Thursday, October 28, 2010

Migraineur

People who don't get migraines often ask me what it feels like.

"How would I know if I've had a migraine? I've never had one... at least, I don't think so..."

"Oh, you'd know," I reply, while trying to suppress the feeling of pressure in my head that I fear will materialize, simply by thinking about it.

****warning — vivid description to follow****

Take this morning, for example. While I was sleeping, someone took a marble and pounded it into my skull, slightly off-center. Then they took another marble and forced it into my eyeball through the iris, on the same side of my head. At least, that's what it felt like.

Then there was my vision. It went all kinds of wrong. Sometimes it looks as if someone has turned the saturation way up:

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Then, the edges start to get fuzzier and fuzzier as my field of vision closes in on me. The pressure starts to mount in my head, like having a bad cold.

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(It pains me just writing this post!)

After the fuzzy hyper-saturation, things start fading away. At this point I'm usually in bed, loaded with drugs, with a pillow over my head in an attempt to shut out all light. This is when my pain typically turns stabby on one side of my head. If I haven't taken something to abate the pain by this stage, it's all over (meaning, the day is over. I'll end up in bed for a good five to eight hours.)

Catching the headache in time is the key. But this becomes problematic when it develops while I'm asleep, like it did this morning.

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One time, prior to the fuzzy darkness invading the edges of my vision, I saw the image turning crystal-like around the periphery as if shards of Superman's ice-laden fortress of solitude were invading.

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I had some other odd symptoms with that particular migraine. As my vision went, my thoughts became harder and harder to string together. I had a hard time thinking of the right words. And when I found the right word, it was difficult to say it. Eventually, I couldn't speak coherently. It was very interesting, actually. I spent a good twenty minutes with the visual and verbal disturbances, then suddenly, the pain that had been non-existent hit. It made me nauseated. I threw up, and five minutes later, the stabbing was gone. Just like that.

Today, however, I had a more typical migraine. It started bad and then ebbed and flowed all day with the help of medicine. I could feel it still there in the background during the better phases. Kind of like that sense of pending doom when you're in the shower and the nice warm water starts turning cold. You know what's coming. But there's no escape.

There is a silver lining to all of this doom and gloom and icy fortress of solitudeness. After the migraine?

Euphoria.

Giddy, feel-good, natural endorphin-fueled (in response to the pain) happiness. The contrast is amazing. For me, anyway. I don't know if other migraineurs experience the euphoria — I hope they do!!

Nothing brings out joy quite like a healthy dose of misery!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some pre-Halloween sweetness

I was upstairs when I heard my daughter discussing something intently with her four year old sibling. I couldn't figure out what they were talking about. I heard her little brother interjecting at times, adding his opinion. As I came downstairs, this is what I saw:

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They are super excited for Halloween, if you can't tell.

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Why can't they be this good and this cute all the time? They sat like this, heads together over their project, for a good 45 minutes. Can't I rewind to this harmonious scene and freeze it, before that little boy there took a black marker to the couch in the other room the next day?

Can't I preserve that cushion, the one in the middle that they're resting on, in perfect form — before the baby spilled chocolate milk all over it (on the same day as the marker incident, no less)?

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(We'll just overlook the fact that they were, just a short while before, throwing all of the pillows off of the couch onto the floor.)

When I came down, I saw what they were working on. Or, rather, I heard what they were working on — they were writing a song!

*Insert heart melting here.*

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Here are the lyrics, translated:

What does the world look like outdoors,
Who's there for me?
Exciting stuff
Waiting for me.
Me and you together,
Playing fun stuff!


And just like that, my four year old jumped up, decided he was done being a firefighter, and the moment was over.

"I WUV being a FIREFIGHTER!"

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Sigh. Love them!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's nice to have a good fairy in the family.

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When my mom comes to visit, she brings with her random cool furniture from the second hand store that she mysteriously fits into her white van.

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She then materializes the most recent copy of House Beautiful, which coincidentally has the same table (with a coat of black paint) featured on page 114. She leaves the magazine for me to enjoy, with just a page or two missing or earmarked.

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Mom is a vintage fairy, leaving behind old items made new again wherever she goes. When she isn't bringing revitalized toys from the thrift store, she's dropping off items from my own childhood — to re-live their glory days on the bedroom floors of my own children. In this case, she brought all of the old ballet costumes that I had accumulated over the awkward years. There's some very... special costumes in there!

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Ever since, my daughter has been trying on a different costume every two hours. She prances in front of the floor-length mirror to see which one twirls the best. She giggles at her pretend stories about princes and princesses and imaginary pop stars.


