It's been a rough week. No specific reason why...just a general sense of being overwhelmed and exhausted culminating in the arrival of Aunt Flo for the second time this month. OK! So maybe I do have some specific reasons why.
I had planned to take Max to a birthday party today. Sounds like no big deal, right? I've lost a lot of weight. I am feeling a little more confident in my ability to get from place to place. But I called this party place just to inquire if they were wheelchair accessible. Nope. The party room was on a second floor, no elevator. Just stairs. OK. I can do stairs most days. I'm back to using my cane this week because I've been very wobbly. Is there a place for adults to sit? Sorta. They have a "side area" where they can "let you hang out."
I was already feeling sick, weak from blood loss, and generally overwhelmed. Then the panic attack hit. I haven't had one of those in AGES. My heart rate was through the roof, I couldn't breathe, I was seeing spots and I started to pant and cry. I felt very stupid for reacting that way. It's a silly kid's birthday party. If there was no where to sit (my back can't take long stretches of standing) then I'd just have to leave and come back later. But I didn't want to let Max down.
I tried to reason my way through it - telling myself all the alternatives I could do if this place wasn't going to be a comfortable one for me. It wasn't working. I didn't tell John how much I was freaking out, but I think he could tell. Even tho he'd already done baseball in the morning and taken the boys out for lunch, he said he'd do the party too. Maybe even the fair later, if he wasn't too tired.
Don't even get me started on the fair. Never been to this one or the place it's being held. NO IDEA if there are restrooms, places to sit, how crowded...there goes my brain again. I had planned to go. I really did want to! Really! I wanted to get pictures of Max on the rides. *sigh*
I'm at home. I didn't go. Too many unknowns and I was freaking out again. So I am fighting to get my physical health back. I think the mental health is going to take much much longer.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
It's been a rough week. No specific reason why...just a general sense of being overwhelmed and exhausted culminating in the arrival of Aunt Flo for the second time this month. OK! So maybe I do have some specific reasons why.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Me: What are you doing?
Max: Collecting eggs.
Me: From where???
Me: You still have Easter eggs?
Max: Oh yeah! I haven't eaten hardly any of mine.
Me: *mumbles* Good thing I didn't know that. What are you doing with those eggs?
Max: Well...can you do me a favor tonight? I have 20 eggs. *fiddles* Make that 30 eggs. Can you open them all and put the candy into my lunch box?
Me: 30 Easter Eggs worth of candy?! You want me to put all that junk into your lunch?!! I don't think that's a good idea. That's not very healthy.
Max: Oh come on Mom! I won't eat it all tomorrow. I just want it in my lunch box. Just in case.
Just in case of what, I wonder. Candy shortage? I opened all the eggs and only put about 5 eggs worth into his lunch. Today, after school, I asked if he enjoyed the candy.
Max: Mom! You only put in a little bit! But I found the rest in a paper bag on the table and dumped it all into my lunch box myself this morning.
Me: *facepalm* I sure hope you didn't eat all that!
Max: Of course not! I have lots left for tomorrow.
Oh boy. That boy is something else.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Battle of the Bulge continues! Each day is a fight in this war on fat...and I intend to win! That being said, if frank talk about the woes of being fat or fat people in general disgust you, click here. That's a nice fat-free website for you to enjoy (or is it.) See what I did there? Ha! Yes, I amuse myself. But seriously...
Here? I plan to address my blubber.
Since joining the war full time last September, I've learning many valuable lessons. I've also spent a great deal of time putting Google through its paces trying to find information on a variety of topics. My latest quest is the search for support.
No. Not a group of like-minded people who will help me fight the good fight. SUPPORT. As in...holding up and sucking in all the flabby bits. I am one of those fat folks who seem to carry a great deal of my bulk out in front...low on my abdomen. I have, what Google helped me discover the current vernacular for, an "apron of fat" in front. It's also know in medical circles as a pannus or panniculus. Google also shared disturbing images of people with "two butts". These are people with my same apron who have crammed the flab into VERY tight pants with a front seam for so long, the seam is permanent. They have created a front butt that looks exactly like their hind end.
I don't want a front butt. It's not pretty. At the same time, this apron causes me a great deal of discomfort. It just...hangs here. Very heavily. It impedes my ability to walk, sit properly, stand for any length of time, and it pulls my spine all out of alignment. On the good news side, since I've lost 50+ lbs, my apron has gone down in size a tiny bit. Sadly, it's only a tiny bit. I sincerely hoped that big apron hanging down low in front would be the first thing to go as I lost weight. But no.
I need something to hold that sucker UP. I need...a belly bra. So I turned to Google again. Years ago there used to be a pregnancy aid called a Belly Bra. It was a bra that had this nice stretchy pouch of fabric that was attached to the bottom of the bra cups. It went over the pregnant belly and had a wide band of elastic that helped "hold you up". Support! It sounded like the perfect thing. But alas, they don't make it any more. And even if I managed to find a used one on Ebay...they never made it in my bra size.
I thought about other ways I could give my belly a lift. How about a nice wide ace bandage? I could bind my belly up into a higher, more comfortable position. It would be a major undertaking trying to wrap myself up each day, but if it made getting around less painful, then why not? Well... because no one carries bandage material that wide. Believe me, I looked. If you find it wide enough, it's not long enough to wrap around me.
So then I thought about standard support garments. You know...girdles and what not. And guess what. They don't make them for people my size. Why do they only make support garments for THIN (well, I think they are thin) people??? If I were a size 18 or 20, I wouldn't NEED the support. At least, not in the same way.
