The hard thing about changing directions

I have always been someone who takes their own path. I don’t follow along with other people if I don’t agree and I’m also not afraid to voice my personal views on any situation. The way I lead my life has posed problems for me in the past, mostly with my family and their not approving of my decisions or stance on an issue. My decision to become a Muslim is no different, it may actually be one of the hardest things I have had to deal with in terms of my family, particularly my mom.

I remember when I told my mom that I didn’t believe in God. I think I was probably 16 years old and honestly probably told her more to make her mad then for any other reason. The truth was that it wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God, it’s that I didn’t consider myself a Christian and that I didn’t want to be associate with any religion. I didn’t know much, if anything, about any other religion and I also didn’t know much about Christianity. All I did know was that I didn’t agree with what I heard and how the Christians I knew behaved.

Now, why would I tell my mother something like that to make her mad you ask…

How about a little back story? My mother and I lived together, just the two of us for several years after her and my father were divorced. The divorce was something I had wanted for a long time and so had she. My father was a real jerk, and that’s putting it nicely. He was what you might call emotionally abusive to me and my mother and living with him felt like living in hell.

I was a good kid, didn’t stay out past my curfew, didn’t make stupid decisions and get myself into trouble, had great grades in school, etc. I did, however, start dating a boy who was 4 years older than me and my mom hated him. We fought about our relationship constantly. I know that I told her my disbelief in the middle of a fight one day, probably to get her off of my back about my boyfriend, and it worked.

Since then I tried to explain, on many occasions, that it wasn’t really that I didn’t believe in God, but more that I wasn’t sure what I believed. I knew that there was a higher being but I didn’t really know what to call him or what to believe about him. I ended up labeling myself Agnostic. Over the last 11 years she has brought this up more times then I care to remember, and always with negativity.

Last October, when my husband and I made the decision to convert, I really didn’t want to tell her. I knew that telling her would mean that I would forever have to hear how she disagreed with me and how stupid my decision was. After talking it over with Chase he convinced me to tell her. So I did.

I expressed my concerns to her and told her that I didn’t really want to tell her in the first place. She acted like I had no reason to feel that way and she promised that she would not act any different toward me or say anything negative, especially since she knew nothing about it. That didn’t last long, not that I ever really believed it would.

My mom mentioned little things here and there. She asked me ridiculous questions about things that didn’t even make sense. For example, she asked me to make brownies for my aunts birthday party, then decided it would be hilarious to ask “There’s nothing in brownies that you’re not allowed to eat anymore, right?”. She has asked similar questions about almost anything I was going to eat at her house. I can deal with it, it’s annoying, but I can deal.

Then, a couple of days  before Christmas, she informed me that everyone would appreciate it if we didn’t mention anything about “our new found beliefs” while everyone was there for Christmas. She told me that it would just start problems and potentially start fights. I didn’t say anything, even though it kind of upset me that she would even say that to me. She could tell that it upset me so she went on about how “oh no, now I’ve pissed her off.” I wasn’t mad, I was upset that she would say such a thing to me. I would never ask anyone not to mention things like that, ever. I don’t get offended when people talk to me about their religious beliefs and I expect the same courtesy in return. Although, I never mention it unless I’m asked a question which is very rare outside of the bantering.

I asked her what happened to not being negative about my decision? Hadn’t she told me that she would respect it and respect me? That’s when she told me that she had been doing research about it online and she just can’t agree with any of it. I guess that whatever she read made her decide that our relationship was less important then her narrow minded, likely misinformed, views. That’s when I asked her to please not talk like that in front of my children and we left.

I called Chase on the way home and just lost it. Crying is just not something that I do, especially not without good reason. My mom had officially upset me enough to make me doubt that I had made the right decision. My family has always been my safe place. We get together all the time and talk about anything and everything. It felt like they had started to not include me in things that they used to include me in, like shopping trips. I told Chase what was going on and how they way they were acting was making me feel. I also told him that I just wanted things to go back to “normal”.

I guess I am just a really lucky person. My husband stopped by my mom’s on his way home and talked to her about the whole thing. He was able to convey to her how she was making me feel and she actually listened to him.  I have never been able to make her listen to me about such things but he did.

