Monday, April 30, 2012

Conquering It All

      Today we met with Avery's therapist to discuss her medication. It has been amazing for us, combined with therapy and we have chosen to continue it for a few more months. This will allow her body to learn how to sleep properly and we then can slowly wean her off of it and let her body take over.

      We then met with her other therapist to discuss her progress. Which has been...a lot. She is making eye contact when she speaks now. Her aggression and outbursts of anger are diminishing. Her moods are regulating. She has learned how to verbalize what she is feeling, rather than simply becoming frustrated and lashing out. Her sleep has improved and the nightmares have subsided. She is better able to see right and wrong...and shows remorse when bad choices are made. Her sensitivity issues have lessened. She says, "I love you." She hugs me, without me asking for it. She is helpful, of her own free will. She apologizes...and means it. She has expressed how much she likes spending time with me and when I play with her. She gets along with her siblings (as much as any kid does) and knows how to share and take turns. All of these things have allowed her to actually form relationships with her family, rather than just pushing every one away.

      Those are things that children much younger than her conquered long ago. For a multitude of reasons, Avery didn't. My seven year old is finally catching up emotionally and socially.

       She is doing so well that our therapy meetings that we have every 3-4 weeks are going to be spaced out, unless something comes up. We will check in with both therapists during the summer and see how she is doing...then go from there. I couldn't be happier.

It hasn't been an easy road...but it has been her road.

Our road.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day Five - I Don't Want To Do This Anymore

...so I'm not.

:)

I made it four days. My goal was seven days.

*sigh*

I was so afraid of being disappointed in myself that I struggled with "giving up" and "quitting" for a full day, before I decided to do it.

I didn't start this to lose weight. I did it reboot my body. I wanted to give my body a break from any "crappy" food I feed it. I wanted to get in as much fruits and veggies as possible to charge my work outs.

Did I make my seven day goal? No. Did I crave cheese and onion rings and cheeseburgers and ice cream and chocolate? Oh hell yes; even if all those foods weren't a part of my normal diet anyway. Tell me I can't have something and of course I'm going to want it. Did I ingest more fruits and veggies than I ever thought possible? Yes.

So, what finally broke me? What sounded soooo good, that I had to give in and eat?

Chocolate? Bacon? Pancakes? French fries?

Nope.

Chicken. I desperately wanted boneless, skinless, grilled chicken breast. So...I ate it. Along with a red leaf lettuce, spinach, cherry tomato and cucumber salad with a tiny bit of homemade Italian dressing.

I'm not too upset with myself. If that's what made me break...I obviously am doing okay.

So...on I continue. I'll be incorporating more green smoothies and juices into my diet (shockingly, beet, apple and carrot wasn't half bad) and the kids' meals. They beg for them and I'm not going to turn them down! Luke has already concocted spinach, orange, kiwi and banana...also known as a "Luke Sunrise".

If renewing a love of veggies and fruits in my kids is all I accomplished...then I didn't fail. I can't be disappointed! What an amazing four days. Would I do it again? Perhaps.

Never say never. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day Four - Choose

There is a difference between "I can't do it" and "I don't want to do it".

Society in general seems to use these phrases synonomously. When presented with a challenge (such as juicing for seven freaking days...or go back to school...or start running...) a lot of people's reactions are, "Oh...I can't do that."

Umm...how do you know? You haven't even tried. What you really mean to say is, "I don't want to do that."

Make your choice and stick by it. Don't flounder around and make excuses for yourself. Either you want to...or you don't. Believe me...you can do it. It just comes down to if you want to, or not.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day Three - I'm Hungry

I'm Hungry.

I'm Cranky.

I calculated the nutritional content and I've consumed enough calories (almost 1300) and I've met every goal I should for fiber, protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, yadda, yadda, yadda...

I'm Hungry.

I'm Cranky.

It's hard when you're emotionally tied to food and have an emotional day. I want a cheeseburger dipped in fry sauce.

Yeah...cause THAT will make everything better, right?

Well...I won't be hungry.

But...I will be disappointed in myself.

*groan*

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day Two - Feeling FABuLOUS!!!

Okay, so it's now been about 48 hours and all I've had are green smoothies or juiced concoctions.

Holy crap.

I feel amazing.

I know my endorphins are flowing because I just got home from the gym, but still...I feel great. I haven't been as hungry as I thought I would be on day two. It's a mental game now. I see what my kids eat and I want to eat it...because it LOOKS good. Not because I necessarily feel hunger pains.

