Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Blog silence is a direct result of a traveling husband.

I miss him. A lot.

Especially today when I'm feeling overwhelmed by my emotions on both ends of the spectrum. Confession: I feel left behind. I keep thinking of where I should be right now, what I should be anticipating. And I'm not anymore. It's just hard.

He comes home tomorrow.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tales from the Scale: Week 1

Down 4lbs.

This week was really about being conscious of what I was putting in my mouth. There hasn't been much of that in the past month when I sent Karl out for Sonic Blasts more often than I want to admit and made meals that were much more about comfort than nutrition.

So yeah, this week was a wake up call that I knew I needed. As simple as it sounds, food as fuel is a hard concept for me to stick to. Food as comfort and cure for boredom has been a big part of my life over the last few years.

This week's challenge will be making good choices when there's nobody watching. I'm single parenting this week, which in the past has meant fast food drive thrus or crappy heat and eat stuff. And lots of treats, because at night after the little dude is bed I am tired and hungry and feel like I "deserve" whatever I want. But that thinking is not going to mesh well with points counting, and I worked too hard for those 4 pounds to see a gain at the scale next week.

So here's to a week of quick and easy but still healthy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One (or two) Little Word(s)

(Alternate title: It's my word and I can change it if I want to.)

I started picking a word to focus on for the year ahead in 2007. The original idea came from Ali Edwards and spread like wildfire among the blogging community and particularly scrapbookers. It seemed like everyone was ditching the idea of resolutions and picking a word instead.

Picking a word, one word to represent your intentions for an *entire year* can seem a little overwhelming. That's a lot of responsibility to put on one little word. Ali has said in the past that you need to let your word find you. And here is where I confess that I kind of thought that was a bunch of crap. No offense to Ali of course, but the idea that a word would just pop into my head and I would say, "Yes! That's it!" just didn't seem possible to me.

Until it happened. It was October of last year, I had just had my first miscarriage 2 weeks earlier, and we were en route to Detroit for a weekend with Karl's family. A song I had never heard came on the radio and I was drawn to the lyrics:

Courage is when you're afraid,
But you keep on moving anyway
Courage is when you're in pain,
But you keep on living anyway.

For about half a second I thought to myself, "Courage! That would be a great word for 2011." And before I had time to give it any more thought, I rejected the word. Courage was a scary choice. It's kind of like that saying that when you ask God for patience he gives you trials so you can learn to be patient. Courage was not a word I wanted to mess with.

So, I chickened out. I waited until the last week of December to choose my word and I went safe: Connect. I wanted to connect more with the world around me. I wanted to be a better friend to those near and far. I wanted to make connections through my camera lens with my clients. Connect was my nice warm and fuzzy word. It was perfect for 2011 because I was confident this was going to be my warm and fuzzy year. After all, the last quarter of 2010 royally sucked, so I deserved warm and fuzzy, right?

Fast forward to mid-February when warm and fuzzy kicked me to the curb. Connect was still a good word, I guess. At no other time in my life did I need to connect to my family and friends more than at the time of our second loss. I needed to reach out and talk no matter how much I wanted to curl up and be alone.

While Connect was a good word in theory, it wasn't going to carry me through this year. It's going to take a whole lot more than that. It was going to take Courage.

And that is why, in the middle of March, I decided that given the circumstances I could change my word. So maybe Ali was right. Perhaps a word really can come to you, but you have to be willing to listen.

Here are the lyrics to the song that inspired my word, "Courage" by Orianthi

Take all my vicious words
And turn them into something good
Take all my preconceptions
And let the truth be understood
Take all my prized possessions
Leave only what I need
Take all my pieces of doubt
And let me be what's underneath

Courage is when you're afraid,
But you keep on moving anyway
Courage is when you're in pain,
But you keep on living anyway

We all have excuses why
Living in fear something in us dies
Like a bird with broken wings
It's not how high he flies,
But the song he sings

Courage is when you're afraid,
But you keep on moving anyway
Courage is when you're in pain,
But you keep on living anyway

It's not how many times you've been
knocked down
It's how many times you get back up
Courage is when you've lost your way,
But you find your strength anyway
Courage is when you're afraid
Courage is when it all seems grey
Courage is when you make a change,
And you keep on living anyway
You keep on moving anyway
You keep on giving anyway
You keep on loving anyway

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Recipe Review: Chicken and Cavatelli Soup

I tried a new recipe for dinner last night from one of my favorite Weight Watchers friendly food blogs: Gina's Skinny Recipes. I love that Gina calculates all the points plus values and has also gone back and converted her old recipes to account for the new plan.

