So here I stand….

I have started this post and deleted it time and again. I don’t have direction or intent. What do I want to write about? What do I have to share? Where have I been? What am I doing? How is life according to weight loss surgery? Does weight loss surgery even play as much of a role in my life as it did a few months ago? Am I once again redefining normal and redefining who I am? It seems I am.

I have made a conscious effort to disengage from facebook a bit, as I think being as deeply involved with it as I was, changed my perspective on a lot of things. So, cross addictions being what they are… I have found Pinterest and let me just tell you… I AM THE BIGGEST PIN HEAD OF THEM ALL! I’ve been dubbed “pin head” by the beloved Haven of http://www.blessmysouthernheart.com

Pinterest is inspirational for me. I sat there for a few days WISHING I could do a lot of the things I was seeing. Wishing I could have a lot of the things I saw. And then I asked myself why I was wishing and not doing? How much of my life had I sat on my ass wishing? This past year was all about doing! So, I started to do.

First I started cooking better for my family. HOLY MOLY, pinterest has some awesome crock pot savvy meals! I was cooking up so much that my mommy and daddy bought me a new crock pot and two AWESOME cook books to go with it!

Next I decided to tackle the house. Here is where I have to explain a little. Having four children in a very tight age group, I have always said that my house is my children’s home. I was never one to apologize for the toys and chaos strewn about. I have never been one to want my children playing in their rooms. I have wanted them on the same floor I was on. I needed to hover, they were/are/always will be devious little monsters who get into things you can’t even begin to imagine. Anyway, I digress…. they are now of an age, where I can allow them to be out of sight, and also expect them to be responsible for their own belongings.  With that in mind, I decided to start reclaiming my home. Toys were evicted from the front parlor room, formerly known as the toy room and now known as the Christmas tree room, soon to be known as Momma’s space. My husband’s love of junk mail clutter was evicted from my kitchen. All clutter was evicted from the kitchen. The dining room was also taken over by the crazy woman who possessed the momma. And son on and so forth.

Finally, I found myself admiring doodle art. I was spending hours upon hours of time looking at people’s doodles. I learned that there are names to certain types of doodles like zendoodle and line weaving. zensplosions and zenspirations. Seeing the word “zen” attached to the doodles made me reflect a bit. When I was young there was no surface that was safe from me. Oh my mother would get so angry with me as I would color in the squares of  plaid school uniform, write on the rubber sole of my shoes, draw on my jeans. I loved the feel of a roller pen on recycled paper, and the feel of a marker on a new vinyl binder. I loved the way a paper bag sucked in the ink of a sharpie marker. The sensory satisfaction I got from doodling made me content! But, it was just doodles. It wasn’t artistic. It was mindless, scribbles that felt good. hearts and circles, and hearts and clouds. Bubble letters and typical teenage angst crap. You know the type.

I got my very first journal a few days before Christmas. First I played with the back cover, then the back page. Eventually I moved on with a little confidence to do a whole page, and I completed it, then I completed my second and now I’m onto my third. I’m developing my own ways. I put pen to paper with no idea of whats going to come of it and by the end it just ends up as it is.

My doctor told me a while ago that I needed to find a way to silence my mind. To just relax and unwind, stop over thinking and just be free. I don’t really know how to free my mind, but I think that with pen and paper in hand I’m pretty close to figuring it out.

So this is where I am, this is where I stand. I’m holed up in my house, being anti social, reclaiming my life, being stingy and selfish and loving it.

Do You Got Game?

Every where I turn I’m seeing these animals. Game, Fowl, chicken, rooster… cock a doodle doo! I posted about this on facebook while my husband was in surgery and my friends were all over it and some even sent me their own pictures to add. So here we are, a full out blog post dedicated to the protein of the season!

My sister has this centerpiece on her dining room table. Every time I see it, I make inappropriate comments about it. She loves it, its art. “A beautiful piece of art!”

It’s a huge rooster with muti colored tail feathers.

My resonse, typical Michelle style is “nice giant cock on the table Sue.” or “where ever did you find a cock of that caliber?”

My niece and I have had a grand ol’ time at this rooster’s expense and Suzanne has gotten down right PISSED OFF at us about it! You see, this is really quite a cherished bit of art. She loves him.