Spinach, blueberries, bananas and mango. That has been my favorite today. Tomato, avocado, rosemary, bean sprout, oregano. That was my least favorite today. I gagged that down, while the kids sat around me laughing, eating their yogurt and cereal.

Tomorrow I want to actually keep track of how many calories I am eating from all the fruits and veggies. I know I'm still well within a healthy range of intake for a female of my body weight, but I'm curious.

Have you watched the documentary yet???

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day One - No One Has Died...Miraculously

So, remember last summer when I watched "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" and began making green smoothies?

Well, I'm at it again. (I never really stopped completely...I would still do it from time to time...but I'm REALLY at it again.)

I attempted to do a seven day cleanse last year...yeah, that lasted about 18 hours before I couldn't do it anymore. Being around the pool during the summer, not being mentally prepared...or having great recipes on hand...set me up to fail.

This time, I planned it for a better week...not much going on. Less temptation. More recipes on hand to try, so I don't get bored. And...while it may not be sticking to the "plan" totally...I am adding protein powder to a couple smoothies a day. When I work out, I am burning 700-900 calories at a time. I cannot do that (and I won't stop for a week) without some protein in my diet and still be healthy.

Hopefully it helps.

I'm about 22 hours in now and no one has died. Yet. It's hard. Foods I normally don't even want...like sloppy joes...I almost tore out of my kids' hands at their dinner time. My mood is a little off kilter. I know it is only going to get harder before it gets easier...but the amount of fruits and veggies I am getting in? WOW. Amazing.

Let's see what the next six days bring.

Watch the documentary. It'll change your life.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I've Processed It

Now that I've had two weeks to process the news that I have been accepted into nursing school...I'm doing okay. I'm preparing by tackling the massive "to-do" list WSU sent me to take care of this summer. I've already enrolled in fall classes. I've ordered my scrubs. I've filled out all the paperwork that I can. I still need to deal with immunizations, fingerprints, drug tests and a FBI background check...but that will come.

I'm finishing up my classes for this semester and it is bittersweet. My final days of being an Aggie at Utah State University are drawing close. I've met some wonderful people. I've made some great friends. I've had some inspiring teachers. I've taken some good classes...and some crappy ones. I've been through a lot in my time as a student there.

December 4, 2007 is the day my life changed. That was the day that I decided to go back to school and registered for my first classes, for the Spring 2008 semester. I had no idea then, how long the road would be.

Or how much I would go through.

Spring Semester 2008 - I would lose Carter and have a D & C...and then have to sit through my nutrition class as we discussed how important folic acid is during pregnancy, while watching slides showing pictures of a healthy, growing fetus. I left class that week, in tears. I had custody of my niece at the time and had two children have surgery.

Summer Semester 2008 - I would discover I was pregnant again! I would spend the next few months terrified to fall in love with a baby that I may never get to hold.

Fall Semester 2008 - 29 weeks along, on the way to math class, I would go into labor for the first time. After bedrest for a month, our Peanut would be born miraculously healthy and perfect, at 33 weeks. I would have to withdraw from classes, to finish them in the Spring.

Spring Semester 2009 - I juggled a newborn and classes...with the knowledge that Mom's time on Earth was getting shorter.

Summer Semester 2009 - Mom passed away. Forever changing my life, Josh's life and our children's lives. Dad remarries. Forever changing our lives.

Fall Semester 2009 - A lot of firsts happening...without Mom here. It was a hard, hard road. Josh got laid off and we panic, wondering how we will survive, a family of seven, with only my small income. I take physiology from an "awesome" (read my dripping sarcasm??) professor who warns us that only pre-med students get A's on his tests. Great. 1. I wasn't pre-med. 2. HE made ME explain the menstruation cycle to the class because HE didn't understand it...but I couldn't get an A??? I'm proud of that B+.

Spring Semester 2010 - I take anatomy (the same "awesome" prof taught THIS class, too!) and had to do a cadaver lab. It wasn't even a year after burying Mom and it was hard. Really hard. I walked out the first day, in tears. After a year of many, many, many students complaining, the dean finally lets this professor go. Sadly, it was before he gives me the A I deserve and I have to learn to live with my A-. We decide that in the fall...Josh will go back to school too. Oy vey.

