Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Danger Zone

I feel like I have been clawing myself out of the same pit over and over again. I make progress, I slip and I fall a few feet only to climb it again. The last few months have been excruciatingly painful to fight through. I am in battle with my own brain from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep.
This war is almost entirely invisible to the outside world which makes leaving my house feel exhausting as I try to keep my thoughts at bay long enough to push my daughter on the swing. I know how to numb these thoughts and calm the storms, all I have to do is skip one snack and they go away for a moment. As my thoughts quiet I feel an instant relief. I pretend that missing one snack isn't a big deal and I deserve a moment of freedom from the voices that never cease. Once I am here, I so easily turn off my logical brain and auto pilot myself into an avalanche of numbness and eating disorder behaviors. This is my danger zone. This is the point of either pushing through what seems impossible  or allowing the eating disorder to creep in and take over again. Grounding myself is the only defense I have right now against the lies of the eating disorder.
The voices of the eating disorder aren't talked about very often. I remember going to treatment for the first time and hearing people refer to the eating disorder voices, ED thoughts or thinking with the eating disorder brain. It is common practice to treat the eating disorder as a separate entity outside of yourself and it made me feel slightly less crazy to be around other people who heard the same thoughts/voices that I did.
So the voices, I don't even know how to explain them. I guess, it's like an inner bully. This bully promises to protect you if you do everything it tells you to do. It makes you believe that you are completely unworthy of love or food but if you just lose a few more pounds than you will finally be ok. Somehow he twists it all in a way that makes you believe that he is helping, he has your back and is the only thing in your life that you have control over. But it never stops. He keeps tearing you down, reminds you of all of your flaws and promises to fix everything if you just lose a few more pounds. If you try to stand up for yourself or listen to someone who disagrees, he doubles down and makes you sabotage anything good about yourself. It comes to the point that this is your new comfort. This is your new thought process. This is the new you. A dual personality where you are constantly checking with this inner bully to measure your self worth for the day based on what you did, how you ate, what you accomplished or how royally you screwed up.
There is research now about the eating disorder brain and I wish I was medically inclined enough to explain it properly. What I do know is that retraining the eating disorder brain and creating new neural pathways is achieved through being in active recovery for way too many years.
Recovery. I feel like recovery is some mythical creature in the eating disorder community as I witness so many people relapse over and over again (myself included) and read depressing studies with depressing recovery rates. I never thought I could have full recovery so I was ok with just managing the disorder forever. My idea of recovery is that it requires perfection and in return all thoughts and urges would disappear forever. But I am told over and over again that this process takes years and that lapses and relapses will most likely happen. Recovery isn't perfect, it is doing the next best thing over and over again. Pushing yourself as much as you can, being kind to yourself when you fall and reaching out when you can't do it on your own. This is hard for me, I have always kept my eating disorder close to me and the shame I felt even closer.
This time is different. I am talking. I am sharing. I have slowly let people into my reality and I am staying grounded. I am breaking my cycle of hiding and struggling alone. I am told that if I keep doing the hard stuff, eventually the thoughts aren't so loud. So in the mean time, I have to hear the thoughts amplified louder than ever before as I try to betray my protector/bully and blindly trust my treatment team when they tell me that all of this vulnerability, sharing and eating is my ticket to freedom. I still don't believe them at this point but I have demystified the eating disorder enough now to know that it is not my friend, it is trying to kill me and I want desperately to be free of it. So one snack at a time I am fighting through my danger zone. I may be crawling, but I am moving.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