I made a few little changes to her recipe for Chicken and Cavatelli Soup, and our whole family (Little Dude included) loved it. In order to make it AJ friendly, I opted to replace the butter for sauteing the onions with our go to vegan buttery spread. I cut the chicken in half because as I was preparing to cut up TEN chicken thighs it just seemed like way too much. Finally, I replaced her pasta suggestions with small shells.

The best part of this recipe for me was that it took a hour from start to finish, perfect for a weeknight meal with a certain little dude attempting to climb my legs while I'm in the kitchen. The chopping of meat and veggies was the most time consuming part, but the soup tasted like it had cooked for hours. This will provide great leftovers/lunches for me and the dude early next week while Karl is out of town.

Oh, and I made an exciting Woodmans discovery! La Brea Bread Company makes "demi baguettes." Each loaf is two servings, which was perfect for Karl and I to split with dinner and not feel the temptation to eat a whole big loaf of crusty bread between us. Sure, I probably paid more for that one loaf than I needed to, but I am all about built in portion control.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Joy of Grocery Shopping

Ah, the weekend. I remember when weekends used to be for sleeping in, going to breakfast, and (if we were feeling especially lazy) an afternoon of NCIS or Band of Brothers marathons.

Weekends are rather different since the little dude came around. Sleeping in? Well, AJ prefers to get up before 6am regardless of the day of the week. Breakfast out? The little dude is allergic to milk and eggs. That leaves virtually no safe options on the breakfast menu, so we stick close to home where he can enjoy his wheat free/gluten free/dairy free/egg free (translation: taste free) Vans Blueberry Waffles with vegan buttery spread and a side of bananas. And there are no marathons of any sort on the tv unless you count the dvr-ed episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba and Jack's Big Music Show that are pulled out as a last resort.

One of the highlights of my weekend now is a solo trip to the grocery store: just me, my list (organized by row starting from the right side of the store), my green bags, and a gas station coffee roaming the aisles of Woodmans. If I make it there early enough I can normally score front row parking and a minimal line at checkout. Both of these things are miracles when it comes to Woodmans.

It sounds silly to relish a trip to the grocery store, but I do. I occasionally find myself having to run to the store during the week (often to restock our supply of bananas) and those trips are always harried, mainly because a certain little dude is not a fan of sitting in the cart, but has also not mastered the art of walking beside said cart. This translates into me trying to steer the cart with one arm while pinning the aforementioned child into the seat with the other arm. Good times.

So yeah. I love grocery shopping.

Freak flag and all that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thoughts on "Speech Therapy"

While we're only two weeks into AJ's sessions with the speech therapist, I feel like we've been on this road for a lot longer. AJ's pediatrician recommended a call to early intervention for a speech eval at his well baby exam in DECEMBER! Between now and then we've met with a social worker, an early ed teacher, an early ed teacher WITH the speech therapist, the early ed teacher again, and now finally we've begun sessions with the speech therapist.

Which brings me to my first random observation about the process: they don't want us to call it "speech therapy." Why? Well, according to the early ed teacher, therapy has a negative connotation. Um, okay. Except I am willingly going through this process under the assumption that THERAPY is HELPFUL! I was so dumbfounded by the "we don't call it therapy" that I forgot to ask what exactly I should be calling it. After sharing the story with my stepdad who is perhaps one of my very favorite smart*sses in the world, we decided AJ's sessions will henceforth be called...wait for it...speech coaching! If for some reason the word coaching has a negative connotation, please don't tell me. I don't have time to find another name for it.

So, onto the coaching. Our first session was last week. After chatting for a few minutes about the nice weather, etc. we sat down to get to play. Because really, that's all that speech therapy is when you're dealing with a 21 month old. And on that particular day, AJ wasn't in the mood to really sit down and play. So what he did was run circles around the room, stopping briefly to interact with us for about 2 seconds at a time.

