Thursday, December 16, 2010

Next Week

I can't believe Christmas is already next week. And to think there's only a couple weeks of 2010 left; it just blows my mind.

How is it possible that my 30th year of life is rapidly coming to a close, and in no time I'll be in my 31st. (YIKES!)

I do love this time of year, even though it is always insanely busy and I start to feel a bit stressed, a bit stretched too thin.

Mom & I finished our holiday baking yesterday - a whopping 102 dozen cookies. We may just be a little insane, but when we've got a list of family, friends, coworkers, etc that we give cookies we have to keep some around for us to indulge. Oh, and of course we need some for Santa!

Thankfully my shopping has been done for some time, and my wrapping is just about complete. I've got 3 gifts left to wrap, just as soon as the last two things I'm waiting on to complete 2 gifts come in the mail.

We also just celebrated my boy's NINTH birthday. How that is possible, I don't know.

And last, but not least -- an update and a great big thank you for those of you sending up prayers for my friend. Baby is growing with a wonderful heartbeat, and while my friend has been on bedrest due to a subchorionic bleed, it has clotted & gotten smaller. So thankful for that! I am just so thrilled that I get to be an "auntie" to so many fantastic kiddos, and that there's 2 more coming in 2011 (another friend is expecting her 5th!)!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Calling All Prayer Warriors....

I told you all about my good friend that has been down quite the road to get pregnant.

They just found out the good news last week & this week they saw their itty bitty little baby on ultrasound, measuring a happy 6 weeks.

However, today they found themselves in the ER due to bleeding. The good news is that they DID hear the baby's heartbeat (such a HUGE step!), but it was lower than what the doctor wanted. More good news is that her HCG levels increased again, but they were told it really could go either way.

So if you all could take a moment and pray for that baby to hang on. In my heart I feel that everything will be okay, but some extra prayers never hurt, either.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

God is GOOD

My dear friend & her husband received the BEST news yesterday.

Their 2nd IVF cycle WORKED!!! They are PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In about a week, they'll get to find out whether they are expecting one or two babies. I'm so over the moon happy for them.

So much to be thankful for this year....

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

100 Days

Next week will mark the 100th day since I've given up all soda pop. Something I never thought I'd be able to do!

I admit, at first, there were times when we'd be out to dinner & I'd catch a glimpse of that delicious bubbly beverage at the table next to us. And my mouth would water, and in my mind I could recall just what a Diet Coke tasted like. And how I craved it. But I held strong & kept on with ordering lemonade or iced tea.

Now, it's not even on my mind. It's just become so routine NOT to drink it, that I don't even think about it. In fact, I actually had to look back and count out the days because I really had no idea how long it had been, because it's just not a part of my life anymore.

I hoped to see some better results in terms of weight loss, but I am taking in more calories these days by NOT drinking pop because I've substituted with lemonade, teas, and fruit juices. I went from a 0 calorie Diet Coke, to a glass of juice with 100-some odd calories per serving. In the last couple weeks, I've tried to drink more water and less of the beverages with calories.

But let me tell ya ... when you don't drink a lot of water on a regular basis, and then suddenly start ... you may as well camp out in the bathroom. I feel like I have to pee every 5 minutes. I suppose that's something that I will adjust to over time; or at least I'm hoping!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recipe - Black Forest Stuffed Cupcakes

Black Forest Stuffed Cupcakes (thanks Kraft recipes!)


1 package (2 layer size) chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 egg (*please note that you'll also need further ingredients based on the directions on the cake mix you pick)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 can (20 oz) cherry pie filling
1 tub Cool Whip


Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake mix as directed on box. Set aside.

Mix cream cheese, egg and sugar until well blended.

Remove 3/4 cup of pie filling for garnish.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of cake batter into each of 24 paper lined medium muffin cups. Top each with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture. Then spoon a bit of pie filling into each (I did about 2 cherries plus the cherry sauce into each). Cover each evening with remaining cake batter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Top cupcakes with cool whip & remaining pie filling just before serving.

*Also note that these should be eaten with a fork as they are moist and delicate having filling inside them and can get a little messy.*

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baking, Photographing, You Name It, I've Done It.

