Thursday, November 7, 2013

I'm angry and I'm hurt and I swear in this post.

Yeah, I know I have been seriously slacking on this blog. Believe it or not, I do have a file full of potential posts. Recipes, Halloween stuff I did with the boys, and I did Tristan's mad science party too and it was awesome. I have some great stuff I need to share. I've just been super super busy between work and school.

But today I just need to write. And this is a blog, so I'm allowed to do that here. I've always wrote. For as long as I can remember. I used to try to write poems but I don't think I'm actually all that good at it. I don't do it so much anymore. It takes too much time, and I have precious little of that. But my mind is a mess. My body is completely out of whack, and my mind is a wreck. I need to write. I need to sort things out in my head.

I have been trying desperately to not really show how much my failure to conceive has really been breaking my heart. I am a mess, but I've scaled back on how much I talk about it, I didn't share with many people that I am on Femara this month. I was very vocal for awhile, because infertility, especially secondary infertility, is something I wanted to bring awareness to. I wanted other women to know that they are not alone, I wanted people to know that this is real and that it hurts, and I wanted to bring awareness to options for treatment that are out there. But I just can't do it anymore. I just can't keep bringing attention to the fact that I am a failute. I am trapped in a body that betrays me every single month over and over. I hated my body for most of my childhood and teenage years. I struggled with bulimia for a long time when I was really young, from about ages 11 until 15, on and off. When I met my now husband, he taught me to love myself. He loves every part of me, every bit of fat, every mole, every scar, and he taught me to do the same. And now, oh it's so different now. I absolutely despise my body now, for a completely different reason. I'm disgusted with it, I cannot process how it can just refuse to properly do something that is fucking made to do. It is hardwired to reproduce, my instincts are designed to make me long to have a baby, and my body refuses to give me that.

I had my laparoscopy on September 9th and I am now surgically diagnosed with endometriosis. My doctor prescribed me Femara and I took 2.5 mg on CD 3-7 this month. I now on cycle day 29, and I have no idea what happened this month. Per my husband's request, I did not track my cycle at all, no opk's, no temping, nothing. Just took the femara and we had sex quite a bit and now I'm just waiting to see. And I'm a wreck over it. I did it for him, and I am hiding from him how much it's really driving me crazy but I have no idea if I actually ovulated, and when I did if so. I should've ovulated around CD 14-17 based on when Clomid made me ovulate. And yet on CD 23-26 I had immense amounts of EWCM and sharp pains in my right side like I had when I ovulated on Clomid. So I don't know. I'm just waiting it out to see what happens. If I haven't started my period by the 12th I'm going to take a test. I'm just so tired of seeing negative pregnancy tests. Sometimes I wonder how many negative tests I have gotten. I wish I had counted from the beginning, and then I'm glad that I didn't because I'm sure the number would just make me even more depressed. I can't let my husband see how depressed I am over this. He told me once that it makes him feel bad, like him and the boys aren't enough for me to be happy. What he doesn't get is that I don't even understand why that's not enough. I am so damn lucky! I have a wonderful husband and we are really truly happy and madly in love after almost 10 years together. I have two amazing little boys. And yet I still feel like a piece of me is missing. It just breaks my heart to see my boys getting bigger and to know that this is it. That my oldest is halfway done with elementary school and the number of Halloween parties and field trips and volunteer hours in the classroom are all so limited. My baby starts kindergarten next year and then I will never have a child in preschool again. I will never again rock my own baby in my arms, never hold my breath as they take their first steps and I just know they're gonna fall, never get wet slobbery disgusting kisses, my heart breaks at all the things that I will never again get to do. I wish I could just move on from it. I wish it would just stop hurting. But everywhere I go I'm reminded that having babies is normal and natural for everyone but me.

After this month, I'm going to try for three more months. I still haven't decided if I'm going to call and ask him for more Femara, or just take the Clomid that I already have three months worth of. After that, I'm getting an IUD. Mirena. I'm done trying for about 3-4 years. I'm going to nursing school. I can't put this on hold anymore. I have been putting it off for a long time, and part of the reason (definitely not the whole reason) was that I wanted to have a baby first and I kept thinking I would get pregnant soon. Not anymore. I'm moving forward, I'm applying to the program, and that means that if I'm not pregnant within the next 3 months I won't have the baby before I start the program. I cannot be pregnant and have a newborn while in nursing school. No way. If I go to nursing school, when I finish, then maybe I will have better insurance that will cover infertility treatment, and maybe I will be able to afford to take the next step and try IUI and/or IVF. Right now, I've pretty much exhausted all of my options. IUI is the next step and that's just not reasonable us right now. If I just keep trying to get pregnant and failing, I am wasting precious time that endometriosis doesn't allow me. If I go on birth control within 6 months of my surgery it will be much more effective at preventing the endo from coming back, and maybe I can "preserve" my reproductive organs for a few years.

