It’s okay to tell your kids to lie…

Lying- it’s my pet peeve. YOU DO NOT LIE, except when I tell you it’s ok. Let me explain. As a child I was abused by a neighbor. I didn’t know it was ok to say NO and I didn’t know I could lie to get out of a situation. I always told the truth. Years ago when my kids were little we got “Chilly Stomach” from the library. I read it to the kids. It talks about that feeling you get inside your stomach when you know things are not right. I told my kids how to lie and get out of any situation they felt uncomfortable with.

“If you feel that unsafe feeling in your gut- just go to the restroom- spend extra time in there and moan. Then flush the toilet twice. Come out and tell your host that you are going to vomit and ask to go home.” Even the creepiest of creeps doesn’t want you to vomit all over their house. My daughter only had to do this once. She came home and told me, “Mom- that dad was a real creep. So I did what you said. I told them I was gonna PUKE and they called you to come get me.”

I don’t know if that dad was really a creep or not but I trust my kid’s gut and I praised her for getting out of there. I think it’s ok to lie in some cases. To ensure your safety- lie away. To protect loved ones when you don’t want to hurt their feelings is another reason to lie at times. In our house we call them “white lies.” So if we can’t talk to someone and don’t want to hurt their feelings it’s ok to say “I’m sorry I can’t talk right now,” even if we really have nothing else to do. It’s not ok to do that and be mean but sometimes certain folks require bandwidth that we just don’t have at that moment in time.

I tell my kids to be truthful at all times but you also have to trust your gut instincts. Those instincts are inherent and are there if you allow yourself to hear them. Maybe you were invited to a birthday party and your friend wasn’t. Maybe until you figure out how to tell them you avoid the conversation and wait til you are in a safe place to share the news with them. Not telling them isn’t lying to them it’s protecting their feelings until you have time to figure out what to do.

Tell a trusted adult. That’s important too. Who do you trust? I told them also to trust their gut on this one too. Meghan has figured out that the Nurse, and her school counselor are trusted adults and she’s chosen them if she needs help at school. In our neighborhood she knows several neighbors she can go to if she needs a helping hand when we are not home and they’ve already gone out of their way to prove to her that they are in fact the trusted adults that live near us.

Have these difficult conversations with your kids. You may never had to lie to get out of a situation but I can tell you that I wish I had. I wish that night in 1982 that I had lied and said I was sick and wanted to go home. I wish I knew better. My life may have been different. No matter what- I am honest with my kids so that they can make the decision on how to react and how to deal with situations as they arise. No matter what happens I know I am doing my best to make sure they know that it’s okay to trust that feeling in your stomach when you know things are not right.

Follow your passions

Whatever your passions are, follow them. If it’s writing- by all means write- and write daily! Painting, sculpture, reading- all of it- do what makes you happy and do a lot of it. It heals the soul. For me- it’s writing and volunteering that really make me truly happy. No matter what is going on- I am happier when I am giving to others and I’m always happy after I’ve been writing.

I think life takes over at times and we often forget what our passions even are. If you don’t know- it’s ok to explore your options. Take a painting class, read a new book, start a yoga class or whatever it is that suits your fancy. It’s important to concentrate on happiness and whatever it is that makes you happy is worthwhile. Don’t let your kids, your spouse or your extended family take away from what you need to feed your soul. It’s not that I’m advocating that you ditch your family or friends but that you take time to breathe and be there for yourself. If you are there for YOU and you do things that make you feel good then you are full and you can give to others. If you are empty then you cannot do anything for anyone else.

So follow your passions, feed your soul and take good care of yourself.

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Life is a Balance…

Life is good. It’s July 8th and life is feeling like it’s going in the right direction. My part-time job had been very slow the past 2 months and I’m looking forward to a fast paced short gig the next few weeks. I’ll be typing up recipes that are from a family and are all very old. I’m looking forward to reading what this family cooked for each other and what recipes are treasured. It’ll be fun. Normally data-entry is boring and as a fast typist I can do pretty much any sort of typing job but I don’t as I find most of it all boring. But typing up military service records and doing research and this recipe typing job are fun. I find it interesting to peak into another person’s life and explore where life led them.