Just this month I had my first paying photography gig. I've also got another one booked for next month. The one I just did was my cousin, but the next is just more of an online friend/acquaintance and it's a little nerve-wracking. Having the worry that they won't like the photos. I've got about a month to pysch myself up about it.

I've also been busy trying new recipes, and keeping up with the extreme couponing. The amount of freebies I've snagged is incredible!!! It's a total rush to see the savings at the end of a shopping trip. Truly fab! Perfect time of year to be saving money -- I've got Christmas shopping to start!!!

Monday, October 04, 2010


I have become slightly addicted to couponing.

Just in the last couple weeks, I've managed to get several fantastic deals.

First, I got 3 containers of Glade Tough Odor Solutions carpet deodorizer -- regular price $1.99 each at Target, used {$1.00 off 1} and {$2.00 off 2} manufacturer coupons, stacked with 3 - {$1.00 off 1} Target store coupons == FREE!

Then, this weekend, I got 5 Tic Tacs -- currently on sale at my local grocery store (Woodman's) for 79-cents, used 5 - {.75cents off 1} manufacturer coupons == a total of .20cents!

Also, grabbed 6 Mentos Gum containers -- currently on sale at my local grocery store (Woodman's) for 99-cents, used 6 - {$1.00 off 1} manufacturer coupons == FREE!

But the best deal is probably the 15 Nivea lip care items -- on sale at Walgreens for $1.00, used 5 - {$1.00 off 1} and 5 - {$2.00 off 2} manufacturer coupons == FREE! (and these had a retail value of over $50!!!)


Monday, September 27, 2010


It didn't work. My friend's first attempt and it was unsuccessful.

Continued prayers for them, please.

Prayers for them to keep their heads up and their hearts open. I just know there are babies waiting for them.

In the meantime, J, I've got shoulders & ears so if you need them, let me know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lift Her Up

I've written before about a friend of mine who is trying to conceive. Her and her husband have embarked on the journey to have a bit of medical intervention to help them along.

Their transfer was done and are now in the 2 week wait. The big day is Monday, when they'll test.

I ask, if you are the praying type .... to lift them in your prayers; calming them over these next few (very anxious) days, and pray that come Monday morning, they'll finally be able to scream the words "WE'RE PREGNANT!!"

(after that, then we'll talk prayers about how many babies are in there!!)

To J & E -- May you find peace & patience these next few days. I think about you on a daily basis. I'll be anxiously awaiting your news & know that if you need anything, I'm here. All my love.

Monday, September 13, 2010

As the leaves change...

I feel like my life is changing....not drastically in which we'd feel our world was being turned upside down, but rather in a way that I feel like I will be a better person; a happier person.

I don't have answers to my medical questions and right now I can't be burdened by them. The rheumatologist was certain there is not auto-immune disease to worry of. So I won't. Unless there's a reason to worry, I just don't have the time in my life to give in to worrying.

I'm not going to let something out of my hands, hold me back. I have a life to live, and I will not let anything -or anyone- stand in my way.

I have recently gotten in touch (thanks to social networking at it's finest) with a dear old friend of mine who, last I knew, was living in California. It had been at least 12 years, more like 15, since we had last been in touch with one another. Imagine my surprise when I found out she's living back here in Illinois! I am thrilled and looking forward to getting together with her. We've got so much to catch up on!

I'm surrounded by wonderful people every day. Ones that take my breath away with their strength and positivity to continue forward when they were dealt an unfair hand; ones that I envy with their patience and good heart; ones that can put me in my place & tell me like it is, even if I don't like it; ones that make me laugh and ones that are there thru thick and thin.

I am a better person because of those amazing people in my life and I thank you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Crunch Time

I've been keeping busy at both home & work, in preparation for our upcoming Disney World trip.

Plus the kids are back in school now (this is their 2nd week) and it's time to make sure all their homework gets done, and that they do their required nightly reading.

I've got some busy days coming up; school orientations & meeting with the teachers, making sure the car goes in for an oil change, and making sure I don't forget to pack anything.

We're super excited about the trip and I am looking forward to spending the time with my husband and kids.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

They're Everywhere

I'm sure you've all heard of People of Walmart by now. If you haven't, just go ahead and go have a few laughs.

But here's the thing.... you don't have to be at Walmart to spot these creatures. These same people frequent the mall.

