NEW BLOG SITE!

Hi all! I’ve noticed a few new follows over here, and I wanted to let you know that I haven’t been posting on this blog for awhile now! You can find my blog and my Etsy shop stuff over on:

http://www.mandymarcellis.com

🙂 See you over there!

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Making the move! :)

Hi friends! I did something super exciting and kind of weirdly grown-up and progressive…

TOOK A SHOWER!

Ok, I didn’t go that far. 🙂 I just got my very own website!

So from now on, until I can figure out how to get a redirect on this badboy, I will be posting on my brand spankin’ new website:

(Insert glitter graphic here!)

————->      http://www.mandyatory.com       <————————-

Come on over, bookmark it, make things happen! I’m pretty stoked!

Disheartened, but NOT Discouraged.

Must like Pac-man, I’ve hit some walls in the past week or two. And much like Pac-man as well, I’ve wanted to eat everything I come across. Now, I don’t want this blog to become all about food and losing weight — that’s not what I’m about. I want this blog to be a place to document my journey, and to be open and honest with the people who read it and care to follow it. So I promise that I will sprinkle in lots of things for all of us, so nobody gets bored. 🙂 

Disheartened versus discouraged. The age old debate, amiright?

Yes, I know — those two words mean essentially the same thing. But not really, when you break it down… To me, disheartened means that I’m disappointed, bummed, a little like “wa waaaa waaaaaaa” trumpet sound effect in my ear. Discouraged means that I’m thinking about quitting. And let me say this — I was surprised on the scale last week when I weighed in, and I was highly disheartened. But did I think of quitting? Well, not completely — I did try to tell myself that I shouldn’t stay at my meeting. I was a little like a kindergartener who doesn’t get her way in a game, she thinks of flipping the board and huffing off with a foot stomp. But I sat myself down in a chair, sent a few disheartened text messages to David and my mom, and then paid attention to the meeting. Did I feel a little deflated? Yes. (Wow, Mandy — you’re really on a “D” word kick today. If you love that letter so much, why don’t you just marry someone whose name starts with it???? Oh, yeah….) But I knew that if I let myself get discouraged, and think about throwing in the towel, that I would be kicking myself completely. I’ve made a deal to myself (and to those of you who read this) that I won’t quit. In the immortal words of Her Highness Miley Cyrus, “we can’t stop, we won’t stop.” 

I have goals that are much bigger than myself. And I have to keep reminding myself this on a daily basis. Every decision that I make, good or bad, is affecting the life that I am choosing to live. And if I want to obtain these goals, I have to keep my eyes on them and charge ahead. And that is what I plan on doing, and ALSO must keep reminding myself of. 🙂 I’m making healthy changes in my life. And if I step on the scale and it doesn’t give me what I want, I can still feel good knowing that I am choosing to love and respect my body. Even if someone did, TOTALLY hypothetically, get a happy meal the other day because she was craving terrible fast food, she was respecting her body enough to keep track of what she was eating, and make the decision of that meal to satisfy her cravings instead of what she normally would have eaten. Like I said, completely hypothetical, of course. And also, have you seen how tiny the happy meal fries are?? In the long run, I’m sure it was better for this fictitious person, but dang, McDonald’s. Way to hold out on a girl random example person. 😛 

When I first started back with WW, I sat down and ran through a typical day for me food wise, and took stock of what I would have normally eaten and calculated out the points, compared to my current allowance on WW. And I was blown away. I was eating SO unhealthily. So bad. I shudder to think about it, because even though I still eat things that aren’t great for me, I’m at least aware of it, and am minimizing it greatly. Being aware of what we are doing to our bodies is very powerful, and I’m slowly starting to notice things about my body that I didn’t before. I’m hearing signals that it’s putting out. I’m totally picking up what it’s laying down, if you know what I’m saying. (That sounded WAY dirtier than it should have) The other day I had the strangest thing happen to me – it probably had never happened in all of my 32 years. I was super, super grumpy (no, don’t kid yourself — this part wasn’t the new thing), and when I got home, all I wanted to do was lay down and watch TV, and wallow in my grumpiness. But instead, I decided to go for a bike ride. It popped into my brain and sounded perfect! 🙂 So I hitched up the old bike and headed out… Now, downside to this super motivational story is the fact that my tire was dead and I rode like .08 miles down the road before I had to head back. But still – I was proud of myself for feeling that way, and for actually acting on it and not squashing it. That was a big thing for me. I’m sorry about the disappointing ending to the story… I obviously need to work on beefing up my motivational speeches before I take this tour on the road. 

