August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Awesome Birthday Present Edition

Being down and out this week, I don't have many pictures to share. But I do have one that I am extremely excited about: Jackson's birthday present. We got an amazing deal on this puppy at the Minnesota State Fair. I can't say enough, if you are planning a big purchase like this, consider buying at the State Fair. The deals are incredible. We got THOUSANDS of dollars off this set. Great staff at Rainbow Play Systems. We cannot say enough about them. Go like them on Facebook. Go get a great deal.

I can't wait until we get this and can watch him play on it!
 


August 30, 2011

My Surgery Experience: Losing an Ovary

I have been fighting a losing battle with my fertility for many years. For the first 2.5 years of trying to conceive (TTC), I miscarried and then nothing. I went through tons of testing and nothing. No answers. Part of the "unexplained infertility" crowd. I still do not know what we did or how it happened (well.. I KNOW how it happened... LOL), but we conceived a baby in January 2008 and this one stuck. Our miracle, Jackson Robert was born on September 11, 2008 and my life has never been the same.

In the best way, I became a mommy. It is the best thing I have ever known and I don't take a moment of it for granted.

I also got my answers. After Jackson was born, my reproductive system went a little haywire. After a year, I started having painful periods- bad cramping and constant, intense fatigue. I had a vitamin D deficiency which was quickly fixed and the rest was caused by a uterine polyp. I had a D & C and hysteroscopy in February 2010 and I felt great for about 6 months. The painful cramping came back and we went back to watchful waiting mode. In April, I had intense pain with a fever, nausea & vomiting. I had a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst rupture. Treated with birth control, we had hope that the cyst would shrink. It did not shrink.

This last Friday, I went into surgery to have it removed. My appointment was earlier than most humans should be allowed to be awake- I had to be there by 5:45am to check in. With a 3 year old at home, my husband and I struggled with how to manage getting Jackson to daycare and getting back to be with me. We decided that my mom would bring me and my husband would arrive while I was in mid-surgery. Mom and I had little waiting. I was quickly checked in and within no more than 15 minutes, I was in my pre-op room answering a bunch of medical questions and getting dressed in my sexy surgery garb. My mom came in to join me and we waited for awhile before the doctor came in to go over the surgery with me. Then it was wait time. It was kind of nice hanging out with my mom. We talked about books, my medical issues, about Jackson. The nurse arrived and it was time to go. Unlike what you see in the movies, I didn't get wheeled in to the operating room. I walked there on my own. I'm not sure why, but it creeped me out. All the nurses and the doctors. The tools. The lights. Strangely, they strapped my arms down as they said, "Arms tend to flop around in the middle of surgery, so we strap them down to keep you safe." My doctor was by my side, holding my hand as they inserted the IV, promising me that everything was going to be great and I would feel so much better when she was done. I don't even the remember the moment the anesthesia hit me.

I woke up in recovery and was most definitely in pain. A nurse was nearby to remove the oxygen mask from my face. I was in and out of consciousness, trying to figure out what time it was. Desperate to know if my husband had made it in and that my son was safely at daycare. Was my mom still there? What the hell did I get hit by? A truck? Ugh. I felt like crap! My doctor stopped by and I heard her say she took the ovary and that she was sorry. Still confused, I came out of it and we started working on getting my pain under control. I was wheeled back to a post-op room where they loaded me up with crackers, pop, water and really whatever I needed. I then saw my husband. I was so happy to see him. So happy he was there. So happy to get out of this sterile smelling place. The only criteria holding me from going home was peeing. LOL. Seems so simple, right? You'd be surprised how hard it is after having abdominal surgery. Finally, pain med prescriptions in hand, we were headed home.

My nurse dog has kept a constant vigil by my side.


