Since the miscarriage, my beautiful Shell- Bell has been pretty spoiled. Spoiling her, my only child & my potential forever only child, makes me feel better, so who cares if it's right or wrong. I'm doing what makes me feel good & she's reaping the benefits so, for now, it's a win-win.
Anyways, she recently started talking about this big doll, glitter bottle & cracked cell phone from the LOL series. I hadn't the slightest clue what she was talking about, but did promise she could get whatever it was for her birthday. I expected it to be a $10 - $25 purchase since she already had a handful of the LOL lil sis dolls & a few big sis dolls but, boy was I in for a LOL surprise of my own.
We headed to Target Friday evening in search of the elusive doll & accessories. She made a beeline for the toy department & straight to the aisle with the LOL dolls. We stood there, in the aisle, taking in all the options. I must have pulled nearly every box off the shelf asking if it was the one she was looking for. Secretly hoping she would say “no” because let’s face it, these toys are just junk. Turns out Target was on my side & didn’t have the one she was looking for so she picked out a Baby Alive Magical Mixer instead.
We had one more stop to make after Target, to pick up some household items at Walmart. As soon as we walked in Shelby nearly lost her mind at the sight of an endcap dripping with LOL dolls including a lone shell-shaped case on the top shelf. It was THE case she had been looking for & was sitting not-so-pretty above a $39.99 price tag. *Insert eye-roll & forehead slap*
I pulled the case down as my normally well-behaved child turned into a happy screech owl. There wasn’t a lick of information on the outside about what kind of surprises were inside except one word; makeup. I certainly wasn't going to spend $40 on a toy only to have to take it away from her due to age-appropriateness. While my happy little screech-owl jumped around & begged me to get her prized LOL toy, I was trying to google what was in this clearly overpriced, mammoth of a shell. After a few minutes of unsuccessful searching, I caved & my wallet became $40 lighter.
We got home & Shelby raced into the kitchen to open her newly acquired treasure. I couldn't get the plastic off fast enough. I thought the kitchen chair she was in was going to tip over under the pressure of trying to contain the excitement oozing out of my little girl.
She tore into those plastic blind bags like it was her job! Never have I seen her so excited. I have to admit, I was a little surprised about the contents of the LOL shell.
*Rubber Cat purse
*Large LOL Doll with glitter hair
*A pair of sunglasses for either Shelby or the LOL doll to wear
*A pacifier for the doll that doubled as lip gloss (hence the "makeup" description on the outside of the packaging)
* Cracked Cell phone
I still don't have a clue how she knew what would be in there. How did she know there would be a "cracked" cell phone? (PS- why is it a cracked cell phone to begin with?)
What's the lesson here, you ask? Don't promise your kiddo something unless you know exactly what they are asking for because you could be roped into spending more money than you want for something that will likely end up broken or lost. BUT it was her Birthday & seeing her SO freakin happy made me one happy momma.
Have you ever promised your kiddo something without knowing exactly what it was & ended up eating your words?
Last week I renewed my membership to a club no mom wants to be a part of. A club without a trial period, or cancellation policy.
I am 1 in 4, times 2.
We were told it would be damn near impossible for me to get pregnant without treatment so when 3 positive pregnancy tests were sitting on the counter in front of us, we knew we had somehow defied the odds, but the day before our first ultrasound to see the miracle that had somehow found a way without hormone pills or injections, I started spotting. I spent the morning crying & trying to convince myself that it was okay. Spotting is normal. Spotting happens is 20% of all pregnancies. Spotting is okay.
“I’m just going to take a quick peek alone first.”
But that 'quick peek' turned into an entire ultrasound with a blank TV screen. The small flicker of hope I did manage to wrangle earlier that morning, had been completely snuffed out. The trap door had been opened & all hope slid into the abyss.
Missed Miscarriage; when your body fails to recognize that your little burrito was not destined to be Earth Side. It’s also called a silent miscarriage because there are no symptoms that anything has gone wrong. Some women experience a decrease in pregnancy symptoms, but generally speaking, there aren't any indications the embryo has gained their angel wings until your at an OBGYN's office for an ultrasound or fetal doppler.
