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Friday, July 29, 2011

seeking for calm...

So, Drama, drama, drama this week....I hate weeks like this, though it is my own fault.  As with everything else in life, you may not mean for things to happen, but when you make certain decisions and open your mouth without thinking, you open the door for all sorts of things to happen.  It is great when those things are life affirming and bring peace, prosperity, joy and faith.  It is not so great when they bring drama, frustration, pain, and sadness.   But, as with all things, this too shall pass, and I hopefully have learned to again be MORE careful with what I say and when I say it so that I do not inadvertently open a truck load of worms, and start a spiral of frustration, pain, and drama for myself, A, the kids, and everyone on the periphery. 

Hopefully things have calmed down some today.  I have not been posting much about my food related path to a better life, as I have been dealing so much with this emotional and relationship related path that needs to be worked through on this road to transformation.  It all needs to happen, but it could happen in a better way (maybe?). 

Stress increases my desire to eat.  Stress also increases my blood sugar (stress releases cortisol which in turn tells the body to release stored sugar into the blood stream).  So eating more than I should of the wrong kinds of food coupled with the cortisol induced release of blood sugar and the fact that I forgot to take my second dose of metformin 2 days in a row (I got the morning dose, but not the evening dose), is just not good.  BUT with all that, both of my readings the last tow days have managed to stay under 280.  Not great I know (the one I just took was 263), but they are under 300, which was my main goal this week.

The kids had one rough day, but we managed to keep the tension in the house down to somewhat reasonable levels even with all the turmoil between A and I, and the kids behavior and emotional responses tell me that we were mostly successful in not drawing the kids into the stress and turmoil between us.  This may sound like a strange thing to be saying, but kids are greatly affected by the stresses between parents, and I have seen how drastically it alters their sense of emotional security, and thus their outward behaviour both at home and at school.  Josiah, who is extremely empathetic and picks up emotions like a magnet attracts iron has been doing alright.  Gonzo has too.  So for this I am grateful.  I also try to be open with the kids and explain to them what is going on so they are wondering and scared when they sense tension or negative emotions.  And THAT has gone a long way to helping them feel more secure and be willing to talk about their feelings too.  I know from experience that when you KNOW something is not right as a child and a grown up tells it that everything is fine and not to worry about it, you can't help but worry and wonder and make up things in your mind to explain what you see.  So, instead of going the route many people take of just reassuring kids that everything is fine, I actual tell my kids things like

"I know it feels a little upsetting right now, we (meaning the parents) are discussing some things that make up both feel upset/sad/angry.  Bubba (what they call A--long story) is sad and angry because I said I did not want to be married anymore but I still love Bubba as my friend and we are still all a family, we will just keep living in two different places like we have been.  We still both love you and we are still both here for you.  And yes, sometimes we disagree about things and we have to work out how to share our time with you, because we both want to be with both of you as much as we can.  So we have to work on finding the best way to share and make our family work so everyone is safe, loved, and happy.  Everything is okay, even if it feel really hard right now.  And things will get better very soon."

Maybe I am too upfront with my kids and give them a touch too much information, but  I find it helps the kids calm down to know the very basic gist of what is going on, and it gives them the chance to ask questions (which are sometimes hard to answer and sometimes not so hard).  But overall, I see them be more calm and at peace knowing a little bit about what is going on, and feeling more reassured because of it.

Well, I have to go pick up J from school and then get G and then get home and I have a bunch of stuff I am doing this weekend.  I'll probably write again on Monday.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Truth may set you free, but it can be very painful...

It is said that "the truth will set you free", and even though it took me a long time to really accept the truth, and I knew immediately that I had to speak the truth even if it seemed abrupt and "out of the blue", I knew that living with the truth unspoken once realized would be wrong.  But free or not, truth sometimes makes life a lot more painful and a LOT more stressful for a while--I suppose its the adjustment period after have a profound deep realization of a truth. I can't live a lie and I will not give false hope to anyone when I know the truth, so that they too can move forward.
You may be wondering what I am talking about...well in my earlier post form earlier this week I spoke of the realization that I had that I am no longer in love with my separated spouse.  We have been separated for almost 15 months now, but I left for a multitude of reasons, and not being "in love" was not one of them.  Throughout this whole ordeal (beginning in 2008, about 20 months before I left) I have felt a lot of emotions that have gotten in the way of that "in love" emotive suite, but always knew that deep down underneath--below the pain and anger, the resentment and powerlessness, the worry and incredulity--that there was still that spark, still the yearning to be together, to rekindle the flame of love, to be in a spousal relationship, to know that after all that we have gone through both together and apart, that there is still that connection that drew us together into a relationship deeper and more profound than friendship.  Even as I spent time saying there was no chance we could get back together, I could never bring myself to say with certainty that there was no chance, because I believed that underneath my anger and pain, that the spark was still there. 

A few months ago it had gotten back to me that someone had said I was leading A along with false hope (even though I had explicitly said I did NOT want to get back together).  A part of me still held out a little bit of hope that things would come full circle and we could rebuild (or rather build anew) our full family structure together.  As I was not sure how long that would take, we really have been focusing on building a solid, secure friendship in which we bring mutual respect and care to that table as we co-parent our children while not together.  IT has been a good experience.  We have been able to enjoy each other's company, spend time together as a family, and have good conversation.  We really have been successful in building a friendship.  And A has the freedom to drink, spend money, make decisions, and do whatever without me interfering.  AND I have the freedom to NOT stress about A's drinking (which has been in moderation lately--a new and exciting step for A--which I can celebrate rather than get angry at), and to make my own choices, and live my own life too.  Things that have annoyed or bothered me, I can just ignore and let go.  I am not living with A, I am not "with" A, and so choices that I would not want for MY life, can just be let go because A's life is not my life.  This has greatly reduced tension between us.  I know what I can and cannot live with and A knows what A can and cannot live with.  And living separately, we don't end up forcing the other person to live in a situation that is unsafe or unacceptable for them.  I don't nag A and try to control A's life (though somehow I am still doing all the laundry (A's included) and making sure the car insurance is up to date even though my name is no longer on it).  And A can drink and do whatever A wants without worrying about someone harping on it.  There is obviously a lot more than that, but why go into it all.  Suffice to say, it is better to be friends with A and live our separate lives, than to be together and both be miserable and feel unsafe and disrespected in our daily lives. 

