Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ears, Adenoids, and Popsicles

Yesterday was Lucy's big surgery day to have tubes put in and adenoids removed. Super easy surgery, super quick, but I'm a hot mess with surgery and anesthesia now so I was SO WORRIED.

We had to be there at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m. and I know when I used to work I was up well before then and that's super but now I just can't do it. I got up at 5, took my medications right away in the hopes they would perk me up, they did not and we woke Lucy up at 6 to get her dressed and go.
Lucy takes after me in the sense that she really, really enjoys sleep but she's also far more agreeable than I ever was so when we got her she at least came willingly. She definitely wasn't happy skipping breakfast because again, like me, she enjoys a meal. 
Normally I don't let her have a pacifier and she really doesn't use it and only does because Penelope does and she copies everything Pep does, but I brought it because I figured I'll try anything to help her when she isn't feeling well. She was allowed to bring one comfort item so we went with the blanket because that's her most prized possession. It was actually really cute because you could tell she was really getting nervous as people came in and out and she would rub the satin part between her fingers constantly. 
She had to put her gown on and she was thrilled when they gave her slippers that she could keep. Honestly, if you tell this girl she can keep something she's so happy, you'd think she had nothing of her own or something.

We hung out for awhile, signed all of the consent forms and pretty soon someone came to get her. Thankfully Lucy went willingly because the woman wanted to show Lucy where they kept the popsicles for after. 
And since she hadn't had breakfast, the idea of popsicles for breakfast was exciting. She got to pick whether to ride in a wagon or drive the car back to the room and Lucy picked the car.

Seeing your child being wheeled to surgery and knowing you can't go back there? Awful. Absolutely awful feeling.

About 15-20 minutes later her doctor came in to let us know she was done and in recovery but told us her adenoids were pretty large, so removing them should improve her breathing quite a bit, especially at night. When they got to her ears, we knew there was fluid way, way down in her ear canal but she has never had an ear infection. Being in there though, he realized it wasn't really fluid but more of  thick, mucus type fluid and he made a face that indicated it was really pretty gross. They cleared it out of both ears and put her tubes in. He seemed confident she would see a big improvement immediately.

I felt better about the surgery as a whole because that makes me believe all of her goopy eye and nose issues really was because of her ears. It's another issue for another day, but this is just another thing in the last year that makes me think I have to switch pediatricians because to me, this is kind of a big thing to miss. Even at her pre-op physical the doctor said, "yeah, no fluid" and that was just last Friday. That fluid/stuff has been there for AWHILE and every other doctor who has looked has commented on it.

So now I have to do the awkward doctor change and I feel so guilty. We've been with her since Olivia was a newborn and I feel bad.

Rational? Nope! But here we are.

Anyways.

So they roll Lucy back and seeing her riding on a stretcher, teary and scared looking, clutching her blanket for dear life was just the most awful thing to see.
She sat with Matt and didn't even want her popsicle. She was crying/whimpering and every once in awhile she would swallow and you could tell her throat was sore. They had given her some kind of pain medicine because once he got in there and saw how large her adenoids were he said she would be a hurting unit for awhile. Thankfully we weren't dealing with her tonsils taken out, because I've heard that's really awful. 
We had to hang out for awhile, like a half hour or so and they let us go. By then she had her IV taken out (which they put in AFTER she was asleep, thankfully) and she didn't put up a fight about that. Once we told her we were going to go home she seemed to stop crying for the most part. She was quiet the whole way home and was a little wobbly once we got home from all of the medications in her.

Matt went back to work after picking up her ear drops (the doctor gave her drops because he was worried about an infection because he isn't sure where that mucus stuff came from, it could be anything) and we hung out at home. By about 10:30 she was in a better mood and wanted to blow bubbles in the yard with the big kids. She had a REALLY runny nose all morning of blood and a little boogers so I was kind of worried about that but after her nap they seem to really slow down. 
She did ask for and eat lunch. I did a random assortment of things because you know how sometimes you just don't know what you want? Well she settled on a few tater tots and macaroni & cheese. She nibbled on some fruit too but after eating a little she informed me she peed. All over the chair, her outfit, through the diaper, the whole thing. Good because at least I know everything is working alright. So I got her all cleaned up and she said she wanted to go to bed, but she had a hard time walking up stairs so I carried her. As soon as I laid her down on her bed she was out. I didn't even put her blanket on and she was out. Ended up sleeping three hours and woke up asking for water.

