Monthly Archives: April 2011

Weekly Gym Update – 4/28/11


Weigh in day again.  I was a little nervous about the weigh in because of being in Florida last week.  I didn’t go crazy eating and I did exercise, yet anytime I am away, I usually gain weight.  Plus, I must admit there was a little indulgence on Katie’s and my part.

First, I weight trained for 30 minutes with my trainer. She really worked me.  I am still sore from my Tuesday weight training session so watch out tomorrow :).  Then the weigh in. My trainer set the scale to what I weighed two weeks ago.  I took a deep breath, stepped on the scale, and found out……. I lost 1 lb.!  I thought that was fabulous since I hadn’t been to the gym for two weeks and I vacationed some.

I was going to ride the recumbent bike for 15 minutes today after the weight training.  But, I was so happy and uplifted, I wound up riding for 40 minutes!  Boy, do I feel good about today.

The picture above was taken this Easter.  I am 32 lbs. lighter.  If you compare the picture above of me with the picture  (the WORST ever) on my blog “Another weekly weigh in at the gym 🙂 Lost 3 lbs. for total loss of 22 lbs.” you can see the difference.

I am marching forward and am not going to look back.  I am feeling much better then I did before and want to continue on.  My goal is to lose another 30 lbs.  I know I will achieve this, I have no doubts.

PS.    Did I tell anyone I asked for a punching bag for Mothers’s Day?


The Four Fs – Florida, Food, Fun and Fitness

View from 1st floor deck

View from 2nd floor deck, underneath Master Bedroom
View from my bedroom deck

Florida, Food, Fun and Fitness, the four things I encountered last week.  From April 19th to the morning (very, very early morning, I got up at 3:30 am to catch my flight) of April 23rd I was in Florida. It was a two-fold visit.  Visit Craig by day and Katie by night. We have a house on Amelia Island and I hadn’t been there since Christmas.  It was a really nice break for me, I had a great time.  When I first got there the afternoon of the 19th, I was greeted by my most favorite “white pets” in the world.  Little Nova was crying and jumping like crazy, while Bernie Mac kept rubbing around my legs.  Once I gave them kisses and hugs and got untangled from them, I brought my suitcase to my bedroom and immediately took my book, sat on the deck and while over looking the ocean, read.  It was quiet except for the waves hitting the shore, pure paradise.

Katie came home from work about an hour later, and of course I was happy to see her.  She got changed and we decided we were too tired for a walk.  I had asked Katie to keep me accountable as far as my exercise goes, but it had been a long day for both and decided to start the next day.  We relaxed and caught up on things.  We popped the cork on the wine and proceeded to have wine, cheese and crackers.  It is always great talking to her, we tend to talk over each other and often have to stop and say “you go”, ‘no, you go” 🙂  That night we looked at magazines, watched Biggest Loser Couples, Housewives of New York City and Bethany.  We pretty much talked through all the shows but we did throw our eye on the tv once in a while.

On Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, I went to visit Craig (he will be in Florida for a while) during the day.  Friday, Katie met Craig and I and we went to Craig’s favorite restaurant “The Olive Garden”

Wednesday afternoon was another reading time (I read The Pack by Jodi Picoult – excellent), I just love rocking in the rocking chair reading and looking at the ocean.  Nova loves it too, she always comes out and sits with me.  After Katie got home she said “that’s it, we are going for a walk”.  So we took Nova and we walked 2 miles on the beach, it felt good, plus the weather was gorgeous.  That night we ordered Chinese food from Lucky Wok for dinner.  We watched American Idol, Glee, Bethany and Harry Potter-Deadly Hollows while we ate and of course had wine.

Thursday went the same, after reading and then a 2 mile walk, Katie and I went to the Historic Town on the Island and we ate at an Italian Restaurant named Gennaros.  It was delicious!  Katie and I split fried calamari for appetizer and then we had salad with bread.  I had Lobster Ravioli which was wonderful and Katie had Maryland Crab Ravioli which was delicious as well.  Katie chose a nice Chianti to go with the meal. We were too stuffed for dessert.  We stopped at the Redbox and rented “Splice” it was about a scientist couple that used human DNA in their work of splicing animal genes.  Disturbing but good none the same.  After that we watched various tv shows.

Friday after Olive Garden, Katie, Nova and I once again took our 2 mile walk.  We rented two movies from Redbox for the night.  The first was “Rabbit Hole” which was about a couple and how they each differently handled the death of their child, Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart were in it – excellent.  The second movie was “Grown-ups”  which was about 5 childhood friends who won a basketball championship in 1978 and how they came together thirty-two years later and rented a lake house with their families and had a rematch with the losing team.  Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider starred.  It was pretty funny.  I wouldn’t buy it or go to the movies to see it but for $1.00, it was good.