But over the past few weeks, I have really been looking at what it would be like to try to get back together with A.  A part of me hates the idea of our family being separated forever.  I WANT that old feeling of being excited that A is coming home.  I WANT that feeling or wanting to be close and be a together family again.  I WANT to look at our wedding album and read the song my mom wrote for us or the plaque my friend Nykie made for us, and be able to say "we made it through that huge crater in the road".  I WANT to wake up and have my spouse sleeping next to me.  I WANT to have a home where we both are and the kids can just have one place to lay their heads (technically they do now as A comes to my house to see the kids, but that's another thing).  I WANT to be able to plan for the future as a family and be able to discuss all of those decisions that you have to make in life.  I WANT to have a partner to walk through life with, to share the big things and the little things, to support each other through both good and bad times.  I WANT the Charles and Caroline Ingalls kind of love, respect, and devotion.  I want the Cliff and Claire Huxtable kind of humor-filled, love-filled, respect filled home.  I want to be that family that through thick and thin, no matter what, that pulls together, works together, and has the love and respect for each other that keeps them together for 50 years.  I WANT to do the hard work that really making a marriage last takes. I WANT an equal partner that brings half of the strength, joy, and ideas, and carries half of the burden of building, and maintaining, the needs of the family, and of the relationship. I WANT to have that spark that never dies even in the most trying times.

I also WANT to win a million dollars.  I WANT to go back to school and finish my PhD someday.  I WANT to have a nice house in the country.  I WANT my children to be healthy and free of their special needs.  I WANT to have a bunch of chickens.  I WANT to have a thin and healthy body.  I WANT to have a mini-van.  I WANT to have a dog that does not bring home fleas.  I WANT to always have enough.  I WANT to live to be 97.  I WANT to have the US economy fixed overnight.  I WANT to a world without war.  I WANT a lot of different things--some of which I can take steps and actions towards making them real in my life, and some of which I have no real control over.  In order for a relationship to be what I envision, I need to have someone on the other end of the relationship sharing that vision and working towards it as I work towards it.  That is one of those things about relationship, both people have to be moving in relatively the same direction with relatively the same goal, and with comparable levels of motivation and determination.  Unlike some other goals, relationship is the only one that absolutely requires the other person to be on the same page.

The other night A and I tried to get share something we have not shared since before our separation.  I was up half the night after that with this sense that something was terribly wrong.  We had been getting along really well.  We had been talking about building this camping area t my Dad's together, we had been doing a lot of family things together, we had been talking about how not having to stress about certain issues that were difficult in the past was great, and we seemed to be moving forward in some ways.  Yes there were things there are obviously still not right, and there was no way that we are in a place that we would want to be together again as a couple yet, but things were calm and enjoyable between us.  We have both changed in a lot of ways, and are kind of relearning who we are for ourselves and who each other are (poor grammatical syntax, I know).  But after I spent a lot of time looking deeply at what I was feeling and thinking, that it finally dawned on me what was missing, what was wrong.  That spark that I figured was just buried under all the hurt and anger and resentment, that spark that is really necessary to provide the motivation to do the monumental amount of hard work to rebuild a broken and painful relationship, that spark that makes you want to do whatever it takes to find the path back...that spark for me was gone.   IT was not just buried, it was not just crushed under all the crap that we had piled on top of it, it was not just flickering and needing fuel, it was gone.  I was not "in love" with A.  I was not attracted to A.  The desire to work towards what I WANT was that I WANT the idea.  But an idea can not sustain you.  "OMG" I thought,"I really have been leading A on and giving false hope. "  I have been lying to myself, I don't know for how long, but at least for a while.  I have been telling myself that if I just worked hard enough to overcome my anger, my resentment, my pain at what has transpired, that we could make it work.  But I have no desire to be in a marriage that has not got that deep sense of love, of attraction, of one-ness.  And I have no intention of hiding my lack of feelings and letting A not move on to have the option of finding someone who is passionate about A. 

Do I love A?  Yes, of course.  A is the other parent of my children, and has been becoming a good friend.  I do have love in my heart for A, and hope that we can remain friends and remain able to continue to be good parents to our children.  But I don't want to be with A, I don't want to be A's spouse.  Through this whole thing, I have felt "I don't want to be with A right now"  and had a laundry list of reasons why (some very good that anyone would understand and some nit-picky that only I would understand).  But I always figured it was temporary.  I realized the other day.  That I don't want to be with A.  Not in a "right now" sense, but in a "that's that" kind of sense. 

I felt it was necessary to share this with A, and did not do a very good job of it.  I don't want A to NOT move on emotionally.  I want A to make that informed choice.  I know that A still has that spark for me (even though I have heard "I hate you" out of A's mouth more often than I care to count over the past 3 years).  I know that A wants to be with me.  But we have both changed, and there are so many things that I am NOT willing to live with and that I will NOT have my children having to live with (some of which A agrees with me on, especially about the kids), that are still such a big part of who A is at the moment.  And without that internal, driving emotive suite of feelings and reasons of WANTING to be with A, it seems futile and pointless for us to put our lives on hold any longer when I really, honestly and truly am done.

I am having a hard time trying to explain to A, heck I am having a hard time trying to explain it to myself in a way that makes the words make any sense.  How do I explain the finality of the emotions that I am having verses the slight hope that used to be there.  How can I say for certain that a spark could never grow again?  How could i say that there really is no hope?  I have used all of the words before that I use now, but it is what is behind them that is so different.  Words are such a horribly limited way to express the subtle differences that truly make a huge difference.  I can't even find the words to explain it myself to my self, it is a knowing more than a feeling, more than a thought, more than anything easily subjective.  It is a knowing.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Does anyone know if the comment feature on this blog works?  I have had over 1000 page views, but have never had any comments.  So I was wondering if anyone has tried to comment and had it not work, or if it is just that nobody has left a comment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

life in Transition for sure

Okay, so I have not written much in the past week.  It has been an interesting one.  I had a dr's appointment on Friday to go over blood work that I had done over a week before that.  And the results nearly knocked me on the floor.

My A1c results (the test that gives an average of your blood sugar levels over the past three months by measuring the percentage of glycalation of your hemoglobin (how much glucose is attached to the hemoglobin)) were extremely high.  11.2% to be exact.  Normal is around 5-6%, typical for someone with diabetes is around 7%, high is 8-9%.  That correlates to a blood sugar reading of around 310 on average over the last 3 months, and my fasting sugar that day was 279 (normal is fasting is below 100, normal random throughout the day is below 140, diabetics should aim for below 180).  overly high blood sugar is over 240, and levels over 300 are considered very dangerous.  So I have been walking around with my blood sugar levels in the extremely high and dangerous range for a while, and I did not even know it.  The last time I had an A1c and other blood work, my A1c was 7.1% and everything else was fine other than slightly elevated triglycerides.  that was in February 2010.