When we were in New Orleans we went to brunch at Dickie Brennan’s. As you walk in they have a similar giant rooster with colored tail feathers on a table. I missed my sister at that moment. So I sent her a text of Dickie’s cock.

Yesterday I was shopping in Costco. As I walked the main path in there it was, staring me in the face! Multicolored tail feather plumed for show. A giant cock to adorn the average holiday table!

My Friend Hope Sent me a picture of the lil guy she just picked up:

I think it needs to be noted that my very all time favorite, “made me roar with laughter, cry and gasp for breath” blog post that I have EVER read is from the very famous Bloggess, and truth be told, when I busted my sister’s chops over her cock… I had to pull out my laptop to let her read about Beyonce. No…. not THAT Beyonce…. this one…..

http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/

Go read that right now!

And because I’m not the only one of my friend’s who was touched by Beyonce.. I’m happy to introcduce you to Charlie, who is loved and adored by his owner Valerie:

I have a few things to say before I wrap this up.

#1: My sister Suzanne was ahead of the curve when it came to the IN thing with home decor

#2 There is man who didn’t let his wife buy towels, that spurred some crazy chicken fascination.

#3 this little Facebook note took off so much that it has become a blog post. My girlfriends are seriously SERIOUS about their love of ROOSTER!

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The cocks keep showing up. My sister Robyn sent me these two dancing. I think they’re fighting, but art is up for interpretation.

Body Morphing, its just a strange thing

Here I am 13 months post vertical sleeve gastrectomy. The honeymoon phase is waning. The need to make a conscious effort is apparent. A few days of bad choices equals a few numbers increased on the bitch of a scale. Damn that scale.

So, anyway, its a funny thing, the way a bariatric body changes. We have a body type. Those of you who are bariatric know what I mean. We morph in stages. Top first, melt melt melt. WHOA.. look at those cheek bones just days/weeks/months out. Then the neck, collar bones. Around 8 months out my waist changed, then I had to really work to get my legs to slim down… they were just hanging on to weight like potato sacks. Now here I am, slimming down again, and my waist is slimmer, my legs are slimmer and suddenly my face and neck and collar bones are slimming again.

There is amusement in this. I admit to being fascinated by the bari-body. The pre-pastics bari-body. We are identifiable. While we are proud of our weight loss, the way our bodies morph is often a bone of contention with many of us. The loose skin, the areas in which it hangs, the way the excess settles in areas such as our hips or lower belly, thigs, batwings, ankles, toes… what ever. Ahh thank the universe for the joys of the digital camera, the ability to take a photo and delete a photo, edit a photo and play with a photo. Thank the universe for the ability to connect with other body morphing freaks like me, who totally get it when I pinch the flap of skin on my hip and ask “What in the hell is THIS? What do I do with THIS?” and for those who laugh at me when I joke that “If a hurricane were to hit right now, at least we could all deploy our loose skin and parachute to safety” Its our super power. Flexi skin FTW!

Next time I  post a picture of myself and you wonder why I often post face pics, understand that the answer is this…… There is NO loose skin in my face, my neck or my shoulders! It is easily photograph-able with out needing to suck, push, roll or hide anything. When there are full body shots, I assure you that they are carefully selected, there are slimpressions worn to pull in the excess hangage, and they are shared painstakingly.

Stages of morphingI was recently asked if my brain is finally catching up to my body. I had to think about this for a day or two. I suppose it is. When trying on clothes I still grab one or two sizes too large. I still have anxiety trying on smaller sizes. Mind you, there is VICTORY in getting my ass into a size 12  and more so in the need to go try on a size 10… but there is also anxiety that comes along with going to grab those 10’s and carry them into the fitting room. But yes, my brain is there. I know I need the smaller size. I DO see it. I DO like it. I’m totally NOT bitching about it! YEEHAW to cute jeans! WOOHOO to skinny jeans! And YIPPY to the fact that this fall I will get myself a pair of boots because my calfs are thin enough to wear them! SO there! LOL

I digress, the point is… we are constantly in a stage of morphing. I don’t know that it matters how far out we are either. We just change shape every few months, bounce back to a shape, then revisit another shape. We are shape shifters, body morphers… we have super powers so watch out!

