Friday, April 30, 2010

Day #21...a short time to go...

Oh boy, where can I possibly begin? There were several "ouch"es today in varying degrees.

First, in addressing THE LIST, I have signed up for a class. It wasn't offered before my birthday, so I will have to wait until June to have completed the class. But for sake of THE LIST, let's mark off #23, and write that it is in progress. I am totally okay with that.

Now, I have had a sore throat for a few days, and needless to say, didn't get much sleep last night. By early morning, I could no longer swallow, but as usual, had too much to do to address it. Jansen had allergy testing this morning and he was very tearful about it. Fortunately the doctor had prescribed some lidocaine cream that we wrapped his arms in, and I brought a bag of goodies to distract him. All that worrying was for naught because he was a complete trooper. And boy can that child turn on the charm. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately that we found out, he reacted to everything except for cockroaches. Ew.

The doctor talked with us about how severe he is, and told us that he is in the top 1% of allergy sufferers, completely off the charts. Also, he has asthma. Oh boy! So we were sent home with prescriptions for Allegra, Nasonex, and a Flovent inhaler with a spacer. In addition we get to purchase vials of antigens for allergy shots twice a week for the next 5 years. I can't wait to get started though, because this poor child need to be able to breathe through his nose!

While we were there I decided to call my doctor, who was able to get me in this afternoon. Yay! I have strep throat and an ear infection. Who knew? One big butt shot later, and I was headed home to lysol everything.

But the big thing today is an overwhelming feeling of self inflicted mom-guilt. As most moms can attest to, we often end up putting ourselves on the back burner in order to put our children on the front. When we decided to get granite, I just couldn't let myself get excited. Then after picking it out, seeing our slab, and having it measured, Josh asked me if I was getting excited. I tentatively admitted that of course I am excited. I have always wanted granite. But I told him, I always wait for the bottom to fall out. That must be some kind of horrible personality trait. Sure enough, no sooner it said, then all this with Jansen comes up. He is so severe, that the doctor recommended getting rid of the carpet, encasing his pillow and mattress, putting an air purifier in his room, and then of course the cost of the medications, individual shots twice a week, and the actual cost of the antigens. Now I feel like how selfish I am. We are now committed to the granite, when we really need to be spending that money to improve Jansen's health. It just frustrates me, because he needs things, and I just wanted granite.

Well, I am not going to beat myself up about it. I am going to be thankful that we have health insurance because Josh is employed, thankful for the allergist who is going to dramatically change Jansen's life, and thankful for my general health to be able to take the kids to their appointments.

So, who is up for a little ebay, Craig's List, and a BIG GARAGE SALE???

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day #20...late night

Ok so I got in late from Bunco, and I have a ridiculously sore throat. So I am blogging quickly and taking some meds and hitting the sack. Fun times tonight at Bunco, and I was the big winner!! WOOHOO. I am down 11 pounds, although I ate some lasagna tonight so I am sure that the scale will hate me in the morning.

Nothing was done to address THE LIST today. Maybe I can accomplish something tomorrow.

Have a good night friends!! More blogs tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day #19...big fat loser

Today is a good day. I have lost 10 pounds, which means blissfully marking off #6. At this rate, my hope is to lose 10 more by my birthday. Things are getting better on my diet with less hunger pangs, fewer headaches, and more energy. I would still eat a whole loaf of bread though if I could...and last night, Josh brough home chocolate chip cookies. So unfair of him. Gladly, none were eaten by me!

My only cheat while on this diet was Monday. On Monday, I just couldn't stand it anymore and I ate a Chick-fil-A chargrilled chicken sandwich, bread and all. No fries, no soda, just the chicken sandwich and I did NOT feel guilty. I did, however, feel very, very maybe the big ol gut is shrinking.

Addressing the list, things are going pretty smoothly. There is only one that I just cannot bring myself to do no matter how hard I try. #10, swim in the ocean will be taken care of in November on our cruise. That way I can see what I am swimming in. If you have never been to our lovely excuse for a beach, you are not missing much. Oh it will do as far as a beach goes, but as far as the water is concerned, it is like swimming in chocolate milk or cappuccino. Yuck-a-roo for reals. So in the end, I will mark off #10 as a scheduled completion, probably with an asterisk that reads: to be completed November 2010 in lovely Cozumel, Mexico.

