Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mental health and Physical Health

So anyone who has read my old mental health posts might, ok, is PROBABLY sick of hearing me at this point....but oh well. Its obviously something that is near and dear to my heart and to far too many people that I love, so I will keep banging this proverbial drum.  This time with a different twist- I promise.

So I have been notably gone from blogging, social media and most face to face contact with those outside of my inner circle.  It has been a challenging two and a half years for me and I just couldn't face anyone and have to have a discussion about what has changed in my life.  Before I delve right into it, lets just back up for one second.

In December 2012 I had a full hysterectomy due to a cancerous tumor on my left ovary and it had spread into my uterus as well.  I was fortunate enough that I just had to have one surgery and a bunch of follow up scans and blood work done to be considered cancer free.  This is actually NOT the reason for my post but it is the trigger point that changed things for me.

It was a pretty simple recovery from the surgery.  I was up and going within a week.  The emotional portion of the recovery was the thing I just had no idea that would be so difficult.  It took me about a year to really digest what had happened to me, that I was ok, and to process through the fact that I would never really know WHY.  In that year, I really needed space from other people to process through that.

So about that year mark, I felt pretty at peace with what had happened but then I had started noticing some troubling changes in my overall health.  I went from pretty energetic to beyond exhausted.  I couldn't make it through the day without a nap and I was already sleeping 10 hours at night.  Then strange things like my hair and my lashes started thinning.  I was having a hard time digesting foods that I had never had a problem with.  I was putting weight on with a low calorie diet (we are talking less than 1000 a day!).  And then there was the COLD.  I could NEVER get warm.  Considering that it was January at this point, I just blamed it on the stupid winter weather.

I talked to my oncologist at my one year appointment about the symptoms.  He was pretty sure I was in peri-menopause due to the hysterectomy and he referred me to an endocrinologist.  I saw the endocrinologist and he told me that since I was so young, I wasn't a great candidate for hormone replacement  and thought that it was probably just going to take some time for me to balance out.  I took the laundry list of symptoms to him and he somewhat blew me off saying that I was just getting old (I was 32) and that I am adapting to my body's new normal without the hormones.

Frustrated, I went to another SIX MD's over the next year.  All to tell me, yeah your iron is low, take more iron, yeah, your Vit D is low, take more, your thyroid (TSH- it was a 5) is high, but its within acceptable ranges.  So at this point its been TWO YEARS of this, I had put on a total of 65 lbs in that time span, and I was beyond exhausted with getting no answers and feeling depressed and tired all the time.  I had been put on MORE anti depressant  and told to eat less.  Finally the very LAST endocrinologist I went to, I was literally in tears with frustration and told him that I KNOW that something is wrong,  and kind of like a last ditch effort- he referred me to a naturopath.  He warned me that insurance wont cover him but that this Dr has had great success with patients that they couldn't diagnosis in office.

I hesitantly made an appointment with the naturopath thinking, if a MD cant figure out what the heck is wrong with me, how can a naturopath?  I went into the office and filled out the paper work and sat and waited still internally rolling my eyes that I was even there.  Finally he came in and reviewed my symptoms with me and very clearly looked in my eyes and told me that he was pretty sure that I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos that was killing my thyroid.  I was stunned.  I had never heard even a mention of autoimmune diseases being brought up with any of my other doctors.  He explained what the symptoms were and I was mentally checking off all the boxes of symptoms I had in my head.  He ordered a HUGE lab be done to check everything possible and told me to come back in a week and we would know for sure what was happening.

I left the office and sat in my car and sobbed for 20 minutes.  It was the first time I felt NOT CRAZY leaving a doctors office in two years!  So I went and had the myriad of blood work done and came home and started researching what the heck Hashimotos was.  I remember spending a week just insanely reading through every article I could and finding blog posts of  other patients with this disease.  I finally felt like I wasn't crazy and that I had some light at the end of the tunnel.

A week later, we sat down to review my labs and sure enough, I had Hashimotos and my body was in a HUGE flare up at the time.  I found out that those silly little things like my Vit D and Iron being low were all connected to this and that it was quite common for Hashimotos patients to have a difficult time absorbing those vitamins.  We discussed my diet and he had a food intolerance test done.  Come to find out, eggs, sugar, gluten, diary and yeast were all huge inflammatory foods for me.  So even in small portions, they were affecting my bodys ability to function correctly.  I was in shock that I was finally making progress!  Part of me kept waiting for him to tell me it was all in my head and that I just needed to work out more.