All in all, she's a tough cookie. I think she'll be just fine. She has speech tomorrow and Monday, and she is having some kind of evaluation for apraxia one of those days so we have information as we go into a meeting with the school district next week. Next week we will see if she qualifies for district services but also what the plan is for the school year.

I can't believe July is almost over but I feel like we're coming in hot to the finish line.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I Will Follow You Into The Dark.... or at least to a concert.

Lucy is  having surgery this morning so just know I am a hot mess and I know it's not rational because tubes are the easiest surgery ever but anesthesia freaks me out since my incident so yeah. *Think happy thoughts*

ANYWAYS. 

If you follow me on Instagram you already know of my fun activities so you already knew I took Jackson to a concert. But many of you don't follow me (losers) so you don't know. So here we go. 

For Jackson's birthday (waaaaaay back in April) his big gift was a pair of tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie in Mankato, MN. It was supposed to be his very first concert but Shawn Mendes was a surprise and that ended up being his first. It was OK though because this was going to be cool but also be just him and I, which we don't get to do very often. 

Bummer is that there was a massive thunderstorm warning so thank goodness I am hyper vigilant about checking, and re-checking, and then re-checking everything again because they ended up moving the show from the outdoor venue to the indoor venue. For a normal person that wouldn't be a big deal but for me it was a big deal because for the last several months I have been studying the route from the hotel to the venue in the freak chance my GPS and phone would simultaneously stop working and I'd have to wing it. 

Logical? NOPE. 

So a venue change ramped up my anxiety to 11. Never mind I had never been to Mankato in my life so this was basically all new. 
We left really early. My GPS told me it was 3 hours and 39 minutes away and I gave myself 5.5 hours to get there. Too much? Maybe, but I would rather be early than rushing in traffic I'm not familiar with.  
THANK GOD I left that early because I really thought I was going to miss rush hour traffic around Minneapolis/St. Paul but I didn't know there was a pre-rush hour traffic situation, plus construction, plus people who cannot drive around barrels, and cannot zipper merge. 

Needless to say by the time we got to our hotel I felt like we were going to really be cutting it close. The hotel turned out to be really nice, SUPER clean- maybe the cleanest hotel I have ever been in my entire life.  
We had a pet friendly, handicapped room which was fine. The odd thing? Mirrors. Everywhere. A whole wall of mirrors and a strategically placed mirror on the opposite wall. My first thought is maybe this is a weird, kinky sex hotel?  
It also had a padded window bench either for your pet or kinky activities. I'm not sure. BUT! Shout out to a hotel having a really top notch AC. The temperature actually adjusts and works. I've never  had that and it don't sound like it was going to fly out of the wall. So nice.  
And this was in the bathroom. Matt (and several friends) think this is a weird sex towel. Or even a "don't use the good towels" type thing. Others think this is a really good idea and should be done more often. I think it's weird, but I felt pressured to use it. So I used it to wash my face. I did leave it folded on the side of the sink because I am not some animal who throws towels on the floor.  
We really had to go because I had no idea where we were going or where we would park so we skipped dinner. It turns out it wasn't far and I found a parking ramp that was free (woo-hoo!) but it was kind of a weird walk to the venue, so I was trying really hard to remember our steps so I could find our way back after the show.  
Good news, we bought pizza by the slice and it was only marginally gross, and our seats ended up being better. It pretty much became a "sit wherever" type thing because this place didn't have the same seat numbering system but it worked out well and everyone seemed cool with it. I actually ended up being happier not being outside and we didn't have to deal with bugs and all that.  
The opening band was Lala Lala from Chicago and this was their last stop on the tour with Death Cab for Cutie apparently. They were maybe the strangest, least experienced opening act I've ever seen. Between having a weird start where it looked like they didn't know where to go, to starting songs oddly and then their songs all stop abruptly so there isn't that casual fade out/slow down of a song... they just stop. Then there is that awkward delay because we aren't sure if we should clap now or if it's not quite done. It became clear they had some kind of technical issue, which I'm not sure what it was because once it was solved there wasn't any difference. The singer wasn't very charismatic but rather awkward and had the "I don't want to be here" attitude but I'm pretty sure that's part of the shtick? I don't know but it was odd. I think there was one song in the whole set that I thought I'd like to listen to again but honestly, I forgot all about them until I looked at this photos. 
I have seen Death Cab one other time a few years ago and I really remember that as being the closest thing to a religious experience as I've ever had. It was at First Avenue, I was so close (like second row) to the stage in a standing room area and it was magical. This show wasn't like that but it was pretty good and I am reminded that this is a bad that doesn't take breaks. They are start to finish. The only break they had was an actual minute between "Soul Meets Body" and the encore which was actually four songs. 
They opened with "I Dreamt We Spoke Again" and they covered a lot of their new album, and all of the favorites from previous albums. I was thrilled to hear "What Sarah Said", Title and Registration", "Cath", "I Will Follow You Into the Dark", "Tiny Vessels", "When We Drive" and "Transatlanticism". Those are some of my favorites, and those are the ones that ended up being an all crowd sing along, so that was fun. 

