Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Prince Noah and the School Pirates by Silke Schnee


It’s time for young Prince Noah to go to school. The prince, who starred in the book The Prince Who Was Just Himself, may be a little slower than other students, but he has no less joy in learning. In his kingdom, children go to school on sailing ships. There is a ship for girls and one for boys. There is a ship for children with an eye patch, a ship for children with one leg, and a ship for children who are slower learners. No one knows why there are so many different ships, but it has always been that way.

Then a terrible storm drives the ships into the hands of pirates. The boys and girls realize that they will only escape if everyone does what he or she does best. Through their adventures, they learn that diversity makes us strong and that every person has something to teach us.

This delightfully illustrated fairy tale instills appreciation for children with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, making it a valuable aid for teaching tolerance in the home or classroom.


Having 2 children who have been diagnosed with different conditions (one with autism and one with ADHD with symptoms that mirror Asperger's), I was intrigued by the ideas behind this book. I understand wanting to have a story for kids that show that despite differences, all kids are special in their own unique way! 

Personally, I felt that this story could be great, if it wasn't so wordy. Each page had so many words to go along with the picture. I thought the pictures were very well illustrated, but the story itself was long-winded. I felt it took away from the story. 

According to, this book is meant for ages 4-9 and grades 3-7. (That seems contradictory to me, as age 4 is preschool and age 9 is 4th grade???) Anyhow, so I read it to my 4 year old and 6 year old sons. My 4 year old lost interest after the 2nd page. It was too long for him and he didn't want to look at the pictures. My 6 year old said that he liked the story, but "why was it so long?" After that, I had my 9.5 year old daughter read it to herself. She said that she liked the story and that her favorite part was how they all worked together to escape from the pirates. 

So, I like the premise and the message of the story, I just wish it was able come across in a shorter version. 

DISCLAIMER::I received this book for free from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My hysterectomy story: the first week

I am chronically my recovery from my TAH (total abdominal hysterectomy with tubes also taken) that I had on Tuesday August 23rd. To read about the day of surgery, you can go here


Tuesday night, I did end up getting hooked up to oxygen as my oxygen levels kept dropping when I would go to sleep. It was a reaction to the anesthesia and pain meds. Wednesday morning, I was awaken very early by the nurses to get vitals, take the oxygen off and to take my catheter out. The goal for that day was to get me to go to the bathroom and walk to and from the bathroom by myself and to control my pain. 

Couldn't sleep

Wednesday morning, I ordered breakfast of an omelet, blueberry muffin, bacon and fruit. I was told that if I ate then I would feel better. Well it took me almost 2 hours to eat my breakfast. Then I only ate about half of it. I will say that the food as the hospital was restaurant quality and not like your typical hospital food. 


Dr. Prior came in to see me and check my incision. He again told me that my uterus was a mess and that he had to do a lot internally. But my incision looked good and as long as I kept progressing he would have me released on Thursday. 

That morning, Bill took the kids to school and then came back to the hospital to be with me. Shortly after he arrived, a coworker of his arrived with his wife and they stayed for what seemed like forever. They finally left and I was exhausted. I don't remember much of our conversations with them. 

I was able to get up after they left and went to the bathroom which was a relief. 

Then it was time to order lunch. I ordered a cheeseburger, with strawberry shortcake and a salad. I was able to eat about half the cheeseburger and the shortcake. I really still did not have an appetite and it really hurt to move even with the pain pump. 

My mom came to see me and brought me a singing bear and a bag of stuff to adult coloring book, colored pencils, a puzzle book, and 2 candy bars. We chatted off and on for a bit. Bill left to get the kids and then he brought them back to see me. While they were there a really good friend stopped by to see me with her daughter as they were headed to her other daughter's volleyball game. They brought me a little thing of flowers. This friend is facing an upcoming TAH so I told her I would give her pointers. LOL. After they left, Bill convinced me to get the turkey for dinner as I really, really wanted mashed potatoes. It was the first time in a few days that I really wanted something to eat. 