Then I found a few surgical supply websites that offered custom compression garments. Things designed for people who are recovering from plastic surgery. Sure, they'd make me a compression suit in my size. If I wanted to spend over $1000. Uh. No. I don't have that kind of cash to just spend on something that might not even work. Plus, at the rate I am shrinking, it probably wouldn't even fit right in just a few months time.
Next, I started looking at different kinds of fabric. Maybe I could just SEW something. I'm not a very talented seamstress, but I think I could cobble something together with a few yards of some kind of spandex blend. So so many kinds of spandex blends...it was overwhelming! I had no idea what kind of fabric would work. I wanted something...sporty. Breathable and maybe even high tech. Moisture wicking? Yeah! That would be cool. No pun intended. Still haven't found it yet. I don't sew much, so I really didn't have any clue where to look for high tech fabrics.
Then I got a handy bit of spam in my mailbox. Swimsuit sale. Ugh. But wait...swim suits can be supportive. I've been wearing a swim dress with matching swim shorts for many years now. I haven't shopped for a one piece in probably 8 years or more. So I went swimsuit shopping. The horror! My gosh, the suits in my size are just...yikes. Plus they are so bulky, I could never wear them under regular clothes.
Then a Facebook friend posted a photo of some dancers. They were part of an alternative dance company that included a dancer in a wheel chair and OH BOY an obese dancer. Yep. There are some heavy folks that can actually move with grace and agility. I'm not one of them...but look! A plus sized leotard! Duh. Why didn't I think of that? Maybe I did and just dismissed it immediately. I mean really. Who makes dance wear THIS big? When you think ballet, you don't think fat. Nope.
So I went to Amazon. Sure enough, they had a couple plus sized leotards. If you think XL or a size 16, 18 or 20 is "plus". I don't. I think of those sizes as "average". I had a feeling the dance industry was going to be a tough nut to crack. They have been anti-fat probably since dance was invented. Heck, I remember a ballet teacher yelling at one of the girls in my class when I was a kid about how fat girls never became dancers. I wasn't fat back then. Heck, the girl she was yelling at wasn't that fat either. But I digress...
I wasn't ready to give up. A leotard was really the perfect solution for me. I went back to Google and was rewarded with a bunch of websites that sold plus sized dance wear. Sure, most of them were like Amazon. They had a very small selection and their "plus" was not even close to what I needed. Then I found one website that had dance wear up to 3 XL. XXXL leotards! And the size chart even had weights listed. Happy dance time!
I ordered 1 in white. It should be here by the end of the week. Crossing fingers and toes that it works for me. No front butt! Yeah, I'll suddenly have a "beer belly" but if this helps me hold up the apron and maybe even gives me some even compression as I shrink...I have high hopes. I want to support the skin and see if I can encourage it to stay in place as I get smaller. I know I'll have a lot of extra skin, but if I can keep it from hanging to my knees, that would be good.
If this works, I'll post a glowing review of this website. Maybe I can help a few fat dancers along the way. Fat girls can TOO be dancers. You go, twinkle-toes!
Posted by Becky at 10:47 AM
Monday, April 15, 2013
I met with my nutritionist at the weight loss clinic today. (Shannon is a total peach. Like her lots!) I was relating my struggles over the last month, particularly a day or two before my period hits. OMG, the cravings and hunger just get completely out-of-control. One night, at midnight, I found myself obsessing about the dozen chocolate chip muffins Tyler picked out at the supermarket (his favorite.) I finally gave in to temptation and ate a muffin in less than 5 minutes. It was so good (and I ate it so fast) that I went for another. Less than 10 minutes later, I had inhaled 2 muffins and was still craving them. I dragged myself away and just went to bed.
Bad bad muffins. Naughty naughty Mommy.
Some hours later I woke needing to pee and found I couldn't move. Every joint in my body was screaming in pain. Agony! I nearly wet the bed struggling to get UP. I had no idea what was going on. I felt fuzzy headed and feverish. And, oh man, the pain was unreal. All over. I barely made it and crawled back to bed thinking I was coming down with something. I had also noticed that my stomach was distended and kind of red and hot to the touch. Weird.
Was it...the muffins?! That was the only thing out of the ordinary. All that flour and sugar...could it be? The more I thought about it, the more I realized...that joint ache, bloated, inflamed, blah, sickly feeling was how I used to feel EVERY DAY before I cut refined sugar and flour out of my diet. It was how I always felt, so it was my "normal". I had adapted to it, sadly. But all these months later, suddenly eating 2 chocolate chip muffins in the space of 10 minutes was like, as Shannon said, taking my glucose tolerance test all over again. And I failed. Big time.
Bad bad bad muffins. Never again! (And I am down another 3.5 lbs. Go me!)
Posted by Becky at 5:41 PM
Friday, March 29, 2013
Yes, I am a Star Trek fan. I've seen every episode of every series and all the movies too. Sometimes many many times. I recently started watching the original series, again. Hulu is hosting a free-view week in honor of, I think, Bill Shatner's birthday. *squee* Some of the episodes from Season 1 I hadn't seen since I was a child watching them as re-runs. For some reason, when the original series was re-aired in more recent years, many episodes were left out (even on Netflix.) Probably they were deemed too dated, sexist or even racist in undertones.
But what I noticed, more than anything else, were inconsistencies in what I've come to understand as "facts" in the cannon of Star Trek lore. Early episodes of Season 1, Mr. Spock referred to himself as "Vulcanian". I had to rewind and play it again! Vulcanian??! What the heck is that? Mr. Spock is Vulcan. VULCAN. I just laughed it off as a goof. But then it happened again a couple episodes later. By Season 2, he was calling himself Vulcan. Another time I heard Mr. Spock mention, in passing, one of his "ancestors" was human. Uh, what? His MOTHER is human. But that wasn't revealed until late in Season 1.
