I'm running. I just "raced" my first 5K on Oct 29. By raced, I mean finished.
I'm also fat. Over weight, obese, fluffy...whatever one chooses to call it. I've pretty much always tended towards the fluffy side. A by-product of severe asthma.
That picture up there? In it, I'm 2 mo post-partum from baby number 6. And I weigh 250 lbs. Yeah. I just put that out there. Know why? Because I may be fat, but I CAN FREAKING RUN!
My longest distance to date is 4.4 miles. Best mile is 12:08. Sure, it's not the Olympics, but who cares? I'm wicked proud of myself.
The whole point of this post is to make it clear that health can come in any size. Of course, being overweight does carry health risks. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems. I realize that. I also realize that I'm 30 years old, 100 lbs overweight and healthier then I was at 16. At 16, I was skinny, but I also lived on Coke and Skittles and couldn't run a mile to save my life.
Now, not only can I run, but I'm training for a half marathon. I feel amazing. I eat clean, drink water like it's going out of style, and run at least 3 days a week. My kids will hopefully see my example and start adulthood healthier than I did.
More than that, I LOVE myself. I love me, just the way I am. I feel sexy again, worthwhile, PRETTY. It's been a lot of years..if ever that I've felt that way. And it has nothing to do with weight loss, though I am losing weight. It's the confidence that comes from getting off my butt and getting moving.
Health comes in all sizes. I'm proud of myself and what I'm accomplishing, my size doesn't hold me back!
This song came on the radio the other day. It always reminds me of my friend Bonnie.
We met when we were 12. Ahh...the good old days of budding puberty and incredible awkwardness. Since we were both extra awkward, even by 12yo standards...we became fast friends.
Bonnie was a christian. I was not. That was ok tho. She was still whole-heartedly my friend, and I didn't make fun of that weird churchy stuff. It was a very good match. Our awkwardness paired well and put us at ease with each other.
Bonnie witnessed to me in the best possible way she could. Like most 12 year olds, I wouldn't have responded to anything telling me anything. Because at 12, I already knew everything, so what could she tell me that I didn't already know? So she witnessed quietly. Gently. With actions instead of words. Loving me beyond my 12yo confusion and general angst at the world.
By high school, I'd decided that if there even was a God, He was a big, fat smelly jerk. Since my home life sucked more than usual and generally went straight to crap, He must not care much.
Our senior year was hard for both of us. We both had troubled home lives, and her parents divorced our senior year. Mine had divorced the summer before. While the divorce was welcome to me, because it meant an end to many years of tension, home life in general still sucked. I solved that by spending at little time at home as I could possibly get away with. I came home to sleep. Sometimes eat. Escape worked at the time. Of course, that meant I didn't deal with anything on an emotional level, but eh, whatever works when your 17 and in denial right?
Anyhoo. While I was filled with confusion and anger and general denial...Bonnie was filled with quiet, calm faith. That's not to say it wasn't hard on her. Of course it was. And she had real, big feelings. But under all of that was a calm I'd never seen in anyone before.
That was when I felt the first twinge of something besides apathy or anger towards Christianity.
I felt jealousy.
I was jealous of her faith. Her assurance that her life wouldn't be a trainwreck forever. Her total trust that her pain had a purpose.
Life moved on tho, I got married and moved away, but we still always kept in touch, visiting when we could.
11 years from when we became friends to when Justin and I came to Christ. 11.years. That's a long time to wait on something you want so badly.
It took a long time, but God is faithful. He had His way in His time.
I reflect on what might have been of my life...and it wouldn't be pretty.
Bonnie and I have been friends for 18 years. Over half our lives! As much as I love her nerdiness, her fun quirks and excellently gross sense of humor, the dearest place she holds in my heart is as the first person who showed me the love of Christ.
It was an awesome, unassisted homebirth. Yes. We did that on purpose.
Why? Well...it started in NY. There are only two midwives that I found in upstate NY. Neither of which were willing to travel to me. Well crap. That left us with traveling to one of them (not an option) or another hospital birth. I didn't want to do that. While the hospital was perfectly fine, I found that I absolutely disliked the OB's there. That makes things stinky. It's also getting more and more difficult to be able to leave Steph. Her needs are increasing. And her ability to cope is decreasing. There are very few people who are able to care for her.
So. A desire to avoid the Ob's, no desire to deal with the crap surrounding hospital birth and a desire to not have to leave my kids prompted me to research unassisted birth.
I met other women who'd done this, found websites and forums. I discussed it with Justin..since he'd obviously have to be on board. He surprised me by really being game for it. Nervous, yes...but willing...
