Chrissie Bader
I said I would update my fitness journey. Well, here's the truth of it. In the picture to the right of here that shows the start of my fitness journey, I weighed 194. That was the heaviest I had ever been. Going for full disclosure here; I'm now at 201.

Yep, you read that right. I gained it all back plus some. Now, I can sit here and make all kinds of excuses up about the how and why. The truth is that it was easy and I got lazy. When I quit my job, pulled my daughter out of school, lost my grandfather, and moved AGAIN, my routine got lost, I hit rock bottom, got lazy down there and now here I am. That's it. 

I've made several short-lived attempts at getting back on track but I've been unable to maintain the intensity that I start out with. To add to my misery I felt like such a failure and so unworthy of calling myself a Beachbody coach that I abandoned the people I had promised to lead because I was so ashamed of what I had let happen to myself. Be all of that as it may, I am starting over again. The only difference this time is that I'm holding myself accountable here instead of privately where my excuses and failures can't be seen or known by anyone but me.

So, here's my Day 1: Les Mills Pump: Pump & Burn

I was going to start P90X (because I loved the results I got from it last time) but spent over an hour trying to get my Beachbody On Demand to work on the Fire Stick, then the Roku. Finally gave up on it and plugged in the old DVD player but it was so late at night by that point, I decided to go with a shorter workout.

So, last night I started P90X: Week 1, Day 1: Chest & Back

And tonight should have been W1D2: Plyometrics.....but instead is Les Mills Combat: Combat 30. At my current weight, Plyo would have left me with killer shin splints so for cardio days, I will supplement with Combat, which is my soulmate workout. LOVE, love, love Combat.

My nutrition isn't perfect yet but I'm working on it day by day and I'm finally at a point where I'm tired of waiting for everything to be perfect at the same time. It's time for baby steps a day at a time. I'm making no promises other than that I'm going to do my best every day. So, there you have it! The ugly, vulnerable truth. Who's ready to dig in with me? 
Chrissie Bader
I seem to have always had a penchant for discerning the moments in life that once they were gone and you could never get them back, that those particular types of moments are the kind that can cause deep regret later in life. You may say that all moments are moments you can't get back but I say that not all are ones you would want to. But there are some, when you and your children are laughing so hard over something really silly and you make eye contact and laugh even harder, when your child tells you something really special that you hope you never forget, when they learn something new and you know it was a blessing from God that you were there to witness the pride and excitement......those are the kinds that once you miss it, it's gone. It can never happen again, ever. Not when they're the same size with the same innocent smile, with the same baby fat or the same, well, anything. You missed it and it's gone.

I have always had a knack for recognizing when I have just witnessed one of these moments and realizing the need to capture it in my subconscious and try to hang on to it for the remainder of my existence. I have a deep need to collect these moments with my kids. The thought of missing one or forgetting one feels like suffocating and the tears begin burning and my chest feels like it might cave in. I haven't always been the mom I should have or could have been. Depression robbed me of recognizing the happiness in so many of my babies' early moments. But, by God, I was there!! No one can EVER accuse me of not being present for my children. I made sure of that, by being there.

It isn't always easy. I'm the first one to admit that sometimes I crave some time for myself. And I used to complain a lot about my lack of alone time. However, now that my kids are older and less demanding (read, all potty-trained, lol), and I'm not reeling from the grip of postpartum depression, it no longer feels like a life-suck to be with my kids 24-7. And since I really only get a few hours a month to myself, it's probably good that I do have a deep desire to be very active in the production of my kids' most core memories.

Today I took my kids to a pumpkin patch on the fly just because we passed by, it was beautiful, and the kids wanted to go. While we were there, I connected on a level with my son who had just realized how much he loves the Fall season. I got to see my daughters go crazy over all of the beautiful pumpkins. I got pictures of this day that I hope I remember for my lifetime because they were 11, 6, and 4 and absolutely precious and perfect and happy. And one day they might not want to go to a pumpkin patch with me. When we got home they wanted to play ball, so I got out there and caught, batted, and pitched with them. We played baseball barefoot in the cool autumn grass. I showed them honeysuckle and taught them to smell and taste the nectar. The four of us laughed and played until we were tired, hungry, and happy.

