Monday, November 12, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge- ep. 3 (vlog)

If you are interested in the two books I talked about, you can find them here! I'm about half way through each one, so I haven't officially started, but I'm already working on a menu for our next cycle, which will be November 21-December 7. And yes, I know there are Kindle versions but this is the kind of thing you really need to have the actual book to look through. 
   
Lucy working out with me this morning

I talked about sugar and carbs being kind of a struggle for me, but my next issue? I need quick meals. My go to is usually a sandwich, but carb city, so what else can I eat? I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is a protein bar and I've tried 3 and jesus- it's like chewing on a chunk of cardboard. Is there any out there that taste sugary and delicious? If there is, you have to show me the way because for how expensive you are, you'd think they'd be tasty. 

I have to tell you something kind of funny that happened last week. I think all of my long time readers know I have an issue with vegetables. I really, REALLY don't like them and it's such a bummer because I know if I liked vegetables I'd be in a better dietary boat than I'm in now. BUT. I really try hard to convince my kids these are good. For the most part, Penelope and Lucy have no issues. Lucy will eat anything you give her and Penelope really likes green beans and peas so already she's leaps and bounds beyond me. 

Every day when she comes home I make a point of asking her what she had for lunch at school. (They provide a free breakfast and lunch for all the kids and they work on table manners and all that so meals are a learning opportunity, too.) Most days she tells me they had soup (when really, they only have soup once a week or so). One day last week she was kind of incredulous because her teacher made her eat LEAVES. Obviously I'm thinking we skipped the lunch conversation and a kid made her eat a leaf outside or something. Nope- it was definitely her teacher and it was definitely a leaf. 

I looked on the lunch calendar to just see what she's talking about. 

You guys. 

They had salad. 

Penelope calls salad LEAVES. 

*cue hysterical laughter*

She then tells me it had a tomato on it but she really doesn't want to eat leaves. 

Me either, baby. ME EITHER. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Then it hits you.

I can't even remember when it was that I was at the psychiatrist last to have my medications adjusted. It wasn't that long ago. But I know he increased my Trileptal and says I should take so much in the morning and then half of that at night before bed. Keep my Wellbutrin the same (highest dose available) and I don't know, it works I guess. I do know the Trileptal kind of evens me out, if that makes sense. I don't feel angry and ready to throw things all of a sudden, so I guess that's improvement.

Just a few weeks ago the slightest annoyance would send me from 0 to 60 just like that and I would lose it. Someone spills milk? I'm done, I'm throwing their plate and literally anything not bolted to the floor, and leaving the room. I legitimately had no control over it. It would happen so fast that I couldn't even process what I had done until I was cleaning it up and everyone was crying.

Sometimes I think the memory loss is the worst part of my brain injury but for the most part, not being able to control my emotions has been the hardest. Not just because I don't have control but because that affects other people around me. It's no longer MY problem, it becomes a family problem.

So we increased my medication. He said I would know when I'm on too much if I start having seizures, that's basically the sign that you know you need to back off on dosage. Fortunately (knock on wood) I haven't had seizures. So that's nice. But for the first time in kind of awhile, a few months at least, I had a really horrible day.

On Friday I kind of started felt this depression setting in. It's really strange, it's almost like an illness just starting. Sometimes that's what it feels like. Friday night I started feeling unwell and just down. I was kind of annoyed with a few things but I figured I would just go to bed before my mood soured any further. On Saturday I woke up and right away I knew the day was going to be crap. Matt had gone to work, Olivia and Jackson were spending the night at Grandma's so that meant I was on my own for all of the morning chores plus Penelope and Lucy's neediness. And that's all fine, I know I can get through a morning like that. I don't like it, but I can do it.

By the time we got to lunch time I was just a mess barely keeping it together. It's this constant barrage of why I'm a terrible mom, and a terrible person, all the reasons my life is awful, reasons I should kill myself, ways to do it, and it does not stop. I think that's what people don't understand about suicidal thoughts: it's not a matter of "thinking negative things" or "think about good things" because it's like a recording you cannot shut off on a continuous loop in your head. It gets louder and louder, so then I get more and more irritable and I cry, and it's really difficult to go through the day like this. So by 3 p.m. I was done.

I just cried.

Penelope is having a meltdown over Lego's, Lucy is upset because Penelope tried to take her Lego's, Matt is either not doing enough to settle this or he flies off the handle, there is no in between, so I get frustrated because WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE GOOD PARENT?! At this point I feel like I shouldn't have to tell someone how to handle conflicts like this without being a jerk and then I feel like I can't have a meltdown because he can't just handle our life. Then I'm angry because it feels like he's being selfish. I should be able to weather the storm of a suicidal day and go through my self affirmation rituals so I don't fly off the handle but I can't because yet again.... it's me having to pick up slack. Then I start thinking, why am I the only one who took parenting classes to be a better parent? Why can't he do that crap? Why am I the only one who goes to conferences, schedules doctor appointments, handles after school activities, keep on top of grades and homework and what the kids are each doing every day, then making the meals, planning the meals, maintaining a house, and RAGE.