I love my hospital slippers
The first couple days were awful. I felt like I was hit by a bus. You never really how much you use your core for EVERYthing and how hard it is when you can't use it normally. My husband had to help me stand up, walk, get into and out of bed... I felt about 90 years old. The narcotics made me tired and dizzy and I was more than ready to get them out of my system. By Sunday, although I was walking better, I felt really sick. Was it the new birth control? The narcotics? They really expect me to be okay to go to work tomorrow?? I was very nauseous and dizzy. When I woke up the next morning I felt as though I was sick. I had a fever, my heart was racing and I was exhausted. I went to see my doctor. I was to not return to work for a week while my wounds and body healed. Sent away with prescriptions in hand, I headed home to resume my recovery. At this moment, I am thankful for the Zofran (anti-nausea medication)- I almost feel... dare I say normal? I have 4 incisions- belly button, two on each side and one longer one in my lower abdomen. I am thankful that it no longer feels like I did a thousand situps in one workout, but yes, the incisions hurt. I am getting around slowly but no longer in need of my poor husband to walk me around. I am SO glad that I was insistent about working out leading up to my surgery. My strong legs and arms have helped me get around over the past few days not to mention help my stamina. I'm very anxious to start exercising again. It will be hard to "start over" but I know I need to start slow and ease my way back into running. It will likely be another week or two before I can even walk around the block.

So here's what they found: My ovary was enlarged, twisted around my bowel, was stuck and growing into my liver and my appendix. The ovary was no longer functional and had to be removed. There wasn't even one singular cyst, it was my enlarged ovary causing all of my monthly agony. Likely the cause of endometriosis, but also a result of my failing reproductive system. I chuckle at my "advanced maternal age" as 35 really, truly doesn't feel that old to me and I know SO many women who have conceived into their 40's. The only way to keep this from happening to the other side is to remain on hormone treatment (i.e. birth control) indefinitely. I will likely have to have a full hysterectomy in 5 years or so. I thought about sharing the photos from my surgery but decided to spare you some of the gore. They are pretty yuck.

This surgery was officially the end of my fertility. I have had time to mourn. I have had my moments of desperation for having another baby. Now, I am at peace. I am ready to recover, move on and be well.


August 25, 2011

Date Day At The MN State Fair

Despite the guilt trip that I took for taking a day off, I have zero regrets. My husband and I have not had much alone time together lately. Between weddings, babies and everything in between, there never seems to be a good time to try and plan a date night. So, by taking today off together, we had a date day!

I have been going to the Minnesota State Fair since I was a tiny tot. There are old pictures of me taken on the big tractors, on the kiddie rides and eating pronto pups. I attended my first ever concert by myself there (NKOTB!) when I was 13. My aunt and uncle lived across the street from the main gate and they parked cars all over their yard for years. My sister and I would hang out on their front steps and people watch all day long (in teenage speak that actually meant BOY watch all day long). I would go with a group of friends to the Midway and go on rides until we felt like puking. We'd eat until our stomachs lurched in agony.

Walking into the main gate gives me such a rush of nostalgia. 30-some years of memories come rushing back. Yes, it is spendy now. Yes, it is crowded. Yes. I LOVE IT.

We decided to go sans kid this year even though we know he would've had a blast. My husband and I just really wanted time alone together to be husband and wife rather than mommy and daddy. We had so much fun walking around, people watching, eating and SHOPPING.

We tried the new Breakfast Lollypop:
No. There were no points being counted today. We had coffee and ate mini donuts.


We saw cows:


We saw naughty goats:


We shopped. We bought one of these puppies for Jackson's 3rd birthday:


We drank:


We laughed at the names of these hot sauces:


We ate cajun fried pickles for lunch:

We had a spectacular day.

No matter how much I may enjoy my job, my family comes first. We desperately needed this time together. Tomorrow, I have my surgery to repair my broken insides. We have been sad about the loss of my fertility but I think after spending time together today and talking it out, we are finally at peace. We are ready to move on and excited about what the future holds for our little family.



August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Zoo Edition

Took the kidlet to the Zoo a couple weeks ago. Cuteness prevailed.

Jackson & Daddy On The Tractor Ride

Farmer Jack. He thought this was hilarious.

Hi Rooster! Please don't peck my fingers off.

Jack loved talking to the cows.

