Monthly Archives: April 2015

How I Quit Drinking Soft Drinks

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I looked in the mirror.  Not a half mirror, not a compact mirror, but a mirror I have avoided in dressing rooms and in bathrooms and in life. I do not buy new clothes.  I have people ask me what size to get me for gifts, and I do not answer.

I was a size 5.  I was tan, and I was young, and I felt pretty.  I might even say I felt sexy.  This was even with stretch marks and scars and the extensive list of things life inflicts and its impressions made.  I did not mind mirrors.  I did not avoid buying new clothes.  I never felt exposed when my upper arms showed from my sleeves, whether I was waving or whatever else you do, arms stretched up over your head, old-lady arm-fat flapping in the open.

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It is easy to ignore things you refuse to look at.  It is easy to blame circumstance, and circumstance did not make me overweight.  Loneliness is a great excuse to binge drink in bed.  It is also a great excuse to put whatever garbage you want in your body just because you gave up.

I do not give up.

I saw the mirror, there I was.  There was what I had allowed to happen.  There was every bad decision in caloric form,  in all its glory, in all of its ugly glory, on every part of my body.  I had to take action.

Beginning to change a life style, I believe one step at a time is the best way to prevent backsliding.  The first step I took was to dump the soft drinks.  This is not easy, either, when you are a woman who makes lame excuses and has migraines.  I will get a migraine if I do not have caffeine.   This is a fact.  That does not require mass consumption of crap.

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The first step I took was I ordered sweet tea.  I ordered it everywhere I went.  I had it with breakfast, I had it at random times of the day.  It was a very easy transaction.

Right now, I am ordering half sweet, half unsweet.  The next change will be unsweet, then water.  I am taking baby steps.  It is important to me to change, but it is also important that I stick with it.

No more excuses.

So, you may ask how long has it been?  Two weeks.  Have I noticed differences?  Yes.  My energy level is higher, and I am losing weight.  That is the truth.

I am thinking of making a weight loss blog when I get comfortable saying my size and my measurements.  I am really serious about it this time.  I no longer want the mirror to be my enemy.  I have aged, but I do not have to let me go because of it.

And my journey continues.

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Starting with quitting soft drinks.

 

We Are Moving, Finally

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Anyone who has been in a relationship with, or married to, a narcissist knows the process just to feel like a human being again takes a lot of time.

The biggest mistake I ever made was not that I was with someone, but who I was with.

I have always been a codependent.   It is a coping mechanism I learned at a very young age to deal with narcissists, and at 38, I still did not even know what I was doing was not normal.  There are terrible people in the world.  Changing yourself does not change them.

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It is amazing how little time with one person can be so damaging.   It is amazing how some  of us give people the power to tear us down until there is no longer anything left.  It is amazing our capacity for not only forgiveness, but our willingness to be forgiving of someone who continually abuses that and now has even that control over you.

At the end of all of this mess, when I walked away with less than I came into this in every sense of the word, I decided I needed help and I drove myself to counseling to get that help.  I left an awful relationship and turned 40 living with my mother.  If you never had to do this, be grateful.  If you have family members willing to help you recover from narcissistic abuse, and it is abuse, be grateful for that, too.

Anyway, I have been here fixing myself.  It has not been an easy thing to do.  My self esteem was gone.  I had begun to believe everything bad I was told about myself.  I no longer smiled or laughed.  I no longer knew how to have fun.

The only way to learn is to let go.

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That being said, I am going to be back where I was before this disaster in so many ways.   Everything I was told I can never do I will be doing.  Everything I lost, I will regain.

We just move on.

Life is funny like that.

These are a few pictures of where we are moving.  I am not sure we will continue homeschooling, but we will continue Sam’s Voice and we will continue the blog and the YouTube.

Remember, only be with people you would be proud of your children if they ended up being like them.  Only be with people you would want your children to fall in love with.

Otherwise, it is pointless.  Love really does not hurt.  As many times as this is said, it really is true.  If it hurts, it is not love.  All of the cliches are true.  My life is better every day that I become more aware of this.  My family is happy again.

We just had to move on.

 

The Egg Coloring Experiments: Part 3

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Our third and last Easter egg coloring experiment looks way more fun than it is.  It is messy.  It really stinks, and with the level of fun that comes along with it, it is not really worth it.

My 11 year old twins, having Autism, left the room rather quickly.   The stink was way too overwhelming for their sensory issues.

I started out with my homemade egg stand.  I took packing and put t-pins in it to set eggs on to dry.  I did not boil my eggs, I blew them out.

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I did this manually.  I could not find one of the egg blowers people mentioned using in various articles I read.  What I did was I stuck a t-pin through each end of the egg, making the bottom hole a little larger, and I jabbed it in and out of the egg, then I physically blew the yolk out onto a plate with my mouth.  When it became stuck, I jabbed again and shook the egg to loosen it up.

After I blew out the eggs, I left them on the homemade t-pin rack to dry.

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How you do the coloring of the eggs is you take a bowl of water and you drop different colors of nail polish in the center until you get the top of the water covered, and  you drag a toothpick through the nail polish to cause a marbleizing effect.  This always looks so easy when other people do it.  We ended up with globs of polish in the bottom of the bowl.

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The instructions are to dip the egg in the paint/water.  It does not work so well with a blown egg.  Trying to roll the egg in it to get it uniform is impossible.  I just was not big on this experiment.  It worked, in a globby, stinky way.

Next year, we will not do this again.

The Easter Egg Coloring Experiments: Part 2

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In my quest for the perfect egg, I searched throughout the internet and I chose three projects that looked fun and fairly easy.  This one was my absolute favorite.  So much so, I should have blown out the eggs and kept them.

