9-11…Never Forget

9-11 tribute - Never ForgetAs a huge football fan, I was anxiously looking forward to the opening weekend of the NFL. The kickoff game between the Packers and the Saints was great, and Sunday’s games looked to be just as promising. In the end as I recall my first relaxing football Sunday of the season, however, I’m struck by something so much more powerful.

I knew that Sunday was the 10th anniversary of 9-11, and I had read about all that the NFL was planning in tribute. I knew I would be emotional, but I had no idea just how deep those emotions would run. The thing is, I didn’t have a personal relationship with anyone lost that day but somehow the tragic losses and sacrifices of that day still feel very personal to me. Like so many, I remember every moment of that fateful morning. I watched the second plane hit and I sat in my bed, paralyzed, horrified and helpless as the nightmare unfolded before my eyes.

Leading up to this past weekend I had been reading the articles and watching the videos about the victims. The loved ones left behind, the children who were orphaned and the heros who gave all, either in their life that day, or in the after effects and cancers now shortening their remaining time as a result of their selfless acts. As I watched the tributes on Sunday, it struck me how appropriate it was that these tributes should happen in and around sporting events such as this.

Even at a game such as the Steelers/Ravens, a VERY ugly rivalry – enemies united and found common ground in the pre-game tributes. As I thought about it, there really are very few things that unite people in this country more than sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, hockey or whatever your sport of choice – if you’re a fan, you understand what I’m referring to when I talk about the brotherhood and the camaraderie that come with being a “fill-in-your-team-here” fan.

9 11 tribute - Never ForgetI saw and felt that same feeling as an American in the aftermath of 9-11, and I know many others who did as well. I guess it’s a sad statement that it took such a senseless tragedy to ignite that patriotic candle that seemed to have nearly burnt out for so many, but nevertheless, I felt that candle burning very bright in everyone I saw and spoke to in those days that followed. “Never Forget” is a statement often used to refer to what happened that day, and I think that message is extremely important.

I have always considered myself to be patriotic. I’m married to an Army veteran and yes, I believe that children should learn and recite the national anthem in school. I have at time found myself very conflicted because I am so disheartened by the political bullshit that goes on in this country, and I believe we’ve largely lost sight of the values that this country was founded on. Nevertheless, following this weekend, I find myself motivated once again to ensure that my sons know and learn the proper respect for their country and for those that have given life and limb to protect them and their freedoms. God Bless America!

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SPD – The light in their eyes

SPD ribbonSo, some of you who have been following my updates probably already know that my oldest son was diagnosed with SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder, earlier this year. Since then, I’ve had a mixture of emotions, but predominantly, like most parents, a desire to make sure my son gets the help and tools he needs has become priority one.

I had never heard of SPD. None of my friends or family had heard of SPD. How could this be a real diagnosis? When my son’s first pre-school expressed their concerns about the difficulties he was having, it sounded like they were sort of implying that he might have ADHD. Turns out, it was nothing quite so simple. You see, ADHD is a commonly accepted diagnosis, recognized my schools, teachers and, very importantly, medical insurance companies.

The thing about SPD, or sensory integration issues, is that it’s a relatively unknown problem. Many people, including teachers, have never heard of it. It can’t be “cured”, however when diagnosed properly, and early enough, it is possible to learn tools and therapies that can help your child learn to regulate themselves. Occupational therapy is a HUGE help in this respect, however in Colorado, as in many states, OT alone cannot be approved via early intervention. Fortunately, my son also had a speech articulation issue, so he was able to receive OT in conjunction with his speech therapy, but what about those who don’t?

I’ve sense connected with many parents who are struggling to help their children with SPD. I’ve met many more who hear my story and a light suddenly goes on, they realize their child might be dealing with the same problem. For too many years, children with Sensory Processing Disorder have been incorrectly diagnosed as ADHD, and often drugged unnecessarily. It makes me sick. What’s even worse is that if you attempt to get any insurance coverage for SPD, or sensory integration issues, you’ll almost certainly be denied. It must be classified as a “Motor Delay” or something similar for insurance to even consider it, but even then, coverage is questionable.

We had my son’s eligiblity meeting for special services last week. We were told that he tested above average in every other area and his speech therapy has been so successful. Therefore, since OT alone can not be authorized in Colorado, he did not qualify for services any longer. We knew this was coming, and as we’ve been fortunate enough to be working with a wonderful OT for the past several months, we feel well prepared to tackle these issues on our own. While discussing it with our OT however, she expressed how sad it is because so many children have this issue, but don’t or can’t receive the help they need until they’re in 1st or 2nd grade – and by that time it’s often seriously affecting their education.

Knowing what my son is dealing with, and having the tools to help him, gives me great peace of mind. I would feel very overwhelmed and frustrated if I’d had to figure this out on my own. More importantly, it totally changes how I look at and deal with his behavioral issues.