Overall? Very good concert. We basically ran out of there to hopefully get out before everyone else and inadvertently found their tour bus! 
If I wasn't so tired and I didn't hate being in the dark, we would have hung around to see if we saw them but that could have been a few hours and I'm not the young buck I once was. So we went to the hotel and crashed. 

The next day we planned to have breakfast and get on the road right after to get home at a reasonable time. That was going well until we got to Jordan, Minnesota (I think) and were coming upon Minnesota's Largest Candy Store. We saw it on the way but didn't have time to stop before and we figured it would only be 10-15 minutes, it's fine.  
It was AMAZING. I have never seen a place like this before in my life. They have a massive area full of glass bottle sodas and then you walk into the candy area.  
The walls and ceiling? Hand painted. The characters are actual statues and some move a little but the rest is painted and it is stunning.  
Besides being overwhelmed by all of the artwork and scenery, the amount of candy and food in here is insane. They fit SO MUCH into the area and you really just walk up and down aisles.  
It got to the point I made Jackson go get me a basket or something because I had something for everyone in my hands. We got candy, I bought popcorn kernels (some that make purple popcorn and others that pop into round balls!), I bought sodas and caramel corn, cupcake mix, a lemon bread mix, all kinds of stuff.  
We basically spent almost two hours in this place.  
 Oh, and I watched the band of weird looking candies play music. 

Because I am a child and the ultimate tourist. I am really trying to live the YOLO life and when else will I see a candy band? 

PROBABLY NEVER. 
We left there two hours later than we thought we would so that was fun. We hit ridiculous traffic on the way back thanks to construction and we ate at a Denny's in North Branch. Our waitress clearly hated her life and her job and literally threw my shake at me. I still tipped her well but jeez- calm down with the shake throwing lady. Dang. 

Overall? Really cool mini trip with this kid. You have to really get to know him to appreciate his humor and just how he is in general. Him and I have fun jokes and banter between us so I know he is always going to play along when I use humor to get through a really crappy, stressful situation. 

We don't have any other concerts on the calendar together but Olivia, her friend, and I are going to see The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer in October. Yay me. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Book Review: Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free

I have been trying to space out my book reviews for you because not everyone else is a maniac and reads non stop, some of you have actual lives and do fun stuff on a regular basis.

Which is why this book might be right up your alley!

Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free - Jennifer B. Monahan

When Jennifer Monahan announced her intention to leave her well-established career as a business strategy consultant and give up her rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco to do a global walkabout for an undetermined amount of time, her friends and family thought she was insane. But Jennifer was excited about taking the time to truly explore and immerse herself in a variety of cultures, so their scepticism didn’t faze her; plus she was used to traveling alone as a woman with only one carry-on bag. What she didn’t count on was discovering all the excess baggage she had been carrying with her from her past. 

WHERE TO? chronicles one year of Monahan’s life, primarily in the Guatemalan jungle, but also in Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. Living in a thatched-roof hut in a tiny village, Monahan connected with local shamans and participated in their ancient rituals, became fully integrated into the daily life of a local family, and ultimately faced down some of the greatest losses and long-buried pain she had experienced. WHERE TO? shares the six steps she took to heal and courageously create the life of her dreams, and includes a workbook for readers to do the same.


Right off the bat I will tell you I liked this book because I have always wanted to pack up my crap and travel all over. Realistically that's not going to happen because my health is precarious and I would be in real trouble should I get sick abroad. So that ship has sailed for me, but it doesn't mean I can't apply her concept and principles to traveling in general, even if it is within this continent because those don't really change for your destination. Secondly, at the very end of the book is a "Courageously Authentic Life Worksheet" and it's only 7 questions but they are BIG questions that require some real thought and reflection of your life, and that might mean confronting some uncomfortable truths.