I went home….Part I

As my previous post stated, I traveled from Georgia to New York with my kids. I use to live in NY. It is where I was born and raised. Some of my family is there, my best friend is there, my past is there and its always going to be home to this Yankee chick.

When we first arrived we drove past Long Island, past Westhester and toward Poughkeepsie NY where we met up with my friend Hope and her clan Olen, Reid, Eliya and Lincoln. Hope and I became friends back in the days of my pregnancy with Kailey while on a baby board for February 2002 babies. Olen and Kevin are the same age, about a week apart. While we have not seen each other in years (actually 4 children or so ago), we have always kept in touch. Hope and the Feb mommas (both 02 and 03) were my life line, when I had little hope left in the world. It was a calm, comfortable meeting while the kids all ran a muck around Chuck E Cheese! Love you Hopey!
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Later that afternoon we traveled another hour south east and arrived at my sister Suzanne’s house. The kids hopped out of the car and almost immediately made friends in the neighborhood, and began playing outside. I know I have made mention of this before, but I am so proud of the fact that my kid play outside! They are not drone children, attached to electronics and sitting on their butts. They are active and happy and living the type of childhood that I had, and that many kids their age only see on TV!

Suzanne came home and we were instantly comfy, entertained, fed and loved. We set the kids up in one room, and shuffled their tired little butts to bed, with hopes of having a nice quiet sisterly night. There were whining kids, but the night still ended up with sisters, sushi and martinis. Ahhh… creature comforts!

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The following morning we herded the children, including my beautiful niece Kristin (Krissi, as she prefers to be called, will never cross my lips), who happens to be a 25 yr old child in my book. Yes, herded them all into the car and off we went for a trip to the Bronx Zoo. Face painting, animals, lunch, rides, butterfly gardens and a 4D movie later, we headed to the store to gather some things for dinner. Suzanne and I walked into the grocery store as well as a foodie boutique looking like this:

Embrace the day, love your inner child

There were small debates as to how sane it was to walk into such places, in my sister’s town, looking like we just escaped the circus, but alas, we embraced the inner child and said “fuck it!”! We all know, very well, that you only live life once! These are the moments to remember, and I’m pretty sure the kids as well as a few locals will remember us walking into Susan Lawrence looking like this!

Sunday arrived and we went to a beautiful park on the Hudson River. Suzanne packed us a great picnic lunch, and we instantly soaked up the day with smiles, and laughter, kids looking out over the water, and everybody doing their best to climb a tree!

On the Hudson

When we left the park, we headed home to have a lovely dinner with Kristin and Lamar. Lamar was introduced to the children, and he didn’t run in fear, as they climbed on him like he was a human tree. They adored him, as do the rest of us.  I promised Lamar no photos of him on facebook. This is not facebook. Here is the mystery man being adored!

Sunday was my last night at Suzanne’s. Monday morning we headed to Christina’s in Long Island. I will write more about that leg of the journey later.

To end this post I want to point out that 140 + pounds ago, I would have struggled with a trip like this. I would have struggled to keep up, have energy, be comfortable, and the joy would have been overshadowed by the unhappiness. That unhappiness was captured in many photos over the years. These photos, this time around, do not shadow anything. There is joy, there is peace, there is fun, and there is pride.Most of all, there is love. And its quite clear.

My largest non scale victory is simply the fact that surgery helped me to achieve a quality of life that obesity robbed me of.

 

Life is good when…

Today I had tremendous non scale victories. I wore a bathing suit, spent the day out doors, in July heat and humidity and was comfortable. I didn’t seek the shelter of the house. I enjoyed my family and my friends, with out worrying about what I looked like or what others thought of me. BUT… MOST OF ALL… I played with my kids, made memories and was that person that I had hoped surgery would help me to be. I was a mom who was able to not only keep up with her kids, but who was able to enjoy them too.

Life is good. I am blessed. These are just a few of my many blessings.

