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Our Story

After trying to conceive since July 2007 we were surprised and blessed to find out we were expecting our first child....A Son who arrived a little past his due date of August 1st, 2010. Graham Beau Whiteside was born on August 5th, 2010, weighing in at 9lbs 10.4oz and was 21 1/4 inches long! We couldn't be happier and are enjoying our dream come true of being first time parents! In June of 2011 we received a blessing and a surprise, another baby! However, our Angel's time with us was short as I miscarried 6 days after discovering I was pregnant. I was 6 weeks along and we named our Angel Desi Dayita Jacy Whiteside. His/Her due date would've been February 1, 2011. We received our final blessing on June 24, 2012 when Grayson Kraig arrived into our lives. He was 9lbs 15.6oz and 21 inches long. Completely perfect in every way! Our family is complete and our hearts are full.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Allies

 
First off, I have 2 siblings, both of which are much older than me.  My brother is 12 years older than me and my sister is 10 years older than me.  Since there was such a large gap in ages between me an them, I was kind of an only child and definitely the annoying little sister.  We fought a lot and didn't develop a bond until I was much older.

The whole time I was growing up my sister struggled with depression, even to the point where she attempted to take her life a few times, or admitted herself to be monitored because she wasn't feeling mentally stable.  During her time in Middle school and High School she was very much bullied for a lot of things that very much impacted her mental state, and most of all, didn't help encourage her at all.

Her High School Graduation - Only time in a dress
Most specifically I remember a time when I was about 7 or 8.  My sister was in her room sleeping, listening to music and I was asked by my parents to go get her for dinner.  I knocked on the door and didn't get a response, so I opened the door and told her it was time to eat.  She snapped at me to get out, so I did.  I told my parents she wasn't coming and didn't push it any further.  I sat at the table waiting to eat.  Then I got up, thinking maybe I'd try again.  I turned the corner from the kitchen, looking down the hallway toward the bedrooms to see my sister stumbling out of her room, bumping into the piano and barely landing in the chair across the room.  My parents heard the commotion and went into the livingroom.  She was mumbling and not cohearant, I went to sit on the stairs to the basement and listened.  They were trying to wake her up, she ha taken pills, all of them, but didn't know how many.  I was sent to a friend's house while they took her to the hospital where I was later told she tried to jump out of the car en-route, had her stomach pumped and due to it being a suicide attempt was admitted to the Psych ward for observation for 72 hours.  I went to visit her, we played fooseball and ping pong.  The place seemed pretty cool to me.  After that I knew something was going on with my sister, but I didn't know what.  I overheard some of her conversations with my mom, or with her friends, but I didn't "get it" at the age I was.

Fast Forward about 7 years.

My sister had been spending a lot of time online talking with friends she met on the computer.  I had a feeling, a hunch, but with the way we were raised, I wasn't about to say anything, let alone, heaven forbid ASK her!  So I kept it to myself.  We had slowly begun to develop a bit more of a relationship, hanging out, not wanting to completely kill one another, able to talk and get along for longer periods of time.

I was cleaning my room, my sister and I were the only ones home, and she was downstairs on the computer.  I took some things down into the basement where she was and she told me she wanted to talk.  I remember instantly starting to cry.  I knew what she was going to say.

"Karen, I'm Gay.  You can't tell anyone right now, I'm just not ready, I'll do it when I'm ready" (Or something to that extent.....I think I briefly blacked out immediately after hearing the word "Gay").  The tears burned on my cheeks, and I dropped what I had in my hands and ran as fast as I could upstairs to my room, locking the door and throwing myself on my bed in deep, heaving sobs!

I thought initially that my thoughts had made her gay.  That it was my fault.  I did this to her because I thought it!

We didn't talk for a while after that.  I needed time, and afterall, I wasn't supposed to tell anyone.

With that request I had a tough time.  This was the first time when anorexia entered my life, when I briefly began cutting myself and the suicidal thoughts entered my mind.  I didn't know what to do with this information.  I couldn't tell anyone.  The religious community we grew up in surely wouldn't welcome my sister after this news got out.  What would our parents say, or do?  I couldn't even tell my friends, God only knows what they'd think of me too!  Plus, I had NO information or anything to stand up for my sister if they should say something cruel about her.