Overall, things have been much better with my family since then. She still says little things every now and then, but they usually are much less condescending. Her main issue right now is that she is convinced that I am letting my hair grow out and not bleaching it anymore because I “have to”, not because I want to. I can live with that, it’s much less ridiculous then so many other things that she has said.She’ll be happy to know that my hair is driving me crazy and is about to get chopped back off and bleached again! 🙂

There have been other challenges, but this has probably been the hardest for me. When you are so accustomed to talking to your family about anything and being accepted for who you are it’s hard for all of that to change so abruptly.

 

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Oh the joys of being a “mama”

my boysI want to start by saying that my world pretty much revolves around my 2 beautiful boys, Merrick and Silas. They mean more to me than anything else on this earth and I can’t even begin to imagine my life without either of them. Simply hearing the word “mama” from either of them reaffirms my desire to be a mother and have more children.

The joys of raising a 3 year old “monster butt”
Merrick has the unique ability to make everything difficult. He seems to think that he doesn’t have to do anything that anyone tells him too and it’s getting a little beyond frustrating. Discipline doesn’t work with him, and I’ve tried! Right now we are trying “putting his nose on the wall” and it’s working better than anything else for the time being. My mother used to make us stand with our nose in the corner, but we don’t really have a corner without a nearby distraction so the wall in the hall it is. He’s not a fan of this discipline at all.

Just an example of him not wanting to do anything that I ask of him: Last week I told him that he had to clean his room or he would be taking a nap, which he hates. I gave him 30 minutes on a timer and he refused, so it was naptime. When he woke up I gave him the same option – clean or naptime. He promptly went to his room and laid back down and asked me to turn off the light.

My son, who hates naps, would rather take a nap then do what I ask him to do…seriously? Same thing happened a few days later. He wanted to play outside and I told him to clean his room first. He cocked his head over, looked at me and said “Maybe I no want to play outside.” Then he sat down to play with his Batcave. This is the norm for us.

Oh, the fits, the horrible fits
In the last week or so he has also decided that it’s a good idea to throw crazy fits. I’m not sure what made him decide to do this, but he’s doing it at home as well as at Grandmom’s house. She says over there that when he get’s mad he lays down in the floor and kicks and screams…I haven’t witnessed this one yet, thank God. However, yesterday, he got mad because he wanted to watch a movie on my iPad and our internet was down so it wouldn’t work. The fit started with an angry whining scream and then he started banging his head on the iPad. Now, my general rule for dealing with such things is to ignore them, however I don’t want him messing up the iPad (I know it’s highly unlikely for him to hurt himself doing this, I was a kid once too). I made him stop and put his nose on the wall and he started banging his head on the wall. Ugh.

Saying potty training is difficult is a SERIOUS understatement
We have been working on potty training for almost a year now. Have we gotten anywhere? Yes and no.

Merrick is a very busy little man. In his mind he doesn’t have time to go to the potty, it’s interrupting his day. This is not to say that he doesn’t know how to use the potty or when he needs to go, because he does. If I let him stay naked all day when we are home he will use the potty every single time. I don’t have to ask or tell him to, he just goes and takes care of his business. The catch with this situation is clothing. If he has anything on his bottom then it is over, he will not use the potty. We have tried pull-ups, cloth trainers, big boy undies…nothing works. I will make him go try to potty and he will tell me he doesn’t need to (I still make him try), 10 minutes later he has gone in his clothes. He knows that if he is wearing clothes they will hold in the accident and there won’t be a mess in the floor.

I just can’t figure out how to bridge the gap between clothed and unclothed. I do make him put his own dirty clothes in our diaper pail. I have tried rewards. I’m getting to a point where if he poops in his pants while we are at home he has to take a nap (usually means him laying in his bed for a little while).

Now, Merrick isn’t all bad!
He loves to help me do dishes, clean up the bathroom, pick up the living room, etc. He is such a great helper with these things and he feels so accomplished when we do them together. He is also so sweet! He loves to sit on the couch and snuggle while we watch a movie or listen to music and dance around the living room with me. He loves to give hugs and sugars to me and his brother and he always talks about how awesome people are. He really has a huge little heart!

