ADHD – Part Deux

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

CrissieIf you’ve read any of my blog postings, you know that I read the news online and a lot of the time, something I see will prompt me to write an article. This is one of those times.

This afternoon, as I was taking a few minutes to peruse MSNBC, a tag line near the bottom of the screen caught my eye. “Common Symptoms of ADD and ADHD in Women,” it said. I followed the link to a slideshow prepared and presented by Healthcentral.com.

While I won’t chronicle all 19 symptoms that HealthCentral enumerates, it is a very shocking, yet humbling, list of symptoms for me to read through.

As many of you may recall, my oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD last year, shortly after the start of 1st grade. After recognizing many of the same behaviors in my youngest son, he, too, was diagnosed with ADHD this past summer. Much like the color of our eyes and our full-grown height, ADHD is caused by our genetics rather than by bad parenting or environmental factors. Although he was never officially diagnosed, I have spent a lot of time “blaming” my ex-husband for passing along that little bit of DNA.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to eat a little bit of crow in the last three months because in August of this year, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. This is why I state that reading through the list of symptoms is extremely humbling. It is also overwhelming.

For 35 years I have struggled with many of the symptoms listed. While I was a very good student in school and never got into trouble, I realize now that I had developed what many mental health professionals call “hyperfocus.” School was a safe haven for me growing up and it was all that I cared about. More than dating, more than sports, more than parties and hanging out; good grades fueled my very existence. By many accounts, I was the nerd, the geek, the party pooper. And, looking back, it is true. Even in college, when even the most straight-laced teen/young adult cuts loose, I didn’t. I recently found a school planner from my senior year of college; it was filled with due dates and notes about when certain papers were due or when I needed to study for certain tests. One of my roommates recently reminded me about how I would refrain from a lot of late night antics because I had to get up early for an 8 o’clock class, even though I had long ago finished the homework or studying for the class.

Unfortunately, for many people who have ADHD or have children with ADHD, there comes the challenge of also facing the social stigmas. You must be a bad parent if you can’t control your children, which is closely followed by you must be a bad parent if you medicate your child to help them control their behavior. You must be unorganized at home, work or school. You must be a slacker, or you don’t care, or you are just a poor wife, parent, employee, or student. All of these labels create major problems for those who suffer, especially for women, and for those who remain undiagnosed.

Society has women convinced that we should be able to be all and do all.  For many women, those goals are lofty; for a woman with ADHD, those goals and expectations can be extremely taxing and can help fuel major bouts of depression and anxiety.  The best example I’ve come across is that for a women with ADHD, life is like a juggling act: when there are only 3 balls to juggle, life might rock along okay, but as life starts throwing a few more balls into the mix, we cannot cope or function and the balls get dropped and forgotten.

Many of you have actually followed along as I have struggled to juggle some of the balls in my life: school, work, single parenting, disorganization, and struggles with my weight. Almost every single one of my struggles has some background intermingled with ADHD. When I feel bored (mostly because I get overwhelmed with what needs to be done), I eat. I have spent my entire life (and I do not exaggerate – ask my parents what my bedroom looked like growing up, as a child, a middle schooler, and even a teenager) thinking that I was just an overly sentimental packrat, or worse, a hoarder. The truth was I do have some tendencies, but I actually struggle with completing the organizational tasks needed to maintain a neat and orderly home. This is made worse by the fact that both of my children have ADHD and I lack the necessary skills to properly model and teach organization.

Much like Superman fears kryptonite, doing laundry is my archenemy because it never ceases and there never seems to be a “project completion” of which I can be proud.

On rare occasions, I find my “mojo” and I get started on grand organizational projects. However, I rarely estimate the correct amount of time needed to complete said project, and the excitement quickly runs out, leaving a house full of unfinished projects and half organized rooms.

Growing up, my MO was to shove absolutely everything I could under the bed or in the closet to lend the appearance of a clean bedroom because I honestly didn’t know how to deal with it.  Although I am a 35-year-old woman who is a mother and was married for 10 years, quite frankly, I still struggle with this type of “solution” to the mess.