I have to move on. I can't do this anymore. My body is so fucking screwed up. My periods are all of out whack, I have had a headache for three weeks, I can't sleep half the time. I don't want my husband and children to feel inadequate. I don't want to ruin my marriage. It's like I'm not even considering that I may get pregnant before it's time to give up. It's easier to just expect it not to happen. When I think it will, I'm so completely crushed. It hurts no matter what, but it's a little easier when I just approach the situation expecting it to be negative. I don't know how to let go but somehow I have to. I can't keep hurting myself over and over. I am my only enemy, I am the source of my only true heartache, and I have to figure out a way to stop it. It will never go away. I won't ever quit hoping until I don't have a uterus anymore, and even after that my heart will still ache. But I have to figure out how to cope with it. I can't fight tears constantly, I can't think about it all the time.

Oh, how I wish I could just get pregnant.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Enchilada Chili

It's fall, and that means back to using the crockpot all the time! I LOVE the crockpot. There is an endless amount of choices for delicious dinners that are already done when dinnertime comes around. This week I made a new recipe, something that a friend of mine found on Pinterest and then tweaked to better suit her family. I tweaked it very slightly more and the results were simply AMAZING. I was at school and my husband snuck into it, and called me raving about how good it was. I'm pretty sure even referred to it as "the bomb".

Enchilada Chili

What you need:
2lbs of hamburger (or whatever ground meat you prefer to use)
2 19oz cans of chili (I used chili with beans because it's cheaper and we like the beans. You can use no beans if you'd like)
1 19.75 oz can of black beans, drained
1 10oz can of diced tomatoes
2 packets of McCormick enchilada sauce mix
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups of water
1 packet of Old El Paso mexican style rice
corn chips
shredded cheese

Brown the hamburger, drain. Mix everything in the crockpot except the corn chips and the shredded cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. My husband was sneaking into it after 4 hours and it was good.

After it's done, spoon into bowls and top with corn chips and shredded cheese. Delicious!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

CP: It wasn't the end of the world.

At a garage sale last week a dad and his two sons were selling hotdogs, Kool-Aid and chips. My boys wanted some of course, so I gave them some dollars and they ran over. My hands were full with my newfound treasures, and I figured they were capable of carrying their own hotdogs. I sometimes forget that other people aren't used to Keegie and his quirks. He doesn't use his left hand as well as his right. He has mild hemiplegic cerebral palsy affecting the left side of his body. I would've handed him the hot dog first, condiment free, and he would've tucked it in between his left hand and his chest, then held the cup of Kool Aid with his good hand, his right hand. I forget that everyone else doesn't know these things. I was paying for my goods when I heard the dad say "Did you hurt your hand?" and I turned around to see this poor dad trying to give Keegie the cup of Kool Aid and Keegie just looking at him, not sure what to do because he knew that he would also need to hold the hot dog next. I said "No, I'm sorry, he has cerebral palsy, he won't grab things with that hand." Which wasn't completely true because he will, he just can't open it all the way up and wrap it around a cup. He does better with small objects. The father replied "Oh yeah, man, I hate when kids are born with stuff like that. I hate seeing what they have to go through."

Four years ago, I may have cried. I would have wallowed in self pity about how other parents felt bad for me. I would've felt bad for me, and my heart would've broken for my poor baby. But now, it's different. Now, I don't think that my son having CP is the end of the world. I smiled, and I replied, "It's not so bad. They told me he would probably never even walk, we're very blessed to have him and for him to be doing as well as he is." The man smiled back and we waved goodbye, but I could tell he didn't believe me really, and that he still pitied us.

But I was telling the truth. We are lucky to have Keegie with us. He could be much more severe than he is. They told me it was likely he would never walk, talk, roll over, sit up, anything. At one point they even told me they weren't sure if he would learn to suck from a bottle and that he may need a permanent feeding tube. He learned quite quickly to suck down that milk! He has continually, over and over, proved that the doctors are not always right. It has been a long hard battle, but he has taught me so much. I am very lucky to be his mom.

