Hope and Change

Three days in a row of blogging!  You can tell that my housing obsession has subsided because I’m finding time to do other things.  But today I actually have a few things to chat about.  I laid in bed last night and wrote blog posts in my head.

First, the rat is still on the loose.  Terminix came and set yet another trap.  I’m not all that optimistic.  We also are seeing more and more ants and I’m not sure what that’s all about.  But they put some gel bait out for those as well.  At this point, it just is what it is.  The rat doesn’t seem to be interested in hurting any of us so he’s just an unwanted resident of the house.  And I’m not sure what more we can do to rid ourselves of the ants, soI just deal with them constantly.  There could be worse things.  And it’s not forever.

And the owner brought us a gift for the trouble.  I hope we get to keep it when we move because that pot will fit in perfectly at the new place!

So moving on.  The kids’ Halloween costumes came!  Nothing can beat their Harry Potter getups from last year, but they are still pretty damn cute.

Last year:

I love the crap out of my kids.  The best part is that I in no way convinced them to choose those costumes.  Audra made the decision and (per usual) the boys happily went along.

So here’s what we are doing this year:

The boys have extra stuff to add to their costumes, so that will be fun.  They both need some black shoes too.  And since we JUST found out that we definitely got the place we applied for (insert excited squealing here!), I’m thinking we may go trick or treating in that neighborhood!  There are also a ton of events on Halloween too, but I think the kids would enjoy just spending the evening where we will live.  We’ll see.

Speaking of events, I have some seriously lofty goals of experiencing everything we can here in the next few years.  So if you have visited/lived here and have something in mind that we just must do, please share!  I am making a list.  Nothing is too small or insignificant!  Thank you to all of you who have already shared!

Okay so back to the other stuff I wanted to chat about.  So last night, I was staring in the bathroom mirror and admiring my new body.  I know that sounds weird, but it still feels all very foreign to me.  You don’t struggle for as long as I did with extra skin and then not spend some time in amazement when it’s (mostly) all gone.  It’s just not possible.  But what’s so exciting is that I really actually think I’ll be able to wear (and feel comfortable in) a bikini.  I thought my stretch marks would be much more of an issue than they actually are.  They are certainly there but they just don’t bother me at all.  And I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the whole bikini thing.  Do I want to wear one because it proves something?  Does it make me more worthy?  B and I had a long conversation about this a few months ago.  It shouldn’t be a measurement.  And maybe it is for me and maybe it isn’t.  I’m just not sure.  But it’s also about something else.  It’s a comfort thing.  You’ll never find me in huge, thick sweaters because I hate feeling confined.  I absolutely adore lightweight cardigans that I can layer over a tank in the winter.  It feels freer.  And I have spent years wearing tight clothing in an effort to suck all of my body in and smooth it out.  One of the greatest things since my surgery has been buying super thin yoga pants.  They aren’t pulled up to my boobs hiding that upper flap of skin on my abdomen.  They don’t suck a damn thing in.  They just sit lightly on my hips and softly cover my lower half.

Does that make any sense?  Well, wearing a bikini is similar in many ways.  I’ve been wearing one-pieces for the last few years that had the sole purpose of sucking in and smoothing out the skin.  And even then, there was no way to do that on my thighs.  So the idea of just throwing on something light weight and comfortable that doesn’t require acrobatic abilities to go pee?  Heaven!  And maybe I’ll find something perfect that happens to be a one-piece.  That’s totally cool too.  But that isn’t the point.  The point is that I have options.  And of course I did before too.  It was totally my own issue and no one else’s.  I know that.  But it doesn’t change how I felt.

Plus the whole boob thing – not having to find a suit that will hold those heavy bad boys up is going to be amazing!  I’m still in amazement that I have breasts that don’t hang down to my belly button!  I keep staring at them like a teenage boy!  It’s fantastic!

Anyway, I’m just as happy as a pig in shit.  I cannot wait for this damn hole to close up in the back so I can get in the ocean.

By the way, I grabbed my measuring tape this morning to see how my body is doing.  I’m peeing a ton in the last few days, so I think my abdomen swelling is moving in the right direction.  I haven’t even been wearing my stomach binder this week at all.  My stomach is still tender, but it is starting to look smaller overall so I guess that’s good news.  I do know that I am going to have to do some serious core work in the future because I’ve been babying it so much since the surgery.  I’m not even sure if I could do a sit-up at this point?  And I’m afraid to try!

