Crazy 2 Weeks!

We bought a new house, both my kiddos are making light speed progress at school, DH threw out his shoulder, I’ve lost a total of 10.2 pounds! I told it was a crazy 2 weeks.

My Dad is getting fairly severe dementia so they need to move in with us. After months of debating whether or not to add on to our house or find another house we just bit the bullet and put in an offer of a 4 bedroom house a few blocks from here. We close on March 20th. Everyone is really excited. I truly love my little cottage, but I totally get that it’s just not a good fit anymore so I have to say goodbye. Its a little sad, but it a good thing too because my family will have the space they need.

School has been fantastic for the kiddos the last couple weeks. B is using his signs more and more. He’s been successfully asking to use the bathroom, and he has been sleeping in a regular bed with no tent for a week now. L starting making full declarative sentences, and he is also sleeping without his tent. Its been a good start to 2017.

B flung himself at Daddy and damaged something in DH’s shoulder. He was in agony and couldn’t lift his arm for a week. He is in physical therapy now and on the mend. Sometimes it hard to be a middle aged parent of younger kids. Its harder to keep up.

Day 31/100 days to healthy. Down 10.2 pounds. Still loving WW.

Whew! All caught up. Here’s to a great (and calm) week ahead.




Autism and Breaking the Schedule and What I’ve learned 2 Weeks on Weight Watchers

Yesterday was a day off school. My ASD kiddos know intuitively when Monday rolls around, and they are up and wanting to get ready for school. It so hard when the schedule changes. They are cranky and loud and hard to please. L got so frustrated he bit his brother on the hand for no apparent reason. They’re back at school today and just as happy as can be.

I missed my 2nd official weigh in at WW last night. My parents offered to sit with the kids when they went to bed so we could go out and breathe. We had a nice dinner. I drank too much wine, laughed really hard and we just got to unwind. It was nice. I am so grateful for to be able to have my parents fill in every once in a while.

Today is Day 17/100 Days to Healthy. Unofficially I have lost 11 pounds, 4 pounds in the last week. I’m still really enjoying the WW program. Some things I have learned:

  1. Packaged “diet” food is a good habit killer. It lets you just pretend you don’t have to change your eating habits. I ate a lot of fake chocolate protein bars and coffee enhancers. It didn’t add too many points, but those food choices kept me from getting in the larger amounts of fruits and vegetables that I ate during week one.
  2. Stepping on the scale everyday is a bad habit. It makes you a slave to the scale. This isn’t about losing pounds, its about getting healthy and making better food choices. I’m going to limit my weigh ins to Mondays at the meetings.
  3. Tracking everything I eat really helps me stay focused. The few times I put it off and had to catch up my journal in the evenings, I found that I had eaten more than I should have without even realizing it. Track it while its happening!

Its all about the journey. The destination is just the reward.

Here’s to a great week!

My First Official WW Weigh In…

Day 10/100 Days To Healthy

My official first weigh in at WW was last night. I’m down 7 pounds in 7 days! I couldn’t be more pleased. I love this program. I’ve always known what to eat, but I needed some direction on how much to eat, and this program does just that. I haven’t been hungry or felt deprived all week. I’ve had 3 meals and snacks every day. I used every single point and still lost.Its worth every penny.

The plan this week is to add exercise. I’ve dusted off the treadmill and dragged out the DVD’s. Its going to be a great week. I can’t wait to see what a difference exercise will make overall. We have big week, lots of appointments. It’ll be interesting to see how I can fit in workouts and also how I can manage points while eating at restaurants some days. We’re going out for breakfast this morning so I will report back how hard or easy it is to stick to points when I’m not cooking the food.

Have a wonderful day!


Its 17 Degrees, the Furnace Broke, but I Lost 6 Pounds!

Day 5/100 Days to Healthy

I’m already down 6 pounds as of this morning! I love this program. I really needed a program to tell me how much food to eat and WW has hit the mark. Points are easier than counting calories. The app is awesome. I’m really happy that I joined up, and I really feel like I can stay with it. Up to this point I had been counting every calorie, carb and protein molecule and I was still gaining weight. Its so frustrating when you want to get healthy and you just do everything wrong.

Breakfast was delicious. I bought a $3 gadget that makes poached eggs in the microwave. Less fat, less points. I had poached eggs over mushrooms I cooked in a little bit of olive oil on a crispy English muffin with a bit of whipped butter. Delicious!

The one really hard part of watching what you eat is unconscious eating. You make the kids breakfast, pop a slice of bacon or a handful of fruit loops. You make the kids lunch, pop some chips. Dinner…taste this, grab a fry there, just a bite of that. It adds up quick and before you know it, you’ve added an extra 500 or 1000 calories to your day, and you have no idea how you put on the extra pounds.

