Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ouch

I just fell off a step this morning and twisted my ankle really good, yanked my arm, and smacked the back of my head on a railing when I fell. I think I pulled some tendons/ligaments in my ankle. Fortunately, I don't think it's broken at least since I can put weight on it, but it's swelling pretty good. I have my ankle up, icing it, and took an Aleve but it's reaaaaalllllyyy hurting right now! Ouch!!! 
 Another fortunate thing is that my in-laws were already planning on having my girlie for the day and over night.  Which allows for me to keep off my feet.  Thank goodness that has such amazing Grandparents in both sets of our parents. :o)

Monday, December 26, 2011

We had an amazing Christmas for so many reasons!  And now L and I have a whole week off together. For now it's exciting.  Later in the week I'll probably be looking forward to her going back to school!  C'mon most moms are like that by the end of Christmas vacation!!

For now I'm just lounging on the couch watching Baby girl play with her Christmas toys. Life is good.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

 One of the blogs I follow is Real Housewives of Bucks Countyhttp://realhousewivesofbc.blogspot.com/. They are super crafty and I love love love all their ideas.  I especially love love love their newest blog post below.  I could not have written a more beautiful example of "what Christmas means to me" if I had tried. Fantastic! Please read and as their "PS" says, please feel free to chat me up if you have any questions!

 

"Christmas {What it means to us}

So we've spent the month sharing all kinds of Christmas themed decor, projects, and ideas. We even had 12 full days of Christmas DIYs.  We love all that stuff and everything about the Christmas season, but we wouldn't be keeping our promise of being Real with you if we just left it at that.  
See, there's one thing that we could never DIY and that's what Christmas is all about.  

We believe that the Christmas story is just the beginning.  You know that DIY I mentioned?  Well, what we can't do ourselves is take care of the fact that we're not perfect...nope, not even close.  Christmas is the start of God's relentless pursuit of us.  He loves us so much that he was willing to send his perfect son to earth to forgive us from our sin.  Yikes, did she just say "sin" on a light, fun DIY blog?  You heard it... let's be Real.  I sin... Jess sins... I'm willing to take a guess that you might too? It's so sweet and comforting to think of  little baby Jesus and get the warm fuzzies, and don't get me wrong, I'm so dang thankful that Jesus came as a baby, but Christmas doesn't end in that manger scene.  Christmas, the true reason for Jesus coming, ended on a cross, and ultimately with an empty tomb.  It might not make for as cute of a piece of wall art, or printable, but it's the best gift we'll ever receive.  Jesus not only came, but he died for us, taking our sins upon himself.  You know what would totally bum me out on Christmas morning?  If my kids didn't want the gifts I'd gotten them (especially the ones I got at 3am on Black Friday!)  Parents want their children to accept their gifts, and it's exactly the same with God.  We didn't deserve for Jesus to come for us, but He did and all we need to do is acknowledge that we can't do it on our own and accept His gift of salvation.  If you haven't really thought beyond the manger scene before, I encourage you to do so this year.  God's gift to you will be the last gift you ever need and man, I guarantee it will be a Christmas you'll never forget.  
We sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas, but more than being merry, we wish that this Christmas will be life changing and focused on God's gift for us (because seriously, what does being merry even look like?  I picture cheesy sweaters and really big smiles).  So, that's what Christmas means to these Real Housewives.  Thanks for letting us share with you.  
PS-If you want to know more about this whole God thing, email us any time.  There's nothing more we'd rather talk about with you!"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gifts

I spent the other evening wrapping presents with my husband.  Boy, Santa must have thought my little girlie was good this year!  We also spent the evening looking at the snow flurries falling and watching White Christmas.  It was a fantastic night!  I woke up the next morning hurting from hunching over for so long. Ugh.  It was still a great night!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Joy to the World

Baby girl is feeling better now.  And to top that her best friend is "back".  All is right with the world! I hear the song Joy to the world singing in the back of my head. He he he he


Yesterday I ran errands all day to make up for the errands that I didn't get to do the day before. Needless to say, I am beat and staying home for the day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sicky....

 Last night L was crying before bed because her best friend said she was best friends with someone else instead. :o( My little girl is so tender hearted and was so upset.

This morning she woke up sick. She's a sicky sick sick little ball of vomit at the moment. Poor L. our She's had a bad last 24 hours.  :o( She was so so sad to miss school and library today!

It's so true that a Mom hurts when her baby hurts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Zzzzzzz.....

I've been dealing with some major insomnia.  It's not fun. I have no problem falling asleep.  The issue I have is with staying asleep.  I wake up constantly, through out the night. Which is bad on a normal day and even worse combined with any flare ups I may have.

For the last few months I have tried melatonin to see if that would help. Unfortunately, it hasn't.  Now my rheumatologist is going to have me try Ambian.  Let's hope it helps without any grogginess the next morning!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dramatic

I don't think that I said a single thing tonight that wasn't met with tears and dramatics of some sort.  My girlie was so sleepy tonight. I got a really great picture tonight of what my dealing with my daughter will be like as a hormonal teenager.


*really loooooong drawn out sigh*


I am reminded of a verse in the bible that speaks about starting your day over new everyday.  I am LOVING that verse right now.  I have completed exhausted my energy in dealing with L. Thank goodness she's in bed. It's such a good thing that Baby Girl is usually such a fun loving, quirky, delightful child!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Trigger Point

I went to the doctor's on Thursday evening for a pain that I had been having in my side all day. While I was there the doctor said the words I have come to dread... "We're going to have to draw some blood."

As a warning, if you are in any way squeamish about needle talk just stop reading now... Before you label me as a sissy, hear me out and know that I get allergy shots every month without a cringe in sight. And every time I go in to see my saint-like rheumatologist, Dr. A, I inevitably end up giving up at least three vials worth of blood with not even a sound. The thing is that when I go to give blood at Dr. A's I have the same nurse take my blood every time.  And every time she hits my vein on the first try.  She's good! I mean, really good. I say this because I have impossibly small veins and unless the nurse is incredible at what she does they never ever, EVER, hit my vein on the first try.  This is not for lack of warning the nurses that I am near impossible to draw blood from without serious hydrating, the use of tiniest baby needle ever, really thick arm bands, and multiple gel heat packs being used. So, generally, I get stuck at least twice before expelling my blood into the vials. This even seems to happen to the best of the phlebotomists.