Checking out the new Penguin exhibit

We had to pry him off this rock.
Hanging out with the roosters and chickens. Too funny:

Gosh I love my kid!

August 23, 2011

Introducing.. Mixed Bag of Rant's New Look!

I am thrilled to introduce you to the updated look of Mixed Bag of Rant!!

I have been itching to update the look of my blog to be a little more fresh, a little more clean and a little more me. I would like to thank Emily at Designer Blogs for making everything look so incredible. 

Now that everything is all shiny and new, I plan to rant a whole lot more in the future and always, you can expect it to be a mixed bag about everything and nothing.

Don't be shy. Rant with me!

August 22, 2011

My Spouse. My Rock.

Over the weekend, I witnessed a very dear friend get married. It was a beautiful day, a fairytale location and such precious time with friends that always seems so few and far between. That evening, my husband was to meet me at the wedding. He had dropped off the kidlet at Grandma & Grandpa's house for an overnight and we were going to spend a much needed night together. Jack had never spent a night anywhere without me and daddy. After several weeks of awful bedtime disasters, we knew it was going to be a crapshoot. A 50/50 shot at whether or not the kid would actually go to bed. As suspected, it was a disaster. My husband dropped me off at the hotel alone to go pick up Jack and take him home to his own bed where he fell asleep immediately. I was sad.

You see, even though I love my son to the moon and back, I long for time alone with my husband. Time away from being a mommy and a daddy and more like husband and wife. Heck. Boyfriend and girlfriend. I sometimes miss that spontaneity.

This Friday, I go under the knife. I get to say goodbye to my ovarian cyst and my endometriosis. I may also say goodbye to an ovary and a fallopian tube. I most definitely will say a final farewell to my fertility. I could have cancer. To say that I am sad and a little scared is an understatement. My husband and I decided that we would take the day before off and spend some quality time together. Have some fun. He bought tickets to the MN State Fair for us. Just one day is all I wanted to take a deep breath and remember the things that are MOST important.

There is a barrier. My job.

90% of the time. I love it. I love what I do and believe what I do. I find my work to be rewarding on many levels and have learned so much over 4.5 years. But it DOES NOT define me. I do no live and breathe my work. Yes, it is busy right now. But it always is. There is always something. There is never a good time to go and have surgery. All I wanted was one single day to take off just for me. Not for surgery. Or illness. Or my kid. A day to relax and try to enjoy my life before it physically and emotionally changes forever. I never thought someone could be so heartless not to understand that. Wouldn't an employer want me to deal with my personal issues so I can be the best I can be for them day in and day out? While I wasn't told a flat out no, I was guilt tripped. Regardless of my reasons why I so terribly need a personal day (not to mention the sheer amount of hours and work I am doing right now), I got the following lecture:

We're so busy.
Don't you understand what is at stake right now?
This is not a good time for vacation.
I'm not going to tell you no, but you should know this isn't a good time.

And I cried. No, not in front of anyone. Just the comfort of my car. On the way to my pre-op physical. Thankfully, my husband was able to weasel a couple minutes of time to talk me down. Remind me what is most important in this life.

If I can give advice to my newlywed friends, it would be to always remember that your spouse is your rock. You are a team.

Having a kid, we quickly forget how important it is to spend time together. To remember how this all began. We need this time and I plan to take it no matter how deep the guilt trip.

August 13, 2011

Sleepless in Mommyland

This week has been a disaster in the sleep department.

Jack inherited his daddy's allergies and the last few days have been just awful at night. Waking up after being asleep for a couple hours and virtually freaking out. As usual, we ran down the list:
1. He wants attention
2. He doesn't feel good
3. Night terrors

It dawned on me that for the past nearly 3 years, the kid has had a Nuk tucked neatly in his mouth. It was his safety. His comfort. His woobie. He learned how to sleep through illness with it in his mouth. No, he isn't asking for it anymore, but I can only imagine how hard it is to get used to something he has no experience with: breathing through his mouth. He has a horrific stuffed up nose right now and I'm sure it is just plain hard to breathe, it wakes him up and then freaks him out. Nothing we do is soothing. Nothing we say helps. If my theory is correct, when the allergies dissipate, we will have glorious sleeping nights again.

