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Posts from the Living the Life Category

I was never really a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I’ve always thought it was kind of corny and never really cared about celebrating it. (You should tell someone you love them every day, right? Plus, crowded restaurants are the worst.) But then I married Greg, whose birthday is Valentine’s Day. And then I had kids, and kids make every holiday more fun and special. So this year I busted my butt a little bit trying to make things sweet and lovey-dovey for everyone.

Vada got to hand out some cute little valentine pouches in preschool. Remember when we were little and just handed out paper valentines? At least that’s how I remember it… Vada’s only 3 and there are 12 kids in her class – I think she got more candy on Valentine’s Day than she did on Halloween! I got the little valentines (which doubled as stickers) from Target a while ago and wanted to do something a little more special. Good thing I did because I would have looked like a complete slacker otherwise. The little baggies turned out exactly how I imagined them, which doesn’t usually happen for me. I don’t really consider myself a very creative or “crafty” person. (At least Pinterest makes me feel that way! AmIright?)

Then I made Greg’s special BDay/VDay heart-shaped brownies. Brownies are his favorite and he loves the edges the most. So when I make him brownies I usually just bake them in a muffin tin. (All edges! No fancy as-seen-on-TV pan needed.) Then I found a cute hearts tin a few years ago and I’ve been making these for his birthday ever since. I didn’t get as fancy this year as I have in years past, but they were still delicious.

I made a special Valentine’s Day Dunkin’ Donuts delivery for everyone at Press Press, made a Mill Mountain vanilla espresso cooler run for Greg, got chicken parmesan takeout for Greg’s birthday dinner (he loves chicken parm, I hate making it) and THEN surprised him the following night with a trip to Kabuki with a few friends, per his request. I also knit him a scarf and framed a family photo for his shop, gave him a case of his favorite Girl Scout cookies, Caramel deLites, and a cute little wooden robot for his desk. PHEW.

My birthday is the 9th, so I get spoiled then, and Greg gets most of the VDay glory. (A post about my extreme birthday spoils coming soon!) But he did surprise me with some pink roses and a card. Then the FedEx guy dropped off a special surprise – this cute little heart ring that was supposed to be backordered until the end of the month, but just so happened to show up on Valentine’s Day. How sweet, Anthro :) I’ve wanted that thing for SO long.

So, there are little bits of Valentine’s Day still lingering around the house, and I don’t really mind it. Maaaaayyyyyybe I’m slowly turning into a VDay-lover… ♥

Vada had to decorate her Valentine’s Day box for preschool. Apparently we are weirdos and don’t have a single shoe box in our house, so I had to make do with an old box of “sanitary napkins.” Ha! I hope the teachers don’t notice. Vada was SO excited to make this thing and I think it’s SO adorable. Vadez picked out the papers I used to cover the top, then I wrapped everything in inside-out Christmas paper and she went to town coloring. I found as many little Valentiney arts and crafts nicknacks as I could and let her stick them all over the outside with some glue dots.

Vada's Valentine's Day BoxI love it when she writes her name. And do you see her “keekat” with the flower nose? LOVE.

Vada's Valentine's Day BoxThese are the types of things I live for and have always dreamed about. I hope they look back on these little memories as fondly as I know I will. ♥

I had so many mixed emotions following my diagnosis of Graves’ Disease. At first I was relieved and happy, almost excited that I actually had a problem (I wasn’t just a crazy hypochondriac!) and that the problem was treatable. I was scheduled to have radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) in two days, and I would be on my way to feeling better!

Then I started googling*. I wasn’t very familiar with Graves’ because it hadn’t really occurred to me to look into it. I honestly thought I had postpartum thyroiditis, which is usually a temporary problem that fixes itself. Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid, causing it to overproduce thyroid hormones, which speeds up everything in your body. It causes sweating, tremors, increased heart rate and palpitations, weight loss and muscle weakness, just to name a few of the symptoms I have experienced.

During my googling, I learned that President George Bush and his wife Barbara Bush both have Graves’, along with Missy Elliott and even an Olympic champion, Gail Devers. I also learned about the potential of Thyroid Eye Disease (or Graves’ Eye Disease) which is when I started to freeeeaaaaak out. Looking at the pictures was literally making me sick with fear, especially after learning that treating the thyroid doesn’t clear you of the potential for eye problems. What. The fuck. Reading Graves’ and thyroid message boards about horror stories of becoming hypothyroid and gaining tons of weight didn’t make things easier. (I imagined my eyes bulging out of my head, going blind and gaining 50 pounds. Greg would be disgusted by me and wouldn’t love me anymore, my girls would be embarrassed of me, etc.) Then there were the people who said they NEVER FELT BETTER, EVER – Even after treatment. Or claims that radioactive iodine gives you CANCER. Things like that. I was so scared out of my mind.

So, the morning  after they called me with my diagnosis, I called my nurse completely bawling. Uncontrollably sobbing like a hysterical, blubbering idiot. I had written down questions to ask her about Graves’ and my RAI  appointment so I wouldn’t forget, but I could barely even talk. I was so embarrassed. She was very nice about everything and answered all of my questions (once I calmed down enough to ask them.) The major eye problems only happen to a very small percentage of people with Graves’ and she assured me that radioactive iodine is safe, doesn’t cause cancer (they actually give RAI in an much, much higher dose to thyroid cancer patients!) and that it is the number one treatment option for Graves’ Disease.