To a New Year and New Me

Yesterday was my 1 year anniversary of being admitted inpatient, is anniversary the right word? Should I celebrate one of the worst days of my life, the precursor to the hardest year of my life? Absolutely! I mean, I didn't have a party or anything (maybe that's a 2 year anniversary thing) but I spent yesterday reflecting on this year and where I am now.
This year has sucked, for lack of a more pleasant word, it has chewed me up and spit me out. However, it spit out someone real. Old me was terrified of everything and everyone. I didn't know what I believed, what I stood for or (cliche plug) who I was. I was literally lost in the chaos, I couldn't even pin down something simple that I could call my own thought. I was a melting pot of the people around me. In this awful process of recovery and inpatient stays my whole world was shattered and I was forced to take a hard look at who I am. I hated it. My favorite defense mechanism is to live in la la land and pretend that I am not a hot mess. I deflect with humor, smiles and lies about my mental health.  My least favorite thing to do is to be honest with even the smallest feelings or to share any morsel of the real me with another human being. Do you guys know what treatment's main thing is? I mean besides eating enormous amounts of food 6 times a day. Talking. About feelings. Being real. Apparently it's not uncommon for people to use happiness and humor to avoid their feelings and the staff there has a BS meter like no other and I was forced to be honest and congruent. I have this nervous laugh, I laugh when I should be crying and it makes me feel like a sociopath. After much convincing from my therapist that I am not a sociopath but am actually just terrible at grounding myself, I dove into learning how to be a balanced, real human.
I still hate it but I learned to also hate floating through my life. I have actual thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are all mine. I found out that I am extremely passionate about my beliefs too.
The Downside of Finding Me
I thought that when you found yourself everything was supposed to be magical unicorns and puppies. This could not be further from the truth. Most days I want to take the new Susie and shove her right back into oblivion so I can go back to enjoying my naive fantasy land. Real Susie is one messed up crazy person. I refused to listen to my therapist when she said I was mentally ill. Who wants to be mentally ill? I want to be perfectly happy in my pretend perfect word. I spent way too much time creating an image of "not screwed up" and I did not want to let that go.
I can't run from being mentally ill, as hard as I try. I really don't care if anyone thinks that I am, I just don't want to let myself know that I am. I find comfort in lying to myself because I really hate reality.  I am a slow learner, I am stubborn and I hate when my therapist is right. She is always right and it is always annoying. I am mentally ill. It is part of who I am. I can't be the new feminist, equal rights crusader without also being mentally ill. And is it really so bad? I have changed my views and expectations on pretty much everything else in my life, why not this too?
So, I am celebrating. I am celebrating the new me who is seriously flawed and trying to be real instead of perfect. I wouldn't trade a single second of this awful year to return to that fatal fairytale. I want to continue to fight this monster of an eating disorder and I can't do that if I pretend I am just fine. It is exhausting though. It is disconcerting that the eating disorder isn't gone and that I still fight it every single meal. I am so sick of it. Accepting that I am a little crazy is adding another weapon in my arsenal because it is so tempting to fake happiness and skip meals but when I am grounded I can't ignore the reality of the eating disorder and its consequences.
Also, can I just take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who put their lives on hold to help with my kids? I was terrified that they would be insecure in attachments and feel abandoned but they are resilient little buggers and have come through so well. I know that I owe it to the love they received from family and from Jake. So thank you all! And let's celebrate together that this year has started off much better than last year because I am not locked away in treatment hell and you guys don't have to pay the price by raising my kids. Cheers!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recovery Ramblings

I never anticipated that my last post would reach so many people, I have been really self-conscience about sharing my struggle because every view meant that someone else knew those parts of me that I had kept hidden. However, I received so much support, kindness, love and positive feedback from both complete strangers and people that I know. Thank you all for that support, it has truly made this experience of opening up much more positive than I could have hoped for. I want to continue writing as part of my recovery process because I am shocked at how helpful it can be to share this experience with others.

I have had a few really hard weeks with my eating disorder and it can make me feel like recovery is completely hopeless. I have been frustrated with myself for not doing better, my eating disorder thoughts have been extremely loud and I was falling into a mental space of questioning the possibility of recovery. The shame and guilt took over and I lost sight of the progress that I had made in learning to love myself.

