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Things I have learned over the years after three pregnancies

My daughter is seven years old. Just started second grade and these past seven years have changed me so much.

I never thought I’d be associated with stuff like Pinterest nor Starbucks lol

I never thought I’d be like my mom. She was an absolutely great mom and I’m so glad she adopted me (My biological is also great) but I never could see myself being the “uptight” type- now I am seen as uptight and Matt and I are treated like the parents around people our own age.

I’ve learned about kids, life, marriage and everything else and also have promised myself I’ll not talk about my pregnancy experience with newly expectant first time moms. I am the worst case scenario in 2 of three pregnancies.

Sitting down, I came up with a list of some of the things I have learned over the past (technically 8) years and three pregnancies-

1. Never use a book like “what to expect” as your pregnancy or baby-rearing bible. Not every baby will hit all the same milestones at the same time and nowhere near all babies are by the book.

2. If people are telling you to go to labor and delivery because your body swelling up is not normal, listen. Feet and legs swell, put your feet up and consult your doctor if the swelling gets too bad, however always to straight to the doctor or ER if your hands and face puff out- seriously, it’s a sign of pre-eclampsia and should not be ignored.

3. “It happens to other people, it doesn’t happen to me” is not a good way to look at things. It can push you into denial and lead to symptoms being ignored, that’s how I felt when it came to both pregnancy complications and special needs kids and it didn’t help either situation.

4. Always make time for yourself. Daily. Having just a few minutes to relax daily helps you find your center and ground yourself. I always use the time after the kids go to bed to fully relax.

5. You don’t have to listen to all the advice random people (strangers or friends or blogs) give you but do listen to your doctor. Just because someone did something while pregnant, doesn’t mean it will help or will be safe so it’s always best to go by your doctor’s guidance.

6. Always make time for yourself- you will need it and your kids will need you to have it

7. Your spouse needs to be 100% with you- equal partners. It doesn’t matter if one or both of y’all are employed. They need you on their team and vice versa.

8. Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first once in a while- you need to come first at some time.

9. It’s ok to allow the kids to play alone. You don’t have to be up in their face 24/7.

10. Making them get themselves to sleep helps them learn to self soothe- otherwise you may end up with a 7 year old who clings to you in your sleep.

11. There is no such thing as toddler proof- you may think it’s secure, but it’s not. It may be adult proof, but if it exists, a toddler can easily open it.

12. You are NOT raising kids- you’re raising future adults

13. I should not be trying to come up with lists when I’m tired and just worked a long day.

 

There’s so much more, but that will be in a later post.

 

 

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One of these days i would love to add woodworking to my skills.

I would love to live on a few acres, have a full size vegetable and fruit garden, my own wood shop with a full tool kit as well as professional grade tools and spend my days woodworking, gardening, drying herbs and creating. That seems like it would be a dream life. I haven’t learned much with woodwork outside of basic burning and the basics of sawing and nailing but I also don’t have room in my small apartment to learn something that messy.

I am working on learning how to quilt. My first was successful but I have too many pieces cut that don’t match and no one off the top of my head to give a baby quilt to.

I’ve been watching embroidery videos and practicing the stitches they are teaching. I just dyed my first piece of fabric and already have plans for what I’m going to do with that.

Sewing is fun, it’s a creative outlet but there is something about the smell of wood- after you finish wood burning or when you’re cutting into it- it smells amazing and the results are beautiful.

One of these days i would love making tables, chairs and even beds.

I am planning on starting an herb garden this year and dry them out.

I also have plans to plant one or two small vegetable plants.

I’d love to get my 6 year old interested in doing arts and crafts with me, but I did get my 2 year old to paint her first birdhouse a few days ago and she loves coloring, painting and everything else.

I have been practicing Wood burning- letters and numbers. I know it’s not a hard craft to do, but I’m still learning. That was my first attempt- it was messy and sloppy so we turned the piece I was working on into a shelf so you can’t see what I was doodling.

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I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of severe trauma for almost 10 years now.

Now, I don’t panic when I hear a man screaming at someone but I do cower when someone is screaming at me.