At the time I didn't agree with what she had told me.  It made a lot of sense, and I knew she was, but with our religious background and not knowing anything else I disagreed with her and began to separate myself.  I just couldn't deal with it.  I just kept repeating to myself "Love the sinner, hate the sin.  She's my sister on top of everything".

Eventually she told my parents and she told them that I already knew and had been keeping it a secret.  They were upset about both pieces of information.

Garden of the Gods - Colorado
My sister eventually moved out to Colorado to be with the woman she met online.  They've been together for 15 years (give or take) now.  They've committed themselves to one another and stood strong.  My sister and I have grown quite close over the years, through her struggles and mine, we've talked about the past, my feelings and her fears, as well as mine.  We've both been surprised at the thoughts of the other, the feelings and reasons behind some actions and such.  But the gates have opened and now we are able to openly talk and ask questions without judgement.

TODAY:

Yesterday and the day before congress was working with Proposition 8 and DOMA in regards to federal benefits for same sex couples that are married and same sex marriage.  While same sex marriage is legal in the state of Iowa, and a few others as well, those couples aren't federally seen as a married couple with the same rights and benefits as a heterosexual couple.

I am an ally for Same sex couples receiving the same rights and benefits that I am able to receive with my husband.  Why shouldn't they?

My sister and sister-in-law are a wonderful, strong couple.  Sure, they have disagreements like any couple, who doesn't?!  But they've been committed to one another far longer than some heterosexual couples!

Me, Sister, Husband
From the very beginning my husband wasn't even phased when I told him my sister was gay and she had a partner, he never batted an eye at them and their relationship, in fact I think he gets along with them better than I do at times!  He loves to poke fun at them about being gay, but it's all in love and they're good sports!

I'm so grateful that my boys have the opportunity to be exposed to something other than a heterosexual couple.  They're able to see love in different forms and that it's still no different.  They are loved, and spoiled and doted on by their aunties.  In fact, we've let our wishes be known that if anything were to happen to Everett and I that my sister and sister-in-law would take over caring for our boys, because they're the only ones that have agreed to do so in the manner that we would like them to be raised.  And they've agreed to take on the challenge, should anything happen.

My boys will see that love is love, no matter who it's between.  Whether it's a relationship love, a friendship love or a family love.  Hopefully they will be able to encourage and change their generation and those they come into contact with in the future as they grow up. 

Photo posted on Medela Facebook Page
On Facebook I "Like" the Medela page.  They sell breast pumps for breastfeeding moms and other nursing supplies.  They often ask questions to get dialogue going with their customers.  The other day they asked, "What's your one wish for your child?" and asked moms to post pictures.  I stated that my one wish was for my children to understand equality and that love is love, and I posted a picture of my oldest and his aunties.  Medela chose my answer and picture to post on their wall and MAN, did that cause an uproar!  People were threatening to quit buying their products because they supported same sex marriage and all kinds of crazy stuff!  It just appalled me! Yes, people are entitled to their opinion, as am I, but I was just floored at some of the hateful responses!  But I was proud of Medela for posting something a little out of the box for some companies to do!
Sister, Sister-in-law and my oldest son

My sister is happy, sure she struggles with depression still, but that's not something that goes away.  She's in a strong, committed relationship where she'd love to get married, but can't, and if she does, still won't receive the rights that all other couples are able to get.  I'm proud of my sister, she's a strong, independent woman who has stood up to those that were mean to her, if not physically, emotionally and I believe she's come out on top.  She's a fighter and I couldn't be more proud to be her sister, and her #1 supporter and ally.

I love you sister, and I hope I get to see you get legally married some day.  You deserve it!