Since that time my marriage had fallen apart, I walked away from a great opportunity in Rhode Island due to the afore mentioned collapse of the family, I have moved into an apartment and taken a job that I drive over 100 every day 5 days a week (for over a year, though only 3 weeks left until it is over with), I have gone through the custody process in the courts and have physical custody of my kids (with shared legal custody), I have allowed A (even though we are separated) back into our lives on a daily basis, and have been rebuilding a friendship (though not without a lot of difficulty and baggage), and I have been trying to make plans for the future with a lot of uncertainty.  So some parts of my life are less stressful (my marriage was extremely stressful and the ending of that brought different stresses, but overall less stress) and some parts are more stressful (the fact that my primary source of income ends in a couple of weeks and the fact that I do not know where my relationship with A is going at this point in time--in the past week it has been a lot of ups and downs and trying to figure out if we can or even should try to put the family together again).  I have been trying to get enough money incoming through freelance writing and through ads for things that I recommend on both my blog and my website, but I am not a sales person and don't want to be, so I post links to things I like and hope that others will click those links and bring in a few pennies for me.  Literally, I have made $0.02 total through the ads that I share for things that I think my readers would like.  So, as I have no desire to try to push people to look at things that they are not inclined to look at on their own, I don't think I will supplement my income much by my website or blog.  Which is fine, I will still post links to cool things and books that I like and think others are interested in, but I know that I can not depend on it for any supplementing of my income. I have applied for a number of jobs, but they have not panned out so far.  And taking a low paying job is not a viable option as I would have to pay out more in childcare costs than I could bring in, even if I broke even it would not change the situation.  Having two children with moderate to severe special needs, means that I can not hire the high school kid down the street or even most adults to watch them.  As it is, even family struggles to watch both of them together for short periods of time.  Heck, even A struggles to have both of them alone for more than a couple of hours at a time.  Because their needs are so different and both are intensive (I forget sometimes because I am just used to them), and because the sibling rivalry between them adds whole other layer of intensity, the best solutions would be to hire two different sitters, one trained to meet each other this needs, and possibly have one cared for at home and the other cared for at the sitters home.  As J is an insurance liability (which I learned the last time I tried to work full time and put him in a day care center) finding care for him is very hard, and G has massive behavioural issues with peers which make it difficult for him to be in a group setting (hence the fact that he is in an 8:1:2 self-contained classroom and still needs a 1:1 aide just to go to school (8 kids, one teacher, two aides 8:1:2) and free time (unstructured without clear instructions for what he should do--like recess and lunch) are his hardest times of all.  It makes me miss Becky, our favorite babysitter from when we lived in our house.  She was a Masters student a the college, studying special ed--focusing a lot on autism and she herself had cerebral palsy--so she understood and knew how to handle both boys very well.  But alas she graduated and is a great teacher in an autism classroom now about 2 1/2 hours away (from here and from our old house), and we left our old house to renters (who paid one month rent and then lived rent free for over 6 months before I was able to evict them, and they trashed the house in the process, knowing that if they did not pays rent we could not pay the mortgage, and by trashing it, made it impossible to rent to someone else was we did not have the funds to repair the extent of damage they did--so it is in foreclosure proceedings sadly). 

Anyway, back to my lab results.  Stress is one of the primary causes leading to high blood sugar.  Being overweight puts a great deal of stress on the body, and them adding emotional and financial stress, pushed the body beyond what it can handle.  So as the past few years have been fraught with high, high levels of stress, and the past year in particular has been stressful.  Coupled with being overweight since my teens and not watching what I eat or exercising enough when things get stressful (being a stress eater--the more stressed I am the more I eat...) well, it has not boded well for my health.  So I as mentioned before, I watched that movie "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" recently and felt inspired to get more fresh vegetable food into my diet, and have started drinking green smoothies.  As a diabetic I can not do the juicing.  Maybe once my blood sugar levels are normal, then I plan on doing a juice fast as portrayed, but until them, I can still do the smoothies and add lots of nutritious vegetables to my body in a drinkable way.  But when I saw it originally, I could identify with the FAT part of the title, but the sick and nearly dead parts of the title I just wasn't feeling.  However when I got my blood test results:
A1c 11.2%
Cholesterol 218 (a little high, but as I have NEVER had cholesterol issues it is shocking to me)
LDL-144 (too high)
HDL-40 (too low)
Triglycerides 184 (too high)
and 2 of my liver enzymes were just slightly past the top of the high range.
My blood pressure, heart rate, and all my kidney and other tests were fine.

When I saw the results, I suddenly identified with the WHOLE title of that Movie.  Thought, Oh my gosh, now I know what it feels like to feel "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" (well okay that one is an exaggeration, but I could actually see the path leading to that, which is as far as I want to go).

So, I was more than willing to go on pharmaceuticals in addition to making some immediate changes in my lifestyle and eating.  So on Saturday I started on Metformin 500mg 2x daily, and enapril once a day (to protect the kidneys as with that much sugar running through them can cause a lot of damage).  I began tracking my foods in Spark People again.  And am taking my blood sugar readings twice a day.  The big thing is getting it below 300 and keeping it below 300 (that is step one, getting it below 240 is step two, and then getting it below 200 is step three, after that pushing it down to normal ranges is the ultimate goal, but transitions--quick transitions as this is what I consider an emergency situation). I was told not to check my fasting sugar as we already know it is really high.  What I need to do it to check my sugar 1-2 hours after a meal and keep track of what pushes my sugar up and what brings it down, as each person is different, and your body reacts differently at different time of day, so over the next three months, I need to closely record my food intake, glucose levels, and activities to determine what food I can have when and what ones I need to avoid and when. I have my basic dietary guidelines from the diabetes educator, and my doctor told me to try eating a healthy cereal with milk in the morning rather than my typical sausage eggs and cheese sandwich.  I forgot to check my levels Saturday. 

Sunday I had a bowl of Special K cereal with milk.  Two hours later I checked my sugar and it was 380!!!!.  For lunch I had a turkey sandwich on WW bread.  For a snack I had a green smoothie. For dinner we had a hamburger cooked on the grill (with a WW bun), some vegetarian baked beans, a couple of chips (I know I should not have), and a hot dog (no bun).  I went for a nearly two hour hike around my Dad's property, with my Dad, A, Gonz, and Jos (mainly carried Jos either on my shoulders or just a front carry (he can't do a side carry on the hip as his hips do not open far enough).  We were looking for a place for me to build a lean-to, which the building guy at the town clerks office said I did not need a permit for and told me the zoning distances I needed to stay within.  I want a nice camping place for me and the kids that we can tailor to Josiah's physical needs and to Gonzo's need for clear boundaries.  As much as we loved going down to Garnet Lake and tent camping, there were some things (like massive hills and very uneven rocky paths to get to the camp site, not to mention a road between the campsite and the lake) that made it difficult for us.  So we got quite a bit of exercise that day.

