So a couple of years ago, I signed up to be a BzzAgent. This is where they send you coupons or samples of products to try and talk about. Most of the products I've "tested" so far have ranged from pretty good to awful. Never got anything that made me say, "This is the best stuff ever." That is until now. I sampled the Burt's Bee Sensitive facial cleanser and moisturizer. Now, if it were just for me, I would have said, "Eh, it's OK. Nothing special." However, I've also been using it on Monster. That's where the rating jumps! Monster has super dry skin in the colder months and it's aggravated by the chlorine from the pool. I've been using the wash and moisturizer on him and his skin is looking great! There was an improvement in just two days. I've actually been using the wash on his whole body and not just his face. I highly recommend this to anyone with ultra sensitive, dry skin. I would think that being Burt's Bees it would be pricier than other products, but it's very comparable. I will definitely be buying more!
The reading program at school is not challenging enough for Monster. So, to supplement and make sure he's not bored, he gets a note every day on the fridge from me. It's been working out great. He's so excited to see what the note says that he remembers phonics rules and uses context clues like a champ. Here are some examples of our daily notes.
In a previous craft post, I had said I go through stages. Just went to Hobby Lobby and spent, well, too much. However, since I've been home, I've already got about 40% of another project completed. Can't work on it anymore until Sunshine gets up. I also fixed a book binding using this tutorial. It's a good thing I had Monster with me or else I would have gotten way more stuff than I should have. As it is, when I got home, Husband wondered what the big canvases were for....I can't wait to do those! I guess I have to be in this for a while now so I can actually USE the stuff I bought. Husband is threatening to delete my Pinterest account if I don't stop soon though!
Most Advent calendars have candy or little trinkets or just little pictures. Ours has acts of kindness. I know it's a bit early to be thinking about this, but being as I'm making the Advent Calendar (or Christmas Countdown as we call it), I need a bit of a head start. Today we started. Monster and I came up with a list of 25 acts of kindness. Even Sunshine came up with one all on her own. I have to say, we've got some good ones. I'm really impressed with Monster's ability to understand kindness and helping others. He was sort of funny because for a couple of the things he asked if we could just put those things at the top because we should do them every day. What an awesome kid!
Here are some examples of our acts (not posting them all because if you're a recipient, what fun would it be to know ahead of time). Also, a picture of the finished product will come...eventually.
Monster is super excited about this and because he is, so is Sunshine. I'm excited for them. What joy they will bring!
When it comes to medical issues, I tend to go the more traditional route with some holistic thrown in. I use essential oils and take supplements and try to manage pain without meds. I love yoga and I meditate. However, when it comes to the big stuff, I go traditional. Had my kids in the hospital with epidurals. Get my kids vaccinated (but no flu shot...that's a whole other issue though). So when I started gaining weight like crazy, I went to my doctor and got my thyroid tested. Results were normal. "When women get older, sometimes they just gain weight", was the answer I got. Since my neck and back are so bad and exercising causes physical pain, I needed to just suck it up and pray I'd be skinny again someday.
Yesterday, I went to a new doctor for my neck. His practice also deals in holistic medicine. He ran a large battery of tests, all without needles, testing for things my other doctors never even considered. They tested my calcium levels, my liver enzymes, my adrenal function, and iodine levels, among other things. Found out some really interesting stuff. For example, if you are iodine deficient, it messes with your thyroid, yet it doesn't show up in blood work. The iodine test was a patch test. Basically, he puts iodine on your skin and sees how fast it's absorbed. The patch is supposed to last over 24 hours. Mine was almost completely gone by 9 hours. Now, I'm not a doctor, but I'm guessing that's not good. It could explain a lot though. Then of, course there is the main issue of my neck and back. He did all sorts of testing that other doctors never did. It really boils down to that all my issues could be caused by one little disc. Depending on the way the disc is deteriorating, it could be reducing blood flow. He took x-rays to see what's going on there. Now, all these other issues I'm having could be completely unrelated, but at least I'm getting some sort of answers.
I'm really not sure how I feel about this new doctor yet. The office staff seems a bit too nice. How can too nice be a problem? I just don't trust it. That's the big city in me. Everyone there seems to love their jobs. It's just not natural. But, a good friend of mine told me that I don't need to make any decisions now. She reminded me that it's my body and I know what I'm comfortable and not comfortable doing. I go back Monday for results and a plan of action. I guess that will be decision point. If I had to decide right now, I'd go with it. I need some relief. I can't continue in this much pain every day. Part of me is scared though that nothing is going to work. Have to get that out of my head. I also have to get it out of my head that I will be "fixed" after one day. Whatever I decide, it's going to be a long road. Thankful I have such a great support system to come along with me.
As a rule, I tend to stay away from topics that I don't have a lot of facts about. Even if my opinions are strong, if I can't back them up with fact, I try to steer clear of getting into discussions about them. I'm about to break my rule.
Last night, I got a phone call from a new doctor that I'm going to see for my neck issues. They called just to get insurance information. The exact wording, "We need to know what insurance provider you have so we will know what treatments we can provide." Shouldn't the treatments be based on my condition rather than my insurance? Can I see the medical degrees of the people who make up the insurance policies so that I know they can tell me I truly don't need a certain treatment? Since when is it OK that we leave our health up to people who have never met us and have no medical experience?
