Thursday, August 27, 2015

1000 Rep Workout

Hey hey hey! How's it going? I'm surviving week one, so I'm going to go ahead and say that things are pretty darn good over here on my end. You can't ask for much more than that when you're talking about the first week of school. Even if you have to Uber to school on occasion, but that's a story for another time. It probably doesn't help that I started out the school year feeling sleep deprived, but that's just the nature of juggling teaching with volleyball season. And trying to maintain some semblance of a life. I'm struggling a little bit on that last one, but I'm doing things here and there, I promise! When you realize you spend more time around 15-year-olds (and 50-year-olds, just being honest) than you do people your own age, it's time to put down the red pen and get out of the house.

And while I don't have long to chat, I do have a great workout to share with you guys. It's nothing new, as there are so many versions of this workout out there - variations that focus on the upper body or the lower body, variations that work the whole body, etc. My workout contains cardio, upper body work, and lower body work, and it probably took me about 35 minutes to complete. I finished my 1000 reps with 10 minutes on the elliptical, simply because I had that 10 minutes, but this workout alone is more than enough to get you going in the morning.

I think all of these exercises are ones that you recognize, but let me just tell you that the squat jumps, pushups, and chest press absolutely did me dirty. And I'll give you guys a laugh when I tell you that I actually contemplated doing 50 burpees instead of 50 seconds of burpees. I promise you that 20+ was more than enough. The reverse crunch is just what it sounds like. Instead of raising your shoulders off the ground, you keep your shoulders on the ground and raise your hips off the ground.

It's a toughie, but a goodie. And the possibilities truly are endless when it comes to this workout. And the best part is, once the 50 reps are over, you don't have to do that exercise again. And sometimes that's all the motivation you need.

Catch y'all later, but don't hold me to that one!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Motivation: School Edition

So I've been a blogging slacker. I'm well aware that my blogging is going to fall off the consistency train. Well aware. But I was hoping to keep two blog features regular - Things I'm Loving Friday and Survey Sunday. But I've clearly fallen short on the Things I'm Loving Friday feature. And I'm going to try and be better about it, but because I really wanted to share these articles and videos with you guys, I'm calling this one Monday Motivation. Because not only is it Monday, but it's the first day of school. And we all need a little extra motivation, wouldn't you agree?

A Letter To My Eighth Graders
As the promise of a new school year creeps up on me, I can't help but take a moment to think about what this new school year will bring. A new crop of freshmen, who are going to act tough, but who will be in need so much (tough) love, understanding, grace, patience, and a little bit of sass. They're walking into a school with 3,800 other students, and that can be overwhelming. Just take a second and think back to your first day of high school. Anyway, I loved this article. Absolutely loved it. Because I hold firm to the belief that our students learn so much more than what is listed on our syllabus. Just as I am going to fail at times as a teacher, my students are going to fail, too. And that's okay! That's a part of life. But they can't be afraid not to try. They have to trust in themselves, and they have to believe in themselves, and they have to internalize the truth that their story matters. And in a world full of high school gossip, drama, and Mean Girls, be kind. Throw it around like confetti. Freshmen, I'm willing to bet that you're scared to death right now. But just own it. And remember that I'm always here to help!

Even if I look like a student myself
Ten Things You Need to Know about Introverted Teachers
I think it shocks people when they learn that I am an introvert, after they learn that I am a teacher. I very much dread any and all forms of public speaking, and it's exhausting for me to be around people, and to be "on" all day. Not that I don't love what I do, but I'd be so much more comfortable with a desk job where I didn't have to interact with people at all hours of the day. Comfortable, not happy. And while some of the items on this list are a little bit extreme - I don't leave when other people walk into the Kopy Kingdom, in fact, I can usually be found chatting up a storm with the two kopy heroes. I don't change my route based on who I might see, because one, who can predict that anyway, and two, if I changed my route, I may never make it to my final destination. That being said, I don't talk just to talk. I talk if I have something important to contribute, icebreakers are my worst nightmare, I tend to err on the side of agreement simply so I can avoid confrontation, and yes, weekends are absolutely for recharging. Going out is really not something I even consider, and it's nothing personal, I'd just rather spend my evening doing something low-key, like trying out a new restaurant. I love being around people, but I also love having some "me" time.