Then there were the various names given for the military or governmental ruling body back on good old Earth. It was like the mythos of "Starfleet" wasn't fleshed out by writers until very late in Season 1. It was jarring! I found myself thinking "you're sending a report back to...who?!" And don't get me started on the uniforms. My gosh! They must have changed the uniform design 5 times in 6 episodes! I rather liked the golden beige velour turtlenecks. They looked...cozy. Hee hee!
Plus all the staff changes before Sulu moved into the helmsman's seat. Wow! The cast changed more than the uniforms did in Season 1!
They had their act together for Season 2, in my opinion. Plus Walter Koenig joined the cast. It just wasn't right with only Sulu at the controls. I needed to see Chekov too! Goodness knows I love George Takei. He was a very early crush of mine. (Sulu running around, shirtless, and brandishing a sword in The Naked Time...yum!)
Ok. Enough prattling on about Star Trek. Back to watching! The Trouble with Tribbles is up next! Yay!
Posted by Becky at 7:13 PM
Monday, March 18, 2013
Last August at my annual physical exam I was a wreck; both physically and emotionally. I could barely walk, I was in terrible pain, and I spent my days sitting as still as I could to avoid making the pain worse. I need to use a walker anywhere we went where I knew we'd be walking further than about 10 feet. I had a cane I would use around the house, when I was forced to move from the one chair in the house I felt reasonably comfortable sitting. Honestly, I was starting to think that I and my family would be better off if I were dead. Not a happy thought, no.
My doctor prodded me and handed me tissues as I cried from the pain of his exam. He finally said, "I think you are ready for this..." and handed me a flyer for a doctor supervised weight-loss clinic affiliated with Morristown Memorial Hospital. I was angry, but at the same time I knew my weight was part of the problem. I decided to give the clinic a call and see what the program was all about, thinking that if I lost some weight, maybe the doctor would start taking my other problems more seriously and stop blaming it all on my weight!
I may have mentioned this all in a previous post, but that gives you the background on how my weight-loss journey started.
I called the clinic and found out there was a three month wait to see the doctor in charge of the clinic. They told me he would evaluate me, send me for medical tests and based on those results, customize a plan for me. I didn't want to wait three months! I wanted to get started right away! It was a rare moment of clarity and motivation and who knew how I'd been feeling after waiting 3 months. So the receptionist told me I could get an appointment with one of their nutritionists right away, they had openings in their schedules. So I thought, fine, maybe they can at least get me started in the right direction.
A lovely lady named Lisa sat down with me at my first appointment and we talked for a long time. She questioned me about my eating habits, life-style, sleep, yadda yadda and eyed my ever present walker with concern. She got my starting weight and I nearly cried when I saw the scale readout. I hadn't weighed myself in a long long time. She was a little at a loss as to what to do with me. Usually she had a battery of test results and doctor recommendations to work with. So she winged it. She gave me an eating plan, a shopping guide, some suggested recipes and wished me luck. I sailed out the door with a new found hope that I might be able to do this and told her, "see you in 3 months!"
That shopping guide became my bible. I didn't eat anything that wasn't on the list for the first month. I also vowed to stay away from the scale. The sweet cravings nearly killed me, but I powered through. Then I had a "cardiac event" that got my cardiologist all alarmed. He sent me for a battery of tests and I got some scary news. Suddenly losing weight became VERY important. He was pleased with what he saw on the scale. I'd already lost a good amount based on his weigh-in from a previous check-up. I was thrilled with that! I knew I was on the right track, so I soldiered on.
I could feel my body changing. Pain levels were a bit more manageable. I started getting hopeful that I might one day be able to exercise again. I decided to shoot for March of the following year or when ever I hit 50 lbs gone to try walking.
Meanwhile, I finally got to see the clinic doctor. It was now late December and I'd lost over 30 lbs on my own, 18 using their eating guides. The doctor was very impressed. I went through a battery of tests and blood-work and found out just how out of whack my body was. I had several vitamin gaps, crazy low iron, and I was glucose intolerant. Not good. He made some tweaks to my shopping list and eating plan, put me on a couple supplements and iron, and told me to come back in a month. That became my routine. Once a month visits to weigh in, check in with the doc, get my vitals taken, meet with the nutritionist and gab with the staff shrink about my food issues. I'd settled into a routine that was working for me. I could even eat some take-out and go out to eat. Many places had low carb options or I could just nix the potato or rice and sub in extra veggies.
So here I am. 48 lbs "in the plan" and 12 or so I lost on my own, gone for good. I started mall walking in February, got new walking shoes, and this past weekend I started using a Leslie Sansone walking video to increase the intensity of my walks. I also got a BodyMedia Fit armband monitor for my birthday to keep me motivated. It keeps track of how much sleep and exercise I get. I can input what I eat on their website, get reports, challenge my personal bests...it's fun!
I am not a fitness convert. Not yet, anyway. The walking is HARD, but I am hopeful it will get easier over time. 1 mile a day. I never thought I'd be physically able to do it! So why am I blathering on about this stuff? Some friends were curious about what I was doing. There you have it. If I can motivate you in some way to make some changes, good!
I saw a woman at the clinic today who was a little bigger than me and getting around in a Rascal scooter. I wanted to run up to her (because I can RUN now) and tell her to stick with it. Things do get better! I was months away from getting a scooter for myself. I had actually looked at them on the web. I was nearly to the point where I couldn't walk AT ALL. Scary thought. Oh, and I hardly use the walker any more. Just me and my cane. And today I found myself just carrying the cane and hardly using it. It's amazing.
