Thursday, September 22, 2016

Our Peter Pan

I started a blog yesterday in which I was going to explain the last couple of weeks, and the immense heart ache our family has endured since losing our youngest member, John William Smith.

That post is going to be a lot harder to write than I thought. So I decided to tell you about our happy, loving, smiley, curious, adorable, and absolutely perfect little fat man...

Angela started dating a man back in 2014 that as much as we tried to like him, he made it difficult. Our biggest issue was his drinking. He was a drunk. It quickly soured their relationship. After a roller coaster love affair, to say the least, Angela texted me one morning asking questions about symptoms of pregnancy. My heart sank. They were on again off again to the point of driving us crazy, at that moment off again, and in a slightly less than ideal position for a baby. I told her the most sure way to know was to take a pregnancy test.

It was positive. We began to worry.

Angela has the biggest heart in our family. She takes after our father and allows people to walk all over her. This man included. She also takes after our father in her silent suffering with depression. We were concerned about her depression and the higher risks associated with post-partum depression. We could not have been more wrong in doubting her.

Once her pregnancy was confirmed, she shook herself free from the boyfriend and set her sights on being a good mommy. She had a slightly complicated pregnancy. She suffered from pregnancy related diabetes and had to use insulin, making her high risk. She was going to have to deliver at Shands in Gainesville, possibly via c-section.

When I saw the first 3D ultra-sound of John I fell immediately in love. He had the chunkiest little cheeks. I spouted for weeks that he looked like me. I, myself cannot have any more children, and the prospect of cuddling this one fed my raging baby fever. I was so excited to meet him. We were all truly excited to meet him.



After 9 painfully long months, she was scheduled to induce on September 13th 2015. Mom and I packed up and headed with Mommy-to-be to the hospital. They got her all hooked up and we waited.

And waited.

Waited some more...

...When finally a nurse told us to go home and come back the next day, it would be a while before she delivered. Mom agreed to stay and help Angela, and I agreed to come back the next morning prepared to spend the evening.

At approximately 2:30 pm on September 14th 2015, John came screaming into the world. All 8 pounds 15.9 ounces! Angela did so amazing. She was wore out, so we went to work while the doctors worked on Mommy introducing John to the madness of our family.

He was so perfect. So beautiful.

10 toes, 10 fingers, fuzzy dark hair, and the most pouty little lips.

I loved him so much. We all did. We all do.

He was the baby.

I spent the first night of his life with him and Mommy. Angela was exhausted from a long hard delivery, and John was hell bent on missing nothing. Most newborns sleep the majority of that first day. Nope not this little guy.  Wide eyed and giving me a go for my money. About 5 that morning he decided he would take a nap. I didn't want to put him down. I just wanted to hold him and marvel in his adorableness. And I did. Moments that have saved my sanity in these horrible weeks. Moments that will forever be some of the best in my life.



We all rallied behind the two of them. When Angela fell ill a few weeks after he was born with bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms, my Mom took care of him. Virginia, our other sister, took care of him. We all stepped in. There was nothing I looked forward to after work like I did getting to go snuggle him and my kids, Scarlett and Evan. He was everyone's baby.

He loved everyone. He smiled at everyone.

I always had to creep in Mom's house because little man liked to sit in front of the windows and watch. When he would see people coming in the house he would rush to the front door. We all bumped him at least once with the door, and learned quickly to open slowly. I would stick a foot through first. If he was there, he'd give you a yank or rip the door open.

I miss those moments.

I'd give anything to go back in time.

He was such a good baby. One of those babies that never cried or fussed. He LOVED to eat. When he finally reached the age to eat table food, it was as if you laid gold on that child's plate.

But for as much as he loved food...Lord knows he loved his Mommy more.

There was love, adoration, everything pure and innocent in his eyes when he looked at her. Genuine.



Just to see that look again. To pick him up and feel his fat little fingers toy with my beaded necklaces. Touch my face. Go for my earrings...always went for the earrings.

