Paging Doctor Brighid…

So, Brighid isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up.  She keeps leaning towards a career in medicine, although I don’t know how that will play out in the long run.  During her time wavering over what she wants to be, she visited her guidance counselor, who told her of a mini-medical school program for high school students.  She told Brighid she could apply, but mentioned that the priority was given to seniors first, then juniors, and finally sophomores – which is what Brighid is. 

To further complicate things, we thought we had until after the holidays to get her application in.  We found out two days before it was due that it was due!   She contacted her teacher, who put together a glowing recommendation for her, but got it to us the day the paperwork was due in the hands of the medical school.  We were going to just ditch the whole idea, with the expectation that she wouldn’t be getting in based solely on her age, but we phoned the med school to see if they would accept a faxed version of the paperwork.  The lady encouraged us to just mail the paperwork in, so we did – Express mail. 

Just a few days ago, Brighid said she must not have gotten in, because the original time frame said you would be notified before the end of January if you were accepted, but due to the number of applicants, you would not get a notification if you were not accepted.  I told her it was only mid-January, so there was still time to get something.

So, a letter came in the mail the other day.  It was addressed to Brighid, so I tossed it on the seat of the car next to me on my way to pick her up.  It had no return address on the envelope, and as I was stopped at a light, the sun came in the window just brightly enough so I could see letterhead inside that said the name of the medical school.

Well, this is exam week.  And I was so nervous that they had indeed sent a letter of rejection.  Not wanting her to be devastate at not getting in until AFTER exams, I thought about hiding the letter.  Then I thought what if she GOT in and I hid it and I forgot to give it to her until after the program started?   Panic set in, and by the time I got to school to pick her up, I made the decision to open it, just read the top paragraph, and based on that decide whether to give it to her or not.  Guess what?   I gave it to her!   She’s in!   She is going to the mini-medical school, and we’re so proud of her and so excited for her.  She was nearly in tears with excitement over getting in!

I don’t know if this will ultimately lead to a career as a doctor, or if it will be the thing that causes her to decide it’s not for her.  But I am so grateful that she has this opportunity.  I know she will take full advantage of it.

Headed to Our Home Away from Home

without Brighid 🙁   I knew the day would come when school would be too difficult to leave for more than a quick sick day, but I’m so sad.  I have to get my butt in gear and get another trip planned for when she can be with us, because I hate that she is getting left behind.

She made the decision to stay on her own, and I am really proud of her for doing that.  She obviously has more common sense than I do.  But I know she’d like to go.  We will have to make a special effort to do something special for her while we are there – bring her a nice souvenir or take her somewhere when we get back.  I am thinking maybe on their next long weekend, we’ll see if we can get a room at Hilton Head and head on down so she gets a little winter break.

So, we’re off.  We leave in a few hours, after Eilis’ drama production.  This is Eilis’ “birthday” trip – the one where we let her know how special she is, since she felt like Brighid got too much attention in August for her birthday.  We’re taking Eilis to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where she’ll be pampered and Princess-ed.  I hope she loves it.

Baby’s First Fajita

Okay, so she’s not a baby, but it was Eilis’ first fajita.  We took her to drama this morning, and ran errands while she was in there.  When she was finished, we went over to the mall and it got to be about lunch time.  Jim suggested Don Pablo’s for lunch, and Eilis quickly agreed. 

We’ve been trying to wean her off of the children’s menu.  Most children’s menus have offerings that are unhealthy and unimaginative, and with the weight problem Eilis has, we just find better choices on the adult menu for her.  When we got settled in the restaurant, Eilis immediately decided she wanted a burger and fries.  Knowing that she has never really eaten anything at Don Pablo’s other than chicken strips or a taco, I thought it was a safe meal, and while not a healthy choice by any stretch of the imagination, at least she would eat it and lunch wouldn’t go to waste.  Jim immediately vetoed the burger idea and suggested we look at the other menu options to see if there was something she would try.

The waitress came over to take our drink orders, and she mentioned they are running a 3 course meal special.  For $12, you got an appetizer (queso or queso blanco), a fajita combo meal, and a dessert.  We explained to Eilis what a fajita was (we explained it as a soft taco that she got to make herself), and she was on board immediately.

It turned out to be a great choice.  She enjoyed a little of the queso and a few chips, but certainly did not go over board in this area.  When her fajitas came, she happily built her first one, loading up on the lettuce more than anything, so I was pretty proud of her for that.  She put one strip of the grilled steak and one strip of the grilled chicken, and enjoyed it very much.  Not only did she enjoy it, but she wasn’t asking for fries or anything.  When she finished the first fajita, she made a second one, again loading it up with lettuce, and ate about 2/3 of it before declaring herself full.  When the waitress came back to offer dessert, Eilis herself said she wanted to bring it home as a snack for later.  MANY times, we’ve taken her to eat and she has eaten her whole burger, all of her fries, and not wanted to leave until she’s had the “it comes with the meal” ice cream for dessert. 