Yes, that's right - the MALL. The huge-people-come-from-all-over-the-country-to-shop-in-this-fabulous-high-end-shopping-mall!

I mean, when I pulled into the MASSIVELY crowded parking lot to try to find a spot, I finally found one after 13 minutes of driving, when a black Lamborghini backed out. It's THAT high end.

But apparently it may also be that LOW end.

My girlfriends and I enjoyed a nice dinner at Cheesecake Factory, and then decided to sit and people watch. We decided it was better than a movie. And - FREE.

You would be amazed at what people think looks good. You'd be amazed at the odd couples. You'd contemplate which is worse; jeans so baggy that your boxers shorts stick out the back or skinny jeans. On a BOY. (the jury is still out on that one)

And while people watching, you may even lucky and see a clip from the next episode of Cops. We witnessed a man that nearly tripped over our feet as he briskly walked by, and approached 2 girls with a booming "EXCUSE ME LADIES", at which point he escorted them back into the store where he searched their bags and pulled out items like eye lash curlers and nail polish.

Yes, that's right .... move over Walmart. Even the shopping mall is crawling with creatures.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm too excited to sleep

I'm sure you've heard that line from the commercial.

It's one of my favorite commercials of all time. But that may be that I just love Disney, and the phrase "I'm too excited to sleep!" rings true for me, as well as my kids.

We're now just a little over 2 weeks from our family vacation to Disney World and we are starting to have that excitement build up. Within the next few days, I'll start the packing process and organizing a list of items that can't be packed until right before we leave.

I just love Disney World and cannot wait to be back there with my family!!!!

Where is your favorite vacation destination???

Friday, August 06, 2010

Cubs vs Sox

We've got a bit of a rivalry going in our household.

I'm a diehard Cubs fan, while the hubby is a Sox fan.

The kids have decided to keep their loyalties with the Cubs, so hubby is a bit outnumbered.

We were at the Cubs game this past Wednesday, and suddenly my daughter taps me and asks:

"Mommy, when you got married .... did you know that Daddy was a Sox fan?"

When I replied 'yes', she was astonished and said "Then why did you marry him?!"

According to her, I should have picked a Cubs fan.

I tried to explain that had I not picked her father, she wouldn't be here (but alas, she's much does she really understand?)

She did make it clear that when she picks a husband someday, he most certainly WILL be a Cubs fan.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Roll Call

I know I'm a terrible blogger, and what few readers I did have are probably gone.

But - by a show of hands, er, comments ..... who's still here??

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Waiting for baby

A dear friend of mine and her husband are embarking on a journey to parenthood, and I can't say how excited and hopeful I am for them.

They have been trying for a baby, and it just wasn't happening exactly how nature intended. They just need a little help, and they are diving in and getting that help.

I am hopeful that about the time we return from Disney World, she'll be bursting at the seams with good news.

There are some people in this world that deserve to be parents....and they are some of them. So, good luck you two.

I can't wait to go shopping for some baby stuff! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Garage Sale Hell

This weekend we had our big town garage sale. It started out wet & rainy, but we still managed to unload a bunch and rake in a ton of dough.

It's amazing just how much money can be made. Granted, our sale also included antiques and collectibles that my parents were selling, but hubby and I made over $600 ourselves, just selling the kids outgrown clothes and toys they no longer want.

Any that didn't sell got boxed up and was dropped off at Goodwill tonight.

And of course a garage sale is not complete without someone lifting something. I still can't quite wrap my mind around stealing from a garage sale. That's just a whole different level of LOSER.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Like sands thru the hour glass....

I am losing track of time. The days are speeding by and summer is already coming to an end (not officially, just that the kids start back to school on the 16th of August).

I have been in heavy planning mode for our upcoming Disney trip. I'm a little OCD when it comes to traveling to Disney World. And by that I mean, I set up a spreadsheet and document each day's events. From what park we're going to start off in, to where and what time our dining reservations are, to what time the parade is.

It actually works really well for a place like Disney. It allows me to keep our confirmation numbers for reservations organized and gives me a general idea of when I need to get the clan moving so we can make it to dinner on time.

Besides all of that, and work and the kids, I finally took a more official leap into photography. I somewhat did this before, but I never really put myself out there. I more or less had a website where I displayed some work. That was about the extent of it. After my 1-year hosting was up, I didn't renew it.

