Monday, January 30, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

First, I heard about the ABC's yesterday:

A - Attitude
B- Believe in yourself
C- Courage to do what is right

This is so pertinent in  conducting your life based on the fact that you only have control of yourself and how you are going to influence your own destiny. Yes, it is our choices that determines our destiny. Yes, I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that stars align and fate brings people together or situations happen (bad and good) and it is our reaction to what is brought our way that makes us or breaks us, has us progressing or falling behind, becoming stronger or weaker. I heard recently that if you aren't moving forward you are indeed moving backward and I think that is absolutely true. Today, I guess I'm feeling decently strong because this situation with Preston is a test and how I come out of it is up to me - how I react, my attitude. This can make me stronger or make me miserable. It is so stinkin' hard and alot of days I am so anxious for bed time so the day can end. But every day I have the opportunity to choose to be stronger, to believe in myself and have courage.

The below points are a slight diversion from my main focus on health and Preston's progression with ADHD, but something I was thinking about none-the-less as a friend of mine is engaged and preparing to blend a family and I have been in the trenches of blended-familydom for almost five years now. These are my key points in blending a family. The hardest part of a second marriage is raising kids because the two of you have been doing it differently with different people. It's tough to switch things up and find the middle ground. I think that is why statistics aren't in our favor for second marriages with kids.

1) The marriage has to come first. This is not optional. So many people say the kids have to come first but the marriage is the foundation of the family. If husband and wife are not the first priority and their commitment is in the children, there is no foundation and the marriage will not last. Then you have another broken family, more heart ache more distress on the kids - they suffer the most from broken families. One is tough enough. You have to be committed to each other and the success of your marriage.

2) When you blend a family you have to come together and agree on the 'our family' rules and expectations and what consequences follow good and bad actions. VERY CLEAR boundaries have to be set that everybody adheres to. You also have to decide who does the enforcing/disciplining - do both parents do it? Does Dad discipline his kids and Mom disciplines hers? From what I have heard, it is best that step-parents assume the role of friend and example more than anything and that the blood parent needs to be the one to discipline their child. Both parents have to trust the other parent when it is this way. And that is why it is important that you find a middle ground with one another on how you are going to discipline and follow through.

3) Establish new traditions and keep some of your old traditions. I have read a little of Ron Deal's book, The Smart Step-Family and he talks about the importance of maintaining some of your 'previous' family traditions among establishing new ones. He also talked about the importance of having apart time - Dad with his kids, Mom with hers. The kids do still need that time with their parent. Consider having date nights with your kids. One on one time with all of the kids I think is also crucial to building a safe and trusting relationship.

4) What would you do in a situation if it was your own child? It gets challenging with a blended family keeping things on an even keel when it does come to disciplining. The most helpful thing I can think of is always consider how you would handle situations if it was your own child and act accordingly. You've got to think 'new day new jet' so often and as calls for consequence, love and forgive.

5) You are the parent. This goes out to every parent. I was telling Jason today that I think one of the biggest problems in society is that we can't find the middle ground on not being a helicopter parent and not being too lax and we want our kids to like us and we want them to be happy and do what makes them happy. They don't know at this age what real happiness is and how to find it. They need guidance. I am so glad I had it! I have a good head on my shoulders and some of it is a God-given gift but the rest of it came from having amazing parents that parented and had expectations that I was well aware of. It is VITAL to set boundaries and make them clear. It is okay to tell your kids that they can't go to a friend's house if there are no parents there. It's okay to expect them to go to church with you. It is okay that kids don't have the internet on their phones or iPods. It's okay that they don't have facebook pages before they are fourteen (at least!). It's okay that you know their email passwords and check their emails. With sexting and porn running rampant, you need to watch out for these things. It happens so easily and then they are snared in some awful trap that they didn't even see coming. We live in a technological age but in my personal opinion, nothing bad is going to come from them holding off on social networking sites or not playing video games. As long as they live in your house, you make the rules and you follow-through. End of story.

