Wednesday, January 21, 2015


"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

So, it has been just over three weeks since I started this change in my lifestyle.  We can call it a diet, but it is so much more than that to me.  I have been struggling my whole life with my weight.  From growing up bigger than most kids and having self-esteem issues in high school.  To losing 80 pounds when I went to college but still seeing myself and treating myself as “the fat girl”.  To over the last 10 years slowly gaining all the weight and then some back.  To now having a three year old and trying to find a balance between him, work, family, home, and myself and never putting myself first.

I have tried my fair share of fad diets and they never work for me.  Some I just can’t stay on for more than a few weeks.  Others I lose weight, but then when I start incorporating the foods I once loved I fall back into my old habits and the weight comes back.  And with each fad diet failure comes more frustration and disappointment and I slip back into my old habits to cope. 

The last few years have been a blessing but also extremely rough.   The stress has worn on me and been nothing but one excuse after another why I am not losing weight and putting myself as a priority.

But when I thought back on 2014 at the end of the year and how many missed opportunities to be in a picture or do something fun I had because of my self-esteem and weight, I cried.  I thought of one time when my husband said “Hey, lets just go to the lake for the day to let Henry play on the beach for the first time” and I said NO....I knew something had to change.  Why did I say NO…because like hell I wanted to be somewhere that people will see my body!! And this isn’t the first time I haven’t done stuff because I am too self-conscious about the way I look to go.  I have never taken Henry swimming, or when we go to the park it is not when it is hot because I wear jeans and cover up.  I pretty much hate going anywhere public, though I do move past that at times for Henry.  I avoid pictures from the head down as much as possible.  I hate sitting in chairs in public because they are uncomfortable.  I am just always thinking about the way I look instead of just enjoying the moment.  And perhaps some may think "you are just vain" but, when you are very overweight and go to the grocery store and hear a comment about your butt, you start to think everyone is thinking the same thing.

But Henry is older now.  He is going to want to do more things.  I am going to want to take him to do more things.  Like go to the beach.  Take him to swim class.  Go on bike rides.  Run outside.  Go to amusement parks.

And it isn’t just because of him, it is because of me.  I want to do all those things for ME.  I want to look in the mirror and not focus on everything I think I need to cover up but look in the mirror and be happy.  I want to wear skinny jeans and boots.  I want to up and spend the day at the lake or amusement park and not think twice about it or worry I won't fit.  I don’t want to cry over and over because of the way I look or feel.  I don't want to think everyone is saying I am fat.   I don't want to feel aches and pains.  I don't want to spend twice as much on plus sized clothes (seriously, annoying).   I want to be healthy.  I want to change.  I want to be ME.  And I don’t want to keep saying this over and over again.  I want this part of my life to be over and start a new, healthier chapter.

I have had an unhealthy relationship with food for a long time.  I have always "sneak eaten" and "binged eaten".  I get bored or stressed and I turn to food. Even when I am happy I turn to food.  I enjoy it.  I love cooking it.  And I love eating it.  I love eating too much.  I sometimes just eat, like I have a plate full of food and I have to eat it.  I may start to get full, but it is there so I eat.  This is a whole other topic for another post, but I do use it as a crutch.  Coping mechanism.  Something to make me happy briefly.  Always have.  I need to stop now.

I actually refused to write this post when I first started.  Mainly because, I feel I have written it before and failed. Many times over.   But something is different this time.  I am not sure what it is, but I am ready.  Maybe it is Henry.  Maybe it is the boot trend…seriously, I love boots.  Maybe it is that my body doesn’t feel like I imagine the body of a near 35 year old should look or feel….I feel far older.  Maybe after the last few years I have realized that I AM strong enough.  That life is way too short and that time is not slowing down for any of us.  And that if I want to make a difference in my life I need to do it now because the world is not stopping for me to help me or do it for me.  And every day I choose to live my life the same way I have been living with no change, is another missed day of doing something good for myself and actually making a change.  (my wise sister helped me to see this)  I need to take charge of my life before it gets to the point I no longer can.

This time I am not looking for a quick fix.  No fad diet, shakes, gluten free, carb free, meat free, only nut diets that are out there at the moment.  Nor am I denying myself of all the things I love.  It is a lifestyle change.  

Moderation.  Balance.  Alternatives.  

It is math...counting calories.  Plain and simple.

