Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Glimpse In To A Crystal Ball?

Dear Diary...

Sorry for being MIA yesterday.  I slept late - mainly because I'd been up half the night.  Once I got up, it was too late to write my blog.  Then, when I got home, I passed out on the couch.  I was exhausted.  I've only been getting a few hours sleep - interrupted sleep - for the past several nights, and it finally all caught up to me.

The allergies that I'm dealing with are by far the worst I've had to deal with in years.  In fact, the last time I remember it being this bad was when I was pregnant with Jelly - and I had to be rushed to the hospital because I was having a full blown asthma attack...and the allergies in my chest ended up turning in to pneumonia.  Thankfully, I have a nebulizer now.  So, when I had an asthma attack the other night - I was able to take care of it without making a trip to the ER.   It's scary stuff. 

I know that I'm suffering so bad because of the lame excuse of a winter we had.  No snow.  Hardly any temps below freezing.  It was a mild winter, that is now causing havoc on my system.  Nothing had a chance to completely die out or freeze over.  And now people wonder why I love harsh winters so much.  Because harsh winters lead in to mild springs - and mild allergy seasons.

Thursday, after work, Peanut and I hung out together because we were attending a fundraising event at my school.  We had some time to kill, so we grabbed a bite to eat and then made a run to Wal-Mart.  As I was walking around, I had to use the cart to lean on.  I had to walk slowly, focusing on my breathing.  I had to make several stops to rest - because I was getting winded and didn't want to aggravate my chest.  I knew that all of these problems were a result of my allergies - but I also started thinking about something else.  Something that started to scare me a little....or a lot.

As I was walking around wheezing and heaving - I started to wonder if this is what life would be like if I continued to gain weight.  I remembered being close to 300lbs and how winded I got walking from the car to the store, walking up a small flight of stairs, and how it felt the first time I tried walking at the track for 15 minutes.  What if I gained all of my weight back, and went back to the life where walking small distances made me so tired?  What if I gained even more weight and got to the point where I had to slowly walk around Wal-Mart taking several breaks, lean on the cart for support, or like I've run a marathon just walking back to my car?

The whole time, an inner voice was screaming at me that the way I was feeling was not related to my weight whatsoever.  Yet at the same time, a small, shy voice was mentioning how my feelings and symptoms could be equated to looking through a crystal ball showing me what my future has in store. 

If things don't change in my life, and I don't stick to my goals and actually make them happen, then I could be getting a run-through or trial period of what life could be like.  I've gained 30lbs since last summer - around 6 months.  So, if I continue to gain the same amount of weight...around 60lbs in a year...and do some quick math... I could weigh 420lbs in three years!  I was barely able to walk for 15 minutes when I weighed 297lbs... I can't even imagine what I wouldn't be able to do if I weighed more than 400lbs.

Of course, I'm being very dramatic and unrealistic.  I hope.  But it's still enough to make me sit and ponder.  When I was between 210lbs and 215lbs, I was able to run continuously for close to 3 miles.  I was fitting in to size 16 pants - and they were pretty loose on me.  I felt 100% better about myself.  I was full of energy.  I tried things and dared to do stuff I didn't think I could do. 

Look how much damage has been done by only gaining 30lbs of it back.  I'm back to only being able to jog in 60 second intervals.  Thirty minutes on the elliptical feels like an eternity.  The size 18 pants I've been wearing are getting tighter by the day - and I'm much more comfortable in a size 20.  I'm a lot more tired at the end of the day.  Everything that I was so proud of has vanished...with the return of a mere 30lbs.

As much as I hate what my allergies are doing to me, I'm also kinda thankful - in a way.  I know that not being able to go to the gym this week has bothered me immensely.  I hate being in a situation where I can't work-out.  It's so different when I chose not to - but having the ability to make that decision for myself is killing me.  I've found myself actually craving the gym, craving a jog, craving the ability to be active.  And I've only been without if for a few days.  It all makes me want to smack the tar out of me for all those times I was too lazy to do some exercise.

I have no idea how long my seasonal asthma will last.  Could be a week. Two weeks.  A month.  Two months.  I know that when my allergies were this bad the last time - I was out of commission for at least a month.  That's a long time.  I can't sit around that long - I just can't.  The Race for the Cure is next month - I may only be walking it this year - but I'll be doing it, no matter what. 

I've decided that next week, I may go to the gym and spend 15-30 minutes lifting some weights or trying to find something that's not too cardio heavy.  One thing I know I can do - and will be starting this weekend - is Yoga.  I've been telling my buddy Jenn how I've been planning on getting back to it - and Yoga is the one exercise that's recommended for people that suffer with seasonal asthma (or asthma in general) because the whole practice is focused on breathing.    

Also, I have to remember that just because I can't exercise too much doesn't mean I can't eat right.  In fact, eating right is more important than ever now that I'm so restricted on the exercise I can do. 

So, despite how scary this week has been or how crappy I feel - it has helped me.  I'm able to take away a very valuable lesson from it all.  I must lose the weight.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  My health, my future, and my life depend on it.  I don't want to imagine a life where exercise, being active, and having the ability to do it aren't feasible.  That just can't happen.  Taking care of myself is so important - and apparently it took something as extreme as this to really engrave it in to my brain.

This weekend, I'll be locked in my house.  I'll be in the comfort of my AC.  I'll be trying some light yoga, watching what I eat, and making a plan of action for when my allergies are under control enough to get me back to where I can work-out to my full potential. 

I still plan on being back in my size 16s by May 17th.  I can do it.  I know I can - I just had to have a look in to a crystal ball to show me what the alternative could be.  And I've got the message loud and clear.

Till next time. ;)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Biggest Loser Recap - Week 13... Exercise is Boring!

Dear Diary...

If you haven't watched this week's episode of BL, then you have two choices.  A) You can stop reading right now, go find it on Hulu or wherever it is you plan on watching it and watch it yourself or B) Don't waste your time and just read what I have to say about it.

Yes, this is an official spoiler alert.  Don't wait until you get to the end of the post to complain that I gave anything away.  I'm telling you I'm going to give information out right now!!

OK, so it was week 13 on the ranch.  Those contestants have been doing this for 13 weeks - and I realize that I have officially wasted approximately 20 hours of my life on this season.  Twenty hours!  That's almost an entire day to watch a show that provides me absolutely no motivation and is nothing but whiny babies and EXCUSES!  How can they possibly call this season No Excuses?  If this is what the Biggest Loser is going to continue to be about - then they can just send a video camera to my house, pay me some money, and I'll let America watch me whine and cry and not put forth the amount of effort needed to realize that I have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change my life forever.

