Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Did you try it?

Did you try the turkey for Thanksgiving?

 If so, how was your experience?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Easy, Perfect Turkey (with photos)!

After Amy was born (third-born) I was desperate to get out of the house and do something fun. Tom was extremely sweet and signed me up for a series of 13 cooking classes. One of these classes focused on a recipe for orange chicken. It was fine, but I tried it with a turkey and it was 10x better.

So, first off, forget everything you think you know about preparing a turkey. Wash it alllll away.
And keep in mind that this will seem like more work than it is... kind of like trying to explain how to tie a shoe. There are more words to describe it than movements to it! hehe


When choosing your turkey, do everything you can to find one that is fresh, never frozen. The texture and taste of fresh turkeys are so much better than frozen.

It is best to not cook a bird that weighs more than 12-13 pounds. If you have a large family and need more turkey, then consider cooking two. It is a pain, but once turkeys get too big they tend to bake unevenly and dry out considerably. Anyway, not a hard and fast rule, but worth considering if you have the time and space.

Before you begin to prepare the turkey for baking, take it out of the refrigerator, and set on the counter for at least 30 minutes. You need to bring it as close to room temperature as possible. This will help it to cook evenly and keep it moist.

Get out your roasting pan (doesn't have to be huge) and line it with parchment paper. Only because it will make cleaning up the pan a breeze.

While you are waiting for it to warm up, get out your ingriedients:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Yellow onion

Slice the oranges into fourth wedges per orange. Onions should be halved, and then cut into four wedges each half.

Rosemary and Thyme (as well as other dried herbs) should *always* be ground before seasoning your dish. Grounding herbs releases oils which makes your dishes that much  more aromatic and tasty! I use a mortar pestle, because it's awesome! But you can also just roll the herbs between your fingers to release the oils.

Wash the bird. And DRY it with paper towels. I had always heard this, but thought it was goofy, so I never dried it. Turns out, if you don't dry it, it won't brown correctly. And half the battle of a turkey is a great, golden color!

Hold the bird up so that you can easily season the inside of the turkey. Throw in some salt (don't be stingy--the juices will wash away a lot of the salt), pepper, and the herbs. Then squeeze a couple of orange wedges into the bird, then throw the whole thing into the turkey. Alternate between stuffing onion and orange wedges (squeezing the juice out first...all over the bird, inside and out) into the cavity. Then pour 2-3 tablespoon olive oil into/over the produce. This helps to... actually, I have no idea, but it makes the onions smell amazing when they are baking!

Now for the outside of the turkey:
Pour olive oil over turkey and rub it in.
Salt it well, but don't go crazy. I have used sea salt before, and it doesn't work... much too salty.
And then throw the rest of the herb mix all over the turkey, making sure you get under the wings and drumsticks.

Stick it in the oven. All ovens vary, so this is a difficult call. I had to use 350 at my old house. I tried 350 in this oven, but it was too hot. Most likely your oven will need to be anywhere between 325 and 350.

Here's the most important piece of information. DO. NOT. open the oven door. At all. Just "Set it, and forget it!"  There is no basting required. In fact, if you try to baste your turkey, you fail!
                                             Why no basting?  Two reasons:
 1) opening your oven door cools the oven down by 20-30 degrees every time you do it. This means the oven over-compensates to try and get the temperature back up, and this will result in a very dry, unappetizing turkey.
 2) After about 15 minutes of being in the oven, the turkey skin will begin to crisp which means it will become a barrier to any liquids poured onto it. So just say no to basting. It does no good. And it's a hassle!  We don't need more hassles, do we?

So now the turkey is in the oven and is just sitting there baking away! (Turn on the oven light and watch if you must, but leave it be!) In my experience the cooking time on the turkey package is way off... much too much time.

For my 12 lb turkey it took about 2.5 hours. (None of this all day business anymore! With prep and baking, it takes about 3 to 3.5 hours.) It may take you a few turkeys before you know the perfect time to check on your bird.

 But for this week I would say go for two hours and then check with your meat thermometer. Which reminds me...

That stupid thermometer that comes with the turkey... throw it away. It's useless.

 By the time that thing pops, your turkey is way past done. If you don't have a meat thermometer go out today and buy one. They are $5-6 for a cheap one (which is the one I use), but you can get fancy, expensive ones if that makes you feel more confident. Bake your turkey until the thermometer reads 165. Once that temp is reached, remove your turkey from the oven, and allow it to cool for at least an hour. The resting time will allow the juices to stay in the meat once the bird is sliced. (Recently I read that you should allow your meat to rest as long as it took for it to bake/cook. That seems like an awfully long time for things like turkey and pork, but I went with 1.5 hours today.)

Take out the oranges and onions so that it can cool off faster. Discard the produce. 

Invest in an electric knife. I love it! It really makes slicing turkey (and chicken) much, much easier.

I have yet to master carving a turkey, but this YouTube helped me figure it out last year.

And that, my friends, will be the best turkey you've ever had.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coconut butter

Sorry... we've had some serious issues around here to deal with, and I've found little time to do much of anything lately.

We had somebody give us four or five jars of coconut butter... anybody have some good ideas on how to use it?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comments Change

I'm very sorry, but I've had to move the "comment" settings from anybody can comment as an "anonymous" to "Name; including Open ID" I believe ID means you can choose a "screen name" if you are too afraid to put your real name.

I know some people are uncomfortable of logging in and would prefer to just be unknown, but that setting has been flooding my email with spam, and it has not upped the number of "real" comments on the blog, so I'm spending more time deleting spam than I am reading real email and/or comments.

Very sorry.

Coconut Spread and Answers to Reader's Question(s)

 Hi all

I've pretty much done nothing but sleep and order supplements from various pharmacies. 

I had a few questions from readers about my tests and which supplements I'm taking, I'll get to that in just a minute, but I want to share a coconut recipe I came up with. 

My daughter is going on a field trip tomorrow, and the instructions were very clear on bringing a sack lunch, which means no meat and nothing that needs to be heated before eating. Uh... yeah, that eliminates just about everything we eat. Well, I suppose I could make it work for me, but Veronica needs a lot of protein, doesn't care for nuts, and only eats jerky every once in a while... so I broke down and bought a tortilla, spread it with natural peanut butter, and ... 
yeah, that was hard.. what do I put on top of it?  I wanted something high fat that wouldn't spoil from being outside. So I thought coconut would work well, but that seems too tasteless to a little kid, so I pulled out my Magic Bullet and mixed up coconut oil (in its solid state) and maple syrup. Whipped it up and spread it on the peanut butter. It was really good!