My history of easy pregnancies, uncomplicated births made the decision easier. We decided to do it. We got a birth kit.
The last minute move to Idaho actually made it even more appealing. While I'd had prenatal care throughout my pregnancy, when we moved, I didn't have my records with me. I also had no insurance. So..the idea of walking into an unknown hospital with no insurance and no medical records of care, with an unknown doctor...less than appealing. Very much so.
I'd been laboring on and off for a couple of days. Normal for me. On the 12th (two days past due! The first time I'd gone ''overdue''), I knew it was birth day. I could feel it. We spent the whole day out, keeping me active, while I labored off and on. We went to walmart and got the girls haircuts. Went to McD's for lunch and playing. Headed home to nap and in the evening, things really picked up. Again, typical for me. I labor stronger at night.
Around 930pm, my water broke during a contraction. I had Justin put the waterproof mattress cover on our bed, and got in the bathtub. I had laid out all the birth equipment (which really isn't that much) earlier in the evening.
The tub was nice, but I got cold quickly, as it's a normal tub and I couldn't get all the way in with my big tummy.
So I got out, and wandered aimlessly between the bed, and the toilet. Nothing really felt comfortable tho, so I just tried to keep moving and resting between contractions.
Things really picked up in intensity rather quickly! Fastest labor to date.
After one particular whopper of a contraction, I sat down on the toilet and the baby descended. I had heard of Fetal Ejection Reflex before..but never experienced it. WOW. Holy.Crap. In previous births, I had always had to make the conscious choice to push along with the urge...but not this time. This time, my body took control and I was just along for the ride! I called Justin, who tried desperately to coax me off the toilet. LOL. I stood up just in time and roared that baby out!
Her daddy cradled her head and she was born! 1235am on the 13th. She was slightly wrapped up in her cord, so I whisked her around and sat back down. After a brief moment, she cried and turned a lovely shade of pink!
After another 15 minutes or so, the placenta came and we cut/clamped the cord.
It was a wonderful gentle birth (except that whole ejection reflex. There is NOTHING gentle about that. WOW).
I showered and dressed, we wrapped Maddie up and went to bed. Heavenly. 6.2 lbs, 19 1/4 inches long.
In the morning, the kids wandered in like usual and got to immediately meet their sister! They are all in love and think she hangs the moon. :D
I took Maddie in for a check up that monday. She is perfect.
Yes. We would do it again. At the very least, midwives are plentiful here so we will always homebirth from now on. It was amazing.
We've made the move. And was it ever a trainwreck...like everything this year it seems...
First was packing up and loading. Penske is apparently run by monkeys. Incompetent monkeys. We wanted a 22ft truck with a trailer to tow Justin's truck. What we got was a 16ft. They refused to rent us a 22ft with a trailer, saying it was against their rules or some load of crap. (never mind that we saw numerous 22ft trucks towing trailers...) We thought we got rid of enough crap to be able to fit in the 16ft.
We were wrong. We lost a lot. Kitchen table and chairs. Furniture. Things that belong to my mom. The kids' bikes and yard toys. The rockers my mom made for them. It was infuriating, heartbreaking and caused heartache to all of us. Justin's hunting equipment. The list goes on and on..
It wasn't about the stuff. It was the sense of loss that went with.
The trip itself was a long 4 days confined in a rental with 4 small kids. Steph rode in the moving truck with Justin, which helped her cope a lot. By the time we got there, my feet were so swollen...the skin was breaking along the creases in my ankle. :/
Yes. I am complaining.
We also had two tire blowouts on the trailer. 12 hours apart. That was fun! (No. It wasn't.)
We made it though! I'm not gonna lie. I cried when we got here. I miss the green of NY. I miss my friends. I miss the small-ness of our last town. I felt very defeated when we arrived. Lonely and overwhelmed. It was a very hard first week or so.
My dad and mom came up and helped us unload the truck, which was blessedly free of trouble. Aside from Justin's back, which is in pretty much constant pain now. But...the VA hospital here is AWESOME. He's already got an appt.
I'm finding things I like about it here every day. Our house is nice, I love the layout. The neighborhood is quiet. The kids' new school is great. We are on the edge of our city, so we've got the benefits of farm land/country..while a short drive from everything.
Resources for Stephanie here are EXCELLENT.
We found a church we like.
So yeah. While things were overwhelming and hard at first...we are getting settled, the kids are mellowing out, and the silver linings are becoming apparent.
2011 has been an odd, crazy and not so funny year thus far. I have lots to update on, including the house. So let's get to it, shall we?
