Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Is Here!

Before I go to bed tonight I wanted to jot down some of my feelings today. I don't think today could've gone much better if I tried. I tried to savor every moment and every feeling with each new activity. We kept things super simple this year and I'm so glad we did.

Last night I made my very first holiday dinner. We skipped out on the crazy chaos of Christmas Eve with cousins to stay home and have some quality family time with the kiddos. I made turkey, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, green beans, and Adam's favorite jello pretzel salad. The girls requested candles, so I decided to go all out and did the whole table cloth, china, goblets thing. Fortunately for me, everything turned out great. I was pretty proud of myself and the kids were SOOOO excited to use all the fancy stuff. They even turned off all the lights except the ones on the Christmas tree so it could be a true 'candle-lit' dinner.

This morning I was giddy. I started listening to the kids giggle and squeal about 6:30 and try to stay quiet until 7 am. When we finally let them see what Santa brought, their reactions were priceless. Big Baby bee-lined it to the baby stroller and doll, then spent the rest of the day taking 'dollie' on walks and crashing her into things. Reagan screamed when she saw her guitar, and Tyson and Paige were jumping up and down yelling as they looked through what Santa brought. Even Molly got super excited when she saw her walker.

After that, pure pandemonium took over. For the first time ever, we had all four grandparents here and it was perfect. Big baby is the perfect age for the wonder and excitement of Christmas, especially when you add in 3 very excitable older siblings. Molly was precious. All day I just wanted to stare at her. She loved opening presents, she loved eating the presents, and she loved all the craziness around her.

If I'm being honest, I cried off and on all day long. My heart was so full and content and happy and grateful that pretty much anything set me off. It made me realize just how overwhelmingly numb I was last year. I spent all morning crying because I wasn't with Molly, then spent the afternoon crying because I was away from my other kids. My Christmas dinner was spent alone in the hospital cafeteria thinking, "Man. This is just wrong on so many levels."

Not this year. No one had the stomach flu, we were all together, and my Christmas dinner was spent with close friends and family. Things were relax and comfortable and joyful again. Molly is doing so well and our kids truly love each other. We have grown so much closer this past year and really I feel like it's been Christmas all year long for us.

While I am getting worried about Molly again and will most likely spend the day at the doctor's office getting lungs checked and seeing if we need to do a swallow study, nothing could damper the spirit and feeling of this Christmas. I really think that 20 years from now our kids will be talking about this Christmas.

So Merry Christmas to anyone still reading this little blog of mine! I hope and pray each of us find health and happiness and peace to survive it all in the upcoming year.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Today was the start of the winter holidays for both the kids and Adam. Two whole weeks of no school and no work! We had big plans for all the togetherness and Christmas-y things we would do together. Instead, I spent today running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Hopefully I got all the last minute stuff taken care of though. All that's left is mailing a few more cards and getting the presents for the NICU up to Primary Children's.

One really good thing that happened today was a session with Paul. The past few days I debated whether or not I should just cancel it because I've been feeling so good about things. This morning I realized that while I feel great overall, I've had several crying sessions lately. Last night also brought some things to light that have made me really think about relationships and how things are going with certain people.

We talked about how well Molly is doing and I let him know about the most amazing appointment ever with her GI on the 5th. We also talked about things I've become concerned with since then. She didn't do well when we took her off her reflux medication, so we will be seeing Dr. Pohl again because he has to do follow ups every six months for kids on reflux medication long term. Not a big deal, we'll just try again every six months until she's ok without it. Her reaction, or lack there of, to the blood draw is different. It made us realize that the nerve damage on the left side of her body is most likely permanent. Not insurmountable, but definitely something we will have to be on extra alert for to make sure she doesn't get unnecessarily injured.

I don't know why this revelation is hitting me so hard, but for some reason it is. I think putting a medical term to it is bothering me a lot. For some reason, saying she has brain damage doesn't bother me. When I put it in the context of a stroke or cerebral palsy, I have a meltdown. Nothing's changed but the word I use to describe it, but it seems to make a huge difference to me. So Paul told me to stop looking for a medical term and just celebrate the ways Molly has surprised us. I think I needed the proverbial 'slap in the face' to stop that train of thought.

Paul moved on to Christmas and how I am holding up. I told him I'm doing much better than I thought I would be, but I would be lying if I said the past week hasn't totally stressed me out. In the past, all I've wanted was to be with as much family as possible for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I love the chaos, and screaming, and excitement that comes from all the kids together. But this year I'm craving quiet simplicity. All I want is to be at home with my family and my parents and celebrate the birth of the Lord completely together, without the distractions of everyone else.

Trying to get this across without totally offending some family members is the problem. I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. I know either way we will have a fabulous Christmas, I just want to feel like I'm in more control of it this year I guess. Paul recommended putting a fixed time limit on anything to do with someone else because our family is still healing from everything's that happened and shouldn't be forgotten. He even said I could blame everything on him if we decide to stay home. :)

I just wish it was that simple.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Memory Replacement

One year ago today (Dec. 6th), I got the phone call that no parent ever wants to get. The 'get to the hospital right now because your kid isn't doing well at all' call. When I arrived at the hospital I ended up pacing the floor for over an hour before they would let me back to see her because 'there are too many medical personnel working on her'. Once again, I knew what they were saying, but I didn't fully process it. It began a two day vigil to see what would happen. She had several crashes/codes/whatever you want to call it over a 20 hour period(the most likely source of the brain damage). At the time I forced myself to take a picture solely because I knew one day I would want one.

Fast forward one year.

Today was Molly's follow up with her GI. I was hoping to hear that she was doing well, and would only need follow up visits once a year and labs done once a year. Maybe get clearance to attempt dairy and think about switching her off of formula. What happened was even better than that.

He looked at her, examined everything, listened to everything, then we talked about how we handled her 'reactions' and what we were feeding her. Then he told me that she seems to be 100% adapted (about 2 years earlier than we thought she would), and from his perspective she is a completely normal kid now!!!! He was shocked at how good we've been with food, then he told me that there are no restrictions moving forward! That we should work on weaning her to whole milk, and no food was off limits (but still take the introduction to each thing nice and slow to see if she'll react first). I couldn't believe it! I asked about the prevacid and he said to take her off as of tonight and see how she does.

If it was possible to float on air, I think I would have. In my wildest dreams the appointment didn't go that well. As we walked past the hospital gift shop, I decided to get a little Christmas decoration to symbolize the awesomeness of the day. And then I cried on and off the whole way home.

We did the bloodwork to test levels of vitamins a, d, e, b12, iron, and her blood count. A while later, Dr. Pohl called me himself to tell me that everything came back totally normal!!!!! We can take her off the vitamin D supplement (meaning her bones are no longer overly brittle) too! I hung up and started to cry.

If someone would have said a year ago that today Molly would be doing so amazingly well, I would laughed in their face and told them to dream on. It would be impossible not to recognize the multiple miracles we have seen in Molly's short life already. The irony of the date was not lost on me. I've decided I could not have asked for a better memory replacement for the day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who I Am

Once again, I had a great session with Paul today. The first half was just updating on Molly and how I've been handling everything so far. He agreed that making the 2010 family scrapbook was a great therapeutic experience. Both from the finish what you start perspective, and from the 'need to process what happened last year' perspective. I feel like things are finally getting to a good place overall. It was really helpful that Adam was doing the book with me, so we had time to sit and talk about Molly, as well as recognize all the fun and great things that happened during the year. I can't wait to for it to get here.

The second half was spent discussing something I'm still struggling with-not having hurt/angry feeling towards certain people in my life. I felt like I was moving on and getting past things, but the last few weeks I've really struggling with feelings about myself and certain people. He pointed out a few things that helped me a lot.

First, he said there are people who are driven by compassion and cooperation, then there are people that are driven by comparison and competition. As an individual it's important to recognize where your personal values lay. Once you know that, you learn to naturally avoid people that don't share that same fundamental personality. Which makes total sense in my life. I feel like I know my niche, and get reall uncomfortable when I'm around people I feel aren't in the same place.

Second, he said that when I allow myself to dwell on the anger or hurt, it's basically letting them become the 'expert witness' on who you are. Any time you compare yourself to someone else, that's the control you're letting go. So at the end of the day, if that person doesn't know you well enough to be your 'expert witness', it's not worth forfeiting that power to them. In my case, the certain people have absolutely no clue who I am, or what I value. So I need to decide to call a different 'expert' so to speak.

Third, he said when you find someone that just rubs you wrong way, it's a good time to let them be your teacher in a way. Sit down and evaluate what it is that really bothers me, and determine where that trait is in my value system. Once you can recognize the reasons behind the emotion it's a lot easier to turn them into a positive and move past the anger and hurt.

We also spoke about how to avoid that inferior feeling that some people are so good at bringing out in some people. Learning to be at peace with who you are can prevent that feeling from creeping in. No one is superior or inferior to anyone else-it's a matter of how we allow ourselves to feel around someone else. I don't need to be good at everything. I'm starting to realize that how I've pulled through this past year is a much better indication of what is important to me and who I am than my ability to make something look good/taste good/sound good, etc. At the end of the day, that's who I am.

And you know what? I'm okay with that.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving back

This past week has been a whirlwind of craziness. So many big things happening at once. The luncheon for Molly at the NICU of Primary Children's went great. I was worried that there wouldn't be enough food, but once I got everything in one spot it was plenty. I didn't really get to talk to any families or staff, which was good and bad. There was one grandpa in the hall as things were getting set up. His granddaughter was born on the 17th with gastrochisis(one of the leading causes of short gut in babies), and was having surgery while I was there. Talk about memories coming back. Different cause, but same time line for everything. I've thought about them a lot since then, and pray the surgery went well and his little granddaughter didn't lose too much intestine.

