Westie Wednesday!

I will be writing the weekly “Westie Wednesday” for Katie while she is on hiatus.  Katie is in the process of moving to Virginia to attend Law School in August and going to Paris to visit her boyfriend Bill for about 5 to 6 weeks.

We have the privilege to dogsit Katie’s dog Nova (for Villanova).  I just LOVE this dog!  She has already been here for 11 days and fits in nicely.  Ok, not only fit in, but has pretty much declared herself queen of the house. I must admit I do have a tendency to spoil Nova, as well as play fetch (she fetches not me!) as much as she wants.  Even though my arm may be tired from throwing, and I have many other things  to do, my heart melts at that adorable little face that is intently looking at me saying “please, just one more time”………..the thing is, it is never just one more time.

Nova is a very good dog.  Katie has a done a great job training her to listen and come when called.  I have had very little problems with her not listening (just once when she chased a chipmunk and when she chased a deer….but that’s for another blog). 

 Nova pretty much follows me wherever I go in the house.  This includes the bathroom which I have to shut the door and then listen to Nova’s high-pitched crying. She tends to get underfoot because she wants to walk so close to you.  This has resulted in me stepping on her paw twice (yelp! yelp!), tripping over her and once almost falling down the stairs because she insisted on walking in between my feet.

I am so enjoying having Nova visit.  We and to put our last dog Montana down last August so we have been without a pet since then.  Although I am not ready for another dog yet, Nova fills that need for me on a short-term basis.  I treat her like a grandchild by buying her extra special treats, toys and letting her sit in my lap for however long she wants, even if my leg is going to sleep!

Nova has had several adventures since she has been visiting, which I will be writing about each week. Each day is a journey with Nova, she is so inquisitive (even to a fault) and just a very, very, happy dog.  You never know what is going to transpire.

And yes, I let her sleep with me…sssshhh, don’t tell Dave, he is in Florida with Hunter and told me he definitely IS NOT letting the dog sleep in bed.  Well, we will see what happens when  he gets back, but for now I get to spoil Nova any way I want 🙂

Long Overdue Gym/Diet Update :)

I haven’t written in 2 weeks so this is long overdue.  We had a family situation that knocked me out of the loop for a while, but I am back.  The situation slowed me down a bit but not terribly.  I went to the gym on 6/7 and 6/9.  Although I worked out hard, I didn’t work out at home so hence, I did not lose anything.

This past week I got back on track by going to the gym 2 days and working out at home.  Also, I watched my eating better.  When I have stressful situations going on I tend to overeat which is probably why I didn’t lose any weight in addition to the lack of extra exercise from the week before.  But, this past week I watched my diet, worked out at the gym and walked on my treadmill at home and used my punching bag.  When weigh in came on Thursday, with my breath held, I found out I lost 2 lbs.  I was very excited because I really didn’t know what to expect, yet knew I was back on track.

It is so hard losing weight and exercising.  There is so much going on in life that I know for myself, I am worrying about others and not myself.  Once I focus again, I usually get back on track.  I knew this journey was going to be hard but I haven’t gained any weight which is a plus.  The losing is now slow but as I understand, that is the way to go.

Paris is in 3 weeks and I have bought some new clothes that are 2 sizes smaller than what I was.  I am thankful for this, but will still continue to workout and diet until I get on the plane.  I intend to enjoy myself in Paris as I know Katie’s boyfriend Bill has much in store for us.  I do know and am ready to get back with the program once I return home.  This process is far from over.

Basically, nothing in life is easy, but with hard work you can transform yourself and not only to lose weight but to get healthy which by far is the most important thing.

The Calming Effects the Pool has on Kids with Autism

Our pool has been opened since April 18th.  After a rocky winter, it was time for Hunter and Hayley to get outside.  Their favorite thing to do is swim in the pool.  Even though it was still chilly outside, the pool is heated and the kids don’t mind the cool air so both have been swimming since April.

