Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tour 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

The Nester is hosting a Christmas Tour - check it out to visit hundreds of links for holiday decor!

We've had a hectic month, so these are photos from last year.  We're spending the holidays away from home, and just haven't had time to get ours finished this year. 

One of my favorite Christmas seasons -  We had lived in this house one month when we pulled this together.  I have an amazing hubby!




Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Also linked with:


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cupcakes and Country Music

I accompanied Hubs on a recent business trip and a fun-filled week!

Jackpot at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville!  It was at the old Ryman Theater because of the Rockette Christmas Special and was it special!  We saw the following artists:

Martina McBride

Jake Owen

Rodney Atkin

Rodney Atkins Banner

Carrie Underwood!!!!!!!!!

and about 3/4 through, the host said that "a guy" who doesn't seem to care when and where he performs anymore had shown up to sing us a song (unannounced and unplanned).  Lo and behold, out walked Vince Gill in jeans and a sweatshirt, fresh from the Tennessee/Kentucky game across the street! 

On the way home, we drove to downtown Franklin on a hunch, and walked up and down Main Street.  So many neat shops.  We came upon the most delectable cupcake creations - Naticakes!

We had no idea the shop has only been open a month or two, but thoroughly enjoyed it and found her mission admirable:

Naticake's Mission

They rotate out the flavors, but here is the menu:

Naticake's Menu

I tried the Opera Cupcake and was in heaven -

Almond Cake, Chocolate Ganache Filling, Coffee
Italian Buttercream Frosting, Dark Chocolate Curls

Hubs picked the Vanilla Bean Cupcake -

Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling, Vanilla
Italian Buttercream Frosting, White Chocolate Curl

And here is a recent article -

"Cupcakes For a Cause"
By Lisa Karvellas
Nashville Lifestyles, 11.09

If you EVER get to Nashville, do make a short trip south to Franklin, head to the main street downtown area, and try out your own taste of Heaven!  The buttercream frosting is so light and delicately sweet.......just perfect.  Mine had a slight coffee flavor, perfectly complementing the almond flavor cupcake with a surprise of chocolate ganache in the center!   Andy didn't give up a taste of his Vanilla Bean cupcake, so I can't personally comment.  lol  But he did love it, and he isn't a cupcake lover typically.

Have a great day!



Oh no that did NOT just happen!

Oh my, so not a good day!   We ate out for brunch at one of our favorite little restaurants and then headed toward Sam's, a large warehouse store.  I was pushing the cart and only 5 minutes or so, I did NOT feel good.  

I decided I better get to the bathroom.

Where I stayed.

Hubs actually calls my cell phone and it rings.......while I'm trying to hide out in the stall and not be "noticed"?  Hello?  I hit the ringer to turn it off and send him a text that I'm fine, I'll be out later.  And I'm thinking "Hopefully!"

To add insult to injury, my toilet won't flush.  I had to take the top off and find the thingy inside to get it to flush.  And that sucked, because most women like to keep flushing the toilet, because we all know that covers it all up and no one knows what is going on in that stall.

Only thing I could do is change stalls, but not until I could sense the coast was clear.  I, of course, had worn some very distinctive shoes so that anyone who saw those shoes under the stall would know just who THAT girl was.  Yep, me.

Eventually, I rejoin the family shopping and while looking at items, Hubs starts to feel the same thing, so HE runs off to the bathroom.

Kiddo and I go over to the furniture area to sit and wait for him to come back.  And then it hits me again.

I go flying off to the bathroom with kiddo pushing the cart, thrilled of course, because this is what ALL 17 year olds want to experience.

I disappear into the stall again.  And I camp out.

Hubs sends me a text from his toilet - we are both a mess.  Was it the lunch?  Most likely.  We did eat the same thing.  Who sends sympathy texts back and forth from toilet stalls?  2 miserable folks, I can assure you.

What seems like 30 minutes later, we emerge around the same time to find kiddo DYING of embarrassment, just standing by the cart wondering how do you look cool when you are abandoned in Sam's by the bathrooms?  He had chosen NOT to eat at that restaurant.  Turns out he made the smarter choice.

We decided to head home before anything else happened.

I'm still not OK.  Hubs is.  Guess we have a restaurant we won't be visiting again.

In other news, I wonder what I will weigh tomorrow?  lol  Surely a few pounds less!