On the home front, Caleb has learned to tie his shoes, which is another major milestone! School will be out just around the corner and we have scheduled him to attend Angleton's Summer Jamboree on Tuesdays and Thursdays all summer long. They have a lot of activities planned, including field trips every week. I would have loved to do this at his age....Moody Gardens and IMAX, ice skating, bowling, Minute Maid park for an Astros game, the nature museum, etc. He is going to have a blast. Jansen and I will be working on a kindergarten readiness homeschooling program on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. We have a ton of material to cover this summer, but I don't want to wear him out. He will soon be 5 and wants a skateboard cake. HMMM, I think I can come up with that one.

Tis all for today. Blog ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day #18...a little like Donna Reed

Today I was feeling a little like Donna Reed, with my own 2010 spin on it. Actually, it was just me wearing my usual sweat pants and t-shirt while I cleaned house....with my favorite pair of red patent heels. This was actually a funny and eye opening experience.

Looking back at the 50's when women wore beautiful dresses, had their hair perfectly rolled and pinned, and wore heels everywhere, I realized that there is no possible way that could be done now. I don't know about anyone else, but when I clean, my hair is in a ponytail, I am wearing sweats, and I am in fact actually sweating. How in the world could women clean house and keep themselves clean. I mean there is bleach involved for crying out loud!

Have you ever cleaned toilets in high heels? It is a completely new experience. There is a balance issue to contend with as well as being a completely different height. I felt much slower, more uncoordinated, and so not Donna Reed. Reality check...bummer.

But on the up side, the house is clean, my windows are open letting a nice cool breeze in, laundry is done, Jansen is snacking happily, and I am beginning hour #3 waiting for the guy to come measure for our granite countertops. Today has been the BEST day!!!

Oh, and mark off #29, wear high heels while cleaning the house. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day #17...some movies are just not for me

Marking off #8 is a little like cheating, but I tried it, and just couldn't do it. I have always prided myself on the fact that there are several trendy band-wagons that I just could not get on board with. Let's make a little list:

1. The Harry Potter series-books and movies
2. Star Wars-never saw a single one all the way through
3. The Lord of the Rings-nope, no, no
4. The Chronicles of Narnia-again, no
5. The Twilight series-not a book, not a movie

Those style of movies just are not in my interested category. But I challenged myself to watch one Harry Potter movie before I turned 30. So Josh rented it On Demand and we sat down to watch it. Honestly, I made it about 30 minutes into it, and just couldn't finish it. Truly, it was painful. It ranked right up with Existenz, which was in fact the worst movie ever made. Ugh.

I did my best.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two-fer Day #15 and 16

Since I didn't get home until late last night, I didn't have a chance to blog. You get to have a two-for-one special today.

Last night, I went out with two girlfriends to get my Autism tattoo and to have some yummy dinner. So originally, I was going to have three puzzle pieces put on my foot, with different colors and different designs in them. Fortunately, or unfortunately, by the time he finished the first piece, I was done. It hurt much worse than any of my other three, especially going around the tendons from my toes. So one red puzzle piece with a few white stripes...and that is for Caleb. Red is his favorite color, and I think it turned out cute. It is also in a place that all my flip flops will cover it up if I need to. :) I am done getting tattooed. Mark off #2 on my list.

Also mark off #28, laugh until my sides hurt. Thank you to Mary and Lea (and a napkin Abe Lincoln) for that one!!!

Today is Day #16, Sunday, and I have nothing planned to address the list today. On the weight loss side, down another pound this morning. YIPEE!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day #14: drums keep pounding rhythms to the brain

That is what it feels like inside my head. A big drum, pounding on every inch of my skull. Bonus: the 80's station is playing some awesome music (ie You Belong to the City by Glenn Frey). At least I can close my eyes and drift back to Skating America on a Saturday night. I remember how my friends and I used to put on our glitter makeup, tease our already crimped side ponytail, slouch down our giant neon pink and green socks, slap on 6 slap bracelets, and hit the skating rink fast and furious. That makes my head hurt just a little bit less.

