Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feelin' funky

Not like bow-chicka-wow-wow funky, either. More like detached, not myself, more stressed, less put-together kind of funky.

The woman you passed on the highway, the one going 45 mph and crying? That was probably me. Why was I crying? I wish I could tell you, but I just don't know. I also cried during Amerian Idol last week and when I couldn't find my phone the other day. Just reliving the moment in my mind makes me a little teary eyed right now.

Oh, and you know the crazy lady who empties the entire contents of her purse on the floor, searching for her keys? Or the one who comes to work with the back of her dress still unzipped? I've become that lady. I'm a total mess!

Blogging has been my outlet for quite sometime now but lately, logging online feels like a chore. Nothing comes to mind and when I try to type, I sit there staring at a blank screen. I haven't even read other blogs for several days. Simply put, I'm in a funk.

I'll try to write about something really cool when I'm feeling more like myself, but until then I'm just attempting to keep track of my own head and make sure I'm fully dressed before I leave the house.

I found my keys, by the way. After I'd given up looking and put all my crap back in my purse, I got to the car and saw them sitting in the ignition.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Don't you hate it?

Don't you hate it when you can't sleep because you're actively coughing up (what feels like) pieces of your lung?

Don't you hate it when your kid can't sleep because she's got a terrible cold and keeps gagging on her own mucus?

And don't you just hate it when you've been up for three (going on four) hours, coughing, puking, and doing breathing treatments all while trying to console a sick, exhausted baby?

I bet you hate it when you've done all that you can think of to MAKE THE COUGHING STOP, but nothing helps.

Don't you hate it when you get on facebook to pass the time since you won't be sleeping anytime soon anyway, but of course no one else is on facebook. They're sleeping. Ironic.

Don't you hate it when you're finally settled in a semi-upright position, the coughing has eased (a little) and you're about ready to fall asleep when the baby starts crying again?

The cherry on top? Your husband sleeps through it all.

Don't you just hate that?

Yeah, me too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The road to this girl's heart

...is paved with aloe, apparently.  
 
Aloe Vera Juices, Aloe Vera Skin Gel,
Body Heat Pain Relief Vanilla Rub,
and Daily Greens Formula
BEST GIFT EVER! 
I've been wanting to start using aloe for a while now, but wasn't sure where to get a quality product or even what exactly I needed to start. I mentioned this to my uncle and he informed me that my aunt Robin (who recently joined the family) is "The Aloe Queen". He wasn't kidding. The woman is passionate about healthy living and is a like a walking vault of information on aloe. This past weekend, the lovely Robin brought me a wonderful gift -- a bunch of aloe products! I'm so excited about them, I just had to share a little bit here.
"The general benefits of aloe vera are varied. It can benefit a person both externally and internally. This power packed plant provides so many essential minerals, vitamins and substances that the human body needs and its ability to support the body has long been known to those who practice home remedies." -- aloe-vera-studies.org
"Studies have shown that Aloe Vera can effectively treat a wide range of ailments. When used externally, it is very effective at treating insect bites, acne, sunburns, rashes, scars, blemishes, sores, eczema, psoriasis and other skin infections. It can also be taken internally to treat blood pressure, internal tissue damage, high blood sugar levels, arthritis, ulcers, constipation, poor appetite, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and colon disorders. Aloe Vera is also known to help with weight loss and to boost our immune system. Many people have found that taking aloe vera juice daily helps to maintain overall good health and provide a sense of well-being and energy." -- homeremediesweb.com

Aloe Juices (pictured above) contain whole leaf aloe vera juice and 7% natural fruit juice concentrate (no sugar added). The juices I currently have are Orange Papaya and Cherry Berry flavored. I originally planned on adding aloe juice to my green smoothies, but these juices are so yummy that I've been drinking them straight.