I really enjoyed her journey from San Francisco all the way to Bangkok and everywhere in between. She completely uproots her life to go on this journey, not really knowing what the end result was going to be or what the plan upon coming home was going to be. She speaks with candor, she has some kind of frightening experiences, and certainly some frustrating ones. You know when we get pissy about a two hour delay in the airport? It's that times 791, which is what I imagine traveling abroad is like anyways. I really liked that everywhere she went, she made friends, the kind of friends you actually keep in touch with long after you've gone home and you know you can visit anytime.  She realizes some experiences she's had in life had become barriers to her even though she felt like she dealt with/got over/moved on from them so she found herself have to really get into them so that she could get beyond those barriers and get to a place that was freeing for her.

I'm going to definitely give this one 4 stars. My only quip was at times it was meandering and I felt like I wasn't understanding the exact point of a chapter or experience and how that played a part of the bigger story. It could have been refined a little better in some parts, basically. It really reminded me of the book Excess Baggage by Tracey Carisch so if you enjoyed that you will enjoy this one as well.
   
A big thank you to author Jennifer B. Monahan for providing a copy of this book for review and Pump Up Your Book for coordinating this tour! All thoughts of this book are my own, and this post does contain affiliate links that help keep this blog going. 

Happy travels!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Sara.... walks...

If you didn't sing that like Kanye West's Jesus Walks, I wonder how we've become friends. Honestly.

I don't know where you live but where I live (northern Wisconsin) it's been pretty dang hot outside. If you remember from last week, I'm pretty sure the sun is trying to kill me.

via MEME

It was like that all week so it was crappy for being outside. But you know who walked three times last week in the blazing sun and almost died?

Your girl, boo. 

I also wasn't followed by the neighborhood creeper either, so that was exciting. 

I would have gotten more in but on Tuesday I drove almost 4 hours away for a concert with Jackson (more on that... Wednesday or Thursday) and spent the night. But I think I walked about a half a mile from where we parked to the place and then another half mile back because I couldn't remember how to get back to the car and it's a really good thing my 11 year old son did. 

I didn't do anything Friday or Saturday because you know when you just need to relax and do nothing at home? 

I didn't do that. 

Instead I grocery shopped on Friday (I'm not kidding, I probably walked 1.5 miles in Aldi because that store has the dumbest layout ever) (and I'm angry because ALL of my produce? Looked GREAT on Friday, all rotting on Saturday, I'm so, so angry and it reinforces that Aldi's low prices aren't worth it). Sigh. On Saturday I took three of the kids and Matt to Target to get school supplies. I know, it's July and we have time, what is wrong with me

I'll tell you- I hate crowds. I'm not going to battle Susan over specific colored folders or wait for Karen to just pick a god damn pack of pencils because they are JUST PENCILS and your kid is going to lose them anyways. 

Sigh. 

So I go now and I got all 3 of the kids who need supplies done for under $60. Not including the calculator that Olivia needs which was not in stock anywhere so you can guarantee I will buy that online because I am not going to go back to Target or Walmart until I absolutely have to. 

Which is hopefully mid-September. 

So maybe I did do something after all. 
On Sunday it was significantly cooler and felt like it was going to rain all day but was still 75ish, so I took the girls for a walk in the afternoon. I thought I was going to die by the time we came home so I found this 2 foot by 2 foot patch of shade in my front yard and sat in it. My shade moves as the day goes on so I have to keep moving my chair. But I read while the kids played in the pool. 

The plan for this week is to walk as much as possible. It's kind of becoming a relaxing thing for me so that's been nice. This week is also kind of stressful. 
  • Gastro follow up after my endoscopy and colonoscopy
  • Lucy has speech on Monday which is also a pre-evaluation evaluation from the school district to see if she qualifies for help, and I'm sure she will
  • Jackson starts therapy- I'm a nervous wreck
  • Lucy has surgery on Wednesday, I'm a nervous wreck
  • Lucy has speech on Friday which may or may not happen depending on how she feels post surgery
  • BUT! I get to hang out with Amy on Saturday and we're touring a museum and see some fancy gowns. 
This is when all of the summer stuff starts happening and it's like a down hill slide into fall now. I keep telling myself that I am going to buy season appropriate gear that fits so I can keep walking outside because it is infinitely better than being inside on a treadmill. Ugh. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Got anxiety? Avoid Valleyfair. And take double up on meds. Oh, and I hit rock bottom.