If Teachers Were Treated Like Pro Athletes

Let me start this off by saying that I'm as big a sports fan as the next person. There is not a whole lot that I love more than sitting down and having a full sports lineup ahead of me. And while I think, in the grand scheme of things, that athletes are paid a little bit too much, and are given one too many free passes, I look up to them all the same. But this Key and Peele video is absolutely hilarious. In an alternate reality, teachers would be glorified the way pro athletes are. But then again, would we really want to have every move we make scrutinized and put on display for all to see? I think the bottom line of this video is recognizing the fact that so many teachers put in endless work day in and day out, and that maybe they're not appreciated the way pro athletes are, but that appreciation from even one student goes such a long way. And I'm hoping some of my future pro athletes remember who (hopefully) taught them more than just vocabulary and grammar.

What Students Remember Most About Teachers
And to round out the Things I'm Loving: School Edition, this article hits the nail on the head. I was that young teacher who fretted over how I could possibly get it all done. I guess I still am that young teacher. But last year, I was constantly reminded by older teachers, who could tell that I was absolutely not fine, that it's not the lesson I deliver, nor is it the failed novel discussion I'm stressing over. Rather, my students are going to remember me, and the way I treated them, the way I talked to them, the way I hopefully invested in them. My students absolutely loved hearing personal stories about my life, and I hope they know how much I love hearing theirs, too. It's the same mantra of a YoungLife leader. Just show up. Just be there. I couldn't tell you many of the lessons I was taught in high school, but I will never forget the way so many of my teachers invested in me. So I hope to take this letter with me into this school year. There will be great days, and there will be not-so-great days. But I hope no matter what kind of day it is, I never let it affect how I treat the students who walk through my door.

If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching
My principal showed this video to us on the very first day of inservice. Which was only two weeks ago, but feels like a lifetime ago. And I loved it. Because my mindset going into this second year is so much different than my mindset going into my first year. Actually, I'm not sure that I was scared going into my first year, but I do know that I quickly became overwhelmed. I wondered what on earth I was doing, and I dreaded the drive to school every day. I know there will be days when I become overwhelmed, and I know that "I will fail, I will make mistakes, and I will embarrass myself." But I also know that I have great people to turn to when I need help, and grace and humility are two of my greatest friends. I learn something new every single day, and I also know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. Bring it on, year two!

And of course I've got my red heels on
I hope your Monday is a great one!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Ten

Tomorrow is the first day of school. W H A T. I kind of can't believe that kids are coming TOMORROW. My classroom (!!!) is going to be filled. With high school students. Who are going to be waiting for me to stand up in front and say something. So there's that. And my to-do list is still a mile long. So here's to having the most productive Sunday of all time. But first, a little survey for you guys.

Miss T and Homer area ready for them
1.  When is your birthday?
February 5th. Bringing some joy to what is typically the least liked month. Seriously. It has come in last place on every single "favorite months" list I've ever heard. Why I've heard more than one of these lists, I do not know.

2. What’s your favorite TV show?
Boy Meets World – forever my favorite show. It’s full of life lessons, and it’s also an endless source of laughter. What could be better?

3. What’s your favorite thing about fall?
Oh, I’m so excited about fall. Not that I don’t love summer, but I’m ready for some cooler long runs. I love wearing oversized sweaters, leggings, and boots. I love the idea of changing leaves, though we don’t always (okay, never) see them. I love football (Hook ‘em Horns!), and there’s so much fall-themed baking to be done.

San Francisco in the fall
4. Sweet or savory?
I’m going to go with savory. I won’t deny that I have quite the sweet tooth, but I like foods that have quite a few flavors going on at once. Give me a turkey sandwich with all the fixings or a filling salad over a brownie or cookie any day of the week.