Yesterday was a particularly challenging day. I was ready to throw in the towel, luckily I went to treatment and had some thoughts that not only rekindled my hope but also set me back on track. In one group we meditated, which usually isn't my cup of tea. I distract from my thoughts most of the time making meditation and mindfulness almost painful for me. As part of the assignment I had to focus on a happy feeling and I instantly thought about Mila. She ended up in my bed the night before and that morning I woke up to her touching my face and her sweet little voice saying that she loved me. The love that I have for her is so strong and I didn't realize that in distracting from my scary feelings I was also distracting from feelings like love. I took that time to really feel it without distraction or judgement and in the few minutes that I did that, recovery suddenly felt possible. So, note to self:  maybe there is something to this meditation nonsense.

After another challenging group I had a realization that I have to write down. This question was posed, "why is it so difficult to love ourselves, receive compliments or show confidence?" The conclusion was that both society and home environments can teach us to confuse self confidence with arrogance. Being humble and kind are qualities to aspire to and putting others before oneself is praised, even if that means losing a sense of self along the way. I was never verbally taught this but learned through the example of those around me that loving oneself was somehow almost wrong. So, even if I manage to work through years of hating myself and learn to love myself, I feel shame for feeling pride in who I am. I don't want to appear conceited or unkind so I have made an effort to be less than those around me which only further squanders my worth and value. This has always been my struggle but I was never aware that I could change this or that I would feel so strongly about doing so.

Arrogance and self- confidence could not be further apart I think. Arrogance, to me, feels like a false sense of confidence that almost puts down others to appear better. Self- confidence is self love and acceptance. The ability to be comfortable in your own skin without needing to be better or lesser than those around you. I am trying to separate the two because the fear of being arrogant is keeping me from being confident.

This realization was so crucial to me as I was hit with the reality that Mason and Mila still think that they are the coolest little people in the world. Mason has no problem telling me that he is an amazing piano player, a scientist who knows everything, a good bike rider and incredibly funny. He loves to love himself. Mila has no idea that in a few years she may start to view herself as anything but wonderful, she is perfectly content to be confident in everything she does. They haven't picked up on my tendencies to view myself in a negative light, yet. I am the most influential person in their lives right now and I can't even take a compliment without arguing or belittling myself. I have to change. I have to practice saying, "thank you," when people say nice things to me and I have to change that negative self talk into positive self talk. They may be able to continue loving themselves if they have a mom who thinks she is awesome and is comfortable with her flaws and strengths.

I can be awesome. I can like myself. I can love myself. I can speak kindly to myself and accept kindness that is spoken to me. Trying to appear humble by deflecting compliments or belittling myself will only perpetuate that belief on to my children. I can recover because I want to feel those feelings of love and happiness without numbing and distracting with an eating disorder. These are the truths that I learned and don't want to forget. They may not be profound but today, they are the ones that are keeping me going.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Breaking the Silence

For 12 years I have lived in constant fear that people would find out my dirty little secret. I believed that my secret was something I should feel shame and embarrassment about. This secret was told many times from lips that weren't my own, making me feel like I have never had power over my own story. As I have faced my demons head on in the battle for my life I have learned not to feel shame for an illness that is highly misunderstood and deadly. I have decided that I am going to share my story on my own terms, in my own words and without shame. I want to help anyone who might feel just as alone and scared as I did and I want to bring awareness to and break the stigma that surrounds eating disorders (ED) in our society. I want to preface by stating how incredibly difficult this decision was. 6 months ago writing this and opening myself up to the world was absolutely impossible.  I was beyond terrified of people finding out that I was sick, struggling and losing my battle. That I needed help for something as simple as eating. That I was REAL and not a perfectly put together mother of two perfectly put together children. I have opened up to a select few but insisted that this would remain as hidden as ever. During the process of regaining my life I have grown to love women and men of all ages, ethnicities, body types and socioeconomic backgrounds who fought along side me against the one thing we all had in common, our eating disorders. Learning that I was not alone and knowing that many still are has fueled me with an intense desire to educate people and give hope to anyone who is struggling in silence.