In talking the with NICU parent coordinator I realized how grateful I am that everything with Molly happened last year. This year is looking like it's going to be NASTY. In a 50 bed NICU, they only had one bed available, then they were going to start diverting babies to other hospitals. When Molly was there I don't think it was ever more than half full. The RSV lockdown started all over the state on the 14th in response to how bad things are already. It makes me so thankful last year wasn't as bad and the kids were able to meet Molly at least once before she came home.

Molly's birthday celebration was fun. She understood more than I thought she would. Her cake was a big flop though. The cake itself actually tasted pretty good, which surprised me. The frosting was a different story altogether. It was possibly one of the nastiest things I've tasted in a long time. When it came time to sing and blow out the candle, Molly attacked the cupcake too fast for any pictures or singing. BUT, all she did was destroy it and smash it with her fingers. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with the actual tasting. Apparently she follows her fellow short gutters in not liking sweets. So the two months of me prepping her to tolerate it really didn't matter in the end. Silly girl. :)

With Thanksgiving this week we celebrated the one year mark of being able to hold Molly. AND everyone was healthy enough that we went to my in-laws house with the entire family for dinner. The kids were so excited to play with cousins, and Molly tried turkey and mashed potatoes and loved them. A few hours later several of my teenage nieces kept telling me she needed her diaper changed, but I let them know it was just gas. I have a feeling lots of air fresheners will be at future Thanksgiving meals.

We also took pictures of the entire family for the first time in eight years. Sarah screamed bloody murder almost the whole time, while Molly was happy as could be and just started yelling to fit in. It was pretty funny. I can't wait to see how the pictures turn out though.

The other thing that's been taking all my time is making a scrapbook for our family for 2010. It's taken a LOT of hours, but has actually been really therapeutic for me. I'm also realizing just how much fun our family managed to squeeze into a bad year. So instead of looking at the next few months with dread, I'm actually getting excited.

Now weight wise, things are crappy. Ok, not weight wise, but size wise. I did pretty well on Thanksgiving day, as most of the dishes aren't really tempting to me. However, exercise has become really sporadic and my core is showing it in a major way. I really need to refocus my efforts there. Although I did to the turkey trot in Eagle Mountain, which is 3.7 miles and it didn't seem hard at all. In fact, I told Adam that next year the whole family is doing it together, whether they like it or not.

With most of our Christmas shopping done, I'm going to try and work on different ways to give back over the holidays. We are going to do a gift for the NICU babies on Christmas morning, but that's about all I really have planned so far. So if you hear of any fun or personal ways that we can get involved in some service over the next two or three months, let me know.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Day Has Come

Wow. Today is the day. Little Miss Molly turned one this morning at 6:17 am!! I have been afraid for this day to get here for months now. Now that it's here, all I feel is overwhelming joy and gratitude. The kids have been SO excited for the past week. Every morning they jump out of bed and announce the countdown to today. While Molly has absolutely no comprehension of anything that's going on, our family is more excited for this birthday than any other one I can think of.

One year ago right now the doctor was coming into my room to tell me that Molly was septic and bruising much too easily to be normal, and would I give permission for her to receive a transfusion of clotting factors? I had no idea the flood gates this discovery would open. Twelve hours later, the doctor was back informing me that they ran further tests and discovered an obstruction in her bowels. Even now I'm still grateful that the reality of the situation didn't sink in. I heard the words, I knew they were serious, but I really didn't understand.

Looking at her now, you would NEVER guess her medical history. All you would see is a super chubby, super squishy baby with a GINORMOUS head. For that I am also thankful. I'm thankful her scars are easily covered. I'm thankful that she's progressing so well.

I am also thankful to have a functioning body back. A year ago I wasn't capable of walking, sitting, turning, lifting, etc. Now I feel fit and ready to do just about anything. It's nice to know my body can do whatever I want it to again.

Yesterday was another session with Paul. This time we talked about Molly's milestones and he celebrated with me. I love that he remembers so much about her history. We also talked a lot about my inability to casually socialize anymore. A few weeks ago I went to the wedding of a cousin-in-law. It was beautiful and great to see some extended family we haven't seen in a while. But it was also glaringly apparent that I have no clue how to shoot the breeze anymore. Things have just been too serious and too stressful for so long and I hardly ever interact in person anymore. So this holiday season, I'm going to try to focus on that instead of the negative memories from last year.

Tomorrow is Molly's life celebration. We are doing a lunch buffet for the NICU families up at Primary Children's since we can't go anywhere. I'm really nervous to be back there, but other families doing the same thing while Molly was there meant the world to me. Seeing and hearing about how well their child was doing at one gave me so much hope at a time it was really needed. Hopefully we can do the same for some of the families there now.

So Happy Birthday to my little Chubbylumkins! We survived the first year!!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Life is trucking along. Adam and I actually went on an over night trip to Park City last weekend. It was great. I had a minor anxiety attack that night, but worked through it and by the next morning I realized my mind made no sense at all. Things are staying busy and not nearly as anxiety ridden as I was afraid it would be this month. Something I am extremely thankful for and hope it continues for the next couple of months.

Last week in my session with Paul we talked about little man for a while. He's been driving me CRAZY with his attitude lately. Paul's suggestion was a great one-have dad do an intervention. Instead of always getting on his case for what he's doing wrong, have dad sit down and talk about something they can do together or some prize he can earn if he starts listening to me better and showing more respect. So simple, yet never would have occurred to me in a million years. I heart therapy sometimes.

One setback is with Molly lately. Her eyes have started going cross. I noticed it for the first time right before meeting with her speech therapist, then the therapist pointed it out first thing during our appointment. That was with her left eye. Then last week her right eye started acting like it's got a mind of it's own for two days. I made an appointment with the opthalmologist, but couldn't get in until the end of December.

After posting on the short gut support group to see if anyone else had experienced this, I realized that it might not be genetics at play. It could be tied to her brain damage. Once I realized that I called and left a message for the doctor to see if they felt it was urgent enough to get Molly in sooner. Unfortunately, it is urgent enough. I got the call this morning that Dr. Larsen wants to see her this week. So tomorrow morning it's off we go to figure out if it's genetics at work and we'll just do glasses for now, or if it's a sign of something more serious and we need to get the imaging done and meet with a neurologist.

I'm crossing all my fingers and toes it's the first one.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Howl-O-Ween 5k

My oldest daughter and I ran a local 5k the Saturday before Halloween. Today I had a chance to look up the results and we did it in 33:32!!! I am so stinkin' proud of my little girl!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


wow. I've lost all control around sugar. I think I've survived off of sugar cookies for about a week now. Not good. Funny thing, all the candy doesn't really tempt me. There's just something about a sugar cookie with frosting and candy corn on it that I can't say no to.

Halloween ended up being a crazy day. We woke up that morning to little man with croup, and big baby taking off her diaper before her morning pee and poo business. It was great...NOT. I spent the entire day sanitizing and cleaning. We got little man his steroid shot and banned him to his bedroom so nothing would be shared with either baby.

When it was time to get everyone ready, big baby found some candy corn in a bag and promptly ate all of them. Apparently some fell on the floor because a little while later I noticed Molly had something in her mouth. Turned out to be a piece of candy corn. Since she's never been exposed to sugar and I wasn't sure what her reaction would be, I changed our plans for the 10th time and just stayed home with her while Adam took to big kids to a chili/trunk or treat party at his parents' house.

LUCKILY, Molly's reaction was no where near as bad as I feared. Some bad burps, the worst smelling gas ever, and diarrhea the next morning!!!!!! I'm getting so much braver to experiment with food with her after that 'incident'.

I spent the night giving out candy and playing with Molly. When the big kids got home, the girls went out with some friends because they wanted more loot. And boy did they get it.

So overall, it was a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! What did anyone else do?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Molly's Newest Therapist

Yesterday Molly had her first appointment with Nancy Murray, her newest therapist. I don't quite know how to categorize her because she has degrees in audiology, speech pathology, certification in specialized music therapy, and works at a neuro rehab center. It one was the most informative sessions I've ever had. She is truly a gold mine of information for me.

First, in doing a quick assessment she thinks Molly is actually closer to 8-9 months developmentally, not the 5-6 months we've been thinking. YEAH!!!! We spent the entire hour discussing everything I've been worried about from a developmental standpoint.

One of the biggest things I took away from our session was when I am working on something with Molly, work on only one thing at a time. If we're doing something physical, give her whatever makes her happy to do it. Don't worry about language, sensory things, or new toys because it can overload her system and delay her progress. The other thing was to never use 'baby talk' when when working on word association. I don't really do that anyways, but it makes sense why that would be counterproductive.

We talked a lot about music and the role it can play in organizing the brain. The method she thinks Molly would be perfect for is called the Listening Program. We tried out the first cd and Molly loved the music and didn't mind having headphones on. She did try to eat the cord, but we can work on that. Nancy spoke from personal experience about it as she has one child with severe ADHD and one with severe brain trauma. When her ADHD child is listening to the music, they can get her to sit down and eat an entire meal with the family without interruptions. I'm thinking we'll get for her for Christmas.

Nancy talked a lot about bubbles. Apparently they are one the best therapies for babies because it combines physical, sensory, language (as long as you talk a lot while doing it), and fine/gross motor skills without them realizing they're working. It was so cute to see Molly react to them.