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900 miles

On Wednesday, I headed out with the kids for a road trip to NY.
We stopped in Raleigh where we got the chance to visit some friends & spend some time with my family there. Thursday we drove through to Maryland, and I was grateful for the chance to get off of the road and into a bed.
On Friday we headed out, and drove up to NY, where again, we were delighted to spend time with Friends and then more time with family!
My sister had us at her place for a few days, bless her heart! I think the whining will be missed terribly. But she is a great sport, and didn’t pull her hair out or stick anything into her ears to drown out the noise.
Over the weekend we went to the zoo, had a picnic on the Hudson River, spent quality time with my Sis and my niece and soaked up the love.
Today I left Suzanne and headed to Long Island.
I am writing this from the basement of my best friend’s home. My children are sprawled out, 2 on a pull out couch, 1 on an air mattress, 1 on the chaise lounge of the sofa. The day was filled with laughter and screams, water slides, pools and swings. Sun, coffee, juice boxes, and the beauty that is our children picking up exactly where they left off last time they saw each other.
There was no shyness, no awkward moments. Just 7 kids who have known each other forever, being their individual selves, caution to the wind, because when you are with friends who love you, you have confidence that they are just as silly as you are.

While I miss my husband and my Ruby, I have driven 900 miles from my house in Ga, to finally be home, where my heart will always be. Long Island is in my blood. These are my people. There is a contentment here that I have not felt in years.

Tomorrow I will see my brother, sister in law & nephew. Wednesday I hope to get to the ocean. Thursday I start the treck back to the south.

900 miles. What on earth were we thinking? I’m going to soak in as much as I can, my heart is light, smile on my face, babies are delighted, family is loved, best pal, soul sister makes the world feel balanced. Some things do not change.
I pray that these kids, as they get older, appreciate the ties that bind. Surely they have them, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

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Bari-Family

Once upon a time, a sort of big guy dated a sort of chubby girl, they got married, had babies and got obese together. The now obese wife decided that life was meant for living, and decided to have bariatric surgery to help her reach her goals of living.

A few months later, the obese wife, became a smaller version of her former self, and resembled her younger self more and more. The obese husband struggled with his emotions, trying to deal with the changes that were happening before his very eyes.

Eventually the obese husband discussed the possibilities of bariatric surgery for himself, first with his doctor then with his wife. While apprehensive to under go any form of surgery, he realized that at the rate he was going, he wouldn’t see his children graduate high school. Having lost his own father, much earlier than he should have, he decided to go forward with his plan to have weight loss surgery.

Today the obese husband has been under doctor’s care for  5 months. He went for all of his pre surgical testing, his surgeon consult and his nutritionist appointment. Today, it all became real for him, as he left the doctor’s office and the doctor said “next time I see you will be on the day of your surgery”

One month from now, he will hand in the last of his paper work and it will be submitted to the insurance company. With in the next few months we will be a bariatric family. Hopefully the changes we make in our lives now, will keep our children from struggling with obesity and poor eating habits and behaviors.

Up to this point, I was not sure he would go forward with this. In the past he has lost weight on his own.

When Kailey was born, the man was skinny!

As I have written previously, having a child with medical issues certainly contributed to both of our stress eating tendencies. It is very easy to fill the “helpless” feelings with food. I am hopeful that today marks the beginning of the changes my husband needs to live a happy life.

We're on our way... together.

 

My main food groups

Time to fess up. My doctor is less than pleased with my eating habits. I’m sort of in a rut. While I enjoy food, especially creating it, the average daily routine is the same.

Dannon plain Greek Yogurt. 8oz is 120 calories and 22g of protein. THIS is my dream food. Easily digestible, yummy, high protein low calories. Hello, I live on this stuff!

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SPLENDA: dear splenda, I love you. With out you my daily eating would be miserable. I love how you sweeten my yogurt, my coffee and my fruit.

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If you’re thinking of yelling me all the ways splenda will kill me, save it. It has saved me! It’s even in my water via mio drops!

Fruit: I get in far more than the daily recommendations of fruit. Berries. Love them! Add them to my yogurt, with splenda, this is bliss!

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Coffee: yes, please, all day long! I love my keurig. Even when it acts up. I’d be lost with out my perfect cup… Many times a day.

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I’m the coffee/protein category is the shining star!!! CLICK! Yes! Please. Thank you! I love Click. It is a protein shake that is not a chore to choke down, but a pleasure to start your day off. Love my Click. I do, I do!

