Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Making Memories-Free Photobook at Shutterfly

Hopefully your 2016 has been memorable so far. If not, maybe 2015? 2014?

Well today's your lucky day. Shutterfly is offering a free 8x8 photobook with up to 20 pages. Or if you want a larger size book you can use this as a $29.99 credit towards a book. What???

Now you procrastinators, this promo code is only good through 3/22/16, so don't wait too long.

Login at Shutterfly. Choose Photo Books and select the 8 x 8 for the freebie. Create your book by using existing pictures or upload pictures to their site. At checkout use promo code, SPRINGONIT. Shipping costs will still apply.

This is a great deal. I know I need to find time to do it; my girls absolutely love these books.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Training Our Pet Fish

My youngest daughter desperately wanted a fish for her birthday. We complied since we already had an aquarium from our last foray with sea creatures. That's an easy gift. After being schooled by some Petsmart workers, we decided on a Betta fish.

As soon as we got the fish set up in his new tank the first thing my daughter did was give the fish a sex change. We bought a male, but she deemed him Rosebud and he was now a girl. (Not sure it's that easy, right Caitlin?)

So Rosebud has been happily swimming away in his (her) tank for the past month or so. And my daughter has realized that having a fish is not as much fun as she thought it would be. But she's an optimist, so she has decided that she just needs to teach Rosebud some tricks.

I tried to explain that fish don't typically do tricks, but she was insistent. So we went to YouTube and found that yes there are videos about training your Betta fish to do tricks.

You can teach them to jump--I quickly nixed that idea as I worried about it jumping out unnoticed to its death. You can teach them to follow your finger around the tank. You can teach them to swim through a hoop.

She wants her fish to swim through a hoop. So we have been working on this for days and seriously we cannot get Rosebud to go near the hoop, much less swim through it. And all I keep thinking of is the line from Madagascar 3 where the tiger says, "Make the hoop smaller." Hopefully someone gets that reference.

But most importantly, does anyone have any fish training tips?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Rec Center Fitness Room

I am in a slow period with work, so I am taking advantage of my light schedule by going to the rec center to work out. I have looked at all of the gyms and the YMCA, but I cannot justify paying close to $100 a month when I can pay $85 for an entire year at the rec center, which also has a pool. I am way too frugal for that.

So I have been frequenting the rec center fitness room for the past week and I just feel like I need to share my experiences with the world. Now before anyone gets offended, this is all in jest. I applaud everyone who works out to stay healthy.

My husband loves the elliptical and talks about how wonderful it is on his joints, blah blah. I learned a few years ago this machine wasn't for me, as much as I wanted it to be. I tried it one day and within 3 minutes, no joke, I had to run out of the room to throw up. I have pretty extreme motion sickness and the constant up and down was too much for me. The poor lady next to me who watched me turn white and break in to a sweat must have been horrified. So anyway, I have been using a stationary bike for years, but wanted to try something different. And I discovered ...the Octane.

This bad boy is a sit down elliptical and I love it. I can get the benefit and work out of an elliptical minus the throwing up. Now they are a hot commodity in a rec center. Most of the other people who visit the fitness center when I am there are about 30-40 years my senior. And I think the octane is probably a great theraputic workout because it is a freaking battle to get one of these things. There are only 4 of them and about 20 stationary bikes.

So if I can't get one I usually use a bike while I wait for one to open up; I have the advantage of not walking with a cane so I beat out my competition heading for the open octane. Here's what drives me crazy, the purpose of using this machine over a bike is to get the whole body workout with your arms and legs and seriously the majority of other users, do not use the arm part. I watch one lady work on her crossword puzzle as she leisurely pushes the pedals. Use one of the open bikes lady if you just want to pedal. Not even kidding, today I sat down on my octane and I thought the lady next to me didn't have arms. I was considering how I could offer to help her wipe down the machine when she finished since she was armless. Nope as she finished her workout, she pulled her arms out of sweatshirt where they had been for her entire workout. Very strange.

I have been asked how long until I finish because a lady wanted to sit and talk to her friend (really? while on a piece of equipment), but I am the newbie-the one invading their set patterns. So I am more than polite and for the most part it cracks me up. Because I am clearly the odd one, who loves a piece of fitness equipment designed for senior citizens.

Friday, March 4, 2016

It's All in the Details

They say it's all in the details. Unfortunately details are not really my thing. I am a big idea person. Logistics-eh? I need someone to take care of those things for me. Oh maybe, a personal assistant, I would love one of those. Not sure I can justify that with my work from home salary, but it would be great. Especially if she liked to clean and watch kids too. But I digress.

So, we have been saving up for a while to purchase a sectional couch. I need to sleep downstairs a few nights a week every month due to my little one's PFAPA episodes, so I have felt this purchase was justified. We have been visiting furniture stores for months searching for the perfect sectional within our price range. Oddly enough we didn't opt for the one with the built in cup holders and drink cooler as my husband was pulling for. I stalked for a month waiting for the perfect sale (A little tidbit I found: lowest furniture sale prices occur in January.) Finally we ordered this couch that was going to revolutionize our family room.

The couch was to be delivered on a day that I had to be somewhere with one of the kids and the other was sick, so I convinced my husband to work from home so he could be here when the couch arrived. I texted him mid-morning to ask if it was there. He replied that yes, it had been delivered. When I asked how it looked, his reply was simply, "Big." My husband doesn't handle change well, so I just didn't think much of his comment. Until I got home.

