Explanation

16 Mar

A while back I excitedly announced that I was BACK and you all would hear from me more frequently.  Weeeeellllllll . . . . then things got really crappy!  2 days after my come back to the blog world I landed myself in the hospital with severe pancreatitis.  I spent a week in the hospital unable to eat and so drugged up I don’t remember much of my stay.  I bloated up to unrecognizable from all the saline and IV meds the pumped into me.  My hubby and kids visited several times but I was an emotional and bizarre sight to them.  Hubby even brought my dog to see me hoping it might lift my spirits some.  It did, until they left and I was alone again.  The nurses were wonderful, evening sitting and talking with my about my boys, trying to take my mind off the fact that I missed Thanksgiving and their memorable ride on the Polar Express, my niece’s birthday and other family togetherness.

In my more sober moments of my stay, I took advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals online and finished my Christmas shopping.  I realized after the fact that shopping online while on a pain pump is a moronic move, but fortunately I didn’t buy anything weird or spend thousands of dollars!

7 days after being admitted I was sent home feeling only slightly better, but my levels were down and the doctors felt I was recovering.  I went back to work but still couldn’t eat anything besides Jell-O, pudding and watered down oatmeal.  I was drinking Ensure protein drinks, I was weak and pasty.  I was in pain. 

I saw my primary doctor after a few days for a post hospitalization follow up and voiced my concerns that I wasn’t feeling any better.  He told me he thought I needed my gallbladder out.  I braved the weekend and tried to enjoy cutting down a Christmas tree with the boys and Hubby.  I laid on the couch in agony while they decorated it without me.  When Monday finally came around, I went to work for 2 hours and then headed over to the surgeon’s office to see what she thought was my issue.  She was pretty adamant that it was indeed my gallbladder and that it needed to come out.  She sent me for blood work to check for infections and check my levels.  I had a CT scan to “clear my pancreas” before surgery.  I was to head right to the 8th floor surgery prep after my scan.  I wouldn’t go back to work for 2 more weeks.  I needed yet another angry organ removed. 

I called my boss and told her the bad news.  She was very understanding as for the past 2 weeks they’d watched how sick I was and worried as I spent days in the hospital, only to come back in worse shape than before I was admitted.  I called Hubby and he left work to sit with me in pre-op. 

My surgery was supposed the typical out-patient surgery where I would spend some time in recovery, head to short stay and then go home.  In short stay I cried in agony, I’d never been in so much pain in my life.  They couldn’t manage my pain and decided to admit me to the hospital again.  I slipped in and out of consciousness, more from the pain than anything else.  I’d wake up and moan, cry and beg for something to get rod of the pain.  They upped the dosage of meds and gave me something stronger only after I reminded them that they were giving me something weaker than what I took at home on a daily basis for my back and fibro. 

Perkocet kicking in it was time for me to try to get out of bed.  Have you ever tried to get out of bad after abdominal surgery?  Holy shit does it suck!  Not to mention that I was still incredibly weak from being ridiculously sick for weeks.  It took 30 minutes to get me out of bed. 

After a few little walks across the room and out into the hallway the surgeon decided I could go home.  Armed with giant ice packs, pain killers, laxatives (ever try to poop after abdominal surgery?) and several other meds for the nasty lesions in my stomach we took the agonizingly bumpy ride home with my hanging my head out the window in below zero winds because I was nauseated from pain killers and motion.

It was a long recovery for my ragged body.  I had hoped to only miss a week of work, but my surgeon wouldn’t allow less than 2 weeks of recovery time.  I was secretly thankful for that as I wasn’t ready to return.  When I did return, it was hard to sit for 8 hours at a time.  It put too much strain on my tender abdominal muscles.  I would get home in the evening and lay on the couch with an ice pack until I fell asleep. 