The things you need are the basic Easter dyes,  leaves, flowers, panty hose, and a place to dry the eggs.  I used just food coloring and vinegar in this project.  I also found my t-pins stuck in packing material were just as good for this experiment as the last.

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I sent each child out with one Ziplock and an explanation of what poison ivy looks like (Lizzie is terribly allergic) and said they needed to fill up the bags with plants.  We had a pretty good variety.  I cannot really tell you what kinds we used, I have no idea about plants and plant species.  What I can tell you is that the softer the plant, the more easily it works.

Take your egg and place it in the foot of the panty hose.  Place the plants around the egg and secure the hose with a knot, then place in they dye you already have waiting.  I left ours in for a good 30 minutes.

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When you get the egg out, it may be a good idea to allow it to dry for a few minutes before cutting off the panty hose and removing the leaves.  I did not.  They still turned out great.  Next year, waiting will be part of my improvement on this project.

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Place the eggs on the t-pin rack to dry.  Drying time probably varies.

The eggs are definitely keepsake worthy.

One thing about this project is that it does require the usage of fine motor skills. There is a lot of minor occupational therapy going on, and it is good Easter messy fun.

We all enjoyed this one greatly.

The Easter Egg Coloring Experiments: part 1

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(Lizzie was noticing we only had 5 eggs)

I like to think of myself as a crafty person.  I am always looking for new artsy ways to do things, and what is more artsy than Easter?

I Googled and YouTubed and searched and I modified a few ideas so I could do my own variation.   I tried three eggsperaments.  The first was egg coloring with rice.  It was a fairly successful eggspirament.  The second was dying with plants to leave the image of the plant on the egg.  This went very well.  Eggcellently, if I do say so, myself.  I suggest blowing it out and keeping it, which I did not.  The last was marbleizing with nail polish.  This was lacking fun, and the end product was not what I eggspected.  And I blew those out to keep.

All puns aside, the first experiment was the rice experiment.  We took three zipper baggies and filled each part of the way with instant rice.  I did debate over instant and not-so-instant, I just figured instant was the way to go.  Next, I put quite a few drops of one color of food coloring in each.  We shook the bags to distribute that evenly.  This experiment is not messy, for the most part.

After we got the rice all colored, we put in the boiled eggs and shook them around.  We did it until we got a desired depth to the colors and then we used rubber gloves to remove the eggs.   The results of ours were a faint color for the most part.  It was not uniform, so we did accomplish a more artistic egg.

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In order to make a platform like I did, I just used some packing material and t-pins for sewing.  I have seen these done with cardboard and regular pins.  I like the way the t-pins supported the eggs.

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The rice and the feel of rolling it in the baggy is a great sensory exercise.  You can roll the rice around with the dye and that is definitely a great sensory integration activity.  Then add the egg and roll some more.

I never had sensory integration boxes with different textures like beans and rice, but after this, I may do it.   It kept Matt and Sam busy for a while.

 

The Autism Awareness Dilemma

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Every day is an awareness day for something.  This entire month is Cesarean Section Awareness month.  It is also Autism Awareness month.

The thing is, I am pretty sure most people are fully aware there are such things as cesarean sections.  Most people you ask are pretty aware of Autism, as well.  I have very mixed feelings about the month and the day and the blue and the etc.

I always appreciate the support and love of neuro-typical families.  I really do.  We are inspired by kindness and understanding people we find along the way.

The thing is, my kids talk.   I think awareness is a very small step. Everyone is aware.  Some families feel they are too aware.  Some families have struggles we, on the higher end of this spectrum, will never know.

I have read several blogs of mothers who are completely against this awareness month.  They all had non-verbal children.  I think if I had children in my life with severe Autism,  types of autism, I would not ride the fence any longer.  I feel if this was my world, and my children had no voice, I would no longer want the cute bracelets and all of these things tend to drown out the silent population.

Awareness is great.  It really is.  Happy kids with smiles and “normal” patterns of behavior, kids who are able to voice these things, the ones who are not on that edge and not about to melt down, these kids may not be very representative of those who need answers and help.

That population remains silent.

The silent population is so very important.

They are a MASSIVE part of the puzzle.

Awareness is great, but we are all very aware.

I am trying to understand both sides.  Right now, though, I remain on that fence.

Autism Awareness 2015

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I guess right now, I could make a post about how and when I became aware that my perfectly beautiful, perfectly perfect twin boys were somehow different.  I can pinpoint the time, although there is much dispute on whether or not this can be done.  In my experience and mother expertise, I know it can be done.

The fact is, that does not really matter at this point.  What happened, it just happened.  The journey of it has brought us pretty far from that hopeless place of undiagnosed, under diagnosed, and flat out ignored.

These things are changing.  Awareness is changing.  Education and community are changing.  Acceptance is pretty much here.   The word stirs a bit of discomfort in me, accepting what I always wish I could change.

The ignorance of people is changing.  There are still those who ask me if I believe anything I did caused this.  I am not sure what purpose those questions serve, but  they cut deeply.

There are still the ones who think if I would have spanked my kids, this would not have gotten so out of hand.  When you have a child on that edge and everything you do has a great deal to do with whether or not they spend a day rocking back and forth humming and twirling things in their hands or actually making a momentary effort to touch you or make eye contact, I guarantee you compassion would take precedence.

Autism is no curse.  There are so many steps forward in our society, yet we still have no defined cause or cure.  We have questions.  We need answers.  Our loved ones deserve that.

That is the end of my rant.

Here are my babies.

When they were babies.

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