Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Moms with Chronic Pain, I See You and You Rock

To the other moms out there living with hidden chronic pain like I do, I see you and you’re all rock stars.

My Story: I knew that becoming a mom with Rheumatoid Arthritis was going to come with some unique challenges. The doctor’s visits, blood work, daily/weekly pills and bi weekly injections are only the tip of the ice...berg. Today is definitely one of those days when I just wanted to stay in bed and not move. This weather causes me restless sleep, trying to find a comfortable position that will alleviate the pressure on my joints but the pain is still there because my blood causes it. There are days like today when it hurts to get out of bed, to walk and even get dressed. There are days like today when I have to ask my older son to lend an extra hand to get his brother ready. There are days like today when my best friend leans over and says ‘babe, I can help you’ and I look at him with love but determined to put my own damn socks on, even if it takes two minutes. I may look “normal” to you but like many people out there, I deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. Stress, fatigue, bad weather, and working a stationary job can trigger a flare on any given day but I push through. I have RA, it doesn't have me.

The Joanna Dwyer, author of 5 Reasons Why Moms With Chronic Pain Are the Toughest, says it best. “We don’t whine or complain when our bodies are screaming at us and when the pain brings tears to our eyes. Nope. We get right back up and keep going. We do everything normal moms do, but we do it with pain and fatigue in our bodies 24/7...We look OK from the outside, but inside we are crumbling and crying. We show up. We participate. We choose life. We choose to be stronger than our pain.”

In honor of all the other moms out there living with chronic pain like I do, this is for you.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Please Christmas Don't Be Late...Or Too Early

Is it just me, or is Christmas creeping up faster each year?

It used to be that Christmas was always encroaching on Thanksgiving

Now it's invading Halloween's turf.

Last year I went out to get some last minute Halloween decorations a week before the big day, only to be confronted with rows and rows of pre-lit trees and animated blowup lawn figures.

I love Christmas just as much as the next guy. Maybe a bit more than the next guy...


But come on. I'd much rather fully enjoy each holiday; the sights, the smells and the individual ways we celebrate them. I want to walk into my nearest supermarket and smell pumpkin spice in October/November not Yankee Candle's Christmas in Paris (my favorite by the way).

I'm not blameless in the mad rush to holidays. I certainly buy Christmas items when I see them, no matter the month because I know they won't be there come December. But my crazy obsession with Christmas is saved for those close to me. I watch 12 Dates of Christmas and Home Alone in June. I secretly plan our next month-long Christmas celebration on a private Pinterest Board shorty after the tree from that year is taken down and I'm always thinking about how I can update our year round holiday savings plan.

I LOVE Christmas but I want my kids to feel the joy and excitement of each fun holiday and that's getting harder to pull off when the stores are more concerned with pushing products.

 (If you'd like to read more about me visit my post on A Bit About Me)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Is Shopping from Home Worth It?

Dear Wegmans,

As a loyal shopper I was thrilled to hear that you were adding the “Shop from Home” feature to your Woodbridge store but upon closer review I see that it’s not worth it. I love supermarkets that give me the option to shop from home. I don’t have to lug my kids to the store and search for one of those lovely two seater carts you have. I don’t have to cart them up and down the packed aisles while they ask for every delicious item of food or cool toy/book they see. I don’t have to wait in line while the person in front of me searches for their wallet, which they happened to forget in their car. I just have to search and click, then pick up and pay from the convenience of my front seat.

As any good shopper would do, I did a price comparison by uploading all of the items that I purchased in the store to the online shopping feature. Now, I get that this feature is a luxury but the price markup on top of the service fee is a bit much don’t you think. I saved $37 by buying these items in the store instead of using your shop from home feature, I thought the purpose was to save people time and money. I’m always telling people how much I love Wegmans because your prices are the lowest I’ve seen in my area, your store brand items are actually good and the store itself is always a welcoming and beautiful place to be in (especially the cafĂ© and upstairs seating space) but this is one feature where you lost me.

Still a loyal customer Niki

 (If you'd like to read more about me visit my post on A Bit About Me)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Hairy Journey

I'm still on the fence about going natural but I think this time I'm sticking with it. It seems like every summer I go through this phase but something feels different this time around.

Here's my first braid-out of 2016 on hair that hasn't been relaxed for the past two or three months. My hair is generally shoulder length.

I sectioned my damp hair in the style I wanted then did some cornrows all the way around using a flaxseed gel mixture that I saw on YouTube. I wrapped the ends in perm rods and let it dry overnight wearing a bonnet (not very comfortable).