CP wasn't the end of the world. It wasn't the horrible sentence we thought it would be. Actually, it all turned out pretty great. Despite all of the struggles, Keegie has made me a better person and if I had the chance to go back, I wouldn't change a thing. I love being his mom, CP and all.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Roll Ups

Tomorrow is Monday, and my first day back to my regular routine after my surgery. I am jumping right back in full force with a 13 hour day. I have various classes that will last from 8:30 until 2:50, and then I work 3-9. Very long day. I hate Mondays. So I decided I wanted something awesome to kick off the week. These are full of sugar and butter and they're delicious. Unhealthy? Certainly. Should I feed them to my children for breakfast? Probably not. Am I going to? Yep. I bought lots of fruit for breakfast for the rest of the week, I think we all deserve a treat for the start of our hectic week. These have been pinned to one of my boards for awhile now and I decided to finally make them.

Cinnamon Sugar Roll Ups

You will need:
16 slices of white bread
8oz softened cream cheese (I took mine out of the fridge an hour before I made them and it was perfect)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon mixed together

I tore the crust off of each slice of bread.

Then I flattened each slice with a rolling pin.

Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl until it's creamy, like frosting, since that's really basically what it is.

Spread the frosting onto the bread using a butter knife. Use probably about 1-2 tablespoons. I just put a layer on, I'm not really sure exactly how much it was. I covered the bread totally, thicker than what I would put butter on toast.

Roll it up like a burrito.

Roll it in the melted butter.

Roll it in the cinnamon sugar.

Put it on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Yummy!! They are good fresh out of the oven, at room temp or cold. A hit with me, the hubby and the kids. Enjoy!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Endometriosis Awareness; My story.

I finally got a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis today. I'm not sure what stage yet, the doctor will tell me more at my post-op appointment. I was told that he removed quite a bit of endo spots and scar tissue during my laparoscopy this morning. I am moved to write about this after doing some (more) research and realizing just how common endometriosis actually is, and just how many women suffer in silence.

Your period should not cause dehabilitating pain! You should not have pain with sex, urination or bowel movements. If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor. I suggest seeing a gynecologist rather than discussing this with your family doctor. Do not be ashamed. Do not feel as though you are overreacting or the pain isn't really that bad. Your quality of life is at stake here, and possibly even your fertility (if that's important to you). Many women are misdiagnosed. If you have chronic pelvic pain, consider endometriosis as a possible cause, even if you have another diagnosis (especially if treating that diagnosis hasn't eased your pain). My symptoms have gradually worsened over time and I spent years ignoring them, thinking it was normal or that I was just a big wuss when it came to periods. No two cases of endometriosis are exactly the same. These were my symptoms, and I strongly suggest you contact your gynecologist if you are experiencing any of these:

  • Severe abdominal cramps that were the worst a few days before my period started, and the first two days of my period. As time passed, the length of time I had these cramps gradually increased, until I had cramps most of the month.
  • Pain with sex. Sex is not supposed to hurt! It typically hurts worse the deeper penetration is. Some women think this is normal if their man is "gifted". No, it's not normal! Also, cramping after orgasm. There have actually been times that I have avoided an orgasm because I knew that afterwards it would be very painful from the cramping.
  • Sharp pains in my abdomen. In either side, or down the middle. It was random, sudden sharp pains that literally felt like somebody was stabbing me.
  • Bowel issues. I would get constipated right before my period started and typically didn't get relief until at least a couple of days after it started. Bowel movements that I was able to have were very painful. Sharp pains would shoot through my abdomen during the bowel movement and then afterwards I would have more severe cramps.
  • Painful urination and a "pressure" on my bladder. I don't mean burning when urinating or a constant urge to urinate as is typical with a UTI. But more sharp pains through the abdomen during urination, and more cramping afterwards. I felt like something was pushing on my bladder, almost how it feels when you're really pregnant. 
  • Infertility. Endometriosis is one of the top three causes of infertility in women. I have been unable to get pregnant for the last 4 years, only one of which I was actively trying. 

These are not the only symptoms of endo, these were just my symptoms. If you have even one of these symptoms, I suggest doing more research and finding out whether you have any more symptoms, and talking to your doctor.

If you believe that you could have endometriosis, do not let it go untreated. Untreated, your pain is going to intensify over time. How you treat it is another thing you need to do your research on. Be educated! Don't let the doctor convince you into a treatment plan that you don't want to do. I did years of depo, went off it and my symptoms just returned and were worse than ever before. I did not feel like more hormonal therapy would be beneficial to me and I was convinced that I wanted a laparascopy. When my gynecologist refused, I saw a new one, and he agreed with me. Advocate for yourself! Nobody knows your body better than you do, not even the doctor.

Don't ignore your pain. There is help.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My struggle with infertility.

