Monthly Archives: February 2011


Today I had to take Hunter to a few doctor’s appointments.  Because one was in the morning and the other in the afternoon, I kept him home from school.   Hunter enjoys the occasional “Mommy – Hunter Day”.  They are few and far between.  Between appointments, Hunter and I went to Bensi for lunch.

I like Bensi’s food, I don’t love it, like I love “Ninos on the River” in Clinton, but it is very good.  The reason I chose to take Hunter to Bensi is I knew he could get buttered pasta there (one of like 3 things Hunter eats). We arrived at the restaurant and was seated in a nice booth toward the back. 

Of course, no need for Hunter to look at the menu as we already knew what he wanted.  I on the other hand had to choose.  The server had put in front of me, the specials sheet, lunches of the day and the HUGE regular menu.  As Hunter sat across from me asking, “who would win the fight, Sponge Bob or Wubbzy, what about Star Trek vs. Lord of the Rings, Nova or Bernie……… his voice faded in the background I sat paralyzed looking at the unopened menu.  I knew all the delicious dishes that were in there, White Pizza with fresh mozzarella, garlic and olive oil, Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper italian sandwich, Chicken Francese with artichoke hearts, Parppardelle with shrimp, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic sauce……………the list goes on.

Finally, I became aware of my surrounds again.  Hunter is now telling me about the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie that we as a family watched last weekend and Hunter watched multiple times everyday since, mostly by rewinding and replaying all his favorite parts. Here is the dilemma about choosing, do I order whatever I want because it is a special day and worry about the diet later? The problem with this is my mindset later would be “I blew it anyway, what’s the harm? I will go back on tomorrow!  In my life, tomorrow will never come.  Do I order what I want and not eat dinner?  This doesn’t work because it is the first time Dave is home all week to eat dinner with us so I need to make dinner.  A shocking thing all of a sudden popped into my head!  I could always order one of the low-fat dishes on the menu. I started to laugh in my head because I thought, “this is ludicrous, I have NEVER ordered a low-fat dish EVER from a restaurant. It can’t be done, why would you even go out to eat if you had to order low-fat. NO, NO WAY, I WON”T DO IT!!!!   Finally I shook all the evil thoughts out of my head and came to my senses.  Whew, clarity came back.  I just found out I lost 18lbs total yesterday, this morning I walked on my treadmill for 40 minutes and then did 20 minutes of weights. Why in the world would I want to blow all that hard work for food that will be forgotten about an hour after eaten.

I immediately went to the low-fat section of the Menu and decided on, Grilled Chicken over a vegetable medley with a herb, lemon and garlic marinade.  Done!  When the server came for the order Hunter told her he wanted the “adult lunch size” spaghetti with butter and a milk.  As she turned to me, I sat up straight happy with my decision and ordered the grilled chicken over vegetables and a unsweetend iced tea. Wow I can’t even express how good I felt about that.

Hot crusty bread with a pillow soft inside came to our table with that yummy oil with spices for dipping.  I ate one piece while  Hunter polished off the rest of the loaf.  Then came the salad which I had vinaigrette on the side, never did that before either.  Our main dish came and I was pleasantly surprised, my dish consisted of, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots with nice crispy (no breading) grilled chicken on top. The marinade was wonderful.  It was delicious!!! I was so very happy I made this decision. In addition, I only ate half and had the other half packed to bring home which is now in the refrigerator.  Hunter enjoyed his spaghetti and the fact he had me cornered for an hour talking non-stop 🙂

We then continued on with our day and I felt so happy! In addition to losing weight and exercising, I accomplished another first,  ordering a healthy meal for the first time in my life and feeling really, really good about it. I didn’t over stuff, I felt very comfortable and satisfied for the rest of the day.  Tonight is “movie/pizza night”, I already made a salad and have decided to have a big salad and 1 piece of pizza.  Why would I want to blow all the good choices I made today.  I want to go to bed proud of myself and know I really CAN do this……


Weight loss journey……..