Posted by Becky at 9:07 PM
Monday, February 25, 2013
What goes through the mind of the people who own these homes and condos? With only one exception, I've fallen in love with each vacation rental in which we've had the privilege to spend our precious vacation times. I've often wondered about the people who own these places. What are they like? You can guess some things about their personality from the way they decorate, the books on the shelves, the style and feel of their vacation home, but I've often wondered what motivates a person to take their little slice of heaven and share it with total strangers.
Sure, there is the monetary issue. Renting a place out helps the owner pay the mortgage. But there has to be more to it. If I went to all the time and expense to build a little home away from home, I'd find it VERY difficult to rent that sacred space out to total strangers. If you own a little slice of paradise somewhere and you rent it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you wonder about the people who stay in your vacation home?
Posted by Becky at 9:21 PM
Saturday, February 09, 2013
A former Facebook gamer "friend" posted something on her status update a couple weeks ago that struck me viscerally. She put something in her status update that said, and I paraphrase, "You never get the children you want, you only get the children you deserve." She made that statement in conjunction with a series of posts about the shootings in CT and posts about people struggling with children with special needs (her kids are "perfect" according to her.) Her take was if your child isn't perfect, it's because you are being punished by God.
Oh yeah. That made me angry.
Children are not a punishment, they are a gift! Sure, our lives are just about equal with stress and joy, but there is a balance. I embrace those moments of joy because they help me through the stressful times. We all make mistakes and there are many who fail horribly with parenting. But I have seen kids from the most broken of homes rise above their damaged upbringing and become amazing adults (with not even a little thanks to their Mom and Dad. So what did THOSE parents do to deserve such gems? Hmm?)
I had some carefully worded comments for this mother. I trend toward the snarky side, so I have to throttle back on the sarcasm to make my message crystal clear. For myself and any other parent with a child who has special needs...God isn't punishing us. Instead, we have been entrusted with the greatest gift of all. A child who needs extra love, guidance, attention and effort. If we complete this life-long challenge, the rewards will not just be a well adjusted, self-sufficient and confident adult but the knowledge that we embraced our gifts and discovered that unconditional love is its own reward.
My kids know they don't have to be perfect, rich or successful. All I want is for them to be happy. (and no, Max. Happy doesn't mean I'm buying you more toys. ;)
Posted by Becky at 8:53 PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
For many years now, the long wall of our family room has been decorated with 3 large photo prints. They are photos I took during Tyler's first trip to the beach when he was just a baby. I loved that day and these photos. But the poster sized prints have seen better days. The plastic poster frames are falling apart and the picture are a bit faded. Plus Max has noticed that there is no photo of HIM in this series.
I have given it a lot of thought over the years. What would I put up there to replace these cheap but sentimental shots. A couple years ago we made a rare, momentous and memorable trip to the beach. I wish we could spend WAY more time at the shore, but I have one child who never got over his initial distaste for sand. It takes a lot of convincing and bribery to talk him into going to the beach, so I knew those moments by the sea were going to be precious.
I took tons of photos. TONS. And was very happy with the results. So after contemplating these shots for 2 years now, I had finally selected the photos that will replace the existing posters on the wall. Now all I needed was for the universe to align so I could find a good deal on a nicer way to frame these prints. I wanted something hip and cool, modern and maybe even a tad edgy. Sadly, you pay a ton of money for that. Then AmazonLocal (sorta like Groupon) sent me an offer on stretched canvas prints. Now I am really excited! Gallery style canvas prints of my photos! *squee!* To get the size I want at full price would have cost $390 before tax and shipping. With my coupon? $138 plus tax and free shipping.
Time to class up this space. Curious to see the old and new photos? I can do that...
Old (plain paper poster prints in cheap plastic frames - and yes, with date stamp too. Ugh.):
New (stretched canvas over wood frame prints):
Posted by Becky at 6:23 PM
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
So I posted yesterday about the results of my Ancestry.com DNA testing. While it was nice having some confirmation about my origins, it wasn't really as revealing as I'd hoped. Or was it. The husband and I were casually discussing the results when he said, "You know...Switzerland and The Netherlands aren't part of Scandinavia, right?" Wait...what?! Oh yeah. Intellectually, I knew that. If you look at the highlighted portion of my results map, my Swiss and Dutch genes are pooled in with the Central European section. I always thought of the Dutch as being rather Nordic in looks and sensibility. But the map people use different criteria.
Oh my gosh, I have Viking blood!
It hit me...that must be from my bio-Dad's side of the family! We didn't really have any info like that about him back when I was born. Just some stuff the agency made up to make my Mom and Dad feel better. Yeah. They were told a lot of fibs. Conversations with my bio-Mom revealed that. She had no idea about bio-Dad's ethnicity. Just that he was white, popular and hunky. *grin*
So I really did find a missing piece of the puzzle that is me. Now my deep affection for Nordic mythology is explained. And Swedish meatballs. Yum!
But seriously, this is rather momentous for me. I also started taking a closer look at the family trees of my biological cousins (matched though my DNA results) and made another startling discovery. My mom and I may be related for real. There is a good probability that a family link going back to the 1700's exists. It's distant, but a strong possibility. I'll have to flesh out my family tree more to see if we can link things up definitively. I think she will be floored just by the prospect. It's a strange world, isn't it?
Posted by Becky at 8:03 AM
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Late last year I received an invitation from Ancestry.com to participate in their DNA experiment. They are doing some ground breaking work in using DNA from volunteers to track human migration patterns and shifts and loads of other interesting trends. Plus the neat bonus of finding out where your ancestors hailed from and if you have any living relatives in their database. First, here is the graph they created from my DNA testing:
This tracks pretty well with what my parents were told about my ancestry when I was adopted. English, German, Swiss and Dutch. I wonder what the mystery 2% is. Heh. Alien, most likely. Being mostly of UK origin sure explains a lot. My love of Dr Who and many other quality BBC programs, for instance. Plus the infrequent urge to eat bubble 'n squeak or bangers 'n mash.