Isaiah is having a tonsillectomy next week. This is good news, as he's had strep more than he hasn't this year. His tonsils also nearly touch when he's healthy, causing sleep apnea. Time to get those babies OUT!
I started school. Real, grown up college school. It's been...interesting. I like it, but it's taken some adjusting. That has taken up a lot of my time.
I am ginormous. Baby is due in about 4 weeks! It's a girl!
The house. Ah yes, the house.
We applied for Help for Homeowners again early this year. After much jerking around, they finally ''accepted'' us. Which was very exciting for approx 2.5 seconds. Until we read the terms. Our monthly payment would RAISE by nearly $200. Obviously this is not helpful to us.
This left our options as thus:
1. Decline. We would then be unable to reapply, and Chase and 'guilt free' foreclose.
2. Accept. BUAHAHAHAHAHA!! Ahem. Excuse me.
Obviously we declined. Chase is pushing us to short sale, because it means less work and more money for them. Oddly enough, we are disinclined to do anything for them. Go fig. Our credit is no longer an issue, as that's well past crap now. So. Foreclose away Chase! May you enjoy the fruits of your shameless, unethical labor. And may the fleas of 1000 camels nest in your armpits. Amen.
Where does this leave us? Darned if WE know! LOL. Frankly, it's been obvious to us for awhile that moving out of the area was inevitable. Justin is called to ministry. There is no pastoral work here. We love it here, but can't stay if there's no future in what God calls him to.
It wasn't our plan to consider moving so soon though! Justin is starting school next month for his MDiv (that's right! MY MAN! Going for his Masters. He's brilliant). We had planned to stay here, and then pursue pastoral work after that.
But, God's ways are not our own. LOL. Fo' Sho'. We are totally game to stay here and rent, if we can find anything. The rent is insane around here...thank you DoD for making BAH rates public knowledge.... (a rant for another day)
At this time, Justin has applications for various pastoral positions in a few different places. We are hopeful, but cautiously so. Though Justin already has a degree, and some experience via youth group...he doesn't have any independent ministerial experience. But hey, a guy has to start somewhere! All we need is a chance.
That's that. In a nutshell, Chase sucks and hope they enjoy our empty house that will never sell. We don't wanna move per se, but accept that God's will is not ours, and we will submit.
I know A LOT of friends have been praying for us. People I've never met and probably won't, this side of Glory. It means a lot to me, and I thank you! Truly, we aren't disappointed at the turn of events, as we can see God's will in this.
When we first got married...we'd look ahead to 10 years with amazement. It seemed so far away! Now here weare.
10 years married! I can remember the first time I saw Justin. We were 16, an evening band practice. I saw him standing with a group of other sax players and thought to myself, "that boy is CUTE. I want him" :D
It took awhile. But I got him. He's mine people. Poor Justin lol. I got him and he's stuck with me!
I've posted plenty of times 'our story' (you can read bunches from this post). So I won't post all of that again.
Instead I wanted to do something fun! A couple of 'Top Ten' lists for your enjoyment.
Top Ten Random Anniversary Facts:
10. We got married 10 days before Justin left for Air Force basic training.
9. Our wedding was planned in less than 2 weeks. And it showed. Bless my parents, they bent over backwards for us!
8. In 10 years,we've been blessed enough for Justin to only miss 3 of our anniversaries.
7. Our first anniversary consisted of a terrible dinner, Beauty and the Beast on IMAX and a blown compressor in our crappy car. We waited till 3 in the morning for a tow truck.
6. We have never gone away for an anniversary.
5. I have been pregnant and/or nursing for every single anniversary! Pregnant for 6 and nursing for the other4.
4. This is our first anniversary where Justin has had any facial hair. I love that beard.
3. Justin 'bought' us stars for our 9th anniversary. Silly man! I love him!
2. Other than that, we've never really gifted each other with anything. We usually just do dinner. And lovin'.
1. Our marriage on Feb 17th wasn't really legal. Our actual legal marriage was June 9th, 2001. In Louisiana. We don't celebrate that one tho. It's a long story.
Ten Random Pics:
<--our junior prom
<--We were about 18 here I think
<-- about 18 here too.
<--our junior prom group pic. That's us on the far left!
<--high school graduation
<---just a random, fairly recent pic
<-smootches! I was pregnant with Babbie in this one
And the fruit of 10 years:
Sorry that pic is older. LOL.
Top Ten reasons I love Justin:
10. He's hot. Super super hot. A lot.
9. He is smart! As a kid, he hated school, but now he's fixin' to start seminary for his masters!
8. He isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. He'll change a scary poop blowout, clean up vomit, and wipe up dripping green snot. All without complaint.