When my mom visits, she brings birthday presents that are a month or two late. It's like having a second birthday. My oldest boy proudly tells her he's four as he squeals with delight at the book and balloons that she, his new best friend, brought for him. He sticks by her side and, as any best friend would, she reads to him and plays with him and blows up impossibly long balloons. All day.

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When mom comes to town, she finds a note from my daughter that was stealthily placed on her bed the night before her arrival. I find a similar note peeking out from under my door. We open the envelopes while we're waiting for her to be done with school.

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Invitations to a birthday party for... someone. Most likely one of her toys. After school, I ask her who the party is for.

"Well, it says it's Chocolate's birthday party."

"Who's Chocolate," I ask, clearly not up to date with her phonics, or with the new wave of names for her stuffed animals.

"You know, the pony with brown and dark brown."

While my six year old and I discuss the characteristics of this particular brown and dark brown pony, to distinguish it from the other fourteen brown and dark brown ponies in her room, my mom makes a quick trip out to the car. She serendipitously has a small chocolate cake out there, perfect for Chocolate's birthday party, in her white van of wonders. She had purchased it on the way to our house, just in case.

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I don't know how she makes furniture and chocolate cakes appear out of nowhere. That's just the sort of thing you can expect when you have a good fairy in the family.

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And then, as quickly as she arrives, she's driving away to sprinkle charm and chocolate on the other waiting children — young and old — in her kingdom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A holiday wreath for all seasons

I saw some grapevine wreaths at the dollar store a while back and knew that a project was imminent. If this post doesn't convince you to brave the crowd that may be a notch below the people of Walmart set, nothing will.

Without further ado, I give you, the wreath.


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Before we go there, let's back up a bit. Let's start from the very beginning — a very good place to start... (name that movie).


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Here's the supplies I used. (Not pictured is the glue gun.) I bought all of these supplies, minus the gourds (which didn't go actually on the wreaths anyway), at the dollar store for a grand total of $7. Two grapevine wreaths, four decorative fall wreaths, and a big bag of potpourri. I had more than I needed. I got the gourds at the grocery store, for something like $5.


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I simply dismantled the smaller fall decor wreaths and glued the leaves and plastic pumpkins, as well as bits of potpourri, to the wreaths following the natural curve of the vines.


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It was simple, quick, and when I was finished, I had a pair of lovely fall wreaths that smelled great.


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I could have left them just as they were, nice and colorful and scented. However, I wanted to take these wreaths in a different direction. I wanted to make them more contemporary, to match my house a little better.

So, I took a can of spray paint and put a glossy white coat on everything:


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I love how the white emphasizes the shapes of the gourds and the wreaths!


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Not only that, but the white allows the wreaths to function for more than one holiday, simply by wrapping a ribbon around it, between the rows of potpourri. Check this out.

How cute is this Halloween ribbon!? I found it at Michael's on clearance. This is what my mantle currently looks like:


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I decided to try out a Christmas version of the wreath. I particularly like this ribbon, since the white in it, as well as the slanted lines, coordinates with the lines of the wreaths:


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You can find the Christmas version that I finally ended up using here - custom holiday decorating on a budget

I didn't stop there. I couldn't stop there. This is way too fun! I ran back to Michael's (thank goodness for those 40% off coupons on every receipt!) and picked up some more ribbon:


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I thought that the wreaths and gourds looked like porcelain, which led to this (my daughter's personal favorite version of the wreath):


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The possibilities are endless with such a blank canvas!! I can't help but scope out the ribbon aisle whenever I stop at a store that might have some. Oooh, I just had a thought, I bet that bunched up silky fabric would look great wrapped around the wreath, too!

Okay, I've got to stop now. I need to re-claim my life.

And take a shower.

And feed my children lunch.

(And buy some silky fabric!!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oooh! A possible solution to the Halloween dilemma!

Okay, so maybe there IS a way to celebrate Halloween on the wrong day! I saw this floating around Facebook yesterday (hope you don't mind if I borrow this, Shawn!) I had to share:

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If we're going to go trick or treating on November 1st, THIS is the way to do it.

I am going to do this at some point in my life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some holidays can't be celebrated on the wrong day.

Two years ago, we celebrated our first Christmas in true fire department family fashion — on a day other than the holiday itself. It amazed me how easy it was to move the date. Since we like to celebrate with our own little family in the morning when opening presents, it felt like Christmas.