Today I went to the gym for the second time this week.  I warmed up and then met with my trainer.  Jess wanted to weigh me before we started and for the first time in my life I was actually excited.  I felt that I had lost weight since last week, my jeans are loose in the butt and legs, plus the waistband isn’t rolled over this week.  Still a bit tight, but at least not rolled over 🙂   I am pretty sure one of my extra chins has gone missing too.  We went into the room, I got on the scale and…………. 6 lbs.!!!!!!  I couldn’t believe it so I had her weigh me again, yes it was 6 lbs. I literally screamed!  Jess was so proud of me as I was of myself.  She asked what I did this past week and I told her that I had cut out all carbohydrates (my downfall), ate a lot more fruit and vegetables, and the days I didn’t get to the gym, I walked 50 minutes on my treadmill at home.  I just feel more energized and excited.  The heat and me do not mix, so my goal right now is to be able to wear a sundress this summer instead of the extra long, stretchy shorts and tent sized shirts.  As a matter of fact, a half hour ago I went online and ordered a sundress that I am going to hang on the door of my closet to also motivate me.  It isn’t easy. I am definitely a stress/emotion eater.  The last blog I said I wanted to do something for myself and I haven’t wavered.  We had a very serious issue this week that is far from over, but I made it my priority to get to the gym today.  First, it took my mind off our worry and in addition it further confirms that I need to get healthy (no one is sick).  Two shows that are an inspiration to me is “Biggest Losers Couples” and “Heavy”.  The people on these shows are amazing.  I don’t need to lose anywear as much as them, but to see how hard they work and the determination they show is wonderful.  They are honest with their struggles as well.

So as of today I am down a total of 18 pounds from when I started this weight loss journey back in January!

Bits and Pieces

It has been a while since I posted a blog.  I have had a busy week and once the deadly duo comes home from school, my day morphs into their afternoon and evening.

Valentines Day was last Monday, but we celebrated it on the weekend because of Tax Season.  On Friday night Dave brought me home a beautiful planter, and Saturday night he brought me flowers and a balloon.

On Sunday, Dave and I exchanged cards, plus I got him”The Girl with the Dragon Tatto0″ by Stieg Larsson, on cd.  ‘This series was great to read.  During Tax Season, Dave likes to listen to audio books during the long drive to and from work.  Right now he is listening to “Shantaram” by David Gregory.  This book is over 1,000 pages long, or 36 discs, yet it is an excellent read, one of my all time favorites.  We gave Hunter & Hayley a card plus a small gift.  We would have had a mutiny here if we didn’t give them something.  EVERY DAY for the past 3 years when Hunter walks into the house after school, the first words out of his mouth are,  “Did you get me a surprise?  Did I get mail?”  Now I will admit I do get Hunter & Hayley something from time to time and surprise them after school.  And because Hunter dearly loves to read (non-fiction only), we do order books from Amazon that are sent to the house. BUT he doesn’t even get something every week or month for that matter.  Hayley is on the gift bandwagon as well.  She loves to open gifts, even other people’s. When we went to Florida after Christmas, Katie had many beautifully wrapped presents placed neatly under the Christmas tree. They all had pretty shiny paper and homemade bows.  It looked like the tree should have been in a magazine. There were gifts for us but also gifts for people that needed to be shipped.  I don’t think we were in the house 10 minutes before Hayley ran over, picked up a present and we hear RIIIIIP.  It was open, since it wasn’t for her, Hayley tossed it back under the tree and walked away. After 1 day, we removed the presents to the extra bedroom and locked the door.  I need to say although the tree looked beautiful, you could not touch it, because if you did touch it even slightly, the needles would fall off and the ornaments would tumble to the ground.  One time when Hayley was touching the tree this happened and Dave asked, “This tree is bone dry, when was the last time it was watered?”  Bill was standing there and calmly replied, “oh about 2 or 3 weeks ago.”  We were shocked (not that we should have been, Katie + Bill + plants = …….that’s for another story).  Dave told Bill that he and Katie really needs to buy an artificial tree.   Although the same thing happened the Christmas before, this year the tree was in extremely bad condition!  Another reason they need an artificial tree is that it becomes so light that Hayley can toss the whole 7 foot tree across the room, lights, ornaments, the whole ball of wax. One afternoon half way into our stay, Hayley was having one of her REALLY BAD uncontrollable days. Dave told me to go out on the deck and read so I could get a break, he would watch the kids.  Not even 10 minutes went  by when I heard “CRASH” and Hayley hysterically laughing.  I walked into the house, and there was the Christmas tree laying across the couch….Hayley was jumping up and down on the other side of the couch and Dave was just standing there staring.  He was just across the room in the kitchen when Hayley popped out of her room and just threw the tree!  Sooo Dave and I stood the tree back up, took the non broken ornaments and lights, put them in a box, took the broken ornaments and put them in another box to see if Katie can salvage any, and Dave dragged the tree out on to the deck and threw it over to the ground.  I won’t even go into how long or how hard it is to clean up a million tree needles, especially when they are imbedded in the couch. Let’s just say, the Christmas before this one Hayley did push over the tree but we were able to bring it intact onto the deck where it stayed for the duration of the trip.

