Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Syndrome Mix

These days I do not post unless there is something weighing heavily on my mind, and this post is no exception.

Last Friday, we had a behavioral assessment with Lorelai and her pediatrician (who specializes in  behavior disorders). I came in the room with a literal list of behaviors and tendencies I have noticed with Lorelai. Some are more recent, and some have been characteristics of hers for years. After our assessment, her doctor diagnosed her with a General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and a degree of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He informed me, at this point, Asperger's was still a possibility, but he was unable to diagnose her with such so early on in his evaluation. He recommended behavioral counseling with the option of introducing medication if counseling does not help her through her current issues. Basically, she falls in the "Syndrome Mix."

We met with the counselor today, and I am very encouraged. She is warm, friendly, and supportive. She uses art therapy and hands on applications. She is going to help Lorelai identify what anxiety is, what it feels like to her, and how to recognize the different intensities of anxiety with certain situations. She will work with her to relax on her routines, object placement, and repetitive actions.

While we are just starting out on this journey, I feel we are arming Lorelai with the skills she needs to go on and live a more peaceful life. While her anxiety, obsessions, and compulsions will never completely subside, the goal is to teach her to work through them and push past them to reach a more comfortable state of mind. Medication might be added, diagnosis might be altered, but the goal remains the same.

I struggled with sharing this with people outside the family. I felt by announcing this I would be labeling her with some sort of negativity. After thinking, stressing, researching, talking, and thinking about it again...and again, I decided that I will not let this diagnosis define her and restrict her. While it changes how she may process things, she is still wonderfully Lorelai...and being self aware and mentally fit is never a negative.
There are so many kids out there battling anxiety, OCD, autism, depression, self-esteem, etc. My child is very high-functioning with her issues, but other families are not so lucky. These diseases should not strike fear or concern. Each child with special needs, whether great or small, deserves patience and kindness. Lorelai has a long enough journey ahead of her without worrying about the stigmas that come with these labels. I won't hide her GAD/OCD because I am afraid how other's may react. If you have Lorelai in your life, you have all of Lorelai.

She is passionate, intelligent, clever, thoughtful, funny, kind, reflective, and honest. She's got this.
Not a doubt in my mind, she's got this.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Current State of Humanity

"It's a long road to wisdom but it's a short one to being ignored."

This quote is from a song. It struck me. In a world of quick posts and picture uploads we take just a few seconds to share how we feel and what we think. We read the news, see the pictures, and watch the video footage and we get all worked up. Frustration, anger, confusion, these things spiral together inciting a post expressing our opinions and we feel a bit better. We let "the world" know how we feel and where we stand. We pride ourselves in "doing something about it." All of us have done this in some capacity at point or another. Is the world a better place now that we have all stood up to injustice? I mean, it should be a lovely, peaceful place seeing all the Facebook statuses, the Twitter posts, the Instagram uploads...but it's not.

Words are wonderful. A beautifully constructed sentence can inspire and motivate anyone to be stronger, braver, and more compassionate. Quotes about past wisdom and experience can open our minds to new perspectives, new aspirations. Words can start progress. Words are just the beginning...but most falter on what should happen next. We do not follow through.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

This quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been shared countless times. It should be shared. It's a wonderful quote. Simple, visual, inspiring, and well, correct. His words are meant to drive you to shine light in dark places. Dark places like the over-looked corners of our communities that are in desperate need of basic needs. Food, water, clothing, shelter...kindness...compassion. Dark places of the mind. Depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, drug addiction, alcoholism...hopelessness...fear. Dark places of the heart. Racism, bigotry, prejudices of all kinds...anger...hate.

You have shared the quote on social media, but what have you done to drive out the darkness? Have you given to a community pantry? Have you donated school supplies to children who can afford them? Have you volunteered at a homeless or domestic abuse shelter? Have you given money to help provide medical attention to new mothers and their babies? Have you volunteered at a crisis line? Have you donated clothes, coats, and shoes to those whom have none? Have you acknowledged that we all could do so much more for one another? Giving kindness and compassion to those who are less fortunate is not just telling them "you care," it's accomplishing something so much greater, it's showing them "you care." You care about their well-being, you care about their children and their future. It is addressing the darkness that looms over them and it is providing them a light to hold on to. A small, but strong symbol they can lean on at their weakest. If everyone provided more light instead of just talking about it, the darkness we see will not feel so overwhelming. The light of compassion does not filter through race, religion, gender, or any other label.

