safety is my middle name

Passion is relative.

Everyone’s level of passion for one thing or another is set at a different level – and while I may consider myself to be relatively passionate about something, you over there may think I’m over-the-top crazy about it. And that thing I’m “relatively passionate” (over-the-top to you) about may be of little importance or concern to you, be it because it has no relevance in your life, or because you either don’t care or aren’t informed.

My big passion is car seat safety – child passenger safety.

Not long after I found out I was pregnant with littleman, the recommendation came out from the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) to rear-face children until they reach at least 2 years old, or until they reach the height or weight limits for their rear-facing child safety seat. With a bit of research, that limit could be extended to 3 or 4 years old quite easily, depending on the seat that is used. My goal was to rear-face littleman as long as I could – at least 2 years – but I didn’t do my research all too well. I bought a seat that was very, very convenient for installation and harness adjustment. It was awesome – until littleman was about 13 months old, well ahead of 2 years old. He has always been a tall boy. At birth, he was 21.5 inches long, and by the time he was 13 months old, he had reached the rear-facing height limit of his seat. At that point, well, I begrudgingly turned him forward-facing (FF). With the seat we had, it was the only safe way for him to ride.

I came across The Car Seat Lady and The Baby Guy NYC (two awesome resources for parents and families – both are on Facebook – TCSL and TBGNYC, Twitter – TCSL and TBGNYC, and have their own websites – referenced above). I also found Car Seats for the Littles (there is also a Facebook page), a closed group of child passenger safety technicians (CPSTs) and parents that are incredibly knowledgeable about car seats and safety recommendations. In this closed group you can post pictures of your installed seat and get feedback on the install; additionally, they will let you know anything you have questions about. It’s great.

It was in the CSFTL group that I found the initial mention that children should remain rear-facing as long as possible – as close to age 4 as possible. Before age 4, the bones in the neck and spinal column are not mature enough – strong enough – to support significant injury. The risks of neck and spinal injury are significantly higher for younger children than older – this article from the CSFTL people does a fabulous job of explaining why it’s extremely important to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible. What it comes down to, though, is the ossification (closing/hardening) of the spinal vertebrae.

Once I found the information stating the importance of Extended Rear-Facing (ERF), I did more research and found out that I could potentially rear-face littleman for a bit longer. This was about 10 months after I had switched him FF – but I knew that he would be safer the other way. I took all of the loose change I could find, and bought two new seats. These seats are some of the longest rear-facing seats on the market – and with my extremely tall boy, he would definitely hit the weight limit prior to hitting the height limit. 10 months after he outgrew his RF Evenflo Triumph and began FF, I switched him back RF in a Graco MySize 70. He’s extremely comfortable, and significantly safer. For my peace of mind, and for his safety, and thanks to the Child Passenger Safety Technicians I dealt with, my son is safe in the car. Very, very safe.

The only other way I could ensure that he is as safe as can be, in addition to keeping him in a rear-facing seat as long as he fits, is to make sure I know a) how to safely install his seat, b) how to safely buckle him in, and c) when he outgrows his seat rear-facing. Once he hits the limits, it’s no longer the safest way for him to ride. He knows now that to be safe, his top of his chest clip must be level with his armpits, and he lifts it there himself if I don’t do it soon enough. He also tries to tighten the straps, but can’t quite get it there – can’t reach far enough once the straps begin to tighten!

My goal, due to everything I have learned in the past 18 months, is to Become a Tech with Safe Kids Worldwide. I want to be able to help others as I have been helped in the past few years, and I want to be able to make a difference. There is an abundance of incorrect information out there – even with pediatricians. The vast majority of pediatricians are not CPSTs, and are not up to date on child passenger safety. It’s scary when you find the science to prove that your child is safest rear-facing at LEAST to age 2, but your pediatrician – someone that most people will trust without any question, and someone that a lot of people will take the word of with no question – tells you that it’s “safer to have your child forward-facing at age 2” (this was straight from our pediatrician – word for word).