Something else she warned me about was not to expect any kind of big language development until Molly progresses more with physical development. I never thought about it, but speech is linked to stomach, hip, and butt muscles, so if those aren't developed and stable, speech cannot develop properly. So until she is more confident with standing or figures out crawling, most of her language development will be listening to us and trying to form verbal connections to things.

Food wise, she had some awesome suggestions for me. I've been struggling with finding ways to introduce textures without vomit or massive stomach pain be the association. Some ideas were to use evaporated cane juice as a sugar substitute, spoon one spoonful of applesauce into her oatmeal and if she tolerates it increase the amount over time to help her intestines adapt slower, crumble up goldfish crackers into her veggies, try plain yogurt mixed into her veggies to experiment with dairy. I've already tried the applesauce with oatmeal, and she loved it!!

I know I've forgotten some of the things I wanted to write down. I'm so thankful we were able to meet with her and can't wait to use her ideas.

PS-Nancy also noticed something I was debating about being there. Molly's left eye has started to go cross the past week and half or so. Since someone else has noticed it, we'll be visiting the opthalmologist sooner than I thought.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Lots of things have been going on this past week. For me, I discovered that I've lost some more weight! A total surprise and very exciting. I really don't want to lose anymore though. It's nice to be back to the me I remember-just lots of extra 'grandma' skin. haha. The kids have been playing outside almost non-stop lately. I truly love fall in Utah. It's the best.

Molly is being weird today. Lots of random vomit, choking, and burping. I really hope it's not a warning of an infection. On the bright side, she's doing really well with food this past week. AND I think I found a cake recipe she can actually eat!! I picked up the specialty ingredients yesterday and will try to add them to her baby food and see if she has any weird reactions. We'll see if I can figure out the world of coconut oil, coconut flour, and flavored liquid stevia (which costs a crap load of money-the recipe calls for 10 DROPS of it). I'm really hoping it works.

I spoke with Paul yesterday. We talked about goals, and the benefits of writing them down. We also talked about learning to broaden your perspective to actually see the world around you instead of wearing blinders all the time, so to speak. I've found myself doing that lately. Sometimes I get so caught up in the maintenance of Molly and the house,etc. that I don't even notice what the weather is like outside, let alone what's happening beyond our house.

We also spoke about friendships. That is something I have struggled with my entire life. I feel like I'm that socially awkward person that just can't get it right. A few years ago there was an incident that brought all of my insecurities out in full force when someone I thought was a friend came over and proceeded to tell me that she doesn't like me and it's my fault because she's a good person and doesn't feel like this about anyone else so it's obviously me, blah, blah, blah. I cried myself to sleep for a week (of course Adam was out of town that week), and haven't had the courage to get out there since. A lot of that is due to health issues with Sarah and Molly, but still.

When I brought that up, Paul told me about his parents and how there were always a ton of people at his house. When his dad was dying, he told Paul that he was a rich man because he had been blessed to have three true friends in his life. That threw him off, but realized what his dad meant as he thought it through the next few years. I think that might be my hang up. I'm searching for this really deep, amazing friendship, but I want it with everyone. Paul suggested to gain more confidence I needed to start with my immediate family, then branch out to extended family first. Those are the friendships that need the most attention.

I liked that because it's something I've been thinking about with my kids. I want them to have a childhood that they can get laugh at when they're older and reminiscing together. He suggested to find things to celebrate and just do it. That's definitely an area I could do better in, so that's what I'm working on with the older kids this holiday season.

We also discussed depression and things to look for if I find myself struggling the next few months. One thing I never considered as a sign of depression is the overall perspective-do you overly generalize and turn everything into catastrophy, or are your reactions relevant to the specific incident? I'm for sure a more catastrophic person. Hmmm. Makes you think. Obviously, stress the past few years plays a part in it as well, but it helps me to put things in perspective as to whether or not I'm falling into a depression again.

The last bit of perspective this past week was with Adam's car. Apparently, a mouse decided to set up house in his engine, then bit the big one at some point. When we realized it was more than just a dead mouse smell, we couldn't get a place to give us a price(not even an estimate). We started imagining the worst. While waiting to find out the cost of a dead mouse, my sister called and informed me that while opening her trunk door the entire glass top fell on her head and shattered into a million pieces. The cost to repair it is $1400, and the car is worth maybe $400. OUCH. So when Adam called and said his car would be $270, we breathed a huge sigh of relief that it wasn't more.

Gotta love perspective...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Playing the Odds and Hope Phobia

Yesterday I finally made it back in for a session with Paul. It was REALLY needed. We talked a lot about Molly (if I write it all up it will be a separate post) and the discoveries made this past week. We also spoke about how I'm dealing with the memories that are hitting hard as her birthday gets closer. He always make me feel more normal, which I need.

He pointed out that my body's reactions to the memories will most likely follow classic PTSD the next few months. As the weather gets colder, it triggers memories. Each holiday, certain smells, certain songs, even certain clothes are triggering memories. And most of them are NOT pleasant. I wasn't able to process anything as it happened last year, so as my body is reminded, I'm processing them now.

The thing is, I really don't WANT to dwell on most of the memories. Yes, they happened. Yes, they changed the course of my life forever. But the panic, anxiety and tears are not things I want to relive in any way. The problem is that when everything was happening, I didn't really understand what was going on. Now, I get it. I understand completely just how close we came to losing Molly, and just how dangerous some of the mistakes were, and just how life altering the repercussions are.

When I asked Paul how am I supposed to let myself process things without dwelling on it, his answer comforted me. He reminded me that there are no guarantees with Molly. When people try to give comfort and start saying things like "well, she's going to be just fine" and "you don't need to worry anymore", it actually increases my anxiety because it's reminding me that there's NO WAY that is guaranteed. So the best thing to do is 'play the odds'. Meaning, yes, I know there are no guarantees, but CHANCES ARE she's not going to be that bad again. And the ODDS are very slim that she will be in that condition this holiday season. By looking at it from a statistical point of view, it's actually much more calming. Yes, there's always a chance she'll get sick again, but that's not what's likely to happen at this point.

While discussing the recent developments (short story-brain damage was more extensive than we hoped for), we talked about something I was thinking about on my drive over. When I think of the difficulties Molly might face as she grows up, my heart literally feels like it's breaking. All I want to do is take every embarrassment, illness, misunderstanding, EVERYTHING and feel it for myself to protect her. I thought I understood what it mean to be a mother/parent before, but Molly has shown me the true depths of a mother's love and compassion for her children. As I think of how much I want to protect her, I think of what Heavenly Father must have felt watching His Only Begotten. I truly think our bodies are not physically capable of understanding that level of love and compassion. We can appreciate it, but we will are incapable of empathizing.

Another topic we talked about was something I've thought about for a while now-my inability to finish things. The last couple of weeks of the weight loss competition I found myself sabotaging my efforts. There was this idea of 'I'm done with this, It's lasted too long and I should just quit'. I had to keep forcing myself to focus and stay on target. I realized afterwards that I do that to myself with pretty much everything. How many thousands of projects/trips/surprises, etc. have I thought about or started but never finished????

When I asked him about it he said the best description he has for it is called 'Hope Phobia'. The best example is vacations. You think about wanting to go, then you start planning it. You get really excited about all the amazing things you're going to do. Then you think about the letdown of coming home, and decide to just bag the whole trip because you don't want to feel the disappointment of coming home. The fear of letting yourself experience the full range of emotion keeps you from doing anything that would swing emotions too far one way or the other. In trying to keep yourself from feeling the negative, you end up losing all the good in the process and just feel neutral all the time.

For me, that makes so much sense and is really true. In my fear of looking uneducated or embarrassed, I just give up instead. We talked about how to get out of the cycle of that. He said the best way to do it is by letting the implicit become the explicit. With the competition, I had to write things down. It kept me grounded when I wanted to give up. Paul also said that we have to give ourselves permission to feel ALL emotions, good and bad. Even if it's something small, find ways to celebrate life and find joy. And don't be afraid to feel the bad when it comes either-just don't dwell on it.

Along the same lines, I asked him how I prevent my kids from doing the same thing (as I see it in them to a degree already). His answer??? By modeling the behavior and pacing them. He also said to look for specific behaviors to encourage and be sure to acknowledge them when I see them.

So I'm taking his advice. Paige asked me if we could run a 5k together on the 29th, just her and me. Normally I'm completely against paying to run. But then I thought about how Paige is finding something great right now. I really want her to learn to love being active. And if that's a way the two of us can bond, how awesome is that??? (and way better than a tradition of food) So, I signed us up. It might take her forever to actually finish, but we'll be wearing costumes so at least it'll be funny. I'm finding myself getting really excited about it now.

If you're in the neighborhood, you should come join us!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

This past weekend turned into the semi-annual switching of the wardrobes at our house. While making massive piles of kids clothes to pass on to our neighbor, I decided to go through my clothes as well. I discovered my 'super skinny' jeans in the process. I set them out, but was too chicken to actually try them on. Afterall, I only wore them twice before the 2.5 year pregnancy saga began.

When I went to get dressed today I figured, what the heck? Let's just see how close I am. And then the most amazing thing happened....they fit!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. I am literally dancing around the house today with this discovery.

Friday, October 7, 2011

All Kinds of Crazy

Alright. I lasted almost a whole week after the competition before I broke down and bought myself a 20 below chocolate shake this morning. That's progress right???? I'm now freezing inside and out, but it was divine. Big Baby thinks so too, as she hijacked half of it.