My stinking back is bugging me. Peace love and Isagenix

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Volatile, Explosive and Oh So Defiant

My husband came across an article yesterday that is absolutely fabulous. It isn't anything new that I had heard before but some points jumped out at me as reminders of what I really need to be doing. I'm surprised I haven't come across this site before but it looks like a wonderful resource. More than anything I am saddened but also feel less alone in reading the comments that people make. I'm not alone in this struggle and so many people are exhausted and don't know what to do to help their kids and help bring some more peace back into their homes. That is why it is so important that we reach out to each other and help buoy one another up. It is SO hard and so many nights I throw my arms up in exasperation and am completely unsure of what to do next.

The article at http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/879.html mentions that "a certain percentage of kids externalize the anxiety and depression they're feeling," says Larry Silver, M.D., a psychiatrist at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. "Everything becomes everyone else's fault, and the child doesn't take responsibility for anything that goes wrong." Preston blames me for EVERYTHING. Literally. It amazes me that he doesn't make the correlation between what he is doing (or not doing) and the outcome that he brought about. I have read about in this Barkley's book that ADHD is very much an issue of not linking present actions to future consequences. I've tried and it doens't go anywhere.

As of late, Preston has been having some severe anxiety/panic attacks and has had a resurgence of very intense tantrums that including screaming (at the top of his lungs), hitting, throwing, anything to get me angry. Isn't that nuts? He flys off the handle and when I don't react he pushes it a few levels before he drops it. He does eventually drop it and he acts like nothing has happened. Tonight he started saying that he didn't believe in Jesus (which he knows will really upset me) and it took everything I had to completely ignore it. Was it right? I'm not okay with him saying that but I don't think he thinks that; he was saying it to make me mad. He dropped it when I acted like I didn't even hear him. But like most parents whose comments I've been reading, I can only take it for so long. Here is my action plan for tonight:

1) Be consistent. "Creativity (in terms of positive reinforcement, consequences for negative behavior) is always an asset to child-rearing, but it can't hold a candle to consistency. Consistency in the way you treat your child — the way you set rules, convey expectations, pay attention, encourage good behavior, and impose consequences for bad behavior — is the key to cleaning up your child's act." Russell Barkley, The Defiant Child Another article I read mentioned that we often make requests using different phrases and tones each time. They suggested using the same tone and the same command regularly: "Preston, you need to..." I try to spin things positively with Preston in the light of Love and Logic such as, "You are welcome to watch TV when you've finished your homework." This can be an effective way but it doesn't always work and I then have to turn to the command approach if it is something that I feel is important to get done. If it has to get done, the 'happy' method might not work - some things just aren't negotiable and can't be left up to an 'if' or 'when.'

2) COUNT. Preston's tantrums and back-talking can't be ignored. His psychologist said to not engage him and for some reason I've been ignoring him when he sass-mouths me thinking I'm not engaging him. I can still discipline without engaging or taking his bait.

3) Remain calm and friendly when intervening. This reminds me of Love and Logic's mantra of taking really good care of yourself in front of the kids. This includes not letting his nastiness get to me. I think he feeds off it. The same way that when he picks up on anger, he will try to match it as the article points out. The article also points out that you feed the problems with overly harsh or inconsistent discipline. Overly harsh = 'the hammer.' We've tried the hammer on Preston and that one goes right back to blaming it on us and not owning  his actions. Small and immediate consequences are most effective.

4) Do what you can handle. Let's face it folks, some nights we as the parents don't have the energy to remain calm and deal with everything they throw at us. This is definitely a time to pick and choose your battles and have early bed times.

5) Get eight hours of sleep, eat well, exercise and pray. Seriously. Especially the sleep and pray part.

I'm out. Peace love and Isagenix.

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Good Days Than Bad Ones

I had a chance to speak to Preston's Neuropsychologist today. The two items that stood out the most to me in our conversation were the following:

1) Do not engage

2) There is no cure for this neurological condition. It MIGHT improve as he gets older. He MIGHT outgrow it.  Or not. In the interim, the goal is to learn how to manage it gracefully each day and aim for more good days than bad ones.

