Thursday, March 12, 2015

Since the husband retired from the military and we moved from SoCal to the Midwest the pounds have more than creeped on. They've basically run and jumped on. I gained nearly 30 pounds in a year. THIRTY! That's a lot. Especially when you're only 5'3" tall! Something had to be done.

I tried MyFitnessPal, which had worked well for me in the past. I tried calorie counting. I tried just watching what I ate. Nothing worked. I'd binge and be all, "I'll start the diet tomorrow." Yet tomorrow never came. Finally, I was desperate and saw Weight Watchers had a promotion. Lose 10 pounds in 2 months and they refund you the amount you paid for your 2 months. I looked at it as a bet. I figured I could bet myself that I could lose 10 pounds in 2 months. If I was wrong, then I didn't lose the weight and I was out a bit of money. If I won the bet, I lost 10 pounds and got a refund. Sounds good, right?

I'll admit, I'm not overly fond of the Weight Watchers company. The meetings feel gimmicky and more like I'm sitting in on a time share sales pitch than a support group. I could really do without hearing how "great" all the WW products are. I don't need to be told how wonderful the new workout DVD is. I don't want to be told how much their low-point snacks cost. I really want them to stop spending half the time passing products around and talking about how a special portion control plate will help me. That's the part I hate.

The part I don't hate is the accountability. I go in and get weighed on the same day every week. I'm standing there, on a scale, looking at my success or lack thereof with someone else. For me, that's a bit of structure that I NEED. I NEED to know that on Thursday morning I will be weighing in, so maybe that second glass of wine isn't a great idea. Perhaps I should avoid that granola bar, and choose an apple instead.

I also like their charms. When you lose certain amounts of weight you get charms to put on this little charm holder. It's cute, and yeah, gimmicky, but I like it. (I like bling. And sparkles. And pink.)

Today marks the one-month date to when I joined. I've lost 10.2 pounds. I'm shocked! I'm not a regular gym person by any means, and I have ate a substantial amount of my flex points every week. I'm not sure HOW this happened. The first 3 weeks I basically lost just over a pound a week. This week I lost almost 6 pounds! And no, I wasn't starving myself. I actually used all my points, and my flex points, and my active points this past week (a HUGE weekend outing accounted for most of the points. Sunday I was back to staying on track.) I think it's just that my body finally let go of a few pounds it's been holding on to these past couple weeks.

I have one more month to go on my "bet". Do I think I'll lose 10 more pounds? I really, really doubt it. I'll be happy if I do, but my original aim was at least 5 pounds a month, so if I hit that I'll be happy.  Will I stay a member of WW after the "bet"? I'm really not sure. We'll have to see how this next month goes. But so far, it's working for me.

Weight Watchers

Monday, January 19, 2015

Since moving to the Midwest we have found one single, solitary silver lining in this polar abyss: Chicago. We love Chicago. We adore Chicago. Chicago is an amazing city we remember exploring together the summer after we graduated from High School, before my husband joined the Corp and life really started. We remember taking the South Shore to the city and walking miles upon miles to find our destination, before our phones had GPS and we could afford cabs.

10 1/2 years later we still love exploring that magical city. We've taken our boys to enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry, just as I did when I was their age. (Seriously, one of my first memories is of my aunt having a wrist leash on me at MSI Chi when I was like, 3!) We've enjoyed the winter lights at Lincoln Park Zoo, and discovered the yumminess that is Riva's at Navy Pier. The boys adore the Planetarium. But that is nothing, nothing, in comparison to their love of the Metra.

My boys love the Metra like Peanut Butter loves Jelly and Sonny once loved Cher. I'm positively convinced they once believed trains to be mythical items, much like Unicorns. Then, we moved here and: "OMG! WTF! BBQ!" For reals. Awe. Wonder. Shaking in excitement. It's the highlight of their childhood, I'm sure.

Today we rode the Metra to the city and caught a cab (we once tried to take the bus; 15 minutes after the time the bus was supposed to arrive we were cold and hungry and spent the freaking $10 on a cab and have thus made cabs in Chicago a tradition on our days out). We decided Rainforest Cafe sounded good. How could the boys not love it? It's animal-y and fun and over- priced and OF COURSE they would love it. Duh!