I cut his hair about a month before he passed. I got on my hands and knees and crawled along Mom's house with him, cutting when I had the chance. Another moment that will forever have a sacred place in my heart.

We lost John 8 days shy of his first birthday, on September 6th 2016, and he was buried on his first birthday. It was the worst day of my life, so I cannot imagine the pain my sister is enduring. I would love to be able to take her pain away for just 24 hours. More than that I would have given anything to trade places with our baby that day. John suffered a severe head injury while in the care of  a babysitter. There is still an open investigation so I'm not going to discuss details. And I'm just not ready to discuss the events of that day. I just hope there is justice for our baby.

It's been so hard to say the least, and life is more than unfair. We were blessed to be able to spend about 12 hours with his sweet little self in the flesh before he passed. We relished in being able to kiss his face, hold his hand, touch his feet...but it will never be enough. It was not long enough. Just so unfair.

I will follow up this blog once we have the findings and reports from the investigation, and hopefully answer the questions everyone has been asking. For now, please respect our privacy while the detectives do the very best they can.

There will never be enough words to explain just how amazing our little fat man was...how much life there was in his eyes...how much love in his smile...

So perfect.



Monday, February 29, 2016

Feeling Fat, Bloated, Or...?

Every gal has her fat day.

Every gal that read that just nodded in agreement.

Every gal that just read that laughed because they nodded...at least I like to pretend in my head that you all nodded and laughed...and you might still be laughing now...

But don't fret...I won't quit my day job in hopes for my BIG Comedy Central break! And I won't quit dreaming about it either!

I'm sitting at my desk today, looking down at my massive belly roll hanging over my snug feeling jeans feeling all kinds of un-sexy and fat.

Yup...I feel fat today.

I mean, I am fat everyday, but today is a real exception.

And as I sit here thinking this, and reading back what I have typed about myself whether in dark humor or not, I am very ashamed of myself. I thought about deleting this and going a different direction but realized I have brought an issue up that needs addressed and I need to be honest.

I'm ashamed that I am not thinner. Ashamed that I don't fit into today's stereotypical idea of beauty. Ashamed that even after 30 pounds lost, people still see me as fat. Ashamed that I don't love myself enough, not to care what others think. But mostly ashamed that most women, myself included, think this is acceptable behavior towards oneself.

This is the sad reality of living in today's society as a woman.

This is the impression women get when they open a magazine to a beautifully edited photo of J.Lo or Jennifer Lawrence, who are both amazingly beautiful women without photo-shop. But society says no. They are not good enough. Let us make their hips rounder, waist slimmer, breast fuller...and edit every other little piece of their image so that women can sit and compare themselves to an unrealistic idea of beauty.

This is what women compete with everyday.

Yet we sit around and wonder why young women are having plastic surgery earlier or why women battle body image issues and eating disorders?

Trust me the thought has crossed my mind... what if I just stopped eating? Exercised excessively? Binged? Purged? Ate only veggies? Would I be skinny? Would I be beautiful enough?

The honest answer is no.

I will never be good or thin enough to fit into today's standard of beauty.

Not because society won't think so, but because I won't think so, thanks to the standards that have been set. I am a 26 year old woman, and this is what it does to me living in a world hell bent on looks...so imagine what these ideals do to young impressionable girls.

I have been working on fixing myself for a couple of years now, after a life time of self loathing, and you see the progress I have made. I still sit and look at myself with disgust at times. I know my value as a mother and wife is invaluable, and as a person too...but I still battle those little voices in my head that say I'm not good enough.

How do we fix this? Where do we begin?

I honestly do not know. I have no idea where to start other than at home. I catch myself telling Scarlett how beautiful she is quite often ( and she is beautiful ), but I realize I don't tell her that she is also smart, athletic, cunning, articulate, and hilariously sarcastic! Those are important things too, things that will get her much further in life, but things I fail to mention nearly as much as her looks. That is something that I have to work on personally and the first step is to acknowledge that I do it but that doesn't fix the much larger issue; the fact that this is a nationwide problem.