Anyway....... back to the doctor.  I cringed. I cringed because I had gone in to the walk-in clinic so I knew there were not going to be any actual phlebotomists on hand to hit my vein the first time. The first try of the poor nurses ended in failure.  She inserted the needle, dug around a little bit, and gave up. When she pulled the needle out it didn't even bleed for a full minute! I could see the nurse screwing up her courage for round two and became even more nervous. The second time around the nurse decided to try for a vein in my hand.  Somehow she ended up putting the needle right through a nerve in my hand. Agony!! I am embarrassed to admit that I cried right there in front of the freaked out nurse. I didn't mean to, I know she felt bad enough as it was, but it seriously hurt!  At that point the nurse wisely decided to just have me come back the next day for a more seasoned nurse to have a go at me.

Flash forward to today and I have no side pain anymore. The doctor didn't seem too concerned and it's gone, hopefully not to come back.  Unfortunately, I have developed a tender point in my hand where the nerve was hit. If I open and close my hand or if something even softly brushes again the tender point I get a zing of pain from the tips of my fingers to my wrist. It's a rather jarring feeling and leaves my hand aching, like a bad toothache, for quite while later. It's something akin to the zip you get when you put your tongue on a 9V battery combined with pain. At this point I can completely empathize with my fibromyalgia friends (and mom) out there who suffer from these in one or more points on their body. I'm hoping that in a day or two I'll have healed enough to not deal with it anymore. Until then I'll just have to be super careful and not shake any hands in church tomorrow morning.  Yikes!

Friday, December 2, 2011


I found a coupon on Facebook this morning for Target that I just had to use before it expired tomorrow.  I wasn't planning on going to Target today. Never the less I went and ran around like a fool! I had a whole list of things I needed to buy while I was there. Unfortunately, one of the things I wanted to the most happened to be the one thing that I forgot to buy in all my excitement! Wouldn't it figure? Once I figured it out I felt like Cathy. "ACK!!"

I would really really love to go back to Target right this very moment to get what I forgot.  However, I just don't have any more energy left to do that.  Hmm....I think I'll be taking a look at their website.  Last time I bought online instead of at their store I got 20% off and free shipping.  A mom can only wish!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #30

I am thankful that my daughter's school allows the children to have Release Time during the week.  For those who don't know what that is... The children in Pennsylvania are allowed to be "released" from school for one hour each week to allow them to go to extra curricular activities. Which is great because my parents church just started a bible club, for one hour a week, for the school aged children.  Then bus them to the church, read a bible story, sing some songs, and play a few games before busing them back to school. I feel like it's a great addition to my daughter's education. And L just absolutely LOVED it, which makes it even better!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #29

#29... I am thankful for my warm soft comfy bed, even if it's not so much of a comfort when I'm dealing with insomnia!

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #28

#28...I am thankful for leftovers with which I like to make whole new meals out of! 'Cause I'm genius like that!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #27

#27... I am happy for my computer, which allows me to do three quarters of all my Christmas shopping on it. So I don't have to be in the store with crazy rude holiday shoppers!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Decorating

Today we put up all of our Christmas tree and all the knick knacks.  It's been our tradition to do it the Friday and Saturday after "turkey day".  Another tradition of ours is to put up a Christmas Village. It's full of little houses, a church, a ski lodge, and various other buildings.  And of course out humble little town is populated by a bustling group of people.

The Christmas village started about twenty years ago with my mom and I. She bought a few pieces for it and we've been slowly adding to it since then.  She began the tradition by setting it up herself while I watched with wide-eyed wonder. Slowly I began helping to put the village up. And by helping I mean that my mom would set it up and I would go back when she was done and rearrange it to my liking. **Insert maniacal laughter here.**  I thought it was the funniest thing.  And every day or so I would decide that I just didn't like it where it was and that I needed to move things around again.  Apparently this drove my mom nuts and I would find her reading a book in her room by the time Christmas decorating was over.  (I never really understood why.) Eventually my mom just gave up and would just hand the box over to me to set up all by myself every Christmas.

When I got married my mom gave me the whole Christmas village to put up in my house.  I lovingly took out the houses and rearranged them for the last seven years.  For five of the years my daughter has watched me put the village up around the tv.  This year her eyes lit up when she saw me get out the box.  Apparently, it was THE thing she has been waiting to do since she found out we'd be decorating. She babbled non-stop, asked a million questions, and fidgeted like a puppy while I set up.  At one point I told L about my history with the little village and she sat avidly listening. When I finished she said, "When I grow up you can give the village to me when I get married.  And then I can set this up with my children some day!"  I don't really think that I have to tell you that her saying that just melted my heart. I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes bigger.

Sure enough when I finished, as I turned the corner, I saw her out of the corner of my adjusting the people in the village. What a surprise!  Can you hear the sarcasm there??  She sat for forty minutes and rearranged "played" with the village, chattering about all the places the people could go, the whole time. I suddenly realized why my mom disappeared after she was done. She let me have time to change the village but also because it was just down right exhausting interacting with a little ball of excitement while setting up!  I guess my mom's curse has struck me smack in the face. I heard her in my head saying, "I hope you have a daughter. Just. Like. You.". Ooooo she got me!! 

Now I am laying with an ice pack on my knee because it's swollen since I crouched down for so long putting up the village. It was soooo worth it though.  Seeing my daughter's excitement made it worth it! And I have to admit that I love, love, love that she is as insane about my our Christmas village as I am.

30 Days of Thankfulness #25 & #26

#25.... I am thankful for all the memories that we make with friends and family.