Today was a follow up appointment with Molly's rehab specialist. While overall things went really well, I still felt sad as we left. She's making some great progress, especially in fine/gross motor skills. However, Dr. Gooch said tortecullis (sp?)is starting to develop. So I REALLY need to step up the massaging and stretching so it doesn't get any worse. She also wants Early Intervention to do a cognitive evaluation as she is seeing some signs of developmental delays. I got a referral for a speech therapist/audiologist she wants me to meet with. Doesn't mean she needs therapy yet, but apparently this therapist specializes in the use of music for brain development. Since Molly LOVES music and always has, she wants us to really utilize music as much as possible in helping her brain overcome the damage.

We also talked a little bit about her physical development. Dr. Gooch was hoping Molly would be crawling now, but she's no where even close yet. Since Molly is much more fond of standing, she said to go with that as she needs the standing practice to help develop her hips and feet properly.

I'm so sad that she's showing signs of developmental delays on top of the physical delays. I'm glad that we are catching it now and being proactive about it though. Combine that with her upcoming birthday and I've been quite the jekyll and hyde emotionally lately. Now it's only six weeks away I'm forcing myself to start making some decisions. We still want to do something for the NICU families at Primary's and possibly Timpanogos. I finally got in touch with the right person so we can move forward there. I'm excited about giving back, but I know that I'll be a sobbing wreck going back there that day.

I'm also torn with how to celebrate. I want Molly to have some kind of food to tear into and eat, but there's just not anything she can handle yet. We thought rice cereal was okay, but nope, that's off the list. Thought she was handling spinach and sweet potatoes, but both of those got taken off the list yesterday due to poo issues and vomiting. I've tried websites and blogs and friend's ideas, but I'm at a total loss. Adam says to just get a thing of spam and use the cookie cutters, and I'm starting to feel like that might be the best option. It just feels so discouraging.

I thought I was moving in a direction away from needing my therapist so much, but now I realize that won't be the case until I get through the holiday season. So many memories and emotions are starting to pop up to the surface from last year. If only there was a way to just turn off parts of your brain for a little while...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A (not so) Gentle Reminder

So after I weighed in and sent off my final weigh in pictures, I decided to participate in our oldest family tradition...the semi-annual donut breakfast. These are the only days of the year I allow my kiddos to indulge. I ate my token cake donut, then spent the next three hours sick as a dog in the bathroom. By the time dinner rolled around, we were frantic for a quick meal and ordered a sausage pizza from a local pizzeria. I then spent the next 2.5 days totally sick and living in the bathroom.

Why does food hate me so much? I wasn't gorging on anything. I was relaxing just a little in the food department and ended up losing almost 5 pounds in 2 days.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Last Weigh In

So that's it. I lasted for the whole competition. I didn't get down quite as far as I wanted but I did get back to my prepregnancy weight. I am much happier with who I am now. It is exciting to think about where I am going from here. Hopefully everyone will continue to blog about their journey. Some great habits have begun. Here's to making them last!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


As I come to the final few days for the competition, I just wanted to jot down some things I've been thinking about this week. For me, this competition happened at the perfect time in my life. It's provided a huge distraction from Molly, which was really needed. It's helped me bring myself back to balanced(or at least get me mostly there). It's helped me get rid of all the baby/hospital weight quickly rather than taking two years to get off. It's been a great focus point when I'm tempted to give in to emotional eating.

I've loved pulling out the final bin of clothes this past week. I'm back to my 'normal' clothes. I don't know that I'll ever get back into my 'skinny' wardrobe as there is too much extra skin around my middle, but I'm willing to give up that goal at this point. I'm definitely going to use the money I've won here to work on my wardrobe. I might even get a new pair of shoes as mine are completely shot at this point.

There are still 5.5 weeks left of P90X and I'm excited to see what else changes. I went for an extra run today. Just a small one (2 miles), but it felt great and super easy. Cross training is really making a huge difference. I didn't have my familiar pain in my lower back or my hamstrings. That alone is pretty awesome to me.

On a down side, there was one aspect that I was bummed about in the competition. I really thought there would be more blogging and commenting on each other's blogs. I don't know if anyone from the competition has looked at any of my blogs in the last couple of months since no one has commented on anything. I'm really hoping that is because everyone is super focused on their own journey, and not from discouragement. I love to hear how everyone is doing and I am truly cheering for everyone in their quest for better health. I hope no one has given up, because you are MOST DEFINITELY worth it!!!!

It's weird to think that once again, a new phase is starting for me. I hope that I can maintain the discipline I've found the past four months. It's been fun, and crazy, and a great experience.

THANK YOU KARILYNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011


This week has been really weird for me. I'm tired, but have more energy. My balance is totally off, but I managed to do some extra workouts. Very strange. I think I might start doing a multi vitamin to see if it helps.

Last night was my debut back into rec volleyball at my church. I haven't played since I was 7 months pregnant with Bitty(two years ago). It was so much fun and a great workout. I stayed after the official game was over to play with some people that meet every week to play. I was definitely rusty and I've lost the calluses on my arms. So today my forearms are SUPER tender and sore. So are my back and hamstrings.

I'm really glad next week is a resting week for P90X. My muscles need a break from the strength building stuff for sure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another Big Milestone

In order to be fair, I must pay homage to my little man as he turned 5 years old today! We actually had a really fun, and much needed date. I got an awesome workout in while he was at preschool. When I picked him up it was time for one-on-one time. We went bowling (his favorite game), got some lunch, played some games at the bowling alley, got him a special cupcake from Dippidee's, and did some shopping with a gift card from the grandparents. I discovered something new-my chunk is a serious shopper! He was so cute deciding what he wanted to get. He even bought me a pair of Halloween socks (once I informed him that the ones he picked out were actually in my size, not his).

He is one amazing kiddo. For being COMPLETELY surrounded by girls, he manages to stay 100% boy. Although he does it while wearing pink dresses and high heels sometimes. He is the biggest sweetheart when he wants to be and is so sweet and soft with Molly and Bitty. One of my favorite things about him lately is at the end of every day he wants to know if he had a 'rockstar' day. When I say yes he gets so excited. They don't happen all the time, but when they do he is the most amazing helper in every way.

Last night he opened his present from us-a soccer ball, cones, and a goal for the backyard. He was SOOOOO excited to try them out. I love that he finally wants to go play outside! Tonight we went to his big sister's race, and he was such a great cheerleader for her. Love you little man!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Big Milestone

Today my oldest turned 9. It's so crazy to think about what's happened since then. Nine years ago tonight, I was sitting in the hospital just staring at the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. Literally. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I remember the panic attack I had when we were getting ready to come home and she was screaming so loud. Nothing I did could calm her down...then Daddy picked her up and there was instant silence. (He's hijacked all the kids like that) Now she's entering the 'tweenage' years and is still one amazing and beautiful kid.

Tomorrow she is running in her first official race. It's one mile long and will be at BYU (we're happy to have cheerleaders come join us) at 6:20. She was so excited for today, yet so nervous about tomorrow. We've had fun talking about what to eat before a race so her body will act the way she wants it to. Part of me really wishes I could run with her just to cheer her on the entire way. (And then I'm happy that I can think that and have my body capable of actually doing it). I just might be more nervous than she is at this point.

So many exciting things going on at the same time (tomorrow is also my son's birthday). She is so nervous that she won't win, so we've talked a lot about how winning isn't the goal at this point. Finishing is. Winning can be the goal later on. I just hope she is proud of what she's done so far and keeps on trying.

**UPDATE: She did great! I think I had her eat too close to the race, but she only stopped and walked one time. She even had a BYU runner stay with her the entire time. I have no clue what her time was, but I was so proud of her for setting a goal and pushing herself to accomplish it! I admit, I choked up a little when she started and again when I saw her cross the finish line. Hopefully this is the first of many races to come!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Teaching Moments

This past week has screamed 'teaching moments' to me. I've had some really nice heart to heart talks with all of my children (that can talk). With Paige we spoke about the importance of finishing and what's truly important about running a race and also why having a goal of 'skinniness' isn't what we should strive for-HEALTHY is. With Reagan we spoke about not giving up when facing a new challenge (crocheting in this instance) and religious tolerance and how every family gets to set their own rules, and that's great. With Tyson we spoke about why TV and video games aren't the end all be all and the injustice of when his birthday falls(3 weeks after the cutoff).

It blows me away how much our kids pick up and learn from observation. It's really made me think about what I want my kids to learn from me-particularly in the health and body image department. I'm very careful not to use words like skinny and fat, and I always try to explain the health factor behind the food choices I make for our family. When my girls started talking about who was skinnier and asked me if their legs were skinny enough, I was blown away. How can they be learning this stuff at 8 and 6 years old???? Needless to say, we've had several discussions on what healthy means and how to get there.

It's also helped me refocus on the purpose of this competition. WEIGHT is not the end all be all....BETTER HEALTH is. I've made a goal to really focus on expanding my cooking skills to make things that are more 'fun' for the kids. Yesterday we experimented with homemade chocolate chip granola bars. Super easy and super yummy!! Now when I get the big puppy dog eyes for some kind of treat in their lunches, there's something I'll actually let them take. It made me want to learn more and experiment more, and get them involved so they'll always know how to make the smarter choice.

Knowledge is power, right? So the best thing I can pass on to my kids is the HOW and WHY a healthier lifestyle is better. And the only way to teach it is to know for myself.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 days down...

I can't believe there's only 3 weeks left to the competition. Part of me is ready for it to be finished as I'm losing my drive as I get closer to my end goal weight. Then there's part of me that's wondering what else I can do with the motivation of a competition like this one.

There has been little to no extra energy for additional workouts this week, I'm just plain pooped out. My glutes haven't been this sore for a LONG time. Hopefully that means I'm pushing myself better?