I've kind of gone on this weird, super-mom/let's make memories/YOLO kick, and I kind of think Matt is fully over it and the kids are kind of have a love/hate with it. Olivia is all about it, Jackson would rather be napping or playing BitLife on his phone, Penelope can't be bothered, and Lucy is game for anything. 

And then there is Matt who is always mildly annoyed and completely done before we even get there. 

Overall it is always a fun family outing. *sarcasm*

In June though I was just on the Valleyfair website checking out prices and I saw that they had a sale for $29.99 a ticket through the end of June (which I see is still available on Sundays so I am disappointed I didn't get some awesome deal) and when you are buying six tickets you'll take any kind of discount. I decided we were going to go, we'd go on a Sunday so it was free parking, and it would be SO MUCH FAMILY FUN. 

It turns out I could have gone to Disney World, had way more fun and did more stuff, than it cost to do Valleyfair. Also, Matt got us lost and we got there later than I had planned and it was all very stressful. 
When we eventually got there we got through quickly because I pre-paid for our tickets, parking wasn't bad at all, and we took the kid photo. Ideally, everyone would have beaming, happy faces as they embark on an amusement park. You'll see we missed that mark. 

The plan was to go to the Family Care Center and get everyone measured and get their wristbands so they didn't have to do that at every ride, that actually turned out to be really handy and I highly suggest you do that especially if you have more than one kid. 

We saw some rain clouds, and I knew the forecast was iffy on our drive down but the tickets weren't refundable or transferable, which is kind of a crappy policy, but it is what it is. The big kids take off, we make plans for check ins so I could keep tabs, and Matt and I would hang with the littles.  
First stop was the carousel and they've been on one and call it "riding the ponies" so we knew we'd be doing this a few times during the day.  
It was Penelope's favorite thing and if she was allowed to sit there all day she absolutely would have. 

It started to sprinkle and we were going to tough it out. We got on some little train thing and as soon as we started rolling, the rain started to pour. I'm not talking, "Oh hey- better get an umbrella!", but a "Holy shit, get to a building!" kind of rain. By the time we get off the train, we're soaked. We take the littles and run to this indoor play area. I read on a family travel blog that this is a cool play area to "take a break from the sun" and it was a "huge play ball area". Obviously other read about this too because this place was packed. It also was not huge at all. It was very small, very crowded, very loud, balls shooting and flying everywhere, it was so muggy and hot in there, and then you have parents screaming at their children from one end to the other. 

Come on, you have to know THEY CANNOT HEAR YOU, walk the hell over there already. 

There was no other place to go except for maybe a bathroom, but I wasn't about to sit in there for gods knows how long. I had some anxiety putty in my purse and I kneaded the hell out of it, did breathing exercises and decided when it was a light sprinkle we were going. I didn't even care. 

By then, everyone was hungry. 

Guess what Valleyfair doesn't have? Indoor restaurants! 

Every food option means you're eating outside and if you're lucky you can grab a table with an umbrella or under this small area with a roof. I didn't see any others, but we found one and sat there. It smelled like rotting garbage but it was (relatively) dry.  
We get pizza and souvenir cups because you get free refills that day and thank god because we must have filled them up 15 times. Easily. Matt wasn't happy with how much it cost and I get it, but I'm a go-with-the-flow person and he isn't. He gets annoyed or angry and he stays that way. For the rest of the time. 

After lunch we decided to go to Soak City and swim. I purchased a cabana online because when I looked at weather two days before the city was under an "extreme heat advisory" and I knew I would never make it in blazing sun and heat for long and I was willing to pay for shade. 

Pay, I did. 

It says "starting at $69" for a cabana online. I didn't find any cabana anywhere for less than $150. Not one. So that's what we paid. 

Gulp. 

I will say that the cabana would be an AMAZING idea if you were going to be there for a long time and had a few people. It comes with a fridge, two chaise lounges, SHADE, a fan, a TV, they bring you water and chips (even though it said popcorn and they brought me generic grocery store chips... lame) and there is a little patio table and chairs for you. It is 100% worth it because sometimes you need shade, or a kid gets pooped out and wants to lay down, this was a cool thing. You can also pick where your cabana is and we picked near the kid play area which was smart because Penelope and Lucy never left that area.  
It wasn't even that warm out, maybe high 70s, so the water was absolutely freezing. I had my suit on but never went in any water and took my suit off as soon as I could.  
Olivia and Jackson took off for water slides and I hung out here with Penelope and Lucy. Matt was wandering around mostly so I'm not sure what he was doing.  
Lucy absolutely loved having water sprinkled on her.  
So did Penelope but she liked spraying other people more, which came as no surprise. 