The majority of parents don’t know how to correctly install a car seat in a vehicle.

Many parents don’t understand how to correctly and safely buckle a child into a car seat.

And many parents don’t realize the importance of working with the maximums – not the minimums. Don’t rush your child to the next step. Keep them safest by working with the maximum allowances for moving to the next step – rear-facing to forward-facing, forward-facing to seatbelted booster, seatbelted booster to seatbelt. It’s just not worth the risk.

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I am a runner… but only in my dreams.

I have always wanted to run.

I’ve wanted to be a runner.

To outsiders, it appears to be something of a brotherhood… to insiders, well, I have no idea – I’m not on the inside.

I dream of running.

Literally. I regularly have dreams that I can run longer distances (I’ll run miles – long miles – and not be winded – and make it the whole distance – without hurting).

I bought a jogging stroller shortly after munchkin man was born, and fully intended to use it. I had plans to complete the C25K program, and seriously, honestly thought I would do it.

I checked in with my PT, whose response infuriated me, yet motivated at the same time: “Are you CRAZY???”

Then, just a few weeks ago, reality set in.

I’ll never be a runner; I’ll never run that 5k.

I’m realizing that, as I get older, my joints are a lot less stable than they were even a year ago.

I dislocated my wrist closing the car door.

I dislocated a pinky (in two different places) putting on Munchkin Man’s coat.

I dislocated my jaw eating.

I know that there will be those people that will read this and think, “she’s just lazy. why doesn’t she exercise? why doesn’t she make it her goal to run that 5k and, well, just DO it? why doesn’t she make herself stronger, make her joints more stable?”

It’s not that easy.

For me, exercise = pain.

For me, a lot of the time, exercise = injury.

Also – people with EDS are believed to have decreased muscle tone, which means that it is difficult to keep things in place (even more than it already is).

EDS is like that. I was given my “diagnosis,” which consisted of the rheumatologist writing the phrase “Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type III” on a piece of paper, handing it to me, telling me to do some research, and walking out the door. When I requested my “notes” from this office visit (“Ehlers Danlos Type III, Hypermobility, if pain, then injury. Be careful.”), I was surprised – he hadn’t given me much information, but what he had given me, finally, was an answer. I had always known that there was something wrong, but of course, in the back of my mind I thought it was all in my head. I wondered if I was a hypochondriac, if I was just over-sensitive. But this was eye-opening. There is a lot of joint instability, pain, injury, and therefore uncertainty with this condition. I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to find a good doctor that could explain to me what everything meant (EDS is a connective tissue disorder – the connective tissue I have contains damaged or incomplete collagen, and that’s irreversible). I didn’t know what it would take to find a doctor that was willing to educate him- or herself to know how best to treat me… I’m still looking for a good primary care doctor to take care of my everyday needs, someone that is willing to learn or that already knows about EDS.

After my quack diagnosis from the “if pain, then injury, be careful” doctor I went down to Boston for a second opinion (with direction after the fact that my primary care doctor would continue my treatment after I left). It was the right choice, because they were able to tell me what to watch out for, and how best to keep myself from hurting myself (splints and braces). Gentle exercise (walking and swimming), nothing high-impact. And best of all – one of the real reasons we went down to see the Geneticist in the first place – it was safe to have a baby. It would mean that I would be considered high-risk and I would need more close monitoring to be sure I wasn’t going into premature labor, but I would be able to carry a child.

We have had our (first) child; I had an uneventful pregnancy and carried to 39 weeks. Throughout my pregnancy, from week 13 through week 30, I was closely monitored to ensure I would not go into labor early; this meant monthly ultrasounds and extra genetic counseling. I got to see my baby more before he was even born, and I knew I was healthy and progressing normally.