Today I want to eat my way through the whole Mrs. Baird's Bread Factory, and chase that with 2 gallons of root beer. Oh wait, "How will I know" just came on! Whitney was in her prime! Anyway. This is difficult and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier yet. Perseverance! Failure is not an option, but my will is weak. Just putting that out there.

Today, I am marking off #13, write a song. The beauty of this is that there were no requirements put on this one. So I basically wrote a kid-themed poem, that you can sing to any nursery rhyme, because that's how I roll. But wait, I know what you are thinking. "Amber, please post this! My life just isn't complete unless I can read it and sing it in my head!" Well folks, I am no Sherry Lewis. I could not possibly hate you so much that I would plant a ridiculous song in you head to linger there for hours...much like "The song that doesn't end."

Oh you remember that song.....This is the song that doesn't end/Yes it goes on and on my friend/Some people started singing it not knowing what it was/And they'll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that doesn't end....

You're welcome!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day #13..dreaded number 13

The scary number 13 had no effect on my day today. Overall, a much better day than yesterday, although as of this morning, I was sure that today would be the day I passed out. The same headache has been circling my head for 4 days now, but after the first dose of Excedrine this morning, it has not returned. I have followed my diet to the T and this morning had lost another 1.2 pounds!

My energy level through the day is increasing so there is definitely a light at the end of this diet tunnel.

Mark #9 off my list, read an entire book, specifically, THE LOVELY BONES. Incredible book. This was a complete page-turner for me. It was intriguing, cativating, haunting, mystifying, and any other -ing you could think of. I cannot wait to see the movie, although I am preparing myself for it to be completely different.

Short post, good day, working my way toward marking off #6.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day #12...a losing battle

Yay! I am losing! This morning my weight went down another pound! That is 5.5 pounds in a few days. On the other side, today has been incredibly tough. I ate some tuna and it was AWFUL! Tuna and I are not friends. The only tuna I like is the Incredible Mr. Limpet...wait, was he a tuna? Whatever. I do not like tuna. Put it in the celery category of "I am never going to eat this again." Headaches abound today, with me taking a total of 4 excedrin migraine.

Nada going on. Well I cannot possibly say 'nothing'. I have scheduled numbers 2, 8, 23, and 30, but I am not going to blog about it until these are complete. And thank you to Amber K. who graciously loaned me a copy of The Lovely Bones, which I read half of today and find it completely riveting. Now I cannot wait to see the movie, which will be totally different and that is ok!

Today, I made a donation to charity, American Idol: Idol Gives Back. Those poor families just break my heart, both domestically and internationally. I am so blessed, so how can I just sit in my comfortable home on a DIET when there are starving families only a few states away? Mark off #26. Tomorrow I will be working on more donations to charity. Obviously I support Autism Speaks, however I will be making a local donation to one of my favorite places, Helping Hands and Hearts, benefitting our local hospice. I cannot say enough about the wonders of hospice. They provide an amazingly comforting service during one of the most difficult situations.

As today rolls to an end, I am happy with my progress, but am really ready for this to be over. Blogging every single day is a committment that I am getting bored of..and I am sure that my 2 readers are as well. Major ramblings. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day #11 Full steam ahead

Day #11 brought happiness this morning as I have been dieting for 4 days now. Yesterday was the first official day of following the food protocol and this morning my scale greeted me with a number that was 4.5 pounds less than on Saturday! Can you say motivation???!!!!

Now here are the deets: I did feel hungry yesterday. I feel less hungry today, and hopefully that will go away. My skin is starting to break out which is said to clear up around the 2nd week. Thank God! Today I have realized that I am a psychological eater. Somehow the need to snack all day long is very high for me. It is not true hunger.

But 4.5 pounds lost in 4 days is incredible. Hopefully when I get into a more comfortable weight range, I will feel confident posting some before and after pictures, as well as the daily weight reduction.