Anyway, back to the show.

The show started off with a challenge.  Each contestant had to load 150 boxes of Newman's salad dressing on to a truck.  Did you know that the Newman company donates all of their profits to charity?  Neither did I!  I don't use Newman's dressings because I always thought them to be a little too expensive - I may have to reconsider that, now that I know that tidbit of information.  Anywho, the boxes they had to load.  Seventy-five of the boxes weighted 20lbs and seventy-five weighed 15lbs.  The winner received 30,000+ pounds of food for their hometown food pantry, and a 1lb advantage on the scale. 

Kim and Megan started out really strong.  I knew right away, though, that Mark was going to be the one that would sneak in with a victory on this one.  He decided to start with the heavy boxes first.  He knew that starting with the heavy boxes would give him an advantage to move faster at the end.  He was right.  Kim was about 10 boxes in front for most of the competition - but once she got to the heavier boxes, she started to slow down.  It was Mark who took the victory.

Allison told the contestants that if the rest of them completed their challenge, Newman's would donate a truck load of groceries to each of their home towns.  So, for probably the first time this entire season - they all helped each other out to load the remaining trucks.

Mark then went on and on about how much the win meant to him because he just loves to help out charities and contribute to causes - blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, he likes to help out - when there's something in it for him.  You'll see why I make that very snide remark towards the end.

The rest of the show was focused on the excuse Exercise is Boring.  Dolvett took Jeremy, Mark, Buddy, and Kim to a Zumba dance class.  It was actually quite entertaining to watch them dance.  Not a single one of them have any rhythm whatsoever, but they had fun with it.  Bob took Chris, Megan, and Conda on a bike ride.  Not as fun as Zumba, apparently, because Conda whined and complained the whole time - shocker, right?

The next challenge was a cooking challenge.  The contestants had seven minutes in a grocery store to pick their ingredients and then 20 minutes to cook a healthy meal for three judges.  The winner would pick up $1000 for every pound they lost this week on the scale.  The three judges were contestants from last season.   

Jeremy sucked big time.  He made some silly concoction of bread with a jelly and sour cream spread, cooked bananas and apples.  Megan made a really nice looking tilapia salad - but it had a lot of sodium in it.  Buddy made a chicken salad - but goofed by using full fat mayo.  Mark made a grilled chicken salad - but goofed by adding too much feta cheese.  Conda made a cabbage soup - she was sure she would win, and I have to admit it looked pretty good, and was low in calories.  Kim made a stuffed mushroom with cheese and lean steak.  Chris made a broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast - that was still raw when she was finished.  Of course, she whined and cried that she didn't have enough time, and there wasn't enough room in the kitchen to prepare, etc. 

I loved this challenge once it was time to reveal the results.  I almost danced around my living room.  There was Conda with a big smile on her face - just sure she had it in the bag.  And then?  Kim won!  I was ecstatic.  The first bit of real justice that's happened all freakin' season! 

Vinny, one of the judges, then proceeded to call Chris out on the fact that she seemed to use a lot of excuses for her meal.  It was classic.  Chris, of course, was pissed!  She disappeared to the gym to pout.  Vinny tried to talk to her, and explain that he was just voicing his observations - but she was so pissed, it didn't really seem to sink in very much.

There was a lot of focus on Bob helping Megan, this week.  He made her do a video diary, to help keep her accountable.  He had her doing all kinds of crazy stuff in the last chance work-out, too.  This much attention has become a sure sign of someone's fate. 

So, let's get to the weigh-in.  This week, I didn't write down all of the results.  I do know that Kim lost 7lbs, earning her $7000 from the cooking challenge.  I was so happy for her.  I can't believe that woman is still pulling such crazy numbers - especially now that she's so small.  Wanna know how much Mark lost?  Nothing!  Nada!! Zip!  He didn't lose a single pound - and with his 1lb advantage, it was a straight shot to below the yellow line.

The others did pretty well.  Buddy looked to be the one going down with Mark, until Megan stepped on the scale.  She needed to lose 5lbs to be safe.  So, what did she lose? 4lbs.  Just one pound shy of sending either Mark or Buddy home. 

Now, here comes the part where I slam in to Mark's false persona of wanting to help people - and be charitable - and all that bull crap.  Because that's what it is.  Mark is down to 200lbs.  He has hardly any weight left to lose.  He also lost ZERO pounds this week.  Megan, who finally had a breakthrough this week, lost 4lbs and worked her behind off all week.  Do you think Mark would be charitable, and see how much Megan still needs to be there - and he doesn't?  Of course not!  That's how much Mark cares about helping others.  He doesn't - unless there's something in it for him!

Everyone else voted for Megan because they said Mark had worked harder the rest of the season.  Ergo, meaning Megan needed to be there more - and Mark had basically done everything he needed to do.  Those players are enough to make anyone crazy.  Why don't they just come out and say "Mark has less to lose, Megan's the bigger threat, that's why we're sending her home"?  I was so pissed at Chris, because even she voted for Megan - and Megan's been on her team since day one.  She is such a backstabber.  I really hope she's the next one to go - if Conda doesn't.

I just know that any other season - the player in Mark's position would have told the group to send him home, because the other person needed it more.  That was back when TBL was about caring for one another, supporting one another, and knowing why each and every one of them were there.  That was back when I really enjoyed watching the show, and was rooting for every person - because they all worked so hard. 

This season, every single person is out for themselves - and only themselves.  You can see it in everything.  Even the trainers realize that they have to make everything in to a competition.  Not a single one of them can stand it if someone else wins or loses more.  They also won't stand for helping each other. 

At least I can say that TBL taught me something this week.  The excuse for the week was how exercise was boring - but I learned that I'd much rather be working out than watching this season.  Rather than wasting those precious hours watching this pathetic excuse for a weight loss show - I could be using those hours to boost my pathetic weight loss show.  It's a very close competition as to which one is worse - all of them who have Bob, Dolvett, and the ranch...or me who has really bad allergies, works all day, has three kids to take care of, hardly any motivation to work out, and has finally started learning the importance of healthy eating.  At least there's a plus on my side.

Well, that's it for this week.  Next week is Makeover Week - Part 1.  It's being broken up in to two parts, I heard.  The makeover shows have always made me cry.  Let's see how many tears I'm shedding this time around.  I have a feeling I'll be crying - because I'll want it to be over, and I'm sick and tired of seeing these undeserving people get anything. 

OK, I'm done.

Till next time. ;)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Embracing the Triggers...Even the Ones You Don't Like Talking About

Dear Diary...