In addition, here are some interesting facts on the acceptance and limitations facing those in same sex relationships: (Information from - Human Rights Campaign)
  • 15 States and D.C allow hospital visitations to those in same sex marriages
  • 16 States and D.C. prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (only 16!)
  • 18 States and D.C. allow second parent adoption for same sex couples who have a child
    • Only 9 States have same sex couples that have SUCCESSFULLY petitioned for second parent adoption
  • 16 States an D.C. prohibit discrimination in the work place based on sexual orientation and sexual identity.
    • There are some states where people can get fired from their job just for being Gay.
  • 30 states with constitutional amendments RESTRICTING marriage to strictly one man and one woman
  • Only 17 states and D.C. have laws that address bullying based on sexual orientation.
  • Courtesy of HRC

Monday, March 18, 2013

"I go on the Big one"

 Almost a week and a half ago we finally followed through with what we have slowly been starting for about a month now.

Potty Training!!

I have had a little major anxiety about this.  People have instilled the fear of God in me with it because I'm scared I'm misreading signs about whether Graham is ready or not, and I don't want to pressure him to do it and then end up with a 6 year old that is terrified of the potty! I have talked to so many friends and fellow mom's about methods they've used.  What works and what doesn't.  Of course every child is different, so I keep the ideas that I felt would work for Graham stored in my brain.  We constantly talk to him about the potty, he knows all about pee and poop and diapers and everything, but whenever we ask if he wanted to try to sit on the potty we always got a simple, "No".  

I finally dosed up on the anti-anxiety meds and decided we were going to jump in head first....and hope we didn't break our neck in the process!  We had Graham pack up all his diapers for Grayson to use, and we went to the store and picked out big boy underwear (Thomas the Train and Cars of course).  We came home and tried them on and worked at pulling them off and on.  Then I asked if he wanted to sit on the potty, "Okay"......Shock and Awe!  "okay!  let's go!"  I didn't want to miss my golden opportunity!  We went and sat on the little Diego potty seat on the big toilet, and I hear a small tinkle!  
He hates the little potty....this is the ONLY time he used it!

SHOCK AND AWE! 
Enter Potty Dance!
Cheers!
High Fives!
Candy all around!!!!!

I wanted him to know this was a big HUGE, Monumentous occasion and that we were SO proud of him!!!!!!

We decided we were going to do "Bedtime undies" (Cars Pull ups) for nap and bedtime and undies the rest of the time.

The next day came the beginning of the adventure!
We started him out naked, so I could see if he was going and get him to the potty right away and so it would run down his leg if he did.  I asked him every 30 minutes to sit on the potty.  Sometimes he'd go, others nothing would happen.  When he went he got 6 (one of each color) M&Ms and a party was celebrated!  :-)

Day two was still naked, less accidents and more of him telling me he had to go potty.  No poop yet.  This is normal.

Day 3 came and went the same as before, but with a small amount of poop!!  YAY!  Insert bigger cheering and party!
First Poop!!!

We continued the nakedness as long as we could and then we decided to start the undies again, after all he can't be naked ALL the time, right!?  And I wasn't going to be stuck at home anymore either!  We were getting cabin fever......BAD!

He did well, and we finally got some poop happening in the potty!  

So now, almost a week and a half in, we've pooped on the potty 4 times!  We've started giving him dinosaurs every time he poops on the potty, to continue to encourage him to do it, and it's working!  :-)  He pees every time he goes on the potty, and will tell us before!  Only accidents he has now are starting to tinkle before he makes it to the potty, but other than that he does AWESOME!

Life with Boys.......
I'm constantly telling Everett how impressed I am with Graham and how well he's done!  And how glad THRILLED I am to not have 2 kiddos in Diapers anymore!!!!  

Tomorrow will be a big test!  We're going to go out and about to some children's museums with some friends, so we'll be active and busy and outside of the house for a while, so it'll be a good test for us all!  Wish us luck!





Sunday, March 3, 2013

I.....Love.....

For the longest time we worked and worked on getting Graham to say, "I love you".  We'd say it to him and he knew what it meant.  He'd return with a hug or kiss, which totally warmed our hearts.

Then we started saying "I.....Love.....You" and have him repeat each word, and then we'd say, "You do!?  I love you too!"  He always smiled super big with our response.

In the last few months he's started beginning and surprising us on his own saying it to us, or saying he loves someone or something and teasing us!  It's so fun!

