Thursday, July 17, 2014

My attention span and I are not friends.

Honestly, it's a miracle this article was completed at all.

It's a real thing, it's a normal thing, it's an OK thing. Attention Deficit Disorder, more commonly known as ADD (or ADHD) is not just an overly diagnosed excuse for kids who have copious amounts of energy. It is not just something for college kids to fake in front of the campus doc to get a little pick-me-up during finals week. It doesn't only affect children. And there is nothing wrong with having it.

I was first diagnosed my freshman year of high school. I had no idea I was even being assessed. I had no trouble during class (except running my mouth when I had friends nearby or being a little bit of a space cadet some days) and I had no trouble sitting in one place for hours at a time (hello, TV marathons). I never completed my homework on time, if at all, but what kid really wants to anyways?

However, my grades did not reflect how much information I was actually retaining. I had no idea of how frequently I lost my train of thought mid-conversation, let alone while listening to a class lecture. When I had a thought or idea, I'd rush to blurt it out before I forgot, or because I had forgotten someone else was already talking. I didn't understand that when I interrupted friends to change the subject, it was really because something they said made me think of a related story, and then one related to that, and then a though about the second story, and then a question about that thought, and then I'd blurt out the answer to that question my friends think comes from somewhere out in left field. I didn't understand that I could go from station A on that train of thought to station Q in about 2.35 seconds, and that not everyone constantly thinks that way (which I now know is called "racing thoughts").

I knew I was impatient, but I didn't see that the severity of my impatience was leading to pretty significant anxiety. I didn't see that my impatience and apparent uninhibited lack of self control were not just vices, they were symptoms. I've always procrastinated, but I chalked that up to being lazy (as did my teachers, as early as 3rd grade). I hated big projects, but I hadn't yet learned that breaking them down, asking for help, and setting only small goals could help me at least start.

When the school staff brought my mom in for a meeting and put a name to my "extreme impulsivity and laziness," intervention steps were taken and I soared.

Disclaimer: Many people struggle with above issues I have identified as symptoms of an underlying larger problem in myself. I was individually assessed by professionals (and again in college and adulthood) based on the frequency, consistency, and severity of my issues in my personal, professional, and social life. This is not an extensive or complete list of symptoms of ADD, or even a complete list of my own symptoms. If you or someone you know can identify with any or all of these traits, it does NOT mean that person is also suffering from ADD, nor does it mean that because this person do have similar traits and you know he/she does not have ADD that must mean I am exaggerating or faking or was wrongly diagnosed. This information should come from a professional on an individual basis.

It comes as a surprise to some that medicine does not always provide a "quick fix." Many medications have vast and dangerous side effects, not to mention being expensive. It helped me at first, but after time off and starting again, the results were very different. I have recently begun cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been monumental in helping my to understand my disorder, how it really affects me & those around me, and how I can cope in a fast-paced, highly stimulating culture.

I know that it may look silly to have reminders posted in the doorway of what I need to remember to take with me before I leave, my nighttime routine listed in front of me, to-do lists and reminders EVERYWHERE, and always at least one huge project left perpetually untouched. I'm not afraid to ask for help when I need it and I am most aware of what I can take on at a time. So what if I can't sit facing a TV or busy walkway at a restaurant or bar. I'm OK with having a calendar attached to my palm at all times. It's all right that finishing a book is my equivalent to running a 10k. There's nothing wrong with the fact that sometimes I have to ask someone to repeat things because I get distracted (or try to focus too hard on listening and then get lost by their facial features, how I should be more focused, if they can tell I'm not listening, what they think I'm thinking about, etc).

It's still a daily struggle to slow my thoughts, wait my turn, build a routine, or organize anything. But, the first step to overcoming the obstacles is to admit that they are there. It's an uphill battle, but I've got this (...broken down into smaller steps, organized with outside assistance, on reminders posted everywhere, with my accountability man by my side... and I forgot what else).

My name is Justine, and I have Adult ADD.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Five Favorites: Fitness

Linkup for this Wednesday with Mama H! Pretty much my whole exercise routine has been put on hold (or just procrastinated) due to my pregnancy, but even so, I always have a lot of fun getting my blood pumping! These are some of my motivators when I want/need to get moving:

1. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred -  I don't know if I ever went through 30 almost consecutive days of shredding, but my favorite kind of workout is short, intense, and a combination of strength training and cardio. I had similar workout routines when I worked with a trainer, so having the DVD at home is an affordable alternative if there's the space to do it and you don't mind the repetition. I figured out that the rest of her fitness DVD's all build off of the basics that she teaches in this one (and count on the endurance you've apparently built from sticking to it), so although I've owned 3 more of hers, they're way too much for non-committal me. Maybe someday, Jill.