We talked about re-visiting medications, particularly a few non-stimulant medications. I haven't looked into these yet but my mom did and after regurgitating all the comments she read from the mom's of these kids  I thought, "why add a few new problems to the already debilitating disorder for possibly slightly better behavior for a few hours out of the day?" Ticks? Tourettes? Continuously upping dosage? Honestly, I don't think going back to medication is in the cards for us. I thought again about the fact that ibuprophen was probably the biggest instigator in nasal polyps for me that resulted in three sinus surgeries. That is a very common drug and a side effect that no one knows about. My little boy is eight and who knows what other side effects are still cropping up from these meds?

In the meantime, by about seven o'clock (maybe around five on the days he has alot of homework) I'm ready to walk down the street into oncoming traffic and wait for a tractor or steamroller to come by (a compact car just wouldn't do it). What do I do? The toughest part, as mentioned in my last post, is the fact that he is so explosive and volatile. He came home early today and was an absolute angel until this afternoon when in the blink of an eye he exploded and went into the regular 'hate myself, hate you, you are the worst mom ever and you smell' routine. The 'smelly' comment actually gets a smile out of me but it makes me sad that he is digging to find stuff that will hurt me. *Sigh.* And no, I don't smell. Unless I just worked out. Or I was outside in the mud. But that one never really happens.

Here are my two biggest goals:

1) Have ten minutes of one-on-one time with him every day and read before bed

2) Get to bed by ten o'clock

They are both for the good of the relationship. I need all the strength I've got to not take his 'fight back with me mom' bait when he starts sass-mouthing me and being rude. The doc today said that despite it seeming counter-productive, he WANTS me to engage; in doing so I am actually inadvertently re-inforcing the behavior. On the one hand it makes perfect sense, on the other it seems like by ignoring this super-naughty behavior I'm letting him 'get away' with it. Anyone seen that commercial where the guy gets angry with his cable and has to wear an eye-patch after playing racquetball then winding up in a ditch because the guys on the bus thought he was tough because of the eye patch? It's terribly clever and so very funny. Well, maybe Preston would be scared of me and listen more and not test me so much if I looked tough and scary with an eye patch. Maybe I should get a metal hook to replace my hand too. That could be good. I might be on to something here...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Day New Jet


I love airplanes. I'm not a tomboy by any stretch but I love real macho stuff - guns, monster trucks, tanks, military strategy, airplanes. I also love to wear my heels and slinky dresses and go to the ballet; what can I say? At any rate, it just so happens that my husband is a pilot. In disciplining our kids, I get to hear lots of  metaphorical stories from his flying experiences. I love them but they are confusing and though my kids dare not roll their eye balls to his face (as they shouldn't) I know they are doing it in their brains. I remember my brother and I always looking at each other with a pained expression in our faces when our dad would start lecturing us and he re-told stories many a time; that's when we'd joke about "here comes lecture #17."

At any rate, one thing we hear about alot is 'new day new jet.' If I understand it correctly, it essentially means that yesterday's problems with the jet don't go away; it is not a new jet. You learn from your mistakes and you fix them. Issues with the plane have to be reported and dealt with as they do not go away on their own. He suggests that you can't just scrub the past - if you get an 'F' on a test it affects your grades and doesn't go away. All of this is very true and very good. I remember in Star Trek V (which to most people that are in to Star Trek - and that doesn't mean  you are  a 'trekkie' - the fifth one just didn't happen) the bad guy wanted to help everyone forget their pain. Kirk was adamant that his pain was a part of who he was. His life experiences were his to grow on and he needed the bad with the good. So true and very wise.

There is a middle point with the 'new day new jet' philosophy. Every day is a new day and we have the opportunity to progress and do better. When I was trying to lose weight, I'd always think my big new plan would start on Monday. If I messed up my eating plan on Thursday, it was such a fabulous excuse to eat and do what I wanted for the rest of the week because hey, the new life to me would start on the next Monday. I eventually figured out that every day can be different, better. Some days will be good and some days will be horrendous. We make good choices and we make bad choices. It is a fact and no one single person can escape it.

With Preston, every day is a new day, new jet. I continue to teach him about the CHOICE to make each day better and learn from the bad days of the past. The past doesn't go away, and probelms don't resolve themselves. The jet will have the same problem the next day if left unaddressed. But that doesn't stop us from truly making and effot each day to make that day the best. As parents, the 'new day new jet' principle has become a lesson in forgiveness. When Preston is explosive or nasty with me, it stings and it stays with me. The next day can be difficult to want to be pleasant with him and show him love. To some degree he can't help his behavior (that dang under-developed frontal lobe!) and I have to look at him as a new jet each morning  or there will never be any progression in our relationship.


