Saturday, March 24

We Maybe On Hoarders Soon

We still are not moved into this house to the level I would like. In fact when I look at certain areas of our home, I think, “This is how hoarders start.” It usually takes us 3-4 months to move into a place. Back in January I posted that we were 75% there. Well it hasn't changed. You would think that after 14 moves in 20 years we would have it down to a system. We do not. I swear it is more chaos each time because we keep adding people and lots of things each time. The goal is for there not to be a single box in the house that isn’t put away for storage or in a closet serving some purpose. The next goal is for at least one car in the garage, if not both. We usually have both cars parked in the garage by the 1st year. 

Corner of 1 Bedroom
Today, I conquered more of the kid’s clothes. I swear it is a weekly battle. I put all the winter clothes in storage bins. I put Spring/Summer outfits together for my youngest. Her sense of style and mine are not compatible. She will wear what she likes and the top and bottom don’t have to even come close to resembling a match. It goes against who I am and it is not the one thing I can compromise.  So she can pick whatever outfit she wants out of the vast array of choices matched up in her closet. I have saved all those hangers to make it possible to keep a two piece outfit together. She now has 21 outfits hanging in her closet. I did leave some odd shirts in her dresser drawers along with some very neutral bottoms that could make any combination of ensembles. It didn’t make sense to have empty dresser drawers. Underwear, socks and PJs only take up so much room.
Corner of a 2nd Bedroom

My oldest also has at least 25 different outfits she can coordinate on her own hanging in her closet or in her dresser drawers. I still need to go through all their socks. Although they have 10 inches in height difference, they are only 1 shoe size away from each other. There are still socks in their dresser that they wore 4 shoe sizes ago. I think I will look up what crafts we can do this week with old socks.

I have got to make some time later today for going through all my clothes and shoes. Access to the correct season of clothes and shoes would be an improvement. I really don’t need my fleece in my dresser drawers and boots out front in my closet. I have been hesitating to make the switch because I haven’t found time to get a pedicure. I need a pedicure so I can start wearing my slides and sandals which are still in a box.  I can’t wear capris until I can wear my slides and sandals. It is a ridiculous predicament. The start of Spring for me is a pedicure and I just haven’t found the time to go. I’m thinking it needs to be a priority this week.
How embarrasing. I have some work to do today!
If I get my clothes sorted through along with my dresser and closet cleared out, then I can get rid of more boxes.  Sigh… I must have a serious shopping problem, otherwise how do I accumulate all this stuff? It will be good to purge all my larger sizes too. It will reinforce that I can never go back.

Hopefully the garage won't look like this much longer.
Now, maybe next weekend, before it gets to hot my husband and I can tackle the garage. Speaking of tackle, I need to run up stairs a few more time, I had a Kit Kat last night while watching a movie.

Tuesday, March 20

Let Me Get Real - A Weighty Issue

I originally wrote a majority of this message back in November 2011. I didn't post it then because I was scared I couldn't stay the course, but I did.  So here it is with updates.

This past weekend our Pastor at Canyon Ridge, Kevin Odor, went over discipline. Interesting thing is that Pastor Kevin decided to use the metaphor of losing weight to discuss discipline with money.  Oh how I need to hear the message and live it.
As you may have read, God healed the hole in my heart after an amazing worship concert with Michael W. Smith at Canyon Ridge. What an awesome blessing this church was in our lives while we were in Las Vegas. We will miss the role it has played in our spiritual growth, but are assured that God will continue to bless us at our next church, Pantano Christian in Tucson, Arizona.
Anywho, back on the subject of weight loss. With the hole in my heart healed I have to focus on getting the rest of my body on the road to healing too.  Despite God’s mighty work with my heart, I am still addicted to food.  I know in my heart that I need to eat less and exercise more. As many of you know, it is easy to say, very difficult to do. 