Even though the tortilla is NOT primal, I really liked this for a kid's lunch. It has great quality fats, protein, and antioxidants (from the real maple syrup), and fiber from the tortilla. I think she can last the day with that lunch... which also included some cranberries, dark chocolate, and carrots. 

Coconut Spread:

1/3 cup coconut oil (solid form in glass jar...be sure it says "unrefined" )
1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
Place both ingredients in to a Magic Bullet (I'm not sure how well a regular blender would work since the blades sit up too high, usually). And spin for about a minute. 
Serve as a dip or spead. 

I think the syrup might seperate from the coconut a little bit, but all you need to do is quick stir and you'll be set.  

Also, butter would work really, really well with the syrup. Raw butter (or this)!


For the reader who asked about the Thyroid tests the Dr ordered:

T4 (thyroxine), Total
Thyroid peroxidase and thyroglubulin antibodies
thyroglobulin antibodies
thyroid peroxidase antibodies

I have no idea what most of those mean. According to the numbers I am right in the middle of what is low normal and high normal, which I guess makes me pretty normal. 
According to Dr. Klug, I do have (severe) adrenal fatigue and it's not reflected in my thyroid panel (yet) because it doesn't happen simultaneously, the thyroid failure comes after not treating the adrenal fatigue for so long. 

Somebody asked if I had a second opinion for the Adrenal Fatigue diagnosis. 

 No, I haven't. I've asked for help for ten years without one doctor taking me seriously (obviously exempt from this are my chiropractors), and I am not really in the mood to fight with a new doctor over it. I am really surprised you and your doctor would continue cortisol for 18 months if you saw no change. Dr. Klug is starting me out at 5mg, over the course of three weeks I could work up to 15mg if needed. She says as soon as I start to experience negative side effects, or no improvement after taking it for two weeks, then we will re-evaluate. I'm okay with her diagnosis since I do have every symptom of AF and my labs show the same results.  Thank you for the suggestion!

Lastly, what supplements/meds am I taking:

Pro Super Food (F3)
Adaptogen -R3
Liquid D3--4 drops (8,000 IU)
Methylcobalamin (B12)
Pancever (haven't taken this yet since no one seems to know what it is). 
A muscle relaxant and pain pills as needed from my M.D.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


It's been a long few weeks.  I'm still in Physical therapy 2-3 times a week. Resting a lot. And pretty much... it's been depressing. I want to be up and doing things, but at the same time it doesn't matter, because I just can't make myself do it. 

Dr. Klug has my blood work results, so I drove over an hour into Kansas to go over it. 

Basically my thyroid seems to be functioning just fine. I was happy, perplexed, and shocked all at the same time. How could that be if I have every symptom of hypothyroidism?  Dr. Klug said she can't figure it out ... she was sure I had a severe thyroid problem.  Well... good news, I suppose. 

Moving on... I'm not anemic. My cholesterol is 215, but that's only up 15 points in the last 11 years, and it's considered very good considering my family's history with it (I have a brother whose cholesterol was 900!), so I'm not too worried about it. There were a few other numbers that were higher than they should be, but she says it's due to pain, which in turn makes these numbers rise, so she's not going worry about it other than to say it should top priority to get my pain eliminated. Sounds good to me. 

So here's what Dr. Klug did find out:

:::Drum roll:::

I have Adrenal Exhaustion!   Also known as "your body is completely wiped out"

 Now, I did ask a doctor or two to check for this, but I got the same usual answer:  ::patronizing smile:: You don't need that. You're young. You just need to not eat so much and exercise a lot more.   Psssh. Hey, buddy, if I can weather several pregnancies, attend and graduate college, move my family four times AND take care of my kids who are very needy (medically speaking), all while feeling like a truck ran over me, backed up, and ran over me again, then I am pretty sure I'm much stronger of a person than you'll ever be. So shut it.  <end rant>

I actually cried when she told me the diagnosis. I didn't sob or anything like that, but I definitely needed a tissue. I said "you wouldn't believe how many people have told me to "just stop eating" or "if you would just exercise" or commenting on my mood, or being tired, or..., or..., or. She said "Yes, those things don't work for you because you're body thinks you're about to die, or course you can't do those things!" 

If you read the link about then you know a bit about what your adrenals do. Mine are function at 1.7 which is about 2% of what they should be.  Dr. Klug said "no wonder you are so tired all of the time! according to your adrenals, you're nearly dead!" She says my body is starting to shut down because of the low numbers. Not shutting down in the sense that I'm dying, but that my body just can't handle stress and activity like it should. 

She asked why I all of sudden felt worse than usual. After talking things over, she believes it was the move that drove me of the edge, so to speak.  I did move everything (except for my kitchen...a friend helped with that) boxed, packed, unloaded, unpacked, all of it, on my own. Tom had a series of trips out of town, and I really wanted to surprise him with an intact house we he finally came back home. 
I suppose she's right, because that was just about the time the blog really started to suffer--I was just too tired--when my pain became worse, the depression set in...blah blah blah.

So I asked her "what do I need to do in order to get better?" 

She said I have to sleep. A lot. (that sounds good to me!) 

I have to find the stressors and eliminate them out of my life. (Easier said than done, I suppose, but I'll try.)

I have to eat well. Drink a lot of water. (Can do.)

I have to learn to listen to my body. So if I'm out running errands and realize I feel tired, I have to go home and sleep. 

I can't be a "list person" (some would say "Type A") anymore. I have to choose one or two small goals for the day and don't go beyond that.  (Booooooo!)

I'll be taking a handful of supplements. One of which is a steroid, it's not a strong one like Prednisone, but one your body already makes naturally and in very low levels. (I can't remember what it's called. Darn it.)

 Anyway, the idea is that it gives your adrenals a rest, which means they can rest up enough to start working on their own someday.

"Sooo, how long should this process take?" I ask. 

"It really just depends on how much sleep/rest you get, and how well you follow the supplement schedule. But I'd say it could be anywhere from 6 to 18 or 24 months."

Do what now?!  6 months... okay, fine. But 1-2 years of just sleeping and quiet/low stress level chores?? Ewww. I am not excited about this at all.  Of course part of me wants to write the doctors who said "no" to me, and say "I'd be all better by now if you had just run the test!" but I suppose that wouldn't be very Christ-like.  Oh well, between Dr. Klug and Dr. Rob, I'm sure I'll be doing much better by this time next year. 

I have a lot of research to do on this. The cure for Adrenal Exhaustion is totally not who I am and I still can't quite get my head around it.

