Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Thought from a Kid

I love my Makenna. She has been such an easy child to love and raise. She is by no means perfect because that sister is lazy as all get out and hates cleaning and has high aspirations of being rich and hiring a house cleaner for me and her later in life. I'm not going to argue with her thoughtfulness.

She's the kid who sits in the background and observes everyone and everything around her. Trust me, there are times I have to look around and see if she's listening because  her eavesdropping will come back to haunt you later. *shudder* Trust me on that one.

Remember I had a talk with her before I had my surgery? She has moments when she is sad for me because of certain foods I can't eat anymore. We both gravitate to the chocolate during that time of month and while she eats her monthly quota, she will look at me with sad eyes because without that chocolate goodness, she is a hot mess. I only get to enjoy sugar free chocolate pudding. I makes you sad, too.

The other day, out of the blue, she shocked me. She casually mentioned she had read my blog. I raised my eyebrows in question. I know my kids read my blog but after so many years of blogging, they kind of shrug it off and may go months without reading. It's cool, I don't mind.

She told me that she was worried when I had the surgery. When I asked her why, she said she was worried I wouldn't look like her Mama anymore. She went on to tell me that when she got to the progress post with the pictures, she was just blown away. She said..."You still look like my Mama, but you look so much healthier!"

I heart that kid.

I laughed and said thank you. I then commented that I think we favor more now my double chins are starting to recede. All my kids (and my niece Toot!) and I have the same pointy chin and cheeks. I can see it more now that my face isn't so swollen and puffy looking. It's the little things, friends.

I have to keep a closer eye on that sister. As calm and laid back as she looks on the outside..she worries on the inside. I need to make more of an effort and communicate better, I believe. The other two? If they are worried, you know it. There are no doubts what's going on with those two.

I wish I had a picture of the two of us, but the new phone (that wasn't dropped in the toilet) doesn't have one. I'm excited to take pictures this year and compare to last year. I promise to take pictures to share.

Speaking of pictures. I haven't taken any of my Christmas decorations. Can you believe that? I will, of course, take care of that soon. See, my husband has been out of town with a class for 15 weeks. Yes, 15 weeks. That's longer than a dang sea patrol. Sure, he's been home a few times for short weekend visits, but I need him HERE. I still can't believe I had this surgery and two weeks later he took off and I've been on my own healing with three kids. What was I thinking?

Anyway, he will be coming home this weekend. I am so excited I can't hardly stand it because he's taking Monday off to take me to Atlanta to a certain store that starts with the letter "I" with "ke" in the middle and an "A" on the end. My love knows no bounds for that place. I intend on doing some serious shopping and will be wearing the good shoes that day. No, the kids are not going. I don't have time for that mess. I need complete focus!!

I have now lost 73 pounds. When The Man and I went to that first initial visit with the doctor, Doctor C casually said that he bet I could lose 75 lbs before my husband got home from up North. I remember thinking, "Dude, you are high." Wow. I kind of wish I could lose those last two pounds before Saturday, but overall? I'm good. I still have a ways to go, but I'm chipping away at it every day.

If I don't see you before, you all have yourself a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Miss Hope's Progress

I'm sick as can be right now. I got myself a nice little nasty virus, most probably from the gym. I have been banned from that place of torture til the end of the week because I go in the mornings and there are older patrons who do NOT need what I have going on right now. 

This morning I had to drag my sick butt up and out to take the middle kid to get a full brand new set of braces. I have pictures to share in a different post for you. I bought a new shirt that is in a size I haven't seen in about, ohhhh, eight years. Same with the pants/jeans. I think wore this size after about a year of dating of my husband and eating out on date nights. I may have felt like poop on a stick, but thought I finally looked okay enough to take a picture for my progress.

And now I get to share with you my mini collage that Paige helped me make because I am STOOPID when it comes to operating anything on this blessed laptop.

I'm making some progress, Internets. And you should really pardon those Crocs I was wearing the morning of surgery. I knew I was going to have to walk a mile after the operation and my feet were going to swell. Best decision to make on footwear. Totally wore cute brown Mary Janes with a heel today.

Hopefully it'll look better by next progress picture! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving this Year

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was dangit hard. In more ways than one.

This was my last Thanksgiving with my Paige where I knew she was going with us to her Nana's. Next year, she may have a boyfriend who will whisk her away to spend the holiday with his people. College sucks. I want her to grow up but on my terms, Internets. Yes, I know this is impossible and improbable, but I can think whatever I want in my head, thankyouverymuch.

I got a small taste of the future this Thanksgiving. She has a very close friend from childhood (Wait..she's still still a child, right? So they've been friends since they were 11 and 12 years old.) who was home from college for the week. They simply adore each other and always try to see each other when in the same area. She asked to go with A. on Wednesday evening to see one of his friends perform somewhere. I said sure and told her to be home (at Nana's) by midnight. I love A. He had her home and she was in the door by 11:34. *snort* Not me. I would have made it in the door at 11:59:59. The next day, Thanksgiving, I was making my list for Black Friday and checking it twice, when I received a phone call from A. He politely asked if Paige could accompany him and his mother and Aunts shopping that night. *sigh* This was to be the first year she was to go with us. Family rule states you have to be sixteen to go Black Friday shopping and we didn't go last year. I was looking so forward to having her go with us this year. (Family rule was just made last year. It's our family and our rules, man.) I told him sure she could go and have a blast. And she did. She hung out with A. and friend N. and they did massive people watching and laughing. I wasn't worried because we were all in the same area shopping and I even ran into her around 3 a.m. She made it home by 5:30 and we weren't far behind at 7:30 a.m. Some of you may think that's alot of freedom to give a teenager. She's a good kid. A. is a good kid. She doesn't go and do much because she hates high school. I loved high school and find this sad. I want her to love high school like I did, but she's an old soul. Always has been. High school is just a chore that has to be done in her mind. She's so excited for college and I can't really blame her. I think that's when she'll bloom and blossom and become even more fabulous than what she is now. (Is that possible??)

Now, we are starting to do early admissions for college. Graduation announcements have been ordered and her page in the yearbook in school has been designed by yours truly. I have to order her cap and gown this week and I already know who is catering her graduation reception here at the house.

Life is here. It doesn't matter if I'm ready or not. That kid of mine is sprouting wings and it won't be long before she spreads them and jumps from my nest.

Side note on me personally now. Thanksgiving was hard with the food. I won't lie to you. There was a lot I couldn't eat because carbs are not my friend at all. My sis-in-law and Mama made the sweet potato casserole with splenda, God bless 'em, but I still couldn't eat it. It's really hard to explain, but when you take a small bite, you'll know within minutes if you can handle it. I took two small bites and my system told me "Yeah, not now, girl." So, I listen. I was able to enjoy a piece of ham with giblet gravy on top so I was happy. My awesome husband wouldn't eat red velvet cake in front of me. How cute is that? All in all, I lost 2 pounds last week because food and I aren't the greatest of friends right now. Maybe next year I can have a taste of all that I missed out on this year. I am loving having more energy and being able to walk. Black Friday shopping was flippin' great because I could stand in line without my back breaking. I could walk and look as long as I wanted without desperately seeking out a bench to sit upon. So, all in all, Thanksgiving was great. Just the food part was hard.

I didn't take pictures like I intended to do because...well, it just didn't happen. I snapped a few with my camera phone but haven't put them on the laptop yet. I have a few games on my phone for the kids, especially The Boy. His favorite is a states game. (Stack the States on that little "i" phone thing.) Who would have thought that  a trivia game about the United States would be a seven year old's obsession? Anyway, I let him play from time to time and the Thursday before Thanksgiving he asked to play with my phone. I said sure. Little did I know he was going to take it to the bathroom with him and try to pee and play the game at the same time. Yep. It fell right on into the toilet. I didn't lose my mind. No need and because I didn't want a mouth full of fever blisters from stress. I put it in rice and did all the suggestions that was given to me on the book of faces. When it wasn't working again by Saturday evening, my husband ordered another one because we pay an obscene amount of insurance on that piece of technology and an even bigger obscene amount to replace it. I had it by Monday before we left out on Tuesday but many things were lost because Miss Hope didn't sync like she should. (She does now.) Hey! You should all go one day without your phone. Seriously. Monday, the kids were already out of school for the holiday and I had a dental cleaning. Afterwards, I met Neighbor Debbie and Sherry-Do for lunch. I had to run get some makeup from MaySee's when we were done. After that was done, I decided to wander around the store a little bit. I didn't buy anything, but just wanted to look. It was kind of nice not having my phone go off every few minutes from kids wanting/needing something or the hubby checking in. Don't get me wrong, I feel all naked without my phone and really hate to be without it but I did find out that I can survive and do well without it. Side note: We were all sitting around chatting at Mama's last week and I made the comment to my Daddy that I don't know how on Earth he let me out the house as a teenager without a phone. His reply? "I don't know how I did it either!!" Ahhh...the advances of technology!