I have two gorgeous, intelligent, hilarious, absolutely amazing little boys. I couldn't imagine my life as anything other than their mommy. I am thankful every day that I was given the opportunity to be a mother. I love every minute of it, even when they're driving me batshit crazy. I couldn't picture it differently. And more than anything in the world, I want to share that with more children. I want to be pregnant again, for my little baby to be a part of me, to feel their every little movement. I want to do kangaroo care with a newborn. I want to rock my little baby in my arms, and watch that little baby evolve into a toddler. I want to get up every three hours for feedings, to change poopy diapers and to get spit up on. I love my boys more than life, but the one thing they can't do is fill this spot inside of me that doesn't feel whole. I literally feel like I have this huge gap inside of me, where I already love a child I can't even manage to conceive. I want to cry typing this. I cry every month when my period comes. I cry when people announce on Facebook that they are pregnant. I cry sometimes just because I think about it too much. And when I think about it a lot, I feel like I have something heavy on my chest, and underneath I just feel this hole. I don't feel complete, I don't feel like my family is complete.

My husband and I have been actively trying to have a baby for a year. By actively, I mean that I sought medical assistance, I have been through a lot of testing, my husband has been tested, I did three rounds of Clomid and I've actively tracked my cycles and monitored ovulation. It has been four years since I have been on reliable birth control though. My body is obviously completely out of whack. I do not ovulate on my own, but thankfully I do not have PCOS. The Clomid did work, I ovulated every month, but I didn't conceive. It is very likely that I have endometriosis. I have an extreme amount of pain. The Clomid intensified the pain severely. I went back to my OBGYN after three rounds, told him that my pain was worse and requested laparoscopic surgery to diagnose and treat endometriosis. He refused. He wanted me to try several hormonal treatments that would take at least a year to complete. I refused, he gave me a prescription for another three months of Clomid and said after that he would refer me to an RE. So I went to see a different OBGYN. This one agreed with me. He said that because I had done years of depo in the past and the pain just returned, he agreed that it was time to take the next step and do the laparoscopy.

So. Tomorrow is the big day. I am having a diagnositc laparoscopy with possible hydrotubation if needed. I am certain that it is an easy surgery and it shouldn't be a rough recovery. But I am scared to death. Not of the surgery itself, but of what I will be told afterwards. I am terrified of what he is going to find in there. The amount of pain that I have is overwhelming. And it's gotten to where it lasts most of the month now, when it used to only be for a few days before and during my period. I have pain with urination, bowel movements, sex, just randomly for no reason. I've read that the pain levels aren't really good indicators of the severity of endo, but I'm just convinced that it's not good. I am terrified that he's going to tell me that I'm not ever going to have a baby, that it's too bad. I started crying typing that. I don't know if I can handle that. I don't know how to walk around for the rest of my life feeling like I'm missing a piece of me. I don't know how to stop feeling like that.

And yet I am optimistic as well. I am so hopeful that he's going to go in and "fix" me. That I'm going to have this surgery, and then I'm going to get pregnant. And optimism scares me. It scares me because it seems to always get my heart broken when it comes to trying to get pregnant. Every time I have really been optimistic and really believed it could happen, it didn't, and I was crushed. I am so afraid that I have my hopes up, and that I'm just going to be crushed again.

I have a million thoughts running through my mind.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to School

It has been crazy busy around here preparing for back to school. Bubba is starting second grade this year, and Keegie is starting preschool. Keegie's preschool is a government funded program and has been postponed so he won't be starting until October 16th. He wasn't happy about this, and I have concerns of my own. I already don't like that he goes all summer with no physical or occupational therapy, but his teachers and therapists assured me that he is fine. I really did not like the idea of him now going an additional 6 weeks without therapy. I have some stretches and things I know to do with him at home, but I'm no therapist. So I called his doctor and got a referall for him to get therapy at a rehab center here in town. He goes for the inital evaluation tomorrow. And the special education coordinator from the school called me, she is also not happy about the delay, and she is going to do weekly home visits with all of her special ed students until school starts. So even though Keegie is still not happy that his brother gets to go to school tomorrow and he doesn't, I am satisfied that he is not going to suffer. I don't really mind having some weeks of time with just Keegie at home with me, without his brother here to terrorize, Keegie can actually be a very enjoyable child. No hitting, screaming, being mean or fighting, lots of cuddles and laughs with my baby who's not so much of a baby anymore. And, with only one child returning to school, I have had much more time to focus on getting everything perfect.