One of the risks with EDS is the chance of passing it along to children; there is a 50% chance is passing it to my children because it is an autosomal dominant gene – you only need one copy to have the condition. It’s still early, but we will likely know by the time he is in early adolescence whether munchkin man also has EDS. Because of the nature of the beast, there’s no GOOD genetic test right now for type III, because the gene has not yet been isolated. The test is mediocre at best – a 50% chance of accuracy – and because it is still so new (and not yet very accurate), insurance won’t cover it. It’s rather expensive.

Growing up I was rather active – I played softball and soccer, and danced ballet (even making it en pointe for a full year before the pain in my knees made me stop – well, that and my orthopedist telling me that one day my knees would just go. Full disclosure – the orthopedist was right – they just started to give one day, walking across the road). Even at the height of all my activity, I was in constant pain and because I didn’t know any different, I thought it was normal. I pushed through it. I didn’t realize how much harm I was actually causing to my body. Since my senior year of high school I have had 4 joints operated on – both knees, my left shoulder, and my right ankle. Both knees were essentially rearranged and fixed to make them more stable (they no longer give out with no warning); my left shoulder was repaired after a fall, though it was not successful; my right ankle was repaired after I turned it standing (see this, this, this, this, and this for details). I still have extensive pain in all of my joints – especially the surgically-modified ones – and my hands are getting worse every day.

I love, love, love to crochet. I recently finished an afghan for my new niece (at the beginning of October), but because of the pain in my hands, have not yet started my next project. Due to the progressive nature of EDS, I shouldn’t be surprised; however, because I am still relatively unfamiliar with everything that comes along with this diagnosis, I know that I have a ton of research still to do before I understand it as much as I should. I recently picked up this book by Dr. Brad Tinkle, which multiple people have recommended to me. It should be arriving soon.

The pain in my hands is exacerbated by the fact that I sit at a computer all day; I also enjoy writing (with a pen and paper) and do it when I can. I keep a journal (both one for myself and one for L), and hand-write each. Because of the pain that keeps increasing, I notice more and more how much my fingers hyper-extend. I try not to let them, but it’s rather difficult. I noticed on my drive home last night that even while driving they extend in ways they shouldn’t – in ways that cause me intense pain. I have been looking into these – they keep fingers from bending in ways they shouldn’t – and have schedule appointments with an occupational and physical therapist; she was actually the one that pointed me in the direction of rheumatology in the first place, and suggested I find out if I did in fact have increased hypermobility. Hopefully she will be able to point me in the right direction of things I need to do to ensure that I don’t hurt myself more, and perhaps even help stabilize my hands and fingers.

I will never be a runner. I will never dance ballet again. I will never be able to play basketball (not that I ever could anyway!), or climb a mountain. It’s not recommended, it’s not smart, and the amount of increased pain and daily difficulties it causes me is immense. I apparently hide it well. I’m lucky – I have a very, very supportive husband. He gets it. He sees me living with it day in and day out – and does not try to push me in ways that he knows would hurt me.

I may love the idea of running, but I will never, ever BE a runner… unless you count running in my dreams.

A belated birthday wish.

Munchkin man turned two last Thursday. I just… yeah. Still speechless over this fact. He is an amazing boy, such a joy. He is cuddly and loving and smart and silly and wow, does he keep us running. He’s always moving, always doing something. He is very self-aware, and loves his “kitty brother.” He gives awesome kisses and when we’re in the grocery store and I’m struggling with the self-scan checkout line and the register is misbehaving and one of the people has to keep coming over to allow me to continue to ring up our groceries, he loves to pull on my arm and pull me in with both hands so he can just hug and hold on and not let go. I’m still in awe of the fact that he’s ours. I don’t need to give him back. I get to keep him. He’s ours. He’s half me, half hubby, and we don’t have to give him back. I had always dreamed of this day – the day that some little one would yell for me – “Mommy!!” – while I was still getting out of the shower in the morning, before it was time to get up, before the day had even begun – and I’d be happy and more-than-willing to go gather this sweet-smelling boy from his bed and kiss his still-warm cheeks and just live in the moment. I need to remember that he’s not little for long… to live in the moment. To enjoy the time we have while we have it, because, cliché or not, he’s only little once, and it won’t be for long. To put down the electronics and play with the trains and make silly pictures and paint without worrying about getting dirty and dig in the sandbox and splash in the “cuddles” – the puddles – because it makes him happy. This love I feel for someone so small, so tiny, yet oh-so-big in personality and generosity – he gives me his favorite train to play with! – and kindness and love – this love I feel is boundless. It is never-ending. It is amazing, and makes my heart pound and skip a beat… literally. Who knew that the dreams I had years, years ago, would come to fruition in such an amazing way? This boy stole my heart just over two years ago, and has relentlessly held onto it since – and I’m okay with that. He’s my little man, my sunshine, my “babyman,” my munchkin, my monkey. He is my world. Happy birthday, monkey man.

