Celebrating 12 years of life

On July 31, I took my daughter and six of her friends to spend the day at Infinity on the Beach to celebrate her birthday. All in all we had a great time. 7109047_28_zFrom our arrival to departure we were treated well and while there were a few hiccups along the way, including a mix up about lunch, everything was handled with such professionalism and class that we will definitely be returning.

The receptionist, Nahlia, was pleasant and not once did she show irritation when confronted with the number of guests checking in and out; persons making strange requests and managing the telephone. There was a constant flow of traffic and she kept her composure even when the pressure was on. For that alone, we commend her. I also want to commend Jennifer who assisted us during lunch along with the team during the buffet! Excellent staff is another bonus.

Best feature……there are two pools. Both were clean and nice with one being 3 feet in depth and the other 4’4″ in depth. Perfect for 12 year old girls to play in safely without a parent worrying about them having to stay from the deep end.

Lunch was delicious. There was a Sunday buffet and we were all accommodated with a tasty meal, having a choice of one each starch, meat, salad and a soft drink. We were entertained to the sounds of steelpan music and I could hear the kids singing along even though the songs were oldies!13879246_1045387622163739_5995996734252648249_n

I have to say that this was probably one of the nicest experiences, I have had for a while and would definitely return to this establishment again. Thanks to Renee Coppin and her team for making my daughter’s 12th birthday such a hit.

The girls did not want to leave but we had another venue to visit for mini golf. Another birthday, another party and it was a success.

Day pass rates: Adults – $74 ($34 redeemable in the restaurant), Children – $37  ($17 redeemable in the restaurant).

If you are looking for a day pass without the hassle, check out Infinity on the Beach!

 

School is in session….

labimg_870_Back-to-school-minionsToday marked the first day of the school term and I picked up both children from their grandparents. As they entered the car and buckled their seat belts, I turned to ask them each how their respective day was.

The 11YO has a project to make a musical instrument, a history project to complete and an art project that she needed to print ASAP. The 8YO just replied that it was fine and basically shut down.

As we approached the house and parked the car the 8YO suddenly came to life. “Mummy”, he chirped, “We had art today, and you will never guess what happened”. Of course I am dreading asking but knowing that if I don’t he will just continue uninterrupted. So I asked “what happened?”

“The Art teacher asked us to put our heads on the desk for 10 minutes so we could think about what we wanted to draw”, he stated, continuing excitedly, “but the whole class fell asleep including me”.

I swear some teachers have the best ways to deal with children. School is definitely in session!

It’s Hard, Sometimes….

 

black-and-white-person-woman-girl-largeIt’s hard, sometimes, to be in a place alone; where no one knows who you are. They don’t know the same jokes you do. Nor do they understand you and what you stand for.

It’s hard, sometimes, to face unfriendly faces every day, when all you would rather do is run far away, but know that you have 11 years more to endure. When the very people who went through the bad times, rebuke you for freedom.

It’s hard, sometimes, when you face ugly words that make you feel so bad about yourself, that you start believing them. Even when you know it’s meant to hit at your most vulnerable spots.

It’s hard, sometimes, to wipe tears from your eyes every time you do drop offs because a piece of your heart is torn away as you see those pieces of your heart crying too.

It’s hard, sometimes, when there is no one in the new world who can champion your causes; fight your battles; wipe your tears and show someone that wrongs you, that they will stand up for you.

It’s hard, sometimes, to face every day with fear and wonder when the next battle will start. When all you want is peace and the chance to get on with things. Yet, daily there are snide remarks, undeserved comments at every turn that make you question your relevance. Some of these from unwanted circles.

It’s hard, sometimes, when you continuously take the high road, to be pulled into verbal assaults. The ones that you tried to escape legally, but still linger uncivilly.

It’s hard, sometimes, to be strong for everyone but not having anyone to be strong for you. To fight the battles of a life gone day in and day out but never seem to win. When no one cares that you did your best and regardless of the failure, it was best for everyone. Yet no one seems to understand why.

It’s hard, sometimes, to see your Cain fighting private battles of will and struggling to keep it together. All you can do is pray that year two will be better than year one and plan for the future.

