Monday, June 30, 2008

Guest Blogger, Kim

Hi all!  This is the "other Kim" taking over for a day while Kim is on her mission trip.  I pray that everything is going well for her on the trip, and that when she returns we'll read some great stories.

I am forced to realize in thinking about what Kim is experiencing this week-that my idea of roughing it is basically a two star hotel.  I guess to some degree, I am a princess of sorts, because I don't like being without my modern conveniences on a daily basis.  So I am in awe of what Kim and the students from her church are doing.

I'm not a stranger to helping people, but getting completely outside of my comfort zone has never been something that I have been able to do.  Being a fellow weight loss surgery patient, I'm learning to do a few things that challenge my comfort zone, but nothing this big so far.  My challenges have mainly been isolated to going to parties and functions that I typically wouldn't attend.  Which I know seems lame, but for someone who has grown up being a wall flower, it's a big step!

I have a cousin that was an African missionary, and signed up for ten year trip...and while I know that mission work of that kind is not in my future, I hope that someday I'll be able to do something smaller.  Even in my own community, God's love needs to be shown and shared with others, and I'd love to have the courage to do just that one day.  I am thankful that when I do step out there to spread his word, he will fill my mouth with just the right words to do the most good for his kingdom.

Again, my only hope is that one day I will be able to step completely outside of my own world to show someone living in completely different surrounding what God's love is really like.  Until that time, I am thankful to Him for providing others that are able to do just that in my place.  I think it's a special gift that Kim gives the students that she works with as well: lessons in faith and love that will last a lifetime.  Kim truly is one of my heroes!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And We're Off

I'm writing Sunday's entry early, mostly so I can check to make sure this Timestamp really works before we take off today.  As of Saturday at 3:19pm, I am nearly packed, the hair has been cut, the nails have been done and made short, and my gallon thermos is nearly full of iced tea.  Sunday morning, I have ice and some lunch meat to buy (I don't think I will be participating in taco night on Tuesday and fried meat and I already had one go 'round that didn't end well on my part).  I picked up a few healthy snacks and am taking some fruit along as well.  I think I have a plan.

Be safe in my absence, dear readers.  Prayers are always welcome: that our work in this community we are journeying to will make a difference to the people living there and that they will witness a little bit of Jesus working through us.  Pray for the teens to be living examples of the love of Christ and to have serving hearts in the week to come.  Pray that our drive to and from Pennsylvania be a safe one for us and for all those around us.  Pray for the people in this community, that they know the promises that come from the risen Savior, and that though God never said that this life would be easy, he did say that we would never journey it alone.  Pray that they are able to see his blessings on their lives in gifts of family and friends and though they may not have many material things, that they have been given the greatest gift of all.

I'll "see" all of you on Friday.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

All my Bags are Packed

..I'm ready to go...I'm standing here outside your door...I hate to wake you up to say goodbye.

Sorry. Had a little John Denver moment there.  I loved him.  Cried when he died and even went to a memorial service for him near Gaithersburg.  No one else that I know of does that amazing "earthy" music and I adored it.

Anyway.  I am pretty much packed and good to go.  I have even already blogged tomorrow's entry and have it scheduled to post at 8:00 am, just so I can make sure the Timestamp thing works as Kim and Kelly's entries are both set up on it.  I'm sure it works actually...what I'm not sure of is if I did it right!

Today was pretty low key, other than getting my nails and hair done and running into my old roomie and his boyfriend, whom I have not seen in close to two years.  It was nice to catch up briefly, even if it was at my hair place! 

Beth, one of the girls who works there, came back to where Kristy was just getting started on my nails and said, "Kim!  Your old buddy is here!"  As I looked confused, she continued, "Mike!  Your X-roomie!"

"Cool!  Ask him to come back!"

Beth looked completely indignant, "No, you come out here!  You need to stand up to see him!  You look fabulous!"

She is so sweet and funny.  I've known these girls for years as I've been getting my hair done there forever.  It's always a good time when I go in there as they are all so funny.

Okay, that's it for tonight!  I still have some things to do in preparation for tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gotta Cut Loose

So tonight we went to see "Footloose" at Smithsburg High school with Paula and John.  It was an alumni show, so Kirk was in it as well as Katie (two of my youth kids) and both of them were amazing as always.  I ran into two of my old theater friends there as well, Jeff and Suanne and I was thrilled to see them.  Suanne is trying to plan a reunion as there are several of us in the area but many of us don't get to see each other.  I'm totally looking forward to seeing everyone again!

I've started packing as there is no sense putting away clean laundry just to pull it out tomorrow evening to pack it.  There are still things I worry about forgetting such as makeup, the camera and the paperwork for YouthWorks, but hopefully, I will keep my head firmly attached to me and remember.

And I have a new favorite thing.  Can we say Shelley's tortilla pizza?? Pizza has always been one of my favorite foods and I had been sorely missing it and have been meaning to try this tortilla pizza thing.  OMG!  YUM!  Totally satisfies the pizza craving!

Your guest bloggers for next week are as follows:
Monday: Kim H
Tuesday: Laura
Wednesday: Kelly
Thursday: The Brit

I hope y'all give them some bloggy loving in my absence for doing me this huge favor and honor!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Paying it Forward

Still loving the new car.