"Benefits include help with Digestion and Absorption when taken before meals, Energy, Immune System Support, Anti-Inflammatory support for the tissues and joints, Allergies, Liver Support, Bowel distress, Skin. The high quality formula contains no water and there is no high heat or oxidation used in processing keeping all essential nutrients and polysaccharides intact providing maximum immune system support." -- aloelife.com

Daily Greens Formula partial list of ingredients:
  • organic barley juice
  • whole leaf aloe vera
  • organic wheat grass
  • parsley
  • oat grass
  • kale
  • asparagus
  • dandelion greens and roots
  • broccoli
  • sprouts
  • carob
"Detoxify your body with the power of these incredible green vegetables. The highly alkalizing formula has been carefully chosen to contain vegetables with a 3:1 ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus, which is very important to allow the body to utilize the calcium and to achieve alkalinity. One Tbsp contains 4-5 servings of vegetables!" -- aloelife.com
The daily greens (also pictured above) are a little less yummy than the aloe juices, but honestly they aren't too bad. I tried them in applesauce and it was pretty good - the texture is a little different, but the taste is fine (although it looks terrible). Morgan and I have been eating them as a before dinner snack each evening and it feels GREAT knowing that we're adding so much good to our diet simply by using one packet a day.

This is in no way a plug for these specific products, nor the company they came from. I know a few of you who read this are also fans of natural supplements and health remedies, so this is simply to say that if you haven't already, you may want to look into the health benefits of ALOE VERA. I'm very excited to add it to my daily regimen, and I'm optimistic about the results!


*Nothing in this post should be considered professional medical advice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Livingston Family Circus

Morgan has always loved taking baths. Since the very first time her wrinkly newborn body slipped into the water and she breathed an audible sigh of contentment, my baby has been a water baby.


Bath time, which is already pretty great in Morgan's opinion, reaches a whole new level of awesome when her sister gets to join.


These two could spend hours in the tub together, and sometimes I'm tempted to let them because they're having so much fun. In their minds, bath time is more fun than the park... or the circus.


You know, now that I think about it, there are some similarities between the circus and bath time at our house.

There are body contortionists:

Very blue water courtesy of Crayola Color Bath Dropz

And illusionists:

Shylee insisted this was a "neat magic trick"
Maybe you can see something I can't

All kinds of daring and entertaining acts:

 

  

Wild animals (wild animal-like children anyway):


And even a bearded lady:


Who says you have to run away to join the circus? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Currently loving

1. My New Purse



I can't reveal my sources, but I know someone who knows someone who can get a killer deal on designer purses. This is the latest addition to my collection, and it might just be my favorite. I think it's super cute and it fits perfectly under my arm, but more importantly, it's large enough to carry all my personal junk plus a couple diapers and some wipes. No more hauling around a purse and a diaper bag!

Who am I kidding, the real reason I wanted a big purse is because I'm hoping to use it to smuggle a family of squirrell monkeys into the country. I'll let you know how that works out.


2. Hypertonic Saline



I've only recently been able to use Hypertonic Saline. I experienced terribly painful bronchiospasms the first several times I tried using it, but during my hospitalization in December we tried again and Voila! I suddenly tolerated it fine. There are a lot of meds I take that don't make me feel noticeably different -- I simply have to trust that they're working. But I honestly feel a difference when I miss even one treatment with HS. I feel like it's really been helping and I guess I'll find out for sure later today (clinic appointment this afternoon).


3. Dried Cranberries

I'm eating them by the handful and/or adding them to nearly everything I eat. I simply can't get enough of them right now! I especially like them in a Greek yogurt, chicken and cranberry salad I've been making lately.

4. Mother Nature

I know, I know... I was just complaining about Utah winters. I still maintain that they're way too long and I'm more than ready for spring. But I have to admit that, even in the midst of her mood swings (60 degrees one day, 4 inches of snow the next), sometimes Mother Nature really gets it right.



5. "Giving the Business"

There's been a ridiculous amount of business-giving since the phrase caught my fancy a few days ago. What exactly is giving the business, you ask? Well, it's open to interepretation, but in our house it goes a little something like this:

I gave Adam the business about leaving his dirty socks on the floor again. In return, he gave me the business over losing my keys again. The two most commonly asked questions in our house are "what did I do with my keys?" and "have you seen my phone?". I can't even tell you how much business I'm given over this.

Morgan gave me the business for attempting to put her shoes on yesterday (the nerve of some people). She's at the stage where she wants to do it herself, but gets frustrated because she still lacks some of the motor skills required to do so. I have to wait until she asks for my help because the business is definitely given if I try to touch her shoes before she's ready.