Do I sounds like I’m overreacting to a common surgery?  Maybe to some.  But you have to remember this:  Every person handles illnesses and surgeries differently.  I have a condition that makes my nerves overact, causing recovery from surgery to take much longer and be more painful.  I was recovering from a nasty illness and surgery at the same time. 

Why am I being so defensive?  Because people actually scoffed at how long it took me to feel normal again.  Does it really matter what other people thing?  No.  But before we judge someone, no matter what it is for, we need to remember that we have no idea what storms they have been made to walk through.

Welcome Back!

23 Nov

Oh how I have missed you!  Life went bonkers for a while and I had to put my little blog on the farthest back burner I have!  Let’s see, I lost my job almost a year ago, spent 6 months as a stay home mom during which time I discovered being a stay home mom is NOT for me!  I landed a new amazing job that I LOVE, however I am working full time for the first time since I was pregnant with Little C, and he’s 4 now so that was a big change for our family!  Trying to juggle working 40-50 hours a week, 2 kids in school, homework, chores . . . I ran out of time for myself let alone my little slice of heaven here in blogger land!  

Life has settled some and I have months and months of goodies to share! 

Here is what has gone on since we last chatted:

ImageLittle C started “school”.  Ok, he started going to daycare 3-4 days a week, but we call it school and he brings a back pack so he can feel like a big boy.

ImageBig A started 3rd grade (sniffle sniffle whimper) and he is doing AMAZING!  I swear that kid is going to be an engineer or something.  ImageLook at his Minecraft game he is making!  He is not allowed to play the actual game (they play it once in a while during free time at school but we won’t allow it at home)  He and a friend decided since neither of them are allowed to play the game, they would make their own! This is a work in progress, but I am so proud of him for being so imaginative!

ImageOur cats learned how to cook, which is great because I just don’t have time anymore!  See?  Gnocchi is tasting his delicious creation!  They like to help with homework too.  Very smart cats.  ImageImageBig A continues to be enamored with Legos.  Look at this incredible Lego train he built with NO instructions!  See?  Engineer for sure.

ImageMy poor Little C spent some time in the hospital a few weeks ago .  He was horribly sick and the doctors just could not figure out what was wrong with him.    They thought it was meningitis, which meant every doctor and nurse to enter his room had to wear a mask.  That was really frightening for Little C!  The worst part of the entire ordeal was having to watch, helplessly as he whimpered in pan,  As a mommy, that broke my heart.  Thankfully, he made a fll recovery and is back to be being his sassy little self again!

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Well, that sums it up for now I guess!  I promise it won’t be another 6 months before you hear from me again!

A Little Advertising

28 Apr

Remember back in February when I shared a painting I did for my friend, the author of the Winters Saga series?  Well she just launched a new website   promoting her books.  She is also publishing them as paperbacks now, previously they were only available on Amazon.com for Kindle and Cloud readers.

With the promotions of her newest title, Legacy due out in October, and the publishing of paperback versions of her books, this has been a very busy and exiting time for Karen!  AND check out what pops up on her website!  My painting!

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It’s fun to see my work pop up in other places around the web.  But it’s more fun to know that people really appreciate my work!

I’ve Been Busy!

22 Apr

Wheew, sorry folks!  I know I’ve been MIA, but I have a REALLY good reason!  We put our house up for sale and I have been spending 90% of my time cleaning, decluttering, sorting, donating . . . and the other 10% sleeping.

Selling your house is seriously a full time job!  Especially with 2 kids and 3 pets that make a lot of messes and clutter!  Putting your house on the market is so much more involved than just signing on with a realtor and sticking a sign in your yard.  You need to do your homework or you may as well not even list your house.  The weeks prior to our realtor coming over were spent comp shopping to decide on a competitive price, fixing things that needed fixing, and a massive purge and clean that made our house sparkle and shine!

