Thursday, March 29, 2012

Promise of a Rainbow

My Dad dancing with me at my wedding
On my drives out to Pee Dee I have had a lot of time to ponder life's happenings and spend some time alone with God this week. As Bronson and I drove out to meet his Papa yesterday I saw one of the most beautiful rainbows. It almost brought tears to my eyes and I recalled the promise of a rainbow after all storms. I immediately began to thank God for all that he has done for me. There is no prayer request too small or too large to bring to Him. He is wonderful and mighty! I think we often forget all of the things that He has done for us.

As we go into the Easter season this weekend I want to remember to praise God for everything that He has done. Out of some of my darkest times I have received God's biggest blessings. I feel that I am a stronger person in faith because of some of the trials in my life. The past 8 years haven't been the easiest for me in terms of my relationship with my dad, but God has provided me a miracle and an incredibly big answer to prayer. God has delivered my dad from an overwhelming sin of drug addiction and bad life choices to one of the greatest and most positive relationships in my life.

Some of you know that I was really anxious about my dad's release last year. When told by a close friend to not worry and hand it over to the Lord, I obeyed and was rewarded more than I ever thought possible. My dad is there in all of the ways that I need him to be. He is encouraging to me as a wife, mother, and most importantly as a child of God. I am so thankful that I once again have my dad in my life and that he can be a part of his grandchildren's lives. I truly believe that God has given me my rainbow by delivering my dad from this addiction and made him a child of God.

I am so looking forward to this Easter and being able to spend it with my family and friends. It will be nice to take a moment and thank the Lord for everything that he has done for me in the past few year. Here is just a list of some of my known answers to prayers in the past year, I am obviously forgetting many:

  • My son is healthy
    • Many premature infants are being prayed for and growing into happy, healthy babies.
  • My dad accepted Christ as his personal savior
  • Three of my close friends have desired to have a personal relationship with God
  • My marriage is strong and healthy. My husband is my answer to prayer.
  • My sister Ashley was cured of cancer.
  • Kyle and I both have jobs that we love
  • I saw my dream of becoming an instructor at WOU become a reality
  • Many of my friends/family members were delivered from sickness
  • My friend got pregnant!
  • My family is healthy
  • My relationship with God is continuing to grow.
These are some of the prayer requests that I have personally seen answered that are part of my life. Have you thought about everything He has done for you?

Healthier Me: For My Family

Bronson and I Skyping
When I learned that I was pregnant with Bronson I immediately made changes to my lifestyle. I no longer consumed anything that was deemed unhealthy for pregnant women and of course tried to maintain healthy food choices. There wasn't even an option of "cheating" or ingesting things that would cause any problems for my baby. I was thinking about this as I drove Bronson out to Pee Dee a few days ago. Why is that we as women take such good care of ourselves during pregnancy, but often put our health on the back burner once our children are born? During my nearly 30 weeks of pregnancy I would have done anything to keep Bronson in longer. I would have remained on bed rest for as long as they required. I was so concerned about the health and safety of my babies. I think that it is important that parents also take into consideration their health after the birth of their children.

It is important to remember that taking care of your own health is important to the life of your child. Not only am I happier when I am healthy, but also I can add years to my life by maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. I also don't want to ever be one of those parents that has to avoid being active in Bronson's life because of my health or unhealthy weight. I want to experience each and everyone of his milestones with open arms and relish in the memory without thinking back on avoiding it because of a problem I was having. This has really helped me to remain strong during this personal journey.

The other big motivator for this weight loss has been my husband. Kyle and I started dating when I was 15 years old. I know that I will never and should never be under 100 pounds again, but I do have to acknowledge that my husband originally was attracted to a very thin girl. I know without a doubt that he remains in love with me despite any weight gains, but I also know that it isn't fair to not care about my appearance and weight in the area of my marriage. My husband works very hard to maintain a very healthy lifestyle. He has always been very health and fitness conscience and is one of the most physically fit people that I know. I think that continuing on my get healthy path is one that will continue to help strengthen my overall life, but also add more to my marriage. Kyle is enjoying having me be able to do things with him and hopes that eventually we will be able to work out together. I started doing my workout plan yesterday and hope that I meet the goal of doing more workouts with my husband by the end of summer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Birds and the Bees

Saturday was a beautiful day in Dallas. Kyle and I both took full advantage of the weather and took turns taking drives in the Corvette. Kyle and Bronson's drive took several hours as they took a little detour and stopped to play at a local park. After about 2 hours away I thought I would give them a call and I think I have never made my husband more happy with a phone call before. His immediate response was, "Oh, saved by the bell." When I asked him what he meant he said that Bronson had been asking repeated questions about how babies are made and how they get out of their mommies bellies. I asked Kyle what he had said and he just handed the phone to Bronson. I asked Bronson if he got the answer he was looking for, but he still wanted more of an answer. He just kept circling around with his dad's response.