I'm feeling much better this morning.  It was a rough day yesterday.  I had trouble keeping my eyes open for most of the day.  When I got home, I passed out on the couch for about 30 minutes before dinner.  After dinner, I started to feel a little better - more awake.  I ended up staying up until almost 10 - after watching Biggest Loser and reading another chapter in the book I'm reading.  Before I went to sleep, I decided to give myself a breathing treatment - and that really helped let me drift off to sleep quickly...and I stayed that way all night. 

Being sick - even if it is allergies - just takes every bit of strength out of my system.  Both physically and mentally.  I'm so hard on myself.  I haven't been to the gym this week.  I told myself that I wasn't going to allow any excuses - but I'm pretty sure that not being able to breath is a good excuse.  I hope?  I was literally wheezing and catching my breath just walking down the hallway at work yesterday. 

I have seasonal asthma, and it usually only really bothers me for a week or two each year.  It comes at the time that all the blossoms come out on the trees, and after we have all of the April showers.  Well, being that it rained the ENTIRE week last week - I'm in pollen grand central station right now.  I'm hoping it's just the shock to my system that's causing the asthma symptoms to happen so quickly and heavily and once my body adjusts a little - I'll be able to get back to my sneezy, watery eyed, but able to breath normally self. 

If dealing with my allergies and not being able to go to the gym wasn't enough - Aunt Flo also decided to show up yesterday.  You all know how much I love her, right?  Yep.  The evil witch is here, in full force.  When she comes she brings cravings, mood swings, and laziness - her closest friends - along for the visit.  If my allergies weren't making me lazy enough, Aunt Flo will be sure that she has a hand in completely keeping my behind on the couch for the five to seven days she's here. 

Laziness I can tolerate the most.  As long as I'm able to keep cravings and mood swings at bay.  And, well, come on... my track record shows how well that goes down.  It never fails that I start the excuse train each time AF is here - and I start cramming down the sweets, the salty, and then snapping anyone's head off that says a thing about it. 

Yesterday, she won.  I ate two cupcakes.  Not just one.  Two.  That were brought in for a child's birthday.  I could have stopped at one.  Heck, I could have gracefully declined all together - but no, I caved.  Needless to say, I went over my calorie intake by 345 calories yesterday giving me a grand total of 1815 calories consumed.

During my self loathing and self pity party that I threw myself last night, all I could think about was why I always let AF win - and how much I hated it when she's here.  Then, I remembered reading something in the Savor book about embracing the triggers.  My plan for helping overcome cravings was putting myself through a strict detox.  I was successful for the week I did the detox.  I told myself that I'd keep doing it - but a week off for spring break put the dampers on that.  Then, I told myself I'd pick up where I left off once going back to work.  Only two days in, and I'm talking about eating cupcakes - two days in a row.

I'm not going to quote the book word for word, but I remember reading that when I fight my triggers that set me in to an emotional eating frenzy - I end up losing.  The losing, or failure comes from the fact that I tell myself that it's the triggers that are making me eat.  It's the triggers that are causing my moments of weakness.  It's a cycle of excuses that I let my body go through.  The weakness is in the failure - or allowing myself to blame the triggers.  The only way to cope with the triggers is by embracing them.  Understanding that they'll always be there.  Learning to find ways to live with them without self destructing each time they appear.  If I continue to let AF be the excuse that I mindlessly eat when she's here - she'll always win.  Embracing her when she's here, and feeding my body healthy foods - that keep me energized and full - can alleviate some of the weakness I feel.

My mind was on a mission when I started the detox.  The mission was to eat mostly fruits and vegetables.  The mission was to keep sugar and white flour out of my system.  My mission was to test my palette with foods I wasn't accustomed to.  And the main mission?  To help overcome the cravings and overeating that happens whenever I get the slightest sniff of unhealthy food.

Yesterday, I really got to see how bad sugar affects me.  Instead of opting for my bowl of Kashi cereal for breakfast - I ate a granola bar.  Granola bars have sugar in them.  Real sugar.  A lot of it, too.  For the entire day after that, I was hungry.  Then I ate a Smart Ones lunch.  Low calories - but pasta as the main ingredient.  Can we say craving coma?  Not only had I eaten sugar, but then I followed it up with pasta.   No wonder by the time the birthday cupcake celebration came around - I was unable to control my urge to eat not one, but two cupcakes.  It wasn't Aunt Flo that did that to me - it was the sugar! 

So, I know I'm rambling on with all this and moving in about a thousand different directions.  What's the point of all this excuse banter?  Well, I have to embrace the fact that it's not AF that causes my time of the month self destruction.  It's the fact that I've got so used to having an "out" each time she's here.  I've created the excuse in my head.  I've personified the normal cycle a woman goes through each month.  I've given it this strange super power - as if it were a real person inside my head that arrives with a full suitcase and wants nothing more than to wreck havoc on my week.  Did you read the first part of this blog?  I call it Aunt Flo, for heaven's sake.  I referred to it as if it were a real person.. I did that!  And I really do have an Aunt Flo - and I'm sure she'd cringe after reading something as silly as this.

Each month, I have a period.  Period.  Yes, it messes with my hormones.  Yes, it causes bloating.  Yes, it's more than likely I'll retain water for a few days.  But that's it.  There's no little person inside of me demanding that I feed her cake and ice-cream and chips.  There's no evil Aunt that demands I do nothing more than sit on the couch.  I may feel moody - that will be the hormones.  I may get grouchy - that'll be the bloating causing my clothes to fit tighter.  But the urge to eat everything in sight?  That's all me.  That's me saying - "Hey! You have the perfect excuse to mindlessly eat yourself in to a sugar coma.  You can pretend that your period is making you do it!  Just make it sound like your period is an evil entity living inside of your head with some kind of crazy psycho mind control abilities, and no one will notice how crazy stupid it sounds."  It sounds stupid now, right?  But in reality, that's exactly what I've done for the past gazillion years since my period first started.

Today, the AF excuse will be embraced.  I'm going to embrace and accept the trigger.  It's going to arrive each month for probably the next twenty years.... I've just got to get used to it at some point.  I'm back on my detox - again.  There will be no more sugar or flour or pasta or bread entering my body for a while.  Probably a long while.  A week wasn't near long enough.  I want to get in to a size 16 by May 17th.  This eating plan can only help that goal.  This eating plan will help me stay energized so that (when I'm able to breath normally again) I can get back in to the gym and burn off tons of calories and help tone and shape my changing body. 

As my good friend, Jenn likes to say:  It's Day #1 Again!

Till next time. ;)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

True Confessions Tuesday

Dear Diary...

