Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weight Loss Goal #1

Today I hopped on the scale & saw a number I haven't seen in a while! I now weigh the same as when I got pregnant with Keller!!!

About another 10 lbs & I'll be at my pre-pregnancy Chapel weight, another 10 to pre-Rylan, & then another 10 for pre-Brady!!!

You might be wondering why I need to lose Chapel's weight after Keller's when he is older than her...

After Rylan was born I was able to be a stay at home mom & not having a schedule to tell me when I could eat like I had as a school teacher, I began eating sporadically & not healthy. My idea of health was pre-packaged "diet" foods. Of course they didn't fill me up so I would binge a lot at night. During this time I felt very stressed to be the mom who had it all together like the other stay at home moms I knew & I ate my stress along with my feelings of inadequacy.

By the time I got pregnant with Keller I was 20 lbs heavier than when I got pregnant with Rylan & 40 lbs heavier than I was when I got married. With the various things life has brought me like homeschooling, ministry, etc etc, fitness & health were on the back burner, yet always on my mind. Thoughts of not being able to succeed made me feel guilty & kept me in the cycle of bingeing. 

10 weeks after I had Keller I began Couch 2 5K & ran my 1st race. I lost some weight running, but then we had to move out of house for 6 weeks while it was repaired of foundation issues. We ended up living in a small bedroom at a friend's house & eating out a lot. Shortly after this, a best friend completely shut me out of her life & it broke my heart. Like always, food was there to comfort me.

Years later when God revealed I'd be pregnant in October 2012 I tried to start getting healthy & lose weight, but it's seriously a hard battle for me! Food addiction is triggered by almost anything. That year I was able to lose around 15 lbs before I got pregnant with Chapel. 

Now that's my next goal...

 I have an amazing support system with this battle in my husband & my friend Emily! I track my food & exercise on my phone, & my Fitbit helps push me to be more active. Over the last couple years I've learned what healthy food is & it doesn't come in the freezer section at the grocery store in the form of a prepackaged meal!! Slowly yet surely it's coming together.

Hopefully in the next month or 2 I'll be at my pre-Chapel weight! 

Blessings friends!! Be healthy & give me some encouragement!! ;P

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Schoolin

We have thoroughly enjoyed the summer so far, but we have continued to do some light schooling as well. Rylan is finishing up My Father's World K, without the extra crafts & stuff, & continually works on his math & phonics skills. Brady continues to read whatever books he chooses for fun, reviews multiplication & division skills, & does a reading & language sheet each day. Both boys also play educational games on the iPad & neither have complained about doing any of it. YAY momma! :)

I work with Keller as I can...he just wants to play & that's totally fine by me...after all he's 3! Besides his lack of interest I've been busy with other "life" things, but I am slowly integrating more "school" for him in hopes to do more when we start back full time next month.

Little by little all of our new stuff is trailing in & I feel like a kid at Christmas!! :) I've changed my mind a couple times on what I want us to do, but it's all panning out...I think :)

I hope your summer has been going great too! Blessings!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chapel turns 1

I can't believe the 1st year of her life is over & her 2nd is beginning! I think the older I get the faster time flies! :( regardless of my sappy state, I've had an incredible week celebrating my lil Cha Cha! 
On her actual birthday her brothers & I took her to the Splash Pad & she crawled  all over the place! I was worried it would hurt her knees, but she didn't seem to mind one bit! When her daddy came home Chapel opened her gifts from us & then we went out for her birthday dinner. 

On the 4th we went to my daddy's to celebrate Independence Day, but is also had cake to celebrate the July birthdays in the family. 

As you can see, Chapel LOVED the cake!  She also enjoyed the pool & NEVER stopped kicking her legs when they were under the water! She's a lil fish like her momma! 

We wrapped up her birthday week with a small party back at the Splash Pad with my husband's side of the family. She was given LOTS of super cute smocked dresses & some girly toys. I cannot wait to see her in each dress!!

I'm incredibly thankful God blessed me with this feisty & sweet lil gal! Here's to hoping this next year of life slows down!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

No Coincidence In Freedom

Two important dates in my "outted" post abortive journey also coincide with two very important dates in Chapel's life.