Anyway, on to THE LIST. Today is going to be very busy, so I will not have the time to address much on THE LIST. I was able to go purchase some knitting needles and yarn to get started on that this week. Unfortunately, I am only about 1/4 of the way through my book, and I am NOT a slow reader. I really need to step this up a bit, but when you have a 4 year old at home, a PTA meeting, school pickup, Kung Fu, cleaning out the car for tomorrow's field trip, and cooking dinner, that doesn't really leave much free time for reading or learning to knit today. But I have to blog anyway, due to #19.

By this evening, I could mark off #11, for one day, tell everyone like it is. I have definitely been telling my kids the sad truth, and while in a meeting today, I said some things that were true, but that people may not have wanted to hear. Sorry.

Let me just say that now knowing the basic stitches, I have realized that I don't have the patience for knitting. Most people say that it is calming and relaxing but it just made my fingers and neck hurt. So my goal was to learn to make something....and I made something....a bookmark. LOL!!! Don't think knitting is for me. Mark off #24, learn basic knitting and make something. Here is my poor excuse for a bookmark!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day #10. Progress....

First day of my new diet with my friend. Since it is pretty obvious that what I was doing is not working at all, I jumped the bandwagon with Brandyn and officially started this diet. No, this is not a new way of life. This is a diet. To be honest, I just need the weight off. I don't really care how it comes off, it just needs to go away.

So far, so good. I ate Special K and skim milk for breakfast, and I made a chicken stir fry with fruit for lunch. Dinner will be steak, zucchini and squash, and fruit salad. My goal is to continue this for 6 weeks at least. This is it!

Addressing the list has been a very interesting experience for me. The surprising thing that I found out about myself, is that even though things are pretty busy, I really do want to learn more about a million different things. Hopefully I can continue to work on things and experience more in the months to come.

Today I worked on a little project. Caleb has a couple trophies and some medals that he won in various activities. Instead of just hanging his medals on his corkboard, I wanted to make them more artistic. Here is what I came up with...completely FREE

The two frames were gifted to me two Christmases ago. Had not found anything to do with them yet so they were sitting in a drawer just waiting for my inspiration. The matting is cardstock I have had forever, and then I kept the medal in place with double stick tape. Gives those medals just a little extra personality, I think.

LIST WATCH: I began reading today. Hopefully by tomorrow, this book will be complete. As a child, I read all the time, but now, I am lucky to read a food label.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day #9...warm, yummy goodness...

Oh Sunday, you take forever to get here and then breeze by so quickly. It has rained all day today, and while I could have killed two birds with one stone on my list today, I just really didn't feel like playing in the rain today. Laziness took over and the kids and Josh played games while I napped on the couch. Oh beautiful slumber, you are elusive. I miss you and love when we can spend time together in bliss.

Opportunity arose to bake some bread this afternoon. Now rather than make a typical yeast bread, which I definitely want to make soon, I decided upon a delicious looking Chocolate Banana Bread. Since everyone in this house eats banana bread, it seemed like the obvious choice. However, tomorrow I will be beginning a diet with my friend, Brandyn, and banana bread shall not be on the menu.

Mark off #14, bake bread from scratch.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day #8 Watch out she's packing heat!

Mark off #21, fire a gun. I was scared to death, but Josh took me out to his parents house before the anniversary party for a quick tutorial. They live out in the country and have a good sized pond that we shot at. The first gun I shot was the Desert Eagle. Now we couldn't I have started out with something easier like a small pistol or a .22? I pulled the trigger and squeeled like a little girl. Then I realized that I didn't have earmuffs on, so Josh's dad gave me a pair of his. Then came the big AR-15 Assault Rifle. This is one I didn't want to shoot, but Josh convinced me that contrary to it's size, this one would be easier to shoot than the Desert Eagle. That one I shot three times, and was done. No need to shoot any more guns, unless I can get a purple handgun that I can put rhinestones on, then I am in.

The grandparents' anniversary party was a success and we all ate way too much yummy food. There is something about having a party that make you feel like eating a small boatload of food. Here are some pictures of the family celebrating Buddy and Bernice Simmons 60th Anniversary

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day #7.....hopes and trees

Day #7 begins with marking off #17 on THE LIST, writing a letter to my future self. In this letter, I just wanted to be basic and not overly philosophical. There are TONS of things that I would love to have done in the next 15 years. Essentially, it would be very similar to THE LIST, however the items would be bigger, better, more elaborate, etc. But this is not the time to write these down in a letter to myself. Let's just get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

April 16, 2010

Dear Amber in 2025,

Wow! As of today, you are 29 years old and hopefully not in the prime of your life. I know how scared you are, not of the age, but what it represents. The truth is, I hope you look back at today and say, "That was the best time!" I hope that you are incredibly happy in your life right now.