Even writing this article was a chore for me. I have struggled long and hard about writing it because it exposes many of my weaknesses. Having finally completed my Masters degree program in August, I am currently in search of a full time job. However, I know that a potential employer/supervisor may uncover this article and view my open admission of struggling with certain organizational tasks as an admission that I cannot function in a certain type of environment. But, my desire to really help other women in my situation outweighs the fact that someone might judge me without taking the opportunity to see my positive qualities and attributes.

At the very core of all of this is the fact that ADHD is a real mental illness that affects millions of adults and children. Unfortunately, our society still struggles with the acceptance of mental illnesses as true illnesses that need and deserve to be taken seriously, treated and openly discussed so that others needn’t walk the same path we have walked.

Although I champion the acceptance of mental illness, my own ADHD diagnosis was hard to swallow at first, but it was also a relief to know that I was not a bad parent, a bad employee or a poor student. It was also a relief to know that with medication and additional therapy (the most effective treatment combination for ADHD), I won’t always have to worry about the show “Hoarders” showing up at my door.  It has given me hope that I can become a more effective parent and, hopefully, break some of the cycle of ADHD symptoms with which the boys and I struggle daily.

Quick & Easy Barbecue Sauce

By: Brady Evans 

I have a confession.  Maybe it isn’t a confession at all – maybe you’ve known this all along.

I don’t get my hair cut every 5 weeks. Or 8 weeks. Or by the same person. Or in the same county.

As much as my mom trained me to find a stylist I love, be faithful to her through her inevitable salon moves, and raise my children with her, I just don’t do it. I get my hair cut on a whim, usually when a coupon comes in the mail (this gives you a clue as to the type of places that cut my hair), whenever I’ve got a spare minute.

To be honest, I’ve got pretty simple hair.  You know which one is me, right? The one with the easy-to-cut hair. And the sign. My hair is long. Sometimes there are bangs. They can go to either side. There are no layers. There’s no added color. So you see, I just can’t convince myself that I need a $50 haircut that necessitates an appointment scheduled a month out.

I also don’t cry over my hair – even when I got a really weird set of bangs from an obvious rookie right before (i.e. the day before) a professional photo shoot with my husband and my dogs. My hair straight up looks like crap in those photos and I’ve STILL got them hung in my house. Sometimes I walk past them and literally laugh out loud. I just have trouble caring about my hair.

So I walked into Great Clips (Cost Cutters? Hair Xpress?  Aren’t they all the same?) and Jacob greeted me at the door. He asked for my phone number (he wasn’t hitting on me) and typed it into the computer.

“Is there any reason why I’m not seeing your information in the system?” he asked (and yes, his tone was snotty).

Uh, yeah, I thought, I’ve never been here and I won’t be coming back (not because you’ve ticked me off, but because I JUST DON’T CARE!).

“Can you just cut my hair as a guest? I’m here from out of town,” I lied. Well, not really. I mean, I wasn’t within 25 minutes of my home. That’s out of town, right?

So I sat down in Jacob’s chair and noticed he had just received his cosmetology license. He also probably just turned eighteen. I didn’t care. I did the trick I always do: immediately closed my eyes. Ahhh, hopefully he’ll pick up on the fact that I’m not here for small talk. Jacob, I know you don’t care about my job, husband, or my-lack-of-kids-but-plethora-of-pets and I don’t care about your life either. I just want to pretend, as you awkwardly brush my hair with the plastic comb and your overly large hands, that I’m in a spa. Jacob asked me how I’d like my hair cut, and I said, as politely as possible {with my eyes still closed}, “I don’t care.”  And then I edited myself, “I’m low maintenance, just trim it up, make the ends healthy, you know.”

And then I had 8 minutes of silence. It was wonderful. Quick and easy is what I was looking for and that’s what I got. The silence and pretend-spa-feel was a bonus.