#26.... I am thankful for snuggly-stay in your pj's-do absolutely nothing-stay at home days with my little family!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #24

#24... I am thankful for holidays that are the perfect excuse for family to get together.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #23

#23... I am thankful for everything that God has provided for us. He has given us so much!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #22

#22...I am thankful for my warm and cozy house.  Especially on rainy or snowy days!  OK, or really hot muggy days as well!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #21

#21... However, weird as it sounds, I am thankful for my flare up days with my illness. They remind of the days when I have energy to spare, to play with L, and am ready for anything. Those "energy" days are God's little gift to me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #20

#20... I am thankful that L has gained so many extra "aunts and uncles" in our friends. :o)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #18 & #19

#18...I am so thankful for my Kindle.  It has hundreds of book at the touch of my hand.  And it is so so nice to read when I am having arthritic issues with my hands.  All I have to do is bush a button to turn the page. So much easier for my hands.

#19... I am thankful for the man my husband is. My sarcastic, sports watching, makes me laugh all the time, lovable, hard working man. Who lets me celebrate a kindergarten report card, who lets me make holidays a big deal, and who lets me make birthdays a special thing. Hope yours is special babe. Happy Birthday T! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #17

Today I am thankful that L and I have a mini vacation from school thanks to parent/teacher conferences. I can't wait to have L's tomorrow afternoon!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Motivated

I was feeling pretty motivated the last two days.  I had some projects waiting in the cobwebs of my brain that I have been dying to try lately.  Here are the things I made today...

This is a Kindle case made from an old t-shirt of mine. I made it so I can pop my Kindle into it to prevent the face from getting scratched by anything in my purse when I'm on the go.  This was my first project on my new sewing machine.  Did I mention that I have started making a quilt out of my daughter's old baby clothes?  That will be the mother of all projects and kind of deserves it's own post in the future when it's finally done.

A  bracelet that I braided out of an old t-shirt.

A fabric flower that I made then hot glued onto a barrett to wear in my hear.  I can also clip it to a solid colored scarf or on the collar of a shirt.

Another bracelet I made out of an old t-shirt.

I'm pretty please with how they all turned out. :o)

30 Days of Thankfulness #16

#16.... I am thankful for the rain.  It helps the flowers grow.  And I love me some cozy book reading inside on a rainy day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #15

#15... I am thankful that I get to go in for "parent day" at L's school and see how things run. :o) And I am thankful that she was excited for me to go in

Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #13 & #14

30 days of thanks....#13 I am thankful that my husband is such a fantastic Daddy because of fishing, daddy and daughter dates, rough housing, and so much more! 
 #14 I am thankful that my daughter has such an awesome teacher this year. L just loves her!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #11 & #12

#11... I am thankful to all the veterans and current military who have served/are serving.  I am also thankful for their families who have given so much to support their spouses.  I am proud to say that my family has had many family members serve.  Both my grandfathers, two great uncles, three uncles, an aunt, my father, and my brother.  And, I am sure that I am forgetting someone in this list as well! Thank you all!!

#12.... While I absolutely love my husband and daughter with everything that I am... And love spending time with them, I am very thankful for night's out with friends to look forward to. I'm looking forward to getting out with my friend's tomorrow night.  We're just going to have a book club get together.  And truthfully, I haven't even read the book.  Shhh! Don't tell OK? OK?!! Anyway, it's so refreshing to get out and just be me.  Not a wife, not mommy.  Just Kristen. I know that all the moms out there know exactly what I am talking about! Don't pretend!! Seriously, guys!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #10

Today I am thankful for my friends.  They are such wonderful people and I am thankful for them in so many different ways.  They are there to cheer me up when I've had a bad day. They listen and understand when I've reached my boiling point with my disease.  And my friends are always always there to make me laugh when I need it as well as helping me celebrate the little things in life.  They are so special to me and have really become more like sisters (and their husbands like brothers) then friends. The lives of my daughter, husband, and I would not be as enriched without them in it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #9

Today I am thankful for my daughter's sense of humor and her quirky (read weird-ish) personality..... I just love it.  She cracks me up every single day.  My favorite from yesterday was when I asked if she liked the scarf I had made her.  She giggled, with a twinkle in her eye, and said, "I don't dislike it!".  That little stinker!!  And this morning I was woken up by a screaming-singing rendition of Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.  Just what a sleepy mom wants to hear first thing in the morning, really!



Also.....I had to share my super fun infinity scarves that I made.  All from used tees that weren't being worn anymore.  They were really easy to make.  There was no sewing involved since all I had to do was cut it up. Yay!


Same scarf just doubled up.

L's scarf that she "doesn't dislike".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #7 & #8

#7... I am thankful for my husband's job, which has allowed for me to stay at home for the last five years with my daughter.  It is also allowing me to stay at home so I can volunteer at her school on a regular (bi or tri-weekly) basis.

#8... I am thankful for the sunshine.  I love the sun! It makes me happy! And though, he and I have a rocky relationship at times, mostly in the summer with heat nausea and headaches, I still could never live in a place that rains the majority of the year!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

It seemed a bit early to me but I guess Santa Claus has his own time table. He decided that this past Saturday was the day he was officially coming to Bass Pro for the Christmas season. We waited in front of the store with some friends while the kids munched on cookies with enough sprinkles to stain their lips red. I stood watching them, sipping my hot chocolate, while a group of teens sang carols in the background.  L and her friend were so excited that they were little balls of energy moving around the sidewalk. When the emcee let us know that Santa Claus was finally here my daughter let out a peal of excitement as my husband lifted her up to see. The moment L saw Santa Claus her face was transformed with a look of wonder, the likes of which I will not soon forget.



After Santa had said a few words, and thrown out some rubber balls shaped like him into the crowd, we all went inside to help him do a count down to light up the big Christmas tree. (And no, I did not miss the irony of Santa throwing his balls! He he he snort. Ok I got the junior high humor out of my system!) We entered into Bass Pros winter wonderland and was amazed.  They had really outdone  themselves this year. There was the typical things that have been out every other year.  Like a red rider gun game with nurf bullets, toy race cars for the kids to play with, crafts and coloring pages, letters to fill out for Santa, and of course getting a picture taken with Santa. This year they had added a merry-go-round to the fun!  It was filled with little woodland creatures for the kids to ride on and all decked out for Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the look of awe that across my daughter's face when she saw it. It was so magical! And beyond how wonderful it is for the children the next best part is that it's all free!! You can't beat that!



