Molly is doing much, much better. After waiting for three days to hear back from the GI specialist, I finally got a phone call yesterday. It felt good to talk to Dr. Pohl about everything. At this point he says that it appears she will face more constipation issues (meaning lack of working intestines), then things going too quickly (hyper active intestines). He thinks we need to add a non sugar based laxative to her diet so she can better process her food. Something called lactoluse or whatever. It also sounds like I should've taken her in last week, but made the right changes to correct the issue overall.

Another frustrating this this week is the return of my tension headaches. When one starts I swear I wish I could just cut off my head. I just wish I could figure out what the trigger is for them. I'm getting tons of fluids, really stretching my neck and back throughout the day, and trying to get the right amount of sleep. Blech.

And one little side note-I miss my candy corn. I usually live on them from now until mid November when I run out. I know a lot of people think they're gross, but I've become quite addicted since discovering I don't always do well with chocolate. I'll probably end up buying myself a bag October 1st to celebrate. Maybe. Unless this really good self-control manages to stick around...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Say What???

How the heck are we already a week into September? I am so not prepared for this month. Two birthday parties (and presents) to figure out, several other friend parties, running races, and all my other kids. Oh yeah, and a girls weekend to plan. Guess I should've planned better last month.

I did go a little lax on my eating over the weekend, but not as bad as I predicted I would. I did each a bunch of oreos, oatmeal peanut butter choco chip cookie dough, and half a piece of chocolate zucchini cake. I'll admit. It made me miss junk food. It also helped calm my nerves regarding Molly. However, I want to finish losing this extra weight more, so no more down time in regards to food.

This week is back to strength training for P90X. And today I am just as sore as I was after the first day. CRAZY!! I did mostly survive the plyometrics workout today though, which is a huge improvement from a month ago. And I think there might be just a hint of definition forming in my stomach. That hasn't happened....well ever. Even when I was competing in high school I never had that. It's a good feeling.

Today I met with Paul again and talked about my paranoia over Molly. I still haven't started food again, but she is consistently getting more fluid and her poop is soooooo much better. And I've learned how she'll react to sugar. We thought it would be intense diaper issues, but instead it's intense vomiting. Talk about a way to stay on track with junk food. Just get your body to completely reject sugar.

I think I'm doing better, but I'm back to being terrified to leave her with anyone again. If only she could learn how to talk, my life would be far less stressful.

We also talked about the importance movement has on your emotional and mental well being. He told me about several studies that did advance brain imaging with the subjects over a period of time and the brain showed vast differences with even just 15 to 20 minutes a day of being active, particularly with exercise that works on balance. The exercise that showed the biggest overall improvement was swimming. Something about the way you utilize every single muscle is like a massage for your central nervous system and helps with everything from mood, to concentration, to circulation.

I can definitely see how that would be the case. My mind seems much calmer and able to cope with life when I'm active. He shared a couple of stories of past patients that were able to change everything in their life just by learning to ride a bike at 82, or going for a hike once a week. Crazy how our body is so tied to our mind. Change one for the better, and everything goes for the better.

So my goal for this month is to be good with my food choices, and make sure I get my entire family active every day. What are some of your goals for the month??

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Molly Logs

I need to write down some info for Molly and since no one comments here, I'm guessing not many people read it. So I'm sorry in advance if I gross you out (if you don't like poop talk, this post is NOT for you).

She has been acting weird for about a week and half. At first it was just some fussiness I related to sleepiness. This past week has changed my opinion.

Monday-extreme fussiness about an hour after eating. Slept ok. Late afternoon pain screaming for about 45 minutes. Once she stopped I realized she was poopy. When I changed her diaper it was extremely odorous, very hard, almost dry looking. Dark gray color. Smell and texture made me think dehydration. Started tracking wet diapers.

Tuesday- More of the same. Late afternoon pain screaming resulted in very large, dark gray, very solid poop. Very smelly and dry looking again. No really wet diapers, just a few smelly urine diapers. When she did urinate, it was a little darker, but not brown.

Wednesday- Decided to eliminate food from the equation in the hopes that I pushed too hard, too fast. Have introduced turkey, green beans, and peas (all mixed in rice cereal)in the past three weeks. Symptoms started on second day of peas (if there's a correlation). Only poops for the day were very small rabbit pellets. Again dark gray in color and very hard. Gas eased up a little bit and Molly started waking up several times during the night. Spoke with a nurse and started getting paperwork together to take her to the hospital for IV fluids. Nurse suggested waiting one more day.

Thursday- Still no food, only bottles. She finished one for the first time in almost two weeks (she had been leaving 2-3 oz in bottles recently). Started trying to switch formula to similac sensitive thinking the sugar in it might help her with constipation issues. She did have a more normal poop in the late afternoon with minimal fussiness prior. Large amount, dark gray color, texture was smooth and between mucousy and watery. Still woke up several times during the night. Urine output increased noticeably.

Friday-Only bottles. One very small poop. Same as Thursday. Dark grey, smotth, and between mucousy and watery. Bad night sleep again. Started vomiting small amounts of curdled food.

Saturday- All bottles are only similac. Vomiting increases, only one very small poop. Dark gray in color, more pasty this time. Urine down, but much more normal.

Sunday- Vomited three times within two hours of morning bottle. Give up trying similac, and go back to enfamil gentlease. I'm guessing it's the sugar? Going back to Enfamil. Starting to worry about possible stricture or ileus forming. Need to call GI dietician to see if we need to go in tomorrow.

*Temperatures were higher this week, contributing factor or not? Only time she was outside was for morning walks (almost chilly then), and getting in and out of car for appointments. She did have dramatic decrease in urine last time temps spiked for a week in July. No vomiting then though and poop output unaffected.

*****update-she had a big poop yesterday mid day and this morning (monday). both were good texture and color was dark gray green. No fussiness and she's starting to act like she wants food again. Glad we switched back to enfamil and hopefully this is the end of this little backtrack!

******another update-today was great in terms of vomiting. She had two poops less than an hour apart and I'm finally starting to see formula poop again. In looking through the support group, I really should've taken her to the hospital last week. More than ten days of dark gray green poop tells me she was WAYYYYY more backed up than I realized, which means she was wayyyyyy more dehydrated than I thought. I feel so freakin' bad. I try so hard not to be a hypochondriac, and I think it backfired this time. So thankful there was a little yellow poop today!!!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


So last week I decided to truly count my calories until I weighed in this morning. And I decided to borrow my friend's scale early so I could see where I was really at for the weigh in. Well, my scale sucks, which made me very happy. I didn't have as far to go to hit my goal weight as I thought. (yippee) It was interesting counting calories. I never realized how often I take a bite or lick of something throughout the day. Or how much that can add up with your calories. By eliminating that and being really strict with my eating I actually surpassed my goal weight for the month-YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!! Such a better feeling than last month.

I don't know if I can sustain such strict eating, especially this weekend, but my curiosity is definitely peaked. Now I just need to survive at least three birthdays and a couple of birthday parties this month.

Here's to a great September!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where I'm At

I must admit that I'm really frustrated with the scale. My weight has not moved in almost two weeks. I don't get it. I'm actually eating lunch, I'm cooking again, and I've been really good about no sugar/treats/junk, etc. What the crap? My body is definitely changing for the better, and people are noticing. It nice to have someone else notice the effort I'm making. But DANG!...why can't the scale show it?! Instead of looking forward to the weigh in next week, I have this sneaking suspicion I'm not doing to hit my goal weight. Boo!!!!

Today was a therapy day. We did more chatting back and forth than deep, intense conversations. On one hand, things are great and I know it. On the other hand, I feel like I'm becoming emotionally dead. It's getting harder and harder for me to reach out and engage with my family and other people. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I am getting depressed again, but that's not what it is. We talked about it for a little bit, and Paul suggested two things.

One, STOP COMPARING myself to everyone and acknowledge that things have been really difficult this past year. Yes, kids have missed out on activities, big baby didn't get the attention she deserved, and food hasn't been all that healthy many times. BUT, we are all alive, and we are getting to a good place and routine.

Two, I really need to focus on finding things that calm me down. I still really struggle with this one. Doing the yoga for P90X has been awesome. Unfortunately, big baby really likes to be involved and little man suddenly discovers ten million questions to ask during that 90 minute window.

We also talked about Molly and the obstacles she'll be facing throughout her life. One thing I've thought a lot about lately is smells. She tried green beans for the first time a few days ago and loved it(yeah!). Unfortunately, she had the WORST SMELLING GAS for about two hours before anything of substance came out with it. While we can laugh about it at our house (we've become pretty open), I can't help but think what her first date will be like...or prom...or a banquet for school. People can be so cruel! There was one adult on the support website that became short gut in May and just barely returned back to work. He's really giving me insight into what may be in store for Molly(had to have a meeting with his boss discuss air freshener arrangements, moving offices closer to an outside door, etc). Yesterday he posted a picture of the dash of his car and labeled it 'for work'. It was three kinds of air fresheners. The best part was the comments letting him know which brands and which scents work the best.

I love that there's a place I can freely discuss that stuff without anyone getting offended or uncomfortable, but it makes me really leery of her being in school with kids and adults that just don't understand. Mention certain buzz words and everyone wants to talk about it (i.e. cancer, brain stuff, heart stuff, autism, etc), but start talking intestines and people really want to change the subject. I only hope and pray she keeps her strong personality!

Oh, and we get to add another specialist to our growing list. We meet with a head specialist next Tuesday to evaluate her huge noggin' and verify nothing is wrong. I'm guessing a helmet might be in our future. So now she has a regular pediatrician, a GI, a rehab specialist, an opthomologist, a physical therapist, a fine motor/gross motor therapist, and a head specialist. And that's with her doing AMAZING. Sheesh.