Today's session wasn't much different. Except for the part where AJ got really mad and spoke! I wish I had captured it on video, because it was seriously a classic moment. AJ has this thing where he drags people around the house by the finger. It's about the only effective form of communication he has. So he wanted to take Kelly somewhere, but she was sitting on the floor. So he pulls and he pulls and she clearly isn't getting up.

Kelly: "AJ, do you want me to get up?"
AJ: pulls on her finger again and grunts
Kelly: "Do you want me to get up, AJ? Up?"
AJ: starts running circles around the room gesturing wildly and grunting.
Kelly: "AJ, I know you want me to get up but you're going to have to tell me to get up."
AJ: runs across the room, pushes his entire weight into her shoulders and shouts, "UPPPPPPPP!"

So apparently the key to speech coaching my kid is making him really really mad. He didn't say another discernible word for the rest of the time Kelly was here, but the "up" was unmistakeable!

I've heard many, many success stories about the speech "coaching" process. I'm hoping AJ will turn out to be one of those stories, even if it means ticking him off every now and then!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Random Thoughts Edition

Things I thought today, in no particular order:

  1. My son may not speak, but he certainly gets his point across: AJ likes to drag my around the house holding my left index finger and leading me wherever he wants to go at that moment. Sometimes it's to the kitchen for a snack. Sometimes he heads for his room to look out the window. Lately we've been making a lot of trips to the window to see what's going on outside. Today, it was doing this disgusting sleet/snow/freezing rain nonsense. AJ pointed out at the mess and I said, "Yup it's snowing again buddy. Bummer." to which he replied with a sound that I believe was "uck." I surely hope that was his way of saying Yuck and not some other word that ends with -uck!
  2. My short term memory is crap lately: I have two pills to take right now in addition to my vitamins. One in the morning, one at night. Ask me how many times a day I ask myself if I remembered to take said pills. I've started adding "take am pill" and "take pm pill" to the to do list on my phone, but then I forget to cross it off when I've taken the pill. AND I forgot my Sam's Club list at home!
  3. All the good stuff contains cheese and/or milk: In my endless quest to find new recipes that will work for our family, I do a lot of blog hopping. And it seems like all of the recipes that catch my attention seem to contain dairy. And not in a sub vegan butter for real butter sort of way. Bummer.
  4. I really want a pop: I had my last diet soda two days before my d&c. I drank nothing but lots of water the day before in the hopes of plumping up my crappy veins and not being the crappy IV patient of the day. Yeah, totally didn't work. But then I just decided I wasn't going to drink diet soda anymore. Prior to this decision Dt. Mtn, Dew was pretty much my lifeblood. I was doing really good until this past weekend when I caved and had several regular Mountain Dews in the hopes of surviving on minimal sleep. Now, I'm back on Weight Watchers and I'm determined not to drink my calories. So, water it is.
  5. Abbreviated naps are almost as bad as no nap at all: *Someone* decided to wake up from his nap 45 minutes early. I almost cried. I count on that two hour stretch every day to do things like eat, clean, pee in private, and sometimes I even get to sit down and surf the internet for a while. The 2 hour nap has been pretty consistent for a while now, so today's early rising caught me off guard and left me with a bunch of crap to do.
  6. Refried Beans resemble Alpo: I've started mixing fat free refried beans into our ground turkey for Taco Tuesday. It makes the meat stretch and AJ is a big fan. Today I opened the can and the contents came out in one large can shaped mass. I may or may not have gagged a little.
  7. It's a good thing Taco Tuesday falls on bath night: That one is a no brainer. The little dude is covered in his dinner on most nights, but tacos are especially messy.
  8. The scale doesn't lie: The number last night was as bad as I expected. I am currently 5lbs from my highest adult "not pregnant/postpartum" weight. I have a long way to go.
  9. I miss Knoxville: This time of year is one of the things I miss most about East Tennessee. Warm, but not yet *hot*. Dogwoods and Bradford pears blooming. The return of outdoor concerts and festivals. I won't miss it quite so much in June when we're comfortably in the 70s and they're sweating their way through a hot and humid 90 something day.
  10. There's nothing quite like clean sheets: I'm going to sleep well tonight!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Spring of New Beginnings

Okay, deep breath.