 The saddest part for me is that I am going to have to put Elizabeth is daycare/homecare. I've never had any of my kids in daycare or preschools. I personally believe kids should be with their mothers for the first five (if not longer... depending on the child) years of their life. Of course, there are always exception to the rule.  I have a meeting with a couple who runs a daycare out of their home. They don't have kids watch TV or movies (except on Friday mornings when it's Movie Mornings), they are fans of Love and Logic when it comes to discipline, they obviously love children, and they have a very structured, but still fun schedule. And for the last few months Elizabeth has demanded so much attention that I just can't keep up with her. Last week she told me she needs a backpack because she wants to go to school. It made me chuckle when she found an old one, and then stepped into the van saying "I go skholl!" So, who knows, maybe she will be overall more happy at this place a few times a week. 

I guess some of the good news is that once I recover from this, and getting the progesterone supplement adjusted, Dr. Klug thinks I should go on to have normal pregnancies. She says those who suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum typically have it because the body is too low on progesterone (but not low enough to cause a miscarriage) and also the Adrenal Fatigue because it is too much of a stressor.  So good news, I suppose.

I asked about losing weight and why it just suddenly stopped even when I was eating very well. She said because stress put on the body to lose weight is such that the adrenals just wouldn't allow the process to go forward. I told her I've gained 10 lbs just by sitting in bed (thanks to these muscle issues) and I couldn't understand it since I've had very little appetite. She says "Yes, that's common. That is how much your body is in "conservation mode" It really believes you are starving and in grave danger so it will absolutely store anything you eat and not burn it.

So my orders for now are to go to bed as soon as I'm tired. Do not set an alarm and sleep as late as possible. Do one or two small chores. Get a nap. Eat well. And let go of stress. 

I have to figure out a way for food to fit in to our lives in a way that doesn't require me to be on my feet all day, and doesn't drive Tom batty.  I am going to confess that last week we went to Sam's Club and stocked up on a lot of meats that are ready to be popped into the oven. Tom has had to take over pretty much the whole house, the kids, AND work, so food has been a big hurdle. I ended up buying some cereal (with coconut milk) for the kids. Given all the allergies breakfast has become nearly impossible to navigate without it taking an hour or two. 

She says I may have one or two other underlying conditions, but we can't get to those until I get my adrenals better. 

So if you are of the religious type please consider offering a few prayers for me and my family. It's going to be a pretty big adjustment on everyone.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Very Easy Fudge Bites

Regina (9) loves to make new recipes. She put together this fudge recipe!  She calls them Smudge Balls or Smudged Fudge.

50 chocolate chips. 1-2 tbls coconut milk

Pour into small bowl

Microwave about 25 seconds.

Pour off obvious excess of liquid. Stir well.

Use spoon to drop the mixture onto a paper plate. And freeze for about 20 minutes.

Take out of freezer, and let it sit for five minutes. Serve!

School Lunch

If you prepare enough protein from last nights dinner, you can use it for a great lunch the next day.

The kids loved this lunch:

Steak. Yellow peppers. Grapes. Green beans. Chocolate raisins.  

One Skillet 15 Minute Dinner

Take beef and place it in a hot skillet with melted butter. Don't forget to salt and pepper the meat!

Once both sides of meat are browned, throw in brussel sprouts (halved).

Remove beef (takes about 12-15 minutes for Med) and leave sprouts to soak up all the delicious meat juices.

Give a quick squeeze of lemon over the brussel sprouts, mix, and serve hot.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Not So Primal Post, but... a hopefull one

So on Tuesday I first went to my chiropractor. She did some sort of muscle relaxing thing with this weird machine she has... didn't seem to help much, but worth a try! I immediately went from there to physical therapy across town. The PT was really great, but I felt like I was going to die by the time I left the office.  THEN I drove an hour to the the naturopath (MD who tries to treat holistically, but will also give "real" meds if needed) Dr. Klug. 

Let me just start by saying that Dr. Klug is my new best friend!  She has one receptionist/secretary, and a small, two or three room office, and is amazingly friendly and warm without being patronizing. 

Her first question was "What can I do for you?"  I had to pause because no doctor has ever asked me that question. Ever. 

So I told her my symptoms (you can refresh your memory by clicking on My Story) and how I seem to have fallen into a senseless depression these last few weeks, and I just can't function or deal with it anymore. 

She looked me right in the eyes the whole time. Didn't check her watch, clickity-clack on a laptop, or review papers while I was speaking.  I felt like crying. Some one was not only listening but also *understood* what I was saying.  I didn't get a speech of "just get over it." "If you stopped eating so much..." "if you would just talk a walk."  or any other of the various idiotic things I've been told. She said "I know. It's so hard. Well, the good news is I know what's wrong with you!"

Wait... what.. you do?  Tell me tell me tell me!  

"Your body is screaming out "hormone deficiency!"   Oh, well, yes, I've thought that for years... but what kind of hormone?  

"You are severely lacking in progesterone. When one lacks progesterone one becomes depressed, lethargic, muscle can't relax, you can't get to sleep, you typically cannot lose weight, and a whole host of other things [most of which I have], but there is good news, I can give you a compounded prescription for progesterone, and you should be able to tell a difference the first time you use it, and a major difference within a few months."

Uh. Wow.  I thought I had estrogen dominance, but I never suspected low progesterone.  She says I do have too much estrogen by the fact that I have little progesterone.  Also, did you know that if you are constantly in a state of stress, your body cannot make enough cortisol to keep you functioning, so your adrenal glands take progesterone to convert into something it can use for stress?   Very cool, but not so cool at the same time.  

She said given that I lived in a chaotic situation as a child, that getting my cycles so early (age 11), and then pregnancies on top of it all has caused adrenal fatigue. Yes! I knew that one too, but the doctors wouldn't listen. 

Annnnnd, I have an enlarged thyroid. "Did any doctor ever let you know about this?"  I laughed. I only asked four different doctors to check out my thyroid. Surprise! Not one doctor ever touched or looked at it. They wouldn't even check my thyroid hormones/levels.  

So she says "I am strongly suspecting that you have a thyroid condition on top of a progesterone issue. And probably a few more issues that we can't see yet...."

I have to start taking progesterone and see what effect that has. Hopefully that gets everything working like it's supposed to and I won't need to do much else. I am also going in for lab work to check a lot of things like hormone levels, Vit D levels, a completely full panel on thyroid levels, and all that jazz. She says most likely I'll have to be on a T3 supplement, but we need to see the blood-work before we can determine how much.

I still can't quite believe it.  I have answers. I have a plan. And I have hope.

Stay tuned for some more food photos from our cooking this week!