Anyways, sorry for the tangent, but that's where I am lately. Feeling better physically, drained emotionally, and frustrated over a stupid number. How is anyone else doing????

Friday, August 19, 2011


Sometimes I just really hate being a girl. The past two weeks my emotions have turned me into a sobbing Mom-zilla. Blech! Fortunately, I feel like I'm getting back to some sense of normal. I am two weeks into P90X and on one hand I'm feeling fantastic and can really see and feel results. On the other hand, I've pulled a stomach muscle and can't do any kind of ab workout until it's healed.

I think it's one of those times when how I perceive myself is not what reality is. I don't want to think that my body can't keep up with what I want to be doing. When I was talking to my sister a few days ago she just kept reminding me that I've given birth TWICE in a ten month period, and one of those was an emergency c-section. SOOOOO, I can't expect my ab muscles to exist without coaxing them back. Lame, but true. So if anyone has any recommendations for a post-natal ab workout, please let me know! Hopefully I'll be back to normal by next week.

Meeting with my therapist this week was ok. He reminded me of the one thing more, one thing less in regards to Molly. I feel like my paranoia is holding her back at this point. I know she's doing well, but all the what if's keep going through my mind and I'm scared to push her too hard. She did get a new physical therapist this week that seems really good. Now she is sitting up, we are going to work on getting there by herself.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

4 Years

Today has been an interesting day. Because of when my birthday falls, we usually celebrate my half birthday. Today adam remembered and I woke up to breakfast in bed and a new book. Unfortunately, it also serves as an anniversary of sorts. Four years ago tonight two of my children and I got voilently ill with the cryptosporidium parasite. I lost 15 pounds in less than 7 days, and it took six months before I could even think about eating a full meal again. Since then I have redefined how I look at food. After finally seeing a specialist last year I can celebrate the fact that as long as I'm super careful with what I eat I can actually be around other people and go out in public without being totally embarrassed.

On the down side, now I am empowered with the knowledge of exactly which side effects I get from each food. Somehow knowing this has ruined food for me. I drool at what I used to eat and be ok. It drives me crazy.

Happy anniversary to me. Four years down and who knows how long to go...

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Well, I survived the first week of P90X. While I don't think I've lost any weight, the distribution of the weight has markedly changed. I feel like my back, stomach, and hamstrings are much leaner than a week ago. However, I also feel my hamstrings, shoulders, and lats SCREAMING for a break. I think I'll be doing some extra stretching today and tomorrow so I don't end up getting injured. That would totally suck.

Something else I've noticed the last day or two is that my desire to eat better is getting stronger each day. The only downside is that when I eat fresh fruits and veggies with whole grains I end up in the bathroom sick ALL NIGHT LONG. So, I'm back to hating food all together. Everything that sounds good to me will only make me sick later on. Blech. I need a professional to come in and show me how to have food I can actually process that's ready FAST. Anyone know where to find someone like that????

Monday, August 8, 2011


A neighbor is letting me borrow their dvd set, so I thought I would give it a try. I have to admit, I was starting to feel like I was getting back in shape before this morning. I was feeling good about where I'm at. Not so after that first workout. I think my arms just may fall off. I've never seen them shake so much in my life. And I had to do a modified version of several of the exercises since I don't have a pull up bar. I think I'm going to have to come up with some better solutions for future workouts. I think this will definitely make a difference though, if I survive.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Call It Like I See It

So I have been relaxing this week in the food department. But I've been pushing myself in the running department. I'm thinking I'm going to start doing the fiber thing again because I actually felt pretty good when I did it. Adam has even jumped on the bandwagon and said he's noticed a difference too. He's also in the middle of crunch time, which means I'm a single parent again for a while. I think the exercise is helping me stay sane. I even ventured out for snow cones with the kiddos tonight after spending the afternoon getting staples in my oldest child's head.

Today's session with Paul was a good one. We talked about several random things. One of them was the return of my Molly nightmares. They started up again last week. Last night I woke myself up screaming. I asked him why they would be coming back now after three weeks of nothing, and this time they're not about her getting sick. Now its just her getting hurt. He said that when you're dealing with such intense stress for a while it takes your subconscious a long time to work things through. So even if consciously you are feeling like you've moved on, you might not have deep down. That's where dreams come in. They are like a pressure cooker getting ready to explode if you don't let out some steam every now and then. So instead of being freaked out by them I should be embracing them, because it's showing that my subconscious is trying to work things out. It made me feel much better.

We also talked about dealing with overly dramatic people and how to make it through a confrontation unscathed. He used the parable of the adulteress to illustrate his point. When confronted with an angry mob trying to 'throw Him under the bus', figuratively speaking, Christ didn't match their energy. Instead he drew in the ground. Then with all calmness spoke one line and went back to drawing. I never looked at that parable through that perspective, but it clicked in my head this time. There's no fight if you don't match the other person's intensity and energy. Hopefully I remember that in the future.

The last thing that stuck with me was along the same discussion line. Paul stated that there are two kinds of people in this world. There are the ones that 'call it like they see it', and then there are the ones that 'see it like they call it'. I thought about that for a while and I really agree with that assessment. You can either try to be logical and reasonable and own your life and choices, or you can skew the facts to fit your tainted view in life. One you are never a victim, the other you are the perpetual victim. He thinks I'm the first one, and I hope that doesn't change.

Here's to a good month of August!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finding the Silver Lining

Sooooo, I weighed in this morning and wanted to cry. I was at my goal weight Saturday night, so I was really excited for the weigh in. I was really good food wise yesterday. Then I weighed in and had gained almost 3 pounds by this morning!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I am so frustrated! I totally started eating brownies to indulge my pity party. Then my big baby came up to me, pulled on my finger, and led me to the garage door saying "walk! Walk! WALK!!"

So I sucked it up, and went for our morning walk. Then when I went for my run, I decided to actually push myself and see what I could handle. I did a 5k in under 30 minutes for the first time in almost a year!

Morale of the story, sometimes weigh in's SUCK. And sometimes all it takes is a little kid to remind you of what you're supposed to be doing. And sometimes you can still accomplish a goal after not meeting another one.

Thanks bittie for showing me my silver lining this morning!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mind Games

Is time speeding up for anyone else??? I feel like I've been robbed of at least 18 months of my life. Things are looking really good for Molly so far, which is really helping with my stress levels. She's obsessed with food, so we're charting her transit time for each new thing to try and find out what we need to avoid. I think at this point I'm the one holding her back because I'm so paranoid food isn't going to work.

My big baby is sprouting allergies out of nowhere. We have an appointment next week to do a ton of testing to find out what's going. So far I have a list of about 10 things that she for sure needs to have tested. It's not going to be fun.

As for me, things are getting better. Paul is starting to stretch out my appointments-that must mean that I'm figuring things out, right??? I hope so. This week we spoke about frustrations with my oldest and her sense of entitlement that drives me CRAZY!!!! It was interesting to hear his suggestions and experience he's had with it. Basically he said to start by sitting her down and discussing the differences between entitlement and empowerment/empathy. Then have her teach it back to us. Once she has another meltdown, go for shock value to show her life doesn't work the way you want just because you whine. His suggestion was to eliminate EVERYTHING but the bed from her room and have her earn things back over time. I'm kind of tempted to do that bad???

We also talked about things I need to do better. My sleep has been AWFUL the past few weeks, and when I described it to him he said it's my body's way of telling me to SLOW DOWN and get some things off my plate. The only problem with that is what do I take off? My children need to eat, they need clothing, they need my time, and the other projects we're in the middle of are time sensitive and can't just be dropped. And what mom isn't doing an intricate balancing act???

He suggested going a different route. What he recommended was sitting down with Adam and each of us discussing 5 things that we do for each other that show caring/loving. Once that is verbalized and out there, be sure to validate any good thing we do for each other that we notice. That way instead of focusing on what isn't being done, we're focusing on the positive. I'm hoping to do this over the weekend. Can't hurt right?

Overall, I think this has been a good month. I'm feeling in control of the sugar addiction (sort of), and my exercise routine is feeling the grove, and I'm starting to pull some of my bigger normal clothes down and they are fitting!!! The scale likes to play jedi mind tricks on me, but I'm starting to not care what it says. I also discovered a new trick. With Molly's pregnancy, I have lost ALL elasticity in my skin. My stomach is now totally moldable. It doesn't bounce back. Gross, yet fascinating at the same time.

In case anyone is interested, I have a blog that I write down my runs and stuff. It's I've been keeping it since January 2009. It's a great way to track your activity, no matter where you are.

Our morning walks are starting to make a difference. Two of my kids are now talking about wanting to be runners, and join a running club at school. Yeah for physical activity!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I just wanted to jot down some thoughts from my session this week. There weren't any specific suggestions this time. In fact, it was mostly me just venting my frustration at the world. He asked me how I've been sleeping and guess what? I haven't been sleeping well at all. Dang.

The main thing that stuck with me this time was that he admonished me to work on the act of receiving. As in truly receiving help. Not trying to keep a ledger in my head and constantly work on making things even when someone helps with whatever. But truly just saying thank you and knowing that one day it will be my turn to pay it forward.

At first I thought he was a little loony because that's one thing I feel like I've worked really hard on the past 8 months. I told him that I totally accept help when someone mentions something specific. But then he pointed out that I'm probably trying to do something for them in return while they're helping me. When I thought about it, he was right. DANG!

He also asked about taking time out for myself, my sanity time. Yeah, it still doesn't happen. I mean, I am starting to exercise regularly again, which is HUGE; but it still revolves around children and naptimes. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever feel like there's actually time for ME and what I WANT versus just surviving with what I NEED. Maybe 10 years down the road when all the kids are in school...