It’s hard, all the time, to just know that regardless of what everyone thinks they know, they don’t really know, what you know. So while you are judged by a jury of your peers, they have not walked in your shoes, so they don’t know how small a size they were. They don’t know how good it feels to finally find a pair that fits perfectly; that lets your feet forget pain.

Do you know what? It’s easy to claim victim, but it’s hard to stand up and admit your wicked heart. It’s hard to accept responsibility and easy to shift blame. To walk around like the world owes you and your family but destroy someone at every turn with words and actions that belong on the playground.

It was hard to walk away, but it easy to leave!

New Year, New Resolution

fire worksEvery time we celebrate a New Year, I remind myself that I am not making any resolutions and this year is no different. I didn’t plan to make any. In fact, I forgot as I was busy finishing a ham for a get together, trying to complete some end of year work that I had backed up and getting ready for New Year’s Eve service.

However, on quiet reflection, after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I thought why can’t I make a few resolutions. Not the cookie cutter ones like lose weight, save money, eat healthier; but I could make resolutions that can improve my life. So here they are:

Resolution #1: Start family game night. We have designated Wednesday evenings as the night and did it over the holidays. This is one way to reconnect as a family for a couple of hours. No television. No cell phone. No landline calls. It is scheduled in my calendar and the children have a host of games to play from Jenga to Uno we have it covered.

Resolution #2: Take up the saving plan of saving in $1 increments every week for 52 weeks. Okay so this is a bit cookie cutter but when I saw this online, I thought “maybe I can do this”.

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Resolution #3: Read more. I have not read a book in over three years. I recently started reading the last book in the Crossfire series and I am about half way. I got bored. This never happened to me! I think it was culture shock – not the content of the novel but my inability to sit still for a couple of hours and lose myself in a book. So I am taking up this challenge!

Goodreads

Resolution #4: Become more charitable. I read a story of a father who purchased items at the Dollar Store (in Barbados, it will be the $3+ store) and filled Ziploc bags with them in case he ever met a homeless person who needed a meal or assistance. I thought why not go a step further and purchase items that I can give all year round. This is a work in progress but I plan to really work on this and maybe do a donation at year’s end.

Resolution #5: Spend more time discovering who I am both spiritually and personally. I recently helped coach a client for a job interview and asked her “Tell me about yourself”. She could not answer me. How many of us can answer that question? It got me asking myself “Just who are you?”. This year will be for me to learn that. I can love again without being afraid. I can let my children have their own experiences while I let go of my fear that something bad will happen if I don’t watch them 24/7. I can grow, mature and find me again.

These are my top five resolutions in random order. Did you make any? What are yours? Tell me by emailing girlinterruptedtoo@gmail.com

The Good, Bad and Ugly of My Gluten Free Life

It’s been about 8 weeks since my son was put on this gluten free diet and I have to say, without a doubt, that there have been moments during this time where I have prayed for patience and for some wheat! Let’s take a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of my Gluten Free Life!

GOOD: My son is asthmatic and after being diagnosed with a chest infection we found out, that he had certain allergies that were affecting him. We removed the various foods that were causing him discomfort and since then he has improved a lot physically. I have found tons of great gluten free, dairy free, egg free products in the supermarket – wraps, chocolate chip cookies, cereal, chips to name a few. Plus he has a better selection of fruit and vegetables than before and a love/hate relationship with cassava and sweet potato!

BAD: When this whole thing started, I promised my son that I would eat whatever he was eating in solidarity. That was a bad idea. Never make promises your Gluten loving body can’t keep!!!!  I ended up cheating on the diet daily and hiding it from him. The worse thing about this dual world I have been living was the guilt.

Another bad was the unlimited amounts of whining that he did. I spent countless hours, when he was visiting his dad, with him calling me and complaining about the fact that he was hungry because he could not have a roti! Mind you, he just ate ten minutes ago! It seemed like an emotional roller coaster. After six weeks, I had had enough! I sat him down and told him that while I understood his frustration, he has to understand that it’s stressful on everyone. Maybe he got the message, because I no longer get the whiny calls.

UGLY: The worse part was me trying to make the world’s best bread. After trying three different types of flour, countless hours in the kitchen and spending over $100 on various types of Gluten Free flour, I realize that this was not the calling for me. For instance, I tried to make Gluten Free bread. It just never worked. I tried coconut flour, all purpose flour, tried both together. Nothing. I even complained to one Gluten Free company about one of their recipes online and they admitted that the recipe didn’t work in their test kitchen either (you don’t say). They send me two boxes of the same flour that didn’t work!