This time I set up a facebook page along with a website (a free one, but still) and I've already gained almost 70 "fans" on facebook (okay, so I know most of them). I already did a session photographing some hair clips for a friend in Texas who has an etsy shop. And I've got a few people that are interested in me doing sessions for them. We'll see how it all goes.

All I know is that it makes me really happy when I'm behind the camera. But, I am a little nervous about taking photos for others. I know my photos are good, I'm just.....I don't know. Afraid that I won't do well enough for them.

I refuse to let fear hold me back any longer, though....that's what happened last time, and I just can't let that happen again.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy 4th of July

I hope everyone has a safe & happy 4th of July.

To all our service men & women: Thank You!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Floating in the Bubble

I think I remember mentioning the bubble of ignorance I would be floating in while I awaited my next appointment with the rheumatologist. Well, I'm still floating around in that bubble.

I had to reschedule my appointment because the doctor was running so far behind that day that I couldn't wait around to be seen. I still have another 10 days before I'll be seen.

No problem, I figured. I'll just continue my parade in my precious bubble until then. Until tonight.

The mysterious swelling under my chin is back. I went in to my doctor twice for this already. It has been swollen a time or two more than that, but went away rather quickly and didn't cause me too much grief.

It's pretty tender and sore again this time. So, I started thinking about the positive blood tests I've already had, and what they could possibly mean. And I decided to look up swollen salivary glands in reference to that.

Sure enough, it's a pretty prevailent symptom of sjogren's, which is one of the diseases linked to the positive subset run after the positive ANA. And I'm continuing to find more pieces of the puzzle -- I wondered why I had 3 full cups of pop while at Chuck E Cheese with my kids tonight, and that I'm still incredibly thirsty.

Here I thought my visit to the rheumatologist would end up being a waste of time -- because it didn't seem like there was anything different I needed to discuss with him. And now, just 10 days out, I've got what could be the determining factor.

I will admit that I'm hopeful that this will be it. That I can finally get some answers. But I'm also scared. Answers and potentially a diagnosis will mean reality. Am I ready to be told that I do indeed have an autoimmune disease?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

And so it ends....

There are just 2 more school days and then I will be the mother of a 3rd grader and a 1st grader. Both will be in school full time.

I can't believe how quickly time has gone. My son will have his "half-birthday" in just a week. And in just a few weeks, my daughter will turn 6.

So, another school year come and gone. Another summer upon us. This summer is a short one as our school district has them going back to school on the 16th of August (it's usually much later in the month) and getting out of school next year on May 25th. So they will miss out on a couple full weeks of summer fun.

Still plenty to be done & plenty of fun to be had, though!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strip Commute

My daily commute to work is pretty boring. I take the same route EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Sometimes I zone out so much (it's actually scary) that I will get to a certain point in my route, and I'll think, "Wow, how did I get over here already?!"

My drive in this morning started off routinely, until I turn from one major road to another and I catch a glipse of a man (probably 20s) peeling off his shirt quickly, and "striking a pose" as I pass. At this same moment, I realize there are 3 others taking their shirts off as well.

Then, as I glanced back, I could have sworn that I saw 1 of them undoing his pants.

I actually considered turning around. Because that is fabulous Facebook material, my friends.

And, not another 20 feet later I see a police car heading THEIR direction and my mind is immediately picturing the 4 guys, butt naked and busted, spreadin' 'em against the cop car, handcuffed.

I think I'll have to keep a close eye on the police blotter for the next few days.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April Twenty-What???

I'm not sure where the time is going, but April is coming to a close and we'll be welcoming May this weekend.

I am definitely looking forward to the summer and all the sun and fun that it brings. The weather has still been a bit volatile here. And let's just say that metal bleachers at a Little League game, in cold ass weather leaves you with, well .... a cold ass.

But I am a mom and a fan, so you brave the elements and watch the greatest sport on Earth; baseball.

Attended my first Cubs game of the season last night, with 2 of my girlfriends. It was a good time, and the Cubs brought in a win over the Nationals, 4-3.