We didn't end up being in the water area for very long because we were hoping to go on more rides since we couldn't earlier because of the rain. So we got dressed and started walking.  
 If only. 
 We soon discovered there wasn't much for Lucy to ride on so we decided to lie and tell Penelope there weren't any other rides for her because Lucy would have had a fit if she couldn't go on something. Not the hill I was dying on that day. 
 I was really surprised they went on this train because this went on a track and they couldn't see us while on the train and I thought for sure Lucy would freak out, but they did really well. Definitely didn't want to do it again, but they also didn't try to climb out. 
 Penelope spotted the ferris wheel and she had been on a smaller one before when we went to the Wisconsin Dells and stayed at Kalahari, but Lucy was just a baby so she had no idea what was going on. As it turns out she was all about safety and wanted the lady to MAKE SURE her buckle was secure. 

Oh, and you know when people go on a "weight loss journey" and they have that one photo they use as their "before" picture as inspiration to get on the treadmill? 

I officially have mine, guys! 
I always say I have reverse of body dysmorphia because when I look in the mirror, I swear that isn't what I see. Overweight? Sure. I know this and I know I have weird fat pockets and it's 100% from my corticosteroids and it's completely not from my diet. I'm exercising every day and still. Still no progress and I look like this. Needless to say I am completely dreading our trip to Missouri in a few weeks and being in photos. I'll still be in a few but I hate this. 

To say this photo has had an impact on me is an understatement. 

Anyways. The day was long, the day was hot and rainy, the day wasn't at all what I had hoped it would be. Everyone was in a bad mood when we left and the big kids were upset that Matt was grumpy the entire time and basically ruined it for them. It was just really stressful. I'm glad we went because it was a fun day out of the house and we crossed something off our summer bucket list, I just wish it was a more fun day. 

BUT! 

The good news is that I was only a little sick the next two days instead of throwing up and feeling like death was really here for me. Super happy I remembered to bring my hat, I drank and obscene amount of water, I stayed in shade as much as I could and I used almost an entire bottle of sunscreen on myself. It also was a good trial run traveling with Penelope and Lucy at this age. They handled no naps fairly well until dinner time so I was hopefully the things we have planned for Missouri might actually happen. Crossing fingers. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Book Review: The Valedictorian of Being Dead



I was recommended this one by a friend and I had to get it because it's basically about an unconventional course of treatment to help with major depression. As someone who really struggles with depression and anxiety, but also suicidal ideation, I'm really interested in ways to fix that because the thought of feeling like this forever is completely unbearable.

The Valedictorian of Being Dead - Heather B. Armstrong
Armstrong shares her story of living with debilitating depression and the radical treatment she underwent to cure it. For years she controlled her depression with a mixture of prescriptions, but when their effects start fading, Armstrong experiences an 18-month period of deep depression fueled by suicidal thoughts. Scared of what will become of her and the possibility of losing custody of her daughters, Armstrong opts for a month-long experimental treatment. One of only 3 people participating, she receives 10 doctor-administered treatments, each of which induces a coma that leaves her brain-dead for a short period of time. 

I don't know if my review is going to be as helpful for you because I'm deep into depression myself so I think I'm looking at this book in a different lens than a person who isn't depressed, or at least who hasn't experienced depression like this.

I will tell you that her writing is rhythmic and I found myself pouring through the pages easily because it really felt like I was listening to someone tell me a story versus a robotic memoir without personality. This has personality. Interestingly, I didn't find Heather to be likable. It's funny how even when I'm down I still pull it together but I feel like I'm dragging across the finish line. I didn't get that sense from her and that's where it comes in that I think I'm seeing things in a different lens. My other quip is that I don't feel like we got the whole story, like we maybe only got bits and pieces. It feels like big things happened before she got to this point and if we knew what those were we could see her depression like she does. It feels like there is an assumption that we know who she is at the start of this and I didn't, I didn't know she had a blog and I am still not real sure what she does for a living. We know her dad wasn't awesome, but her mom and step-dad are supportive and helpful, but it feels like a weird dynamic we never know about but seems like maybe we should know something about it. Aside from that she is funny, you can relate to her comparisons and she does a good job at comparing facets of her depression to common things we're all familiar with so you can kind of understand what it's like.