While Hunter and Hayley are in the pool, I collapse in a chair and am able to breathe again.  The water has such a calming effect on them but especially for Hayley.  She has a swimming program in school so Hayley knows how to swim and dive off the diving board.  The one problem is she has no fear so I need to keep a close eye on her.  Hayley could have been having tantrums in the house yet when I say “who wants to go in the pool, Hayley starts running for her bathing suit.  When we get up to the pool Hayley immediately dives in, she is instantly calm and in total bliss.  She loves to swim underwater, I think it is the pressure the water puts on her body that Hayley enjoys.  Hayley is very sensory oriented and even out of the pool she will ask for pressure on a certain part of the body, usually her head.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I bring out the wrong color ice-pop, she WILL freak out, pool or no pool.

Hunter loves swimming too. He taught himself to swim when he was a toddler.  He is not a big diving board person so he doesn’t jump in the pool often but he loves to swim and play chasing games in the pool with Daddy.  It’s exciting because this is the first year that Hayley wants to participate in these games and actually laughs and has fun appropriately.  This is a HUGE step for her. It is the little milestones Hayley makes that can make me cry, but they are tears of joy.

Last Sunday was a tough day for Hayley so I brought them in the pool. It wasn’t the best weather, but I was desperate.  Little Nova got to go to the pool too, although she chased squirrels instead of swimming. Hunter spent most of his time in the hot tub playing with his dinosaurs and Hayley, after jumping and diving in the pool about 100 times, laid on her big sunflower float and fell asleep.  Now I was in total bliss.

I am thankful we have a pool and are able to keep it opened for an extended period of time.  It is very hard to find things for kids with Autism to do that they really, really enjoy.  Sometimes if it’s really hot I will float in the pool on a noodle but would rather sit and read. 

 It is the times when I watch Hunter and Hayley playing in the pool that I see typical children playing, not ones that have a disability.  I take these times and savor them……….

Hunter’s first wedding

On May 28th, friends of ours from church got married.

Back in February they told us that they were going to be married in May and they would like to ask Hunter to be the ring bearer.  My first thought was “what are you guys crazy” asking Hunter to be ring bearer had its share of risks and were they or even us, ready for them.  Hunter’s Aspergers has him look at the world in black or white, no gray area at all.  He is rigid in his ways and definitely resistant to any type of change, so when the day comes, he may perform or he might not, period.  Any type of change during the rehearsal or ceremony could absolutely have Hunter going off the deep end.  So after taking a deep breath I told them to go ahead and ask Hunter.

They did ask him and he was clueless to what a ring bearer was or a wedding for that matter.  They patiently explained everything to him, to which he asked “can I carry Pikachu? He was told he would be carrying a pillow with the rings on top and that he could have Pikachu at the reception.  Then he wanted to know if he could walk down the aisle like a penguin because he always wanted to be a penguin (you know, tuxedo = penguin). They said no he would have to walk normal but could be a penguin at the reception all he wanted.  After taking this all in he said yes he would be ring bearer.  I just kept thinking, they do not know what they are in for.

When the time came near, I brought him to be fitted for his tuxedo.  He did very well at the fitting but I was really leery about Hunter wearing all those clothes plus real shoes.  Boy, I thought, I am in for it.

The rehearsal came and Dave took Hunter as I had to stay home with Hayley because she was receiving therapy.  When Dave got home from the rehearsal, he immediately asked for a glass of wine and collapsed on the swing on the patio outside.  I asked Hunter how it went and he said ok.  Then I asked Dave.  He said it wasn’t horrible but it was as we thought, Hunter was not keen on all the changes that came and went.  The wedding party decided early on that Hunter would not be capable of standing with the wedding party up at the altar for the ceremony.  Hunter would walk down the aisle and sit with me in the front (although I really should be on the bride’s side of the church, I got to sit in the front row  next to the grooms immediate family.)  Anyway, Dave said Hunter accepted this pretty well, but then came the pillow…. Hunter for whatever reason got quickly attached to the pillow.  He was told that when the pastor says it is time for the exchange of rings, he would walk up to the best man and hand him the pillow so he could retrieve the rings.  Hunter flipped out! “I AM NOT GIVING UP THE PILLOW”!  The Pastor told him that he didn’t have to give up the pillow, just make-believe.  Then Hunter thought the rings would actually be on the pillow, when told no, that the best man will have the rings in his pocket and they would be making believe, Hunter yelled “ITS A FAKE!!!”  Dave got Hunter calmed down and said now was the time to practice the processional.  Hunter did extremely well walking down the aisle and sitting next to Dave.  When the Pastor said it was time to exchange the rings, Hunter marched up the steps, got in front of the best man and yelled “YOU ARE A PILLOW SNATCHER!!!”  Once again he sat next to Dave, who by this time was sweating profusely, and Hunter calmed down.  Dave said to me after he got home “tomorrow is anyone’s game.”