I know it was super early to celebrate.  My rule is usually no decorations or Christmas music til Black Friday.  After experiencing Santa's welcome, how could a person not be in the Christmas spirit?!? Especially seeing the magic through my daughter's eyes. I have always loved Christmas, but now that I am experiencing it all over with L, I somehow love it even more!

Checking out the "North Pole".

Watching the fish in the 60,000 gallon aquarium filled with native fish of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #6

I am thankful that my daughter has such amazing grandparents.  Some of the things that L enjoys with her grandparents are....

*Unlimited game playing.
*Amazing camping trips.
*Weekly visits to a sheep farm. One visit even found my daughter feeding some baby sheep.
*Trick-or-treating at Nana's work.  (She made out better then when she went around our neighborhood that year!)
*So so many trips to Hershey Park.
*Story telling by a campfire.
*Sleep overs ending with chocolate donuts for breakfast.
*Movies and popcorn.
*New Years Eve celebrations at noon.
*Trips to the Baltimore aquarium and Lake Tobias.
*An infinite amount of hugs, kisses, and more love then L will ever need.

*And all around being spoiled by both sets of grandparents!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #5

Today I am thankful for my brother.  His birthday is today, so this seemed to be a fitting day to choose this one.  He and I fought so much as children.  I recall one time that my father actually threatened to tie us together for a whole day if we didn't stop our fighting. 

He drives me absolutely nuts sometimes.  And he still has the ability to annoy the heck out of me for no particular reason.  But he's mine...and I love him.

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #4

I am thankful for both sets of parents.  Both mine and my husband's.  My parents have been through so much with me and been so supportive and loving.  And T's parents because they made him the man he is today. :o)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness #3

I am thankful for my God and His promises in my life.

One of my favorite bible verses is appropriate... Philippians 4:6&7....

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Thank you God for everything in my life that I have to be thankful for!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness....

Yesterday started the "30 days of thankfulness".  For every day in November I am striving to think of one thing that I am thankful for. It shouldn't be too hard since God has given me so much to be thankful for!! The harder part will be remembering to blog about it every day. Because I've got the Facebook headline thing down no problem!

November 1st.... I am thankful for my daughter and her sweet snuggles. And her giggles, and her silliness, and everything about her.


November 2nd.... I am thankful for my husband and the support he gives me every day.  I am so lucky to have found him! The song "Marry Me" says so much for me....

"Forever can never be long enough for me
Feel like I've had long enough with you
Forget the world now we won't let them see
But there's one thing left to do

Now that the weight has lifted
Love has surely shifted my way
Marry Me
Today and every day
Marry Me"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Serendipity

Again, with the craziness.  Yes, life's still hectic for us. I keep telling myself things will slow down once the holidays are over. Hmmmm.... Wonder if that will actually happen. Anyway, there are so many little tidbits to share that I might as well get to it.

* The 5 mg melatonin does not seem to be helping me get a better night's sleep.  I am thinking of bumping it up to 10 mg to see if that helps me any more.

 * One, recent, evening we went and picked out pumpkins at the local pumpkin place.  We always have fun going there! Afterwards we visited Halloween in the Dark at Hershey Park.  It's tons of fun.  They even have a trick-or-treat area for the kids to wander through and get treats from volunteers. My daughter came home full of candy and exhausted from all the fun she had. It was a great time!









 











* Another of our recent evenings was devoted to carving jack-o-lanterns with my husband and L.






















* Of course we were outside raking leaves up quite a bit as well. L had a great time jumping in the piles.  She even enjoyed raking them up this year. Unfortunately, we have not been able to play in them as much as we would like because it's rained so much this fall. The weather seems more appropriate for the spring, with milder temps and lots and lots of rain!


















* T showed up one night with roses for me and carnations for L.  Isn't that so sweet??














* We  also went trick-or-treating.  L dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo.   Remember Scooby Doo? Well it's baaaack...again! For some reason our township always has trick-or-treating the Thursday before Halloween.  Not sure why, dumb rule.  The night we went was cold and drizzle-y.  So we had to revise L's costume and make her "Daphne from Scooby Doo on a ski trip!" It worked she filled two and a half pumpkin buckets with candy!


















* A rain storm turned into a winter storm when it met up with our cold temps this weekend.  We got at least four or five inches. It was surreal seeing all the snow covering leaf laden trees. It was also dangerous.  The branches were too heavy from the dense snow and all the wet leaves that it caused so many power outages this weekend.  I had intended on uploading pics and posting a blog this weekend.  Instead we dealt with 30 hours without power. Not fun! At first I felt awful because I couldn't let my daughter go play in the snow.  If I had gone out there and let my body temp drop there would have been no way for me to bring it back up without a heater, hot chocolate, and a steaming shower. However, I think we made up for her not being able to play outside. The snow storm became serendipity.  We did not enjoy going without power but we made memories anyway. 30 hours without electricity brought us... Some neat pictures, silly songs, games, extra time with both sets of grandparents, fun times with friends, breakfast out, a sleepover at Nana and Opa's, stories (both read and told), hot chocolate, snuggling under blankets, yummy pizza at Roberto's, and making new memories for the next generation at a local theater that I've going to since I was a kid (Who can beat six dollar movies tickets for an adult?) ! While I would have liked to have my electric on, this weekend was still pretty magical. And since it was so cold out the ice cream never even melted. Thank you God for all of it!







Monday, October 24, 2011

ZZZZZzzzzz....