I guess that Kyle told him that babies are made when a mommy and daddy love each other very much and they decide to have a baby by spending some time alone together. He said then mommy gets pregnant and has a baby. When asked again how they get out of the stomach if they don't have a scar like mommy, Kyle explained that some babies come out a different way and just gestured. Bronson seemed satisfied with this answer. As Kyle and I spoke later that afternoon we both couldn't figure out why Bronson kept asking about the Birds and the Bees. I had already given him a similar response earlier in the week. We decided to ask Bronson why he was so curious.

His response made total sense. Well, I know that you said it is when a mommy and daddy really love each other they can make a baby, but what if there is no daddy?AH HA, my kid was totally analyzing the fact that our definition didn't ring true for each and every woman he currently knows that is pregnant. He is obsessed with asking about babies and demands a sibling on a daily basis, but he still can't wrap his head around how they get here. I don't think that either of us are ready to share the entire process with him, but we also feel that our definition might have caused more confusion than answers. Kyle and I both thought we had years before we would be contemplating how to explain this to our son.

Month One Flies Away

Saturday marked one month down since I started this wonderful life-changing diet plan. I feel amazing. I do recognize that I require an earlier bedtime and my body doesn't allow me to stay up at all hours of the night doing projects, but I don't really mind calling it quits at 9pm. There is really nothing too important that I need to stay up beyond this time.

When I stepped on the scale Saturday morning not only had a reached my official 1st goal, but I was one pound under. I am so glad to be leaving that decade of weight behind. In reality I have lost a total of 14 pounds since starting this journey. One thing that I would like to point out is that I have actually went out to eat on a number of occasions on this diet and still been able to maintain a healthy choice plan.

Two suggestions that I would make to other people in my situation is to right away think about what you can have, rather than focusing on what you can't have. Also, ask the waitress what they have for alternatives from the starchy sides that they normally offer. I was pleasantly surprised last week with some amazing sauteed veggies at North Dallas. Sometimes you will get more flavor by ordering the suggested "lighter" version for a side than you would get by ordering the potatoes or rice. Ruby Tuesday's mashed cauliflower was actually pretty good too.

I am beginning to feel like this "diet" will actually start feeling more like a lifestyle change. I enjoy feeling healthier and seeing the numbers come off on the scale. I think I might actually jump for joy when I lose just 8 more pounds and I thought it would take me until summer to see that number again. I am looking forward to several summer activities that include water sports and I would like to be comfortable wearing shorts/capris this season without having bad body image issues. Bring on Month Two!

Friday, March 23, 2012

No More Quick Stops

Mr. Personality (Requests McDonald's on a Daily Basis)
Tomorrow marks a full month since I have started making healthier choices in regards to eating. It has not been the easiest month of my life, but it is doable. Total pounds lost to date is 12 so I am feeling pretty good about that. I was really hoping to be one pound down so that I could leave this decade of weight behind, but Kyle keeps reminding me that maintenance and perseverance is going to help me get to my goal, not instant gratification. Kyle has been incredibly supportive during this time, but I also wonder how my "diet" is affecting Bronson. He has mentioned the world a couple of times while he is eating his vegetables. Mostly to say, "Mommy, I am on a diet too"  as he munches some green beans. I don't really know how to respond to him with this because I don't want him to think that eating vegetables is only what people on diets to. (To let you know, we have always eaten vegetables, but now it is an every night staple for me.)

Our biggest struggle is making Bronson aware that some of the earlier food choices that we would let him have such as McDonald's are more than likely not going to happen. My child does not have any type of weight problem; however, I do not think that he is needs to consume over processed hyper generated non food items. I don't think that it is going to hurt him to on occasion have a splurge, but I do not want fast food to be a part of his common food vocabulary. I find many people that have a quick response to say that he needs all the calories he can get because he needs to gain weight, but the last time I checked I don't think eating garbage constitutes for healthy nutrition. I am not trying to get on a soap box here, but I really am struggling with converting my healthy lifestyle changes into my child's nutrition. I used to be so hyper vigilant about each and everything that Bronson consumed, but I have found since enrolling him in daycare and having him in other daily activities I have less control over what he eats. His daycare is amazing at getting him to eat lots of nutritious foods and even getting him to eat things that I can't get him to eat at home, but the kid still is begging for McDonald's. I think that he is having withdrawals.