I also found out that I can manage the disease but it will always be there and that I will still have flare ups from time to time.  I was just so excited to hear that I had answers that I think I kind of blocked that part out.  This was just so exciting to KNOW that I had an answer.  So I went two months of constantly improving and feeling excited to heal my body.  Then it hit in month three- the dreaded flare up.  It kicked my butt and I did NOT see it coming.  I was back in bed tired and feeling even MORE hopeless.  I kept having thoughts run through my head, "I'm always going to be sick, I'm never getting better, this is how the rest of my life is going to be, My poor kids and hubby don't deserve this" and the depression compounded ten fold.

I felt lower that I had before because I went from hope to sick again in a flash.  Within two weeks of following a diet, resting and seeing my Dr, I felt the fog start to lift.  It was an important lesson I learned though, YES, I am always going to have this disease and I am always going to struggle a little more to keep "normal" but NO, I wasn't always going to be SICK.  I could heal and get more answers.

I ended up having to go back to the Dr where this all started, the oncologists office for a check up.  I took all the labs in with me and showed him on paper that I wasn't crazy.  Are you ready for this????  He apologized!  Yes- he actually apologized and said that if he would have thought to do a more in depth panel he might have been able to find it two years earlier.  Come to find out- the stress and trauma of the hysterectomy triggered a response that started the whole Hashimotos flare up to begin with.  He said that its actually quite common with women who have had babies too.  He actually hugged me at the end of my appointment and said that he was sorry that I had struggled with this for two years and that it was a learning lesson for him as a Dr as well.

So there is all the physical side of what has been going on.  How does this tie back to mental health you ask?  Well, first off- Hashimotos can actually mimic symptoms of Bi-polar Depression.  I had been over medicated with anti-depressants and under medicated for thyroid disorder.  Once I got my thyroid replacements to a level that optimum for my body, my Bi-polar episodes really lifted and the depression wasn't quite as bad on a day to day basis.

So the lesson learned for me is that it all ties together.  There could be a much bigger answer to mental health struggles than just simply being under-medicated and under treated.  Mental health is such a personal struggle that I am not making claims to know the answers for everyone.  And at the end of all of this Mental Health IS Physical Health.  Mental health disorders are linked to imbalances of hormones and receptors.  So it could be much bigger than just taking a pill.

Don't ignore your trust in yourself.  If you FEEL like something is off- it most likely is.  No one in the world knows what it is like to live in your skin like you.  Trust in yourself!  I had a total of EIGHT MD's tell me that nothing was wrong with me before I found the ONE that confirmed that there was.  I am finally on a more consistent regimen of meds, supplements and diet and I finally feel like I have control back of my life.  Its been a long, hard 33 months but I have learned SO much about who I am, what I am in control of, how to treat myself in times of stress- that I wouldn't un-do it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My soapbox rant on mental health....

This week the beloved Robin Williams passed away.  He passed away from an apparent suicide after dealing with a lifetime of mental health and addiction issues.  Its also come out in the press that he was also in the beginning stages of Parkinson's Disease.  Before I start my rant, I would like to say that Robin Williams was love and adored by many as he touched so many of us via many roles that spoke to us on basic human levels.  He was funny, he was rash, he was touching and most of all, he was sincere.  He spoke to the many pieces that compose our human experience and for that, he will be missed by so many.

In the high tech, social media'ed world that we live in, we were bombarded with tributes, both positive and negative.  They ranged from beautiful to ruthless and made me question where we stand as a human race.  The ones that affected me the most negatively and that really enraged me were the posts that over simplified the situation and were quick to remind us that he died via suicide and that it was...."a choice".  Now, as I see the point that they were attempting to make...I get it.  I was still enraged.  Yes, that's right, I said enraged.  That is a rarity for me, especially when it comes to social media.  I am usually one to shake my head and move on, but this is a topic very near and dear to me and I feel like there needs to be a different view put out there. 