I know this is going to take a long time, perhaps a year or more.  I am setting a lot of little goals to meet along the way, along with the end result to just be comfortable with my body.  Accepting of my body.  To look at food in a healthy way that is not only enjoyable but a fuel for my body.

I am not there yet, but I am well on my way.

How do I know I am on my way?

Because of this...

"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

(Again, from my smart sister)

That is how I know I am on my way.  I am 9lbs lighter than I was January 1st.  9lbs may be a small chunk of my chunk I want to lose, but it is a start and I have desperately wanted to be where I am now.  And I hope that in a month I will be another 9lbs and maybe another after that.  Again, time is not stopping, each day will pass and with each passing day I am that much closer.  Stopping doesn't fix anything.

So perhaps by my birthday in April I could be 25lbs lighter (my goal) and buy myself some new jeans for my birthday.  In the scheme of things, that is not that far away.  I am actually surprised I have been doing this for three weeks already!  Again, I am focusing on perspective, slow and steady instead of an instant fix.

So currently I am doing the following:

During the week – calorie intake goal of 1300 - 1400
On the weekend – Calorie intake goal of 1400 - 1500
(This is a significant drop in calories, but totally doable.)

I am using MyFitness Pal to track calories and weight loss.  Using measurements as well.

If you have read some of my previous posts, I am looking for alternatives to some of my favorite foods like Chinese (HERE) and I am testing out cauliflower crust pizza this past weekend and will post results soon!  

I am finding ways to have the foods I love without the extra a 100 calorie Light & Fit fudge bar from Aldi’s!  It is a perfect treat at the end of the day and still makes me feel like I am getting that indulgence without the calories. 

I am finding balance between the things I like and weeding out the things I no longer need to put in my body.  And I am enjoying trying new things and finding a new way of life that works for me and my life style.

So bare with me.  I am sure I am going to have rough days.  Days I do not stick with it.  Days I feel like I can't do it anymore.  Days I am discourages.  But I am also around so many supportive people, and an amazing and energetic son, that I feel inspired every day to do the best I can and keep going day by day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It Really Is Pretty to Live in Ohio

Just when I am getting to the point when I question our decision to stay in Ohio because it is negative degrees outside and we get a flat tire because of the extreme cold and I have a 3 year old who can't go outside to release all that energy.....the universe gives a morning like this.

It may only be 3 degrees outside, but it is absolutely gorgeous.  These last minute camera phone pictures do not do it justice, but believe really is pretty to live in Ohio and experience all the seasons.  Even the bitter cold ones!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Healthy Recipes - Spaghetti Squash "Chinese"

So last week I tried another new recipe.  Well, I took a recipe and then modified it based on my likes and what I had in the house!

I have heard spaghetti squash is a great food and can be used "in place" of pasta and rice.  So I decided to give it a shot and as I was craving Chinese I thought, hey lets make spaghetti squash Chinese!!

Let me preface this by saying spaghetti squash "Chinese" is NOT Chinese.  It does not replace Chinese.  It is a bunch of rarely used, cheap vegetables play'n like they are yummy Chinese.  

After making this, I am not going to give up my old Chinese food because this is "just that much better".   But, as a healthy alternative that gives you the same flavors of Chinese food...this is a winner!  Like a big winner...something I would make even if I wasn't dieting.

So, back to the spaghetti squash.  I had to be very open minded with this recipe as I am not a squash lover.  The blandness and texture are just not pleasing to me.  However, over the last 7 years I haven't been able to lose weight the way I wanted by eating the foods I was eating, so  something must change.  Enter...the squash!

Now, I think the reason the spaghetti squash is low in calories is because of how hard it is to get inside!!!  This is when you need to be married to Wolverine.  It took me forever to get into the raw squash and I swear I was going to cut my arm 15 times.  I used the method of cutting the squash in half (with a guillotine perferably) and roasted inside part down with a little water in the pan for nearly an hour.  Since that, a girl at work told me you can do this in the crockpot.  Will be trying that for sure next time!

So besides a whole spaghetti squash cooked and removed from the skin, I also cut up a half a head of cabbage, 4 celery stalks, 2 cups frozen broccoli (steamed), 2 oz of chicken and an egg (the last two ingredients for my individual portion).

I cooked the cabbage & celery in a tablespoon of EVOO for about 5 minutes until it is just slightly softened.  I then added the spaghetti squash, broccoli and a couple tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce.  I "stir-fried" this for awhile until everything was combined and heated through.