I have been having sleep problems lately.  I fall asleep perfectly fine.  It's the staying asleep part that my body is having issues with. I wake up all night long to toss and turn.  So my rheumy. is having me try a melatonin supplement.  This is supposed to mimic my natural melatonin production in my body and help me sleep.  I've taken it for two nights now.  I haven't noticed any difference as of yet.  I am hoping that maybe it will help after I've been on it for awhile.  Hope.  It's a big word in a chronic chic's vocabulary!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Busyness

I just realized that I have been fairly lazy about my blog posting recently.  And I'd like to say that I have been insanely busy. I honestly thought that once my daughter was in school that things would slow down for me. I mean my daughter is in school all day after all! So I assumed that I'd be sitting at home trying to find things to do until I found a part time job to fill my time. Well... I was wrong. So very very wrong!

I have been volunteering at L's school at least once a week if not more. I do a lot of copying, cutting, and folding work for the teachers. And then I run all over the school delivering it all to them.  When that's not happening there always seems to be something that needs done for L's class or there's an activity in the evenings or on the weekends. Of course there's all the typical mundane errands that need done on a weekly basis as well. Among all of this busyness I am also looking for a part time job and going on interviews.

For a normal person this could become rather daunting. Throw in in achy or painful joins from arthritis and random sinus headaches from allergies, and well you've got a recipe for exhaustion. I am exhausted. As well as anxious about my future job. If I feel as if I'm running myself crazy now I am afraid to think about how it will be while I am working part time as well.

I am also anxious about actually being able to find the right job for me. Because of my physical limitations I need to find a desk job. The job can only be certain hours to allow for me to get my daughter on and off the bus. It is also important that I can have off when my daughter does during the school year. Seems like a rather huge list of needs for a prospective job! I honestly am skeptical as to whether I will actually be able to find a job like that. It was suggested to me that I apply for disability to help. But I almost feel as if I would be abusing the system at this point since I can still work a desk job.  And there are people out there who need disability much more then I do.  Fortunately, my husband and I are in a comfortable enough situation that we don't actually need me to have a job.  That allows for some flexibility.  We've proven that we can live on one income for the last five years after all.

My husband is hoping that there's actually a job out there for me, with all the filled requirements, that will fall in my lap. Me? I'm stressing out. Stressing out about me actually finding the job and about me surviving the errands, volunteering, babysitting, L's activities, time out with friends, and working. I guess this is all another part of trying to be Super Mom with an auto immune disease. Stay tuned to see what happens next. Duhn duhn duuuuuuhhhhhhnnnnnn!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Visit With Dr. A.

I had a visit with my fantastic rheumatologist, Dr. A. today. (I just love her and have absolutely no idea what I would do if she were to ever leave the practice!) I was pleased with my visit and found out some interesting tidbits of information.

The best piece of news that I received today was that my rheumy. has decided to let me discontinue use of the Methotrexate for the next four to six weeks. Since I didn't feel that there has been any significant improvement in my arthritis when I upped my pills from five to seven at a time. We are hoping that while I am off of the medication that it will help us ascertain whether or not it actually helped.  And it will also let us figure out if my recent upswing in arthritic pain is due to the damp and chillier weather that we've been experiencing or if it's because the Methotrexate was helping and I just didn't realize it. If it turns out that the medicine has actually been helping me then we will be turning to a new form of MTX in the hopes that I will experience less side effects. Which would mean that I would be injecting myself weekly. --->Insert scared faces here<--- I am nervous about the thought of injecting myself every week.  If, however, we would find out that the medicine was not helping me then that will pretty much mean that I should expect my arthritis to get worse as it gets colder. Which will in turn cause us to explore other medicines for the pain.

I also found out today that there is a possibility that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as Sjogren's.  (It is very common for people with Sjogren's to also have RA.) My blood work for RA came back negative last time it was done. Which I am told, is semi-normal since only about 60% of RA patients actually have positive test results, according to Dr. A. It's rather disappointing to me that there aren't tests out there, across the board, that will allow a doctor to be 100% sure about a patient's auto immune diagnosis.  But, as my rheumy. explained to me, the medicines that most doctors use to treat Sjogren's are all borrowed from the treatments that are used for RA. Which pretty much means that all my bases are covered anyway.

The last bit of information that we talked about was my Vitamin D levels. I had been reading articles that suggested that keeping your vitamin d at a "normal level" can be beneficial to Sjogren's patients. So throughout last winter I was consistent with taking it on a daily basis since I knew there was no way that I was getting enough vitamin d from the sun with all the overcast days we deal with during PA winters. Today Dr. A suggested that I take even more to keep my vitamin d levels even higher due to all the study results that have been coming out about vitamin d and it's benefits to arthritis.  Here is a brief blurb from Johns Hopkins about vitamin d and arthritis...


"Many researchers now believe that the "sunshine vitamin" may one day play a key role in preventing the development and progression of arthritis. Researchers, including scientists at Johns Hopkins under the direction of Uzma Haque, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins, have been looking at the effect of vitamin D on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and the data are quite suggestive. Vitamin D is proving to be a most promising area for arthritis research."


To read more of the article look here.  After discussing this we are hoping that in boosting my vitamin d levels that it will significantly decrease my arthritis pain.  So I had my blood drawn and we'll find out in a week how low my levels are and decide from there what dosage of vitamin d that I need to be on.

After such a rough week with my Sjogren's it was nice to have a positive appointment with my rheumatologist. I'm weirdly excited now to see what my blood work shows as far as my vitamin d levels go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today

Today I am being bogged down by "should be's" and "why bother's".  I "should be" cleaning the tub because it looks disgusting but my knees hurt way too much to actually be on them long enough to clean the tub. I "should be" exercising but I have absolutely no energy. I "should be" staying on my couch today but I just too much that needs to be done....not tomorrow....today. Yes, I am aware of the conflicting nature of those "should be's"!

My biggest conflict is that I "should be" taking my Methotrexate every week but "why bother"? Is it worth loosing a day every week to flu-like symptoms and weakness only to have the medicine "maybe" help me? Let's put it this way, it's not helping enough for me to actually notice a difference so "why bother"?

I'm sitting in the allergist office, while I write this, waiting out my half hour observation time following my allergy shots. And I'm wondering if these shots work enough for me to have to continue with them every month into the distant future? I'm not sure, "so why bother"? Despite the thoughts, I am totally willing to admit that this whole "why bother" attitude could be attributed to the miserable rainy day that we are having or the wearying aches and pains that I dealing with today.