That's right, this unassuming mother, wife, employee, sister, and neighbor is both an addict in recovery and dealing with the ongoing battle of bipolar depression.  For those who know me well, this isn't a shock.  For others- I just stepped out of the closet.  I have been in recovery for five years now.  It hasn't been perfect, it hasn't been easy, but its been worth it. 

I live in the depression capitol state of the US.  We have a lot of social pressure here to appear a certain way and to live a certain way.  Mental health is still a very hush-hush topic and one that is usually spoken about within the context of shame and humiliation.  When you add addiction to the conversation, it's a whole other level that is hard to explain unless you have been in it.

"Are you really an addict or did the doctors just tell you that?"
"You cant be an addict- your a mom!"
"If you tell people, your kids are going be taken away from you"

These are all things that were said to me during my coming out process of getting clean.

NOW- there is going to be people who say, why didn't you just stop?  You knew alcohol was bad for you before you started, so you shouldn't have gone there to begin with.  There lies the paradox of addiction.  Some people....MOST people can have a drink and then be fine.  Not me.  I have a drink and it takes over my life.  How can I expect others who haven't dealt with it to understand it- I cant.....but I can share my story.

I was raised in a pretty rigid religious structure that taught me that suicide was the most selfish thing and "the sin next to murder" was thrown around a lot.  So I believed that. Then at the age of 15, I started dealing with undiagnosed manic and depression episodes.  When I was manic- I felt like superwoman.  I felt smart, funny, sexy and untouchable.  When I was depressed, I felt....nothing.  The nothingness was the scariest part.  It was beyond feeling down and a "loss of interest".  It was a feeling that I could walk out of my life and no one would notice....or that they would be better off not having to care for me.  It sounds so cliche....I know.  So when my own mental health issues started kicking in, and suicide crept into my life like a shadow, it scared me and most of all shamed me.  I was selfish.

When dealing with mental health issues- the disease is in control.  I am by nature a very methodical, rational, pragmatic personality type.  When I am in the throws of mental illness the very logical rational part of me was gone.  Depression ran the show and I was a passenger.  I was not in my right mind.  I could still pull off the facade that everything was fine....but I wasn't well.  It wasn't a choice to be affected by bipolar or manic depression.  It wasn't a choice at all.  It wasn't even my choice to get help.  I didn't realize that what was happening wasn't "normal".  Luckily I had people in my corner who recognized that something was off and put me in a position to get help. 

So why was I ENRAGED by the "choice theory"?  Mental health is such a personal and often shameful topic that people cant talk about and to have someone essentially victim shame is beyond heartless to me.  You don't know what happens in their head.  You don't know their personal experiences.  You don't know their pain.  I feel like the "choice theory" sets people back even further and keeps people hidden and shamed by a misunderstood disease.  It's one thing to write an opinion piece, its another to actively do damage when you speak to a community already plagued by silence.

This is why I choose to be open and honest about my mental health and addiction issues.  I will talk about them openly and I will share.  Talking about mental health and de-mystifying the disease and who it plagues is where we need to start.  There is no "type" of person that is affected by mental illness or addiction.  Its not just the homeless, or the poor, or the young.  Its probably a family member, a neighbor, a friend or it could be you...  AND THAT'S OK.  It all starts with a conversation.

There are resources available in every community and as much as I would love to list all of them, I don't know them all.  As cliche and cheesy as it sounds there are hotlines and non profits here for this very purpose.  The National Suicide Prevention Hotlines number is 1-800-273-8255.  And if you know someone who needs some help- be that person.  Be that person who takes some time to talk to them.  I didn't know I wasn't well until someone pointed it out to me.  You could be that person for someone else.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Don't believe the lies you tell yourself

I turned 33 on October 30th.  On that day I weighed myself and such a sense of sadness, humiliation, frustration and anger flowed over me.  On that day- I realized I had gained 20 lbs since my hysterectomy 11 months earlier.  I know all the reasons I gained the weight.  It all boils down to three reasons- hormones, peanut butter cups and lies.  Hormonally I was told that I was already in early stage menopause due to the removal of both my ovary and my uterus.  The hormones were also affecting my mood and I was severely depressed.  I had a scary diagnosis and it took me a lot longer to come to terms with it than I imagined.  Third- I lied to myself.  I have told myself for SO long that "I'm just a big girl"  "with my previous injuries I couldn't possibly work out"  "I'm just not the athletic kind of girl".

