As long as I can remember I have always wanted to sponsor a child in Africa. I see and hear all the horrible stories of what the lives are like for many in Africa. It has always tugged at me, but what can I do to help? Well, we watched the movie Hotel Rwanda about a month ago. Its about the genocide that happened in Rwanda during the late nineties. Thousands were brutally murdered including children. But they were able to finally chase the rebels out who committed these crimes. Then about two weeks ago I heard that the same thing only in a much larger scale has been happening in the neighboring Congo. Again thousands are being killed but yet I had never heard of this before which I find odd. Is this not news worthy? I don’t pretend to know too much about politics but I find it insane that the US has not put a stop to this. One can only assume it has to do with the race of the people being killed. I hate to think that is the reason.
So anyway this has been on my mind a lot lately. Probably because I have kids of my own and I hate to think about the horrors those kids are going through. So I made it a priority to do my part for at least one kid. One of the reasons I have never done this before is because you never know what charities you can trust these days. How much of my donation actually goes to help these kids? After research I heard about the One Foundation. They are rallying Washington to increase funding to Africa, which they were successful in doing. At their website I found that they partner with the Save the Children Foundation. 90% of your money goes to the kids. Only 6% to fundraising and 4% to Management. Your donation is $28 a month, only $336 dollars a year. Not bad for what it does. I figure we can save this easily by eating out one less day a month. We eat out way too much anyway.
So last night I went online, picked out our kid and signed up to be his sponsor. Meet Moussa. He is an 8 year old boy in the Mali Region of Africa. We already have two girls so I figured this wouId be our little boy. Isn’t he absolutely adorable. Just look at those eyes and smile. I did my research. Mali is near the countries of Niger and Algeria. It is one of the poorest countries in the world where 125 infants out of every 1,000 die soon after birth. 2% of the population has AIDS. We will be getting letters from Moussa so it will be interesting to see how he lives.
Now next, I really want to sponsor a little girl from Bangledesh. The ones I saw online were absolutely adorable. If anyone is looking for a birthday or Christmas gift for me that would be it. I really don’t need anything else crowding up my house.
I thought I had better do a little update on my 3 per week excercise sessions so you all didn’t think I quit. I am starting week 4 this week and still going strong. I just started to actually lose weight during week 3, finally! Only two pounds so far but I am noticing a slight change in my body in various places. I think I am starting to slowly lose the fat but replacing it with what people call muscle. You see my body has never seen this thing you call muscle before so we are entering into new ground here. Cindy, my trainer, says she often does not see weight loss until about week four so I am right on target.
I have also finally gotten to the stage where I actually enjoy excercise and feel better after the workouts. I have always heard people say this happens, but this has never happened to me before. In my previous lame attempts I was so tired and grumpy after workouts that I soon quit them all together. I definitely think having the trainer who actually knows what you are supposed to be doing is the world of difference for me. Definitely more out of the pocketbook, but well worth it in the end.
As an added plus I have been able to slowly add some veggies to my diet without cramping up Reagan’s stomach. I have only had the guts to try plain salads with maybe a few tomatoes but that seems to work. I dare not add anything more just yet. But I have cut out most sweets and don’t seem to crave as much food anymore. Which is probably contributing to the couple of pounds lost. Don’t worry, I am still eating lots in order to nurse Reagan but have been able to change what I eat just a little to hopefully make a difference. Now if I could just drop that one soda a day I would be set. You can’t take everything away from me at once. I think the one soda is deserved and can stay. It is caffeine free at least.
Let me start off by saying. I HATE dealing with hospitals and insurance companies. That said, I got a bill from the hospital saying we owe money on Reagan’s birth. First off, our insurance Cigna pays 100% of all preganancy and birth bills. Second, I have the insurance explanation of benefits in my hand and it says they paid 100% of the bill. Then as I look on, I notice that the hospital billed the insurance twice for my part of the birth and the Cigna paid it twice. The second billing just had some additional charges added to the same ones already billed and paid. So, I call the hospital. Tell them that I have the papers on Reagan and the entire bill was already paid. In fact, it says in bold that patient owes nothing. I am then told that the hospital is saying the bill was for one amount but the insurance is showing it submitted for another amount. Hospital amount is higher so they want me to pay difference. Um, NO! After more fighting she sees that there were additional charges added about two weeks after my stay that were not submitted to insurance. Better yet, she had no idea what the charge was for. So, she wants me to call insurance company to see if they know of charge. Ok, how would they know, but I’ll call.
Next, I tell them about the double paying of my bill. She looks in her computer, sees the double payment and it shows a credit on my account due to Cigna. She then tells me that I have to call Cigna and tell them to ask the hospital for the credit amount back to them. OK, this is my responsibilty how? I call the insurance company.