What I also love is being able to return the favors that were done for me as a pre-op byseveral post-ops.  Celia and Christine I know personally and they answered so many of my questions early on as I began to explore the possibility of WLS.  Then there were my girly peeps, Kim, Lacy and Meg, the brave ladies who went before me...right before me really as they only had their surgeries a few months before mine.  I was able to read all about how they were doing in play-by-plays on their blogs, which helped to prepare me and answer so many of my questions.  There was also Alison, who though she doesn't blog as regularly, took the time to email me answers to my questions and to check in on me often.

So, from what I understand, several weeks ago, when I went into my mom's TOPS group to share my WLS story, apparently they put something in the paper weekly about their meeting and what the topic is.  This is how I have come to know Ellen.  Ellen contacted one of the TOPS members, (my mother's cousin) because she had been unable to make the meeting but wanted to talk to me as she was interested in having the surgery.  After a few weeks of phone tag, we finally got hooked up over the phone last Sunday and we talked for an hour.  Like so many others had done for me, I was able to answer some of Ellen's questions and at her request, told her my entire RNY story from beginning to end.  She is now completely convinced that she wants the surgery, and like me a year ago, is starting the six month structured diet process.  I like Ellen very much and am very happy to be able to return the favor that so many did for me.

Though I have said before that I would not recommend this surgery to anyone, I am also more than happy to support anyone who wants to have it.  The reason I would not recommend it simply because it is a personal decision and not for everyone.  It would never be in my place to pressure anyone to have it, whether I think someone would benefit from it or not. 

So the mission trip is now really close and I am rather excited!  I love this kind of stuff; road trips and youth and helping people and letting them see Jesus working in my life.  It was an amazing experience last year and the final factor in my deciding to have surgery.  I have no doubt that this year will be even more amazing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The End of the Car Saga

Tonight we went to see the guy we have bought about our last six cars from.  He is not working at the same place as last time and though we stopped by to see him last night before we went to Kia, he wasn't working.  Tonight he was and we drove one of these.  Actually, we more than drove it.  It is currently sitting in front of my house.  Teehee.  I liked it very much and there is something to be said about working with Tim.  It's always fun and he always gets us the best deal he can.  We did really well tonight and I am both happy and relieved that the car shopping is over.

Not much else went down today and it is late and we just got home (buying a car takes about three hours apparently) and I still have a buttload of pills to take.  Ya'll give guest blogger Kelly some love because she has been really under the weather!  Hopefully she will be feeling better by tomorrow!

Oh and this makes me smile:

more cat pictures

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fireflies, pouches and cars, oh my!

I decided tonight that Fireflies are proof that God exists.  I mean, bugs are all well and good (actually,I hate bugs) but I think in many ways, they are sort of the same.  Most of them are pesky to humans (or at least to me) and I don't really find any of them pretty.  Yeah, they have their uses or at least a lot of them do and I know that God had a plan for them when He created them.  But then I picture God smiling as he decides to put a tiny light inside of one of them.  No one else would have thought of that!  God has an incredible imagination, I think.

My pouch has been a little bit grumpy since last night and this is the first real disagreement we've had.  The Brit and I got sushi last night....sweet pleasure!  I had not had sushi since the weekend before my surgery and it was GOOD.  Now, I could only eat two pieces at first and it went down okay but as much as I wanted that third piece, I knew it was not a good idea.  So I waited an hour or two and had another piece and that apparently pissed off my pouch. I didn't dump, but my stomach kind of hurt for about fifteen minutes after eating it.  Then right before bed, I had one last piece and again, the stomach ache!  Today, I had soup and a half a sandwich for lunch with friends at Uno's.  Of course, by the time I finished most of my soup and my half sandwich arrived, I was full, so I had like one bite of it and took the rest home, where I nibbled at it for the rest of the day.  Again with the cranky pouch!  Now, I'm wondering if maybe it is the carbs.  The sushi had rice and where I usually take a sandwich apart and eat the meat and cheese from the middle, I was so craving a bit of bread.  Carbs may be the culprit.

And lastly, in preparation for the mission trip, I took my car in today for an oil change and when I went back to pick it up, the mechanic went over a whole laundry list of things my car needed: the brakes are starting to go, the belts, some other big thing is going to need about $1600 worth of work eventually, new tires, blah, blah, blah.  My small SUV is a 2001 and I bought it used.  It has been a fabulous little car, but we start to look at the miles on it, etc and have to wonder if it is just time to trade it in as opposed to having to spend all this out of pocket money.  I think the car manufacturers work this out as my car is nearly paid off, so it is time for stuff to go wrong with it.

When we were in Florida, we rented one of these for the week and I loved it.  Now, I am not someone who wants to buy a new car as I think they are overrated.  A good used car suits me perfectly, so we went to the Kia dealership tonight and they had just gotten a used one in, so we are pondering it.  I may be taking a whole 'nother car on the mission trip

Monday, June 23, 2008


Thank you to all of you who left comments yesterday.  They mean more than you know, especially in light of the fear I felt posting them!

Today has been busy.  Cleaning, gardening, laundry, but I am still amazed with the amount of energy I have to get it all done in one day!  It's actually kind of fun and very satisfying to DO things!  I did them before, but it took a lot longer and not as much got done in one day.

I'm also starting my preparations to go on the mission trip on Sunday.  I have inventoried all my toiletries and seem to have all I need there.  I just finished hosing down the cooler and of course tomorrow my oil and tires get done.  Wednesday or Thursday, I'll hit the car wash.  Saturday, my hair and nails get done.  The hair has got to be easy as no curling irons or blow dryers are permitted, so a pic and a bottle of hair mousse are all I get!  It'll be fine.  The more weight I lose, the shorter my hair is getting anyway as I want something that requires minimal fussing, but that is still cute and perky.   