I've done the majority of clothes shopping for both of the boys online over the past few months. The Children's Place and Aeropostale both had some great sales and I loaded up. I've also picked up things I found at Target on clearance, and I made a small Walmart order for a few of the character shirts they love. So I also have not had much shopping I've needed to do. I waited until after meet the teacher night so I could get a list of classroom wishes and what the students are required to bring. This year, I really wanted to do something interesting instead of just sending in donated supplies in the Walmart bag I got them in. I wanted some kind of project. I found a school supplies cake on Pinterest and I thought it was a great idea. But this one said to use empty nesting boxes in the middle, and I wanted to use something that was also beneficial to the classroom. I spent about an hour in the store, using Kleenex boxes and tubes of Clorox wipes and boxes of crayons and tubes of glue to figure out exactly how I wanted this to work. When I got home, this is what I had.

My mission was to turn this pile of supplies into a snazzy cake. I started by using double sided tape to stick the packages of pencils to the tube of Lysol wipes.

I lined the pencils up with the top of the container, leaving a gap at the bottom, but this would be covered by the glue I planned to put around it.

Next, I used more double sided tape to stick the two Kleenex boxes together. Then, I stuck boxes of crayons all the way around the outside of the Kleenex boxes. I used 3 right next to each other on the smaller side, like this:

And yes, I realize those aren't actually "Kleenex" but that's what I call all brands of tissue lol

On the longer ends, I used 3 boxes of crayons also, but I put two gluesticks, taken out of the package, between each box. Then I placed the tub of Lysol wipes in the center of the kleenex boxes. I used LOTS of double sided tape. The blog I had originally gotten this idea from had suggested using hot glue, I didn't want to ruin the crayon or kleenex boxes. I did find towards the end that rubber cement works quite well for all of this attaching, and I wished I had realized it sooner.

The next step was to set up the glue. I put 2-packs of glue sticks all the way around the pencils. I used double sided tape until I ran out, and then I tried rubber cement and it worked great. The plastic that the pencils were in let things stick to it pretty easily. Then I put a bottle of glue between each set of glue sticks, and I threw a vaccuum mount pencil sharpener on top for a topper.

Now, I secured the bottles of glue to the boxes using rubber cement and wrapped ribbon around the bottom and middle tieres. I almost ran out of ribbon, so just a note that one $2 spool of ribbon from Walmart is not enough.

All done!

The other thing on my agenda was treats for the students in his class. I found a few different ideas on Pinterest, asked him which one he liked and he chose these:

Bags of Lucky Charms with a tag stapled to it that says "I'm so Lucky to have you in my class."

He chose the chocolate Lucky Charms, but you can use regular. You can get the free printable for the tag here:

And now, I can finally get to sleep before the busy morning I have ahead of me. I hope everyones back to school is great this year!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Don't Be a Victim!

Today, I feel compelled by some personal events to write about women protecting themselves. The fact is that we are vulnerable to attacks and you should never assume that it won't happen to you. It never hurts to be cautious. But, you also can only be so cautious. Sometimes, these people who do these things are professionals, they know what they're doing so well that despite your best attempts at caution, they can still overwhelm you. Maybe you think your mother's crazy for worrying about her young daughter in a big city all alone. Or a small city. Or whereever you are. But anyone who is robbed, assaulted, raped or targeted in anyway, was just a normal person, who probably never thought it would happen to them. It's the blonde on her way home from the grocery store. The brunette walking to the gym on her lunch break. It could be you, your sister or your friend. Predators choose based on convenience a large majority of the time. If you're in the right place at the right time, you could be prey.

If you google "tips for a woman to stay safe" , "at night" automatically fills in at the end. You don't need to only stay safe at night. A crackhead wakes up at 11AM and is desperate for his next fix so he keeps an eye on the atm, follows the young woman who withdraws money, and snatches her purse down the road. These things can happen anytime, anywhere. Now, I don't feel like you should live your life in fear all the time. Don't think every man that walks by is about to pounce on you, rape you and leave your head hanging in town square. But, walk with confidence, be aware of your surroundings, use common sense. But you can't prevent everything. You can't even depend on being in a busy area in the middle of the day, because you can't always count on someone else to help you. People are very likely to turn their cheek to something they don't want to get involved in.