I then added my shredded chicken and egg.  I didn't make enough chicken for the entire recipe because, well, in case it sucked I didn't want to waste more food than I needed too!

(Which came first, the chicken or the egg?!)

Overall, my first attempt was good.  It had any of the same flavors of chinese food.  The cabbage and celery gave it some nice crunch to take away from the lack of consistency from the spaghetti squash.  Plus, I got to eat a HUGE plate of food, which normally isn't the case when counting calories!!  This recipe was 4 (large) servings and only 187 calories a serving for the spaghetti squash and cabbage mixture!!  (Must add on the chicken, egg, and extra soy sauce as well which was still only an extra 130 calories) And I was seriously stuffed!  You could probably do 6 servings to cut it down more, especially if you add brown rice.

The next day I reheated left overs, added some brown rice, scrambled up some eggs, and added some sriracha!  Oh my, this was tasty!!  Felt and tasted like chinese.  Loved it actually.  And like I said, it doesn't replace traditional chinese food but it is all about finding balance, right?!  This is a great balance.

Some things I would do differently next time:
 - Cook the squash in a crockpot so I do not cut my finger off cutting through
 - Let the squash dry out a bit.  Maybe spread it out on paper towel to remove excess moisture so it doesn't stick/clump together.
 - Add more chicken and eggs
 - Add some more veggies like carrots and peas

 - 1 cooked spaghetti squash
 - 1/2 head shredded cabbage
 - 2 cups cooked broccoli
 - 4 stalks chopped celery
 - Lite Soy Sauce

Add-on Ingredients:
 - Couple Eggs
 - Shredded Chicken breast
 - Extra Lite Soy Sauce
 - Sriracha
 - Brown rice
 - Extra veggies

Calories (excluding the eggs and chicken) 187 per serving. 4 servings. 
Cost: For the basic ingredients it was not more than $10.   

Up Next I am going to try this with Quinoa!!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Healthy Recipes - Avocado, Chicken and White Bean Wrap!!

The first recipe I tried this weekend was an Avocado, Chicken and White Bean Wrap!!

I found a few recipes that mixed avocado and white beans together and as that seemed to meet my criteria of healthy, affordable, filling and tasty I thought I would give it a try!!

Now, a few of the recipes I tried had this cold and without chicken and instead a "coleslaw" mixture.  Well, I didn't want to make a coleslaw mixture and I wanted something warm as it is cold where I live right now.  I also had just cooked some plain chicken in the crockpot* the night before and thought that would be a perfect addition.

I have made this a few times this weekend so some of the pictures were from different attempts.  The final recipe is my favorite combination.

First you take a half of a medium (ripe) avocado and a 1/4 cup of rinsed white beans (Great Northern Beans) and mash together with a fork in a bowl.  Add a dash of salt. I wouldn't puree this as you still want some texture to this.

Next, spread this on a whole wheat flour tortilla or some healthy wrap.  I used a whole wheat flour tortilla as that is what we have in the house.  Some though can have close to 200 calories (eek!), so aim for one closer to 100.  I may also try a flavored wrap next time for added taste!  Once you spread that on, add about 1 oz of your shredded chicken.

(This was my first attempt where I used a 1/2 cup of white beans and 2oz of chicken.  
Just too much for the tortilla and too much chicken.)

Next, wrap that bad boy up burrito style.  Do a quick spray of EVOO cooking spray on the side with the seem and place into a preheated (on medium low) pan.  Spray the other side with the cooking spray once in the pan.


This doesn't take long, so once it is at your desired crispiness, remove and enjoy!!

The thing I like about the avocado, bean & chicken combination is that I can eat this many different ways.  I can have it like above with a bowl of soup for a warm and filling meal.

I can do a cold wrap and throw in some lettuce, tomato, and/or roasted red peppers for a great work lunch.

The avocado and bean "mash" is actually good enough on its own and would make for a fantastic dip!  And I love dips, so I should know.  Some pita chips and red/green peppers make for a great side to the dip.

I would also add this to a salad in place of a dressing.

It is filling and contains healthy fats and proteins.

This is also quick and inexpensive.

The whole thing took no longer than 10 minutes to make.  And the price was as followed: .79 for a can of beans, $1.00 for the avocado, $1.89 for an 8 pack of of whole wheat tortillas, chicken was only a couple dollars. (We buy ours from the butcher and get a lot of it so do not know the exact price, but you are only using an ounce so if you don't have any you can use another meat or keep it meat-free!)  So very affordable!