In a state of confusion

Life has been upside-down lately. Many things have changed significantly; many things are completely the same. Much like my almost-two-year-old, I’m used to order and crave structure.

Life is a roller coaster; I understand that. There should be ups and downs – without them, there would be too much monotony and frankly, life would be completely boring.

I like boring.

When life isn’t boring, I become stressed.

When I become stressed, I internalize my panic and nerves and worries and strife – and out come health issues.

Gluten sensitivity to the point that I need to consume a strict gluten-free diet.

Headaches so intense I can’t function well.

Depression.

Pain.

This roller coaster, it’s a jarring ride.

I have been able to buffer the “jarriness” of the ride with books, my crocheting, and my family. It’s difficult, but with the anticipation of my sister’s new baby arriving (any day now!!!!) and crazy workdays (I’m back working in the office – after 3.5 months of working at home, at the beginning of June I headed back in for my hour-long commute and am back in the office. Oh, and I changed my hours – I go in -and therefore get out- an hour earlier. Good in the long run, sucks getting up early) and stressful coworkers and too much craziness and not enough wine, well, it has been extra jarring.

When I’m going through a gluten sensitivity bout, I have extreme issues with consumption of anything containing wheat, barley, hops, and anything else in the category; I also get sick if I use a toaster to thaw my gluten free bread that has previously been used for gluten-filled bread. It doesn’t take much to make my insides want to just explode.

I had been exclusively gluten-free for about 3 months. A short bit ago, I realized that the “medicine” that I had been taking to help me consume gluten a little bit better (aka, eat gluten free but if I needed to be sure I didn’t get sick from cross-contamination, take two pills and call it good, and later, a box of macaroni and cheese or a calzone and some  onion rings – all full of gluten) had zero active ingredients. Zero. I decided to attempt some gluten, knowing that it was likely going to be absolutely no different than with the “medication” – and I was right. I had no adverse affects.

I started eating gluten again.

My stress level has not changed. Nothing in my life has changed to allow my stress level to decrease – things have actually gone in the opposite direction. My stress level is through the roof.

And my chronic pain is back. I woke up a few days ago and my hands were on fire. I actually started this post just over a week ago, but after typing all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is type. I’m crocheting an afghan for my new niece, and that’s taking up all of my hand strength. That, and caring for an almost-two-year-old. When I stand up at work after sitting for a while, I can’t walk upright for a few moments – I look like an 80- or 90-year-old woman.

Life is crazy. Life is full of give-and-take, and making sacrifices.

As much as I love gluten, I believe that I need to make some (permanent) changes – I need to significantly reduce the amount of gluten I consume, and I need to regularly work out. I need to focus on my health, and I need to increase my strength and stamina. I am tired of always being tired, always being in pain, always needing to stop what I’m doing because my body won’t let me. I understand with EDS that I need to take it relatively easy on my joints, that there are some things I can’t do, but I need to make myself stronger. I just need to do it, and I need to do it now.

For my family.

For my sanity.

For me.

On healing: 7 weeks out

Today is (finally) Friday.

