Saturday, September 20, 2014

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

"Because my illness does not define me."

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

I stumbled across a site on accident the other day, and read about the 30 Things Meme for invisible illness week which was Sept. 8th-14th this year, so I am a little late, but I decided I wanted to participate anyway because I feel strongly about supporting causes others with chronic illness have started.

1. The illness I live with is: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome-hypermobility type and Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: I was diagnosed with migraines as a young child. I also now have severe allergies that have caused a reactive airway disorder.I found out I was diagnosed with POTS in 2002 and never informed of such. I was diagnosed with EDS and POTS in 2013 through an elimination process of what I do not have. Who knows if my doctors will change their minds a bit,  but so far this is the closet  they have come for explaining the dysfunction my body often creates.

3. But I had symptoms since: Most of my issues started in 2002.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Learning how to let go and accept myself fully, sickness and all. I was always very type A and I would push myself and overwork myself until I would get sick. I am trying to learn to scale back, and accept that I do not have control over what my body is going to do from day to day.  With accepting myself, learning how to let go of the judgment of others and not living up to their expectations. I have realized that there are a lot of people who are never going to truly get what I deal with day to day, and that I really am doing my best.

5. Most people assume: That I am better because my issues seem to flare really bad and then back off enough that I am much more functional, so people don't understand  that this is one long chronic illness because "I look so healthy."  Some even think that nothing is really wrong with me,  that it is all excuses, and if there is something wrong, it is in my head. The best thing my neuro ever said to me was "well what is wrong with you is in your head (referring to my dysautonomia issues and migraines), but it isn't in your head the way they think.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: On bad days, it is the brain fog, and shaky feeling I get when my blood pressure, heart rate, and body are not cooperating. It is really bad if I don't sleep enough. What makes it so hard is I still have to get up because three awesome little people depend on me.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: I only watch three shows because I really do not watch TV. So the closet thing to a medical show is Call the Midwife.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my phone

9. The hardest part about nights are: Depends on the night. Night is sometimes when I feel my best. I think it has to do with lying down so my body is no longer fighting gravity and I start to get energy, but I know I need to go to sleep because I have to be up early. Other nights the hard part is when my nervous system is so out of whack and my heart is racing,  who can sleep through that? If I am having joint pain in my hips, headaches, wrist pain or something the insomnia from being in too much pain to sleep or stay asleep is horrible.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) I take prenatal vitamins, sometimes magnesium, and sometimes fish oil, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for my allergies, allegra sometimes, and very very rarely my Xopenex inhaler. I really do not take drugs which also leads people to believe nothing is wrong. This is a personal choice, but until I think there is a drug that the benefits will seriously outweigh the side effects, I have no interest. I am also breastfeeding and that is non-negotiable for me and the drugs that would help are pretty intense.

11. Regarding alternative treatments : This word annoys me, why are pills now the primary mainstream treatment. This is one thing severely wrong with our medical community, but I will save that for another day. I am what I term a lifer in physical therapy. I started going three years ago and what a huge relief from pain I have experienced. I would say I went frm being in pain 85% of the time if not more to about 20-30%. I also condition train. I am in the gym a lot exercising. The more conditioned I am, the less symptomatic my POTS is on a regular basis. I still have really bad days but if I let myself become de-conditioned, every day is a really bad day. I also drink gatorade to keep my sodium elevated I really want an alternative to gatorade because I think it is horrible for you. Have any ideas please share in the comments. I am reading the autoimmune protocol and the Wahls protocol. Those diet changes will be the next step. I am always reading about alternative treatment options but I had backed off on everything while I was having a lot of diagnostic testing done.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I have thought about this a long time, and I think about the Taoist farmer story and the who knows what is good or bad. I think this is a grass is greener on the other side question and I just want to take the best care of my own grass. I have what I have. I wish no one had to deal with  illness visible or invisible, but it is what it is and every condition has negatives.