Those of you who volunteered to blog for me next week will be getting an email tonight so we can get the schedule going.  Of all things, this is my deepest fear, so how crazy is that??  But I'm halfway through the year and haven't missed a blogging day yet!  I know y'all will be fabulous!

And oh!  There is actually going to be a WLS support group in my town starting in July!  How exciting is that???

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2 Months Post Op

Lisa told me a few weeks ago that she thought I was brave and I disagreed.  Today, I am feeling brave....and stupid.

One of the best things about the internet is the anonymity of it.  We can imagine what other people look like and we can allow them to imagine what we look like.  There is no need to post photos because they are simply irrelevant to the internet unless you are looking to find the love of your life and then photos may become a necessity, but even then, you can lie or photoshop the pictures to make yourself look better, all the while promising yourself that by the time you meet your internet date, dammit, you WILL look like that! 

One of the things I promised myself when I began to blog this WLS journey is that I would be absolutely honest...for me today, painfully so.  Yes, I can totally see the difference in myself in my Before and After photos, but to look at them, to post them here is really scary for me.  It's admitting with no further doubt in anyone's mind that I had and have a serious weight problem that is in the process of being corrected.  What was left to your imaginations is about to be real and I can't help but feel a little bit apprehensive about putting myself out there like that, but a promise is a promise, even if I made it to myself.  I guess I still don't really consider it brave because there was no way I was putting up a Before photo without having a somewhat better After to follow it.

My Before pictures were taken the day before my surgery.

April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008

Seeing them here really makes me nervous.  Notice the lack of a neck and we won't even discuss the rest.  There were many times when I would dress to go out or to church and think I looked good; normal even.  Wow, was that not the case.

The new ones were taken today, just over two months post op:

June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

By golly, the girl does have a neck...and arms that need a whole lot of work.  Total loss to date: 45 pounds.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quiet Saturday with a picnic

I could probably have things to talk about tonight if it weren't so late and if I didn't have to get up for church tomorrow.  But it is and I do, so there won't be much tonight.

I am feeling so much better.  Still coughing but my energy is back thankfully.  Today, I went to Lisa's for a picnic for Relay for Life, for which I did nothing for this year due to surgeries, but it was nice to go and spend time with her and Kelly and Robyn.  Lisa is looking FANTABULOUS by the way!  OMG!  She is telling me she still have thirty pounds to go, but I think she is lying!  She looks so freaking skinny now!

She did give me a bag of clothes which is awesome.  I don't know if any of them fit me yet, but they will and OH!  The shorts I was complaining about?  Wore them today I did and they looked good!  What a difference even two weeks can make!  So, I am officially down a size!  Exciting I tell you!  I felt so good, I even used my new Beijo bag that Kelly gave me pre-op!

But yes, my protein still sucks.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not much

Two month post-op pics are coming soon, I promise.  I took two "Before" pics the day before surgery, but I keep forgetting to have The Brit take new ones when I am actually dressed in something appropriate for photo taking.  I meant to have him take them last Sunday after church, but then we decided to go to the lake and I forgot.  So, I am shooting for this Sunday again.  Brit, remind me!  So,when you're doing the "After" photos, do you wear the same thing as you wore in the "Before" photos?  It was cooler out then and I had on jeans that are pretty big on me now.

I'm feeling better today.  Still coughing, but all in all feeling a wee bit more like myself, so now I'm sending my feeling better vibes Kim's way! 

Nothing major is really happening at the moment.  The mission trip is in just over a week and I think I have almost everything I need with the exception of some food items in the event they are serving something for dinner I shouldn't have.  Taco night is a concern for me because of the fried up beef obviously, so I want to put some lunch meat in the fridge to have instead.  I'll also take some protein bars and I already have case of bottled water in my car.  Next week, I'll have the car cleaned out and I get my oil changed and tires rotated on Tuesday.  Isn't this all thrilling information?  I told you nothing much was going on!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Death be not Proud

So yesterday when I said I thought I was turning a corner?  Yeah, well, the cold took a wrong turn and went down...right into my chest, so now instead of just battling snot, I have coughing as well...dry, hacking, ribs aching coughing.  Sucks.  I also ran out of Breathe Right strips last night which meant no sleep.  As I am still on the CPAP (and so counting the days till I can kick that thing goodbye), if I can't breathe, I can't sleep.  I'm really, really ready to feel better and you all are probably really, really ready to hear me quit whining about feeling lousy.  I thought about calling my PCP but I'm not running a fever which means it isn't an infection, right?  And if it isn't an infection, then they won't give me antibiotics, right?  

Someone said something kind of odd to me the other day.  We were discussing my surgery and The Brit's surgery and this person said, "You know, it's going to be really weird for us too, because we know you as you are now and you're going to completely shrink."

This kind of bothered me and has been bothering me since it was said.  If you "know" someone, I don't think that has much to do with what they look like outside.  So though my outside will change, I will still be me albeit a little more confident and comfortable in my own skin.  But why should that be "Weird" for anyone else?  That's kind of like saying if a friend of mine gets a new haircut or a new hair color then that will be weird for me.  I don't get the "weird" part at all and it is somehow something I've feared a little bit as I never want people to start treating me differently (unless you've always been really mean to me and then you can be nice ).  I am still who I've always been, only 44 pounds lighter so far.