Story shared to give you a nice chuckle for the day.  lol


Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today on Dr. Laura radio program, a female called in and could barely talk for the crying. She has a close family member who drinks too much and is causing  pain within the family.  She wanted to know if she and her other family members should stage an intervention.

Dr. Laura asked if she knew why she was crying.  Through tears, the caller said "No, why?"

Dr. Laura said "That is how you are dealing with your anger.  It is time to mourn, M O U R N, your family member, and let go. He has it in his power to stop drinking, and he chooses not to.  Let go.  No more crying."

Good advice.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pimento Cheeseburger with Fried Green Tomatoes

Have you ever heard of such a thing? This was the weirdest item on a menu I think I have ever seen. But I was adventurous and ordered it. I did have the fried green tomatoes on the side and hubs ate those, but I have to say - this was YUMMY! We are traveling and in North Carolina at this time. The restaurant - FATZ Cafe. Quite a good restaurant.

I did order a baked sweet potato instead of french fries, but was too full to eat it!  They also have the yummiest rolls (Famous Poppy Seed Rolls) - but they are deep fried.  Can't eat too many of those!  And their sweet tea is to die for!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spinal Cord Stimulator Updates and Info

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is an amazing technology and I learn more and more about it every month that goes by.  It works by blocking pain signals from getting to the brain.   I've had mine installed since January of this year and it has changed my life!  I have the ANS/St. Jude Eon Mini.  My unit can hold up to 20+ programs, but I have been happy with 2 - a daytime program and one for sleep.  They are the same program, but the sleep setting is much lighter.  I keep my unit on 24/7 as the nerve pain breaks through too strongly if I turn it off at night.

This is a photo of my best friend, the remote control!  I put that antenna to the left over my IPG - implanted pulse generator in my upper right buttock, and use the device to the right to turn the unit on and change or stop different programs.  If I am having a surge of pain, for instance, I pull out the remote control and turn the buzzing up or make it stronger to help the pain.

My first exciting bit of news is that  I discovered a new tweak that we can all do on our own.  The photo below shows my remote control, with my previous favorite program displayed (#5).  Do you see that electrode to the right of the number 5?  That is not normally seen.  Once you have your program open, you click on that grey button by my thumb, and it will bring up that electrode on the screen.  You then use the up and down buttons at the top edge of the unit to make that little mark go up or down the electrode.  What this does is give you extra ooomph on your stimulation.    If you've never tried this, I recommend it!  The instructions for this are actually in the booklet that came with the unit, but I had never noticed it before!

Program #5 has been my all-time favorite.  It is a constant buzzing, like "buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz".  However, it must really use a lot of battery, as I was having to charge every 3 days or so.  Most others reported online that they charge no sooner than once a week, and many can go even longer.  I was wondering if something was wrong with my battery (IPG - implanted pulse generator)?  I wasn't really worried about it, but it was a little annoying to have to charge so often.  Here is a photo of my charging belt -

And here is what it looks like on:

I went in and had my rep give me a program that feels more like a jackhammer - BUZZ   BUZZ   BUZZ  BUZZ and I LOVE it!!  The surprise is that even though it feels so much stronger and I would swear it uses more battery than #5, I am now 1 week out from recharging and my battery is totally FULL!  I don't know how long I will be able to go without charging, but it looks like at least 2 weeks?  That is a huge change.

Lesson I learned - just because a program feels strong does not mean it pulls a ton of juice out of the battery.  With #5, I thought if I asked for an even stronger sensation, I would have to charge even more often.  I was wrong!  So I really recommend you keep an accurate log and give your rep specific requests on what you would like.  You never know when you might stumble on a great, strong buzzing without using a lot of your battery!  So now #8 is my Day program and #4 remains my sleep program.  The other programs (1, 2, 3, 6 and 7) will likely be deleted one of these days.  My rep is super careful not to delete anything, even if she is changing a program, she will make a copy and change the copy.  That way, I can always go back to the exact program I did have that was working.  I've heard some reps delete programs, and if the new one doesn't work as well, the patient is stuck trying to figure out how to get their other program(s) back.

When my rep printed out my program information, I had her write down which programs were for what - day, sleep, extra pain, etc.  Should my remote control ever die and a new one needs to be shipped to me, this could speed up the process if she were able to call in the settings.  Otherwise, I would over night my "dead" remote control, the programs would be copied, and my new remote control would be shipped over night to me.