I feel like I'm at my boiling point. Thank god I have therapy this week because that always gets me off the ledge.

I went to bed just feeling so sad, and so defeated, and I feel so angry that people assume I'm doing alright. I look alright, I can hold a conversation (mostly), I'm trying to keep up with responsibilities but a lot of days I can only pick one thing and that's what I do and everything else falls through the crack, and I cry a lot. I cry every single day and it is so exhausting convincing people I'm OK when I'm very much not. But I know people are sick of hearing it, and I know nobody really cares about my trauma and how it has irrevocably messed me up and that won't get better so I'm trying to cope, and I'm angry because I feel alone. I have family around me but nobody else is really checking in with me anymore, or the ones who do don't really want to hear how it is because they're helpless. I get it. I really do. So I have all of this, plus the continuous loop of reasons and rationalizing why I should kill myself going in my head every day and it is so loud. I'm trying so hard and every day feels like an actual war.

So Saturday was a bad day. It's a bad day, not a bad life. I'm trying.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge (ep 2)

Let's get started! 

Now, I mentioned I'm doing the Gobble Gallop Tough Turkey 1 miler and I fully intend to dress up. Life is too short to not own a turkey hat, as far as I'm concerned. I just don't know which one I should get: 
   
In my hunt for a suitable hat, I found turkey socks that I absolutely NEED. 
I am actually pretty excited and I'm going to try to get it done faster than 30 minutes. It took me an hour to do 3.1 miles so I'm really optimistic about this. 

I wanted to share a thing or two each week that I found to be inspirational or even motivational. I'm really going with the idea that happy and positive things are going to lead to good results, and you can tell I'm really grasping at bottom barrel, right? I'm not quite at the point where I have a motivational Pinterest board but don't assume I won't get there when I hit a rut. Ha! 

But this week I've really enjoyed listening to the 300 Pounds and Running podcast. I actually stumbled onto it by accident and since then, I have seen it referenced quite a bit, so it's definitely popular. I know I have a lot of friends who always say, "Oh I can't run" and I know I was definitely in that camp. Until I started doing it and then I can't say I enjoyed it, but I definitely felt like I had accomplished something. My issue has always been coming in dead last and feeling like somehow my accomplishment wasn't good enough because I'm last. I'm definitely not in the boat where I'm thrilled coming in last, but I'm trying to learn grace and how to give myself grace. 

It's a work in progress. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Florence & the Machine. Epic.

I'm going to apologize for lack of pictures, and the crappiest quality of the two I took. I only had my phone, which was almost dead, so I couldn't go hog wild on capturing memories and all that. 

But a couple of weeks ago my friend Tammy and I had tickets to see Florence & the Machine. I hadn't seen them before but I've always heard really good things about their live shows so when cheap tickets became available, I went for it. 

LUCKILY FOR US, we happened to be in the right nosebleed section because they moved all of us to much better seats fairly close to the stage. 
 I mean, these seats were a lot more money and our original seats were like... top row of the highest set of bleachers. Ha! So that was a pretty cool surprise! It was at the Target Center in Minneapolis, which was completely re-done, and I hadn't been in the new and improved version. I have a go-to restaurant at every venue I see concerts at so I just plan to eat there. Except my go-to for Target Center? Closed. Gone. Adios. 

You know what I ate for dinner? 

A half order of nachos. Like the worst nachos I had ever had. And a bottle of water. Cost? $21. 
 Oh well. So we got our super awesome seats and took a quick picture. Clearly the people behind us weren't the happiest ever. The people in front of us were really nice, two older couples, all of them doctors. Real friendly. 
I hadn't looked beforehand to see who was opening and really it's no big deal because I enjoy watching the opening band anyways- I've found a lot of new and great artists that way.

This concert?

Perfume Genius was the artist.

It was HORRIBLE. Tammy reminded me we once saw and opening band that literally only played bells and that wasn't as bad as Perfume Genius. IT was like.... really bad performance art? I honestly don't know how to even describe it and it went on FOREVER, then suddenly he walked off the stage and was done. It was the most bizarre opening set I think I've ever seen. 
But then Florence came on and you guys- the rest of Florence & the Machine all come out like a beautiful parade, flowing down these wooden stairs... and then Florence comes floating down and starts the show with June, and honest to god- it felt like a religious moment. I am not even ashamed to tell you I completely cried during that song because it's one of my favorites off their new album.