The other really interesting thing the testing has uncovered is a whole boatload of 4th to 6th cousins. Neat! But now I have a problem. Being adopted, my current family tree is not my "biological" tree. I know who my birth parents are, but my birth mom is keeping me a secret from her kids and my bio-dad doesn't know about me at all. I don't feel comfortable linking their names to my tree. So I guess all those 4th-6th cousins will just have to be left wondering. I'll check on Ancestry to see if there is a way to add branches to the tree privately.
Still, it's nice to have a sort of tangible link to my ancestry, even if my DNA is rather vanilla.
Posted by Becky at 10:24 AM
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
It's been a rough last few months of 2012 - hurricane, nor'easter, family drama, holidays, life style changes, sugar withdrawal, on and on. We made it to Christmas! It's a miracle, really. I am so very relieved to get this far. Presents have been opened, inappropriate remarks recorded on video while genuine expressions of gratitude and joy were missed (d'oh!), and the boys are content. Whew! They both got inexpensive tablets this year. I say "inexpensive" in a very droll fashion...as compared with, say, an iPad ($150 is certainly more affordable than $375. Ouch.) Neither of the boys knew they were getting them. They have asked, pleaded, begged, cajoled and demanded them over the course of the year, but John and I held our ground. We still had NO plans to buy them...then black Friday hit. I bought a Kindle Fire at a very good price, for Max.
Now - after struggling with a still partly frozen turkey and a too small oven, I thought I would take a few moments to record lessons learned in the hopes we won't make the same mistakes next year.
- Do not get a turkey larger than 15 lbs. It will NOT fit in the oven properly.
- Thaw Mr. Turkey in the fridge for 3 days, not 2 - or it will still be a bit frosty.
- Start wrapping at least a week before Christmas so we can see how many gifts we have for each boy and make any necessary adjustments.
- Charge up any electronic devices BEFORE wrapping them. Max nearly had a cow waiting for his Kindle to be charged and configured today.
- Remove all twist ties, wires and other assorted parent proofing from toys before putting gifts under the tree.
- Do NOT wrap the plain brown shipping boxes even if the gift is oddly shaped. Kids want to see something cool as soon as that paper comes off. Crushing disappointment or confused comments tend to ruin Christmas videos. (I won't be posting those, I don't think.)
Posted by Becky at 2:47 PM
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Thankfully, I have a new tiny superhero to pick up where Ty left off. Max loves Spider Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Captain America, Kitty Pride (X-Men) and all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He wears Tyler's old Spider Man costume to bed (and yes, it is very tight on him since Ty was 4 and Max is 6.) Max will occasionally don a cape and run through the house, but he is all about the sound effects. "Jeeeeeeerrrrrooom! Zoom! Zoom!"
Yet, I am still enjoying the heck out of this time. Max and I have watched many hours of super hero cartoons and movies together. I hope he never grows out of this phase. I'd love to have someone to leave all my comic books to one day.
Posted by Becky at 2:38 AM
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Max came home from school the other day looking despondent. Turned out he'd spent the day hearing about the antics of "The Elf on the Shelf" from various classmates. Apparently these elves are little trouble makers. Max wanted to know why we didn't have an elf staying with us. Oh boy. I'd managed to dodge the whole "elf" phenomenon for years now, but it looked like our blissful elf-free existence was coming to an abrupt end. I told Max we had to lure an elf and quickly looked on the internet to see how it was done.
Yahoo Answers had a helpful post that involved a bowl stuffed with tissues and a cracker left on a window sill. Sounded easy. When the elf arrives, he/she eats some of the cracker or sometimes will leave a note. One problem, Max hid the bowl so I...er...the ELF couldn't find it to take a bite. After some fast Amazon Prime shopping, we had our elf, her book and storage box here and ready to roll. Did I read the book first? No. I decided to wing it.
She left a note with her name (Snowflake) and mentioned she didn't care for crackers (ass covered) and set up shop on the sofa reading her own book and waiting for Max to come home from school. Done and done! Max was delighted. Now I...er...the ELF just had to remember to move somewhere new each night. Time to get creative.
From my Facebook updates:
Damn! I knew this elf was a bad idea. I forgot to move her last night. Just wrapped her arms around the parm cheese in the fridge. Let's see how long it takes for someone to find her. Heh heh! I hope Max wasn't bummed this morning. :/
Me: Wow...Snowflake has a really mischievous look on her face. Max: What does misscheevous mean? Tyler: She's going to murder you while you sleep... Max: Mom?! Really?!?! (*facepalm* I'm amazed my hair isn't snow white after 11 years.) No honey, Snowflake isn't a killer elf. Max: Are you sure? She does look kinda creepy. -Note to self: Don't sneak the elf into Max's room while he is sleeping.
Oooh! I just played the "elf" card to nip a tantrum in the bud. It worked! Maybe that elf on the shelf will be hanging around all year long. ;)
Woke today to find a snowfort made of mini-marshmallows on the table and an epic snowball fight between Snowflake (the Shelf Elf) and Leonardo the Ninja Turtle in progress. Max flipped!