The overnights have been awful, yes, but GETTING him to sleep has been an epic battle as well. He screams and cries. My husband and I bicker and fight over how to deal with him. I am insanely frustrated but somehow, patient. He's 3 (my kid, not my husband although I could see how you could be confused). Today for naptime, I tried a technique that worked for me long ago when he was around 1: crying it out. I have a video monitor so I know he is safe. It is the hardest thing in the world to listen to your child cry; but, the more you give in, the more they try and take. His screams last night were so desperate that he lost his voice and we were IN his room trying to calm him to no avail!

It is currently naptime. He cried for 30 minutes solid, stopped and he has now been lying down for about 15 minutes- rolling around, chatting it up with his stuffed animal friends but importantly, he's no longer crying. I will likely give him another hour of quiet time before going to get him. If I'm lucky, he'll actually fall asleep. Given that he was up for a good hour in the middle of the night last night, I imagine he is tired. Hell, I'm freaking exhausted. Not to mention PMS-ing. Yeah. I'm a real treat to be around today.

Here's the deal: I'm taking back the power. I'm the mommy, I call the shots. Yes, he will scream, cry and tantrum, but following that luxurious nap? He will be happy and fun to be around again. Although a little painful to listen to, the cry it out method works. He learns how to work through his emotions and importantly, learns how to fall asleep on his own without being overly coddled. He will thank me for it someday! At least that's what I'm telling myself.

My guilt over taking away his precious Nukkie is over. Time for him to start truly being a big boy.


August 11, 2011

Dreams & Inspirations: Making Them Real

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of UPromise for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I didn't come from a family with money. Somehow, my parents reached as deep as they could to fund all of my whims. Being in music didn't come cheap. The desire to go to college. I wanted to go to college more than anything. They did everything possible to help me pay for a private college education; however, even with their best intentions, the money fell short. I had to take out loans, apply for grants, audition to get scholarships and work a full time job.

I walked out with a degree in Marketing Communications as well as a $36,000 loan.

I have fully relied on programs such as UPromise to save extra money to pay towards that loan. Only 2 years post college, I experienced a lay off and had to apply for a forbearance on my loan. It set me back. Even though I have come a long way since losing that job, it has been 11 years since I graduated and yes, I am still repaying that loan.

Now that I have a child, I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about what I need to do to pay for his college education. Sure, having to find my own way and stick it out through the struggles made me a strong person, but does that mean I have to make my son do the same? I hope that I can teach him how important it is to work hard and even to have some struggles, but I hope I can take some of the burden away from him having to take the brunt of paying for his college education. We have been saving for him since the day he was born. Even before. There is nothing that I wouldn't do for my son.

So what is UPromise? It is a rewards program designed to help you save for college through every day spending. I love this program and would much rather use rewards towards college savings than blow it on some stupid kitchen utensil that will end up in the back of my pantry. Upromise is celebrating its 10th Anniversary by giving away $20,000 to users who share a story that tells how a parent has supported a child's dream. Upromise members have received more than $600 million in college savings through their rewards program, and it wants to celebrate all of the ways it has helped to fuel those sparks that made children into the people they are today and the adults they will become tomorrow.

Users can participate in the sweepstakes by submitting a story, and can vote on their favorite stories by “liking” them. Upromise will give away $1,000 to 10 winners and a grand prize winner for $10,000 will be selected from the participants as well.

I've already told you the dream I have for my son. What's your dream for your child? Don't miss your chance to win some money, but also put your dreams out there. Be inspired. Dream big. Your child is worth it. Go to the Dream Wall at www.upromisetodream.com and submit your dream. You can check out the official rules here: dream wall official rules

Inspired? Ready to start building some dreams? Let others know they can share their dreams too.