I am unable to make those quick stops. I have taken the advice of my friend and plan ahead. I often have several snacks in my handbag that I can pull out when I am feeling tempted to eat something on the road or to justify stopping for french fries for Bronson. I am hoping that someday soon he stops asking for the unhealthy quick stops and realizes that the snacks I prepare for him are much more tasty.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No More Facebook

After months of going back and forth with the decision I have decided
to take an unknown (perhaps permanent) vacation from Facebook. I am
not making this decision lightly or without a lot of carefully thought
out reasons and nights praying. The idea has been on my heart for a
few months and finally today after reading yet another blog about the
problems with social media my thoughts and feelings were reaffirmed.

I will never underestimate the power that social media has had on my
life both positively and negatively. It was my anchor to the real
world during the months following Bronson's homecoming from the NICU.
It has also been a source of keeping those connected in his growth and
development a record of all the past four years of life as Facebook
wasn't part of my life until after his birth. Facebook also was the
main social media outlet that my family chose to use during the period
of time that my little sister faced her most difficult and life
altering surgery to cancer back in August. I will never underestimate
the power of it's ability to get the word out quickly to others when
information is needed or prayer is wanted. I could continue to explain
the positive experiences that Facebook has provided including
connecting with long lost friends, organizing my ten year HS reunion,
keeping up to date with other preemie parents, and of course being
able to see pictures of my friends and family members, but remember I
am choosing to deactivate my account for awhile.

Two months ago I sat across the dinner table with two women that I
value deeply. We discussed the negative affects that social media has
had on our friendships, the youth, and even in some very extremely sad
situations our families. We all took turns explaining the obvious that
Facebook can be used as a media to bully or say things to others that
haven given the same opportunities in person one might be a little
reserved in being so bold. Facebook has also took the privacy element
out of many things that once we held as sacred or things that should
be kept confidential. I have learned things about people's marriages,
life struggles, and day to day life that still to this day shocks me
that it was shared. Sadly the things the people put on Facebook can't
be erased, even if the user chooses later to remove the conversation.
Chances are that by the time you have removed the comment at least 25
percent of your friends have viewed the thread; for me that means that
125 people would have just witnessed my bad conversation decision via
Facebook.

One of our biggest dilemmas that we discussed is whether Facebook is
helping or hurting our friendships. None of us could honestly make a
decision, but did feel that it does create room for us to be more
superficial and less steadfast in our prayer life. It is super easy to
read through your current status updates while "liking" someone's
status and promising to pray for them, but even easier to forget by
the time you have scanned the items of what exactly you just promised
to pray for. One of us suggested making a conscience effort to stop
what we were doing immediately and commit the request to pray or to
our daily prayer journal. Once I made this effort I did feel a bit
better, but still something about my "friendships" on Facebook kept
nagging me.

I slowly begin to think about the amount of "friends" I have on
Facebook and whether I needed to remove some people. I truthfully went
through my list a handful of times trying to decide if it was
appropriate to unfriend certain people. In 99 percent of the cases I
truly know these people and felt that an unfriending would not only
serve no purpose but might perhaps hurt someone's feelings and that
would never have been my intention. I then decided to speak to a
colleague of mine that chose to remove everyone from his Facebook that
was not family. I thought about doing this also and using Facebook
merely as a way to share updates and pictures amongst family, but once
again I would not want anyone to think I removed them for some
dramatic purpose.

When I had this conversation with my friends a couple of months ago we
all brought up that we felt that Facebook could be the culprit for
many hurt feelings and superficial relationships. It is so hard to
know the true tone of one's voice via a texted message. It is also
easy to assume that because someone is your friend via Facebook that
they are currently up to date in your life. I will never forget the
time nearly two years ago when a friend of mine was mad that I didn't
know about her dad's health issues because she had mentioned it via
Facebook. At the time my work was not attached to social media and I
didn't check status updates on a regular basis. I was dumbfounded to
realize that people actually expected others to know everything about
their life via Facebook. I knew this past week that I also had assumed
the same thing when I spoke with a friend and assumed that they knew
about my sister's battle with cancer because of Facebook. Just today I
witnessed a perfect example of this when a friend posted that she no
longer had any cancer treatments and one of her friends commented that
she had no idea she had been battling cancer for the past year. The
snotty side of my reaction was to say, "Really, where have you been?"
but then I took step back and realized that perhaps this friend didn't
subscribe to the other's feed or wasn't the type of user that visited
pages individually. Not all users of Facebook are savvy enough to know
exactly how to use the system.