So that brings you up to date with the elf. On to other holiday happenings. From Facebook yesterday:
Max: Mom? Why don't we do Hanukkah? Me: Uh...because we aren't Jewish, Honey. Max: Why? I want to do Hanukkah! Me: Well, maybe we can borrow your Uncle Mike's girlfriend next year and you can do Hanukkah with her. Max: No! I want to do Hanukkah now! They get presents every day! Me: Oh boy. Who told you about Hanukkah? Max: My teacher. Me: (under my breath...thanks Mrs. G.) I tried to explain how Hanukkah works, but it just made Max want to celebrate even more. Trying to figure out where I can pick up a Menorah real quick tomorrow and surprise Max when he gets home from school. Any thoughts? :D Maybe a dreidel and gelt too. He'd love that game.
Starting tonight (shortly) we will be celebrating the 5th night of Hanukkah, thanks to Max and a friend. I suggested we also have some traditional foods but Tyler panicked and we have no potatoes in the house since I started making changes to my eating habits. So no latkes, sadly. Max and I had something else fried (a burger) to keep in the spirit of things. It's not kosher, but then again, neither are we. :D
So yes. Now we celebrate Hanukkah too. Why not? I know Max just sees it as an opportunity to get more presents. He knows how to work the system! I see it as a teaching opportunity to learn about other faiths and religious customs. Our new Menorah arrives tomorrow, but tonight at sundown Max and I watched a video on how to light it and which prayers to say when. He is looking forward to doing it for real tomorrow.
Oh and he got a new backpack for night 5 and Tyler got a Minecraft teeshirt. Max will probably raise a few eyebrows tomorrow at school when he shows off his Hanukkah gift. If you are curious, I'll post links below to the YouTube video we watched and a wiki on Hanukkah that I am using to teach about the holiday as well as show us how to play the dreidel game. Bring loads of gelt if you want to join in! *wink*
How to Light the Hanukkah Menorah
What is Hanukkah all about?
Posted by Becky at 5:20 PM
Sunday, December 09, 2012
While digging through boxes of Christmas decorations today, Max discovered my old nativity scene - a hand carved but simply painted wood set from Pier One Imports gifted to me many years ago. Baby Jesus has gone missing, but Max was having a ball playing with the shepherds, wise-men, Mary, Joseph and the animals. It got me thinking about retelling the story of Jesus' birth.
After dwelling on all the facts I could recall, I suddenly realized I wasn't able to remember the name of one of the three wise-men. Balthazar, Melchior and...erg. What was his name? So I Googled "the three wisemen" and found a TON of stuff I never knew. Caspar or Gaspar is the third guy, traditionally; but they are never mentioned in any of the Biblical accounts. Heck, the Bible doesn't even say there were three men...just wisemen from the East. It is only because there were three gifts presented that people assumed there were three men.
I read the article on Wikipedia with fascination wondering where I had even heard the names of the three "kings" before. Or why I was sure that Balthazar was black, Melchior was asian and Caspar was a white guy (and no, he wasn't a friendly ghost.) Was it a movie or storybook from my youth? Church play? I have no idea! I've just always known the story. I found it kinda disturbing to think that Matthew made em up to fit an Old Testament prophesy about kings bowing down before the new born Messiah. But that sort of thing happens a lot in the Bible - parables to teach, and not hard facts.
So I will tell the story as I remember it, and it will become part of Max and Tyler's collective unconscious to one day pass on to their kids. Why not? Showering a baby with gold, smelly oil and stinky incense - it's just funny. Those "wise" men must not have had any kids. Anyone knows a new mom needs things like diapers, baby sized togas and a nice baby carrier that is donkey safe. Honestly!
Posted by Becky at 11:21 PM
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Last year I bought the vast majority of the boys' Christmas presents with my Amazon credit card reward points. I guess it's now an annual tradition! After a feverish Cyber Monday shopping spree, the final bill was $11.68 after I blew all my points. Not too shabby! The boys are older and more sophisticated now, however, so their wish lists were full of expensive gadgets and games. "No boys, I will not get you both a cell phone just like Dad's. Who are you going to call?! Plus it costs $500. Get a job with HP and they will get you the same phone, m'kay?"
The quantity might not be very impressive, but I hope they realize you PAY for quality. We simply don't have the funds to pay for much, these days. John kicked butt on black Friday too. He got some great deals online. Good job, honey! It's nice having help with the shopping.
Now I just have to think of frugal yet thoughtful gifts for the rest of the extended family. I may skip the annual Christmas card this year. While it won't break the bank, I am just not feeling it this year. The holidays have started off rough with illness and family conflict. It's hard to muster holiday cheer. Plus I just don't have a great photo to use and I can't bring myself to use a box of generic cards.
Ah well. Gotta get ready to head out for a bit. Maybe I'll get a chance to write more later.
Posted by Becky at 1:49 PM
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Tyler is quickly approaching a difficult phase in his development. He has his first small cluster of pimples. He grows more surly and disagreeable by the day. His tolerance for his younger brother has all but vanished. Sometimes they play together so nicely, but most of the time I have to intervene to prevent a murder. If they both survive this transition, it will be a miracle.
In just over a week, Tyler will become a tween. Folks think teens are hard. No argument there! But this stage has it's own challenges. He feels too old for many things yet is too young for many others. He is frustrated by these limitations. Adults expect more from him based on his age but at the same time are always telling him "you are too young to understand."
Add in Tyler's own personal challenges (Autism Spectrum diagnosis) and you have the impasse I have currently reached. Most days I am able to talk him off the virtual ledge he seems to be perpetually teetering on. Other days, I regret to say, we resort to good old fashioned yelling and "go to your room and cool off!"
He has a bad habit of teasing his little brother and treating him with emotions ranging from disinterest to down right loathing. He picks and pokes until there is a final straw moment where even my sweet happy-go-lucky littlest goes off the deep end. In that instant I get the patented Tyler response of, "Mom! Max attacked me for no reason! I just touched his balloon and he punched me in the stomach!" Or some variation thereof.