The next morning I flew home to David and the kids but I really, really enjoyed myself.  It is great seeing Craig doing so well and of course visiting Katie which always involves laughing.  We are both ridiculous and found out we both park our cars the same way – angled to the left…………………………………

Autism and it’s Oddities

There is never a dull moment in this house.  Having 2 children with Autism brings us lots of surprises, both good and bad.  I just have to share two things I found once Hunter and Hayley went to school today.

I was busy straightening up the house before I went to the gym, because the cleaning people were coming.  Once finished, I decided to have a fat-free english muffin with sugarless jam for breakfast.  When I opened the cabinet to get the english muffins, I jumped back startled because this is what I found………

Yes, headless Barbie bodies and their heads.  Except for Ken.  For whatever reason, Hayley had a problem with Ken on Sunday and threw his head into the dirt in the backyard and buried it.  Hayley has a tendency to set items up and hide them in various places in the house.  She often hides the Barbies to surprise me because she must know I had “issues” with dolls when I was little.  They were creepy and I felt they would move at night….(another blog).  Anyway,  I always find this disturbing when I find hidden Barbies and also the fact that Hayley enjoys playing with them in this condition.

Hunter doesn’t really hide things like Hayley, but he often has “set-ups”.  It is not uncommon to walk into a room and find a menagerie of stuffed animals, sitting on all the Dining Room chairs, set up on the fireplace mantle, on the second floor of the Library peeking through the spindles etc.   Last night we put Hunter to bed and went back downstairs to watch a little tv.  After a while we decided to go to bed.  Now, outside my bedroom is a floor to ceiling window that gives a nice view of the neighborhood.  Hunter loves to sit in front of this window when he is waiting for someone to come over.  He can see way down the street.  As I approached this window, this is what I found….

Yup, Pikachu and company.  Hunter must have gotten up after we went downstairs to set-up the Pokemon group.  I didn’t get to ask him about it this morning because we were in a rush for the bus, but I will when he gets home. I am sure he will have an unusual story to tell me like he always does.

I have to laugh at these things and enjoy them.  There are so many difficulties with Autism and I tend to get lost in them.  But, when Hunter and Hayley come up with some of these oddities, I embrace them and know not all is bad.

Now if someone could tell me why a child would prefer her Barbies headless, please let me know 🙂

OOPS! Gym update from last week – 4/14

I really don’t know where this past week has gone.  It has been a rough and tumble week, all kinds of things going on for good and for insane.  Hunter and Hayley have certainly been keeping me on my toes.

Anyway, the week preceding the gym went very well.  In addition to going to the gym, I continued walking on my treadmill at home.  I watched what I ate and felt pretty good.  When I got to the gym on Thursday, Jess said “we” needed to take it to another level.  This means more weight on the machines and a more intense workout.  Wow, I felt like I was training for a triathalon!  Whether it was lower body or upper body, she kept piling on weights and I thought I was going to die.  By  the time I got to the last reps, my limbs were literally shaking, I didn’t think I would finish. I was dripping in sweat and felt muscles that I didn’t even know I had.   Now it was time for the weigh in.  I marched into the room with the scale figuring “oh I bet I lost 3lbs”.   Jess set the scale to what I weighed last week, I got on……..O lbs lost.  I was shocked, it couldn’t be! I had been consistently loosing EVERY week!  Once I calmed down, Jess explained to me that yes, I had been loosing consistently but there will be times I  will not lose anything.  She told me not to give up and not to go home and binge or anything like that, just keep doing what I have been doing and I will continue to lose weight.

I have been fine since then. I have watched what I consumed and was able to do my treadmill twice.  I am unable to go to the gym this week which has me a little nervous.  I am leaving for Florida today and will be back on Saturday.  Although the trip isn’t primarily for pleasure, I can do some damage while I visit with Katie at night  🙂  Hopefully she will hold me accountable!! I plan on taking a walk on the beach each day and am looking forward to doing that.

Who know what this next week will bring but I plan on giving it my best shot.  Losing 30 lbs. is tremendous for me and I don’t want to blow it.  I am confident that once I get back on my regular schedule the pounds will continue to “melt” off 🙂

Therapeutic Horseback Riding for Autistic Kids


Hayley just started her Spring Session of Therapeutic Riding at “Riding with HEART” (Hunterdon Equine Assisted Recreation and Therapy).  She attended the Fall Session and just loved it.