But the last time I measured myself (pre-surgery), here were my numbers:

Bust: 38
Waist: 30
Hips: 42
Thighs: 24

As of this morning, here are my new numbers:

Bust: 37.75
Waist: 30.5
Hips: 40
Thighs: 22.75 (L) & 23.25 (R)

Interesting, huh?  The surgeon told my dad and J that they removed about a letter-sized sheet of paper’s worth of skin from my mid-section.  It looks like that mostly affected my hip size.  That really does make a lot of sense.  I’m fairly certain that I was smaller a few weeks ago but my bad eating habits have not done good things to my body.  I’m starting to get the urge to get out and run so I feel like that’s a good sign.  I figure if I can handle uphill hiking, I should be able to handle a light jog.  It’s just scary to jar my body because, like I said, my abdomen is still pretty tender.

We did bring my treadmill, but I’m excited to get out and jog in our new neighborhood.  It’s really connected with other neighborhoods, so there’s just such a big area to explore.  This will give you an idea of the sheer amount of area I’ll have to roam!  Our home is just right of the center of the map.  All of the sandy looking areas will be new developments.  It’s growing fast!  The area in the bottom left is a new lagoon.  It’s not open yet but should be in the next year.  And the areas in the middle are golf courses.  Cool huh??

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to live in such close quarters with your neighbors.  And maybe we’ll hate it.  But for now, with little kids who want to make friends, we think it will be okay.  It will be more like condo living and that could be kind of fun.  We will see!  It’s funny because way before we knew we were coming to Hawaii, I was envisioning the type of place I would like to live.  I kept picturing Melrose Place (remember that show?) because it was like a small community.  A small drama-filled community, but still.  I loved how it looked so tropical but was nice and set up to make friends (who may or may not stab you in the back).  Anyway, this area isn’t exactly like that, but it’s definitely conducive to meeting your neighbors.  And that’s something we haven’t been all that great at in the past.  Plus it’s definitely tropical!  Let’s just hope it has a bit less drama than that show did.

So what else did I have to talk about?  Oh!  So although J was there a week before my surgery, we really never got into a family groove in Indiana after he arrived home from Afghanistan.  Since moving here, even though we’re in a temporary rental, that has changed so much.  We are making dinners together and even eating at the table as a whole family!  I’m embarrassed to admit that we never did that in Indiana.  We almost always ate on the couch while the kids ate in the den.  We’ve spent so much more time together here.  We have eaten in front of the TV once or twice, but we’ve all done it together.  It just feels so much different now.  We aren’t just a couple and they aren’t just our kids.  We really do feel like we are in this adventure together.  Even if we have to drag Aidan along kicking and screaming sometimes.  (Okay, it’s less kicking and screaming and more eye rolling, sighing and whining.)  I think he’s the happiest of all that we are done with the house hunting.  “Now we don’t have to leave the house everyday!”  Well kid, we may still leave the house daily, but hopefully our outings will be a little more enjoyable.

Anyway, I can’t imagine doing this at a better point in our lives.  The kids are old enough to enjoy the activities and hopefully even remember them.  And J and I are at a place in our own journey where the outdoors appeals to us.  No way this would have even been an option a few years ago.  I would have been miserable in the heat (since losing weight I handle it much better!) and complained excessively about the lack of things to do.  Yeah, it would have been bad.

That’s pretty much all I had to say.  Well, the other thing is that my time volunteering on the crisis line is impacting me so much.  The further I get into my life, the more I’m learning how temporary our situations are.  And I love getting a chance to share that with the people who call.  I can’t tell you how many callers sound exactly like I did a decade ago.  There’s nothing horrific going on in their worlds – they just can’t seem to embrace life.  It’s frustrating when you can’t pinpoint what you need to change.  We end up focusing on the wrong things – often things that aren’t necessarily immediately fixable – and ignore what will actually making a difference.  I know I did that for a really long time.  I hated so many things about myself that still haven’t changed, yet I feel completely different about life now.  Once I took control of the things I actually could control, my life started changing.  It’s still not where I want it to be in all aspects, but I have hope that I’ll get there.  And that’s what is so often missing – hope for the future.

Being on the crisis line isn’t always enlightening and productive so I don’t mean to pretend it is.  I struggle with some of the callers because I feel helpless.  It may not be something I want to continue after my year-long commitment, but no matter what, it has helped me clarify my future.  I know that I want to help people who were in my own position – feeling hopeless, stagnant and lacking direction.  I connect with those people the most.  So although I still don’t know exactly what my future looks like, I feel like this blog is a vehicle I can use to get there.  I share my story freely because a) it’s cathartic and b) I’m a good example of hope and change.  And my change has been been a lot more extensive than what you will ever see on the outside.  The Nicole today has a mindspace that is 200x better than the Nicole from 2 years ago at 130 pounds.  Not every positive change is visible.  That’s why I have this blog.  And it makes me giddy with joy that you are interested in reading it.  So thank you.