In the height of some of my darkest hours Facebook has been used as an
outlet of attack against me and my family. At that time I thought very
strongly about removing my account but chose to keep it for two
important reasons; connecting to other NICU parents and because of my
work with March of Dimes. I wanted to have a way to share mass amounts
of media quickly with those that are interested in an important
mission. Even when comments or behaviors have resulted in tears or
failed communication I felt that the good out weighed the bad. I have
now realized that I can not only administer pages for both my
professional and personal missions, but that I can do so without
having a personal investment in the social media outlet. My focus for
NICU outreach will once again become my blog and I will continue to
keep Deets Angels via Facebook as an ongoing effort to connect with
NICU parents. I will make every effort to utilize email connections to
connect with those in need of NICU support. In a recent study given to
a small group of students the majority agreed that they are more
likely to read and take seriously an email generated by a
friend/business/department than they are a status update or event
invitation via Facebook. I could go on about these online invitations
too. I am not without blame for using them to create a large following
or to cut down on paper waste, but I also contend that I do not take
an invitation via Facebook to your kid's 1st birthday as seriously as
I would a mail or hand delivered invitation.

The following reasons are the analysis that I used to make this big decision:

Having no Facebook will require me to maintain active and meaningful
relationships with my friends via the phone or email.

I will miss the easibility of seeing my nephew's picture via Facebook,
but currently do without seeing Olivia's pictures and am able to
manage.

I will have more time to do actual stuff. Those people that truly want
to know what is going on in my life will make the effort to do so and
I will do so for them.

I will be instilling a level of privacy back in my family and professional life.

I will be less likely to get annoyed on a daily basis from somebody's
status update or inability to withhold information that should remain
private.

My friends and I will have something to talk about besides Facebook.
It might seem funny, but I do not want this social media outlet to
have so much ownership in my conversation and personal life. It truly
zaps the life out of me at times.

I don't know how long my hiatus will last. My favorite teenage
babysitter is giving it up for lent and said other than having more
freetime she doesn't really miss it. I wonder if after a few weeks it
won't seem like such a big decision. For me it has been a struggle
because after all my position at work requires the connection, but I
feel strongly that this is the best decision for me and my family.

You can still connect with me here on my blog or via email
Deets-girl@hotmail.com. I would also be happy to share my number if
you are so kind to message me. Our Deets Angels: In Heaven and On
Earth Facebook page will remain open and able to view for March of
Dimes updates and as always my March for Babies site remains open. It
is 2012 after all and I can't remove all forms of social media from my
life; just the ones that have caused sleepless nights.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Friends: Amber's Edition

As I was searching online trying to find others dealing with the same situations as mine I found a wonderful blog titled, Friends. I can relate to a lot of statements that Stuart Buck makes in regards to being married with kids and finding it more difficult to create new friendships. These past couple of months have been a very deep and down self reflection period. As I refuse to cry over things that provide me little or no answers I have spent much more time reflecting and making changes to myself. One of those changes is to focus on the positive. I do have friends. I have what this author refers to as soul mates. One of my friends since 6th grade is someone that I talk to nearly daily. We are each other's morning coffee as we go over our nightly activities and the cute things that our 3 kids under 4 are doing. Often we will also call each other first when our kids are experiencing something and we think that the other might know what is going on. We don't get to see each other often, but I know without a minute of hesitation that she is there for me in a second and she knows that I would do anything for her.

Several of my other friendships have started by going to the same church for the past nearly 10 years. It is always nice when Kyle and I both mesh with the couple and we can share family activities. We have a couple of these families that we have impromptu dinner/activity nights. It seems during cold/flu season that these become more infrequent because Kyle and I are extremely paranoid about germs and try as much as possible to keep our little boy from getting sick.

As I have spent time reflecting about making changes in my life I have evaluated what I am looking for in a friend rather than how few friends I have. My friend Jodie often says that I have lots of friends. I agree with her statement, but I would rather invest time in those friendships that are deep than have several "surface" level friendships. I am striving to provide my friends with trust, integrity, and most of all compassion and love. It isn't the easiest thing to do to always just listen and not react, but often it is what is expected of us. When is the last time that you just sat and listened to a friend without giving them advice? When is the last time that you truly kept that secret? I am in no way perfect, but I am making leaps and bounds in the areas of trying to be a good friend and in return it is improving the biggest friendship of all; my relationship with Jesus.