I think that the most important aspect to keeping yourself safe is to know how to protect yourself. Work out. Be strong. Take a kickboxing class or a tae kwon doe or something. I'm not saying to be Jackie Chan and try to overwhelm a man with a gun or something, but if hes unarmed and just trying to snatch your purse or drive off with your car, know where to hit him and how to make it hurt. Know your states self-defense or stand your ground laws. Find out if it's legal to carry pepper spray or a stun gun, and if so, do it. Wouldn't you rather have pepper spray just sitting in your purse forever without ever getting used, than to need it and not have it?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I have a love/hate relationship with being a working mom

Do you ever feel like you're juggling way too much? School starts the 29th for me, the 3rd for Tristan and then in October for Keegan, I work full time, my husband works full time, I have a house to keep clean, laundry to do, meals to cook. It feels overwhelming sometimes. And I'm so crazy that I desperately long to throw a newborn into the mix. Late night feedings, diaper changes, what's one more bath to give? Why not add a few more extra tasks in there, right? I juggle so fast sometimes, it seems I must have some invisible hands. And other days I recline in my chair , browsing Pinterest and trying not to look away from the computer screen because right at that moment I don't want to acknowledge that there are goldfish crackers smushed into the carpet. I get by the best I can.

The last few days have been long, and I've been extremely tired. I worked 12 hour days Saturday and Sunday, and didn't see the boys much all weekend. It was difficult. I don't like to be away from them much, but duty calls. Reality is that we need two incomes to support our family. And honestly, being a stay at home mom is not for me. I have a love/hate relationship with being a working mom.

I hate it for the most obvious reason. I don't like leaving my children. I don't like missing anything at all. Working cuts into the hours in a day that I have to get crap done. Not just stuff with the kids but cleaning, laundry, errands, etc. There are days that I think "If I didn't have to go to work today I'd have plenty of time to finally clean the van out." Finding babysitters sometimes makes me feel like a burden to family and friends. There are certainly times that I feel like working full time is a huge burden to bear.

But all in all, I love it. I love my job. I love helping others. I love knowing I have made a difference in the lives of my clients, and I can't wait to be a nurse. I feel like I am teaching my children that hard work is the key to anything in life. Would it have been ideal if I had waited to have my children until I was finished with school and had an established career? Yes. But now, my boys get to see me working hard and accomplishing something, they get to see the fruits of my labor. Yes, they do ask why I have to go to work. There are times they don't want me to go. But I am proud when I tell them that I have to go so that I can continue to provide for them. They understand. I also believe it shows them that marriage is a partnership, my husband and I equally contribute to the household, both finacially and in other ways. He helps out with chores and with caring for the children. I work and help out with bills, etc. Nothing is the full responsibility of ether of us, we both help with everything. I am a mother, and I am raising my boys, but I get to just be Ashlei at work. I get to have my own identity. That is important to me as well.

If being a stay at home mom is what works for you, awesome! I can definitely see the benefits. But no matter how hard it is, I feel as though me working is what is best for my family, One of the great things about health care is the flexibilty of the schedule. We make it work, together.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Baking and Bathing

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, and we didn't get to see her at all, so today I made her a cake to give her when I dropped the boys off before I went to work. I made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but it was from a box. THE HORROR! I know! BUT I do have some little tricks I use to make a boxed came taste more like homemade. I got this on Pinterest awhile back, and I've done it several times. Amazing!

Follow the instructions on the box except for the following alterations:
1. Use milk instead of water.
2. Add an extra egg.
3. Use melted butter instead of vegetable oil, and double the amount. Unsalted real butter works best.
Bake as directed. Frost/decorate/whatever as desired.

Now, to buy the time to run the dishwasher and bake this cake, I gave Keegan a bath, with a little something I've been saving for a time when I needed to keep him occupied. Avon bath paints. I picked them up from an Avon dealer at the county fair a couple of weeks ago for $1 each. Blue, orange and red. They are called Avon Natural Kids Bath Time Paints.

I love that Keegie is old enough now, and our new house has a bathroom right off the living room, so I can leave the door open while he takes a bath and get tasks accomplished around the house. Even so though, that still only buys me about 10 minutes. These babies bought me an extra 15 minutes, so 25 minutes total. Score! And Bubba even went into the bathroom to check out his brothers new bath toys (he's too old for baths anymore, he strictly takes showers). He didn't even use half of the bottles, I really like that I could unscrew the cap, pour some on the side of the tub and just let him finger paint, or you could unscrew just the tip of the cap and use the applicator. When he was done, all I did was splash water all over the tub and washed away the paint. It was super easy, took about 30 seconds and it was all clean. No evidence of the color explosion that occured. 

The next two days, I work 12 hour shifts won't see the boys much. I'm not sure what I will post about, or if I will, but I will try.

Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Clean Clean Clean

Today was spent around the house, cleaning. It was stormy here for most of the day, so our playdate at the park with some friends of ours was canceled. While on the subject of cleaning, a good friend and I just had a conversation about our go-to cleaning products. She swears she can't find an adequate mop and just does it on her hands and knees. I love my Swiffer Wetjet, and also my magic eraser mop and libman mop for deeper cleaning. She only uses Tide laundry detergent. I only use Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent. I was just curious what some of everyone elses cleaning favorites are? And I thought I would share the recipe I use for making my own laundry detergent. I have NEVER been one who is exceptionally "green" but as I've learned more on the internet, I have became intriqued with a few of these Earth saving ideas. I decided to make my own laundry detergent. And after doing so, I will absolutely never use anything else again. This stuff is AH-mazing! It gets my clothes super clean which is a must with 2 boys and a husband who doesn't give a crap what he gets on his clothes, and also works in a restaurant, and it smells wonderful. I used a big mop bucket to make it in. It isn't dirt cheap to start, but this mop bucket full lasts us about 6 months so it turns out to be about $5 a month.

You will need:
1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax
1 (3 lb 7oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (3 lb) container of OxiClean
6 bars of Ivory soap, shredded. I just use a cheese shredder.
1 (4 lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
3 bottles of Scentsy Washer Whiffs (you can also use 2 bottles of Purex Crystals fabric softener, but I much prefer the Scentsy. Scentsy raises the overall price though)

I layer the different ingredients in the mop bucket, putting in about a 3rd of each at a time. Then I mix it all up by hand and use a measuring cup to scoop it into my washer with each load. Some prefer to keep a small amount in a smaller container, I don't mind having the whole bucket on a shelf in my laundry toom, it's not in the way.

I haven't yet ventured into making any other cleaning products. Do you have any that you use and swear by?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Keegie's Pirate Party

My 4 year olds most recent obsession is pirates. Not even just the Disney show, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but anything and everything pirate related. So it made total sense to rent a pavillion at the lake and throw him a pirate party!!

There's my little pirate, wearing one of the pirate hats and eye patches that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.


Ship Ropes!

Shipwreck Salad! (it was just potato salad)

Ocean Water! (water bottles)

Catch of the day!

We also had pirate dogs (hot dogs) but somehow I didn't get a picture of that. I got these free customisable food labels here:

The tables were littered with fake gold coins, jewels and jewelry. My 3 year old niece made off with most of that throughout the day though.

Captain Keegan's Tattoo Parlour! This was a major hit with the kids. They all loved getting tatted up!

I thought the banner worked well with the wood table with no tablecloth.

My best friend and I made these maps. We took resume paper, crumpled it up into a ball, smoothed it back out and burned all of the edges. Then we rolled it up and tied it with twine.

Pinata I got at Hobby Lobby. Why are all pinatas these pull string kinds nowadays? I mean come on, most of the fun of a pinata is beating the crap out of it!

Walk the plank! This was also a hit with the kids. I used 2 milk crates, spray painted Walk the Plank across a 2x4 and was supposed to use rope to tie the board to the milk crates for stability, but Keegie hadn't let me get that far yet in this picture.

These were the extra goodie bags I made when I ran out of the better bags.

My grandma found these bags on clearance at TJ Maxx. I love them!

Cannonball water balloons! The kids, and most of the adults, loved these!

And now, the best part of the party, the part I had absolutely nothing to do with except for paying for it, THE CAKE!!

I hope you all enjoyed this post, and maybe got a few ideas from me. All of my ideas came from somewhere on the internet, mostly Pinterest.

Daily Witty Post 8/21

So, sorry, but I never got around to posting yesterday. I was so tired. I do not go to work at 6:30 AM and then function well for the rest of the day. And then I had to be back to work at midnight so I came home, looking forward to relaxing and playing some candy crush and then taking a nice nap. Instead, I found out that the brand new laptop I've had for 2 weeks was not working, after Bubba played on it all morning, even though him and my husband BOTH know he isn't supposed to be on it! So I spent 2 hours trying to figure out why my mouse kept freezing at a particular point during start up, and I figured out nothing except that I despise Windows 8. Decided to just do a system restore, and the damn laptop died in the middle of it, without giving me any notification that the battery was low. So I said screw it and went to bed. I was too tired to deal with it and the laptop was dangerously close to being chucked across the living room.

So I took my nap, and while I was napping my wonderful hubby cooked spaghetti and garlic bread. While it's not one of my favorite meals, it's always a hit with the kids, and I didn't have to make it. So that earned major brownie points for my hubby, and I decided not to bitch about what a mess the house was.