I just realized I need to give a certain year-and-a-half old the business for licking the TV screen again. If you'll excuse me...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Last night

[I was going through some old posts when I came across this one, written almost one year ago to the day. I only vaguely remember writing it but as soon as I began reading it, my mind immediately flashed back to this night. Just one more reason having this blog has been so awesome -- it helps me remember things that I may have forgotten otherwise.]

Because we were at our nephew's birthday party when we would normally be home bathing Morgan and getting her ready for bed, I had a feeling that our usual bedtime routine would be thrown out the window. That suspicion was confirmed when, after sleeping the whole way home, Morgan woke up and wanted to play as soon as we pulled into our driveway at 8:00.

After two unsuccessful attempts at putting her to bed, instead of being sound asleep in her crib like she should have been, by 9:00 Morgan was sitting on the living room floor playing the screaming game. A game where she screams, then I scream exactly like she just screamed. And we continue to take turns screaming back and forth, louder and louder, until Adam interrupts our fun by screaming profanities. (Okay, so that last part only happened once.) Except, I didn't want to encourage her bedtime rebellion by participating in her game, so she was sitting there happily screaming all by herself. She couldn't have cared less that it was way past her bedtime. She'd just taken a power nap in the car which, in her seven-month-old mind, meant it was TIME TO PLAY!

Eventually, Adam gave in and laid next to her on the floor. She was so excited that someone, anyone, was willing to play with her that she nearly hyperventilated. After wildly flailing her arms and legs for a few seconds, she then proceeded to use Adam's face as a jungle gym. After watching them for a minute, I conceded that there was NO HOPE of getting that baby into bed any time in the near future (or likely the next two weeks for that matter) so I plopped myself on the floor next to them.

At one point, Adam put his arm around me and pulled me into his chest. As we sat there together, Morgan continued pinching our faces, jabbing her thumbs into our eyesockets and laughing. But, then she paused for just a moment, leaned directly into Adam, put her nose to his forehead and smiled.

And that's when I realized THIS IS IT. This is why I wanted to have children so badly. This is what being a family is. And this feeling? It's the best feeling in the whole world.

And even though it was another two hours before Morgan had calmed down enough to go to sleep, and it's just going to be that much harder to get her into bed tonight... I'm so incredibly grateful for the memory we created.
-----

For those of you wondering, this is what Morgan looked like a year ago:

Stuffing her face. Some things never change.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's not you, it's me

It's the most bizarre thing, walking down the produce aisle of the grocery store or sitting at the hospital admission desk and having someone mention that they enjoy reading my blog.

Thank goodness it's only happened a few times because I don't react well to that kind of social situation. I'm incredibly uncomfortable being the center of positive attention, probably because it's something that so rarely happens to me. I smile and blush, then stumble over my own words until I manage to spit out an "Uh.... thanks you. Um, I mean, thank... to you" or something equally as charming.

Then I stand there silently willing the ground beneath my feet to come to life and swallow me whole, just to break the awkward silence that inevitably follows a conversation like that.

I mean, obviously I know that a few people read this blog because there's a handy little widget somewhere over there to the right that says 'Followers'. See it? Pretty neat, huh? There are even a handful of people who comment somewhat regularly (thanks for that, guys).

I just never expected more than a few people to read this blog. Even when I started to gain a small following, it consisted mostly of my fellow cystics (people I only know online) and a few of my family members. I guess I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that people I actually know... like, in real life... might be reading this. It's not that I mind or don't want them to. The opposite is true, really, I'm flattered. But when I find out that someone I know (outside of my close friends and family) has been reading, I immediately think a couple things:

1) Why are they reading my blog? I've known some of these people a long time, but it's not as if we've ever been great friends. I went to school with some, church with others. Some are neighbors of mine and some are old acquaintances. So my question is this: why are they taking an interest in my life now? If I wasn't important enough to want to know back then, why take the time to read about me now?

Again -- I can't stress this enough -- I love that they are reading, I just don't understand their desire to. My life isn't anything out of the ordinary, really. Do they read simply because I so willingly put it all out there? Maybe. Is it because I'm just that damn funny? Highly doubtful. Is it because every single one of them has a secret crush on me? I like to think so.