I did not get around to checking my blood sugar again until late evening and it was still at 345.  So I had two hard boiled eggs as a snack (high protein no carbs) and started to look for ways to quickly lower blood sugar, and did some of the water drinking and breathing exercises (breathing helps relax your body which reduces stress and thus allows blood sugar to function more normally).  Before I went to bed 45 minutes later, my sugar was down to 295--yeah breathing and water.  So Monday, having learned that too many carbs for breakfast was a BAD thing for my body, I ate sausage, egg , and cheese but only used the thin half of an english muffin, and had coffee with just cream, no sugar or sweetener, and just water.  Then I went for my 45 minute walk around the pond.  When I got to the library, I checked my blood sugar (1.5 hours after finishing breakfast) and it was 193!!!  A HUGE drop.  Protein works for me in the morning.  I had sliced turkey for lunch (no bread) and a grapefruit. For snack after school I had bought a coconut as Josiah has been wanting a coconut for some reason, so we had a coconut for snack.  IT was from a discount food place, and old, and not as tasty as I remember fresh coconut being.  So not a good intro for him to fresh coconut that we had to break the shell to get.  But that was my snack.  Dinner was a stir fry with broccoli, cabbage, yellow squash, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and black beans with spices and vinegar.  Then I did a boo-boo, I ate a piece of Digorno's pizza that A had picked up for the kids.  I really should not have as it pushed my carbs over what they were supposed to be for the day.  When I took my sugar after dinner though it was 262, so not great but under the 300 mark that I am aiming for this week.

Last night was an interesting night with A, which I will not go into on here, but it definitely added a lot for me to think about, that of course adds stress.  A part of me would love for our family to be together again, and I really would love to try and have a biological baby and go through pregnancy and care for a baby right from conception.  I love my kids, and always planned on having three kids total.  So it was always part of the plan, it was just that adoption ended up being the first path we took, as there are so many kids waiting for families.  But I still want to have one child from my own body.  Which with the fact that I am almost 37, am still very overweight (thus greatly increasing chance of miscarriage), and now with my sugar issues--makes that possibility even lower.  Add in the broken family and the idea that A and I might NOT be able to reform a family, well, it is a hard thing to let go of.  I know that our relationship has not been healthy, and that A is not that much different now than 3 years ago, which is when A had picked up the bottle again, and has not put it down.  I actually had a couple of drinks with A for the first time over the past week--Mike' Hard Lemonade.  That was nice, but weird.  As I don't drink often, but every once in a while will have a glass of while or a margarita, or a Mike's Lemonade (seems popular in my family these days), I have never had a drink with A.  A was in recovery when we met, and one of the things we did was no alcohol in the house.  I had no problem with that as a six pack of my favorite beer (I am very picky, as gross beer is just, well, gross) would take me a year to drink.  I know that from a time before A when my best friend had brought me a six pack of my favorite beer (which I had trouble finding when I moved from that area) and it was nearly a year later when I had the last one with my brother in law.  So, yeah, having a drink with A was weird, as for so long A tried to hide (unsuccessfully) the relapse in 2008, and then after my mother in law died, just crawled back into the bottle in 2009, and then after detox, and when I thought we were moving forward went back into the lying and hiding mode of drinking in 2010, which was when I decided I couldn't live that way any longer (lots more went on of course, but that is a bit of a nutshell pertinent to todays post, see a much earlier post for more explanation (from mid-March)). Lately A has been more moderate in drinking, a few beers a day or so.  And behaving mostly.  So when offered a Mike's I said Okay.  but that actually, after typing it all out, really is a side bar that does not have much to do with what I was talking about, so I suppose I did not need to include it.  I'll leave it anyway.

Point is, no matter how stressful life is, I need to make changes NOW to ensure a better future.  More than ever before, I know I need to make some major changes, one of which has got to be in my eating/exercise habits.  The other biggie has got to be in my levels of stress.  Perhaps, after really realizing last night that while I love A, A is the other parent of my children, I am not IN LOVE with A, at all.  I have said it for a while, but a part of me always just thought that I was still in love, that that spark was still there somewhere, that it was something that maybe could be rekindled and we could overcome all of the crap that has happened over the past few years.  But the spark has gone out, and that actually makes me quite sad.  And it's not like A's behavior and daily living has altered in a away that makes me want to try to light a new spark.  There has been little transformation on that end, and I want a partner not another child, but with A I feel like I have another child rather than an equal adult partner in my life.  And that has not changed.  Most of the things that I did not like about A are still there, and only a few of the things that I fell in love with in the first place have survived the events of the past few years.  Sure, maybe someday A will turn around, maybe someday the person I met will return, or a transformed person will emerge.  But maybe not.  It took my mother over 10 years to really recover from the death of her mother (and her daughter, grandmother and father--all in a 5 year period).  And as my father says, when you lose a parent or a child, or anyone you love, you don't get over it.  It leaves a hole in your heart.  You just have to learn how to live with that hole.  It is what I have called finding a new normal.  Anytime there is a major life event (birth/adoption, death, loss of job, new job, moving, etc...) it takes time to find a new normal.  I almost had found a new normal last fall before A returned.  Now I feel like we are floundering around again.  Part of it is the uncertainty of the future, most poignantly the uncertainty of income.  They boys disability subsidies will still come each month to help offset the inherent issues in raising children with special needs (like the inability to work full time), but it is not really enough to live on unless I move back into the trailer, which needs SO much work (even though we already put a lot of work into it), or to move in with my Dad, which has its own set of issues, not the least of which is the fact that A lives there and I am not really ready to live with A again.

So anyway, my life of transformation seems to have a lot of areas that need to be transformed....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Transitions....not instant flips....

While there is a part of me that would love to say that this past week has been filled with a diet of only whole, plant based food and that I am on top of the world, alas, I can not.  I have never really been one of those people that can grab an idea for habit change and immediately go on a fad diet and lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks and 60 pounds in 3 months.  Though, most of those people that I know who can do that, after the three months is over, gradually go back to their old habits and gain back all of the weight they lost plus some. 
So, this is more about who I am.  I am a slow changer.  Change does not scare me and I am not actually resistant to change (some people are, but I don't mind change).  I am however a creature of habit, and while not afraid of or resistant to change, I find that having the tools I need to get out of the well ingrained ruts is a challenge.  So, rather than beating myself up about the fact that last week I decided I was going to stop in my tracks and go green, whole foods all the way, and then not being able to do that, I am going to be more reasonable and hope that the current approach will work better for true lasting change.  So I am building ladders out of the ruts, instead of trying to springboard up the side of the ravine and tumbling back down. So I am adding good habits while decreasing bad habits, replacing them.  Jumping form a bad habit to a good habit does not work for me--it would be like asking a TV addict to just shut off the TV without giving them the tools to fill that time with something else.  So they would be sitting there staring at an empty screen, which would not bode well for being able to break the TV addiction.  SO I am shifting my consciousness, my subconscious, and my daily living habits from patterns that are not so good to patterns that are more life affirming.  I have been on a road to transformation for quite some time now and this is just another step, another transition is the very important process of a life in transformation.

