Thursday, August 13, 2015

Back to School

It's the middle of August, and today two of our children started back to school in our home district.

I have to say, this time I was ready for the return to a schedule.

This summer has been rather difficult.  The two oldest, both boys, both with autism spectrum disorders, are both reaching puberty (they are both 13), and both having problems between hormones, autism, frustrations, changes that come with summer, and so on.  With many boys on the autism spectrum, the frustrations are demonstrated physically.  This is especially so with middle child, who has left many many bruises, small open wounds, etc on myself and his biological dad, and had a few visits with law enforcement to help him calm himself down when he's went too far to control himself on his own.  Don't worry, the officers are kind to him, yet firm, as soon as they know his autism and mental retardation, and he responds to them usually well.  They simply chat with him, he listens and obeys, and all of us go on our merry way.

This has been particularly rough with public adventures, such as the library, where middle child has gotten violent or simply shut down and refused to move.  It has been very difficult getting said child to appointments that he *needs* to make, to where he becomes violent.  He for a while was violent to our pets, which was not tolerated.  Then there's days of continual shut downs, refusals, aggression, and so on.  For weeks at a time, it was

Now, I don't tell this to get sympathy, pity, or anything like that.  Nor do I want "mom of the year" or even a cookie.  Ok, maybe I'll snag a cookie.

What I want to say--this has been an exhausting summer.  I've neglected a lot of things in order to somehow keep a partial lid on the children to keep the autism pot from bubbling over beyond where we could handle.  I have neglected this blog, my own weight loss initiative, plans to learn new things with the kids on good days, my flower bed and herb garden, and so on, in a bid to keep sanity.

God has been good to us, helping us to keep afloat when it would be so so easy to sink.  He has sent a true and faithful church family who minister to us often and help support us when we're ready to crack.  He's taken care of our needs overall so that we can focus on the issues at hand.  We at times wonder why now, why here, why us...but then when things play out, hubby and I both start to see that "why" turn into "ooooh I get it now".

For instance, hubby has been off work from his part time job for 2 weeks due to kidney stones and a surgery that has proven unsuccessful so far.  He still has the stone.  In that time he's been able to be home right when he's been needed.  He's been home to do odd and end things that have been neglected, small things that seem minute until you need it done or it stays left undone until it is no longer minute.  Most of all, he's been there.

For the moment I can breathe, can think, can catch up.  Instead of feeling swept away by a tidal wave, I can swim a little longer.  Just those few hours while at least 2 children are at school (middle one starts next week where he busses to), is a little time to breathe.

From what I've read on various blogs from parents with adults with autism and other diagnosis (usually called dual diagnosis), we are far from the end of the road.  Aggression usually continues, increasing with intensity as said child ages and grows stronger and we parents grow older and weaken with age.  From what I have seen working with adults with autism, it doesn't necessarily have to be, at least not as often and as intense.  So we work to help teach ways to work out frustration besides hands and feet flying, fists pounding, nails embedded into someone's arm, teeth trying to locate someone's hand or arm.  It's a daily practice.

So, this is where I've been this summer.  I'm sorry to have neglected the blog, and I appreciate all of you who have contacted and asked about me/us as a family.  Thank you all for praying for us,  People have said "it's the least I could do"'s the first thing I WANT people to do.

Lots of hugs from southern Kansas.....

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Ten Months and Counting!

Wow--two posts in a month--I'm on a roll now! hehehe

It's morning here in south east Kansas, and it's a hot and humid one.  We're supposed to have a heat index of 108 this afternoon, and it is well on it's way at 8am.  I think summer finally made it.

This past week I hit another milestone in the weight loss journey.  It's now 10 months in, and down another size!

Hubby had me order some skirts from Woman Within, as they have these really comfy knits and drawstring denim skirts that I like.  This time I was able to order a 14/16 knit and 16 denim (non stretch).  I haven't been able to get into a 16 denim since 1999, when I was a correctional officer and had dropped from a 28 to a 16.  This time the adventure started at a 34W top and 36W+ bottom, so to make it down to a 16 bottom in non-stretch is exciting to me!  I wore the 14/16 to church yesterday and it felt great!  I wore the other 14/16 the day before while working around the kitchen and spending time with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law (hubby's brother's wife), nephew, and sister in law (hubby's sister).  Even though it wasn't noticeable to them the size, it felt good to be at the smallest clothing size I've been in in 16 years, and have the energy to do the things needed done.