Here is what is going on as of today: Caleb and Jansen are 7 and almost 5. Josh is working at Dow, and you are a stay-at-home mom that is involved in the kids' schools. Caleb is in the 1st grade, made the reading team, plays soccer, loves Monster Jam and any Mario video game, and is learning more every day. Jansen will be in kindergarten in the fall, has a majorly stubborn attitude, does Kung Fu, and is learning how to read and write. It has been your dream to stay at home with the boys and I am so happy that even if you only did it for a year, at least you did it.

So, you are 45, Josh is 47, Caleb is 22 and Jansen is 20. My hope from 2010 is that the boys are either in college or have graduated college and are happy and healthy. I am so excited to see how they turn out and to see what happens with Caleb. Are the boys friends? Do they live at home? (I hope for their sake they don't.) Do they know what they want out of life? Have they found love? These are all interesting questions that I am dying to have answered.

Where are you now? Are you finally thin? Are you involved with something meaningful? Do you still live in the same house? Are you traveling? Have you finally been to Europe?

Without getting to deep and philosophical, I just want to say that I hope you are in a wonderful stage in your life. I hope that you are making time for yourself with the kids gone. I hope your relationships are full and rewarding. And I hope that life is not marching all over your face.

29 year-old Amber

Mark off #17

In addition, mark off #7, plant a tree. We are now the proud owners of a Silver Maple, planted in the front yard. My dad is currently nurturing some tree sprouts for us at his house and we have picked out spots for those in our backyard. I am very happy to have some new trees and can't wait to watch them grow. It is so satisfying to look at something so small, that you planted, and watch it grow into maturity. With that in mind, here are my little trees with our new tree..

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day #6....baking, caking, and coloring

Today I started baking the cake for Josh's grandparents' anniversary party. I have the biggest respect for those cake bakers and decorators out there, as this is very time consuming and artistic. Absolutely could never do this for a living!!! For the most part, I spent the day in the kitchen, baking and organizing. About half way through, I noticed that a pack of couplers I bought about 2 weeks ago were missing. UGH! It always annoys me when I am in the middle of something and have found the groove and everything comes to a halt. So a trip to Hobby Lobby was then called for.

Good thing that happened though, because I totally forgot about a check that had been sitting in my car for a week, just begging to be deposited. Thank goodness that I finished it, and it is pretty good for my first time at something like this. I found some major mistakes and figured out how to do things differently. Here are the pics, because I LOVE pics...

Being cooped up in the kitchen all day makes me start to itch and gives me a tic, so I stopped to address THE LIST. Today was the day to color my hair. Jansen had tried to help all day in the kitchen and was begging to help with this. Absolutely not. Honestly, I would prefer that he be playing with his monster trucks as opposed to joining me in domesticity. Not that teaching children to be clean and self-sufficient in the kitchen is a bad thing, but I think that in combination with coloring Mom's hair crosses the line. But I colored my own hair. Mark off #22...Pictures for proof of the before and after...(Please ignore the lack of makeup and flat iron).

Oh and this post was written on Thursday and then I fell asleep on the couch and didn't post it until Friday. So Friday will get two posts. Lucky Friday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day #5...and the beat goes on...

Today began with a Caleb meltdown, and when he is out of sorts, I am out of sorts. But I glanced at my list and chose some things to tackle today. Of course, no sodas, only crisp, clean water for me today.

This morning was the perfect time to hit the grocery store to stock up on our family needs, as well as the final ingredients for my husband's grandparents' 60th anniversary cake that I will be making for the weekend. Pictures to be posted later. While I was at HEB (which I loathe because of the layout and the country music blaring through the speakers), I decided to pick up the last few things I needed for addressing numbers 14 and 20 on THE LIST. From here on out, just know that when I say THE LIST, I mean the 30 things I want to do in the 30 days before I turn 30. Whew, now that that is out of the way...