The next morning came and we dressed Hunter in his tuxedo.  He looked so adorable.  I was really surprised he didn’t complain too much.  The thing that was most uncomfortable for him were the shoes.  He has never worn dress shoes before.  I will say by the time we got to the reception that day, Hunter was sporting some mean blisters (yet he didn’t really complain), surprise, surprise.  He was a little tough when pictures were taken before the wedding, but he got through it.

The wedding started and the bridesmaids came down the aisle.  It looked as if Hunter was speed walking because he was right on top of the last bridesmaid and she had to keep looking back to be sure Hunter wasn’t going to step on her dress.  He sat down next to me and I praised him.  Hunter sat very quietly during the ceremony and I whispered what he needed to do when the ring exchange was announced.  Now like I said before, Hunter is not used to any type of dress clothes or shoes.  He had on tee-shirt, white shirt, tie, jacket, pants with clips on the side, socks and dress shoes.  Well what I didn’t realize was that little by little Hunter was becoming “Un tucked it”.  So as he walked up the stairs to the best man, his pants started to fall down!  He grabbed the back with one hand and handed the pillow to the best man with the other.  You could hear the chuckles in the crowd.  The lady sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said “there always needs to be a light moment in a wedding”.   Hunter came back to sit with me and said “I saved my pants in the nick of time”.  I was very, very proud of him and how her performed.

Once at the reception, Hunter took off the shoes, jacket and tie and danced the afternoon away………..holding Pikachu and making believe he was a penguin.

Dave helping Hunter get dressed

Hunter in his Tuxedo

Hunter and Daddy

Hunter and Hayley (she did excellent by the way)

Over the hump! Gym update :)

It has been difficult this past month. First, the pain in my foot was hindering my exercise to a point, not to mention my right knee that has arthritis and always hurts.  I finally went to the doctor after I hurt my left knee at a wedding.  Yup, arthritis in the left as well, but the doctor said the intense pain I was experiencing in that knee was caused by a broken bone spur.  The end result……I was given the all so painful cortisone shot in both knees.  WOW, I am really good with pain but this was way over the top.  I will say the knees are feeling a lot better.  If the excruciating pain comes again, the doctor will give me a gel shot medication in both knees.  Uhhhh, I get goose bumps thinking about it, I hope this doesn’t happen.

Anyway, last Tuesday I hobbled into the gym and was only able to do the upper body workouts while sitting down.  On Wednesday, I got the shots and because I didn’t listen to the doctor and go home right away and ice my knees,  the pain became twice as bad.  Dave had to put ice packs on both knees when I went to bed.  So, on Thursday and Friday I took better care and iced my knees on and off and didn’t run around as much.  Of course, this prohibited me from going to the gym on Thursday.

I felt my eating was going pretty well, yet I kept imagining that I was gaining each pound back that I lost.  Not being able to exercise was starting to depress me, I didn’t want to start over again.

Alas, today was the gym!  I knew by yesterday that I was feeling better and ready to go back.  I even signed up for another 12 weeks of personal training.  Jess had me do some light leg machines, then we worked on the upper body and abs.  It felt really good to be back and with a lot less pain.

After the workout, I asked Jess to weigh me because I had to know for good or for bad how I have done.  After a deep breath and closing my eyes, Jess said I could look……………………2 lbs.!!!!!!!  I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was sooooo excited.  I guess I really did watch what I ate.  Now I feel pumped up again.  I even walked two miles on the indoor track after my workout.

I guess I learned to take it day by day and not to obsess over the weight or exercising.  You can still do it!!