I confess that I feel like royal crap this morning.  Not just regular crap, royal crap - meaning king and queen of all crap.  I hardly got any sleep last night.  It's all because of my allergies.  They've hit my chest - big time - and now I'm wheezing and feeling tightness in my chest.  It sucks big elephant balls!  I took an allergy pill last night shortly after dinner, and it knocked me out.  As in, I couldn't keep my eyes open for anything.  Of course, when I finally decided to go to bed - I kept being woken up by coughing.  It's going to be a long day.

I confess that I didn't go to the gym last night.  I got about a third of my way to work yesterday morning when I realized I'd forgotten my gym bag.  I didn't stress about it too much, cause I figured I could just come home from work and go for a walk.  Then, well, the first confession happened - and I didn't think it would a good idea to try and go walking outside while my allergies were so bad.

I confess that I'm proud of the fact that I only ate 1350 calories yesterday. 

I confess that I'm not so proud of the fact that I ate a coconut cupcake for an afternoon snack yesterday.

I confess that I'm proud of the fact that I was able to eat that one cupcake and not more than that...and it didn't cause any urgent need for sugar.  It kept me satisfied until dinner time.  So, I must definitely be getting a little better with my binge eating control.  A couple of weeks ago, a cupcake would have meant an out of control spiral eating anything in sight.   

I confess that I've decided I want to stay away from the scale for much longer than a few weeks.  In fact, I've decided to stay away from it for at least another month, if not more.  Yesterday, I announced that I wanted to lose about 20lbs between now and summer break.  But, the point for that 20lbs is because it would put be down to wearing a size 16 again...where I want to be (for now).  So, instead of using the scale to dictate my progress - I'll be using my clothes.  When my clothes start to become looser and baggier - I'll know that I'm making good progress.

I confess that I'm totally hooked on the new book series Fifty Shades of Grey.   I read the first book in the trilogy in a matter of a couple of days, and now I'm on the second book.  If you haven't heard about it - then you must Google it.  Well, let me first warn you that it is an adult book - meaning for adults, and meaning there's a lot of.. urm..."adult" content.  It doesn't fall in to my usual taste in books, but I just haven't been able to put it down.  It's my first eRead book, too - I downloaded it on to my iPad. 

I confess that I really enjoyed getting back to work yesterday.  It was so nice to see the kiddos' faces.  They looked refreshed, as if the break did them the world of good.  Which, I'm sure it did.  It's hard to fathom that I only have seven weeks left with these little angels.  I sure hope that something happens in the next seven weeks that gives me the ability to see them again next year... but I'm not opening up that can of worms just yet.

That's about it for today.  I really can't think of anything else I need to confess.  I'm not touching last week - that would keep me here all day.  Plus, I already confessed that I slacked off last week in other posts, so to just say it again would be redundant.

I'm still feeling a little out of whack with getting up at 4am and writing.  My creative juices just haven't started boiling again.  I'm hoping they will in the next few days....once the fog that is building up in my head starts to dissipate.  I really hate allergies!

Till next time. ;)


Monday, March 26, 2012

Time to Reboot, Restart, and Power Back Up!

Dear Diary...

I almost forgot what it felt like to wake up at 4am.  Almost.  Call me crazy, (to yourselves please) but there's nothing like this time of the morning to sit in front of my computer to write my blog.  I kinda missed it in a way.  Kinda.

Spring break is officially over.  It's time to get back to the grind.  Time to reboot my system.  No more sleeping in and spending the day reading until maybe this weekendI have to restart.  No more accidentally skipping meals, forgetting to eat, or grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant.  And I have to power back up.  Time to rejoin the world of planned eating, logging, and going to the gym.  It was a nice short break - but vacation time is over.  And in a way, I'm extremely happy about it.

I feel like I'm starting all over...again.  My body isn't going to be used to going back to the gym today.  I regret the fact that I sat on my lazy behind most of the week.  I really wish the weather had been nicer, because when I was out in the sun yesterday - my body was craving it.  I felt like a battery that was being recharged.  All the rain we got made me very lazy - but having that small amount of sun fueled my system - and I literally had more energy than I'd had all week long.

I could have or should have gone to the gym at least once or twice over the break, but I didn't.  It's too late to do anything about it now.  I just chalk it up to my body desperately needing a break - not that it'd been receiving any amount of grueling exercise before the break... but now the break is over?  I feel like I can go back to some form of normality.

There's exactly seven weeks and four days until the last day of school - for the year.  This year will be the earliest that I think school has let out long as I can remember.  The lack of any amount of snow this year means no snow days to make up at the end of the year.  Unless some freak storm happens in the next couple of weeks - we're out of school on May 17th.

Seven weeks sounds like a long time - but it's not.  What I want to accomplish in those seven weeks will be hard - almost impossible.  I've decided that I want to lose 20lbs in seven weeks.  I want to be back down around the 220lbs mark.  That's the weight I was when I could first fit in to a size 16.  I want that back again.  All of my cute summer clothes are size 16 - and I don't want to have to buy any more clothes.  Unless they are smaller than a size 16.

If I have any chance in doing that, I'm going to have be diligent.  Longer, harder work-outs....more often.  Stricter eating.  Like sticking to my "clean" eating plan for the next seven weeks.  No room for error or setbacks.  Trying to lose 20lbs in 7 weeks put me at losing about 2.8lbs a week.  That is very doable - but also extremely tough.  My body might cooperate at first.. but the longer I go, the harder it'll be.  Which means staying strong, upping the level of intensity each week.

The last time I stood on the scale was March 7th.  Wait, scratch that.  The last time I stood on the scale for an "official" weigh in was March 7th.  I weighed 244.6lbs.  I'll admit that I've stood on it a couple of times since then.  I had originally planned on staying off of it for a month... but I think I may have changed my mind on that...again.  I still don't feel like I'm ready to face the scale - and I just don't think I'll be ready on April 4th (the day I planned on doing my next weigh in).  I'm going to wait longer before doing another official weigh in.  I don't know how much longer, yet.  I may not weigh in again until the last day of school - my goal date.  I may opt for a midway point - like April 18th.  That would give me another couple of weeks to really get my head in the game (again). 

