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I'm Sitting on the Floor!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

About three weeks ago, I decided to try the South Beach eating plan. I'm one of those people who - after 40 years of dieting had totally given up on diets and - until now - I'd always figured South Beach was just another fad, but a good friend is having a lot of success following it so I decided - for a change - to forgo contempt prior to investigation. To begin, I read "The South Beach Diet," the book written by Dr. Arthur Agatston in which he lays out the eating plan and explains the health benefits behind it. Much to my dismay - it made complete sense. Dismay because I couldn't just dismiss it and move on. Instead, I decided to plunge in and give it a try.

During "Phase One" (the first 2 weeks) I followed the plan and gave up all obvious carbs - sugar, flour, fruit, potatoes, and rice, as well as the not so obvious onions and carrots. I was already fully aware that I am sugar sensitive (meaning - within a few days of eating it I turn into a human garbage disposal) and I'd given up sugar before, but I'd never tried going without all carbs. The results were surprising.

The book predicts that if the plan is followed correctly, 8-12 pounds will probably come off during Phase 1. For me, it was only 7.5 but I didn't quibble because...duh...7.5 pounds!! Plus, I'd lost 2" on my waist and 1" on my hips. This was all great but the most interesting and unexpected result of the two weeks came when I suddenly realized that the nearly constant ache in my hip joints had faded. It had been ages since I could sit cross-legged on the floor and not feel like I was 90 when I tried to stand.

After Phase 1, carbs - in moderation - are brought back into the eating plan. Our bodies need carbs for energy but the fact is, not all carbs are good for me. So, as of last week, I'm eating fruit again and looking forward to having some brown rice but - at least for now - I'm going to continue to abstain from all white food (sugar, potatoes, white rice, white flour). Right now, I don't miss them and in the long run, I'm better off without them. It's a win-win plan.

This is Day 18 and I'm doing fine. I'm working out, eating well, using Spark to track my nutrition and exercise, and I'm sitting on the floor! I haven't felt this good or this hopeful in a really long time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEATHHILL 3/2/2010 8:00AM

    Glad to see you back around! All we can all do is just keep striving to take the best care of ourselves that we can possibly do.

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STARTSPARKING 2/21/2010 3:55AM

    I was pleased to get a new entry notification on your blog, and I'm so glad that you are doing well on the South Beach plan. Keep up your great work, and I wish you continued success.

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KATJAMES17 2/21/2010 2:25AM

    It's hard to argue against something that leads to you feeling better. Congratulations!

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KATRENIAH 2/20/2010 2:47PM

    Congratulations! I'm finding that the things like being able to kneel and rise without groaning (or sitting on the floor) help me keep my momentum and keep me excited about taking care of myself. Good for you for not giving up the fight and for continuing to move forward. Keep up the awesome work!

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OUTOFIDEAS 2/20/2010 2:47PM

    Good to see you back, of luck for continued success! emoticon

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I Can't Control the World but I Can Make a Change

Friday, September 19, 2008

I have heard from so many fellow Spark people who have read my recent blog and shared their own struggles as well as their stories of triumph. The common denominator is that we're all trying, each and every day, to do our very best...and we're doing it together. When we stumble, we get back up and get back on track. To me that is the miracle of something like Spark. The simple realization that I'm not alone. That people are more alike than they are different. That I'm not a failure. That I'm human. That change - while difficult - is not only possible, it's already happening!

We're in some scary times right now. Every where I go people are talking about fear and sharing how they're trying not to get lost in it on a daily - even an hourly - basis. For me, I know that if I let fear direct the traffic then I am headed for some very big snarls. If fear is in charge then I am choosing to live in a doom and gloom scenario. When I live there, I cannot do the things I need to do because I become paralyzed, and historically, I eat.

There's so much out there I cannot not fix or control that it's easy to get lost in fear, but since that's true I must ask myself - how will my worrying change anything? Worrying has never made anything better but it has made things feel worse. Since feeling worse is not appealing, what I can do instead of worrying is to stop, take a deep breath, and look at the multitude of things that I actually can do to help make today a good one.

Here are just a few of those things:

I can repeat my mantra - there's nothing so bad that eating over it won't make worse.

I can move my body - even just a little.

I can log my food - even if I've gone over my calorie range. By logging everything I eat, I take responsibility for my choices. I behave like a grownup and not like an addict.

I can reach out to someone else who might need a little motivation or even just a smile.