13. Regarding working and career: This is so complicated, and my health has seriously affected my goals. I became a yoga instructor at 17. I completed my bachelors degree in psych and after I had my first son decided I wanted to be a midwife, so I went back to school and completed my bachelors in nursing. I also became a doula and a belly caster. My biggest issue is all of my dreams require a lot of physical labor. For now, while I heal from this last pregnancy, I am bellycasting and taking care of my three amazing children. I am seriously contemplating becoming a counselor as I love serving others as they grow on this life journey.  I also am working a great deal on blogging, as I love to share knowledge, stories, and experiences.

14. People would be surprised to know:That although I love socializing and being around people, I have developed some social anxiety from being sick. I was confined to my home for most of last year, and when I had to go places I had to be taken there. I also do not like getting sick in front of people and I don't always have control over when my POTS is going to start acting up bad.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Is not always having my independence and having to depend on others.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Survive the natural birth of my daughter.I had both of my sons naturally, one even at home, but those pregnancies seemed to improve my condition, but this last pregnancy I was worse than I have ever been and I am still amazed by her birth. It definitely was one of the most intense experiences of my life.

17. The commercials about my illness: Are there even commercials?

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Taking my independence for granted.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: Yoga and Running. As a yoga instructor and a competitive runner this was difficult. I still run a bit to help with the POTS but nothing like before.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  Weight lifting. I started before I was officially diagnosed to try and help with my hip instability. Weight training has its pros and cons for my health conditions, but conditioning is not negotiable with my POTS and honestly I love to exercise hard and I found something that makes me feel as strong and invigorated as a 7 mile run: deadlifting, squatting, benching, etc. I love still being able to feel strong.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I would fill my day with activities with my kids. Maybe run around on the beach with them, fly kites, take a trip to an amusement park. Then I would spend the evening out on a date with my husband. There is no way I can fill my day with activities from morning to night anymore and some days these things aren't possible at all. I want to be able to do them all without the worry of using up all of my spoons or borrowing ones from the next few days

22. My illness has taught me: Empathy. Patience. Acceptance. I have also learned to question my judgments of others more, even about the simplest things.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "how can you be so sick, you look so healthy and you are in amazing shape!" The undermining comments sometimes disguised as a joke, aren't funny: "maybe it is just female hysteria", "maybe you just need a vacation", and on and on. The hardest one I am dealing with right now is the comment "Well now that you've got your girl, you can be done."  I know no one means anything mean by this comment, but I have not  emotionally come to terms with this being our last baby. We were never planning on only having two children, and had a third because we were trying for a girl. I wanted a big family. Working on that wants and needs thing.

24. But I love it when people: Are people. Even with the comments above that stir emotions I don't exactly love, I love people. I love hearing everyone's stories and who they are. I love knowing what people are passionate about; what moves them. I love intellectual conversations.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: "I am Spirit." Whenever my body is not cooperating, or I am sitting through another horrible diagnostic test, or the pain is unbearable, I repeat the mantra I am spirit. It gives me strength. It reminds me that my body and the sensations it creates aren't all that make me who I am, and sometimes I have to take myself out of body to get through rough times.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Do not allow others to create doubt because they do not understand and can not see your illness; you are worth more than that. I spent too many years doubting and belittling myself, and often hiding from others what I was experiencing because I was told nothing was wrong even though I knew there was no way most people spent their days feeling the way I did. Also, find a way to grab onto Hope and use it to live this life passionately using your limitations as strengths.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How many times you truly can redefine yourself and grow.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: The nicest? There definitely is not just one. Just thinking about this makes me feel so loved and extremely blessed. I have some amazing friends and family. I know who is going to be there for me, and I have seen it with my own eyes. I do not fault others who are not able to do this, we are all on a different journey. But, let me tell you, I have some truly awesome friends and family. I know people who; will sit with me when I am sick, visit me in the hospital every day I am there, drive me to doctors appts., watch my kids last minute because I have to go the hospital or the doctor, bring me meals, drop off hand me overs of baby clothes, pick up the phone any time, throw me a baby shower even though I was the worst guest of honor sitting there sick, drive from other states to be with me when I am sick,  stick up for me to nasty nurses, fly from other states to be with me when I am sick, sit with me while I am scared and crying, help me with caring for myself when I can't, and they never remind me of it later because they know how embarrassed I get. See, I have amazing people in my life. I am so incredibly, wonderfully, and truly blessed.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I accidentally stumbled across the founders page as I was googling for one of my next project ideas, and I felt compelled to participate to contribute to her cause.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Hopeful