So, here's a nod to it also being a new year! Learn from last year and do what it takes to see that you do improve on your goals! New day, new opportunity. And have a good laugh!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Update

I'm sure most people have heard of the 'love languages.' It suggests that how we attempt to show our love to others is how we would want to receive it. So for a wife that writes love letters to her husband, she hopes for the same in return. For that husband, he may feel unloved because he needs gifts to feel loved - the wife's letters go unrecognized because that is not his love language.

I think this is true of most things. For the most part, we treat others as we would like to be treated. We do things for other people in the manner that we would look to receive from others in return. I make sure the house is spotless when my husband returns home from a trip because I expect the house to be spotless when I return from a trip. Of course, most of the time I am disappointed because it isn't done the way I would do it. And that is the tricky part. There is a subtle line here because I expect my son's homework to be done well, but what he considers good and what I consider good is different. What my husband considers clean and what I consider clean is different. This is where the idea of give and take is very important. Requirements also get very wrapped up in this issue as well.

Here's the scoop on Preston - if you recall I had a snapping moment last Tuesday and he fell in line. The rest of the week went surprisingly well. He did homework three nights in a row, one night for a full hour. Thursday night he only had spelling that isn't due for a week so I gave him a break. Two days last week he actually turned in his homework - this is absolutely unheard of. He brought his lunch bag home all but one day last week - also unheard of. I have this glimmer of hope that things are shifting for him but I'm too scared to let it really hang around. He's had good weeks before that quickly go south. With that being said, he has been hyper, has been defiant, but the moments didn't last long and were fewer in occurence. He has had tummy aches in the morning as well which I think is the last bit of medication clearing out of his system. He's been having his cleansing drink for about five weeks and has been off his meds for about seven. This is where I hope to start seeing some progress and it may have been last week. We shall see.

Here's my thought - I blow alot of sunshine around and talk about staying positive and not giving-up. The reality is that I have very clear moments when I don't think want to try anymore; it's too much work. I have moments when I am giving up. I have moments when I have absolutely no idea what to do. I really think this is normal and it's okay. We all have breaking points. I guess the trick is to find a way to get back on the horse when it's kicked you off. Easier said than done. This is when I have to consider what I am looking to get back as opposed to how Preston is actually giving back. When Preston makes an effort to make his bed and put stuff away, I have to give him props for doing what he did do as opposed to it not being done to how I would do it. The kid's brain doesn't work like mine (and quite honestly, when it comes to cleaning and organization, I think most people's brains don't work like mine - my mom and sister-in-law would both attest to that. And for that matter, probably most of my highschool friends that actually challenged me to not clean my room everyday for a week.) and even when his frontal lobe catches up and some of his executive functioning skills start to kick in, it still won't be like mine.

I'm working on noticing every little thing he does - turning the lights off when he leaves a room, shutting the bathroom door behind him so the baby doesn't get in there, eating snacks at the table, and even if setting the table for him is just getting the placemats out. I heard yesterday that it's when we are tired and done and upset that that is when it is most important to show love and be calm. This is like asking a dog not to eat a t-bone steak that is sitting in their doggy dish. Seriously. When I feel like I have nothing left to give, I really have nothing left to give. The unfortunate issue here is that with a baby, an ADHD child, an emotional pre-teen step-son and a very, very busy husband, more often than not I have nothing left to give. I heard yesterday that it is when we are tired, exasperated and have just had it that we really need to kick it in gear and show love, be patient, be kind. The muscles in our body become stronger when the fibers are torn and have to be mended after reaching maximum physical exertion or fatigue. When they are repaired, they are re-built stronger than when they were before. It makes sense that this is how we grow mentally and emotionally as well. That sucks rocks. Well, at the very least, I know that the good Lord has promised that he won't give us more than we can handle. And of course, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. The only part that worries me is that sometimes I wonder how close to be killed I am!