12 years ago I began my battle with bulimia and anorexia nervosa. I struggled solely with bulimia for many years. I was a normal weight and felt like I was not sick because I did not look sick. (MYTH # 1: Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Fatality comes in all shapes in sizes. Severity comes in all shapes and sizes.) I was very sick. I was hospitalized with 28 bleeding ulcers and a heart murmur. The doctor told me that one more purge could kill me and I entered treatment at the Center for Change for 4 months where I was surrounded by people who understood the pain that I was living in for the first time. Unfortunately (as with many others) treatment only stabilized my health. My eating disorder only grew and changed from bulimia to anorexia nervosa. I spent agonizing years trapped in my hell, missing out on my life. I ruined relationships, I worried those who loved me and I damaged my health. 

I fell in love with Jake during the depths of my disorder. He helped to pull me out of a dark place and I felt like I could give up that part of my life to build a better life with him. I tried so hard and I really thought that I had left my baggage behind me. However, I didn't deal with the underlying issues and the eating disorder came roaring back into my life sending me to treatment after only one year of marriage. The next few years were a roller coaster of relapsing and stabilizing myself but never recovering. 

After a fast and scary descent into a relapse my health took a turn and my doctor became very concerned. I fought her and tried to make her believe that I was fine but was hospitalized on January 9th. I still have a difficult time believing the doctors who say that I was so close to death.  Most people who suffer from eating disorders have an inability to recognize the severity of their health problems despite abnormal EKGs, labs, BMIs and professionals trying to convince them otherwise. I am grateful now for a doctor who refused to give in to my stubborn will, who convinced my family that I would have a heart attack (possibly within the week) and who tried her hardest to help me heal without sending me to treatment. She allowed Jake and family members to take care of me and my children while I was on bedrest and re-feeding at home.

After trying this for 3 weeks and only deteriorating more, it was decided that I enter treatment again at the Center for Change on February 9th. My sister, Amber, was a Godsend. She agreed to keep my babies during the week most weeks and Jake took on the overwhelming responsibility of being a single father for 5 long months. My family and Jake’s family stepped in and provided my children with as much love and stability as the situation allowed.

I was devastated. Jake was devastated. I had never left my children like this before and I felt like a complete failure as a mother and wife. Even though I didn't choose this illness, I felt that I could have fought harder to overcome it for my family. I know now that I couldn't and I am still trying to forgive myself while also taking a healthy responsibility for my part. (MYTH # 2: Eating disorders are NOT choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.) I said goodbye to my babies and my world came crashing down.

Saying goodbye to my babies!

Until that moment I didn't know that a heart could truly break. The separation was almost more then I could bare. These moments were the catalyst to the most physically excruciating, mentally challenging and emotionally exhausting 5 months of my life.

My first visit!

I saw my family once a week for a few hours and had only 10 minutes a night of phone time.  It broke my heart when they cried over the phone and there was nothing I could do to comfort them. I couldn't help Jake when he was exhausted and overwhelmed with sick kids and I couldn't be there to watch them learn and progress. I had to step out of my role as Mason and Mila's main caretaker and trust them to other people to raise. Mila changed so much over the course of 6 months, I left when she was saying only a few words and came back when she was speaking full sentences. 

I missed Mila's second birthday but they allowed her to come the night before her birthday to see me. 

Amber and her family gave her so much love and attention to make up for it and Jake and his family spoiled her on the weekend. 

Weight restoration took months and studies show that until a normal BMI is reached, cognitive function is severely impaired making long term decision making and identification of consequences almost impossible. This made things extra challenging! (This video has been extremely helpful to my family in understanding anorexia and the brain.) I have no idea how I could have done it on my own. As if the physical torture that was required to regain my health wasn't enough, the mental battles I faced (and still face) every minute of everyday were overwhelming and all consuming. The eating disorder was so fused into my very being that I felt like I would die without it, that without it I had no identity or purpose. It had become my constant companion, a comfort and an anesthetic during times when I needed protection from painful memories, feelings, situations or distorted beliefs about myself and my worth. It gave me a false sense of control when my world felt chaotic and unstable.