I wasn't expecting it to truly feel like Christmas.

I thought our celebration would be a let-down in at least some small way. But it wasn't! The in-laws came over, we had our festive breakfast buffet, the kids had gone to bed after wrestling with excitement insomnia the night before — just like they do on the "real" Christmas eve.



I kept forgetting that it wasn't the 25th. Somehow, the wrong day felt right. Maybe that feeling was due to the sleep-deprived frenzy of wrapping presents the night before. Then, on the 25th of December, it seemed strange that the stores were closed. The right day felt wrong!

We went to the station to have dinner with Dad and his crew on the actual Christmas day. It felt like a normal station visit. We did what we always do at the fire station — cook dinner, sit around in the chairs, and if possible, spin in them.



(I don't know why all of the fire stations I've been to feel more like a glorified office rather than a home — office chairs, white/chalk boards, conference table, horrid blue fluorescent lighting, bad carpeting, and all. I would LOVE to get my hands on the station and re-decorate! The first thing to go would be that horrid lighting.)

After having done it a few times, I generally don't mind celebrating holidays and birthdays on the wrong day. Nine times out of ten, it is as good as the real thing. The biggest complication is working around the schedules of extended family — but usually, having a celebration on the wrong day makes it easier for Grandma and Grandpa to participate since there aren't conflicting social engagements. Everyone's available for Thanksgiving on Saturday.

Plus, the holiday pay is nice. :)

However, some holidays CAN'T be celebrated on the wrong day. Halloween is one of those days, along with the 4th of July (and other holidays with a parade or a large public display of some sort.)

There's really no non-intrusive way to go trick or treating on November 1st.

On those holidays, I do my best to keep up the traditions on my own. This year, I'm going to be wielding the double stroller at the local Trunk or Treat by myself again. I'm hoping that I won't have a repeat of last year's disastrous puke-filled excursion. I can't think about Halloween without remembering that long day.

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This year, I'm coming prepared. I'm stocking the stroller with bribery items, paci's, and activities. I'm freeing up my obligations at the event so that I can make a quick exit if needed. I don't have to drive my husband to work anymore since we're a two car family, so I won't have to try to squeeze in a long car ride early in the morning or deal with the havoc that the lack of sleep has on the kids' behavior. Having children that are a year older and wiser should help, too.

And, I'm taking a barf bag. Just in case.

(A bag different enough from the candy collection bags so as not to be confused!!!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Speaking of wreaths,

I'm guest posting today over at The Rehan Family! It's a tutorial for making these lovely kid-friendly, smell-good wreaths.

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(Seriously. I need to do something about my wreath addiction.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Wreath - A Preview

I'm working on a post about a wreath.

It's an extensive post that has taken me days to stage (hence my lack of writing here this week.) I'm super excited about it. I wasn't prepared to be super excited about a wreath. Who loses sleep over a wreath!? It's a sad state of affairs, this is. I will return to the land of the normal non-wreath-obsessed people next week.

In the mean time, since all of my energy has been spent on this lone project, all I have to offer you is a preview of the wreath post:

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Oh, but there's more. So much more...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Little Guy!

I'm excited. Four years old is one of my favorite ages.

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However, he insists that he's still three. I think he's trying to get a second birthday out of me.

Here is how his birthday went down, in picture form. I sent him off with is father while I decorated with my eager helper daughter.

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(Wrapping supplies were from the dollar store, of course.)

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Patiently waiting while I got the baby up from his nap:

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(Insert crashing car sound effects here:)

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His birthday dinner of choice:

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After all of the celebration, we had a massive, sudden, stunning orange-tinged downpour.

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My little birthday boy was so sweet. He didn't much care for the lightning. He curled up in my lap and buried his face in my shoulder, quaking each time a peal of thunder breached the walls of the house.

"Mom?"

"Yes, Honey?"

"Don't say 'yes.' Say 'what.'" He is pretty adamant about the correct verbiage.

"Okay. 'What', Honey?"

"I'm going to put my hands over my ears... Is that a happy choice?" He asked with his cute little mispronunciations. He's been asking if choices are happy or bad lately. It's very endearing.

"Yes, that's fine. Don't worry, I've got you." I held him a little closer, careful to navigate around those pointy elbows.

"...Mom?"

"What, Honey?"

"I SUPER don't like lightning."

The storm petered out, and he was back to crashing his cars and overloading on sugar. He may not have enjoyed the downpour, but I sure did! Bring on the rain!

And, for the record, he received some boots to go with his firefighter costume. :)
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