2. Just Dance - Fantastic party game, fun way to burn calories that doesn't feel like work (except in your right arm. Holy cow!). Yes, it's possible to do most of the dances with your remote-holding arm alone (while you veg in a chair or on the couch), but party of not, it's WAY more fun when you get into it. And more calories are burned! And I like to think it makes me a better dancer... there's a lot of room for improvement there.

3. Pacer - Aside from designating time to work out, I'm doing my best to keep moving the rest of the day as well and make taking the stairs and walking the full length of the parking lot (or at least half) a priority. Once a habit it built of staying active, it's a lot easier to keep it up. This was a free pedometer app I found (someday I'll get fitbit!), and although it's not 100% accurate, it's pretty close. Just make sure you have your phone/ipod on your person at all times and the app is running in the background. Gotta make every step count!

4. Juice Plus gummies - Joel and I were introduced to Juice PLus my my wonderful mother-in-law and I don't think I'll ever go back to not taking them. The all-natural fruit and vegetable suppliments don't replace healthy eating, but they help make up what I might miss each day. Especially during pregnancy, I don't want to be cutting any corners when it comes to my health. And they come in gummies, so it's like a fruit snack!

5. Playing - By this, I just mean planning activities that get one off one's ass. For example, I have two adorable nieces in town who LOVE playing at the park. Chasing them around: cardio. Pushing them on the swings: arms (bonus: add squats for a better push and burn in the legs). Joel and I like frisbee, plain old catch with the football, swimming, and riding bikes. Get fresh air if you can; I promise your body will thank you and chances are, you won't regret it.

Until next time!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Real Talk: The Newlywed Game

This is not a post about the TV game show, but about actually figuring out life in the first year of marriage. Exhibit A: Man & woman who met online, dated for 7 months, engaged for 6, and thus far married for 7 months, and expecting a baby before the one year anniversary.... also known as us.

I mean, seriously. Babeatron.
This thought occurred to me after waking up in the morning and waiting for his Royal Cuteness to wake up as well. I savor the mornings with him: we're not rushing around getting ready, stressed about the workday, cleaning up after dinner, planning tomorrow's activities, or distracted by the computer or TV. Because I usually crash at night before Joel, that leaves the time between when the alarm goes off in the morning and when we are forced to get up as my guaranteed, uninterrupted time with the love of my life and 100% of our attention is on each other. My thought process each morning is usually something like, "He's taking too long to wake up, do I have to get up before him? What if he had a horrible nights sleep and it'd just make his morning worse to wake up without me there? Can I get ready without waking him up from the noise? How do I pick out clothes in the dark? Will he want breakfast? What if it's cold by the time he wakes up? ....I should just stay here and wait."

This usually ends in me running late for whatever I was getting up for, but I still can't force myself to get out of bed on time to save my life. I'm assuming this is a common thing and I'm not merely a sap.

Dilemma #2: Separations for more than the workday. With Joel's new job, he'll be traveling for a weekend or two, up to a week, once or twice throughout the month. It hasn't happened yet (he only started there a few weeks ago), and I'm already planning 6947694437 things to do to keep myself occupied in his stead. I'm still not totally used to being with him all the time, but that's a good thing! It's new, fresh, and special, especially with our duet becoming a trio in t-minus 8 weeks (give or take). Do I feel silly telling him I've missed him at the end of a busy day with zero communication since he left? Most of the time, yes. Does it matter in the end? No. He's still getting used to coming home to more than his pet rabbit... and he probably likes it (Update: I asked him, and he does).

I'm working on a list of budget date night ideas, but this post is more or less me sharing my side of what looks like mere sappiness as a result of watching a billion romantic comedies in my lifetime. There is a method to my madness people; I see logic here.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is there is a lot of pressure on us to hurry up and be adults. We're married, starting a family, looking into home-ownership, working at jobs with actual vacation policies instead of summer breaks (well, he's working, but you get my point). We're still newlyweds and kids at heart, and I think that's ok. I'm no expert for for all of you other young newlyweds with big grown-up changes in the first year, I think it's ok to still be newlyweds. Build your blanket forts with courage. Send flirty texts to your spouse with no fear. We're still trying to figure it out. Who isn't?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Favorites: At the Makeup Counter

Linking up with Mama H this week!

These are a few of my morning staples. I rarely leave the house without something on my face. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this routine up once the little one comes, but at least for now it's helping me feel put together in 5 minutes or less (3 min. 42 sec. this morning... I timed it). I'm not going to lie, most of these product I hooked up with by chance, but since then they've been tried and true!

1. Burts Bees Daily Moisturizing Cream - staple for all year round, no matter the skin type

2. Mineral Wear Loose Poweder (translucent medium) - Light enough for summer wear, covers enough to make me feel fresh, and stays on well enough for a loose powder, especially when it's put on immediately after the moisturizer.