Many other things went on during the week.  By biggest accomplishment was my diet and exercising.  As of last Thursday, February 13th I had lost 12lbs!  I exercised 6 out of the last 11 days, which is huge for me.  I have gone to the gym twice a week for the weight training and when I am home I have done my treadmill here for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  I am so proud of myself, I haven’t felt this positive or motivated for a very, very long time.  I wish  I went on medication much sooner.  I was so very resistant to it.  Finally, in December when I went to my family doctor absolutely falling apart, crying and crying, she told me that medication for depression is not a bad thing.  I had been diagnosed clinically depressed, post-traumatic stress syndrome last year, but I wouldn’t listen to the Psychologist who kept urging me to go to a Psychiatrist to get on medication. I was so down and feeling helpless that I decided to find a Psychiatrist.  The thing is, this was no easy task, every doctor I called had a 4 month plus waiting list!  I didn’t want to wait this long.  There was one more doctor to call, the office told me the doctor had a 4 month wait but could I explain what was wrong.  After listing EVERYTHING, she said the doctor would call me back.  I know God had a hand in this because not even 5 minutes later, the Psychiatrist called me, had me explain again, then told me she had a cancellation for the next day would I want to take it.  YES! YES! I wanted to take it.  That was 8 weeks ago, after tweaking the medications I know we are close to the perfect dose.  I go back next week to see her.  It took about 6 weeks to kick in but the results are amazing.  I feel alive again, happy, I am starting to like myself.  I want to take care of myself and be there for my family, my husband.  I started almost 26yrs ago raising children, homeschooling, being faced with Austism, other issues that needed to be dealt with using tough love that we hope someday will work, etc.  I decided to stop looking back and doing the, coulda, shoulda, woulda……face forward and start living each day again.  Autism will never go away for us, but I can make choices on how to handle things in life.  I am not expecting perfection, I am expecting to live life to the fullest for the first time in a looooooong time.

Getting to the gym


So the weight loss journey continues.  I have been REALLY good about what I put into my mouth.  First thing in the morning I have my cup of coffee so I can function. Plus NO talking from Hunter. He is an incessant talker which I can tolerate later in the morning but not when I first get up. I do not want to talk about Pikachu, Pokemon, penguins of Madagascar or have to answer questions about current events.  I will say he is doing pretty well now, he can somewhat comply. The only question he asked me this morning was “Why was Egypt’s President in power for 30 years when in our country our Presidents serve 4 years and possibly 8 years if re-elected?” I just said ask Daddy on the weekend……..   Once Hayley gets on the bus I have oatmeal with organic granola, delicious!  Dave has a client that sends us a box of organic goodies every Christmas. It could be jams, almond butter, raisins, granola, the list goes on and on, and it is all organic.   This couple is amazing! The husband is a Chiropractor that still practices at 85! People have told Dave that this man has unbelievably strong hands.  His wife, who is also in her 80’s, is such a delight to talk to.  I love talking to her when I call to thank them for the gift.  She answers the phone and says “hello, hello, hello, oh darling, it is so wonderful to speak with you again”,  I feel like I am in a 1940’s movie. I would just love to sit and have tea with her.  Back to eating 🙂 Lunch has been salad with tuna or chicken, Lean Cuisine, light soup etc.  Snacks are rice cakes with peanut butter, fruit, nuts or yogurt.  Dinner usually is salad, small piece of meat and vegetables.  Dave eats at work now during Tax Season so I eat early.

Anyway, since last week when I went to the gym to see the Personal Trainer, I have been walking on my treadmill at home.  I really know I am going to do it this time!!!!  Today I got ready and put on my black workout pants, black tee-shirt, socks and my brand new comfy sneakers. I started to drive to the gym, a drive that should take 8 minutes, but turned into 20…..  Like Katie, I cannot tolerate horrible drivers.  I will say 9 times out of 10 it is an out-of-state person.  A car from Vermont almost got crushed by a tractor-trailer.  If 2 lanes are merging to 1 and a tractor-trailer has the first third of his truck in the single lane. After going under the speed limit, DO NOT SPEED UP ALL OF A SUDDEN AND TRY TO PASS THE TRUCK! YOU WILL BE CRUSHED! 