Epic. Freaking. Fail. We walk upstairs and the youngest is smacked in the face when a waiter doesn't notice him walking past and moves his hand or arm or something. 10 minutes of severe crying follows.

We look at the over-priced menu. Hubby wants nachos, I go for the cobb salad- dressing on the side, of course. Camera guy tries to take our picture. Youngest kid sobs with horror. Picture doesn't happen. Camera guy takes a pic of the table across from us and nearly elbows my poor husband in the head. I manage to save him a migraine by hissing to, "keep your head down!" Not a great start, but hey, what more can happen?

We order. Gorillas start pounding their chests, lights flash, and my youngest freaks out with sensory issues. Yeah... that sensory/noise issue he has? Not helped by loud noises and flashing lights. I cover his ears for a good 15 minutes and rock him. Oldest kid, who craves strong sensory stimulation is wide-eyed and looking around with a, "WTF???" look on his face.

About 35 minutes later food comes. My dressing is mixed in my salad and I mention it to the waiter, who picks up the bowl and manages to spill a glass of root beer all over me. Awesome. I steal blot myself off and am happy I didn't wear my lighter sweater today. This one can hide stains better. I steal some of hubbies craptastic nachos and wait until the kids are done eating. Then my bland salad arrives.

We eat at a few bites, head to the zoo, see animals, and head to Union Station. Once home I decide rather than ordering take-out I'll actually cook. I grab some lamb out of the fridge, an organic rub, and some fingerling potatoes. Fast forward forty minutes and the lamb is in the trash and the rub smells like feet.

The youngest eats all our popcorn from Nuts On Clark (OMFG YUM!) and the oldest calls dibs on last night's pasta. Hubby is in bed already, and me? I've decided after the day I've had a juice is called for. Cheap, fermented grape juice from TJ's counts, right?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I'm for Autism Speaks: (even though a lot of people in the autism community aren't) 

I've noticed a lot of people complaining about how autism speaks wants a "cure" and supports "research" rather than monetarily supplying services. Um, yeah. This is so we can figure out what is causing autism so we can stop/prevent/lessen it. If you're fortunate enough to say autism has been a blessing for your family you obviously have a kid with HFA and no freaking clue what it's like to deal with a child drawing blood from you while have a meltdown that lasts two hours and breaking furniture. Good for you. But DON'T tell ME that we don't need a cure or to know how to prevent autism. Because while I'm fortunate enough to have kids who will most likely have highly functioning lives even with autism, it's still not a huge comfort when my eldest is stemming at 2 am and I haven't slept in 20 hours. 

That was something I posted on Facebook lately. I'm so SICK of hearing about how autism has been a blessing. I've NEVER heard a family with a kid with SEVERE autism say that. It's something I've heard families of someone with aspergers say. It's something I've heard families of someone with HFA say. But until you've had your kid draw blood from you, keep you up all night, break your furniture, and you're terrified whether they have an independent future or not, please don't call it a blessing. It's a goddamn curse. 

Autism Speaks- Why I support It

Thursday, December 5, 2013

With the move ever looming closer I have been searching for resources for autistic kids and parents in the Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana area. I will update this list as I find more.


Aspire of Illinois

Autism Society of Illinois

Autism Society of Indiana 

Chicago Autism Connection

National Autism Association of NWI

My Autism TeamThis is not a Chicagoland specific resource, but should be mentioned anyway. It's a social media site for parents and caregivers of autistic kids. What a great idea! You can search by area and connect with other local parents. Again, great idea!

This is apparently the equivalent to what in California we call the regional center. If you are uninsured they will supply special needs children with the therapy's they need.

Trade Winds NWI
They offer a summer camp for special needs kids, along with different child care options.

About Special Kids
A way to find resources all over Indiana.

I also suggest checking out Meetup. You may or may not find a group that works well for you and your child.


Chicago Tomahawks
A special need hockey league for ages 5 all the way up to senior citizens!

Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited, Inc
Therapeutic horseback riding for people with special needs. This is located in Hobart, IN.

Indoor TOPSoccer
Located in Dyer and FREE! Ages 6+

Chicago TOPSoccer

Challenger Baseball
I have found a team in Chicago, but I'm sure there are more. It's a little difficult to find a team at first. My boys have played Challengers baseball before and LOVE it!