I am currently trying to live a life in balance. I am struggling with the 25lbs that I’ve put on in the past 2 years. I tried to tell myself I put on all 25lb since June 2017 but that’s not true. I went to the doctor after my Gall Bladder surgery in May and they told me that in fact I was 160 lbs June of 2017 and that I was now 174. Ahh…harumph. I had been 150 in 2016. So that sort of changes things. I need to reboot my body with exercise and also healthy eating.

I have tried to think about this life challenge as just that- a challenge. Nothing to be worried about or frustrated with but just something that I sort of have to do. I want to be strong for my kids and my future grand-kids. Really- that’s what it’s all about. Family and being strong for myself. I want to be able to do my own driving, grocery shopping and life a productive life into my 90’s and in order to do that I need to take care of my 45 year old (soon to be 46 year old) self.

Yesterday we did a family outing. We went canoeing at Busse Woods and it was great. We were out on the water for exactly an hour (how we managed that without a watch, I’ll never know) and it felt great. It was loads of arm work and I am feeling it today. Meghan and I shared a canoe, John took a kayak and the boys shared a canoe. It was so much fun and the weather was grand. Low humidity- in the 80’s and sunny. We are trying to ensure that each weekend we do something that is offline, outside and involves healthy exercise. This afternoon we will head to the pool and John and I will swim laps while the kids goof around. I never used to like summer and now I am realizing I have to embrace all the seasons and find things to do that I enjoy.

Food- food is my biggest weakness as I like to eat. Prior to getting my gallbladder removed I was struggling anytime I ate any fat- even healthy fats like avacado or salmon. Now about 8 weeks post-op I can eat and drink anything I want. It’s awesome. Problem is I developed a love of carbs when I was on my low-fat diet and it was good at the time because I didn’t get sick on carbs but now I crave them and it’s a struggle. I am trying to eat less carbs, healthy fats and have enough vegetables and protein. I cook mostly from scratch so it’s fairly easy to ensure we have healthy foods going into recipes but I also like to bake. I found out that fiber can counter your carb intake so I am adding Acai fiber to baked goods and it’s helped. One piece of banana bread is so filling and I don’t go back for a second one. Small steps- I will make it there.

So balance- it’s hard to figure it all out. Time for me, time for my husband and myself (marriages need attention), and time for the kids all need to be carefully balanced along with working part-time and exercise- it’s like my days are full. Cleaning- ugh- if I didn’t have to ever clean again that would be amazing but life is messy and we must clean it up. So- today is our cleaning day- rewarded by the pool later. I’m hopeful that the kids will chip in too (they have their lists) so we can get it done fast and efficiently. I feel like teaching balance is important too. If we lead by example and show the kids that they can have a successful and happy life if they prioritize and find a sense of balance.

Fingers and toes crossed I keep myself balanced today.

Oceans heal

If you grew up along the ocean or near it then you know that Oceans can heal you. Literally too- salt water is known to fix and cure a lot of things. Epsom Salt for those of you who don’t live close enough to soak your feet in the salt water of the ocean and sand does the same things. Anyway- we are lucky enough to be related to my in-laws who are lucky enough to have had a family home passed down to them after generations. It’s in Nantucket ocean side is the front of the house and harbor side is the back. It’s on a tiny piece of land that stretches out to the light house in Wauwinet, Nantucket.

We lucked out this year and were able to get 5 days at the house before rental season begins. A summer home is costly and having renters helps offset the costs to maintain it, taxes etc. Family can stay in peak season if there are openings but we grabbed the chance to get it in early June since in the midwest we are out of school at the end of May. This morning was chilly- 57 degrees inside the house (same as yesterday) but it was bright sun and felt warm outside. The breeze was coming from the harbor so the ocean side was calmer. I took the chance- and at 6am (as I woke at 5:45am and have every single day we’ve been on vacation since June 2nd). Anyway- I got ready and with a cup of coffee in hand I began to walk the beach.

Soon the tide and the noise of the “swoosh” and “woosh” of the water going in and out began to mesmerize me. I walked slowly and emphatically and felt the sand beneath my toes and began to fade. All of the worries, the thoughts, the emotions, went away and nothing filled the space in my head except the sound of the waves. Mesmerized and in full meditation mode I just kept walking. I remembered my friend, Tricia, who once told me that if I concentrated while walking on a beach about loved ones that had passed I’d find heart-shaped rocks. I was always skeptical on this, but sure enough this morning, I have a table full of heart shaped rocks. I asked for friends relatives and poof- more heart shaped rocks. It was amazing.