I got to the gym and am in awe like always.  Such a beautiful facility. They have a big screen tv in the lobby with comfortable leather couches, a huge up to date childcare room, store/cafe with lots of yummy, healthy food. There are zumba classes going on as well as spinning, pilates, etc.  A special circuit exercise room, indoor/outdoor pool, huge workout gym with every machine imaginable. I go on a treadmill to warm up and start looking around.  It was crowded at the machine section, not too many people at the weight machines. There were all ages of men and women, some painfully thin, some painfully fat.  What really peaked my interest were the elderly people and how fabulous they looked. These people in their 70’s and 80’s put me to shame. Here I am on my treadmill walking a whopping 2.5 miles an hour, when two treadmills down there is a woman, who I later found out was 79, JOGGING! on the treadmill.  Plus she had a tight stomach and well molded arms.  Could this be me someday I thought?  Then I say to myself “okay Deb, you’re jumping the gun, just focus on today and make sure you are still breathing after the workout”.  I walked for 10 minutes and went to find my trainer.  Cute girl, probably upper thirties, blond hair, teeny, tiny body.  As a matter of fact she probably was as wide as one of my thighs, I felt gargantuan next to her.  We worked on my upper body and she guided me through all the machines and repetitions.  Then she wanted me to do the “PLANK”……this consisted of laying on your stomach on the floor, and  leaning on your elbows.  Number 1, my knees don’t bend well, and haven’t for a very long time.  It takes a great effort to get on the floor, arthritis will do that to you.  But I was going to be a sport and try it.  As I started to kneel, I toppled over to the right.  I admit, not very flattering. I proceeded to lay down resting on my elbows.  The trainer then, while leaning on her elbows, raised her body effortlessly, balancing on her toes, her back flat like a “plank” and proceeded to balance her body in this position for 1 minute.  Alls I could think was, how the heck am I going to get into a standing position again without totally embarrasing myself?  The trainer chipperly said “ok your turn Debbie, just balance as long as you can”.  As I lifted this heavy, unfit body, the tremors started, from head to toe.  I lasted 5 seconds.  She wanted me to do this 2 more times, in which I told her I couldn’t but she insisted I could.  I did try it 2 more times and by the second time I was able to balance for 10 seconds.  She suggested I do this at home several times a day….not happening…..

I scheduled my next appointment and went upstairs to walk on the track.  I do love walking there because it is nice and cool, plus very quiet.  Well, quiet until that annoying woman comes in and proceeds to talk very loudly on her cell phone.  Can anyone just leave the cell phone in the car?  Every store, restaurant, museum and now even the gym has people with their cell phone glued to their ear.  Honestly, give it a break!!!  As I was walking I took stock of the people walking and jogging, old, young, fit and unfit.  It was a good mix.  Then a woman walked in with a baby carriage. There are certain times set up when a mom can walk with her child in the carriage.  This woman looked very fit and trim! I heard her tell someone that her baby was 1 month old and she was walking off her pregnancy weight. Pregnancy weight!! Where was the additional 40 lbs on her body like I had after I gave birth.  Unfair I shouted in my head!!!  Well, like they say, life IS unfair and it is no ones fault but mine I am the way I am right now. 

I left the gym, came home and pretty much collapsed on a chair, the pain was already beginning to creep in.  I worked muscles that I didn’t know existed, and that is today, what about tomorrow?  I am willing to put up with the pain because I will do this! I will not fail this time.  I am finally ready! I will not compare myself to others because I am me, and I just want to get healthy and into the best shape that is right for my body………. 🙂

Looking forward to my next session this coming Thursday, but not “The Plank”.

