Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Caption Me - Doggy Edition

I am in need of a caption for this picture.  Care to help? Please leave me a comment with your caption. The more creative, the better!  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Crazy, Lazy Days of Summer

Summer, as usual, is flying by at great speed.  Hard to believe it is already late July!  With Indiana's  backassward  school year calendars,  the girls'  "summer"  break started May 26 and will end on August 11,  just when the heat really fires up.  In in a little less than three weeks, my girls will be in school all day.  You would think I would be thrilled to have some peace and quiet, and while I will find it nice not to have to hear the constant bickering, I will miss our days at the pool, sleeping in and pretty much doing whatever we want with little worry of a schedule.  

We have had one crazy busy summer this year!  Since I unintentionally put my blog on hiatus from March until just a few days ago,  I am way behind on updating everyone on all of our adventures.  We enjoyed a nice vacation, dance gala, summer dance camps, and of course frequent trips to the pool.  Instead of trying to play "catch up" and trying  to write a post about each one those adventures (I may not finish until next summer),  I thought I'd just show you. I do think I will have to do a separate post about our vacation because there were so many little adventures during that week,  the two pictures I included in this post just don't do it justice.  I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed experiencing all of the fun!

Crazy, Lazy Summer - 2010

Taylor's High School Graduation

Keeping cool in the pool!

Indy Zoo Trip


Dog days of summer
Vacation in Southport, NC
Vacation pose with Grampa Jack and Grammalene
Yes, We think We Can Dance. . .

 Happy Birthday to America and Laci
"Starry Eyed" in the 4th of July Parade

"Little House" on the Conner Prairie

Summer Dance Camps

Playing with our friend, Jack

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Organizing My Life

I haven't written a blog post since March, which is about the longest dry spell I've had since I started my blog.  Life has just been way too busy, and at the end of the day, when I typically have time to clear my head and write, I am just way too tired. I've had so much I've wanted to write about. I've practically written whole posts in my head while driving the girls around in the car, but when I actually sit down to write, I can't remember any of it. I swear if there was a way to write my blog by wiring my brain right up to the computer, I would have more frequent posts. But I am actually scared of what those thoughts would look like if they came directly from my brain, as I rarely am able to focus on one subject for more than a few minutes. Let me explain. . .

I was recently diagnosed with Adult ADHD, yet I've suspected for years now that I have this condition. I just never was sure how to go about getting diagnosed. I took several online screenings, and all of those pointed to me likely having ADHD, but again I did nothing. I talked about it with a few friends and family members, and while many of them agreed I had some of the symptoms, no one was as convinced as I was that ADHD was the cause. I kept thinking, "If only they knew what it was like inside my brain, they would understand."

I also was told that my symptoms are classic of anyone my age, with small children, and that I just had too much on my plate. I'd agree with them, except I have ALWAYS had those symptoms, well before I had children, but they've just gotten worse as I've taken on more responsibilities. Again, hard to explain if you don't actually experience it first hand.

The only way for me to even come close to describing how my brain works, is to share this joke someone sent me via email once, called Age Activated ADD:

"I decide to wash my car. As I start toward to the garage, I notice
that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the
mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash
can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full.
So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the
trash first, but then I think that since I’m going to be near the
mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills
first. I take my checkbook off the table and see that there is only one check
left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my
desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.
I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I
don’t accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye–they need to be watered. I set the Coke down on the counter and I discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.I decide I’d better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers.I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water, and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight, when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for
the remote, but nobody will remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.
I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up
the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day; the car isn’t washed, the bills aren’t paid,
there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren’t
watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook,
I can’t find the remote, I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t remember
what I did with the car keys. Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day long and I’m really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail."

When I first saw that joke, I laughed, because it sounded like my typical day. Yet the more I thought about it, the less funny it became. Sure it is funny if you look at it for what it is - a growing old joke. But when that describes how typical my days were even when I was younger, than it isn't so funny, at least not to me. Obviously things weren't quite so obvious when I was a child, but back when I was in school this wasn't even classified as a disorder. The only thing even resembling ADHD back in my youth, was something called "Hyperactivity." I knew kids in my class that just couldn't sit still and would act out, run around like crazy, etc. I was not one of those children. In fact, I rarely got in trouble at school, except for talking during class or interrupting. I could sit in my seat, finish my work, etc.