As far as I know I'm still at 70 pounds gone.  If it slowed down to a halt today, I'd be fine with that.  I'm still over 300 pounds, though, which really bothers me, so I'll keep on slowly whittling away at that.  The doctor will still be on my case when I go back for a diabetes check up in a month or two, as I'm still considered way obese according to their charts, but I'm wearing an off the rack XL and able to go 5 miles without stopping and lift heavy weights and you can feel my ribs and joints in most areas and see outlines of bone structures--surely they'll take the large build in to account, but then again maybe not.

We're finally done with camp season, praise the Lord!!  Hubby did his last week of it in the past week, and brought oldest child home with a broken foot and a walking boot.  We have no idea how the child pulled off a broken bone in the upper part of his foot right on a joint, but he sure did it.  The camp was muddy from 5 or so days of torrential rains, the soccer field flooded, and there were other issues that hubby was very upset about that he will not be returning next year.  This one was one that is has looser standards than we are accustomed to, so it will be fine sticking with one that has the more conservative standards that we have at home and church and no more culture shock for him or any of our kids that go.  Now that camp season is over, we can get back into our routine and put away all the luggage.

Hubby got to come home to see his brother and his family here to visit.  He was very happy, as they have been here most of the week.  They live down in Texas, and come up yearly or so.  Their son is a year older than ours, and he is mature for his age, to where I thought he was a few years older.  He's a good kid, I like him a lot.  This year I've gotten chance to get to know sister-in-law better, as in years past we've not had much chance to chat on visits.  It's been great seeing the brothers spend time with each other and family from the area come in and spend time with everyone and congregate at Papa's house.  I'm not used to seeing that in my own family, we're more the distant type, so this is fun having the gatherings with hubby's family.

This week is probably close to the hottest we've had this year, if not THE hottest.  We're expecting upper 90's for highs, but 106-110 for heat index.  Last week we barely got out of the mid 60's for highs.  We had at least 5 inches of rain last week, and now the humidity this week.  The upside, the crops and grass and flowers have been well hydrated.  With all the rain comes lots of yard mowing to keep the prairie from reclaiming the yard.  Today I am working on Papa's hopefully before it gets too hot.  Inside baking and cooking is down to a minimum.  It's too hot to really run the stove more than necessary, although I do need to process herbs that have grown tall and full for all the rain.  That will have to be an early morning thing so the AC doesn't have to work so hard later in the day.

I've taken a few moments here and there to not only work on bible reading (today was Isaiah 35), but work through a series called Elm Creek Quilters.  I am really enjoying the series and am on book 7.  I started it a few months ago.  It's nice to get lost in a book from time to time, especially when it involves a subject you enjoy.  :)  Last night I also started back to making fabric flowers to adorn French barrettes and alligator clips to most likely put in my Etsy shop.  The poor shop has been neglected for a long while, as family needs have taken precedence.  I'm itching to bring out my tub of Christmas fabrics and start making ornaments and stockings and such to add to the shop as time allows.  The only time I've had lately to work on sewing or reading is after the children are in bed, when I can turn on a sermon cd or listen to a show on cable while working.  I've worked my way through my hexagon quilt to get it to about a twin size now working in the late hours listening to sermons or tv.  I've been designing a wall hanging quilt that can go down small enough for postage stamps (1 inch pieces) or as large as one would like to make it, and can't wait to put design to fabric and see how it works out.

Well, enough of my rambling, there is work to be done outside before it gets too hot.  You all have a great day and hope to see you again real soon!

Shared at:  Darling Downs Diary, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Climbing the Hills, Standing in the Valley

The last week (6/22 through 6/26) of June I was with my stepdaughter (11) at church camp.  Our church goes to Sagmount Baptist Camp just south of Joplin, MO, just a hair outside of a little town called the Village of Saginaw.

Now, if you are at all familiar with southern and southwest Missouri, you will know immediately that the land layout is not flat.  Not flat as in cliffs, caves, drunk monkeys designed the winding hilly one lane roads, low lying valleys, and an occasional piece of level property.  Driving in that area is not for the faint of heart or the lowest in car insurance.  Make sure your parking brake works.

All that said, Sagmount is beautiful.  The design was once laid out as a resort when it was started back in the 1920's, and had beautiful swimming pools fed by the stream that runs through the property, a hotel with new at the time "air conditioning" fed by fans that drew up cool air off the stream and brought it into the stone built buildings.  The old buildings still sport their stone sheaths, and the inside of some of them still have the original stone works and carvings that were inlaid in the initial build.  Some of the original fireplaces are still there, though not used for safety's sake.  With over 400 people at a time, 100 year old fireplaces may not be the most ideal to be firing up.  For what it's worth, there is now central air--and it felt great in the 90-100+ degree heat!