If left untreated, Grave’s can be fatal. Luckily, there are 3 treatment options:
1. Antithyroid medication – Some lucky few people can take these medications and go into remission from Graves’ for at least a while. Most people though, become hyperthyroid almost immediately after stopping the medication. The drugs have side effects including liver problems and a lowered white blood cell count, making it difficult for your body to fight infections.
2. Thyroidectomy – Your thyroid is surgically removed. There are the obvious risks of surgery (like infection), but there is a risk of damaging the vocal cords (resulting in a hoarse voice for life) or nicking the parathyroid glands, which control calcium levels in the body.
3. Thyroid Ablation with Radioactive Iodine (RAI) – The thyroid gland loooooves iodine and sucks it up like crazy. So by ingesting radioactive iodine, you are poisoning the thyroid (or “ablating” it) without damaging other tissues in the body.The thyroid slowly dies over the course of about 6-18 weeks. There are very few risks involved with RAI, besides thyroid storm (which can be fatal but is very rare) and lifelong hypothyroidism.

On November 30th, 2012, I swallowed 15 mCi of radioactive iodine.

To be continued…

*Just a little note about researching things on the internet. Remember not to believe everything you read. If you’re having a chronic medical problem, go to the doctor. And remember, if you’re diagnosed with something, personal experiences on the internet will always be skewed toward the negative. You won’t find many positive experiences because the people who are happy and well aren’t sitting around writing about their disease or whatever, they’re out living their lives!

We did our first 5K! I had never been in a race before and thought the Color Me Rad race would be a perfect first, since it’s not really serious and mostly just about having fun and getting dirty!  (They don’t even time it.) We started off all clean, nervous and a little chilly. Our team (Greg, Vada, Josh, Lindsay and me) wore matching white Press Press Merch hoodies and the colorful sunglasses we got in our race packets :) 5,200 people showed up at the Virginia Tech campus to participate – the place was packed!

We ran a little bit, but mostly just walked quickly (and Vada rode her trike.) We were really excited about arriving at our first color bomb spot where we got sprayed with yellow. Next was blue powder, then we were sprayed with green… and eventually ended up completely filthy and colored from head to toe in a rainbow of colored cornstarch! Vada even got it in her mouth at one point and ended up with blue teeth. It was hilarious!

It felt so good to cross that finish line and accept my well-deserved granola bar. Even though we didn’t run, I’m still proud of us for getting out there and doing it! Now that I’ve broken the ice, I can see myself doing more 5Ks in the future. I’m still not sure I’ll ever be able to actually run one. Maybe another silly one like a mud run? We’re definitely doing Color Me Rad again next year! ♥

Vada had her first day of preschool this Wednesday! (I was so nervous dropping her off, like it was my first day of school or something…) They have this car line where the teachers come out to the car and take the kids and bring them into the school and then bring them back out to your car when you pick them up. It’s supposed to help build the kids’ trust in the teachers, and it’s pretty awesome. I was really worried that Vada would cry and freak out when the teacher came to get her, but she handled it like such a big girl! No crying at all. We went to orientation the week before, so she got to meet her teachers and see her classroom and everything, which I think definitely helped. She had sooooo much fun. Like the most fun ever. She’s already coming home singing new songs and telling me all about things they learned and won’t shut up about how she “LOVES PRESCHOOL!” It’s adorable.

Right now, she’s going three days a week, but I’m thinking I might try to get her in there Monday through Friday. It’s only four hours long, so we are still able to get some hang time in the afternoons and evenings. I don’t know, they just do so much there! And since she loves it so much (the day she didn’t go, she kept saying “I miss my preschoooooollllll…..”) I just feel like it would be great if she spent those four morning hours being enriched and having all that interaction with other kids rather than just hanging around the house or at Greg’s shop. Today they painted place mats, made applesauce and played on the playground! Come on. That’s way more than I can offer her in four hours right now since I’ve got the baby to tend to all the time. My original plan was to have her go three days a week this year and then five days next year, but I don’t know. We’ll see! I’m just so happy she loves it. I hope she loves school for a really long time. ♥

 

Vada has this little, pretty much indestructible digital camera that we got for her last year. I just uploaded all of the pictures onto my computer – hilarious! It’s so neat to see things from a three year old’s perspective. I hope she goes through at least a photography “phase” when she gets older. I think she’s got an eye for it ;)


1. Casper, our dog
2. Vada’s foot
3. Josh at Press Press
4. Some Nick Jr. and our dining room light
5. The Starbucks barista. Seeing this one made me laugh a lot because I remember her asking me, “Mama, can I take a picture of the guy?” :)
6. Snacks on the coffee table
7. Liza
8. One of her apps on the iPad
9. Me
10. Vada
11. More snacks on the coffee table with books and a baby bottle
12. Bentley at Press Press

I got Vada some new shoes for back to school! She needed new ones because her old ones were getting filthy looking and because all of a sudden her feet grew an inch over night. I swear, I put her shoes on her feet one day and they were fine, then the next day I could barely squeeze them on! These kids and their growing…

I actually got her two new pairs of Toms: the sparkly mary janes up there (which are the cutest ever!) and another pale pink pair of classics, but the pink ones came messed up. One was dingy looking like it had been worn in the dirt, which I would have tolerated (they’re just going to get dirty anyway) but the other one had blue pen marks all over the top! So weird. Anyway, those are going back.

Vada starts preschool in a couple of weeks and I’m both excited and nervous. I’m so excited for her to play with other kids a few days a week. I think she’s going to have a blast! I’m looking forward to hearing everything she learns while she’s there. They have music and Spanish classes every day, which I think is so, so cool. I can’t wait to see the cute artwork she brings home and to go watch their Christmas performance this winter, which is sure to be hilarious. But I’m also just a little nervous to see how she behaves. Will she be cooperative and listen and get along with the other kids? But what I’m most nervous about though, are things she might pick up from other children. Please, Vada, be a goody two-shoes! ♥