I can be respectful of every person who crosses my path today including people who may not seem to "deserve" my respect. I don't have to invite them home for lunch but if I am cordial and respectful, I will know that I have done my best to be a person who I would like to hang out with.

I can admit that I can't do this alone and throughout the day, I can ask for help. I am so blessed in the world to know that I am not alone.

None of us are, not really.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUGGIE726 10/12/2008 11:06PM

    Very good points. Have you thought about making a poster or something out of those and hanging it up on the wall for inspiration when you need it? I sure would.

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HEATHHILL 10/1/2008 12:12PM

    To me the best part about this place is feeling like I'm not alone. I have all my Sparkfriends with me in my head everytime I go to the gym! Maybe I'm a little odd, but I bet a lot of us think of our Sparkfriends when we're feeling like we need some support or motivation!

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JENNYBEAN822 9/22/2008 3:14PM

    Really great entry! I especially love the part about respecting people who may not "deserve" it. It's so easy to forget, when the world is in such turmoil, and everyone is groping for something to help them cope. We really could use just a little respect for each other as human beings.

Hope you had a nice weekend!

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    Good blog, thanks!

You can do this, just keep trying.


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    I really love your mantra. I think I'm going to put it on my fridge where I can see it every day.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts: they come from a mature, genuine, and enlightened place. emoticon

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    Very well said. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing.

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OUTOFIDEAS 9/19/2008 3:47PM

    Well and truthfully said, MO...thank you! emoticon

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KATHYLM51 9/19/2008 1:50PM

    Nice blog Mo.
I feel like all of the people we have met here are my "circle of stones" which for me is just a symbolism for an invisible circle of support holding me up. Watch my site when it changes clothes into fall, I planned on posting a pic from my home photos that is my tangible "circle of stones". Yes dearie we are here on this beautiful day put here by the grace of god( my belief) and each and every face that crosses our path is a chance to help our creator take care of his children through us. Life is a gift when giving and receiving.

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Where did MoJo go?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This morning, when I checked my email, I found that yesterday two different Spark friends visited my page to ask why I was AWOL and whether I was okay. If I'd checked my email last night, I wonder if I'd be writing a different blog this morning, but their genuine concern is giving me the courage to write the blog I have to write today.

Last night, after almost two months of sticking to an eating and exercise program that has brought me weight loss, toning, and enormous relief, I took a detour that returned me to familiar and frightening territory.

Yesterday had been a good day. In fact, in so many respects it had been an exceptional day. It started with a gathering of very good friends, moved on to me signing a new and exciting contract for work I love to do, and ended with a well-received performance of the show Iím currently doing. But after the show I came home and instead of going to bed, I turned on the television and stayed up most of the night watching bad movies and eating two days worth of calories.


There are lots of reasons. None are excuses, but all are pieces of the puzzle that I want to understand so I might be able to better protect myself in the future.

- Not enough sleep for almost a week.
- Long drives to and from a stressful visit with my increasingly confused mother.
- This new contract comes right when I thought I would be taking a break.
- This new contract means my plans to visit my friend with cancer and my sons at their schools have to be put on hold.
- I didnít get any exercise yesterday.

And, perhaps most important of allÖ
Over the past week, I've fallen almost completely out of touch with my Spark community.

Iíve been logging my food and exercise every day but since last Sunday, Iíve barely posted, emailed, read, or commented on a single blog. I have been busy but the truth is, I forgot that connecting with all of you is a gift to myself. I allowed it to become more of a chore.

And so, last night, when the ďf**k-itsĒ crept back in, it was like a staph infection finding an open wound. I was too detached and too tired to stop and say no. The binge was large and varied and deeply UNSATISFYING. All I've ended up with is stomach ache, a sugar hang-over, and most importantly - a big, old dose of humility that has landed me on my ass.

So, now what do I do? The one thing I will NOT do is beat myself up about this. If I do that, I will only make this rut deeper, as I have so many times in the past. Instead, I will just climb back out and after I finish writing this blog, I will:

1) Brush my teeth.

2) Eat breakfast. Thatís hard for me to do after a binge like last night but I have to create some semblance of healthy routine and skipping meals wonít cut it.

3) Go for a walk Ė at least to the end of the block and back. Itís not my usual five miles but I need something to get my blood moving. It takes about 10 minutes to get to the end of the block so even if I just do that and turn around I will have walked 20 minutes. A Spark friend shared that trick with us.

5) Take a shower, wash my hair, and brush my teeth again.

6) Log my food and exercise. Send a few Spark messages.

7) Take a nap before tonight show.