Now, I don’t have the flashbacks when something reminds me of the abuse, but I do still have vivid memories that hit at random times.

Now, I don’t automatically believe everyone hates me but I do have periods, however brief, where I do feel like everyone puts up with me and doesn’t actually like me.

Now, I am not always watching my back but I still panic if I think I see him.

I no longer believe I have damned near every mental illness in the book, but I still question myself at times- despite those who know me best saying I’m fine.

I no longer panic and lash out when something triggers a memory, but I will freeze and still can’t defend myself physically.

Every day is getting a little better. I’m slowly reverting to who I was before we met. I have almost completely gotten myself back but I know I’ll never be the same as I was. I could never be that young, naive, outgoing girl I used to be. The one who would sit down with strangers at school and make friends like I did in college. The one who would talk to everyone. The one who was told she made people feel comfortable in new situations.

I am getting better at talking to people, but my brain freezes and I either talk too much or clam up.

10 years ago, a decade, I was 20. I had just left college and got in my first adult relationship. It lasted almost 2 years. I started healing almost as soon as the final break up. Almost one year to the date of our break up, I met the man I ended up marrying. We have been together almost 8 years now with two beautiful kids. I look back and not only do I hate who I was, I hate who I became right after. I have slowly been changing myself and like I said, every day gets a little better. When we broke up, I lost a lot of my stuff. I was homeless and didn’t have a car. I pretty much lost all my friends with a very few exceptions and very few people even believed me when I did try to say something.

I started down a bad road- with drugs, alcohol and jumping in and out of living situations. That only lasted a few months until I woke up one day and realized I was wasting my time, life, and money so I moved back in with my parents to detox. I still had a drinking problem but I got and held a job, got a gym membership and got into boxing then ran into an old friend. I was with her when I met my husband. We hit it off fast and within a few months we were married. He has never been into drugs nor alcohol so he has helped me get and stay sober. Now, I may drink one glass of something one or two times a year but outside of that, I don’t drink. There was one time I said that I would smoke til the day I die- now it’s been 8 years since my last hit.

If anyone reading this has just gotten out of an abusive relationship, just keep in mind. It’s hard, yes but it does get better. Every day you’ll be a little stronger and every year will get better. You have to take it day by day, month by month and year by year but at some point, you will be healed enough to move on with your life and you will be stronger than you thought you could be.

 

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How do you find your true passion?

From the time I was 7 until I was 18, I wanted to be a professional vocalist. I didn’t even care about the genre- I wanted to sing. I have been classicly trained. I have also taken dance and I’m trained in acting. After I hit 18 (and started smoking), I realized I just wasn’t being realistic. I knew back then I needed to get an education in something practical, but what seems practical also seems like something that would burn me out quickly.

When I was a young child I was told I started singing before I even spoke. My whole world revolved around music and basketball. I always had my Walkman in, was in chorus in elementary school and even took vocal classes. I also tried “strings” (violin) but was told I had musical dyslexia (I read the music backwards). I also didn’t get along with my instructor very well. I tried out for all school plays and won one of the lead roles in fourth grade. Unfortunately, I had to share the role with another student and she got the solo I wanted, but I got a duet so I did get to sing. I did all talent shows I had a chance to do and was always singing for family and classmates. I also played the drums in the school band in sixth grade but gave that up as well. I still loved doing it, just wasn’t a fan of the other people in the group. My senior year of high school, I went on stage at the talent show and forgot the words. I literally walked off stage (they thought I was doing a comedy thing and had no idea it was actually the most humiliating moment of my life). After that, I started having problems performing. I would blank when I saw the crowd and quit even singing around other people. At the end of my senior year, my classmates voted me “best entertainer” and “most likely to be a teen idol.” I was also pretty well known, even though I didn’t have many friends.

