Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's all going to get better. Dove chocolate says so.

I know I've been on a weight loss kick (or trying to be) but if we're being honest, I ate an entire bag of Dove chocolate this weekend while in bed and I kind of don't feel bad. I feel more bad that I slept for almost the entire day on Saturday and didn't care that Matt was dealing Penelope the Beast and Lucy the Cutest on his own. I think it's good for him because there are a lot of days I'm left feeling like he must think I literally do nothing all day. Just sit on my phone playing Candy Crush, reading books, watching Paternity Court on TV, eating Cheez-It's until he gets home where I put all of that away to make it look like I've been productive.

(Again, if we're being honest, I sometimes eat my lunch while watching Paternity Court, playing Candy Crush, and eating Cheez-It's, but I'm eating lunch and keeping an eye on Penelope the Beast while she eats HER lunch and Lucy is right here. It's OK if I'm still mom'ing it.)

But in the total scheme of things? I'm struggling. I'm now on my third anti-depressant and honest to god, this one makes me feel AWFUL. I thought the Lexapro was bad but at least on that one I wasn't physically able to cry for some reason. I wanted to, badly, like an itch I couldn't scratch, but tears would not come. Now I'm on Cymbalta and woah- I can cry now! Which is frustrating because I was sure that if I could just cry a little bit I would have found this good balance between keeping it together and letting it out.

But no. Turns out, that's not how any of this works.

I saw my primary doctor on Friday and because I've gone through three, I now have to go to a psychotherapist who can do more in depth evaluation on what I need. Which... it's depressing. I'm getting really frustrated with doctors and I know it isn't rational- they are doing the very best that they can for me and are just as frustrated.

The worst part? Is that I feel genuinely bad about being depressed. There are so many people doing kind and amazing things for us, I am blown away every day by emails from friends and strangers, people bringing us dinner and gifts, people coming over to see how they can help- I am so grateful that people care so much. I honestly think I would be worse off without these things.


There is a large part of me who is so tired of not feeling well, of being sad, being overwhelmed and that part of me really wishes I wasn't here. I sometimes wish I had just died during my AFE. I keep telling my doctors that I'm not suicidal, I don't feel like finding the means and carrying out the act of killing myself, but if a bus was coming at me down the road, I maybe wouldn't hustle as fast to get out of the way.

I fully recognize that when I say this people don't know how to respond and it scares them. It scares them, it makes them angry, it makes them sad. I get it. I'm so sorry because I can't change that any more than I can't change how I feel. It's a really awful feeling to have and I haven't talked about it much because I don't want to worry people any more than they already do. But I recently read that if you want to conquer something, you have to acknowledge it, make it real. So that's what I'm doing. It feels like such a small step but I hope it's a big one because there is really nothing more frustrating than to feel this awful despite all of the good going on around me. I hate that my own brain isn't letting me find joy in all of these things. I can't even have joy with my children- I'm so tired of hearing their voices and seeing their faces and I would rather lay in the dark all alone. And I hate it. There are so many people out there who would love the noises in my home, the love they have to give, and I'm just here. Angry. Sad. Depressed. Anxious. Worried. Confused. Tired.

But, Dove chocolate tells me it's going to be OK. I'm pretty sure chocolate wouldn't lie.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There's A Bumbie Under My Bed!

It's so nice to get a chance to review some children's books, especially because I have little ones who still like me to read to them, unlike Olivia and Jackson who want to go off on their own.

There's A Bumbie Under My Bed - Bethany Ramos
Are you afraid of the monsters who come out at bedtime? Do you ever wonder what lives under the bed with the dust-bunnies? Bunny-stein that's who! There's a Bumbie Under My Bed is the story of a child's relationship with various monster-bunnies that come out when he is trying to sleep. Count Hopula bounces across his bed while the Were-bunny tickles his toes. The zombie rabbit hops and plays all night, making so much noise. . . Ms. Ramos has created a great story and method for children to befriend the imaginative 'monsters' teasing them at night. By encouraging critical thinking, There's a Bumbie Under my Bed shows children how to turn fear into a fun activity before bedtime.

Do you have a little one who is afraid of the dark? Perhaps they tell you of fantastic creatures that come out once the lights are off? I remember for years Olivia would refuse to sleep because of the flying dogs outside her second story window. She honest to goodness believed that these dogs were trying to get in her window because it was too cold outside. Needless to say, we had a lot of sleepless nights in our home. (Turns out, that child strongly dislikes sleep and functions on little to none even to this day and she's eleven. Yay us!)