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I’m struggling with this food rut. I didn’t like being told I needed to focus more on “real food”. I am to try to eat this “real food” more than once a day. The above mentioned things do not count. Why? Because my eating habits are disordered.

I went from one extreme to the next I suppose. Although, the foods I’m stuck on are nutrient rich, the fact that it is all I consume is a red flag.

“dense protein” is the goal. More than once a day. Yesterday I had edamame salad, today some almonds and a bit of tuna.

I’m not a fan of being told to change. But I keep this blog to document it all, regardless of how silly, lame or concerning things are. So… There’s that.

What do you do when you’re bored?

Boredom set in this afternoon. I was quite content with reading my book, until somebody told me to switch on the TV to hear the verdict from a certain murder trial. All contentment I had was quickly washed away with pissed-offedness.

So, I went to the kitchen and took survey of what was around. I saw ripe bananas

Mini Chocolate chips:

Sour cream:

Yellow cake mix:

some eggs, some milk, some pure vanilla extract and my kitchenaid mixer.

I swished it all together, slapped the mixture into some well greased and floured spring form pans, stuck them in the oven for 35 45 minutes and….. saved this to draft for the finished product.

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It smells damn good, it is not bariatric friendly, I have no idea what I will top it with, but crisis averted, I got busy, distracted when stressed, didn’t eat anything to fill the crazy that was going on in my head…. and instead tried my hand at doctoring up a box mix with some need to use stuff I had laying around.

My children will thank me… maybe? I’ll let you know if this fails after dinner.

 

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!

Moments after hitting publish on this, one of my children stuck fingers into the cake, a nibble here, a nibble there… the entire top of one pan missing. THIS is something my mother threw a pie at my brother for doing when I was a kid! Just sayin’

Anyway… the cake, apparently tasted pretty good. So, I sliced a sliver off the top and had the husband taste it. He approved. It didn’t suck, so I took a taste and HOLY CRAPOLY! My mad woman in the kitchen creation did not suck! Nope, its really awesome.

So, 1 box yellow cake mix

1 box instant pudding French Vanilla

3 ripe bananas mashed

1/2 cup milk

3 eggs

16 oz sour cream

1 package mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

1tsp vanilla extract

mix it all together, toss into greased and floured 9″ spring pans, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and whola…. you figure out how to top it off. I still have no idea

Confessions of a bariatric foodie

First off, let me point out my blog roll and the fact that there is a WHOLE blog dedicated to being a bariatric foodie. So yeah… stealing an idea here, but simply because I am inspired and frankly, I’m a self declared foodie.

I come from a family of foodies. My family has some of its very best moments in the kitchen, creating meals for each other. My dad, my sisters, my brothers, my husband, and even me… we’re all quite adveturous, and we all have amazing palates. My husband of course is beyond a foodie. He is a chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. His skills have been put to good use through the years, my family has no problem using him to their full advantage.

Having had weight loss surgery did not alter my taste buds. It has altered the amount of food I can consume, it has even made me apathetic toward food on occasion, but my love of new things and my palate has not changed!

On Saturday we went over to Whole Foods and we stumbled upon a tasting of peach infused balsamic vinegar. They served it over watermelon, with a bit of fresh basil. They had me at “fresh basil” so I went ahead and gave it a try. OH MY, holy peach loveliness! I am not a peach fan. Nope, just not. But this… the heavens open, a choir sang, and my brain immediately went to the endless possibilities that this product could create.

We had friends coming over for dinner, and Saturday night friends + dinner is usually finger foods. Delicious divine finger foods, made with love!

Our favorite stand by is the grilled Angus rib-eye with caramelized onions and horseradish sauce, served on a garlic Parmesan crustini. YUM!

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Then, Kevin made an amazing chicken salad with fresh grapes, pecans, and of course the peach infused balsamic vinegar. It was amazing! Sadly, there is no awesome way to capture chicken salad. Its just sort of ugly, but here it is anyway:

Chicken salad

Finally tonight, the 4th of July, we wanted simple and delicious. There is nothing as wonderful as Caprisi Salad. NOTHING! Some fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of some reduced peach balsamic vinegar:

And while confessing about the glorious things we created this weekend, here is a photo of the mocha chocolate chip cake I made for our friend’s 4th of July party, it was a hit:

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