For a good part of my life, I also wanted to work in the fashion industry. I wanted to model but stopped growing and was only 5’5” but was also too fat to be able to get into it. I read a lot of fashion magazines and dreamt about writing for them- I thought being a writer for Vogue would be a dream. I was interested in design but my cousin went into interior design and couldn’t find a job. I thought fashion design seemed like fun as well but can’t draw. I always had in the back of my mind how much I love writing and was constantly praised on it. In high school, I wrote for the paper and everyone who knew me would search out my articles. More than a few said they expected to see my name as one of the writers in the paper. I also wrote for the literary magazine in high school and the newspaper in college. I loved being involved in those publications but I knew, realistically, someone like me would be a longshot and likely fail so I gave those dreams up before I let them play out in my head. One of my favorite pass times as a child (and teen/adult) was walking around on Sundays and walking in open houses. I collected house papers and wanted to work as a real estate agent.

I was given a Little Tykes basketball hoop when I was three years old. It moved up to a normal hoop in our driveway as I got older. I played daily at home and would play at church with the middle, high school and college age guys. I hated if they gave me an easy time because I was a younger female. Luckily for me, most didn’t. I got to the point I would shoot one hundred shots a day- and I’d count the number I made so I could figure my accuracy (I got up to a 95-99% accuracy by high school) but I never played at school. I did play for the YMCA for several seasons, I also played soccer, baseball, tee-ball and I dd try out for the tennis team in middle school. I had exercise induced asthma that wasn’t caught, so my teachers always thought I was lazy when I’d quit running laps. For years, I wanted to be the “first woman in the NBA.” When I learned about the WNBA, I watched a bit but slowly lost interest. I never liked playing with other women, it didn’t challenge me as well as I wanted it to and I was afraid of hurting someone. By middle school, when I started meeting women I wasn’t afraid of hurting, I had lost interest in playing on a school team even though a lot of the other parents at my mom and dad’s church thought I’d be capable of getting a scholarship to college.

In high school, I took theater and was in the theater program the whole time they had it (unfortunately, it was during my senior year when they started). Once again, I absolutely loved going to the rehearsals, practicing and then performing. I didn’t have a lead role but I really acted out the scenes I did have. Back in high school, I did everything I could to make people laugh- even if it was at me and not with me.

When I was in high school, we had to choose majors. I chose business, although I wanted to choose writing. While I was studying the business classes, I loved the idea of working for yourself. I even enjoyed my accounting courses. I got the chance to go to a free enterprise camp where they chose the “most promising” male and female business students. I got a full scholarship to the camp and the teachers pooled together and gave me spending money for the canteen. I fell in love with the camp. At the camp, we were put in small groups and ran through the stages of starting up businesses. I always chose to create the advertisements since at the time I was interested in the marketing aspect of business. I went to college the year I graduated and started my major in communications with an interest in broadcast journalism. The main communications 101 class I took was deliberately held at 8am. It was the only option and we had to have the class to progress in the major. I ended up kicked out for literally leaning my head against the wall (I didn’t fall asleep but was accused of sleeping) so I had to choose a different major. I chose marketing. I ended up dropping after the second semester. I was able to get back in (was booted for a year on academic suspension) and they lifted financial aid suspension. I had everything set up two times to go back. One year I even had my schedule selected but both times financial aid fell through. Both times, I was torn between what I wanted to major in (writing) and what was realistic (something that would guarantee me a job at a hopefully livable income). I was constantly torn. I would decide to go back, then the next week I would already have a different major in my mind. Needless to say, it’s been ten years and I still haven’t gone back. I’m actually no closer to making my mind up since.

As a way to gain access to the fashion industry, I did go back to school (beauty school) and studied skin care/cosmetics. I wanted to vecome a make up artist and hopefully get a job behind the scenes one day (in the distant future) during one of the shows during fashion week. Fashion week is a dream for me. Either LA or NYC, I would love to get the opportunity to attend. My dream of being a model ended over a decade ago, close to two, but the dreams I had of either writing for a fashion magazine or working as a designer or artist never fully burned out. I know I’d be miserable as a model, but behind the scenes is a different story. The Devil Wears Prada is still one of my favorite movies and I would love to get my hands on a copy of the season of Running in Heels that made me a huge Marie Claire Magazine fan. Now, I’ve moved on to reading HGTV, parenting and BHG magazine (and similar). I’m more interested in reading lifestyle parenting blogs than I am fashion blogs and I still have several magazine subscriptions.