I know I can't fix everything, but I can do my part to make sure that my daughter does not find herself looking in a mirror with the same detrimental thoughts running through her head.

That, to me, is a lifetime worse than my massive belly roll conundrum today.

Which by the way will be gone eventually and replaced with a much better image of myself, literally and emotionally.






Friday, February 19, 2016

Sweet Sweet Daisy's

Well, I never thought I would use my blog as a means to beg for money, but alas...here I am.

Early in February while at work, Dustin and Robbie were loading some fence posts when Robbie noticed a yellow lab cowering beside the stack. Hesitantly, she same to him and then followed him into the office. We noticed immediately that she had a limp and looked very emaciated. She was also very dehydrated and had several monster ticks on her chest and belly.



We scraped up some beef jerky and cheese and she devoured them. We also gave her a little water while I went and got her some Cesar soft dog food. When I returned I gave her one, and she happily ate it, then laid down next to my chair and took a good nap.

It appeared she was well taken care of, her coat thick and nails short, so I figured she had to be someones baby.

Did she break her collar and run off?
Was she dumped somewhere?
No way. She is an amazing dog.
I wonder if she has a microchip?

And YAY! she did. I took her to a local vet's office and there were three phone numbers listed, her name was Daisy, and she was adopted from the Carter County Animal Shelter in Tennessee! She had a family. YES!

The microchip company could not release the owners info to me, but they did leave messages with all numbers available and I gave permission to release my info to them, should they call back. Its been well over two weeks...nothing.

I put her all over social media.
Sent her picture to local vet offices.
I even shared her on Carter County web pages.

Nothing.

Was she dumped?
Was she loved? Was she...abused?

Every horrible scenario has run through our minds. We like to think she has just been lost...but it doesn't look hopeful and that breaks my heart! She is amazingly sweet, never barks, doesn't whine, has a tail wag for everyone, great with kids and other pets...I just can't imagine that someone would take the time to raise such an amazing dog...and then leave her.



Either way, we are taking care of Daisy right now, and her limp was not improving even with a new fluffy dog bed and lots of love and rest, so we took her to the vet. It was worse than we imagined. Her right back hip is fractured, and it will require surgery. Surgery that could cost upwards of $2000, more than we have available in our budget. The vet was amazed at how tolerant of the pain she is, and said that most dogs with a break like that would be howling and biting at people that touched. And she just lays there and looks at you with the biggest saddest eyes. It has been like that for a couple of months at least because of her tolerance to the pain. Poor sweet girl, such a freaking trooper!

We have set up a GoFundMe to help raise a little money to offset some of the vet bills. We have included the information for the vet, if you would like to call and confirm her story is true. We also plan to share her x-rays tomorrow.

Magnolia Animal Hospital 


If this was for myself, I wouldn't ask, but Daisy is a voiceless victim. She has a very loving home where we want her to spend the rest of her life, but we don't want to see her in constant pain. She does have some pain meds right now, but that is only temporary.



If you don't have the extra to share, that's just fine! Just giver her story a share and we will be more than appreciative. If you do have a little to share, we'd love that too!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I've Created A New Way To Lose Weight!

Okay...so no...not really..

But wait! There's more!

Alright...okay...so I have nothing other than the same old to offer when it comes to weight loss advice..

Buuuuuuuutt...

I have lost almost 24 pounds in 3 months and I have only changed a couple of things. Well more like several things, but only a couple that pertain to what goes in my mouth (I'm talking food here for the pervs!!!)

Back in October my son Evan, just turning 2 at the time, broke the only scale we had in our home. I threw it in the trash and it was just never a need, so I didn't buy a new one. I also thought what good does it do to step on a scale every morning when I know the numbers won't change, because I am doing nothing to change them. I was eating like crap, treating my body like crap, and really was a poor example of health to my children at the time.