8) Take another quick shower to wake up.

9) Eat dinner and go do the show.

10) Come home, log on to say hello and good night to all of you, and go to bed.

If I am really living this one day at a time then yesterday is over and today has just begun.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 9/18/2008 3:35PM

    The fact that it took me FIVE days to read and comment on your blog post speaks volumes about how I'm doing on SP also. This entry really spoke to me because I'm basically in the same boat. I've been binging for the past week and have gained back a few pounds. It didn't help that I fell behind on SP, so I'd log my food about a day late. So far I've kept up with my exercise regimen, but I can never burn enough calories from binging on junk food and larger meal portions.

Considering my current predicament, I'm sorry that I have no words of wisdom or useful tips to share with you. What I can offer is understanding because I'm in the same situation. I am glad that I have begun to get back on track, and I'm feeling better already. Thank you for your honesty because it is so hard to admit it when we are off track.

I am inspired by your positive attitude, and I am right alongside you as we resume our healthier living! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/18/2008 3:34:08 PM

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HEATHHILL 9/16/2008 8:12AM

    Jo, I'm so sorry it took me so long to get here! You needed support, and I was AWOL too.

You lived the day, and as you indicate, it's done. Move on. Do something today that is good for you.

I joined SP over a year ago. I lost 19 pounds and then gained 7 or so back. All I need to lose is 26 more pounds, and I could have easily done that by now if I had focused. But I didn't. So, I re-committed and am on my way back on the path. So are you.

We can do this together. We can ONLY do this together.

SP can sometimes be overwhelming. Make sure to do what it right for you like tracking food and fitness. Post some when you can. Blog as you need to. It WILL work!


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JENNYBEAN822 9/15/2008 3:21PM

    Thank you so much for the comment on my blog entry. Thanks for being so strong and supportive. It's all about picking yourself up, brushing yourself off and keeping it all going. Just think how far you've come!

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CAL2806 9/14/2008 6:47PM

    Mojo, Honey I think that if we all are 100% honest, we will find that we all have similar times.....Big Ole Granny Cal Hugs are headed your way and you are so not beat yourself up.....just get up to the new day and get yourself going strong again....

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CINCIN65 9/13/2008 10:02PM

    I came to your page to find out what happened to you and I got the answer before I could ask it. I'm glad to know I'm not the only human that does this.
I'm still battling the same 5 pounds, up and down, since i joined in April. I was about to let the f@*#it's happen too. But reading your post made me feel better.
Lets get the mojo going again and see what happens.
Hope to see you posting again.

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KATHYLM51 9/13/2008 6:32PM

    Well not only am I glad to hear from you I am glad you wrote it out so you can look at it all on paper to help you walk out and away from it. How enlightening to read and look at it from afar. So many things.... mom, job, stress etc and trying to fix/touch all of them with one seems so bizarre when your not the one doing it. So Mo thanks for writing it all out for us to also learn from it with you. We all do it but it was refreshing to ear you say that it was UNfullfilling or in other words it didn't work. I hope you find direct ways to deal with each thing in its own unique way and soon walk out of the storm into the sunshine. K

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OUTOFIDEAS 9/13/2008 2:11PM

    Welcome back, MO...It's so great to have a community like this to come to when we fall and and wind up bleeding a bit. Thanks for the honesty. emoticon And congrats on the new contract...will be praying for you for strength to prioritize and focus and achieve what needs to get done without being siphoned off by distractions and the "Urgency of the Generally Insignificant." (Wayne Watson song)

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BINEMELLES 9/13/2008 2:05PM

    today has just begun ... that sounds so good. like "the rest of your life has just begun".
you are doing good not beating yourself up. getting to the core of what is making us binge is the key to a solution - if you succeed in noticing those factors before you fall into mindless eating mode you will be able to prevent this permanently.
glad to see you back on track today - take this one day after the other. you have already started a new streak today.

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HELENFROMNC 9/13/2008 1:37PM

    I've been thinking about you and wondering why you haven't been posting. I should have sent you a note, but I am dealling with my own bit of "denial" here.

I'm glad you're back. Your blog brought out some good points about why I am not doing too well right now. I have to add "dealing with an allergy related cold that won't quit" to the list.

I decided this morning, before reading your blog, that I have to get back on track. I have not gained any weight, but I will if things don't change.

I am encouraged by your words. I don't have to feel bad that I feel bad. Just pick myself up and keep going. I will get well. My Mom will get well, though not as quickly. Eating well and exercising will only help.