So, it's been five months since I made the time to sit down and blog. Five months ago, I was trying to come to grips with a recent miscarriage. The news hit me like a tornado and left all of my plans for the next several months in its wake. I would no longer be welcoming a baby in late spring. I wouldn't be sharing another pregnancy journey with a good friend whose first baby was born around the same time as AJ. The tee shirt we had purchased for AJ to announce his "big brother" news would not be worn. For a girl who lives to plan, losing those plans made me feel lost.

So, I got to work. I joined a gym. I went back to weight watchers. I traveled. I made new plans. And I was sad. Because while I could focus on all of those things for a while, I was still reminded that these things shouldn't be happening. Every time I saw a pregnancy announcement on Facebook, I calculated how far along I should be. I thought about all the things I was missing out on.

And then came Christmas Eve. We were visiting my inlaws. My period was late. I packed two pregnancy tests in my suitcase. I took one. I saw two lines. I told no one. Not even my husband. I prayed that this was our Christmas miracle, while preparing myself that it could be a bad test, or leftover hormones from my miscarriage. Two days later I took another test, saw another two lines. That visit was the longest long weekend of my life. I vowed not to say a word until I confirmed the news with my doctor. So we came back to town and I snuck out to not one but two doctors appointments for bloodwork. And after all of that, the news was good. I was really pregnant. I told Karl on New Years Eve. We were in shock but overjoyed.

Our first ultrasound came in late January. We went together and were ecstatic to see a beating heart and a baby measuring 8 weeks 1 day, a day ahead of where I should have been. We were again told by my OB that once a heartbeat is seen a heard at this stage, the risk of miscarriage drops to below 1 percent. We had heard the statistic before, but this time I had awful morning sickness and truly "felt pregnant." That had to be a good sign. And really, what were the chances of us falling into that awful "less than one percent" category again?

February 22nd I called the drs office. I was having some bleeding. The nurse assured me everything was probably fine, but scheduled an ultrasound just to soothe my nerves. I called Karl to meet us at the hospital. I was alone when I found out about the miscarriage last time. I didn't want to be alone no matter what the news was this time. And so, the three of us were together in the cramped ultrasound room when the tech couldn't find the heartbeat. We were together when the OB said I would need to have surgery that week because I was too far along to miscarry on my own.

And again, I was the girl with no more plans. No sharing pregnancy with friends. No big brother shirt. No more need for Karl to build a crib. No need to rearrange the nursery to fit AJ and one on the way. No more feelings of security from statistics or symptoms. No answers.

We learned last week the baby I lost was a girl. She had a chromosomal abnormality called Turner's Syndrome and that is why I lost her. The news was so incredibly hard to hear, but comforting at the same time. I knew in my heart the baby was a girl. I didn't just lose a pregnancy. I lost my daughter.

And that sucks. Sometimes that's the only way to say it. For the last month I have lived in this place, accepting that life sucks, reading more facebook pregnancy announcements. Except this time I have two pregnancies to remember. A May due date and a September one. I don't have the swollen feet and ankles of a the third trimester. I don't have the renewed energy and excitement of the second trimester. Instead, I have two dates to remember what might have been.

I also have a plan, because a girl can only live so long in that place where the only plan is to get out of bed and make it through the day. I cried uncle and asked my doctor for some help in the antidepressant department. My body has been through the hormonal hell of the first trimester twice in the last six months. My hope is that a couple of months of drugs will help me to regain control of my emotions and get to a better place. Truth: I am not good at asking for help.

I am also returning to Weight Watchers tonight, which I expect to be a hard dose of reality. I left my regular Monday night meeting in January after announcing my news to the meeting leader and a few other people I had grown close to in the group. "I'll be back in November," I said, figuring I'd need to hop back on the wagon. It's not November, not even close, but I'm going back. I'm going back because I have been eating myself into a deep dark hole over the past four weeks. I'm going back because I need to feel like I am doing *something* even if that something isn't "growing a baby."

So, tonight I will receive my "official" starting weight and set my first weight loss goal. I'll put my plan of focusing on my health, both mental and physical, into action. I know it is going to be insanely hard work on all levels, but I think I am ready.

It's now or never, right?

So, Welcome Spring. Please be kind.