Look how my explanation for not putting a picture on this post turned into some long rambling paragraph. Methinks I may have had just a tad bit too much coffee to drink this morning.

I am in the process of decking my halls. There will be pictures. I promise. Just a piece of useless information to put out there. Last year my whole budget went to the fabulous 12 ft. tree that graces my living room. I wasn't able to decorate my banisters and such but this year? Miss Hope pretty much spent as much in decorations as I did the tree last year. The Man is still recovering from me taking decorating classes and HAVING to have certain things to deck my halls. My mantle is giving me fits. I want elegant and gorgeous and it's not heading that way at the moment. Inspiration is eluding me right now with my mantle. Hopefully, it will all be done in the next day or two so I can share with you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Easy Way Out?

How many of you out there have no addictions? Absolutely none whatsoever. If you don't have one single solitary addiction to claim, I am in complete awe of you and want to be like you when I grow up.

I have an addiction. It's called a food addiction. I love it. I want to eat when I am sad, happy, mad, unhappy, and any other emotion you can come up with to feel. I absolutely adore food, especially a sugar laden dessert. Oh my, how I love a good dessert with a cup of coffee. Heaven on Earth, my friends, is that for me.

I used to think that having weight loss surgery was the easy way out. I would smirk and know that diet and exercise were just as easy because I, myself, lost 107 lbs around the age of 25 to be an awesomely healthy woman.

I was such an ass.

For those of you who haven't discovered this widely known fact: The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight.

Especially when you're fighting food addiction, too.

(I am trying so hard here to write a good and decent post. I've already stopped twice and can't seem to gather my thoughts the way I want them to come across to you. I may just give up and write it real.)

I hit forty back in May. Good ol' forty. As much as I dreaded it, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn't so bad. I didn't automatically feel old. I did feel unhealthy. Do you know what my daily prayer became each day? "Dear Lord, please let me live long enough to raise my children. Anything after that is gravy." I KNEW how bad my health was getting. I had just been put on cholesterol medication and my blood pressure was creeping its way up the scale.

How do you stop a train that's out of control?? That's how I felt with my weight. I couldn't even stand at the washing machine to do clothes without my back hurting so badly, I would feel crippled. I definitely couldn't stand at the sink and wash dishes without bending over in agony. Going to the mall? Out of the question. I wasn't going to be one of those obese people riding a scooter or sitting down every 50 feet. My pride would keep me plodding along when I would have to go shop at that torture chamber. How shameful is that, I ask you?

I would look in the mirror and my face was so distorted. It was puffy and the chins were reproducing at an alarming rate. I would talk to my reflection and ask it how in the heck did it get that bad?? My husband has always called me "Beautiful" and I truly believe he means it but I truly didn't feel like it when I would see myself looking back at me.

Everyone has a breaking point. Mine came when I finally realized what I was praying for each day. I was only forty. And all I was asking for was to live long enough to raise my children. Really?? REALLY???

I feel for any type of addict. Drug addicts. Alcoholics. I have alcoholics in my family. My Grandaddy was a recovered alcoholic. He drank until I was six and a heart attack had him making the choice: alcohol and death or his grandchildren. So blessed was my brother and me that he chose us. So blessed because that gave us almost 25 more years with him. I've watched the show Intervention many times and just ached for those suffering from the grips of addiction. Ached for the families that love the addicts.

I've been jealous of those drug addicts and alcoholics in a way. They can go to rehab and be weaned from their addictions. They are told to stay away from old haunts that have those addictions. Stay away from the old crowds so you're not pulled into that black hole again.

So what does a food addict do? Think about it. We can't avoid it. We have to have it to live. It's there in our faces. Every.Single.Day.Of.Our.Lives.  I have to deal with my addiction every single meal. If you think it's easy, then you're wrong.

I have had to scare myself silly to do this. If I don't eat right, I get to experience a dumping syndrome. (Yeah, click on those two words to see what I'm talking about.) I am scared to death of dumping and will avoid sweets like the plague. And I miss them. I miss pasta and its carb goodness. I miss rice and the comfort it brings this Southern girl. I think one day I can eat a tiny bit of that stuff again, but I don't anticipate it for another year. Dude. I can't have chocolate when I PMS. I get to enjoy (insert sarcasm) a sugar free chocolate pudding. Yay me. Even chewing gum is something I will never enjoy again. If gum is swallowed (and I'm guilty of doing that on occasion), then it can clog up the tiny hole between the pouch and the intestines. I just can't take the chance so no more gum for me.

I still go out with my friends to eat supper on the weekend. There are a few things I can eat like soup and chicken fingers (maybe a whole one!), some steamed veggies, or fish. Keep in mind that I can only have 1/4-1/2 cup of food. I've just worked up to the half cup and feel like I've gorged myself when I'm done. Oh, and I have to take 30 minutes to eat my meal. And I can't drink one sip of beverage during my meal and for 30 minutes afterwards.

I don't want you to feel sorry for me at all. No, Sir or Ma'am. I'm just giving you an idea of my personal food addiction rehab. It's not easy and it's not fun. I watch my friends eat burgers and I miss bread with every fiber of my being in that moment. I want to grab a piece and just stuff my mouth, consequences thrown out of the window.

If you still think weight loss surgery is an easy way out? Then you're an ass. It's a final effort to find a way to gain control over our minds and bodies. Sure, there are some people out there who go in with the wrong attitude and the thought that this will be an easy way for them to lose weight. Can you imagine the reality slap across the face they have after surgery?? I know the slap I got was life changing . I *knew* what was expected afterwards, but walking the walk is a totally different road. Many people who have the surgery replace their food addiction with drugs or alcohol. It's the nature or genetic makeup of the beast. I have always avoided drinking alot of alcohol because of my Grandaddy. I know I have potential because I love the taste of a good beer, glass of wine, or mixed drink.( I am totally guilty of tasting a friend's beverage!!) I may have had my share of fun in college, but those days are over and Miss Hope don't play with that fire. I also am scared to pieces with drugs. Remember now, I was the one who asked for the morphine pump to be taken off after surgery because I didn't like how it made me feel.

Makes me wonder exactly which addictive behavior is going to take over now that food isn't an option. I have to laugh because I would love obsession over cleaning house to really grab me. Yeah, not so much yet.

I promise you from the bottom of my heart that weight loss surgery isn't an easy way out. I hope this post would change your mind a little bit if you did think that way. If you know someone who has taken this road, please give them a boost if you can. An "Atta Boy" or "Atta Girl". A "You look amazing!". Maybe throw in "Wow, you are one incredibly strong person to committ to this new journey!".

Trust me, it'll make a world of difference in their lives. And Miss Hope will love you for it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Edge Decoratin' for 2011

I've done a tad bit decorating for the Fall season around The Edge this year. There is this fabulous store that gives occasional classes and I try to take them when they're offered. This year the store had Fall Decorating classes and a few friends and I took a Saturday afternoon with just the gals and had a blast. We went to the class, out to lunch, and shopping for supplies to make our homes welcome the Fall season.

I should have posted this a week or so ago, but things have been really busy around The Edge. I went to a Christmas decorating class this past weekend and when I showed them the pictures of what I did for the Fall (on my phone), they asked that I put them on the book of faces and tag them. I hung my head in shame and said my first loyalty is to The Blog and all pictures go here first. Surprisingly, they seemed to appear as if they understood and so here I am catching up yet again.

Time for show and tell!

I made this all by myself! It was actually quite easy and you can bet your fanny I'm going to store it so it stays all pretty. Next year I foresee that it may be a centerpiece on a table.

 I kept my mantle pretty simple. Don't you LOVE those pumpkins I found in a florist shop? In one of the classes I've taken, we were told to use use use books. Use them to keep things slightly elevated. A couple of books on the right side makes a slightly more interesting look that I really liked.

Set up for making my grapevine wreath. We were told to take the spiral piece of vine that holds it together off. (Do this outside because it gets messy quick!) Then,  you pull and yank and "fluff" it up. It makes it more three dimensional and better looking. By golly, they were right! You take a zip tie to the top to keep it all together and that is covered up with the decorating. I am using my daughter's easel as it makes it much easier. Also, location is by the stove because I use a certain type of glue and it's in the little frying pan on the stove ready to go. (How about that Pampered Chef stone that is older than my 12 year old? Love it!)