Saying these things to a group of people who suffer from this illness is met with complete understanding and normalcy. Writing it here feels so terrifying because, to most people, the answer to recovery from an eating disorder is to JUST EAT! If that were really the solution I would have "just eaten" 12 years ago. I have begged and pleaded with God to please take away my illness, to help me to "just eat." Eating disorders are incredibly complex and difficult to treat even with a team of professionals. "Just eating" just doesn't work. (Myth # 4: Eating disorders have NOTHING to do with food or weight. The fear of food and gaining weight is simply a symptom of a much bigger problem.) Society portrays those with eating disorders as self absorbed, superficial, selfish and sometimes just plain "dumb girls who only care about how they look." These stigmas are not only untrue but COMPLETELY opposite of any one person that I have met in treatment. Eating disorders actually tend to target very intelligent, kind, selfless, empathetic women and men who put others before themselves to a fault. I have also heard of glamorizing eating disorders, girls wishing they had the will power to have anorexia. Anyone who truly suffers from a full blown eating disorder knows that there is nothing glamorous about it. I wouldn't wish this illness on my worst enemy and I have heard others explain it exactly the same way.  Most people who have eating disorders are diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder which is the inability to see oneself accurately. Basically, when I look in the mirror I see myself 20-30 lbs bigger then I actually am. The more weight I lost the bigger I felt, no amount of weight was enough. I never felt small enough and I would have died before I ever reached a weight that I felt wasn’t “fat.” That is an eating disorder. That is the hell that I lived in. It is not a diet, fad or a way to obtain that perfect beach body. It is a mental illness and has the highest death rate of any mental illness. 

I have worked very hard and have had support from so many friends and family members. My dad has shown me so much unconditional love that has literally saved my life on multiple occasions. He has helped me get treatment every time I have needed it. I have two beautiful babies who make my recovery worth fighting for and I have had the opportunity to receive the best treatment in the country with a treatment team who has never given up on me or stopped believing in me despite my willfulness. I am learning to love myself, really love myself, as I  am challenging all of the cognitive distortions that I have learned over the years. I have never felt worthy of love or happiness before now but have attained it as I have worked through my mess and have built up a resilience to shame and self loathing. I have peace, understanding and love for myself that isn’t dependent on anything at all. Not my actions, my weight, my relationships, my children or accomplishments. I am good and worthy just because I am. I make mistakes, I am not a mistake.

For the first time in my life I feel like full recovery is within reach. I am still in a partial hospitalization program at the Center and I am far from recovered (even if I like to pretend that I am). (Myth # 5: Recovery isn't over once treatment is over and weight is gained. Full recovery takes 7 years! The first year of recovery requires actively making choices to recover all day every day.) Unlike other addictions, you can't abstain from food. I will have to face my greatest fear 6 times a day. I cannot trust myself with adequate portion sizes or food choices and will be following a meal plan set for me by my dietitian. Until my hunger and fullness cues return to normal, food is my medicine and I have to take my medicine on time and as prescribed. I have to fight the eating disorder voice all day, everyday because every meal and snack is a battle. Recovery is not some happy end to a sad saga. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. My therapist gave me the best advice, "Recovery sucks. Being in the eating disorder sucks. Both roads are hard and scary but one leads to continued misery and one leads to freedom, happiness, growth and potential."

Amber has been my rock. I have put her through an emotional roller coaster and she has never once stopped loving or supporting me. I could not have done this without her. 
I am grateful to have my health back so that I can be with my family!