So as weight-in approaches tonight, I’m trying to clear my mind and go in openly. Whatever happens, happens. I can’t undo it now, so there is no point in getting myself in a tizzy about it. I will just step on, read the numbers, and keep on keepin’ on. Because even Pacman had a job to do, right? 

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So hungry. Must eat all of the things. Yum yum yummy get in my tummy – wait, was I supposed to be doing something here?

The Mantra

A few weeks ago, I read a blog, as I am known to do… This blog was awesome, and can be read here if you are interested. It’s a blog written by a mom, about how her daughter bore the brunt of her negative attitude and feelings. It’s not completely related to my journey that I am on, but I found myself with a big takeaway from it… Three simple words, that I have now adopted as my mantra:

ImageIt’s a simple mantra. One that doesn’t have to be unpacked and over-analyzed. Only. Love. Today. 

But love who, you may ask?

Everyone. Your friends, your family, your coworkers, other drivers, people at the grocery store, people you talk to on the phone… 

And a very special person that is often-times overlooked, especially if you are a grown adult living your life as most of us are — busy. 

That special person is YOU. We bend over backwards to love others (well, most of us do!)… But sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, step back, and show ourselves that we care. As I gain steam and keep rolling along into this mission to better myself that I have made, I’m realizing that it really is true what they say (whoever “they” are) — it’s really hard to fully love someone unless you really love yourself. 

Like the case of the mom in the blog I borrowed my mantra from, my negativity always had the potential to seep into other parts of my life, and onto other people in my life. I found myself feeling badly about myself, and wanting to come home after a day at work and just sleep the evening away. This gave up my time to spend with friends, or with David, and then everyone got shorted (because who wouldn’t want to spend time with ME???). I found myself always saying no to activities that David wanted to do, like bike riding and going for walks, because I hated the way that my body felt while doing it. And I found that it was so much easier and made me so much happier to give in to the stuff that I wanted to throw into my body. 

It’s only been a few weeks, Mandy — get off your high horse, you are probably saying (hey, we’re all thinking it… even me…). But I’m not at all meaning to sound like that. I haven’t gone vegan and totally organic and taken up hot yoga and balanced my chakras… I’m not anywhere close. But I am starting to notice the effects of eating healthier, being proud of what I put into my body, and feeling like I’m in control. And we all know that I love to be in control. I’m trying to be more mindful of my body, and I’m starting to notice the tiny effects that my attitude can bring. 

This last week was my first week doing Weight Watchers again, and I’m insanely happy. Not only did the scale report that I lost 4.4 pounds, but my confidence has really boosted. I have set small goals for myself, and have learned to be kinder and more loving to myself if I slip up, because it happens. It’s only been a WEEK, geesh… 😛 But like I said above, I am feeling confident, and am finding pride in making healthier decisions for myself. I have cooked meals almost the entire week, and found new recipes that I really love and am going to keep repeating. This is new for me, people. I am NOT the cook in our house. But I feel like I am starting to take charge of that, and it’s actually really fun! I know — what have you done with Mandy? Trust me, I’m as floored as you may be. The second you hear me say that about doing laundry or dishes, though, please seriously call the government, because I HAVE been body snatched. 