I had my first physical therapy visit a week ago Wednesday, my second yesterday, and I have  my third today. When I saw the doctor last (May 2), I was one day short of 5 weeks past surgery date. He wanted me done with the crutches by May 9, and out of the walking boot by May 23. I would be able to drive shortly after May 23. At that point I was still relying on the crutches completely, as I was being a good girl and following directions.

Well, that information set me free. I have been working from home since February 13, and the last time I drove was February 12. I had had enough. By May 4 I was finished with the crutches, and I haven’t used the walking boot since May 11. I will be practicing driving Saturday (in an empty parking lot), to make sure that my ankle will tolerate it.

I have been seeing the same physical therapist for the past 6 years (not just the same practice, but also the same therapist – he knows my joints quite well by now), and today I will be starting at a new practice. Because I have not been able to drive, my awesome husband has been chauffeuring me around for the past 3 months. To be honest, we’re both tired of it. However, it has to be done. Anyway. The new PT location is a mere 15 minutes away, whereas the old PT location is about an hour away, next to my office. It was perfect when I would go to PT then go directly to work – it cut down on the commute time significantly. But since I’m working out of the house (for another couple weeks), I can’t lose half of a day due to commuting and PT. It’s not quite convenient.

I’m nervous about seeing a new physical therapist, because Dave – the old one – knows me so well, and we have a good friendship as well. We talk books, we talk munchkin and his kids, we talk life. He gets it. He knows me. How will it be with this next person? Will we end up with a good camaraderie, or will I simply go to physical therapy, do my exercises, report on how I’m feeling, and go home? I spend so much time in physical therapy – in the past 6 years, the longest I went NOT in physical therapy was from February (or was it March?) 2011 to now. I spent 6 months straight at one point going to PT at least once a week. It’s just what happens when I so easily injure myself (I’m working on that).

I spent 20 minutes by myself with munchkin Monday night (while he was awake) – the first time I had done that in 2 months – followed by a couple hours later on that same evening (while he was asleep). It was nice to be able to have the ability to take care of munchkin on my own, and to know that I was trusted enough to do it.

***Fast forward 3.5 hours***

I had PT this morning with a new therapist, Justin. Things were very different from the last place. Old PT is one big room with lots of tables, and nothing is quiet. New PT is lots of little rooms for consults, and then one big room for exercises. At first I thought  – Hey! this isn’t normal. It’s weird! – but then I realized I preferred it. I don’t need everyone knowing my business. There was one other huge difference. Whenever I went to old PT, I made sure to bring a book because I was often on my own for a bit icing or with heat. For an hour appointment, I would really only have Dave to myself for about 15 minutes, and it was definitely not 15 minutes straight through. If I needed to ask a question, I had to either wait until he wasn’t with a different patient, or had to interrupt. I don’t know why they book every 20-30 minutes if appointments last 60. With new guy – Justin – I had him to myself. He worked with me, and I had his full attention the entire time. It was a great change. Justin also focused on things that are going to get me back to where I need to be more quickly, and better – I know all physical therapists are different, but it seemed like new PT had a better handle on what I need to recover to the best of my ability.

So here I am, 7 weeks out from surgery, walking in sneakers, and really in a much better place than I ever anticipated. I’m happy, healthy, and on the right track to being 100% healed.

What have you done better than you ever expected you could?

2013 – books, writing, health and crochet. Or, goals for this year.

My sister set 13 goals for 2013, which made me want to do the same.  Therefore, world, I present you with my goals!

1. Read 52 books. I’m an avid reader, and have already read a few – the only difficulty will be remembering to keep track of the books I am reading!!

2. Lose those last 15 lbs. Since I got married 3.5 years ago, I have lost approximately 60 lbs. Last year (post-baby) I lost 35lbs, and I have stayed roughly stable since then. I just have 15 (20 at the most) left to lose.

3. Start writing again. I haven’t written in a while – at least, nothing of substance. I have a bit of a started piece, and I think I  may continue that. However, I have something else that has been marinating for a while, so I may flesh that one out.