The Beginning of the Weight Loss Journey

About a month ago I decided that enough was enough.  I needed to lose weight, I hate the way I look and feel, plus it is so hard trying to keep up with Hunter and Hayley.  On top of everything I have fibromyalgia which effects all of my joints so I am always in pain.  I have felt fat my whole entire life, though looking back through photos I realized that I really wasn’t.  Once I hit my 30’s I put on some weight, I guess staying home, raising and homeschooling the older kids, plus being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia all contributed to my weight gain. I was so busy, plus it hurt to move.  Also, I had a GREAT dislike to any kind of excercise at all!  Once I hit my 40’s and with the adoption of Hunter & Hayley and then at 42 the diagnose of Autism for Hayley and at 44 the diagnose of Aspergers for Hunter, I truely let go of myself.  I moved to Florida for 2 1/2 years to get intensive one on one behavioral therapy for Hayley as New Jersey had such a long wainting list. I was away from Dave, who is my main support, for most of that time.  He would fly down for weekends once in a while off tax season, and then take his vacation weeks in the summer and come to Florida. It still was very little, I was left with Hunter & Hayley as well as Craig & Tracey. It was such a difficult time overall.  Neither Craig nor Tracey wanted to be there so at one point when Craig really started to act out, I sent him home to Dave.  Craig spent the entire tax season doing his school in an empty office in Dave’s building. It was during this time that I completely let go.  I was so tired and stressed, I didn’t want to cook so we wound up ordering out most of the week, plus the wine after the kids went to bed certainly was very welcome. Even once I came back to New Jersey  all the stress was still there, plus more, that I won’t even go into, and so I continued to gain.  My 40’s are a blur and I feel like I woke up at 50, looked in the mirror and said “what happened to me?” That was in June, and still the months have gone by with me doing nothing to help myself.  I will say last April, Dave and I were out together during the week when the kids were in school (this is VERY rare).  We had just left lunch when he pulled into Healthquest which is an absolutely beautiful gym facility.  I looked at him and asked “WHAT are we here for????”  He just said that he would like to start excercising and maybe I would like to as well.  I didn’t say it, but I did not want to go to a gym.  We have an excercise room at home that has all the equipment you could want (mostly because of Kevin when he lived home), so if we didn’t excercise at home, what made him think me especially, would drive to the gym! We got in there and got seduced by all the wonders. Unbelievable workout floor, numerous classes, gorgeous indoor and out door pool, a cafe that sells amazing healthy food, a spa, etc.  We signed up.  I said I cannot wait to start I am so psyched!!!! I am finally going to start getting in shape before I am 50……….January 1, 2011, not even in the ballpark of feeling or looking any better.  Why? because I rarely went, I always had something I “needed” to get done…….since last April, Dave has consistently gone to the gym.  Not me.  Oh I have went on and off over time, mostly walking on the treadmill or around the track.  But since my body hurts so much, I just didn’t want to face any additional pain from the weight training or other numerous machines.  Because of all the “issues” in my house, my Psychologist said I was clinically depressed and suffering from Post-traumatic stress syndrome for a long time.  She suggested I go to a Psychiatrist for medication but I refused.  At the end of December 2010 I had my yearly physical.  As I cried through most of the visit, the doctor said “you need to go to a Psychiatrist to get medication, you and your husband are living through situations that no other person could imagine, I cannot fathom living with what you are living with”.  I found a Psychiatrist that I visited the first time the beginning of January, went through our life story, and she prescribed medication.  After 4 weeks of taking the medication I started to feel better, more positive. Things didn’t look so bleak, and I realized that some of this stuff will never go away, and I needed to make peace with it and move on.  This is what I did….  I started watching what I was eating and drinking and lost 10 lbs. in 3 weeks.  Once I lost the 10 lbs. i realized for the first time in years that I know I can do this and most importantly WANT to do this.  Mostly for myself to look good again and most importantly for my health, and for the kids so I am around alot longer (want to see those weddings Katie and Kevin, grandchildren too !)  I want to do it for Dave too (I will be mum on this).  Last month we received from Healthquest a $150.00 off coupon for personal training.  Dave knowing my struggles of getting around a gym suggested I check it out.  So I did, and today was my first appointment. I filled out papers and had a weigh in (not pretty) plus measurements taken (really not pretty) and then testing my heart rate (not too bad) and flexibility (I am not flexible in any manner). My trainer took down all the information and is putting a program together that I will start next Tuesday.  I will be going Tuesdays and Thursdays, twice a week for 6 weeks and she wants me to come in one additional day to do extra cardiovascular work.  I know all of this will take time but I am really excited, finally doing something for me.  The laundry can wait, the making of beds can wait (this will be hard but doable) and for now any appointments I make will be on a non gym day or in the afternoon.  I KNOW I can do this, my trainer pointed out to me several elderly people that have been excercising there since the gym opened. One lady was 85, one man was 87 and the last man 90!!!!  Wow they looked great and put me to shame at 50.  I guess it is never to old to start taking care of yourself and as I left the gym today and looked at all the people excercising in various ways I decided that….I AM worth it…………the journey continues……………..

Magazines, A Life Long Love Affair

Some of the many I enjoy

I absolutely LOVE magazines! I got this from my mother. She always had magazines all around the house. At night when she settled down in front of the tv, she had a nice big stack of magazines next to her on the table and she read them for hours.  The one weird thing is that my mother read magazines from back to front, yes, back to front. How can you  read like this and know what you are reading?  I would ask her many times over the years why she did this, but I never got an answer.  One day when I was 6 or 7, my mother handed me my very own “Highlights” magazine.  I didn’t know there were magazines for kids.  I immediately read it from front to back.  I decided right then and there I MUST have a subscription to this magazine. My mother did send for a subscription for me.  Back then you had to use one of the subscription cards and send it by snail mail to the magazine.  It felt like it took forever, but finally, they started to arrive.  My favorite part was the Hidden Pictures page, I loved to circle all the items I found.  Then I would go to the Jokes & Riddles page which I always found hysterical (I am NOT a big fan of jokes OR riddles today) and go try them on my father.  He would always laugh and ask for me to tell him more.  Then onto the Drawings & Poems, crafts, stories, etc.  Thus the love affair began.