“He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”Proverbs 5:23

I have started my committed journey today, the day after my recovery from a stomach ailment. It is a great jump start since I spent 1 complete day not eating and lost 3 lbs. Of course it wasn’t the best way to start, but you have to start somewhere.  Now I have to figure out how to stick to making better choices. I know what I have to do, but dang, it is a minute by minute struggle. Geez, I almost wish I was addicted to some drug or alcohol that could easily be removed from my home. You can’t stop eating. It doesn’t work for very long. I have gallbladder disease too with at least 1 large gallstones of 2 cm. If I let myself get to hungry or eat to much fat my gallbladder lets me know.  This requires that I eat snacks and low fat meals. That part is easy, it is keeping all the calories from all those meals and snacks below what I need to lose weight.

One of my biggest obstacles to losing weight is the psychology of it all.  I don’t perceive myself as fat until visually presented with it by pictures or by the size of my pants. Although this may sound odd, I do not see my huge self in the mirror.  I didn’t become obese until I was an adult. I didn’t struggle with my weight until my twenties. I graduated high school at 125 lbs. I was 115 lbs. when I met my husband. I then rapidly gained over 50 lbs. over 1 winter in Watertown, NY after being on Norplant (implanted birth control) and experiencing cabin fever due to over 390 inches of snow in one season. I later learned I suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder. The rest of the weight gradually crept on year after year of inactivity and overeating.

Myself and My Mom in Feb. 2011
My immediate family is obese. My father, 5’ 8” tall, died at the age of 56 over 300 lbs. My brother, 5’ 8” tall, at the age of 42 died weighing at least 400 lbs. My Mom, 5’5” tall, is morbidly obese too. My worst weight, being 5’6” tall, at one time was 258 lbs. really, not over or under exaggerating. It is all about the truth and taking off the masks. I have learned that from Mandisa, a great inspiration to me.

“Buy the truth and do not sell it: get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23

I have so many excuses it is ridiculous. Since birth I became physically ill when I exerted myself. I spent 33 years with a gaping hole in my heart that made me very ill whenever I did aerobic exercise. Can you imagine the obstacle that presents the mind. I still dream and see myself as the healthy weight I was as a young adult. I have spent decades swallowing my emotions. I have a mental illness that requires I take medications, one of which results in weight gain.  I spend hours sitting in front of a computer. I am home most hours of the day homeschooling my two daughters. I suspect one of our daughters has food neophobia so I have to keep some of the few foods (bread, cereal bars, crackers, cheese, peanut butter, and cereal) she will eat in the house. Foods that I like to overeat.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Although moving was stressful and we haven’t fully settled in, I didn’t gain any weight. This is the first move in 15 years where I didn’t gain weight.  I am down 1 pant size and that helps motivate me.  I have a few new wardrobe items left over from lighter days. Not as many as I like, but enough to not have to constantly wear baggy things.

My Mom lost weight this summer and showed up this winter weighing 40 lbs. less. At 70 years old, if she can do it, I best get off my ass and move. I have to confess that with her being within 20 lbs. of me, I have added motivation. Oh, yes, I got Momma Drama issues.

I am looking at some aspects of the 12 step programs, praying constantly and doing a bible study. I am doing some yoga, not enough, and trying not to spend as much time sitting. I still cannot walk much due to back and feet issues, but I do run up and down the stairs here at home. My own really short interval training.

So glad that I kept this blog write up from November and can post it knowing I have made progress. I will continue on this journey to healthy choices. I’d appreciate your prayers, thanks.

Thursday, March 15

Those Girls Do Like to be Crafty

Hopefully writing this won't be as traumatic as the experience. This afternoon we did a craft. This was a major production for me. I dislike any craft that requires manual cutting, massive quantities of glue, and multiple materials.  I am a perfectionist, crafts conflict with my nature. However, since I am homeschooling two girls that are 5 and 6 years old, I feel I am obligated to do it. It feeds one aspect of my needing to be the 'perfect' homeschool Mom since I struggle so much with the discipline needed to homeschool. I really would love to be one of those parents who embraces unschooling. I kinda did that the first year and in the end didn't feel I covered what I needed. After my first unschooled year my girls couldn't tell you the day of the week, months of the year or count past 20.
This year it was going to be different. I am using Math U See, Hooked on Phonics, and My Father's World. My Father's World has not worked as well as I had hoped. I have radically modified it to where we are only using the Bible Reader and Workbooks. The key is that Math U See is working fabulously and my girls read better than most of their peers. Anywho I digress.