Katie is an equestrian and has ridden for about 16 years.  In addition to years of lessons, Katie has competed and done very well in many, many shows.  Katie also rode for the Villanova Equestrian Team as an Undergraduate, a team she helped found.  She also rode alumni as well.  All those years attending show after show, Hayley HATED horses.  She would yell and scream and roll on the ground.  We couldn’t get her within 10 feet of a horse.  I knew there was therapeutic riding close by our house but I never considered signing Hayley up because of her dislike of horses.

One Saturday last spring, Dave went to a local farm to order mulch and he took Hayley with him.  On the farm they have 2 Clydesdale horses, Lucy and Walter.  Hayley knew the horses names because almost daily we pass by the farm and I would say “say hi to Lucy and Walter!”.  Dave pulled into Alice and Richard’s driveway, let Hayley out of the car and she immediately ran to and climbed on the fence saying both horse’s name.  Alice, Richard and Dave came over and Alice called the horses to the fence so Hayley could pet them.  Hayley did, but started saying “on horse, on horse”.  Alice brought her into the paddock and lifted her on beautiful, white Lucy.  Dave immediately called me on the cell phone to tell me Hayley was actually on a horse, I didn’t believe it.  Dave said as soon as Hayley sat on the horse, a look of total bliss came over her face.  He wanted to cry.  Alice and Dave on one side and Richard on the other side walked Hayley around the paddock 3 times, she didn’t want to get off!  Dave brought her home and I hugged her and asked about riding the horse.  Hayley said “ride Lucy”, I was so very proud of her.

We took Hayley to visit Lucy and Walter on occasion during the summer and she enjoyed brushing them and feeding the horses hay. I decided that I would sign her up for the fall session of therapeutic riding. I signed  Hayley up for an Autism Social Skills Group.  There are 5 other autistic kids in the group.  Each child gets an aide to help them through the lesson, plus there are plenty of additional volunteers to help if needed. The kids do a greeting, play a game, groom the horses and then ride.

It was so much fun bringing Hayley to the Horse supply store and getting her fitted for riding boots.  She then got to pick out special pants and socks.  Hayley looked adorable.  She was so excited and would put her boots on everyday hoping that that was the day she was going to ride.

Hayley’s school teacher made up a chart for us showing Hayley what the progression was going to be.  Dress in horse riding clothes – greeting & game – grooming – riding – home.  Hayley needs these visual reminders of what is going to happen and when.  The first day Hayley tantrumed and screamed because she wanted to get right on the horse and not do anything else.  Finally, after 20 minutes she calmed down and they got her on the horse “Patrick” a really handsome white, gentle horse.  Hayley had the biggest smile I had ever seen while being led around the ring.  When it came time to get off the horse, yes! another major tantrum.  As the weeks went by, Hayley became acclimated to the schedule and did extremely well.

Once the session was over, Hayley continued to come home from school on Monday’s and want to get into her riding gear.  I assured her we would sign up again in the Spring.  Now whether she understood or not, she finally stopped asking for “horse”.

Last month I signed Hayley up for the Fall Session and it started yesterday.  She was very excited getting dressed, putting her riding clothes on.  When we got there, Hayley wanted to ride immediately, MAJOR tantrum!  She screamed and screamed, kept trying to run away etc.  It was upsetting of course, because of her severe behavioral problems, Hayley was the ONLY autistic child there tantruming and being held back.  If I let go, she would have run to a horse and start picking up one of their legs, why she does this to animals, I don’t know.  I do know doing this to a horse is dangerous.  Finally the aide took over, Hunter and I were sitting in the car reading and could hear Hayley’s screams bouncing off all the walls.  Eventually they all came outside to ride the horses.  As I watched, Hayley refused to get on “Patrick” and was once again, screaming and rolling on the ground.  No one knows how very tiring and upsetting this is.  Everyone, and I am talking parents of autistic kids were staring and shaking their heads.

I was beckoned over by the trainer and with head held high, I walked past all the parents and up to Hayley and spoke to her for 5 minutes.  She finally calmed down and got on the horse.  From then on, Hayley had the best time being led around the ring, a beautiful smile on her face.  Iam hoping that next week there will be less screaming and yelling.

When you have a child with Autism you cannot predict each day.  What they are happy with one day, they are angry about the next day.  A parent tries all they can to help their child and try to bring some sense of normalcy.  These kids know more than you think but just can’t communicate their feelings or needs.