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Are You Feeling Better?

This was turning into a very long facebook post, and I decided maybe it was time to start writing again... "

 "So great to see that you are better."
"So glad you are healthy again."

I am beginning to hear comments like this daily, and I appreciate that people notice, that yes, after how incredibly sick I was last year, I am doing much better. Several years ago, I would not have said much more than, thank you and still today I say the same. Often because it is easier and they have already made the statement. If instead someone were to ask the question, "Are you feeling better?" the most simple response to this question is, No.

The truth is although I am not as sick as I was, I may never be "better." Ashamed, embarrassed, not wanting to be labeled as a hypochondriac, and being doubted,  left me covering up what I was feeling. I felt isolated and alone. Today I can't say I will be better, but what I can say, is that I am going to be my best, and that is all the hope that I need.

I am sharing this with you all because I think part of being and doing my best, is sharing, in the hopes I can make a difference, and in the hopes I can create more awareness.

  There are too many people who suffer in our medical system without a voice. They go from doctor to doctor, test to test, without answers. Our system excels for the most part, with treating acute illness, but when it comes to chronic illness, we are leaving people helpless and hopeless.

I have had medical issues my whole life, but as a child most of it was minor inconveniences, like my migraines which began when I was 3.  When I was 19, this changed a great deal, and I started having all sorts of bizarre, "you must be crazy" kind of  symptoms. I was scared. I was positive something was wrong, and doctor after doctor, test after test, I was repetitively told "you are as healthy as can be" but I certainly did not feel healthy. I was treated like a guinea pig. They would prescribe me cardiac medications while telling me nothing was wrong. I quit going to doctors. I gave up on them, when I realized they had given up on me. Don't ever give up on yourself.

After a year and a half, my symptoms became more manageable on a daily basis, and would more or less come and go. Several years ago, I started having many more neurological symptoms, so I went back to doctors and was still left without answers.

 What upsets me the most, was that I was diagnosed with a condition called POTS({postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and was never told about the diagnosis.Yes, you read that right, the doctors never bothered to mention that maybe this was what was making me feel like I was going to pass out all of the time.  Last year, pregnant, I became so symptomatic, there was no more avoiding or hiding what was going on. I was too sick and I needed help. It was also finally obvious something was seriously wrong. The doctors still had no answers. I started researching more on my own, and that was when I learned about dysautonomias and more specifically POTS. I went searching through all of my old medical records and found that in fact, when I was 19, I was diagnosed with POTS. Words can not express the plethora of emotions this stirred in me.
  The awareness of rare genetic diseases, and autoimmune diseases, even in the medical community, is frightening. I didn't even know there were conditions such as dysautonomias, and I had an A average in nursing school!  My cardiologist for the past 11 years only provided me with the explanation of, "yeah, this is just one of those things people are diagnosed with when we don't know what is wrong with them." 11 years later, extremely sick and pregnant, this was an unacceptable response and it took a lot of self control not to lose it on him. That is just a small glimpse of how ignorant some doctors are about this. Luckily I found doctors who took very great care of me while I was pregnant, and I am so grateful for them. I believe because they listened to me and treated me accordingly, my daughter and I were able to have such a positive outcome.