A Missed Miscarriage can be especially dangerous because it can lead to infection as the embryo decays. There are medications like Misoprostol to induce labor & force your body to deliver, but they are only successful 30% of the time, & when you are dealing with a miscarriage that is already several weeks old the risk increases dramatically for the mother the longer you wait. So another D & C was scheduled. My third.
For anyone who followed our journey through infertility & the birth of my daughter, you know I've had two previous D&C's. I was no stranger to what was going to happen, or how I was going to feel over the next few days. What I wasn't prepared for was the overwhelming feeling of jealousy.
We have a beautiful, smart, & compassionate little girl that I love endlessly, but I'm angry. Angry that everyone, EVERYONE, who was pregnant with me during Shelby's pregnancy, is pregnant again. Every pregnancy or birth announcement is like getting a full-force bitch slap to the face. I'm angry that we're here again, in the same spot we stood about 4 years ago when we were trying to conceive the first time. I knew there was always a chance it could happen again, but I wanted desperately to believe it wouldn't.
I am trying to be a good friend. I am checking in with all my beautiful pregnant friends & sending them so many thoughts of goodwill & positivity. I'm trying to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, & so I am so sorry if I've come off as cold or uncaring. I honestly, truthfully don't mean to. I'm just a little sad.
Obviously, this wound is still fresh. I am still very much sorting through my feelings & dealing with this situation in the best way I can. I'm painting, writing, snuggling with my mini-me, & just taking it day by day. I don't know what the future holds. I don't know if we will try again, or not. I just don't know.
Like most little ones, I adored Christmas growing up. Picking out & cutting down our Christmas tree, decorating cookies, the crunch of freshly fallen snow under your boots. There wasn't anything about the season that I didn't enjoy. Then I got older & things changed.
Christmas became a time of year that I absolutely dreaded. How many people did I need to buy for? What was an acceptable amount to spend? When did we have to be where & what time? Did I need to bake or bring a side dish? So many things to think about, to worry about & thus I became the modern-day Grinch.
For several years the magic of Christmas was lost on me. I didn't enjoy decorating, or wrapping presents like I used to. Instead of being filled with the glitter of tinsel I was filled with a bad case of the grinchy grumpies.
Last year my grinchy heart grew just a little bit. Shelby was almost 2 years old & a bit more interactive than the previous year. She was still terrified of Santa & watching her open gifts was a bit like waiting for a turtle to cross a busy highway, I did have more Christmas glee in my tummy than I had in a long time. This year, however, she is ready & waiting for Christmas so I'm trying my hardest not to be too grinchy.
We already picked out & decorated our Christmas tree which was a lot of fun. To see Shelby short through each ornament & decided which branch would have the honors of displaying the ornament, it was entertaining & provided me with some of those familiar warm & fuzzy feelings from when I was a kid. Plus, Shelby picked out the tree this year & it fits flawlessly in the tree base. In years past we've had to secure the tree to the wall or finagle the base in such a way to prevent the tree from toppling over. She picked a perfectly straight, chubby little tree that fits perfectly in the living room.
Aside from the tree, I was looking for some traditions to start with Shelby that would be unique to our little family. Something I didn't do with my parents, but that she could potentially carry on with her kiddos. I decided to stock up on books over the last several weeks. Some I purchased from consignment stores, & others I snagged on Black Friday from the local book store. Some are Christmas themed, others winter-themed, & the rest have nothing to do with winter or Christmas. Each book was wrapped & placed in a wicker basket I found laying around the house. Every night Shelby picks one book from the basket, opens it & reads it with either myself or Tim. There are 25 books for the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Like an advent calendar but with books!
I thought about doing movies but she doesn't have the attention span to sit through an entire movie (unless it's Frozen) & let's face it, finding time to sit down at the end of each day for an hour or more, well that kind of time is hard to come by. Plus, I have always had a passion for reading & I hope to pass that love of books on to Shelby.
This basket of books is a super fun way to end the day & spend more quality time as a family. Shelby is a very imaginative little girl already so I can only imagine the adventures she will have if she fuels her imagination with good books.
What are some of your families Christmas traditions?
Thankfully, life spared me the torture of having to use a dating app. Tim & I met at work, highly unromantic, but made my life so much easier in the long run.