My friend, Faith, sent me a recipe for Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, and know my motto (Everything is better with bacon!). It looked delicious on paper so it should be delicious in real life, right? So I came home and began to cook. About 15 minutes into the cooking time in the oven, I smelled sauerkraut. Ew. I do not like sauerkraut. I do not like it, Sam I am. Persevere Amber! This may be fantastic. Don't discount perfectly healthy vegetables on smell alone.

Well here it is...

And you know what my 2nd motto is...everything is better with Ranch! Ohmygoodness! It is actually much better than it smells. Nice buttery flavor and a really creamy texture. Maybe I won't use the Ranch at all...well, let's not get hasty. I LOVE brussel sprouts! Mark #20 off THE LIST!

By the way, I have chosen a shade of red in order to accomplish #22, coloring my own hair. I hope it turns out a little darker than the box, because I am hoping to shift to something darker. This will be the project for tomorrow. Come to think of it, I should wait to color my hair on Monday (after the party). Nope, I am feeling adventurous. Que sera, sera!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day #4...continue to cruise along

Yay! Today I accomplished something that I have been wanting to do for so long but just never got around to it. It was soooooo easy and I am very happy with how it turned out. It just so happens to take care of something on my list...#18 in fact, to paint something. Instead of painting a brilliant piece of art (I am NO artist), I decided to paint the niche in our front hallway that has been staring blankly at me from almost 3 years now. It is beautiful and I am so happy to get it done!

Our niche before...
Our niche after...

Today, the desire for a Sonic Root Beer trip was waying heavily on my heart and mind. Tempting me even more is the giant Sonic adjacent to the Kung Fu place we were at tonight. Instead of pulling into the drive-thru for a Happy Hour drink (yes, happy hour makes me happy), I turned the other way, and drove home to have a big glass of water.
Josh also bought us tickets to see Norah Jones in Houston on May that will be taking care of #30, go to a concert! Cruising right along!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day #3....I'm addicted

We are knee-deep into Day #3 and I have found that I am addicted to Cokes. This is sad to admit, especially since I only drink a root beer or two a week on average. But unfortunately, the minute I feel denied, is the minute I crave. No caving in though. The crankiness and headaches will subside.

I completed 30 more minutes on my elliptical this morning, and Josh and I took Jansen to eat lunch at Chili's after preschool. Josh ordered some boneless buffalo wings and I soon found my chance to eat a piece of celery. I have to say, it was terrible. The strings made me want to gag, and even dunking it in ranch dressing didn't make it any more palatable. It was just gross and I will not be eating celery EVER AGAIN. On the upside, half of #20 is taken care of.
Paint has been chosen for the niche in our hallway. I am hoping to get that taken care of tomorrow. On a super happy note, our trip to Lowes gave us some great ideas for our kitchen. We have always wanted granite, so we took a look at the supply. After looking at all the samples of corian, silestone, quartz, and granite...we finally picked the perfect countertop. Granite was the most inexpensive and would stand up to some major wear and tear, so we are having the guys come out to give us an estimate. We might be getting granite countertops!!! That is a major dream of mine. Let's hope that this works out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 2...and going strong.

As day 2 comes to a close, I feel productive. Today, I worked the nursery at church, and hit a huge milestone as a parent. The doorbell was a child from down the street asking if the kids could play, and Caleb said yes. He ran to get his bike, Jansen got his three-wheeler, and they bolted out the door. I let them go, by themselves, three houses down. I stayed inside the house and would periodically go outside to throw away the trash and glance down the street. Jansen stayed out for an hour and Caleb came back after an hour and a half.

I must admit that I was a nervous wreck. Although I pride myself on not being one of those hovering parents, the sad truth is that this is the first year Caleb has been interested in playing with any other children while home. So this is new territory for me. It seems to be one of those oh-so-normal things that all kids do, but it seems so foreign for us. When I look back on my childhood, I was allowed to play outside, only on our street, but would often wander into the woods next to our house. Then when I got to be about Caleb's age, I would go the next street over to play with a girl that was 3 years older than me, and we would go all over the neighborhood. That scares me to death with Caleb. But I am letting go. I don't want to hold him back in any way, but I will sit at home and fret.