My affair with green smoothies is becoming a real relationship now.  I am drinking one a day (and two on a couple of days) and I LOVE it.  I have more energy, my body feels freer, and my mind is clearer.  Getting plant based food--raw, whole, fresh green, red, yellow, orange food into me in good quantities on a daily basis has helped increase my overall sense of well being.  I have been starting my day off blending a nice green smoothie.  I have been experimenting some, like varying what greens, fruit and other veggies I put in and in what quantities.  My favorite two so far are:

KCA: (makes 1 1/2 to 2 smoothies)
1 handful of Kale (4-6 leaves)
1/4 Cantaloupe
1 apple
1/2 cucumber
2-3 celery stalks
1/2 lemon
7-14 grams Spirulina
1 tbs Flax seeds
4-5 ice cubes
8 oz water

KMC: (makes 2 1/2-3 smoothies)
2 handfuls Kale (8-12 leaves)
1 Mango
1 Cucumber
2 celery stalks
1/2 lemon
14 grams Spirulina
2 tbs flax seeds
4-5 ice cubes
8-12 oz water

My least favorite two were:
blended salad:
4 large romaine leaves
1 tomato
1 cucumber
1/2 green pepper
2 carrots (peeled)
1 tbs dressing
4-5 ice cubes
8 oz water
(YUCK!!!!--better to just sit down and enjoy the salad which is very tasty, but blended into a drinkable form--shudder{{}})

1 handful Kale leaves
4 Romaine leaves
1/4 cantaloupe
 2 celery stalks
1/2 cucumber
1 tomato
1/4 pineapple
7 grams spirulina
1 tbs flax seed
4-5 ice cubes
8 oz water
(it was palatable, but not enjoyable, and not something I want to repeat)

Over all, I have found that too much romaine lettuce is a bad choice--it is too bitter.  Though I have included 2 leaves with at least twice as much Kale and other ingredients and had a fine smoothie.  Pineapple is okay in some smoothies, but not in others.  I have only tried tomato twice and it was in both of the ones I did not like, so I am still unsure on tomato as a smoothie ingredient.  But they are yummy to just eat, so maybe I don't need to keep tyring.  Carrots are okay in certain combinations, but use just one, not two (unless they are small).  And apple and Kale and celery are a great combination--those three seem to be able to support a wide range of additional ingredients.  Mango and cantaloupe are two other base fruits that have worked REALLY well.  I am going to be sad when they are out of season and thus are cost prohibitive.  But for now, the sales are great and the fruit plentiful.

So now, you may be wondering if my kids have gotten on this kick--well not so much.  they like an all fruit smoothie--especially if I put a little ice cream in it for them.  I am being a mean mama and making them have a bit of spirulina in juice every day (like 1 gram spirulina in 2 oz juice) and take it like medicine, because the micro nutrient value is so important, and I want them to benefit for the great abundance of micro nutrients in spirulina (which is a natural blue green algae often eaten in the tropics--very nutritious and a taste that grows on you (I now LOVE it in my smoothie and feel its lack if I do not put it in).

BUT the smoothie is not the only thing that I have done to add whole plant based food to out diet as a more prominent contender in meals.  I am in the transition of considering vegetables a side dish to considering them the most vital part of the meal.  Twice this past week I made the best stir fry in the world--I made it first last Tuesday, and could not stop thinking about it the next couple of days, so I made it again on Friday before we went to the circus.
World's best Stir Fry:
1/2 large eggplant (cubed)
1/4 large head of cabbage (cubed or shredded)
1 small-medium zucchini (cubed)
3 carrots (peeled and cut into bites size slices (wide))
2 celery stalks (cut in bite sized chunks)
1 small head of broccoli (cut into bite sized trees)
1 clove fresh garlic, diced fine
1 tbs dried onion flakes (I did not have any fresh onion)
a shake of mixed herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbs extra virgin oil
1 cup water (added as necessary)

I heated the oil on medium to medium-low heat for a few minutes, then added the diced garlic.  Let simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add carrots and coat evenly (if you have fresh mushrooms, which sadly I did not, add them now too).  Let simmer with occasional stirring for 3-5 minutes, add onion flakes and other herbs/spices (if using whole onion add it right after the garlic) add egg plant, broccoli and zucchini. Coat evenly, add 1/4 cup of water or so.  simmer another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining vegetables and 1/4 cup of water.  Mix and let simmer 3-5 minutes.  Add vinegar and 1/4 cup water and stir.  Let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.  Serve hot.

While that was cooking I sauteed some frozen scallops and shrimp in a little oil with garlic and taragon leaves and a dash of vinegar and a little water. 

I served both pans hot and without a major carb (the kids had been munching on crackers and M&M's so the need for a carb was not really there--Friday we did have brown rice with it for the kids, though I did not eat the rice). 

It was the most delectable stir fry I have had in a long time.  Just writing about it makes my mouth water.  Next time I will make sure I have both fresh onion and fresh mushrooms to make it even better.

As for other meals we had last week--well, Wednesday we had box macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and green beans.  Thursday we had pan fried talapia fish fillets (fried with just a touch of oil and some fresh garlic and taragon), brown rice, and salad.  Friday we had the stir fry and then ate a bunch of over prices junk food (cotton candy, popcorn, peanuts, soda) at the circus.  Saturday can't remember what we had--I know there was corned beef hash and eggs for lunch, but I am drawing as total blank on dinner.  Wait, I remember!   A picked up some fresh shaved ham at the deli and we had ham sandwiches on whole wheat bread with American cheese lettuce and tomato, and potato chips and grapes on the side.  Sunday we had sausage, eggs and toast for lunch (the kids are fruit and ready to eat cereal breakfast eaters--habits from leaving the house on a one hour car ride to school each morning with a baggie of dry cereal, a baggie of grapes or berries or apple slices (if we have them), and spill proof cup of either milk or juice--so other breakfast foods become lunch specials).  For dinner we had chicken breast cooked on the grill, potatoes (cooked wrapped in foil in the charcoal) and salad.

Yesterday I woke up late and had to rush to get the kids to school.  We stressed out and did not have time to make a smoothie.  So did I make a good choice and go to the grocery store, NO.  Instead I want to McDonald's and got a Sausage mcMuffim with Egg meal.  Then grabbed a premade hot chicken sandwich from Stewarts for lunch with an apple.  Not the best choices.  For dinner we made burgers on the grill, and I used buns (which I rarely do), and had chips and salad and corn on the cob bought from a local farm stand. 