To Read My Excuses Look Below Or Bypass To The Next Paragraph:
1) I was being lazy.
2) The husband and I were struggling financially after some career changes.
3) My four year old started school and fast food is well...faster.
4) I have a very unhealthy relationship with sweets and soda.
5) I have nothing else other than another excuse, so please stop reading them. It only makes me lean on them more. You're encouraging my bad behavior. See I just made you an excuse dear reader. It is that easy.

In all seriousness though, life had taken some very unexpected turns, and so I turned to food. That is my demon, my Kryptonite if you will. (Like that Superman pun huh?) And one I will ALWAYS fight. I have a very bad habit of using food to soothe my emotions. I know this. I work to change this every day.

I also found out that I have a very serious progesterone deficiency which was causing a lot of lady issues (along with fibroids, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts) for me, as well as enhancing my sweet tooth with the power of the Hubble Telescope! The progesterone deficiency is also to blame for my emotion crippled-ness (I think I just made that word up!) It was causing my extremely emotional highs and lows, which only led to more eating. Which led to me feeling worse about myself. Which led to more eating...

IT REALLY IS A VISCOUS CYCLE!

So before my gyno would recommend a hysterectomy she recommended I take birth control for four months and see if it helped with any of my issues. And it definitely has! But unfortunately surgery is not off the table. Another blog another day... After almost four months on birth control, I have my emotions in check. I have my 'unstable' moments...but hey...give a full time working mom a break here wouldya??? I don't have a period (perk!) but I do still have other issues that only surgery can resolve.

Now that my emotions are more stable, I do not find myself eating my feelings as much now. The birth control I take is also a diuretic so I have no choice but to drink a bunch of water or risk dehydration. I'd say that is good motivation to drink WATER WATER WATER! I weaned myself off of soda yet again! I have been sober from soda for 10 days, and counting. I have almost completely removed sweets from my diet and home, and replaced those with better options like grapes, blueberries, and I Looooooovvveee Fiber One Brownies...in moderation of course.

I did not step on a scale until about a week ago. People had mentioned several times that I looked like I was losing weight; what was I doing, what did I change, what was my secret...and I was just thrilled. Even if I didn't know for sure that my small changes were working! I happened to be at Walgreens looking for a Fitbook (which I did not find by the way) when I saw a glass scale they had on sale for ten bucks. I thought 'what the hay' and picked one up. When I stepped on it the next morning, I almost took it back to the store. It showed me 207 on the scale! When in October at the gyno I weighed 228...WHAT??!!

That was also one of the big issues with my gyno. She felt that my being over weight might have something to do with my lady issues (even though we now know it is not). So it will be really nice to walk in there in February and step on the scale for her!

Anyways, back to the whole point of this...I feel good. But as you can clearly see after reading this, I still need to learn to love myself. After all this time, I now know that I am my own worst enemy. It isn't something that I can fix overnight, but I will pick at it and chip away all of the little broken pieces everyday. I have a daughter and I don't want her to have body image issues, and that starts at home. I want her to know how to treat herself. I want her to know that women can be into fitness and not have to be ones of the dudes. I want her to make good food choices, and know that she doesn't have to eat every bite, just eat until she is full. But mostly, I want her to be a happy little girl! And to never know the struggle of being overweight, and trying to lose it...

September 2015January 2016

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lack Of Energy + A Time Change

Whenever the time changes, my internal clock goes crazy. It takes a week or so for my body and mind to adjust, not only to the actual time change, but the amount of daylight change too.

I love that we gain that extra hour to sleep. I have toddlers.

That hour is heavenly, especially on Monday morning.

Photo courtesy of: mazumafykc.com

But coming home at 4:15 and it getting dark by 5:30...totally kills the evening for my family. My kids loooooove to be outside. They have bedrooms full of toys that rarely get played with because they would much rather play outside. They cannot stand that it gets dark so early because we are forced indoors earlier than we prefer.