4. Blog regularly. I’m working toward that one! I want to start to really get this blog going – I really enjoy it, but most of my thoughts come through when I’m chasing after munchkin. I think it’s time to keep notebooks around so that I can keep my ideas and musings fresh.

5. Get more blog followers. I’m working hard on this one – getting my name out there by following more awesome, well-known blogs, and commenting on them when I feel the need. They’re great bloggers that definitely love questions, and write their posts to draw discussion. It’s amazingly wonderful – definitely awesome people to learn from.

6. Enter at least one writing contest. I have been watching for writing contests for the past year or so, but have never really done anything with it. It’s time to start entering the contests, and not just look.

7. Start working out regularly – once I’m not injured. I currently have an ankle injury that I’m working through – MRI was just over a week ago, and I see the doctor for the results this Tuesday afternoon. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to figure out how best to treat it, because the issues I’m having with it have been going on for too long. And working out regularly will (hopefully) get me to feeling better, and start to reduce my chronic pain.

8. Start preparing meals in advance – healthy meals. I need to start planning meals better, and make sure I shop around them. I need to make sure that we’re prepared so we can regularly eat well, and not fall back on the easy, quick things that are not healthy.

9. Snack regularly with HEALTHY foods. Make good choices! I find I need to snack relatively regularly to keep me feeling good, and the foods I eat need to be better than cookies and such. I’m finding lately that I LOVE cottage cheese with peaches, and it’s great. It fills me up, and I really enjoy it.

10. Care as much about my own health as I do munchkin’s – I matter as much as he does! If I don’t keep myself healthy, I can’t keep munchkin healthy as well. Time to start worrying about ME.

11. Make a few afghans and finish my sweater. I love to crochet, but haven’t really done much lately. I have at least 3 afghans I would like to make, and would love to get them all completed. I started a sweater a while ago, and I hope to finish it – provided I didn’t mess anything up in the process!

12. Pull out my sewing machine and make some stuff. I have a whole board on Pinterest of ideas for things I want to make. It’s time to pull it out and make some of these things!

13. Be better about keeping the house clean – I’ll keep everyone sane that way! Munchkin keeps us busy, and can definitely be messy. The less clutter, the better – keep us all from going crazy.

Hopefully I can get everything accomplished this year. I would love to just be able to snap my fingers and have everything be the way I want, but I need to invest in myself. I hate that phrase, but it really seems to be the one that sums everything up. Life is a precious commodity, and one not to be wasted. I need to remember not to take it for granted.

Have you set goals for this year? What’s your biggest goal? The one you think will be easiest to attain, and the most difficult?

Heartbreak and heartache

I was pointed in the direction of a news article this morning, in a nonchalant sort of way – “did you hear about the Conn grandmother? sickens me.” I went to msnbc, and this is what I found… I immediately cried my eyes out.

Now, I know things like this happen. I know it’s not right. I know it’s devastating to all involved, and seriously – nobody wants to know someone that this happens to. Why can’t we just fix it all? I feel some days like this country is running in circles, and like the safety that I counted on growing up is becoming less and less. I don’t always feel safe. Now that I have a little one, I worry about his safety probably more than I should. With an overactive imagination like I have, munchkin has been in the hospital 25 times, and has fallen off of the bike that he doesn’t even have yet.

I have been following along with the updates of a little boy named Tripp. Back in October, this precious little boy was playing at daycare when a tree limb fell on his head. He’s still in the hospital, fighting infections, fighting to live. He’s improving, but he will never be the same. My heart breaks for this family, and for all that they have and will go through. Their financial situation has been thrown into upheaval due to all of the medical bills, and because Tripp’s mom, Stacy, has been by his side from day one. They recently sold their house and purchased a new one, but of course, it needs a total overhaul so that it is Tripp-accessible. Thanks to a great foundation called Sunshine on a Ranney Day, their house will be made ready for them, just the way they need it to be.