And speaking of 44 pounds lighter, and while I'm complaining anyway, can I just say that I have still not dropped a pants size??  Oh, my stuff is looser, no doubt, but still no size change, which I find rather annoying as I just bought a few pairs of shorts a size down that were way on sale (like $5 on sale) and though I can get in them, they are in no way attractive yet.  I wanted them for the mission trip, but it isn't looking good....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slightly Less Blah

I say this tentatively, but I think I might be turning a corner with the whole summer cold least one can hope.  I am certainly ready to take the corner and start feeling more like myself and less like the walking dead.

I have another wish.  To meet in person, my long time internet friend, Andrea.

Andie and I met several years ago on a fandom board and hit it off instantly.  We spent some time writing together but more importantly, we spent many nights on AIM just chatting for hours.  It was an instant friendship and we helped each other through some rough times.  A few years ago, we drifted apart a bit, but I never stopped thinking about her and trying to decide if I should contact her.  It's hard sometimes over the computer to know what people are thinking and I didn't want to come across as too needy.

I'm not sure how it happened, but we did get in contact again and we both admitted the number of times we had thought about contacting the other.  Now, though we don't speak daily, between kids and husbands, we are still very much in touch and every time I chat with her I am reminded of how much I genuinely like this person.  

So, wish #5 is to meet Andrea one day.

I went through this site today and printed out a bunch of recipes to try in the near future.  I tried one last night out of that cookbook I mentioned and though The Brit and the kids loved it, it made me gag.  Too much parsley or something but blech.  I'm trying really hard to be open to new things but I couldn't manage more than a bite, so yesterday was another day of sucking on the protein, though I did manage most of a protein shake last night.  Who would have thought that protein was such hard work!  I keep hoping the further out I get, the easier eating will be, but at just over two months out, so far it is still difficult. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'm still feeling like pond scum.

The worst thing about being sick in the summer is that the kids are home, so there is no time to actually REST, because I have to be there to break up the bickering and to make sure my oldest isn't doing stuff he isn't supposed to do.  I don't know what it is about this kid.  He is as bright as a spark; an honor roll student, and during the school year, he does really well in all aspects of life.  I'm thinking that due to his ADHD and the structure that goes with school, that is the reason he does so well.  Cuz, lemme tell ya, as soon as summer hits...BAM!  He is in trouble and doing things he KNOWS he is not supposed to do.  Idle hands and all that I suppose. 

I let him get to me a little while ago, which I have been managing not to do.  I've been trying really hard to parent without negative emotions, but when I'm sick and feeling rotten, it all goes down the tubes.  No, I didn't yell, but what I should have done was just state the facts and then be done with it.  But sick makes me feel lousy and frustrated and when all I want to do is curl up someplace and sleep until I feel better but knowing I can't do that, doesn't help.  I admit to having a much shorter fuse though when not feeling well, so at some point tonight, I will get to sleep (still have to cook dinner and then off to Aaron's therapy) and then after that,  maybe I can reassess. 

The other part about being sick is that I have no desire to eat.  Food holds little interest for me right now anyway, but add sick to the picture and it gets even worse.  Needless to say, my food intake the last two days has sucked the big whompus, people (yeah, I way don't know what a whompus is, but it sounded good in the sentence).  60 grams of protein?  No even close. My hair should be falling out shortly, but at least that is one less thing I'll have to deal with.

Can you tell I'm in a mood?

Monday, June 16, 2008


I either have a cold or a sinus issue, so I'm not hanging around.  Can't take a nap because I have a child who apparently waits for me to turn my back to break rules at the moment.  Blah. Full day tomorrow too, work with a meeting, grocery store, cook dinner, therapy with Aaron at 7:30.  Brilliant.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Busy Day

Today our new pastor was installed!  There's the first bit of news.

The Brit, who is now down 36 pounds, and Sandy messing around after church.

After church, in honor of Father's Day, we took the kids and went here: 

I don't know any of those people by the way,but they refused to move for the photo

It was way busy, being a holiday, but we had a good time.  JJ, when he wasn't in the water, was working on a major building project:

Aaron never really came out of the water much at all:

My kids are pretty much fish!  When we first got them, they were scared to death of the water, but now, I can't keep them out of it!

In regards to WLS, I am constantly amazed now by how much energy I have, even though I still have a LONG ways to go in the weight loss catagory.  But I find myself much more energetic with my kids, taking them out to do things like swimming or little day trips like today.  I'm constantly amazed by how GOOD I feel (at least until I see a picture of myself...ugh!  But one day, that too, will get better) and the things I get accomplished now.  And I can do those things without having to take a bunch of breaks and this is just after 42 pounds!

Would I do surgery over again?  Yup.  In a heartbeat.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Need to Share

Okay, I shared this chick with a few of you through email on Friday, but I feel the need to share her with the rest of you.  Maybe it is just me and my taste in music, but I swear, I have a girl crush on this chick (totally straight, ya'll; just a figure of speech).  You can find her on YouTube if you like her, under the name "Jaaaaaa" (6 letter A) and she has 41 videos there.  You can also order a CD off her website, which I am so doing soon.  In the meantime, love her or hate her, you have to listen.....and she has some originals too.

And just for fun:

Friday, June 13, 2008

This and That

I thought of another wish.

