Holiday…. this one is blue.

“A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observation is warranted. It is generally an official (more common) or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities.” wikipedia

All of my life holidays have been a big deal. I am the youngest of a large, loving, fun family. Sundays alone were special occasions and often a day to gather and be together. Holidays were special. We would all participate in cooking and cleaning, talking, celebrating. There was always laughter, silliness, joy.

As the years went on, my family slowly started to find themselves relocating. First Robyn to Florida, then Chris to California, Jack to Maryland, Sue to Westchester, Mom & Dad to Florida, us to Georgia. The holidays windled a slowly. BUT… we always continued to  celebrate the way Mom & Dad had us do. Brian would have Christmas Eve, Suzanne Easter. When we moved to Georgia we fumbled to get our own traditions in place. We wanted our children to feel that holidays were special. I wanted my children to feel that they were surrounded by love, just like I felt growing up.

Sometimes we would drive down to Florida to be with Mom and Dad, and some of the siblings.  This year a bunch of them are together, but we can’t be, as Kevin just had surgery and we need to be here to allow him to heal.  We have made an effort to have a celebration with family and friends for every occasion that deems celebratory. Birthdays and Holidays. We gather our nearest and dearest. We laugh and smile and watch as our children soak in the love and the smiles as well. Thats what its all about.

 

This year is tough. Kevin has just had surgery. We felt that hosting a holiday would be too much this soon. So here we are, for the first time, wondering how to make a holiday special with out company. How do you make it a special day, when it will be just like every other day. Just the six of us.

Back in 2002 I had the worst Thanksgiving of my life. I was a week out from my poor prenatal diagnosis. I was floundering with finding joy or appreciation. But I had my baby, my first son who was only 9 months old and I knew in my heart that if we didn’t start tradition THEN, holidays wouldn’t be special EVER. So, we had my inlaws and we decided that on Thanksgiving we would put up our Christmas Tree. We Laughed as my nephews hung ornaments all over one side of the tree and my niece hung them all on one branch on the bottom. I left it that way. It was my happy every morning.

I have planned to make Grandma’s Christmas Cookies with the kids on Thursday. I will roast a chicken, mash some potatoes, bake some asparagus and make some protein packed Banana pudding (thanks Melissa).

 

At some point in the day I will drag out the tree and the decorations and I will put on my happy face and we will adorn our tree with love.

 

This is going to be a difficult holiday for me. I don’t know how to make it feel like a holiday with out being surrounded by more than just us. I just hope that it isn’t a disappointment to my kids.

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Thank you all

The outpouring of support and advice I received about my blog yesterday really helped.
We talked last night & I told him that he would find his own things that work for him, but vitamins and proper proteins are not areas that I will sit back and watch him be misinformed about.
I armed him with websites like Former Fat dudes Former Fat Dudes & Eggy The World According To Eggface and I invited him to learn from the best as to why a Flinstones wouldn’t work for him.
I have every intent to visit the surgeons office and ask questions, ask for the science behind their advice. Hell, one of the post op proteins is calogen based. So unacceptable for a newly post op body.
But, with out strong arming him, he seemed to understand that I have spent years researching and living this life, and maybe, just maybe, I have something to offer.
Again, thank you all!

Broke, Broke and Mad

My husband is our soul income. Work has been slow. I planned on finding a job as a waitress for weekends, but I have been a neurological mystery and am not fit to apply for a new job as I am right now.  We are broke, I am broke, and it is driving us mad. As in crazy. As in, we need income so that I can continue to see doctors and still be able to be home for my children, especially my medically fragile child. We need income to do these things so that we can stay sane.

BROKE: AKA lacking funds. AKA poor.

by_WelissaM

deviant art by WelissaM

I am broken (headaches and leg pain, cranky gut  issues, cranky ass husband syndrome), my laptop is broken (the connector to it is cracked.), this is driving me insane therefore I am mad.

this sucker is the bane of my existance

The insanity is running rampant as the hubby is home more often, and funds are low. My normal escape route is my laptop, which I apparently have an addiction to. Addicted to the laptop? But Michelle, you have an iphone and TWO desktops in the house. Surely you can connect?!

Yes, yes I CAN get connected. BUT… clearly I am spoiled. Sitting at a desk top is sort of claustrophobic. I feel like I’m in the corner. Wait, I sort of AM in a corner, facing a wall, with my back to the world. How did I live like this for so long prior to the laptop?

So, I am cranky, the husband is home and cranky, the majority of the children are in school. We can sit in the house and stare at each other, while anxious and annoyed or we could GO OUT. So, we go out. Where do we go? To stores, where we have little funds to purchase anything other than groceries. Which adds to the stress, which makes me want to eat, which makes me panic, which makes us go home. And when I get home? MY FREAKING LEGS ARE KILLING ME!

Wait! They make a pill for that!

we can just go numb, right?

Oh wait, my pill for that is codeine. I prefer to be cranky, weak and nervous.

