Light at the End of the Tunnel

Sometimes life feels very discouraging.  We have struggled so hard for so long. My husband was injured in Iraq in 2008. We’ve struggled since then, financially and emotionally and I’m tired of the fight. I am just exhausted. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. He applied for disability compensation in April 2010 and when the pain was more than he could bear, he stopped working entirely in August 2010 and went back to college with me. We get by the best we can but sometimes, it just weighs on me. We are living on student loans, child support and his housing allowance from the GI Bill. He can’t work due to his injuries and I can’t leave him alone to deal with the children while I work. Student Loans should be in sometime in early September so we only need to hold it all together a few more weeks. Then we’ll be okay through February and hopefully his disability pay will kick in before that.

I was so excited about college starting again this week. On Sunday my husband was asking me to consider dropping one of my Friday classes. He said it was going to be too long of a day. He thought starting to school at 7AM and getting home at 11PM would be too much for me. He said to pick up a morning class during the week or take an online class. I didn’t think it was in the budget for me to make two more trips to school a week. Then I ran the numbers and realized that most likely it would be a burden on the budget for me to go to school even once a week (It’s over an hour away & we have a gas guzzling quad cab truck) until after student loans come in. I switched to online classes which are harder for me, but would still allow me to go to school.

We live out in the boonies and the choices are satellite internet or dial up. I started my classes on Monday morning and the satellite went out. Within 24 hours of switching my classes to online classes, the internet died. So frustrating! After hours on the phone with tech support, they are sending a technician out NEXT week! Ugh! No internet means no MFP app to count my calories, either. :( I just felt defeated. The summer semester was REALLY hard. Not the classes, just trying to motivate myself to care.

Thankfully husband set up something through AT&T to tether our laptops to our phones so we have internet. It is kind of wonky. We live WAY out in the country. Our cellphone signals are very spotty so we are going to buy a booster for the house. He says once we get the booster everything will be okay. He says I am not allowed to give up on my dreams and I have to keep moving forward. He says tough it out, keep going to school through May. Over the summer make a decision, but not now. He is my best friend and he has never led me astray so I’m going with his thoughts right now. I’m probably not in the best place to make a major decision right now.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I KNOW it’s not a freight train, too. But sometimes it is hard to hold on a little bit longer when it feels like I’ve been struggling for SOOOOOOOOOOOOO long. There is no other option. I mean, I have to keep holding everything together. I can’t let everyone down.

My emotions are fragile, though. I feel like I’m doing okay for some time but the happiness is not really stable. It is fragile and when I get knocked down, it is very hard for me to pull myself back up from the bottom. I am proud that although I haven’t been able to use my app, I think I am doing okay diet wise. I’m going to have to do it the old fashioned way and get a notebook I guess.

The good news is that I KNOW there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just need to hold it together a little longer.

A Lesson Learned in the Woods

Yesterday my husband and I decided we would take our son to Turkey Run State Park. It is right up the road from our house. We thought we would cross the suspension bridge and let our son stomp around in the creek a bit and when he got bored turn around and go home. I am not really willing to go get my heart rate up because my doctor told me I have the most PVCs when my heart is stressed. So, I’ve been avoiding hiking trails all summer. But, we would go baby speed, have a nice little walk… Boy were we wrong!

We went across the bridge, walked to the place we intended to turn around and our little 2 year old acted like he was going to climb the little rock wall. My husband was just humoring him, standing behind him so he couldn’t fall, but not helping him up either. Yeah, he shot up that wall like a tiny rocket. I thought they would turn around but in a few minutes with no sign of them, I climbed it too.

3 1/2 hours later, we emerged from the woods. I did fine. I am glad we went and I’m glad things didn’t go as planned. I carried our little one part of the way, whenever he fell down or needed a boost, I would carry him. My husband offered to heft him around, but his back is in very bad condition from an accident when he was deployed to Iraq.I figured it was better for me to carry him than my husband.

I learned something yesterday, I’m still okay. I can still get my heart rate up and get out of breath and I’m still okay. I learned something else… our little two year old is part mountain goat! Seriously, he climbed and ran and jumped and was full of baby go-go juice! We talked about how he would be asleep before we left the park. Or at least he would be racked out by the time we got home. No siree! That little stinker was jumping and bouncing around close to midnight! He was absolutely full of pep way past his usual bedtime. He woke up at 8 am this morning ready to go. :)

Also, I’ve lost another 4 pounds! Yippee! That puts me at a 40 pound loss from when I had my carpal tunnel surgery. (Best thing I ever did. Seriously, I had both hands done at once & it is AMAZING, fantastic & wonderful! If you need it, I would do it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.)