4.4 pounds lost, a 4 1/2 mile bike ride last week, and just a more positive outlook that I’ve had for the last week and a half or so — these things have all contributed and made my mantra of “only love today” so much easier. I keep it as my phone background so I see it constantly – only love today. Only love today. And the other fun part is that you can emphasize each word, and it gives it a different meaning. I’m a nerd like that.

ONLY love today — Cut the rest of the crap. That’s it. Limit yourself to focus on the love.

Only LOVE today — Remember, not “like”, or “tolerate”, or “avoid and it seems like I’m loving.”. LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Only love TODAY — We both know that the mantra won’t change. It will be the same tomorrow as well. But if you are struggling, just take it one day at a time and focus on loving yourself and others. Because the secret is, it will come again tomorrow. And you can bite off just as much as you can chew today! 

So join me in embracing this mantra. I’d like to hear how it works for you if you choose to adopt it for a bit and see what changes it has made. 🙂 

Thanks for coming along with me on this journey. I would get lonely without you, and sometimes I will need someone else to drive. But I promise you there will be snacks, and the kind of music that you say to yourself “ok, I have to admit it… I DO love this song.”

Only love today, friends. ❤

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Kickstarting.

They say there is no better time than the present. Usually, I am the one who thinks “well, but I could take a nap and do it later”… But I’ve decided that it’s too long overdue to start embracing that sentiment. Today starts the first day of a new Mandy. I know I’ve said this countless times before. And sometimes I am new for awhile before I morph back into the same old, same old. But things have to change. And I have to be the one to change them, and I have to change them for myself most of all.

I have been chubby/fat/overweight/obese/chunky/husky/fluffy (take your pick!) my entire life. Well, I think there were a few years in the beginning where I kept myself on track… But still – for as long as I can remember, that has been an adjective that I could confidently apply to myself. I shopped in women’s sizes in late elementary on, was constantly afraid of fitting into things and places, and carried around a layer of physical and emotional padding everywhere I went. I’ve managed to hold my head up high most of the time, and keep a smile on my face and a laugh in my voice because, for the most part, that was exactly how I felt. I have learned through the years that even though I’m carrying this weight around, and this is who I am on the outside, it’s really easy to just shut it out most of the time. I’m surrounded by so many people who are a new layer of padding, who keep me safe, and support me no matter what, and for that I am so grateful. I have never lacked support in my life, no matter what stage I was at, and for that I am the most spoiled person in the world. 🙂 But still, there are lots of times that get me down, and there is no way to not confront the painfully obvious: I am incredibly overweight, and something needs to be done about that. 

But today marks Day 1 of becoming a new me. Today I start Weight Watchers again, a program that I was very successful on before. And today I commit to the fact that I’m going to be a new me. My reality is changing day in and day out, and will continue to improve with the effort and care I put into it. I guess you can say I’m putting on my plus-sized big girl pants, and really buckling down. Something feels different this time around, and I’m choosing to embrace that and harnessing it for good. Because there are so many things that I want in my life right now… I wanted things before, but not badly enough to really stick with it. And the things that I want are so much bigger than they were before. They are things that will impact my life for the rest of the time that I am given here on earth (and stretching that time out is on the list!). And bettering myself physically is going to open up a whole new world for me, and will allow me to accomplish these things, however small or big they are. Things like being able to have children safely, to be able to move and interact with them more freely, to be able to fly comfortably or fit into a theater seat better, to lessen the amount of medication that I take, to being able to buy cheaper clothing because it’s sold in regular stores… Some of my reasons are petty (liking myself in a photo), and some are huge (wanting to be a mom sooooo badly but knowing the risks that I bring to the table the way that I am right now). But all of them are mine. They are personal, and real, and valid. And today is the day that I kickstart myself, and start running – with these, and all of my family and friends and supporters, cheering me on. Reminding me not only that I can do it, but that I need to do it, want to do it, and will do it. 

So wish me luck, my friends, and feel free to follow my journey and keep me accountable. Because I know that I’m going to need it every step of the way! 