The set wasn't terribly long but decent, she played all of the fan favorites of course. I didn't stay for the encore because I wanted to try to get out ahead of the crowd because I'm always so worried about getting lost or disoriented in an unfamiliar place and people, so yeah. I missed that.

I'm not very hippie like so when it got to the point where she wanted you to hold hands with everyone, give strangers hugs, etc that is a little beyond my comfort zone. I did really appreciate when she told everyone to put down their phones at least for a few songs, that was just really nice. Maybe my favorite part of seeing her live is she has this meek, almost child like speaking voice and then she sings and it's this power house, can take the wind from your chest and it's just so unexpected, maybe that's the charm of this group.

Overall this was a pretty amazing concert and I would 100% see her again. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Weight Loss Challenge, ep. 1 (vlog included!)

Someone said that if I'm going to start this and really put it out there, I should mention how I got so chunky, because it wasn't by poor diet and total laziness. Some of it was, certainly, but the majority of it has come from having a fourth baby and dying twice while doing so. If you are new here and you have no idea what I'm talking about, or what an Amniotic Fluid Embolism is, please click that link and catch up.

Anyhoodles.

So I'm officially starting a Weight Loss Challenge. I'm posting pictures, I'm vlogging, it's the real deal this time. I did it years ago, it worked and I lost a lot of weight, and it's not just being accountable to one person, but many.

I had a friend preview this, someone who hasn't seen me in person in a long time and she said I look and sound different. I don't really feel like I do, but I also don't watch myself on video regularly, so there's that. 
Right now, at this very second (I'm lying, this was yesterday at 2 in the afternoon but it has not changed), I am 211.4. I'm only 5'3 so I am REALLY over my BMI and though I think the BMI is kind of nutty, I'm very close to being able to do a weight loss surgery, something I don't ever want to do. I really want to work at this because I know that I can. It's going to be slow, but it can be done. 
I am going to take actual measurements this weekend (trust me, they won't go down by then) and share them on my Monday post. 
Obviously my biggest insecurity area is my stomach, complete mid-section. It seems to change daily- some days it's not actually so bad and I feel OK. Other days it seems to expand and instead of looking 3-4 months pregnant, I look around 5 months pregnant. I know my thighs and waist are larger, my arms are larger, but those things don't feel so important anymore. But my midsection makes me nervous because my Grandma died of bile duct cancer which could have been found sooner had she lost weight sooner. I have a LOT of abdominal issues right now and I'm so paranoid I have something really wrong with me. I probably don't but I'm always thinking what if
It was a sobering moment taking these photos. I almost didn't do it but I'm in a Facebook group that is to motivate you to do better for yourself and everyone says they wish they had true "beginning" photos to really see how far they came. That's why I did it. 

I'm realistic and know that I won't have a flat stomach. From the belly button down, like way down I have a pretty gnarly vertical scar from my emergency c-section, and then being re-opened to find where I was hemorrhaging. I always say that area is dead because I don't have a lot of feeling there and the muscles are completely shot. Basically, I won't ever be a Victoria Secret model. And that's OK! I really just have a goal of size 12 pants, being able to go upstairs and down without using an inhaler, and doing active stuff with my kids again like hikes and adventures. Thankfully, at age 36 I'm completely over wanting to be attractive by what society says is pretty and I'm moving into aging gracefully. (That alone is really very freeing, you guys. I promise.) 

So on Monday... I'll check in again. Every Monday I'll get an updated post for you. If you have weight to lose, or maybe you just want to get more fit and feel better, FOLLOW ALONG! If you follow me on the Facebook page for this blog, I will maybe post daily thoughts and struggles. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Burch Barn, always worth the drive

I can't believe I almost forgot to post about our trip to Burch Barn! We've gone to this place for three years now and it's about an hour away from where we live. I had heard about it on Facebook and then had a LOT of friends raving about it, so we went the first time when Penelope was just real little. It's grown steadily each year with more and more people driving to it, but the things they offer there get bigger every year. We look forward to our trip every year, even Olivia and Jackson talk about it. 

This year we were lucky because the weekend we could go it was 51 degrees, and that's crazy for October and as we guessed, it was pretty busy. We usually go out for lunch and then start driving so the little girls nap on our way there. That gives us a couple of hours there before they close. 
 Penelope was kind of grumpy that day but she perked up at the petting zoo. She was busy picking up corn on the ground to make sure all of the goats, cow, and pigs were adequately fed. Even Lucy really loved the goats, which kept trying to lick her. 
 They have this big corn pit to play in and Lucy would have stayed in there all day. 
 Penelope wanted no part of it even though every other year she's rolling around everywhere. 
 Quick picture of Matt and I. 
 They had these little tractor peddle cars and a little track for them to go on. Lucy was totally thrilled to be pushed around since her legs were too short to peddle. 
 Penelope literally sat like this and whined because she wasn't moving. Didn't want to peddle at all, just thought it should move because she's on it. 