5. What’s your dream job?
I’ve got my dream job. I’m so lucky to be at Bellaire, imparting knowledge on high school-aged kids. Or trying to, at least. I can honestly say that I love my job, and I can honestly say that I don’t dread Mondays. And that’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Ready or not, kids are coming!
6. What book are you currently reading?
Ha, that’s a good one. After reading 15 books this summer, I haven’t picked up a book in weeks. When have I had the time? I’ve been at school for around 12 hours a day, and when I get home, the thought of opening up and starting a new book is a daunting one. But once volleyball slows down, and I get back into a regular routine, I’ll pick back up what is one of my favorite hobbies.

7. What time do you typically wake up in the morning?
If I work out in the morning, I get up around 4:45am. That doesn’t happen super often, so if I don’t work out in the morning, I get up between 5:45 and 6:00am. The first day of school, aka tomorrow, is going to hit me hard. I plan on getting in bed nice and early tonight.

8. What’s your favorite holiday?
I really love most holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of my favorites, but I really love The Fourth of July. A holiday centered on freedom. And our country. What could be better? Hamburgers, fireworks, ice cream, outdoor activities – count me in.

9. What’s your ideal vacation spot?
I like active vacations. Hiking and scuba diving and swimming and doing anything that doesn’t involve just lying on a beach. Though there’s a time and a place for that, too. But if I’m going to pay money to go somewhere, I want to really experience the city or the country that I am visiting. Remember how I said I want to go to Asia next summer? Well, that’s still very much in the plans, but I’m also considering a backpacking/hiking/camping trip through the Northwest states. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana are four places that I hear are absolutely beautiful.

This is real (Source)
10. What’s your favorite animal?
I’m going to go with a dog. Beagles, especially. How can you resist their sweet faces? It's taking all of my willpower to not adopt one.

And that's all I've got for you guys. I'm off to cross every single off of my list, but still get to bed at a decent hour. Wish me luck! And for those of you who 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ten Rounds Workout

I am so bad. I told you guys that I would be better about keeping up with my blog this week. But then I didn't leave school before 7:30pm one day this week. And I was busy, busy, busy almost every hour of the day. Okay, maybe not every hour of the day. But when I did get a free hour, I typically spent time chatting with my fellow teachers. I found that I missed seeing them and talking with them far more than I thought I would. So I'd consider it time well-spent. And today I spent all day up at Don Coleman Coliseum watching our varsity volleyball team take FIRST PLACE in the Spring Branch Volleyball Tournament. I've come full circle, because six years ago, as a senior in high school, my team won the tournament. And now, as a second-year coach, I got to watch my school come away victorious. They played so well, and even though it ate up the entirety of my Saturday, there's no place I would rather have been.

But I do have a couple of workouts to share with you guys, and this is the first one on the agenda. I did it one morning last week, when I didn't much feel like running, and I didn't feel like battling the crowds for a lane in the pool. If you don't get there right when the gym opens, good luck getting a lane to yourself. So, I headed upstairs and completed the following workout.

Let me explain this one to y'all. I completed ten total rounds. I did five rounds of set one, and then I completed five rounds of set two. Five and five makes ten, so it makes total sense, right? I think most of these exercises are pretty self-explanatory, but I'll give you a little bit of instruction on the Russian twist and the jack knives. For the Russian twist, I grabbed a 12-lb dumbbell and sat on the floor, with my knees bent at a 90-degree angle. I kept my feet a few inches off the floor, but this exercise is just as effective with your feet on the floor. Lean slightly back, without rounding your spine, and twist your torso all the way over to the left, and then all the way over to the right. Your arms should not move, as you are working your obliques here.

I feel like I've called the jack knives something different on this blog - maybe in and outs? But I've also heard the exercise called jack knife, though I'm not sure that's the official name. Anyway, it works your core by starting with your back at a 45 degree angle with the ground. Your knees are drawn to your chest, and you can keep your hands on the floor, or, if you are looking for more of a challenge, you can keep your hands in the air, or even hold a weight. You will simultaneously lower your upper body and straighten your legs so that your body is parallel to the floor. The lower you go, the tougher the exercise will be. You will then return to your original position, taking care to control your movements so that you do not get out of control.