Even though my neck is a huge issue for me, it's a tiny issue in comparison. A good friend of mine's husband has Crohn's. He's been very sick lately. Doctors were unable to give him the treatment he needed when he needed it because of insurance. Really? A life literally hangs in the balance and doctors can't help because someone sitting behind a desk crunching numbers deems it as unnecessary? How about have this happen to the person making the "rules" and then have them see if it's necessary or not.
Then there's testing. What tests are covered and which one aren't. My mom is going through this now. She is responsible for calling and verifying with her insurance company that a test her doctor highly recommends is covered. If not, what, she just can't get it? This test is to determine if she needs to have her ovaries removed. Um, kind of a big deal, don't you think? Why would this test not be covered? I love when I go to the doctor and there are all sorts of signs that tell you it is your responsibility to find out where your insurance company allows labs to be sent. So, apparently if someone is having tests run, it's not bad enough, but then they have to make sure the insurance company says its OK.
In the past 30 years, insurance has gotten crazy. It has pretty much taken over the medical field. It dictates who can have what done and when. Since being on my own, I've had crappy insurance and good insurance. With our crappy insurance, it covered nothing until we met our $5000 deductible. Literally. First $5000 of expenses were completely out of pocket. Needless to say, we never went to the doctor because we didn't have $5000 to spend. When Monster was born, we were still on that insurance. We were lucky because the only thing it did cover were child vaccinations. Each time we set foot in the doctor's office, it was a minimum of $100, but that's nothing compared to the cost of vaccinations. When Sunshine was born, we had "good" insurance. We had an awesome pediatrician. Took Sunshine in for her vaccinations. Then, we got a bill. Well, there must be some mistake. This is good insurance, vaccinations are covered 100%. Yes, 100% when they are coded correctly. Luckily for us, the Cleveland Clinic codes the vaccinations as a hospital procedure, which, guess what, insurances don't pay. I am thankful that I got someone from the CC that didn't know what he was doing when I called to complain the first time around. Because of who I talked to and how things were phrased, when I went in for round two of vaccinations and accrued a $2000 bill, it was waived because of misleading information on the CC's part. However, after that, I had to go to the Health Dept for vaccinations. Now, tell me, how is it I can get a bill from the doctor for $2000 for vaccinations, yet go to the Health Dept and pay $40? Does that make sense?
France has one of the best health care systems in the world. They also have some of the healthiest people. French doctors are paid based on how healthy they keep their patients. Yes, that's right, how healthy they keep their patients. For this reason, French doctors still make house calls. You can call your doctor for the slightest sniffle. And here's the kicker, the government pays. Yes, the French pay taxes for it, but no one is denied good medical treatment. How is good medical treatment for everyone a bad thing? I can't figure out why it's not like that in the "land of opportunity".
I've been with Husband 16 years. That's almost half of my life. Little did I know he was so "crafty". On one of our autumn hikes, he made Monster and Sunshine nature shakers. He took dried milkweed pods, put some pebbles in them, and tied them with blades of grass. The kids loved them!!!
Autumn is my favorite time of year. The temperatures, the smells, the foods. Everything about autumn makes me happy (except knowing feet of snow are on their way). I love being outside in autumn. Luckily, I have a family that loves being outside all the time. Our local park district has a program where you hike the different parks in the county and get receive a backpack and a pin every year following. So, this family decided to take the trekking challenge. We completed it this weekend. Here are some pictures of our autumn walks.
As a short side note...all of these are in order of the weeks we did them. If you notice the clothing, you'll notice that just week to week there were some crazy weather changes! Still love this time of year though!
Yesterday was an amazing day for observing the growth in my children. I never ceases to amaze me what wonderful people my kids are becoming and how much they know and what they can do. Monster has been very into cutting paper lately. I think it's because they do a lot of cutting at school to make mini-books. Whatever the reason, Sunshine now wants to do it, too, since she needs to be exactly like her big brother. She would cut using the two handed method. I would be "requested" to hold the paper while she used both hand on the scissors to cut. Yesterday, she and Monster were sitting at the kitchen table. He was explaining to her where to put her fingers in the scissors (which I've done a million times). Then, all of a sudden, she did it. She just started cutting. And cutting well. She was so proud of herself that she must have cut up at least 3 pieces of construction paper just to "show Daddy" when he got home because he'd be "so poud". That may seem like nothing, but it's the beginning of so many other things.
Then there was Monster yesterday. At naptime, we were reading Danny and the Dinosaur. Sunshine did something that required me to stop reading on page two for all of 10 seconds. However, that pause was apparently too long for Monster. He took over reading. He read the whole book, word for word. There were three words in the whole book he needed help with, and even those he figured out on his own when he sounded them out. I knew he was a good reader, but he mostly just reads me short books. I was beyond proud. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops! Monster loves learning, so being able to read this young opens so many doors for him.
Monster and I also did a science experiment yesterday while Sunshine was napping. Monster loves science. He will tell anyone who will listen that he's going to be a scientist when he grows up. He's been wanting to do a lot of experiments lately. However, most take a lot of time. I found one that takes no time at all, so we made mini-volcanoes. He loved it. We discussed the reactions and made observations and he even conducted his own experiment based on something else he observed. It was fascinating watching his brain work. That stuff never interested me. In fact, I really just don't care about science. Watching him and the wonder in his eyes makes me want to learn as much as I can so I can teach him.
My kids are growing up. Everyday it's something new. Everyday I amazed by them. Where did my babies go?