So as you can see, it is a slow transition.  I am including what I have been eating to let others know that they are not alone in the difficult trek from unhealth to health. 

My commitment is to add more healthy choices to my lifestyle, more whole foods, more raw veggies, more plant based food, and get away from refined and processed foods, grain and meat focused ways of eating.
I have been feeling the need fro more protein in the morning after my smoothie so I have added 1-2 hard boiled eggs as a mid-morning snack.  Lunch has been a chef salad (premade from Cumberland Farms if I did not get a chance to make it at home), and some seeds or sometimes some whole wheat crackers if I feel the need for it.  I have been drinking too much iced coffee with sugar, so I am going to cut the sugar out and maybe cut out the iced coffee eventually.  I love iced tea, which I drink black anyway, so that is an easy switch as long as I remember to make it the night before.  Of course, I am still drinking 8-12 cups of ice cold water every day.  And most days I walk 1-2 miles.

So, since I started this blog in March, there are already some good habits that are truly becoming ingrained habits.  And my life is still a life in transformation.  I had blood work taken last Friday, so I will be able to see kind of a baseline of where I am at the beginning of this trek into eating a more Nutrient Rich focus.  I have been spending time on Dr. Furhman's website and am going to be checking his book out of the library that details more about Nutrient dense foods.  "Eat to Live" By Joel Furhman, if anyone wants to join me in reading this book.  Hi site is really informative, and I saw him first on the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead"  which still just inspires me so much to changing my habits and living a better life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm NOT "so tired..."

Have you ever had one of those self-conversations that you have out of habit?  You know, where you talk to yourself in your head about something?  And you have the same thing to say everyday?  Okay, so...

I realized I have this little, almost subconscious conversation with my self every time I sit down in the library to start writing.  And it usually is the first time I have really sat down (aside from driving) that day, and it goes like this:

{sit down} "whew!  Ahh.  <sigh>"
{shift a little to get the computer in the right place and my butt in a more comfy spot on the chair} "boy am I so tired."

I was going thru my little ritual this morning, which is the first time I actually noticed it.  And I realized that no...nope.....un-uh...I am NOT so tired....

I actually feel more alert and awake today than I usually do...

Well, there is something that is new.  That is a step in the right direction.

In a seemingly LONG period of a life in Transformation, changes seem to occur so slowly from my perspective--I'd love to just wake up thin, strong, healthy, happy and at Peace one day.  But I am smart enough to know that unless I change both my attitudes and my actions, that is not going to happen.  So when I realize that SOMETHING is different, it gives me great satisfaction.  I have been taking this transformation of life thing very slowly.  Not necessarily consciously, but certainly there were underlying subconscious reasons for my slow progress.  After all, we all say we WANT change, but how many of us really do?

I realized this subconscious holding myself back problem a few months ago.  But I had not really done much with that wonderful and potentially powerful realizations (stored fat as with stored ideas have LOT of potential, but unless you apply force, they remain un-actualized potential...its the laws of physics...).

So let me start with a few things from last week, which was a very busy week.  My sister and her family from South Carolina were visiting, and as I only see them twice a year, I spent a lot of time after picking the kids up from school going to whoevers home they were at (my other sisters' houses, my fathers, my mothers, etc...).  So it was a bit of a crazy, almost never home, week as we leave at 7am to take the boys to school and would not get home most nights until 9pm (making it late nights for the boys as well).  On Thursday, My sister and her husband (the ones from SC) asked if anyone needed a blender, and I have been looking for a blender at the second hand shops, and so I said I would love to have it.  So they passed on a brand new blender to me.  You see I had been trying to figure out ways to get more veggies into my body and had been reading some about green smoothies, so was looking for a blender so I could try it out.  I figured if I blended veggies I could drink them, and thus be more likely to add them to my regular habits.  But I was searching half heartily because the sound of a green smoothie, well just made my palate want to shrivel.

Then Saturday was my Mom's CD release party.  Her first CD "We'll Get Through" is finally out there in the world, and the party on Saturday was a thank you celebration for all the people and community who had been so supportive of her music over the years.  She has been a local musician for well over a decade, even was on Nashville's star search about 12 years ago and won.  She recorded a couple of songs then, but life got in the way, and she did not even touch on the music business (aside from playing locally often) until a couple of years ago, when she requested the mastered copies of her two songs.  The producer had them digitally remastered, and when he listened to them again, he was very excited and asked her if she had written more.  Of course she had, and she and Jim (my step father) had been doing a lot of local performances.  So they were invited back down to Nashville to record some more songs, and recently were picked up by Tate Music Group.  So it is all very exciting, and there was a big shindig.  They did a raffle and donated the monies to the local Community Action Agency.  They invited a number of other local artists to come and sing, and even set up their karaoke machine towards the end.  It was a great night.

A came after work and I sent the kids home around 9:30 (after they had each gotten to sing a couple of songs--Josiah is such a showman, and Gonzo was not going to be left out...).  So A took them home for me and gave them baths (they were filthy) and put them to bed.  I stayed to finish out the night and help with the clean up.  It was about 10:30 when I got home, bringing my dad with me.  As A is still living at my Dad's house, I figured he could catch a  ride home with A.   So by the time they headed out and I got the kids fully settled into bed (they were still awake (overtired) when I got home but they were in their beds).  By then it was around 11:15pm.  I had been up until 2am the night before getting some posters for the event finished (my computer issues made it so late).  I was exhausted, but my mind was still buzzing, so I thought "I'll just watch part of a documentary on Netflix to wind down before I go to sleep.  (I love documentaries and have been watching a bunch on agriculture, health, food supply and other challenging our world today--having worked in agricultural research for nearly 10 years, I am always interested to see how things are going). 

So, I picked a movie that I thought looked kinda uninteresting (I was trying to lull myself to sleep remember), and within 5 minutes I was riveted.  I was so impressed and inspired by the movie "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" that I stayed up until 1am to watch it.  It was so compelling to me, that I ended up getting up before the kids the next morning and watching it again.  Perhaps it is because so much of what I have been thinking about was brought up in it, or perhaps because I was just finally ready to hear it, it just moved me.  To watch two people, one of whom I "get" (Phil the 429 lb truck driver), truly and completely transform their lives is so little time with so little effort (but a HUGE mental, emotional commitment). 

It finally dawned on my--If I truly want to transform my life, really turn it around, I have to get off the road I am traveling on, not just pull into the other lane like I have been doing.  I have to do something more drastic and radical with my life.  If I want to get well, I have to live well, not just toy with idea.  If I want my body to be healthy, I can't just tweak things here and there, I am WAY too far down the road of unhealthy to be able to get back with little changes.  It is time to reboot my life.  While the movie focuses on a juice fast, with my current health a juice fast is not advised (the joys of type 2 diabetes).  So, I have done a lot of reading and such both before and after this past weekend, and have decided to go on a path of not just adding more fruits and veggies to my diet, but radically changing the way I think about the food I eat, and making my eating style to be predominately vegetables.  And yes, that blender is coming in quite handy.