We are supposed to go have a picnic in a bit. I’m very much looking forward to getting out of the house!

Vegetarian for a Semester

I have decided I’m going to go on a low-fat vegetarian diet for a semester (August 20 to December 15) and if that works out well, I’m going to go vegan for the spring semester of college. I’ve had much success with a vegetarian diet in the past, well, once I was getting enough protein. When I first started on my vegetarian diet in 20005, I felt AWESOME, but I was starting to bruise severely. My husband at the time would not let me leave the house in shorts or a tshirt because he was afraid he was going to be arrested for battering me, even though he hadn’t. The bruising was severe and when I went to the doctor he said if I was not getting enough protein that was the cause. I was only eating vegetables and fruit but when I started being vigilant regarding protein, I was fine. I stayed on my vegetarian diet until I was pregnant with my daughter. Actually the unending cravings for meat was the first sign I was pregnant. It was all I could think about.

But, I just want to feel awesome like that again. Actually, I do feel good. I feel much better than I have in a long time. I have tons of energy and I am eating a mostly vegetarian diet. The last time I ate meat on it’s own was at my son’s birthday party I think.

Anyway, for me, going vegetarian cuts out fast food and pizza and stuff like that. I haven’t been eating fast food or anything lately anyway. Honestly, the actual goal is vegan but I’m not brave enough to cut everything out at once, so I’m easing into it. I feel like I’m getting much healthier. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction, anyway.

No Longer Drowning!

An amazing thing happened to me yesterday! To back up a bit, our bed is crooked.  Our mattress had been on the floor for some time and when we moved to our new house and set our bed back up, it is crooked. The head of the bed is slightly lower than the foot of the bed. I couldn’t lay with my head at the head of the bed because I literally felt like I was drowning. This sent up a red flag for me because I KNOW that is an issue my Dad had before being diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. I was already scared and that coupled with the fact my heart was beating erratically was terrifying. Before I even saw the cardiologist the first time, I had mentioned this to my husband, hoping he would fix the problem with the bed. To this day he hasn’t, so I’ve slept with my head at the foot of the bed for months.

Yesterday, I was laying in the bed the right way and I wasn’t drowning!  Last night I slept the right way and woke up, not drowning! I’m very happy with my NSV. I’m actually down 35 pounds from when I had my hand surgery right after we moved in here. I’m still dangerously close to 300 pounds (279 at my last weigh in), but I am so pleased that I have signs I am getting healthier, which is my goal. I’m pushing forward and I’m so delighted!

I’ve had concerns I may not be eating enough because I’ve been dizzy and had a headache at times. I’m still working on figuring that out. I’m eating 1500 calories a day, but I’m also nursing a toddler. I guess I will just keep doing what I’m doing and push forward for my health.

Sometimes I Just Want to Run Away

Sometimes I just want to run away. Not run away from my husband or my kids even, but just run away. Start over somewhere new.  As if things would be different or somehow better in another location.

I feel like that now.  I have an urge to run. I have a husband I love immensely, four amazing children and we have a beautiful home that we got an awesome deal on. It was a miracle of sorts that we found this awesome 3100 sq foot house in our price range at the exact time we needed to move. I KNOW finding this good of a deal is not likely again. I KNOW this is where I belong, but still… sometimes… I just want to go away.

Taking care of my Mom’s garden and animals this past week has been painful in a way I had not anticipated. I miss my Dad ALOT, despite making the changes I felt I needed to. I removed his picture from the wallpaper on my phone. It’s been there for over a year. It was a picture of my husband and my father holding the giant hamburger cake that I made them for Father’s Day last year.  I feel guilty about it, both ways. I feel guilty that I’m spending so much energy mourning him, I have four kids and a husband who also need my energy. I feel guilty removing it and trying to move on, I deserve to feel this. I think it is just a part of grief…

When my husband was in Iraq, I saw a therapist. She told me that worry does not equal love. Actually, she said I didn’t really have a problem that needed therapy. She said what I was feeling was real and valid and to go get medicated to take the edge off….

