Do You Know Where You Come From?

Do You Know Where You Come From?

It seems like such an easy question, but what do you know about your family?  Most people know what country their ancestors came from.  Some people have traced their lineage to notable historic figures or events.  But what does that mean?

I saw a DNA test the other day and the person was more then 50% from one region.  I realized how amazing that was with all of the wars and conquerors for someones bloodline to still be that pure.  If you really think about it that is pretty amazing.  A country comes in and conquers another country and they mate with and drag away the most desirable people in the land.  However eventually those same attackers find themselves on the losing end of a war and have their best and brightest torn away from them.  You would think that with the possible exception of a few island nations that by now all DNA would be less then 1% anything and yet in most cases it isnt.

The question I have for you to think about to day is what that means.  Image the dreams, the hopes, the aspirations and even the fears that went into bringing you here.  To this point in your life.  To this specific mixture of DNA that makes you – YOU!  The things most of us take for granted is how amazing we all are.  There is no chance that you are a random accident!

Take some time today and think about where you come from and what that means.

And then celebrate YOU!

The Power of Bad Choices and the Addictions that Bind Us

This is not a post about drug addicts. Or any other addicts. It’s about a lifestyle – health connection. And in my mind I keep relating it to drug addicts but it would take too long to properly connect it all in one post. So I will preface this post by saying that it’s choppy and jumpy. And that you will never hear me pass judgment on anyone who can’t stop doing something they should stop doing, because even though I have never tried a single drug in my life, I can relate to people who have and have difficulty stopping. 

I do not feel “good” today. I don’t mean because I have a sinus infection. I mean that IN GENERAL, these days I do not feel good. I have aches and pains inside and outside of my body. I’m tired a lot. And if I don’t take my supplements I am a cranky, moody, hot tempered version of myself that I don’t even recognize. I don’t have to feel this way, but I guess I choose to.

See, I know what feeling good feels like! I have been in tip top, feel good, almost in another dimension physical, mental, and spiritual shape. I could wear whatever I wanted. Eat whatever I wanted. Had a glowing smooth complexion and didn’t wear make up. I could see and hear things before they happened and feel the vibrations of everything living around me. But I didn’t understand HOW good it was. I knew I exercised more and ate better than most people but I thought that was just the secret to my great abs. I just assumed that all the other stuff was normal. That my expensive skincare products were taking good care of my skin and that everyone could meditate and have an open mind and connection with the universe. Wrong.

You know how I know it’s wrong? Because I feel so bad now. Even using the expensive skincare products and believing and knowing “the secrets” of the universe – My skin is still blotchy and it’s a wonder I can touch my toes – forget about any earth energy or vibrations! Ever since I adopted my kids and immediately lost track of my nutritional beliefs, I gradually transformed from a happy, optimistic, energetic, healthy person to an unhealthy, sore, grouchy, tired one. Turns out the food we feed our kids is not really healthy. Macaroni and cheese does not rid my body of toxins or improve the flow of my chi. Cap’n Crunch does not provide long lasting energy and mental focus to make the most of my day.

This morning I had a piece of frosted crust cherry bread with jet puff on it for breakfast. I don’t even LIKE that kind of food. But it’s here and it’s cheap and it’s easy. It was on the clearance rack at Kroger and was half the price of the bagels. I’m really busy at work this week because I couldn’t get work done while the kids were off school for Christmas. Jet puffed bread took no time to make and no time to eat. Perfect. Not. Did I even consider the calories in that mess before I ate it? The fat, the carbs, the cholesterol, THE SUGAR?! It’s all I can think about now! No, I sure didn’t think about any of that. Just made another bad choice.

Now understand, I am not simply talking about weight management here. Although I’m sure extra weight is a factor in some of the aches, pains, and sluggishness. I’m talking about overall functionality of the mind – body machine. I need a tune up. I know you know what I mean.

Getting from there to here I have had time to experiment. For instance, for years I continued with pricey beauty regimens but the condition of my skin continued to decline. When I returned to different versions of my healthy lifestyle for very short periods of time – things got better. My skin glowed. My hair got thicker and prettier. And I had less pain. Fewer headaches. But every time I made those changes – I changed back. And the poor health returned.

Instead of making a commitment to living well I yo yo diet and pump myself up with supplements. I know that I can treat a migraine drug free, but it’s so much easier to pop Advil. I can’t fit into my dancing pants anymore, but who cares? I don’t go out dancing anyway.

I know that eating more natural and leaner foods will make me healthier, happier, and more successful in every aspect of life. I also know that my present lifestyle, though not necessarily life threatening, is holding me back and will shave years off my life. I have known this for 5 years – and still haven’t changed.