...that is, if I can find my camera cord.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cooking and muscles

Tom did me a huge favor and went through the Primal cookbooks and found a few recipes. Then he made up a grocery list. I am pretty sure he is an angel in disguise. Anyone who has to make up the weekly dinner menu knows what I'm talking about. ;)

So I forced myself to the grocery and now I have a fridge full of great ingredients. The only problem is I can't seem to make myself cook anything. For whatever reason, the entire right side of my body has been going into muscle spasms and hurts like heck, so the thought of standing and moving around as much as cooking requires sounds like anything but fun.

Needless to say, we've been having take out a lot. . . but Tom being as awesome as he is, has been keeping it as Primal as possible. 

I have done my best to keep the kids' lunches Primal as well. The lunches are a bit easier since I don't really need to cook anything. A lot of vegetables, nut butters, fruits/nuts, and whatever leftover meat we have, and a bottle of water seems to keep the kids interested. Now that we've used the Bento boxes for lunches for a few weeks now, I can honestly say that it is more than worth the money. My kids have not been teased ONCE since they started using them. Kids are weird. I don't know why what the lunch comes in makes a difference as to what they eat, but ... whatever.  I had to listen to so many sad stories about what kids were saying to my children about eating healthy stuff, it was really wearing on everybody. So I am ecstatic the my girls don't have to deal with it anymore, and would gladly pay double what I paid for the Bentos. 

 I'm going to the doctor, a massage therapist, and the chiropractor next week. Surely one of those things is bound to help. THEN I can finally get back to cooking. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Tom and I went out of town this weekend. First he gave a speech at a Ron Paul rally in Tampa. And then we thought we'd get some beach time in... that didn't work out though, thanks to Tropical Storm Issac. We ended up at the Salvador Dali museum. Scary, I know. I had to turn a research paper about Dali when I was in college. It was very ... scary.  However, they few books I read, and my professor, never talked about Dali being a "normal" painter. Some of his paintings are genuinely breathtaking and masterpieces. Don't get me wrong, there was a bunch of weird stuff too, but interesting all the same. 

Anyway, this week the whole family has suffered from a Summer of only eating partially Primal. I'm not gonna lie... Eating Primally is super easy if you are only thinking of yourself. It because exponentially more difficult with each person you add. So not only was trying to balance a crazy summer with six family members already difficult, but add in extra family while on visits, and traveling constantly... I would say it was impossible. There are the hardcore people who will shout out "shoulda just packed a cooler."  And we did when we could, but nuts and jerky can only hold you over for so long. 

I suppose anything is possible as long as you are determined to make it work. Still... I think food should be apart of life, not an obsession. Something had to give. I chose to fall of the wagon here and there. For you, that may not be an option.  One thing I really hate is when people say "try this, it's the easiest thing, really!"  And it turns out to be rather difficult. They seem to think admitting that going and STAYING Primal is hard at times, it must mean it invalidates their entire argument. Odd logic. 

Anyway, it is very, very difficult to stay Primal when you are not on a set routine and you constantly have other people coming in and out of the picture. I'm not ashamed of it. It is what it is.

In any event, we are really trying to get back on track now that we have a set schedule again.  The kids aren't sleeping as well. Tom's stomach issues came back. And I feel tired a lot. We've also had to deal with some emotional issues with a couple of the kids. Fun times. 

On the upside: Every one in the family has said they prefer to be Primal because they feel so much better.  Now that we're home from trips and back to school craziness, I'm hoping to start making up new menus. 

This week or next I'll have a post on the perfect turkey. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Home at Last and Back to School Lunch!

Hi all!

Thanks for not giving up on me.  We are FINALLY home from all trips, have our house mostly in order (still waiting on furniture), and school supplies bought, labeled and kids sent off to school. 

Now I need to sit down, go through our Primal cookbooks, and come up with a delicious menu. Any ideas?

I bought a new lunch box system for each of my girls. I think it makes lunch more fun. I'm hoping it cuts down on the teasing --"Weird, what is that?!"--and makes my girls feel more excited about the food. It's called the Bento System. Check it out!  A little pricey, yes, but I had to buy three or four lunch totes last year, because the girls kept spilling food, and mold would grow in all the crevices, and this system comes out to about the same price (as last year) but it is durable, dishwasher safe, and fun! 

Here is what we made for the first day of school lunch:

Nitrate-free ham and mustard. Grapes/melon/cherries. Carrots/tomatoes. And a snack of dark chocolate chips and sunflower seeds. Plus a water bottle.

  It came home empty! And the girls said nobody made fun of the food. I think it looks much more appetizing than when it's in ziplock bags. 

It did take a while for it to ship, FYI. It does work so well, and the carrying cases (I'll have to find a photo of those somewhere) are so colorful and fun... we didn't mind waiting.  

Gotta run for now, but I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging now. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Post: Primal and Me

This story comes to me from a blog reader. I thought you may enjoy it as well.

"I have struggled with weight almost my entire life. In fact I've been obese to some degree since I was 8 years old. It was around then that I started suffering from dysthymia, which is chronic and very long lasting depression, along with social anxiety, and sweet food became my emotional crutch. My increasingly morbid obesity was accompanied by increasing social isolation and further reliance on my sugary happy drugs. 

Growth spurts in my teens (I eventually reached 6'3") greatly reduced my obesity going into College but the onset of further emotional and intellectual stress flared it all up again. I gained huge amounts of weight, my anxiety and depression got worse and I developed severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. I would wake up greatly more tired than I was when I went to bed, I was fat, miserable and I hated myself, I could only function on an almost unending stream of highly sugary coffee, and I was burning out of College. Somehow I managed to finish my degree and have marketable skills so I managed to find work in my field (Software Engineering) and start a career. I gradually got my health conditions treated. I started sleeping wearing a CPAP (night-time breathing machine) and so my sleeping radically improved. I ended up on antidepressants and got counseling. 

During this period of my early career I also had my first major attempt at weight loss, mainly at the behest of my older brother. I joined a gym and got a crack personal trainer. I initially made progress but eventually I simply stopped. I didn't have the internal motivation to keep exercising and I did not have the will to eat less junk food. My gym membership ended up being a very expensive and rarely used drain on my finances and I lost ground in the end and gained even more weight.

I then tried my first attempt at doing the Primal Diet because of reading about it through
Lewrockwell.com. I didn't read sufficiently though as I did not have a good balance of vegetables, ate far too many fruits and didn't eat enough saturated fats. Unfortunately I was still in the anti-fat mindset. I did feel a bit better in some ways as it was an improvement over the past but it was a very half -hearted effort. Added to this disordered affair I ended up changing jobs and cities in the middle of this and I ended up rooming with a group of men who weren't eating Primal. The theory of persisting with this diet, in a half-hearted way, around people eating all the foods I couldn't was unsustainable and so I slipped back into my bad diet. 