7. He puts up with me. That takes forbearance, love, and a grace that only comes from God. Seriously.
6. He is NEVER too tired or in too much pain to play with his kids. EVER.
5. He makes me laugh. No one makes me laugh like him. He's silly, fun-loving and plain hilarious.
4. He treats me like a queen. With my unkempt hair, poor housekeeping skills and horrible hormones. He treats me like I'm the best woman on the planet.
3. He isn't ashamed or afraid of his emotions. He's all man. And it takes a real man to cry.
2. He loves the Lord. He loves Christ and it shows. Every day he grows more and more Christ-like.
1. He loves me. He loves ME for ME. What more can a girl dare to hope for?
It's about the house, don't worry, everyone in the house is ok :) We received a foreclosure notice today. This came as a shock, since we had been told we were tentatively accepted to HfH. We were told that 3 months of payments would get us accepted. Well. An hour on the phone and a disconnect...we find out that was a LIE. An outright lie. There was never a 3 month trial period. There was no intention of altering our mortgage. They took our money and intended to foreclose anyways. How stupid we are. No wonder we were still waiting for papers saying we'd been accepted. I'm not going to lie. I'm heartbroken. Angry and confused. We have to face the possibility that will have to leave our beloved home and possibly even our new hometown. Our church. Our friends. I don't understand God. What are we going to do?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone....iPhones RULE!
I got LOTS of questions on my FB page. So, I'm starting with these:
Where did you start in pursuing the diagnosis?
What made you suspect autism? And how did you know where to go from there?
I was going to do each in their own post, but these go rather well together, so here we are.
What made you suspect Autism?
Stephanie has always had a lot of 'quirks'. As an infant, she refused to eat baby food that wasn't from a jar. Seriously. And if the jarred stuff had the barest hint of anything other than smooth puree, it was a no go.
As a toddler, she wouldn't speak. She sucked her thumb incessantly. She screamed at the slightest provocation. She played with her poop. If I didn't change her right away, it was too late. Layers upon layers of clothing didn't help. She even ate it. She became very interested in picking scabs. I can remember one time she had a bug bite on her leg, and she scratched it raw. Once it scabbed over she would pick it over and over...to the point it was unable to heal. I had to put her in pants for two weeks to allow it to heal (this was in summer). Right after we moved back to the states, she started holding the tags in the back of her shirts or pants. But only the silky ones. I thought they bothered her, so I cut one out. Once. You'd think I'd cut her foot off. LOL. She was not only uninterested in potty training, she flat out refused to have anything to do with it. She would pee or poop herself in underwear and it didn't matter to her. She couldn't do things like brush her teeth or use a fork. She still won't use a fork well, her fine motor skills are very lacking. She became more and more sensitive to food. Especially artificial flavors, colors or HFCS. This was more than just a 'sugar high'. This was a complete loss of impulse control and function. Some people didn't believe me at first. Then I enlightened them :D.
I clearly remember what made me think Autism. In fact, I KNEW it. I was VERY pregnant with Isaiah. We were in the middle of moving across country from NV to NY and we stopped in OH to visit family. At a family get together, we were chatting with a cousin of Justin's who said that her son (about 18mo older than Steph) had just been diagnosed with Autism. Stephanie had just turned 3. The two of them screamed at each other and behaved exactly the same. I knew then. That's when ASD first occurred to me. Before that, I had thought she was just a quirky, high needs kid honestly. If it hadn't been for that encounter, it might never have occurred to me.
And how did you know where to go from there?
I didn't. I had no clue. In fact, the first thing I did once we got settled, got furniture and had a baby was google Autism Spectrum Disorder. And thus began a 3 year long headache....
Which leads to the next question:
Where did you start in pursuing the diagnosis?
*I* started with the school district. Stephanie was over the age for EI (early intervention) so after that, you call the school district for help. I also talked to my pediatrician who was a totally piece of crap and blew me off (more on that later).
You have several options with seeking help:
--Under preschool age, call Early Intervention. (You can look em up for your area online) If you're still not sure how to go about that, then...
--Talk to your Pedi. Address your concerns and get the number to call EI. Demand it if you have to (but...a good pedi shouldn't make you demand anything. They should listen to YOU!)
--Over preschool age (3+) you call the school district (even if you homeschool). They will put you in touch with the right area of the school district and will send you paperwork to get started. Call over and over for anything you don't understand. The school district is required to help you, even if you homeschool.
I'll share more specifics about the actual process in another post. 'Cause it'll be LONG.
That's part one for now. I'll address more questions in my next post. And then begin a 'beginning to now' series.