So you see? I too am making bad choices every day that affect my health, my life, and the existence of people around me who depend on me. But nobody judges me as harshly as a drug addict who really only made ONE bad choice – to try drugs – and got hooked. I adopted an easy unhealthy lifestyle because life got hard and I was looking for shortcuts. That’s a big factor in addiction. So why is the drug addicted mom judged so harshly? I understand that the outcome of her actions may be more severe. But the path she took to get there likely took no more heinous action that taken by you or me in any bad choice we have ever made. But the glue of her addiction is an infinite amount stronger than whatever has a hold on you or me.

Take a minute to think about your vices and bad habits. Have you tried to quit? Why haven’t you been successful? And what about the food you eat? Do you always make the right choices?

 

 

 

Sassy Pants First Day of Middle School

Well – Sassy Pants went off to middle school today and my mind has been on overdrive. I am glad school is back in session. My sanity has really been tested this summer. Lots of drama and no vacation equals insomnia, anxiety, twitching, snapping, and under eye baggage. “School” on the surface is a good thing. I’ve sent my daughter off to her first day of middle school to get educated and socialized. But when you dig deeper, school is not so great. It is filled with young people making bad choices and being mean to one another. Cliques. Mean girls. Bad teachers. Stress. Vending machines. What have I done?

I should add that Sari has only ever had exceptional teachers. But I know bad ones are out there and I was letting my hysteria run its course.

My Sari is an individual. Which I like. But she also has low self esteem which makes her a follower sometimes and vulnerable to the backlash she will get for not liking the same clothes and music as the other girls. She gets lonely and wishes to be more accepted but she doesn’t want to pretend to be something she is not in order for that to happen. I get it. I really really do. I love her sassiness and uniqueness, but I want people to be nice to her. Even the ones who suck and would judge her for being different than them. I don’t want her to feel lonely.

Sassy Pants is very against labels. I once attempted to start a discussion about a guy we saw downtown. He had white contacts in and some crazy monster movie hair. I wasn’t judging at all – I sincerely wondered if he was in character for something or if this was his every day look. Pantsy threw a fit and told me she was disappointed to see me being judgmental.

With the same curiosity, though, I asked her, “What would you call your look?” I got the usual – you can’t put me in a box response. I told her I wanted to understand it better so that I could confidently pick up clothes and accessories if I’m out and see a good deal on something she’d like. She said “fine then. I am skate punk rock emo goth artist.” Okay then. Shopping just… got… easier?

Although it was true that I wanted to understand what she liked so that I could help her perfect her look,  I also wanted to try and understand how SHE saw herself so that I could keep a look out for any red flags. All the black clothes and her appreciation of creepy music and scary movies, even though her demeanor is for the most part cheerful and sunny, has me on alert for potential trouble down the road.

No I absolutely do not think that all emo kids are cutters or that all goths want to commit suicide. I had similar tastes when I was a kid. And I think some of her looks are really cute. I actually got her to pair a plaid skirt with a graphic tee shirt – to add a little femininity to what she’s got going on – and she surprised herself by loving it. But I also know that, alternative scene of the moment aside, adopted kids and kids who have suffered trauma are prone to depression and dark periods. As a parent I want to be as aware as I can of what’s going on with her and how she’s feeling. I don’t intend to ever try to “change” her as she comes of age and tries to figure out who she is, where she fits in, and why other families didn’t want her. But I’ll be there to guide her, listen, and be a safety net as she blossoms. I’m not expecting the worst by any means, but my eyes are wide open.

Unfortunately society isn’t as kind. I know that I have sent her off to school today where many of her girly girlfriends from last year will snub her today. They started calling her “goth” at the end of last year as her pink and purples changed to dark colors and skateboard styles.

I read an article today about kids and goths and such. A commentor said that he would rather see a “knocked up teenager” in school than any kind of alternative kid. His explanation was that the pregnant teenager represented the beginning of a new life, while the goth/emo/etc. kid was ruining hers. It occurred to me then… Is it more socially acceptable to be pregnant in school, or even a mean girl, than it is to be artistic and different?

And I know Sari. She will get in the car smiling and say, “Great!” when I ask her how school was, because she wants me to be happy. Then she will cry it out in the night and start fresh and hopeful the next day.

I suppose I do sound kind of negative as I read this back. But she has been subject to some pretty intense bullying the last couple of years, and that was just based on her unique views of the world when she was still a little pink and girly. Middle school, for better or worse, is a bigger place, and she’ll have access to more diversity. Right? This is a good thing I think. It’s almost time to pick her. up. I’m excited!