So, if I have such a big goal to reach - I better have an array of mini goals to help me get there, right?  Right!  For the next seven weeks, if I have any chance of reaching my goal, I'm going to have to do the following:
  • Four 30 minute visits to the gym each week:  Two cardio/ Two strength
  • Strict intake of 1400 calories per day plus exercise calories
  • No white flour or refined sugar
  • Getting the majority of my calories from veg, fruit, and lean protein - strict limit on the amount of complex carbs
  • One jog each Saturday - starting with 2 miles and increasing each week
  • One long walk each Sunday - starting with 4 miles and increasing each week
  • Drinking at least 70ozs of water each day
The last goal will be the most important.  It's a strict plan, and it will take implementing that last goal at every waking second.  There are going to be days where I just feel like I can't do it - or don't want to.  I have to keep reminding myself of what I want to accomplish.

I've designated Friday as my rest day.  There may be weeks where I have something come up during the week that prevents me from working out one day after school.  My Friday will then become my alternate work-out day.  It's tough to work out on Fridays - so I just have to make sure that if I miss a work-out day during the week... I better have a damn good reason.

If I get up early on Saturday mornings and get my jog over and done with - I still have the entire day to do whatever it is my busy family has scheduled.  Same with my long walks on Sunday.  I can go while the kids are at church.  I can get it out of the way in the morning - and leave the rest of the day to rest and relax.

The next seven weeks are going to go by fast - I know it.  There's just not going to be any room for minor slips or setbacks.  I'm going to have to produce the most amount of strength and determination I've had in a very long time.

In the midst of those seven weeks, I'm going to be looking for a new job.  Can you say STRESS!??? But, I can't let that get in the way.  I can use my exercise as an advantage...use it as my release.  When I'm stressed out, I can hit the gym or the road and pound out my frustrations and anxiety.

Yes, it's a very big goal.  I know that.  If I get to the end of the seven weeks and know that I've done everything I said I would - and fall a little shy from my goal...I'll be OK with it.  If, however, those seven weeks go by and I don't give it my all?  Well, then I'll only have myself to blame - and blame I will!  This goal is mine for the taking.  It's time to start taking!

Till next time. ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Time to Get My Head Back in the Game

Dear Diary...

This week has got to have been the fastest week in my whole life.  There's just no possible way I've been off work for 9 days.  It went by too quickly.

What makes it worse is the weather we had for the majority of spring break.  For five of the nine days it poured down rain - leaving us very limited in what we could do.  Yes, we made a trek to the zoo on Thursday - despite the rain - but that's about it. 

For the rest of the days, I literally laid around the house reading.  I read a book I've been wanting to read for a while, and even started the second book in the series.  There has been no gym.  No working out.  Not even any walking or jogging - unless I count the snail pace I walked when I was at the zoo. 

My eating has also been all out of whack.  Most days I barely ate anything.  Other days I ate, but the wrong foods.  One thing I did not do the entire spring break is binge eat or emotionally eat - not once.  The only food I've eaten has been at meal times.  OK, it wasn't the best food in the world to be eating at meal times - but being at home is usually a big trigger for me to mindlessly eat...and I haven't done that once!

But, all time off comes to an end...not just from work, but from my lifestyle.  My body is ready to get back to doing what it should be doing.  It's ready to get back to three meals and two snacks a day.  It's ready to get back in the gym.  And it's ready to start burning fat - so it can look a lot better in the spring/summer clothes it wants to be sporting this year. 

Last night, for my mom's 50th birthday dinner, I got dressed up for the first time in ages.  OK, I put make-up on and dress nicely for work every day...but this was different.  I was going out with Hubby and my family.  I wanted to look nice.  I even gave myself a mini mani/pedi.  I haven't worn nail polish since last year.  When I was done, I felt OK with myself - not great, but OK.  I had to try on a few different things - because I didn't like the way the clothes felt or looked.  I ended up with a flowing skirt and a fitted tee.  I didn't want anything too tight, that's for sure.  It was in that moment I realized that summer was only weeks away - and if I wanted to *gasp* even think about wearing a bathing suit or shorts or summer dresses...I had some serious work to do.

I had some pictures taken of me.  This one I didn't mind so much...

This one, I don't like so much...

Yes.  Here is a very rare pic of Hubby.  Probably won't see many of those.  Don't you love the pink hair?  We match in more ways than you can imagine.  But, I hate the way I look in this pic.  It could be the angle from which the picture was taken - but it will be one of those pics I look at whenever I doubt myself for doing what I'm doing.  I don't want to look like this in pictures.

So, tomorrow spring break is over and it's back to life as I know it.  Back to logging all of my food.  Back to detox style eating - mainly veggies and fruits.  Back to not eating any white flour or refined sugar.  Back to the gym.  

I only have a week and three days until I weigh in again.  I can't believe three weeks have already gone by without weighing in.  I don't want to think about what the scale would say this week.  I hope it wouldn't be too bad - but I know it won't be too great, either.  One thing I do know is that I don't want to stand on that scale on April 4th and see no change - or heaven forbid - a gain.  I just don't know I could handle that right now.  I have had only one great week since I went on my month long scale fast - so I have to make these next 10 days really count. 

Today, the weather is supposed to be beautiful.  Sunny and 80 degrees.  So, I'm taking the kids back to the zoo.  We're going with P-Momma and her granddaughter.  I'll get some more snail pace walking in - but it's better than no walking at all.  It will be my last grand hurrah before I return to my normal life.  I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Till next time. ;)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Can Be Accomplished in 50 Years

Dear Diary...

Have you ever wondered what you could accomplish in a period of 50 years?

What about give birth to six children - completely naturally, I might add?

How about work for the London Ambulance Service - one of the biggest, and busiest Ambulance services in the world - while raising 4 of those children?

How about having your tubes tied after having four kids, then having it reversed with the understanding that it may be very unlikely you'd have more kids - only to have two more?

How about being a grandmother at 38? Again at 39?  And then, having 8 grandchildren long before those 50 years have gone by?

What about the thought of once your kids are pretty much grown, you open up your house to children in the foster care system?

And then, have up to 5 foster children in the house at the same time?

There's so much more.  I could go one for days.  But I'll stop there.

So, who is the person that has done so much in the past 50 years?  That would be my mother.  Today, she celebrates her 50th birthday.  Half a century she's been on this Earth - yet to see her? You'd think 40 years - tops.  Don't believe me?  Well, take a look at this...

This is my mom.  Just last weekend.  She'll hate me for using this picture - but it's the most recent pic I have of her.  Take a look at this picture and tell me if you see a 50 year old woman.  I know I don't.  Not a wrinkle on her face.  Clear, beautiful skin.  A woman that has gone to Hell and back many times over - but has provided the joys of Heaven to her children - especially me.

When I think about my mother, I can't even begin to put in to words the feelings of pure love I have for this woman.  She is my best friend.  She is the person I can tell anything to - anything - and never feel judged, condemned, or embarrassed.  She'll give me her honest opinion - sometimes without sugar coating - but it comes from the heart...and she's able to do it in a way that provides insight and perspective.