 I spend a great deal of time reading research articles because I have to advocate for myself, and unfortunately for Bean as well. Although Bean so far does not have POTS, he does seem to have another disorder I have also been diagnosed with. This disorder is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), the joint hypermobility variant. My EDS diagnosis and POTS diagnosis explain a great deal of all of my "you must be crazy" kind of symptoms, and they typically coincide with one another. The more I read, the more I  understand myself and everything I have felt and feel. Bean and I have very different symptoms of  EDS, as it is a genetic condition and affects everyone a little different, but it is nice to know what is going on.

I can sit here and say I wish I knew then what I know now, but there is no point in living in that space. I know through my own experiences as a patient, and also through my education, that the best way to advocate, is to be informed.  I have been sick so often since graduating from nursing school, I often wonder the purpose of all of that stress, if I can not help others. However, I am thankful for my education because it provided me with tools to help myself. In nursing school, I learned the importance of caring, informed consent, and treating the whole person. This drives me to want to spread awareness. No one should have to  go through this journey we call life, feeling alone.

I never knew what to expect when I finally had a label for what was wrong with me. I desperately wanted answers for so long, but I never really thought what it was going to provide me with.

What it did do, was it made my health issues very concrete. I realized  this was not just going to disappear, the way it appeared in my life, completely uninvited. My husband one day looked at me and said, "Did you think after 10 years this was just going to go away."

"I looked at him and said "yes." That yes was so genuine, and I guess it was naïve.

That was the day it all started to really sink in. I have a weakness. I have a vulnerability. I have a label. This is not completely temporary. I am going to have to stop making myself sicker by stubbornly pushing myself to "suck it up", as my body suffers. So in some ways, I am thankful I did not know what was wrong, as there are experiences I gained from this.

Another thing having a diagnosis did, was it brought me to the realization that I am not alone.
"Oh my goodness, there are so many people with these conditions." Now I know many of them. At first
 this made me sad, especially discovering that many of them are struggling daily. The part that really made me sad was the thought that there were  people out there undiagnosed, being told nothing was wrong, and desperately wanting an answer.

What this diagnosis did not do, was take away my hope. It is this hope that was what finally made me decide to be more public about this.

When I was 19, I felt hopeless. I went to doctors. I depended on them. I put my faith in them. I took the medications they gave me, and became sicker. I had no medical knowledge, and when they couldn't provide me with anything, I began to lose hope. So many people around me decided nothing was wrong because the doctors found nothing and so often people use to tell me it was going to be ok. No one wants to be told they aren't feeling what they are feeling. No one wants to be told it is going to be ok, when in fact it is not ok. My hopelessness was the worst. No one should be left feeling hopeless.
Now, hope is what gets me through my most difficult days. Hope is what I find when I feel weak, exhausted, and ready to give up. There is always a reason to be hopeful, even if it is simply just the idea of hope itself. I am not here to be a positive example for anyone else, or live up to anyone's standards of how I should "do" being sick. I am not less because I am sick. I am not less because I have days where I come very close to feeling hopeless and I have little to give. I have bad days and good days just like everyone else. I am here because if my ramblings can help anyone, or at the very least give them hope, I feel the need to share my journey.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Rock's Birthday

The past week and a half has been incredibly busy. Rock celebrated his 31st birthday and we had an awesome time celebrating at home. We made him a bunch of awesome birthday gifts, cooked him dinner, and baked him a white cake with buttercream frosting, his favorite. I am not sure if it is even worth making white cake from scratch. I haven't tasted one I thought was amazing and the boys agree too as they asked several times why we couldn't have a chocolate cake instead.

The best part of the evening, was the eco wish lantern. Everyone needs to get one and try it. They are so inexpensive and really made his birthday memorable this year. I had originally purchased it to light into the night sky the day of Wren's birth, but after I had to birth in the hospital, this just wasn't possible. So we all went out into the chilly air, made wishes, and watched as the lantern floated up into the night sky. The photos aren't great because I took them with my phone and was  savoring the experience with my family, but it was truly magical. 