My mind drifts to the thought that my Sjogren's Syndrome is a progressive disease. Which in, health terms, means that my disease will continually evolve, plateau, and worsen in varying degrees, over the years. That is not a thought that a person can concentrate on long before your positivity starts to sour. Anyway, since Sjs is progressive that pretty much means that I will be on some form of medicine or other for the rest of my life. Which brings me back around to my attitude..."Why bother" with medicine at all?

Please forgive my rambling gloomy-gloomy blog post this morning. It's just that I feel the need to be brutally honest with you in sharing my ups and downs of this disease. (Even if the down is an ugly attitude.) It's in the name of educating the general public.  Because it's astounding how many people have never even heard of an auto immune disease let alone what it actually does to someone's body. But today is just one day in my Sjs journey and I am remembering that tomorrow is another day filled with the promise of God's love and the possibility of sunshine!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yesterday

L had off school yesterday.  So we spent the morning with friends at a great little farmers market. They set up a green house for kids to romp in complete with sandboxes of corn, hay mazes, a giant hay slide, and lot of animals to ooh and ahh over. The morning was filled with lots of laughter and fun.

In the afternoon L and I pretty much ran around like two crazy people. Which ended up making me tired and her cranky. The excerpt from below perfectly describes yesterday evening...


"Time out for seven minutes?! How could you set it for seven minutes?! Don't you know I'm only five? Five years old! I can't believe you set it for seven minutes when that's past my age!!"


It was not the greatest evening with my sweet adorable loving angst-y girlie. Hoping a good night's sleep helped.  Otherwise, I fear for her teacher!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Highlights

It seems that I have become busier now that my daughter is in school all day.  Which is not something that I thought would happen.  So far some of the highlights have been....

*My girlie got pushed during her soccer game and she fell into the metal goal post. She ended up with a whopper of a goonie on her head! She actually wanted to stay in the game and was upset to be benched by her coach.  She saved her tears til she was buried in my arms.  My proud Mommy moment came when she went back into the game at the end. We took her home and spoiled her while we iced her down with her favorite princess ice pack. With all the attention she got she may have considered it worth it!


*I have found a new internet addiction!  It's called Pinterest.  It love love LOVE the DIY section.  They have so so many crafts that I am just dying to try.  The first two crafts I tried didn't turn out too bad. What do you think? I cannot wait to make some of the things for friend's birthday gifts.


*I've been doing a lot of volunteering at my daughter's school and a lot of visiting with friends this week.  The former has made me crazy tired. The latter has been a breath of fresh air.


*L has been a drawing maniac this week.  I just love to see it. The thing is, however, that she adores drawing on our little post-it notes. There is not a post-it bunch in the house that doesn't have some kind of doodle on it from her.  Note to self....Buy stock in post-its!


*Smell the air! I don't know where you are but here in Hershey the air smells like fall.  That means L's and my favorite season of the year. We have been counting the days til we could decorate for Halloween! There are cobwebs absolutely covering our ceiling fan in the dining room.  The house smells like vanilla or cranberry orange candles.  And I swear L's pumpkin buckets are having babies when we're not looking!

















Happy Fall Everyone!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Yesterday

Wow! What a week this has been.  I was still dealing with the crazy lazy contractor for most of this week. He didn't finish our house completely until Wednesday. That was eight days of craziness! Oh the stress of it all!!! It was really starting to take a toll on my body. Thank the good Lord that is done! Seriously!! I've added some pictures below of the finished project.

Yesterday I woke up with a promise of a better day.  It had to be, right? With no contractor to deal with it should be fantastic! I was wrong, of course. I took L down to the bus stop, with doggie number two, and realized that I had locked the door behind me with my keys inside. And we have no back up key outside. So I had to walk to my friend's house, who lives close by. It takes around two minutes to get there by car and about ten or fifteen minutes to walk depending on how fast your walking.  Usually it would have been a semi nice walk. However, yesterday I had to walk very very quickly because of the intermittent spritzing that was going on.  (Yes, I just used a foreign word for those who are not Pennsylvania Dutch! When I say "it's spritzing" outside it means "it's sprinkling" outside.) So the walk was not enjoyable for me at all. And being the klutz that I am I, of course, fell at least once on the walk over. The end of the story being that I ended up spending the rest of the morning with my fabulous friends and my husband saved the day by coming home on his lunch break.

In the afternoon I went over to my daughter's school to take part in their volunteer program, the Parent Academy.  I spent the afternoon copying, and dye cutting fall leaves for the teachers at the school.  It was wonderful to see how appreciative they were of the work that I had done.  But it was also hard work since I had to stand to copy things and then use my arm muscles to work the dye cutting machine.  And after all that work was done I walked all over the entire school handing out the work that I had finished to the teachers. It was a looooong day! I was so tired in the evening that I completely fell asleep on the couch when my daughter was watching her favorite show.  Which left me feeling like I got no time with her at all. :o(

Today I've woken up super sleepy, incredibly achy, and have just about no energy this morning.  In my books, when that happens that means I am crazy emotional until I get more sleep. And it's not just rational things that get me emotional.  We're talking stupid things.  Like the fact that there's laundry that's bugging me and I can't help my husband do it.  Or the fact that I finished a book that I love and I can't buy the next one until it comes out.  Crazy stupid things! So far the only semi rational thing that I've been emotional about is missing my daughter today since I barely had time with her yesterday. Oh, and the fact that I am worried that I will be majorly tired like this every day once I get a part time job. I'm trying not to think about that (or my health) at the moment because that would just be emotional overload!

I am being completely honest when I say I wouldn't even want to hang out with me today! Because I am just that emotional! Hoping tomorrow will be a better day!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Letters of Dissatisfaction to Hershey Park

I was so worked up after writing my blog post last night that I immediately went over to Hershey Park's website and wrote them to let them know how I felt about our experience yesterday.  (It was rather heated and I should have probably waited til this morning to cool down first.) I've received a response and written back to them already because I feel as if I just got the typical "the brush off" response from them.  So below I am posting our communications....