 I bought a plain wooden "T" from either Michael's or Joann's and a seventy something cents thing of paint. I wanted an antique color that would scream Fall. Two coats later and I liked how it turned out. I used cheetah print ribbon with a gold color mixed in and picks with different things on them. The "T" is glued on and I also used florist wire just for insurance. I really love how this turned out.

 This is what I had left over. Literally. I got this stuff and really didn't "feel" it for the mantle or wreath. Oh, man, I must have went through four or fives vases I had before finally settling on this simple cylinder shaped vase (from Ikea). It's not glamorous or fancy like professional decorators , but it doesn't look half bad on the dining room table. Next year I'll focus on a more fancy centerpiece for that table.

That's my Fall decorating. I've enjoyed having this stuff around in my home. I find that I'm enjoying decorating more and more now that I know how to make some stuff that I've admired and never wanted to pay the high dollar they cost.

Last year, my full on intent was to get my tree. My beautiful 12 foot amazing tree. The class I attended this past weekend for Christmas opened another door for me decorating wise and I may have purchased many things for the upcoming season. Alas, I had to promise my middle daughter that I would not put up anything Christmas related until after Thanksgiving. She has a valid point and I will respect her wish.  

Got a couple of busy busy weeks coming up. The 18th will by my 3 month Surgiversary. I plan on taking a picture so you can see some of the progress I've made. Happy Fall, Ya'll!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 6 (Final One!!)

You all have been so patient with me telling my story. I appreciate that and I hope you've been enlightened and have somewhat enjoyed my adventure. This is the final "chapter" before I get to current status and blog about what's going on now.

I woke up in my hospital room. Keep in mind, the 24 hours following my surgery are really blurry. I do remember my husband being there. Those precious precious people gave Miss Hope a morphine pump. They are totally on my Christmas list now and forever. I had the leg covers (formal name eludes me right now) that kept massaging my lower legs to prevent blood clots (those bad boys are on MY Christmas list!). The catheter was in and I could have hardly cared less at that point. Little did we know that the morphine would relax me to the point where my body believed breathing to be optional. The machine would start beeping and my husband would say, "Breathe Hope!" Jeesh, man, I was SLEEPING HERE.  He finally left to head home and care for our kids and reassure them that I was fine. I may have spoken to Paige on the phone, but am not sure.

I had the bestest nurse in the entire free world that night. It was a young man who's name was Jake or Jace (the white board was across from my bed and no matter how hard I squinted, all I could see was a "J" at the beginning of his name). He was 25 and normally worked in the ICU. He was visiting the bariatric floor to see if maybe he would like to work there at some time. I do believe I loved that boy a little bit. He was in my room every 15 minutes checking my I.V. and the machines. He helped me move and get comfortable and chatted with me through my drug induced haze. He made my first night so bearable and I've already told the hospital to give him a raise (no joke).

Around 5 in the morning, he came to me and informed me that the catheter was coming out at 6 a.m. and then I was going to have to go for my swallow/leak test downstairs. I could not have a single drop to drink until I had this x-ray done in case there was a leak in my new interior system. I squinted at him and said, "So, who is coming to take the catheter out?"

He grinned and said he already had another female nurse coming to take care of that. I immediately felt relief. I told him that I surely meant no offense, but I was old enough to be his favorite Aunt and being Baptist made me modest to the core. He assured me he was not offended and that he normally did this with female patients to preserve their modesty.


After this lovely nurse came in and took out the catheter, it was time to stand up and get unhooked from everything for the ride to the leak test.

Here I am, full of pain and morphine and haven't eaten or drank in 30 something hours and they want me to stand and WALK to a wheelchair.

I believe the words "You people are HIGH" came out of my mouth at some point during this.

I was so nauseated, I couldn't hardly stand myself. Apparently, Miss Hope had hit the morphine pump a tad too much during the night. Gah, I can't ever remember feeling that sick.

I told them they better make this snappy, because I was going down quick. They gave me a bucket and off we went for the test.

I get down in the bowels of the hospital and there's this metal table. I have on a hospital gown and my pajama pants. Two tiny nurses help me get on the table and lay flat. Oh, my nauseated body!!!! I vaguely remember a man coming in with a balding head and shirt and tie on.

*Before surgery, we are stressed that you can only sip sip sip sip sip SIP SIP SIP liquid the rest of your life. No more gulping ever never.*

This man told me to DRINK the liquid he gave me. I held up my hand and said, "Let's be clear here. Do you want me to SIP it or DRINK it? Because I'm about to puke everywhere and I want to get it right the first time."

He laughed and told me this one time I had DRINK.

'Nuff said, my friend.

I started drinking.

Son of a gun, that was some nasty stuff. He told me to stop and I heard the clicking of the machine. He told me to DRINK again. Aye, Sir!! I took it down like I was at a college frat party.

Afterwards, I was gasping for breath. I forgot to mention that the table was flat when I got on it, but they tilted it until I was standing so it was not the best experience in my life.

They helped me get back in the wheelchair, handed me my bucket and back to the room we went.

The thought "Am I going to die?" crossed my mind.

Shortly after that, I was sitting in the chair beside the bed when my nurse J came in to say goodbye. I told him he should really come to the bariatric side to work. He laughed and asked why? I told him because we're not sick like those people in ICU, we're just crazy and we can have conversations! He laughed again and said it was a great shift for him. I never saw him again and was a little sad.

My husband showed up shortly after this to keep me company. It was time for me to start walking the halls. You have to walk a mile before they will let you leave. I was a shuffling turtle, but by golly, I walked.

My doctor came through when we were walking and he walked with me some and when I asked him if he wanted me to go back to my room to talk, he waved me off and said he was done with me that moment. (LOVE-for reals- his sense of humor).

I went in on a Thursday and was staying until Saturday. I begged for them to take the morphine pump off because that stuff is just evil, people. They refused and I am so glad because Friday night I went to turn over and got stuck. I was on fire and pulled something and couldn't move. I hit the nurse's button and when she answered, I told her I sure could use a little help. She came right away and helped me get comfortable. I didn't realize until a minute later, she hit the morphine for me. See ya until tomorrow morning!

I had a drain hanging out of my abdomen. Talk about gross?? Yuck. I didn't have to change it so I ignored it best I could. I've read where most people keep the drain up to a week or two. My doctor was awesome and took mine out on Saturday before I left.

After the results for the leak test came back Friday morning, I was given an ounce of water. One ounce. I was told to sip it and make it last. Seriously. My "meal" consisted of broth and lemon jello and protein drink. That meal was the best meal EVAH. I got that a couple of times while I was there and each one was so amazing to my food deprived body.

I know I'm rambling with this post, but I am truly trying to recall all that happened.

The surgery gas. Dear Baby Jesus and the little bitty lambs. That mess right there has the potential to bring an elephant to its knees. When I got home on Saturday, Neighbor Debbie came to sit with me while The Man took the kids out to supper and spend time with them. I sat in my recliner and dozed most of the time she was here. I woke up at one point and told her the gas was killing me! She has had a hysterectomy and knew where I was coming from. Together, we remembered heating bags the two of us had made a couple of years earlier. She went digging in my pantry and found two of them and started up the microwave. She put them on my lower abdomen and the RELIEF, people!!! I probably told her I loved her before I passed out again.

I did a lot of sleeping and between naps, I would walk around my house. That's because my husband nagged me to death about it. (I do love that man.) He was a rock for me. He knows as much about nutrition (for me or RNY) as I do and he pushed me when I didn't feel like being pushed.

Another point of interest I want to mention is hormones. Those blessed hormones. What I didn't know before surgery was that fat cells store hormones. Here I am shedding fat after surgery and guess what's popping in my body like a ticker tape parade in New York City?? Yep, hormones. (Guys, this may be a little too much for your liking, but the gals will get this next part.) I started my cycle two weeks early and it was like I had given birth but without the baby. I went to my regular family doctor to see if I truly was dying. She assured me I was fine and this is a by-product of surgery and especially this type of surgery. I asked her to give me a script for adult liquid Tylenol as I can never again take the amazing Motrin or anything like that.It was time to ditch the Tylenol with codeine they sent home with me. My cycle still isn't back to normal and I found out that may be the case for the next few months. Lovely. I tried to talk Doctor C into taking out my uterus while he was up in my abdomen and such and he refused. Said it might be a tad too much on my body. Humph. Sure am wishing he had by this point and time in my life.

Now you know how my summer went and how the rest of my life begins. I'm going to be posting some thoughts on food addiction and some of the hurdles I've had to cross in the two months since that fateful day. I have healed wonderfully with little dashes on my stomach from the laproscopic tools.