Anywhoooooo....I can now mark off #3 on my list, learning how to french braid. Now please take into consideration that I am an only child, I have two boys, and short hair. I have never had the opportunity to learn and learning on my own hair was difficult. No way that I could see what I was doing while keeping both hands free to braid. But IT IS DONE! These are pictures from the top of my head, as well as the back.

I can also mark off #1 on my list, working out on my elliptical for 30 minutes non-stop. Boy, am I out of shape so it was not easy at all. Now feeling invigorated, I hope to incorporate this into my routine 3-4 times a week. It would put me closer to marking off #6. :) Another day without soda. My eyeballs are floating in water!

On to day #3...what will be next?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Let the countdown begin...

So here is the final list:

1. work out on my elliptical for 30 minutes, non-stop
2. get my Autism tattoo
3. learn to French braid
4. read a chapter a day in my bible
5. be able to run one lap around our track, non-stop
6. lose 10 pounds
7. plant a tree
8. watch 1 Harry Potter movie
9. Read a book from start to finish
10. swim in the ocean
11. for one day, tell everyone like it is
12. cut soda out of my diet for 30 days
13. write a song
14. bake bread from scratch
15. walk on the beach at night with my husband
16. play in the rain
17. write a letter to my future self
18. paint something
19. blog for 30 days about the list I am creating
20. eat a brusel sprout and a piece of celery
21. fire a gun
22. color my own hair
23. take a class
24. learn basic knitting and make something
25. buy something from an infomercial
26. donate to a charity
27. go to the movies by myself and feel confident about it
28. laugh until my sides hurt
29. wear high heels while cleaning my house (just because I think that is funny)
30. attend a concert

Day one, with no soda. I don't think I have ever gone for 30 days without having even a sip of soda, even though Cokes hate me. It would be nice to go ahead and mark this off the list, but in all honesty, I have no idea if I will have the will power to not have any form of soda. I am seriously beginning to wonder if will power is for losers.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lists of Life...

Ugh! Now that 30 is staring me straight in the face (insert ominous and moody music here), I have decided to make a list of the 30 things I would like to do in the 30 days before I turn 30. Sadly, I am unable to come up with even 10. Maybe that is more depressing than actually turning, turning 30 is depressing.

I will post my list, but don't read too much into it, as it is a work in progress. And hey...the physical fitness part of this is sad, but true. I am horribly out of shape and need to start somewhere, so I listed my beginner goals. Without further ado...I give you 30 Things I Would Like To Do In The 30 Days Before I Turn 30!!!!! (Maybe that title could be longer but I felt inspired by the song, "Standing outside a broken telephone booth with money in my hand.")

1. Work out on my elliptical for 30 minutes, non-stop
2. Get my Autism tattoo
3. Learn to French braid
4. Read a chapter a day in my bible
5. Run one lap at the track, non-stop
6. Lose 10 pounds
7. Plant a tree
8. Watch one Harry Potter movie (UGH)
9. Read The Lovely Bones

As you can obviously see, I am an adrenaline junkie ;). Hopefully I can add to this, so that the title makes sense...AND these are in no particular order, I just hope to complete them all. May 10....I dread you, ugly day of sadness. Let me go think a little more about this list....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

We colored eggs, the bunny brought surprises, we hunted eggs about 6 times, we OD'd on candy of all kinds, the khaki pants the boys started the day in are now pretty brown, and we are headed for bed. What's the next holiday? Can I sleep until then?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness month and in honor of that, I feel like I should share our story of life with this condition. Every family's story is different, yet strikingly similar because of the nature of Autism. It is a neurological spectrum disorder which encompasses PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified), Classic Autism, Rhett's, and Aspergers/High Functioning Autism. This being said, there is no magic blood test for ASD, you cannot see it on a brain or body scan, it is a diagnosis that you get according to an accumulation of symptoms. Those symptoms are always in varying degrees, which make children with Autism similar yet different. There is no known cure for this, it's cause is unknown, and treatments are often controversial. Parents will often try every imaginable option (clay baths, gluten and casein free diets, supplements, etc) and find some may help and some may not. It is truly unfortunate that this disease is clouded in so much mystery, but the current school of thought is that there is some kind of genetic component that may be triggered by an environmental factor.