I am first supposed to tell them about additional bill on Reagan to see if they received it. Nope. They want me to call back hospital and submit new charges. Second I tell them about my double payment. She also sees double payment on her end. She then tells me it is responsibilty of hospital to send them credit. But, hospital just told me the opposite. Nothing she can do just call hospital.
Ok, I call back hospital. They will submit additional charges on Reagan, done. Onto double payment. I tell her Cigna says it is your responsibilty to send them the credit due. Makes absolute sense to me, right? The girl actually laughed at me and literally said. Yeah right, we are just supposed to send back the money without them requesting it. They have to ask for it first. Ok, what world do you live in lady. Screw you all. I am out of this. I was trying to do the right thing and let Cigna know about this double payment. You always hear about the rising cost of medical bills and how it is breaking the insurance companies. I have called you both. Told you of this double payment, and neither of you give a crap. Hospital thinks they can just keep it. Cigna doesn’t care if they get it back. We are talking about $7000 bucks here. Seems like someone should care about it. I am just keeping records of everything. If they ever say I’ve reached a limit or something I can throw this in their face. Though, they probably won’t listen.
WIth Syd, it was the opposite. Blue Cross wouln’t pay the bill for some reason even though covered by the plan. This was much worse. It took me calling the hospital and Blue Cross over and over for a good 6 months before they would pay. Ended up just being some typo by girl submitting claim. At some point you would think the hospital could just call the insurance or vice versa. This middle man just starts to get ridiculous. No wonder people finally go in with the guns on these things.
This past weekend I discovered a new weight loss plan and thought I should pass it on to you. You must follow my directions exactly or it may not work for you. First, go to Red Robin and order a turkey burger for dinner. Once you get the burger take notice that the inside of the burger looks peachy colored meaning it is not cooked fully. Then tell yourself you are just being paranoid since you don’t really like eating meat anyway and tend to be overly picky with it. So just eat the thing. Phase one done.
Next, wake up the next morning and just shrug off those weird stomach feelings as hunger and eat some cereal. Take kids to the local festival where it is 102 degrees and sweat your a** off. Notice the stomach gurgling, headaches, and lack of appetite but just ignore them once more. Finally head home and spend the next several hours on the toilet completely cleaning out your insides. Very important step here. Try to lay down between baby feedings and take notice that you are absolutely freezing even though the thermostat says your room is 80 degrees and you are covered in blankets. Finally put two and two together and take your temperature. Mine spiked at 102, it was just a coincidence that this was the outside temperature that day. Your temp could vary slightly. Take hot bath to sweat a little then lay down again. Phase two complete.
Finally, ask hubby to take kids and lay down for the night. Notice that now you are feeling clamy, no longer freezing, and will constantly wake up in cold sweats. Wake up next morning still feeling queazy in the stomach but overall much better. Your temperature should now be back to normal. Next you need a good shower to make you feel better. Oh, and don’t forget to accidently shit in the shower. This was my favorite part. Phase three complete.
Finally, get kids ready and head downtown for lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Your food will probably have no taste at this point which is a shame because their food is so good. You will only be able to stomach a few bites anyway. Head over to the theatre for the live showing of Dora the Explorer’s Pirate Adventure. Note, you may have some nervousness about crapping your pants during the show, but this did not happen to me, luckily. Phase Four, the final step, is now complete.
I know many of you are thinking this all sounds good except Phase Four. You may think about skipping this phase. But how could you? This was Syd’s first show ever. And it was her idol, Dora and all her friends. We even had VIP tickets. About 4 rows from the stage. It was a little nerve racking but very worth it. Her little face just lit up when Dora came on stage. “Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Doh.” Too precious to miss.
Oh and I forgot. Wake up next morning for workout with personal trainer. This one consisting of trade offs between weights and kickboxing. Sure to give you a slight headache and plently of heavy breathing. But you should feel pretty much back to normal by day three. This plan results in a pretty miserable weekend for you. But I gaurantee you will lose a couple of pounds. Worth it to you?
So today is the end of week one with the personal trainer. How did I do? Let’s see, I gained two pounds. Not the way to motivate one after all that work. Has to be the carb diet but not much you can do about that when nursing a new baby. I am going to try to bring the salads back in though. I will start pretty plain and if that goes over well with her I will add the veggies. I am hoping it is one of the toppings on the salad not the lettuce itself that gives her the stomach aches. Cross your fingers. My body is craving veggies but don’t want to put the kid through horrible stomach cramps just to lose a few pounds. The amount of food I need is also amazing. I am not only feeding myself but add nursing a baby and the working out and I am starving all the time. Hopefully she will let me eat the salads then the weight should hopefully start coming off slowly. I could use a dietician and private chef but let’s not get carried away here with the hired help.