Providing kindness and caring to those in need is a long road. 140 characters on your beliefs is at most a quick fix, but quick fixes will fade and be forgotten. We all can and should do more.
Action is our greatest tool to drive out darkness, not words...words are just the beginning.

Find ways to spread the light here:

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer Means "Get Things Done"

Goals for this summer:

  • Organize the laundry room
  • Clean out and organize the garage (BIG job)
  • Pack and store all baby/small clothes and shoes
  • Fully move Finn into his room (meaning everything from my room - diapers/clothes/wipes/hamper/blankets/dresser,etc)
  • Paint the girls' rooms (green and pink, respectively)
  • Refinish/paint a couple different pieces of small furniture
  • Add more dirt/mulch to the new tree out front and reset the stakes
  • Clean out and organize guest room closet
  • Add extra caulking around the windows
  • Baby proof outlets/cabinets/sharp furniture (we have a crawler!)
  • Buy and install at least 2 ceiling fans 

I'm sure there is more that needs to be done, but these are the main jobs I want to accomplish...and all these need to be done in 3 months with 3 kids, not including VBS, Lego camp, and who knows what else. I may have set my goals on the lofty side. We'll see! I mean, it gets dang hot here, fast...I don't do outside and hot at the same to have something to do. ;-)


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Decorative Beads

Ok, this "copycat for less" post is inspired by this lovely lady's design. (See below) I stumbled upon these and loved them.
Yes, they serve no other purpose but to look pretty, but for this designer, that's enough. So, I decided to make my own.

Wooden beads, crocheted beads, loose glass/gemstone beads, and ribbon. All through amazon. I like it, there are things I would do differently if I chose to make again, but I still love the look! I think they would make great gifts too.

Wooden beads:

Crocheted beads:

Glass/gemstone beads:

If I give it another go around, I will update!

UPDATE::: The Aloha Bead's newest design...looks familiar! ;-) ;-)


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Day I Found Out I Didn't Have Cancer

You might have heard, March is Colon Cancer Awareness month. Haven't heard? That's okay, I didn't know that until this year. I probably wouldn't even have given it a second thought...but this year is different. This year had a surprise for me.

I haven't told anyone except my closest family. It's sort of embarrassing and a bit uncomfortable...talking about that area of your anatomy. I didn't want to answer certain questions or divulge sensitive information...but I find signs to speak up March being CCA month.

New Year's day I got quite a shock. No one is prepared to see blood where blood shouldn't be...but that's where I found myself. Using the restroom, finding blood. I initially panicked, but calmed down. I called my OB thinking it was due to Finn's delivery. She agreed that hemorrhoids from delivery sounded like the most likely culprit. I scheduled an appointment for an exam.
She found nothing. She said if the bleeding occurred again, I needed to see a gastroenterologist. She gave me a recommendation, and I left feeling unsure and unresolved. A week or so passed and I had no problems.
Then...the blood returned.

I called the gastroenterologist she recommended and made an appointment for an exam with him. After the office visit, he too could not determine the cause of bleeding. Again, probable hemorrhoids due to Finn's delivery was his best diagnosis, but he recommended a colonoscopy to be certain.

I sighed and squirmed internally.

"A colonoscopy? I was afraid of that. I DO NOT want to do that. I'm sure it's nothing. I just turned 30." I thought to myself. I did want to make sure, so, to error on the side of caution, I told the doctor I wanted to go ahead and schedule the colonoscopy.

The preparation was hell. I won't dive into that...but man...that was the least amount of fun I've had ever. Adverse side effects to the prescription was torture, and all I was focused on was not doing this again for another 20 years. (50 years old is the typically start age for colon cancer screening, aka colonoscopy.)

I made it to procedure day, the procedure room, and was put under anesthesia. The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery by the nurse. Chris was by my side and I was being handed grape juice.
In my groggy state my first thought came out. "Did they find anything?"
Internal hemorrhoids were found; the cause of my bleeding. Then, something I wasn't expecting. 4 polyps were found, removed, and tagged for biopsy.

Biopsy. There's a word you never like hearing.

2 weeks into being 30 and I was waiting for biopsy results. 14 days and they would have the results I was told. Now, I am supposed to not think about this for 2 weeks? Lucky (if that's the word for it) for me, the results were back in 5 days. A surprise email from my GI's office alerted me to my results.

Pathology Results. That was the title of the email.