I asked if I could have an extra remote control and learned that we can only have one remote control "married" to our IPG at one time.  So having an extra would be of no use.  This keeps us from going up to another SCS user and copying their programs into our remote controls (something I would never have thought of!  lol).  One day, my remote control appeared to not work, and while I started my lamaze breathing prior to a full melt down (LMBO), my engineer hubby got it working again.  I honestly didn't know what I would have done if that remote control had died.  This is why I decided having an extra one would give me more peace of mind.  Ah well, no such luck!

I still thank God every day for the opportunity to have the SCS in my life, giving me relief from the unrelenting burning nerve pain I would be experiencing without it.  I still have a high level of pain, but the SCS buzzing (like a massage chair on the inside!) really allows me to function mentally and not be shut down and overwhelmed.  The SCS technology is not a cure; it is a wonderful adjuvant therapy for chronic pain sufferers.  And I am one thankful girl!

Have a great day!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Central Pain Syndrome

That is what I am dealing with now - what appears to be Central Pain Syndrome, which has hit me completely out of the blue.  Entirely related to my severely damaged lumbar nerves but completely unlike any of the other pain I have experienced to date.

This new pain is a burning feeling from my bra strap to my hips, on my back.  It is only on the skin, but feels like the worst sunburn you have ever had.  You know when you got that sunburn and could hardly touch your skin to put the aloe or the cream on it?  Imagine that but worse.


Clothes touching
Air blowing on it
Cold air
Any touch, particularly light touch

The doctor has prescribed some lidocaine (Lidoderm) patches that I can wear 12 hours a day, to see if it can calm the nerves down.   I can wear 2 a day, and they are 10cm X 14cm, and I can cut them and put them in a bunch of different places if I need to. 

What is Central Pain Syndrome?
Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson's disease. The character of the pain associated with this syndrome differs widely among individuals partly because of the variety of potential causes. Central pain syndrome may affect a large portion of the body or may be more restricted to specific areas, such as hands or feet. The extent of pain is usually related to the cause of the CNS injury or damage. Pain is typically constant, may be moderate to severe in intensity, and is often made worse by touch, movement, emotions, and temperature changes, usually cold temperatures. Individuals experience one or more types of pain sensations, the most prominent being burning. Mingled with the burning may be sensations of "pins and needles;" pressing, lacerating, or aching pain; and brief, intolerable bursts of sharp pain similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on the distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often begins shortly after the causative injury or damage, but may be delayed by months or even years, specially if it is related to post-stroke pain.
This is related to my 3 back surgeries, possible spinal cord stimulator procedure and permanent nerve damage in general.  I have had the numbness and shooting pain for years........this burning pain is fairly new.  I have had a smaller section that has burned for months, but it was so small and I just plain ignored it.  Had no idea it would spread, but nothing I could have done to prevent it.

I have found some yoga type pants I can wear and keep the waist band rolled down and have much less pain, so I will wear those for now until this calms down (as I hope it does), and I keep my shirt tucked in my bra strap when at home.   I am considering getting something like Wintersilks to wear under my clothes, which will keep the sensation to a minimum.

It should get better with time as my brain learns to disassociate, or so I'm told.  I'm looking forward to that.  

Question of the day:  If this is triggered by cold weather, shouldn't we live where it is much warmer, say...........Texas? 

Time to go reread my Resiliency post.  lol

P.S.  GREAT NEWS!! The Lidoderm patches do not "rip" off, they actually peel off easily.  Huge relief!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Curly Girl Method - Day 3

Who knew I had curly hair?  Did I always?  I have no idea.  I do know my mom gave me perms for much of my childhood (4th grade to high school and beyond).  Did I get these curls with pregnancy?

One day I was at the salon and the girl asked me if I wanted to go "curly" that day.  I was like "HUH?"  Thought she was a nutcase.  Nope - I was the clueless one.

Every time I tried to go curly, it was unruly and a mixture of curly and flat.  I ran across the Curly Girl method last week, got the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey, and am on day 3.  It takes a few weeks at a minimum to get hair to behave and I am totally impressed with my day 3 results.  Wish I took a picture of day one - just washed and left to dry curly.  Very flat and barely wavy.

Did you know curly hair is classified into 4 different categories, and the subcategories?

1 - Straight
2 - Wavy
3 - Curly
4 - Kinky Curly

And then from there, 2a, b, or c; 3a, b, or c; etc.

If anyone knows how to tell, please tell me what you think this hair is!! Is it 2b or 2c? I do have some spirals, so is that 2c?

Have a great day!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Can't decide if you will get the H1N1 flu vaccine for you or your child?

Many people have great concerns over this vaccine. The US instituted the PREP Act (click HERE for info). This means that this vaccine has been Fast-tracked, and the following are in play:

Immunity from Liability - none of the 5 vaccine manufacturers can be sued for any reason except for willful misconduct. Why?

This vaccine is uninsurable. Why?

Untested and previously unused ingredients can be used in a Fast-tracked vaccine. Why?

News media and some doctors are now stating that if the H1N1 swine flu virus had shown up sooner, this flu strain would have been included in the regular, every day seasonal flu vaccine. OK, well if that is true, then why the above? Why the immunity from prosecution?

I'm sure you know by know that Thimerosal/mercury came under scrutiny and was removed from almost all childhood vaccines. According to Robert F. Kennedy in the videos below, one flu shot contains 60% of the mercury that used to be in those childhood vaccinations. ONE shot.

If you are concerned about the mercury and wish to avoid that for yourself or your child - you need to ask for:

FluMist - vaccine nasal mist - no mercury/Thimerosal


Single-Use vial - the multi-use vials DO have mercury/Thimerosal. You are allowed to ask your doctor or provider to use a Single-use vial. I do not think the school mass-vaccinations will be using Single-Use vials, so double check that before you allow your school to vaccinate your child.

Watch these 2 videos below - Robert F. Kennedy gives an amazing speech with information anyone should want whether they are for or against vaccinations in general, or or simply worried about the current H1N1 vaccine.

Part 1

Part 2

Education is power!

College Midterm Grades - Ryan

Ryan is proud to announce that his Fall semester 2009 midterm grades are..............

All A's!!!!

Way to go Ryan!

P.S. His "nerd status" is confirmed. One of his science teachers now asks him if he has any questions before letting class go, since Ryan's the one who has ALL the questions. lol


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering Our Babies - National Day of Miscarriage and Infant Loss

Today is the National Day of Miscarriage and Infant Loss. Have you or someone you know lost a baby(ies)? We've lost 4 and it was one of the harder periods of our life together.

Our Story:

Ryan was conceived and born with relatively little problems. He was huge at birth and that wasn't fun, but in general, no problems.

Holt was conceived after 8 months of trying and we almost immediately had a threatened miscarriage. I started bleeding and the doctor said if I was going to lose the baby or not, there was nothing we could do but wait. Thankfully, he held on and was born 9 months later.

2 years later, we tried for another baby and conceived quickly. Something was different this time, though, as I was not sick. The other two, I had morning sickness for almost the entire 9 months. Not this time. At 10 weeks, we learned the baby did not make it, and in fact, it was a blighted ovum.

We conceived twice more, losing those pregnancies early as well, one being twins. We did have genetic testing on one of the babies and found out that our other SON had no chromosomal defects in any way. My body had difficulties maintaining the pregnancies. I would have had at least 3 sons!

A few years later, we sought infertility treatments to see if we could have one more child - thankfully, insurance paid for it entirely. We did not conceive, but in major testing, found out that both Hubs and I have infertility issues. My body has/had elevated natural killer cells and was attacking the babies as if they were cancer and Hubs issues was irreversible.

We actually had a peace, though, finally an answer. And we know that we will see those 4 babies again some day in Heaven. That brings a great peace. We created a page to honor our babies and bring peace to others who are grieving the loss of their babies as well. Please visit or send the link to someone you know is suffering.

Dedicated to Our Babies In Heaven

I was really struggling with the grief, as having lost 4 babies in such a short time was really overwhelming. And we didn't end our family on the birth of a live baby......and that was tough. I finally sought some Christian counseling and was told something that transformed my life at the time, and I will always be indebted to Jo Ann for sharing this with me. She said:

We will never get over it, but we will get through it.

So many women are trying so hard to "get over it" already. But really, we will never lose the love we had for that baby in our heart. That child was a part of us the minute we found out he/she was conceived. God blessed us with that child, even for just a short time. But we can get "through it" and we must, as unresolved grief can easily turn to depression.

Here is one of my favorite poems, found on my website above:

To my baby
The one I can't hold
The one I won't see
Is what I'm told

I felt your little spirit
Living in me
Though such a short time
It was precious you see

My life seemed so perfect
My dream would come true
My own little bundle
Whether pink or blue

Everyone loved you
Just waiting to see
Would you look like your daddy
Or exactly like me

These are the things
We will never know
Because God in heaven
Said you needed to go

He must have his reasons
I can't yet understand
Did he come down to get you
Did he hold out his hand

Someday you can tell me
About His sweet embrace
As he took you from me
To that wonderful place

Until that day comes
Don't be afraid
Heaven is safe
For us it was made

I won't say goodbye
I can't cuz you see
You'll always be
A part of me

I love you my baby
My sweet little one
I'll see you again
When my time here is done

Love, Mommy

Jennifer Wasik

You might have some sad friends today - tell them you are thinking about their baby(ies). Give them a hug, because I can almost guarantee you that no one in their life ever mentions their babies.

Take care,


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Morning Cuddling and Beauty Appointments

Our largest dog, Sage - a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd rescue dog - is our "lover girl" and she hasn't met a hug she didn't like. Now that she is an indoor dog, she has taught our cat dog ( Purebred Pekingese) Sweety a thing or two about being loving and cuddly. lol A few photos of our fun this morning. First Sage was getting all the attention, then Sweety had to jump up and join in. It was pretty funny! They are both laying in my arm (hidden under both dogs.)

(I couldn't get the "red eye" fix to work on those orange eyes - pretty freaky!)

And, if you haven't seen the girls in a while, here are their post-beauty appointment photos. Sweety was so good, she even got a bandana, which isn't a usual occurrence for her. lol She has major anxiety issues AND hates girls/women (except me and my mother), so no females can touch her at the doggy salon. Last time, they had to put her under anesthesia she was so stressed out. This time? The owner's son picked her up and Sweety liked him. Not only did he groom her easily, but she actually seemed happy to let him. That apparently riled up all the "girls" at the shop who had ever tried to love on her/work on her. lol Boys rule according to Sweety!

I was trying to get the girls in front of my for photos, and lover girl herself had to get right up in my face. When I tried to take a closeup, she quickly turned her head and gave me this regal shot. lol

This photo only happened because I implied I was getting her dinner early. Ha!

And this is another one of Sage, wondering when we are getting back on the couch for more cuddling.

They both got quite a bit of hair trimmed off, and hopefully this will last them for a few months.

Have a great day!


Armour Desiccated Thyroid Shortage

If you have Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and take Armour Thyroid, you might have noticed by now (or soon will) that there is a back order and shortage of this medication, available only by prescription. Some pharmacies are receiving small shipments of 60 mg (1 grain), but unless you ask for the specific mg. they carry, they will say they do not have any.

Armour Thyroid Info

If you are concerned and cannot get your prescription filled, check at a local compounding pharmacy. I was able to get my prescription filled at a compounding pharmacy yesterday and am very relieved. The pharmacist stated that as soon as Armour was back in good supply, I would go back to that.

Just wanted to update, as it had never dawned on me to look into a compounding pharmacy.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

OU Weekend Fun

Time for the 4th Annual 1986 Industrial Engineer Graduates group from the University of Oklahoma to get together and say "hey"! Dinner, tailgating and a winning game = one awesome weekend!

Photo of the Engineers (although only a few still work as engineers!):

L to R: Andy (came in from Tennessee/MS), Brenda (flew in from Georgia), Robert, Caroline (came up from Dallas), Jerry (Also up from Dallas), Linda, Shonda (Flew in from California!), Julie.

Photo with Spouses and Kids:

L to R: Andy, Cheri, Shelly, Brenda, Robert, Jerry, Caroline, Shonda, Kelsey, Julie, Tim, Sam, Linda, Linda and Robert's Son, and Robert.

Best of all - OU won against Baylor!

We had a great weekend - I was able to travel and do all the activities without additional pain. It was really amazing!! I spent most of the weekend with that smile you see in the photo. I was SO happy that I've gotten my life back - thank you God!!! Thank you for the SCS - Spinal Cord Stimulator!!!!

Have a great day!