4.  To go back home and visit; Southern California.

It has been YEARS since I've been there.  In fact, since moving to Maryland when I was twelve, I have been back one time.  There are things I really miss and I so want to see San Diego again!

Anyway, today I took the boys swimming and we all had a great time.  I got slightly burnt, but I'm hoping the burn will fade by tomorrow.  I love the sun.  Yeah, I know that sitting out in it with no sunscreen is bad for you and all that, but we were in a hurry and couldn't locate what I had done with it.  The kids spent most of their time in the water, so they didn't catch too much sun and as for me, I love looking like I caught the sun.  I just think it looks healthy after how pale I get in the winter.

Are you ready for this?  The Brit is down 32 pounds!  I knew he was going to lose at a faster rate, being a guy and all, but dang!  He has nearly caught up to me and my guess is that by next week he will!  I need to kick it up a notch with the exercise and either get my butt out walking or get on the Bow-Flex downstairs, which involves reading the manual...ugh!  I'm looking forward to joining the Y in September once the kids head back to school (actually they go back in August, so I could join then!) so I can start some weight lifting and minimally water aerobics to start out.  I'm working up to that bike that is on my Christmas list!   Isn't it purty?  I love pink.

This morning, I forget to take ANY of my pills.  How awful is that?  I assume one day will not kill me (a little iron vacation is always nice) and I made sure to take them all tonight.  I love being the last one awake; it's so peaceful and quiet.  I have a couple of kitties hanging with me (Hannah and Jonah) and the windows are open letting in the fresh air. 

I love summer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

For the Invisible Women in my life

I saw this skit performed live several years ago and loved it then.  If you're a wife and/or mother and sometimes don't think anyone sees all that you do, this is for you.

Planting Twenty Wishes

So I need help.  Every year, I buy several flowering plants to put in the planters on my porch.  Every year I water them and feed them.  Every year they die within a few weeks.  WHAT AM I DOING WRONG???  So frustrating!  I so want to have pretty little blooms on my porch! Any suggestions would be welcome!

So I've been reading this book and it has me thinking about my own twenty wishes. Twenty things I want to do before I die.  I don't have all or even a fourth of them figured out yet, but I've decided that as I think of them, I can post them here and then check them off if or when they happen.

Here's what I've come up with thus far:

1. To become a halfway decent horseback rider.

2. To vacation some place warm and tropical where you can see through the ocean water to the bottom.

3. To see Killer whales in the wild.

Unfortunately "warm and tropical" and "killer whales" don't go together at all or I could accomplish two things at once.

What about you?  What are the secret desires of your heart?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Ya know, it is either feast or famine around these here parts.  I either have nothing to write about or I have numerous things to tell ya'll.

First and huge ordeal in and of itself is that I just made up a protein shake I'm lovin'.  I used the Light and Fit yogurt, which has very low sugar content (one of the lowest among yogurts I believe and the one my surgeon's office recommends) and about ten grams of protein per serving, a whole banana, a handful of sliced strawberries and half a scoop of my whey protein vanilla.  Yummers!  I know, I need to work up to a whole scoop of protein, but this is way better than I had been doing.  For tonight, I'll take it.

A friend of mine sent me an email today where in part, she discusses how she is having her own psychological issues with weight loss (she is looking amazing by the way and she did this all by herself by using Weight Watchers on line).  She mentioned wishing she was able to "put it all out there" like I do and I just wanted to comment on that.

My weight issues were a huge mystery to me until I was nearly raped in New York (God was on my side that night as a police car drove through the private park and scared off the guy).  It was during that assault that I had my first flashbacks of what had happened to me as a child.  At the time, of course, I didn't understand what I was seeing in my mind, but a call home held the explanation.

From that moment on, I totally got it; I got the fact that my extra pounds were my protection, my fortress against unwanted and unsolicited male attention.  I also think that is the reason why I was friends and even roomed with numerous gay men.  They were safe and I had nothing to fear from them and they were the only men I was comfortable around.

"Getting it" and actually doing something about it though were too different things.  To lose weight meant losing my protection and though I did give half hearted attempts at weight loss at times, they were short lived.

When I met The Brit, we did not meet in person.  We were introduced through the same friend that has spurred this blog entry and we were introduced via the internet.  See, Chris lived in England but my friend had met him in person once when he came to the states for a visit.  The first several months of our relationship was spent for me, in absolute safety.  He was in England and I was in Maryland.  We had internet chats and phone conversations and we grew to really know each other.  I told him about my past with the assaults.  The day before he was arriving here to meet me, I went into a tizzy because I had never sent him a picture.  A manager where I worked, helped me to get one over to him to settle my fears of rejection.  I think it wasn't until that day and in knowing he was actually coming, that I knew I desperately wanted this man in my life.  I had purposely not sent a photo before and then suddenly the fear of his rejection because of my weight was nearly overwhelming.

But The Brit accepted me exactly the way I was and in time, and through conversations I had to grow to accept who I was too, though I don't think I was ever able to fully do that.  I kept imagining what my life would be like to not be obese (I still shudder with the use of that word)and though I knew that through The Brit, the boys and my friends, I was truly happy, there was still something missing.

When I started blogging and started talking openly on here to friends and perfect strangers about my weight issues, something amazing happened that is hard to describe.  I found myself starting to work through my issues somewhat; understanding my fears and what got me here to begin with.  I had always known them, but had rarely discussed them, but writing them down, a cyber-diary, helped me to think them through, to accept them and to eventually decide that something drastic had to be done.