I'm pretty sure NWI has a TOPSoccer program, but I have not been able to get any recent, accurate info about it.

Chicagoland autism resources

Monday, December 2, 2013

My autistic child is the energizer bunny on crack. If we could bottle his miraculously endless energy budgeting wouldn't be an issue.

In the last 48 hours I've had about six and a half hours of sleep. You see, when my eldest gets out of his routine (in this case, for Thanksgiving break) our entire lives go haywire. And he doesn't sleep. By the time he finally gets to sleep I'm lucky to grab a could hours of z's before my youngest wakes up.

Today is the first day back at school. The poor kid has bags under his eyes that would exceed airline size requirements, did a full day of school and two hours of ABA this evening, and is STILL running around. That's not so bad. What is so bad is the fear he may not sleep much tonight. Why, you ask? Because he's over-tired. So he may fight sleep. And this kid fights the good fight. If he so chooses it may be 1 am before I finally hit the hay.

Now let's add that in with tiling two bathroom floors to get a house ready to sell.

Coffee, anyone?

These next three weeks are likely to be mentally exhausting. I need to do a lot of DIY projects to get the house ready to put on the market, and I have two kids on my hands who are about to make a major life change. They're dealing pretty well, but it's still hard to see how much it's effecting them. I can only hope they adjust well and give them all the comfort and tools I possibly can to help them do so.

Have you made a major move with young children before? How did you handle it?

Exhausted, sleepy, and tired

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wanted: Moms of autistic kids who want to get together with and without the kids for friendship, laughter, wine, playdates, venting, and more wine. Must understand that at any given moment one of my kids may shrilly shriek and pop eardrums, may bounce from one wall to another HARD, and we may frequently have to end our outings early. A good sense of humor and appreciation for wine is preferred.

I write this post with a heavy heart. Both my awesome ninja's are autistic. That doesn't give me a heavy heart. They are awesome, independent little guys who love sports and pirates and bubbles and all things Pixar. Our family revolves around making sure they have the help they need to function and succeed at their highest possible level. For A it will be a higher level than for L. And that's ok. We do speech and OT and stimming and ABA. We do IEP's and support groups and special needs sports. We do weighted vests and a careful diet and patience and accepted and the list goes on and on and on.

It's been relatively easy- and I do cringe as I type that, but in regards to the horror stories I've heard from others in different places around the country it's truly the only word that fits- for us. We have an amazing school system with outstanding autism programs. We have wonderful therapists and the best support groups we could ask for. But now we're relocating. For the first time since the boys were diagnosed we are moving and I know we have been so, so fortunate to have so many great resources so readily available. It's more than a little scary.

To tell the truth, it's downright lonely. I've done a bit of googling and all the really great meetups in the Chicagoland area seem to be for Aspergers families. And that's great for them! They have an amazing community that really "gets it" because so many of their symptoms are so similar. It just really sucks when you're the parent of high-functioning autistic kids, don't know many people in the area, and can't find a group of your own where people "get it".

I'm not going to give up my search. I'm sure there are MANY great organizations out there that fit my description. I'm just not having any luck finding them yet.

Wanted: Moms of autistic kids in Chicago

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

After 9 1/2 years we're almost, almost done with being a military family. The husband is on terminal leave (for you non-military folk, that's when you use the leave [vacation] time you've accumulated through your military career at the end of your time in service. Usually, this time is used for job hunting.) and avidly job-hunting. I'm being Ms. Fix-It and doing so much DIY stuff to the house it's ridiculous. Tiling bathroom floors? Check. Refinishing cabinets? Check. Painting the whole freaking house (inside) myself? Check.

I'm so eager to be finished. We've had our ups and downs throughout the last decade, but if there's one word I can use for military life it's hard. I'm not just talking about deployments and training and such. It's hard watching the military not support their service members when they come back injured. It's hard to watch SNCO refuse to let junior Marines into a restaurant on a Friday because they were doing manual labor that day and wore their cammies instead of their Chucks.

I've met a lot of really great friends during this crazy ride of military life, but I'm grateful it's done and we're moving on to the next phase in our lives. I know finding normality will be a challenge, but I'm ready for it. And mostly, I'm ready to have my family in one place permanently.

Almost done