UPromise_Brand_300x250_static.jpg (3 documents)

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Instagram Photo Challenge: Photo Every Hour

I was inspired by Marketing Mama on Twitter, and decided to join in an Instagram Photo Challenge and take a photo every hour. I have always enjoyed using Instagram and had a GREAT time documenting my day. From 10a - 10p, I took a photo every hour and I have to say, it was a lot harder then I thought it would be. Remembering to take the photo every hour was the first challenge and the other: what the hell should I take a picture of? The challenge was fun and has inspired me for 2012 to do the 365 Day Photo Challenge. While it seems like a day in my life is not all that exciting, it will be fun to see the seasons change and especially, watch how my son grows throughout his 3rd year of life.


If you participated in the Photo Every Hour challenge I would love to see your photos. Link up or leave a comment! Big thanks to Marketing Mama for the creative idea- it certainly livened up my day and gave me something fun to focus on.

August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cute Tiny People Edition

Since I have a lot of catch up to do... here is some cute tiny people pics from the last couple of weeks! 

Jack digs the neighbor girl. We are in so much trouble.

Jack thinks the neighbor dog is pretty dope too.

And of course, Jack thinks his mommy is dope.
We also got to meet a beautiful baby this weekend. Welcome to my baby niece Brooklyn Ann! Brooklyn gave her mommy a little struggle coming into the world, so we weren't able to meet her until she was 5 days old. So, of course, Jack wanted to send a little message to his Auntie & new cousin: 


Me & My Baby Niece Brooklyn

Beautiful Brooklyn

 We'd like to thank Baby Brooklyn because she gave us the excuse we need to officially break Jack of his Nuk habit. He packaged them all up and gave them to her. Of course... one mile out of Rochester and he wanted to go back and get them. But, he survived and even fell asleep in the car without one:


The next day, we took his last remaining Nukkie and brought it to Build-A-Bear to have it stuffed into a monkey.


He of course wanted to open up the monkey and get it out later that night. But even though the temptation of the Nuk was within his grasp, his monkey has definitely become his prized possession:


We are so proud that our little guy no longer needs the Nuk. We have had two glorious nights of sleep with no waking. We plan to enjoy our precious sleep until the next transition comes along and I'm certain there will be one.

August 09, 2011

Change Is In The Air

It has been a busy couple of weeks.

My lack of posts is kind of on purpose as I know my blog is in dire need of some major cosmetic updates. I really love this blog and want very much to take it to the next level. What does that mean? Hell if I know. I just think it needs a more professional, fresh touch. As much as I would love to be able to do my own designing, I just don't have the time, so I have found a professional designer to give my blog a fresh look. It'll probably be a bit before the changes take place, but I am really excited about a new look and feel!

The blog change reminds me a little of myself. As I ride this healthy journey, there are many ups and downs. Right now, I am kind of in maintenance mode. I haven't been great about tracking/eating but my running has been great. Thus, maintaining my weight. With my surgery looming in the distance, I know I will be out of the exercise game for a minimum of 3 weeks so it is important for me to get back into the habit of tracking. Another thing I did today was buy a REAL pair of running shoes! For the last 6 months since I started doing Couch to 5K (which I have completed in full by the way), I have been wearing an old pair of cross trainers. Great shoes; however, not exactly ideal for the amount of running I have been doing. Hopefully some appropriate shoes will help with some of the aches and pains I've been experiencing lately. I'm certainly excited to get them broken in. Even more exciting is how much I have grown to love running. I am really proud of what I am able to do- a year ago (even less), I would have laughed at the thought of being able to run 2 miles a day. I have come so far and I'm not going to let some silly surgery get in the way of my motivation.

Another big change in my house is that we are officially NUK FREE! I was worried about the Nukkie breaking in terms of how long it would take and how much sleep I would lose. We did indeed lose sleep, but last night, our 3rd night Nuk-free, he slept the entire night without any interruption. I'm so proud of him- I can't imagine how hard it must be to have something taken away from you that you have had every night of your life thus far. As he is about to turn 3 in a little over a month, we felt it was time. With potty training around the corner, we have many more sleepless nights ahead of us as I think this kiddo is going to be quite the challenge.

Stay tuned for some exciting changes to Mixed Bag of Rant!




 
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