Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rockin' Our Way Into the New Year

The Symington Family welcomes its newest member: Rock Band 2!  RB2 was given as a Christmas gift to Quentin, and we are all having so much fun with it! As I type this my mom is singing "Psycho Killer" (She's a very good vocalist) and Dad is trying out guitar for the first time, doing awesome, and Troy is rocking out on hard on the drums. 

Earlier I sang a Paramore song on Rock Band, thinking it was on medium, and it was soooo hard, and I was confused because I had done this song really well before on medium. When we finished and Quentin was laughing I realized Quentin had sneakily put it on Expert! (I got 86%). I may have thrown a pillow or two at him. 

In any case, this is the most fun I've had with my family in a while! Yay!

PS I just sang Conventional Lover which is HILARIOUS, it keeps referencing Star Trek with Deep Space Nine and Pon Farr!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wondering . . . (AKA My Oversharing: Let Me Share It With You)

. . . if there is a way to physically share the feelings of exactly how sucky it is to have IBS and period cramps and how amplify each other and then radiate down your knees and around to your back and then back again.

I spent the morning curled into a ball on the couch with a heating pad on my abdomen, (but not too high or I felt nauseated), snarling at anybody who talked to me, hating IBS and the fact that your period makes IBS symptoms worse which was definitely obvious, goddammit.


. . . for a fast-food burger? Satisfied.

Guess who had the Carl's Jr. Famous Star burger? TWICE? (I scraped off the mayo.) They were the most delicious burgers I have ever tasted. They didn't even really upset my stomach!

. . . for chocolate? Satisfied. I keep nibbling on a chocolate almond bar. (The idea is veeeery small amounts so it doesn't upset my tummy.)

. . . for gingerbread men? Satisfied. I baked homemade gingerbread men (okay, they were hearts, not men) and iced them and they were delicious!

I hope that I can satisfy more food cravings soon! Keep doing the good work, Kapidex! (Also, I heart Lexapro. I feel much more calm than I used to!)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Christmas

From Uncle Greg, his son Kevin, me, Troy, Uncle Scott, his daughter Jessica and my Aunt Lesley, on the floor is my cousin Kimmie and my mom Lisa, Aunt Laurie, and Quentin!
And here's my dad too!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Quentin's 18th Birthday!

There are no more children in the Symington household! Everyone is now over eighteen! 

Quentin would like to report that he now feels "old". ^_- We expect to start seeing gray hairs and wrinkles any moment now.


Today he had a lazy day and played his new Xbox 360, but yesterday he had a party with his friends all day at the same time Troy had a birthday party with his friends . . . and there was a lot of people here! Mom and Dad were kicked out by the kids and I hid in my room finishing up homework before leaving to spend the evening with my friends who are finally back from college. We are all going out to a club in January to celebrate all of our birthdays.  

Happy Birthday Quentin! 
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

My First Counseling Appointment

Okay, the most important thing from that appointment: my therapist had a COUCH. (I was a little disappointed it wasn't one of those reclining couches, but it was a nice deep red leather/fake leather that was squishy. Nice!) 

Oh, I kid. That wasn't the most important, but it was certainly the most exciting. We sat down, and she asked me what I wanted to talk about today, and I said basically coping skills to help me deal with stress and anxiety. Then I launched into my speech of my six months of dealing with gastritis/IBS/acid reflux/heartburn and anxiety. (Speaking of anxiety, guess who just paid a hundred dollars for a months worth of Lexapro? $#%&!) As I spoke about my grandparents deaths, and my health issues, and the anxiety, and the effect of all of that on school . . . her eyes kept getting bigger and bigger. 

So! Here we go! To help me calm down when I realize I am either obsessive thinking or starting to have a panic attack, I now have these tools to work on: 

1) Deep breathing. (In to a count of eight, hold for a count of eight, and out to a count of eight.) 
2) Meditation. Also try counting an inhale and exhale as "one" and trying to reach 10 without having a thought. If I get distracted, I have to start over.
3) Exercise. (DUH. If I had a nickel for everybody who told me to exercise, and the number of times I thought "I should really exercise", I would be able to afford an endoscopy without insurance.)
4) Journal. (Or blog.)
5) Visualization. Go to a happy place (see it, taste it, smell it, hear it, feel it) and once you're there gently tap your hands to your knees so you get a physical response, which is supposed to make it easier to calm down after time.)

I asked about how to cope with grief as well, and she suggested: 
1) Talk to somebody about it. 
2) Write Grandma a letter. 
3) Talk to Grandma/Grandpa/Boppa, to either a picture or their graves. 

When I go back for my second appointment in January she wants to try something called EMDR (I think) that I still need to Google. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My 21st Birthday!

