Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The weight of the world

This year I really wanted my focus to be on fixing all the things that I think need fixing in my life. I know sometimes it's two steps forward and two steps back. Lately it seems to be two forward, five back but that's probably the pessimist in me talking. Maybe I should pick just a few things to focus on all year instead of all things?

I suffer from social anxiety and the occasional panic attack. I am learning a lot about myself. Learning my triggers, learning how to work around them. It doesn't help that I am doing this without medication and therapy. I despise (read DESPISE) having to take medication and I am not opposed to therapy, just haven't found someone that I like. And to be clear, I don't want someone to sugar-coat things but I want them to be personable and relatable. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not.

Lately, due to a few "altercations" or so I will call them, I have had a lot of anxiety attacks and a few panic attacks. For me, the anxiety attacks just give me a stomach ache and make me jittery. The panic attacks feel like what I imagine a heart attack would feel like. They are awful.

I am not a social person. I know this. For lack of a better term, it must be the Asperger's in me. No, I don't have Asperger's, or I am not diagnosed with it but my son does. So it's like saying "I'm having a blond moment or an ADD moment". Not the best of terms, I agree, but using these terms generally explains a lot in a few words and that's why people tend to use them. Or they are just plain mean.

I am not a social person because meeting new people and worrying about whether they will like me or not causes me a LOT of anxiety. I know, at this age, I shouldn't care but I do. I know the "why" but don't know quite how to fix it. I tend to say what I think and some people don't like that. I try not to but it's too much work to not be honest and to be me. I am too tired to be fake. And, if I have to be fake for too long, it usually ends up in a panic attack. So for me, it's not something I do a lot. I guess I can see how that offends people. I try very hard not to say anything but I often get dragged in to these conversations and then when my opinion is asked, I give it. No glitz, no glam, just me.

So, it doesn't help right now that I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I am trying to do so much for so many and I often don't get back anything. Well, nothing tangible. I expect that to some degree but then when I need help, there isn't a lot to go around. Add to that my husband being deployed during the busiest time of year next to Christmas, drama in one volunteer job, past drama in another, and all the usual things that go along with raising kids and I am one step away from a mental hospital with an IV of anti-anxiety drugs.

I won't even get into how inadequate I feel as a parent all the time. Let's just say the following causes me an small panic attack; opening one child's backpack to find he STILL has not done his math work from last week (not sure how I missed that) and the notes written in red all over his papers and sticky flags saying he's getting recess and lunch detention and then a call from the school, which I thought was from his teacher who doesn't like him because he's not a perfectly well-behaved child, only to find out it's my other child who didn't give me his permission slip and he has a field trip today. I hung up the phone thinking how awful it must look to them that I can't keep up and then I start feeling the knot in my stomach and the tightening of my chest. By they way, I usually cry here because it frustrates me so much, but I didn't. Well, not yet anyway.

So that's me. The weight of the world, taking on too much, trying to do for others and then I want to do a house project? Yeah, because I am tired of backseating my life and plans for everyone else.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sensory Overload...a daily struggle in a two-year olds world

Part 1:

It's often hard for people without sensory issues to understand what it's like for those that do. In my own home, my children that do not have a sensory problem have a hard time understanding the ones that do.

I don't know if this is just a two-year old thing or a precursor of things to come but our two year old has been wanting to be naked or sometimes not wanting to wear certain clothing, not wanting to eat foods he used to eat, not wanting to play with things he loved to play with and so on. Navigating the day with him has been quite a challenge. Then add potty-training on top of that, a very sensory overloading process as I have just learned, and we are MeltdownsRus.

After spending weeks of complete chaos, meltdowns (by both child and myself) and frustration, I decided I needed to make concessions and be flexible. That's really hard when your child insists on being naked and you insist the he wear clothes in order to go in public. Damn those societal conventions!

I decided that he needed choices. I know, at two, do they really need choices? In a word, YES. So when he gets up in the morning and doesn't want to wear clothes, I hold up a few things, mostly a few different types/colors of underwear or pants and ask him which one. He points and we are on our merry way. Well, except when I don't have what he wants to wear. Essentially this works most of the time. I have decided that as long as his bottom is covered, and we aren't going anywhere, he doesn't have to wear a shirt. Now I keep my house cold and that doesn't seem to bother him and I am honestly too tired and busty to be a helicopter parent so if he wants to go without a shirt, let him be cold and learn about it on his own terms.

Brushing his teeth is another struggle. Can I just tell you that it took me months to figure out he didn't like the toothpaste? He doesn't like the gritty texture of toothpastes. Yeah, apparently he has a favorite brand, Jason with the Octopus on it, and it's only sold at Whole Foods around here. And by "around here" I mean Whole Foods is 30 minutes away. The tube normally costs $6.00, but ended up costing me $55.00 because we found some other cool stuff there and then factor is gas for a Suburban. Cha-ching, the things we do for love, or less meltdowns.