This woman has literally saved my life.  More than she knows.  When I thought all hope of my life was gone, when my whole being was beaten and crushed - she was there to pick up the pieces, and help me build a strong and stable life for myself and my children.

When I turned my back on her - at a time I thought I knew better - and treated her like she was nothing...she forgave me.  Not only did she forgive me, but she opened up her arms and took me in to her embrace telling me that all was forgiven.  It didn't matter what I did - she always forgave me.  And I've done some nasty, undeserving things to this woman - and never has she held it against me.

For the past ten years or so, there hasn't been a week that's gone by where we haven't spent countless hours on the phone.  We are the two people that can talk every single day, and still find plenty to talk about.  Not much time passes where I find myself at her house - my childhood home.  My kids love being there.  I love being there.  It's my escape - the place I can run when things are building up inside.  And the door is always open.

Sure, we've had our rough times.  Again, I've done things to this woman that make me break down in shame, hang my head low.  But I don't have to ever think about those times.  All is forgiven.  There have been times that I've had to yell at her.  Or I've had to get something off my chest that bothered me.  Or I downright disagree with something she's said or done - and I feel the urge to let her know.  But I know I can do those things - and the next day, everything will be back to normal. 

I feel a little pang of something right now.  I think it's because I'm leaving my dad out of all of this.  I want to take just a second to add that my dad is just as amazing as my mom.  I forgot his birthday this year - and that tears me up inside.  But Dad, if you're reading this, just know that when your big 5-0 comes...I'll have just as many wonderful sentiments to share about you.  :)

For the past couple of months, my mom has really looked forward to this day.  She hasn't shied away from it.  She hasn't felt a feeling that she's getting old, or that 50 is an age she should be ashamed of.  No, she takes on today as a badge of honor - and so she should.  She has warned suggested to all of her family that today better be a big day for her - a day to remember.  She is so proud to have reached this milestone - and I'm just as proud for her.  I am also so thankful that I will get to share today with her.

I was lucky enough to celebrate the turn of her birthday at midnight last night.  I took my mom to the one place we are our closest - bingo.  There's something about Mother/Daughter bingo that I cherish.  It is our alone time.  The time we can talk, laugh, and have a great time together - alone.  Not many chances for that when I'm a mother of three and she's got two biological children and five foster children living in her house.  It was such a great time.

My only regret?  At the stroke of midnight, I let my mom walk out of my front door with the words "Happy birthday, Mom".  That was it.  As she drove out of the driveway I felt regret.  It should have been the time I wrapped her in my arms and told her how happy and proud I was of her.  I should have told her how much I love her.  I should have told her how I'm excited to spend the next 50 years with her - bringing my grandchildren and her great grandchildren in to the world - and cherishing those times together.  I didn't say it then - but I'm saying it now.  It may be lost in translation - last night would have been much more a powerful time to express my deep feelings for her.... but luckily, I get another chance tonight at her birthday dinner.  And I won't make the same mistake again. 

So, to the woman who brought me in to this world...the woman that has raised me in to the woman I am today... to my mother:


Till next time. ;)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Time for Some Reflection

Dear Diary...

I'm trying something a little different today. I'm writing my blog post on my new iPad. Hubby bought me a cool keyboard case to keep the iPad in - and so I'm trying it out. It basically turns the iPad in to a laptop. I like it, but I can't see it being a constant thing. I don't have access to my photos or signature on here.

Anywho, the trip to the zoo was a lot of fun yesterday. It rained a little - but not enough to spoil the day. The girls and I enjoyed walking around and it was a fun day out. We've decided to go back on Sunday with Butter and P-Momma. The weather is supposed to be much nicer on Sunday.

I've been trying my best to catch up on some blog posts. Even though I haven't really been doing a whole lot on this spring break, I've been reading a couple of books. That's cut in to my blog reading time. Although, the blogs I have had a chance to read have really made me think about a lot of things.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been feeling much better about myself. I've been curbing my emotional eating, I've found some techniques that help calm some stress, and I've been feeling a lot better. The detox I did last week still lingers, although I haven't been as diligent this week. I know that's because I'm at home. I haven't grazed or snacked - so that's a plus. I've slacked on my logging though.

I had a visit with the therapist on Monday. He was very impressed with the change in my demeanor. He noticed instantly that I was much more calm, and my stress level was much lower. He praised my efforts at trying the detox, trying to find emotional eating triggers, and using the chore chart with the kids - that helps decrease my stress. It felt weird to hear him praise me. I always expect to hear "you have some major issues to work through", but that conversation didn't happen this week. I left the office, with Butter, feeling good - as did he.

I then had the oppotunity to reflect a little. What has changed that I all of a sudden feel so much better about myself? The rest has probably done a lot of good. I know the detox really helped. Being able to spend some time with my family. All factors in my recent positive attitude. Of course, I now have this swelling feeling in the pit of my stomach that something bad is going to happen. Don't ask me why, but anytime I feel good - something bad is right around the corner. I try to step lightly around my good feelings. I don't want anything to happen that will cause all of my hard work to crash down around me. I'm not sure why I always feel this way. For some reason, I often doubt that I'm worthy of feeling so good - which inevitably brings about a sting of stress. This time, I'm trying to stay optimistic. Maybe I do deserve to feel this good - and I can continue to stay on my happy course without being derailed.

Something is messing with my head, though. I can feel it. When I lay down to go to sleep at night, my mind is unable to shut down. I can't pinpoint the exact cause, but something's in there. Something's swirling around, causing me to worry. I think it has something to do with a phone conversation I had last week. Not going in to specifics, I had a phone conversation with a woman who needed to ask me some questions about my life. The call is something I do every six months, and usually don't think much of it. This time, however, was different. There was a tone in her voice that was on the verge of judgmental. I felt like I was on trial. I felt like she didn't believe the answers I was giving her. I've had the uneasy feeling in my stomach ever since.

I don't know why I let this woman get to me so much. She doesn't know me. How could she judge me without ever having met me? But, that's the million dollar question, isn't it. People can judge you no matter what. I don't like the feeling it's left in my stomach. I only hope that the result of the call isn't the bad thing that I'm so worried about happening.

I know I'm being very cryptic. I apologize. While I display that my life is an open book, there are some things I need to keep to myself. This is one of those occasions. But, as cryptic as it is - I'm writing about it because I hope it helps. I hate the churning that takes place due to uncertainty. I just want it to go away.