I clicked and read.

All 4 were benign (not cancer). Hallelujah!

3 were a type of polyp that could never be cancerous...but 1, 1 was considered precancerous. 1 polyp, if left undetected, would most likely develop into cancer within the next 10 years. Meaning, before the age of 40, I would be getting very different results from my biopsy...if I even showed symptoms at all to schedule a colonoscopy.

Colon cancer is usually undetected until it is advanced with noticeable symptoms, which is why screenings are recommended before cancer can develop. Again, they recommend screenings starting at age 50, and rescreening every 10 years. Again, I am 30 years old. That's quite a gap.

With my surprising results, I now have to get a colonoscopy in 5 years to check again for any precancerous polyps and remove them before they have time to develop into cancer. This will occur at age 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, etc...

While I never had cancer, I had something that most likely was growing into cancer. Minor complications from Finn's delivery made these findings possible. What started out with me "blaming" my big baby boy, evolved into me thanking God for this wonky detour in my life path. Without Finn and his size, I wouldn't have formed internal hemorrhoids; without hemorrhoids, no blood; no blood, no colonoscopy; no colonoscopy, no discovery and removal of precancerous polyp. I do not like thinking about the alternate journey.

With my story I hope you decide to talk to your doctor about early screenings...especially if you have a family history of colon cancer like I have. It might literally save your life...I certainly feel it saved mine.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Silhouette Portrait Project

I have been reorganizing and re-situating things lately. When we moved in 2 Octobers ago, I put things up fairly quickly. Mainly because I wanted it to feel like home, but also, having things sit around in boxes drives me nuts. I found a decent spot, and hung it up. It's been fine, but lately I have been wanting to really design areas I just passed over before. With this comes brainstorming and budgeting.

I have an idea for a wall collection (you will have to wait on that one), but with this idea comes a project...a project I started with because it would be free, but now, I am really excited about it.

Silhouette portraits of my kids.

I had a collection of 3 mirrors I got awhile ago and was never too thrilled about where I had them. Mirrors are tricky. I like the concept of bouncing off light and making a space feel bigger, but placed too low and I catch my face. It's not a terrible face, but I don't care to see myself two dozen times a day as I walk down the hall.

I would pop out the mirrors and use the frames. The frame shape is the best part. (Saving the mirrors in case a project pops up later where I can use them.)

Then I painted it with my favorite paint to help the frames blend in to my other wall decor. (Distressed them later to make them look more antique.)

Then the insert, the actual silhouette portrait. For that, I used my kids and both our patience. All you need is a profile picture. Lorelai handled this fine...not to happy, but I got my shot.

Addy was a little trickier, she kept wanting to talk to me, and not look in front of her...but again, I got what I needed after a couple of tries.

Last, Finn...obviously there is no explaining to a 4 month old that he needed to look a certain direction and stay still for a couple that took longer to capture. After about 10 minutes, I got one I could work with,

Next, you print out the pictures. You then do something sort of strange and trace their profile with a pen/marker, color their cute little faces black with a thick marker, and then cut out. Now, if you notice, I took some creative liberties on filling in certain features that didn't make it into frame, but their noses, lips, foreheads, eyelashes...all the stuff that makes up their perfect portrait, that's all original. ;-)

I know they will grow, and their faces will change, but I like the idea of leaving these as their ages now. I look forward to hanging these up soon. ♥


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Antique Window Project

Yay! Project time!

It's been awhile since I've had a project to do. With a newborn, homeschooling a kindergartner, and stubborn as-all-get-out 3 year old, I have had a lot on my plate...which comes with a fair amount of stress. I needed something creative to do to relax. What better than making something pretty for the house?

I have always loved the look of those antique window frames used as wall decor. Examples:::

Unfortunately, with most things I like, the cost for a true vintage window (especially the size one I wanted) would cost around $75 at least.

So, as usual, it was off to Hobby Lobby for supplies so I could make my own version for less.

Wood...frame and cross pieces

Initial frame

Laying out the look before I break out my saw

All paint

First layer of paint, white...then gray paint, a crackle glaze, sanding, and lastly antiquing technique 

Finished product on the wall

Close up sample of the frame's layers

Added wreath

The full effect
I bought the wood, 2 paint colors, the crackle glaze, and a pack of sponge brushes. (Antiquing paint I already owned.) Grand total: $33.

I am very pleased with the results and I look forward to the next project that pops up!