If you could look back and label yourself by today’s buzz words, what would you be? Prep? Skate punk? Emo? Goth? Scene? Nerdy? How did you fit in?

To Blog or Not to Blog- That is the Family Dilemma.

Alright. I’ve had it. This writer’s block is 50% distraction and 50% unsure how to handle sensitive family matters and the privacy of my loved ones. And I’m sick of it.

I started the year out by going on sabbatical from work and contemplating quitting that job and focusing on writing full time. The sabbatical ended up being a shit storm of anything but quiet contemplative time. I made my decision, though, to work for myself. I still love that decision. However. I don’t respect myself as a boss. Otherwise, why would my new writing career have gotten off to such a slow start?

In February I was officially a freelancer. And at the same time I also started selling V3 because I went crazy for the focus it gave me to be disciplined and focused on writing while sitting alone in the house all day surrounded by TV, books, laundry, a puppy, and chips & cheese.  And also because I wanted the discount =)  You know what else happened in February? Kidney stones. Tons of them. I was sick for a day, then in the hospital a couple days, then had a stone busting procedure followed by more sick days and more doctor appointments. I finally gave up following up. I knew I had a piece left cramped up in my left side but I was over all the doctoring. So I left it until it finally worked itself loose and tortured me for one final time last week. Now. Could I get up and around and do laundry and such during that time? Yes. But the days broken up between doctor appointments, as well as the pain and pain medicine, hindered my writing process. It made sense at the time, and had I picked up right after that and gotten productive I wouldn’t be so hard on myself thinking back on February. But the truth is, I could have worked more than I did. If I had still been working for D.O.C. or Dr. Foote I would have been back to work the next day. Sure I might have passed out in the bathroom or fallen asleep in the middle of my sentence back in my eyeglass days, but I never neglected to show up and do my best.

On the heels of kidney stone February was cancer March. Something new came up in my Father In Law’s condition every other day. He was in and out of the hospital every couple of days. When there wasn’t a decision to be made, a task to perform, or a pep talk to give, there was just quiet time to dwell. “Working for the man” would have been a blessing at that time because all I did, when I wasn’t doing, was cry. I couldn’t write each day about the topic at hand because I couldn’t get past “My Father in Law has cancer and we had a bad day.” Until I wrote that, nothing else would come. But I refused to write it. As if putting it out there would have made it more real and harder to deal with. When in fact, writing about it would have likely been very helpful to me. Maybe to somebody else, as well. And definitely to my bank account. Those bills continue to add up even when you’re distracted and grieving. Looking back it’s so easy to see how just a little writing each day would have eased the burden on my mind during the crisis and on my financial situation in the aftermath.

Sigh.

So here it is August and I should be well on my way to having a big fat pile of assignments again, even after losing so many clients during the cancer period. But guess what. After almost 2 months of erratic behavior my Son was diagnosed bipolar last week and is in a partial hospitalization day treatment program for risk assessment and anger management. And I haven’t written about it.I have a family blog and have not written word one about our situation today and how we got here.  Partially because I have been so distracted that I can’t focus on anything else. Partially because my son is 15 now and there is a chance that people he knows may stumble upon this blog. Here’s the deal though…

  • Life is full of distractions! Everybody has them, yet they go to work and manage their obligations. The world doesn’t stop moving, and neither can we. Allowing myself to stop and dwell has set me back in depression recovery from the breakdown of ’08 and created more stress in getting behind in bills and other responsibilities. Withdrawing from friends and social situations has robbed me of support from girlfriends and the opportunity to create fun, happy, healing situations to balance out the tough ones.
  • Writing is therapeutic. And I’m a writer! Internalizing things is dangerous for me. Also, leading into summer I redefined Her Family Blog and set up new blogging topic schedules. I did that for all my blogs actually, to make them more honest and informative. But how can I achieve that if I continue to censor myself?
I was wishing the other day that I had maintained anonymity with this blog so that I could do and say the things I want to say without worrying about the privacy of my kids. But then it was suggested to me that I simply ASK them how they feel about it. After some thought and discussion we decided “it’s just life.”  And whether we’re dealing with experimenting with new medications to treat bipolar disorder or experimenting with new hairstyles or homework techniques, they are just “happenings” in life. They “happen” to everyone. And although I may give my own deepest darkest thoughts and feelings, I don’t give theirs.
Because it’s not THEIR Family Blog. It’s HER Family Blog. And the HER is ME.
So it appears I’ve been given the green light as long as I share from MY perspective and not give out pieces of my kid’s thoughts and feelings without permission. That makes sense and I love that they helped me define my goals here and work through my writer’s block. They are smart kids. I’m sure we all share that perspective =)