After surgery, I have had to face certain fears and realizations all over again, but once more, I do it here.  It's cathartic in so many ways, even if it is just writing in circles (like now) and trying to tie all the loose emotions together.  But growing in our own wisdom of ourselves, makes us stronger and much better able to cope with the fears and challenges that arise.  When we keep it bottled up inside, it simply bubbles and boils, much like a stew pot on high heat.  We only have so much time in the day to actually devote to mulling over what we harbor in our hearts; life simply gets in the way.  But when we make deliberate efforts to write, blog, journal, talk, email, pray, whatever, we can begin to discern some of our own puzzles simply because we are devoting the time to actually do it.

So, I don't think it has anything to do with courage at all.  I think it has to do with realizations and with making the effort to set aside time to deal with our own issues and often in that time, we find out things about ourselves we may not otherwise have ever known.  Though we often think we know who we are, we are still wonderfully made and chock full of new discoveries, providing we let ourselves discover them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Drama Continues

So last night, I snooped on bio-mom's blog and found that she had blasted us, saying that everytime Aaron mentions her or his past, he gets into trouble.  Blatant lie numero uno.  She also remarked that she was afraid he would "go down the wrong path" and let's not even get me started on what I could say about that one.  I'm trying to be nice.  

So, I blasted back and then calmed down and wrote a more civil message asking her to respect us on our wishes for Aaron not to see her or his uncle (who also messaged me asking why he was no longer allowed to see Aaron and complaining about things I had written here.  Hey, my diary, my thoughts.  Don't like 'em?  Go read somewhere else.  I didn't invite anyone here).  I did not bother to respond to him.

See, here's the thing.  We are under no obligation/requirement/court order to let the boys see anyone in their birth family.  The fact that they see their grandparents and on occasion their siblings, is a choice that we have made in the past.  We have allowed it to happen.  Why?  Because we felt it was in the best interest of the boys and of the grandparents.  However, if I ever find out again in the future (we have had a few problems in the past) that anyone is shoving bio-mom or dad down their throats while they visit, I will pull those visits immediately.

Is it something I want to do?  No.  What I want is for the grandparents and the boys to be able to visit AND for me to be able to trust that things are being handled according to our wishes and OUR wishes are the only ones that matter as we are their parents. 

Kim also asked "Will Aaron end up going to school with this uncle in a couple of years?"

That is a possibility but if the situation doesn't improve in the next year, I will get permission from the county for him to attend another high school.  I have no problem doing it and I will do it if I have to, but we have a year before we have to cross that bridge.

Meg asked:
Why is he reaching out to them? Does he want to talk about that?

I asked that question yesterday and he could give me no answer.  I have my own opinions and thoughts about this which I am not going to post here in order to protect that is what parents do; protect their kids. If my friends want to know, please email me and I'll fill you in, but as I know I have at least one reader here (and my guess is that by now possibly more) from the biological family, I'd rather not post it here.  I have arranged for him to go back into therapy, per his request and we were fortunate enough to get his same therapist,but the appointment is not for two weeks yet.

Yes, Aaron contacted them first, but common sense should tell someone that maybe they'd better check to see if this was allowed, instead of jumping in head first.  Hopefully, that is now clear, despite the fact that I am doubtful.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Challenges of Adoptive Parenting

Today was rough.

Last fall, Aaron had a myspace account and we told him as long as he used it appropriately (and we had the passwords to be able to check up on him as he is only 12) he could keep it.  That lasted about a month before he decided to try his new "middle school vocabulary" out on the girl across the street in messages he was leaving her.  So, I closed down his myspace.

This morning, when the Brit came downstairs, he noticed an empty spaghettio can on the desk and when confronted about it, Aaron tried to insist it was not his.  I informed him that I was the last one upstairs last night at 11:00 and I can't even eat, nor do I like, spaghettios.  He finally admitted he came down at 6:00 this morning and ate them and then went back to bed.  The Brit made him clean up and I told him he had lost his ipod for another week for lying (an ongoing battle), then we all got dressed and the boys were dropped off at grandma's for the day.

When I got home from work after a pedicure, I picked up Aaron's yearbook which he had left lying in the kitchen and found that he had written in sharpie the name "Lil Ace" on the outside cover and inside as well.  This sent off alarm bells.  See, his 14 year old uncle, Cody, lives with his sister who is Aaron's bio-mom.  Bio-mom and Cody's mom passed away two years ago and bio-mom took in her brother, though she already had her two younger children as well (which is a lot for a 26 year old recovering drug addict).  When Cody was last here, he informed me that it looked like he was failing 8th grade so that tells me that things are not really good at home and that maybe he is not getting the support he should be getting, but I digress.  "Lil Ace" is the name that Cody uses on myspace.  So, talk about mother's intuition...I logged into Myspace and did a search for Aaron plus his bio last name and there is was.  A Myspace page he had created just last week and that isn't the worst part.  He had been messaging his bio-mom and she was messaging him back.  

So how does an adoptive parent handle this?  First issue was he had broken the rules and betrayed our trust,so we brought him home from grandma's to deal with the issue.  He admitted he had waited until we went to bed last night to get on the computer (the laptop.  He doesn't' have the password for mine).  I got his user name and password and signed into his myspace to shut it down and found a new message from Cody from last night.  Cody had commented that Aaron was up late and did Kim and Chris know.  I messaged Cody back, told him it was me and that no, we had not known, that his Myspace was being shut down and that he was not allowed any further contact.