Do I really have to repeat to Ty all the things he has done to Max all morning long to push him to this desperate act? Apparently so. Tyler seems to forget all those little pricks and prods, comments and asides, insults and injuries. Max doesn't. He can take a lot of abuse and shake it off. But everyone has their limits.
Max is a sensitive and intuitive little kid, but he is only just turned 6. He is entitled to his own emotions and he will stand up to his big brother fearlessly (then run for his life.) I can't expect him to understand everything Tyler is dealing with. Why Max has to leave the room to eat his tuna. Why he can't turn on so many lights. Why he has to wear headphones to play his games or watch videos on his computer. Why Tyler will just walk into the room and change his channel on the TV without asking. OK. That last one might just be rude. *wink*
Tyler senses that things are easier for Max. People like him, are drawn to him, and cater to him. Tyler, on the other hand, can be abrasive, stand-offish, rude, and off-putting. People tend to notice that sort of thing and, over time, are less inclined to want to spend time around him. His grandparents are a prime example. Tyler complained this weekend that his grandmother was giving Max things to eat but he was starving. Tyler felt neglected and ignored. He wasn't, really. She did ask him several times if he wanted various things, but he only half paid attention or said no. She doesn't know that we spend endless time each day offering him various things until he finally tells us what he wants to eat. If you don't take that kind of time to push him, I guess he sees it as you not caring about his welfare.
I get tired of making excuses for/defending his behavior and trying to explain to family. I often feel our parenting skills are under attack. I get comments like "you should punish him more" or "you shouldn't let him talk/act that way" and many more. It makes me sad that people can't just love Ty for who he is. Why does he have to fit in your box in order to be loved? He's just a kid who wants to be "normal" and loved. It shouldn't be this hard, for either of us.
So, back to the challenges of being a tween. Yes, I have relaxed a couple rules and given Tyler more freedom. He needs to know I trust his judgement and I want to encourage his future independence. But at the same time, he needs boundaries. He can't do whatever he wants, when ever he wants. Ah the never ending battle of parenthood. Finding that balance.
Right now, I am off balance. I hope to find it again soon. Maybe I need to spend more time talking with other parents of kids with special needs. I could use some advice from someone who has been there and done that. I have a few friends with kids on the spectrum, but their kids are all younger than Ty. I'll have to work on this, I think.
Posted by Becky at 4:09 PM
Saturday, November 10, 2012
After we checked out of Great Wolf Lodge week before last, we headed home to check on things. Now that some places around us had power, maybe we could tough it out. We could eat out, give up showering for a few days, have a fire in the fireplace and all sleep in one room to share warmth. Cozy, right?
No. It was so cold that Max was crying. After one night we packed our massive pile of dirty clothes and went to my Mother in law's house. She had recently gotten her power back. We stayed for 2 days, ran her washer and dryer almost non-stop, and were generally very underfoot. We forgot the bed in the guest room has a board under the mattress (used to be Great Grandma's room). I woke up bruised. Now THAT is firm! Ouch.
John was scheduled to go to a training class in Baltimore this past week and we had to decide fast what to do. Go with him or stick it out at home. Home was NOT an option. Nor was extending our stay with grandma. We wore out our welcome there. Luckily John's company said they would make an exception and allow families of employees affected by Sandy to stay in the hotel and eat at their buffet meals. Baltimore, here we come?
John spoke with the event planner to see if they could get a room with enough beds for the family to sleep comfortably. He was ready to cancel his training and go to the last session they offer in December if they couldn't find space for us. The only problem with that other session is it's in Canada and he would miss Tyler's birthday. Not ideal. Less ideal than hauling the family to Baltimore and cramming into yet another hotel room for a week. But poor John was going to need sleep to survive those long days in training. It could get ugly!
Or not. Between the event coordinator and the hotel, they let us know the room had been upgraded to a "suite" and the coordinator was leaving some gifts for the kids to help keep them occupied. So nice! We started looking forward to our next little family adventure. What KIND of suite, we wondered. It's a super nice hotel with Jr. Suites on up to $4000 a night rock star type suites. We expected the junior variety. We got something pretty darn close to rock star level!
|Living/Dining room with murphy bed down - master is thru the french doors|
It's a 5-star hotel with 5-star gourmet food at every meal they serve to the HP folks. I am in heaven! The boys...not so much. They have more of a 1-star level palate. Hence the special hoops the pub staff keep leaping through to keep my boys happy. 5-star service. Gotta love it! Max actually ate chicken Florentine at lunch today. I was tickled! But he had to have fries with it. *sigh* Heh heh.
We've been so blessed through this trying time. I am so grateful to the hotel and HP for giving us a warm place to live this week. I feel so bad for families without options back home. We STILL don't have power at home. John turned off the water to the house before we left. He was afraid of the pipes freezing while we were away because life isn't interesting enough without adding a Nor'easter to the mix. They think it will prevent crews from working on the lines for a couple extra days. Ugh. I really hope the power is on by the time we get home. 2 weeks without is CRAZY! Yes I feel totally spoiled.
UPDATE: We got home Friday night to find the power ON! Thank you to whom ever worked to get Stanhope back on the grid. We appreciate your efforts! And special thanks to hubby's company who decided to send us a generator. It arrived this morning. Yep. We got our power back last night. Didn't I tell you my life was a sit-com? Get this... When the power came back on, our home alarm system also turned on. It immediately registered a "low temp" alert. Duh. 2 weeks without heat in the winter will do that to a house. The alarm company worker who logged the alert in their system put it in as a "medical emergency alert." The local police called the alarm company to verify the alert and ask for the home owner's cell phone number. Did the alarm company tell them it was a low temp alert? No. Furthermore they claimed they didn't have our cell number. Say what? You folks have had that number for 10+ years. The police, acting in good faith, broke into our house to look for someone in trouble. Other than a cold cat (Sparty is perfectly fine) they found the house empty. They secured the side door as best they could and left.