Well one little problem with the new couch is that it is so long the back door was blocked. Kind of a necessity with a dog who may need to use the bathroom at some point. No big deal we thought. The couch would actually be going up against the other wall, but we hadn't had a chance to dismantle and move our huge entertainment system and hang the TV above the fireplace, so this was temporary. We had guests coming in town for the weekend and figured it was easier to leave as is and just block the back door for the weekend.

Our guests came and went and we no longer had an excuse not to tackle this family room makeover. We planned to move the end units of the entertainment system into our office and put them on either side of our couch. We moved the first one in and put it in place and I noticed the first snafu. There were only about 8 inches to put the other 22" unit in place. So we brainstormed, I thought of switching the couch with the matching loveseat that was in our bedroom and there would be enough space. Brilliant. I ran upstairs with the measuring tape. Guess what? The couch wouldn't fit.

We ended up moving my dresser to this wall and putting the couch against the other wall in our bedroom. It's quite cozy and lovely, but the dresser blocks the light switch to the bathroom. But honestly why on earth would the builder put the light switch to the bathroom in the middle of the wall (like more than a full arm length from the entrance to the bathroom?)

In all we had to rearrange 10 major pieces of furniture, not including the sectional. Finally after all of that we were able to move the sectional up against the correct wall of the family room and still it's rather large. But it fits. I have told my husband that this is the sign we have been waiting for that we need to move to a bigger house.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Would you Want to Know the Future?

Think about that question. Really think about it. If you could know your future, would you want to? What if you found out something terrible was going to happen? Would you not wake up every day wondering if today would be the day? It's hard to stay positive with that mindset.

My mom has early onset Alzheimer's. She was diagnosed at the age of 63. Her father passed away from Alzheimer's. Genetically speaking, my siblings and I have higher odds than most of developing Alzheimer's. There is testing that can be done to find out if we have the gene and if we will develop Alzheimer's. None of us have opted to be tested.

We had family in town this weekend from my dad's side of the family. They were asking me about this testing and if I would consider having it done. They seemed in shock that I said no.

I am overall a very positive person, a Pollyanna. But to essentially be read my future seems awful to me. If I was told that yes I will develop early Alzheimer's, I would constantly be judging every thing that I do and say and so would my husband. I would be awaiting this inevitable misery.

This past weekend I was sorting Girl Scout cookie orders and realized I had shorted myself a case of cookies. (Side note: you can order cookies and have them sent directly to your home here) I knew I had repeated a story to someone as well over the weekend. I mentioned these things to my husband and he reminded me that both girls had been home sick the entire week and I probably had gotten about 10 hours of sleep throughout the week and I cooked for and hosted a large party on Saturday. He assured me these were just signs that I was exhausted and I need not worry.

Guess what, I already worry about developing Alzheimer's all the time. My siblings and I are constantly on the lookout for signs within ourselves and each other. I suppose if I was tested and found out I wouldn't develop this disease, I could breathe a sigh of relief. But what's to say then that I won't develop a type of cancer or who knows what else.

For me, my plan is to live life the best that I can. I want to be a good person and a good role model for my children. I want to live in the moment and enjoy the moments that I am given. Creating moments of joy and not putting things off in life are what I have chosen.

What would you choose?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Trusting Yourself

We have all heard of mother's intuition, but how many of us believe in it? I am a believer. I have learned during my time as a mom, to trust myself and those gut feelings I have about things.

When my youngest child was born, I felt like there was something wrong. She began losing weight as soon as she was born and had a very difficult time staying awake. She always felt feverish and we spent the first months of her life pretty much in the pediatrician's office, as they were concerned enough to order twice a week weight checks and charting.

From age 1-2 she had more than 12 ear infections, or that's what we thought at the time. I remember driving 15 hours home from Disney World with an infant with what we thought was an ear infection that simply would not respond to antibiotics. She was seen by several specialists and her pediatrician ran numerous blood tests and tried a number of antibiotics to help.

As she got older, she continued to get sick regularly. I felt like it was at least once a month or more frequently at times. When I say sick I mean temperatures over 104 throwing up, sore throat, the works. She was diagnosed with strep throat I don't even know how many times. Neighbors stopped sending their kids to play at our house for fear of germs or mold or something causing the frequent sickness. Except that none of the rest of us in the house ever caught anything.

I continued to ask my pediatrician for tests to find out what wrong with my child. I could not ignore the feeling that their was something wrong with my daughter. It was not normal for a child to get so intensely sick so often. The pediatrician tried to pass it off as some kids just get sick alot, but I was persistent. She and I continued to do research and we were finally sent to a children's hospital to an Infectious Disease doctor (even though she's not infectious).

Within an hour we had a clear diagnosis, my little one has PFAPA (Periodic Fever Aphthous Stomatitis Pharyngitis Adenitis Syndrome). It typically affects children for about one week on a monthly basis and the intensity and symptoms can vary. There is no cure, although a steroid is prescribed that can be given during episodes. Often children can outgrow this disease during their teenage years, although from what I am hearing from my support group, the frequency of the episodes just increases as the children age. So they may only have a couple of episodes a year. As we left the children's hospital, we left so relieved to have answers at last. We had spent 4 years wondering what was wrong with our child and we finally knew. Her syndrome is terrible and maddening, but we are so lucky compared to so many others who enter the children's hospital.

If you think your child might have PFAPA, these are some of the most symptoms of an episode:

  • high temperature 103+ that does not go below 101 with ibuprofen
  • white painful spots in mouth and throat
  • extreme gut wrenching stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • difficulty breathing and choking congestion
  • joint pain and swollen elbows or knees

Sounds like fun, huh? It really could be much worse, that is the most important thing to remember. My daughter had difficulty sleeping last night and has white spots in her mouth this morning so an episode is coming. Hopefully there are some new children's movies on Redbox.