October 31, 2011 I had my "Esther Moment," which you may have read about. That was the day God surprised me & a room full of people at a personhood press conference to speak out about my rape & abortion. It was huge moment of freedom for me! 

The following July 2, 2012 The Lord asked me to stand in front of the abortion clinic in Jackson, MS with a sign that said "Women Do Regret Abortion."

That was a crazy day, yet another huge moment in freedom & healing for me. I was pushed, bullied, & even had the cops called me...all for holding a sign! Shows you just how afraid the pro abortion side is of the truth!

Fast forward a few months to October 31, 2012 when God once again surprised me & I found out I was pregnant with Chapel! He had already told me I would be pregnant that month & had promised me I would have a daughter, but nonetheless, it was a joyful surprise! Especially since it was on the anniversary of my "Esther Moment!"

And just like our Heavenly Father, He showed out big & Chapel was born on July 2, 2013, the one year anniversary of my stand in front of the clinic. 

You may believe in coincidences, but I don't. These dates will forever hold a special place in heart! They signify incredible growth in The Lord & strides of freedom from my past shame. Jesus replaced that shame with courage to stand up for truth no matter how hard it is. He also fulfilled a promise in Chapel. 

Redemption & birth. Life & love. 

How wonderfully blessed am I!

Friday, May 23, 2014

I'm an addict

Hello, my name is Ashley, & I'm an addict.

My drug of choice is food. I'm an over-eater. Sometimes I get in such a "trance" from food I don't even realize exactly how much I've eaten til it's all gone or I'm so stuffed I'm nauseated. Then after the nausea is the guilt, shame, & self-condemnation that "I did it again!" Ugh! It's a sick cycle & most people don't understand it. In their minds they think, "Why don't you just stop?" But you see, I'm an addict & addicts can't simply stop. We struggle with self-control knowing that we should stop & the high our drug gives us in that moment.

This stupid addiction drives me mad! Through The Lord I've been delivered from many things. He has healed me & set me free from mounds of bondage, yet I continue to struggle with addiction. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life! My husband not only tells me I'm beautiful, but he also makes me feel beautiful. Other areas of my life are good if not great, but this is weighing me down like never before. I often wonder if this is my "thorn."

2 Corinthians 12:7 ...Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to lose weight & I'm certain I've tried at least 3/4 of them. Whether it's a certain type of workout, pills, supplements, shakes, drinks, meal plans,   counting points or calories, eating paleo, whole 30, clean, THM, low carb... It doesn't matter. As long as you stick to whatever weight loss path you choose, you will see the pounds start to drop. However, for people like me who are addicted to food, if we can't fight off that craving to keep eating none of those will work because we sabotage the plan for a momentary food high.

Losing weight is definitely something I want to do, but in my attempts to do so losing weight became my idol. I become legalistic in what I can & cannot eat & I can become prideful in my successes with workouts. Then somewhere in the mix I lose my focus (God...my body being the temple of the Holy Spirit), the temptation of food creeps in, & instead of having just a little I justify it somehow & overindulge. And if this happens in the day time...I feel guilty, like I blew it anyway I might as well eat whatever I want the rest of the day, & many times it leads to a bad binge.

Not binge & purging like bulimia, just straight up bingeing, over eating compulsively without the ability to truly stop myself, gorging on food when I'm not hungry becoming completely crapulous. If I had to wear a scarlet letter to confess my secret sin it would be a big fat letter G for gluttony.

Ezekiel 16:49 Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.

Yep SODOM...you know the place God destroyed along with Gomorrah? My pastor did a sermon a while back on the sin of gluttony & shared this verse & like a dart between my eyes I realized I was Sodom. Not that I ignore the needy & poor, but I certainly have pride, gluttony, & laziness when this issue overtakes me.

When we think of addicts we tend to think of drugs like pills, crack, cocaine, alcohol, maybe even sex addicts & porn come to mind, but rarely do we think of food as a drug. After all we need it to survive. I can't just quit eating like when I had to quit drinking alcohol to overcome that addiction. And yes I could take some magic pill, shake, or drink to make me feel full, but I don't need to feel full, I need to feel that sensation that a good binge gives me. It's learning how to not crave that.

And yes, I have read Made To Crave more times than I can count & am even currently doing the devotion on YouVersion for the zillionth time now! I'm confessing this not for anyone to tell me how to "fix" it, but to be honest, to keep myself humble, to share my struggle with others who fight the same battle, & for those who don't understand how hard it is for some of us.