They are adjusting, but they are not happy about it one bit.

They have watched more T.V. in the last two evenings than they have all summer.

But I decided to take advantage of being indoors to get my house organized before Christmas.

My goal has been to clean and re-organize at least one major room of the house each night this week. Last night I took on Scarlett's room. It looks great after 2 hours of serious cleaning and furniture arranging. But it literally took every ounce of my energy.

I went to the emergency room on Saturday afternoon after experiencing extreme fatigue and chest pain. Thankfully there were no issues with my heart, but I have an infection somewhere that is causing a low heart rate and blood pressure, as well as dramatic drops in my blood glucose. When this happens I feel faint and terrible. I am going to see the doctor to have a full work-up so that we can get to the bottom of this.

Whatever the cause, I have never felt so tired in my life. I have spells where I shake uncontrollably, get clammy sweats, lightheaded, instant headache, severe hunger pains and nausea. I eat every couple of hours to try and prevent it, and protein shakes have become my meal of choice. It is terrible. And all I can tell the doctor is that there is something wrong, I just know it. I just don't know what is wrong exactly.

My heart goes out to those that suffer from illnesses that bring on these symptoms regularly. I hope these are just side-effects of an infection, and it is not something that will recur.

This is a terrible way to live, especially since there is less sunlight now, and the sun always make me feel better.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Soda Makes You Fat- Or So This One Guy Told Me

I have been battling to get myself together and get these last pesky 50 pounds off. I have lacked motivation for a while. Between busy 40-50 hour work weeks, school, kids, dinner, house chores, family time, etc...I could make countless excuses...I have neglected myself yet again. I stopped working out, but I have done my best to keep my eating in check. Essentially I have been maintaining for the last 8-12 months.

All of that changed dramatically on Wednesday, September 30, 2015.

This is my restart date. And there is a very rude man I want to thank for that.

I have always been overly critical of myself. There aren't many women that don't judge themselves on a daily basis. I have always battled with my lack of positive self image, even though I've never had a reason to be so hard on myself. My parents taught us to love ourselves no matter what, and Dustin has never done anything to make me feel less than beautiful.

My body has done some amazing things in the last 4 years, and it has also betrayed me in the last 4 years. I have had two pregnancies that both resulted in weight gain; as well as the stress of life, and a terrible relationship with food, that has all lead to where I am now.

I read the other day in the Farmer's Almanac that September 29th and 30th were good days to start a new health regimen...I decided to test that theory. The Almanac dates were spot on for training the kids for the bathroom, bottle breaking...all kinds of great tips! So I figured it was worth a shot for getting healthier!

Now...

Back to my recent kick in the gut.

On Wednesday I went to the Dollar Tree to pick up a cheap set of headphones (I forgot mine) when I was on my way to the gym. While I was there I decided to grab a bottle of water (forgot that too!). In the Dollar Tree their drinks are all in one isle, and the water is smack in the middle of the soda and juice. I was standing there, minding my own business, trying to decide if I wanted a one liter bottle or sixteen ounce bottle of water. I decided on the one liter, since I was going to pay a dollar either way.

As I was reaching for a BOTTLE OF WATER, a young man that was pretty fit assumed I was going for the soda. He then proceeded to step towards me and tell me the following....

"You know that soda is the reason you're fat right..?"

*RED EVERYWHERE*

*DEEP BREATHS* 

*WOOSAAAAA*

After I put the water in my basket and the reality of what he said sank in, I flipped out. I proceeded to tell him that while I may be fat, at least I didn't have an A$$ for a face or a dark hole for a heart, and a few other choice things. Not my best moment but I have always reacted impulsively and with no filter. It is a flaw I acknowledge. The cashier came down the isle to make sure everything was okay, because I guess I was yelling at him pretty loudly. After she came around the corner he made a quick and cowardly get away.