Brilliance behind SPDEveryone will tell you how important a child’s early education and formative years are, so how in the world can SPD be so easily overlooked, or in the case of not authorizing OT services, not taken as seriously as a speech delay? I’m sure those of you who deal with this can feel my pain. I see the intelligence and wonder behind my son’s eyes, that light that is the brilliance that might be so difficult for him to tap into without the right tools, and I feel lucky, but at the same time furious that there are so many out there not getting the help they need. We need to bring awareness to this condition, and it should become mandatory that these children get the same opportunities for treatment that any other special needs child would receive.

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Am I the definition of insanity?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. This will make about a million times that I’ve tried hopping back on the fitness wagon, it always seems like something is waiting to throw me off.

I was so determined to be successful after my last son was born, nearly 5 months ago now. What I wasn’t counting on is that my pre-eclampsia symptoms would stay/return, and I would have to have another surgical procedure in July in order to correct the situation. Now, here I am again.

Technically, I could have returned to my attempt at fitness last month in August, but with everything that’s been going on in my life, it just didn’t happen. A toddler starting a new pre-school, a new baby at home, my husband out of work and unable to do anything due to having surgery on his knee, a new pile of medical bills from my unexpected surgery and the list goes on. Additionally, my husband and I had been having relationship problems and he was having a lot of issues at work – so yet again, my fitness journey got put on a back burner.

So here we are again, it’s early September and it’s time to put a little bit of focus on me. I do feel a little insane, because I’ve been here so many times before, but I’m going to err on the side of faith, and give this another shot. Wish me luck!

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And so it begins…

Sorry I’ve been absent for a while. I had my baby and time, well, life actually, got away from me a bit, but I have returned. Today I start back to work. It’s funny, I commented on a blog just today where a woman was saying that she shouldn’t have to justify being a stay-at-home-mother. All I could think was what a joke! I mean, sure, if you’re a SAHM you probably don’t have a massive commute or back-stabbing co-worker to deal with, but aside from that being a SAHM is as much, if not more work than any other job out there!

I work in a job in my chosen career full-time, but I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home. Just coming back from maternity leave I can tell you – being at work in my office (either my husband or a “helper” assisting with the boys) is like a “break” and far easier than the work I did being alone and at home full-time. Anyone who thinks SAHMs have it easy should try it themselves for a few weeks!

In any case, I’m off my soapbox now and excited to be back at work. I have also gotten clearance from my Dr. to cautiously resume normal activities. I had, and am still having, some major medical issues during and after the pregnancy – but that’s a whole other post. So, I’ve cleaned out the house, filled it with healthy foods, made sure my gym membership is up to date and joined Weight Watchers. Yes, Weight Watchers. I’m sure I’ll be ridiculed by some of you for that, but there it is. Yesterday was my first day on the program, but I’ve done it before, years ago, so I’m familiar. I just know that I’ve got to get healthy. I’ve always struggled with my weight, and it’s gotten worse over the past several years as I’ve struggled through some personal issues which really destroyed my self-esteem. Being called a “fat cow” every time you turn around is never good, but it’s even worse when the person calling you names is also attempting to steal your husband. (No, she didn’t succeed. πŸ™‚ ) In fact, my husband is being very supportive and has even joined with me so that he can help me out and get back into shape himself.

Thus begins my weight loss journey. I know I can do it, I’ve done it before, but it is a challenge. I’m guessing even more of a challenge now that I’m over 40 with 2 children – so if you have any advice to offer, I’m all ears – please fire away!

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Family – There’s Nothing Better

People say you don’t choose your family, but I disagree. Sure, there are people who you’re born related to, and they carry the label of family. For some people, this IS their family, but for some, family means so much more. I love my biological family (well, at least most of them) don’t get me wrong. I can say, however, that the family that I’ve chosen outside of my biological family is just as important to me. Those are the people who know more about me and understand me better than my blood relatives probably ever will. To be fair, that’s not my relatives fault, for a multitude of reasons, many of my friends just know me much better. Maybe it’s because I never felt I had to earn my friends approval, something I’ve struggled with my parents on for most of my life. Whatever the reason, the family I’ve chosen is my world.

I think about my husband. We will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary next month. FIVE years – I can hardly believe it! Some of the time we’ve had together has been the best of my life, and I would have to say that some of it has been the worst of my life – but through it all, if I had to go back, I’d do it all over again. We’ve been through a lot, we’ve hurt each other in the past and it’s been quite a task to rebuild the trust between us. I’ll be honest, I think there were times that we both thought about giving up, but when we talk about it today and my husband says, there’s only one place he wants to be and only one person he wants to be here with, and that’s me – I know I feel exactly the same way.