Okay, back on topic, getting the right toothpaste was the answer, or so I thought. My two year old is a routine child meaning he likes things in a set routine and done a certain way. Unless he thinks it should be changed. When it was time to brush his teeth, because we had been out of routine for months, he didn't want to brush after the first night. Apparently it was a novelty the first night. That's where outwitting him came into play. I just offered him three choices of toothbrushes. One that spins, and two that are manual, one with Jessie and Bullseye on it and the other is plain. Tooth brushing issues solved, for now.

Don't get me started on food. Oops, too late! We used to have "safe" foods. You know, the foods he would eat no matter what. Yeah, not so much anymore. The only safe foods, if you can call liquids food, are milk with liquid coffee creamer in it, tea, orange juice, American cheese, and mozzarella cheese sticks. These are the only consistent foods in his diet. I almost bought McDonald's because for weeks all he would eat was their chicken nuggets. I won't even tell you about the time I tried to make them. Let's just say, TOTAL disaster and the smoke alarms went off. 

So we play it day-by-day and I celebrate the small victories like eating applesauce, yogurt and crackers. Those may not be what he eats tomorrow but for today, they work. And, if I can get him to at least wear something on his cute little butt, I am victorious!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cash Diet...struggling with the cash envelopes but not eating out...so far.

I finally have gotten around to adding up all the receipts for our groceries last month. I kinda procrastinated on this because I thought I was over budget and didn't want feel disappointed. I knew I had forgotten my cash envelope a few times and had to use debit instead. AND, I knew we blew our eating out budget completely.

Boy was I ever surprised when I added them up today to see I was $120 UNDER budget! Of course I did what any normal person would do, I added up my receipts three or four more times to be sure. Yep, still under budget! I spent $279.83 (if I found all my receipts) and I got $1263 worth of groceries. That's about a 79% savings. I don't think I will have to buy laundry detergent or cereal for a year or more.

Anyway, it's been a bit of a struggle this month so that's why I thought for sure I had blown it. I mean when I opened my cash envelope and found cash in there I really didn't believe it. Gosh I really hope I don't find any more receipts!

So why stress myself out and take on such a grandiose goal? Well, I am an all or nothing kind of person when it comes to some things. I hate not being able to do something fully or having to stop in the middle to finish it later. Mostly because I never get back to it later and find it again in three years. By then I have moved on to something else. I guess that would explain my messy basement and unfinished sewing table. And probably a few dozen other things and areas. This would also explain why instead of trying to just work on keeping to the grocery budget I have to do the entire budget.

My other goal recently was to not eat out at all this month. My dear husband asked if we could postpone it for another month. The month he would be deployed. Yeah, NO. If I have to suffer, so do you! Just sayin'.  I have only eaten out once. I was craving a burger and dear husband tried to make me one but it wasn't what I was craving. The next day, after spending a large portion of the day at the doctor's and pharmacy with a very busy two year old, I was heading home well after lunch and could not resist the temptation, being weak with hunger and all and super stressed, so I broke down and bought a burger. Good news is it worked and I no longer crave it.

Anyway, we knew there would be a few times this month where we had to "eat out" for events, like a fundraising event for scouts and a banquet for swim team. That money will come out of groceries this month since we knew about them in advance.

Not too bad on the goals. I am trying to think and keep positive. I'll leave all my pessimism for my Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Well I am a believer....the sugar scrub

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I noticed my face was all dry and flaky and it disturbed me. Those of you that know me know I am not a big make-up girl so there was no covering that up. Heck I think some 8 year old's have more make-up than me.

Anyway, I happened to be scanning Pinterest this morning (read: keeping Adam, my two year old with some kind of attachment disorder, happy while he was watching Micky Mouse Clubhouse), and I came across a post of a sugar scrub. It looked rather interesting and the posts under it were all like "my husband just LOVED how soft my skin felt" and "got all the scaly skin off in one scrub, AMAZING".

So fast forward to this afternoon when I finally decided to get out of my pj's and take a shower. I thought, why the heck not? So, I Googled it because far be it for me to actually pin the post. There were all sorts of concoctions and it was kinda scary if you ask me. Like basement scientist meets happy housewife. I settled on the one that sounded the least painful and most organic, plain granulated sugar and olive oil.

Now the recipe I saw must have been for an elephant, or so I thought, so I modified mine a bit. I do that a lot, modify things. Sometimes not with the best of results I might add. I used one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of granulated sugar. I have sensitive skin and didn't want to look like I had been for an acid peel.

So I scrubbed my face gently with the scrub mixture and my fingertips. And then I looked down and realized I still had a lot to go and I HATE wasting things so I decided maybe I will try it on my neck, shoulders and elbows.  I must say it felt rather weird and was a bit messy. Soon as I was done, I jumped into the shower, rinsed my skin off and realized I was slicker than a greased pig. So, since I was in there to shower, I did just that.