My original e-mail to Hershey Park...


"I wanted to share that I am deeply disappointed in how you handle the parking for customers with handicapped disabilities.

Today as we drove into the park we were told that we were not allowed to park in the handicapped parking lot due to a band competition. When we asked where they suggested we park we were told to park in the regular parking just like everyone else.  I told the gentlemen that my mom could not walk that far and we were told to take a tram.  How, may I ask, is that handicap accessible in any range of the imagination?? My mom's needs are addressed quite well within the park with lots of shade and many benches to sit and take breaks on. However, I can't even imagine how a person who is actually in a wheelchair would have managed parking in the regular parking lot and taking in a tram!! And the security guard never questioned what my mom's disability was too see whether she needed to use a wheelchair.

This experience has proven that "handicapped accessible parking" is only a theory at Hershey Park and only made available when it's convenient to the park to provide it. I am deeply appalled that this would happen at a park that's main advertising touts that your park is family friendly. Apparently that is only for healthy families who do not have the disabled within their family units. "



Hershey Park's response...



"Thank you for taking the time to write to us regarding your recent visit to Hersheypark.  Without honest feedback from valued guests, such as yourself, we cannot improve our operation.  Although we strive to provide our guests an exemplary experience with every visit, we greatly appreciate being made aware when we do not meet that high standard. 

I would like to apologize for the way you and your family members were treated by one of our staff. We strive to ensure that we provide adequate parking arrangements for our guests with disabilities. Unfortunately our regular ADA accessible parking area had reached capacity during this day and our parking areas closer to this area were reserved for a High School Band Competition. Our staff should have better explained to you where there were additional ADA accessible parking closer to our tram loading areas. 


We encourage our staff to not ask questions about someone's disability or challenge someone who has an ADA accessible parking placard due to violating there personal rights and the uncomfortable situation it may place our guests in. Our tram service is equipped with ADA accessible seating and our tram stops do have benches in place for our guests to sit and wait for the next tram. 


I can assure you that we will continue to teach, train, and coach our staff on how to properly direct our guests with disabilities to the closest or most accessible parking areas. I apologize again for the opportunity that you endured and hope that you choose to visit us again in the future.
Sincerely, "
  


My response to this email was this...


"I am highly disappointed in your response to my e-mail.  By holding the closest parking area for a band competition Hershey Park is placing those patrons above the needs of the disabled public. The message that families with disabilities receive is that they can have closely located handicap parking only when it's convenient for Hershey Park. That does not seem OK to me. Despite the fact that there is another handicap accessible area near the trams does not make this right to do. As far as the benches are concerned, yes there are benches, however, I don't feel that you can claim that they are enough for the disabled patrons.  The benches are full at all times and we are not able to use them. Perhaps Hershey Park should consider marking one of the benches as a handicap bench so that they would actually be able to use them.

Sincerely,
Kristen"




It will be interesting to see how they respond to this next e-mail.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Handicap Accessible


How handicap accessible is the handicap accessibility at a public place? I guess that is left up to the discernment of each individual business and how far they are willing to go for their handicapped clientele.

My husband, L and I took my parents with us to Hershey Park this evening.  We needed to get out of our house and away from the great big mess that it is! We were looking forward to a great time but hit a snag in our plans before even getting into the park.

My Mom has many auto immune disease, which combined, prove to make walking quite difficult for her at times. Because of this she has a handicap card that she uses, on bad days (like today), when parking at businesses. When she goes to Hershey Park she especially needs to use the handicap card because she does so much walking inside the park that she often can only make it to the handicapped parking and no farther. She makes it to the car with a bright red face, her jaws clenched in pain, her hands shaking, and promptly collapses in the car.  She knows all the walking is bad for her, but she is like me and is willing to push herself to do fun things with L.

Today as we drove into the park we were told that we were not allowed to park in the handicapped parking lot due to a band competition that was being held at the stadium beside the handicapped parking lot.  So they commandeered that parking lot for the guests of the competition.  When we asked where they suggested we park we were told to park in the regular parking just like everyone else.  I told the gentlemen that my mom could not walk that far and we were told to take a tram. So we would have had to stand and wait like everyone else for a tram.... for about ten minutes... in the sun... with no where for my mom to sit. How, may I ask, is that handicap accessible in any range of the imagination??  And our issues were minimal, as in we can't be in the sun too long, or stand for long periods of time. (Those problems are addressed in the park with lots of shade and many benches to sit and take breaks on.) I can't even imagine how a person who is actually in a wheelchair would have managed parking in the regular parking and taking in a tram!!

We ended up circling back around and finding a way to park in "band competitions parking lot", despite my daughter telling me we weren't allowed. I felt like I had to break the rules, which I feel guilty about doing now. However, I am also deeply disappointed that this would be the only option that the park would have made available to handicapped people. I am so mad about it that I think I will be sending a letter of complaint to the park. Because I know if we had problems with this, there were certainly others who were inconvenienced even more so. 

So how handicap accessible is Hershey Park? I would say they are only handicap accessible when it's convenient for them. What are your thoughts on my experience and this issue???

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Floor


I've had a bad week!  The flooring, which was supposed to take three days has turned into a five day maybe six or even seven day process. I am not happy about this people! Not happy at all! Originally we were planning on asking a couple of people to help us install the floor ourselves.  We decided to opt for "professionals" to come in and install it instead thinking that it would get done faster that way. Ha! Boy was I soooo wrong.

So far since Tuesday I've dealt with....