I am admittedly a whiney mess. I have not talked to many people these last few days, because all that comes out of my brain is WHINE WHINE WHINE. This is not fun, nor is it who I am. But I am blogging about it, because it is me and this is my reality. <— those two sentences are an oximoron.

As always I will remind myself and you, that there is a bright side. Kailey didn’t get admitted to the hospital on Saturday. Her brain is fine, although achey. My children are fed, happy and bright. I have a roof over my head that is much easier to keep afloat than the old house would have been in similar times.

My husband being home has its upside. We get to spend some time together, discussing options, forming plans of action, bonding. He will be having his WLS soon, and we are able to get a little more in depth when discussing that, because I’m harping on him about it. Because I’m bored. But these things need said and discussed, so.. bright side… they have been.

VSGMOM confesses to being absolutely bat shit crazy. Thanks.

huh?

 

And Poof, you are reminded

This past week I posted two “vlogs” about my daughter Kailey and her journey through life and defeating the odds.

I think I mentioned that we try to live a “normal” life and we do our best to treat her like a healthy, normal kid. But lurking in the background is this dread, that today could be the day that everything changes.

Yesterday Kailey spent the afternoon outside playing. She came in for dinner, then rushed back out to her friends. She didn’t come in with her siblings till nearly 8:30pm. Far past bedtime in our house. My husband decided it was a beautiful afternoon & they should enjoy it.

This morning Kailey woke up with a horrid migraine, complete with vomiting, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity & a new one for her… Smell… The kids cereal made her nauseous and she wasn’t even at the table.

I gave given her Tylenol, a bottle of Coke to sip on, pillows and a blanket. She doesn’t want to be alone in a room where it will be quieter and darker. She says she is afraid she will have a seizure.

Our dog Ruby was very agitated this morning and woke me up. I thought she needed to go out, but she wanted to be with Kailey. When Kailey came downstairs Ruby settled onto the love seat with her. The last time Kailey had a seizure, Ruby didn’t leave her side for days.

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I sit here now, questioning myself. Do I take her to the hospital? Is this just another headache? Is this more? Do I alert the family? Do I call my husband home from work?

I am reminded that that dark fear that lingers in the background of our “normal” life, grips me by the throat from time to time & I know that our normal is just really unfair.

I went home part II

So, I headed off to Long Island and arrived at my friend Christina’s home by late morning.
Christina is my best friend, my soul sister. We have a bond like none other in my life. Christina and her husband Huge are incredible friends and their children are adored by me, as if they were my own. I know each one’s personality as well as I know my own kid’s personalities. Best yet is that their kids and my kids fall with in years, months, weeks of each other age wise. They fit like a puzzle, never a missing link.

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Walking into Chris & Hugh’s yard was like coming home in and of itself. Filled with ghosts of babies crawling, boys peeing in the yard, potty training, barbecues, beer, good times.

I stole away a bit of time here and there. I drove by my family home, down the block I played on, around the block to check out the park, the Matthew’s house and wondered if the yards were still connected like they were when we were kids. I never had to walk around the block. Loving neighbors had a gate between yards, to keep us lil people safe & in view.

We spent time with my brother Brian, my nephew John, and sister in law Tracy. Sometimes you take for granted that family is family & they will always be there. We have not seen nearly enough of them over the years, and I didn’t know how much I
Missed them till I was there.
My kids were water rats, I wore a bathing suit and was water logged myself. I soaked up the fact that Brian is a one man show who can entertain 7 children with out trying. I also can’t thank him enough for having my clan and Christina’s clan, so I was able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

I drove through Lindenhurst and Wellwoid ave broke my heart. Where is Carvel? The flower Shop? How is Friendly’s a friggin 7-11? Where is my town? My tween years were spent there. My first job, first crush, and the sense if freedom I had by merely being permitted to walk there to meet up with friends.
Amazingly, a trip to NY did not awaken my sense of food nostalgia. Well, other than Linzer Tarts. I really didn’t do the food tours that most former NYers do when they go home. No bagels for me (but for the kids) Brian got them pizza too. No deli heros, no Italian pastries, I even avoided the Italian butcher. No Chinese, no Zorns, no zeppolis.
Crazy right? But, this is a non scale victory. Before surgery I would have binged for a week straight.
The ghosts of my childhood, my teens, my early parenting years are all around Long Island. I was homesick for this place that will always be my home.
Packing up my babies and heading back to Georgia was physically painful. My heart broke. I miss my people. Christina and I belong close by. It’s a strong connection and it’s resilient, but 900 miles may as well be different continents. I miss my brother, my family. I even got to see my cousin Jamie and her beautiful boy Hudson. Jamie and I were polar opposite as kids. She out going and independent, me a momma’s girl. Now, we’re two strong headed, crazy momma’s ourselves & my kids are thrilled to know that there are more cousins to meet.
Next year we’ll tackle this trip earlier. We will make time for the beach, for a meeting with Scheiner Family, & hopefully the hubby will come along to spend some man time with Hugh & Brian.

My NY peeps, I love you. I’m sorry if I missed you. I was ghost hunting, finding pieces of myself in memories long gone.

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.