Another thing Paul point out was that my lovely "vacation" is going to take some time to really get over. Thinking about it, it makes sense why I've felt so drained since we got back. Hopefully I'm finally processing things and moving on in a good way.

Overall, things are good. I'm loving having a husband that gets to come home during the summer. I'm loving the time we spend each night just horsing around in our yard(that I finally love). I'm loving getting back into a groove again with exercise-today I ran the entire 5k. Hopefully I'll get it back under 30 minutes next time. I'm loving that my normal clothes are starting to fit again. Today Molly tried food (rice cereal) for the first time, and LOVED it. Hopefully her intestines feel the same way.

What are some things you are loving about your life right now???? If this competition is all about getting healthy, I think finding the things we love about our life can only help, right??

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 11

So, I finished the cleanse thing yesterday. I discovered several things in doing it.

1. I still cannot handle raw fruits and veggies. Very bad reaction.
2. I CAN handle fiber. After a reaction the first day, I was able to handle it the other days. Very good to know.
3. Whole grains don't make me as sick as they used long as I don't have too much in one day.
4. I CAN survive only eating one or two cinnamon bears a day. I couldn't handle no sugar at all(I think that was a more a function of the timing), but it was definitely much more limited than before.

This morning I weighed myself and redid my measurements. Since I don't have a digital scale, weight is an estimate. It looks like I lost about 5 pounds. Here are my measurements:

neck- 12 3/4"
chest- 37 1/2"
R arm- 12"
L arm- 12"
waist- 32 1/4"
hip- 37 3/4"
r leg- 22 1/4"
l leg- 22 1/4"

I lost a total of 7 inches. Overall, I think I'll consider it a success. It showed me that I really need to buckle down and figure out a way to start cooking again. It also emphasized to me that I don't eat very well during the middle of the day. Lunch is my nemesis. I really need to work on actually eating lunch, and eating better, less processed food for lunch. Breakfast and dinner I do ok, but lunch just doesn't really happen with all the kids needs.

I'm really curious to see if I can keep up the no sugar thing. I did cheat a little bit, but was really proud of my self control. I skipped out on cake for three birthdays, dessert for family dinners, and a smoothie/cookie social for the neighborhood last night. While I admit to being a little sad, I'm impressed that I said no and didn't cave. I tried to focus on talking to more people instead.

Even though summertime is a really hard time to do this competition, it's been my anchor so far. Thanks Karilynn!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An Unwelcome Visitor

Ugh. I've been doing so well this week. I've had little slip ups here and there with sugar, but I've been proud of my progress. Numbers were going down on the scale, life was great, then reality hit. For the first time in 2.5 years I've received a visit from the visitor every girl dreads. My body is completely fraking out. Not only have I gained five pounds overnight, but my back is totally twisted, my head hurts, and my emotions are crazy out of control. My only comfort is that it would be so much worse if I didn't have the focus of the competition.

Now I just hope things go back to normal before the 1st. Blah!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Three E's

So today's therapy session was REALLY needed after last week's vacation. I almost didn't make it because I couldn't find anyone to watch the kids, then Adam surprised me by taking the day off to make sure I didn't miss it. (Yeah, he scored about a billion brownie points for that one) After hearing my meltdown description, he started getting me back on track to a more positive place. The big things he told me to focus on were Eating right, Exercising, and Elevate your spirits. He said to decide what would make me feel peaceful and/or happy and make it happen. Whether it's a food I only eat occasionally, taking a walk, reading a book WITHOUT kids around, etc. The only problem is.....I'm stumped. I truly can't think of anything that elevates my spirit at the moment, at least nothing that can realistically happen.

Another thing we discussed were the times a marriage can be strengthened or ripped apart. He mentioned four times specifically: arrivals, departures, crisis, and stress. He said that these times are 4 for 1 times either good or bad. The more special we can make arrivals and departures, the more times we remember feeling closer to each other. And with crisis and stress, it's important to discuss what we feel our needs are rather than blaming each other. He also mentioned that I needed to let Adam know how awesome he was for catching on to my stress and acting on it in a positive way.

The last thing that really stuck with me from the session was a discussion about time spent with our kids. apparently there was research done in 1978 to see how much time parents spend with their kids each day that is not corrective or directive (time outs or telling them what to do). The results showed approximately 8.5 minutes was all a kid got from their parents each day. The research was done again in 2000 because people felt it was poorly done, and the result showed only 4 minutes were spent each day. In 2007, they conducted a more thorough experiment over a four year period and showed that kids now days get exactly ONE minute of their parents time each day that isn't telling them what to do or explaining why they did it wrong. ONE FREAKIN' MINUTE!!!

Then I started thinking about this competition. It's about making healthy choices and creating a healthier lifestyle. How easy would it be to start making those changes to incorporate the kiddos as well? Hikes, walks, bike rides, whatever you like. And then use that time to connect as a family again. Discuss favorite things of the day and talk about challenges or difficulties faced during the day (Paul called this the 'roses and thorns' discussion). If we're really striving to be healthier, it truly needs to incorporate your family dynamic.

So, this week I'm working on the three E's, strengthening my marriage, and spending REAL time with my kiddos. That way when they're all grown up and gone they won't despise spending time with each other. Hopefully they'll even look forward to it!

I am curious though-what are some things that elevate your spirits?????

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 1

Today I'm starting fresh. I'm also beginning a 10 day no sugar, focus on fiber and probiotics cleanse. Since the goal is to two fold, I wanted to document the first step. One purpose of this is to help me curb the sugar addiction (yes, it's a full blown addiction at this point), and two is to see if it helps with measurements of my body. Sooo, here's my starting point:

Chest 38 1/4"
Neck 13"
Waist 34 1/2"
Hip 39"
R arm 12 1/2"
L arm 12 1/2"
R leg 23"
L leg 23 1/4"

I'm really curious to see how the fiber affects me. In the past, I couldn't tolerate it at all, but in my research for Molly I've discovered that when you have hypermotility issues with your intestines, fiber actually slows things down and aides with digestion. I guess we'll see which is the case for me.

Game on!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Temptation and Frustration

I'm back. After a week long vacation to Breckenridge, CO, I can honestly say I did myself proud in one area-food. We went there for a family reunion. For my kids, it was the greatest thing on earth. For me, it was the worst fears of my therapist come true. I really have no desire to attend another reunion for my family ever again. I also learned that when I'm slapped with EXTREME emotional stress I completely stop eating. All together. I don't know if I consumed even one real meal for a three day period. Not good. On the upside, I didn't snack, graze, or gorge on junk food either.

It got bad enough that my family left a day early for the condo we were staying in a for a few days after the reunion. Luckily, we decided to bail because I discovered that our reservation had been lost somewhere. Fortunately, it all worked out and we were able to check in a day early. Once we were just our family again, I did have one break down after the kids went to bed and ate a HUGE bowl of ice cream. Other than that, I ordered all grilled chicken when we went out, never ate junk food OR drank soda, and made sure we did something active as a family every day.

Sleepwise, I feel like a zombie. The bitties did fairly well, but given my emotional state, I just couldn't sleep. I tried to drink a ton of water, but at 10,000 feet you really NEED to consume a ton just to keep your lips from splitting wide open.

Activity wise we played at a fun park, went hiking, canoeing, and walked almost everywhere instead of driving. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves to be outdoors. It was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!! I tried to work on the deep breathing too, but didn't do it as much as I would have liked.

I'm trying to deal with my frustrations regarding the reunion in a good way. I'm starting a cleanse thing on Monday to help me with my sugar addiction. Ten days of no white sugar and some vitamin boosters. I don't know if I can do the diet as strictly as they recommend because of my issues, but I'm using it as much for an emotional cleanse as anything else. I'm curious to see if the probiotic with it will make any difference as well.

Can't wait to see what this month will bring!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The New Diet

Last night I decided to conduct a little experiment. I weighed myself right before bed exactly how I weigh in for the competition so I could see if sleeping truly makes the difference everyone claims it does. Guess what...


I lost 1.5 lbs during my 7 hour sleep last night. I didn't even have to 'move more, eat less'. How sweet is that? I'm liking this new diet!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just Breathe

I have a new trainer-it's my dog. Since I started going for a walk every morning, he's decided that we CANNOT miss a day. Sunday morning I was relaxing, and he would NOT leave me alone. He followed me everywhere until Adam pointed out that he doesn't care what day of the week it is, he expects a walk every day now. So....I haven't missed a day. Sometimes we even go on two walks a day. It's been great to get out for a nice, brisk walk, and it's great exercise for our old fart of a dog.

I'm also doing better about not running to junk food every day. Not doing great on remember to actually eat real meals, but at least I'm not gorging on sweets all day long.

Today at my therapist appointment we talked about breathing, and the effect it has on our bodies. Basically, he said that when we are in a chronically high stress situation, our sympathetic nervous system takes over by constantly releasing cortisol and adrenaline (which doesn't help in the weight loss dept). It also starts taking over our breathing patterns. Instead of allowing our body to take deep, calming breaths throughout the day, we start taking more shallow breaths until our lungs aren't used to getting used anymore.

All of this makes sense to me and I've definitely felt tight as I've started running again (last week). So my new assignment is to take the time during the day and right before bed to take ten deep breaths with my eyes closed; counting to 5 for each inhale and exhale. It can be done anywhere, anytime (although if you do it when driving, don't close your eyes ;). He also added imagine being in a calm, peaceful place while doing it.