Fall 2010 - My migraines go haywire and I have twelve of them in 52 days. I have a constant headache. I can barely function. My life feels like it is falling apart. I finally get on Topomax after weeks and weeks of tests (and a week long scare that I may have multiple sclerosis)...and begin living with the side effects. This is while we're trying to deal with Josh's first semester of classes and figuring out how to pay bills, since we both have missed so much work due to my head.

Spring 2011 - I retake my history class that was on my transcripts from high school, just to up the grade and my GPA. *gag* I hate history. However...something good also happens...at the end of this semester I graduate, with honors. I receive my Associates of Science degree and I'm able to walk the stage in front of family and friends...and my beautiful children.




Fall 2011 - I decide to begin pursuing a BS in Family Life Studies...not knowing if I would get accepted to nursing school on my first try, or not.

Spring 2012 - I take my CNA class, mail in my application packet and spend the next two months stressing and hoping and praying. I had done all that I could and my fate was now in the hands of people who I had never met.

Today - I sit here knowing that in a couple short years I will have fulfilled a decade long dream. It has taken me a long time to get to this point and it has been anything but easy. I have struggled through some of my lowest lows and celebrated some of my highest highs, since making the choice to go back to school, just over four years ago. It has been a long, hard road, filled with bumps, potholes, twists and turns. It has been filled with amazing memories, wonderful friends, supportive family and with the belief that when the going got tough...I got going. I did this. I earned this. Me. No one can ever take that away from me.  I've discovered a strength in myself that I never knew existed.

Bring it on, WSU. Let me show you what I'm made of! :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Promise You

I had a bit of a scare this morning.

I found out that the kids' first day of school in the fall is the 20th of August and I knew that my nursing school orientation was that same morning. On campus. Over an hour away. Meaning that I could wake them up, but I wouldn't have been able to take them to school for their first day. Luke's first day of all day school. Avery's first day of second grade. Ry's first day of fourth grade. Bailey's last first day of elementary school.

I was devastated.

Thankfully, I was wrong and my orientation is the week prior to them starting school. *phew!*



Dear Munchkins,

     I love you. I know that these next two years are going to be a little more challenging than we have previously experienced. I can't promise you that I will always be here and that I will never miss things. I can't promise that I won't come home from a twelve hour clinical shift exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. I can't promise that I won't hide from the world the night before a big test.
      I can promise you that everything I'm doing...I'm doing for you. I can promise you that I am doing everything I can to make you proud of me. I can promise you that there is an end in sight and this time will pass quickly by. I can promise that your patience and understanding does not go unnoticed.
     "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going" and I know in my heart that this is what I'm meant to do. Our sacrifices now...our whole family's sacrifices...are going to pay off. You guys are my whole world. Greater things have yet to come, my babies. Stick with me through this and I promise...it will all be worth it.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

She's Growing Up


She's growing up. I'm not ready...but, she's growing up anyway.

This weekend Bay and I sat down and had "the talk". You know..."the talk" that every parent dreads having with their sweet, innocent, precious child. Shockingly...I survived it! So did she, for that matter.

We have always been a household of honesty. You have a question? Ask. I'll answer you, age appropriately, without any fluff and brush off. We do not say, "I'll tell you when you're older." We do not say, "You're too young to be asking that." We do not say, "You shouldn't be asking that. Thinking about that. Wanting to know that." No. That isn't the kind of house I want to raise my kids in. We have always wanted to be open and honest with our children, in the hope that when and if they did have questions they would feel comfortable coming to us with them, rather than speculating or asking friends. So far, it has worked.

Her school is going to be doing the maturation program next week and I didn't want her to be caught off guard by anything that we may not have talked about before. (Click here if you are curious about what will be shown.) Additionally, thanks to the show Sixteen and Pregnant, she had recently asked how you become pregnant and I figured some quiet mother/daughter time was necessary to show her the video ahead of time and explain a few things.

I won't go into detail about what we talked about...however I will say that after our talk she has now decided that becoming pregnant is "gross" and she will be adopting. I pray that she remembers this until after she is holding at least a Bachelors degree. ;)

Overall, I'm really happy with how it went. She's an amazing little girl...even if her early mood swings make me want to pound my head against a wall...and I love that she was so open and candid with me during our discussion. I love that she trusts me enough to ask questions and I hope that she will continue to do so as she gets older.

I love you, my Bailey Bug!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Four Years Ago

Four years ago this week, I was grieving the greatest loss I had known. I had just lost a baby that I had so desperately wanted, cried for, prayed for...would have done anything for.