I feel like this trip is a reminder of how much the ocean can heal you. My foot has been bothering me, one particular toe nail is funky and soaking my feet and rubbing the sand all over them while I walked invigorated me. I feel renewed. I have walked the beach and soaked my feet since Sunday (it’s only Tuesday) but I feel renewed and my soul replenished. It’s been six long years since we’ve been to this magical place. I have been up now for nearly 2 hours and the house remains quiet. I can hear the surf and feel the sun on my back as I type. I will venture out again and keep walking and searching for answers because I feel like the ocean has them today. My soul is full of love and light and I couldn’t be happier.

And the Gallbladder is GONE!

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I highly recommend advocating for what you need with your healthcare providers. Approximately 11 years ago I began to complain of nausea and vomiting after eating a fatty meal. I could handle spicy just fine so I got told “oh just cut back on the fat.” I did and it worked pretty well. I avoided fast food and was okay for about a year. Then I began to eat more salmon and avocados and healthy fats. I got sick again. I went back to the doctor and they ordered a Hyda scan of the Gall bladder. I got so sick during the test. The test injects you with a substance that mimics fat and tricks the Gall Bladder. I got nauseated immediately and was so ill all day after that. The tech joked “Oh- that was bad- I bet you’ll be back here in a week for surgery.” Yet the doc said “my gall bladder was functioning and to go on a Gallbladder diet.” I did and again- was fine for a few years.

What began to stink is when we went out for a special meal and maybe there was cheesecake or a fatty dessert or even salmon as the entree- if I splurged- 3 hrs later I got sick. It was beginning to get old. We moved to IL and I had a Gall Bladder ultrasound- I was NOT doing the hyda scan again. They said “not bad enough to worry about.” So back on the low-fat Gallbladder diet again. I could handle it as the attacks only happened a few times a year. Well fast forward to 2017 and all of a sudden once a month no matter how much fat. Butter, a bit of oil etc- 3 hrs after consumption sick. I began a carb only diet- essentially with some lean protein and I gained  20 lbs. I was so mad. I went to my new doc and she suggested a Gall Bladder Ultrasound followed by a Hyda Scan. I cringed.

I happily got the ultrasound- they found a small Gall Bladder polyp. I skipped the Hyda Scan and made an appointment with a surgeon I trusted. Dr. Aki had done my son’s emergency appendectomy at our local hospital and I knew he did Gall Bladder surgery too. So I skipped the Hyda Scan and went straight to the surgeon. He was shocked I’d been dealing with this for years. He was upset to think that a bad hydascan- even if the Gallbladder appeared to be functional warranted extraction of the Gall Bladder based on symptoms alone. For me- he was more concerned about the polyp. Apparently all polyps in the Gallbladder eventually become cancer. Because it was small- he suspected it would come back as pre-cancerous and with the Gall bladder coming out- no further treatment would be warranted. I had my surgery on Tuesday.

Already- I feel better- in pain mind you as pain meds and I do not get along (I get nauseaus and I’ve had enough nausea for the past 11 yrs I am not going to do that again). But food wise- I already ate refried beans with rice and chicken and NOTHING happened. I had butter on a bagel and NADA. NOTHING. I am in shock. I feel so good. The pain will pass and I’ll be up and around in a few more days so they say. But geesh- it’s gone and I can EAT again.

I hope to get back on my healthy fats diet and less carbs and I hope to lose the 20 lbs I put on since last June. I am beyond excited. The surgeon said “I’m glad you came to me. Patients need to know that it’s ok to skip their doc and go straight to the surgeon. If you have compelling symptoms, any surgeon would have helped you.” I had never been referred to one before so I never talked to anyone but the primary care physicians. I am excited and happy that I finally advocated for myself.

As in all things in life- the squeaky wheel gets the oil and in this case the surgery. I am thankful and grateful and so pleased. And WOW- surgery was at 8am to 9:30am on Tuesday and I was home and in the house by 3pm that day. I’m on day 3 after surgery and I’m a bit sore but functional. No lifting, no driving but I can do laundry if someone takes it out for me. I can load the dishwasher and unload it. I can catch up on bills and online computer work. So it’s all good. All I know is I am so looking forward to going back East and eating Lobster and dipping it in BUTTER!!!