Some of the benefits of Therapeutic Riding are:

Eye/hand coordination – Balance – Muscle strength – Socialization – Body awareness – Self-control – Self-confidence – Problem solving – Fine motor coordination – Sensory integration and Communication.


Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Our third day in DC started out as uneventful.  We got up, went to breakfast and decided to go to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.  To me that is the most boring museum ever!  How many airplanes, rockets and space vehicles can one look at.  Dave and Hunter were eager to go, so go we did. Once we entered the museum Hayley freaked out screaming so I knew we were in trouble. 

Hayley and I trudged behind Dave and Hunter as they were checking out the many displays.  Every once in a while if I spied an open seat I would sit Hayley down while Dave and Hunter looked at something.  After a few hours we got lunch and it was back to the museum. 

 Dave and Hunter decided to go and re-visit some of their favorite displays and films.  I and even more so Hayley did not even have “1 favorite” display and so chose to sit down on a platform holding a very large rocket. I watched Dave and Hunter disappear into the crowd and Hayley chose to moan very loudly and roll all over the platform.  All of a sudden I happened to look in the distance and saw a head bobbing up and down and waving.  It was Dave and I then realized he was beckoning me to come.  I took Hayley’s hand and we made our way to where Dave and Hunter were supposed to be.  As we approached, I saw Dave but no Hunter, panic started to overtake me because I thought Hunter was lost.  As my eyes are frantically looking around, I saw him behind Dave laying face up on the floor with blood all over his face, shirt and the floor. Then I noticed Dave was holding a wad of blood soaked napkins.  “What HAPPENED”, I yelled?  Dave said they were walking around when all of a sudden Hunter got a bloody nose, he said blood was spurting everywhere!  Dave had no tissues or napkins on him, just the map and he knew that wouldn’t help.  After having Hunter lay on the floor and then standing there helplessly looking at him, a lady ran over and handed Dave napkins she had been carrying in her purse. Dave cleaned him up the best he could and that was when he waved us over. Meanwhile through all this, Hunter is crying and sobbing “am I going to survive this tragedy?” We finally were able to let him up without his nose bleeding, Dave took Hunter to the bathroom and finished cleaning him up to the best of his ability.  Meanwhile, Hayley is rolling all over the floor tantruming.  It is amazing how many people passed us by and saw Hunter and all the blood, plus Hayley rolling around screaming, yet not one asked if we needed help, and that includes museum staff as well.

Once that episode was over, it was back to the Natural History Museum.  Hunter’s shirt was covered with blood but hey, why would that bother him?  Hunter started the long process of video taping every animal in the animal exhibit.  While he and Dave were occupied with this, I found a nice bench in the corner and Hayley and I sat down. Once Hunter was satisfied with what he video taped it was back to the hotel.

After a long HOT walk back to the hotel, we got into our nice cool room.  I was never so happy to be somewhere.  It had been and exhausting day. Hunter changed into clean clothes so we were set, or so we thought.  We all sat down when Hunter got up, walked to the desk and got a tissue to blow his nose.  Before I could say DO NOT BLOW TOO HARD, he did.   He blew out a clot and blood went flying EVERYWHERE!!!  All over Hunter, the bed, carpet, tables and chairs.  After the initial shock, Dave and I jumped up, but Hunter darted past us into the bathroom.  He was trying to strip off his clothes and go into the bathtub, blood is ALL over……..sink, mirror, floor, tub you name it.  It looked as though a murder was committed! We are yelling for Hunter to get out ot the tub, but he kept screaming “I HAVE TO TAKE A SHOWER!!! Dave pulled Hunter out ot the shower and cleaned him up, I got him to lay on the floor by the bed, yet Hunter kept insisting that “Kevin” said if you get a bloody nose, you have to take a shower because it stops the flow. I argued no, that is not true, you must lay down.  The next day we found out from Kevin that when he was babysitting Hunter and Hayley, Hunter got a bloody nose while standing in the tub when Kevin was buzzing Hunter’s head.  What Kevin DID say to Hunter was that at least he was standing in the tub when the nose bleed came so it was easier to wash off.

Now mind you while all this is going on Hayley is jumping, jumping, jumping on the bed screeching.  Dave and I are still cleaning up blood when Hunter calls to me saying he is cold.  I march to where he is laying down and there the poor kid was laying in front of the air conditioner with just his underwear on and about a million goose bumps! I took a clean blanket and put over him and told him just to hold on a few more minutes.

Ok, blood is cleaned up about the best it could be. I got Hunter up and he changed into his pajamas as I only had one more outfit for him to wear.  Dave opened a bottle of wine, got out the water glasses and poured us a “healthy” amount.  We sat not speaking for a few minutes until the shock wore off.  Hayley is still intermittently jumping on the bed but we chose to ignore her. 