The other day, I posted a video on Facebook of Graham singing while sitting at the table eating breakfast!  It was so sweet!  He was working so hard to say that he loved everyone in his family....and his cars and planes of course!  It started shortly after he woke up, and continued well after breakfast! 


Gotta love a loving heart!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I am....

...An Anorexic

I will always be an anorexic.  That doesn't mean I let it define me, because I am many greater things than an anorexic.  I'm a mother, a wife, a daughter and a sister. 

And as my sister awesomely reminded me, I'm Perfectly Imperfect.

Photo Sent from my sister "Perfectly Imperfect"
I began this lifestyle in Middle School.  I was overwhelmed with life and everything on top of it and felt like things were spiraling out of control.  What I put into my mouth and what I was strong enough to not let enter my belly was all I felt like I could control.  It continued through High school and the many dances and the stereotyping that goes on there and once I reached college, I let go a little.  After all I had a meal plan and the dining hall is the best place to scope on people (besides the weekend parties!).

I yo-yo'd back and forth after my first year in college.  Stressful situations and life events and big changes in my life would cause a relapse, and each one was bigger than the last. 

Senior Year of High School
If you've never experienced anorexia it's something you can TRY to understand but you truly don't and can't unless you've been owned by the disease.  Everyone gets hunger pains.  That growling and just utter discomfort in your abdomen where it feels like you're starving so much you could puke up bile or that your stomach is simply going to eat itself (which to an anorexic, would truly be okay).  To someone with an eating disorder, to myself that pain is a trophy.  If you can get to that pain and get THROUGH it without eating anything or passing out you've succeeded, one more temptation that you didn't give in to.

When I got divorced it was by far my worst relapse EVER.  I lost 60 pounds in a matter of weeks/a month or two due to not eating, drinking excessively and whenever I'd take my dog to the dog park I'd run the hills there for hours!  When I met my husband I was still struggling but recovering slightly. 

It's definitely true that when you're happy you eat....well I did!

When i got pregnant with Graham I gained a lot of weight, and that anorexic voice was constantly hounding me from the background:
"This is going to be a bitch to get off Karen"
"You're going to regret all that McDonalds"
"You're still going to look pregnant after he's born!"

Pregnant with Grayson
I so badly wanted to breastfeed Graham, but with a combination of Postpartum Depression (That's a whole different blog entry), Anorexia and Stress, I struggled.  I struggled with having to eat more in order to produce milk to sustain and feed my baby and after 8 weeks of nursing and supplementing with formula I gave into the Formula Gods and he was a formula baby, and I was able to severely limit my food intake without feeling guilty about starving my child also, and I started an intense exercise class that helped with the rest.  I dropped a lot of weight and toned up, I looked healthy, and not too skinny, so I didn't get all the looks and questions.

When I got pregnant with Grayson I was a lot healthier, thinner and more in shape, so I felt great going into that pregnancy!  In fact I was losing some weight at the beginning and then sitting stable for quite a while which made me feel good.

My Precious Boys
Maybe I wouldn't struggle so much with weight loss after Grayson was born.
Boy was I wrong!
I swore I would exclusively breastfeed Grayson for a year and I have (He gets formula very rarely, but he does get it on occasion).  
The problem is I'm always STARVING!  I eat dinner and then an hour or two after I almost eat a whole different meal, it's RIDICULOUS!  
So ridiculous in fact that I've not fit in with the "norm" of people that lose weight while breastfeeding, I've gained, even continued to after I cut back my calorie intake, still including the 500 calories extra for Breastfeeding moms.

Grayson
It's really got me feeling low.  I have one pair of jeans that fit, sweatpants, and a few shirts and Hoodies.  I don't know what I'm going to do when it gets warmer.  We don't have the money to get me new clothes and everything I have is too small.  I have this AWFUL muffin top from Hell that taunts me.

I was having a bad couple of days, sick of my belly hanging out below my t-shirts and the muffin top taunting me.  I cried for 2 days straight, and then I asked for Prayer on Facebook.  Thank you to those that prayed, you're prayers were definitely heard and brought me out of my dark hole.  