Earlier this month, you may recall me freaking out about turning 30. Well, I turned 30 and left for Vegas 2 days later. I was so focused on the trip itself that it wasn't until we packing up and getting ready for our flight the next day, when the thought hit me; I'M THIRTY!

Vegas was a great time, and I'm not sure what I fretted about with leaving the kids for the first time for vacation. They did just fine, and so did we.

Now we are busy dealing with car problems in hubby's car (ie: the transmission... ugh, Ugh, UGH!), attending the boy's baseball games, winding down the school year and anxiously awaiting SUMMERTIME.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Does this mean I'll be starting the trek up that hill?

I'm turning 30 tomorrow. How the hell that happened, I'm not sure.

It seems like just a few years ago I was in high school. Yeah, right. I graduated 12 years ago.

The scariest part? When I started at my job, my bosses oldest child was the age of my son. She is 19 now and works for me. WTF?!


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Holy hell, it's next weekend

*deep breaths*

I can do this. Age is just a number.

Time is going so quickly. Here we are, already in April. Easter is tomorrow and next weekend we've got Little League photo day and my birthday.

And then - VEGAS!! We leave in just 10 short days. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. I just dragged out the luggage today and will start compiling a list of all the necessities I need to pack.

Things have been pretty busy around these parts. What with the kids on Spring Break this past week and later bedtimes, and movie nights and going out for ice cream. Add in all the baseball practices on top of my work day, and I've been pretty much nonstop.

I've got my first birthday celebration later on today. Movie and dinner with some girlfriends. One of which is turning 40 this month, so it's a joint celebration for her, too. Now if only I could get this headache to go away....

Monday, March 22, 2010

In the final weeks

I'm in the final weeks of my 20s. I will officially be 30 in less than 3 weeks.

For the most part, I'm pretty calm about the whole thing. Okay, there are some moments when I almost lose my sanity. But you know, I'm really becoming good at ignoring what's at hand. And that is because of the health issues going on. I'll give you the short & sweet version - another positive blood test, however not enough symptoms, so no official diagnosis - I see the rheumy again in June. See what I mean? Yes, I'd like to scream and stomp my feet, but what good will that do right now? So, I just float around in my "Bubble of Nothing's Wrong" like none of this is happening. And when that fails, I rely on chocolate. And/or alcohol.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How did this become my life?

I'm now in another round of the waiting game.

This is the period of time in which I like to ignore and pretend like this isn't all really happening.

I saw the rheumatologist last week, who asked me alot of questions, and pushed, pulled and moved my limbs around as if I were a puppet. At the end of the visit he told me that he didn't think I had lupus, and that my ANA was just a borderline positive (I had already been told that by my PCP as well - but to be on the safe side, that is when she referred me to see a rheumy). The rheumy told me that sometimes there can be false positives (I had also read about that online). He did want another ANA to be run, so I headed to the hospital lab and let their vampires take what they needed.

I left there feeling slightly defeated, but decided that I wouldn't think about anything until he got the results back from the second ANA.

I called his office on Monday as instructed, but my results were not in. I was told that he would call me when they were in, but that it could still be a couple days.

Tuesday evening, just before 10pm, as I was nursing a headache from hell, my cell phone rang. My first thought was that it was a work related call, which is typically what a call on my cell phone at that hour means. Instead, much to my surprise, it was my rheumatologist.

He explained that the ANA came back with the same results of the first test, and that while he still believed I don't have anything, he wanted to run a series of other labs to make sure they come back negative.

So back to the vampires I went. I figure I won't have any answers until this time next week.

I'm entirely beside myself. There's that little voice inside me, that I often yell at to just shut up .... but it's telling me that there's something wrong. I'm hoping it's mistaken; praying it's mistaken. But the realistic part of me believes that the ANA is coming back positive for a reason.

From everything I've read online (and as much as I try to avoid doing this because it freaks me out, I am doing quite a bit of it), a positive ANA often does mean something, but that many times there aren't enough symptoms to go along with it to confirm a diagnosis. And this pretty much means WAITING for other symptoms to officially get a diagnosis and proper treatment.

This is what bothers me the most. I could possibly be told "There's nothing wrong with you" and sent on my way, only to end up with an official diagnosis in weeks, months, maybe years.