This is one of the homemade gifts the boys made. I got the inspiration from pinterest and then modified them to make them more personable for our family. 

Finally here is a sneak peek of the gift Wren gave to Daddy. It isn't quite finished and I will be sure to show you all the final product in the near future, but I couldn't resist showing you her adorableness! 

So if all of that above isn't a good enough reason for why I have not been blogging every day, we are also in the process of applying to private school for the boys, I am planning my girlfriend's baby shower, I have still going to lovely doctor appointments, Wren needs to have a helmet made for her head (OH MY are those things EXPENSIVE!) because instead of having flat head syndrome the back of her skull is protruding outwards too much ( medical terminology created by yours truly), and of course all the regular day to day stuff a mom of three kids endures! 

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Valentine's Day White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

While I was perusing Pinterest, I came across this beautiful white chocolate raspberry cheesecake with hearts swirled through the top. The original recipe can be found over at Jaclyn's blog Cooking Classy White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake (check out her blog not only for the recipe, but her pictures are much better than mine)I had to give this a try. I have to say her directions for the recipe are great and it really was quite painless to make such a beautiful dessert. I thought for my first try, it came out pretty close to Jaclyn's. The only thing I did differently, was that I made my own oreo crust because I could not find one at the store. It not only looks pretty but it tastes awesome! Definitely try this one for Valentine's Day or bring to a dinner party because it definitely has that "wow" factor.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hydrangea Belly Cast

Many of you have seen this before, but trying to keep up with two blogs right now is just not practical.  I have decided to share my belly casting endeavors on this blog as well. So for everyone that is new and did not know, I am a belly caster. I figured it would only be fair to start from the beginning and this was my first attempt at making a belly cast. It is my own, so I had some help from my hubby.  I created this during my second pregnancy in the Summer  of 2009. We did this cast the last few weeks of my pregnancy and this is how my belly casting endeavors began. If you are interested in having a belly cast done, you can contact me at  and also feel free to like my facebook page affiliated with my doula and belly casting business so you can keep up with all my latest information about pregnancy, belly casting, birthing, breastfeeding, mothering and beyond! 

This belly cast is now hanging in the office of my home where I created other casts for women.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Church with my Dad

The Sunday after Christmas service, Rock was working. I often venture to church just the boys and I, but since this past pregnancy and the birth of Wren, I have been unable to go alone, so my Dad offered to go with me. He is a very punctual person and is not always the most patient when it comes to the irrational delays little people cause. We are always late, so needless to say, I was extremely grateful that he was offering to help me and slightly nervous at the possible disaster that might occur. I am very thankful we went, though, as that morning in church is my favorite memory of this holiday season.

 I dropped the boys off in the nursery so that they could play with the other kids, instead of taking them into church. Because after all, three days prior they not only did an amazing job playing the shepherds as we were asked to be the holy family, but they also sat through the entire Christmas service. So, it was just Wren, my Dad, and me in church.

I was holding Wren in one of her Christmas dresses; an adorable red, black, and white plaid dress with a black ribbon at her chest with a bow off to one side. She had on little black Mary Janes, and she was snuggled up against my chest and sleeping.  The service began with a Christmas Carol, I wish I could remember which one but I became distracted, because as my Dad was helping me find the page for the song in the Hymnal, memories started to flood my mind and I was small again..

Standing there in the foyer of my house in a frilly dress, white stockings, black patent leather Mary Janes, a fake white fur coat and muff that my grandmother sent me every year. Happily I twirled around on the beige tile floor with the hideous big orange flowers on it. I am sure my mother hated that tile, but it was fine by me as it was perfect for twirling and dancing on as I showed my outfit to everyone.

"Don't you look so pretty?" my parents and my grandfather, who would come over and go to church with us, would comment.