And I'm off to do some food prep for the week, and hopefully get in an evening run, since I chose to sleep in a little bit this morning and skip out on my running group. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Survey Sunday

Happy Sunday! I can't believe it's been a week since I have checked in with you guys, but if you knew how crazy busy my schedule has been, you would understand. I honestly feel like I haven't had a spare moment to breathe, and the only "me" time I'm getting are my morning workouts. Which is fine, and I love being back at school and seeing all my teacher friends, but I'm also taking today to get every single thing crossed off of my to-do list. Everything. And this blog is NOT going to fall off the face of the earth like it did last year, so here's another round of Survey Sunday for you guys!

Setting up a classroom takes a lot of time, but you won't hear me complaining!
1. Favorite nut butter?
To eat, peanut butter. Peanut butter and apples, peanut butter and bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - you just can't beat them. But if we're talking baked goods, almond butter, all the way. I'll admit that I've never actually had cashew butter, but I am sure that I would enjoy that as well. Plus, you can't feel bad when you purchase nut butter from a place like Whole Foods or Central Market and you can identify each and every ingredient on the ingredient list.

2. You have the option: fro-yo or ice cream, but you can only have one, forever!
This question isn't a difficult one, for two reasons. One, frozen yogurt is my favorite frozen treat. And two, lactose intolerance prevents me from eating regular ice cream. So, frozen yogurt it is! Not a bad fate.

3. Dream car?
I was just talking to my mom about how little cars interest me. I know some people are very into cars, and they're very impressed by cars, but all I want in a car is safety and reliability. I say this because within the next year or so, I'm looking into purchasing a new car, and while I do want it to be "cute," I also want something that is going to keep me safe, that is going to stay out the shop, and that will get me from point A to point B. I love the Honda CRV, I love the Hyundai Sante Fe, and this is way out of my price range, but I do love the Volvo XC90. I'm all about the SUVs, if you can't tell.

4. If you could only do one type of workout for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would say running, but I know I would get sick of it if I did it every single day. There is nothing in me that wants to run every single day, though it is my favorite form of exercise. That being said, I would choose Felipe's classes for the rest of my life, because even though they cause me to curse Felipe's name, I also know that they benefit me in so many ways. And I'm never bored!

5. Best magazine?
I don’t really read magazines anymore, but I will occasionally pick up a copy of Shape, if I see something on the cover that interests me. I enjoy reading neighborhood-specific magazines, such as The Memorial Buzz, if we're talking about my specific area, and I also recently picked up a copy of Vype, which is Houston's high school sports magazine. What can I say - I guess I just like high schoolers!

Which is a good thing, because I spend a lot of time around them!
6. All food is “healthy” for you. What do you choose to indulge in?
Dark chocolate and sweet potato fries are two things I will never be able to turn down. But I don't feel bad when I eat them, because I very much enjoy both of those things, and what is life without wholeheartedly enjoying what you are eating?

7. What decade would you like to experience?
The 50s! I think it's the swing dancing and the diners and the music and the poodle skirts and I know it wasn't all "Happy Days," but I think it would be a fun time to experience.

8. Favorite form of social media?
Instagram, for sure. Pictures say so much, and I never get tired of scrolling through pictures of food, friends, and so much more. Plus, you can't waste that much time on Instagram. I mean, you can, but it's only a matter of time before you start feeling really creepy. Read: when you're 82 weeks deep on your roommate's friend's cousin's boyfriend's sister. Yeah, try and figure that one out.

9. What would you rather do without: internet (computer, phone, etc.) or dessert?
Wow. This is a tough question. And I'm not quite sure how to answer it. I love the Internet, but if I never knew about it, maybe I wouldn't miss it? But I'm not sure that I could go without dessert!