I went through my buyer's remorse I heard/read about before surgery. That was around the second and third week when I started coming back to my senses. I bawled over what I had done to my body (thank you yet again hormones) and just knew I would be miserable the rest of my life. Yes, there were loads of violins playing the most pitiful tune you ever heard all around my head.

I still have so many hurdles to get over and many issues left to deal with in my mind and body. I welcome you to come along on my journey with me and learn how I adjust and how my family adjusts.

We're the same 'Ol Edge...just trying to be improved!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 5

The Man and I arrived at the hospital while it was still dark. It's a small Catholic hospital and it was very quiet as we walked down the hall to the day surgery and surgery check-in. We walked into a room full of people who were waiting for their turn in an O.R. somewhere in the building. Of course, it didn't help that as soon as I hit the door, I smelled fresh brewed coffee that was provided for the family members of O.R. patients. I let the front desk know I was there and we found a seat and settled in to get comfortable.

I was so sleepy. That nerve pill was working me over and my head was bobbing around worse than Granny in the nursing home. A nurse came to inform me that my surgery was scheduled for 2:30 that afternoon and I would be taken back around 11:30 a.m. Excuse me??? That woke me up a little bit right there. Seriously? They wanted me to sit in that waiting room for hours, then stroll back for a surgery.

I got a little bit ticked, I admit. I was starving. I was thirsty. I was sleepy. I told my husband I wasn't gonna stay. I went to the front desk and confirmed that I wouldn't be going back until around 11:30 a.m. I then told her I was going home to sleep in my own bed for a few hours and I would be back. She had a tiny bit of panic in her eyes at the thought of me leaving, but I have people who can testify that I have a knack of being obnoxious when need be, and I exercised that option at that moment. I told her I was not going to sit there for hours because my doctor has no sense of time. I would be back at 11:30 and would see her then.

Then we left and headed back home.

I  hardly remember the ride home as I was so sleepy. Gah, that nerve pill sure kept me calm. Calm and knocked out! We got home and climbed back in bed to snatch a few hours of sleep.

We got back to the hospital in plenty of time and it wasn't long before I was taken back to get all prepped and ready. This would be where my nerves were taking over and I was considering that maybe this wasn't the greatest idea I've ever had in my short 40 years. My husband was left in the waiting room and would be allowed to keep me company for a few minutes before they took me back.

I started texting with Lu. Now, Lu was a basket case over this whole deal. She's the one that is always having surgeries. I've taken her quite a few times as I know how to deal with her. It was killing her she couldn't be with me for mine, but Thank You, Jesus! for text messaging. She kept me sane and I promised to text her until right before they took me back.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I am voluntarily letting someone remove part of my stomach and re-route my intestines! OMG!!!!!

Lu: I know...I've been there...I wanted to back out when I got there that morning ...but my whole thing was I was doing it for me...and my kids...and I don't regret it one bit.

Me: Ya gotta help me with every step.

Lu: I will be there to hold ur hand just like u did with me.

Me: I know...I just wish we didn't have to stretch our arms so far!!

11:43 a.m.

Me: Gah. I am in the back and naked under this hospital gown. This is so against my religion. If I could wear my drawers, I'd be so happy.

(You come out of surgery with a catheter. This was almost the straw that broke the camel's back as Miss Hope don't do catheters. Last time I had one was when I had Paige and it was NOT the best experience of my life. Suffice it to say, I had to do some MASSIVE praying to get past this and keep on.)

Lu: LOL...girl what does it matter...they gonna be on your

Me: Know how I'm staying calm? I keep telling myself I can walk out at any time and they can't stop me.

This is the picture I then sent to her. See the terror?!?!?

Lu: I told myself that too...over and over and over..until they gave me the drugs and I didn't give a rats a**

Me: I know the thought sure is helping me right now!! About to get i.v.

15 minutes later....

Me: Slight spazz. I.V. is in. If I run now, I gotta take the pole with me!

Lu: Well, if it has wheels. LOL But...remember to close the gown. Hee hee

Me. Girl, if I run? I won't care who sees my nekkid butt.

That was around the end of our conversation. The Man came back to join me and I was semi-calm and wide awake. That nerve pill was taken over by my anxiety. I was seriously wanting something to knock me out.

Doctor C came in and he towered over the foot of my bed. He talked to me about the change in surgery plans in nixing the gastric sleeve and going with the RNY Gastric Bypass. I asked him what he thought and he smiled and said that it was going to be just fine.

He then turned and closed the curtain, pushed my legs over and sat down at the foot of my bed. He took my hand and reached and took my husband's hand. Then he prayed. Out loud. For me, for himself, for the surgery, for my family, and for the new life I was about to start. I felt tears come to my eyes and a peace come over my soul. When he finished, I was ready.

The nurse anethesist was the same one when I had my scope! She recognized me and I was so happy to see her. She came in and chatted and this other nurse was with her. He was a very serious and somber Asian guy. He proceeded to ask me question and I copied his demeanor and seriousness. He stopped and looked at me and I said, "Dude! Lighten up! I'm the one getting cut, not you!" Others hanging around laughed and said they tell him that all the time. He grinned and after that, he was super. At the end he said, "Do you have any questions?" I said, "Are you married? Do you have kids? What are they? Do you like your job?" We were having a great time when the call came to take me back.

Miss Sweet Nurse Anethesist snuck some goody drug in my I.V. and the last thought I had before I woke up was riding down the hall on the gurney and going into a room that way more stuff than I thought an operating room should have. I vaguely remember her telling me to dream of something nice and I sighed and said, "then I'll dream about the beach".

Next thing I knew, I was waking up in my hospital room and I really really needed to get the hot poker out of my abdomen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 4

When I heard those words, "We have a problem with your insurance", I froze. Everything was right there within my reach and all I could think was that my stupid insurance was going to screw it up.

Small side trip here. My insurance isn't insurance per se. It's a government health plan. That's what you get when you are military or retired military. There are times when it covers much and times when it doesn't cover at all. There are many prescription drugs we can't get because Tricare won't cover them. It's a true love-hate relationship a person has with this health plan. Right now, I am fighting tooth and nail to be able to see an ob/gyn out in town for my yearly women's checkup and mammogram. I do not wish to go on base/post because a friend of mine had her mammogram on base/post (it's Army and they call it post and we're Navy and we call it base) and got a call months later to go back and re-do the test. Why? Because the person reading the mammograms obviously didn't know what they were doing and misread quite a few. They had to perform an audit and suffice it to say, many women had to go back for another mammogram and anxiously await results and hope and pray they didn't have breast cancer that took the opportunity of no diagnosis to grow. Yeah, I don't want any part of that hot mess.

Back to the story....

The patient representative informed me that my procedure wasn't covered by Tricare.

HUH???? I told her that indeed it was because they offered it on base, which is where I first heard about it.

She told me to give her a few minutes to call Tricare back and she would call me right back. I knew then that my surgery wasn't going to be on Tuesday, August 16. I sighed and she was quick to tell me we were going to work something out and I would have surgery at some point that week.

Within the hour she called me back with not so good news. Apparently, Tricare would cover the gastric sleeve on base, but NOT out in town. Now, tell me how much sense that makes?? Absolutely none. She went on to tell me that I had two choices with their practice. I could do the lap band or gastric bypass. Wow. Talk about two extremes. I had to let her know for sure the next morning what my decision was and how I wanted to handle the situation. We mutually decided before I got off of the phone to let her schedule me for the gastric bypass on Thursday, August 18. I told her I had to talk to my husband and support group and if the decision was going to be different, I would let her know the next morning first thing.

I got off of the phone and took a deep breath. This totally turned my mind around. I was as prepared as I could be for the gastric sleeve, but the gastric bypass?? Do you know what they do with a gastric bypass,  people? Click on this sentence and see this mess. Yeah, that's what I was looking at doing inside of my body.

That evening Neighbor Debbie and Neighbor Greg came over and The Man and I sat down sat down with them for a serious hard down discussion. I made the point that before I even knew about the gastric sleeve, I was seriously considering the RNY (short name for gastric bypass). We all talked about pro's and con's for a while. Neighbor Greg had a valid point when he said I wasn't a stranger to the RNY and I was extremely serious about losing weight and getting healthy. The Man was highly concerned with me having my insides cut up and rearranged. Truth is, I was having concerns of that nature my own self. I called Lu (who had RNY 8 years ago her own self) and we had a talk where she supported whatever I decided.

By the time we went to bed, I was positive the RNY was the way to go. I was too obese and miserable NOT to do it and get healthy.