This is only my experience with my eating disorder. Everyone is different and every eating disorder is different. As part of my healing, I want to break the silence and share the truths that I have learned in my long journey to recover from an eating disorder. I could fill a novel with my thoughts about the media and societal roles in eating disorders. Why have we decided that any one body or ideal is beautiful? We are all unique, beautiful and worthy of  love despite our size! 
Here are some things that I have loved:
This video may be offensive to some but it is wonderful perspective into loving your body!
This video gave me an overwhelming responsibility to recover for Mason and Mila's sake. Every mother should watch it!
This video illustrates the media's unrealistic portrayal of woman.

Here is a great place to start looking for resources and information about eating disorders for anyone who needs help or understanding: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Welcome Mila Danielle Johnson

It is so hard to find the time to sit down and journal now that I am a mom so I decided that I am more likely to write down Mila's birth experience in a blog post because typing is so much faster than actually writing! I hope that the three months that have passed already haven't taken away from my memory, yikes!

We were so happy when we finally found out we were pregnant with our baby girl! Mason was already proud to be a big brother even before he met her, he would kiss my tummy and sing her lullabies. I transitioned him to his big boy bed and worked so hard to prepare him for this big change in his life, I was really scared that he would feel unloved and replaced.

This pregnancy was by far the better of the two pregnancies, I really enjoyed being prego and was able to exercise and feel healthy the whole time. I really prepared for my birth experience this time around to, which I completely did not do with Mason and regret it still to this day! I had to change doctors and was really scared at first but Dr. Embley turned out to be the biggest blessing because he let me have total control over my birth experience. That was really important to me, having this baby exactly the way I wanted was my mission the whole pregnancy.  I decided to have her without any drugs or interventions and I spent countless hours learning techniques to help me through labor.

Everything I did for 9 months prepared me for one single day, the day that I got to meet my beautiful little angel that would bring so much joy and love into our lives. I knew I was going to have her early, Mason was early and I could just feel that she was coming soon when I started to get miserable. I started having contractions on Sunday February 24th around 8pm. Jake had to work early the following day so I didn't want him to be up all night wondering if this was the real deal or not so I just kept them to myself. They were coming every 2-4 minutes and by 1am I was pretty sure that I was in labor. I woke Jake up and called my sister Sarah to come stay with Mason. I was just as shocked as the nurses when we checked in to find out I was already at a 7 with contractions every 2 minutes, they commented on how calm I was for being so far into labor. But that really was how my whole labor went, calm and peaceful. I can't say that it was pain-free but I was able to handle the pain so well that no one, not even Jake, realized how badly the contractions hurt. I did choose to let the doctor break my water around 7 am because I am not a patient person and I couldn't wait to meet Mila!
Through all of this Jake kept me smiling and content, he was such a good support and I couldn't have chosen a better man to be by my side. He made a wonderful Doula and thanks to him I was able to get through labor without any drugs!

At 9:02am Mila Danielle Johnson was born. I was instantly in love with her, I wanted to hold her forever and never let her go. She was born 2 weeks and 5 days early but was completely healthy at 6 lbs 12 oz and 18 1/2" long. I have never been so tired in my life and I was so overwhelmed with happiness and relief that she was healthy. Mason was so excited to meet his little sister, he was gentle and loving with her. I didn't think I could love anyone like I loved Mason but that day my love grew for Mason, Mila and Jake.

Febuary 25th was a bittersweet day. As I was holding my baby girl for the first few hours of her life my sister was holding her baby girl and saying goodbye to her sweet little angel, Danielle. It was so hard to comprehend how I could be given such a wonderful gift in my daughter while my sister had just lost her precious little girl. I was already feeling the loss of my mom on a day that she should have been by my side but it was comforting to think that she was able to send me Mila and be there for Dani. I wasn't able to go to the funeral with my brand new baby and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I wanted more than anything to be there with my sister. My emotions were in such a whirlwind that day and the week following. I have always thought that Dani was the most perfect, angelic little girl and couldn't think of a better namesake for my Mila Danielle. I hope that I can be half the mom that Amber is, she has set the bar so high for me.