10. What makes you unique?
I'm left-handed? That's unique to a very small part of the population. But in all seriousness, I think somebody else would have to answer that question. I've recently been told by multiple people that I'm a very thoughtful person, but I wouldn't say that makes me unique. I genuinely enjoy writing letters and leaving people notes, which is not something you see that much anymore, so we're going to go with that one.

And I'm off to tackle my never-ending to-do list. I promise this week, though, that I will be back with at least a couple of posts. It brings me life, and there's no sense in neglecting something that I so much enjoy doing. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What I Love

Happy Sunday! I apologize for missing this week's Things I'm Loving Friday, but my crazy schedule really caught up with me. I spent a lot of time at school this week, I mean, we're talking a lot of time, but I'm hoping that this week will be a little less hectic. I was drop-dead tired last night, yet I still ended up staying awake until almost 2:00am. Sometimes, it's just worth it. But today is my last day before I begin juggling inservice and volleyball practices and games, so here's to getting all of the last-minute errands run. I'm hoping to get in bed by 9:30pm, so I'm going to make these next nine hours productive ones. But before I do that, here's your weekly survey, featuring some things that I love.

1) Valentine’s Candy I Love: Not to be a scrooge, but Valentine's candy is such a ripoff. Grocery stores and convenience stores alike hike up the prices for candy that is wrapped or coated in red or pink, and while I'm the biggest chocolate proponent there is, I don't think it's worth it to spend $20 on a little box of chocolates. Just my opinion. 

2) Current Workout Jam I Love: Do you guys remember the song Juliet by LMNT? It's such an oldie, but it's currently my jam. I love when it blasts through my headphones, and it's a little blast from the past that makes me smile as I am running an absurd number of miles in the outrageous Texas heat. 

3) Article of Clothing I Love: Right now, I'm obsessed with Lulu shorts. I just recently had a conversation with how Lulu shorts are just a cut above every other brand of shorts, and I wish I could find more in a Cardinal Red color, because I would stock up on those in a heartbeat. 

4) Something Red I Love: Berries. Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and though it's not a berry, watermelon. I cannot get enough of these red fruits in these hot summer months. If I'm not careful, I'll eat the entire container in one sitting.

Plus, they make a great pie
5) Month I Love: February, because isn't that everyone's favorite month? It actually came dead last on a list of favorite months. But I'll give it some love. Not to be self-absorbed, but I do love my birthday, and it brings a little bit of cheer to a typically dreary month. That being said, I really can find something to love about every month: January is the promise of a new beginning. March has spring break. April may have lots of showers, but it really feels like spring. May means summer vacation is on the horizon, and June and July are self-explanatory. August starts volleyball. September starts football. October is when it really starts feeling like fall, and November and December feature lots of holiday excitement.

What's better than getting a headlamp for your birthday?
6) Piece of Advice I Love: "If Running is Difficult, Run More." I saw this on Pinterest (typical) and it has continued to stick with me, so maybe a blog post will come out of this invaluable piece of advice.

7) New (or old!) Blog I Love: Peanut Butter Fingers is the blog that inspired mine, and the one that I still continue to read semi-regularly. I love her outlook on life, the way she balances a fun lifestyle with a healthy lifestyle, and she has some great workouts and recipes, to boot.

8) Current Reading Material I Love: I've been so bad. Ever since volleyball started, I haven't even picked up a book. I haven't even really sat down and relaxed, to be completely honest, but there are so many books that I want to read. That are definitely going to be put on the backburner. But one book that I will always point people to is Bob Goff's Love Does, and Donald Miller's Scary Close. Two outstanding books that make such a huge impact in so many different ways.

9) A Memory I Love: Wow, how can I pick just one? I have so many fond memories. It just depends what stage of life we're talking about. I'm thankful that I could never even begin to choose one memory that I love, but I'll share one from this past year of teaching. One year ago tomorrow, I was all set to move into my new classroom. And one year ago tomorrow, I had my classroom taken away from me. I ruined my cool factor and started crying in the middle of the main hallway, when the kindest teacher came up to me and talked me through my tears. He continued to check on me throughout the entire school year, and as much of a bummer as that situation was at the time, the positives way outweighed the negatives. And the way he acted toward me in that moment is something that I will never, ever forget. A bad memory turned great, if I do say so myself. 