Thanks for finally checking in. We need you!


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H-2-OH 9/13/2008 1:03PM

    I had a feeling something was up. Isn't it funny how it's easier to practice new habits when you're surrounded by other people doing the same? And then when you're back out on your own it can get overwhelming SO easily. No wonder you felt the way you did. You have a lot going on.
{{{{{{{{{{{{{big hug!}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

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Personal Goals: 9/1/08-12/31-08

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

One of my teams suggested that we post our personal goals for the remainder of 2008. I thought I'd better post them here as well so I won't forget!

* Motivation
Stay motivated by continuing to log onto Spark each day and connecting with others to give and seek support.

* Food
Continue tracking my food each day and know that I've stayed within my calorie range.

* Exercise
Do cardio at least five days a week. Do strength at least three. Add in classes and types of exercise that I currently find intimidating - like kick boxing.

* Career
Continue to get out there and knock on even more doors.

* Peace of mind
Do all of the above plus take quiet time each day for meditation and connection with HP.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Those are great goals! The adding in new exercises one spoke to me. That's what I did a year ago when I joined my new health club. At the old one, the only ones available were step aerobics and weight training, which I did about a couple times a week for three years and continued to gain weight. Along with these two classes that I was familiar with, the new place offered such innovative classes as Zumba, Drums Alive, and kickboxing. I checked my inhibitions at the door and have been having fun ever since.

I highly recommend kickboxing. It's my current favorite cardio classes. Every three months or so, a new round of choreography becomes available. It's so exhilarating to be punching and kicking imaginary opponents. Such an effective workout! Please try it and tell me what you think. emoticon emoticon

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H-2-OH 9/4/2008 10:29AM

    Hi Jo! I'm home! How are you doing with everything?
I haven't worked out since we left. Going to the gym today?!
emoticon emoticon


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BINEMELLES 9/4/2008 4:41AM

    i am awfully imressed with your goals, moreso because they touched a "sore spot" of mine. i shun things that i find intimidating, like knocking on doors to get employment. that you are actively approaching exercises that you find intimidating has awed me. i need to find some of that courage for me!

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OUTOFIDEAS 9/2/2008 8:26PM

    Brave woman...posting goals for all the world to see!

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SUPERDUPER26 9/2/2008 5:38PM

    Nice goals- I really like the one to take a class that you find intimidating, its good to step out of our comfort zones every now and then but its not something I try to do often enough. Good luck and enjoy it!

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SAYRAH-M 9/2/2008 1:58PM

    Good goals. What kind of work do you want to be employed doing?

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Practicing New Habits

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I am many miles from home tonight; sitting in a hotel room near the college my son began attending today. It's an emotional time for us both. He's had a restless week - a mixture of excitement and butterflies. I've had a hectic week - making sure he's packed everything he needs, that he took care of his voter registration, and that he's finished the thank you notes I've been "urging" him to write since he graduated from high school last May.

Today was a very big day for him and for me too. He's beginning a new life and I am watching the end of a large part of mine. Yesterday, as we drove west on I-90 and he dozed in the seat next to me, I suddenly realized that this is it. After 20 years of the day-to-day details of raising kids - including feeding, cleaning, and chauffeuring, as well as snuggling, cheering, and chastening - this is the day that my job radically changes.

How do I feel? My emotions are all over the place. Mostly I'm so happy for him that I'm bursting, but for me I'm a little sad so - isn't this a perfect excuse to overeat?

Usually, the answer would be yes but like all of us here on Spark, I'm trying to form new habits - lots and lots of new habits. One of these new habits is to practice mindful eating. To stop and ask myself - BEFORE I eat - what's really going on? Why do I feel the need to eat? Do I need the food I'm about to eat or do I just want it? Trust me, I know the difference. I NEED oatmeal every morning to help lower my cholesterol - I only WANT oatmeal cookies.

Another new habit is to make decisions about food based on the role it plays in helping me reach my goals. As far back as I can remember I've had this idea that certain foods are inherently bad. Not just bad as in unhealthy, but "bad," as in, I'm a bad girl if I eat them. Any sort of dessert would fall into that category and something like fries would zoom right past bad to evil and forbidden. This is a hard idea to overcome but as long as I continue to allow certain foods to have so much power over me, I will never believe or accept that I am capable of making good decisions about what, when, or why I eat.