I've had horrendous anxiety attacks about not being able to control my eating & not losing weight that they've kept me up all hours of the night researching the next new thing to "help" me. Thankfully I finally hit my knees in surrender & our precious Lord pours out His mercy on me. 

Recently I hit a wall with this addiction. See, in my attempts to lose weight I was merely trying to treat the issue not the root. Let's say I lose weight, but not attack the root which is addiction, then I just become addicted to something else, maybe whatever pill, supplement, meal plan, etc I took to lose the weight, or I become addicted to not eating & develop anorexia, or I become addicted to working out, or things not even related to weight loss or food.  As long as that spirit of addiction is there it will manifest in some form or fashion & I will have a whole new stronghold to battle. 

So my game plan? Not sure except pursuing after Christ & leaning on Him like never before & becoming aware of my triggers. Letting Him help me with strengthening the spirit of self-control in me. 

The 1st step is admitting it right? There are others steps in the AA 12 step program I need to do. There's a girl from high school that I hurt by blabbing how much she weighed to others & other instances I mocked someone's appearance related to weight & I need to make an amends to them where applicable & for those I've never met, to make confession to God. 

No doubt this won't be easy, but it will be worth it! 

I pray you have a blessed weekend & that you will pray for me with this addiction. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Brady's Birth Story

After the unideal pregnancy I had I was beyond ready to give birth! I had a plan...no epidural, do whatever I could to have Brady naturally. 

We got to the hospital the day I was 36 weeks pregnant. It was a dark, cool spring morning. We were there right on time at 5:30am. They got us to our room, hooked me up & then the nurse asked me the most horrible thing! She asked me to roll over to my side so she could give me an enema!!! An EN-E-MA!!! I sooooooo did not know that was going to happen & I still have bad memories from that incident in case you can't tell!!! LoL!!

So after that most horrifying moment, they began the drip of pitocin to get things moving along. But they didn't. I labored for 6 hours & only got to 2 cm. my blood pressure started to rise so I gave in to get the epidural to help me relax. Right before the nurse who had been with me was off work & a new nurse came in. I did not like the new nurse! She was rude as rude can be on what should've been the most joyful day of my life. During the epidural it was hard for me to relax. It's scary knowing a big needle is going into your spine! Then they made Brad leave the room & I got stuck with nurse meany-head for comfort! I wish I had known what a doula was back then because I certainly would've had one!

I could not bend over the right way to open up a good place for the needle to go. I was severely large from the weight I gained plus swollen like the marshmallow man from the preeclampsia & toxemia. So nurse poopy pants had to get right on top of my shoulders & push me down. MORTIFIED again. I wanted to cry & just leave. 

Finally Brad came back & I tried to relax but it did no good. By 5:30 pm I had only dilated to 3 1/2, my blood pressure was constantly rising & Brady's heart rate was showing signs of distress. A c-section it was.

 Now I have watched A Baby Story many many times & whenever they aired an episode of a woman having a c-section, she was covered & awake & all was well. 

That's not my story!

First of all they made Brad leave again, loaded my Shamu-sized body onto the table, opened my gown so I was completely naked & exposed (goodbye what little modesty I had left!), then they strapped my arms down like Jesus on the Cross! All I could think was, "They did NOT show this on TLC!!!!"

Finally I was abled to be covered again & Brad was by my side. I was told I would feel tugging & pulling but no pain. That tugging & pulling was THE most awkward feeling I had ever felt! My body just shook from one side to the other, rocking & swaying as they did their thing on the other side of the curtain. Then it happened...



What was this I was feeling?? I wasn't suppose to be feeling anything!!!


Burning....uh oh


I told the nurse I could feel pain, but she didn't believe me! I told Brad & began to panic! The next thing I know I have an oxygen mask on & Brad is being whisked away again!!!!


As my eyes started to flicker open I could make out a blurry version of Brad. He said I would start talking then just stop & stare at him as if I had forgotten who I was. I apparently kept doing this. I was in recovery, but couldn't see Brady yet. I do remember telling Brad MANY times over the next few weeks that I would NEVER do that AGAIN!! NEVER! ;P

They let my dad back to see me, I'm sure because he was going to beat the door down if he couldn't see with his own eyes that I was ok. They eventually let my niece Britany in who said I kept asking her if she was touching me, to which she was not, though I kept demanding that she or someone was. But no...it was just the drugs wearing off.