After everyone left, I tried to eat dinner, but I just couldn't eat very much. I was able to go to the bathroom and it really hurt to get up and move. I was also beginning to experience really bad gas pains and cramping as I had been unable to pass gas since my surgery. This is a common problem as I was told. 
Later that afternoon, I was finally able to pass gas and was able to watch a movie ("Cast Away" with Tom Hanks). I didn't sleep very well that night as I just wanted to be home and I was frustrated with the pain level.

Thursday morning, the nurses got me up and I used the restroom and then sat in a chair for the first time since before my surgery. It felt good to be up. Dr. Prior came in and was glad to see me sitting in a chair. He okayed for me to be released that day. Bill came to visit after he took the kids to school.
I ordered another omelet for breakfast and I practically inhaled it. I was starving. It was so good. 

breakfast-- this was the first meal that was really, really good!

We waited around that morning for them to get me discharged, they had to take out my pain pump, and get my instructions, etc. They finally got everything done just as I was finishing up lunch. I was released around 1pm. 

feeling better, sitting up, ready to go home!

Once home, I was exhausted so I laid on the couch. My mom promised to bring Benjamin home around 5. Bill went and got the other 2 from school and they were so excited to have me home. My mom came and brought me zucchini bread. She stayed with me, while Bill took Rebecca to her softball game.  I don't remember much of Thursday night other than I was in pain and I just wanted to sleep. I tried sleeping in my bed that night. That was a mistake as it hurt like h*** to get up and out of bed to go to the bathroom. Bill tried to help me get up but it hurt so much. 

On Friday, I decided that the most comfortable place for me was in the recliner and I was able to sleep in it with relatively little pain. Friday I remember sleeping a lot during the day and taking long naps. I was also dismayed to see that I had come out of the hospital with "swelly belly" and I had gained 10 lbs because I was so swollen. The only clothes I can fit in are pajama bottoms and maxi skirts. Since I can't go anywhere I have been living in pj bottoms and tank tops. I also remember that I was in a lot of pain that day...still taking all my pain meds. It was a bad day. 

On Saturday, Bill had to work in the morning so I took a shower and then told the kids they could watch cartoons. I woke up an hour later and Rebecca said " Mommy, you fell asleep, but I watched the boys". Right after Bill came home, he had to take Rebecca to her softball game so a friend came over to make the boys lunch. The rest of the day was spent resting and relaxing and dealing with gas pains and constipation.  A family friend sent over pizza that night for dinner.

On Sunday, Bill's coworker and his wife stopped by unexpectedly and brought over a frozen lasagna and bread for dinner. They also made balloon animals for the kids. After they left, I took a shower and then sent Bill out to get some Milk of Magnesia to see if that would help with my constipation. While he was gone, my parents stopped by to see how I was doing. My pain was getting somewhat better. I was able to stop one of the pain meds and was able to go down to 1 pill of the other one. I was still very fatigued though and frustrated. Finally around 11pm that night, I was able to have a very small, painful bowel movement. It hurt like heck, but it felt good to be able to go as it offered a little relief.

Monday, seemed to be a better day. I was able to shower before the kids got up. Bill had to head back to work, so my mom came and took the older 2 to school for me. I was able to sit at the computer to write out a blog post. My pain was manageable.I had lots of energy and it didn't hurt as much to get up and down. I felt pretty good all day long. A friend brought over stuffed shells, salad, rolls and cookies for dinner! It was very yummy! After dinner, Bill had to head out to work so I was in charge of making sure the kids did their chores and got them to bed. I also straightened up the kitchen-- which was rinsing the dishes off and putting them in the dishwasher. I could feel my incision area starting to hurt when I was all done so I laid down in the recliner for the rest of the night until I had to let Bill in the house because he forgot his keys. 

Last night, I tried sleeping in my own bed. It wasn't too bad, as long as I had pillows under my knees. I kept waking up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom. This morning, I woke up exhausted. I was in a little bit of pain, but mostly exhausted. After I got the kids off to school (or rather, after my mom left with the kids to take them to school for me) I went back to bed and slept off and on for a few hours. This afternoon, I slept for about an hour and a half in the recliner. 