Yeah. Our side door is totally busted in! Scary that someone could just kick in the door like that with very little effort! John was so upset his voice was shaky when he called the alarm company. They had better be ready to pay for damages! What if the alert went out earlier in the week?! Our house would have been open to anyone for days. Imagine. We get home to a cold EMPTY house. That would have been super swell.
Lastly, the cable and internet are still out. So we are using John's MiFi device. My super awesome quad-core, dual raid dream PC is dead. I was in the middle of backing up my data when Sandy took out our power two weeks ago. I have a nice UPS, so I was able to shut down normally. Now the silly box won't boot up. At all. Did I finish my data backup? No. I am using my laptop currently. I was able to get photos off my camera from the last 2 weeks - found a nifty tool on this thing for managing pictures too. I am praying the silly PC is just cold. Maybe after it warms up for 24 hours or so it will start up for me. Hey, I can hope.
Posted by Becky at 2:28 PM
Sunday, November 04, 2012
After two days of the howling mad fury that was hurricane Sandy and a night without power, the husband suggested we get the heck out of Dodge. You see, last year the freak blizzard around Halloween knocked our power out for a week. Now here we are looking at 7 to 10 days without power. Why sit around and try to ride it out again? We already knew the contents of the refrigerator and freezer were a lost cause. I looked at the tense faces of our boys, considered my own incredibly stressed out state and the first hotel that came to mind was Great Wolf Lodge. Why not turn fleeing from the devastation into something fun and memorable for the boys?
John called the PA lodge to see if they had power and next thing we knew it was time to pack! John knew if we waited for a day or two (as most folks are inclined to do) the hotel would probably fill up with refugees from the storm and we'd most likely be stuck. Best to abandon ship before the deck vanishes beneath the waves!
I do feel guilty seeing the faces of folks on TV stranded by the storm with flooding and other damage, but I am super grateful for power, comfort and a cozy fireplace.
It took us three tries to get out of our own neighborhood. We had to keep turning around and trying other side streets to get to the main road through town. There were trees and power lines down everywhere we looked. The big billboard with the cute kid dropping an expensive cell phone into a toilet (an ad for insurance that we have pondered over and over) was blown down. Road signs ripped in half, a telephone pole leaning precariously over the road just waiting for the next strong wind gust to knock it over completely, homes with missing shingles and siding (like our own home) and even one home with a massive hole in the roof were just some of the signs of hurricane damage we saw as we left.
Meanwhile I am praying for other storm victims. Huge thanks to all the workers and volunteers flooding in along with FEMA to help New York and New Jersey rebuild and repair after Sandy had her way with us. Stay warm and dry folks!
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Trying to be healthy is HARD. 8+ weeks ago I started on a journey to change my life. I eliminated all sugars and most starches from my diet. No more baked goods. No more candy or soda. No more potatoes or white rice. Whole grains, in small doses, and loads of veggies and lean protein to keep me from being hungry. Nuts are my new best friend...as is beef jerky! No more chips, fries, breaded chicken, pasta...oh boy has it been HARD!
New temptations crop up every day. TV commercials for restaurants I used to love are my worst enemy. They are closely followed by my own family. Yes, my junk-food loving boys are driving me batty. I woke yesterday morning to a fresh box of Dunkin' Donuts sitting on the kitchen table. I would have been ok, if the box didn't have a clear cellophane lid to show off the pretty pretty frosted goodies inside. Owie! My stomach just let out a long squealing gurgle with actual PAIN. Ugh. I've wanted a donut for weeks now.
I dream about ice cream too.
Now we have Halloween on the horizon. Used to be my favorite holiday of the year. An excuse to consume pounds of chocolate and sugary goodies? Hell yeah! Sign me up! This year I sent the husband out to pick up bags of treats. I told him NO CHOCOLATE! Get things I won't be tempted to eat. At all. He did pretty well, until I saw the bags of sour patch kids. Oh noooo... I love those mouth puckering treats! *sigh*
So I find myself eyeing the stash on top of the fridge. Even gummy crabby patties sound good (any Sponge Bob fans out there?) I smell donuts. *drools*
Then, last night, John made pasta for dinner. We used to eat pasta several times a week. It's cheap and fast. Max won't eat it, so I'd make him a hot dog, turkey sandwich or fish sticks. We ate it so often that I didn't look forward to pasta nights anymore. I was so sick of pasta! Then I went without it for nearly 5 weeks and thought I would die if I didn't get some pasta! Luckily there is one brand that is "legal" on my eating plan. Dreamfield's low carb pastas. I made a batch of elbows and stole a packet of cheese sauce from a family size box of mac n cheese sitting in the pantry. It was heaven! And I ate way too much. Between the high fiber content and forgetting to take my Lactaid, I was in serious pain. But it was worth it!
Late last night I caved again. I made Dreamfield's rotini and used low fat Velveeta this time. I even cut up a couple low fat hot dogs into the mix (Sheldon style.) It wasn't a donut or candy, but it filled that hole of deprivation I was feeling. I still can't believe I was up at 2am making mac n cheese like an addict falling off the wagon. Once again, I am paying for it today. Ouch. But it was so so good. Almost worth it. And this time I didn't eat the whole box. Progress!
I still want a donut, but I told myself no sugary treats until I see 100 lbs gone. Maybe by then I won't care about sweets any more. Maybe I will have that "nothing tastes as good as thin feels" attitude! Hey, I can hope.
Posted by Becky at 4:38 PM