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Day 1 – Starting with a smile… 🙂

It’s on our side, we’re just in the nick of it, and it’s sure flying…

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Like sands through the hourglass… These…. are the days… of our lives… duh-duh-duuuuhhhhhh!

I was robbed this weekend, friends. It was quick – literally a thief in the night. When I woke up, it took a bit to realize that it had happened. Was I scared? No. Was I surprised? No. Had I seen it coming? Yes. It happens once a year, but it still throws me off.

I’m obviously talking about time, people. The hour that we “lost” in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I have always loved to watch my phone at 2:00am on that Sunday morning. It’s fascinating to see it either switch an hour ahead of what it should be, or just watch that hour erase itself completely. I wasn’t able to do that this weekend, because I was just so darn exhausted and had already given up at that point. But it’s such a literal way to see time fly — in one direction or another.

There is so much complaint (from me as well!) when the world takes away our sweet hour. Curses are thrown into the wind about the robbery of time, and we just swear we feel ourselves drag a lot slower. I know that lots of people really are physically affected by the time change, in various ways. But I can’t help but think to myself all of the ridiculous things that I have traded for an hour of my time. Seriously. Lots of those things were completely equivalent to the idea of the clocks just being moved forward an hour. I have seriously wasted at least an hour of my time on the following things that fall into the afore-mentioned category:

*Buying toys for my dog

*Posting pictures of my dog online

*Putting things into shopping carts on various websites that I don’t actually end up buying

*Talking in a weird voice for no reason

*Watching someone else do something while being completely unhelpful

*Spinning in a chair

*Talking myself out of going to the gym

*Eating candy and playing on my iPad

*Having a ketchup and mustard fight with my brother

*Literally staring at the wall

*Trying on clothes I have no intent to buy

*Doodling

*Waiting for someone

See how productive I am? And how many hours I have spent doing completely nothing at various points in my life? What I’m trying to say is this — I do worse to myself on a daily basis than the world does to me once a year when it robs me of an hour. So why does this one hour get me grumbling so much? I’m sure it has to do with sleep or something like that — if you know me, you know that I love my sleep. But in the grand scheme of things, I could gain that hour back easily by trading in any number of the pointless things I waste my time on regularly. And what could I gain? So much can be accomplished in an hour. I could do any of the following:

*Laundry (sorting, folding)

*Making long overdue phone calls to friends

*Addressing and mailing out thank you notes from the wedding

*Going to the gym

*Taking Chloe and Mira for a walk

You get the picture. 🙂 So I guess the moral of my story is this — use your time wisely. If we use all of our available time to the fullest, or at least fullER, I’m sure we can get a lot accomplished and feel a lot less grumpy about our time being taken away. I know, I know – it’s easier when you are wasting your own time rather than someone else taking it in some way. But that’s just life, right? It’s a necessary evil that we will never get around, so we should just learn how to suck it up and move on. (Note: This isn’t me saying that I take my time being wasted worth a grain of salt. Or maybe it is, if by “grain of salt” you mean salt-flat. I’m just saying I would like to someday learn how to maybe become the kind of person that could conceivably begin to be like that.) It’s my theory (wait — isn’t the thesis supposed to go at the BEGINNING of the boring essay, Mandy??) that if we used our daily given time a little bit better, that we wouldn’t feel so cheated when one baby hour was taken away from us.

So that is my new goal. Use time more wisely. I mean, if you were given an hour, which we are in the fall, what would you do with it? I usually just sleep it away… Maybe we should just look at spring daylight savings time like we are paying nature back for the hour they lent us in the fall! But then paying people for things is a whooooooole other ball of wax that we don’t have the time to get into right now. It always come down to quality over quantity, if you ask me. Especially when it comes to time, and things like treats, and hugs, or really good mac and cheese. Ok, maybe I like a high level of both in that last one. 🙂

Go get your hour back, people! There is so much to do! ❤

The View From My Window

This, my friends, is my view for roughly 8 hours a day:

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Majestic is the land that I lord over. 🙂

I love my view. I see the most random mix of things from it. Good, bad, ugly, scraped, hysterical, chaotic, heartwarming — you name it, I’ve seen it from my little perch.