I ate a lot of pizza, a lot of fries and all manners of junk food. I gained more weight and more guilt and some friends noticed and thought they would help. A friend invited me to join him at a new gym, with a new "body transformation" program. I tried it, and initially I made progress. I lost a bit of weight, I did a lot of exercise and my muscles grew but I was still eating a lot of grains and carbohydrates and avoiding fat. But my friend ended up going overseas for a while and I had to rely on my own initiative to go to the gym and do the program and so being the way I am I stopped and lost even more ground than I'd gained.

Around about this time, and on a whim, I joined a dating site and struck up a quick friendship with a woman who is now my fiancee. After a few months it became clear that we both very much liked each other and we were headed for marriage and this became a huge motivator for me losing weight and keeping it off. By this stage I had reached nearly 447lbs and I started exercising again and eating less, but my progress was so bitterly hard and slow it was discouraging. I was still in the pro-grains, anti-fats mindset, and even though I had been increasingly reading about the Primal Diet I just didn't quite have the wherewithal yet to go for it wholeheartedly.

Two things happened at this point. The first one was that Tom and Heather Woods, who I had followed for some time and who I think are spectacular people, started doing the Primal Blueprint. The second was that I got engaged. Everything fell into place mentally and I had the right motivation, knowledge and good examples and so I launched into the Primal Diet. Initially I suffered major "carb-flu." I sweated profusely, had a major headache, and was extremely tired all the time. I had to take two days off work and I had to drink massive amounts of water and electrolytes to replace all the sweat I was losing. After two weeks it subsided and I started feeling extremely energetic and I quickly lost 22lbs. 

I was eating primal foods that I really liked that made me feel full. I love bacon, I get to eat lots of it. I love omelets and I've learned to love salads and all sorts of yummy food I'd never regularly prepared. I've found it spectacularly easier to totally avoid bad foods instead of reducing portions. I've subsequently found out that this has to do with the nature of the non-rational majority of our psychology where binary decisions (either this, or not this) are easier than decisions of degree (either this much, or not this much). All along I was working against my psychology and I didn't have the bloody minded will power to overcome it (as I admit better people than I do seem to have). My internal child is still that little emotionally broken sugar-addict and I was putting a smorgasbord of sweets in front of him and asking him to take it easy, shock horror it didn't work.

Since that initial 22lbs the weight loss has slowed down and gone into a sort of cycle where I lose a portion, gain a little of it back, and then lose it again and go down a portion more, and then gain a little of it back and repeat. The first couple of times, and until I worked out my weight-loss cycle I got a bit disheartened by the slight gains but I've since come to accept them and look forward to the new lows. I'm still bad at exercising, I don't do it enough, but I'm slowly improving my overall living of the Primal Blueprint in total and not just the diet. However the diet is helping me make progress even though the rest of it isn't perfect yet. I've still got a long way to go but I've now lost almost 40lbs in total. It's so psychologically relieving to be finally, after all these years, be making consistent progress and be on the right track! Praise the Lord! :)"

By Gregory Nazianzus

Thursday, August 2, 2012

We're Home!

Thanks for bearing with me during our crazy Summer. It feels like I've been in so many homes, cars, and States over the last month or so, that I keep forgetting where I am. 

Now that I'm really home I have much easier access to the internet. So we can now resume blogging! 

This week or next I am going to go buy a turkey so I can finally do the post on how to make the perfect turkey. We'll have to see when that happens though... Tom is sick with some kind of icky virus. The kids have been out of sorts today, so I'm sure that means they will be getting sick shortly. 

Interesting Fact: This is the first virus/sickness we've had (as far as I can remember) since we've gone Primal back in January!  Incidentally, we've had a lot of junky food the last few weeks, so coincidence... probably not. ;) 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thank You Awesome Reader

Tom and I went to Montgomery (about an hour from Auburn) or a swim party/cookout with some pretty awesome friends. They have five boys who are roughly the same ages as my four girls. And believe it or not, they all got along swimmingly. (haha) 

Anyway, because they are such awesome friends, they tried to keep everything Primal for us. . . which I would never ask anybody to do because I know how much of a pain it is, so we are extra grateful to them. 

Anyway, my friend Vickie told her friend that we were coming for dinner and Vickie's friend said she's a reader of my blog and offered to make the desserts. 

Okay, reader of my blog, you are my newest best friend! I was dying for chocolate that day... and I had been craving brownies for weeks, so I thank you very much for the Primal-Approved brownies and macaroons!  

That was so unbelievably nice of you, Mrs. reader. I know both things are time consuming and expensive to make. Not only was it a nice gesture, but the desserts were actually very good. And those were the best Primal brownies I've ever had. 

So thanks for doing that for me and my family even though you've never met us. Hopefully we can get to be friends in real life soon! 

And many thanks to the Jason and Vickie for hosting us and being totally awesome friends!

Don't Go Away!

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post. Yikes. 

Don't go away! The family is in Alabama for the month of July so Tom can play with all his geeky friends. And so the kids can have fun seeing their old friends. And it turns out going on "vacation" for a month right after you move is actually kinda stressful in the sense that you are always busy. Our apartment has a saltwater pool (Yippee!) so we have been hanging out there a lot. Also, it doesn't help that the only way my internet works here is if I sit right next to the TV in the living room... with lots of kids climbing all over me... that tends to shorten the amount of time spent on the computer... and therefore, the blog. 

What are you favorite Summer, quick dishes?  We need some new, fun ideas!  We did bring all of our Paleo/Primal cookbooks with us. Have we actually looked through them yet?  Nope. 

Also, thank you for all the responses to My Story. I am looking into the suggestions some of you have offered. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Story (part 3)

Anyway, for years I felt the same way. I dragged myself out of bed. I considered it a huge success if I could make a real breakfast and get the kids out of the house that day. I always cleaned the house though. I can’t stand a dirty house. Also, I think it was my way of coping “If I was dishes at 11, make lunch at 12, sweep the floors at one, then I can make it to nap time. Then movies at 3, outside at 4, dinner at five, and then they go to bed!”

What kind of existence is that?  Poor kids. Poor Tom. And sad for me. I so wanted to be super mom, and I felt like my body was my own worst enemy.
Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep well and therefore had very little patience. I tried to keep up with Tom and all his doings, but it didn’t always work. Some days the house was messy and that’s just he way it had to be. It took me a few years to get through all of Tom’s books… I spent years feeling like a complete failure.

Going from the day of my wedding to when Amy was a year old I was sixty pounds heavier. This made no sense to me given that I spent three years throwing up constantly.  I’ve been told that my body was in starvation mode because of the HG and because of that, it now stores anything I eat and will not let the body use it as fuel. So I did/do retain what I eat and boy does it stick! I worked out for a year at a gym, had a trainer that entire time, was down to 1500 calories a day, and I lost a grand total of FOUR pounds. My trainer was sure I was eating at McD’s every day and if I would just stop eating, then I’d lose the weight.