I don't ever want to be the mom that took for granted the gift of her childrens' childhoods. Because it is so fleeting. One day you will turn around and remember them (or not) the way they used to be, look, smile, laugh. And when it's gone, it's gone. They are only little boys and little girls so long and then they say, "so long". So, make the sacrifices of time and personal things, make side trips, forego "plans" so you can do something better, play ball, say yes, and be there and be present. Put the iPad or the phone down and be present. Study their tiny faces, the lines of their smiles, their tiny teeth, their eyes when they laugh. These are the special times they WILL remember. Let them remember your face, your smiles, your eyes when you were laughing, and the look of you completely soaking them in for all eternity. It's what matters. Don't miss it.
Chrissie Bader
If someone would have asked me only two years ago what I would be doing Fall 2015 I would have known exactly what to tell them. I was going to finally be living for me again!! Heavens, yes!! I was going to finally have the time to devote to growing my electrology practice and proper marketing, and for the first time in 11 years I was going to be able to hardcore focus on my dreams, for at least 6 hours per day. Because that's when our youngest would be old enough for Pre-K. I couldn't wait! I just knew it would be glorious.

So, what am I doing now that the long wait is finally over? I am homeschooling all three of my kids. Ha!!! I first felt called to homeschool a couple years ago when we had to pull Reagan out of Christian school and enroll her in public school at the beginning of her 4th grade year. We even went through the county to have her enrolled in one of the "better" elementary schools in our county as a transit student, which just meant that I was responsible for her transportation because the bus would not pick her up.

What a nightmare it was! The calls home almost every day about absolutely everything! The tears over math homework (thank you Common Core), the crazy lack of an actual grading system, and the lack of communication, in general, between the school and myself. At our first parent/teacher conference, the teacher assured me that Reagan was doing great and was right where they considered it average for her to be. She had been a A Honor Roll student the previous 3 years at Christian school. By the end of the first semester, they notified me that she was failing Language Arts which is her strongest subject. She would come home depressed and told me stories of other children who "hated" her and bullied her to tears. The school counselor actually called me and said Reagan was in her office too often (at least once per day) and that we should seek outside counseling.....which we were already getting!! We did therapy twice a month to monitor her ADHD medications, appointments that usually ended with an additional prescription and an increased dosage of everything else she was on. And nothing was working!!! She was not getting better, she had side effects from all the medications which they would just prescribe other meds for, she was having worse problems in school than ever before, and to top it all off, she had fallen completely off of the growth chart for her age group. I was at a completely utterly hopeless loss for what to do to help my beautiful girl who once had been the happiest, most outgoing child I had ever known.

After much praying and crying, and prayerful crying, I began to be lead to different sources of information about homeschooling. I read an eBook named Called Home that said practically everything that was in my heart about it and I decided to go for it. I turned in my notice for my job, withdrew her from public school after one especially hellish week during which I had had absolutely everything I intended to take from those people. I felt liberated and completely terrified. You have to understand, I am NOT one of "those" moms. You know the ones I'm talking about? The ones who think their kids are just the best thing since sliced bread and want to spend every waking moment planning crafts and activities that will enrich the little darlings' lives? Yep, that mom. I'm not her. Not by a long shot. I'm the mom who began counting down the days until Summer break was over and I could get rid of them again. Don't judge, there are many more where I came from. So, I was taking a huge step out of my comfort zone deciding to do this. But while I may not be "that" mom I am most definitely the mom that will always do what's best for my kids no matter how much I dislike it.

So, homeschooling it was. The first thing we did was put a stop to ALL of her medications. All of them. Then I got a bunch of books and started handing out reading assignments while I searched for a curriculum that didn't cost a million dollars. Then my grandfather died. When that happened, I decided that this idea called unschooling sounded like a nice idea for awhile. Besides, I had heard that children needed to "deschool" for about a month for every year they attended public school before beginning homeschool. I still think that may be pretty excessive for most children but to each their own. I needed to believe it at that time because I was beginning to come apart. At the same time I was trying to come to grips with the loss of my grandfather, we also bought our first home and the packing and the moving commenced. And that, as well, proved an extremely emotional period of time for me. My babies had grown up in the house we currently lived in and while I did want our own home, I had loved our rental a lot and didn't want to think about leaving all of my memories behind.