So yesterday, after spending 3 hours and $300 on getting my car so it is safe to drive (still needs another $600 worth of work, but bit by bit is coming along), I went to the grocery store, not the usual discount food store I  tend to shop at, but a REAL grocery store, where they have a huge selection of higher quality produce, and I bought a LOT of vegetables and some fruit.  (can you tell I got paid last Friday, and I got the unexpected bonus of a couple of additional checks I was not expecting for a couple more weeks, so I was able to fix the car AND go shopping).  Last night when I got home, I made a green smoothie:
2 Kale Leaves
1 apple
3 celery stalks
1 mango
1/2 cucumber
1tbs spirulina
1 tbs flax seeds
and blended it all up.  It was tastier than I thought it would be.  I made the kids drink a couple ounces of it as I know having the extra nutrients will be a benefit to them.  I thought it was really tasty (the mango really was strong).  the kids did not like it so much and A came over after work and tried some as well, but did not find it as tasty, but okay.

It was sweltering hot (I know for those in the midwest it probably would have felt refreshing, but alas I am not used to heat near 90) so we had turkey sandwiches and strawberries for dinner.  I decided that that will be my last refined meal for a while. 

I am committing to starting today--TODAY--to truly transforming my relationship with food and my body.  For the next 30 days, I will eat only vegetables, fruit, nuts, and beans.  No canned food.  No processed foods.  No meat or dairy.  Only fresh food that has grown from the sunlight and the ground.  While not the 60 day fresh juice fast that the movie focused on, I know that this healthy, balanced, drastic change will help me on my path to a healthier stronger me, and will help reset my taste buds and my habits, so that as I add back in other foods--like eggs, fish, poultry and whole grains--that I will be able to do so without them taking over my body.  I plan to very rarely have processed foods again.  And as I change what I eat, I will begin changing what my children eat too.  While on Friday I shopped at our normal discount food place and bought a bunch of our "regular" food stuffs that the kids like, once it is gone, I will not be buying it again.  So while I do a drastic 180degree turn in my eating, I am going to take an incremental approach with my kids, doing less and less refined and processed foods and introducing more and more fresh, whole foods to their diets.  I have already been doing this, but at a slower pace than I should have been.  I will make them drink a couple of ounces of a green smoothie each afternoon though, treat it like medicine, so they benefit from the amazing micro-nutrient density of it, and who knows, maybe someday they will end up liking it and asking for it as a snack...

So today I made a smoothie for breakfast:
1/4 cantaloupe melon
1/2 cucumber
2 handfuls of Spring Mix baby lettuce
1 celery stalk
1/2 tbs flax seed
1/2 tbs spirulina

I took half and left half int he fridge for A (who still gets ready for work at my house as my father's hot water is thru a wood boiler and you have to start a fire out in the boiler like 30-60 minutes before you have the water hot enough for a shower.  As A prefers to shower in the morning, my house is easier).  It was too thick, and lacked something, but was still tasty.  I think tomorrow I will as 1/4 of a lemon and see if that helps.

I have also had 16 oz of unsweetened brewed iced tea, a 20 oz bottle of water, and a grapefruit.  When I get back in the car, I am going to have an apple, some spring mix and cucumbers, and some raw almonds.

so today is Day one of a drastic transformation leaf for this Life in Transformation.  Oh, and perhaps I am starting to feel the effects of more nutrient dense foods, because I am NOT "so tired..." today....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Okay, so I HAVEN'T figured out how to post from the cell phone....

Well, It has been a busy week and I had thought I had sent a couple of posts from my cell phone, short ones, but little updates.  However, it seems they never materialized on this blog, so I guess I have NOT figured out how to do quick blog posts via text.  Oh well...

This past week, the kids were on a short summer vacation between the end of the regular school year and the beginning of summer school, which started today.  We had a pretty low key week last week--hung out at home, splashed around in the kiddie pool on a couple of hot days, played video games and watched movies on rainy days, visited with my father, stopped down to coffee at my sister's house, walked up town for ice cream at the Ice Cream Garden (less than 1/3 of a mile, first downhill then up a slowly slopping hill).  On the way there (which is mostly uphill) Gonzo said to me "mom this is way too far to walk", so I told him that he takes more actual steps running around the house than we were taking getting ice cream (the child never stops moving).  Josiah was in his wheel chair.  While he is getting very good with his walker and doing some amazing things, that is WAY too far for him to even attempt.  So he got a nice ride.  We walked past the lake, which is near our house, and which is always pretty.  After ice cream we walked home, mostly down hill and past the lake again.  Gonzo did not complain at all about walking downhill.  We stopped by the little playground next to the lake and played--Josiah loves the swings and is strong and stable enough now to be on a regular swing, so he had a blast, and Gonzo climbed and crawled and did the monkey bars and slides. We then collected some rocks to toss into the water.  Then walked the last 100 feet to our house.  Gonzo was able to cut through the woods (a thick bunch of trees and large rocks at the bottom of the hill that creates a visual barrier to the road) to cross the yard when we were in sight of the house, which made Josiah a little jealous, as he wanted to do that too.  But there was no way for me to get his chair through the little path, as you have to go over and around some boulders and between tree trunks.

Then this weekend we went camping at Garnet Lake, a little lake kind of in the middle of nowhere, except that a LOT of people have seasonal homes and such around the lake.  My sisters grabbed a couple of the campsites, and between the two campsites we ended up with 12 tents and 27 people (if I counted right).  In addition to my sisters and their families (One sister had she and her boyfriend and the two little kids, and the other sister had three tents--one for them, one for the girls, and one for the boys as her kids are in the teens & tweens, and brought friends too).  In addition to family, another family that is a friend of one of my sister's and comes every year ended up bringing a lot of friends and family with them.  I was glad that I was not set up at the big main site, as there ended up being a lot of people who did not have kids there, and they used the camping time as a drunk fest, which is so not what I want my kids around. 