Meanwhile, we had our furnace cleaned yesterday, and sometime during the night it stopped working. We woke up to a freezing house. I have all the electric heaters going and the oven. Its still cold, but we can’t leave because we are waiting for the service guy to get here. Before we did the school run, the boys were hovering around the electric fireplace. I should have gotten a picture of them crowding each other for the prime spot.

Have a great day!




Sometimes We Need Help

Day 3/100 Days to Healthy

I joined Weight Watchers last night. I just decided that I really need the help of a structured plan with some accountability. Along with following their points system, I’m cutting out white carbs and lowering my salt intake. Bonus…I get out of the house for the meetings once a week and can spend some time with adults.

If you are unfamiliar with Weigh Watchers, here is how it works. They take your weight, height, age and gender to calculate how many “points” worth of food you get each day with an extra allotment of points that last for the entire week for when you need to go over your dailies. Each food is designated a point value and you add up everything you eat and drink in a day and stay within your allotment. Daily points start over each day. Weekly points start over each Monday. Seems straightforward and simple enough.

The trouble I have been having losing weight, according to my doctor, is that I haven’t been eating enough calories and my metabolism has just stalled. After chemo and radiation and all the stress of cancer, my system is seriously out of whack. I am hoping that the WW program will give me a good target amount of calories so that I can get my body working properly again. I’ll give it a go.

New Year, Same You

Or worse you if that’s the case, like it is with me. I’ve put on weight. I’ve struggled with medication and depression. I am really glad 2016 is over.

I am restarting my 100 days to healthy today. I will be recording all my food in a journal, drinking all my water and I’ll be starting an exercise program this week. Along with walking on the treadmill, I am going to start Natalie Jill’s Total Body Weight Beginner. It seemed like a good place to start.


I’m setting up a workout space just for me. I’ll post pictures in the coming weeks.

So, I’m trying to start 2017 off on the right foot. Stick with me here to follow along. Let’s see what we can accomplish in the first 100 days of 2017!

Post Cancer Depression. Is This Surviving?

Its been 8 months since I last posted. I spent most of the summer sleeping. I thought maybe the fatigue was a side effect of the Tamoxifen, but it just continued to get worse. The moment I stopped I just fell asleep. I wasn’t interested in doing anything at all, I gained 10 more pounds and I was either crying at nothing or screaming at my family. I had fallen into a fairly deep depression before I asked my Oncologist for help.

Post cancer depression, anxiety, ptsd and other adjustment disorders aren’t uncommon among survivors. We all see the TV ads and the news stories with smiling survivors in their pink t-shirts talking about how cancer changed their lives. People start foundations, run multiple 5k races, write a book…surviving is supposed to reaffirm your life right? For the vast majority of us this just isn’t the case. I find that adding cancer and treatment into what was already a life full of anxiety and responsibility was just more than I could handle emotionally. I struggle with 2 kids on the Autism spectrum and a husband with combat related ptsd. Cancer threw me down a ravine that I couldn’t get out of.

After talking to my doctor, I started taking an antidepressant. Its been a few months now and I am coping. I am still exhausted all the time, but I can usually push through. I’m starting to get back to my usual routine with my family and things I used to enjoy doing. Drugs aren’t a fix all, but its helping enough for me to pull myself up the rest of the way. I still struggle every day. A friend of mine from my support group said that we are “hurting survivors”. Whether we struggle with side effects from treatment, depression, anxiety or fear; we are still survivors. People around us may not understand why we aren’t elated to be “free from cancer”. What they don’t realize is that you are never free from the fear of cancer returning. You never get back what cancer took from you, be it your breasts or your trust in your own body.

What I found to be an important part of my recovery is to acknowledge how incredibly angry I am that my body allowed the cancer in. I have no family history of breast cancer. I breast fed 3 children for more than a year each. Cancer never even crossed my mind. The fact of the matter is only 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary. No one ever tells you that. It felt unfair. I am struggling with forgiveness. I need to forgive my body. I need to forgive the universe. I just drew the short straw. It wasn’t intentional, and it was nothing I did wrong. Ultimately, I need to find a way to move forward. I’m doing that 1 day at a time as are many of my fellow hurting survivors. The struggle is real. The fear is real. Cancer is a haunting stalker that never really goes away. I guess the trick is to live in the light, know your risks, try to shake off the feeling of being cancer’s victim and accept being a survivor, even a hurting survivor.

Cheers and Happy 2017!

Annie B


Sleeping Quarters for the Autistic Wanderer

B is 7 years old next month. He is a wanderer. If you let him loose he would be halfway to the state line before you could catch him. This has always posed a bit of a problem at bedtime. How can you keep your ASD wanderer safe at night and still get some sleep yourself?