Now let me back up a bit if you aren't familiar with my past.  In 2009 I weighed over 400 lbs and decided to under go gastric bypass surgery.  I lost 200ish pounds in the time of 2 years.  When I weighed my most- I had hit this point where I just felt like a total failure and I told myself that I couldn't do better.....then I did.  I lost a dramatic amount of weight but I was still not thin by any stretch of the imagination.  I told myself I would NEVER let the weight come back on.  Never.  Well....I did.

So....I had this coming to clarity moment where I decided- Oh my, this is IT.  I looked back and saw what worked best for me in the past and what I hadn't done to well on.  My body loves carbs.....I mean I love body likes to hoard them- in fat.  I have done weight watchers where you count points, and counting calories and as obsessive as I started off with it- within weeks I was over tracking calories and eventually gave up.  When I was going through the surgical process for my gastric bypass they told me that I needed to eat 70 % protein and 30% veg.  I did that religiously to loose the bulk of my weight and then over time I let naughty things creep back in- and eventually bread (the bane of my body's existence) was back in my diet. I knew I had to go back on a carb restrictive diet.  Don't get me wrong- I don't eat direct carbs but what I DO eat- I am eating A LOT.  I am NEVER EVER hungry or sad that I don't have a Reeses cup handy.

The other part of this gigantic slap in the face- Working out.  Guess what- I hate working out.  I hate sweating, I hate feeling everything wiggle around, I hate having to wash my pain in the butt hair everyday- ugh, I just don't like it.  To top it off I have both a knee and back injury that I have ongoing treatment due to nerve damage and chronic pain.  I had told myself that I COULDN'T work out because I would just hurt myself again.  So I was living this lie that I wasn't strong enough to work out.

I realized that when I workout- I eat better, really without trying.  I cant fathom eating chocolate cake after all the hard work it took me to burn those 400 calories in the morning.  So I decided that I NEED to find SOMETHING that was going to work for me and that was maintainable.  Group classes, gyms or basically anything I have to leave my house and pack up the kids to do is....out of the question and not maintainable.  I had to look at my schedule and realized that the only real time I had to work out was my beloved "coffee hour".  NO!  Not my quiet time with a strong cup (or two, sometimes three) of coffee and the internet!  What to do?  Get up 20 minutes earlier and cut my coffee hour down from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.  Crap- there I have time.

Then I saw my primary care physician.  He is the one that really put the lights on for me.  He knows my history and my injuries.  I asked him what I could do- I have a treadmill, a yoga mat and balance ball.   I have some hand weights- where do I start?  His answer literally had me slack jawed- "Have you ever thought of taking up running?"  Without hesitation I answered- "oh no, I cant run!  My knee, my  back,!"  He explained I would have to do a modified plan but there is no better cardio workout than running.

So I came home and realized- I don't know HOW to run.  Seriously- I had no clue how to run.  I figured you just put one foot in front of the other really fast- right?  Well- I tried that for 30 seconds and I was convinced death was imminent.  Like NOW.  I started slow- 30 second run and 4 minute walks.  Let me tell you- I hadn't sweat that much in years.  But guess what?  I did it.  AND- I didn't die.  And guess what?  I felt proud!  I had run for a total of 2 minutes for the first time in my adult life.

I will save you the day by day of the last 77 days.  It has been a process.  I have indeed injured myself and then guess what- I figured out WHY and fixed it and it doesn't happen anymore.  I haven't been perfect and I still cant run one mile with out stopping.  But you know what I can do?  I can run 8 minutes straight through with a two minute walk and then do another 8 minutes.  For my pace- that's just over a mile and a third.  Guess what else I can do?  I can do dead lifts, cleaners, bench presses, rows, and I can lift weights!

The last 77 days has resulted in exactly 25 pounds in weight loss.  But I have gained SO much more!  I gained confidence that I can try things and I can do things I never thought I could.  Guess what else?  I found that hiding inside this fat girl is an athlete that is having fun.  My goal is to run my first ever official 5K by the end of this summer.....and I really think I can do it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's what fun is!