So one week out from surgery, my pain seems to be under control. I only took 1 prescription ibuprofen this morning and it seems to be helping to keep the pain of my incision at bay. My biggest issue today is the ITCHING in my stomach area. It seems like it is internal itching, which would mean that my insides are healing, but it is so annoying as scratching my numb stomach isn't helping at all. But I guess, I will take that instead of being in intense pain! 

So, I think I am on the road to recovery. This past week was a lot harder than I thought it would be. According to my papers from my doctor, week 1, I wasn't supposed to do anything except what I did at the hospital. Here in week 2, I can start adding back in light cooking and maybe riding in the car for a short distance. I can't really do anything else until I go see my doctor for my 2 week follow up, which is the Wednesday of next week....    

Monday, August 29, 2016

My hysterectomy story: the day of surgery

Well it has been almost a week since I had my total abdominal hysterectomy and got my tubes taken out as well. I want to say thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. It really meant a lot knowing that I had people that care about me. 

It has been a week of ups and downs and honestly, the recovery has been a lot harder than I have expected. Today was the first day I felt like sitting down at the computer to write about it.

So my hysterectomy was scheduled for 9am last Tuesday. I was supposed to be at the hospital at 7:30AM. Thankfully, my mom agreed to come take the kids to school and to take care of them that day until Bill was able to get them. After waking the kids up and crying with them, I kissed them all bye and Bill and I left for the hospital. The hospital is only 5 minutes away so that was nice. We arrived at 7:25. 

When we arrived, I signed in with ambulatory surgery and they had me go back to get ready and Bill was shown the waiting room. After going back and signing in, they showed me to my little area where they had me change into the hospital gown and put on non-skid socks. Then the nurse came in to start everything. As soon as she logged on to the computer, her phone rang. It was the operating room. Seems that my doctors first surgery patient was a no-show and they were wondering when I would be ready to go. They wanted to take me back as soon as I was ready. So another nurse came in to help. They inserted my i.v., shaved the area that needed to be shaved, put on compression things on my legs, and went through all the questions, etc. Then they allowed Bill to come back, where we were given a couple of minutes for the nurse to tell Bill what to expect while I was in surgery and that my surgery would be about an hour and that then I would be in recovery about 45 minutes and they would keep him updated. They also allowed us to say goodbye and I love yous before they wheeled me back to holding. 

When I got back to holding, my nerves really hit. I started shaking a little. My surgery nurse was so kind and kept telling me it would be alright. Within minutes of being taken back to the holding area, my anesthesiologist came back and talked about what they would do and that she would be with me the entire time. She could tell that I was nervous because my lips and chin were shaking. She promised to give me something to relax me, but first she wanted me to see Dr. Prior, because she said if she gave it to me before then I would be loopy and might try to kiss my surgeon. LOL. As soon as she left, Dr. Prior came in and reassured me that everything would be fine. That surgery would be about an hour and that it would all go great. After he left, the anesthesiologist and nurse came back in and it was time to roll. 

First the anesthesiologist gave me something in my IV to relax me. I remember being wheeled down the hall into the operating room, which was FREEZING! I was asked to move over from the bed to the operating table. A nurse told me that she would get warm blankets. Then a nurse was explaining that they needed to put my arms out to the side and she asked if I could move my right arm straight out, which I did. And then....that is the last thing I remember. 

* This is according to Bill and my doctor. The surgery itself took almost 2 hours versus the 1 hour that they thought. Dr. Prior encountered a lot of scar tissue that he was unaware of and according to him my uterus was a mess inside full of fibroids and scar tissue, etc.. My uterus was also attached to my bladder which he had to correct. Thankfully, my tubes looked great. However, we had agreed to take these as well as it reduces my risk of ovarian cancer. He was able to save my ovaries! My incision is longer than my c-section scar across my abdomen. I was also in recovery over an hour before I was moved to my room. 

The next thing I know, a nurse in recovery is telling me that they were going to take me to to my room in about 5 minutes to see my husband. I remember being a little uncomfortable but not in a ton of pain. Then I remember being in my room, and looking at Bill and seeing him smile at me. Bill told me later, that when they brought me into the room, they hit the corner of the bed on the door and I screamed but I have absolutely no recollection of this at all. 