I really hated that. I told him I was working hard at it. I’m a dedicated person and if I wanted to lose weight then I should be able to do it, right?  Well after a year I decided I was not going to put in all that work just to have nothing to show for it, so I did go back to eating fast food and drinking soda and all that other stuff. Why not? was my thinking.

About this time I decided that I’d go to a doctor and see if he could help me out. Before I went in for my first appointment I thought I’d type up all of my symptoms, how long I’ve had them, and what I’ve tried.

It was two pages long.

I took it in with me, and the nurse looked at it and said “if you were 40, I’d say you’re going through menopause, but you’re half that age, so I have no idea what this could be. Let me give it to the doctor.”

What did the doctor say?  Do you want to guess? 

If you guessed that he said “wow, you poor thing, you’ve really had it rough these last few years, let’s see what we can do!”  I would laugh at you. Well, not really…

Instead he browsed the letter and then said “you know, doctors don’t really like it when people do this.” 

 ::::since I don’t curse, you may insert your own bad words here:::

I stuttered a “oh, I’m sorry. I just thought it might help…” and he said “look, I can’t treat you for every little thing.”  I said “Oh, I know, and I don’t want you to. I just thought that maybe seeing all the symptoms at once might trigger a “this sounds like…” kinda deal.” 

He didn’t respond.

He said I needed to be on anti-depressants. I said absolutely not.
He said “well, we at least need to get you sleeping (I would go to be at 11, but still not fall asleep until 2am)  so I’m going to put you on Ambien.” I have a great-aunt who died from sleeping pills, and I’ve always been afraid of them, but I decided that I would take the Ambien because I hadn’t slept in three years, and I was desperate.

He said I should lose weight---even though my second symptom was “inability to lose weight”—and I should be on blood pressure medication. I don’t remember the numbers, but I do know they were borderline, so I’m not sure why the rush for meds.

I asked “is there anything else I can do, so that I don’t have to be on meds?” He said “oh sure. You can eat right and exercise.”  What really astounded me was the lack of compassion… I could barely function and he’s telling me to just get up and exercise. It seemed more of a “if you weren’t so fat, you’d be fine” rather than a concerned “Wow, I know this is difficult, let’s start working on it.

I’m open to the idea that maybe he found me annoying, too confident, or maybe I just downright irked him, but at this point it is obvious that this doctor has *some* issue with me. I didn’t (and still don’t) get it because my other friends had rave reviews of this doctor. And when I would relay my story, they couldn’t even comprehend him behaving this way. I don’t know if we just clashed, or it’s because I didn’t go in with the mentality of “well, you’re the doctor, I’ll do whatever you say.”  I would assume it’s the latter, but I hate to make him sound that… immature.


I took the Ambien for about three months and really did start to feel better. I would look forward to going to bed at night because I knew I could sleep without being awake every 45 minutes, and sleep works wonders! After the three months the doctor said he didn’t want to renew the prescription, which was fine with me. He thought I should be being active enough at this point to be tired naturally. Well, I’m sure if I had energy that idea would have worked.... A few months later I found a natural sleep aid (melatonin and chamomile, mainly) and would take that. I still take it.

So even with the sleep I still felt like I had no energy, I was depressed, and found that I could barely interact with the kids above caring for the basic necessities. This is never how I pictured the lives of my children. It just made me feel that much worse.  If I got up and swept the floors for 30 minutes, I’d then have to sit on the couch for two hours just to recover. When I woke up in the morning, it would take me an hour of getting around, before I could stand up straight without pain. Everything just hurt all the time.

In 2008 we found out we were expecting another baby. I think we were both terrified, but we knew we’d just get through it. We did have to find a 5 day a week sitter who could come in the mornings, so I could sleep, which made things a little easier (on me, at least). However, we lost Grace at 17 weeks along (cord wrapped around the neck), and thought that might emotionally break me.  Well, the good news is: I’m not an alcoholic! I figure if I can go through all the stuff I’ve been through and not turn to the bottle, I never will.

About seven months later we were happy to announce we were expecting again. This pregnancy was a little easier because Tom was wonderful and paid sitters to help with kids, let me sleep, and he brought food home every day. Not only could I not cook, but no body in the house could use the oven or the microwave, because the smell would stay in the air for hours, and I just couldn’t handle it. Tom’s mother was also invaluable: she would take kids on the weekends, do my laundry, and generally be on call. It was a much easier pregnancy, but still full of issues.

Finally, after Elizabeth had been born and after my family had been seeing Dr. Rob for about two years, it was finally my turn to get treated.

Dr. Rob figured out that I had several pinched nerves in my back, hence the pain in walking, the inability to sleep, and why I couldn’t hold babies for more than five minutes at a time. I had some issues with several vertebrae in my back, one (or two?) was so bad that Dr. Rob couldn’t even touch it. He used some magic red laser treatment thing, and after a few weeks or so, Dr. Rob really worked some magic. Even though I dreaded going to my appointments, because it hurt like h.e.c.k. and it typically made me cry, I could tell it was doing more good than harm. I don’t think it was anything Dr. Rob was doing wrong, but it does go to show how inflamed I had been. I was finally able to sleep for hours at a time, rather than waking up every 30-45 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. My constant headaches were lessening considerably. Instead, of 3-4 migraines a week and a daily “annoying” headache, I then had 1 migraine a week and the annoying headache had disappeared. My arm stopped being so numb, and I could hold kids for longer stretches of time.

It was like a miracle.

After a few more months of treatment the weekly migraine went down to maybe once a month, if that. Sleep was rapidly improving. And I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. Again, Dr. Rob took his time with me, answered any question I had in great detail, he generously offered new treatments at a reduced or free cost and really cared about me and the family, and most importantly, he never once spoke down to me, implied that I was lazy, or doubted my commitment to helping my family.