Nutrition: 312 calories
Lower your calories by getting a low calorie/low carb wrap.  Or opt for one of the other non-wrap options above.

Pam Cooking Spray - Olive Oil, 1 second spray: Calories: 7
Chicken Breast-homemade - Boiled, 1 oz - Calories: 35
Walmart - White Beans (Canned), 1/4 cup - Calories: 50
Ortega - Whole Wheat Tortilla, 1 tortilla - Calories: 120
Fresh - Avocado - Hass, Medium, 1/2 of medium size - Calories: 100
Salt - Salt, 0.4 gram (One dash) - Calories: 0

Hope you enjoy!!  Let me know if you try and have any modifications or additions!!
Next up, something with spaghetti squash....out of my comfort zone, but interested!!

*Boiled boneless skinless chicken breast - I add a chicken breast to a crockpot with water, salt and pepper and a bullion cube and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Then shred when falls apart and is a perfect addition for lunches.

Losing Weight....AGAIN. Tasty & Healthy Recipes

So I believe this is my 6,942 attempt to lose weight.

There are many excuses reasons why I keep failing, but one thing it always seems to come back to is food.

I. Love. Food.

There.  I said it.

I love to cook it.  I love to make (and eat) a lot of it.  I love to share it with family and friends.  I love to experiment with it.

I just love it.

So of course, whenever I do one of my diet attempts I cut out nearly all the foods I love.  And then after a month or so, BOOM, I just give up.

So this time I didn't want that to happen as I NEED to lose weight.  Plain and simple.  No excuses.

But this time I decided to continue doing what I like in regards to food.  Cooking.  Experimenting.  Trying new things!  Just with a healthy twist.

So over the last few weeks I have been finding recipes that will be healthy, affordable (because girl be on a budget!), filling (because girl don't like to be hungry), and also packed with flavor!  You know, food that doesn't make you think you are dieting and that you would eat any way.

I will continue to use My Fitness Pal to count my lower calorie diet and will also use this blog to track my progress and share my recipes. Some recipes may be successes and some may not, but I am excited to see try new things and lose weight along the way!!

So up first.....Avocado, Chicken and White Bean Wrap!!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 - The Year of Focus

So, 2014 has come and gone.  With that comes a lot of reflection on the year that has passed.  I think about the way overdue changes of Terry's job and all the pros and cons that come.  I think about the unexpected loss of a dear friend and how precious life can be.  I think that is has been one year since Henry's last seizure and have hope for the coming years.  I think about the struggles we have been dealing with and the frustrations and optimism ahead.  I think about how quickly time is going and how I need to find ways sometimes to bottle it up and slow it down (and cover the grey and remove the hairs on my face!)  I think about how much we have all changed in the last year, especially Henry, and all that this new year holds!

So with that said, 2015 is turning into the year of focus.

As I have been reflecting on the year as it came to a close and even now as I type, I realize the things I need require me to focus, or refocus my priorities.

Call them goals.  Call them resolutions.  Call them just getting older and learning that sometimes we need to stop and change the way we are doing things.

So here is my focus for 2015.

Focus on Marriage.

After we had Henry our life revolved around Henry and his needs, as expected.  Terry and I worked opposite schedules to make things work, which means we were solo parenting a lot and our focus was just on how to raise this kid and survive.  Then around 2 years old, just when we were starting to get to a normal life, the seizures and medical issues started with Henry.  Now Henry's health seems to be doing better and though Terry and my schedules don't always mesh, we both realize we need more time for US.  It is so easy to take each other and your marriage for granted.  I know I do.  We went on two dates in December, the first ones in a loooong time.  And to be honest, it had the awkwardness of first dates at times...except for the fact that we have been together for 14 years.  So we are focusing on our marriage in 2015.  Going on dates again. Listening to each other.  Being a team.  We are stronger together, for sure.  And like most things in life, even if it isn't broken (which it is not) it still needs maintenance and to be taken care of to keep things strong!

Focus on Health.

I think with all of Henry's health issues the beginning of last year, Terry and I have been putting ourselves on the back burner.  So the focus is keeping Henry healthy and hopefully continue to be seizure free.  And Terry and I need to take care of our health. (except for sickness, it has been a few years that either has been for annual visits!)  My main focus is getting myself healthy.  Going to a couple doctors appointments and losing weight.

