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Last week my family was on a “mini-vaca” up in Wisconsin Dells.  We met my parents up there on Sunday, and headed back on Wednesday afternoon.  The in-between was basically one disappointment after another.  For me.  *sigh*  And it was only due to my unmet expectations for family fun.

I wanted our days filled with sunshine and happiness, laughter and playtime, rainbows and unicorns.  Alas, we were met with overcast skies and drizzle.  And the next day was the same.  As was the day after that.  Every day we couldn’t go out  mini-golfing, or on boat tour, or feed deer, or ride roller coasters, or have a grand time at a waterpark, or whatever else ridiculous yet lovely family fun stuff that’s outdoors the Dells has to offer, was a day that I got more and more upset.  I had been planning this trip for months.  I was really looking forward to all the fun things we could do as a family.  Outside.  In the SUN.  Or at least in the absence of rain.

I found myself getting really annoyed.  And then that annoyance turned into anger.  And that anger made me lose patience with my kids.  And with my husband.  And with my parents.  But my expectations were not being met!!!  Wisconsin was seriously sucking in the family fun department.

Then I thought about how most of my stressful times in life, the times when I’m not at peace, when I’m arguing with Hubs, when my kids are on my last nerve….they were all times when my expectations weren’t being met.  With my husband, a lot of those times were even situations where I wasn’t TELLING him what my expectations were, but I still thought he should live up to them.  At the end of a horrific day, I expect him to see the stress on my face and step in and take over for me with the kids.  When he doesn’t, I get upset.  But how can he meet my expectations when he doesn’t know what they are?

I expect my children to obey me the first time.  HAHAHAHAHA!!!  Okay, that made me laugh.  All right, maybe not, but I DO expect them to obey after 2 or 3 times.  When that expectation isn’t met, I get upset.

I expect that there will be no unexpected expenses when we’re tight on money.  But inevitably, something major will break, and we NEED to have it fixed.  Unmet expectation = stress = angry me. 

I expect my friends to be loyal and honest.  If they betray me, I get upset, angry, etc.  Unmet expectation.

The thing about unmet expectations is, it makes life pretty self-focused.  “YOU didn’t meet MY expectations”.  But am I meeting theirs?  What makes me so awesome that everyone has to meet MY expectations anyway?

Here’s the end of the Dells fiasco.  We actually ended up having a pretty great time.  We were able to squeeze in a Duck tour before it rained, had great fun at the hotel’s indoor pool, found an indoor waterpark that was fantastic, went to great restaurants (one was even attached to an indoor amusement park – just carnival-type rides, but the kids LOVED it) and enjoyed lots of outdoor fun on our last day there since the sun finally decided to make an appearance.  So what if my expectations weren’t met?  We still had fun. 

My stars, but I was hoping this post was going to be funnier than it is.  I apologize if I didn’t meet your expectations.  🙂

I’ve been twice.  Twice is nice.  I think thrice will also be nice.  Whee!  I’ll go for three!!  I’ve never sweat so much, had so much fun, and experienced that burning in my legs that makes you want to cry but NOT stop.

I’m talking about Zumba, people.  This amazing workout has me devoted, addicted, obssessed.  And I’ve only been twice.  But I keep thinking about it.  Thinking about the next time I get to go.  It’s a latin-based dance workout, blending international music and insanely high-energy movements.  It’s challenging enough to keep my attention, and so much fun it keeps me wanting more.  It’s blood-pumping, hip-swinging, leg-bouncing, amazingness.  The dances are fun and get your booty moving and your body SWEATY, and there’s one particular song that is devoted to thigh-burn-inducing pain that has me near tears and begging for mercy, but oh, it hurts so good!  And it’s all so fun, the music is fantastic, that I don’t even mind the burning thighs.  It’s all for a good cause – sexy legs!

The best part is, the class I’ve been going to is at my park district.  So no sky-high fees to be part of an elite class of richy-rich ladies who look like they’ve been skipping meals for years.  That is not my sort of crowd.  Give me people who are there to workout and not show off their cute workout clothes.  I like getting down and dirty, not competing for best-looking, best dancer, best “I can totally keep up with the instructor and I know every little move and aren’t I fabulous?”.  That’s not what you find in this class.  I LOVE the blend.  There are young and old, skinny and not-so-skinny, Black, White, Hispanic,  Asian, Indian, and others.  It’s awesome. 

Going twice already has allowed me to see who seems to be regular attenders.  There’s crazy (in a good way) Asian lady who I always look for when I’m losing steam.  She’s so into it, bouncing high, and slightly awkward, but sweating like the rest of us.  Her energy and enthusiasm is so pure, you can’t help but be motivated watching her.

This week there was also pregnant lady.  She looked about 6 months along and man, she was right in step.  Again, when losing steam, just steal a glance her way aand you think, “If she’s doing it, there’s no excuse for me to do it halfway!”. 

Don’t get me wrong, there a few obnoxious folk, too.  But the thing about Zumba is, it’s so fast-paced, you really don’t have a lot of opportunities to look around at what other people are doing.  You’ve got to be watching the instructor all the time so the idea of being self-conscious is out the window.  There’s no time!  And who cares if you’re doing it “right”?  Are you sweating?  Is your heart rate up?  Are you legs burning?  Great, it’s working!

Balancing  out my running with Zumba is awesome!  There’s still something so primal, so free, about running.  I highly recommend mixing up running with another type of workout.  I also plan to throw in some yoga, so I should have a pretty well-rounded workout regime. 

So what are you doing?  Remember, each day is a new day, a chance to start over, try something new, get up off your duff and get going!  Are there things you’ve said “No” to because you’ve never done it, it sounds hard, or you think you just can’t do it?  Why are you letting those thoughts hold you back?  You could be amazing at something at you don’t even know it!  The first step is always hard, and even awkward, but if you don’t take it, you’ll never get anywhere.

So, if you’re in the Aurora/Naperville area and want to check out Zumba, join me!  Wednesday nights at 8:00pm…..