With creative illustrations that almost look like spray painted graffiti bordering on the slightly scary side, this tells the tale of a little one who is visited every night by a slew of fantastic creatures. Turns out it's just the child's imagination along with a flashlight to make creative shadows on the wall! It's a cute story that invites you and your child to come up with some creatures of your own.

I'm sorry I didn't get this for review before Halloween because it could have been a cute Halloween read, but if you're looking for a cute little book that you won't easily find in a library or on the shelf of Target, this would be a fun one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Wishlist

You know that Christmas is my favorite holiday of all time. This year is going to be tough financially but Matt and I are determined to make the best of it this year no matter what. I'm pretty grateful to have such great kids that I know even if it's a small Christmas, they'll be happy no matter what. They know what a tough year it's been. I will say that we've been incredibly blessed this year, and our Christmas is going to be special. I won't write anymore until after the holidays so I don't jinx it, but we have wonderful people in our lives.

But the fun part of Christmas for me has always been my wish list! Sure, every year I make a wish list and if I get one thing off of it I'm thrilled, but I like to make them anyways. Sort of reminds me of being a kid and going through the Fingerhut catalog with my brother and circling all the things we wanted. I do it every year, even as an adult because I am convinced I will win the lottery someday. So without further ado, here is Sara's Super Amazing Christmas Wish List:

1. Vera Wang nightgowns 
I'm a size large and these are the BEST. I currently have two, but they are threadbare (I've had them for years), have holes in them, and you can tell I wore them post childbirth four times because of the stains. How I conceived children while wearing them is a miracle all on it's own, but they are the most comfortable ever.

2. the Tyme Iron
I think I've talked about my inability to use a curling iron before. I just can't do it. I saw this on a Facebook ad months ago and I kid you not when I tell you I will zone out watching the YouTube videos of people using this and having curled hair.  I want one. I have zero desire to spend the obscene amount of money they want for one, but you can bet your bottom I'll buy one when I become rich.

3. a Vacuum: I can't even research for a good one because I'm so overwhelmed. I just need something lightweight, that had attachments and stuff to do my furniture and stairs, and is good with pet hair.

4. New Kitchen Appliances
I have been eyeing this set up for months. Then I had Lucy and our medical bills have sent us into a financial spin. So, it's not going to happen. But now with my dishwasher leaking with every load and my oven not holding a temperature and taking FOREVER to pre-heat.. yeah. I'm pretty sure we need to replace things soon but we can't afford it. Until then I'll just look at this pretty set.

5. Chair Massager
The cats chewed the cord on my old chair massager, and god knows my back is killing me. I honestly don't care so much about the heat element, but I'd really like something that can really massage my back.

6. Bedroom Curtains
I have two windows in my bedroom that need curtains, aren't these gorgeous?? My goal in 2017 is to finally take the ugly wallpaper off our walls and paint our room. I'd really like to replace the carpet upstairs too, but I'm not hopeful that'll happen at all.

7. A new Laptop: No picture on this because I would only trust Matt to get me one- he knows what I need. But I'd really like to have one that I can use anywhere and has a number keypad. My poor laptop has had better days, no longer will work without being plugged into a wall, doesn't have a usable CD-ROM (shut up, I still use one!) and is heavy and awkward for me.

8. Giftcards! I love gift cards and anyone who says they are impersonal and awful? Doesn't get good ones. My favorite stores are JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, Maurices, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Amazon,  JCPenney, Target, etc. I really need some clothes that fit but because my scar is itchy and awful, I'm having to try everything on. It's such an ordeal. But I do need new clothes that fit. I also need scrapbooking supplies to work on Lucy's baby book, too. Victoria's Secret because I need underwear that doesn't have holes or stains. Ulta because sometimes I need makeup and god knows I need a good anti-aging cream right now.

9. Books! Here is a (short) list of what is on my want-to-read list:

I really like plain faux diamond earrings. I like all variations of them and since I've got little ones, studs are where it's at. No pretty dangles for me. 

This is my favorite perfume of all time. Almost nobody carries it in store so I have to order it online and I'm almost out. But I get so many compliments that I smell good and it's this, folks. This is why I smell good. 

12. Gift cards to get haircuts and eyebrow waxes! There is a place in Superior that I've always gone to get my hair done and that's Utopia Salon. I don't have a "person", but if anyone in Superior knows of a person who is super great with thick, wavy hair- I need them. I also get my hair cut once a year and I'm in serious need. I'd love to get my hair dyed, and a pedicure this spring, too. 