We were both involved with other people when we first met, & it stayed that way for several years. I was an introvert to the extreme dating an extrovert...which may work in some situations but not in ours. Tim was chasing the white picket fence & jumped headfirst into a relationship he thought would give him the 'happily-ever-after' he wanted. Needless to say, both our relationships met their demise & the rest is history.
The point is I never squirmed in my chair & bit off my nails trying to come up with a quirky, but not weird, funny but not comical, bio about myself...that is until a few days ago.
Ever heard of Peanuts? No, not the cute cartoon or the nuts squirrels go bananas for, but rather the app that was recently released to bring moms more mommy friends. That's right, it's like a dating app for mommies. You upload a cute photo of yourself, include your kids if you'd like. Type up a short bio about yourself & select three of your hobbies/interests to market yourself to other moms. And just like tinder you either swipe up to 'wave' at a potential new friend or swipe down to skip a profile.
Last night after work, Shelby asked to go to the playground. I hemmed & hawed I just wasn't in the mood. I wanted to stay home to hibernate in the comfort of my comfy pants & over-sized t-shirt but, Shelby's cute pouty face won the battle; headed to the playground we were. I brought my new DSLR camera in hopes of learning some of its functions.
As soon as Shelby's feet hit the ground, she took off in a sprint to join the gaggle of kids already running & playing tag. I sat on the side watching her giggle & play while taking the occasional candid photo of her romping through the cedar chips with her new friends.
Some time passed when Shelby came to sit next to me. I asked if she was tired, of course, she told me no, she just wanted to know where Noah was.
Noah is a young boy who Shelby met at another playground a few weeks prior. Noah is the kind of kid every parent wants their kid(s) to befriend. He's kind, & considerate, funny & playful. He is mindful of the other kiddos & it's obvious he adores playing with toddlers. I wouldn't be surprised if he grows up to be a teacher, mentor, or another profession that allows him to use his compassion to help others in some capacity.
By this time Noah's mom had come to say 'hello' & introduce herself. We chit-chatted for a bit before heading down to the field where the kids had gathered.
We spent the next half hour or so watching the kids run. They giggled & laughed, threw cartwheels & somersaults on the grass, it was a good old fashion fun day in the neighborhood, & I was over-the-moon with gratitude that I sucked it up & took Shelby to the playground instead of sitting at home to sulk.
Being the introvert that I am, I tend to spend a lot of time analyzing situations & absorbing details of my surroundings. I'm a solitary creature for sure, Shelby, on the other hand, absolutely is not. She thrives on interaction with others & through her, I have learned to embrace a part of my personality that I didn't know existed. Through her, I have started to experience relationships with people differently & because of people like Noah & his mom, Tammy, I feel a little safer in doing so.
I think it's important to remember that despite all the horrendous stories consuming our local news reports, there are good people & good things happening in the world. It's not all doom & gloom. I think it's also important to remind ourselves that when we're feeling down, there's only one person who can change the way we're feeling, & that's ourselves. I decided to force myself to go to the playground, & the universe took over from there, but I had to take the first step.
I hope Shelby & myself have many more nights like that one, great memories to have for a lifetime.
Yesterday, a friend of mine had a pretty terrible experience at the playground with her two kids. It was the second time in a month she had to explain to her 3 & 2 year old that not all kids are nice, that it's okay to walk away from people who make you feel crummy about yourself.
We've all seen kids at the playground with behavior that's less than favorable & it sincerely makes me dread the day I'll have to send my sweet Shelby off to school, but yesterday afternoon may faith was renewed when my aunt sent me this photo of my daughter.
They had gone to a local playground to play & look for painted rocks. No sooner did they park when Shelby made a beeline for the playground with the BIG tunnel, only a boy was sitting in the tunnel blocking Shelby from crawling through. My aunt suggested Shelby, who’s 2, politely ask the boy to move. A few minutes went by & my aunt went to see what they were up to. She found Shelby sprawled out next to the boy while he read to her.
A woman approached my aunt, “that’s my Noah. He just loves kids."
My aunt soon learned that Noah is 10 & the youngest of 7 children. It became apparent that Noah truly does love kids as he spent a lot of his time playing with, reading to, & even correcting mean behavior. He reminded two girls that bullying is unkind after they took a hat from another kiddo, & threw it. He made his arms into a hoop so Shelby could "make a basket." He turned an ordinary trip to the playground into a wonderful memory for my daughter.