I hope that she doesn’t feel we deprived her of anything, but honestly, she seemed to really enjoy making her own meal, putting in the things she liked, and for a kid that once screamed at her father for getting her a taco with “whipped cream” (sour cream) on it, she even tried a little of the sour cream and a little quacamole in her fajitas. 

I strongly encourage people to avoid kids’ menus when you can.  It’s nothing but fat, calories, and greasy fried food a majority of the time.  You don’t want to eat crap like burgers and chicken parts everytime you eat out.  Don’t make your kids eat it, either.

The Picture You won’t See When People Lose Weight

I know you’ve seen them – all the commercials where the people who have lost weight stand behind their fat pants or in one leg of their fat pants to let you see how much weight they’ve lost.  Well, here’s the real skinny, people.  I’m sharing with you the picture you never see – the one that really ought to be shown, because it’s what will sell diet programs.

 This is a before and after of my underwear.  Down 113 pounds now, I could not believe there would be such a HUGE difference in underpants!   My oldest daughter fondly refers to the white granny panties as my “sheet panties” – as in queen sized bed sheet sized underpants.  Can’t do that anymore.  My new panties might fit a doll bed, but I’m so thrilled that this is the size that now covers my butt.

So, after much debate, I have decided to show you the honest truth of what happens when you lose weight.  Who cares that your old fat lady stretch pants now fit on one leg.  I’m showing the panty pictures!

So Close, I Can Taste It (HA HA)

Okay, not literally taste it, because, frankly, most of what I taste is awful lately, and this is so darn good!

I reached my 5 month post-op mark on January 1st, 2007, and in 5 months, I have lost 109 pounds!   I am 21 pounds away from my original goal weight, and now I think I might possibly be able to get a little smaller than I thought would be possible. 

I am wearing a size 14 pair of jeans, and I own a pair of size 12 dress slacks, but I hesitate to buy more clothes because the joy of being a size 16 was so short lived, I barely got to wear those jeans before they became too big.  The 14s are comfortable, but I might be able to get into a size 12 stretch jeans if I tried.  Of course, being able to do that takes me out of my comfort zone a little bit – away from Lane Bryant and Roamans and into the stores where regular people shop.  I tried that once at Macy’s, and was so overwhelmed by the options.  Seriously, if you’ve been fat and shopped at fat lady stores, you know that they sell one or two brands of jeans (they are starting to sell more in some stores), and they only come in a couple of styles.  Well, let that fat lady loose in Macy’s, where it seems like every celebrity has a jean named after her or a company that makes jeans to her liking – you could pass out from the head spinning thing you end up doing!

 I still have most of my old tops, although I vow to dress nicer when I am at a more stable weight.  Right now, I could pass for homeless, as most of my old tops were baggy to begin with, but at 100 plus pounds lighter, they are truly too big. 

Today, and for the past week and a half, I am battling a UTI, and I am hoping that my inability to fight it off has nothing to do with surgery.  This is my second round of antibiotics, and fingers are crossed that it kicks in and gets rid of the infection.

That’s the latest from “Loser-ville”. 

Happy New Year!

A quiet end to the year 2006.  We are blessed to be together as a family as the new year begins.  It seems that through all things, we manage to stay together and get stronger.

We have three wonderful children, and Jim has a good job that keeps us well fed, well housed, and well clothed.  There are so many other people in this world who haven’t even those basic necessities.  That means we start the year out ahead of the game. 

I am healthier now than when 2006 started, and with Jim’s 40 pound loss, so is he.  One of our goals is to make sure the girls are eating healthy as well – something I haven’t always been strict enough with.

2006 saw some changes in our house – paint, floors, even curtains on the windows we put in last year.  The plan is to continue making changes and make the house something we can all be proud of.  Our daughters may get married from this house, and I want them to be proud to have lived here and strive to make their own houses feel as much a home as this one will.

Brighid, Eilis and Granuaile have all gotten another year more beautiful and smarter.  They are all wonderful daughters.  I know with things as busy as they always seem to be here that I don’t get to tell them often enough how proud we are of them and how awesome I think they are.  I hope in the new year I remember to do that more often.  Less bitching, more praising.

We are grateful to have come through the year healthy, without having faced any major medical problems.  Little bumps and bruises, sniffles and sneezes, but those are always okay.

Our wish for all of you is that the new year brings happiness to your home, love to your heart, and the ability to recognize and appreciate both.

Christmas Wrapping (Up)

Okay, so here we are, January 1st, 2007, and it’s time to do the holiday wrap up.  It’s been a busy and eventful holiday, so I’ll try and not bore you to tears with everything that happened in all of it’s glorified detail.