OK- so I'm ending my list on a weird number. But truly, I struggle with what I want outside of books. I could give you book lists for days, lambs. But I always appreciate anything I get. Seriously. I'm happy to be thought of anytime. I never buy things for myself really so I'm excited about anything. That and I like opening gifts. HA! 

What's on YOUR wish list?! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Blackbird by Molly McAdams COVER REVEAL

Title: Blackbird
Author: Molly McAdams
Series: A Redemption Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Releasing February 28th, 2017

Cover Design: r.b.a DESIGNS

“Consuming. Enthralling. Sexy. MIND-BLOWING. From the very first line to the very last page, Blackbird sank into me and didn’t let me go. This is Molly McAdams at her best! A must-read that will have you questioning all your emotions as you fall in love with this unforgettable story.” – New York Times bestselling author, AL Jackson

From New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams comes a powerhouse romantic suspense that will have you questioning your morals and second guessing your view on love.

I live in a world few know exist. I’ve trained for this. I know what to say, what to do, and how to act. I’ve perfected the lethal calm required for this life.

Now it’s time to buy my first girl. But all it takes is one look at the brave girl who starts singing mid-auction for that calm to slip.

Briar Chapman is going to be the death of me, and I don’t care. I’ll take every day with her until that death comes, and I’ll welcome it when it does.

On the outside, Lucas Holt is what nightmares are made of. A man cloaked in darkness, with sin-filled eyes and an enticing grin. A devil so devastatingly beautiful and cruel that his very presence instills fear.

But beneath his terrifying, ever-calm exterior is an affectionate man haunted by a past that refuses to stay buried. And Lucas looks at me as though he’s finally found the only person who can make it all go away.

We’re a battle of the brightest day and the darkest night—and I want to lie in the wake of our war.

Exclusive iBooks Pre-Order

Read a SAMPLE of BLACKBIRD on iBooks!

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

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The Six Train to Wisconsin

I'm doing so well on book reviews so hopefully you'll find a few new ones to read and a few to purchase as well! You'll notice at the bottom of every review now I'll have an Amazon link so you can shop easily, you're welcome, lambs.

The Six Train to Wisconsin - Kourtney Heintz

Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.

There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.

When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened. 

To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?

An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.

I've had this book, and the sequel, on my review shelf for a few months and I'm just now getting to it. I actually flew through this book rather quickly despite it being a little over 400 pages. The point of view switches between Oliver and Kai. Oliver would do anything for his wife Kai, he literally would go to the ends of the world for her. Kai would do the same for Oliver but she is so wholly dependent on him because she's a telepath who makes terrible choices. She feels extreme guilt and wants to save everyone all of the time even at the cost of her life or sanity. Oliver does everything he can to keep her from falling apart. One day, after the death of a child at the hands of her father, Kai is in rough shape. Oliver has been working on a plan to help Kai and he has to put it in motion a little sooner than planned.

Cue their road trip to Butternut, Wisconsin (Oliver's home town) where Kai has effectively been kidnapped by her own husband. Her irrational anger and lashing out at Oliver made her a very unlikable character for me, and I really felt like smacking her upside the head so she'd see that Oliver doesn't want to be there either but he's sacrificing for her well being.

Oh, but it's not all easy because Mickey is also in Butternut, and Mickey is Oliver's first love. Kai is angry that Mickey is a shameless flirt and makes it clear she wants Oliver even still. Now, on one hand I totally get it- I'd be angry if some chick was throwing herself at my husband. But on the other, I'd like to think I'd have some faith in my husband to stay faithful. If you don't have trust then you have nothing. (Except let's remember Kai is a telepath so she knows what Oliver thinks so yeah.. you already know how this is going to go wrong.) My problem with Kai is she acts fairly childish, much like a child stomping her foot when someone tells her no. She drove me nuts this entire book.

I'm not giving Oliver a free pass either, he did lots of things wrong. Anytime you assume you know best for someone so you do things or you fail to be honest with them, it's going to blow up in your face EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And it does in this book, big time.

Mickey's son Lukas, who has taken a liking to Kai (mostly because he has his own powers like Kai, a bit different though so Kai naturally feels like she has to guide him) is kidnapped and in the search process, Oliver makes a HUGE mistake, which Kai witnesses. Cue her leaving instead of talking to him, Oliver making bad decisions, Mickey being an idiot, and we've got a seemingly lost little boy. We meet Nathan, Mickey's ex-husband, who is kind of nuts, and everything fall apart rather quickly.