I was also looking for quick and easy when I came across this barbecue sauce. I sort of love and I sort of hate that it starts with ketchup. It certainly makes the process easier but makes it feel a little less homemade. This barbecue sauce tastes really good if you like a tangy tomato-based sauce. I had all the ingredients on hand (the liquid smoke was leftover from vegetarian days gone by), so it was nice to whip up a no-cook barbecue sauce just in time for dinner. My favorite sauce will always be a mustard-based sauce from a local hole-in-the-wall barbecue pit, but this is definitely delicious for a change.

Barbecue

Quick and Easy Barbecue Sauce (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen via Pink Parsley)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used sriarcha)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, honey, and/or hot sauce if needed.
  3. Store covered, in the refrigerator, for several weeks.

National Celebrities Step Up to the Plate for 3rd Annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Challenge

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Support a great cause and enjoy a fall day in Charleston on Saturday, November 9 as celebrities near and far play in the 3rd Annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Challenge for Louie’s Kids.

The event, which will be held on Saturday, November 9 at Joe Riley Park, raises funds for Louie’s Kids, the only not-for-profit organization in the United States helping identify treatment programs for overweight and obese children.

Slim Down the South Poster

This amazing ‘Field of Dreams’ day at the ballpark wouldn’t be possible without the participation and support of the following celebrities who have committed to fighting childhood obesity one run at a time:

  •  Bill Murray, Comedian/Actor
  • Mark Bryan, Hootie & the Blowfish
  • Dean Felber, Hootie & the Blowfish
  • Eric Bass, Shinedown
  • Zach Myers, Shinedown
  • Gary Valentine, Comedian/Actor, Chelsea Lately, King of Queens
  • Terry Serpico, Actor, Army Wives
  • Bubba Bryant, Actor, Army Wives
  • Paula Trickey, Actress, Crimes of the Mind, The OC, Pacific Blue
  • Sylvia Jefferies, Actress, Nashville, Eastbound and Down
  • Elise Testone, Singer, American Idol
  • Corey Miller, NFL, NY Giants, USC
  • Langston Moore, NFL, Bengals, USC
  • Gettys Glaze, Citadel Hall of Fame
  • Michael Kohn, MLB, LA Angels
  • Kevin Elster, MLB, NY Yankees, LA Dodgers
  • Hannah Curlee – Winner, Biggest Loser  
  • Steve Azar, Singer/Songwriter
  • Patrick Davis, Singer/Songwriter

Other celebrities include personalities from Charleston television and radio stations.

“We’re so grateful for the support of these celebrities,” said Louis Yuhasz, founder of Louie’s Kids. “The entire Louie’s Kids organization appreciates their willingness to take time out of their busy schedules to help raise awareness of childhood obesity. This one softball game will help children all over the south combat obesity and improve their future, families and communities.”

For more information on Louie’s Kids or Slim Down the South, visit LouiesKids.org or SlimDowntheSouth.com.

About Louie’s Kids
Founded in 2001 in Alexandria, Va., and operated today out of Charleston, SC, Louie’s Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises funds to empower children to make changes, both physically and mentally, for a healthier and more productive life. The mission of Louie’s Kids is to strengthen the future of the communities they serve by making children healthier and improved citizens, while also providing excellent stewardship to those funders who invest their time and treasure in the children served. For information and updates follow Louie’s Kids on Facebook and Twitter.

Local woman’s cancer battle uncovers family link

A Midlands woman’s fight against breast cancer led to a discovery that may save the lives of her sisters and daughters.

Click for Video: wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina

Kelly, Kathryn and Ashley
Kelly, Kathryn and Ashley

Kathryn Robinson’s cancer battle started more than two years ago.  “I was preparing to go to work, and while I was in the shower I just accidentally felt a lump in my breast,” said Robinson.

It had been less than two months since Robinson’s yearly mammogram, but she knew something wasn’t right. “I called the doctor and went in that afternoon,” said Robinson. “He sent me in for an ultrasound that next Monday.”

Just a few days after the ultrasound Robinson was diagnosed with breast cancer and life immediately changed for her and her family.