The next day I let it air dry some more while I played with the kids in the yard. When I was ready to style it, I used a little coconut and castor oil mix to soften the hair and help unravel the braids. I love the end result!!

Summer Reflections of 2014

As I sit here planning the last weekend of summer, I can't help but ask myself, where did the summer go. I feel like I wasted these precious months being stressed out over my unemployment; waking up almost every morning searching, searching, searching and sometimes going to bed feeling defeated. I would beg my crazy children for 5 minutes of silence, so mommy could finish her cover letter and send it off to the umpteenth employer. But they're five and one, so five minutes of quiet feels like thirty to them.
Then yesterday I heard a great sermon from Pastor Joel of Lakewood church about waiting for what life has in store for you.
There's no Disney FastPass for life. Sometimes you just have to stand in line and wait for your blessing to come. Though you're waiting and watching as others in front of you are enjoying their ride, remember that they had to wait their turn too. The waiting is preparing you, so don't give up. With each small step you take, you come that much closer to the ride. When it's your turn, enjoy it!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

DIY Traveling Art Supplies Book

Art Supplies Book To Go:

My 5 year old loves creating, coloring, tracing, drawing, you name it; we go through paper so fast in this house it's ridiculous. As my husband and I were gearing up for a trip with the kids, I knew we were going to need something to keep our budding artist busy while we traveled. I figured that having his stuff with him would do the trick but I didn't want to just toss all that stuff in his bag and hope for the best. I saw a bunch of different ideas on how to organize art supplies, like these from Color Wheel Meals and One Orange Giraffe 

Color Wheel Meals
One Orange Giraffe

but I know my child and after using something like this the crayons, markers and pencils would all be mixed together and dumped in the bucket, making it pointless. On top of that I wanted something that we could grab and go with as well as something he could put out of sight when not in use. I found this great notebook idea. It's an art supply notebook, good for traveling and your basic everyday organization as well. 

I bought a few items that I know he uses on a regular basis: Crayons, Markers and Pencils ($5.29)

I picked up 4 clear binder pouches that fit in a 3 ring binder ($1.88)

A spiral notebook of wide ruled paper with his favorite characters on the front ($1) and I found a random 3 ring binder in our basement (Free).

I started off by placing the different art supplies into each of the plastic pouches. This helps if you're using the notebook for basic organization, it keeps the supplies separate, neat and easy to put away.

I ripped the front and back covers off of the spiral notebook and cut the spiral fringe off so that I could use it as the cover to the binder.

I took a few pages of the spiral notebook so that he could continue practicing his letters and writing his name while we were away.

I added some plain white paper, a copy of the flash cards we've been using for him to learn his sight words, coloring pages that I printed from the internet and the rest of the lined paper. I ripped the pages out of the spiral notebook because the wire took up too much space and I really just wanted it for the Avengers cover. Here are a few shots of the final project.

Once all of the items were placed in the notebook I just made sure it wasn't too heavy for him to carry in his book bag.

You can definitely use less stuff, especially if you're traveling (8 crayons instead of 28, 2 pencil not 7) but my child doesn't listen when I say "color lightly, you're going to break the point" so we're bringing extra.

I used a small 3 ring binder so there's not tons of stuff  in it. You can get very creative with these notebooks and pouches if you use a larger 3 ring binder. Other art supplies you can stash would include:
Glue Sticks
Pencil sharpener

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Keeping Kids (or Pets) Safe With a Medication Log

If you've got a toddler at home I'm sure you've dealt with your fair share of colds and if you're not the only person caring for this child I'm sure you've had this conversation at lest once over the years.

I've been there and it's a little scary. All you can do is monitor your little one, make a mental note that you just carried out a parenting fail, pray that everything will be fine and be prepared to head to the ER if it's not.

To avoid making this mistake again, it takes a simple piece of paper and a minute of your time. A medication log posted in the area where you keep the meds is key to keeping your little ones safe from being over medicated.

A medication log can also be attached to the bottle in the instance that someone else is caring for your child in their home.

Some of you may be reading this and saying to yourself "why can't you just ask the person when the last time they gave the medication was" Of course that would work as well, if that person remembers the time and/or is currently available. But let's say they administered the last dose, the child is now solely in your care and your partner can't be reached at the current moment. You could do one of two things:
1. Wait until you're able to talk to your partner before giving your child another dose
2. Hope that it's passed the 6 hour time interval

Both of these things can be avoided with a simple medication log.

Take this same concept and use it if you have pets. A log could be kept for their medications or a simple fed/not fed sign near their food.

Hope this gives you some inspiration for your home.

 (If you'd like to read more about me visit my post on A Bit About Me).