I really liked the book but I can't give it five stars only because the first 3/4 of the book are SLOW. I kept wondering where the hell the drama was. It took so long to set it up that I almost gave up but then crap hit the fan and I was all in. Would I call this a fantasy book? No, not really. It's a romantic suspense if anything else. Sure, we have Kai and Nathan (and Lukas) with their weird powers but it wasn't enough of a thing for me to push it into a fantasy or paranormal category. It's a solid 4 star read though and I'm excited to read the second book!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Workout Wednesday: Zumba and giant rubber bands

Hi lambs! I forgot to post my Workout Wednesday last week so I'm making sure I am posting it this week so you don't think I'm a slacker.

I mentioned I was going to join a weekly Zumba/dance fitness class and I totally did! We've had two classes so far and I'm finding I'm ridiculously thirsty for hours after working out despite drinking a lot of water while working out. I've gotten it down to two pee breaks in our one hour class, so there's something. Overall, I never want to go because my bed is really comfortable, but I've pushed myself to show up and participate and I haven't died.

Though I'm pretty sure Connie (the instructor) is trying.

The fact that this is listed as a SQUAT CHALLENGE should terrify you, but you should also know I've done it twice now and you will pee your pants the next morning before you can squat on the toilet. Seriously, give it a whirl.

My arms are so jiggly so I've dug out my resistance bands, which are like giant rubber bands. I managed to do some exercises with those and only snapped myself once! Frankly, that's a win.

I haven't lost any weight but I feel like I will. I really wish I didn't get so tired so quickly, and I really wish I could go for a walk outside. It's gotten cold here, and we've had some snow and rain, which makes for slippery roads and sidewalks so walking outside is off the table. My treadmill just isn't the same. That and I have zero motivation to get on it. At least with the zumba class I'm leaving the house and that's pretty helpful.

Anyways. It's not a lot of progress, but it's more than doing nothing at all so I'm pretty satisfied with myself. Here's to another week of moving the fat around!

Monday, November 21, 2016

AFE update: losing hair, new medication, and migraines.

Last week I had another full week of appointments and this week I only have one, with my counselor. Fortunately I was able to get on the cancellation list so when someone cancelled, I jumped on the appointment, otherwise my next one isn't until mid-December.

I've been talking to a few other AFE survivors online about their symptoms and diagnoses post AFE and it's kind of a downer, really. Almost everyone I have talked to are about six months or longer since their AFE, so not quite where I'm at, but they all are frustrated with doctors who don't know what to do with them. I do know that it's so rare that it's hard to study, so it makes sense that there isn't a whole lot on the books on what to do with us. I'm learning that a lot of what I deal with isn't going to be fixed by time or medicine, that I most likely learn to live with it because there just isn't anything out there.

Hands down the worst are the migraines, with a close second being the feeling of getting the flu all of the time. I'm always achy and tired. But the migraines.. oh man. At best, I get migraines 4 or 5 days of the week. At worst, I'll have one every day. My medicine I can take to keep the edge off works maybe half of the time now. So far the consensus is that it's either hormonal, because of low sodium in me, or a combination of both, courtesy of my broken pituitary. I had some labs last week to measure my hormones and those came back normal, so I don't need hormone replacement therapy yet, which is a GREAT thing.

Another change is the medication I take for my blood pressure and depression/anxiety. So far, I haven't noticed a change in either area except the depression/anxiety medication makes me feel physically sick, so that's a lovely way to start the day. I also decided I need to get one of those pill containers for morning and night because keeping track of my medicine is getting to be difficult. I'm afraid I'm going to take the wrong thing at the wrong time or double up on something I shouldn't. Honestly, I don't know how elderly people keep this all straight.

The biggest change so far is easily my hair loss. I've  never had post-partum hair loss before, and I don't think that's what this is at all. I think it's either hormonal or medication related. It started as a few strands here or there (a few weeks ago) but this weekend I noticed every time I run my hand through my hair, a small handful will come out. It's... weird. I mean, I have extraordinarily thick hair so I wouldn't be opposed to it thinning out a bit but now I'm a little worried I need to call someone about this. I'll likely just wait until my next appointment in December to check on my medication.

But to combat feeling overwhelmed, I put up our Christmas tree on Sunday. Christmas is my most favorite time of year and I'm holding onto it like a life line at this point. We are really blessed, even more so this year, and I'll talk more about that later. I just want to soak it all up, you know?