2) What do they really think of what I write? Do they really like it, or do they keep coming back because it's so grotesque and they enjoy discussing it with their friends over a Sprite later? (What? It wouldn't be realistic for me to say they'd chat over coffee or beer since the majority of people here are Mormon.) Maybe I'm better off not knowing what they think.

My blogging friend The Unknown Cystic hit the nail on the head when he recently said
"If there’s a blogging downside, it’s finding your own internal editor to tell you when you pushed too far, what’s gold or crap, and whether to hit 'Publish' or 'Move to Trash'.” 
I never used to worry about that. I didn't care what people thought of my writing, but that was before the real world started reading my posts.

Knowing my family might not like what I write is fine because, well, they're obligated to love me anyway. But knowing that I might actually run into someone on the street who hates what I write is a little scary; they don't have to love me, and they may or may not feel like hitting someone in the face with a brick today.

So, if you happen to see me and you make a comment about my blog, please don't be offended if I don't stick around very long to chat. Please understand that I'm just trying to figure some things out. What other cliche can I use? I need some time... It's not you, it's me... That's a good one.

It's not you, it's me. Except that it is you... a little bit.

P.S. I really am grateful that you come here
and whatever your reason is for reading,
I hope you don't stop.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I've got the fever

...and I've got it bad.

And, for those of you wondering, I'm NOT talking about Bieber Fever. In fact, I make a real effort to avoid all things Bieber.


Case in point: I recently turned the TV on, only to find Justin Bieber staring back at me and before I even knew what I was doing, I flung my body in front of the TV in order to create a human shield between Morgan and that ridiculously Bieberlicious hair of his. Every single instinct I have was telling me that I had to protect her from him. So I stood there with my arms outstretched in front of the screen as I frantically tried to find a new channel in the same way I would have if we'd accidentally tuned into porn. Or Barney.

See, there are certain things that I don't want my child exposed to at such a delicate age, and Justin Bieber happens to be one of them. I mean, have you seen what Bieber Fever does to people??? And I'm not just talking about young girls.


Science has yet to find a cure for Bieber Fever, which is more than a little concerning to me as we already have one incurable illness to deal with in our family. There's just never been a Justin Bieber before, so there's no way of predicting what long term effects he may have on people's health.

Plus, I once knew a guy who died from complications of Sigourney Weaver Fever. Can you really blame me for being a little over protective?


Anyway, the fever I'm currently suffering from has absolutely nothing to do with adolescent boys or creepy older women. It is a far less dangerous strain known as Spring Fever.


I get a pretty bad case of it around this time every year. Our winter here started in October, which means we've already had snow for five months in a row. That's about four months too many in my opinion.

We have some pretty fun things planned for this spring/summer including a trip to an aquarium and possibly the zoo again, lots of swimming, parks, camping, picnics, and hopefully at least one water amusement park (I'm still trying to convince Adam that this one's a good idea). I'm getting REALLY ANXIOUS for warmer weather, but last year (as is common for Utah) it was still snowing near the end of May, so I'm not expecting full relief from my Spring Fever symptoms for at least a couple more months.

Until then, a girl can always dream....


Wait, that's not what I... NO! See how he just claws his way in? Stop it! GET OUT OF MY HEAD, JUSTIN BIEBER!


Ahhh, that's more like it. Whew, that was a close call.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dear Grandpa,

I heard your song last night.
Oh, Lord, it's hard to be humble...


It made me smile at first.
I didn't cry until we were home and I found myself alone in the bathroom.



A few weeks ago, a bunch of us went out to dinner.
I kept looking for you, waiting for you to take a seat next to Grandma.
You never came.



Most of the time, it doesn't feel real...
...doesn't feel like you're gone.
But when reality sinks in and I remember, it still hurts a lot.



I miss you. We all do.
Just thought you should know.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy Birthday

Adam is a huge fan of birthdays. Maybe I should rephrase that... he is a huge fan of his birthday. He probably doesn't care so much about yours.

Birthdays are nice and all, but I'm just not THAT into them, so I haven't done a very good job of celebrating his birthday in the past. There was that one time I bought him a card that simply said Hi, I'm not wearing any underwear. But more often than not, I just give him cash and tell him to go buy himself somethin' pretty.