Adopting Older Kids: The Lost Years

I never wanted to adopt a baby. I knew when I was a child that I wanted to adopt an older child when I grew up. Something at an early age brought to my attention the need for local adoptions and the knowledge that most people interested in adopting children wanted babies. Nobody wanted kids beyond toddler age. So those older kids became my cause. When the time was right, I researched how to adopt a child, decided on a Michigan adoption, contacted an adoption agency, and got prepared. Or so I thought. Eight years later and I still consider myself unprepared. There were so many things, obvious and less than obvious, that I found out about the adoption process and what to expect after. But there is so much more that can never be taught. If I could add one section to the adoption education manual it would be called, “There will be so many challenges to face that we can’t cover in this class and accepting that fact now is the only preparation you can make.”

All adoption situations are different. We knew that going in. The children we were adopting were 3 and 7 years old. We understood that although they were siblings, each of their situations and set of challenges would be very different. Their experiences had been different, their foster homes had been different, their diagnoses were different, and their symptoms were different. We were prepared for that and each individual scenario that sprouted. We studied childhood depression & anxiety, fetal alcohol syndrome, attachment disorder, ADD/ADHD, drugs & alcohol pregnancies, night terrors, and the behaviors and appropriate parent responses to all these things. I wouldn’t say that I thought things would be easy. I knew they were going to be difficult and that there would be sleepless nights, battles of will, broken cherished items, and a complete change in life. But I did think I was armed. I thought I had the systems and tools in place to handle everything. And maybe for the big things I did. It was the little things that slipped through the cracks, and 8 years later are haunting me.

Having a baby comes with things like baby showers and first year birthday parties. Bringing home a 3 and 7 year old means never having a need for registering at Babies R Us or picking out 1st birthday invitations. And I honestly never went to a child’s birthday party and thought “Awww. I wish we could have done that.” I never thought there was anything specific to adapt to or that I regretted not being able to do with regards to the years before we knew the children. Eight years later that is still true except it’s not. It is true that there is nothing within those early years that I wish I could have experienced – except the years themselves.

My kids are 11 and 15 years old. But to me – for the length of time I have had them and for what I feel in my guts, they are both only 8 years old. I have only had 8 years with my son, and somehow I am supposed to turn him loose in a car next year, as well as teach him everything he needs to know about life, earning a living, and being a good man within the next THREE years. I’m suddenly feeling panicked. For 8 years we have done alright, moving from one post adoption challenge to the next – getting them off meds, severe behavior problems, school, friends & socialization, eating, sleeping, nightmares, stealing, self esteem – and then I made the mistake of picking my head up and looking around for a minute. It’s 2011. It’s been 8 years. It’s time to start thinking about pushing one of my babies out of the nest – and I’ve only had him for 8 stupid, hard, tear filled, years.

I thought we’d be more settled by now. Have some time to sit back and sigh and enjoy the job well done by the whole family, before the oldest gets up and walks out the door into his life. But it looks like it’s going to be more like a race to the finish, trying to fit everything in and fighting the whole way as he runs out the door. I’m sure the end result will be the same. He’ll be well adjusted, prepared for the world, he’ll have a plan, and he’ll be a good man. But what about me? When do I get to hug him and hold him and enjoy how special he is without the pressure of grades, responsibility, behavior, attitude and anger putting a wedge between us? Does that only happen in those younger years when there is a lifetime ahead to teach and do everything there is that needs to be taught and done?

I knew adopting older children wouldn’t be easy. And when I set out to do it, it was 100% to help a kid that needed a home. I wasn’t looking for anything in return. But now I’m older and I’m in love with them. Tired of all the teaching and the fighting and I just want to pull them in my lap and love them. I guess that’s what I missed out on in those lost years.

When Helping and Selling Collide

 

I have something exciting to share. I know what you’re going to say, “Everybody has something to sell, Cin, and everybody online is selling a product.” Maybe so. But I didn’t have one until now. And it has been tough for me to share with people, even though I’m so enthused about it because whether you’re reading a blog or talking to me in person, it’s natural to see things as marketing and selling. And I don’t want to be that to my friends and family. But I do want to share something great in case it’s just what you’ve been looking for. If you’re on my Facebook you know I run my mouth and share every damn thought that crosses my mind, whether it’s about politics, the new soap I bought, the wine I’m drinking or the delicious chips I just ate. But I’ve been holding back on this because I stand to help myself by offering to help you.  How stupid is that?