*Missing products not once but twice. Which delayed the installation process in some way or another both times.
*Late workers, who took hour and a half lunches and then left early.
*MIA bosses who didn't really seem to take me too seriously until my husband got involved.
*Lots of lame excuses.
*A hole in our kitchen wall. (It looks like they were playing football and someone missed a pass!)
*A kitchen counter torn off of it's cabinet base.
*A heat register that was torn off the wall with gouges in the drywall surrounding it.
*Millions of layers of ancient flooring in our kitchen because apparently every owner of our house before us has done half the ob by just placing the new flooring over the old stuff.  This resulted in more work for the installers and a bigger price for us.
*Broken laminate, which seems to be the fault of Lowe's? That's questionable about why it wasn't inspected.
*Dust everywhere. I mean every-freakin'-where!!!!  It's covering everything.  The toys, the computer desk in the living room, the fridge, the couch. Everywhere. They apparently covered nothing with drop clothes before starting their work. So even my poor little bowl of fruit is covered in dust.
*The flooring installation manager from Lowe's was out to see the damage and was very upset.  Resulting in an assurance that everything will be fixed.  As well as a partial reimbursement to us.
*And last, but certainly NOT least, two minutes after the supervisor left one of the flooring installers ran his hand through his saw.  Needless to say he is now prepping for surgery, as I write this, to do reconstructive surgery on his hand. Yikes!

So the job is still not done. The flooring guy hurt himself within an hour of being here this morning and they left right away. Needless to say all of this stress is not helping my health! Once the men left this morning I sat down and cried.  Hysterically. Like, ugly, snot all over my face kind of cried. Into the rag that I rushed to get for the installation man and I was too late to give to him because they raced away.Wow, what a week! I would SO SO SO love to have a drink. Drat my medicine and the problems I would have with my liver if I indulged in even one drink! At least I have my friends to cheer me up tonight!!!

Enjoy the pics.  I keep telling myself that someday this will be a very funny story!



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Houses

We're having new flooring installed in our house this week.  I am so SO excited to see the finished project.  I think it will look a thousand times better then the business grade carpet that was installed by the cheap guy that owned our house before us. I cannot wait! The choosing of the flooring was a crazy process.  First we had to choose if we wanted hard wood, laminate (which is a synthetic but looks like hardwood), stamped cement etc. After that was decided then I had to find the perfect looking laminate flooring that didn't cost too much.  Because it never makes sense to put more money into your flooring then you will actually get back when you sell a house. Which we needed to take into account since we plan on moving in five years or so. I finally found the perfect one at a great discounted price since they were discontinuing the product. "Yay me", for asking for what I want!!

Anyway, the thought of getting our money back when we sell our house brought me to think about buying a new house. On a good day, with "normal" people, the prospect of buying a house can be daunting and never ending for a couple.  Add to the mix a person with special health needs and you make it even more difficult. For instance, if I were healthy we would only have, give or take, about three key things that we would be looking for in a home. My list would look like this...

*The school district being the first.
*Two bathrooms (Who likes to wait for a bathroom right?).
*A big enough driveway or yard to hold our camping toys (a camper and boat).

However, I am not a "normal" person so I have additional needs to worry about. (Especially since we are planning on staying in our next house for years and years to come.) Because my disease is progressive, I will be dealing with it for the rest of my life. New problems will pop up that will cause my family and I to find new ways to deal with the issues. So we will have to take into account the possibilities that could arise with my health in the future. Such as, the possibility that I may not be able to navigate stairs in the far off future because of the Sjogren's arthritis in my knees.  So my list will look like this...

*Ranch house.
*Or at the very least a house with the main bedroom on the first floor.
*Laundry room on first floor.
*Or the capability to build a laundry room into the first floor somewhere.
*Possible open layout if for some reason I would need a wheelchair in the very very far off future.
*Possible larger door ways in case of wheelchair.
*The possibility of adding a ramp to the front door in case of a wheelchair.
*Room in a shower and bathroom for safety rails.

Sheesh! I am so glad that we've got awhile before we have to start that process!!!


**UPDATE**

Here is our living room looks like so far. Yay for pretty floors!



PS- This was not meant to be a pity-poor-me-I'm-so-dramatic-I'm-gonna-be-in-a-wheelchair-some-day-post.  I was merely trying to expound on the possibilities that I have to take into consideration for my far far off future when my husband and I begin to look for a house. I freaked my mom out when she read this post so I felt the need to clarify! :o)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Epiphany

Back when my husband and I started dating I was pretty much a "go with the flow" kind of girl.  If I woke up in the morning and a friend wanted to take an hour and a half drive to get ice cream at a super yummy creamery I'd say, "Yeah! When are we leaving?!?" I didn't pack and I didn't plan.  I just went.

Nowadays it's a whole different story. I deal with anxiety if I don't have plans when I know I am going somewhere. I've even been known to write my plans down on a post-it and hiding it in my purse to sneak furtive looks at later. If I am with people who don't like to plan things I become nervous and anxious about what we'll be doing. I've come to realize that I feel compelled to plan so I can be prepared for whatever we may do. I am always the one with a pack of wipes for a dirty hand, band aids for a cut knee, and snacks for a cranky kid or a hypoglycemic attack for myself. I feel naked if I don't have a bottle of water. And I'm ashamed to admit that I even have a mini flashlight in my purse!

I do admit, that sometimes it can go to extremes and I've just figured out why.  It's because I feel as if I have some semblance of control in my life when I plan.  Because with Sjogren's I never know from day to day how I am going to wake up feeling.  Which does not allow for any planning. For that matter, I never know from hour to hour how I am going to wind up feeling depending on the activities in store for the day.  So when I plan for most eventualities I feel in control of my situation. My health, one might even say.

So, here's to the first step....acknowledging it.... Hello, my name is Kristen and I am a control freak.... With good reason in my thinking. Anyway, this gives me a lot to think about.  So for now, I beg your pardon in saying, you're just gonna have to deal with it!

Remembering

Today is a day for remembering....






and for being thankful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Flooding

We've had an amazing amount of rain in the last few days.  Like, we're talking almost non-stop rain.  It's all from the tropical storm that caused so many problems down south. Only it's not a tropical storm any longer but it's still causing problems.

We're under water at the moment.  Not our house, fortunately, but roads everywhere. Our county has declared a state of emergency until further notice. So we had early dismissals and kids stuck in schools overnight without parents. Building have collapsed and so many roads are unpassable. My husband is stuck at work at the moment.  The hospital he works at has declare a state of emergency.  So he's stuck worrying over their computer systems for the moment.

Here are some photos...