So next time you need something and your gut says you need better answers, seek them. It’s important in this day and age to advocate for yourself. My primary was thrilled the surgeon was in agreement. She only recommended the Hyda Scan as insurance states that is the order you do things. I am glad I skipped it. Bye Gallbladder- I will not miss you!

"These are X-Rays of your operation, and this  is a selfie I took with your gall bladder."

How to survive stomach flu

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There is no real way to survive it. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. What makes it worse is then the entire house and I mean 4/5 of us had it at the same time. In a way that was a blessing because our first victim was our care-giver. She fetched gingerale, and Revive and blankets and towels and more.

What bites about it is the fact that if you get it bad- and this was a bad one that a full week later- and I’m still recovering. 24 hrs of vomit- I can take that- although it was dreadful. Then it went south- joy. That was 2 days and then just the wretched feeling you have after. None of us ate anything for 2-3 days of the bug. We all lost between 5-12 lbs (all since regained- apparently your colon holds a few lbs and so doesn’t your body just in terms of water).

Now moving on from the gross part. What can we learn from it? Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and for the teens in the house TALLER- the sleep that was induced post-bug, I swear these kids are taller. I’m sure they are. It clears you out and gives you a clean slate. We are all on probiotics now to heal the gut, we are eating clean and small meals to be gentle with ourselves and we slowed down from this crazy fast-paced world.

Realizing we had to STOP all things- clear the calendar- home confinement. We watched shows together, we listened to music together, we moaned together. We talked, and we laughed- but not too hard as that kinda hurt post stomach-bug. But we did things together.

We helped each other cook small meals. We sat and chatted over a Ritz cracker “meal.” We hugged and we cried and we survived it- together. I wouldn’t suggest this as a normal bonding experience but for us- it proved to be just that.

My daughter, Meghan who got it on a Tuesday had her Variety Show Thursday night- and she stomached it into school for 5 full periods so she’d qualify for after school activities. I was paged at 2:30pm for anti-nausea meds (Oh I forgot to tell you- ASK for Zofran- BEG for it- the docs will give it to you when you have a violent tummy bug- it prevents ER visits as you get to pause a bit in between getting sick to hydrate). Anyway- I brought Meghan the anti-nausea drugs and she went onto perform for the student body. I decided- heck- even though I’d see it later on I’d go then too. And thank GOD for that as at 5pm, I was hurling and she was still at school readying herself for the 7pm show. Cole, John, and Quinn went to the show that evening with friends and all was well.

Early afternoon Friday- text from Quinn “Mom I just got sick before I got to History class- HELP!” and I with Meghan’s help (she drove with me so I would stay focused as I was really bad at that point) and we picked up Quinn. My neighbor had filled my anti-nausea prescription for  me and dropped that off Friday morning so I was able to semi-function by afternoon. 4pm- John arrives home from work- NOT GOOD. Then 10:30pm Cole starts hurling. It was a joyous weekend. But we survived.

I’m here- a few pounds thinner and readying myself for Gall Bladder surgery next Tuesday. I am realizing that life is good, my children are good humans and that Meghan who never gets sick- can handle anything that comes her way. I am grateful to my friends who ran errands for me and dropped off food at the door and ran. I am thankful to my neighbors who called to check on us.

Whatever you do- take time when you are sick to get well and your family just might surprise you when they are better. They just might want to have a game night or do something fun because they enjoyed the camaraderie even though we were all sitting with a bucket.

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And if you want to read a great blog- check out her post about having

a Stomach Bug Survival Kit.

P.S.- Lysol your entire house after and put every stitch of blankets, sheets, towels thru the Sanitize load on your washing machine. I didn’t even know I had that setting- took 3 hrs for each load but it heats the water up internally to a very HOT temp and it sort of boils your clothes. All things came out smelling sanitized like hospital laundry. It was AWESOME!

Change- Working again- and balancing it all.

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So the last time I had a “real” job was in 2010-2011 and I was a full-time  Para-Professional in the school system. I did get summers off and was at school by 8:30am and out by 3:30pm. So I guess technically it was part-time? Prior to that I worked for myself baking dog biscuits and creating animal gift baskets for Lucky Paw Gifts (named after our first dog), and before that I was a teacher’s aide at a school. I really haven’t had a full time job (not including the school jobs) since I was a call center operator at Alimed in Massachusetts in 2000. I have worked officially since I was 13 at the public library in Swampscott, Massachusetts, the town where I grew up. Before that I baby sat for $2.00/hr starting at age 11. I’ve worked full-time since I was 16- 40 hrs a week as a tutor while I went to the Community College (left high school early). So I worked a full time job from the age of 16 up until we had kids.