10) “Chick Flick” I Love: Again, how can I pick just one? I haven't met many chick flicks that I don't like, but She's the Man is one that will never get old. And I can quote about 98% of that movie. Embarrassing, or impressive?

11) A Special Place in the World I Love: Barcelona will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only is it beautiful and full of culture and history, but it's the place that gave me my love for traveling, and the place that forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I was in a whole new country, where people speak a language in which I am only somewhat competent. There were challenges, of course, but I learned so much in those two months. Both in the classroom and out.

12) Beauty Product I Love: Can I go with soap and water? Let me explain this one. As a middle school and high school student, I never struggled with acne. I mean, ever. I was blessed with the gift of clear skin. But the summer before my senior year of college, I started getting stressed. Stressed about the fact that it was about to be my senior year. Stressed about student teaching. Stressed about graduating, and being out in the real world. Plausible reasons to worry, but it wreaked havoc on my skin. I tried so many different products, and while some products worked temporarily, I felt as though my skin only got worse. I eventually gave up buying new products, and went with the old soap and water regimen. And while my skin certainly isn't perfect, it looks so much better than it did. So I think I'll stick with it for a while.

13) Nifty Website I Love: Localeur. This is the best not-so-hidden gem that is coming to more and more cities near you. Launched at SXSW in 2013, Localeur is written by locals who live, work, and breathe in that city. From hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommendations, to free fitness classes, to coffee shops that leave Starbucks in the dust. Localeur understands that there's a big difference between where the tourists congregate, and where the locals hang out. It's currently in 16 cities, and expanding rapidly, so the next time you are visiting one of those cities, experience it like a local. 

14) A Beautiful Blog Post I Love: Man, there are so many beautiful blog posts that I absolutely love. And I've shared quite a few of them over the past year on my Things I'm Loving tradition. Here is one that I have yet to share, but that I've had open on my browser for quite a while. A simple reminder in the midst of chaos.

Adios! Again, I apologize for blog posts that are few and far between. I'll do my best to stay on top of things, but life has a way of getting away from you!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back-Up Plan

Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope it has been a great one. I actually got to sleep in a couple of extra hours today before heading up to Bellaire, so I found myself with a little extra pep in my step all day today. But anything had to be better than yesterday, because I was absolutely dragging all day. If the girls are even half as tired as I am, they have to be exhausted. I couldn’t even be too hard on them yesterday when they weren’t giving me full effort, because I was feeling the exact same way. Add in a parent meeting and a pool party, and I was absolutely spent. But that could have had something to do with the fact that my wake-up call was 5:10am, as I headed up the road to get in a hill workout. Well, I thought I was going to get in a hill workout. As it turns out, someone at Stratford High School had already thought that through, and the gates were as locked up as they could be. That was no matter, because the MAC is just up the street, and I knew my hill plans could be modified and taken to the stairs.

Instead of running up and down the hill in the dark, I ran up and down the stairs from the first floor to the second floor of the MAC. And just because I completed my workout at the gym, doesn’t mean I was gifted with air conditioning. There is a set of stairs on the outside of the building, so I was still sweating up a storm as I completed four sets of ten stair climbs, alternating one foot on every step with one foot on every other step. And I can tell you that I am absolutely feeling it today. But I didn’t want to just run up and down stairs, or up and down the hill, and call it a workout. But I also wasn’t going to give myself enough time to get in a full circuit-style workout. My solution? A short circuit-style workout that incorporates both strength and cardio. That probably took me less than ten minutes. And it was inspired by this workout from, you guessed it, Peanut Butter Fingers