After I explained to the young cashier what happened, she got a manger and they apologized profusely. I made it clear I was not upset with them, but the rude jerk who felt it was his job to criticize someone he did not know a thing about.

Photo Courtesy of AlaskaCommons.com


I know what size I am, a 16...average for a woman my age now days. I know what got me this way. And it most definitely was not soda. I don't drink it hardly, and haven't had one in weeks. But thanks for the helpful advice anyways! Not to mention... thanks for judging me!

Women have enough pressure from society to look a certain way and wear a certain size. It is enough to make the most self confident women feel bad about themselves. The last thing women need is the critical judgement of complete strangers, especially if those strangers are MEN. Did he think his comment would incite tears? Anger? Motivate me? If he wanted to do that he could have just offered some weight loss advice. I would have been more than willing to talk with him. He looked to be in good health. But honestly...what kind of person says something like that?

Either way, once I calmed down and left the store, I went to the gym and kicked butt! So in a way,  I could thank him for the anger that incited one hell of a workout, but he most definitely did not motivate me. If anything he caused me to go into the bathroom and look at myself. Try to figure out what it was that he saw that was so awful, he felt the need to make comments to me about my appearance. I will never understand his motives, don't really care to.

People need to know that is never okay to judge people based on their size. While I may not have a medical condition that causes weight gain...someone else may, or any other problems that result in weight gain. You never know what battle people are fighting. Words like that are words that could send many people to their breaking point and cause them to harm themselves. Constructive criticism is great...if it is constructive...but his behavior was destructive. If his goal was to make me feel worse about myself...he succeeded for about 24 hours.

All of this being said, I have decided that I will not let it bring me down anymore. Instead I will use his meanness to motivate others and tell everyone that we are all beautiful no matter what any one else says or thinks.

It really is what you think of yourself that matters most, even if that is hard to remember sometimes.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Men In My Life: Evan

I recently wrote a post about how I have changed since having a son, but what I didn't talk about was the amazing person my little guy is growing up to be.

Evan will be 2 years old in a couple of weeks.

I don't even know where the time has gone. All I know is that it flew by...way too quickly.

And I also know that is one of the most over used cliches by every parent in the world, that times fly. But it honestly does.

I feel like we were just trying to get pregnant with Evan; that we had just decided that Scarlett needed a sibling, and we wanted to try, our last try, for a boy. Thankfully that is who we got, because boy or girl...this was it.



I hope that as my son grows, he will grow to be a good man like his father and grandfather before him. You can read about those amazing men here and here! They have been exemplary in teaching Evan what a good man is and how one conducts himself. Even if he is only two, I hope that some of the things they are showing him are sinking in.

Evan is a third of my heart, his sister and daddy being the balance. He is a vibrant and wild little boy with lots of things to climb on and tear apart. He likes to turn off the burner when I am trying to cook dinner. He likes to peek out at me from behind the kitchen counter while trying to sneak some cheese from the refrigerator. He especially loves when we have tickle time after bath and pajamas. I have never known a more cooperative and happy child. He is totally content with just hanging out and snuggling. I really hit the jackpot on sweet little boys. Guess he isn't made of gross snips and snails and puppy dog tails like the rest, at least not when Mommy is around.

I want Evan to achieve all of his dreams, and I will do whatever I have to in order to help him do that. He and Scarlett deserve nothing but the best, and I won't let them settle for less. My hope is that he will be the man that his Daddy is raising him to be, and one day he will make some woman (or man) as happy as Dustin has made me. I want nothing less than everything for my little man, and it scares me to think he may not have all he seeks in life. Joys of being a mom I guess!

Having a son (and daughter) completely turned my world upside down. I went from worrying about myself to constantly worrying about them. Evan is definitely going to give me a run for my money when it comes to patience, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What fun is life if you don't have a little adventure every now and then? And that's what parenthood is...and adventure. And with a boy it is a gross, snotty, bug ridden, dirt filled, slimy, ewe-gooey adventure!