Last night, when I went out alone to find food for the two of us, I was very hungry - probably a little too hungry. I cruised the strip for a while and finally chose a fast food place where I knew I could get a salad for me and a burger and fries for my son. As I drove back to the hotel - alone - the smell of his fries was almost more than I could take. I wanted a fry - just one fry - SO MUCH that I almost took one, but then I stopped and asked myself, "What do you want even more than that fry?" For a couple of seconds I was hard pressed to answer. I mean the smell of hot fries is a heck of a test - but then, as I sat there looking at the bag, I remembered.

Right now, this day, I want to stop living as an addict, hiding in pantries and cars, and stealing my kid's fries. I want to live free of fear about food. I want to know that I am eating to live, not living to eat. I want to be healthy, I want to make decisions based on healthy goals, and yes, I want to lose weight. I realize it might seem extreme to think that one fry would seriously derail my goals, but there's nothing about that fry that will help me achieve those goals either so right now, this day, I will choose to abstain. There will always be fries and on another day I may choose to have them - openly and honestly - or I may not.

This is a new way of thinking for me and it is leading me to a new way of behaving that is both exciting and just a little bit scary. It's exciting because every day that I make the choice to behave differently with food is a day that I feel better and stronger - both physically and emotionally. It's scary because I don't yet trust that I will be able to make these choices again tomorrow. The good news is, I am not living in tomorrow yet, I am only living in today, and today, I am practicing new habits.

When I stopped drinking a couple dozen years ago, I discovered that the best way to establish new habits is to practice those habits, one day, one incident, one joy, and one fear at a time. In the early days, I had to remind myself, and to reach out for help from others to remind myself, many, many times a day, but every time I changed my behavior, I changed my habits around alcohol. This in turned changed my attitudes about alcohol and finally my perceptions of myself.

Each day that I change my behavior about food takes me a little closer to the day when choosing my health and my well-being over the temporary gratification of overeating, will become the habit that defines me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEATHHILL 9/3/2008 4:58PM

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I have a very similar relationship to food and eating. I'm going to work every day and every minute to be mindful of what I'm putting in my body.

I hope the next chapter of your life is very exciting. My baby starts first grade tomorrow. I know in the blink of an eye she'll be going off to college. I'm enjoying every single minute the best way I can.

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SAYRAH-M 9/2/2008 2:04PM

    Oh my I nearly missed this blog. I would have missed a great one. The end of one joyous journey and the beginning of a new one.
My children leaving home was the saddest thing that ever happened to me. But getting them back as adults in one of the most exciting. Finding myself is always the hardest challenge for me. I too am hiding in food or drink, in addiction to something other than my self and my talents. I must change. I am changing. A little every day in little ways!

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OUTOFIDEAS 8/29/2008 9:12PM

    I am challenged by your strength. To be able to choose deliberately as you did in the midst of the grief of setting your son free to be on his own for the first time was an awesome achievement. Thank you for sharing the struggle and the choice with us.

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STARTSPARKING 8/29/2008 4:14PM

    You can definitely take comfort in the knowledge that you have done a remarkable job raising your son. He is off to college... That is a wonderful achievement for a parent.

I am so inspired by your determination to live a healthier lifestyle. I admire your strength and grace, my friend. You're doing a great job, and I have faith that you will continue to do well on this journey of better health. I'm not saying it will be smooth sailing all the time. However, I do believe that you have the will and power to work through any issues and will accomplish your goals.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this brilliant post, my friend. emoticon

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KATHYLM51 8/29/2008 1:44PM

    First of all, great job. I felt your pain as I recall the days when I first tried to release my son as a teen to "separate" I once wrote almost caused physical pain, sometimes I thought the way we were harsh to one another was our only way to do this "separating dance" it almost had to be brutal. Now I usually cry when I drive away from my children(both live in different directions 1-2 hours away)I hope you remembered to cry yesterday as that day was loaded with emotions and you probably needed to bleed. You were right about doing the "acting out" of choices, until you can "will" them. Whatever it takes to keep walking fwd, you remain a free bird. Speaking of mothering it is soooooooo hard to quit once you are suppose to quit. My kids are 29 and 27 and I have to fight my will to mother them daily. yikes this can be the hardest job not to do : = )

ps I love this wallpaper background

Comment edited on: 8/29/2008 1:44:38 PM

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BINEMELLES 8/29/2008 5:40AM

    wow ... this post is awesome. you are a VERY strong woman, jo. after reading this i am absolutely sure you can beat your old habits.
and over time i am also sure you will enjoy the merits of an empty nest, discover new activities to structure your days, new possibilities ...
enjoy a lovely last day with your son. you will both be fine.

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