Friday, June 17, 2011

My Best Worst Week Ever.

It all started last week, actually. It was time to get ready for the first of many family weekend getaways planned for the summer. It would be my FIRST weekend getaway in my new body living my new lifestyle and it was going to require a swimsuit and no fast food!!! I spent the week preparing myself and at times, I kept beating myself up. I tried on swimsuit after swimsuit of which I am sure most looked great but my judging eyes were saying different. I planned out all the weekend meals...4 times. I shopped, tried on, and successfully acquired a new wardrobe that fits in sizes that I can approve of. I planned my exercise routines...4 times. I was prepared to face hard decisions in regards to food and peer pressure from family members. My girls were full of excitement as packed bags and coolers were being loaded in the van. What an adventure! We were off to participate in a family drill weekend. (For those that don't know, my husband is a Reservist for the US Navy) The hotel was a blast for the girls. Gladys was a fish in the pool and soaked up every bit of water she could...seriously, you should have seen her hands and feet! Rhonny, naturally, cried every time we had to get out and continued to harass the rest of us by asking when we could go back...over and over and over again. It seemed the weekend had turned into a giant pool party. I was grateful for that. It left me able to partake of all the food we had packed instead of dealing with the rest of my family begging for food at every fast food sign we would have seen had we been out sight seeing and shopping. In all the excitement, I had to forego exercise routines to handle the girls. It seemed the excitement was a little much for anyone else other than me to deal with. I was okay with it. I don't very often get to see my girls out of our daily routine and it was fun to just enjoy their company. I did, however, sneak a run in Saturday in the hotel gym. I was spoiled with their treadmills and now wish to be able to afford ourselves a new one at home. I got in 5 miles! and felt amazingly at ease with how the weekend was going. I got to eat Jimmy John's and stay within my calorie allowance for the day on Friday. I got to eat an Italian lunch catered in for the families on base AND have IHop for supper and still had several hundred calories left over at the end of the day on Saturday. Sunday I ate mostly junk as a treat to myself for doing so well. The weekend, overall, had taught me that I can life this new life anywhere I might be. I also had a few self esteem boosters along the way. Who doesn't love getting 'looked over' by a man in uniform? Seriously? And while at the pool for one last  time Sunday morning, I got to be the 'skinny' mom getting the dirty looks from the not so skinny moms and when Rhonny told me that I was the prettiest mom in the whole hotel, her little pool friend agreed and was then dragged out of the pool by her mother and quickly rushed down the hall. Yup, Sunday was ending on excellent note. Before leaving the Cities, we went on the hunt for a fancy mouse to replace one that had died recently. I promised Rhonny a replacement and she was determined to find the perfect one. I was determined to find a female. In our efforts, I lost. I guess pet stores don't carry females but they did carry what my daughter found to be the perfect one (after being at 4 different stores). So we came home with a red-eyed white and brown fancy BOY mouse, named Mr. Bubbles. When we came home, we thought for sure that our cat, Cuddles would have had her kitties but being the good cat she is, she waited. So Sunday night left us with a new mouse and no new kitties and my self esteem and confidence in good spirits. Now...on to Monday!