I loved the attention and felt like a little movie star.  I would tell everyone, "I am going to be a famous movie star when I grow up"!  Then I would ask them all, "Would you like  a movie kiss"?  Which would involve me going up to them and squishing my face into their's as a flopped my head from side to side.

When everyone was ready, we would all get into the minivan and drive to church. When we arrived, my Dad would hold my tiny hand in his massive strong hand as we hurried into church and I would always sit next to my Dad. Sometimes especially for holidays when it was really crowded, I would sit on his lap. I was without a doubt a Daddy's girl.  He was my favorite person. Mass would begin and my Dad would pick me up in his strong arms and hold me to one side with one arm as his other arm was stretched out holding the hymnal in his hand.  Everyone would start singing and my Dad would always pick me up so I could sing with him. "Sing with my Moo" my Dad would say. My Dad can sing quite well. He is very musically gifted. I would say the same about myself,  but I really loved and still do love to sing. I don't remember too much about Mass or church when I was small. There was always some priest talking and talking about things that were way above my intellectual understanding. What I do remember, is every time they would start singing how much I enjoyed it and how happy I was singing along with my Dad. I felt so safe and loved in my Dad's arms.

Holding Wren, I felt her warm body against my chest, the air flowing across my skin as she breathed in and out, as my Dad and I sung along with the rest of the congregation. I felt love and loved; love for my Dad and everything he has done for me in my life, and loved by my Dad for making the effort to take such good care of me and give me these memories, and because he joined my children and I at church that morning. 
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eight Years, Anteaters, and a Honey Badger

Today is our 8 year wedding anniversary, and the cold weather is quickly bringing back memories of our wedding day... It was the coldest day of the year, and we were barefoot on the beach, happy as can be. I am not sure our guests felt the same way, as they stood out there and froze.

We were 22 years old and thought we knew what we were getting ourselves into... Happily Ever After (duh), and we were right. We even had the horses.

People say marriage is the hardest job you will ever have. I might suggest the job of being a mother trumps it, but both are seriously challenging. I took on both roles in less than one year. 

They also suggest the earliest years are the most challenging (I always want to meet these "they" people), but this time I will take this suggestion and feel accomplished that we are quickly headed towards the double digits of wedded bliss.

So instead of a romantic date, we spent the day and evening like normal awesome Rock family days. We took kids to and from school, went to physical therapy, assisted with homework, went to cub scouts, my sister-in-law came to visit and got children into bed.  That might sound boring but it is never boring around here. It was chilly for Florida this morning, so Tadpole dressed appropriately.

 While I was away at physical therapy today, Tadpole out of the blue looked at Rock and said "Daddy does an anteater's nose look like a penis?"

Rock did not understand him the first time and said "what did you say?"


"I still don't understand what you are trying to say."

"You are not listening to me. You don't get it!!" Tadpole was now seriously frustrated.

"Did you possibly just ask if an anteater's nose looked like a penis?"

"Yes Daddy!!!!"

"Well I guess it sort of does, Tadpole"

Who needs romantic dates when you've got this sort of entertainment, and it just got better. Bean started writing his story for school and decided to write about a trip to Africa and a honey badger. I could not stop laughing because of the "honey badger doesn't give a shit".

"Mommy why are you laughing."

"It is not at you Bean. I love your story. I will tell you when you are a bigger."

"But I am a big boy!"

"No Bean, much much older."

I still managed to make Rock a card for our anniversary with our song and everything. He also bought me an awesome gift, a violin. So, eight years and three kids later, Rock is going grey, I have a lot more wrinkles, Rock is a lot more serious, and I am sure I have lost my mind. We have had a great deal of rough times, struggles, and stress, but I am happy we jumped on this wagon young, naïve, and ready to take on this challenge. We have created a beautiful family and a wonderful crazy life. Happy Anniversary Babe and thanks for always editing and reading my posts. 