Why did we purge and clean?  Well that’s a pretty simple question to answer.  You want your home to show off it’s bests assets, it’s size and functionality.  How can someone come in and decide if they want to live there, visualize their family living there, if you have nicknacs and pictures on ever wall and surface?  Any good realtor will tell you to take down all the personal affects and only leave out a few decorative touches.  You want to make it look like you don’t live there, like it’s staged.  And after going to a bunch of open houses, some of which were so cluttered I didn’t even know what room I was in, I think it’s safe to say that a tidy house will sell faster than a cluttered one.

We removed all of the personal photos from walls, shelves etc.  Over our mantle we hung a large mirror, and over our sofa we hung a nice piece of wrought iron artwork.  Speaking of artwork, you all know I love to paint . . . well I took down most of my paintings to show off the size of the rooms.  If there are too many things on the walls, they distract the eye.

In the boys rooms we put most of their stuff in storage, to showcase the rooms instead of the toys.  Same with the playroom, we put away a good chunk of the toys.  They still have plenty to play with, but it looks less busy.

Extra furniture was stored away as well, too much furniture makes a room look small.

So, those are a few of my tips for getting your home ready to sell!  I will keep you posted on the status of ours!

Beauty is in the Eye of the Flamingo

26 Mar

Handmade gifts are the best, right?  Don’t you love receiving a gift that someone you care about has painstakingly fabricated with their own two hands?  And it’s the thought that counts, even if you don’t totally adore the gift . . . right?

Muuwaaaahaaahaaa UNLESS the gift was made with pure malice and EVIL by your cunningly handy sister!  Muuwaaahaaaaahaaaa!  My friends, may I introduce to you . . .  My sister’s birthday present . . .

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A little back-story may be in order here.  My sister HATES pink flamingos.  She thinks they are the tackiest animal on the face of the earth.  So naturally, she despises those lovely plastic pink flamingos that grace the gardens and yards of home everywhere.  What’s worse than an ugly plastic flamingo?  A BEJEWELED plastic flamingo!

If you want to make one of your own, because well why the hell not, right?  All you need are an ugly plastic flamingo, 1500 crafts jewels, a LOT of hot glue, and a lot of patience.  This bad boy here took me about 6 hours to bejewel, and is the reason I no longer have finger prints.  And since I ended up with 2 of these flamingos, of course I HAD to make a 2nd one!  Any takers?  Hehehehe

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Road Trip!

21 Mar

When I was a kid road trips meant piling the family into the Suburban and driving for hours and often for days.  We didn’t have DVD players, tvs, MP3 players, hand held games . . .  I was probably 12 or 13 before I even had a Walkman!  So family trips meant my mom had to come up with some resourceful ways to keep the 3 of us quiet in the car because my dad had a hell of a hot temper!  One trip we rented a large RV, so we could move around and play board games and not be sitting practically on top of each other.  I assume that was the least stressful trip for my mom!

Today, even with MP3 players, DVD players and Nintendo DS systems it can be hard to keep kids occupied in the car on long trips.  A parent needs to arm themselves accordingly or risk wanting to strap their children to the hood like a hood ornament!

We’ve taken many road trips with the boys over the years.  It’s always me who has to hand out snacks, change movies and pick up trash they throw on the floor because Daddy is driving.  Until tomorrow.

The boys and I are talking a road trip without Daddy.  That’s right, I’m flying solo on this one.  Yikes.  But it’s not really that scarey, I mean I’ve taken the kids places many time by myself.  Just never for a 9-10 hour trip like we are doing tomorrow!

While a little nervous about the drive-mostly just being the one who is navigating-I must say I am well prepared due to my years as a child riding on long trips as well as my many MANY trips with my kids.  I know what works for us, and what has left me with a splitting migraine.