My neighbor can’t do Friday workouts anymore so we had to change the schedule to Mon, Wed, & Thurs. Not too happy about that but what do you do? After the Thursday workout my arms were like spaghetti. I was in the shower and my arms did not want to listen to what I was telling them to do. Tried to soap up my upper chest and arms but the arms just didn’t want to be raised above my waist. Very weird feeling. I attribute spaghetti arms to two days in a row of weights, especially the benchpress and rows. I never dreamed I would ever do a benchpress but look ma, I did it! The arms were back to normal by dinnertime, no worries.
Ok, one weird question for you all out there who do some weightlifting. Do the leg lifts give you a strong urge to pee or is that just me? Every time I lay down on that bench and lift the weights I am quietly praying that my bladder holds on. Wouldn’t that just be my luck to piss all over my neighbor’s basement. Wouldn’t I be the talk of the neighborhood.
Ok, so I am working on the weight issue as already explained. What’s next? My horribly crooked smile. I finally bit the bullet and had a consultation with an orthodontist last week. I think he was mortified that I waited this long to see him. I explained that I had braces when I was a teenager but it didn’t take. The doctor had tried to expand my jaw to make room then I had the actual braces for less then a year. This all resulted in horrible TMJ with my jaw completly locking up twice and the teeth all moved back. My jaw ached so much and kept trying to move back in that it made my retainer very painful to wear. Thus resulting in horrible migraines. So I finally let it go.
Anyway, this doc said I need at least 10 mm of additional space to accomodate the teeth I have. And there is no way you could stretch your jaw this much. It cannot grow this much so it would just go right back to where it was. I can only get the room I need by pulling some teeth. Ahh, this makes perfect sense to me. My high school orthodontist was an idiot. He always ignored me when I told him about my jaw pain so I knew something was wrong with his plan.
Next month I go in for complete skeletal x-rays and mouth molds. He then takes a million measurements and figures out the plan of action. Then the braces go on for about two years. Unfortunately, the clear braces are not as smooth as the metal ones so your mouth takes longer to get used to them and they cut more. They also cost about $700 more. But, I can’t imagine 2 years of metal mouth as an adult. So I am going to just live through the pain for clear braces. I think my hubby would be able to live with those much better as well. Though the metal ones just might take him back to the day we met.
Since giving birth to kid number two I have topped the scales at an all time high on weight. I can’t fit into any of the fat clothes I bought after Syd. I am carrying an extra 20 pounds more then after having Syd which is a huge difference and the weight is driving me crazy. Reagan gets serious tummy aches whenever I eat any kind of vegetable including salads. So my diet consists of mostly pasta, fruit, cheese and some chicken. Not very low on the carbs and definitely not too high on protein since I don’t eat any meat but small amounts of chicken. Don’t seem to be losing any weight with just my daily routine so time to get serious. So, I hired a professional trainer to come to my house Monday, Wednesday and Friday to whip me into shape. This seemed like the best option since the gym nurseries won’t take kids under two. And if left to excercise on my own I would just never get around to it, always have an excuse, sound familar to many of you?
So my first day was yesterday on the 4th. I was really dreading it since I thought it would be too hard. But, wouldn’t you know that I actually enjoyed the workout. I think the key is having a good trainer. Cindy is really nice, not too pushy with you and keeps you motivated. As an extra incentive, I am splitting the session with a neighbor so we can spit the cost and motivate each other to keep going. I wouldn’t want to be embarassed by quitting and leaving her solo. I feel real good today but am slightly sore in my forearms from the weightlifting.
Here are a few things I have learned for all of you out there in my position. Cindy teaches several postnatal workout classes so she knows what I can and can’t do right now. My main focus is abs, lower back (with the lovely fat roles…thanks Reagan), cardio and overall toning. Desired weight loss is about 40 pounds. This would put me at about 130…yep that’s 170 now for all of you slow with the math. I can’t do any type of abdominal crunches or sit-ups until Reagan is 6 months old. Cindy said this is the biggest mistake many women make after having the kid. Your abdominal muscles were stretched and torn so much with the pregnancy that now they are just trying to repair themselves. If you stress them out now they will just develop scar tissue. Resulting in a pouch which you will never be able to get rid of no matter how many crunches you do. So instead I am doing excercises to work on my sides and lower back to get my abdomen ready for those crunches in 4 months. So for now I am doing planks daily. These suck! Look easy but very hard to hold. Can’t explain what they are but they suck. I am also doing some kickboxing which I absolutely love. And then I do my cardio-weightlifting routine, along with other stuff, 3 days a week with Cindy. Off days I am supposed to walk a lot to get the heartbeat going. But, with the heat outside right now this has not yet been happening. Again, I have excuses. I will work on that one.
Anyway, for now I am enjoying the workouts. Let us hope this is how I continue to think about them. All I have to do is think about the tent I would have to wear as a bathing suit this November in Mexico or this January on the cruise and then I get real motivated.