It’s times like these that I am reminded of how lucky I am, and what a wonderful family I have. I don’t know what the future will bring; I don’t know what will happen 5, 10, 15 years down the road. I do know that I’m in a good place: I have a good job, I have a roof over my head, I have an amazing husband that supports me through everything – good, bad, ugly, stupid ankles; we have a beautiful boy that is wise beyond his years, and such a great heart. We have awesome parents that love their grandson and ignore us when they come over (which, honestly, is something I never imagined I would love – Mom, you were right. It is a great feeling to be ignored once in a while!!) because they’re enjoying playing with munchkin. We have great siblings that, though there are the occasional arguments, we know would do whatever we needed to get out of a bind. We have the ultimate support system.

We’re lucky. Very, very lucky.

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I love you, let’s color.

It’s the dreaded February 14, the day of love and hearts and all things red. In all of our 7+ years together, Hubby and I have never celebrated the holiday created by card and candy companies – we have always treated it (mostly) as any other day. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” smooch, “happy Valentine’s Day.” That’s it.

But with munchkin around now, and with him being in daycare (which I LOVE, by the way, and never thought I would – another story in itself), they exchange cards and make Valentine bags and make a big deal out of it. At almost 17 months old, he’s starting to be more aware of things being different on special days, and it works for me. Every day is different, every day is special in its own way. Might as well make as big of a deal out of it as we can!

So when I went grocery shopping last week I found that their selection of kids’ Valentines was rather decent and selected a box of Elmo cards – rather well-known, easy to spot, and decent messages as well. I don’t want to go into the provocative poses Elmo makes, or where my mind went with those. Seriously.

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Now you had just better hope that the recipient feels the same as the giver, and that you really are friends. Awkward!

I had the amazing idea to pull my “creativity” out (aka, I saw a friend do the same thing and decided it was a good idea), and make crayons. Peeling the wrapping off of crayons is the absolute worst. Two 24-count boxes later, I filled the cookie trays (that will never be used for cookies) with broken crayon pieces.

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Baked at 275* for about 8 minutes, and carefully removed the tray from the oven. Liquid crayon.

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We let them set overnight, and then this morning I bagged everything up and added the card, et voilà! C’est magnifique!

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I am hoping that they are enjoyed by the other kiddos. I made sure to make the full tray’s worth, and that way munchkin has a couple as well. Besides – what kid doesn’t like to color???

Have you ever gone all out for a holiday you previously neglected because of someone else?

Twenty thirteen.

I have a post I started a few months ago that I have been slowly adding to. I’m hoping that by the weekend I’ll be able to publish it. It’s robust and detailed, but that is on purpose. I’m hoping I can get all the information I need to provide a convincing argument.

Here’s to more actively posting this new year. Here’s to more writing and less excuses… more focusing on my health than on my shortcomings… more family time than not.

It’s time to take hold of what is important to me and stop making excuses.

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Let’s start anew…

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I’m not sure how or where. It was ripe with fun and family and everything that goes along with it. Traditions are a biggie for me, and though I was hoping to start a new one this year of eating yummy breakfast and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, things got in the way. I’m hoping that next year will be a little more sane and we will be able to take in the wide variety of floats and balloons.

Munchkin man enjoyed socializing with extended family, and we enjoyed watching him try new foods and run around the houses. He really is quite a ham, and is definitely not shy.

I have fallen off of the weight-loss wagon, but despite doing so, I have stayed at a relatively stable weight. I’m okay with this – I would rather stay flat than gain. I have a newfound motivation as we head into the Christmas season, so hopefully I am able to carry that motivation with me and it doesn’t find the nearest open window.

I started writing for NaNoWriMo and failed miserably. My first attempt got me to about 675 words, but I stopped caring about the story and had no real desire to flesh it out. So I changed everything, and got to about 350 words. Again, I didn’t really care about making the time to write, so I stopped. I definitely didn’t get to the goal word-count; maybe next year.