We've dealt with the Aaron issue with a long talk and punishment of losing his privileges and having to earn them back.  We discussed his bio-mom and why we don't allow contact, which is as much for her well being as his.  This whole bio-family in the same town crap at times drives me wonky.  How do you handle it? 

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Patron Rant

After WLS, waitresses amuse me.

When I was in Florida and met Meg for lunch, we both ordered some kind of chicken sandwich and Meg, being further out of surgery than I was (I was only like a month out at that point, if that) got chips and salsa as her side.  I elected to not have a side, as everything was either a starch or something I wasn't ready to see if my system could handle.  The waitress kept giving me other option which I declined.  Then when our sandwiches came, we both took the chicken out of the bread and cut it up.  Of course, neither one of us finished it.  The waitress seemed rather confused and concerned and kept asking if everything was all right.  Of course, we assured her it was.

Tonight, we ate at Red Lobster.  The Brit ordered soup and salad and I ordered an appetizer as my main course.  This again, seemed to confuse her but it also made me think how stereotyped we were, as big people.  We are apparently supposed to order massive portions.  I ate three of my crab and lobster stuffed mushrooms and then asked her for a box.  She again was baffled asking me what else I needed the box for and then she looked at plate and said, "Just for that?"  I simply answered, "Yes, please."

She was also confused by The Brit only eating part of his soup and only the shrimp off his salad and again, kept asking if everything was all right.  I feel like a rebel, bending the rules and all; the big girl ordering little portions and not eating it all.  It feels naughty

The inlaws have been in the air just over three hours now.  The kids are again in separate rooms, ready to start their first full week of summer.  Pray for us.  Summer may kill me.  The boys have a tendency to be total angels or absolute demons and I tend to have a lot of patience or none at all.  But I'm trying a reward's system where if they are good all week, I'll take them swimming or to a movie on Fridays after work.

We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

You know, I am not one to complain about heat as ya'll know how much I hate winter, but damn, it's humid! We went to see "Prince Caspian" today just to be in the cool for a couple of hours!  I actually liked it better than "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" which says a lot as that was one of my favorite childhood stories.

I thought I did a bit better on protein today than yesterday.  Yesterday, I estimated myself at about 50 grams but in just figuring it out, I think I sucked worse than yesterday or maybe came out about the same.
Today, I had:

Half a slice of whole grain bread with light butter and cheddar cheese
Tuna salad, made with light mayo and a piece of reduced fat velveeta melted on top
A Special K protein bar with 10 grams of protein
A sugar free, banana protein smoothie
A small handful of reduced fat triscuits with a little bit of crab dip...maybe 7 crackers.

Actually I'm thinking about 57 grams of protein so it is better than yesterday!  I had forgotten about the protein bar when I originally figured it up.

Robyn bought The Brit this book for his birthday and I've been perusing it and some of the recipes look yummy.  Of course, I have to wait until The Brit is on more solid foods before branching out but I think the book is really going to help.

The inlaws head home tomorrow and though I will miss them, I'm also anxious to get back on a schedule.  I have a list of things I want to get done and dinner is going to be so much easier for awhile until The Brit is on solids again.  The kids just aren't that fussy, especially in the summertime and I eat so little.  In my opinion, the most important thing is that we all sit down at the table together and eat something, even if everyone is eating something different!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Working things out

I have come to the conclusion at this stage of the journey, that I could easily become a vegetarian.  Meat is just not getting it for me these days, though I continue to try, it just doesn't go down well for the most part, especially if I cook it.  Don't ask me why that is, it just is.  We ate at Ruby Tuesdays tonight because it is very hot and humid and my kitchen is small and holds heat when we're cooking, so we decided to go eat in some AC.  Anyway, I had the half portion of their chicken pot pie (did not eat the breaded part) and managed to get in most of the chicken and the broccoli.  The sauce it was in made it bearable as it went down easily.

But give me fruit, cheese, a protein bar, some veggies (not all at once, of course!) and I'm pleased as punch.  Unfortunately, I have to do better than that.  So, I'm web surfing for non-meat alternatives to protein, at least for me.  I'm hoping that eventually, meat will be a bit easier on my system. 

I'm going to start park walking in the evenings next week with my friend, Tod, who lives behind the park, so that is a step in the right direction (pun intended).  It's been hard to exercise with my inlaws here because I constantly feel I need to entertain or at least be present.  I've been busy and moving around of course, but not deliberate exercise and I need to get on that wagon to make the most out of the honeymoon period of my surgery.  I plan to join the YMCA in the fall once the kids go back to school, but until then, I need to find other alternatives. 

Oh and all four of my guest spots on the blog have been filled!  Kim, Laura, Kelly and The Brit will be covering for me, so make sure you give them all some love when they post!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

TGIF Almost

Hooray for bloggy friends!  So far, I have three of the four days I'll be away covered.  Kim, Laura and The Brit have all stepped forward to cover a day!  You all will have to let me know if there is a day that works better for you.  I need blogging to happen Monday through Thursday that week and Kim, let me know if you want to send me your entry early and I'll set it up to post on your day, or if you want me to send instructions on how to post on Godaddy.  

So, I need one more person!  C'mon, Kelly, Robyn, Meg, someone!  You know you want to!