We finally took the two big kids for a day at Lagoon.  We have been waiting until Duncan got a hair taller (we have been waiting a LONG TIME for that) so that he could ride more rides.  We dropped Lyza off with Grandma Parsons and we took off on a gorgeous sunny Sunday morning.  The weather couldnt have been more perfect.  It was sunny and 75 with a light breeze.  Because its Sunday in Utah and in April, there were no lines.  AT ALL.  I think the longest we waited for a ride was funny enough- for the train!  Oh, and while we are talking about that- can someone PLEASE set those animals free.  That is the saddest most pathetic animal enclosure ever.  Sophia was the perfect height- she was JUST short enough to ride the kid rides and JUST tall enough to ride the bigger rides.

We spent the morning in "little Lagoon" letting the kids do all the kids rides.  We rode Puff the Magic Dragon, the tea cups, and the carousel as a family and then the kids rode all the kids rides they could.  After about 12:30, Duncan was about in tears.  Too excited to eat breakfast, he hadn't really eaten anything substantial so we took that as the perfect time to go out to the car and have a picnic in the trunk.  We packed a cooler and we laid the seats down in the van and had a great lunch.  After food, Duncan was a whole new man.  He wanted to do all the big kid rides- like the Wicked and the Colossus!  I had to laugh.  We settled on the gondola, the lady bug, the flying aces, the ferris wheel, another gondola ride and then topped it off with the arcade.  We rode the spook ally and I rode with Duncan.  I was trying to calm him down by talking and laughing with him.  After about 2 minutes he told me to be quiet because he couldn't concentrate   Afterward he told me that it was the stupidest ride and wasn't even scary.....ah boys.
Waiting in line for the carousel   
Of coarse Sophie chose the pretty pony
Tea cup on the carousel!

Doesn't he look like a little baby in this one?!

Josh and Sophie getting wet on the Odysea

Riding a cannon!
Dripping wet after Rattlesnake Rapids!
End of the day, the kids won a fan and a squirt gun at the arcade!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Family fun April 2013!

So my blogs have been more rants, words or just jibberish that flows from my brain to the keyboard and lands on the internet.  I thought that I might share some fun stuff that we have been able to go do in the last couple of weeks.

A few weeks ago there was an exhibit at the South Towne Expo Center called Discover the Dinosaurs.  They had a whole bunch of animatronic dinos that moved and made sounds and had their own little habitats. There were screens to teach the kids what era they were from, what their diet was, what was special about them.  It was actually super awesome.  We walked through the exhibit part in about 35 minutes and initially I was feeling like we totally got jipped on the price.  It was NOT cheap.  Well, after that we walked into the other half of the expo center and this is where the kids went APE.  They had dino inflatable bounce houses ( like 10 of them), a maze, mining for gems, panning for gold, dino golf, baby dino park, dino rides, face painting, coloring and activity center, etc.  I think that we did every activity twice or three times with the exception of dino rides (it freaked the kids out) and panning for gold/mining since that cost cash.  The kids have discovered they love mini golf and now we are planning a trip to Mulligans.

Otherwise known as the mommy dino

Sophia's fancy face
Our big girl!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Im a failure....or am I?

***Kristen disclaimer- this is in no way meant to offend- just give a totally Book-o-Kristen view on how we have this ridiculous notion on how we should be, act, dress***

OK my peeps- I was perusing the internet-age and looking at different articles written by women, for women and I was a little irritated.  Why in the world do we expect each other to have a blanket set of abilities and/or think that we should all be working towards learning how to do certain things?  And why in the world is there an age standard or limit?  Why is 50 some magical age in which we as women should attain a skill set?  Isn't the point of life to live the life and have the skill set that makes you a happy individual?  Why as women do we think that the only way to happiness is through a standard that is usually unattainable?  Why cant we just leave each other to flourish in our own unique ways and in our own facets of happiness?  I am going to "Kristen-ize" the list down below.  Please feel free to add anything you think or feel in the comments section!
By 50, women should know how to:
Say “no” without feeling guilty- This is a skill that as human beings we should have or should be working on no matter your age- what a miserable existence if you spend the first 50 years of your life yessing people to death.
Book their own travel- With the internet- this is something most teenagers are able to do

Say “I’m sorry” and mean it- Don't we as mothers teach our children to do this starting at age 1 or 2?  50 is the new standard??

Laugh at themselves-Im laughing at myself writing this list right now.  Again- basic human trait.