When love is real, nothing can stop it. People can try, and they did. People sought out weaknesses and tried to exploit them, sometimes successfully; but when times were tough, something kept drawing us back to each other, even when it seemed hopeless. Some would say one or both of us stayed out of guilt or obligation and truth be told, there may have been times when that was true. Looking back, I know I don’t care what the reason was, I’m just happy we made it. When I hear him tell me that he loves me more than any woman he’s ever met, and that there’s a reason he chose me and he’ll never regret it – I know I made the right choice.

As we lay in bed, our little man in between us being just adorable and as cute as any 2 year old could be. Putting his hand on mommy’s belly and saying “little brother moving mommy” – I look at my husband and it seems as thought my heart is going to burst with love and joy. This is the family I chose. This is the family that means the world to me. As I’ve said, I love my relatives, but the bond I have with my little family of 3 (soon to be 4) plus our furbaby is all that I could have ever hoped for, and so much more!

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Why can’t people just let go?

So, yesterday my husband received a threatening email, two of them actually, in his LinkedIn account from the person I have previously referred to as my “stalker”. For quite some time after things got very ugly last year I have been monitoring her online activities, basically for my own protection. She was publicly posting derogatory comments and spreading lies about me, and actually using my real name to do so. I don’t care so much about the lies, that’s her world and she can live in it, but given the threats she had made toward me and my family, and our belief that she is actually very unstable, I wanted to be aware of her activities as I feared (and still do) for the safety of both myself and my children.

Well, she has apparently been monitoring all of my online activities as well. She’s made comments on my blog (which I of course don’t publish), she’s been looking up my LinkedIn profile, and so forth. In her emails yesterday she’s saying that because I was looking at her blog, she considers that “stalking” and is going to involve law enforcement because I’m a “threat”. As I’ve already spoken to law enforcement about her, and I know she is aware of that, my guess is that this is a self-preservation mechanism, but it also worries me that she’s doesn’t seem to be able to let go and just move on with her life. Will I always have to fear for the safety of my children? I feel like I’m stuck in one of those news stories you hear about that has a really bad ending – I have to be so careful to hide the location of where my son goes to school, my husband had to make his LinkedIn profile invisible because she has a history of creating problems for him on the job. She’s contacted my employer in the past, pretending to be an “upset client” and making a scene, and in her emails yesterday she has threatened to contact my employer again. I just wish she would leave us alone. We’ve already moved 1,000 miles away from her, but it’s still scary.

I’m at a loss as to what to do to stop this harassment. What would you do – any help or advice is appreciated!

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Love Conquers All!

I haven’t blogged in a long time, life has been busy and time got away from me – so my apologies for that. However, now as I lie here in bed, on strict bed rest, 9 months pregnant and unable to sleep at 4am, I think it’s time to get back on track.

Life is funny. Sometimes something you initially find completely devastating, that brings you to your knees, cripples you with hysterical tears and basically makes you feel like the world is ending can ultimately turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you.Never stop holding hands

Granted, this is most definitely NOT always the case – sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be a bright side and that light at the end of the tunnel really does turn out to be a train. Occasionally, however, you really begin to understand why people say “everything happens for a reason”.

I had one of these moments, well, several of these moments actually, over the past few years. My husband, whom I will say is a very good man, has by his own admission, made some very poor choices in life. One night last Fall, he came to me and said he needed to come clean, clear the air and make a fresh start. BAM! I felt as thought my entire world was crumbling down around me. Everything got dark, and I began to question everything I thought I knew. This wasn’t the first time I’d been in this situation, and I will honestly say I felt defeated, devastated and hopeless. No one, and I mean NO ONE, could have convinced me at that moment that I would one day be grateful for what I was told and how I felt on that dark lonely night.

My husband requested that we begin marriage counseling, and said that he was going to begin seeing a therapist as well. Together, we talked about, worked through and addressed issues that I am certain we never would have tackled so honestly outside of those 4 walls. We each learned so much about the other and gained an enormous amount of respect for one another. We found an honesty and an openness that neither of us had ever before experienced, not with each or for that matter, with anyone else from our past. With the respect came the seeds of trust, and from those seeds a beautiful new relationship has blossomed. Looking back, we are both so grateful that even though we had to hit rock bottom, it was worth it. I remind my husband of that every time he starts to beat himself up and wonder out loud about what he was thinking, what huge mistakes he made, or how it just wasn’t worth it – I remind him it WAS worth it, because it brought us here.True love lasts a lifetime

Marriage isn’t easy. Ask almost anyone who’s been married, and they will agree. Just a quick look at the divorce rate in this country makes a pretty solid argument for that. I always swore that if I ever got married, it would be forever. Fortunately, I’m a pretty stubborn person, and maybe that’s a good thing because I really don’t know if my marriage would be so successful today if I weren’t. In any case, if you really love someone, no matter what happens, remember that true love can be the most powerful force on earth and in the end, true love conquers all and everything and everyone else just becomes an inconsequential part of the past – as long as you’re willing to let go of your anger and just let the love grow. It’s may not be easy, but if it’s real, it’s worth it.

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