OK, enough with all that. I'm making myself feel worse - not better. This is my last weekend of spring break. It's gone by way too fast. Although the next few days are going to be very busy. Tonight, my mom and I are going to play bingo. It's her birthday tomorrow - so it's our way of celebrating. Then, tomorrow night is my mom's birthday dinner. The time the whole family gets together. Sunday, we're going back to the zoo. I don't know why I make so many plans the weekend before going back to work. It means I'll be tired come Monday morning. But, oh well. I deserve some fun. My spring break can't be all about reading and laying on the couch.

I'm going to leave it at that today. I need to clean my house. I need to try and swallow the uneasy feeling I keep feeling in my stomach and not let it interfere with the remainder of my break.

Till next time. ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Biggest Loser Breakdown

Dear Diary...

I have to make it pretty quick today, because I'm taking the girls to the zoo.  I must be crazy because there's a pretty good chance it's going to rain on us.  But, it's rained all freakin' week long - so we're going to chance it.  The sun is shining here at the moment, and we're taking in the glorious site and going to drive 2 hours to get to the zoo.

But, that's not what today is about, is it now?  Nope.  Thursdays are for my Biggest Loser breakdown.  The day I slam explain the goings on of this week's episode. 

This week the contestants faced the excuse:  I can't lose weight on vacation.  And were swept off to Hawaii.  I don't know about you, but I've never used that excuse in my entire life.  Who in the heck thinks about losing weight when they go on vacation?  Not me. 

I have to admit, but I got kinda bored with the first half of the episode.  The contestants went surfing with Bethany Hamilton - the real soul surfer.  I really thought that spending some time with her would whip some of the contestants in to shape with their whining - but it didn't.  There was still plenty of whining for everyone to hear once the surfing was finished.

Kim was feeling pretty sorry for herself.  She feels alone in the house now that Emily and Cassandra is gone.  I'm surprised, because up until a few weeks ago - I didn't see her with Emily or Cassandra much... but apparently she was really close to them.  So, while the other women were sitting around eating and being catty about how much they don't like Kim - she was at the hotel gym working out.  And I say, good for her!

The challenge this week I hated.  The contestants had to run up and down a steep hill collecting leis.  They then put them on other contestants statues to eliminate them from the challenge.  The person still standing at the end won immunity. 

Immediately Kimmie, Megan, and Chris went after Kim.  Conda, Jeremy, and Mark started going after Chris.  And poor Kim was just trying to get as many leis as she could to stay alive.  Kimmie ended up finding a "death lei" that took a contestant out immediately.  She placed it on Kim's statue.  Kim was out of the game.

Then, Conda, Mark, and Jeremy slowly took out Megan, Kimmie, and Chris one by one.  Mark is an idiot.  He should have thought about taking out one of them in the beginning.  He knew damn well that those two were going to gang up on him to take him out.  Not only that, but Jeremy and Conda actually let Mark do most of the dirty work before they took him out.  Mark actually made a comment at one point along the lines of "America is right about you two".  Which makes me thing Conda has been receiving some of that viewers have been leaving for her.  Jeremy, once again, decided to let his sister win - because she can't do anything for her freakin' self - and Conda won immunity.  I was so ticked off.  But Allison warned her that if she gained weight - the immunity would be gone.

Mark then went and had a private chat with Kim and told her that he had no intention of voting Kim off - even though she thought she had a big target on her back.  He actually had the cheek to say that he wanted to be surrounded by competitive players in the finale.  What a load of crap!

Finally, it was weigh in time.  Gonna make it quick.  Here are the numbers and percentages...

Conda - lost 4lbs 1.81%
Chris - lost 3lbs but earned a 1lb advantage in a game - 2.24%
Buddy - lost 6lbs - 2.14%
Jeremy - lost 7lbs - 2.57%
Kimmie - lost 2lbs - 1.23%
Megan - lost 3lbs - 1.52%
Mark - lost 4lbs - 1.96%

Kim was the last to weigh in.  There was Kimmie and Megan at the bottom.  Kimmie was definitely under the yellow line - and it was up to Kim to either prevail or be under the yellow line with her.  Kim stepped on the scale...

Kim - 5lbs - 2.84%!!!

She lost the most weight out of anyone - and put Megan and Kimmie (mother and daughter) under the line together. 

Megan and Kimmie both gave a little speech, and of course, Kimmie threw herself under the blade.  She asked that everyone respect her and send her home.  Kim came out with some food for thought about how being the last two vote offs have been about "the game" it would make more sense to send Megan home.  Of course, nobody did that - and Kimmie was sent home.

I didn't like this episode.  But, it did make me like Kim even more.  As much as I am not a fan of a single person left in that house - I'm pulling for Kim, now.  She fights hard.  And she doesn't let anyone else carry her through - like Conda.

Next week, I believe the contestants win money for the amount of weight they lose - so of course, Conda will be all hard work for that one.  She's definitely not there to just lose weight - it's apparent that something has to be in it for her to win.  I just hope with all my might that the rest of the contestants see how much power Conda and Jeremy have - and break up that team FAST!!

OK - gotta run so I can get to the zoo before it starts pouring rain.

Till next time. ;)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Post All About My Little Boy - Who's No Longer A Little Boy...

Dear Diary...

I can hardly believe that 11 years ago yesterday, I gave birth to my second child.  Just eleven months after the arrival of my first child, I was blessed with the addition to my family.  A healthy, baby boy.  For the next three weeks, I have two 11 year old children.

The past 11 years have been long.  They've also gone by like the blink of an eye.  It amazes me, as I look back at the journey my son has made, how slow and fast the time has gone by.  For most children, the first 11 years are a blip on the radar.  They enjoy learning new things, discovering their interests, and exploring the world around them.  For my son, however, the past 11 years have delivered many trials and tribulations - more than some adults have endured in their entire lifetime.

Here is my son just a few days after he was born...

He was a big boy.  He weighed in at 8lbs 10ozs when he was born.  Although, his delivery was the easiest of all my children.  I started having contractions at around 8pm of March 19th, 2001.  I went to the hospital and wasn't feeling the contractions anymore.  I was sure they were going to send me home - which had happened about three times prior.  When the nurse came in to check me before sending me on my way, she discovered I was dilated to a 4 - and I wasn't going anywhere.

I don't remember everything about the rest of the night.  I know that I was given pitocin to increase my contractions.  I know that I hardly felt any contractions.  I know that I didn't have an epidural - and that my pain level was pretty minor.  I know that very early of the morning of March 20th, 2001 I went from 7cms dilated to a 10 in a matter of minutes.  It happened so fast, that the nurse didn't believe me when I said I had to push.  I remember that I made it to the delivery room just in time - and it only took 3 pushes to bring my son in to the world.