I’m hoping in the near future, I’ll be able to see one of my long time dreams come true. I have a finished rough draft of a fantasy novel. It’s 100 pages and I call it my baby. Thanks to procrastination, I have 3 or 4 short story drafts I’m currently working on. One is 11 pages, will be part of a seven part short story fantasy series, I have 2 rough drafts started for 2 other fantasy novels, 1 sci-fi graphic novel started (but I have no artistic abilities so I’m stuck) and there is a card game I designed to go with that. Confidence is a big issue for me. I am so close to finishing several works, but I’m terrified of failing. I have been doing things I know I’ll be rejected from as a way to get used to rejection (I submitted a tossed together article to a website.

I’ve had too many interests. I consider myself a jack of all trades (master of none). I will go through phases where I’m seriously interested in doing things, then I’d lose interest. Then, I would gain the interest again. I call myself a burn out since I’m always burning out. I’ve been working in retail for years, my current job, about 2. It’s my longest job by over a year now. I love my coworkers and I don’t mind what I do, the benefits are pretty good and it’s a reliable pay check but I always wanted to do something both professional and creative. I’m currently selling decorative pillows and I do online tarot reading and dream interpretation on the side.

My husband just graduated Friday. He started with an interest in computer repair, started a course then burned out. He later returned to a different school and just graduated the auto tech course. I envy him. He always had those two interests- cars and computers. He didn’t have a long list of things he loved then ruled out although he did start a four year, like I did, but he was studying radio broadcasting then lost interest.

I read a lot of blogs, articles and I keep reading to go into something you’re passionate about. How do you find something you’re truly passionate about? Something that won’t fade? I am 30 years old now and no closer to knowing what professional career I want than I was at 18. I have a bunch of things ruled out- but nothing to go on. I have to ask, how do you find that one thing you’re passionate about?

 

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EDS, post 30 can your body bounce back?

I know your metabolism takes a slight hit at 30, larger hit at 35 and every 5 years or so keeps shrinking. I’m still heavier than I was pre-kids and reality is hitting me. I knew I no longer had my pre-baby body, but will I be able to go back?

I accepted the fact that pregnancy made my hips more of a problem area than they already were. I only wore a larger size (11-13 in high school) for that reason, but had an hourglass figure. When I dropped to a 14, I tried on some 17s and couldn’t get them past my hips. That was when I read that juniors and adult sizes are made different (1,3,5, etc are juniors. 2,4,6, etc are adult). Juniors are made narrow in the hips where adult jeans are made wider in the hips.

I do know that with Ehlers Danlos, collagen is affected and where it makes your skin stretchy, it seems it may be harder to just bounce back. My scars fade but they still look strange when they heal. I don’t know much else about EDS but I do have an appointment, not only with a genetic specialist, but a specialist who lives with EDS herself. But that’s in a little bit. Right now, I’ve been researching trying to find foods that can help, workouts good enough to help lose weight and tone up but also safe for Osteo and loose joints and anything else that could help me with shrinking back down.

In the past 2 years, I’m down from 220 to about 170. I’m down from a size 20 to a size 14-16. I still have 40lbs left and hoping to get down to a 6ish or 8, maybe and I have 5 years in my mind to do it. If I can get down to my goal, fix what I need to fix diet wise and perfect my ingredient reading I should be able to maintain despite my Hashimotos. I’m seeing that even thyroid isn’t as much of an excuse as people use it. I dropped 20lbs in 4 months on a good dose of thyroid medication and cutting 1 ingredient out. I’m almost 1 month back to the normal (gluten free) lifestyle and finally feeling back to how I was feeling. I just had my thyroid levels tested again and they were perfect.

Right now, I’m trying to buy less processed foods. I have quit drinking Mello Yello (but I did switch to Diet coke for the time being), I’m eating 1 grain meal a day (if that) and the rest are cooked or salad. I do need to cut condiments and I still am drinking my Starbucks double shots (1 a day), I also started to notice my sugar drops when I eat potatoes so I’m switching to sweet potatoes.