Focus on Myself.

This overlaps health in that I need to work on ME.  Losing weight is the most important thing.  I need to like myself again.  Like the way I look and feel better about who I am.  Along with that, finding time to step away from everything and do the things I like.  The things that make me happy.  I gladly put away things I enjoyed when Henry was born, but it is time to get those things back out, even if it is just on occasion and finding a new balance.  I need to feel like ME again.

Focus on being less Focused.

Um. HUH?!  What do you mean, Jenn?!  I have a problem of focusing too much on things.  I am OCD (self-diagnosed, of course) and with that I tend to focus on things....a little too much.  My intentions usually start out good, but they do consume me at times.  A nice evening with Terry could turn into me worrying because of the fluctuating temperature in Henry's room. Or that Terry is crunching his chip too loud and I yell at him and then we just sit in silence.  Or I am convinced we are sick because I heard a cough so I take Henry's temperature 70 times.  Or just focusing on the negative instead of the positive.  So I am making a big effort to only focus on what is important (like above) and not put my effort in focusing on things that do not matter or that I can not change.

So, these are the things I want to focus on with the New Year.  And the truth is I am excited for this New Year!!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Twenty Five Days of Christmas!!

So with all the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, I really try to stay positive and focus on spending time with family and doing the little things that really matter this time of year.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the commotion and forget to just STOP and ENJOY the holidays instead of being stressed.  You know, especially when some jackhole infront of you cuts you off so he can get into the same store you are going!!! 


Last year was rough.  Even on Christmas Henry was sick and in the ER a few days before Christmas and then again December 30th AND 31st.  He was sick for EVERY holiday or special occasion for about 8 months.  (This is no exaggeration) 

This year I think I am trying to make up for so many days where Henry was sick instead of doing fun things with his family and friends and even just T & I getting to relax and enjoy this time.

So, I have decided to try to do something fun every day during the 25 Days of Christmas!! 

Yeah, I know some of you are laughing to yourself….”Oh, you want to enjoy yourself and relieve stress and you want to do something EVERY day.”  Yeah, my logic isn’t always sound.  And lets be honest, not every day is going to be elaborate and I know I will miss days….but we are trying!

Here is what has been done so far (most of the stuff is with Henry, but some things just me):

1st – Put up and decorate the tree. It spins. Go jealous.

2nd – Watch a cheesy Christmas movie and drink hot chocolate – Santa Baby 2 infact :-)

3rd – Order Christmas Cards – DONE and RECEIVED! (Thank you 1 hour photo from Walmart.) 

4th – Put up decorations around the house.

5th – Terry’s work Christmas Party. OK, this one is more of an obligation but still festive and fun!

6th – Family in Town!!  We found ways to be festive when we were at Levis Commons!!  (Henry took the picture of me!)

7th – Watched Love Actually…I actually Love this movie.  (See, see what I did there.)

8th – Go look at Christmas Lights in the car while drinking hot chocolate and eating snowman cookies! (from Starbucks of course)

9th – Call Santa.  We left a message, he was busy.

10th – Christmas note from Santa!! (Yeah, move over Elf on a Shelf, we have chalkboard on an end table!) 

11th – String popcorn for the tree and make snowflakes.

12th – Christmas Concert at school

13th – Mailed (nearly all) of our Christmas cards!!  Still have a couple I needed addresses for, but they will ALL be out by the 17th!  Henry go to his friend’s house for some Christmas fun!  Made handprint dough ornaments.

14th – Gingerbread house & Christmas list to Santa!

15th – Henry & I went shopping for gifts for his friends & some family

Here is a list of all the possible stuff left to do before Christmas!  We won’t do them all, except on Christmas Eve we will get in PJ’s, have popcorn and watch a Christmas movie!  But these are all possibilities!!

Ø  Make cookies for friends and family.
Ø  Send a card to a stranger
Ø  Buy a small Christmas tree/Wreath
Ø  Paint nails a festive color
Ø  Hang a string of colored lights somewhere unexpected in the house.
Ø  Donate toys & clothes to local charities.
Ø  Make Christmas crafts
Ø  Pay for someone's coffee in line behind me in a coffee shop or drive through.
Ø  Buy a toy for someone
Ø  Make treats for neighbors, co-workers & friends.
Ø  Henry make Christmas Cards for friends with treats and deliver them
Ø  Lights Before Christmas at the Zoo (We did this in November)
Ø  Go to a Christmas Tree Farm
Ø  Grandparents take Henry shopping to pick out gifts for mom and dad.  Mom and dad take Henry shopping to pick out gifts for family.
Ø  Wear Christmas pajamas Christmas Eve and watch a Christmas movie.
Ø  Christmas card for a solider
Ø  Read Christmas books

Ø  Call Santa at the library

Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Terrible Two's Got Nothing on the Tumultuous Three's!!!!