Once I was more coherent they brought Brady in to nurse. The first time I saw him I was scared I named him the wrong name or that they brought me the wrong baby (still the drugs). He immediately began nursing like a champ & has been a great eater ever since! As I nursed him there was no doubt that he was mine! My precious, sweet Brady. My second chance. Redemption. I melted.

At 36 weeks gestation, Brady was born weighing 8 lbs 15 oz at 6:30 pm March 16, 2005!!! Chubby cheeks, dark black hair, & red-skinned. Brad wasn't sure he was his, said he looked like an Indian baby...the pic above was lightened so its hard to tell, but there's no denying Brad's the daddy ;P

I adore this picture of my amazing dr praying over Brady in the nursery with Brad!!

I'd like to say the story continues to be happy now, but is doesn't...

After laboring all day, being sat on by nurse rudeness, the tugging & pulling during the c-section, the panic attack I had during, my body was completely worn out! During the night another nurse came in & had to press on my belly to make sure my uterus was going back down...let me tell you...this HURT!! By the 3rd time she came in I begged her not to touch me, to please just let me sleep! I pleaded, "Please leave me alone! I hurt everywhere! I'll sign a waiver!" This nurse looked no older than 12 years old, yet she had the determination of a rattle snake & came towards me as I started bawling my eyes out! Thankfully my knight in shining scrubs got between the nurse & I & he told her NO, she had to leave me alone & let me rest! Thankfully we did not see her again, & the rest of the nurses I had were extra gentle & kind!

The next day I was still in a lot of pain & really didn't want many visitors. My iron had dropped & my blood pressure went from too high to too low. That evening I was finally able to shower with a lot of help from Brad. When I tell you my body hurt, Im not exaggerating! I didn't want to breathe I hurt so bad even though I was taking my pain meds. 

As I was trying to eat dinner, the first real food in over 24 hours, Brad's mom & brother came to visit as well as some of his co-workers. My hair was still wrapped up in a towel on my head & I did not want to see anyone! Then it happened...

A co-worker wanted to take pictures, but I told her no, I was not up for that. She was welcome to snap some of Brady & Brad, but none of me. She kept persisting that I would want these some day & then raised her camera & took one. It set off another panic attack in me & I  couldn't breathe again. My arms & hands stiffened & was frozen in fear. It sounds silly, but I had been through the ringer physically & emotionally, a picture was the last thing I wanted. I was mortified & freaked out, but you know what...every co-worker left! :)

The next day I started feeling a little better & allowed my sister Kim to take a family photo of us.

The story of Brady will continue on another day...oh & all those panic attacks were caused by an infection I had in my heart that we didn't know about at the time.

If you've never given birth I hope my story didnt scare you! It gets better & I ended up having 3 great births after this & plan for more :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Brady's Beginnings

I didn't have a blog when my oldest was a baby, so in honor of our Brady-man turning 9 on Sunday I'll be sharing all about our lil Boudreaux this week!

Three months after Brad & I were married we had the bright idea to start a family. We then immediately decided we should wait at least a year, but low & behold it was too late! I found out I was expecting Brady July 21, 2004.

 My stepdad had recently passed away & I was in TX staying with my mom. I mentioned to my sister Mignon I was a day late, but assumed it was the stress of losing Richard. Mignon insisted I was pregnant & bought me a $1 pregnancy test from the Dollar General. You know the kind where you have to pee in cup & use a dropper to transfer it to the actual test!? It felt like doing a science experiment & I was sure I wasn't pregnant because after all, we had only "tried" one time then decided we needed to wait until after our one year anniversary. 

Well I was wrong & knew it when that 2nd faint line showed up! It didn't seem real! And Brad was all the way back in MS! I immediately called him & told him our good news! He too, was just as shocked as I was! 

Everything seemed fine & normal until my 7th week when I began viciously vomiting! To make matters worse I had just started teaching my 1st year of school & every smell of those sweet 4th graders made me puke! I ended up losing 27lbs that 1st trimester! But I gained it ALL back plus an extra 50! 