When I am at my Mom’s house and my Dad is not there it is very real and a very fresh, raw feeling sorrow. I am not sorry for how things ended up. My Dad was a good man, a godly man. I have always had a jaded view of religious people. I’ve been in a lot of churches. I’ve seen a lot of so called Christians living in less than a godly manner. He wasn’t one of those people. He was a real man of God, living 100% the way he thought was right by God. He spent his last morning on Earth in his garden, a place he loved. He drank a Coke with my Mom, and I have been ever grateful that they were not fighting. She loves the drama in a way I will never understand.  He went inside, changed out of gardening clothes, sat down in his recliner and died. He didn’t take out a family on the highway. He didn’t die in front of the grandkids. He had a nice morning. We saw him 3 times that week which is unusual.  Like I said, he went in a good way.

I just miss him. I’m sad I won’t be able to see him again. I’m sad that my 2 year old won’t ever know a Grandpa. I’m sorry that my sister feels she doesn’t have a family. I’m sorry she was being such a bitch at the hospital ER the day he died. I’m sorry that regardless of the fact that my parents were raising her child and had given her many, many cars and buckets of money that she doesn’t feel she has a home to go to or a family to lean on.

My husband talks of moving away. We’ve always said we hope to retire someplace with blue water and white sand.  I doubt that there is solace there either.  I guess this is something I need to find inside myself. And I am looking.

I am very much hurting. The good news is I am not eating my feelings. I am not bottling up my pain under half a pizza or a box of donuts. Eating correctly is no longer an option. Getting healthier is no longer a choice. If I want to live to hold my grandbabies in my arms, I’m going to have to get healthier. If I want to grow old with my husband, I have to get healthy. So, I’m doing this one day at at time. Pushing on through to the healthy side.

I Stole a Dog Today!

I stole a dog today. Okay, not really. My Mom & niece are visiting her family across the country and I am taking care of her pets and garden while she is away. I had mentioned before she left that I was bringing Bugsy to my house while they were gone, but had since decided against it.is there all the time. It makes me sad to see her laying there. They have 4 dogs. Bugsy was my Dad’s favorite, I suppose. Well, it may be more that my Dad was her favorite. She loved him the most of anybody. Since his passing, she has dutifully laid at his bedroom door. She is an old, old dog. A grouchy old lady dog, really.

Yesterday, I couldn’t find her. Today I STILL couldn’t find her and I had decided I was going to the cemetery.  I have heard about dogs who, during their mourning, go find their owner’s grave. I was walking around watering plants and I heard a dog crying under their house in the the crawl space.  Picturing her seriously injured, my oldest son and I used a flashlight and crawled around looking for her. She didn’t appear to be injured but was clearly whining.

I texted my Mom who said she is just whiny. She whines all the time. We let her inside to lay by Grandpa’s door. Bugsy is a former stray who found a home. “Throw away dogs”  is what my Dad called them. Sometimes people from the city bring their dogs in the country to throw them away. They drive off leaving them to fend for themselves as they go back to their warm and dry homes. My Dad always loved animals and always had a bunch of throw away dogs. My Dad always let her in the house even though my Mom doesn’t believe animals should be inside. Bugsy was clearly a former house dog who became a throw away for whatever reason. My Mom lets her inside now because she feels sorry for her.

She just looked so pitiful sitting there by his door today. It’s hard because I MISS my Dad. I miss him a lot. I can feel Bugsy’s pain. I can feel how much she misses him and doesn’t know where he is, so maybe if she sits there a little longer he’ll show up. She’s breaking my heart. My husband has said more than once that we should bring her home with us. I scooped her hefty butt up and put her in the truck. Nestled between two kids in the backseat, she didn’t whine or cry or worse, vomit on the way home. She’s used to being inside so I think she’ll fit in just fine here until I find out if my Mom  wants her back.

BTW, I made steel cut oats in the crock pot last night. Sooooooooooo GROSS! Not the texture so much as the flavor. I put raisins in it. And it was a giant vat of grody raisiny grossness. *shudder*

Immersing Myself

One of the things I remember the most about my Dad was he never did anything half-heartedly. He gave everything 100%.  He was a minister and one Sunday when he was preaching he mentioned immersing yourself. Not like baptism or anything, but to dive deeply into a subject, surrounding yourself with it. He explained that is how people stay on track with anything. Christians may immerse themselves in the Bible, listen to Christian radio stations, subscribe to those types of magazines, watch those shows on TV. History buffs do the same thing. They read and learn everything they can about their favorite topics. They gravitate towards people with similar interests.