Since the dawn of man, it was written about the terrible two’s.   For centuries, the terrible two’s have been known to bring fear to all parents.  A period of time in a new beings life where they want to show their independence in the most obnoxious and frustrating ways possible.
But I believe we have been deceived, us first time parents, as the THREE’S is where the real terribleness lies!!! 
Three is when these little talking, thinking, independent, stubborn creatures wreak havoc on their parents mental well-being. 
They have caused the most patient of people to lose their cool.  The youngest of parents to have grey hair.  The most soft spoken to scream at the top of their lungs.  The most confident of people to question EVERYTHING.  The most even-tempered person to lock themselves in the bathroom to cry.
I am fairly certain they could bring down empires just with their incessant whining.  (OH THE WHINING.  THE WHINING.  It is the bane of my existence.  If only that ONE thing could stop.  Oh it would be such sweet relief…)
When my son turned three in September I could already see the change.  Yes, there were struggles during two.  Looking back, those struggles were controllable.  READ: I still had control!!!
But I was deceived, as I thought when he turned three things would “get easier”.
Oh, I laugh at my ignorance….HA. HA. HA.
I believe since this lie has been told through many a generation, no one wants to tell a first time parent the awful truth regarding the three’s.
So here it is….the three’s are an emotional rollercoaster of happiness, anger, pride, frustration, laughter, tears, stubbornness, independence and grasping to have control.
And that is for BOTH parents AND toddlers.
See, the thing I am quickly realizing is that my highly independent and stubborn child is testing the waters.  He can speak like an adult but rationalizes more like a primate…focused on certain things.  So when this little creature wants, to open the door as we come out of the pizza place, and the women coming in opens it instead….well then, World War 3 has been started.  His sole focus is now on opening that door and why he didn’t get to open that door.  No other thought is in his mind.  Nothing else matters.  That freak’n door is HIS WORLD and it was taken away from him be the evil lady just trying to get her pizza and help a mother with her hands full.  How dare.  How very dare....
And when something like this happens, it is hard to bring them back to reality.
You first try to explain: “Oh Henry, the lady opened the door, it was her turn.”
I wanted to open the door!
Then a proposition: “How about you open it next time!”
I want to open the door today!
Perhaps you try the distraction: “Hey what is in my purse?  Could you hold this XYZ for me as we go to the car?” (Though be careful with this one, do not give them anything that they can throw across the parking lot and damage.)
NO! I want to open the door!
I typically skip that and go with the bribe: “Hey, do you want to watch TV with mommy when we get home?”
By this time far too much time has been spent trying to prevent the inevitable meltdown that is moments away.  However in one last effort as to avoid more eyes on you and judgment from the people coming out of the Party Mart and Chinese place you take it down a couple octaves with the firm voice and try the Warning: “Henry, this is your warning.  If you do not get in the car there will be no XYZ for the rest of the night!”
Now we are to Demand: “Henry. GET. IN. THE. CAR. NOW.” As I grab his arm and move him across the parking lot to our car about 5 feet away.
(Ok, let’s be honest.  Sometimes I go straight from explanation to Demand)
Then, he crumbles. 
He losses it.
Falls to the ground like his bones were instantaneously removed from his body, all in the MIDDLE of the parking lot where cars are coming.
With purse and pizza in one hand, I reach under and pick him up the best I can.  This 40lb beast that now has managed to summon gravity to help him in his cause and now weighs approximately 246lbs; requires me to practically drag my him to the van.
(Probably the only time I have liked the fact we have automatic side doors on the van.)