The majority of the buildings sit on the side of a hill.  You park and use your parking brakes set as tight as you can get them.  You walk hills to get to your room.  You walk hills to get to your meals.  you walk hills to get to bible studies.  The tabernacle, concession, pool, trout pond, bass/perch pond, stream, bear cave, sports, etc are all at the bottom of the big hill.  The housing and cafeteria are set on top of the cliff.  The cliff is angled so steeply that the maintenance people use goats in certain areas rather than mow.  I found this amusing to see goats resting in the shade under an overhang on the cliff side.  To get from top to bottom or vice versa, there are 3 options.  You can drive down a rather steep road that winds around the northwest side of the property.  You can walk down wooden stairs at an even more steep angle.  Or you can take the concrete stairs on the "suicide hill".  There's a reason for that last one--it's angled extremely steep, and you think you're dying before you get to the top.  Very few folks took it, and I avoided it figuring I'd just roll back down.

The "fun stuff" is at the bottom of the hill.  Also the mandatory chapel services are at the bottom of the hill.  So, I'd pack up my backpack with plenty of water bottles and my big ol' bible, keys, phone, and so on, and walk down the hill.  I found it funny in my own little way, many people would pull up beside me and ask if I wanted a ride down.  The looks I received when I politely declined, explaining my car was at the top of the hill and I was doing it for exercise--the folks understood but still seemed to think I was nuts.  The same happened going back up the hill each time.  I hoofed it a lot around the camp, only driving for evening services after I'd showered and put on nicer clothes and didn't want to bathe in bug spray again.  Those trips up and down were worth it!  The trips produced awesome muscles and a 7 pound weight loss in 5 days.

Get this--I ate like a horse.  I did a Slim Fast and lots of coffee in the morning, followed by a granola bar (or two) for a snack, then hoofed it down and back up the hill from morning chapel and ate 2 heaping plates (main dish, veggies, fruits, monster salad with cheese and diced chicken no dressing) and iced tea, and later on back down the hill for activities, have a snack or two, lots of water, back up the hill and snack, shower, eat supper (similar thing with 2 plates heaping full), evening activities, chapel, back up the hill, snack, round up the girls I had with me, and then sleep.  Repeat the entire week.  The clothes I took that were getting snug from weight gain weren't snug anymore after the week.  It was great!

The girls I took along had a blast as well, with music competitions, swimming, sports, hanging out with friends they knew, and so on.  We had a good time!

The theme was Determined.  Most of the sermons were on obedience, to authority and the Bible.  I admit I picked up some from the preaching, even though it was levelled to 9-12 year olds.  The music was hymns and fun camp songs, and my can those kids yell loud when told to!  The speaker was a good one, and he kept the attention of the kids and adults, and he kept on target each day.

The last day of camp, on the way home, we heard the Supreme Court ruling on "homosexual marriage", and had to turn the radio off.  It wasn't something I wanted to hear while returning home from Bible camp.  While I won't debate it, our stance in our family is on the ol' King James 1611 and what it says on that issue and all other sin issues.

The week following camp, I was down with some respiratory thing that started creeping in the last couple days of camp.  I felt like a freight train with a few hundred cars rolled over my chest, felt like I was breathing through a straw, and had a major sinus infection going on.  I never did make it to the doctor, but did use what we had at home in over the counter items and started taking a women's multi vitamin.  The first 3 or 4 days I barely remember, it is like a fog, and all I wanted to do was sleep and of course being home with all the family it wasn't possible.  Almost 2 weeks out from camp now, I'm almost completely over it.  I've got my energy back and getting caught up on work that has been needing done but didn't get done while I was at camp and the week home sick.

Hubby is now at camp over into southern Missouri, where it's flooding and much more mild in temperatures than we're used to for July.  It's normally 90's to 100's, and we're barely breaking upper 60's to 70.  We've had a lot of rain and flooding in the general region.  Yesterday when hubby called from the camp, he said there's no getting to the highway at that time due to the red clay dirt roads being too slick to get up--the camp is at the bottom of the hollers and just on the edge of the Gasconade river, and to get out you do a lot of driving in 1st gear (or low in an automatic) to climb the hills.  He is doing nursing at the camp, which he usually does yearly and keeps his Missouri nursing license mainly for that reason--we don't live in Missouri but keeps dual license.  He has the oldest child with him there, while I have the youngest at home and the middle child is visiting his dad.