In our family we decided together that I’d stay home with the kids. It was a negotiation, like anything in our marriage. He was a Software Engineer and I was a teacher’s aide (forgot I did that just before the dog biscuit gig) and we knew that with his income much higher than mine, it made sense for me to stay home. Soon in less than 3 years we had 3 kids (Cole arrived at the 2 years 9  mo. mark since having Quinn) and there was no way we could afford to put them all in daycare even if I was working a well-paying, full-time job. So that became our normal and we liked it.

In 2010 I returned to work at the kid’s school and it went well and I continued thru the winter of 2011 just before the end of the year. Cole had begun to get sick and we didn’t know why. He required a lot of intervention from the nurse. My Principal had approached me in the late fall and suggested I take leave (at this time I was a Reading Specialist) to be there for Cole. I literally switched from working 36.5 hrs a week to volunteering 20 hrs a week doing essentially the same job so I could be in the building when Cole needed medical intervention with his asthma symptoms. It stunk. My dreams of becoming a teacher were shattered. I had been on the plan to finish the year out as a reading specialist, take the MTEL’s (teacher exams) and student teach the next fall. It was a good plan. I knew as the kids got older I could retain my Master’s degree which is required in the state of MA within 5 years of getting your teacher’s certificate. I was excited to start back at it.

All of those dreams ended in June of 2012. Cole was out sick for 2 weeks but he became well at home. Well enough to only need his inhaler at night. The last few days he didn’t need it at all. I called the doctor. It was the last day of school and asked permission to let him go in and say goodbye to all his Kindergarten friends, attend the end of the year party and thank his teacher. She said “sure” and so we went. Within about 2 minutes of being in his classroom he began this bark like cough and I started to cry. I said “I can’t believe he’s now coming down with CROUP! He’s been so well at home the past 2 weeks!” That was when the teacher looked at me and said “What do you mean? This cough, he has it every single day- that’s how I know he’s here when I take attendance!” Holy smokes- I had never spent any time in his classroom, only meeting the nurse at the office to give him his meds. We both ran to the Nurse who then ran us to the Principal’s office. It had to be something in the classroom. Before we could say too much the Principal said “There is NO MOLD in this building!” and funny thing is my response was “Um- I never said there was…”

And so an investigation on my part began. I made inquiries. I asked my other 2 kids how they felt at home vs in school and my daughter’s leg rashes she had every fall and Spring went away and Quinn’s bad Fall and Spring headaches went away too. I knew that the school was built on wetlands. I knew that the flooring was concrete and I knew that there was lots of white swirls all over the carpets. I called some teacher friends of mine who wished to remain anonymous and they said “GO TO THE MUSIC ROOM- there is BLACK MOLD on the walls!” EGADS! So I called the superintendent,no response. I wrote to the town’s health department and again – no response. I then called the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston and spoke to Mike Feeney who told me he’d be happy to come and do an Indoor Air Quality test but since he has to be invited I would have to really push the town to let him in. LET HIM IN? WHAT? Apparently the Board of Health can enter any building, school, restaurant etc but  not the EPA. Preposterous, but it was true. So I began talking to anyone who would listen to me and honestly probably just to get me to shut up they invited the EPA to the school in August. School would begin in September and I figured it’d be ok.

Long story short (if that’s possible) is that the school prepared well for the visit. They painted hallways that hadn’t been painted in years. They put tile in the foyer,ripping up 22-year-old carpets. They made it look all shiny and new and they cleaned the air ducts. They also opened up every single door and window for a week prior to the testing. I got a call the day of the testing. “They prepared for me. They went again my request to leave the building as it has been to get accurate information. My recommendations will only be that, it’s not enforceable by law..” He went onto say “The school has definite issue, there is a higher than State average using inhalers and most of them began using them after entering Kindergarten. He said the Kindergarten wing in particular had a mold problem but it wasn’t a public health hazard.” Well, well. Since finding out about Mold we had gotten Cole allergy tested and sure enough he was allergic to Mold and Latex. Mr. Feeney suggested I pull all 3 kids as he would not allow his 3 kids to attend the school even though the air quality wasn’t alarming. I wasn’t sure what to do but we made a decision about a week before school began, to home school all 3 kids.