Overall, my family decided that next year, we are not camping with them again, as it really was not what we were looking for.  My one sister and her friend have done this camping trip together on 4th of July weekend for over 7 years (this is the first year I have gone for overnight, I have visited to spend the day before).  But the other group is just not a very family friendly group.  So next year, my sisters and I agreed we would find a different camping spot for our 4th of July camping trip.  Don't get me wrong, the trip was great.  The boys and I got there late on Friday and set up our tent at the smaller site with my one sister and her kids (the one with older kids), my dad set up there too, then we cooked dinner at the main site, and I met a bunch of the people who were set up there.  Most of them had been there since morning.  After dinner we roasted marshmallows, made smores, and later went down to the beach area, and one of the guys set off a couple of fireworks.  Then I put my kids to bed.  At first I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to hang out with everyone at the main site, but it was actually very peaceful to sit by my own campfire and relax int eh calm.  My one sister, whom I had had some strained relationship with earlier this year, came down too and we spend some times just hanging out by the fire (hers were the tents that were in that site also.  Then Saturday we got up and went up to the main site, cooked breakfast over the fire, and hung out with everyone for a while.  Then most of us with kids (and a few without) went down to the beach area.  We swam and played in the water.  some of us brought snacks and stuff down, my dad started the campfire that was at the beach area, and we canoed and kayaked and swam and tubed most of the day.  Josiah got really sleepy, in the afternoon so I took him across the road to our tent, and layed down with him and Gonzo.  My mom arrived as we were heading up for the nap.  A little while later, while the boys were still sleeping she came up to the site and we chatted for a while.  I had to wake the boys up for dinner when my nephew came down to tell us that dinner was ready in the main site.  So we headed there for dinner and chatted with everyone.  there was a steep hill that lead from the main flat area of the campsite up to a path to the outhouse and them up further to a couple more tent sites.  Some of the kids had been going up and down the hill during the day, just playing, but then Josiah wanted to go up the hill.  He was pushing his walker and started slipping and I said to him "bud, I know you want to go up there, but I don't think you are ready for that yet" (it was a very long, very steep hill with lots of roots and rocks, hard even for fully able bodied kids to walk up).  He looked right at me and said "oh yes I am!"  and I walked behind him as he amazed me, and everyone else by making all the way to the top of this difficult path.  It took quite a bit of time and a lot of work on his part, but he did it!!  I wished I had a video camera or even a regular camera.  He was amazing.  coming back down was actually harder because, well it is steep with rocks and roots, and he was walking with a walker.  so I did a lot more catching and repositioning of him on the way back down taking it only 2-3 feet at a time so we didn't tumbled down the hill.  He made it to the top ALL BY HIMSELF!!!! People clapped as he came back down, even people who didn't know him.  Everyone was amazed by his determination--what a champion that boy is!!!  He'll climb mountains someday, without my help.

We did fireworks at the beach that night, but Josiah and I stayed up at the main site, as he was afraid of the noise.  He has a lot of noise sensitivity because he has some patchy hearing loss, making him oversensitive to certain sounds.  So he and I watch through the trees with my hands glued over his ears so he could enjoy the fireworks.  Last year when we went to the circus I brought ear plugs (actually I had my step father pick up ear plugs for Josiah).  He could actually enjoy the circus without being terrified of what loud sound was going to startle him next.  Gonzo is also sound sensitive, so he liked the ear plugs too.  I wish I had brought them for the camping, but I did not know there were going to be fireworks.  Overall, it was a great trip.  We left Sunday morning after breakfast to go home so the kids could spend time with A.  We got home and had dinner, and then went to the parade in town.  The parade ended at the park by the lake by our house.  They had live music, which we could hear from home, so we had free entertainment.  The town fireworks are set off by the lake right next to our house (through the woods).  and the fireworks actually go right over the house, so we just set up our chairs int he front yard and enjoyed the fireworks Sunday night from home with A.  My brother came for a bit and then met up with friends down by the lake.  the rest of my family was still camping. Like last year, pieces of the fireworks kept bouncing off the roof.  Only one firework ended up coming in too low and still flaming as the pieces landed around the house and yard, but they went out quickly on their own (last year we had some we had to stomp on). On Monday we did some running around, I had left my tent at the camp site for my nephew to use and to dry out as it rained on Sunday, and we went to pack it up Monday (its about 45 minutes from our house) and A wanted to see the camping area.  When we got there, my family had already cleared out, and did me a favor of taking my tent with them (which I did not know), so we stopped first at my one sisters house (only about 10 miles from the camp site and only 1 mile off the road we needed to take anyway), and chatted with her.  I am glad we left on Sunday as the crowd got really rowdy and not pleasant with the addition of a couple of extra people on Sunday evening, and my sister and her husband ended up going to the little campsite with their kids early, while my other sister just took her kids to bed as they were set up at the main site.  So I missed to less pleasant part of the camp trip.  Then we just came home and made burgers and hung out.

I put the kids to bed early as they started their summer programs today and I wanted them to be well rested.  J is in a different classroom for the summer, one more mainstream than the one he was used to , though he already knew the teacher and half the kids where in his room before, so not a huge switch for him.  G on the other hand in in a totally new setting.  As his self contained classroom is run through BOCES but housed in a regular school, he is normally at the smaller elementary school.  But the summer program pools all of the kids from all five counties who need the summer program (as so few of them qualify for it) and they pool them at the main BOCES building.  So it is a much larger building, totally different setting, different teacher, different kids, different aid, etc....  As Gonzo usually had a honeymoon period when faced with a new situation, and is a bit more withdrawn while he gets the lay of the land, I am betting he will do alright for the six weeks.  Today and tomorrow might be little rocky, as he was quite withdrawn when I left.  Which I suppose is better than full blown acting out.  Ahhh....the joys of autism.... (said facetiously, of course)....

I think he will do okay.  He had a one to one aid for the summer, and qualified teachers and assistants in the room.  I am a little worried about what new behaviors he will pick up from the new kids, as he has a knack for adopting the most challenging behaviors he can find, and with all new kids,a ll who have issues, there are going to be new behaviours for him to test out and add to his already extensive repertoire.  And I sure he will add some to other kids arsenals too--share and share alike.  Enough with the truthful jesting now....I hope that he finds a friend in this program.  He is starting to actually want a friend, and to realize that most kids have friends.  With a new infusion of kids, I am hoping that he can hit it off with one of the kids and find a common interest.  His pure fascination with bugs may find a fellow budding entomologist among the summer school kids.  It would be great for him to make a friend.

Well, I best pack it up.  The schedules for the kids do not work well.  They both had to be dropped off at 8:15 and picked up at 1:45.  And their school programs fro the summer are 20 minutes apart.  The joys of having to be in two places at once.  Well, G's program lets out between 1:45 and 2:00.  So, after talking with the teachers this morning, I will be dropping J off first a little early and dropping G off a little late each morning, then picking J up a little early and picking G up a little later.  So they are both offset by a little bit.  Hopefully it will all work out.  Today we have to pick up Josiah's new glasses at the eye doctor at 2:45.

AND my sister and her family from South Carolina arrives today for their annual summer visit (I have 3 sisters and one brother).  They will be here five days.  AND my mom's CD release party is on Saturday--her first CD--a life long dream come true for her.  So it is going to be a very busy week....