It can go the other way, too. People who are conspiracy theorists may see the signs of conspiracy everywhere they look. The look up websites and visit forums with like minded people. Everything they do feeds into this mindset.

I’ve thought about that often over the years. I have a relative who is very convinced that in December of this year, the world is going to end. There is NOTHING you can say to dissuade her, she was even preparing her child for what to do in the event her mother dies in the coming disaster. I say “was” because the child is a teenager and decided she needed to live somewhere else. Long story. Anyway, my relative has immersed herself in this. She can tell you everything about it because she has read and watched everything there is to read or see.

I am trying to immerse myself in being healthy. I am surrounding myself with it. I read everything I can about heart health and making better choices. I research exercises and exercise equipment. This is the main reason I joined the 3FC forum. Support is always wonderful. I needed to keep myself on track. I have a bad habit of eating/doing the wrong things because I forget I am trying to change. lol That sounds dumb but it really is the truth. It is easy to fall back into old ways. I try to read other people’s blogs and read threads on the forum so I will focus on being healthier. I think we can learn a lot from each other.

There is no perfect number on the scale that will make me feel content with my weight loss. My goal is healthy and strong. I KNOW for a fact I’m not going to be as fit as I could over 200 pounds. So that is where I’m headed first. But, today I am healthier than I was yesterday. Tomorrow, I will be healthier than today.

One foot in front of the other and I will get there eventually.

Dear Stomach Flu, Go AWAY!

My 2 year old, KittyBear, has been extra cranky and clingy for the past couple days. Every single sentence ended with “Mama?!?” like a panicked question. And he talks a lot. He generally is my shadow, but this has been extreme. I’ve heard my name a million times.

I woke up at 4 am in horrible stomach pain. Freaking stomach flu! My oldest child got it at his Dad’s house at a cook out and it’s been slowly making it’s way through the family. Blech! I’m hoping it passes soon since I’ve already had the shaking and chills.

My Mom is taking my niece on vacation so we need to feed and water her animals and water her garden while she is gone. It’s going to be a long week so I can’t really afford to be sick.

Nightmares and Birthday Cake

My son had his 8th birthday party today. For the past 7 years we have had a double birthday party for my son and my Dad since their birthdays are only a few days apart. I named him after my Dad and many people call him “Baby Grandpa” from time to time. Today the party was just for my son. I knew today was going to be hard.

I woke up sobbing this morning. I had this nightmare last night that I had went back in time to see my Dad. Ever see the Craigslist Time Traveler Ad? I had answered this and went back in time and refused to return. I drove to my Dad’s house and was running up the hill to him screaming his name. He was working in the garden and my sister was weeding beside him. I was hugging him and crying and refused to leave his side. For whatever reason my sister does not like to go to my parent’s house. It has always been my favorite place in the world.

I got up crying and started waking up kids to go to the party today. They ate breakfast and I still just couldn’t shake this horrible feeling of loneliness. I woke up my husband, laid in bed and cried on him. He is an awesome guy. He just listens and lets me cry and does his best to comfort me. I think it’s going to be a long road…

I am very happy to say though, that even though I ate hot dogs, ice cream and cake, I stayed within my calories. :) No drowning my sorrow in ice cream and cake.I am very proud of that. I have the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and before we ever left the house I had added the cake & ice cream calories so I knew where I stood calorie wise.

Zucchini Diet

If you know anything about zucchini, you probably know they grow like crazy. But I bet you didn’t know that August 8th is National Sneak Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day! lol

My garden is growing well but so far the main thing we have had is zucchini. I love zucchini. LOVE IT! I eat at least one, sometimes two, a day. I slice it lengthwise into strips and cook it on my husband’s George Foreman grill with Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb. OMG! Soooooo good!

I’m not on an actual “zucchini diet” plan or anything, I just count calories and try to eat more whole foods than processed. I figure if I can look at it and tell exactly what it is made from it is better for me than if it has a label full or words I can’t pronounce. If I grew it, even better.

Anyway, we took the kids shopping for school shoes & I got two pairs of jeans. I got my regular size (26) and a smaller size (24). I was planning to try them on when I went so I knew which size to get but my 2 year old is super cranky today so that wasn’t going to happen.  I’m going to have to take the bigger ones back!  It’s a long way from where I WANT to be, but it’s progress.

Just another reason I LOVE my garden.