A New Kind of Christmas

The Christmas season has been a different one for me this year.  Deciding to have my knee surgery 2 weeks before Christmas may not have been the best plan.  You don’t realize how many last minute things there are to do until you are stuck at home unable to do a lot of them.  I’ve had to rely on my sweet husband to do most of the wrapping and cleaning.  I did make dinner last night so at least I am making progress.  It also doesn’t look like Christmas with the gray, rainy days.  We were lucky last year and literally got snowed in.  In my experience we have a 50/50 shot of having a white Christmas and it’s not looking promising right now.  Fingers crossed!

Since we are downsizing we have asked the kids not to give us “things” that we will struggle to find room for once we move.  We already have so much we are parting with.  Instead we asked them for the gift of their time.  Going forward as we all move into our next chapters we will be busy and farther apart and spending time together means more than anything you can buy at a store.  I’d rather have them surprise me with a trip home to visit than anything else.  Or make plans to meet in the middle for an afternoon, go to the zoo or a baseball game.  It requires a little more effort and planning than picking something up at the store.  But that makes it all the more special.  Hopefully the kids feel the same way.

[Speaking of kids, Cassie and Austin and our grandpups are here today to do our Christmas together.  Chad is so cute with the dogs.  He bought them bones just for today and has a cozy spot all set up for them by the tree in the kitchen.  He talks to them in a little kid voice and slips them extra treats.  He is gonna be an awesome grandpa one day.] Sidetrack over- back on track!

In a couple of weeks when we take down all of the decorations we have to sort through them and decide what we are taking.  We have always been a bit over the top with Christmas decorating.  At one point we had 3 full size decorated trees and several small ones.  Over the years we have scaled it back but there is still too much for just the 2 of us next year.  We are going from 2200 sq ft to around 1200.  So some tough decisions will need to be made.  The kids will take what they want from the leftovers and then the rest will be donated.  Operation downsizing will commence.  It’s bittersweet looking at things thinking this will be the last year we do this, or decorate with this, or bake cookies altogether like this.  But it has to happen in order to move forward.  The kids grow up and move out and start their own traditions.  I just hope to be part of some of them while creating new ones for Chad and I.  We hear East Tawas does a pretty cool NYE bar crawl !

Over the next few days we will be getting together with family and enjoying time together.  I hope you are able to do the same.  To you and yours from me and mine, Merry Christmas !!

The first step is a doozy!

Remember when I said “that is a post for another time?” Well this is that post.

I started out 2018 in such a healthy way.  A renewed determination to get back into a gym routine, staying away from bad food choices, I had a plan.

Then not quite two months in I hurt my knee.  3 times in 6 weeks. I’ve never had knee problems. In fact, I have been pretty lucky with my health.  I don’t smoke or do drugs. I drink socially a couple times a month. I wanted to lose about 40 pounds and figured I would hit that goal by the fall.  I’ve done it before, I know I can do it.

Then a stationary gym bike, a patch of ice and landing wrong doing a “reverse” on the Cha Cha Slide changed the course of my year.  I bought a knee brace, figured I had pulled something and it just needed time to heal.  It took me 2 months to decide I better go see an actual doctor. 2 months of limping around and wincing on the stairs. So I did. And found out I had torn my meniscus on both sides of my left knee.  Surgery was the fix, but even then the dr told me that as I get older I would most likely have arthritis problems, as it seems almost everyone I know does.

So instead of facing it, I pushed it off.  I was too busy in the summer for surgery.  I was in a wedding, we had a family vacation planned.  I didn’t want to do it in the fall, that is my favorite season. I pushed it off and limped around. Some days it felt fine.  Some days I had to double up on my knee braces.

Looking back I wish I had at least kept up with my calorie counting instead of feeling so hopeless.  But instead I kind of gave up.  Instead of losing 40 pounds, I gained nearly 25 in 10 months.  I knew it was happening but for some reason I just couldn’t get it under control.

Something has to change.  I don’t expect to run marathons or anything crazy like that.  But I want to be able to go for long walks, go bike riding and fit back into all of my cute clothes.  I need to get this under control.  I need to STOP with the excuses.

The first step to a healthier me is the knee surgery. So I did it. 4 days ago. I was a nervous wreck, I’ve never even had a stitch before!  But here I am, recovering. This was just the first step. Once I get cleared by the doctor, my plan for 2018 is a walk every single day.  I don’t care of it is sleeting, snowing or 100 degrees.  I will go for a walk every damn day no matter what and I will take a picture from that walk for an album I will create. I will hold myself accountable.  I will go back to smaller portions and healthier choices.  I will get back to the point where I don’t cringe when I get dressed. I can do this.