While I don't particularly love any of these exercises, six reps goes by pretty darn quick. When I came up with this workout, I assumed that I was going to be in the middle of a high school football field, with no access to any equipment. So even though I could have added in equipment when I moved myself over to the gym, I chose to follow this as is. So this is a workout that could very easily be done at home. And of course, you can choose to add more repetitions of each exercise. I simply wanted to feel the burn, and I wanted to be finished with that round before I knew what I was doing. The way I completed this workout is by doing six repetitions of each of the six exercises listed for one round. I completed six rounds before calling it a day, but I thought about taking the three mini-circuits I have listed above and completing the six rounds of that mini-circuit before moving onto the next one. Whatever you choose is guaranteed to get you nice and sweaty.

And here are links to the two exercises that you may not recognize by name.
  • Plank Jacks

  • Jack Knife

And I'm off to bed. Two-a-days may be in the books, but tomorrow and Saturday means volleyball scrimmages from the early morning until early afternoon. And they're always a little bit chaotic, but they're always a lot bit fun. Catch y'all after!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sorry, I Can't; I Have Volleyball

If you had asked me for my six-word memoir at any point during my high school career, this is what I would have given you. Volleyball was my life, and I was happy to have it that way. I loved the game, I loved the people I played with, and it taught me more than I realized at the time. Though it certainly wasn't without sacrifice. And if you ask me for my six-word memoir from August to November, this is what I will give you. Because my second season as a coach is already in full swing. And I love the game of volleyball with every part of my heart. I jump at any chance to play, rarely will I turn down an opportunity to coach (or learn!), and though it's a most time-consuming commitment, I don't regret my decision for a second.

But let me back up a little bit. I gave up a lot when I played volleyball. It wasn't as noticeable to me during the high school season, because all of my best friends were on the court right beside me. Volleyball was my social life, and if I ever did miss out on anything, my best friends missed out on it, too. But when club season rolled around, I gave up three days a week (including FRIDAY nights!) and three weekends a month to volleyball. And on those nights, it was three-and-a-half hours of training. And on those weekends, it was four+ matches. It was a lot, and I became accustomed to missing out on school dances, birthday dinners, weekend trips, Young Life, and quite a bit more, because I had practice or another tournament, or something volleyball-related. "Sorry, I can't; I have volleyball" was a very real excuse.

I thought seriously about playing club ball in college, but I decided that I was kind of tired of volleyball interfering with the other parts of my life. I did my time, I loved it, but I wanted the full college experience. And I feel as though I got it. And I thought the old "Sorry, I can't; I have volleyball" excuse had also done its time. 

Well, fast forward a few years, and I found myself making this exact sentiment when Amira and Lindsay asked me to join them on a long weekend in Boulder. As much as I would love to spend an August weekend hiking and camping, not only is it the first week of school, but it's also volleyball season, and missing days isn't really an option. We have games on Tuesday and Friday nights, and practice on the days that we don't play. Add in marathon training, and I don't have a whole lot of extra free time. Sometimes I have to say no to things. And other times my days are typically so scheduled that when I do get a little bit of free time, I choose to say no to things. And last year I beat myself up over that. I tried to do everything. And I ended up wearing myself down to my breaking point. So sometimes, I think saying no is okay.

Because these girls are worth my time
I think what I'm trying to get across in this blog post is the message that this little blog of mine is more than likely going to take a hit this volleyball season. Did anyone catch that pun? Life is hectic and crazy and busy, and not only am I coaching in all the spare time that I've got, but my first title is that of a teacher. And the fall tends to be a bit on the hectic side. There's new students to figure out, getting used to waking up early and getting home late, a routine to get back into. And while I thrive in the busy season, and I'm much more productive when I've got a packed schedule, I am human, and sometimes I just can't.