Dave decided to go downstairs to see if there were any take out menus for the area because we really didn’t want room service again.  He wasn’t gone even 1 minute when Hayley started REALLY jumping on the bed and hysterically laughing (this means big trouble).  I started to walk over to get her off the bed when she jumped past me, picked up the wine bottle and as I screamed NOOOOOO, the bottle of wine shot out of her hands and wine went EVERYWHERE!!! It went on the bed, blankets, floor and chair.  Yes, the same ones that are covered in blood, now are also covered in wine.  I yell at Hayley to go sit down so I could attempt to clean up the mess when Dave walks in minus menus. He just stood in the door dumbfounded.

We got cleaned up, opened another bottle of wine and finally sat down. But not for long.  Hayley got up on the bed started jumping and hysterically laughing. She started saying “pee pee on the bed”.  Dave whipped her off the bed and brought her to the bathroom. Hayley is still giggling, but after 10 minutes she says “try later”.  Ok, as Dave turns out the light in the bathroom, Hayley jumps on the bed and immediately pees all over it!!! Bed, sheets, blankets are wet. Now we have one bed covered in blood and wine, the other in pee. We used the last remaining towel to clean up the pee.  Dave and I again sat down and could do nothing but drink up our wine and stare.

When we looked around the room and then the bathroom with a stack of towels covered in blood, wind and pee, we knew then that we would never return to this hotel.  They probably have a “banned from the hotel” poster in every hallway for our family, and I wouldn’t blame them.

We can laugh about it now but at the time when this type of thing happens you feel helpless, hopeless, stressed, pissed, you name it.  But this is our life so you take the good with the bad.

After everything FINALLY calmed down for the night, you know what we did?  Order room service!

30 lbs the Gym and the Doctors Appt :)

Yesterday morning I went to the gym.  Healthquest was having a “member appreciation day”.  All kinds of things were going on.  Upon entering the facility there was a “Jester” there to welcome me.  I personally dislike clowns (another blog), they are so evil and creepy.  The problem with Jesters, they too much resemble clowns, so I only was able to give him a brief glance and hurry away. A DJ was playing music, the place was decorated with colorful balloons, lots of free food and beverages plus free water was given to you before you started to exercise.

I entered the track area and was bombarded with crazy LOUD music and about 100 women doing zumba on the first floor.  It was interesting to watch as I walked around the track. I came to the conclusion that I really wouldn’t enjoy doing it.  I wound up walking 3 miles and then I was ready for the gym itself.

I met up with Jess and she had me work primarily upper body.  She is no longer lenient with me, pow!! she brought it on.  By the time I was done, I thought my arms were going to fall off.  This is okay though because my football player arms are shrinking to a normal size.

Next was the weigh in.  I was nervous.  I felt I did well with my eating and at home exercising, yet I kept thinking about the restaurant we went to with Linda and Rich Saturday before.  It was no holds barred, I had whatever I wanted including the chocolate giant brownie with whipped cream.  I will say though, I was too full and afterward as I lay like a beached whale in bed, wished I didn’t eat so much.

I got on the scale, closed my eyes and she said “look!!”, 3 lbs!! I am now officially down 30 lbs!!!, I never thought I could do it.   I am so happy and am definitely feeling and looking better.  Next, week I will post a picture.

I had a doctor’s appointment following the gym.  I need to get my blood pressure checked every few months. I have been on blood pressure medication for 14 years. Even on medication my pressure is on the high side.  The nurse took my pressure twice and both times it was 118/69.  I haven’t had a low blood pressure in years.  When the doctor came in and saw me he was shocked.  I was such a mess both physically and mentally the last time I saw him in November.  When I go in the nurse usually takes my pressure and I don’t see the doctor.  This time he wanted to see me.  He couldn’t believe how much weight I had lost and doing it on my own.  After speaking with me and reviewing my chart he decided to take me off one of the blood pressure medications.  I was thrilled.  I have to go back in 1 month to check but if the pressure is still low I can stay off it and possibly work coming off the other one.

I am proud of my self and energized.  There is no doubt I am going to do this because for the first time in my life, I WANT to do it for me.  I know I am down at least 2 sizes because the jeans I bought a few weeks ago are now too big.  I am glad I only bought 2 pair.  I look forward to the day I can go shopping for normal clothes.  I am going to Paris in July and will need new clothes.  So Dave, credit card here I come!!!!