Unfortunately, about two months after I started working with him as a patient, my family had to move to another state. Dr. Rob and his staff were one of the reasons we were so bummed about leaving AL… how many doctors can (honestly) say “my patients appreciate me so much that they hesitate to move.”?  Dr. Rob even offered to research new chiropractors for me. And he did… not long after we moved to Kansas, Dr. Rob sent me a list of chiro’s who could help me.  It did take about 8 months for me to get into the office, because I was too stressed with getting kids into a new school, moving into a (then) massive house, and still taking care of a new baby, but I did eventually get in with Dr. Stacy who is awesome.  She’s been working with me for about a year. My migraines are now a rare occurrence, thankfully. However, my back is still out of whack a lot. My pinched nerves tend to flare up often, and while getting adjusted does help somewhat, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever be pain free. 
Tom introduced me to “this great guy” a little over a year ago. His name is Robert Scott Bell, and he really is amazing. He had never had any interaction with me, but sometime last year I was fairly sure I was pregnant, so I panicked (Tom doesn’t even know this) and I emailed RSB and said “I’m the wife of Tom Woods and I’ve had horrible pregnancies, do you have any tricks for perhaps helping me before I get sick?”  He responded five minutes later and said “call me, here’s my number!”  So I did. He was really kind and compassionate and didn’t say anything like “why the heck would you be pregnant again?!” He was very chill and said “wow, let’s see what we can do for this little child.” -- So why is it that the M.D’s are such jerks (not all of them) and yet the “weirdo health people” are the ones with real answers and are the most truly compassionate? –he said “Uh yeah, it’s your liver… it’s over-taxed.” And then he proceeded to give me a list of five supplements, the dosages, and the reasons behind why I was taking them… and then he says “Okay, it’s time for me to get back to my radio!” 

Whaaa? He talked to me during a radio break?  Now that’s what I call awesome. He also gave me some great advice for my kids on their food and gut issues, so between Dr. Rob, Dr. Stacy, and RSB, we feel like we have an all-star team.

That pregnancy didn’t end up “sticking”, but I’ve been trying to clean my liver ever since. And Robert Scott Bell is always available when we need some quick advice. Thanks, Robert!

When Tom came to be last October and suggested the Primal blueprint, I thought “thank you, God!” because I knew the whole family needed an food overhaul, but that Tom would never do it if I just threw it out there. So we planned for a few months, and began GP in January of 2012.
Six months later and here are the changes I’ve seen in myself:
My sleep is better (except when my nerves act up)
I feel happier
My headaches happen rarely
My aches and pains in all my joints have gone away
My hair has gone from falling out in handfuls, to maybe half a handful
I have more energy
My depression has significantly gotten better
My complexion is much clearer
My memory is ten times better (still not optimal though)
I dropped 20 lbs
I wake up easier in the mornings
I don’t have to walk around for an hour before I can stand up straight anymore
My blood pressure dropped by 20 points
My eyesight changed! It is now 20/20 and 20/40 with glasses. Pretty awesome.

While things are getting better things are still not quite right:

Despite diet (Primal) and working out I stalled at 20lbs weight lost. It just won’t budge beyond that.
My nerves and back still give me trouble
I still have trouble falling asleep
Mood swings still occur, but perhaps that’s just going to happen for forever
I still don’t have that “boundless energy” that so many Primalist talk about.
My hair still falls out
I can either be starving or not hungry at all
I am still sensitive to heat. 

The main thing to me is my weight loss. I am still about 50lbs overweight. I’ve never been the pretty girl, so I’ve never wanted to be skinny out of pride. I would like to get back to my size eights because they fit better, their easier to find in stores, and my family has blood pressure and heart issues, and I’d like to minimize my chances of dealing with these issues. And if losing weight means that I’d have more energy and be happier, than that’s another reason I’d want to lose it.

What I really want to know is why my body so messed up? I know the soda and pregnancies did not help it, but I know there’s something more to it. And I’d like somebody to figure it out and just tell me how to fix it for once and for all. 

Oh, and I'd also like to write "The Doctor" and say something like "You dismissed not only me but my entire family saying "it's all normal." when in fact: one had severe reactions to gluten, dairy, and eggs. The other one had severe food intolerances and metals poisoning. One had nerve damage in her spine. And the other had yeast infections that you should have spotted right away. Thanks for all the love and concern you showed us, and all the amazing support you offered our way. Not."

And I would if I weren't so nice. And a coward.

My Story (part 2)


So fast forward to getting married…. I started college courses two weeks after Tom and I married. A few weeks after that, we found out that we were expecting. I was overjoyed, and Tom was a little freaked out at first, but quickly warmed up to the idea. All was great until I hit six weeks. I remember that quite well. I felt absolutely wonderful and then one day I woke up and thought I just might die.

My OB doctor said it was normal. He said that all women have morning sickness and to just eat crackers and take it easy. Well… okay… I guess. A few months into it, I had lost about 12 pounds, couldn’t drink anything, and had a very difficult time functioning. My OB told me to suck it up. I was just being a baby, and maybe I shouldn’t be having babies at such a young age.  I pretty much thought he’d know best…right?  Being my first baby, how would I know if this was normal or not? 

There were days that I could function okay. I might be able to eat some peanut butter. Or ice cream sundaes. I had developed a routine in the mornings. Wake up, eat some peanut butter toast, sit with a trash can in hand. Get sick. About ten times. Get ready for school. And sleep the whole way there (Tom would drive). Drag myself through classes. Cry. And be sick about twenty times in between. The doctors said if I could still function then I couldn’t be that sick. I suppose. Or maybe I’m just that awesome.

There were many trips to the ER for fluid IV lines and blood work. Some days I just couldn’t get off the couch I was so weak. I remember wanting to suck on ice because I was so dehydrated, but I couldn’t without getting sick. I really wanted to cry, but I didn’t want to let go of any more water than I already had.

At 20+ weeks, I finally went into the OB and said “this is not normal.” He asked in a very condescending tone “do you even throw up five times a day?”  I laughed and said “try thirty.”   I left his office with a diagnosis of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Latin for: throwing up all the freakin’ time) and a prescription for Zofran. Zofran is a medication that they give chemo patients to try and keep the nausea at bay. It worked okay. I would still get sick, and the constant nausea was still there. It just allowed me to drink fluids—sometimes—and eat a little here and there. Towards the end of the pregnancy I was so mentally exhausted  from the turmoil this condition causes, I remember being sick in the bathroom and trying to knock my head on the toilet hard enough so that I could knock myself out. Looking back, it really makes me sad to think of that. I should have been hospitalized, but nobody –including me—knew how sick I was.

Towards the end of the pregnancy I developed mild pre-eclampsia. I had no amniotic fluid, which was not surprising given that I couldn’t even keep my body probably hydrated, and my mental state was pretty precarious.

I kept talking to the doctors, telling them something was wrong, that I couldn’t do this much longer, and to please help me. All I ever got (and I saw many doctors) was “you poor young thing. This is why little girls shouldn’t have babies.”  What the heck? They were treating me like a 13 year old girl who decided pregnancy would be a fun experiment. I was married (before I fell pregnant, I might add) and I was very responsible, thank you very much. And, anyway, I’m paying them, so what do they care?