Monday was like any day after a long weekend. We all were exhausted. There was housework, laundry, and bags to be unpacked. Naturally, I love to avoid such things and decided we should continue our family fun weekend into the week by heading out to park where I could work off some calories by getting in a good long hard run. Ma and Pa met us at the park around 2 p.m. and off I went running! I accomplished a 5 mile run and another mile doing 6 sprints. I was feeling on top of myself and any damage I may have done over the weekend by not exercising as much as I normally would have. When we got to the park, Gladys was doing good but by the time my run had ended (luckily it was one of best times at only 45 minutes) she was starting to feel warm but was still in a great mood as I let her run around the playground. We decided on heading up to Ma and Pa's for a cool down and play time. We got there about 3:30 and Gladys' temp was on the rise and before I could get her Tylenol or take her temp, she had turned unresponsive and started to seizure at around 4:45. In a race against time, I gathered the diaper bag, my mom and left everyone else behind, as I drove the longest short drive of my life to the hospital. I knew running into the ER that she was seizing. As someone who has had several seizures, I was in complete agony knowing that this was out of my hands. I was able to tell the nurse right away that she was seizing and they were able to get her the meds she needed. Her temp had only risen to 102!!! I was always told that seizures happen when the temps are much higher. I was more panicked then because I thought there could be a chance that something else was going on. The doctors and nurses than explained that this was 'common' and I was able to get a grip on the situation and as calm as I could be for my baby. I am told that they are unconscious during a seizure and won't have a memory of it but my personal situation was not so. I do remember those times and I was even more worried that they might be wrong and my poor Gladys would have memories of this time. An hour had passed before her seizure had finally stopped. It was quite possibly the longest hour of my life (minus the hour I spent pushing her into this world unmedicated). We prayed and cried and soothed her. She was blessed by a couple of great men. She slept for hours and hours. Her CT scan and blood work all returned normal and so we sat and played the waiting game in the hospital. She slept what seemed like forever and I pleaded for her to just give me some response that she knew I was there. Once she woke up with such a blank expression and gave me no signs that she even knew I existed and I was immediately more depressed. A few more hours slowly crept by and finally! she sat up and rubbed her eyes and reached up for me out of her hospital crib and I could have just cried and waled on for hours at the point. By the stronger part of me, grabbed up my little angel and never wanted to let go. It's funny how you know your kids are precious to you but it doesn't really sink in until something sad and desperate happens. We have always been blessed to have Rhonny always in good health. As a parent, I have never experienced my own children go through anything traumatic and now that I have this experience, I don't wish for another. I went through hours of blaming myself and feeling like the worst parent on Earth but in the second it took for her to open her eyes and reach out for me, just me, I knew that I had done no wrong in parenting her. She loves me unconditionally, just as my Heavenly Father loves me unconditionally. I knew that this was just going to be another lesson in my book of life. I've learned a new level of appreciation for many small things. Any response from Gladys this week, is a response of life, whether bad or good. A response is a response. Until you go hours sitting with a child who is completely unresponsive towards you, you don't know how precious even a scream of anger really is. They closely monitored her temperature and kept her on Ibu's and Tylenol, put her on an IV and most importantly, they stroked her hair and whispered comments of hope and love to her every time they came in to check her vitals. We were very blessed to deal with a loving bunch of nurses. We felt very cared for in our over night stay. They were prompt and had no complaints when I asked over and over and over again for another temp check. We were released Tuesday morning with the explanation that she more than likely has a virus and to keep her medicated until her fever is gone. Tuesday and Wednesday were long sleepless days for me. I medicated her every 3 hours and checked her temp every hour. It would spike at 102 and drop to 100 over and over again. I kept my phone close and her even closer. So much paranoia and worry in one person is NOT good. I was eating well or sleeping. I definitely wasn't exercising and the stress of the situation was taking over and I had had enough! So I rounded up the family, grabbed all the chocolate junk food and a hand full of musicals and we had a slumber party in my room. Unfortunately Gladys temp was on the rise again that night (Wednesday) and I was a mess trying to hold together a fun night as promised. Somewhere between Grease and Viva Las Vegas, her temp was coming down and she had fallen asleep. I stayed awake most of that night and monitored her temp and watched it come down every hour until morning when finally it was normal again for the first time in days. So Thursday I was determined to make the most of it. It started out at the hospital. Gladys did very well during an EEG test. We came home and she napped so well that I was able to run 4 miles. By afternoon, Gladys temp was still normal so we were off to do some much needed grocery shopping and planned an early Father's Day celebration for Travis. The girls worked very hard at wrapping and decorating a present for their daddy and I just sat and watched and was completely grateful to have a happy healthy moment with them both. I didn't even care than Glady was covering herself in marker. I was just so happy to see her giggling and back to some version of her normal self. The night went on to be great as we took Daddy to Fiesta Mexicana and came home to have ice cream treats and bath time and a decent bed time for all. I woke this Friday morning, feeling a bit more human. I may never catch up on sleep. I can deal that it. My Gladys is healthy today, even if we spent a few hours overnight dealing with screaming and thrashing. I assume her tummy is all sorts of messed up being on those meds and refusing foods. I knew she was back to her devilish ways this morning when she decided to scour every drawer in the house for more kitties. She meow and meowed her little heart out, trying to discover new kitties. Wondering why? Because amidst all this week's chaos, Wednesday we were honored with 4 new kitties! Cuddles is now a proud mommy of 3 calico and 1 black and white kitty. They are doing great! We knew she was in labor Wednesday A.M. and half way through the day she disappeared on us and we had to search the whole house for her and after giving up for about an hour, I had decided it was time to get more thorough and recruited Rhonny in checking cupboards and drawers and TA DA, we found her with her new babies in Rhonny's dresser. So now, Gladys believes if she keeps looking, she might discover her own little family of meow meows. So fun. Also, this morning, she went to the fridge and pulled out left over potato wedges and ketchup and tossed them on her highchair tray and then proceeded to crawl on my dining room chair and on the table and crawled across to attempt to get in her highchair. I, again, watched and was just so pleased to see her doing things that she normally would be doing. I may have spent hours complaining about how she would get herself into such trouble but  I am now just so appreciative to have her with us and healthy!!! She may get her own way for just a few more days. I look forward to returning to some form of normalcy again. Right now I am still a ball of stress and worry and probably will be until we get all her testing and results back. Today I was able to run while she napped and I could feel the stress melt away the faster and harder I pushed myself. I am elated to have an outlet that is healthy. If I hadn't been on this journey to exercise and be fit, I don't know how I would have been able to get through this week (probably would have smoked and eaten my way through Kwik Trip). Exercise is saving me in so many ways. Running is my new best friend. It's always there when I need it. No matter where I am, I can tie on some shoes and let my feet carry me away and bring me back much stronger than when I started. With hours of prayer and about 15 miles of running this week, I have a new appreciation for my children and my weight loss journey. I am, indeed, in charge of my life. I am the leading lady that gets  what she wants even when the adversity is at work. I am ending this week as positive as I can...even though, my husband leaves tonight and won't return until Sunday night. Laundry continues to pile up and toys continue to be scattered and this weekend brings me no relief on the parenting front. Let's hope running can cure my weekend woes too!