I'm trying to just keep my head up and cherish and enjoy the good things in my life. But for a moment, I'll stop and think, how did this become my life? I now face a possible chronic illness. And then I think of everything that could eventually mean and it freaks me the hell out.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It's a Jungle Out There

Our state has recently banned texting while driving. You can be fined and presented with a moving violation if you are busted.

Everyday there's yet another offense added to the list of driving distractions.

Have any of these people ever ridden in a car with children?? I can text, chew gum, and sing along to tunes on the radio all while there's a blizzard AND road construction going on (hey, it's Chicago!), and still have better control of the car than I sometimes do with just the kids in the backseat.

"Mom, so and so is wiping boogers on the window!!!"


"Stop looking at me!"

" and so just rolled down the window and is climbing out"

Do you see how distracting THAT can be?

I admit, I'm guilty of doing other things while driving. I have abided by the new law and do not text while driving anymore, however, I do still chat on the phone. I have never been one to put on makeup, read, curl my eyelashes, or pick my nose while behind the wheel. I have sipped a beverage and sang along to the radio.

I have never felt that things were so unruly between my legs that, OMG! It must be taken care of. RIGHT. THIS. SECOND.

Seriously. Were things that bad for this woman? Was the jungle between her legs preventing her from accurately manuevering her feet to work the pedals?

Who decides that shaving your bikini area is best done while driving a vehicle? (Not to mention, Gross. What do you do with those jungle vines you are chopping down? Ew.)

Clearly that woman was smacked with the stupid stick a few times too many.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lego of my Wallet

We had 2 coupons for a free child's admission with a paid adult admission to Lego Land. We had never been before, and decided, what the heck?

We took the kids this afternoon, and I'm thinking - alright, it'll probably cost us about $20 to get in and that was decent for us to spend the afternoon.

Imagine my surprise when we walk in and the price per adult is $19! Thank goodness for the kids coupons, otherwise they would have been $15 each!

Seriously, for a family of 4, this place wants nearly $70 just to walk in the door.

Now, I like Legos as much as the next person. Honestly. I think they are neat. And they've been around FOREVER. Truly one toy to withstand the test of time. And I enjoyed seeing the city of Chicago made out of Legos.

But overall, it is just too expensive for what it really is and we will likely never go back.

What family attractions do you have near you? Are they worth the money?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Get your swag on!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen me mention something about Swagbucks a time or two. You may also see something like "Sarah just won 20 Swagbucks by searching the web!".

First of, let me tell you this: THERE IS NO CATCH.

I'm the most leary person out there. I don't give telemarketers the time of day and I typically stray away from things that seem too good to be true. Because in most cases, it usually is.

After seeing a neighbor of mine consistently winning these Swagbucks, I decided to check it out for myself. When I saw that it was FREE and they didn't ask for any sort of credit card or financial information, I took the plunge and I signed up.

I was still slightly leary about what it would take to earn a prize, so I quickly followed them on facebook & twitter to try to figure out how exactly these bucks worked.

Most of the bucks I earn are from doing searches thru their search engine. Something I would normally do elsewhere, and this time I had the chance at winning while I was doing it. There are also codes that are given out that are worth random amounts of bucks. These can be found in the blog, on twitter, on facebook, etc.

And then people started to sign up under my name which also would earn me bucks whenever they would win from searching.

I have been at it for just about a month now, and have earned nearly 1,800 Swagbucks. I have been turning them in as soon as I get enough to snag a $5.00 Amazon gift card. There is a HUGE variety of prizes from gift cards, books, movies, music, apparel, etc. In my case, I prefer the Amazon gift cards because then I can buy anything, anytime.

I'd say I'm a novice Swagbucker, still learning the ropes and trying to utilize Swagbucks throughout my normal day. Depending on how serious you want to be about it, you can earn even more. There's a member that has been Swagging since January 2009 and has earned over $1200 in Amazon gift cards.


I'm currently at an average rate of $20 a month, but keep in mind that it's my first month, and you have the ability to earn even more by inviting friends and getting referrals.

Give it a try! Really!! There's honestly nothing to lose. You can sign up easily right here. If you have any questions, please ask.

I am NOT being paid anything for writing this blog post - HOWEVER - if you do sign up with any of the above links, I will get the benefit of having you as my referral.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Time Flies & My Body Still Aches

We're just a little over a week away from my appointment with the rheumatologist. It seems like the more anxious and stressed I get as the appointment nears closer, the faster the time seems to go.