I am so grateful for Jake, Mason and Mila. My love for them is so enormous. Jake is the most wonderful dad and has totally carried me through this transition with two children.

 I feel so blessed to have such amazing sisters to be my best friends and help me through motherhood without judgement. I know that I can call any of them with anything and that helps ease the pain of losing my mom so much. 

I am so excited to watch my family grow and I can't imagine life without our latest addition, welcome Mila Danielle Johnson!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mr. Mason

Jake was one brave daddy when it came to changing Mason's diapers!

Well, I have to start this blog somewhere and because I don't want this to be an enormous autobiography I decided to start with the birth of the coolest person I know. Mason Jake Johnson.
Mason was due July 18 but he really didn't want to wait that long so he decided to send me into labor at my going away work party on June 29. I worked the entire day through my labor pains, not knowing I was actually having contractions.
At the end of the day I called my mother-in-law for advice and she wanted to check out my contractions at the hospital but neither of us thought I was in true labor. So, I left all of my bags I had packed for the hospital weeks before and went to the hospital with Leslie and Jake.
I was not prepared to have a baby that night, but my contractions were only minutes apart! My sister Sarah brought my bags from home and that made me feel a little more at ease. My water broke sometime the next morning and Mason was born on June 30th around 7am.
He was 2 1/2 weeks early and had to be in the incubator for about six hours. It was extremely hard for me to not be able to hold him, I had carried him for those nine months and felt like he was just ripped away from me. I slept with him that night, I didn't want to ever let him out of my sight again.

It was a huge shift in our universe to bring home a baby. Everything was new and a little terrifying. Somehow we survived the first bath, the first fever and even the first emergency room visit. I spent a lot of time on the phone with sisters and my mother-in-law in those first few awkward weeks.
I had to let go of my perfectionist life style just a tad. The house was not spotless, the laundry wasn't ever finished and we went through a frozen pizza streak for awhile.  Eventually we all found our groove and have fallen into a functional routine again.
The first night he slept in his crib was hard on me, but we were all ready for the move. It took some training but he got the hang ofhis new sleep schedule pretty quickly, thank goodness.

For being a scrawny 6lb 4oz baby, Mason has filled out nicely. Introducing solids to him was no problem, he simply can't get enough to eat! He now weighs a whopping 18lbs 10oz!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was at a cross roads in my life. I had spent months working towards a goal and yet for some reason I couldn't find a reason to make the life style change. Mason was my saving grace. Suddenly everything seemed so inconsequential in comparison to the little treasure growing in my tummy.
I have been on an amazing journey with my self image. I have wasted so much of my life worrying about what others think of me. It was hard for me to embrace my pregnant body but even harder to embrace my post pregnancy body but embrace it I have.
I have the utmost respect for my body now. It is absolutely incredible what it has done for me. I have taken it to the limits many times and for some reason I was given second chances every time. Without it, Mason would not exist. So instead of spending my time trying to fit the world's ideal body image, I have let go and invested my time into things that really matter. It is absolutely freeing! I have never been so content and happy in my life.
My amazing husband has been extremely patient on this journey. He is my anchor. He and Mason keep me grounded whenever my judgment begins to lapse. He is the most amazing person I know. His humor is bursting at the seems yet he is the wisest, hardest working man you will ever meet. And did I mention a total heart throb?!

I didn't think my mom would live long enough to meet Mason...
She may have passed out in the delivery room, but she was there! I didn't think she would live long enough to see him grow...

He seriously loves  his grandma, they have their own little games they play and she is the only person, besides Jake and I, who he will reach for. I am so blessed to be able to stay home from work so that I can spend time with Mason and my mom.
I was signed up for classes this semester and pulled out until things calm down. I am anxious to start again, however. Jake took a break this semester as well but will resume his schooling in the fall. 

My heck, It was not my intention to write a novel  but somehow I managed it!