*I also want to mention that we have had a family member also end up in the hospital this week after having a stroke. He is showing improvements and we continue to pray for his recovery. Also, my grandma is in the hospital with a cellulitis infection and I just received news that it's not improving and is being transported to another hospital. This has been quite a week for so many of us and I hope that comfort will find us all quickly and may good health be in all our lives...sooner than later. We continue to ask for prayers.

*I look forward to blogging about my weight loss soon. I am 1 lb away from hitting my goal weight. Continue to cheer me on. I need it more now than ever. It's getting much harder to trick my body into ridding itself of fat. I AM SO CLOSE!!!

Forgive any errors in my blogging today... I am happily distracted. It's taken me nearly 2 hours to get this typed up. I've been using Ace of Base as a musical distraction to get the girl's to allow me the hands and time to type. Who knew my favorite childhood band would be Gladys' favorite 'dance' music? Greatness!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lesson Re-Learned.

Me (while looking at colored contacts online): Rhonny, what color do you think I would look good in?

Rhonny (with a look of total confusion and devastation): MOM!!! You look beautiful just the way you are! You should love everything about yourself. REMEMBER!?!

Lesson Re-Learned
(by my beautiful daughter, Rhondalynn)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Battle with Beautiful

What does it really mean to feel beautiful? 
In my attempt at mastering self-acceptance, I have found that I keep dwelling on this word 'beautiful'. Why am I so desperate to feel it? Our society is built around this idea that if you don't feel and look beautiful, we are destined to fail as women, mothers, wives... If we don't embrace our 'beauty', we can't possibly be capable of passing on self esteem to our children. I do, sometimes, agree with this. Months ago, at the start of this crazy new life, I complained about certain body parts and later found my daughter checking herself out in the mirror and asking me if I thought she was fat or needed some work. I also know that in times of weakness, I may call myself 'ugly or fat' and my oldest will jump on the 'feel good' bandwagon and gush over me being the prettiest mommy in all the land. I wonder if she thinks this is normal? I wonder if one day, in her moment of weakness when she's calling herself 'ugly and fat', if there will be someone there to lift her up and say differently and if no one is there to do that for her, will she be able to look herself in the mirror and convince herself otherwise. I think of all the millions of women out there that don't have children or boyfriends or husbands, and I wonder who is picking them up when they fall apart in front of the mirror. It's inevitable that we all are going to feel less than perfect and look less than perfect at some point in our lives. Do we all have someone to go to that is going to uplift us? Are you solely dependent on other's opinions of yourself? I know that I was. I know that you probably are. The statistics are out there. I don't like them at all! Did you know that the majority of women are told they are beautiful ONCE A MONTH?!?! Did you know that most women are told they are beautiful because they called themselves otherwise in front of others, subconsciously fishing for compliments that tell them otherwise because they just need to hear it. I would be lying if I said that I can't relate. Anyone else relating right now? Did you know most people are told they are beautiful during a personal crisis (i.e failed health, relationships, job)? Yes, if I found out that my husband was less than faithful, I would need an army to tell me that I was beautiful every day for a year but does that really make me feel it? No. Compliments born out of sympathy really don't hold much bearing in the long run. To find something beautiful, you have to look at it with completely open non-judgement eyes and embrace the imperfections. To find beauty, you must first know yourself. We are all uniquely programmed to show preferences. For instance, I prefer being left handed and adding hot sauce to everything I eat. You may think that is not normal but it's my everyday normal. It's what makes me uniquely me. It also means that I right now you can't see the world the same as I do so naturally, my idea of beautiful is different from yours. Who can put a definition to beautiful? I think our Heavenly Father says it best when He asks us to "Love One Another". If we are all deserving of love, then we are all deserving of beauty. We were perfectly created and then given free agency. I would like to know when in our history of humanity did the idea of being or feeling beautiful mean that we had to have flawless skin, shiny hair, and wear a size 2. I doubt Noah packed cosmetics and Photoshop on the ark. I am certain he didn't go out into the wilderness and bring back just the people he thought were beautiful. I doubt that he was thinking about passing along only the beautiful genes when he was commanded to re-populate the planet. If you asked someone today to load up the ark, I am willing to bet that the man in charge would make everyone go through genetic/dna testing so he could gather up the most perfect and most beautiful people in the world. I have no doubts here. Our world is built around this idea of being beautiful means you will be successful, rich, popular, desired, and will pass it along to your babies so if you are a man wanting to multiply there is a good chance you are thinking of this when choosing a mate. It's all very gross. Let me summarize with a few points here before moving along.