As I got older, I did get decent grades, but not excellent grades and I always remember having trouble staying focused in class and while doing homework. And the harder school became, the more trouble I had completing my work. If I really liked a class or subject, I excelled. If I didn't, I struggled. And it just got worse in college when I had no parent around to make sure I was doing my homework or go to class. My grades were so poor one semester, I nearly flunked out, ending up on academic probation. I also had trouble with tests, especially the standardized variety. At least with the written tests, I would get partial credit for explanations even when my answer was wrong. I procrastinated when it came to projects, waiting until the last minute to finish, which often resulted in a poor or average grade. Studying was difficult for me, because the littlest noise or interruption distracted me. I could never study anywhere public and often hid in the corner of the library or the stacks in hopes of getting something done.

Things didn't change when I graduated either. I never had success finding a job in my field, education, because I wasn't motivated enough to really look hard. I applied for a few jobs, had a few interviews, but rarely followed up. And when I was turned down for a job or two, I just gave up. I should have applied to every school district I could find, yet I only tried applying to a few and then just decided it wasn't worth it. So I worked at a restaurant, a bar, and eventually found work in a child care center.

I did manage to do well enough in the restaurant to become one of the lead servers, and a floor supervisor. I think I did pretty well waiting tables because it was something that kept me busy. But I wasn't completely symptom free. As good as I could be with my customers and tables, I was constantly forgetting things and getting sidetracked, even when it wasn't busy. Someone would ask for a refill on their water, I'd walk back to the kitchen to get it, and would immediately forget what I was doing, especially if someone interrupted me. Then I'd have one very unhappy, and thirsty customer.

When I worked at the child care center as a supervisor, I was constantly getting sidetracked and had trouble completing work my boss gave me. I was great with the parents and the kids, so I managed to keep my job. However, when an assistant director position became available, a person with less experience than me was offered the job. As upset as I was, I knew why I wasn't the one chosen for the job. My boss even sent me to an "organizational skills" workshop and I tried so hard to be more organized, but was not successful.

I also lost a job once because I got sidetracked and forgot to do something that could have resulted in a really bad situation. I don't really care to go into details because I have never been fired and the thought of what could have happened still upsets me too much.

Becoming a parent has made my symptoms even worse. I LOVE being a parent, but the added responsibilities, especially where the housekeeping is concerned are just overwhelming. My house is a mess. I have clutter everywhere and I just can't seem to get started getting rid of it, as much as I want to. I get the laundry done, but it often sits in a basket unfolded for days. I know I need to get rid of outgrown clothes, but just can't seem to find the time. I do manage to make sure my girls are fed, dressed, where they need to be, etc. I never miss an event at school, have rarely missed getting them to their appointments, etc. I've never forgotten to pick them up or get them off the bus. But I have to make sure everything is on the calendar, and even set alarms to make sure I don't forget. I fear one of these days I will miss something important and I think that alone keeps it from happening.

I have so many other symptoms I haven't described yet, but this post is long enough. I will address some of those in another post later down the road. If I wrote about all of them today, I'd have enough to publish a book. I am not kidding. Finding time to write, and being able to focus long enough to finish (and have what I write make sense) is very challenging. As much as I love to write, I still need a clear head, and that is something I just don't have very often.

I recently started taking medication and I am hoping it helps me clear my mind a bit, and become more focused. Yet, I don't expect things to change overnight. I know that I will not only find the medication/dose that works, but also need to work hard to change some life long habits. I know I have the support of my husband, family, and close friends, which makes all of the difference in the world. I haven't told very many of my diagnosis, even some family members, because I am a little afraid of the reaction I will get. I know that not everyone believes that adults can have this condition, and even if they do, don't completely understand it. Many believe that people like me use this diagnosis as an excuse for their behavior.

I debated writing this post, because anyone who reads this will now know about my ADHD. I really am exposing a part of me that I've kept to myself for most of my 41 years. But I decided I NEEDED to write this post, not just for me, but for anyone else like me that may have this condition but doesn't know what to do about it. Hopefully I will enlighten anyone who believes Adult ADHD doesn't exist. I am working on organizing my life, one step at a time, and am hopeful I can change for the better. Now if I could only remember where I left my keys. . .