But leave, we did, and everyone adjusted well. We loved our new home and got settled in pretty quickly. But shortly after the move, the kids began talking about how they wanted to go back to school. I felt conflicted about it but reasoned that since we were in a better school district, things might be different this time. So, I got Caleb a spot in the local pre-k and enrolled Reagan in 4th grade at the new school. It ended up being the same old nightmare with Reagan and we were so fortunate she even graduated 4th grade based on testing alone because her grades wouldn't have allowed her to advance. It was all so disheartening and, honestly, devastating to think that she had gone from being considered such an incredibly bright student to a kid who was about to be held back a grade. I felt like such a horrible failure as a mother. I remember sitting on my front porch was beautiful Spring day, face in hands, bawling like a child after one particular phone call from her teacher. I felt so lost.

Over the summer, I contemplated homeschooling again but decided against it when Fall came around because Caleb was so excited to start Kindergarten and Reagan was wanting to see her friends again for 5th grade. And secretly I lacked the self-confidence to homeschool them. All of the "what if" fears haunted me and I really didn't believe I could do it without ruining my kids. So, public school it was.

The school year started out pretty rocky. With Caleb, it was a huge adjustment to long days where he was required to sit still and do seat work, no naps, and late lunches. He came home grumpy and exhausted daily. Homework was a nightmare of tears and frustration. Eventually, we stopped doing homework other than story time because I felt it was utterly ridiculous to require a Kindergartner to do homework after being in school for 7 hours. 7 hours!! With only a 15 minute recess and 30 minute lunch for a bunch of 5 year olds; I just don't comprehend the logic. (Massachusetts had half day Kindergarten with a long recess and Reagan learned to read very well by the end of the year. Why couldn't Georgia do the same?) By the Spring parent/teacher conference, the teacher was threatening to hold Caleb back in Kindergarten another year because he wasn't at the reading level required for 1st graders, even though he was ahead in math. WHAT??

The beginning of the year with Reagan was much the same as the end of the previous school year. Academically, she was struggling and behaviorally she was REALLY struggling. Constant calls home and visits with the principal and counselors, respect letters lost, and even the privilege of hall monitor was taken from her because of an outburst one day. The tide started to shift when, in October, I made a blend of essential oils for her in a roller bottle and started applying it to her every morning before she left for school and most afternoons when she would come home and do homework. The change wasn't immediate but gradual. In fact, at first I didn't know if the oils were working at all but we were desperate to find something non-medical that would help her.

By Christmas, not only did I notice a huge difference in her but everyone close to her began to notice as well. The outbursts of anger were less frequent, the depressive sobbing episodes stopped, she seemed happier and more content. She didn't bounce off the walls at home all the time and was calmer and more pleasant. Everyone began noticing these subtle changes in her. Her grades started coming up as well. By the Spring parent/teacher conference her teacher and aide, both, were asking what we were doing at home because she had made a complete 180. Not only did she pass 5th grade but she did it without anymore visits to the principal and was even given the Rising Star award at the end of year ceremony. There are only a few things I can give credit to for this miraculous turnaround; I never stopped praying for her and our situation, diligent principled chiropractic visits, and amazing essential oils. She's even back on track with the growth chart! Hallelujah!!

We started Summer with the intention that all would be going to school in the Fall but my head started swimming with thoughts of how hectic it was going to be. Caleb would be in Elementary which starts at 7:30am, Kinley would be in Pre-K across town which started at 8am, and Reagan would be in Middle School which started at 9am. And they would all have different pickup times as well. Whoa! Add to that the anxiety of Reagan starting middle school which is an entirely different monster from elementary, which we had JUST gotten acquired to with her. So, homeschool started to sound really good again. But I was absolutely terrified to commit!

I spent the whole Summer praying about the decision, discussing it with my mom, and weighing the pros and cons. I finally made my decision to go all in with homeschool about 2 weeks before the new school year was to start. So, I chose our curriculum, bought school supplies, and planned the first week out for each child in their own separate Evernote notebook. The week of orientation at school, I went to the school to withdraw both children. I was nervous about the response that I would get but they were nice about it and I was beginning to feel more and more confident about our decision each day.

So here we are! We have been officially homeschooling for 2 and a half months and things couldn't be going better!! What a tremendous blessing it has been for all of us! Honestly, once I obeyed God and followed the call I felt in my heart, everything began to fall into place. I can now see how unfounded all of my fears were. I'm so thankful to be right in the middle of His will for my family. I will post more about our homeschooling adventures in another post; this one is quite long as it is!