First, women get told they are beautiful ONCE A MONTH.
Second, they get told they are beautiful during personal crisis/out of sympathy.
Third, a man's idea of beauty has turned from 'love one another' to 'love the magazine model who starves herself so the Photoshop editor doesn't have to work so hard because she will pass on good genes'.

We are so screwed. Hold on to your daughters. Keep them single. Most importantly, teach them that beautiful doesn't come from outside sources. Beautiful is something that we see using what is inside. Our minds can develop an idea of beauty that involves everything and everyone it sees. Our hearts can find the beautiful in all things if it is open and willing to accept the differences. If we really want to teach our girls success, popularity, riches...then we should want to teach them that opening our hearts and minds to each others differences is what makes us beautiful people. I believe that world peace can start in our homes and with our ideas of what beautiful really is.

(If you have sons, this is equally important. Remember, the men you find disgustingly filled with unrealistic ideas of what makes a woman beautiful? They have fathers and mothers too. Boys can be taught that beauty lies in all things. So fathers, next time you are oogling women on the tv screen and verbally saying 'she's hot', your boys are listening and watching and forming an idea of beauty that is unrealistic which in turn is going to turn them into the boys that you want your daughters to stay away from. Just think about it. You could be creating the guy that breaks my daughter's heart and then you got me to deal with.)

 I look out my window this morning and see the field that was grass and trees and brush just a few short weeks ago and today it is open and free and rid of everything that was growing there. It's there to be made into whatever my heart desires. It's there for me to make beautiful. It was nothing great to look at and some would say that it currently looks like a giant ugly dirt pile but to me it holds amazing possibilities. When I look out there, I see flowers of all colors that are continually blooming. I see a garden full of fresh vegetables and a bed of berries. I see a fall full of canning in the kitchen with my family creating memories. I see my daughters rolling down a hill of green grass and picking dandelions to show how much they love me. I see my husband exhausting himself at the end of the day pushing the mower. I see myself with dirt in my nails and mud on my feet covered in sweat feverishly planting the bulb garden that I have always wanted. I see endless possibilities and they are all beautiful to me. I want my daughters to look out their metaphoric 'windows' and see all the possibilities around them. I want them to look out into the world and find beauty in everything they see. I want to see them filled with hope. Mostly, I want them to know that they are filled with perfect individual beauty and they never have to look any further than themselves to know what beautiful feels like. 

Unfortunately for me, I am discovering these things a little later in my life and struggle with the mirror. I am one of those that never takes a compliment to heart. Somewhere in my skewed mental health, I can't seem to unblock my 'ugly' defensives. I somehow have managed to convince myself that the word 'beautiful' is something I am not worthy to possess. I know differently but telling my reflexes to feel differently is going to be my life long battle. I don't wish it on anyone. Being 60 lbs lighter is a start. Don't once believe that our weight doesn't determine how we feel about ourselves. It has everything to do with how we feel. I'm not just talking about our self-esteem either. Feeling healthy is something that doesn't come easy in a world filled with junk foods and pollutions and obesity. I would have never imagined that I could feel so clean and alive and filled with hope for my future by just changing my ideas of food and exercise. These are just a few of the small steps I am taking in my battle with beautiful. I will conquer this but for now, I feel confident that my daughters are getting beauty lessons that no amount of time in a beauty salon can teach. I am setting up a foundation of open hearts and minds and an idea of beautiful that doesn't involve a mirror...or Photoshop.

Take time today to tell someone why you think they are beautiful. Don't assume beautiful people know they are beautiful. There is a good chance they looked in the mirror this morning and told themselves differently.