This week so far I have the windows open (odd for July) and have been cleaning the house down with Pine Sol and catching up on much needed work.  It's been too wet to do much outside, so much water our yuccas are showing yellow instead of green (ever seen a drowning yucca???) and many of my flowers are stunted in growth.  My sunflowers that were to grow (and normally do) 12 feet are barely 5, and the seed heads are to be easily a foot across are barely 4 inches.  The 3 foot tall zinnias are about a foot and a half to 2 feet and much smaller heads than normal.  The only things really taking off are the herbs and they've exploded and took over, and also the marigolds (which I didn't plant but reseeded themselves from last year) are doing awesome.  So are weeds.  This has been an odd spring and summer thus far, with so so much water and very mild temperatures.  It feels like early to mid spring, not near the middle of July.  It is nice to have the windows open and breezes coming in, it just is abnormal for this time of year.

I'm hoping after school starts in August, to get back on a regular posting schedule.  I miss writing on a regular basis, but the family seems to need me all the more when everyone is home and needing 10 meals a day (or so it seems) and mountains of laundry and cleaning lessons (which they don't like but need to do to learn how to some day manage their own homes), and chauffeuring around town to various activities, and so on.  Hopefully after we are back on our regular schedule the days will slow down a tad.

During down time in the evening I've been working on more hand piecing and cutting squares while the kids are doing things but needing supervision.  I've learned how to do 4 patch/9 patch blocks and use a seam gauge to keep on target instead of drawing seam lines.  I don't have the hang of the rotary cutter, it still isn't my friend, so I still hand cut and hand trace each piece, and am working through scraps and recycled clothing to cut down to serviceable squares and triangles.  I've also been working on my hexagon quilt that has been in progress for nearing 2 years, and hope to have it done very soon and ready to hand quilt.  I've been taking the hexie quilt pieces along to Dr appointments (family members, not my own--I haven't been in months) and other places where I'm expected to wait a long while, and making progress that way.  I'm getting addicted to recycling fabrics instead of buying new--I find it a challenge to find out just how much I can get out of one shirt or pair of pants.  :)

I hope you all are having a great summer (Northern Hemisphere) or winter (Southern Hemisphere).  I hope to be back soon and get back to weight loss ideas and tips and so on, along with some more Christian based things.

Have a great day!!  I've missed you!!!

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Monday, June 15, 2015

How A TV Show Can Inspire

Here recently I was piecing on my quilt and flipped through the stations to see if anything decent was on.  I came up on a show called My 600 Pound Life.

I'll admit, I was interested in this.  It's not every day you see large folks putting their stories on tv.  So, after reading the information on the show, I turned it on and listened.

Then, I put the quilt to the side and started exercising by walking in place and doing mini squats and using the stretch band.

The show features stories of people who are near or over 600 pounds, who are wanting to change and work on regaining their health.  They do a gastric by pass surgery and the work afterward, and the show follows them through the ups and downs, with updates after a year.  While I didn't make it to 600 pounds (praise the Lord!), I can relate to some of the things the different people discussed and had problems with.

This series is motivating, I don't want to go back to the size I was, nor above that.  I don't want to be using a cane again when arthritis and minor injuries make it nearly impossible to walk.  I don't want the horrendous pain just with walking, standing, doing basic every day activities.  I enjoy breathing without huffing and puffing just walking across the house.  I don't want to get back to having the sores that seem to go deep and are very slow to heal, have yeast infections under fat rolls, having problems simply bathing and doing personal care, no energy to do anything, and so on.  I don't want to go back to having no life, no desire to go out into the community, no desire to do activities with the kids because of being ashamed of my size.

My 600 Pound Life has shown me a handful of people who got as large or larger than I, who fought the battle, and who weren't afraid to let it be put on tv for others.  I commend their bravery, for letting others see them as they were and are, seeing the ups and downs throughout the journey, and not being afraid to let others critique.

If you get a moment, take a look at the show's site, I hope you are as inspired by the stories as I have been.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

A Little Talk With Jesus

O a little talk with Jesus make it right, all right
Little talk with Jesus make it right, all right
Troubles of ev’ry kind
Hank God I’ll always find
That little talk with Jesus make it right.

My brother, I remember when I was a sinner lost
I cried, “Have mercy, Jesus”
But still my soul was tossed
Till I heard King Jesus say,
“Come here, I’m on the way”
And little talk with Jesus make it right.

Sometimes the fork lightning and muttering thunder, too
Of trials and temptations
Make it hard for me and you
But Jesus was a friend,
He’ll keep us to the end
And little talk with Jesus make it right.

My brother and my sister, you have trials like me
When we are trying to serve the Lord
And win the victory
Old Satan fight us hard
Our journey to retard
But little talk with Jesus make it right.