The Brit finally got his drain out today and guess what??  He is down 23 pounds!  That's awesome for just over a week out of surgery and pretty soon, he is going to bypass me!  I haven't weighed in the last few days as I've been insane but as soon as life gets back to normal next week, things will be more on schedule (exercise, blogging, weighing, etc).  With company, it is just hard to not get sidetracked!  

Shell, I finished your CDs tonight!  Now I just have to get them to you! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Help Wanted

I have recently come to the realization that when I go on the mission trip, I could stand to be in a bit of blogging trouble.  There is no internet access, not to mention no time to blog, on a YouthWorks mission trip.  I, of course, am signed up for Blog365 and we are nearly halfway through the year and I have not missed a day.

So, I have two possibilities or a combination of two possibilities.  Would I would really like would be for four folks to agree to be guest bloggers between the 30th of June and July 3rd.  Just one person for each of the four days to talk about whatever they would like to talk about; whatever their area of expertise is.  It can be WLS, it can be animals, it can be relationships, photography or just shooting the breeze.  All that really matters is that you write something on your given day to keep me in Blog365.  So, any takers?  You can even give it to me ahead of time and I'll set up the date thingy to post it on your day.  I just hate the thought of having to think up four things to write about in advance on my blog.  It seems difficult to me, so help me out, k?

Heading to Hopkins early in the morning for The Brit to get his drain out, so I'm heading to bed now.  Think about guest blogging, okay?  And don't everyone jump at once  

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Today I got nuthin'.

It was an insanely busy day with work, a nail appointment, an eye appointment for Aaron, then home briefly before running around shopping.  My FIL went out for ice cream tonight and bought me back a small cup of sugar free ice cream, which was really good, but I think I just had a minor dumping experience from it.  Did not throw up, but was sure I was going to for awhile there.  Now, I just feel dragged out tired and ready for bed.

The Brit is doing well, though I'm not sure if he is getting in his protein drinks.  They suck, but this early in the game especially, they are so important as he is eating so little.  His drain comes out day after tomorrow and he'll be very happy!

I've been on a small plateau for the past three days, holding steady at a 33 pound loss.  I suppose the scale will move when it is ready.

So for tonight, I'm going to check in on my bloggerbuds and then go to bed! 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Photo Monday

Let me start out with this from Post Secret:

If you don't read the Sunday Secrets every Sunday, you should.  Some are funny, some are heartbreaking, all are anonymous.

I did take a walk today over at the park and on the way back, instead of going around the park, I went through it with my camera.  The best shots are posted on Flickr (see link in my sidebar if you want to see them all, but here are a few for your viewing pleasure.

Usually I can mind many goslings and ducklings this time of year, but I suppose many of them have not yet hatched.  One mama goose though had three little cuties.

Our park is huge and has a huge lake filled with carp and goldfish.  The buiding on the other side is our art museum.

Just one of my attempts at being artsy.

I love this photograph; no idea of why; I just do.

 I also have a thing about wooden benches overlooking water.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Emotional Ups and Downs

I have to tell you that at 33 pounds down, I am already beginning to notice some things; some good and some unsettling.

I did lots of work today; gardening stuff, painting my porch furniture, scrubbing down my porch, all sorts of things.  And I got up at 6:30 for church.  Now, as a pre-op, Sundays often warrented a nap in the middle of the afternoon, but today, I was a woman on a mission!  I am tired now that I have sat down to blog, but I was on a roll until I stopped!

I used to do much of the same kinds of things as a pre-op, but I would have to take many breaks just to breath or rest my back because it would be aching.  Now, with as little as 33 pounds gone, I took one break and that was when my heel spur really started aching (I keep hoping with a little more weight loss, that pain will go away as well).  And to think this is only going to get better.

The downside I am already seeing is actually surprising me to see at this stage of the game.  It's happened twice but the latest was last week when I was at a stop light and someone else was turning to drive beside me going the opposite way.  Now, I have lost a lot of weight in my face thus far; enough so that even critical me can see it and as I told my mother, I'm actually starting to like my face.  So when this guy turned the corner, he kind of gave me that look; a look that said he might be interested or at least found my face attractive.  I'm not bragging; I hate this kind of attention and it is one of the things that got me fat in the first place.

I have been sexually assaulted twice in my life.  The first time. I was quite young and not long after that, I started putting on weight.  The second time was right out of high school. after I had lost a good bit of weight.  Needless to say I started packing on pounds again after the incident.

Attention from strange men has never been anything I have wanted, and though the man in the car probably meant me no harm, he was a reminder that I need to get over this fear I have.  A year or so after I moved back from NY (the scene of my second assault) I went to a country bar with a girl I worked with.  I was overweight at the time but not obese, maybe 170 pounds, so I felt relatively safe inside myself.  My friend was asked to dance and I was quite content to just sit there and listen to the music, but much to my surprise and my chagrin, a cowboy-type person asked me to dance.  I think fear kept me from saying no, but the whole time we were slow dancing, the tears were running down my face; I was that terrified.  Needless to say, he didn't ask me to dance again.

One of my goals once I lose enough weight is to take a course in self-defense.  Believe me, I certainly don't think I am going to be fighting off men.  It has nothing to do with that.  It has to do with having the confidence to know I can protect myself if the need ever arises.  I think that is what will help me maintain my loss at the end of this immediate journey (my goal weight) as well as help me build some body strength.  I'm actually looking forward to it and I wish I'd had this kind of insight a long time ago.