My husband works for an amazing place in his military retirement. They have family emergency leave you can take each year that doesn't affect your own sick or personal leave. His supervisors were absolutely wonderful (no, they don't read my blog) and told him to do what was necessary to make sure I was okay. All in all, he ended up taking almost two weeks off to care for me.

We went the day before surgery to do all my pre-op stuff. I was starting to have myself one doozy of a headache because there was no caffeine in my system. My health nut of a doctor requested that I walk two miles the night before surgery. I was informed this makes the body produce natural blood clotting properties and helps with surgery. I knew I couldn't walk two miles. See, my body had gotten so bad that walking was becoming quite an issue with me. Just standing at the sink to wash dishes or doing laundry would make my back feel like it was going to snap in two. Part of that is due to weight and a weird injury I did to it in my early 30's. I asked if swimming was allowed and was given the go ahead. Neighbor Debbie went with me to the pool so we could get my exercise going on. The pool was empty and all ours. We went from end to end dozens of times. We went from side to side in the shallow end walking and running. We were so exhausted when we finished, it was a chore to walk back to the truck to go home.

By the way, I did the nicotine test at my family doctor's office. I had no choice. I made her promise to call me if I failed (in case I hadn't waited long enough) and I would come right back in and do another one. I passed on the first try and she called to tell me. That was one proud moment I had right there.

I would also like to note that many people who have bariatric surgery are required to do liquid diets for a period of time before surgery. From what I've been told and have researched on my own, this is required to shrink the liver. Many obese people are diabetic and shrinking the liver is really important. See, they PULL the liver to the side and if it's all swollen and fatty? It could literally snap off. Snap. Off. I think I got a little nauseous typing that. I don't have diabetes or pre-diabetes (THANK YOU, JESUS!), so I didn't have that problem, but you can bet your fanny I cut the sweets out MANY days before surgery. Like a week early. I didn't want my liver snapping off.

I know I mentioned before that I take celexa for anxiety. Let's just say the night before, my anxiety was getting a tad high. Celexa starts at 20mgs. I can't take that much. It makes me all loopy and sleepy. So, daily, I take a half of a pill to make 10 mgs. It suits me perfectly and keeps me smooth. Yeah, Miss Hope took herself a full 20 mgs the night before surgery.

Getting up Thursday morning was blurry because that nerve pill was working its magic. I showered and used plain Dial bar soap. It's required to bathe with Dial because it's the greatest anti-bacterial around. I dressed comfortably because I knew I was wearing the same clothes home after surgery. I kissed and hugged my kids and tried to convince my anxiety stricken teenager that this was nothing and I would see them all in a couple of days.

The Man and I headed out in the dark with all the early morning commuters to the hospital.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 3

I came home from that fateful appointment and had much to think about. I was about to take drastic measures to help me lose weight. We talked with the girls (because The Boy isn't really old enough to get the whole gist of the situation) and answered questions that we could and basically tried to prepare them the best way we knew how.

I had to sit there and really think about the no smoking deal. Intellectually, I knew it had to be done or healing from the surgery would be awful. I basically chain smoked the rest of the night up until around midnight. It was a Friday night and for that last cigarette, Makenna followed me outside. I told her it was time. I gave her the pack of cigarettes I had left (around 3/4 of a pack) and told her to just take them away. She agreed, took them and went inside (I found out later she and her sister had themselves a large time destroying/shredding them and throwing them away). I then prayed and asked God to help me. I had smoked for so long that not smoking seemed foreign to me. I told Him I needed Him to take the want/need/desire for a cigarette away from me. I went to bed that night determined I wasn't going to smoke again and ruin my chances for this surgery.

I woke up the next morning and was fine. It wasn't hard to quit. Looking back, I think it wasn't hard to quit then (now is a different story-my cravings have gotten worse the longer I go without), because I knew it was time to do something about getting healthy.

Before I could count on this surgery being done, there were a few things I had to do on the preparation list. I had to have an EGD done. Now, I'm not so sure on what those letters stand for, but it had to be done the following Thursday morning. It's an outpatient surgery where they run a scope down your esophagus to check your throat and stomach for ulcers and other issues that could complicate a bariatric surgery. Gah, I was so nervous. I haven't had any surgeries other than a c-section seventeen years ago. They were going to put me to sleep!!!

The Man and I were at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. Come to find out, I wasn't even on the list?!? They took me and apparently put me first on the list because I was there so early. Fine by me. The adorable nurse anethesist (not so sure how this word is spelled as spell check doesn't recognize it) came by around 7:45 and we hit it off immediately. She said she was going to grab breakfast as Doctor C never got in before 8:00. Seriously? Then why on earth was I there so early??

Finally, around 8:15, they came to get me. They took me back to this small room and we were all chatting. I saw Doctor C come in the door from my peripheral vision and said, "What's happenin', Captain? One week smoke free! High five!" He laughed and gave me a high five and told the nurse anesthisit, "Hurry and sedate her before she starts talking." I looked at the nurse and said, "He's just worried I'll talk him into something else."

Next thing I remember, I was waking up in recovery about 40 minutes later and my husband was coming in. I am very vague about things after that. I do remember Doctor C coming in and telling me that I had a hiatel hernia. My stomach was trying to come up through my esophagus. Ahhhh...there explains the GERD I suffer from and the love affair with Nexium. He said he could fix it with surgery. Awesome. The rest of my stomach looked fine and he felt good about the upcoming surgery.

I was released and kind of remember calling my Daddy to tell him all was well. The rest of the day is pretty much a blur. Apparently, the anesthesia they use causes temporary amnesia. Nice.

I also decided to do the psychiatric consult. I had done one the year before for the surgery and would have been fine, but I felt that maybe I needed to just have one more. The seriousness of bariatric surgery is so great, that if you don't have it? You just don't understand.

Can I say I just thoroughly enjoyed that appointment? We both sat on her couch and chatted like we were old friends. We talked about the gastric sleeve and how important it was that rules are followed. She told me that I needed to prepare myself to mourn and grieve food. I heard her. My brain understood what she was saying. I just never knew how incredibly hard that could be (more on that in a future post). She invited me to come back if I felt I was having problems with my grief after surgery. I still may take her up on that.

I had three weeks until surgery. This food addict had some serious bidness to attend to, my friends. I had to do a food tour quicklike and in a hurry. I informed a couple of close friends that every weekend before surgery was important and there were places I HAD to eat before it was taken away forever. I have good friends. They fully supported this idea and I got to pick where we ate for the next three weekends. We ate Japanese steak house, Carraba's, and Red Robin (Yumm!). Each meal was amazing and I made sure to fully enjoy myself. Don't worry, I totally worked in Mexican food and a few other places high on my list also during that time.

The time up until surgery flew by, people. I am so glad Doctor C didn't require a two week liquid diet beforehand. Oh, Dear Baby Jesus and the sweet little lambs. The new doctor that has replaced him is strict and requires stuff like that. I so don't like him. All that was required was a 24 hour liquid diet before surgery. That was hard enough like it was. Jeesh. No caffeine was allowed (can you say headache???), either. No, I did not quit the caffeine before surgery. I sucked down Diet Coke like a madwoman up until I had to quit. I figured I was going to be on a morphine pump during the bad headaches and would come home with good drugs. Seriously, give me a break here. I had already given up the cigarettes. ( defensive am I over this?)

I'd like to say at this point, I had a conversation with Makenna. She's twelve now and so incredibly intelligent. She has no weight problem at all and I secretly admire the heck out of her. I've watched her and she treats food like it should be treated. She eats when she's hungry and she stops when she's full. She doesn't over eat (unless it's a salad buffet-no joke). I told her that this was my adventure, not hers. While I really needed her support, I never wanted her to feel guilty for being able to eat something that I couldn't. I made her promise not to change and enjoy her food and life. She took me seriously and we were perfectly fine.

My surgery was scheduled for August 16, 2011. A big Tuesday. Whew. Friday, I hadn't heard from the surgery coordinator and I was tad bit worried. I was supposed to get the fine details from her before surgery. I had had one last visit with Doctor C the previous Thursday. Neighbor Debbie went with me as The Man had to take his son to a doctor's appointment at the same time. Doctor C hugged me when he came in the room and he treated Neighbor Debbie with full respect as part of my support team. He included her in the conversation and she liked him about as much as I did by the time we left.

I waited all day Monday to hear from the office and called a few times. They were moving their office across town so the phones lines were all messed up and communication was sketchy. Talk about making a person a nervous wreck?? Finally, she called at around 4 p.m. and this is what I heard...