I don't really have much to talk about today. After work this morning I came home and went to bed, woke up and went grocery shopping, and then made frozen pizzas for dinner. I swear, I do cook. Quite wonderfully. I've just been super busy and it's too hot in the summer without central air to slave over the stove for a long period of time. So, to make up for the short boring post, I'm going to make a post about Keegie's Pirate birthday party we threw back in June. Keegie was born the day after Christmas. Becuase that's a seriously crappy birthday, we throw his big party on his half birthday in June. This way he doesn't miss out. I love throwing huge parties and I just wouldn't have the energy, time or finances right at Christmastime. On his real birthday, I bake a cake at home and we have a special dinner and he gets a couple of gifts. But his large gala is in June every year. and that works out well for us. So, I'll end this now so I can get started on that post.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Daily Witty Post

Here is my first ever daily witty post! The last one didn't count because it was just an intro. So here goes.

I forgot one part of who I am in my intro. I am a pet owner as well. We are the owners of Blaze, the 10 month old Pit Bull, and Marley, the 2 year old cat. Both are boys. Both are neutured. Marley is a freaking awesome cat. He's a warrior, out in the yard killing birds, and I've never seen a single mouse in our house, which is absolute heaven for me because the creepy little nasty things freak me out horribly. We never have any issues with him, as long as we fill his bowl with food, he just comes and goes as he pleases and does his own thing. Blaze is a little more high maintenance, but he's a pretty good dog overall.

When he's not chewing HOLES in every single fricken mattress in the house!!

This is the only issue we have with him. We try to keep bedroom doors shut but with two kids, that's not always practical. And it's like every single time a door gets left open, he's in there chewing away as quickly as he can before he gets noticed. He reminds me of a damn drunk trying to sneak in some drinks on his lunch break or something. He has to quickly get his mattress fix before someone catches him!! We have tried everything to break him of this. We got him fixed (well, that wasn't the only reason we got him fixed but everyone said that would help). We use the bitter spray. We buy him lots and lots of chew toys. We've been making sure he has plenty of time outside to burn off energy. I don't know what else to do!! Please, anyone have any ideas? Help me save my sanity! And getting rid of the dog is not an option. He is my children's pet and a part of the family. In this family, we work together through problems! Even if my hair gets pulled out in the process......

I got home from work tonight a little after 9, my husband was still at work and grandma was babysitting. She told me they hadn't had dinner yet. So. This mommy of the year popped a can of ravioli's open and called the kids to the table. I'll have to share one of my winning dinners with you guys later in the week. There was no time or energy for all that tonight. I guess I should be going to bed now, since I have to be to work at the crack of dawn tomorrow, which is not good, since I am usually a third shifter.

I doubt I'll have anything good tomorrow, because I work 6:30-2:30 and then  I have to be back to work at midnight so I gotta sleep in between. It kinda sucks because it's my husbands only day off this week, and I was supposed to have the day off too, so I was looking forward to spending the day with him. But an extra 16 hours, on a day where I don't have to find a babysitter? I can't turn that down.

I'll try to think of something to pop in and talk about.

Good night all!

Who I am and Why I'm here.

I am Ashlei. I have two children, who I will call Bubba and Keegie. Bubba is 6, he starts second grade this year and he turns 7 in October. I was the ripe old age of 18 when I gave birth to him and it's been a struggle at times, but being his mommy is the best thing I've ever done. Keegie is 4, he will be in preschool this year and turns 5 in December. Keegie was born 11 weeks premature, had bleeding in his brain and now has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. His hydrocephalus is treated with a magnetic VP shunt that has been in place for 4 years and hasn't malfunctioned yet, despite a couple of urgent CT's due to vomiting. I am married to their daddy, Matthew, my first love. I work in an entry level position in the health care field and I am returning to school this fall to pursue a nursing degree. Matthew is a cook in a restaurant. I spend a lot of time at home alone with the boys in the evenings.

I am here to share my journey with motherhood. I love to be crafty and try new things with my kids. I'l share the back to school gifts I make for their teachers. I'll share the new recipes I try. The treats I make for the birthday celebrations at school. The little science projects we do. Etc, etc, etc. I LOVE throwing parties and I'll share the awesome ones I've already done for my boys and then the ones they have to come as well. I will talk about my struggles, and joy, with raising a special needs child.

I also want to share some of me, not just me as a mom. I am also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, student, employee, and so many other things. I have very liberal, and sometimes very unpopular, opinions on most subjects. I will likely share those opinions here if there's any big thing in the news, or just if I feel like sharing them. I am currently struggling with trying to conceive my third child and I will probably share a lot about that as well.

I will talk about my children, work, school, my husband, my opinions, anything and everything that pertains to my life, that I feel like sharing. Mostly, it probably will be about the kids, because regardless of everything else, they are the biggest part of me. I'm far from a perfect mom, but I sure do try my hardest.

I hope I can gain some followers and even make some friends.