Another thing I've noticed as I'm trying to get back into running is the contrast in my mood already. I've gone three times in the past week and I can already feel a little bit of the resolve to eat better and treat my body right coming back. I like this feeling. I want it to stay.

I think another reason for me feeling better overall this week is how well Molly's appointment went yesterday. We met with Dr. Gooch in the rehab clinic at Primary's to see what the next step is as far as brain damage goes. She thinks Molly does NOT need any imaging done (mri, etc.) at this point. There are definitely some physical signs of something, but nothing so major that it would warrant further pursuit. So for now we'll proceed with physical therapy, gross motor therapy, and fine motor/occupational therapy through early intervention.

The next step will be to see how her speech develops and watch for signs of further damage. Dr. Gooch said that if there was any permanent damage done, it most likely will present itself as a learning disability. That won't be detected until she's closer to school age though. I was on cloud nine on the way home. (another thing I'm proud of is that I didn't have a massive anxiety attack driving back there like I did for the U2 concert last month)

I may not have lost any weight this month, but I feel like I'm on cloud nine and I'm getting my ducks in a row to start losing. So, I leave a challenge to remember to BREATHE DEEPLY every day! What are some of the calm, peaceful places you have???

Monday, June 20, 2011


This will be quick and full of typos courtesy of my phone. I just want to jot down some ideas I had today abd report on my progress this past week. I did awful on not stress eating, just awful. I can declare a small victory in that I did not succcumb to buying my favorite treat ever....the 20 below shake from coffe creations. I swear that shake is a slice of heaven on earth and has sustained me since christmas. So for all my failures, my restraint in one area was a success. Sleep wise, I'm getting there, and I have started a morning walk tradition with my kids as soonas my hubby leaves for work. So I'm improving with very small baby steps.

Today I've thought a lot about one word-anxiety. My therapist kept asking me how my anxiety was doing and I realized that I have never acknowledged feeling it in my life until the past seven months. Now im in a situation where it can very easily take over my life and I realize that ANXIETY has been the driving force of my eating, not depression. While in high school it was definitely depression, I couldn't quite pinpoint why all I want to do is eat once the kids are in bed every night. Now I can-its ANXIETY. Anxiety over molly, over my oldest, over how I am performing as a mother and wife, over how others see me, etc. I guess it should be an obvious thing, but for me its a huge epiphany.

I've also decided I agree with something else we discussed. When we hit a crisismode, we feel like all bets are off and simply try to survive, thinking it will go back to normal once life calms down. But here's the doesn't calm down. If were not careful, the fight or flight reaction becomes the norm and makes it impossible to reach our goals. So the trick is leaning to make the normal strong enough to handle the crisis/trama/stress. That's how to conquer the anxiety instead of the other way around.

One thing molly, and those like her in the support group, is really driving home for me is that life is meant to be enjoyed and lived, not just survived. Even during crisis mode, every day and every moment is given to us to thrive. We just need to wake up and realize it and choose to make our actions reflect that mentality.

So that's my goal for the next week-create our new normal to embrace the situation as it is instead of waiting for things to calm down.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Thing More, One Thing Less

I've decided that this blog is the perfect place for me to keep ideas and thoughts from therapy as I don't really know many of you, and don't interact daily with the ones that I do. So sorry if I bore you....

Today at my therapy session I decided I really like my therapist. One of the biggest things I'm seeing him for is to learn how to deal with the anxiety and stress of a chronically ill child. Our whole session today was about general health and how the body reacts to trauma/highly stressful situations. He said that one thing he really likes about European doctors is that the first appt isn't with a doctor, it's with a nutritionist. Then they speak to someone about 'sleep hygiene', not medication to help sleep, but getting the rest you need on a consistent basis without medication. Only after you have controlled those issues and addressed exercise does a doctor look at medication as a solution. How obvious is that? I mean, seriously!

So, his challenge to me this next week is to eat more fruits and veggies, get more sleep before midnight (he called hours of sleep before midnight a 2for1 deal), and start incorporating walking or something moderately challenging every day. When I told him about this competition he said it sounded like a great jump start because it was about being HEALTHY and making lifestyle changes, not losing weight. (GO KARILYNN)

Another thing he mentioned to me was to focus on 'one thing more, one thing less'. This means to find one thing everyday that I can do for myself to be healthier, and one thing everyday that I can eliminate to be healthier. With the discoveries made the past few days regarding Molly's possible brain damage (and the JACKASS of a doctor that didn't tell us about it), I'm right back in freak out, emotional eating mode. I'm learning even more (if that's possible) that there is no way for a family to be healthy(in every sense of the word) without help. Whether it's temporary or long term, the only way to survive trauma/stress is to learn to accept help and encouragement from other people. And to take the time to give it to others when we are able.

Today my one thing more is SUNSHINE! We are planting a 'friendship flower garden' for the kids and their friends. Molly needs it for her vitamin D levels, and I'm sure mine could use a boost as well. My one thing less is junk food. I'm going to try my hardest to chew gum instead. And remind myself over and over that junk food doesn't help the situation and food is not the perfect comforter I keep thinking it is.

I think all of this carries over to the competition perfectly. We are all striving to be HEALTHIER, not just losing weight. So what are the some of your 'one thing more, one thing less'??

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My (Baby) Story

So my only effort thus far into the competition is to work on my junk food addiction and stress eating. Starting this next week, I'll actually own my body again so things can (hopefully) pick up. I've started therapy and I'm hoping that helps with the junk food/stress eating. Here's the story of how it got so bad:

March of 2010-My seven week old spent 5 days in the hospital with RSV. Due to security and a sick husband, I wasn't allowed to leave the room. BUT, nurses were more than willing to bring me snacks and desserts whenever I wanted. All I wanted was a treadmill, but went for the food instead.

April 2010- Finally went to see a GI doctor regarding issues that had been going on for years. Was diagnosed as having post-infection IBS and was put a SERIOUSLY restrictive diet that consisted mainly of processed sugar, refined and processed flour, and flavorless, boneless chicken breasts. Made an appointment to have colonoscopy and endoscopy done. Stop living in my bathroom for the first time in years. Started living on sugar, literally.

May 2010- Call to confirm my 'oscopy' appt. Find out I'm pregnant(baby #5). Call and cancel said appt. Lose weight and get even sicker.

June to Ocotober 2010-Feel sick as a dog. We start surviving on pizza (not me). Discover I can actually handle some cooked veggies.

October to November 2010-come down with some freak infection that creates nerve pain everywhere. Ribs come dislocated daily, tailbone refuses to stay in place. Can't bend, can't walk, can't sit anymore. Gain about 20 lbs. in two weeks.

November 16, 2010- Go into labor at 30 weeks. Give birth to a very sick little girl on the 17th(babies are a few days shy of 10 months apart). She was septic and had clotting issues. Both were treated, then they discovered a bowel obstruction. She was life flighted to Primary Children's where they performed a surgery to remove between a third and half of her small intestines, and about half of her large intestines, then piece everything back together. This started an 11 week hospital stay that included dilated loops, severe infection, two blood transfusions (one of them SERIOUSLY botched), a second surgery, and reactions to several drugs. Because of how much intestine she lost, she is considered a short gut baby. (yes, that's the actual medical term) The cafeteria actually had yummy, healthy food. However, only packaged junk food could go into the NICU with me, which is where I spent most of my time.

Our baby came home with a feeding tube on January 31st, 2011. Because of her issues, EVERY single thing had to be completely rigid, measured, written down, and tracked. The only food she could handle orally and still digest was my milk until a few weeks ago. As far as her condition goes, she is doing fabulously. The feeding tube is out, she is actually on the growth charts, and we are down to only 3 supplements plus an anti-fungal when the thrush starts taking over.

As far as her development goes, we had another setback this week. Kids on the Move came and did an evaluation this past Friday. It did not got very well. They are wanting us to take her in to be tested for possible nerve damage due to the botched blood transfusion and multiple crashes (she had several episodes when her oxygen level drop into the single digits in the beginning). Her left side is struggling. Her scar is having some complications. And so on...

Needless to say, my stress levels have been through the roof. I've gotten little to no sleep for a long time, and two of our other four children have really struggled with everything that's happened. We have been blessed beyond measure, but reality likes to kick me in the butt every time I think there might be a window of time for myself. Each time I've tried to get exercise in, I've ended up spending the entire day in a rocking chair soothing a screaming baby.

But....there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I will no longer be pumping as of Tuesday of this next week. That gives me back 4-6 hours a day. I figure if the kids can survive all that time when I'm pumping, then there's no reason why they can't survive 30 minutes of me exercising. That's logical, right????????? This week will test my theory. I am so tight from the past eight months of no exercise (I ran until the middle of Sept.), that it might take a while just to figure out how to function again. I'm game though. I can't wait to feel like I might have some muscles hiding somewhere again.

That brings me up to the present. I pretty much just shove whatever food is on hand in my mouth if I get a chance to eat. Once kids are in bed, I'm wound so tight from the stress of the day all I can think of is eating. Although I think part of it is that I know I'm stressing about things I can't change, which just frustrates me even more and makes me stressed about being stressed.

Another thing I've learned-when taking a meal to a family in need of one, YOU DON'T HAVE TO INCLUDE A DESSERT!!!!! We were so well taken care of by friends and family for months after Molly's birth. But every person who brought us food brought a dessert. Not that it's wrong, but it completely destroyed my resolve at being good. It's something I'm trying to remember as I take meals to other people now. Once a week, it's great, but have it every night and before long your clothes don't fit.

I may be late in the game to get going, but I'm ready for serious change. I'm ready to own myself again. I'm ready to show my kids how to be healthier again.