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!