The problem is when you have multiple diagnosis’s with several recomendations for diets. Where I have obvious issues with gluten, gluten free is needed (unless I want to spend all day cramping and in the bathroom), I had the diabetic low glycemic diet recommended to me for the reactive hypoglycemia. Cutting everything that was recommended to me feels restrictive. It also makes my OCD mind feel like I’ll be depriving myself and feels like it’s a black/white situation instead of- eat this way and you’ll feel great, eat that way and feel like crap.

I’m working on disassociating food with pleasure or anything related to emotions and trying to associate it with fueling my body and nothing more. Mindfulness helps that. Taking time to savor what I eat and pay attention to it is what I’m working on. Salad tastes great, so does fruit. Sugar and snacks that are heavily processed taste like chemicals but are an addiction- I’ve read all about sugar addiction and cold turkey is the way to go with kicking it. I’ve been thinking about trying a 1 month sugar free diet to try to break it. Just not sure if I have the will power currently. I will start it at the beginning of a month this year, though. Just have to build up and do further research into it to go in armed instead of half assing it.

In my picture, I was 18. I was constantly working out but didn’t know half of what I know now. I was also healthy.

I wasn’t skinny, but I was a good 30lbs smaller than I am now.

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Well, we have the diagnosis for our 2 year old- lactose intolerant

She said we are doing all the right things and told us about the lactose chart and that lactaid milk does still have a lactose content.

I just wish she reacted like I do so we wouldn’t have to worry so much but she also told us the hard part was already done. Now, we just have to get past this picky eating phase and get her to do more than pick at her food then start playing.

I love the toddler phase… so much fun but so annoying as well. Why can’t we have one child who loves all food? On the bright side, we have 2 who love chicken and fish and they both eat salad, love fruit and moderate themselves with sweets. On the bad side- they both pick at their food more than eat and leave more unate food most of the time.

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March for Babies – Support and Join a team for Anencephaly Awareness WV

This is my team for the March of Dimes March for Babies. If anyone wants to join or donate, please feel free to contact me.

https://www.marchforbabies.org/Fundraising/Team?teamId=873029&teamEventId=2831684&si=82f9beeb-ff29-466a-88d8-15ceac1ab8ef&PersonId=5492115

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Dairy free, gluten free, lactose free… oh my

So, my 2 year old daughter and I ate out for my birthday with the rest of the family (My parents, husband and 6 year old). We had one of the best waitresses I’ve had- to the point I thanked her.

She made sure the croutons were on the side so I could eat salad, didn’t include cheese and added the dressing on the side so she could eat. She walked us through the allergy menu and made sure the items for me were totally gluten free and the items for her were fully milk/dairy free. Neither of us had reactions after eating there (I made the mistake of trying to eat around croutons last time and spent the whole next morning hurting and in the bathroom)

I swear, though, trying to get the hang of reading labels to make sure something is truly dairy free (not just lactose free) is really adding extra time to grocery shopping and the number of times we slip and give her something we don’t realize has it is too much.

I know, just like I have learned most of the red flags for gluten, it will take time but right now, dairy and cows milk free is overwhelming.

We have her next appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we will have an answer- cows milk, casein, allergy, intolorance or virus (unlikely since its lasted since last month). I hate playing the waiting game.

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Day 2 of the Pop Fast

Day 2 on the pop/energy drink fast was even easier than I thought it would be.

Now, on day 3, I’m adding in junk food. I went grocery shopping today and conveniently left out buying any junk food I can eat. (no gluten free cookies, cakes or anything)

I did load up on fruit- that way I can get my sugar fix on either lightly sweetened tea (I bought iced tea bags) or fruit. I’m hoping doing this will help me both feel better and drop another size (at least)
When I was in high school, I cut pop and within a very short time, lost about 20lbs from that alone. Another time I dropped 15lbs.

Yes, I am doing this solely to try to lose weight (ok, and help my blood sugar a bit- but I believe losing weight can help with blood sugar regulation)