Christmas eve, with everything done and wrapped and ready to go, we headed over to my mom’s.  My sister Megan is up from Virginia, and there is a chance that her husband Brett, who has been in Iraq since January, will be in Ft. Dix and allowed to be picked up for the holiday.  We arrive at my mom’s to find Megan waiting for Brett to call her back to let her know he is coming home, and the kids find their presents.  They immediately set out to open gifts, and they get way too much, as always!

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After we are there a little while, Brett finally calls, and Megan runs out to pick him up.  Jim and I realize we have forgotten to buy batteries for the toys, so we run to WalMart to pick those up.  While we are there, we pick up a couple of last minute Christmas gifts, and some gift bags to avoid having to wrap anything.

Megan and Brett come in shortly after Jim and I got back, and it’s a little tense for a little while.  We are trying to make sure he feels welcomed and that he knows we are glad he is here and safe, but at the same time, we have to be aware of Megan’s feelings and the tentative status of their relationship.  He warms up after a few minutes, and hugs everyone, and Meg drinks a couple of glasses of wine, so she feels better too.  Brett is probably seriously jet lagged as well – he’s been on a plane for the better part of the past week, trying to get out of Iraq.  Grace takes to him right away, though – faster than she takes to Megan!!

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We spend a few hours at my   mom’s, then head out just as Megan and Brett are getting ready to head out for the evening as well.  We head home to find that Mrs. Claus has left us all a special package!   We open them up and find that we all have matching Christmas pajamas!

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The girls are all in bed very early, but at about 9, Eilis comes down stairs to me with excitement in her voice.

“Mom!   I heard a clatter!!”

“You heard a clatter?”

“Yeah, you know, a clatter!   It’s one of those words they used to use in the olden days, like 1995!”

Yep, I am officially a dinosaur.

We can start bringing gifts down at about 10 o’clock.  There are presents piles everywhere!   You literally can not walk in my dining room.  I sit and admire everything for a few minutes, because I am certain tomorrow will bring unending chaos.

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As usual, I am the first one up on Christmas morning.  I lay quietly in bed, watching a little news, and wait for someone else to stir.  Finally, about 8 o’clock, Eilis wakes up.  She is astounded at the presents, and can’t wait to get started, so I tell her to quietly tell Brighid it’s Christmas, and we leave Granuaile sleeping for a little while longer so the older girls can get started opening gifts.  Jim and I start opening our things too, and I have to say, I was WAY too spoiled this Christmas!   I got beautiful 3 stone diamond earrings, and a theatre subscription for me and 2 other people.  I was so excited, I cried!!   This was on top of already getting my computer replaced and a new TV for the bedroom. 

Granuaile wakes up about 8:30 or so, and it is so cute to see her little face when she recognizes the transition of the dining room from a room where we eat to a miniature replica of Santa’s workshop!   Toys and packages are everywhere!

Gracie settles on a Dora the Explorer doll and an umbrella stroller, and she contentedly walks back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room with the doll.  She eventually begins opening her gifts, but once she gets to TMX Elmo, her present opening comes to an abrupt halt.  She is scared to death of him and wants nothing to do with him.  Poor Elmo!   It will take Grace until the day before New Year’s Eve to finish opening her gifts – and that’s with help from Eilis.

Christmas day breakfast was chosen by Brighid, who wanted a traditional Irish flavor.  We bought Irish bacon and sausages, and we have those with eggs.  The Irish food is met with mixed reviews.

We have decided (meaning me, my mom, and Megan) not to make a big meal on Christmas, but instead to do a variety of appetizers.  As everyone is coming in, I am rotating out some of the trays, and we soon have a table full of chips, hot hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, etc.  It’s a nice variety of food, and everyone starts picking.  The Eagles are on at 5, so we decide to play Pokeno now instead of later so we don’t conflict with the game.  It’s always fun to play, and I love watching Eilis – she knows all of her numbers and the suits now, so she can play by herself.

Here are a few Christmas afternoon pics.

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The gang leaves after the Eagles victory at about 8:30, and we set out to straighten up the best we can.  We have a couple of days to get the house in order before the house keeper comes to do the heavy cleaning, and then the next day, Aunt Joan, Ann, Uncle Bud and Aunt Lee are coming for a visit.

The rest of the week goes smoothly, with the kids enjoying time off and using their new Christmas presents.  By Friday, we are all set for the company, and we have a really nice night with everyone.  We have kind of a casual dinner and some snacks, and then we play Redneck Life for a couple of hours.  When the evening is done, so is our holiday entertaining.  It’s sad to see it all end, but it will be nice to have the house back to it’s everyday appearance.