My goal is to lose at least 65 pounds and to be able to do the 8 mile Highbanks Trail by next fall.  I AM going to do this. And you are all welcome to come along with me.

Perfectly presentable?

After 3 days sitting at home in comfy clothes, no make up or no hair products I am beginning to feel like a bum!  I never used to be a daily hair and make up kind of girl.  I wasn’t brought up that way.  My mom worked in a factory and make up was a special occasion kind of thing.  For years when I was home with the kids I was content to be comfortable.  After all, as long as the kids got their cheese and crackers they didn’t care if I had on mascara!  My husband certainly never complained.  In fact he has always maintained that I looked prettiest when I am not trying.  One of the reasons our marriage of 27 years works so well?!?

But then I started working in an office environment and all that changed.  The other women wore make up every day, had their hair styled and wore cute tops.  The inner sparkle in me came rushing out and I too became one of them.  I wore make up every day.  I started collecting hair styling products and tools, had way more make up than I needed.  Started my own collection of cute tops.  I was confident and felt pretty.  And proud that I was able to buy all of these things with my own money.  When you go into work and your coworkers notice a new outfit or different hairstyle it is an ego boost. It was good to be girly and sparkly and noticed.

But somewhere along the way it became necessary.  I could no longer go out in public with my hair in a ponytail and no make up on without hoping I didn’t run into someone I knew.  I certainly couldn’t show up to work like that!  My confidence and my appearance were intertwined and I couldn’t go through the day trying to avoid eye contact and hoping no one said that I looked really tired today.  I even started wearing make up more often than not on the weekends because I just didn’t feel pretty without it.

So now my challenge is this; can I regain my confidence and learn how to separate my self worth from my appearance?  Can I get back to the point when I feel pretty without having to put on make up and style my hair or am I going to worry that the doorbell will ring and someone will show up unannounced? I don’t want to be tied down to a bunch of products anymore or spend 45 minutes every morning “getting ready”. I would like to just face the day as it comes. Feeling the same about myself no matter what I did with my hair that day. I’d like to save the “getting ready” process for special occasions, like the date night my husband has planned for us tonight. He even made reservations.

I better go turn on the curling iron!



Now what?

Yesterday I said goodbye to my coworkers. Goodbye to waking to a 5am alarm clock. Goodbye to dealing with the frantic pace of a busy car dealership. Goodbye weekly paycheck!

This morning I woke up to an empty house. Hello peace and quiet. Hello 8 hours of sleep. I had almost forgotten what you looked like. Hello to trying to decide what comes next.

We’ve been planning to move north when Jack graduates for the last 3 years. We’ve worked hard to get to this point and a lot of things had to fall into place. The truth is that we still have some things left to figure out. But this much we know- we had to take that first step. And that is what yesterday was about. Stepping off the ledge and trusting that we will land on our feet.

We have a little over 6 months until we pack up our lives here in Howell and head north to East Tawas. There is a lot to do before then! We have over 40 years of stuff to sort through and distribute among friends and family. We are downsizing by almost 2/3! Chad and I don’t need much for our next chapter. We are looking for a simple, quiet life. Going for evening walks, bike rides out to the lighthouse, walks on the beach, helping out in the community, occasional trips downstate to visit family and friends. We’ve done busy, hectic, crazy schedules and we are tired. But we have six more months of busy before we can get to that quiet.

At this point I have to acknowledge and recognize my husband of 27 years. He has been my rock. Together we have had more jobs than I can count over the years, starting when we were just teenagers. We’ve always believed in working hard to achieve our dreams. And now he has blessed me with the gift of spending these last 6 months at home. I can spend more time with my parents while I am still only a short drive away. More time with our son who graduates this year. I will be able to help our oldest find her first apartment and help her settle into her new exciting life. I can meet up with our other daughter for lunches, something we will no longer be able to do once we live 4 hours apart. I can take my time sorting through our memories and scanning the thousands of pictures I’ve taken over the years. I will not have to feel rushed and stressed about packing, I can take my time and do it right. I can check off all my mental boxes. Thank you for this Chad Bondie!

Most of all I will be able to take some time to find myself again. Not only the Shannone people know as a wife, a mom, a coworker. I will always love being those things. But also the person inside who used to stay up all night with a book I couldn’t put down and wrote poetry. The girl who loves photography, decorating and cooking. The girl who needs to get serious about taking care of herself..but that is another post for another time! The next 6 months will be a transition. A transition from the person I was to the person I will become. A full time working mom to a woman who has the best years of her life still ahead of her with the man she loves by her side.

This morning I came downstairs and asked myself, “Now what?”. The reply is simple. Now I live!