Change a tire-My dad taught me this at 15.  Now that we all have cell phones and AAA- being able to change a tire can take on many a forms.
Take themselves out to dinner and/or a movie — on their own-OK I get the point of it but really why is that something that we all need to do?  Am I a failure as a woman if I choose to invite company to join me to dinner and a movie?  

Get around in a foreign country- OK another thing I get the point of....but its pretty obscure- and potentially dangerous depending on what country you are in.

Program and operate their TV (this is easier said than done!)- programming a TV?  huh?  Do you mean a DVR or a blu-ray player?  How does one program a TV?

Mix at least a few classic cocktails- As a recovering alcoholic- the only cocktail I mix is Crystal Light into water, milk into coffee or Sprite into cranberry juice if we are getting really fancy and we have a special occasion.  

Do their own taxes- HR nuff said

Invest in the stock market- That's a really good one actually- I think as women we should have more knowledge about growing our money responsibly- so no snarkiness here.

Make themselves and their own needs a priority- I think going along with this is also learning when the needs of others come first.

Sew — at least a little- ok- thats a practical one as mending comes in handy.  Do you need to know how to make quilts and your own clothes?  Not unless thats your thing.

Defend themselves against an attacker with at least one signature self-defense move- yup- but you really should know how to do that WELL before the age of 50.

Perform CPR- absolutely- but I think that's a skill we should know from an early age- especially if we have small children in the home.

Carve a turkey- I have never really understood why the actually cutting up of the turkey is such a big deal.  For real- I do not know anyone who turns their nose up to a homemade roasted turkey because it was sliced incorrectly.  Please educate me if there is something I am missing on this.

Choose their own wine- Unfortunately I was WELL VERSED in this in my 20's and it landed me in rehab.  Not exactly high on my priority list any more.

Light a grill — and then cook on it- agreed.  Grilling is fun- but dont wait until your 50 to do it! PS- its an easy way to your husband to make dinner and he is none the wiser.

Swim- isnt that why we put our kids in swimming lessons at age 5?  And as long as you can tread water and have fun recreating in the water- do you really NEED to know how to do the breast stroke in perfect formation?

Order a credit report — and then be able to read it- do it online for free.  I do it every year and its super easy.

Examine their own breasts- If we wait until age 50 to know how to do this, we are putting ourselves at risk.  Teach your daughters as teenagers and do it monthly!

Graciously accept a compliment- its amazing what a simple Thank You can do.  Teach your daughters this from an early age and I guarantee it will help improve their self confidence.

Flip their own breaker- I'm assuming that this is electrical talk and not some dirty innuendo   I know where the breaker box is and if it needs a flipping, I know how to turn it from right to left.

Plunge a toilet-trust me- if you have ever had a 2 year old, or a husband, you have become a PRO at this.....and your probably a plunger officianato and can explain to others the pros and cons of different designs.

Properly hang photos and artwork- command strips

Whip up a signature dish that’s not spaghetti or meatloaf- A signature dish?  Hrm, at this stage in life- my dinner plans consist of asking the children what they WILL eat and making that.  SO, maybe by age 50 I will have the luxury of a signature dish.

Walk away from a situation or relationship when it’s not working- I have learned to walk away.  Its actually a painful but necessary thing.  The thing I have NOT mastered?  How to forgive deep hurt and move forward with forgiveness.  THAT'S the tough one. 

Tell off at least one person who deserves it- I kind of hate this one.  First of all- why is it that telling someone off is necessary?  You can stand up for yourself.  You can state your opinion but I think that sometimes the harder thing is to just shut up.  Once you have said something- you cant take it back.  The more mature route MOST of the time is to just be quiet.

Say what they really want in bed- grrrr!  Sexual prime for women is in their 30's- don't wait until 50 to take charge ladies!

Put together a piece of “some assembly required” furniture- this must be for rich people that have never had to go buy furniture at Ikea and then attempt to assemble children's furniture without words on the instructions.  

Apply makeup without a mirror- But WHY?  Why on earth would you EVER need to put makeup on without a mirror?  That is the stupidest thing ever.