By my 12th week I was able to eat...& eat...& eat & eat & eat!! Food had NEVER tasted soooooo gooooood!!!! And my belly just kept on growing! This is when I found out how mean some women can be! I was saddened at how many women felt the need to tell me how HUGE I was! That's exactly what a woman wants to hear when she's pregnant :/

Nonetheless I was happy & loving the feel of Brady move around in my womb! This helped me heal a lot from my abortion & couldn't stop thanking God for giving me a 2nd chance to be a momma! I had no doubt I would never take this gift for granted!

My 2nd trimester was going great & I was already in nesting mode! One day I was scrubbing our kitchen floor, got up too quick & slipped with a hard landing! We decided to be cautious & went to the hospital to make sure Brady was ok. She put the monitors on & left me, but then the nurse checked the results & quickly left. She cane back in questioning me about being only 24 weeks. I assured that I was, she checked my charts & I was...but she looked puzzled. She then asked me if I was taking anything other than my prenatal vitamin & I told her I was also taking Omegaplex by Advocare. She jotted that down & bolted out the door! Brad & I were a bit scared. We were told it was safe to take omegas while I was pregnant. At this point in time they weren't part of prenatals. The nurse finally came back in with the on-call dr who told us Brady was great! His brain results were advanced for a 24 week gestational baby, that he was on level with that of a 28 week gestational baby! The dr asked if she could send Brady's results to a study that was being done on taking omegas during pregnancy & sure enough not long afterwards they were a part of ALL prenatal vitamins! 

The 2nd trimester continued to go well, but my 3rd was very troublesome! I kept swelling up even though my blood pressure was fine. I started to not sleep well because I couldn't breathe or get comfortable. My favorite part was feeling Brady have the hiccups inside me! My belly would jiggle with each one! My least favorite part was the unending acid reflux! It felt like fire racing up & down my esophagus! Anytime Brady would get to moving too vigorously at night I would sing Jesus Loves Me & he immediately calmed down. It worked after he was born too! Another thing Brady liked to listen to while in the wombvwas hip hop or anything with a good beat! I swear he kicked to the rhythm! 

By week 32 I was MISERABLE! At work one day I was walking down the hall after taking my students to their elective & started seeing spots & couldn't breathe! I was terrified I was going to pass out! I could see the outline of a young boy & I remember telling him to get his teacher...the next thing I knew I was sitting on a bench with a huge fan blowing air on me, wet paper towels on my head & neck & many teachers were gathered around me praying. As I looked up, however, I saw my two principals shaking their heads, arms crossed, whispering to one another & looking at me with disgust as if me passing out offended them!! (More on these two later).

Brad quickly came & took me to the hospital & sure enough I was in early labor! They gave me lots of meds to make the labor stop & some to help me rest. I was diagnosed with toxemia/preeclampsia.  I was put on mandatory bed rest. If I walked down the hall in our apartment to the kitchen, my contractions would start back up. I basically could only get up to go to the bathroom & to my dr. I had to have Brad leave food on my night stand & a big cup of water...not that I felt like eating anymore. 

I was really bummed about having my baby showers canceled, but the lovely ladies from our old church brought a baby shower to me! My sweet sister in law Elizabeth also finished decorating Brady's room. It was a fun night!

At my check up at 34 weeks Brady was measuring over 7 lbs! My dr suggested I get an amniocentesis to be sure Brady's lungs were developed so she could induce me at 36 weeks. I told her no because I was frightened! She told me she would not induce me without one & if I went full-term Brady could weigh 12 lbs at the rate he was growing! So I chose to have one. As soon as I walked into the room the nurse said, "Why haven't you been following your diet!!!??" She was really rude about it! I asked her what diet she was talking about & she said my gestational diabetes diet. I passed my test & was told I was fine, but the nurse was right, the amino showed my sugars were sky high & I did in fact have a late onset gestational diabetes!

When the amino began I was crying & scared out of my mind. Brady had put his elbow up as if to block the needle. The nurse told me I needed to talk to him to help him calm down & move so they could finish. As soon as I started rubbing the side of my belly & talking to him, he put his arm down & they finished. The results showed his lungs were fully formed & we scheduled his birthday to be March 16, 2005. 

To be continued...