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to Create a Seashell Wreath

I was searching through pinterest and came across a picture of a seashell wreath and decided I wanted to make two for the french doors in my house. The original post with great directions  can be find over on Cindy's blog at How To Make a Seashell Wreath. While my boys were away at Nonnie camp this summer, I made them, and good thing I did it without them around. I am really pleased with how they turned out.

Cindy isn't kidding when she says you will need a lot of shells.
 This took a lot longer than I was expecting, but they were definitely worth the time. You do want to pay attention to how you are arranging the shells, so they all do not end up going in the same direction.

 To hang then from my french doors, I used  3M hooks and adhered them upside down on the backs of the doors, so the ribbons could hang off of them. I also used 3M Command picture hanging strips  to secure them to the doors. Tip: place the strips on the wooden grilles of the doors so you won't see them on the other side.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Florida Cold Front

I know it is extremely cold in many parts of the country today. The kind of cold this self proclaimed Floridian can not even fathom. Anything below 50 is unpleasant for me. I am the happiest when it is 75.  I haven't lived in a place with snow since I was nine. When you are nine or younger, snow is simply nothing but fun. I do not know the first thing about living, driving, or dealing with snow as an adult, so I have relinquished my New Yorker title and just refer to myself as a Floridian.

 Anyway, we experienced this "cold front" today too. The low was 61 and the high was 75. I must say I love the kind of weather we had today, but I am still out of sorts today because my parents went home.  Life is just not the same around here without the Nonnie aka my mother. She is seriously better than if we had a real life Mary Poppins.  So while this blogger doesn't have much to say tonight, Wren  will entertain all of you that are snowed-in with her cuteness. 

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Kiss My A$$

While I have been sick, we have had some very kind souls helping with chauffeuring me and my children all around. I must say I have learned that everyone has a unique driving style and like my mom constantly said to me when I was little "Just because you are thinking it, does not mean you have to say it."
 Some car trips stood out more than others. One particular car trip stood out not because of the driving, but because of how much I was laughing afterwards.

 I was being driven to physical therapy and all three kids were in the car. I was sitting in the passenger seat and to protect the privacy of the individual driving, I will refer to this person as the chauffeur for the remainder of this story. Well, traffic in South Florida is interesting to say the least.  We have commuter traffic, senior citizens, tourists, and teenagers on the road all at the same time, especially during the  winter a.k.a. snowbird season. It can get pretty intense. 

The boys were being dropped off at my father- in- law's, and they were excited about going there. Kids music was playing off my pandora station through the car speakers. Bean and Wren were in the middle row and Tadpole was all the way in the back row. The chauffeur and I were chatting and as usual, the drivers were being complete a$$es. The chauffeur had made a few comments in between our conversation like "real nice buddy" as we were being cut off and that sort of thing. I must say this particular  chauffeur  is quite calm as a person and a very safe driver, but one too many traffic incidences will start to wear on the best of drivers' nerves. 

The last straw was while were stopped at  the light at the railroad tracks in the  left turning lane when the light turned green. The car in front of us was not moving and the car behind us could not see that there was a car in front of us and the driver started going berserk and honking their horn. The  Chauffeur had had enough and clearly blurted out into the car, "Kiss my a$$"

The car became quieter as little ears in the back were processing this phrase, and Bean suddenly blurts out "THAT'S DISGUSTING!!"

The chauffeur is embarrassed and saying "Yes Bean, that is disgusting, and it is not a nice thing to say to someone." 

And I,  as the mother of these children, was just laughing. Laughing because obviously Bean's ears have heard some of that before, after all he knew what an a$$ referred to, and laughing because when I hear that phrase, I think nothing of it, but I am now thinking about how my 6 yr olds little mind had just put all of this together with a visual in his head of the chauffeur telling some stranger to "Kiss my a$$", and yes Bean I must concur, that is disgusting!

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As I lie in bed sick (again) writing this post, I am not sure what to say about 2013 besides, "What a roller coaster, and I am glad the ride is over!"