The procedure itself seems absolutely awful and I knew after her second or third session that this is not something I would ever consider. The risks seem incredibly high for a maybe result. Oh! Biggest eye roll of the book is her constant reference to the size of the needle for her IV. Good grief. I get blood drawn a LOT and I have IV's a LOT and I need a special team from the hospital to do my IV's because my veins are just the worst now and the needle she had is not harrowing. It's a needle. We've all had it, calm down.

The ending of the book leaves you feeling hopeful, and it's interesting to look at it as a whole once it's done. Forget all of the fluff and filler, but all of the procedures she had and the entire path to get there, and it's really interesting what people are willing to do in order to not feel depressed anymore. I think it's an interesting read particularly if you're someone who isn't depressed but you know someone who is. We all do and we all have at least one person we're annoyed with when they always flake out on plans or always looking like a mess, and we wonder what their problem is. A book like this might give you a different perspective on what life might be like for them.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Weight Loss Monday: Walking with maybe predators. And the sun is trying to kill me.

I feel like I'm finally getting my groove back. Matt said I used to be super crabby if I didn't get my nightly walk in every night years ago when I was in my weight loss kick. I'm starting to get that feeling now but I am also really very tired so it's been a struggle to go.

Last week though I walked Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The goal this week is to go every day. I'm not kidding. I am finding that walking in the morning pushing a stroller is really tough and it makes one mile feel like I'm walking to my death. In the evening, after dinner, I've been walking a mile and getting the itch that I could go further so I'm going to try. Two miles with the stroller is an absolute no-go because Penelope and Lucy are heavy. It's almost pushing 60-70 pounds and I know that's nothing to most people but for me? It's something.

I also discovered after really looking back at my notes and putting information together on my OWN that I think I have heat intolerance. Which, I know it sounds like I'm one of those crazy people using Dr. Google and diagnosing themselves but that's not the case at all. The last three summers have been kind of awful and full of days where I'm sick (vomiting, diarrhea, migraines, fatigue, and flu like symptoms) but they are sporadic and I didn't think there was any kind of pattern.

Oh but there is!

They always happen the day AFTER I've been outside for awhile on a moderately warm day. Just this summer alone I've had a few of these events (and they are the worst, no joke) and they have all started while I'm outside. I'll start with a headache, then I have to run to the bathroom, then I feel like I'm going to throw up everything I've ever eaten in my life, then I get unbelievable fatigue (it feels like I'm going to pass out because I am that tired) and I start to hurt all over. It'll last for an entire day, sometimes two. Nothing helps other than a ton of ice water and sleep.

I sent a message to my rheumatologist and my endocrinologist and I got varying information. Rheumatology didn't seem to care even when I point blank asked if it's possible I have lupus. I guess I'll have to bring it up at my next appointment again and see. Endocrinology was a little more forthcoming with information and while he didn't seem concerned or surprised, he did let me know that where I have brain damage and pituitary damage is where your body regulates your body temperature. So when you get warm your body tries to regulate it, same as when you get cold. Apparently I cannot do that so I'm at a significantly greater risk for heat stroke, so that's really fun. The only solution he has for me is to wear a hat, always be under shade, where loose fitting, breathable clothing, drink obscene amounts of water, and do whatever I can to not be hot.

I also realized on July 3 when I was sitting, in the shade, in the yard watching kids play and chatting with Olivia and her friend, I had drank 150 ounces of water that morning between 7-11 a.m.

And I didn't pee. Not once. Didn't even feel like I had to.

In fact, I drank more and more water all day.

I peed before I went to bed for the first time that day at 10 pm.

So clearly, something isn't normal.

**
Next up is my walks. I do the same loop every walk because it's easy to know when to turn around and it's easy for me to find my way home in case I get confused or disoriented.

On Saturday though, as I was almost to my turn around spot, a man was walking toward me and I didn't think anything about it. As he walked past me I just..... I got that feeling. You know when your gut is telling you something isn't right? You get that urge to run and look for help? That's what I got.

I turned at my normal spot and he kept walking the direction I had just come from. As I got around the block I just have an uncomfortable feeling and I actually feel unsafe. Something about this doesn't feel right and I'm not sure what to do. So I keep walking. I realize he's matching my pace but we're walking on parallel street. I slow WAY down mid block to let him get ahead of me. After was more than enough time for him to get ahead, I start going only to realize he stopped and was waiting for me.