The teen years came and I would buy Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine. These featured the “hot” celebrities of the day, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Donny Osmond just to name a few.  Then Seventeen Magazine came next, lots of tips for girls, probably not the same tips that the girls get from todays Teen Vogue.

This love of magazines has continued all through the years. When the older kids were little and we were homeschooling, we had many subscriptions. At lunch we would all pick a magazine and read it while eating. There was American Girl, ESPN, Yankees, Nickelodeon, Ranger Rick and several others.  I got a subscription to National Geographic because I thought it was the thing to do.  My parents had years and years of National Geographics stacked in their basement, pretty much everyone I knew subscribed to it as well. Over the years we too had stacks in our school room, but the thing is, no one ever read them!  In fact, I never once saw my parents crack one open.  It got me to thinking and I came to the conclusion that NO ONE actually reads them when you get them you just stack them up.  I finally cancelled that subscription vowing I would never subscribe to National Geographic again!  Well, 2 years ago when Hunter was 7 he requested National Geographic, I was against subscribing but Dave said let’s give it a try.  You know what?  Hunter DOES read the magazine!  Just last week he told me he read about the “Underground in Paris” that was the cover story. He told me it was about all the illegal activities that take place in Paris that no one knows about. Because Bill is in Paris, Hunter said he wants to warn Bill not to get involved in any of this.

Then it happened, Katie got addicted to magazines too. Third generation magazine lover.  When we go to the Florida house, she has quite a collection sitting around. Before I get there, Katie goes to Publix and buys ALL the gossip magazines they carry.  She has them stacked on the table waiting for when Katie and I can read trash together.

Now when I get a chance to read magazines, I have my own method of how magazines should be read. I get a nice big assorted pile of them and sit at the kitchen table. I place them to my right. I get out a pair of scissors and set them down. I turn on the tv and put it on mute. I usually put on HGTV or Food Network so I can throw my eye on it if I want, I don’t want to hear it, just glance at it. Then I choose a magazine and proceed to rip out each and every subscription card as well as any stiff card that advertises something.  My magazine cannot have any distractions in it. Then I can start to read.  I always felt the need to read EVERY page.  The editor’s letter always first and so on. I realized one day that I really didn’t like reading the editor’s letter, so why am I doing so.  Also, why was I reading about things that don’t pertain to my life?  I found I was able to let go, gone were articles about fly fishing, how to choose the right bikini (not in this lifetime) or how to be a bee keeper!  I started reading only what I am interested in.  Once finished, I cut off the top right hand corner and the address label if there is one,  the magazine then gets placed to my left where a stack will form to go back to Dave’s office. I know there are still some OCD issues, but not quite as bad.

There came a day though when my love of magazines took a dark turn. I was getting many, many subscriptions at home as well as magazines from Dave’s office that he orders for his waiting room. The women in his office share the ones they get home, so Dave also brings those to me.  I tended to read these first, cut off the top corner so Dave knew I read this already and bring them back to the waiting room (Dave has great magazines in his office, I hate when I go to a professionals office and they have crappy magazines). Anyway, this is not a house of leisure so I started to get way behind in my magazine reading.  Before I knew it, I had 6 months worth of magazines, 2 large stacks sitting on my Great Room floor. One day I spread all the different magazines on the floor. Each different stack had issues from June to what was then January. The newest issue was last in the pile, the oldest issue was first on the pile. I neatly stacked the 2 huge piles against the wall again, but this time, all issues were together for each magazine.  As new issues came in each month they went to the bottom of the pile for that particular magazine.  If I did get a chance to look at a magazine, I always took the oldest issue and looked at that. I knew it was stupid, but I couldn’t help myself.  I was literally reading about beach safety in February and Valentines day in the summer. When Katie gets a magazine she sits right down and reads the whole thing, so she couldn’t understand what I was doing.  Katie suggested I throw out all the old magazines, keep the new and just start over. What? that’s wasting magazines, I can’t and won’t do it!  She told me the purpose of magazines was to give you information and ideas for the current month it comes out, not to be read at the improper time.  I thought about this for days, and would start to sweat when I lovingly gazed at the stacks I knew I would never get through. How could I throw out those beautiful, smooth, glossy magazines filled with unknown wonders.  I finally realized that this whole magazine thing had become an obsession that I thought about every day. I also looked at my piles often throughout the day, making sure they were lined up properly. The insanity had to stop, I needed drastic action.  Immediately, I ran to the garage and got black garbage bags, called Craig downstairs and went to work. I kept all the current issues of the magazines and I put all the rest in black garbage bags and had Craig put them right away in the garage. I then gathered all the different magazines, went into the Library and called each subscription department and CANCELLED ALL the subscriptions!! I was totally drained after all this yet on a happy note, I was getting back $300.00 total from all the cancelled subscriptions.