The joys of raising an 8 month old “monster butt jr.”
Silas is such a happy baby. It’s so easy to get him to smile or laugh. He is saying mama, dada, hi and bye bye and waves. It’s amazing to watch him grow and learn. He absolutely adores his big brother and follows him around the house as much as Merrick will let him. I’m calling him monster butt jr. because I think he wants to be just like his big brother!

Hold me mama! Hold me!
Merrick was significantly more independent than Silas is. He wanted to be down and exploring, not being held. Silas on the other hand wants me to hold him a good 50% of the day. I don’t mind so much, except when I really need to get something done. It’s nice to spend so much close time with him. (My heart melts every time that little man falls asleep on my chest).

The only time that I really find this “hold me” issue to be a problem is when he insists that I am standing up. He will cry and cry by my feet until I pick him up and strap him too me. At this point he is perfectly content…that is until I sit down. Once I am sitting the crying starts again. I usually try to make him happy by humming or singing to him or patting his butt, but this doesn’t always work and we end up standing up. This is usually when the thumb goes in the mouth and the head goes on my shoulder and we are happy. I am human though and I can’t stand with a baby strapped to me all day long!

Can’t dada make you happy?
Since dada goes to work at 5am and doesn’t return home until around 7pm both kids don’t spend much time with him before their 8:30 bedtime. It is awesome when dada walks in the door because Silas gets super excited and wants dada instead of mama (woo hoo short break for mama!). The problem here is that the “new” excitement only lasts about 10 or 15 minutes before he’s back crying at mama’s feet.

I think that for the most part my husband thought that I was exaggerating about how much he wants to be held. He’s jokingly given me a ton of grief over buying and making several different types of baby carriers (he really doesn’t understand the need to have more than one). This past weekend, however, he got to witness firsthand how upset Silas gets if mama isn’t holding him. Sunday was a particularly bad “hold me” day and I think that my husband was a little overwhelmed by it. He even insisted on going to the fabric store with me because he was afraid Silas would freak out if mama was gone that long. I think he gets it now!

All of this said, I can’t imagine my life any differently. I am blessed to be able to stay home and raise my children, even if they are a handful at times. I know that I will figure out a way to solve our behavior issues with Merrick, we’ve just got to find the right combination. I also know that there will come a day when Silas doesn’t want to be held anymore and the thought of that is almost heart breaking. Being a mama is hard work, but I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to experience the love that a child brings to their life.

 

On a quest for motivation

I am on a quest to regain my will power and motivation to eat healthy.

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice. ”
~ Wayne Dyer

Two and a half years ago I went on a 1200 calorie diet and began taking the diet pill Phentermine. I was able to lose 70 pounds in approximately 8 months and I felt so much better than I had in a long time. Shortly after stopping the pills I became pregnant and, of course, gained weight back quite fast as is normal for someone who had recently lost so much prior to pregnancy.

I am including this photo that show me at my lowest weight, when I was exactly one month from having my youngest (just to show how huge I get when I’m prego so you’ll understand why I end up gaining so much) and the only recent pic I have of myself. Please excuse my chest hanging out, this was at Scarborough Renaissance Festival and I was mighty proud of my accomplishment at the time. Keep in mind that in the most recent pic I have a baby strapped to the front of me!

Since having my baby I was prescribed anti-depressants for postpartum depression and they have caused me to gain over 20 pounds since the birth of my son. I have tried eating better and nothing seems to help, even looking at food makes me gain right now.

After seeing a new doctor today I was informed that Lexapro and other anti-depressants are notorious for causing weight gain and I am going to try to do without them in hopes of getting back down to a healthy weight. She also prescribed the Phentermine for me so that  can get started. In order to remain on the pills I have to lose 10 pounds per month and go in every 30 days to be weighed.

Now, to get myself back down to a 1200 calorie diet…I am in desperate need of getting my motivation and will power back! I also need some new recipes and easy meal ideas. How did I do this before? How did I get myself into the mindset? I seem to have forgotten what motivated me to dedicate myself to it.

“Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.”
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I am praying that I will find the motivation to succeed and that I can find the will power to stick with it! With the many diseases associated with obesity that run in my family this is something that I need to do for myself and my family.