 I could easily and have on many occasions complained a great deal about this year, however there is a great deal to be thankful for as well. I think I have finally gotten really close to learning the lesson of acceptance. Many times I repeated over and over in my head something one of the priests in my church said during his sermon: "Lean back. Let go. Let God." So many circumstances this past year were completely out of my control. I was forced to live in the present.  I was forced to face many truths. I was forced to do a lot of nothing.  I was forced to make some very difficult decisions. I was forced to miss out on a lot. I was forced to spend a lot of time with myself. I was forced to deal with my limitations, but I chose to grow, and that I am thankful for.

  I do not want to repeat this year over again, but I would never wish it away. Every time I found myself  at my limit, scared and crying, wishing I could be somewhere and someone else, a blessing appeared.

 At the beginning of the year, a friend invited her friends to join her in keeping a gratitude jar all year, and at the end of the year we would get together and share them. I joined in on this endeavor and although we never got together as a group because this friend moved away, I thought I would share the gist of what I filled my jar up with this year.

*Sisterhood- I really learned the value and importance of sisterhood and how loved I am by the women in my life. These really awesome women showed up even when I did not want to be where I was. They chose to be there, for me. They saved me on several occasions  from losing the little bit of dignity I still had, and I am so blessed they are in my life. They made me laugh and kept me entertained. They cried with me when I was scared. They fed me. They kept me company. All I have to say is that I now know I have a few friends in my life who will even dump my pee because I could not do it myself. If you are a woman and a mother and you do not think you have time for friends, I suggest you make time for friendships like this.

*Family-I also learned about how awesome my family is. Although we are all crazy in our own strange ways, they have all come together and helped out over and over and put up with my crazy little immediate family and did not complain about all the sacrifices they have made to do so. I do not even want to imagine what this year would have been like without them. They really helped and took care of me, my kids, my home and all the tasks I normally do on a daily basis and then some. I am so lucky to be so loved and have such an awesome family.

*My husband- Although I would be lying if I said this year did not put a lot of strain on our marriage,  I am amazed with how much we both have grown. We celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary this past January and I do not think our marriage would have survived what we went through this year when we were first married. I am thankful for how much he has grown and taken on this year. He has had to juggle work, a sick cranky wife, a surprise pregnancy, crazy women in my house aka my awesome friends (see above), the boys, bedtime, house chores, homework, cooking, transporting me and our children all over town, sleeping on makeshift beds in hospital rooms, late night trips to pharmacies, and lots and lots of waiting rooms. He has driven this hormonal woman nuts on more than one occasion, but I am very blessed for all that he has done to keep our family functioning through all of this.

*My Boys- my boys made me smile on so many occasions this year. If I wrote out everything about my boys that I put in my jar, this would be the longest post I have ever written and let's face it, they are already long. My boys have just been amazing through all of this chaos. They have heard the word "no" too many times this year, and the phrase "mommy doesn't feel well enough to do that." I hope this year is a very different story. They are such a blessing and I couldn't ask for more awesome lil men in my life.

* My daughter- I still am  getting used to the fact that I have a daughter. This pregnancy was intense, and scary at times. The day I found out we were having a girl, was one day this year that I did not care how sick I felt. I was simply filled with joy.  Having a healthy beautiful little baby is something I am so grateful for. Being able to make it to term this pregnancy, and birth my very healthy baby girl into my arms is nothing short of a miracle and I am grateful for everyone who took care of me along the way  helping to make that moment possible.  I don't think I have ever felt more blessed and full of joy than the day we were all home sitting around my dining room table eating cake and singing "Happy Birthday" to Wren.

So as much as 2013 could easily be a year to wish away, I am grateful for the blessings it has brought and I am grateful to be writing to you tonight wishing you all a Happy New Year and praying 2014 fills us all with an abundance of blessings! Thank you always for reading my ramblings!

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