Anyway, all the fuss is about a brand new nutritional supplement called V3. Have you heard of it?

It’s often marketed as a diet pill because it can be a powerful weight loss tool if that’s what you want from it. But I hesitate to call it that because it is so much more than a diet pill – if you don’t want to lose weight it’s good for you too. And even though I was originally excited about it because I thought I had finally found a replacement for my old friend (the original) Metabolife to help me shed my adoption weight – What? You got rounder eating for 2 and making room for a tiny human growing in your body and I quit working out and ate my feelings to deal with a stressful adoption. Same thing! Now where was I? V3 weight loss, my original excitement, right! But although other people focused on weight loss lost lots of weight safely, my amazement has come in the form of being HAPPY! Let me explain.

V3 has 3 main goals – increased energy, enhanced mood, and suppressed appetite. In achieving those things you are also motivated to work out, inspired and empowered to work out longer and more effectively, drink more water, eat healthier, focus, have longer productive days, and get better quality sleep.

Here’s me Pre-V3…

I work from home. I snack. I eat bad food that makes me tired. I lose focus. I drink energy drinks then crash while serving dinner. By homework time I’m trying to survive the crash, grouchy, NOT enjoying my family, and often falling asleep on the couch with work still left to be done. Then starting the next day behind and doing the whole thing again. Sound familiar? I will post this on Facebook and there won’t be a soul who knows me who will read this and accuse me of exaggerating my symptoms and poor habits. (Although there will be some people who only know me know and will be shocked.) I am actually so prone to depression – environmental and clinical – that I spent a few months in bed, avoiding everyone, and became completely reclusive. I still am in recovery, I like to be home, safe. I’m working on it. Making progress, right Ladies?! But I can’t believe that other me was ever me. Sure I get down in the dumps on occasion like everybody else, but SHEESH! Get outta bed, Crazy! :) Oh well. Not anymore. Do I credit V3 for all my healing? Of course not. But it gave me some helpful assistance.

My focus and discipline during my work hours has quadrupled. (My writing business has grown) I have actually added hours to my day and I smile from the time I wake up until I go to bed. I rarely snack, I never crash. I have time to spend with my family because I finished all my work during the day. (My family is happier) I sleep better at night and I wake up CRAZY easier. I used to have private tantrums in bed when the alarm went off. My kids missed school because I was so beat from a succession of nights without quality sleep. Now, whether I go to bed at 10 or 2, I never wake up grouchy because my quality of sleep has improved so much. (I am happier)

***If I don’t get enough hours of sleep, no matter how good it is, I will feel sleepy and motivated to go to bed by 9 or 10 the next night. The V3 doesn’t mask tiredness or allow me to deprive myself of sleep (or food or anything) but it just keeps everything balanced and in good working order so that I can best handle whatever happens in my day.

I really hope this is coming across as excited and not a big old ad! :) I started off in a bad place so not everyone is going to go as bajiggety as I did because they don’t have as much healing to do. But if you can relate to ANY of those things I just described, or if you loved the energy of the old Metabolife like I did, I know you would love it. It was actually developed by the same woman that developed Metabolife! It is a safer, body friendly version though. You can take it for any or all of its health benefits for a long time with no side effects. Unlike other popular diet pills -RX AND over the counter – and energy boosters that cause rage, numbness, thrush mouth, and such after 6 weeks or so (if they even remain effective that long). The all natural ingredients really are an enriching supplement to your body’s chemistry. There are people on my team whose blood and sugar levels have become so balanced since starting V3 that they’ve gone off their blood pressure medication and reversed their diabetes WITH their doctor’s consent. Myself, no more Prozac for me. =) OR ENERGY DRINKS or naps. Just feeling good.

So! If it sounds like the miracle in a bottle you’ve been searching for, buy some. If you’re intrigued, ask for a free sample. If you’re perfectly happy, healthy, balanced, and ready for bikini season I hate you anyway and I don’t care what you do. But here’s the website, use the number 1641419 to get you through the areas it asks for it, and proceed however suits you. That everyone knows about it is all that matters to me :) However, if over the next year as it explodes and surpasses the popularity of Metabolife I find out that you bought some off the shelf or from a stranger instead of me – I will hunt you down. You’ve been warned.

Current V3 users! Please comment here the good and the bad. I like to monitor its effect on people, being that it’s so new. I also want to collect testimonials to help other people decide if it’s right for them. :) I will also hunt you down if you don’t comply with this friendly request. You all know who you are. And so do I :)