Health Tip of the Day
Stress kills. And it makes us fat. Don't get stressed.

Action Items
Bridge
Look for the positive
Count naughty behavior
Be sweet but not a pushover. Preston has to know I mean business and that he isn't in control.
Simplify - over the next little bit I'm going to be blogging on home organization, meal planning and time management. These help with finding more time on the back end and keeping the focus where it should be. They also aid in simplifying other aspects of life so that when the tough gets going, you can focus your energy where it is most needed.

I thought I was all clever and original when I was going to start a project called 'New Year, New You.' I must be so naive because I am seeing it everywhere! At any rate, that isn't going to stop me. I'm tired of resolutions escaping me and I am committing to make some real progress this year. There is no better time than right now. So, in the spirit of 'I change first,' I'm going to follow through.

Peace love and Isagenix

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How the Body Works

About six months ago I started nutritionally cleansing my body. I was amazed at how my body started letting go of my excess weight and how my energy levels went up, my happiness level went up (as dumb as that sounds, so true!) and other issues I've dealt with my whole life started to subside. I didn't understand the accute details of what was happening in my body but the following article shed alot of light on the subject. If you want more information about the cleansing, check out www.bodyalive.com/brittany.

As intro to the article, the deep cleanse consists of two days where you have a pre-made drink or powder four times a day and specific snacks to keep your metabolism up. I'm cleansing right now and on cleanse day two which is why this article popped up on my radar. I'm not posting any pics for this one; the information is golden. Good stuff!

Fat Burning Versus Sugar Burning: This information was derived from a lecture that was conducted on the Power Team Saturday Morning Call by Peter Greenlaw; that lecture was given by Peter Greenlaw and was based on the extensive research he has been doing along with information from Dr. Dennis Harper for the book they are writing about cleansing and how the body functions. His 90-minute lecture was condensed to the following few paragraphs by Sue Faggion.

How The Body WorksThe human body is an amazing machine. It has between 60 and 70 trillion cells. Each of those cells has it’s own individual “furnace” that makes that cell function. That furnace is called the mitochondria. In order to heat up the mitochondria in the cell and therefore help raise our metabolism our bodies require over 70 trace minerals and live, active enzymes daily combined with proper nutrition.

Our bodies are designed to burn fat. If you are overweight it’s a sure sign that you are not burning fat, you are burning sugar. We are going to talk about how to get those furnaces ignited again and get your body burning fat. We have all been led to believe that dieting is what we need to do to lose weight. Wrong. Look around you — it doesn’t work. When you reduce calories you slow down the metabolism and shut down the mitochondria. Then when you stop the diet and begin to eat more calories again, your body now has less mitochondria fired up, your metabolism is sluggish, you have elevated levels of cortisol (a stress hormone that causes fat storage) and when you start eating again you put weight back on very quickly.

When you burn fat cells, the impurities are released into your system. Minerals and trace minerals carry the impurities away from the body tissue to the liver then allow the liver to deliver those impurities to the colon and out of the body. Without minerals this function does not happen. The soils in our country are severely depleted of minerals… we no longer get adequate minerals from the foods we eat. Isagenix products include 72 ionic minerals and trace minerals plus live, active enzymes. The minerals allow the enzymes to carry waste products from the cells to the liver. The liver produces bile that carries the waste products to the colon and out of the body. Without the minerals and enzymes, the impurities just get re-circulated throughout the body. Eventually the body recognizes those impurities as something toxic and creates fat cells to enrobe them, then puts them back into storage as fat.

Sugar-Burning Mode:
Your brain needs glucose (complex sugar) to function. Without carbohydrates/complex sugar your body burns lean muscle mass for fuel — that is sugar-burning. Sugarburning creates an acidic environment in the body, which is the breeding ground for disease. This acid environment causes further stress and more cortisol to lock down the fat stores.

Sugar-burning mode also leaches minerals from the bones. It increases the hormones insulin and cortisol. Those two “storage” hormones lock down the fat cells, lower the metabolism and put your body into the mode of burning lean muscle mass. Sugar-burning prevents the cells from absorbing oxygen. When the cells can’t absorb oxygen they can’t function properly and mutation occurs, otherwise known as disease. Sugar-burning also stops brain chemistry hormone production.