“When my mom was diagnosed and she talked about getting genetic testing done, that’s the first time I had ever heard of the gene,” said Robinson’s 24 year-old daughter, Ashley Lyons.

Robinson’s family quickly learned about the BRCA gene malformation. It’s hereditary and when present greatly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In the midst of chemo, Kathryn tested positive for the gene.

“I had eight rounds of chemotherapy, and I was scheduled to do radiation after that, but because I was positive with the BRCA2 gene, they did a bilateral mastectomy,” said Robinson.

Doctors at Lexington Medical Center recommended the mastectomy and a hysterectomy in hopes of eliminating Robinson’s future cancer risks. They also advised her family to get tested for the gene.

“I had one sister that wasn’t interested in getting tested and a younger sister that I can usually persuade to do just about anything… she went and got tested,” said Robinson.

As it turned out, Robinson’s sister Kelly Moore also tested positive for the gene malformation. “I feel like I’m the lucky one,” said Moore. “Kathryn helped to educate me, and I had all of her valuable information for what she had gone through.

Moore chose to have her ovaries removed as a preventive measure, and is now getting more frequent breast exams. For Robinson’s daughter Ashley, the decision was more difficult.

“At first, I did not want to know,” said Ashley. “I did not want to be tested.” But Ashley says her older sister talked her into being tested for the gene. While her older sister does not have the BRCA malformation, Ashley does.

“At first I was like how do you test positive and do nothing about it…so that was kind of hard in the beginning,” said Ashley.

But medical oncologist Dr. Steve Madden at Lexington Medical center says at Ashley’s young age it’s okay not to undergo preventive surgery as long as she’s pro-active. “As long as you’re aware, you’re going to be on top of anything and catch it much earlier if it develops at all,” added Dr. Madden.

Kathryn has been a survivor now for two years. Her family calls her a lifesaver. “She was very positive, and she inspired all of us to take a fighting approach to it,” said Moore.

Dr. Madden says doctors usually advise anyone diagnosed with breast cancer who is under the age of 50 to be tested for the gene. They also advise immediate family members of breast cancer patients to be tested, as well.

Click for the full video: WIS TV VIDEO

A Society of Amazing Women

By: Shannon Shull

Upon moving to South Carolina from Los Angeles, California and getting involved in the community, I met so many fabulous people, including the amazing women of the Batesburg-Leesville Women’s Society. Amazing is an understatement when describing some of these ladies. Along with being sweet as can be, masters of incredible cooking, and knowing how to host a seriously GFWC Logofabulous party, these women do so many wonderful things for the community and those in need. Their dedication to helping others is priceless. I was so impressed with this organization! When I was invited to join I did not have to think twice. Though I live in Lexington now, I continue to be a member and be involved with the B-L Women’s Society as much as my schedule will allow. Some of these folks are like family and I will always treasure my relationship with them. I am very proud to be a member of a Women’s Society that does so much good for others.

We start each of our meetings reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Women’s Society Pledge.  At our recent meeting, as we were saying our Society Pledge, it struck me how special this pledge really is and the importance of its meaning. It’s something we could all benefit from reading daily.

With the Amazing Ladies of my Women's Society of Batesburg-Leesville

I felt that our Every Woman Blog family of bloggers and readers should have the opportunity to read this lovely pledge, as it really does serve as a wonderful reminder of the important things in life and how we can live each day with courage, kindness, a helping hand and a warm heart.

Keep Us, oh God, from pettiness;
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault –finding
And leave of self-seeking.
May we never be hasty in judgment
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things;
make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
Straight forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is
The little things that create differences,
That in the big things of life we are as one.
And may we strive to touch and to know
the great, common human heart of us all.
And, oh Lord let us forget not
to be kind.
– Mary Stewart

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is a unifying force, bringing together local women’s clubs, with members dedicated to strengthening their communities and enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. With 100,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state and more than a dozen countries, GFWC members are community leaders who work locally to create global change by supporting the arts, preserving natural resources, advancing education, promoting healthy lifestyles, encouraging civic involvement, and working toward world peace and understanding.