As much as I want to know what's wrong, and how to feel better, I'm afraid. I've been blissfully able to continue on, ignoring what might be going on inside me. Granted, my thumb still hurts. Not as bad as it first did, but the pain is still there. And some days are better than others.

I've now also noticed pain in other joints, on my other hand. The stiffness has always been there, but now there's also pain. And I've also noticed that the pain worsens if my hands are cold. And many times they are so cold that the skin is blue underneath my fingernail.

There's also some pain in my feet, and obviously the back pain that plagues me to varying degrees on a daily basis. The other night I hurt everywhere. I was in tears. Desperate, I took a tramadol I still have hoarded away from a previous prescription.

And then there's my stomach issues. The dreaded "attacks" that most often wake me from a dead sleep in the middle of the night. The ugly, gnawing feeling in my gut that lands me in the bathroom for a good hour. Gnawing pain, cramping, which starts first as constipation and then with a few wiggles and rumbles of the intestines, things start moving thru easily, but not painlessly.

For me, this is the equivalent of some medieval torture method. I'm often rocking on the toilet, praying that God will just make. it. stop. SOON. Is it IBS? I don't know. Something more serious? Who knows. I do know that it will require a visit to the gastro doc and right now I'm not sure I can muster up enough courage to add in another specialist.

How is it possible that there can be so many things going on inside just one person's body?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I can't stop it from happening, so might as well embrace it

I've been freaking out about turning 30. It just seems so ...... I don't know. I don't want to say old because that's not really how I feel. I guess it just seems - different. Distinguished maybe? I don't know.

It's not like I can do anything about turning 30. It's going to happen whether I like it or not. Unfortunately. So....I'm going to grab 30 by the balls and make it the best damn year EVER.

And let me tell you .... while 2010 hasn't gotten off to the best start, I'm hopeful and excited and anxious for all the wonderful things to come.

For instance - seeing Michael Buble live the end of next month.

And then we can't forget my actual birthday in April and the fact that 2 days later I'll be in Vegas!

In June, I'll spend an evening gambling and livin' it up with my girlfriends at a NKOTB concert. July and August brings a couple Cubs games. And we'll cap off the summer with a trip to Disney World in September.

That's just the big things. I plan on fitting in plenty of time with the kids (going to see Toy Story 3 when it comes out, for instance), time with my girlfriends (really girls - let's set a date!) and time for myself (already read 5 books this year, let's see how many more I can add to that list).

So, you hear that 30??! I'm waitin' for ya! And I'm ready.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The big dark cloud of crapiness

I'm not quite sure why I continue to come back here every now and again to write. It's not as if there's a whole lot of commenting or reading going on. I'd be partly to blame for that, what with my lack of witty things to say. Oh, and the fact that I'm having a heck of a time reading and commenting on blogs myself.

These last couple weeks have been ...... well, how can I explain? Hectic. Sad. Happy. Depressing. Hopeful.

I've already mentioned about the health stuff going on. And it's amazing what pure ignorance can do for a person. I've pretty much just put it out of my mind, and I'm not agonizing over it. Of course every once in a while I think - "Hey, March 3rd is my appointment...." and then my stomach tightens and a million thoughts go running through my mind, until "Hey, look! A squirrel!" And I'm sidetracked with something else going on.

Like my husband being sick with strep. It was like death warmed over. An ER visit and a doctor visit all in a matter of, eh, maybe 30 hours? Add in a fever of almost 103, tonsils so swollen they were almost touching and 2 different kinds of antibiotics, and you can pretty much say he was down for the count for 2.5 days. Even after that time, he was still miserable, but at least the fever was gone and he was starting to feel a little more human.

Then, as he was recovering, our son came down with something. No idea what exactly it was that he had, but it resulted in vomit all over his bedroom floor. And that? IS. NO. FUN.

Later that evening, once my son had vomited himself to sleep, I checked my cell phone to find a text message from my boss. Long story short, her adorable papillon was attacked by a coyote that morning, and suffered such extensive injury, she couldn't be saved. She was put down and died later that afternoon. I was extremely fond of that little dog. My boss would bring her into the office often, and she would happily prance about. If it was summertime and I was wearing sandals, she'd pass through my office and lick my toes. It always made me laugh because any bare toes were liable to be licked, and it didn't fail. She did it each and every time she came in during the summer.