So I decided to purchase Gluten Free bread….after all, how bad could it be!!!!! The brand I tried tasted so terrible and made me itch so badly that I needed an antihistamine. After spending BBD$28 I would say that qualifies for the worlds most expensive bread! No bread for him! Sorry!

Of course, I know several people who don’t have this issue with Gluten Free flour so I know it must just be me. I have decided to make “bakes” for now using sweet potato flour and that works just fine!

I am no longer hiding my gluten addiction from my son! We try to make his meals similar to ours and he’s quite happy! It’s been about 8 weeks and life is moving along.

Are there any parents out there who have children with gluten sensitivity? I would love to hear your experiences.

Girl Interrupted Stars in “My Gluten Free Life”

Day four of my G20151028_063812FL actually brought some positive news and for the first time I saw my 8YO excited about food again. I made him 3 bakes this morning using the Orgran GF All purpose flour, cinammon, baking powder, salt and a bit of Splenda. Then I made applesauce using half of a gala apple, cinammon and a touch of Splenda. The applesauce burned as did the bakes but but was still tasty. He washed the bakes down with a cup of peppermint tea and was happy and perky to have something decent, albeit burned, to eat.

For lunch, they had brown rice (which is gluten free) with pigeon peas and baked chicken. The one thing I found out is that Worcestershire Sauce (item I use a lot of) contains vinegar as an ingredient, which the 8YO is allergic to. So I have to remember in the future to remove that from my pantry. Label reading is now an official sponsor of MGFL!!!

The one thing going GF has shown me is that there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Both kids are on board in a big way. They have decided to set their alarms to get up early and prepare meals with me and while I prefer working in solitude, I can’t kill their enthusiasm. It’s rather touching and hopefully will inspire them to create their own recipes. The lesson in this seems to be no matter the adversity, you can overcome it with determination and hard work.

Now if only there was something to stop them from squabbling….life could just be perfect.

Girl Interrupted Stars in “My Gluten Free Life”

It has been three days since our family switched to Gluten free living and I have to admit that I needed a day to cope with all of the stuff going through my head. What could I cook? How to cook it? When to cook it? In a nutshell, we have to send food to the school for my 8YO as most things offered are filled with gluten and are cooked with parsley, thyme and carrots. Things he cannot eat! However, this gluten free living is driving me a little batty!!!

My 8YO has become obsessed with food and he has also become a big nag! Yes, I said it. We took the gluten away and now it has been replaced with a gluttonous nag! Yesterday he insisted that I send him the list of things he cannot eat AND a list of things he CAN eat (like I don’t have enough to do). I then had to send the same list to his father and grandmother because these two high functioning adults can’t relate to the fact that if the list says these are the items he can’t eat, everything else is fair game. So, my gluten free mind was peeved when I had to explain to the grandmother why she could not give him mayonnaise…..it’s made with eggs…..he’s allergic……..don’t give him! Was my impassioned cry.

Let me say this! Gluten free baking is not for the fainthearted. I tried to make bread and followed the recipe which I mentioned in a previous blog. After my disaster, I decided to email the manufacturer who informed me that I would have had to add baking powder or bicarbonate soda in order for the bread to rise. Isn’t that what yeast is for? Clearly that was not in the recipe. So I have lodged a complaint with their technical department and expect a resolution in 14-21 days!

Breakfast was a battle the kids were down by their father last night. I received a telephone call from my 11YO who asked me to speak to the 8YO who did not want to eat the Gluten free oats for breakfast. As I tried to remember that we are all adjusting I told the grandmother “if he doesn’t want the oats, DON’T GIVE HIM! Let him get some tea and eat some plantain”. She seemed to think I was a monster for “starving her precious grandchild but I was in no mood to deal with her tantrum at 6am while I was trying to get ready for work.

For lunch he had sweet potato and beef and then his grandmother made him GF pasta with pink salmon for dinner (yuck) which was eaten on the way home and still had room for a bowl of fresh fruit and a watermelon smoothie with raw honey.