My girls like crafts. If I did a craft every afternoon with them I would their hero. Now don't get me wrong, we do something art related everyday because they love it. Mostly we use markers, crayons, colored pencils or pens to draw. We will paint at least once a week too.  I go through a ream of white copy paper each month. I use tons of recyled pictures to print out my coupons.

Yesterday I whipped out my Cricut (I don't scrapbook) for the first time since we moved and created some Shamrocks and spring pictures. Just involves paper, scissors and glue. The simplest craft activities I can handle. However, the Cricut yesterday led to asking when we would do other crafts like we did in Vegas like with the babysitter. Oh how I miss our babysitter who would do crafts with the girls. Desperately would love to find one, but alas I am finding we can't recreate the past.
Our Cricut Creations.
Last night we found two crafts online that I thought would be somewhat reasonable to handle. A zebra picture from Busy Bees Kid Crafts and a lion with a mouth to feed from Learners in Bloom. What would I do without creative people on the internet?

Shoe print from a mary jane style Croc.
The paper I used for the shoe print & the body of the paper bag.
We started by painting the paper plates yellow. Set those aside to dry while we glued a body for the lion, picked out eyes and traced a shoe for the zebra head. I thought I was being clever and saving time by using zebra print paper (scrapbook pad). All that the zebra needed was some cutting and glue. Well unfortunately my girls are developing my perfectionism. I think we went through 10 ears, 5 manes, and 4 noses. My oldest got so frustrated that it wasn't coming together the way she wanted it to look that she quit. It didn't help that I was doing work for my youngest. I told her if she was patient I would help her too, but she decided it was her craft and that she didn't need help. She is stubborn like I am. We struggle with each others temperments. So she quit doing the zebra and joined us again when we went back to the lion.

With the lion my girls decided that it needed the mark on its forehead like Simba got from Rafiki, the baboon in the Lion King. I was fine with that until I figured out that in working with finishing the rest of the lion I kept getting orange paint on me. Why did I keep running into issues with the orange paint. Well I didn't think through the whole open mouth on the paper plate and paper lunch bag thing. They drew the mouths on, but I had to cut them out. There is no easy way of having a 5 or 6 year old put a hole in the middle of a paper plate and paper bag to have it look the way they want it. So I brought out the big guns, a box cutter. I didn't want to put holes in anything other than the plate and bag. I got a piece of cardboard to put underneath. I thought I was a genius. Little did I know that the box cutter must be dull and once you paint a paper plate it isn't so easy. So since the kids had painted on the orange before I did the holes, it was a mess. Anywho, in the end the kids adore the lions. They are running around the house looking for 'food' to feed the lions. This is when those Little People come in handy. Kids are having a blast playing King of the Jungle and occasionally breaking into scenes from the different Lion King movies.
Paper plate lion and shoe print zebra.
Other than my achy back from standing over the table for over an hour, I survived. Well the orange paint along with little pieces of paper all over the table and floor don't thrill me. Overall though it was a good afternoon doing a craft. Will I want to do it again? Not anytime soon.

My oldest daughter and I were out having Mommy and Me time today. As his special time with our other daughter my husband decided to do a craft with our youngest. She wanted a zebra who eats like her lion. I was so incredibly impressed. Take a look at the finished product. What a great Dad!
Zebra who can 'eat'

Tuesday, March 6

The Really Complete Tucson Update

We moved to Tucson and if it was a successful move or not still remains to be seen. My husband was officially retired from the Air Force, March 29, 2012.
It isn't exactly the move I envisioned. We have only connected with very few previous friends. It seems most of my previous friends are only through Facebook. I guess being gone for 3 years you find who are your real friends. The painful part of it all is that although their children all go to school, the Moms hang out for Mom Night Outs and I have not been asked to be a part of that group or been invited. I'm going to stick with the idea that it is because I homeschool, so they must think I have become a weirdo or something. I don't want to think it is because there IS something wrong with me, nope denial is more comfortable.