There are several bed tents on the market targeted toward this problem. All of them are crazy expensive. We started out with the Nickel Bed Tent. It sells for $159.99. It was a good concept poorly executed. To start off with the shipping is slow as Christmas. Once we finally got it they sent us a pink one instead of a blue one. I paid more shipping to send it back and they shipped me the correct one. Putting it together is relatively easy. It has the shock corded poles like the ones that come with regular camping tents. I was immediately skeptical of the durability, but I kept an open mind. B was 3 at the time. The tent is a pain to take down and put back up if you need to wash it or travel with it. The screening is like tissue and runs like pantyhose at the slightest poke. Its also very closed in meaning the visibility from the inside is limited. The worst thing is that it is so short. There really is no way to grow up with it. If we still used this at age 7, it would be like B was sleeping in a sausage casing. The Nickle Bed Tent is a huge waste of a lot of money, and was destroyed by a 3 year old in less than a year.

I didn’t even try the other tents sold under the Autism umbrella. The Safe Sleeper looks awesome, but its thousands of dollars. Same thing with the Noah Bed which is about $5,000!

Last year I posted about traveling with the kiddos. There’s a snapshot of the tent we used for a long time. Its a SansBug. Its marketed to campers who need protection from malaria infested mosquitoes. Its under $75, and although we went through 3 the first year, it was better and cheaper than the other tent we tried.

Last year while trying to find a cheaper price on the SansBug replacement, I came across the tent we use now and will continue to use forever if they keep making it. Please God, let them keep making it! Its called Gnat Guard. The mesh is tougher than the SansBug by far. We have only had to replace it once this year, and that was my fault because I let B take a car to bed with him and he poked an edge through the mesh.

Here is the setup we have now. Both kiddos are sleeping in these beds. L likes to copy big brother so we let him even though he doesn’t wander and doesn’t need the tent.


I bought a memory foam mattress to go inside. I laid the tent on top of the mattress and traced the shape with a marker. I then cut the foam with an electric turkey carver. It fits snug inside the tent with a regular twin sheet. I bought a metal platform bed and used the tie down loops on the tent to secure the whole thing to the frame with 550 cord. I also made sure to cut off the zipper pulls on the inside and the outside. The outside ones were replaced with a key ring loop and a carabiner. Its secure. No one has gotten out yet. They sleep very well, and the tent is tall enough that they can sit up and not hit their head. 20160423_085520.jpg

Here are all the Amazon links to everything we have here.

The entire thing -tent, mattress, bed frame- was around $200. Its tough as nails. The tent folds up fast for travel. If we are on a trip we use an inflatable camping mattresses inside the tents. It works perfectly, and the kids sleep just like they are at home. It alleviates so much anxiety for them because its just like at home.

Let me know if there are any questions. I would love for every parent of a wanderer to be able to get a better night’s sleep. This set up saved us and it only took me 2 years to figure it out!


100 Days to Healthy: Day 20

Its been 20 days since I started my 100 days to healthy. Its been a tough couple of weeks so I wasn’t able to post. I am having some major side effects with the Tamoxifen. They will be running some tests this coming week, and I have an ultrasound on Friday. My kids have also be a bit under the weather. So my update is better late than never.

I’m down 5 pounds in 20 days. I have been watching calories and juicing quite a bit. Juicing always makes me feel better. I’ve been taking my supplements and my meds regularly. Aside from the other side effects like joint pain and pelvic pressure and stuff, the Tamoxifen is helping me sleep through the night. I do get a sort of cold spell every day around 4. I don’t know if that’s from the meds, but I suspect it is. I just can’t get warm for a couple hours. Its weird. Cold flashes instead of Hot flashes? I’ll take it!

My hair is finally starting to grow in faster. Its a curly mess. I colored it so its more normal now rather that that ashy grey from chemo. Its still gross, and I can’t wait for it to be normal again!

 curly hair


Thriving in PA!

Last week was a great week! Its not often in life that you actually get confirmation that your toughest decisions were justified and correct. Friday was one of those days. Every Friday my kids get a little weekly report sent home in their folders. B’s report was amazing! He is repeating letter sounds, using more and more sign language and generally progressing at a rate that no one would have imagined a year ago. The same goes for L. Last year he wouldn’t make a sound the entire day at school. Now he’s using full sentences, learning his colors and close to being able to start reading! Moving to Pennsylvania was the best decision we have ever made. I have zero regrets!

Sometimes you never know if you did the right thing. Sometimes God sprouts flowers on your path and ties rainbows over your kids!

For those families struggling in a sub-par school system with almost no services for your ASD kiddos, my advice is to do whatever it takes to find a place where your kids can reach their full potential. I know its hard. Its devastating to leave everything and everyone behind. It might be hard to leave a job that you love. It might even be hard to find the money to make a move. I can only tell you what we decided to do and how hard that was. We will probably be struggling financially for years to come. We won’t ever be able to buy a brand new car or take a nice vacation, but my precious 7 year old boy said Mama for the first time this year and can sit through a day at school without screaming for hours on end and hitting his head on the floor in frustration. I’ll eat ramen noodles and never get to see a movie in a theater again for just those 2 simple things.

God is good and will always show us a way to get where He wants us to be.