I figured I must just be a big baby when it came to pregnancy. I recalled my days of being on birth control and wondered if there was a link. I mentioned that to my OB, but he laughed and said “the thing about being on birth control early is that it tells you how your pregnancies will be later.” 

Regina was born nine days late. Every day past her due date was absolute torture. I just needed this to be over. I was so mentally out of it, and physically ruined by the time she was born that I couldn’t even deal with her being born. All I could think was “glad that’s over. Now, let me eat and sleep.”  It took six months for me to be able to bond with her. Not because I resented her, but because I just had no energy for emotional stuff. The pregnancy had taken everything out of me. I was able to take care of her well enough, but my body was drained of nutrients, sleep, and strength… how do you bond with a new person while you have all that going on?

Thankfully she breastfed well, but by two weeks old she had her issues, and then I had to deal with colic for the next nine months, which meant I couldn't recover the way I needed to. And by the time she was ten months old, I found out I was pregnant with Veronica.

The doctor said not to worry, that most moms who have HG only get it with the first one. Not true. Yet again I was the 1% of women who get it with each pregnancy, and not only that, but I would also be one of the lucky few who would have it the entire pregnancy.
Veronica pregnancy was horrid. Again, all the stuff of vomiting like crazy, being on pills, and being in and out of the hospital. Only this time, I had a toddler to deal with.  At 18 weeks along, I woke up with a massive migraine. It. Never. Went. Away.  It was one long migraine from 18 weeks and lasted until a month after Veronica was born. How is that even possible?  I saw a brain doctor and he tried several narcotics, migraine meds, and tests. Nothing worked. He finally decided that it could be a brain tumor, so I was scheduled for an MRI at seven months pregnant. It was clear. Thank God.

At this point I was a zombie. I just didn’t have anything in me. My head constantly felt as if it were in a vice. I just wanted a hammer so somebody could knock me out.  The pills I had to take for the nausea (Zofran) had its own set of problems. I can’t eve remember all the side-effects it had, but I know severe constipation and dry mouth was amoung them. The cure was worse than the problem at times.

I was pretty miserable. I’m sure Tom was too. I did my best with Regina. I took her out places, we watched movies, we read books and played games, but I couldn’t be fully present because I was always thinking either “don’t throw up, don’t throw up” or  “can I put her in bed yet, so I can take a nap?”.

It was really sad. 

As with Regina, I developed pre eclampsia and no fluid with Veronica, so I was induced the day before she was due. Fine with me, let’s get this over with. When she was born I cried. The nurses thought it was cute. I was really crying because I couldn’t believe all this suffering was at an end. Of course I was very happy to have two healthy little girls, too.

Back at home I felt like I was barely alive. I don’t know how to explain it other than I had this overwhelming desire to just sleep all day, every day. Poor Tom had it rough. I tried to be happy and upbeat, but I’m sure I failed miserably most of the time. I know now that my body just didn’t have any reserves and the idea of running around with two babies, keeping up the house, and being a nice person AFTER surviving two horrific pregnancies is just laughable. I probably needed to be admitted to the hospital for IV vitamins and minerals, but … my doctors said everything I was experiencing was normal, and stop complaining about it.

I am not a complainer. At least, I try not to be… so it was very difficult to say “I can’t do this” to only be met with “you’re such a wuss.”  I wish I had known how sick I was, because if I did, I would have told Tom who would have stopped at nothing to get me well. And I wish I hadn’t been so afraid of doctors who were jerks.

Pregnancy with Amy was about the same. Only this time I was also battling severe depression. I didn’t know that at the time, though. Sometimes when you’re Catholic, you know you’ll be popping out sweet little babies all the time, and I just couldn’t cope with the idea that my whole life would consist of throwing up, going to the hospital all the time, fighting with doctors, and not being able to walk from my couch to the bathroom because I was so out of it.

Amy’s came into the world too early and that caused a whole new set of worries. I was constantly paranoid that she’d die suddenly. I don’t know why, but it was a real fear, and it really drained me of anything I might have had left in my body’s stores.

When Amy was 3 weeks (maybe a little older) we moved from NY to AL. I thought it would get better. And it was okay in the sense that I didn’t get pregnant immediately (thank you, Jesus), but I was almost catatonic. Being a good mom and wife was my only goal, so sleeping the day away was not an option for me… however, I still had a very difficult time waking up in the mornings. Many times I couldn’t even get out of bed until 10am… sometimes it was later. I hated it because I wanted to be up at dawn doing all those wonderful supermom things, like having breakfast before the kids woke up, the dishes done, and the orange juice freshly squeezed… but I couldn’t do.

I remember one day Tom very gently mentioned something about me being up as soon as the kids woke up because it would be great for them to see that. I think I cried for a week about it. The worst thing about being physically and emotionally run down is that nobody understands it. Tom was always great, and very patient and kind to me. He picked up the slack even when I didn’t ask him to… he was always wonderful. So in no way was his comment meant to be an insult to me, but it hurt just the same.

When Amy was five months old Tom said we should get a babysitter to come in a help me out. I said absolutely not. What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t work, I barely cleaned, and on top of that I couldn’t even take care of my kids?  In my mind having a sitter would have just screamed :”you’ve failed at it all.”  So I trudged along. There were days when I would get the girls all dressed, fed, napped, and hair brushed, snacks ready, so we could go to the park or to Chuck E Cheese, I’d buckle them into their carseats,, I’d plop into the drivers seat, and just sit there. I’d sit and stare for about ten minutes, and then realize there was no way I could take them out. I’d get out of the van, unbuckle all the kids, and put them in for a nap. Those poor babies.

 There were many of those days. It was pretty depressing.

One day (Amy must have been about six months old) I had to take a forgotten phone to Tom’s office. He walked out and said “Dear…! What is wrong?”  And all I could do was cry and say “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”  He then ordered me to find a babysitter, so we did.

She was awesome. I loved her. She was young, but very responsible. She didn’t even blink at having three kids ages 3 and under to care for. She came for four hours a day, three days a week. I lived for those times. Every time I thought I might die I could say “but in just a few hours, she’ll be here.”
On the weekends, Tom’s mother would take Regina and Veronica. Our babysitter left at 3pm on Friday. Walda would pick the girls up at 4pm. The saddest thing was in that one hour I had to take care of them myself, I would panic “how am I going to do this?!”  That one hour or Fridays always dragged. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with my kids… as far as kids go they were pretty awesome. It was more that all of my energy had to go into standing, or walking, or not crying, and I didn’t have anything left to give.

I figured three pregnancies had taken their toll and eventually I would feel okay. I didn’t realize how sick I truly was. And I wonder now how different things might have been for the girls if I had realized it, and if I had known what to do about it? But… you can’t change the past, I suppose.