Found at NegroSpirituals

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nine Months And Counting

Nooooooo--no baby!

It's been 9 months now since I started the Weight Loss Challenge.  While I have gained a little, I've still come a long way.  

The above picture shows the beginning, taken last summer, size 34W/36W.  The photo on the right was taken yesterday, 6/7/15.  The jumper is one I finished this weekend, quilter's cotton (so no give), with the bodice in an XL.  Now, it's still a long way to go until maintenance, but it is nice to see improvement along the way.  While I gained a few pounds (as shown on the tracker at the right side of the page), I've been working to remove them and their friends.  They have too many friends.  

In the past week or so, we brought in a new family member, named Oreo.  She's 5 or 6 weeks now, starting to get the green eyes, and is full of pee and vinegar.  She's getting spoiled rotten. 

Hubby said he didn't want another kitten.  Can you tell?

Oldest (18 years) and youngest together

Nap time in Mom's shoe

The middle cat wants nothing to do with her, the oldest is tolerating the little fuzz ball as long as she doesn't mess with the old girl's tail, which she twitches it seems just to make her play harder.

It's also gotten warmer in the past week or so, going from 60's during the day up to the 90's.  It's now pool season, and the fans are running bringing in the breeze from the shaded areas around the immediate perimeter of the house.  Monsoon season seems to be over after 10 inches of rain.  The flowers are blooming and taking off, although some did rot from the extreme water amounts.  The oregano and lemon balm are almost knee high now!  The grass is really coming back in with a vengeance, and it's nice to see a greened up yard with no standing water.  The herbs are loving all the moisture and are knee high now.  The mints have exploded again and are almost due for another hair cut.  The tiger lilies, Asiatic lilies, echinacea (cone flowers), and bush morning glories and yuccas are blooming out nice and giving nice color.  Hubby is anxiously awaiting his gladiolas to put on flowers, they were clearanced out bulbs from last summer and so this is their first year.  The greenery on them is doing great so we're hoping for plentiful stalks.  There's sunflowers growing in the shade in the back yard from workers eating seeds while tending to a septic issue in the winter.  They've put on their bloom and are rather pretty.  The mammoths in the front haven't reached maturity yet but are working on it.  Middle child plants them yearly and is proud to see those 12 foot tall flowers.

The kids have been keeping us busy to say the least!  There's been a camp so far for oldest and hubby, middle spent time with his biological dad, and youngest started summer school (volunteer, not because of a "have to" thing).  Then there's been swimming lessons, general swim time, yard work, walking around town on nice days to get to the library or other places, and hubby's work schedule, plus house work.  I've been spending evenings when possible sewing up some jumpers (or sleeveless dresses) to take to camp when I take youngest to her camp in a couple of weeks, as the dress code is dresses/culottes for all girls/women.  Then as we work into July there's hubby's camp where he works as the camp nurse and oldest son goes along, middle has another visit to dad's, and youngest goes to a school based one day a week "camp" to learn cool science things.

I've been very grateful for the activities I've been able to do with the kids.  Last year, I could not have walked even remotely as far with them as I have so far this year.  I also am not as heat intolerant as last year.  I'm able to handle the heat into the upper 90's and near 100 with a lot more ease than last year, and am not miserable and just wanting to loaf around anymore.  It's amazing how much just losing a small percentage of your body weight can do for you!

Oh--another awesome thing--I've been able to ditch the Cpap machine at night.  I've been attached to that machine for years, and couldn't lay down without the beast.  Now, I sleep easily without it.  It's a relief to not have to hook up to that thing.  I still snore some, but it's not the "oh my I can't breathe " feeling that I had even sitting up.  One more little victory!

Lately we've been listening to Jimmy DeYoung's audio cd's (from our church's library) as well as other evangelists who have visited and their messages are on cd and in the church library.  With middle child refusing to go into the church for services once I get him to the building, I end up with my Bible and a cd sermon late in the evenings after everyone's in bed.  I miss being able to sit and listen to services, sing with the congregation the old fashioned hymns, and be around other adults.  It's like a big part of my world is cut off when I don't get to be at church at least part of the week.  Middle child has his challenges, and I help him work through them when he is able to calm down and speak, but I also need the battery recharge to be able to help him as well.  So, out come the cd's.  I've also downloaded and put on cd some sermons and shows from the 'net from Fundamental Baptist pastors and radio hosts, as these are an encouragement and kind of fill in the gaps when I can't be with my church family.

How are you doing?  I hope you're having a great *almost* summer (or winter depending on where you are)!

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