I turned 21! Yay me! It was not the most exciting twenty-first birthday ever, but I liked it fine. ^_^ We'll be doing a real party in a few weeks at a club. I spent the night at Nick's, then did homework, then watched How I Met Your Mother, listened to our contractor demolish my bathroom upstairs, ate a deeelicious chicken pot pie, and had amazing apple crumble for dessert, and now we are watching Burn Notice.
Me! I've been alive for 21 years now! (BTW, totally not sucking my stomach in here even though it looks like it. I am down 16 and a half pounds.)

Mom, Dad, Troy, and Quentin sang Happy Birthday to me in French. (Okay, Troy didn't because he doesn't know French. But neither do I! They could have been singing "Katie is a bad girl" and I wouldn't have known the difference.)

My mommy and I. Oh! Let's talk presents! Nick gave me $100 to Barnes and Noble (it might sound weird if you don't know me, but I LOVE TO READ. I can spend hours and hours in Barnes and Noble and I always want books but never want to spend my money, so it is perfect!!! Troy gave me Ghirardelli white hot cocoa (deelicious!) Mom and Dad gave me shoes and a magnifying lighted mirror for makeup, and Quentin gave me a carousel of picture frames. Thanks everybody!!! I loved all my presents!

Dad, Quentin (Thinking Man Statue), me, and Mom. Also:  No, I did not drink today. The Lexapro I'm on for anxiety isn't supposed to be mixed with alcohol so I figured I'd just call my doctor to see what he says. 

Dad, Troy, Bunny Katie, and Mom. 

Thanks everybody!!!!! I love you all!!! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Troy!!!

Look! He used to be a baby! Isn't he cute? Adorable little drooling toddling boy. 

Now he's all grown up! An adult. A six foot one-ish adult. (GAH). We had steak with a butter herb sauce and mashed potatos and asparagus and garlic bread. I made a chocolate torte for dessert and we sang happy birthday. Quentin gave Troy a TaeKwonDo/karate shirt, I gave him a nice black shirt, Mom and Dad bought him a cell phone and he'll go shopping for an outfit from them too. 
Happy Birthday buddy!!!
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

College Confessions: "Finals? What Finals?"

I'll bet you read that title and now think "Oh, Katie didn't study so she's pretending she forgot finals." 

Nope. I'm not taking them. 

You see, I am a special delicate flower and petitioned for an Incomplete in both microbiology and chemistry, so I now have a year left to finish both of those classes. An Incomplete basically means that I keep all of the grades that I have right now, and all of the work, but have another year to catch up and take any remaining tests (my chem final, micro lab exam 2, and micro final). Incompletes are granted to students that are unable to continue or keep up their grades in a class due to circumstances beyond their control. 

I did this because I simply do not think that I can finish these courses in the time remaining (school ends December 17th) and maintain B's in both, due to my gastrointestinal issues. (IBS/Gastritis/Heartburn/Acid Reflux/whathaveyou, plus the anxiety that I get that makes my stomach/IBS issues worse when I get stressed). This was not a decision made lightly; when my microbiology teacher told me about an option for Incomplete a few weeks ago I thanked her and said that knowing that would probably alleviate my stress levels, but that I thought I could handle it. 

. . . and I couldn't, not really, not and get the grades I want (need). I feel kind of happy about this decision, because ohmigod the stress isn't so bad; but then I feel bad about it, because I never ever have failed a class or not finished a test and what will people think and will this even make a difference to my grades, and that just leads to its own anxiety. But not too bad. (I hope). My stomach is actually acting up a little bit today, when it has been pretty good for about a week now, on and off. 

So I'm curled up in a chair, listening to the rain outside as I sip my peppermint tea (it's an anti-spastic!) and watch the Christmas tree lights twinkle while I wonder at what exactly has happened to the single-minded, driven, completely healthy girl I used to be. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wondering . . .

 . . . why adults can't just lie down and sleep on the floor when we are as pooped as Rocky is here. 
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm an Adult, I Swear!

This morning my mom left for work with the parting words of "Clean the house!"

Troy and Quentin and I promptly . . . did not.

This evening I received a call from our general contractor who told me that he would be running a little late for his meeting at our house with my mom tonight. I had no idea he was coming over but told him okie-dokie. Then I called mom to tell her, she said great, and then she said that she would talk to me soon because she was about 15 minutes from home.

Enter Panic Mode.

I bolted down the stairs, screaming "TROY!" in a way that suggested two burglars had just jumped through my window with knives, rather than to tell him that mom was on her way. (You'll understand in a minute).

He jumps off the couch from watching "How I Met Your Mother" and demands to know what has me so upset.

"Mom has a meeting with Mr. Contractor tonight and she'll be home in fifteen minutes!"