Fat-Burning Mode:
Fat-burning mode lowers insulin and cortisol levels, produces proper brain chemistry, gets oxygen into the cells and hydrates the cells. In fat-burning mode water goes into the cells and flushes out the acid and impurities that are stored there. Those acids and impurities circulate through the system until they are removed through the liver and colon or kidneys and bladder.

Re-cap:
When you lose weight by reducing calories you slow down your metabolism and the cell’s mitochondria. When you start eating again you put the weight right back on because 1) the furnaces and metabolism have been shut down
2) without adequate minerals and enzymes the impurities still float around inside your body and are eventually stored back to fat.

The trick here is to get adequate nutrition balanced with proper glucose for brain function and ALL 70 minerals to flush the impurities out of the system along with living, active enzymes. Isagenix has all this built in. It takes 2 days of cleansing with Cleanse For Life Drink to get your body into fat burning mode.
The only way to detoxify your body is to suspend digestion. The Isagenix cleanse is designed with 2 back-to-back days of cleansing with Cleanse For Life Drink for this reason: after you suspend digestion for only 4 hours your body begins to produce the hormones that make lean muscle mass and increase your metabolism. The first 24 hours your body cleans the sugars from the liver. The second 24 hours is when the body begins to burn fat.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to the Grindstone

Back to the grindstone. Literally. I got put through the grinder yesterday and today and I don't think there is much left to grind. I'm a bone skeleton picked dry by circling vultures. Christmas vacation had its ups and downs but was mostly very positive. But back to the grindstone for me managing Mr. Preston and Preston pushing me to see if he can get me to break. Have I mentioned yet that kids with this disorder are intentional 'button-pushers' because it stimulates their brain? Not good news.


My biggest fear is that despite no meat left to be picked after Preston's 'ring in the New Year grinding', Preston will find those small tidbits that are barely there and finish me off. I know I sound so dramatic; I get that from my mother. (insert picture of me raising my glass 'Gulfstream Restaurant Waiter Guy' style). Yesterday, on the initial grind, I was the picture of patience. It was amazing - I was in a different place.
If I was a bearded man, this is what I would have looked like. I could have handled anything. I was amazed with my strength. Preston came home pleasant enough but refused to do his homework. I remained calm (see picture). I offered him choices, he name-called, sassed, taunted, made noises in my general direction, pitched fits, and tried to offer ME choices that were really just demands. I don't negotiate with terrorists - I mean SUPER MEAN kids. Eventually, after about round nine or ten, he tagged me in to his ring and some work got done. That was an absolutely painful experience though - the moaning and groaning and growling and "I give up!" and "I'm so stupid!" tyrades. I should start calling him Chewbacca because that is what he sounded like through the whole ordeal. Yes, an ordeal like having to go the DMV and renewing your license.

 He did good at honoring the 'dark side of the force' (the irony - he was Darth Vader for Halloween this year) and I did well to not give in. That was yesterday. Today he pushed my buttons mercilessly and I short-circuited. I was un-yielding. I told him that back-talking, taunting, homework avoidance and general nastiess was not going to be tolerated with the least degree of allowance. As much as I wish life was all about playing and happiness and gumdrops, it ain't! There is no choice in doing homework - it gets done. If not, all toys will be removed from his room. I'm sure it sounds harsh but a time-out for him for not doing homework is exactly what he wants and he can't stick around me to be nasty.
I had this great inspiring blog post all made up in my mind last night and after today I have no idea what the hell it was. Regarding Mr. Preston, he may or may not shape-up. I pray that he will. In the end I've just got to be able to say that I hung in there and gave it eveything I had. Despite the days that I wanted to give-up, I kept going. I am a tough chick. I can do this. I still really only can control myself. I am the master of my destiny. I can't control other people or situations that come my way but I control how I react. I've been hammering Preston about choices - it takes more enery to be sad and angry than it does to be happy and he does have the CHOICE to be happy. He does have the choice to be nice. Hopefully some day that little frontal lobe of his will catch-up and he will truly understand that concept. Until then, do or do not. There is no try. Yoda said that. He's a smart little puppet.