The end result, my elbows are amazingly soft! And so are my upper arms, shoulder, my neck and my face. My cheeks were a bit red and I was afraid the oil would be to much for my face to I followed it with Witch Hazel, and then I regretted that because then my skin was dry again :(. 

So the lesson learned? Add a bit more oil, don't use Witch Hazel afterwards and see what it looks like later in the day. Might not be too oily.

 Did my husband notice? I dunno. He's at work.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A month without eating out...I...CAN...DO...IT!

I may have to drag myself into this kicking and screaming. Just sayin'.

So barely 15 days into this month and we are, dare i say it, OVER BUDGET on eating out. I said to my dear husband, "maybe we should increase our eating out budget". I mean, it is only $150 for 6 people and that's like 4 adults when you factor in how much the 18 year old and 14 year old eat.

And before we get all crazy about this, I define eating out as bringing food home that I didn't make, well except the grocery store but that's factored into that budget. I rarely get drinks when we order and make us all share a large fry and still we still are over our budget. That is only eating out about 4 times!

Then my brain started saying to me, uh hello, why don't you try to NOT eat out for a month and I was all like, "ARE YOU FREAKIN' CRAZY?!?!?!" But then sanity took hold for a brief moment, though I am not sure if it was sanity or insanity that took hold, I mean for me they are in cahoots with each other.

I think I am going to try this. It's either that or up my eating out budget and I am trying to save money, right? Maybe I should make what we save a reward? Like we can spend it on ___________(insert mindless spending of $150 here).

I will talk to my masses and see what they say. I am figuring on some protests and anarchy but then what fun would parenting be if we didn't have that?

Now I must go and save my two year old from my husband driving him around the yard on my dirt bike, without a helmet!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Disability doesn't = inability

I recently read an article posted on Facebook about a boy with Down Syndrome that is in college and was impressed by his drive and desire to be a college graduate. An amazing thing happens when you decide that your disability is not going to hold you back.

I am more amazed by how many people are astounded that my son, who has Asperger's, has been accepted into Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island. They are actually amazed or surprised that he would be accepted and I am more amazed and surprised and think I WHY NOT! 

I mean really, he has a disability but that does not mean he has an inability. He is incredibly smart. Yes, he some times lacks social graces and is crass at times but does that mean he should not go to college? Yes he often times is less mature than my 14 year old and sometimes my 7 year old but does that mean he's not able? No.

It means there is a lot more work for him to do than others. Just because he may be exempt from certain things or have modifications doesn't mean he does not work just as hard as the "average" person. There are things that we do with ease that we take for granted while he struggles to do them. The physical act of putting a pen on paper is one of them. Running is another. He has to work twice as hard, if not harder, to do these "average" tasks. His body exerts more energy doing these things than the "average" person which makes him tire a lot faster. In my opinion, he works harder.

People should not be surprised to see or hear of someone who has a disability accomplishing things like going to college, driving, holding down a job, or having a family.

Truly the question is, if you haven't done any of these things, what's your excuse?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And then life happens.....

So, if you have read one of my earlier posts, not sure which one right now, then you will know that life loves to throw us curve balls. All I can say is at least it waited until tax time. Now we don't get a huge tax payout because I think it's silly to let Uncle Sam "borrow" your money all year for free but we do get a little. Enough to cover an unexpected plane ticket and a cat who needs unexpected surgery.

Anyway, on to the good news....drum roll please! I actually almost did not go over my grocery budget (otherwise known as I did go over it but not by too much). I pretty much expected that because this month had some great sales and couple that with some great coupons and I was pretty much doomed to fail. I actually blame Kellogg's but that's another story.

While I stood at the stove tallying my receipts, and then re-tallying my receipts three more times because I didn't trust my numbers, I noticed a pattern. I was paying only 10-50% of retail at most. And if you really must know why I did all this standing up at the stove it's because my two year old can detect when I sit in front of my computer from a mile away and it doesn't matter how enthralled he is in whatever he is doing, it's like a shark to blood and he attacks. So, I stand to fool him, which by the way, only buys me a little extra time.

Alright, back to numbers. My grocery budget is $400 and as far as I can tell I went over by about $25ish. The "ish" comes from the fact that I also have SavingStar deposits that I am not accounting for and I know my husband bought me newspapers but I am not sure how much he spent because he didn't give me receipts and used his debit card! So, $425ish this month. The retail value of what I bought before coupons was over $1385.93! The savings is actually a lot higher if you figure in that I bought a lot of things on clearance, like four sleds for $1.00 each that retail for over $10 a piece or 4 light bulb packs that also retail for over $10 a piece for $1.49 each. Now I did shop at the military commissary a few times this month and while the products there are usually priced about 33% below the average retail, you still are charged a "surcharge" on the pre-coupon amount so this adds up and sucks up the savings. Regular retailers cannot charge you tax on items that are free or pre-coupon price in my state, currently.

I won't even go into my eating out budget because my dear husband came home and we ate out more. I don't understand this because we have such a huge stockpile but nonetheless, I have yet to asses that damage.