Our eyes met with clear, frantic understanding. Troy sums it up perfectly.

"Oh, shit!"

We both bolt in opposite directions and start grabbing things that need to be put away and tripping over the dogs and cats who had come running at my shrieks. The next fifteen minutes were both amusing and full of panic, as anyone who has met my mother would understand. If you haven't met my mother, just let me tell you that if she told you to clean the house and gave you a whole day during which you had nothing going on, yet still didn't clean the house? You are a dead man. (Or you would wish to be a dead man after the yelling petered out).

Luckily, Troy and I both are masters in the art of "Hide-Crap-So-Nobody-Sees-What-Slobs-We-Really-Are-And-So-We-Don't-Get-In-Trouble" school of baloney-noodles.

The house was passably clean by the time Mom came home. I even decorated some more for Christmas.

(Yes. True Story. I am nearly 21 years old, yet I am scared of my mom coming home to a dirty house. At least my nearly-18 year-old brother joins me in that fear!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Like This Photo

Giant snowman + freezing cold + soaked + fun = happy!
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Biggest Snowman in the World

Here's our house, covered in snow, with two big ol' snowmen in front. We all took advantage of the snow (the most we have ever seen here in the 15 years since we moved from Maine) and played outside for hours. 

Here is our French snowman with our French boy.  

Here is the American snowman with Mom, Dad, and Troy. 

The Biggest Snowman EVER! with Quentin, Troy, and Katie. 
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Snow Fight!

This morning we had an epic snowball fight. 

The dogs had a great time plowing through the snow while Troy, Dad, Quentin, and I dumped snow on each other. 

Dad and Troy double-teamed me when I first came out, but the Quentin came out and we attacked them back! 

Here's Dad playing with the girls. 

Then we built snow forts in the 15 inches of snow and had another snowball fight. I'm in the pink hat, straddling our fort as I reinforced it. 

The dogs kept running through our piles of snowballs! 
Mom was official war photographer. She was also standing in the middle so we knew where we couldn't cross. The only rules were not crossing the middle, and no kicking down the other group's fort. 

Quentin says Retreat! Katie and Troy are totally winning! Gary, retreat! (He actually said it in French. And at the same time I was hollering at Troy to retreat! There's snow down my back! Agh!

Dad arming up!

Me . . . I'm not sure what I'm doing. 

Troy and Kali think that the snow is cold but fun!

Frustrated at his sister's cheating but laughing too. 

Run away! Be very afraid. Very afraid indeed. 

How to Wake Up a French Boy

Troy and I devised an evil, evil plan this morning. See how evil Troy looks? Notice the handful of snow Troy is carrying around in his evil manner? It snowed this morning, up to 15 inches! So the boys didn't have to go to high school. Troy and I woke up early and realized the power was off and went out in the snow for a bit. Hence the snow in the hand. 

Quentin opted to sleep in. We disagreed with his choice. That handful of snow? . . . 

Ended up on Quentin's head. ^_^ Quentin then retaliated by flinging the remains of the snow at us and our entire family (we all had trooped in to watch) and we all scampered out of his room. 

He ended up sleeping another couple hours before he got up and joined us in an epic snowball fight. 
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

How the French Eat Brownie Batter

Perfect ending to a long day: brownies!

Quentin had to bake them (I helped) because we watched a movie in French instead of English, and that was my reward.

Somehow I don't think he minded that much.
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Grandma & Grandpa

My grandparent's grave marker finally arrived! My aunt Lesley and her family and my uncle Greg and his family came up and we all shivered in the cemetery for about five minutes admiring the marker before we ran away to have lunch. Lesley made a beautiful tiny Christmas tree and we put it in the cupholder in the marker.
Top photo by my cousin Jessica!

It's really nice to (finally) have a marker for them. The picture on it is their wedding photo that my dad made look much nicer than it was originally.
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Tree Hunt Massacre

Another Symington time-honored tradition.

Noooooooooooooooooo!!!! I'll wash your car, Katie! Anything! Chocolates! Just don't saw me!

We also had to initiate Quentin into the Symington Tree Hunt Massacre.

Resistance is futile!
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Christmas Tree Hunt 2009

The Symington's chose their Christmas tree today!
We chose it very quickly because it was freezing outside! We did stop to play tag first, which is a time-honored tradition in our family. Dad and I quickly realized that we are not up to par with Troy, who is in great shape from TaeKwonDo, and Quentin, who is in great shape from soccer.

The picture collage shows in the top left Quentin jogging with the saw, the top right is Troy running oddly away from Dad, the bottom left is Troy hiding very well behind the tiny tree, and the bottom right is Dad looking for prey.

We ended up choosing one of the first trees we had looked at, and it is a pretty little full thing about five feet tall that we've yet to decorate.
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