So that was fun. 
 They had these home made tire swings and Lucy had the time of her life swinging on those. Penelope.. not so much. She cried because hers was spinning. 
 Olivia and Jackson mostly did their own thing like the big slides and the corn maze so we hardly saw them. At one point Matt and I heard their laughs, clear across the place, and wandered over to see what was going on. There they were, both of them, in this hamster wheel thing trying to roll it across. Now, when we came in I saw a small baby, maybe just shy of one, rolling along just fine on its own. It took TWO of my kids to roll it. And there they are, laughing hysterically, falling on their faces, falling out of the wheel, Olivia banging her head on the side.... they were a mess. 
 I convinced them to stop embarrassing all of us and go play chess. 

So that's what they did. They played like 3 or 4 games and people were giving them suggestions. Then one kid took Olivia's place to play Jackson, and Jackson promptly lost in about five moves.
 I did manage to take some good selfies with all of the kids, though!
 This was supposed to be just Olivia and I but Penelope popped it at the right moment. 
 Jackson said he wants this one framed for his room. 
 Lucy wanted a picture with her mini-donut. Matt stood in line for awhile to get these and they did not disappoint. 
A very nice woman offered to take our picture with my phone by the side. She took five and this was the best one. I'm not even kidding. So much for Christmas card contender. HA!

On the ride back everyone fell asleep and it was nice. It ended up being a really great day for it and I'm glad we got to go. 

Hopefully I'll share a couple of trick or treat photos with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Willy Wonka Chocolate Library and a Scarium.

We had a lot of pre-Halloween fun this weekend and I am completely people'd out if I'm being honest. We were going to go to a Halloween carnival Sunday evening and no. I just couldn't do it. 

At least I'm learning to say no when I hit my limit. 

On Saturday we went to our local library which hosts a little trick or treat event for kids. We've gone every year it's been happening and it's a fun event. This year the library got a bit of a makeover so the entrance and exit of the event was kind of a nightmare. I really hope that next year they think of a better way to do it. It always has a theme and this year it was Willy Wonka and they do SUCH a good job with the decorations and characters!
 I didn't get many pictures in there because I wanted to keep the line moving since it was so congested but I snapped this one as soon as you enter the room. The girls were pretty much in awe over it and kept pointing different things out. 
 They got a bunch of candy which they ate all of before nap time. 

So that was fun. 
 Our happy little pineapple. 
 And our beautiful little Elsa. 

I ended up taking a four hour nap on Saturday because I wasn't feeling well and when I woke up I felt like I got hit by the flu. Which doesn't mean I have the flu, it could be my endocrine issues or my auto-immune issues all of which have symptoms that mimic the flu so that's always fun... trying to decipher what I need to do. 

On Sunday we went to Scarium at the Aquarium. I've always wanted to take Olivia and Jackson to this but never did because I mostly forgot about it. But this year I have been looking for things to do with Penelope and Lucy to get them more used to being out of the house because I haven't been doing a good job with that. Those two are actually quite sheltered. 
 I know they've been to the aquarium once before but they were both pretty little so didn't understand how cool this place was. This time they were AMAZED. So much so that I'm thinking we need to get a membership for next year. 
 We went to all of the touch pools and their favorites were the jelly fish and the sturgeon (who are oddly friendly and really like belly rubs which is totally strange). They spent a lot of time looking at the animals and the fish. They went to all of the trick or treat stations, and all but 4 handed out non-candy treats, which was really nice. They got fruit snacks, juice box, tootsie roll, and a sucker, but then they got necklaces, rings, tattoos, stickers, notebooks, all kind of cool stuff kids like collecting. So that was really nice especially if you have an allergy prone child and trick or treating isn't fun for them. 
We spent about an hour there and of course nobody wanted to cooperate for a picture. But they also played some games which really surprised me because they normally shy from that. Matt mentioned that this year we haven't really used the stroller so much for them and I hadn't even thought of that. This definitely wasn't stroller friendly with so many people, but it's weird to think that (once again) we're coming to the age where we don't need that stuff anymore. 

I feel so much more reluctant to get rid of it because I know that this is really it. I mean, when Olivia and Jackson were that age it was like, cool- it's gone, but you know, we're young enough to know that MAYBE it could happen. Then it did happen (twice) and I'm having to go through all of those emotions again. It kind of feels cruel in a way. On the other hand, I'm so mentally and emotionally done with this needy stage that I just want to rush through it... then I feel awful knowing I'll never get these days back. 

Sigh. 

Heavy stuff to think about. 

But that's basically how we've been celebrating Halloween. Tomorrow we go trick or treating and I hope to get a couple of pictures at least!