"Hope, we have an insurance problem."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 2

I need to preface this with a few personal words to you all out in Internet Land. I'm sharing this story with you because there those of you out there who need to hear this. If you don't support the subject of my posts right now? Then so be it. If you put your nose up at bariatric surgery? Please, read my story and see if you change your mind. I promise this is as real and raw as it gets.

Where was I? Oh yes, the appointment for the bariatric surgeon was fast approaching. The day before my appointment, I went out on my back porch so Jesus and I could have us a private meeting. I prayed and told Him I was scared, but I knew the time had come to stop relying on myself because it had gotten me nothing but bad health and poor choices. I asked Him that if this was the way I was to go, then He would clear the path before me and show me that I was to do this without any doubts.

Be careful what you ask for.

The next day, July 22nd, The Man and I headed out to meet destiny. (How dramatic of me, huh?) Yes, I took my husband with me because he is my right hand (because I'm left handed) and my support system. We make as many decisions as we can together. It keeps conflict way down in our house. The doctor came in to sit and talk with us. He was around 6'3" and wearing slacks and a Hawaiian shirt. His hair was in need of trim and he was in his late 40's. I liked him on sight. We began talking and he got me. He's seen it all in his line of work, I'm sure, but his sense of humor and mine meshed perfectly.

I told him I wanted to talk about the gastric sleeve that I had been researching. (not sure how this print and font is turning out as of now. Please, click on "gastric sleeve" to see the procedure.) He crossed his legs and leaned back in his chair and squinted his eyes. He slowly nodded and said that he could see that procedure working for me.

*What I am about to talk about may offend some people. I'm not apologizing for what I'm about to say because: 1. This is MY blog. 2. I'm not giving up my place in heaven to keep someone else's feelings smooth. *

I then asked him a few important questions. It went something like this...

Me: Do you believe in God?
He then proceeded to tell that not only did he believe in God, but how God had worked in his life up until this point.

Me: Do you pray before surgery or with your patients? Because if you don't have God up in your operating room? I got no business in there.
He then gladly told me that God let him in the operating room, not the other way around and that he was thrilled to pray with patients before surgery.

I looked at him and said, "I want you to do this surgery."

He smiled and said he would be honored to, but there was a problem. He was about to leave the practice and head off to start a new program. He was to be gone by the end of August. If I wanted the surgery, It would have to be within the next four weeks before he left.

~ numb face~

My husband sat there quiet until this point. He then pointed out that he was leaving for a 15 week class the beginning of September and that this just couldn't be done. We went in to this appointment thinking it was going to take six months (standard requirement of insurance) and that I would have the surgery when he came back from this class.

I wanted THIS  doctor to do my surgery. Doctor C wanted to do my surgery.

Doc then told my husband that I needed two weeks to recover and could he work with me having it two weeks before he left. My husband agreed and then magic happened.

It was decided that since I had done a majority of the six month requirements the previous summer, I would not have to do it again. I am still in awe of how that Doctor C just made happen what needed to be done.

I then had to admit to this doctor my biggest failing. I smoked. Oh, how I hated to tell him that. He just sat back again in that chair and looked at me. "You think you can read people and then you get surprised," he said. He would have never guessed that I was a smoker. He then leaned forward and told me, "You have to quit. Now. I have a personal rule that if a patient is a smoker, they have to quit 30 days before surgery and I require a nicotine blood test done before surgery to prove it or I won't operate."


He went on to say, "I am going to break my personal rule because we don't have a month." I am humbled because I now know this man is all about the fitness and health and to break his rule? Was big.

Before I left that office, I had a surgery date of August 16, 2011. My husband and I sat in our vehicle in shock.

I had  3 1/2 weeks to prepare myself for a life changing event. be continued...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summer of Change, Choices, and a New Life

Hi Everyone! I'm still here, believe it or not. I think I'm finally ready to blog again and once I explain, I think you'll understand why I haven't been on top of my blog game the past couple of months.

The Summer of 2011 has to be the most life changing summer of my life. Wait....that means the summer of '89 when I graduated high school and lived at the beach would be put to the wayside. Hmmm. Let's say the Summer of '89 was the BEST summer of my young life and the Summer of '11 was the life changing time, okay? 

Where do I begin? We went on vacation in June with my life friend Lu and her family. We had a wonderful week of sand, laughing, golf cart riding, shopping, and eating. When we got home, regular life began again. The kids and I had doctor appointments of the regular kind. Makenna went and failed herself the skin allergy test. I'll try to remember to show a picture of that hot mess in another post. I went to my doctor to get medication refills and that's when the wind changed in my life.

I love my doctor. She is amazing and laid back and I would totally be friends with her in the "real world". We got to chatting and I looked her square in the eye and told her it was time to lose some weight. I was feeling old and tired...way beyond my years. She asked if I had considered bariatric surgery. I paused and then admitted that it had crossed my mind a time or two or thousand. She asked if I would be willing to talk with a bariatric doctor and I immediately agree. I had to confess that Summer of 2010, I started the process to have bariatric surgery at our local army base. I almost finished the process, but chickened out because I did NOT want to have any kind of surgery on a military base. (That's just me, guys, okay? If you don't know military medicine, then don't judge, please.) She said she would immediately put the referral in and I honestly didn't think much of it after that.

The next week, the first week of July, I got a call from the bariatric office to make an appointment for July 22nd. Wow. I was a tad surprised and maybe a tiny bit nervous the appointment was going to happen so fast. Trust me, that appointment came up on me quick.

Now, here's where I'm going to pause the story. It is so long and so involved and I have so many feelings and thoughts I want to share with you about this past Summer. I've decided I'm going to break it all down into parts and I PROMISE I will post in a timely fashion. There is so much stuff happening now, I can't afford NOT to post. You're missing out on my amazing children. I have a high school senior living in my house?!?! So many things going on there I need to share with you all.

I have to record this little snippet because I don't want to lose it. Last night my seven year old, my big boy, climbed up in my chair to sit with me so we could watch Survivor together. He was dressed for bed in a pair of pajama pants and pulled a blanket up with him so he could snuggle down to watch his show. I don't know what came over him, but he kept grabbing my chin with his little hand and turning/pulling me towards him so he could do loud smooching kisses on my cheeks. My son is not affectionate by nature. He is so like my Daddy in that aspect. You have to work hard to get love from that rascal. He kept smooching my cheek and getting so tickled. That, in turn, tickled me and Paige (who was sitting on the couch). I finally threatened to lick his face because he was being so sweet and he declared he didn't care. It was a very precious moment that I will treasure for always. He's growing so fast and is so independent...but for a little while, he was my baby again. The moment filled my heart to capacity.

You all come on back to the Edge. I'm going to take you on my journey I've started and who knows? There's no telling where we'll end up!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What an Edgy Summer thus Far

I don't feel like I've slowed down since the summer started. I'll give you a brief re-cap of all the action we've had going on since the kids got out of school.

Last day of school, Neighbor Debbie showed up with her three kids. Why, you ask? Because Neighbor Greg got himself a job at the same company as The Man and I was going to have her here with me! I didn't say anything on the blog earlier because of "The Jinx". You get all excited and junk, and the universe steps in and laughs at you. I am excited to say, though, that they are living in the same neighborhood as we are and we are exactly .8 miles apart. We are two very happy women. I know we're meant to be friends because her family lived with us for almost a month while their house was being completed and we're all still alive! We did much walking through her house as it was being built/finished and observing details with slitted eyes. Many things were caught and fixed early but the builders hated us on sight. I know they had to have a champagne meal when closing happened and we weren't coming up with stuff on an hourly basis they needed to fix. Alas, they still have a year warranty to fix mistakes and we are not through looking yet. Every time I go over there (and that's quite a bit), I see a little something here and there that I draw to her attention and she takes note. Good times all the way around, Internets.

While the Neighbors were staying here, we went on a vacation to the beach in South Carolina. I did not take my laptop and it was quite a change not having my trusty 'puter near to my side. We went with Lu and her family and had quite the blast. I went in the ocean for the first time in twenty years and just thoroughly enjoyed myself. We did quite a few touristy things with the kids. Henna tattoos, zip lines, 20 story Ferris wheel rides, beach, pools, shopping, and golf cart riding. It was a full week that we needed badly. It was the first time in twenty years my husband wasn't rushing to go visit his family and rushing back to work. He relaxed and wore his new phone out playing games. I did way to much deck sitting and did not regret it one bit. I have quite a few pictures, but I'll address that in a moment.

We left the beach on Father's Day and headed back to my family (who live 30 miles from the beach). The Man was working with his company at another company in South Carolina that week, so we hung out at my parents for a visit. It was nice to have a few days to do some porch sitting with my Mama. On Tuesday, I took her all around shopping and out to lunch with my niece. We had ourselves a right large girl's time out. On Wednesday, I had to head home with the kids because real life just had to intrude with doctor's appointments and such.