So unbeknownst to me I’d have my dream of becoming a teacher, just not the way I imagined. I worked as a homeschooling teacher/mom for 5 years. I provided resources, researched educational opportunities, and provided guidance as needed. It was hard but it was fun. Meghan asked to go back to school in the winter of 2016/2017 and she asked to start in August of 2017. The boys soon followed and I had 3 kids going into 3 different schools and the Spring of 2017 was probably our busiest homeschooling semester ever. They had to take placement tests over several days (at 3 different schools at 3 different times), they had to go to orientations and meet everyone. It was arduous but it was worth it. They all began in August and we haven’t looked back. It’s been great for them and now I have some time to do something for me and I have found it.

I am now a Research Assistant at the WWII Research and Writing Center. I get to work from home and meet in person about once a week and I get to do something new and exciting and work that will never bore me. I can utilize my degree in Anthropology and African-American studies finally to get some other vantage points to the research and I can utilize all of my other skills as it’s clear I am more than a Research Assistant. The new job title will get sorted out over time but meanwhile my life is full and I am excited. But I wonder- how do I manage a part time job, a 5 hr a week driving job, 3 kids, dropping 3 kids to school daily and a return pick up later in the day and all of the house-hold chores that are normally on my plate. ???

Yeah that is what I have to figure out and I know I will. I only started my job on March 26th so I am slowly working up to figuring out how to juggle my time and I give all you full-time working Moms credit. I am not sure how you juggle it all. I know some of my friends have cleaning ladies and some do take out at least once a week, if not more. I know some have helpers who do this and that and maybe their Spouse works 40 hrs and they take on some of it too. My husband works about 60 or more and he travels so I don’t get a ton of help. To ensure he gets quality time with the family we hired a lawn service about a year ago. It’s worth the money to spend time with John instead of losing him to “lawn time.”

So now I felt it was a good time to begin again and I feel good about it. I didn’t even truly apply for this job. I wasn’t looking and one morning I was on Facebook (like every morning) and I was on for like 15 minutes and I saw a job posting on another FB friend’s timeline and I was like “cool” and that was that. I posted under the job posting and got messaged about it and the rest is history. I am excited and I am renewed and I value my family and my free time way more than I did a few weeks ago.

Now to figure out how to get more help around the house (all the kids are old enough to do their fair share and we will figure out what that is). I think I’ve got to learn to juggle and balance and I’m up for it. I honor all of you who have to juggle life, kids, working and more. In truth, my new job is not much more work than homeschooling (actually that was a lot more work without any concrete deadlines) and I think that’s the big difference here- I have accountability to someone else and I know I will figure out how to manage that. So that’s the big CHANGE that is going on in my life. But I feel good about the direction I am taking and that makes all the difference.

What to do next?

Life can my mysterious, and life can reveal itself to you. This Friday I am sitting here as the Easter weekend is here and I am listening. I am listening to the kids playing in the living room- very loudly- laughing, singing and having a grand time. I have been catching myself listening a lot lately- to the Universe and to the signs it is giving to me. I have been watchful of the opportunities that have made themselves known to me and am excited about the new journeys I get to take.

Recently I learned about a job opportunity and I decided to go for it. I wasn’t looking for a job, I wasn’t looking for a life change but there it was- right there- waiting for me to grasp at it. I did and luckily it went forward and it is a great fit for me. I am excited that I stopped and decided to start listening about a month ago. Cole’s health had improved, we had some steady days and things were back to “normal.” It was time to start something new. Kids have been successfully back in school since August 2017 and the days were starting to clunk by hour by hour. I filled most of them well enough but I needed more. I needed to engage my brain, utilize my skills and start to fill my days with more than just laundry, dinners, and taxi rides.

I started my new job this week and it’s going great. I love what I am doing and I am good at it. I think that life has proven to be good and I can continue to contribute to society at large. Sometimes as a Mom we feel like we aren’t contributing enough. Mind you I worked darn hard for 5 years providing educational opportunities to the kids while they were homeschooling. I researched curriculum and resources for them to keep them engaged. So my new job as a Research Assistant for the WWII Research & Writing Center seems like the perfect fit. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

Calories and life

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Do we have to count our calories to make our life better? I sure as heck hope not but have learned after going to the doctor with some complaints that now that I am in my mid-40’s my calorie requirement is lower than it once was. I had been able to maintain a 145-150 lbs on my 5’6 frame for years- over a decade in fact and then all of a sudden- I turn 45 and go up to 171.8. Yes- the .8 is in there because it annoyed me. Round it up but NO the damn scale was 171.8 last week and I was ticked off.