Our story begins at Caleb's birth. He was born in 3.5 hours and was perfect in every way. The day after we brought him home, I found him blue on the couch after making a bottle. After a trip to the ER they noticed that he was having apnea, unable to breathe for long periods of time, he was having seizures, and had a heart murmur. We went home with a SIDS monitor, a prescription for Theophylline, and my head in a fog. The beautiful thing was by 6 months, he was clear of everything! He thrived on a night-time routine, and we noticed that he would hum himself to sleep in a very rhythmic way. He hit all his milestones on time. He sat up by 5 months, crawled at 7 months, was walking by 11 months, and was speaking in two word phrases by 12 months. Caleb had such a wonderful, giggly personality that we just loved spending time with him that first year.

When he was 2, his brother was born. He loved playing with his brother and being helpful. He was talking in three word sentences, but started some quirky behaviors and language. He became echolalic, and had a phrase that he memorized for everything. "Mommy, I want some _______, please" and he used it for everything. Clothing became an incredible issue for him, with tags and seams driving him up the wall. Food was almost impossible. He began to smell everything, gagging on almost everything he smelled. Loud noises and lots of people were very bothersome to him and he started being very anxious. His need for sameness was frustrating and hard to continue with. Something that always calmed him down was wheels....

We enrolled him in preschool and it was difficult for him. When things were going his way, things were wonderful, and we thought he was very smart. When he was three, his language had still not improved enough, so I took him to the school for testing. By this time, Caleb was reading street signs and was obsessed with numbers. He was giving little eye contact, but was interested in Mario and Wheel of Fortune. He qualified for speech therapy and the word "hyperlexic" and the phrase "red flags" came up. At this point, I was very concerned. I called my OT that I worked with and asked her to come check out Caleb. He qualified for occupational therapy because of his unbelievable sensitivities and his inability to regulate himself. He was hyper and crazed.

We got on the waiting list for the Meyer Center at Texas Children's Hospital and 8 months later, were in the office. His doctor said that he was developmentally delayed in some areas, but was excelling in other areas and wanted to perform the ADOS test on him. The next month he was tested and he fell one point short of the cutoff for an Autism diagnosis.

At 4, the school recommended putting him in Pre K for him to have some typical children to model and he would continue to receive speech therapy twice a week. Mid way through the year, his teacher reported that, while Caleb was incredibly bright, and was academically ahead, his behavior was problematic and he was, in fact, the most disruptive child in the class. So we went back to Texas Children's, to a new doctor, to find out about trialing him on medication. The doctor told me that I needed to go into therapy, that I needed parenting classes, and that my kid was perfectly Caleb was crawling on his back and humming incessantly. I sought out a new doctor who trialed him on Vyvanse, and he became a completely different child. It just simply worked for him. That in combination with the various therapies he was in and the strategies we used, made us finally able to see a light at the end of a very long tunnel.

By 5, he was enrolled in a mainstream kindergarten, and his teacher was noticing the same issues. We began a 5 month long testing spree through the school. In April 2009, when Caleb was 6, the school held an ARD and confirmed that he was indeed on the Autism Spectrum. Fortunately the school has been fantastic in dealing with Caleb. He has some wonderful modifications, his teachers are all on the same page, and he is academically on target.

Now that he is 7, we are getting better at handling the issues he has. We are trying to find the balance between giving him the input he needs, the solitude he desires, the routine he craves, but still trying to incorporate him into the world that is unexpected, uncertain, and very social. He still need visual supports, he still need routine, he still craves long sleeves and long pants, he still needs lots of physical input, but he is making so much progress.

I wish he would be capable of telling me what happened in his day. I wish he could have normal relationships. But he could be so much worse, and it really makes me treasure the smallest things in life that he does accomplish. This report card, he came home with all A's, he is playing soccer, and he is attempting to make friends. We will continue to support him and push him. He is a fabulous kid that has been the biggest struggle to figure out and raise, and I wouldn't have him any other way.