Upon arriving home, I had to unpack/unload truck, catch up on Neighbor Debbie's house situation. We got home on Wednesday evening and they closed on their house on Friday. Suffice it to say, the next week was a blur as we helped by either painting or keeping the lovely Miss Nani (95 lbs. blond Lab) here with us and out of trouble. I am still a little dizzy by how fast things were moving.

Things may have started slowing down to where I could finally sit down and come talk to you and guess what happens?? MY LAPTOP DIED. Up and flippin' died on me. I am using The Man's computer at this moment and while it's sufficient? It ain't mine. He uses different programs and I'm set in my old ways and much prefer MY laptop and all the bells and whistles I know how to operate. Hopefully soon, he'll manage to get it to a facility that will fix it so I can ride the Internet in my own vehicle the way I like to do.

Oh, yes, many things going down this summer. Makenna failed the skin allergy test bigger than day. I have pictures of that mess. She starts allergy shots soon for who knows how long. Paige was allowed to get her nose pierced at the beach. What a story that is I'll have to share with you soon. Paige is also getting her wisdom teeth out in a week or so because they are impacted and her braces aren't going to work just right until those teeth are gone. Both girls have been selected to represent their orthodontist's office next week by singing the National Anthem at the Augusta Green Jackets baseball game, so this Mama has dragged the newly retired chorus teacher (Makenna's teacher last year) away from selling her home and packing up to train the girls with the new chorus teacher so they're comfortable and ready to represent the right way. Makenna starts her second golf class this evening because golf is her thang. School starts back in a month so there's preparation for that since my son will be attending a brand new school (we were re-zoned). My saving grace there is that his 5K and 1st grade teachers are also moving to the new school so my routine lovin' ADHD kid will have someone he's familiar with as an anchor. Paige will be starting her senior year and I'm the one having issues with that while I'm sure she has some kind of ticker hidden somewhere from me that has the countdown to graduation and her turning 18.

Hmmm...I'm about to think I may need to up my nerve medication a tad bit, don't you think? I have another single parenting gig to do before the year is out as The Man has a 15 week course (THAT ISN'T HERE) he has to complete for his job. I got this. This isn't my first rodeo and I have a teenager that has a license so I'm not afraid of any bull!

You will pray for me, right?

And I promise to provide some really awesome pictures when I get my laptop up and running again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Water Deal!

My son will most probably be quite ill with me for sharing this with the world later on in life, but it's just a good thing I have to share with my close and personal Internet friends.

How many of you have issues getting your child to drink water? Oh, this has been such a hard battle for us around the house. My poor baby has intestinal issues due to his medication. ADHD medication can make a person very constipated and miserable. Daily, we have to slip a little of the generic miralax in his juice to hopefully help him "keep things moving". No joke, he's only been using the bathroom in that capacity once a week. On Saturday mornings. Like clockwork. I've had to go pick him up from school because of this issue and his stomach was hurting so badly he would sit on the potty and wail like a wounded bear. Are you feeling sorry for him yet? I know it breaks my heart on a regular basis because, DANG, that's just miserable, man.

The last visit to the dentist to get his teeth cleaned showed his teeth could be doing better. Gah, I hate when they put you on the spot and ask you how much water your child drinks. I do what any parent does, I hem and haw and try to avoid answering. But, they know. They know I'm not forcing water down his throat by any means possible. It makes me so ashamed.

Summer vacation started last week around Friday. Monday, as the first full week started, he started asking for soda to drink. I don't mind him drinking a little diet coke here and there, but there was no way I was going to let that be the ONLY liquid he put in his system all day long. The Man had purchased some 32 oz. water bottles a few months ago. Paige takes one daily to school to try and make her water quota. That smart sister got out the other one and told him they were going to have a contest to see who could drink a full one first. I sat back and let her work her magic. Of course, The Boy rose to the challenge because he's seriously competitive (he gets that from both his parents). A little may have spilled in the bathroom sink, but he truly drank most of the bottle. I was amazed and was very vocal about how awesome he was for drinking all that water.

That one day was awesome, but how was I going to get this to work the rest of the summer???

Tuesday morning found my boy up in the bathroom. That water worked it's magic on his system and, as the saying goes, "he got his oil changed". He was all skippy-do after that. Feeling good and sipping water. He started asking for some Diet Dr. Pepper he saw in the fridge and I told him when he finished his water, he could have some. Game on. By mid afternoon, that water was gone (I suspect a few ounces may have spilled down the bathroom sink again, but he seriously drank most of the water.)

Yesterday was hilarious. All that water coursing through his system was doing a great job and he was so gassy. If he wasn't burping? It was out the other end. I was ecstatic because this meant he was getting what his body needs and maybe, just maybe, if he kept this up? We could skip that powder in his breakfast juice.

Every few minutes, we would hear him say, "Excuse me!" as yet more gas escaped his body. Finally, he came up to me and was just tickled to pieces, all little boy giggly and he exclaimed, "I'M SO GASSY AND BURPY TODAY!!" I laughed and agreed and we both got tickled together.

This morning, I got up and fixed his breakfast with his cup of powder free apple juice. I went ahead and fixed his water bottle to put beside his plate. Without a word, he ate his breakfast, took his medication, and grabbed that spill-proof water bottle (whew! no spills!) to head on about his day. He keeps it within reach and will sip on it as he does his thing. He believes that if he can drink that water, he can get a little bit of soda in the afternoon/evening time to enjoy. And believe me, he thoroughly enjoys that soda like it's fine champagne.

I hope and pray I can keep this up and it becomes a habit with him. Since he has fallen in love with golf (another post soon), I have stressed that he will definitely need to keep that water bottle close when he and Dad go golfing since it's so hot here. He agrees whole heartedly because he was "sweatin' t'death" last Saturday morning when they went to play around.

Now I have to convince the tween that water is a good idea for her, too. It'll help with that acne stuff trying to come through on her forehead. I personally am not a fan of the water, but am a HUGE fan of the Crystal Lite and drink loads of that each day.

You do all realize that my son will probably keep drinking the water if he realizes it's the reason he's so gassy. Because little boys and a gassy body are best friends. Nothing cooler than the gas...or funnier.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is it really a gift?

I have a gifted family. Well, that's what the tests say. It's not a brag, either. Dealing with gifted people on a regular basis can be hard, Internets. I know first hand. See, I used to be gifted. I was in gifted classes all through school from 2nd grade through high school. I was so smart I was stupid.  My Mama will be more than happy to testify that I'm telling the truth.

Paige and Makenna both are in gifted classes and have been since early ages. Now that Paige is in high school, she's ignored her abilities somewhat and The Man and I have to show our butts, get all strict discipline and mean to get the right results. Wears us out on a regular basis. Paige is quite funny, too. She can't stand stupidity. It is like one of her major pet peeves. Since she was young, she's been able to carry on a decent conversation with adults. She has an air of maturity about her that is quite scary when people guess her to be in her 20's and she's ...say 14. (Imagine how it is now that she's 17.)  I know teenagers believe themselves to be experts on any and every thing there is in life. Add in being gifted and you got yourself a  hard road to ride some times.

I believe I am no longer gifted. Thank Goodness! The Lord had mercy up on me because some one in this house has to have some common sense!!! I am perfectly fine with this but it does give me a headache at times when my smart people go too far out of the thinking box.

A few weeks ago we were outside in the back yard flying kites. My son has become obsessed with kites and their flying glory. I appreciate the local W*lmart selling them for a buck, too. As Paige was helping her little brother, she started telling us about what happened in science class that day.

Story goes:

Teacher asked the class how many transformers there are and what are their names.

My child immediately shoots her hand up in the air (I personally want to picture a Horseshack kind of thing going on here) and exclaims that she knows!

She then smugly tells the teacher and the class:

"There are two transformers. Autobots and Decepticons."

And sits back confident in her answer.

The teacher looks at her. The students look at her.

That wasn't the answer.

If you don't get this, Internets? I'll be praying for you. If you DO get this? Please, be praying for me.

After I caught my breath from laughing, I declared, "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my gifted child!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Forty is the way to go

Well, I'm officially forty years old. Yep, it happened last week on Friday the 13th. I didn't really know how I felt about turning such a momentous age. I still don't. I don't feel any different than I did last week when I was 39, but I've been warned that some kind of signal goes off in your body when you hit 40 and things start acting funky and maybe even breaking down. This is where I stubbornly refuse to discuss how far away I have to put something out so I can read it.