Sometimes I can't post because I have to teach all day at school, and then I have to run volleyball practice, and then I have to workout, and then I have to grade papers or create a PowerPoint or maybe, just maybe, spend the little bit of free time that I do have engaging in some of the other hobbies that I so enjoy doing - reading or walking or baking, or simply spending time sans a computer. So, I simply ask that you bear with me throughout these next few months. I don't plan on completely neglecting the blog like I did last volleyball season, but my posts will certainly be fewer and farther between. I'm hoping to find just the right balance, because blogging truly does bring me so much joy. But if I'm MIA for a couple of weeks days on end, I promise I'll be back! And stay tuned for a quick and sweaty workout coming soon!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Three Rounds Upperbody Superset

Hey, hey, hey! I'm sitting down to post in between tryout sessions today, so this post is sure to be on the shorter side. But I couldn't resist sharing this upperbody workout, that was inspired by this upperbody workout and this upperbody workout from Peanut Butter Fingers. If you guys have been reading my blog with any regularity, you know that workouts of the upperbody variety are typically the first to be put on the backburner. Strength training at all is not something I'm diligent about, though I know very well how beneficial it is. So while I was certainly feeling the burn during this upperbody-focused workout, I also enjoyed the challenge.

And as always, let me explain myself. I completed three rounds of each "group," before moving onto the next one. Meaning, I did 10 pushups, followed by 15 chest press, and 30 seconds of jump rope, three times, before moving onto the bicep and hammer curls. It worked my muscles to fatigue, but after three rounds, I was done. And I was in and out of the gym in under half an hour, so this would be a good workout to have on hand for when you're short on time. The focus is obviously on the strength portion, but you get a little bit of cardio thrown into the mix as well. And if you weren't feeling the jump rope, you could easily substitute mountain climbers, tuck jumps, burpees, stairs, high knees, or any other form of cardio that you please. The perfect workout for when you're not really feeling the gym, because this one is over before you even realize it.

And I'm off to squeeze in a mini nap so I can go into round two of tryouts feeling refreshed and ready. Here we go!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A to Z of Happiness

Well guys, this is it. Tomorrow is day one of volleyball season, which means today is my last full day of freedom. Although I am headed up to Bellaire just after the posting of this survey to participate in our annual Bellaire Volleyball Work Day, so maybe it's not a full day of freedom, but whatever, we'll go with it. 

Shout out to Coach Adcock for bringing back this gem
A – Anthropologie.
B – Blogging.
C – Cooking (and baking).

A fitnessandfroyo original.
D – Dark chocolate.
E – Exercise. I am going to have this one count as ALL exercise, because I could easily fill up so many of these letters with exercise-related terms. Besides the R for Running, because that holds such a special place in my heart, this will cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s. I truly believe that you are only one workout away from a good mood.

F – Frozen yogurt with friends. Got the double F going there.

G – Grilled vegetables? I had a surprisingly hard time with this letter, but I could eat grilled veggies all day and night.

H – Hungry’s. Hands down.
I – Instagram. I won’t even try to pretend that I don’t love scrolling through my Instagram feed.
J – Jesus.
K – Kids, of the high school age. They exasperate me and frustrate me and push my buttons, but at the end of the day, they make me so incredibly happy.

L – Lululemon headbands. I have a problem.

M – Music, especially country music.
N – New restaurants.
O – Outdoors.
P – Photographs. I take a lot of them, but I never regret having memories to look back on.

Q – Quality time with family and friends. This just can’t be beat.

R – Running (and reading). How could I possibly choose between them?

S – Sunshine. Sunrises. Sunsets. I much prefer the sun to the clouds, if you couldn't tell.
T – Traveling. I have a serious case of wanderlust. Perks of being a teacher, because I can actually fulfill those fantasies.

U – University of Texas. Hook ‘em forever.

V – Volleyball. A game that has taken hours from me, but hours that I wouldn't want to spend any other way. 

W – Water. To drink and to swim and to scuba dive in.

X – X-tra fuzzy socks? Yeah, that's all I've got for this one. 
Y – YoungLife.

An organization of weird humans
And funny costumes
Z – Ziplining. Obviously not something that I do on a regular basis, but come on, Z is a tough letter!

And with that, I'm off to Bellaire. Have a great Sunday!