The first few years of his life was tough - but I did the best I could to not burden him or his sister with my problems.  Shortly after he was born, we moved to Texas.  Another attempt to make things work between his father and I - that failed miserably.  I knew that I had to free myself from him, and so I did.  We spent some time in a homeless shelter - and that's where Butter celebrated his first birthday.  It wasn't the perfect setting, but I made sure it was a happy day for him.  Not long after, I was rescued by my parents - and we moved back to Oklahoma to be with them. 

The next couple of years that followed, I found my strength.  I became a hardworking single mom.  I found a great job, and a nice apartment - and all I needed was my kids.  Butter entered daycare with his sister, and loved every minute of it.  Around the time of his 4th birthday, I met a man that would change the dynamics of our household.  A man that would step in to the shoes of being a father figure that my children desperately needed.  Within a few months, we moved into a bigger house and started our time together as a family.

After our move, I wanted to have the "normal" family lifestyle.  Which meant becoming a soccer mom - or T-ball mom in my case.  I wanted my kids to be able to enjoy activities outside of the home.  Butter started playing T-ball, and made a lot of friends.  He even snatched up his first girlfriend - whom he adored - at the ripe age of 5.

It was shortly after Butter entering kindergarten when I started noticing a change in him.  His first, real teacher took a leave of absence due to maternity leave.  That's when things started taking a nose dive.  I was getting phone calls from school, notes, emails, and things weren't going very well.  During Butter's kindergarten year, he was suspended half a dozen times.  Suspended.  In kindergarten. 

During Butter's 1st grade year, a new addition arrived in our family.  That was the year Jelly was born.  It had been a rough year.  I was in my first year of college.  I was still trying to maintain a full time job, I had a baby, and things were still pretty rough with Butter at school.  We decided, as a family, that it was time to get away - and we took our first family vacation.

Just take one look at that sweet face.  I saw nothing in him that gave me any inclining that something may be wrong.  He was sweet, kind, and always did what he was told - at home. 

The next few years were extremely rough.  He continued to get in to constant trouble at school - and I got to my wits end.  I called upon counselors to help.  They just weren't able to put their finger on the cause of Butter's behavior at school versus his behavior at home.  At school he was uncontrollable, at home he was an angel.  Nothing made sense. 

Things got so tough, that during his 3rd grade year the school gave me an alternative.  Either place him in a therapeutic school program, or he would be expelled.  The school had no patience for his behavior, no tolerance for what may be wrong with him, and labeled him as nothing more than a problem child.  I went with the therapeutic school.  A special school that specialized in kids with behavior issues - and those that just couldn't function in a regular school environment.  It was also at that time that Butter was placed on medication.  He was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and a mood disorder - the latter required the medication. 

His 4th grade year was, by far, the most traumatic for Butter and myself.  His behavior began to escalate - including fits of anger and rage.  When things got really bad, his doctor upped his medication dose.  Then the anger and rage got worse, so the medication was upped again.  By the middle of the summer of 2010, I finally admitted defeat - I could no longer control my own son.  He was destroying the house with his fits of rage.  He would threaten to run away from home.  No matter what I said or did, my son would constantly throw words of hatred and abuse towards only 10 years old.  He had no remorse, no emotion.  He was cold in all of his actions.  I had no choice but to have him admitted in to a psychiatric hospital.  I've been through a lot in my life, but never have I faced something so difficult.  It was the most heartbreak I had ever felt.  I felt like a failure as a parent, a failure as a person, and a failure to my son.

As soon as Butter was admitted, he was taken off all medications.  They wanted to see him at his worst.  It was the only way to correctly evaluate the situation.  But, the worse never came.  He spent the first few days crying.  He was remorseful.  He was pushed by the doctors and therapists to try and see what the cause of his anger had been - but got nothing.  One of the best pediatric psychiatrists in the state was called in to evaluate Butter's situation.  How could a child who had a history of such anger, violence, and bad behavior suddenly switch it all off?  The doctor found the cause in a matter of minutes.

We found out that Butter had been treated with a stimulant medication prior to his admittance in to the hospital.  Butter's brain didn't react the way it was supposed to when on the medication.  His dosage was so high that Butter's brain was literally on over-drive.  Every nerve ending was lighting up at the same time, causing the inability to control his anger or rage.  He was hurting - big time - but was unable to comprehend or express the pain.  The more he acted up, the higher the dosage that was given...that basically got him to the brink of a breakdown.  Take away the medicine?  It took away the explosion that was happening in his brain.

During that time, I again felt like an utter failure.  I had been the one to seek help for Butter.  I had been the one to OK the increase of medication each time.  I had been the one to trust these professionals that had been treating my son.  All the while, finding out he'd been made worse. 

Butter spent almost 3 months in that hospital.  He was given new medication, guidance, support, and information on his illness.  The doctor diagnosed him with ADHD and mood disorder- and there is a high probability for bipolar, although they did not want to step in to that territory until they have to.  The type of ADHD he has causes his brain to not comprehend many things the same way other people can.  He sees things in black and white.  There is no gray area for him.   He was given non-stimulant medication, and began to function normally.   

After his release from the hospital, he was cleared to go back to public school.  I knew that there was no way I was letting him go back to the school he came from - so I brought him to the place I knew he would be able to succeed...the school I'm working in. 

This past school year has had it's ups and it's downs.  It's been a process.  Butter is learning to cope with his disorder.  He's learned about it, he's used strategies and coping skills.  My son is amazing.  To be thrashed with so many problems at such a young age is horrible - but he got through them.  He still has good days and bad days, but the good far outweigh the bad.  I have also had to learn a lot.  I know, now, that I have to explain everything to him in great detail so that he's able to process the information.  Again, he has no gray area - so if things aren't explain in black and white, he just can't comprehend them.  I know that I have to provide support, encouragement, and strict boundaries. He has to be able to make the choices that determine his consequences. 

This past week, Butter truly has made the most drastic of changes.  He's grown up so much.  He's done his chores with no complaints.  He's offered to help with everything and anything he can.  He has that twinkle back in his eyes - the twinkle of hope, love, and stability.  He truly is a hero of mine.  To go through so much at such a young age is truly remarkable. 

I love all my children equally.  Each have their own quirks, their own personalities.  But, today, I celebrate my son.  I love him more than he'll ever know.  I am so proud of his accomplishments.  He is an amazing child.  I look forward to many birthdays to come - knowing that these past few years will mold the man he will one day become. 

I love you, Butter.

Till next time. ;)