It all started the week before Easter. I kid you not. Lu and her family were coming to spend Easter with us as has become our tradition. I toyed with going to South Carolina for the holiday since we haven't visited since February (life gets so busy!). Lu said she wanted to come here and The Man said he wanted to hang at home. I shrugged and agreed, wasn't a big deal to me. I  found out that week that The Man's cousin from Tennessee was coming for a visit as her son is stationed here at the local army base and she wanted to see him. Shoot, the more the merrier is what I say! Thing is, H. (said cousin's name) is a "clean 'em up" kind of gal. If you got a mess? She'll clean it. It used to bother me years ago, but I know it's how she rolls and I have come to accept it. Still, I wanted my house clean as possible so she wouldn't feel compelled to do much while she was here. It became necessary for my dining room to be painted and finished before Easter weekend.

So began a hard 4 days of work to paint and get it all straight while cleaning house. That Man took off a couple of days from work so he could focus on the dining room. He was like a man possessed, I tell ya! I was totally impressed with how dedicated he was to finishing this room because he's not usually in the same frame of mind as I am when it comes to getting projects done. Makenna stayed home from school (because she had plenty of days) to help me clean on Friday before everyone arrived. People started rolling in that evening and the good times started! It was noisy and loud and full of kids and adults laughing. Perfect. (And just so you know? I find it kind of but not really funny that I ended up cleaning for my own party. Just sayin'.)

That Saturday, Lu and I had made plans for an afternoon just for us. We haven't had any time just to ourselves in a very long time and we were hitting the town. Evening plans were for us to come back, grab the men and head to Carrabas as that's our "date" place to go when she and her husband are in town. Let me tell you, I was right excited because I do love that place with good eating. We spent an hour or so getting manicures and pedicures then headed out to shop. I mentioned a few times that we needed to head back around 4 so we could get to the restaurant early before the crowd hit. Little did I know she was texting the men like crazy telling them to help her stall me. My husband called and said he had called the restaurant and we had reservations for 6 p.m. Cool, that meant more time to shop!

Finally, it was time to head back to the house. When we drove up, I saw many vehicles, but really didn't think much of it. We had a lot of people staying that weekend. When I walked in, I didn't see anyone but my husband sitting in his recliner. I made the comment that it looked like there was a party at my house with all the cars when I glanced into the kitchen. I saw my friend Kim standing there and I thought "That's Kim. What is she doing here?" That's when a huge group of people jumped out and yelled SURPRISE! My husband had thrown me a surprise 40th birthday party. I was floored. I had no clue whatsoever. Apparently, he had been planning this party for a month and a half with all my friends in cahoots with him. It was surreal and just awesome. Want to be even more impressed? Dude got it catered. There was a spread of food in my kitchen from a favorite restaurant of ours (Sticky Fingers- ribs, chicken, slaw, mac-n-cheese...good stuff). He had ordered five cheesecakes from a place that makes the best cheesecakes in the world instead of a birthday cake. He had seriously thought of everything.  I could not have asked for a better party, Internets.

I would like to also state that maybe a few times during the party I loudly made the comment: "You do all realize that I am 39 years and 49 week-ish old, right? RIGHT?" Everyone was kind and gracious and conceded that I was still a lovely 39 and looking nowhere near 40.

The party was held early because my husband had to leave for a class up North on Mother's Day for two weeks. He missed my actual birthday (and, yes, I was sad), but when duty calls and the paycheck depends on it, you do what you have to do. (I am SO ready for him to get home this Friday!) He is still right smug over pulling this over on me and I'm letting him be as smug as he wants to be because he totally earned it.

That wasn't the end of The Celebration. Oh, no no no. If you thought it was? Then you must not know Miss Hope. No sir, I claim at least two days for a birthday. Three if my birthday falls on Mother's Day (and it will yet again next year). It only seemed fitting that turning 40 should claim at least four days, don't you agree?

Friday the 13th dawned clear with promise of a good day ahead of me. Carla Girl was claiming me for a lunch date with a little bit of shopping thrown in for good measure. First, I had to go to my son's school to see him perform in a classroom play where he had a speaking part! I had to record every single minute so Dad can see it when he gets home. I took my job seriously and did my best to get every single cute second. After that, I had to roll over to the middle school to rescue my daughter's cell phone. She forgot to put it on vibrate and it went off in class. Fair enough. While I was there, I found out she had to serve an hour of detention for having the phone. Do you know how I feel about kids having phones at school? Mine will. I'm still haunted by Columbine all those years ago. Makenna was devastated she had to do ~shudder~ DETENTION, but I told her to buck up and serve. It wasn't like the end of the world. Just remember to turn the thing off from here on out (as I handed it back to her all ninja-like). *She has since served detention with the P.E. Coach in charge who talked golf with her and then made her write about golf, then stopped her after she hit four pages. I think she had a good time?*

Back to the Birthday Story. (I tried to tell you my life has been crazy busy!) I finally finished my business at the schools and met Carla Girl at my house where we took off for some fine lunch dining. For you golf fans out there, I waved at the Augusta National as we drove by on the way to the restaurant near by. She had a hat for me to wear, with awesome glasses. As we ordered our diet cokes, she proceeded to bring out the napkins from her purse, along with another little table topper. I laughed and just enjoyed the meal. We headed to Macy's afterwards where I did, indeed, wear the hat with glasses perched on top all through the store. I even had the Happy Birthday Song sung to me in the middle of Macy's. Can YOU say that's ever happened to you? We hit a few more stores before I headed back to the house.

Neighbor Debbie rolled in that evening. She had been asking me for months what I wanted for my birthday and I just kept telling her all I wanted was for her to be here to share it with me. She threatened that she was going to give me a bucket full of circus peanuts if I didn't get my act together and tell her something. Wait until you see the pictures. Lu, Tiffany, and kids rolled in Saturday morning to share the rest of the weekend. This would be day three of celebration. Let's see......Neighbor Debbie, Paige, Lu, Tiffany, and myself headed out to get ourselves a pedicure. I'm so glad we caught the salon  at a good time because we owned that place for a couple of hours. We all got funky designs on our toes, a few brows got waxed, and SOME people who will remain nameless will be getting more pedicures in the future since they shaved enough dead skin off the bottom of feet to make at least 3 small children. *ewww* There was lots of laughter and smack talk going around.

That evening we took all 13 people who were in this house to a local pizza place. The kids were thrilled and the smaller ones got to play in the game room. The adults sat around the table gabbing until we had to leave or someone was going bust a gut from laughing or over eating. We ended the evening with the adults around the kitchen table telling tales from our childhood and past. Neighbor Greg was a good sport about being around all the women and even had a few stories of his own to share. We went to bed late but tired and happy. I'll claim Sunday as my 4th day of celebration because we woke up to drink coffee and even more talking and laughing over breakfast. Man, that was a good weekend. It would have been perfect had my husband been here.

So, now I'm 40. I celebrated it thoroughly from beginning to end and then some. Did I mention that when I got home from lunch with Carla Girl, I then donned the tiara Paige wore to her party? Yeah, and I wore it to pick up my son's prescription and through the McDonald's drive-thru to pick up some supper. That's how I roll, man. I don't have pictures from my party because there's none on my camera! I know some pictures were taken, I just have to find out who took them and get copies.

Just so you know, I don't feel old. I feel seasoned. Heh heh. Yeah, seasoned. That's it. We're still not going to talk about how reading fine print is almost not an option for me anymore.

Enjoy the few pictures I managed to get!

 I was rolling in style! There's a button on the side of the hat that says "Another Year of Fabulous!". The glasses were hard to wear but worked perfectly on top of the hat. Yes, I got a few looks in stores, but it was all good!

 The menu from where we ate, table topper (which now sits beside my chair here at home), and napkins. Carla Girl believes in themes and I thought it was awesome! It sure helped me score an awesome free dessert.

 Okay, about the circus peanuts. My Grandma  always had these in her candy dish so I've loved them my whole life. Yes, I know they're pure sugar, but now they're more for the memories than the sugar rush. When the Chief's Wives club I was in did secret pals, I put these as my favorite and would get them all the time and loved it! Now, this vase they're in? Was one I dearly wanted so SCORE for getting the peanuts -it took 8 bags to fill this vase up- AND the vase that is gorgeous.

This is the birthday card Neighbor Debbie did for me. It has to be the most AWESOME card I have ever seen in my life. There's alot of thought and work put into this card, not to mention good candy that may or may not be shared with loved ones. I know I can't keep the candy forever, but you can bet your butt I'm going to hang onto the bestest birthday card EVAH.