Attention Midlands Women: Here’s Your Chance to Become a Blogger

Announcing blog contest

We’re excited to announce that we’re sponsoring another Every Woman Blog Contest! Women of all ages are invited to enter from October 17th to November 27th. The contest will culminate with five women winning $250 each. Selected women will join Brady Evans, Shannon Shull, Mary Pat Baldauf, Katie Austin, Elizabeth Webber Akre and Crissie Miller Kirby as featured bloggers on the Every Woman Blog.

“Today, women bloggers, including ours, are some of the most influential communicators online.  Women follow them because the stories they share are so relatable,” said Lexington Medical Center Public Relations Manager Jennifer Wilson.  “We’re excited to welcome new women bloggers and fresh perspectives to the Every Woman Blog.”

To enter the blogging contest, visit Lexington Medical Center’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LexingtonMedical. Upload a video or post a short written statement on the Wall about why you would be a great blogger to represent and inspire women in the Midlands. Five women with the most persuasive, funny, touching or engaging posts will be selected to become featured bloggers.

Each featured blogger will write at least one post per month. The topics will vary greatly depending on the personalities of the bloggers and their daily experiences in the community. Visitors can expect some of the posts to be videos. The bloggers will also meet in person at “blogger reunions” to share ideas and brainstorm topics.

Make sure to visit us on our Facebook page and leave us a message on the Wall stating why you think you’d be a terrific woman blogger – and you could win!

Pumpkin S’more Cake

By: Brady Evans

I needed this cake, a Pumpkin S’more Cake, for a Wednesday night dinner. Looking at the recipe, it became clear that the cake had to be made in advance of Wednesday night.  I preferred to make it in steps over 2 days, since the recipe had many components, but upon reading the recipe and consulting some baking experts, I decided few of the components actually lent themselves to that approach.

Cake

Turns out the entire cake I had envisioned was destined to fail, as nearly every component I began to make flopped monstrously  I started baking the cake at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon and it was finally complete at 10pm. I went to bed leaving the kitchen a mess. I had made 5 layers of cake and one batch of failed meringue, and had used two cans of pumpkin and nearly 18 eggs. The fact that I was especially clumsy that night didn’t help the situation.

Cake

The cake that made it to the dinner was only reminiscent of the cake I originally set out to make. I don’t hesitate to say, however, that it is likely a much more delicious version. The star of the dessert is a perfect pumpkin cake recipe (declared perfect by the queen of recipe comparisons at The Way the Cookie Crumbles). Between those layers of cake was the perfect amount of graham cracker crumbs and soft mini marshmallows. A deep dark chocolate ganache served as the frosting and kept the cake from feeling too sweet when combined with the marshmallows (pure sugar) and fluffy cake.

This dessert is perfect for fall, Halloween, or the holiday season coming up. It was a huge crowd pleaser at dinner and in the teacher workroom the next day!

Pumpkin S’more Cake (adapted from Desserts for Breakfast & The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

Pumpkin Cake (adapted from David Leite via Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¼ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour parchment rounds.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add both eggs one at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition.
  5. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. Finally, beat in the pumpkin until smooth.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the two pans.
  8. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  9. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on racks completely.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

  • 9 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60+%), chopped
  • 7.5 oz. heavy cream
  • 3 Tbspn butter

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Cook the heavy cream and butter over medium high heat until a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over prepared chocolate. Stir until no streaks remain. Use immediately.

Graham Cracker Crumbs (homemade, if desired)

Mini Marshmallows

For the cake assembly:

Place one leveled cake layer on your cake stand or serving platter. Spoon 1/4 cup ganache over the round and smooth so that the layer is even. Add an even layer of graham cracker crumbs and dot with mini marshmallows, making sure that only one layer of marshmallows is made. Add the next cake layer. Pour/spread remaining ganache over cake. Sprinkle with additional graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows.