Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When is enough, enough?

For nearly a week now, I've been dealing with persistent digestive/stomach issues. Now, I am no stranger to these "flare ups" and "attacks". I've been dealing with it for years. Sometimes I'll go weeks without any problems. Sometimes it's a couple days in a row that I have issues.

This is the longest I've ever had issues, and to be honest, it's scaring me.

To some people, this may not seem like a big deal. So what? It's just IBS (it could be, who knows?). Oh, easy fix. It's just a food allergy (doubtful since I can't pinpoint one or two particular things). Why am I so concerned then?

Because of that positive ANA test I had. The rheumatologist told me there was no auto-immune disease, but he was going to run more tests again, just in case. I never went in to have the blood drawn for them. But that keeps playing in mind -- why did that ANA test come back positive if there's nothing wrong?

And you know what? Stomach issues like I'm having could very well be an auto-immune disease itself. It could be just something that goes hand in hand with a different disease.

And it may not be anything auto-immune at all. Maybe it's nothing serious. Maybe it's something worse. I'm afraid at what the answers may be.

But I'm tired of dealing with the pain, the discomfort, the what-ifs and the worry. I need to be brave and go see the doctor. Do you suppose Santa will bring me some courage for Christmas, or do I need to go see the Wizard?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How can it be?

Time is flying faster and faster.

I'm still unemployed and while that's depressing, it is kinda nice to be home. I get to put the kids on the bus in the morning, there have been a couple times I've gone and had lunch with them at school, and I can welcome them home after school.

But, there's that money thing. Or the lack thereof. Things will be tighter now. Mike's health insurance finally kicked in at work, which means his paychecks will be smaller. Quite a bit smaller. It's ridiculous how much health insurance costs to cover the entire family with medical, dental and vision. But how can you do without it?

At any rate, I just continue to hope that I find a job soon. Or win the lottery. Of course, you have to play to win. There goes that idea.

Amazing that it's October already. Soon we'll have a pile of candy we don't know what to do with. Heck, we know what to do with it. Eat it. We'll start putting up the massive amounts of Christmas lights while we're still buzzing from a "I-ate-the-kids-trick-or-treat-stash" sugar high.

And then, it's all down hill from there. Once Halloween is over, you may as well write off the remainder of the year. Because from then on it's NON. STOP.

Weekends are already busy, and by the time Thanksgiving is here, we're pretty much booked solid with parties, get togethers, baking, shopping, wrapping.....the list goes on.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

No, wait. I'm just tired. Period.

There hasn't been a lot of sleep lately. My poor boy came down with something on October 1st. Long story short; a visit to the doctor, no improvement and then a trip to urgent care finally got us a diagnosis on October 7. Pneumonia. Here we are on October 12, and he finally returned to school. He also finished his antibiotic this morning. And - most importantly - I think the cough is gone. I don't recall hearing him cough ONCE since he's been home from school. And it seems he was able to fall right asleep tonight.

This makes my heart soar!!! My poor boy would cough and cough - one night for an hour straight between 2 and 3 in the morning. He'd nearly throw up from all the coughing.

It kills me to see them sick. Especially when they really suffer with something. A normal cold doesn't typically knock them down. But when it's something that really makes them miserable.... it breaks my heart.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later, We Remember

We'll Never Forget.

It's a phrase that was coined back in 2001, and how true it rings.

Even today, the events of the day are still fresh in my mind.

I was 6 months pregnant with my son, and the phone rang. It was still rather early (being as we're an hour behind the East coast), so a phone call at this hour was not usual. It was my mother, who told me to turn on the tv, that a plane hit the World Trade Center.

I hung up with my mom, and watched the news footage as I got ready for work. Honestly, the only thing I can't really remember is if she had called me before or after the 2nd tower was struck.

I know they mentioned the words "foul play" on the news, and the naive-positive-thinker in me looked at my husband and said "What does that mean? They think it was done on purpose?"

I continued on my way to work, having only the radio to keep me filled in on what was going on. As soon as I arrived at the office, I immediately sent emails to family that lives in CT and I knew worked in NYC, as the phone lines were so tied up, there was no reaching them. I scoured the web for any news feeds, as we all had to inform us in the office was the radio.

I felt helpless, and a bit disconnected from what was going on. I was a member of several mailing lists, and the flow of emails was quick and constant. It was my only "real-time" source aside from the radio.

As I was receiving more and more information about what was happening, the more frightened we became at work, and the more I wanted to go home. I kept in touch with my husband by phone. He was at a very large, busy mall in the area, and I was getting news of many popular, highly populated or busy areas being evacuated or closed. We had no idea what was happening, and at this point no one felt safe.

I was feeling a bunch of emotions; scared, worried, helpless, but it wasn't until I got an email from my Uncle that they were all okay, that I started to truly grasp everything.

I called my mom and couldn't even get the words out, as my voice broke and the tears flowed. I sat at my desk and cried.

Both towers had been struck, the Pentagon was struck, a plane went down in PA, the entire airspace was shut down for the first time in history, the towers both collapsed....

My boss called and instructed "Finish up and go home."

Upon another phone call to my husband, the mall was going back and forth on their decision whether or not to close, and the corporate headquarters of his company was based in NYC so he could not reach them by phone. He had made the decision to close just before the mall finally instructed that they would be closing the entire facility.

There were many more tears that day. I fell asleep with swollen eyes and an ache in my heart.

And now, 10 years later, those tears still flow just as easily and that ache in my heart remains. To think about those people that had just sat down at their desks, or the firefighters who were only trying to get people to safety, or the innocent children on those flights, those individuals who leaped to their death.....

They were husbands and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Wives and mothers. Cousins. Aunts and Uncles. Grandparents. Sons and daughters. Grandchildren. Coworkers. Friends.

The entire nation, the entire world .... watched that day.

And the truth in the matter is, We Will NEVER forget.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top 10

I found out that I'm in the top 10 out of over 30 applications they had for the position. Seems that the next step is that they'll be sitting down to go thru those and proceed with making phone calls for interviews next week.

I'm excited to have made the top 10, however, I'm also looking at this that I've only got a 10% chance.

I'm incredibly nervous. Not even sure what else to say at this point, other than....


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waiting on pins and needles

I've never wanted a phone call so badly.

A friend of mine (bless her GIGANTIC heart!) told me of a position opening up where she works. She had me email my resume over and she personally took it to the girl in HR.

Some time went by, and I asked her if anything came of it. She told me that the girl in HR was on vacation and that she'd speak to her as soon as she was back (last Monday).

She called me and let me know what she had found out. The HR girl read my resume, and thought I would be a good fit for a different position. She told my friend she'd email over the job description and that I should apply if interested. In turn, my friend sent it to me, I read it over and didn't even think twice about whether or not I should apply.

So, I updated my resume once again, and sent it off with a cover letter for the position.

Now I wait and every time the phone rings, my heart lurches into my throat and I'm hopeful. Then, when I realize it's not THE phone call I'm hoping for, it sinks back down to the pit of my stomach.

I don't think I have ever wanted something so badly. I want this job and I KNOW I could rock at it. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, and that is damn hard. I feel like I've got an advantage because the girl in HR read my resume and picked the position she thought I would most fit. She could have just as easily said I wasn't qualified for the original position and left it at that.

First things first, I need to nab an interview. And then I need to dazzle them so much that they offer me the position. Like I said, I'm trying to be cautious with my emotions, my wants, my absolute need to do something like RIGHT. NOW. This is only my 2nd week being unemployed and I'm already itching to jump right in and get going.

I've continued to check Career Builder on a daily basis, and there's just nothing out there. It's scary, and this opportunity I have before me is .... everything.

So if ever there was a time to have a prayer answered.... now would be it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Last month my boss sat me down and broke the news to me. The company was going to be going out of business. While this wasn't a total shock, it was one of those things you turn a blind eye towards and hope that somehow things just turn around.

Even so, it still left my world turned upside down.

Today my kids went back to school. As they start 4th and 2nd grade, I am starting unemployment. I put the kids on the bus, and came back into the house and cried. Not because my babies are growing up (well, maybe a little....), but because I had no job to go to for the first time in nearly 13 years.

And I'm unemployed in the worst economy in many, many, many years. My outlook is bleak. I'm holding onto shreds of hope. My friends are positive and optimistic. The whole "when one door clothes, another opens" bit.

While I appreciate their words (hell, I need that positive reinforcement when my mind is nothing but darkness), it's also hard to just put the worry out of your mind.

So, in the meantime, while I look for a job and bring in my small unemployment wages, I'll also continue doing what I have been for months. Earning $5 Amazon gift cards thru Swagbucks, earning $10 Amazon gift cards from a focus/research group I belong to, earn more $ from Crowdtap, earning $3 per survey thru PineCone Research (I've already done & been paid for 2 in just a couple weeks), and by couponing.

I've posted before about my couponing efforts and I'm going to try to start a bit more.

We'll start with today's trip to Dominick's. I normally don't shop here because it's too expensive regularly, but if you have their value card, and if you sign up for their "Just for U" specials, you can score some really fantastic deals.

Today I managed to get the following haul:

4 boxes of Cheerios @ .49 cents each = $1.96
4 boxes of Lucky Charms/Golden Grahams bars @ .89 cents each = $3.56
4 boxes of Betty Crocker fruit snacks @ .69 cents each = $2.76
2 boxes of Cheez-It crackers @ $1.49 each = $2.98
2 jars Ragu sauce @ .49 cents each = $.98
2 cans Friskies cat food (B1G1F) = $.65
1 box Teddy Grahams = $1.19
1 package of napkins = $0.00 (freebie with my "Just for U" savings)


That's a savings of almost 79%!!!!

So, when life gives you lemons....find a way to make lemonade!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

School Supply Shopping

School supply shopping has officially begun.

This is the first year I've had to actually buy pens, because apparently, 4th grade is serious business.

There's a great deal to be had at Target right now.

Papermate pens are $1.02 for a package

And, you can score a $1.00 off coupon here

Making these pens nearly FREE! Just 2-cents per package. :) Now that's a deal!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I need those prayer warriors again.

I've mentioned her before. She's my good friend that climbed mountains in order to get pregnant. She dealt with a blood clot and was on bed rest at the beginning of her pregnancy. Then, she failed her 1 hour glucose test, which took her to the 3 hour. Needless to say, she also failed that.

Most recently, she's found out she's got a large nodule on one side of her thyroid, and a couple small ones on the other side. The big "C" was brought up, and she'll be going in for a biopsy.

I can't even imagine the fear, the worry. Not only for your own well being, but for your unborn child. I can't help but wonder why people are constantly put through such trying times. Wasn't the struggle to get pregnant enough? She worried for weeks she was losing her baby in the beginning, and just when she started to put her guard down, she's dealing with gestational diabetes. And just when she wraps her mind around controlling the GD, she gets this dumped on her plate.

So, I'm asking all of you .... please keep her in your prayers. I know many of you haven't a clue as to who I'm talking about, but just know she's one of the sweetest and most selfless people I know.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


So many friends & family members are expecting babies, and I am so anxious for them all to arrive.

Not only do I love snuggling and loving up little babies, but I love photographing them. I can only hope I can get the opportunity with these new little bundles that will be arriving over the next few months.

I mean, I love photographing my kids - but after awhile they get tired of me constantly having a camera in their face (my daughter can tolerate this much longer than my son; he, on the other hand, forces a few smiles and then he's absolutely D-O-N-E). Babies are just great. Especially when they aren't crawling away, eating your backdrop, and for the simple fact that - I get my baby "fix" and then they go home.

Doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Road Warriors .... Groupies .... What's the difference?

A couple weeks ago I went on a road trip to the East Coast with my friend, Kathy. We headed that way so that were were able to hit a few concerts on the side of the country.

My road trip started here in Illinois, immediately after I got off work and took me into Indiana, where Kathy lives. From there, we loaded up her car, stopped at the grocery store to buy some snacks and drinks and hit the road.

We crashed for the night around midnight-1am somewhere in Pennsylvania. The next morning we headed to Intercourse, PA (yes, it really does exist -- along with Blue Ball, Virginville, etc) where we spent a couple hours in Amish Country.

After that it was on to Wilmington, Delaware, where would see the first of 3 concerts. And no, for those that know me, it was not New Kids on the Block. This music is entirely different, and not very main stream.

I highly recommend you look them up though -- Naturally 7. Simply amazing.

It was an amazing few days. We saw 3 concerts in 3 days in 3 different states. We truly rocked it.

After it was all said & done, we traveled thru (whether it was just passing thru or stopping in for any amount of time) 8 different states (9 if you include Illinois for me, which was the final 1.5 hours of my drive from Indiana) and covered 2,029 miles. WOW!

The memories I have are amazing. It was a great experience. While we traveled to CT for our final concert, we drove thru New Jersey and New York. I got to see the Statue of Liberty waaaaaaay off in the distance, and I was extremely excited to see her (have not visited her yet, but it's on the list - my son really wants to go, so it will have to be a family trip). I tried a couple new things (fried calamari (yuck!) and pickled onions (yum!) and I gained a closer bond with my friend.

So, whether we're called road warriors or groupies .... I don't care. It was totally worth it!! Now I cross my fingers that they eventually end up back in the Midwest so we can follow them around a little closer to home!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Little Sports Stars

In a little over a month, my son will be starting his second year of baseball. We are looking forward to it, even though my life goes from busy, to hectic.

And this year, we decided to make it even more crazily hectic by putting my daughter in a sport, too. She'll be playing soccer.

Yes, I am officially going to be a Baseball-Soccer Mom. I feel like I need to get decals on my car.

More importantly, I may need to clone myself. If there are overlaps with practices/games, I'm not sure how I'll have myself in 2 places at once if it happens to be when Mike is working. It sure is going to be a challenging few months!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Facing it

There are big changes on the horizon at work. I'll be honest - at first, I was scared. I was worried. I was ready to look for a new job.

While I'm still a little concerned, I am going into this much more level headed and ready to face whatever is tossed my way. I'm going to face it head on, and conquer. I will not spend my waking moments worrying, and stressing. I'm going to simply give it my all; give it 120%.

I can do this. Bring it!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Say what?

I came down with a cold, and then suddenly I went from having full hearing in both ears, to one of them being so blocked, my hearing was muffled. The "fullness" in my ear did not subside overnight, and the next day I was pulling and tugging at my ear and it was getting increasingly more painful.

I finally sucked it up and took myself to urgent care. Lo and behold, I had an ear infection. They sent me on my way with a prescription for amoxocillin and I expected I would be feeling better in a couple days.

When things did not start turning around, I called my regular doctor's office to be checked out again. The infection was still hanging around, and this time I left the office with nasonex, in hopes that the swelling would go down and that whatever was blocking the eustachian tube would finally free up and give me some relief.

Two days later I woke up with a fever, vomiting and generally feeling like I was going to die. When I finally got my stomach to settle down enough, I called and got in to my doctor's office again.

Infection was still there, and the stomach issues may or may not have been related. I may have just been lucky enough to grab a stomach bug on top of the cold/ear infection I had going on. But the doctor changed my antibiotic, telling me to stop the amoxocillin and start the z-pack. She also gave me a business card for an ENT, and said that should be my next stop if it still didn't clear up.