Which brings us to today.  I do get subscriptions again, but not as many as I used.  I also still get the magazines from Dave’s office.  Because things have been crazy here for so long, I do get behind in my reading.  The beginning of last month I realized I had magazines from September on and without any hesitation I got rid of them and only kept the current month. Now don’t get me wrong I am up to 1 small pile again, but I am very proud to say they are NOT organized, nor have i done so since the last time. I may even read a magazine on the day it comes in if I have time.

My current pile

My current pile of magazines is much smaller than piles of the past and I plan on keeping it that way.  I will always love magazines and will probably backslide from time to time in my attempt to keep them under control but at least for now I am making progress.

My Days – Yesterday & Today, the Good and the Bad

Of course, ANOTHER snow day.  I am sure everyone is tired of my complaining about the cold, snow and snow days, but in all honesty they are very draining. Yesterday was a snow day and I knew by yesterday afternoon that I was in deep trouble for today.  I really didn’t want a recap of the previous days occurrences. First, I knew when I got up and walked down the hall to Hayley’s room it was going to be bad.  As Hayley watched me approach her room, that sly little smile appeared on her face and i KNEW……as I tried to run the final few feet to her room (mind you I am definitely not a runner, so maybe it was more like a fast shuffle) it happened.  Hayley jumped up on her bed, squatted and peed, and of course it had to be that first satisfying pee of the morning. Now, I cannot say anything to her or give her any type of facial expression because she is looking for attention.  I will tell you that in my head I had a volcano exploding, but outside I was calm as could be.  As Hayley laughed and kept trying to look in my eyes, I took off the sheets and blankets, got towels to soak up the mess, resolve to clean, more towels to soak and then brought Hayley to the bedroom her clothes were in.  I had her get dressed and then help me bring all the wet bedding and towels down to the laundry room. Breakfast went ok until I told Hayley eating was all done, this is NEVER pretty.  After screaming, throwing her spoon and yogurt cup across the room, rolling all over the floor kicking everything in sight and ultimately smashing my coffee cup on the tile floor, she calmly walked into the Sunroom, sat on the floor and dressed her Barbies.  Hayley is a whirlwind, all this lasted for about 20 minutes and as I was picking up the first thing, she went to the next. Now mind you, as all of this was transpiring, Hunter is in the Great Room playing a Pokemon game on WII, he is saying “mommy look at this, oh isn’t he cute, would you like to play this game, why is the Open Season 3 only 78 minutes long”?  I am pretty much going hmm, umm, uhha etc., hearing but not hearing. There were more tantrums to come, a lot of hysterical laughter which cumulates into some sort of destruction –  breaking dvds & videos, taking off barbie heads, breaking crayons, spraying water, smashing fruit, the possibilities are endless.  Then there is the moaning, moaning, moaning……….this can and did go on and off for hours.  With every moan you can feel your stomach tightening more and more into a knot.  Again, this behavior must be ignored (or so they tell me for now) because Hayley thrives on attention and control. Every once in a while I will ask her to use her words so I know how I can help her, but mostly she continues to moan.  It probably sounds like I just let her run amuck, but that is not true.  In the mean time I am trying to engage Hayley in different things, it is difficult because I must be with her every minute, I cannot let her out of my sight for a second or all hell breaks loose.  I have many, many other things to engage her in.  I have different types of arts and crafts, games, puzzles, new movies, toys etc.  I spend sooo much time with Hayley trying to keep her occupied which is a feat in itself, not including the behaviors.  I DO have other obligations in the house to my husband, other kids and chores.  I try to squeeze Hunter in every here and there, do laundry, clean up, make beds, dishes, cook………………………… Plus, I must address Hunter’s needs because of his Aspergers.  I will tell you that he has done a wonderful job the last several days teaching Hayley how to use the mouse on the computer.  He has shown her different websites she would be interested in, although she can’t type in the web address, Hayley tells Hunter what she wants and he puts it up for her.  He is very patient (which really isn’t one of his virtues) with Hayley. Don’t get me wrong, he will come and tell me his head is pounding (my line) from too much Elmo coloring pages or he really is getting sick and tired of the Donald Duck cartoon, but all in all he has been great with her.  All of this is exasperating, stressful, upsetting, tiring, I could go on and on, yet I love them with my whole heart and try to do my best for them and advocate for them.