On the upside, the 8YO has been researching recipes and we are making pancakes for breakfast with applesauce and brown rice with chicken for lunch. I am looking for gluten free wraps which he can have for dinner with chicken in peanut sauce. I have Krys to thank for that tip who has been a sounding board of support and gave so many tips I think my head spun twice! The other good thing is that GFL has sharpened the reading skills of the 8YO. Going to the supermarket is an adventure as we had straight for the Specialty aisle and he reads everything and tells me what to buy.

The journey continues and it’s going to have its ups and downs but we are a few days in with a long way to go. How will we make it? Continue to follow my blog and chart this journey of Gluten Free Living with us.

Until next time, I am Girl Interrupted.

Girl Interrupted “My Gluten Free Life”

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It’s day two of my Gluten Free Life (GFL) and I have to say that if I had to rely on doing without gluten for my health I would starve. First off, I decided to buy Gluten Free all purpose flour so that I could bake the world’s best GF bread. I went on the website for Orgran and found a nice recipe that seemed simple enough to follow. What the recipe DOES NOT tell us newbs is that the flour feels very sticky and you can’t get it off until you wash it off. I baked it for the allotted 30-35 minutes and the center was STILL wet. I have never had this much trouble with flour yet! It behaves just like my 8YO and that is not a compliment. My bread did not look like this one………..*sour grapes* NB:

Needless to say, I will not be using this flour again. I have instead found Ezekiel bread in the frozen section of the supermarket and will be buying that for future reference. It would be nice to keep trying until I get it right……but at $15 a box….I might as well purchase already done bread and spare myself the heart break.

Five Things About Being Single (at 40)

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No one ever gives you a manual for life. In fact you just kinda wing it and hopefully you make the best decision at the time for all concerned. As the New Year started, I realized that I needed to make a very major change in my life before I turned 40 and that was asking my husband, of nine years, for a divorce! It was not an easy decision but when all you have are more pain than laughter you know it is over. There was no third party involved. It just was not working. I wanted to move on and be done with it.

Here are five things that I discovered no one ever tells you about being single when you are 40.

1. You are single – Yes, even when you are separated and you know it, the painful reminder that you are suddenly single comes up at the most inopportune time. Like the first week after I had moved out, I had to kill a centipede all on my own. Scared as hell, I did it anyway, because I could no longer call on my husband to do it. Do you know what I discovered? I didn’t need to. I killed that sucker and left the remains for the birds!!!!

The other things no one reminds you about being single is that irregardless of what you think, it does get easier, even when it was your decision to be single. You will be happy again one day. Your children will not hate you. Your in-laws are not as important as they think. Life does go on. You are free to choose the next path!

2. Children – Your children either become very distant or they cling tightly. In my case it was the latter.

The children lived through the horrible arguments and I knew it was unfair to subject them to it for much longer. So I not only asked for the divorce, I moved out three months later.

I never asked them to choose sides, but every time I dropped them by their dad for his visitation time, they would get a sad look in their eyes. Whenever they came home, it was hours of clinging and hugs and kisses.

I had suggested a 4/3 split of the week with my ex and that worked out fine but the days alone were hard. The silence was deafening.

The first night was the hardest, but it got easier by the second night. On the third night, I was wondering how the hell I never realized how much fun it was to be alone. Reality hit when I realized that the children were returning the next night.

3. Peace – The quiet at night was great after the third night. I no longer had to come home to tension in the house or face harsh words because of my decision to live a separate life.

The routine at my house was bedtime during the week was 8:30pm and on weekends by 9:30pm. The kids no longer resisted bed time, they did assigned chores without fuss and generally we have a peaceful existence.

In fact, I would say that I had very little reason to quarrel with the children and it was unnerving! There was a good chance, I created many opportunities to yell at them but they never took me on. #MajorErr

4. Friends – It is difficult to move on with your life while you wait for the year long separation to end and the divorce proceedings to begin. However, you find that your friends are the best resources to lean on during these tough times.

Never be afraid to ask for help. When someone says to you “if you need anything, ask”, you should do it. This was my saving grace on many nights during the first two weeks after I had moved out. Whether it was a lift somewhere or a telephone call to talk about the weather, laughter with friends (and children) become the best medicine in the world and healing can begin.

5. Dating – No one tells you what to expect when you start to see someone new. Times have changed so much from 10 years ago with so many ways to communicate that it is virtually impossible not to speak to a love interest.