Buy something crazy expensive just because they want it- if you have the money to burn on things and you are not going to put yourself in debt- knock your self out.  BUT- debt has become a way of life that affects all of us and hurts us far more than just in the pocket book.  And before you buy it- think about WHY you want it because you want to show it off, because someone else has it, or because you think that it will bring your happiness?  Stuff doesn't make you happy.  I promise.  Been there, done that....have had the credit card bills to prove it.

Ask for a raise- dang straight.  When you feel like you deserve something- ask!  BUT don't feel entitled.  That's not a cute look at any age.

Mow their own yard- wait a minute- there are ladies out there who DON'T do their own yard work?  Who are you and how do I become you?  

Unclog a drain- back to the plunger comment.  Who HASN'T plunged out the kitchen sink a time or two?

Tell which direction they are facing- I live in Utah.  Big mountains to the right and your headed north....oh and everything is on a grid.  I'm sure there is an app for that too.

Tell at least one really good joke- and more importantly laugh at yourself when you tell a really dumb one too!

Make small talk with just about anyone- Strangers in the checkout line at stores beware.  I'm THAT girl.  I like your shoes- I tell you.  The weather is nice- I mention it.  We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers but then we never tell them its OK to talk to them later in life.

Know when to reveal personal information — and when not to- I don't really know about I have no experience in filtering my life.  My life is an open book.  If you have a question- just ask.  If I don't want to talk about it- I will tell you.  

Think critically and independently when hearing speeches and listening to the news- case in point....facebook political posts are stupid- your not changing anyone's mind.  Listen to the news and wait for it.....THINK ABOUT IT.  If you have questions- find the answers!  Don't just trust Fox News or someone else's interpretation.  

Paint a room- wait- some people don't paint their own house?  Oh, this must be those rich people I hear about.  My husband would just like it if I QUIT painting rooms....seriously.

Buy the right-sized bra- Asked to get sized!  Ask for what you need!  And this is not only applicable to your boobs!  Side bar- I actually DON'T buy the size I measure at because after wearing it 2 times its too I buy a band size smaller and a cup size bigger and it lasts A LOT longer.

Beautifully wrap a present- and remember that not every present has to be a work of art.  Sometimes a gift bag is the best way to go about it......a three year old doesn't care if you used handmade, organic, hand tied, hemp ribbon from Indonesia.  I promise.

Hail a taxi- huh?  I drive a mini van.  And I live in we HAVE cabs?

Reach out to an old friend- isn't that what facebook was created for?

Jump a car battery- Again- if you can drive you should be able to do this.

Show love with actions and not just words- WHY are we waiting till 50 to show love with actions?

Put together a real retirement strategy- excellent- but there should be a strategy in your 20's with goals and benchmarks along the way.  If you START planning for retirement at 50- your effed.

Look good in a photo- Are we talking a selfie in the bathroom mirror?  Are we talking a family portrait? Why is this an important "skill" in life to have?

Open a bottle of champagne- Kristen opening a bottle of champagne is dangerous indeed.   Not because I don't know how to properly uncork- but because it would be gone in about 35 seconds and I would be removing my clothes and cussing like a sailor.

OK- Now we are back to reality.  I was being INCREDIBLY snarky and dumb about a lot of this.  I get that.  The point I am trying to make is why is there a checklist of things that we "have to" know how to do by a certain age?  Why??  Why are we telling others what skills they should possess and by a dead line?  Isn't the beauty of life that we all change and move through life at different rates and learn different lessons at different times?  Tell me what the dumbest "milestone" thing that is expected of you?  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


SO I haven't written an update as of late about my change in eating and working out and stuff.  I thought I would make this snappy.  I have been sidelined by the exercise thing lately.  I kind of sort of spranged and injured my ankle while out with the kids for a hike.  Just a word of advice.  When four miles in, going downhill, don't put a 35 pound child on your shoulders and then attempt to traverse ice.  BAD IDEA.

I'm still doing pretty good with the eating thing.  Nothing major to report.  Its still good- I'm still full and I'm still happy with my choice.  Down a couple of pounds but things have slowed which is natural for me.  I ALWAYS lose a ton straight up and then slow down to a pound or two a week.  I'm totally fine with that.  I still have energy and pep in  my step- even if it is a bit of a limp.  Oh well- ankles heal.

How are you guys doing with your quests for health?  Any roadblocks pop up for you?