Noah gives me hope. Hope that there are parents out there who are raising their children to be kind, respectful, & compassionate. I don’t know who his parents are, but I want to say thank you. Thank you for raising such a wonderful little boy. I hope Shelby & I run into Noah again because he is truly a very special little boy.
I'm a little late posting my photos from last month, but here they are! Enjoy!
Most of these photos were taken right in my backyard, or at a local park. I'm having fun playing with the different settings on my Canon, but I'm quickly learning I'll need to upgrade my camera if I want to take photos of in-flight birds, or on-the-run wild life.
As many of you know, I recently purchased a used (new to me) Canon camera to better my picture taking abilities.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so for that very reason & to better learn my camera, I've decided to take part in a fun little challenge to take a photo a day for 365 days! At the end of each month, I'll post the photos I've taken along the way!
I've only had my camera a little over a week, but I figured I would post the photos I took the last week of May! Constructive Criticism welcome from all my fellow photography friends!
Yesterday was the first really nice day in Buffalo. Eighty degrees, sunshine, & a city full of people who were just busting at the seams to get out of their houses.
Tim & I decided to take Shelby to CanalSide for a little peek at the naval ships & maybe some ice cream. Along the way, we stopped at a giant sandbox where several kids were already playing. Last year Shelby had absolutely no interested in the sand, this year was a different story. She happily took her shoes off & ran off to play.
It wasn’t long before helicopter mom mode kicked in.
My husband & I witness a few kids whose parents were more concerned with chit-chatting & smoking on the boardwalk (even though its a public venue & smoking in public places is illegal in NY) than monitoring what their kids were doing. One of the unruly was a boy, maybe 7 or 8, with a mouth like a seasoned sailor & an attitude fit for a Friday night fight club. He was shoving younger kids, throwing sand, & at one point he followed a girl up onto the life-sized shipwreck & attempted to push her off the roof. Now, let's be clear, this shipwreck was not meant to be climbed on. It had a metal roof, hot with the suns rays, & slippery with sand, not to mention the roof was probably a good 7 or 8 feet high. After his attempted at pushing the girl off, he stuck up his middle fingers & screamed: “you can all go f*ck yourselves.”
Can I please have a round of applause for the parents of this delinquent. They are obviously doing a superb job raising such a delightful young human.
Bringing your kid(s) to an area of public play DOES NOT MEAN OTHER PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WATCHING & SCOLDING YOUR ILL MANNERED CHILDREN. I’ll say it again for the parents in the back, just because there are other parents invested in watching & monitoring THEIR child’s play does not mean you are granted a pass or a 60-minute vacation from parenthood. The day a bystander has to step in & parent my child because I'm being too lackadaisical is the day I'll wear a thong bikini in public (never gonna happen).
It was earlier in the week when a similar situation happened only less vulgar & more innocent. It was late in the evening & Shelby & I decided to hit up a local playground before heading home to get ready for bed. There were only a handful of kids still playing, one of which was a 3-ish- year old boy who had decided to try his hand at the monkey bars. All of a sudden you heard him yelling “heeeelp! Heeeeeeelllp.” His mother was on the other side of the play area, on her phone. I hurried over to find him hanging from the second or third bar, with crocodile tears streaming down his face. I asked if he needed help getting down to which is obviously replied, “yes.”
In moments like these, I try not to judge. I’m sure I have my moments where my attention is lacking, or the focus of my mind is somewhere else but, I mean, come on, you’re at a playground fitted with fixtures & attractions that are meant for much older kiddos. You have to be conscious of where your little ones are & what they're doing.
I’ll be honest, in both of these situations, I feared retaliation from the parents. We seem to live in a society where every action is perceived as invasive, or over-stepping some boundary, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to let your kid fall & possibly break a bone or let your kid terrorize other kids when you're too self-absorbed to give a d*mn.
Having kids is hard enough, & nowhere is it mandated that being an adult means you have to procreate. The world has enough a$$holes, it doesn't need anymore.
Side Note; Excuse my potty mouth.
So, I did a thing a few weeks ago.