Today I would say is somewhat better.  I woke at 5:00 to the Honeywell Instant Alert System telling me there was not school.  Dave got up at 5:20 to go to work.  I heard him wake up Craig to help him dig and salt to get his truck out of the garage.  We have an alarm and we have the door chime set…….Beep, beep, beep, beep. Then I hear Craig coming back up the stairs…BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, of course he left the hall and kitchen light on which I could see illuminating into the foyer and my room.  Ok, I dozed on and off when finally at 7:00 I knew I needed to get up.  I threw a prayer to God “please keep my family safe today and PLEASE get me through this snow day”.  I took a deep breath, got ready and faced the next challenge. Hayley did  not wake up until 8:30 which is a miracle, I enjoyed two cups of coffee while Hunter STILL was asking me WHY IS OPEN SEASON 3 ONLY 78 MINUTES LONG WHEN THE FIRST AND SECOND WERE 95 MINUTES LONG!!!!  Honestly, I had no answer that satisfied him, I just wanted my coffee, I had to tell him that My Head Is Beginning to Pound………………
Hayley gets up, quietly comes down stairs, no accidents, I bring her to the bathroom.  Except for eating some toilet paper, all went well.  She had breakfast and a drink but when she asked for more to eat and I said not now………………………WOW.  I was dreading the day. Hayley had a few tantrums, then started laughing and when I looked over at her while I was loading the dishwasher, my eyes popped open wide! She had managed to sneak an avocado and totally smashed it and mashed it ALL over her baby doll (with a hundred crevices) and herself.  She is hysterical, I walked over, took the doll, wrapped it in the towel and brought Hayley to the shower.  Not pretty because she wanted a bath, but I stuck to my guns.  I am really hoping some day I can say “Hayley go take a bath/shower” , that is not in the cards right now.  Let me tell you it isn’t easy trying to get a very wet, non compliant, extremely slippery, tall, sturdy child out of the shower.  Once I did we went through the drying, getting dressed, hair drying ritual.  I won’t even go into details, it is exhausting.  When we got downstairs, Hunter did offer to help her on the computer which allowed me to go back up to the bathroom to clean up the mess.
While Hunter was helping Hayley on the computer, I got a call from a florist saying they had a delivery for me.  A half hour later I was given the most beautiful yellow flower arrangement.  It was from my Kevin and Devon.  i The card said that there was only 4 more weeks until Spring and they hoped today was my last snow day. This really cheered me up.   I was so touched, it was such a nice surprise. I have the best children in the world.


I won’t bore you by going into the rest of the day because it really was much of the same thing.  Even out of the difficult situations that occurred yesterday and today, I was given such a nice surprise that really uplifted me.  A very good thing that has come out of this Autism journey is that it has made the older children more aware and compassionate.  There have been many times over the last several years that each of my older children have done something to uplift me, even if it was just a hug.  They understand the journey and are there to support Dave and I as well as each other.  The thing is, when you have children with disabiities, you tend to lose friends and family.  They don’t understand and I guess don’t know what to do or say.  It is easier not to mention your difficulty or make believe it is not there. We do not get invited to anyones house and I don’t know if I really would want to because a new place is very challenging for the disabled children so it makes it harder on the parent, yet the offer would be welcomed  But, and I have heard cancer patients say this before, maybe just a phone call to say “hey how is it going”, maybe let you spill out your frustrations and fears, or just talk, about the weather, current events or even the “Jersey Shore”. Don’t be afraid, we will not burden you, we aren’t going to ask you to babysit our children, we just want to know there is someone out there that is just willing to talk even if it is about the weather.   So, if you do know a family out there that is in a position like ours, support them, let them know they are not alone.

After the flowers, and another tantrum, Hunter and I got to have a Skype visit with Bill Shaffer, Katie’s boyfriend, who is studying at Le Cordon Blue in Paris.  He has been there for a month and it was the first time we got to see and speak to him.  He filled us in on life in Paris (hopefully I get to go in July when Katie is there), the good and I difficult…’s the French, does it surprise us Americans? It sounds wonderful and it is an opportunity of a lifetime.  He looks happy, he is very busy and has been practicing his French.  We had a nice visit (although for all of Hunter’s busting to talk to Bill, he said like 3 words…..typical Hunter).

Lastly, cherish your children, don’t take them for granted.  Enjoy the everyday normal things they can do.  Like I have said before, we took these things and milestones for granted with our older children.  But now, we would give up everything if Hayley could have girlfriends, go to birthday parties, know who Hannah Montana is.  Or Hunter to be able to play baseball, go to socker, have friends come over without being overwhelmed.  In this life, none of us should tak anything for granted.


NYC Marathon for Autism Speaks