Carter just wasn't meant to be, here on earth. But, I know my little angel is smiling from above, as he watched me get my amazing news this week. I know that he is proud of me.

How fitting, that I would get my news this week. I will one day deliver babies into the arms of their mothers, where they belong. I will one day watch them fall in love with their sons and daughters...and my heart will heal even a little more.

It is amazing how much life can change, in four short years. In those years I have experienced my highest highs and my lowest lows. I've lost and gained some wonderful people in my life. I've made some choices that I'm not proud of and I've made decisions that I stand firmly behind.

I can't wait to see what the next few years has in store for me. This is only the beginning.

I love you, little Carter. Play in Heaven with all the other beautiful babies too perfect for earth. Know that I will hold you one day, but until then, hold Uncle Jared and Grandma's hand. <3

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Pleased To Announce...

...I was accepted to nursing school!!!


I don't think it has fully sunk in. I'm sitting here...staring into space...wishing I could just take a nap. I think that the culmination of all the stress and worry has made my body want to shut down. I know that later it is going to truly hit and I'm going to go running down the street screaming!

I am one of "the chosen." Twenty spots available and I was given one. Wow. That is such a sobering thought. Perhaps later I will be able to string a coherent thought together and actually blog something thoughtful and insightful. Until then, have fun laughing at me in this video.



(Forgive how awesome I look. I have been working all day and had just made s'mores on the grill with the kids...I wasn't dressed to be taped! But...it's too funny not to share. Silly me. Silly, crying me. :) )

Pick Me! Pick Me!

I feel like I'm in elementary school gym class again. You know the day you play basketball, softball, dodge ball (back when that was allowed and not deemed too "violent"...) and everyone lines up, two Captains are chosen...and you wait. One by one, everyone in class is picked to be on a team and anxiety grows the longer you stand on the line, not picked. Not chosen. Not told you were worthy.

Today, I'm standing on that line. I've watched four other people be chosen, now. Called over to the other side. While I stand here...on this damn line...waiting. Why can't my letter come? WHY?

I'm so happy for Michele. I know how hard she has worked...because I've worked along side her for a good part of it. I know how badly she wanted this and I can only imagine how she is feeling right now...having gotten her letter this morning. I'm so proud of her and shockingly I'm not even in the least bit jealous. I know how much she deserves this.

*sigh*

Pick me. Please? I'm worthy. I promise.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

They Are Growing...

...my arms, that is.

I keep staring at them today, as I work. There is a little...something...there now. A little...dare I say...muscle? A little...definition? I don't know...but it sure is exciting to see SOMETHING happening since the scale isn't really budging much.

I'm trying not to place too much emphasis on that stupid square piece of plastic, this go round. I've lost 3.5 lbs in the last month. Whoop-dee-doo. I did, however, take measurements for the first time ever, and I'm excited to take new ones on the 8th to see if anything has changed. That will have given my body one month to tone somewhere. Anywhere. :)

I feel better. That alone, is priceless. I'm getting stronger. I've upped the weights I started with, numerous times. I feel more comfortable in the gym and am getting the "nod" from the seasoned gym rats, rather than the annoyed look of "get away from my weights, you're in my way." I guess I've gone enough and look like I know what I'm doing enough, now. ;)

Josh is looking pretty good, too! We cheated and measured him early, because I could already tell that his arms were getting bigger! Even at rest, his biceps have grown an inch! It's crazy! His skinny little runner body can still sling the weights with the big boys...to a point. ;)

Bring it on, summer! I'm going to be ready for you, this year!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lessons Learned...Again

I ran into an old friend a couple days ago. It was great to see her and talk to her for a little bit. This was one of my best friends back in high school and it's not that we ever became "not" friends...we just grew apart as our lives changed. Thanks to facebook, we still keep up on each other's comings and goings.

As we chatted, she filled me in, quickly, on a few things she has been going through in the last year or so. I won't say that I was shocked, per se, because few things shock me anymore. However I found myself rewriting my perception of this friend. What I remembered of who she was, what I assumed (horrible little word, isn't it?) of who she is now....was quickly flying out the window.

I was glad.

It reminded me, once again, that everyone is going through something. Everyone has an untold story. No matter how easy you think someone's life is, or how perfect...there is always those hidden tribulations and pain.

And if you're lucky...they'll trust you enough to share the burden with you. <3