Then you put him in the car and now comes the fun part.  Putting a 40lb, unruly, highly emotional, extremely bendable, child in a carseat.
7 minutes later, one scarf removed (for what I only deem as my own safety), lots of sweat, a slap to my face and my yelling about how dangerous it was to sit in the parking lot with cars and how the behavior is unacceptable which then turns into total silence from me……he is in his carseat.
The silence continues from my end, as Henry is doing more than enough screaming for the both of us, I hear the entire way home:
The arguments continued for another 25 minutes and featured goodies like:
Me: “Get in the house or I am closing the garage door whether you are inside or not”
H: “No. I don’t want to walk.”
Me: “Wash your hands for dinner.”
H: “I don’t want to wash my hands.”
Me: “Do you want help?”
H: “NO, I can do it myself!!!”
Me: “Eat your dinner.”
H: “I don’t like pizza!!!!”  (That is just a bold face lie right there.)
See, when he was two (at least the early two’s) he couldn’t plan this all out.  He was frustrated but I could distract him with a toy or food he wanted.  I could also pick him up a lot easier.  Yes, he was still irrational but now he is irrational and thinking and that, my friends, is a bad combination.
Now, don’t get me wrong….three is not all bad.  I mean, when it is a good moment it is a really AMAZING moment.  They are cute.  And HILARIOUS.  And smart.  Henry has me laughing….like real laughing where my stomach hurts.  And you can carry a conversation on with him.  And he can be SO AWESOME much of the time. 
But it is a roller coaster of emotion and one minute he has you cracking up and the next he says “DON’T LAUGH LIKE THAT, IT WASN’T THAT FUNNY!”
A constant testing of boundaries.  "I know I am not suppose to say stupid so I won't say stupid because stupid is bad to say and stupid is an adult word."
A hint of defiance.  Henry, pick up that toy.  "No." with a smirk.
Basically, if someone our aged acted like three year olds they would be considered bi-polar and on meds.  Alas, it is just considered normal.
But I do get it.  They are also trying to find their way. Their place.  Learn boundaries.
I mean, Independence (aka I DO IT MYSELF) when done right is wonderful!
Like when Henry goes through his entire bedtime routine by himself!!  Gets his toothpaste on his brush, brushes his teeth, washes his face & hands, gets his pull-up and PJ’s on, put his chapstick on, turnes on his humidifier, and gets into bed!!
But Henry asserting independence (aka I DO IT MYSELF) can also be frustrating and a struggle. 
Like when it takes 10 minutes to leave because your child wants to zip their coat and you can not come within 3 feet of them but then screams and throws their coat on the floor because it isn't working right.  And now doesn't want to leave for school even though you are already late.
Or like when I am upstairs getting ready for work.  I hear “Mom, I pooped!”  Come rushing downstairs and he is sitting on the couch. 
Henry, I thought you said you pooped.
I did, I wiped my butt all by myself! I don't want you to help me.
At that moment I knew.  I knew there was poop on the couch because a three year old wiping his butt is nothing more than grabbing about 20 sheets of TP, tapping his butt and flushing it down the toilet.
so, I get it.  I get him and what he is going through.  And I know as a parent I need to be there for him, guide him, help him establish positive outlets for his emotions and find ways to control his frustrations all while letting him explore his independence.   But as a human being I am not always going to be at my best.  And if I loose my cool or have to lock myself in the bathroom every so often and cry, then so be it. 
It is a phase and it will pass in time and a new phase will come.  Thank goodness this kid is SO DAMN ADORABLE.  And let’s be honest, the “I Love You’s” at the end of the day make it all go away…well those and a big glass of wine while watching TV in peace.
*This long post was created for my records.  So I can look back in a year when my child is 4 and it is so much easier. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Things I have Realized Today.