The main lesson I learned about dating while newly single is that it has its moments. You are faced with insecurities and fears that have to be tempered all the time. A bit of self doubt creeps in and you worry about the first time this new person sees you naked!

In any event, the best advice is to take it slowly and enjoy the time because when you least expect it you may find someone you least expect to be that special person in your life. Now that I am ready to date, I am hoping either Shemar Moore or Mark Wahlberg will also become single so we can have a chat!!!!

I don’t proclaim to know the answers to everything, but these five things helped me to make steady progress during the separation phase. By the time I had moved out, there was no crying, no remorse, no hard feelings. Just a relief that I was finally out from the regimen of the slow death of the marriage. Watching it die was more painful that leaving. Harsh, but true.

Look out for more Girl Interrupted as she blogs about her newly single status! Catching the bus! Doing drop the kids drop off! Lots to talk about. I had to take a break to work through this process before I could even discuss it in public!

Happy to say that it’s a work in progress and I am still here.

Anyone out there facing similar situations can email at girlinterruptedtoo@gmail.com. I would love to hear your stories.

Girl Interrupted stars in “My Gluten Free Life”

We all think that our children will be perfect and nothing bad could touch them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. My second child (better known as the 8YO) has had everything in the book – from night terrors to thumb sucking and asthma.

Last week the 8YO was hospitalized with a chest infection. Yesterday, on the insistence of his paternal grandmother, we took him to a Complementary doctor who did a blood sample and showed us how his body is actually out of balance. Thankfully, there were no issues with his blood but we had to do an allergy test.

The allergy test was conducted and as it turns out it seems that we have been feeding the child toxins all these years, not intentionally, but unknowingly. Here are the major things he’s allergic to:-

Squash, Airborne allergens (plant based), vinegar based stuff, detergents (he can only use hypoallergenic – Dreft and Ivory come to mind), thyme, tomatoes (no ketchup or BBQ sauce), dill, eggplant (night shade foods), saccharine, PORK, CURRY powder (how is this not encoded into his DNA), cat hair, peaches, penicillin, string beans, pollen, oranges, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, SHELLFISH, Codfish, pasteurized milk, malt, carrots, PARSLEY, radish, EGGS!

We have to clean his mattress every week with tea tree oil, lavender and baking soda, sprinkle, leave for a few hours and then vacuum. The mattress also needs to be turned every week.

We have to eliminate all of the above food items for 4-6 weeks. We can then reintroduce some of the foods (no gluten) one at a time (just like he’s a newborn) to see which are His vitamins and minerals are low and he is gluten sensitive! She re-balanced his system (something to do with histamines).

So like any Type A parent, we headed for the Natural food stores to purchase everything Gluten related because I have to support my “baby”. I bought Coconut flour, gluten free oats, a few natural fruit juice boxes and loads of fruit. It’s amazing when we shopped how some products will say gluten free but contain sugar or an ingredient from the list above that he could not eat. This made shopping depressing but I did put a positive spin to it.

Cooking gluten free will take some getting used to. Breakfast was interesting to say the least. He hated the oats because he could not have any sweetener and I have never actually cooked oats (I always bought instant) so it was not perfect. I tried my hand at coconut banana bread but that coconut flour will take some getting used to…..it was grainy and did not come out perfect. The 8YO still ate a couple slices but I almost gagged on taste….great smell though. After the failed Gluten morning, I gave him some watermelon and cantaloupe which he gladly devoured. Thankfully, lunch was much better. We both had a simple meal of sweet potato with lemon pepper chicken.

In between lunch and dinner he started to feel a bit sad because he has all these other snacks that he can’t eat. However, I took him for a drive and that cheered him up a bit. For dinner, we had a cup of lemon grass tea sans sugar and he actually drank it (I supported him and drank tea sans sweetener) and it was not bad. We had a bit of microwave popcorn (which contains milk, so no more of that) while watching a movie.

After the movie, my 8YO looked for recipes on his own to make Gluten pancakes without eggs. We found a great recipe and if I am brave enough (and it looks good) I will post about it.

Check out this blog for more on “My Gluten Free Life” as I track and try to remove Gluten from my diet to support my son. If you have any tips (or good recipes) please share them here.

Until next time, I am Girl Interrupted “My Gluten Free Life”