My doctor recommended a lower fat diet (I don’t eat greasy stuff but I had some salmon with a cream sauce and it wrecked me). I am being sent for a gall bladder ultrasound tomorrow but meanwhile I had been steadily gaining and had gained 21 lbs since my last doc visit in June 2017. HOLY SMOKES. I knew it was bad but didn’t realize how bad.

My husband had major jaw surgery in July and I don’t think I ate more because of this but maybe I did. He was unable to eat a lot of the things we cooked but we managed to consume them as if he was eating them. Maybe I had 2 dinner portions a night instead of my normal one? I don’t know what I did but last week I did a calorie count of a normal day and egads it was 1800-2000 calories. I actually didn’t say EGADS til the doctor said “Um- you do know that are your age and level of exercise (I lift some free weights and use the exercise bike and walk on occassion) you should only consume about 1600 calories to maintain your weight. To lose you need to go down to 1200 or 1400 calories, depending on how fast you want to lose it.” Holy crap- really? So starting last Thursday I have been measuring and counting and tracking it on Live Strong’s My Plate app. I have not edited my meals so I could see how much each one was. I have been more thoughtful though and added a salad for lunch each day. I so far have done 1600-1700 calories and one day I was able to do 1450.

This week I am going to try for 1300 a day and see how I do. Even with this slight change I am down to 169.6 as of this morning. I realize one can fluctuate so I’m not really counting this weight loss as a real loss but if the scale keeps going down I’ll be pleased. I’m not into being skinny- 145-150 lbs on me still leaves plenty of squish and fat on my body. According to the chart I’m supposed to be 130 lbs, yeah that’s funny. I was 131 lbs in 2013 due to an illness for about 2 months and I looked anorexic and horrible and I had no boobs. So no- 130 lbs is NOT going to happen nor do I want it to. I had an eating disorder as a teen and although it was never officially diagnosed I know I chose to drink several glasses of skim milk at each meal to fill up and I ate very little. I will not go back to that.

So now I have to see what I eat every day and make good choices. I need to choose to walk daily despite the fact my doggie friend is no longer with us. Part of me wonders if that’s how I gained it all. I stopped walking a dog (she died this fall) and the pounds packed on. I didn’t realize that naturally I am not a walker but when a tail wags and you get the nudge – you’ll go out despite the weather. We are not in a position to get another dog just yet so for now I have to walk myself or walk with a friend. I need to get better at making it a daily habit vs whenever the mood hits me, as it never does.

Calories and life- we need water and food to live yet we eat too much and we become unhealthy. We have to manage things in regular life too- we need to manage our stress, our anxiety, our job requirements, our responsibilities, our family life. It’s all a balance. It’s like taking care of your car- you get oil changes and you make sure it gets the best fuel to run well. Our bodies are the same, we need good quality food and we need to exercise in order to run well. I know this- we all know this but it’s a struggle.

I’ve heard numerous friends say “Menopause and getting older sucks!” and I think that is part of it too. My doctor mentioned that as I am walking into Menopause that my metabolism takes a real hit and that activity needs to increase, calcium intake needs to increase along with Vitamin D, and our food intake needs to go down. Ugh- I don’t feel super old or anything and at 45 I’m not, but man I want my waist back. I want to fit into my bathing suit from last summer -it’s cute- but I had to buy another one just in case. So to all of you who are struggling- you are not alone. I

t’s ok- and I hope to share this journey with you. I am not planning on counting calories for long- that’ll take me back to old habits. I plan on eating the foods I like but in moderation. I know I can get back to my old self and regardless of what happens I know I need to choose to love myself NOW because NOW is who I am – 169.6 pounds, 5 foot 6 inches and salt and pepper hair. All of me isn’t my appearance or my weight. I am a writer, mother, friend, daughter, sister, and wife. I am more than calories and it’s going to be just fine. Sharing this helps. I hope that you accept yourself for who you are today too. We all have flaws and that’s ok- our goal is to improve ourselves to be a better self and that is my plan too!

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