I am so lucky to have landed in such an amazing place. I can completely be myself here — dorky jokes, little contests, funny jokes… everything that I’m great at, and love doing, I get to do here. And I get to use my knowledge and background of working with kids on a daily basis.. something that I had a hiatus from for awhile. Mind you, this allowed me to hone new skills, and learn new facets of this world. But this is where my heart is.

It’s only been a little over a year, but it’s been long enough for me to see a plethora of things that have patched my faith in a sometimes discombobulated humanity. I’ve seen hugs given, countless joyful reunions after a long day at school, handshakes passed, songs sung, jokes made, kids skipping into school just plain excited to be here, birthday cupcakes shared… Obviously there have been scrapes and bruises and tears not so much of joy, but those are minor bumps in the road.

I’ve witnessed a student unashamedly blowing kisses to his mom, and yelling down the hallway that he loves her. I’ve seen groups of older girls surround and welcome younger girls who are longing to be a part of the group. I’ve seen parents arriving to school 20 minutes early simply because they cannot WAIT to see their children.

There are times off and on when I feel the melancholy feeling of the longing to be in a classroom. My teaching career never got off of the ground in the traditional sense, and sometimes that stings. It wasn’t my lack of skills or knowledge. It wasn’t me as a person. It was the economy, and the lack of jobs. When I applied for my first teaching job, so did 84 other people. It was intense. And then shortly after some time searching, I got some new opportunities that I pursued, and that allowed me to use my degree to an extent and in a different way. And I wouldn’t take any of that time back. But when it comes time to do things like organize my house, and go through tubs that I have which are full of teaching things that I acquired, I find myself getting really sad. And when I am asked to sit in a classroom for awhile to help out a teacher (which I love!), I often leave feeling that ache of wishing that I was in there full time. People outside of the school will ask me if I plan on teaching ever. I am never really sure how to answer that question, so I just say “I’m not really sure…” And I truly am not really sure. We will see where life takes us.

But right now, I’m snug behind my desk, behind my window. Where my bucket is filled every day by interactions with these awesome kids. I care so much about each and every one of them, and I try hard to make sure that my interactions reflect that. I like to think that I succeed. I know that I have my grouchy days, and the days where I’m just irrationally annoyed and it’s no one else’s fault. But more often than not, I like to think of my little spot here as a positive one.

This time of year makes me a bit more reflective, as I know is the case with a lot of you. There’s something about this cozy and generally joyful time of year that makes us grateful for our blessings. And one of my biggest blessings is having a job that I love being at every day. I’m not always a big fan of waking up, or the commute, but I love my job itself. And I don’t plan on budging for awhile, because I know there are a ton of other things for me to see from my window. There are lots of jokes, tears, shouts, funny stories, and tantrums for me to witness front and center… I could write an entire blog just based on the hilarious things I’ve heard the kids say, but I won’t bore you with that. 🙂 I have heard kids threaten to punch bees in the face, heard countless stories about parents that I’m not sure they realize are being told, and laughed to myself as kids try to grasp and utilize figures of speech and fun little idioms, just to summarize a few.

The moral of my story today is this: Everyone has a window. It’s their desk, their delivery van, their counter, their register, their couch… We all have a unique view of this world that we are blessed to be a part of. And while sometimes it may seem like you’d rather have someone else’s view, just remember that your view is unique because of the viewer. It is through your eyes that you are seeing all of this. And yes — sometimes we do need a change of view. And I encourage you to pursue the new view with confidence and excitement. But no matter where your perch is, keep your eyes open and looking forward, because you never know what you will see from where you sit. 🙂