The whole thing has made me love on my cat all the more. I'm sure he's tired of me constantly picking him up and showering him with love and affection and kisses. But he's 13 years old, and I know that someday he'll have to cross that Rainbow Bridge. My heart hurts even just thinking about it.

And of course, during the course of all this craziness, my dear friend Nanci lost her father. He had been battling cancer and they knew these were his final days. He passed away on Sunday, and while we're all happy to know he's no longer suffering, I know how much her heart hurts. And mine hurts for her.

That's not even all of what has actually gone on, but that's enough gloom and doom for one post. It's no wonder no one ever comments. No sunshine & rainbows here!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Post Where I Try To Make it Seem Like I'm Not Afraid

Remember how at the beginning of 2009 I made a list of 52 things I wanted to accomplish during the year? One of those things was to see my doctor about my stomach issues and the finger joint stiffness that seemed to plague me.

Well, I never officially went in to talk about either of those things. Why not? One, because I'm a wimp. Two, anytime I went to the doctor it was for being sick then and there with something else. And three, I'm a big wimp.

So, a couple weeks ago I noticed I had some pain in my right (dominant) hand. Somewhere around my thumb. It was hard to pinpoint exactly where the pain was at the point, but it was worse when I moved my thumb around. In the back of my mind, I decided that it would probably go away within a couple days and I tried to ignore it.

That weekend, I was finally able to pinpoint where the pain was and it centralized itself there. It was in the small joint of my thumb, and the pain was a bit worse than it had been. I considered this, and went to work on Monday morning.

While at the office, I picked up my pen to start jotting some things down and I realized that I couldn't grip the pen entirely well because of the pain. And then while I was holding the phone to my ear with that hand, I could feel some numbness and tingling spreading across the bottom of my palm between my thumb and pinky.

It was then that I decided to suck it up and call my doctor.

Long story short, she prescribed a NSAID for me, and sent me away with orders for x-rays and bloodwork.

It was a long week, and finally at 4:30pm this past Friday, she called me. She began the conversation with my x-ray results (nothing looked abnormal) and then moved on to the bloodwork. The ANA (antinuclear antibody) test they ran came back positive. She said the positive was "borderline" and that it "could mean nothing", but that given my symptoms, she thinks there's something going on. And then she referred me to a rheumatologist.

And that's where I stand. And that's all I'm going to post about it right now. I will make the phone call tomorrow to see about getting in to see the rheumatologist soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Things Kids Say

My son is 8 and if you have a son of your own, you know that certain bodily functions work rather early on. When this first started happening to my boy, he would wiggle and act uncomfortable. When we'd question what his problem was, he simplified it by stating that his peepee was like a statue.

As if that wasn't funny enough, he has recently found a new way to describe this new "hardship" (pun intended).

Imagine my surprise, however, as we're walking thru Target's parking lot and he announces that his penis is "stale".

Gotta give the kid credit for creative adjectives.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Books I Devoured in 2010

I failed miserably last year at trying to read more than I had in '08. I was doing considerably well in the beginning, but somehow when we got to the 2nd half of the year, it was all downhill from there.

I started the year off by jumping into the House of Night series (not to mention I'm also in the process of reading My Friend Leonard). I'm about halfway thru the first book, and have the next 3 in the series lined up.

I won't set a goal this year, but I'll keep track anyway and hope I at least do better than last year's measly attempt.

1. Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

2. Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin Cast

3. Chosen by P.C. and Kristin Cast

4. Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast

5. Secrets of a Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison

6. MetroGirl by Janet Evanovich

7. Frankenstein - Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

8. Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham

9. Hunted by P.C. and Kristin Cast

10. Tempted by P.C. and Kristin Cast

11. Frankenstein - City of Night by Dean Koontz

12. What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

13. Girls Night In by numerous authors

14. High Stakes by Erin McCarthy

15. Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy

16. Bled Dry by Erin McCarthy

17. Sucker Bet by Erin McCarthy

18. Frankenstein - Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz

19. The Host by Stephenie Meyer (reading in progress)