1. Sometimes you need to cry in your minivan on your way to work because it was a rough morning and you feel bad for screaming at your kid because they refused to get ready.

2. I need to find a way to communicate with a stubborn, highly independent three year old who only listens to half of what I say.  Any advice is appreciated.

3. While I thoroughly enjoy pumpkin flavored pastries, I am not a fan of pumpkin flavored coffee….especially when the office is out of cream and sugar. (Send a vanilla latte now!!!)

4. I drink too much coffee.  How do I know? Well because I am rather impatiently waiting for the girl to return from the store with creamer. Need. Coffee. NOW.  (See, drink too much coffee.)

5. I need some time away from work.  Annoyed.

6. I am burnt out.  This isn’t necessarily a new realization, but I don’t admit it often.

7. I just found some more long black hairs on my neck and chin.  I think I need to start waxing. OH. MY. GOSH. I. AM. OLD.  Not fair. Grrrrrr.

8. I am getting my first massage in 3 years this Friday!!!  But that does mean I am going to have to shave.  The ying and yang of life….

Have a good day!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three…..and Three Weeks!

Henry turned three earlier this month and I really wanted to post a blog before September runs out!!  Yep, cutting it a little close.

You know, year two was rough for many reasons.  About two weeks before his second birthday, Henry had (what we now know) was his first seizure.  He would have 10 more between September and December.  He had 5 ER trips.  Tons of Doctors appointments.  Henry was sick basically from his second birthday through May of this year every few weeks.  He had croup 4 times, among just a constant cold.  His temperature regularly hit 103-104 degrees during these illnesses.  Oh, and he was diagnosedwith epilepsy.  Sigh.

Not to mention Terry and I had an unusual amount of sickness which led to 6 urgent care appointments between the two of us and numerous doctor visits.

For this, and many other reasons it was a rough year and I am excited for three to be here.  Through it all we stuck together as a family and got to see this little boy shine and grow and fill our lives with more love than we knew was possible!

Henry - July 2014

I can’t even believe how much he has changed.  This personality he has.  This little three year old seems so much older than most three year olds.  I believe he is an old soul :-) 

Three started well and I am hoping it continues. (he is now 9 months seizure free)

Here is Henry today….our THREE year old!!!

Henry is:

- Kind.  He shows a concern for others (and his stuffed animals or Godzilla) that is so sweet.

- Polite. He is excellent at saying please and thank you.

- Silly.  Oh my gosh, he has my slapstick, goofy sense of humor.  I LOVE IT.  He cracks me up all the time.  From pretending to walk into walls (and really walking into walls) to Saying “Hi everyone, my name is Henry Donald and I am a silly boy” in a funny voice….he cracks me up!

- Clumsy. See above.

- Loving.  He always gives hugs and kisses.  Smooches are big in our house.  And he loves to cuddle with me as much as I love to cuddle with him.

- Independent.  He wants to do everything on his own.  There are pros and cons to this with a toddler, but I love the independence he has.

- Stubborn. T & I are stubborn people.  This didn’t surprise any of us that Henry would be too.  It is a battle of wills and the thing is, T & I have had more practice at being stubborn…good luck my son.

- Potty trained. Except for night time, he is potty trained which is awesome!!  Well except when you are out in public and he has to go NOW and you are running to the bathroom.  Always know where the restrooms are.

- Short tempered. This is from me.  Oops. We are both working on this.

- Expressive. Or some may say dramatic like his mother. Whatever!

- Style. He has his own style and it is fantastic.

- Imaginative.  I LOVE how imaginative he is.  He will make up stories all the time.  It is so fun to watch and see where his imagination takes him! (Thanks Daniel Tiger.)

- Curious & Adventurous. What three year old boy isn’t curious?!  They pretty much go hand in hand.  He is his father’s son.

- Well spoken.  From going to a speech therapist once at 18 months to now saying words like intuition, counting to 27 and speaking non-stop throughout a day….oh what a difference a year and a half has made!  Seriously, the other day Henry said he wanted to be a bug scientist.  Terry said, that is an entomologist.  Henry repeated it nearly perfect (for a kid).  He repeats everything, trying all the big words.  We may have a game of seeing which big words we can get him to say with the most accuracy!

- Cooking.  He loves to cook.  I love that he loves to cook with me.  It is this special bonding thing we have that gives us both patience and memories….and good food after, of course.

- A Friend.  This past year he has really taken to friends.  He loves his friends or “my kids” as he calls them.  He is always asking to play with his kids.  As an only child, I love seeing these friendships he is forming at an early age.

- All About Family.  He loves family and is always asking for them.  Oh how he adores Poppi and JoJo and Aunt K and Josh.  This makes my heart so happy seeing how they all interact.

- A Dancer.  The. Boy. Gots. Moves!!! HERE. HERE.

- A Cleaner.  He actually loves to clean!  Well adult cleaning, but still…the boy has chores.

- Technology. He is ALL about technology and actually really good at using it. 

- Laugh.  His laugh.  Oh his laugh.  I have no words, I just love it so much.  Thank goodness he loves to laugh as much as I love to hear him laugh.

- "Reads"  I am not a reader and I wish I was, but this kid LOVES to read.  Every night it is 3-4 books and we have to ask him to stop reading, or he will just keep going.

- Makes our hearts full.  

And he is so very much more.....

Here is to THREE!!!!

Henry STATS: 3 year check up.  39.5 lbs 40.5" tall.