Now I am ready to tackle my punching bag downstairs 🙂

Overdue Gym/Diet Update………

The above picture was taken last Friday before we attended a wedding.  It was the first time in years that I have worn a dress.

Now for the update……I am glad to say that I lost 1 lb. over the last few weeks.  I hadn’t lost anything and was definitely in a funk, but I think that funk is over!  My exercising has been limited because of the swelling on the bottom of my right foot, but I did what I could.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel much better, so probably a cortisone shot will be in order (HATE them).

My eating has been questionable at best over the last few weeks, but at least I didn’t gain anything.  I will admit to having the occasional pity party for myself and indulging in some…..ahem….not so good food choices.

Then at last Friday’s wedding I over extended ligaments in my left knee.  I would like to say it happened as I danced the night away, but the true fact of the matter is I stood up too fast in the restroom which resulted in a pain across my knee that almost made me faint.  I really didn’t think I would be able to walk out of the restroom, but I did hobble.  As soon as Dave saw the whiteness of my face, he came over and asked what was the matter.  I told him while breathing heavily and he suggested I try to get outside for some air.  Wow, the pain was excruciating.  I did hobble outside and sat for a few minutes (of course through the pain I still called Katie to share details of the wedding and reception) until I knew I could walk again.

I did very minor slow dancing with Dave because of the pain in my knee.  The next morning when I woke up, I had a huge swelling on the side of the knee and it ached.  Dave and I had stayed down at the Jersey shore overnight and then took a  scenic drive all the way up the coast on our way home.

Once home, I iced my knee both Saturday and Sunday.  I called the Orthopedic doctor’s office on Monday morning and was asked if it was urgent or a follow-up.  I said urgent and told the scheduler what had happened and how I felt.  Guess what?  Their first “urgent” appointment is next Thursday, May 26th.  I dropped my jaw in disbelief and repeated that it was URGENT and was having a hard time getting around.  I was told the same thing, Thursday, May 26th at 1:00.  It is very apparent that health care is going down the tubes.

I hobbled into the gym this past Tuesday and through tears, told my trainer what had happened.  She spoke with her boss who is very knowledgeable about sports injuries (I guess bathroom injuries too) and he had me put an icepack on my knee while I  did upper body workouts sitting down.  After I was finished he looked at my knee and described what was wrong and told me to get a new doctor!  He told me to take a bath 2 times a day with 2 cups of epsom salts to relieve the swelling as well as ice on 20, off 20. I followed his direction as best I could (very difficult to sit with 2 autistic kids).

In any event, things in life are never going to be perfect.  I know there will be ups and downs.  It is important that I stay focused on the goal.  I do feel much better than I did and look better too.  I have a way to go to get where I want to be, but am confident that even when life throws me a curve ball, I will be able to cope and go forward.  Just by losing the 1 lb. shows me I can do it.

Also, I keep telling myself it is 48 days until Paris!  Definitely do not want to be a fat American woman in a sea of thin French women……………..

Flip-Flops at a Wedding

Last Friday, Dave and I attended a wedding of  a teacher of Hayleys that she had in the past.  The service was beautiful, as was the bride and the groom looked handsome in his Military Dress Uniform.

The reception followed.  It was at a Yacht Club and the room the reception was in was beautifully decorated.  Before the bride, groom and wedding party arrived, the DJ called out that in the front of  his stand were bins of flip-flops for the women once their feet started to hurt from the heels they were wearing.  It was such a surprise, I had never seen this before.  All the girls were ooing and ahhing and running to the front.

The bride and her bridal party had bought flip-flops in various sizes and decorated them all with glitter, sparkles, foam, felt flowers and shapes, as well as ribbon.  Every pair was different.  At the top of the page is two of the girls from our table showing off their flip-flops.  The flip-flops were a delightful surprise.  Most of the women and girls who took a pair were already putting them on ready to dance the night away.

Once the music started, the dance floor was flooded with women and girls wearing their custom flip-flops.  All their feet were sparkling and shining underneath the lights.  I thought the flip-flops were a surprising and welcome addition to the reception.

I picked up a pair to show to two young women in the family to maybe give them ideas?????    😉