhood than I did, I’ve started to try to see our life through their eyes. What is it like to wake up in their beds with me standing in the doorway telling them they need to get up? How do they truly see me as I’m pushing them through their morning routines? I know they’re not afraid which is truly a wonderful thing, but do they mostly see me smiling or frowning? Do they really know how much I love them and appreciate how great they are even if getting them to do their chores is like pulling teeth?

Thinking about all these things has made me realize that I have to consider the possibility that my grandmother never, ever asked herself how she looked in my eyes. She was always so concerned with how everyone else saw her and our family. She made it very clear that I was never to tell anyone what went on in our home. Obviously on some level she knew it wasn’t ok, but I think it’s possible that she really didn’t understand how bad it actually was and how much damage she was doing. Maybe because of her past it all seemed fairly normal, just nobody else‘s business. Or maybe she so identified with the person everyone else thought she was, she just assumed no one would ever see her differently no matter what she did.

I’m in no way saying it was ok, but now I’m seeing how easy it is to behave in certain ways without realizing how we’re coming across to those around us. And let’s face it, our family sees us at our worst. There are days when I’m grumpy and irritable and make very little effort to think before I speak, but somehow when I’m around other people I manage to control myself. Sometimes I can be impatient with my boys because I know they’re smart and capable of so much. Yet I would never speak to someone else’s child in the same tone of voice.

So I ask myself again, what does life look like from their perspective? Do they see a mom who is loving and happy and cheerful most of the time? I actually am very happy with my life now, but I wonder if that’s what they see or if most of their interactions with me have a negative tone. When I talk to them about life and how to navigate through it with goals and a positive attitude do they see how passionate I am about making sure they understand because I want what’s best for them or do they just see it as nagging? Other people say I inspire them (which is extremely humbling considering how I’ve lived most of my life), but do I inspire my kids or do I make them feel like I’m not happy with them the way they are?

You may be reading this thinking I’m beating up on myself, but I’m really not. I’m just trying to ask some hard questions because the last thing I want is to be one person to everyone else and another, completely different person to my family. When I really concentrate and imagine that I’m each of my boys I see a picture of me that I’m not entirely happy with. And that’s great! Not because I haven’t always been perfect, not one of us has, but because I can see clearly where I need to improve and what I need to apologize for. Not once when I was growing up in my grandparents’ house did my grandmother ever apologize to me. And it didn’t happen after I grew up and she mellowed out a bit, either. What a difference a simple “I’m sorry” would’ve made. Not a meaningless one, like all those I said to her over the years, but one from the heart knowing she needed to do better.

I guess part of me has always felt like apologizing is a sign of weakness, but now I know I couldn’t be more wrong. It takes courage to be willing to look at ourselves and come to terms with the fact that we have things to be sorry for, especially with our families. They see us at our worst and love us anyway. That doesn’t mean we should take advantage of the situation and continue on as we have been. It means that they deserve to know that we “get” how much we’ve hurt them even if we didn’t realize it at the time. They deserve to know how much we appreciate them for always being there through the good and the bad. And I can’t think of a better way to show our love and appreciation than by saying I’m sorry…and meaning it, no matter how hard it is.