Now, I should say that when it comes to actually seeing a specialist of any sort, I will drag my feet. To me, in my eyes, a specialist is serious business and that just makes me nervous. So, avoiding the need was my top priority.

Except I just couldn't tolerate it anymore. When you have to continually say "What?" or turn the tv or radio up louder because one ear is barely working, there's a problem. Not to mention how it feels. While it's not painful per say, the feeling makes me want to stick a fork in my ear and poke a hole in there.

I called the ENT, figuring it would probably be at least a week or two before they could see me. Imagine my surprise when they offered to get me in at 2:20 that same afternoon. So, I put on my big girl panties and took myself in after work.

I can't say there weren't tears. The ENT asked me what was making me sad, and I felt like a great big idiot, but I explained that I'm just frustrated.

All in all the visit wasn't nearly as terrifying as I thought it could be. The infection is cleared up, but there's still fluid behind my eardrum. I was instructed to continue with the nasonex (nasal steroid) and I am also now on an oral steroid (prednisone). The doctor said that the steroids usually do the trick, but she did mention that if it doesn't, I'll likely need to have a tube put in (this is the 2nd time I've had an issue with this ear - the first time I didn't have an infection along with it, but I did have fluid in there).

I'm hopeful the steroids will work their magic and I'll be feeling more like myself soon. I've got a follow up with the ENT again in 2 weeks.

I'll tell you one thing.....when this ear finally opens up and my hearing is back to normal, it's going to be like angels are singing. Glorious angels.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Waiting for Spring & Losing My Sanity

Just last week we got hit with a blizzard, and our entire area was pretty much shut down for 24 hours. I was on my way home from work when it really started getting bad, and the road I took home was already covered with drifting snow. Visibility was next to nothing and it was the scariest ride home of my life.

It also made for some challenges at work. And work has been a challenge as it is. There are some big changes on the horizon, and it is stressful.

I do believe I can work thru it, but the unknowns are worrisome to me. I've got a meeting with the bosses coming up, and hope my mind is eased a bit more after that.

I'm hoping Spring is around the corner - both for sun & warmth, and also for my sanity. Winter is really becoming a drag.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Time keeps on ticking

The first month of the new year is already more than half over. I'd just like to get through winter quickly.

I'm finding myself disliking winter more and more each year. I've always said that I enjoy the change of seasons, and actually like living in Chicago, but lately, I've considered the idea of living in another state.

The only problem now is having a house that just won't sell. The housing market is entirely upside-down. Especially in our area.

But, the idea of uprooting ourselves from Illinois and settling down somewhere else has a bigger appeal these days, and it's not just about the weather. But that's an entirely different ball of wax that I just won't get into.

Unrelated -- fun things happening here. The boy is in the school's 3rd/4th/5th grade spelling bee this week. I'm going to see Naturally 7 coming up in the next couple weeks. The boy & his daddy will be going to see the Monster Trucks soon, I'll take the princess to see the Justin Bieber movie, and she'll be going with her daddy to the Daddy/Daughter dance at school.

We're also in the process of planning our family vacation, which I am looking forward to. The destination is per the boy's request and we are happy to oblige. How many kids actually ask to go see Mount Rushmore?

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Happy 2011!!!

Unbelievably, I was able to last until midnight and ring in the new year with my husband. Granted, we were already in bed, but we did stay awake watching the tv footage of New York and Chicago's celebration.

When midnight rolled in, and the tv channel we were watching flashed a big "HAPPY 2011" on the screen, it was the first time that the number actually scared me a bit.


I'm not sure what makes 2011 any different than 2010. But I said to my husband, "I really feel old".

I think it's just that I graduated high school in the 90s (late 90s, but still...) and now here we are PAST 2010 already. Feeling slightly like life is getting away from me.

Sloooowwwww down.