First time in a swimsuit in 6 months...it wasn't pretty!
The struggle is that I have no one to talk to about this, Everett is a great listener, and tries his absolute hardest to understand, but he doesn't (and he admits that), so some of what he says makes it worse, or just isn't helpful.  I have friends that I know have struggled, but we're in different places in our lives and sometimes it's just hard to explain all the negative food-hating crap that's going through my head.  And I have some friends that are still in that anorexic world and will only drag me down with them, which sometimes I'm totally into.

I want to lose weight, but I don't want it to be at Grayson's expense, where I'm starving myself, thus unable to produce milk and unable to continue breastfeeding him.  With our financial situation right now it's the best way for us to save money and still get him great nutrition.  I want to stop breastfeeding for solely selfish and awful reasons, but that's me, I'm honest and open about it (when I'm ready).  I want to keep breastfeeding because I ADORE that bond we have and those moments and I Love that because of that (or so I tell myself), he's a total momma's boy!

So in the meantime, I'll continue gorgoing and pigging out until Grayson's a year and we'll reevaluate then.  
 
4 more months.....sigh.

Regardless, the "Moral of the story"  is that you can have anorexia, and you can overcome it, but it's NEVER just GONE.  It's a voice, and evil, evil, condiscending, negative, abusive voice in the back of your mind, quietly heard during every meal and every bite taken telling you how many calories it has, how fat you're going to get and how you're going to be wearing nothing but sweats soon, if they still fit.  

I am NOT Anorexia, but I have it.  It does not own me, but I house it, and unfortunately it will never go away.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Loved and Spoiled

After a long weekend my family and I are feeling extremely Spoiled and LOVED!  A few months ago my sister and I were texting and out of nowhere she says to me, "How about we come over for the Super Bowl and we can do Christmas then".  At first I was thinking she had accidentally sent me a text that was meant for a friend that lives in Denver, CO with them, or a neighbor or something.  Then after a few confirmation texts sent back and forth I was in shock! 

They had just been here a few months after Grayson was born and right after Graham's birthday!  Then the excitement set in!

We quickly got busy with work and life and preoccupied and all of a sudden they were coming at the end of the week!  Friday came and I had worked the night before, when we got up we had a lot to do, errands, errands, errands!  I decided against a few that weren't pertinant, and tried to hurry myself and the kids along with the others in the freezing cold weather!  My sister and I had been texting through the morning and the last word was that they would arrive around 4pm.  Perfect.  Time to get things done and begin naps.

Well, I was at the mall running my last errands before heading home for naps and I got a phone call asking where I was.  They were at my house already!  Surprise was on them....I wasn't there!  :-p

We quickly (well as much as you can with a 2 year old and a 7 month old and negative double digit temps!) hurried home while they ran an errand and then met us at our house! 

Graham was so excited!  He just kept repeating "Dawn and Turri! (Teri)" over and over and over!

They finally arrived and we had a low key, very chill evening!  We had a pizza dinner and celebrated our late Christmas by opening gifts and feeling spoiled and watching the kids love their new toys as well!

Saturday brought more low key, chill, relaxing times watching kids play and chatting and laughing.  Everett had to work unfortunately, but we had a great time and continued it when he got home as well! 

The boys were totally loving their aunts time with them!

Sunday we went to lunch at Tokyo Steakhouse, returned to their hotel and swam for almost 2 hours and then went back to our place to eat and watch the Super Bowl! 

Today (Monday), they came over after checking out of their hotel and hung out before leaving town to head back to warm Colorado. 

Graham napped after they left and right away upon waking up asked where they were (even after telling them goodbye and giving hugs and kisses before they left).  We told him they went home and he got a sad look on his face and then sang a little song with their names, "Dawn and Turri, Dawn and Turri"!  :-)

We are still reveling in the feeling of being spoiled by their generous thought of coming to visit us, the expense to drive here to visit and stay for a few days, the wonderful gifts we received for Christmas and the best of all was just the relaxing time spent together and watching them bond with the boys and the boys totally love on them!

Hopefully we'll be able to make a trip out there soon, I'd love to go sooner than later, but unfortunately bills take precedence over a trip and I think it'd be more fun if the boys were a bit older and could explore and enjoy some of the sights on their own as well.