I'm not really sure when I became such a guy.

Anyway, this year I decided to actually put some thought into his birthday -- which happens to be today! First, I actually made him a cake.


Then, while Adam was at work, the girls and I decorated the house with balloons, streamers, banners, and stars hanging from the ceiling.



(I realize you don't get the full effect from these pictures. In fact, I intentionally didn't take pictures of the whole house because then you would all see the disaster area we live in. However, I did include several pictures of our pineapple couch later in the post. Go ahead and criticize that all you want.)

We also posted little notes all over the house. They said things like thank you for... or I love you because...


Some of the messages Shylee asked me to write were incredibly cute and sweet, like thank you for letting me spend time with you. Others were... well, at least she's honest. That has to count for something.


Adam has been working the swing shift at his new job which means that he doesn't get home until about 1:30 am. The girls had to go to bed before he got off work, but I promised to wake them a few minutes before he'd be home so they could help surprise him.

When I woke them up later that night/early this morning I immediately questioned if it was such a good idea. Neither of them were very happy.


But their moods improved quickly.




When Adam got home, we had a little party. He opened his gifts and blew out the candles.




And, yes, we allowed our kids to eat cake at 2:00 in the morning. They can never say we're boring parents. 


(You probably would've never noticed that my couch has pineapples on it if I hadn't mentioned it, huh?)

Happy birthday, Adam! I hope you know how much we love you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CF Mishaps

The following is an email I recently sent, copied word for word and pasted here. I have a feeling that some of you will know exactly what I'm talking about:

I regularly cough until I puke. Usually it's only a tiny bit, and most often nobody but me knows what has just happened. My husband is even clueless most of the time (I guess I'm a discrete puker). When this happens, I'll spit it out if I can, but if that's not a reasonable option, I just swallow it. Now, this isn't something I enjoy -- in fact, I can think of literally hundreds of things I'd rather do than swallow my own upchuck -- but it's something I've gotten used to over the years. I mean, what's a girl to do when she gags and throws up in her mouth in the middle of helping a customer at work?

Recently, I was doing my treatments when I started coughing... A LOT. I knew immediately that this was going to be a cough, gag, puke situation but when I reached for the box of tissues I always have next to me during treatments, I realized there was nothing there. The tissue box was gone. And before I could unhook my VEST in order to get up and find some more tissues, it happened. The vomit came, and it wasn't just a little bit of regurgitation. No, we're talking a shitload of puke, my friend. Much more than could be swallowed. In order to keep it from spewing everywhere, I immediately put both hands up to my face and covered my mouth. This left me hand-less so I couldn't detach myself from the VEST. And then it got worse: I had to cough again.

At this point, my husband walked into the room. He had no idea what was going on, but immediately recognized the look of panic on my face. Okay, so he probably didn't fully understand that it was a HONEY, I JUST BARFED IN MY MOUTH AND I DON'T HAVE ANY TISSUES AND IT'S TOO MUCH TO SWALLOW BUT I CAN'T FREE MYSELF FROM MY VEST AND IF I COUGH AGAIN OR EVEN BREATHE AT THIS POINT I'M GOING TO BLOW CHUNKS ALL OVER kind of look, but I'm pretty sure he got the gist. He began frantically looking for something -- ANYTHING -- for me to spit into, but I was running out of time. I could feel another cough working it's way up and before I could stop myself or even realize what I was doing, I spit into my hands. It filled both hands entirely and started to drip out onto the floor. My husband looked at me, quickly unhooked my VEST tubes, and shouted "RUUUNNNNN!"

And so I ran. I ran like I've never run before. It was like a scene from a movie: dodging furniture and skillfully leaping over baby toys. I don't think I've ever moved with such agility, such grace. I made it into the bathroom and victoriously dumped my vomit into the toilet. And that's when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror: still wearing my VEST, puke dripping from my hands and a huge, dumb grin on my face. Lets just say it's a very good thing that 1) I'm not a prideful person, and 2) I'm married to a man who can witness his wife vomiting in her own hands, and still find her attractive. That's true love right there.

Thanks for that one, CF.