Kyle and I both want our marriage to be centered on Jesus and realize that to do this it requires keeping your morals and integrity in check at all time. Make sure that you are being a positive reflection to those around you, rather than allowing them to pull you down into their destructive path. I know that this friendship blog tends to ramble, but I really wanted to share some stuff from my heart.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

10 Pounds Down

I have lost 2 of these

I have officially lost 10 pounds. I wanted to wait at least 3 days until I made the official announcement. My new mantra is weight off, not on. It has kept me from cheating. I started the Metformin this past Saturday and so far have had minimal side effects. I did wake up last night dreaming that my stomach was in pain and realized quickly that they dream was associated with real life stomach cramps. I have had a few days that my cravings for coffee related drinks and sweets have nearly made me give up, but I keep on reminding myself of all of the benefits of losing this weight. I am really hoping that by next week I can lose at least 2 more pounds. If I lose 2 more I can be in the next decade which is a big deal and will mean that I have left 2 decades since my weight loss. Things are looking good on this journey of weight loss!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weight Loss 2012

Kyle and I recently went to the doctor's to talk to him about all of the different struggles that I have been having with my health/weight. The doctor was incredibly helpful and encouraging. His first suggestion was that I should immediately start taking Metformin for my "insulin sensitivity" caused by PCOS. I have known since the age of 23 that I have had endometriosis, but the diagnosis of PCOS is relatively new. When I was originally given the diagnosis last spring I was a bit shocked; however knew that something just didn't seem right with my system. My doctor's clinical diagnosis at the time was PCOS and suggested that if Kyle and I wanted to have more children that we would more than likely have to consider a bit of fertility treatment. When I asked about the weight gain he didn't seem too concerned.

Here is the background of the weight struggle:

  • Married in 2003 wearing a comfortable size 6
  • During my 2 1/2 years of working at the hospital I gained over 25 pounds. I was extremely stressed and the doctor's had me on a variety of different hormone related medications for my Endometriosis.
  • Graduated from my master's in 2006 (Walked in 2007), wearing a comfortable 10/12 depending on the day
  • Got pregnant in June of 2007 wearing 10/12 and instantly started losing weight due to being so sick. All of my maternity clothes were size 8 and even some size 6.
  • Gave birth in December 2007 having gained only 17 pounds.
  • Six weeks after Bronson was born I had lost all of my weight and then some. I continued to lose weight rapidly during the next 15 months while I feverishly pumped. I was within 2 pounds of my wedding weight and back into a comfortable size 6 in February 2009.
  • By summer of 2009 I had already gained nearly 25 pounds of weight. Nothing in my diet had changed and I was continuing to walk nearly every day with Bronson in the stroller. I actually went back to the doctor's because I was so concerned. They said that everything was "normal" due to the fact that I had quit nursing.
  • By the end of 2011 I was gradually climbing to my all-time heaviest and alarmed when after 1 1/2 years on Weight Watchers I was gaining and unable to lose any weight.
This means that when I walked into the specialist's office on the 24th of February that I was almost certain that he would discuss my weight. He didn't mention a thing about the fact that I nearly weighed the same as my husband. He discussed the fact that he was worried about my ability to process sugar and thought that Metformin was the solution for my problems.

As of today I still have not heard back from my original doctor to prescribe the medications. I feel that this is a blessing in disguise. I immediately started the suggested diet for those with PCOS who are overweight. I have not eaten a single thing that I am not supposed to for the past 7 days and I am already down over 5 pounds. I know that this won't happen every week, but it was the encouragement that I needed.

I thought that this weight loss adventure was going to be another difficult one but with the thought of being able to avoid Diabetes and other life altering diseases I am pushing forward. In all seriousness I really haven't missed anything that I thought I would. I thought it would be very hard to give up my fluffy coffees, but when I realized the money that I would be saving it made perfect since to give it up too. My friend put it into perspective last night about how you can feel so great after saying no to a sweet. As you sit across your friend/acquaintance that has consumed nearly 500 calories in one cupcake you have sat there enjoying the conversation without one unneeded calorie to think about later.

Before Pic

My goal, no not to get a side hug from my husband
I know that people like to see before and after pictures. This picture is a post of me mid-week of my first week. I almost untagged myself in the picture because I hated it so much, but I thought it is better to look at it as a point of reference rather than be too harsh. I will try to keep up on this blog about my get healthy adventure!