3. Covergirl Classic Color Blush (soft mink) - Started as a hand-me-down from my mom, now helps me feel like I've been awake and full of energy even if I got out of bed 15 seconds ago (plus the time it took me to apply favorites 1 & 2).

4. Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Eyeliner (blackest black) - Turns out now I'm WAY picky about liquid eyeliner. A friend of mine showed me how to how to apply it in high school and I don't know if I could ever go back. I accidently bought the wrong brand when I couldn't find my own, and I did NOT get the smooth, crisp, black painted line I had grown accustomed to. When it comes to eyeliner, liquid is the way to go. And for you pencil users, I promise it's way easier to apply than you'd think!

5. Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof (black) - Must have to feel fresh and wide eyed, especially for a pregnant lady who is already lacking in sleep. And waterproof... for the hormones. You get it.

Bonus! Mary Kay Nourishine Plus Lipgloss (cafĂ© au lait) - I received this as a wedding gift from my dear friend/former roommate/wedding pianist/Mary Kay rep. I was looking for something to wear on the big day that was natural looking, just pinker and darker than my own lips, and wouldn't be too much if it started to wear off (or show up on the face of my new husband). This is PERFECT! If you're interested, you can get some from her here.
Final product: (The lighting makes it hard to tell a huge difference, but trust me, it's there!)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with Jen for this belated holiday post! Seven things about my 2014 fourth of July:

1. Most of my family was out of town this holiday, so it ended up being Joel, my brother-in-law Joe, and me. We made big plans to have the most epic of holidays while everyone else was gone, but we were quite limited in our options. Joe is in a cast, I'm 33 weeks pregnant, and Thursday night Joel came down with a fever of 103 and hadn't totally recovered by Friday evening.

2. To pass the time while hubs was sick and resting, I passed the time by catching up with the fam in New York (you'll probably get an account of those charades over in Francine's corner) and planning what we'll do with baby's room once we find out the gender. All I'll say for now is puppy dog tails or glitter! I'll post pictures once we get the room tidied up.

3. Needless to say, we still celebrated with grilled steaks, popsicles, cookies, and the most American movie we could come up with: The Other Guys. We did find time to read the Buzzfeed list of Most American Comebacks... It was a very Patriotic start to the day.

4. We paused the after-dinner movie to catch the local fireworks, which ended up starting half and hour early due to the thunderstorm we didn't know was coming. Hmmm... plan b!

5. We were already on our way to my uncle & aunt's house in town to watch the fireworks (they lived pretty close to the launch site), so we went over anyway and we were warmly greeted with hugs, a campfire (pre-rain), and a tray of cookie bars. It was a delightful close to an unexpected day.

6. Although it's not technically the holiday anymore, we still have cigars (for Joel), a watermelon, glow sticks (leftover from our wedding), and year-old fireworks. Once hubby is feeling better, we've still got a day and a half of weekend left!

7. All right, it looks like I'm out of holiday-themed takes... here's hoping the rain stops and it's hot enough for the pool today. Happy belated Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When I grow up, I want to be a cool mom

I've always known exactly what I wanted to be as an adult. Kindergarten me wanted to be a teacher, high school me wanted to be a youth minister, college me wanted to be a perpetual college student, and late college me wanted to be a chastity speaker. Three of these four dreams came true (unfortunately being a perpetual philosophy/theology student costs an arm and a leg... and probably your firstborn child, I decided to come back to that one). But all along, I've wanted to be a wife (check) and a mother (check).

It wasn't until pregnancy that I decided to set the bar higher. Not only do I want to be a mom, but I want to be an effortlessly cool mom wearing practical but fashion forward casual outfits, carting around happy kids, loving on my hot husband, and maintaining some semblance of social life on the side. Challenge accepted!

So, I'm definitely one of those creepers that will see someone around me and just be like "Dang, yo, that person looks way cool." My best friend and I became friends because she and I each saw each other, instantly wanted to become friends, but were too scared to talk to each other because neither of us wanted to look like an idiot (which later turned into subtle resentment, mutual friends making us hang out alone, shoe shopping, and we've been peanut butter and jelly ever since. Unfortunately, I never get the courage to actually talk to some of these fine ladies (because they're so cool!) but I secretly want to pull off motherhood like they can.

I know this is a tall order, especially given the fact our little one isn't here yet, and with each kid comes less mommy time and, depending on my priorities each day, something will have to go undone. I get that. I'm most likely going to get overwhelmed in 7.5 weeks (give or take), especially hoping for perfection and immediately settling into motherhood, but for now I'm going to enjoy my disillusion and order more cute clothes online for when I'm finally out of maternity clothes.

And for all of you moms out there: keep rocking it. You're an inspiration to the rest of us.
Bad example, but still. You get it.