We live in the best school district in Arizona, literally. I think that maybe why the homeschool community here isn't as strong as it was in Vegas. There are few extracurricular activities that take place during the traditional school day. There isn't a $6/per class gymnastics here. There is no ice skating at all since the only rink here went out of business. In the last 3 months there has only been 1 field trip opportunity. The elementary co-op class we attend (K-3rd grade) is very traditional in it's structure with 20 children and 1 official parent in charge. The parent (bless her heart) has no background in education other than being a homeschool teacher. The parents are supposed to remain on site to help and oversee their child's behavior. With 20 children, there is rarely more than 2 other parents there, myself included.

For the homeschool group we belong to there is a P.E. class most Fridays at a local park. Again, it is very traditional in that the children are divided by age with my children's class being ages 4 to 6 year olds. It is a real struggle for my oldest daughter who is the size of a 9 year old (CDC growth chart). The parents do stay and wait, most sit in groups. If you are new, you have no idea where to sit and the groups make no attempt to reach out and welcome new members. It doesn't help that most sit in a circle with camp chairs and blankets. I didn't bring or even own a camp chair and can not sit on the ground for more than 10 minutes. I attempted to break into one of the groups, but after an initial self introduction, stood there feeling very excluded. However, when my husband attended in my place, they went out of their way to invite him to sit in a group even giving him a chair! Considering my husband is a wallflower in brand new social situations, I took this news very hard. I realize my husband is very good looking, but really, did I act like an alien?

We attended one playground gathering. We arrived and I surveyed the groups of women standing together and chatting. No one must have recognized me from the 4 previous P.E. classes I had attended. Eventually I found an opportunity to walk over and introduce myself, but then found myself listening to conversations that I was not included in. After standing awhile I went and sat down by myself. Then the other Moms must have finally gotten tired of standing and sat with me. It was the only bench with seats in proximity to the play set.

I watched my girls play together most of the time. Finally my oldest was playing with the older girls there, 8 years and older, but as soon as they found out how old she was, they excluded her. Then I listened to two Moms talk about the drama going on between two of the nine year olds that were 'best' friends. The one was jealous that she was playing with other children. Then they gossiped about another Mom who was not there. This is supposed to be a Christian homeschool group. Eventually my children found a very nice girl to play with and they seemed to get along great. She was 6 years old like my oldest daughter. All three of them played well. When it came time to leave, I discovered that one nice little girl wasn't even part of our homeschool group. Sigh, so even the children are so used to each other being friends that they find it hard to include new ones.

I am thinking we need to involve ourselves in a homeschool group that is either very new or less traditional.

On the bright side, one of the main reasons for returning to Tucson is working out. Both my children were adopted from the Arizona Foster Care system and have some abilities that are unique to their biological history and trauma. The girls are back in Physical Therapy with Mary O'Connell to work with their motor skills challenges and sensory integration. My oldest and I are in weekly therapy together to work on our attachment to each other. My youngest has an appointment with a Developmental Pediatrician at the end of this month. The oldest will see her again next month. I'm going to see if the Developmental Pediatrician recommends we continue with music therapy, the only decent service we were able to find in Vegas.

We are working with a HUD counselor to see about getting our payment reduced on our 6.125% interest rate mortgage on a house that is worth at least $40k less than what we owe on the house.

The medical care here is better since I can be referred off base to civilian specialist. Although, there are syringomelia, until I have another MRI to see if it is growing. Despite the monthly insurance premium and co-pays we are not used to, it is nice to know we have access to much better care.

Oh, we love our family (an uncle and a cousin) here and church too. So all in all everything is okay and I'm sure it will get even better over time. I just have come to realize it is almost like moving to a new place all over again. Now, my next order of business is to find a good babysitter. We miss Hannah in Vegas.