I actually felt like I was being stalked. I'm not kidding.

I realize I'm maybe three blocks from my house now so I decided I'm going to risk injury and start jogging to get ahead of him. I'm clipping along at a decent pace and I just... I have a really uneasy feeling. By the time I got to my house (I live on a corner) I realize I have screwed up because now this guy knows where I live. He must have heard or seen Matt, who was working in the garage but had his saw pulled out into the drive, because he basically started booking it. I tell Matt what happened and he doesn't seem concerned, but I didn't see the guy again.

Not going to lie, I didn't walk yesterday because I'm mildly afraid I'm going to run into this guy again.

But it made me wonder, has a man ever felt that way? Like he's being stalked and followed, and been scared about it? I can imagine it isn't as frequently as women have. My entire walk home I kept running scenarios in my head, like what are my options? I can maybe run through some yards, maybe start banging on doors. I had my phone and I could have called for help but what if he grabs me and I drop my phone? How would they know where I was dragged off to? If I started screaming would anyone be home and willing to come out and help me?

My priority this week is to seriously get pepper spray or something to take with me. Even if I never need it, maybe just having an option would make me feel better. I don't know.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Summer with the Strands, kind of alright.

I always say that once the Fourth of July comes, summer is basically over. This year we're going to make the most of it because I cannot be in this house one more day and I know I'm going to be a prisoner to it soon so we've been doing stuff. Even if that means being in the yard, it still counts.

So remember when Matt and I went on our anniversary date and the kids all went to various grandma's houses? Lucy went to my mom's because Lucy by herself is so easy and basically puts herself to bed and is content to play by herself on the floor. The other three went to Matt's parent's home and that is always fun and different because they live way out in the woods about a half hourish from our house.
Well Olivia shared some pictures she took on her phone, and some of these were pretty great. Apparently, they decided to let Penelope skip her nap. She's at that age where she NEEDS a nap because she's the crabbiest person in the entire world but she also needs to start staying up without a nap because she's four and yeah. I know it's time but I'm not ready to deal with her teenager attitude at age four. 
They tried to go to the beach but it was really pretty windy, so they ended up at a park. 
Probably my favorite picture, and I kind of wish Lucy was in it because that right there is Christmas card material. 
Penelope really loves Olivia. She really loves Jackson but she shows her love for him by tackling him. 
I guess they had a good time at the park. So much so that....
Penelope basically passed out for bed that night. 
But not before having smores on Grandpa Fred's campfire. She is a fiend for smores and you can basically get her to do anything with the promise of them. 
This was the next morning at breakfast and normally not anything to write home about, but Jackson's face is everything. That's his mood every morning, he's just not here for it and totally over it all.

So what else have we done so far? 
Did I mention Jackson is doing summer school? He opted to do that to "get familiar" with the middle school. Olivia did that when she went into sixth grade and said it helped so he's following her footsteps. I cannot believe he is a middle schooler. I am in straight denial about this. 
Lucy continues to be adorable. I have to do an update on her pretty soon. She has her pre-op physical this week and then her actual surgery is July 18. I know  that this is a no-big-deal surgery and it'll be over before I even sit down, but she's different. There is something about her that feels different to me and I cannot explain it but I just worry in a different way for her, if that makes sense.
We signed up for a toddler gardening class but Penelope rioted and because she said she didn't want to go, Lucy said she didn't want to go. That really stinks because Lucy was all about helping and doing gardening stuff. SO, we got some seeds for at home and she diligently watches them. We  have some sprouts and leaves, no flowers yet though. 
Oh! We took the little girls to see their first movie, which was The Secret Life of Pets 2. I thought this one was better than the first one, honestly. 
Getting six people in, snacks and drinks, and into their seats and situated is no joke. It's also incredibly expensive even though we went on the $5 movie day. I used the last of my gift cards and rewards points to get our tickets for free, but the snacks were ridiculous. They did really well though so I think next week we are going to see Toy Story 4 because Lucy is already in love with Forky. 
I made a welcome mat for my front door. Looks pretty cool but took two hours to make. I want to make another one for the back door so hopefully they have another class soon.

This was just June! I have some things I want to do in July, which include going to some parks we haven't gone to locally to us, and maybe a trip down to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and going to Como Zoo. I also want to go to the Wilderness Walk in Hayward, but we might end up going during the week without Matt but I'm not sure yet.

How is your summer going? What's on your bucket list?