  • Stop as little as possible.  We stop for bathroom breaks, during which EVERYONE has to use the bathroom.  Otherwise 10 minutes after pulling away from the gas station you will hear “Mooooooom!  I have to peeeeeee!”
  • We pack our own food.  It’s cheaper, healthier, and you don’t waste travel time sitting in a restaurant, or trying to FIND one!  If we need to stretch or the kids are getting antsy, we stop at a rest stop and eat picnic style and let the kids run around.  But NOT if we are traveling in the dark!  Only during the day and only rest stops in a well let and busy area.
  • We don’t buy snacks when we stop for bathrooms and gas.  We have snacks packed, we don’t need to waste money on junk at the gas station!  Same goes for drinks.  We have a cooler with drinks.
  • I pack special items the kids don’t know about.  I buy a couple movies out of the $5 bin at Walmart, I get a new coloring book and new markers, maybe a little stuffed animal.  Last time we took a road trip I bought each kid a new Look and Find book and a travel size Etch-a-Sketch.  When they started getting cranky, out came the surprise to pull them back into happy land.  It’s never an expensive toy, just something little and fun that they can use in the car.

Here is how we packed:

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  • Sandwiches made ahead, but cheese separate so it doesn’t get mushy.
  • Cottage cheese and canned fruit in Take and Toss bowls with lids, spoons taped to the top. (I know you can buy fruit cups, but they are too full and the juice spills.  I scooped the fruit with a fork so I wouldn’t get much juice in the bowls.  Less mess)
  • String cheese individually packaged

In larger Tupperware containers (one for Mommy, on for the kids)

  • Frozen Gogurts- they will stay cold for hours
  • Granola bars
  • Cracker packs
  • snack size bags of peanuts and almonds
  • pre-peeled Clementine oranges in snack bags
  • apples
  • Crystal Light packs for mixing in bottled water
  • mini rice cakes for me
  • corn tortillas with turkey and cheese for me
  • a few packs of cookies and fruit snacks

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It’s a lot harder for me to travel since I cannot eat gluten.  Packing my own snacks and lunch food means I can eat.  There aren’t many gluten free options available at gas stations or fast food joints!  Packing our own snacks and lunches also means that I control what the kids have to choose from.  Fruit, water and individual milks are way better than sugary drinks and chicken nuggets!  A few little treats thrown in, but for the most part they will be eating healthy.

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For entertainment I have array of coloring books, puzzle and maze books, dry erase books, cameras, Look and Find books, Etch-a-Sketch, Little C’s VTech tablet and Big A’s DS.  They each have a little lap desk with pockets to hold their crayons and markers.  We have the dual headset DVD players and plenty of movies, as well as the secret new movies and 4 secret Beanie Babies that a friend gave me.  I think we are ready for our trip!  Wish us happy travels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Art Frame

14 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASorry I’ve MIA, life caught up with me!  But don’t think I haven’t been busy crafting and DIY-ing . . . because I have!

My kids make all sorts of cute projects between school, the library craft time and with me at home.  We have a gallery in the hall that we hang their little works of art on.  We also hang them in windows and in their rooms.  But I like to be able to hang some of their masterpieces in the playroom as well.  I don’t want to do/buy artwork for the playroom, since it is their special room, I think they should be able to display their own artwork there!

We made these cute changeable art frames to hang in the playroom so the boys can hang whatever special works of art they want on their own.  These were totally FREE to make with simple supplies we already had lying around!

The back of the frame is actually from a storage cubby I bought and put in Little C’s room for toys.  They give you these thin plywood type backs to nail to the back of the cubby to keep toys from falling out.  Well, we decided not to use them so they were just sort of lying around the house.  I thought they would make great art frames!   If you don’t have these at your disposal, you could use any other piece of wood, cardboard, a dry erase board . . . whatever you want.

Little C chose craft pom poms to glue around the outer edge to create his frame.  Big A chose craft glass marbles.  I hot glued 2 clothespins to each frame for the boys to clip their art in.  I also wrote “Look What I Made” at the bottom.  Now the frames-which are works of art all on their own-hang proudly in the playroom for the boys to hang special projects.  They can easily change out their art as often as they want!

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