I bought & started taking CBD oil.
I know it's the newest "thing" & there's currently a whole boatload of people jumping on the CBD bandwagon, but man, this stuff is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I wish I would have started it sooner.
It's kind of funny because originally I had started researching CBD oil as an alternative treatment for our lab, Milo, who suffers from seizures & severe anxiety. The more research I did, the more it became clear that CBD oil might be beneficial for both of us.
Milo was on a daily regime of Gabapentin & Apoquel, but the long-term effects of Apoquel are unknown. However, early studies are showing Apoquel depresses the immune system causing irreversible damage. Hence my search for a more natural alternative. As for my self, as someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia, Hyper-mobility of my joints, Chronic Fatigue & Anxiety I've tried mainstream treatment plans including prescription drugs, massage therapy, Melatonin, vitamins & supplements, diet modifications, exercise regiments, etc. to no avail. The side-effects of prescription drugs were always far worse than dealing with the daily aches & pains, or anxiety & diet changes only seemed to offer temporary relief.
But now, now, there's legal CBD!
CBD is one of the main ingredients in Cannabis but will not get you high as it does not contain THC. Without getting too complicated, THC attaches to the CB1 & CB2 nerve receptors in the brain which are what causes the psychosomatic euphoria associated with Marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD does not attach to the brain receptors & will not have the same psychosomatic effect. Don't misunderstand, CBD does contain a small amount of THC, between .3 & .5%, but not enough to attached to brain receptors releasing dopamine & cause hallucinations.
Not all CBD is created equal.
Since the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, if you haven't noticed "CBD sold here" signs on your local storefront windows, then you simply aren't paying attention because it's being sold EVERYWHERE! Gas stations, pet stores, convenience stores, & salons are just a few of the establishments where I personally have seen "CBD available here" signs plastered in their windows. But let's make one thing clear; just because they're selling it doesn't mean they're a reputable place to buy.
It's important to understand that CBD is not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration making it even more imperative that you research potential suppliers before you purchase a product. In fact, a study completed in 2017 by Michael Bonn-Miller, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, revealed 7 out of 10 CBD products did not contain the amount of CBD indicated on the label. Nearly 43% contained too little CBD, while 26% contained too much. Too much CBD can have adverse effects like increased seizure activity in epileptic patients & increased anxiety in those suffering from the disease.
So, what can CBD be used for?
That, my friend, is a very long list. But keep in mind while there are hundreds upon thousands of personal accounts claiming CBD has worked wonders, there is very little verified research out there. Just something to be aware of.
In an effort to help guide you I put together a quick list of the top 5 things to look for/ask when purchasing CBD:
1. Third-Party Testing
2. Where is the hemp sourced from?
3. The percentage of THC in the product.
Another factor to consider when purchasing a CBD product is how the CBD is extracted from the Hemp plant. There are two methods; Ethanol extraction & extraction using Carbon Dioxide. There are drawbacks & benefits to each. It's going to be up to you to decide which method you feel most comfortable with.
Ethanol extraction is the process of heating the Hemp to remove carbon atoms, soaking the plant in Ethanol for an extended period, filtering to separate the liquid from plant matter, & finally, leaving the remaining liquid in the open for the ethanol to evaporate. While this process does make it nearly impossible for all the ethanol to be removed, it does provide for the most efficient means of digestion into your body. It can also be certified organic.
Extraction of CBD using Carbon Dioxide is slightly different in that instead of using heat it uses pressurized Carbon Dioxide to pull CBD from the Hemp plant. When Carbon Dioxide is in a supercritical stage, meaning it has properties of both a liquid & gas, this is when the extraction occurs without causing any damage or denaturing to the CBD. For this reason, extraction using Carbon Dioxide is the preferred method, but extraction using this method is very costly.
CBD oil has been a game changer for me. While it doesn't eliminate my pain completely it has provided more relief than prescription medications with zero side-effects. I have more energy, I'm sleeping better at night, & the brain fog associated with Fibromyalgia is at an all-time low. Of course, not everyone will have the same results, but I think anyone who has thought about trying it really should. It could make a world of difference in your day-to-day life.
If you have any question, I'm no expert, but I'll do my best to help! Or if you have an experience with CBD, good or bad, please share!