My husband took a picture of me that afternoon. This probably 6 hours after surgery. 

I do remember being in a lot of pain most of the afternoon. Thankfully I didn't have to walk around as they had a foley catheter in me and I was on a morphine pain pump where I could hit the button every 7 minutes if needed. Believe me that day I needed it. I remember that they asked me to eat something liquid so Bill ordered me jello and they brought me orange jello with whipped cream. It was good, but it took me forever to eat it. I also remember the nurse bring me ginger ale and some kind of juice. 

I don't remember much of any of our conversations that afternoon. Bill said that I asked him the same questions over and over. I know that Bill left around 5 to go get our kids and that while he was gone my dad came by to visit. I thought he was only there like 15 minutes, but apparently he was there over an hour. I know that Bill brought the kids to see me and I was so glad to see them. During this time, I also had dinner which was chicken noodle soup and strawberry shortcake. I think I ate less than 1/4 of the soup and about half of the strawberry shortcake. 

Another photo taken post surgery by my husband.

After everyone left, I don't really recall much of anything, except that I think I slept off and on and only was awake when the nurses came in to take vitals or give me meds. I really don't remember much as I was in such a fog from the anesthesia and the pain meds. I do know that I was glad to have the surgery behind me, but also worried about what recovery was going to be like.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Truth about my past...

I am setting this up to publish ahead of time on Wednesday. Hopefully, I am recovering in the hospital from my hysterectomy and things are going well. I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers and I will be back as soon as I feel able to update everyone! 



A friend of mine posted this recently on facebook, and I thought I would share it here. Basically, you answer the questions to learn more about each other. Play along if you would like! 

Tattoos? 0
Marriages? 1
Divorces? 0
Pregnancies? 5
Children? 3 on earth, 2 in Heaven
Surgeries? 4
Gotten a ticket? Yes
Been to Jail? No
Shot a gun? No
Quit a job? Yes
Flew on a plane? No
Gone 100MPH in a car? No
Hit a deer? No
Carried a dead animal? No
Gone zip lining? No
Been in school detention/ suspension? Yes

So what about you? Ready to tell the truth?  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Easy dinner meals for my husband to make this week


As we head into this week, and as I am facing surgery tomorrow, I took everyone's advice and made sure we had easy to fix meals on hand for my husband to make this week. We are trying to keep things regular for the kids as much as possible, so I also took into mind what kinds of foods they like.

Instead of assigning different meals to each night like I would normally do, I have just made a list that my dear Husband can pick and choose from. Whatever isn't fixed this week will be moved to next week.

Here are the choices for this week: 

  • Lasagna (frozen in freezer)
  • Hamburger helper
  • Hot dogs and baked beans
  • Chicken patties with veggies
  • Macaroni and cheese and peas
  • Fish sticks, french fries and a veggie
  • Manwich, green beans and carrots
  • Waffles, sausage links, and fruit
  • Frozen pizza and fruit
I have every confidence in my husband's ability to feed the kids and to make things run smoothly this week and beyond. He has been great about helping out around the house and taking charge. He has really been amazing through all of this. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thanks and an update to my to-do list

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the kind words on my last post about my surgery date. I am freaking out, but I know that in the long run this is best for the well being of my life. I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers more than any of you know! 

Speaking of surgery, the other day I made a to-do list of things I wanted to get done before my surgery date. So let's see how I am doing on my list and what I still need to work on: 
  • Take the kids to get a new outfit and tennis shoes for school
  • Clean/straighten up our bedroom
  • All trash out to curb
  • Straighten boys' room
  • Go to library to get books for recovery time
  • Clean out the corner of the living room where I will be spending much of my time recovering
  • sweep living room, including under tv stand
  • dust living room
  • doctor appointment
  • mark school supplies
  • menu plan for this week and next week
  • write and schedule book review blog posts
  • pack bag for hospital
  • mop kitchen, dining room and bathroom floors
  • pay ALL bills for the rest of the month
  • Invoice and mail bills for 2 tutoring clients that still owe
  • text Dad to see if he can take Rebecca next Sunday to a show
  • Fill out paperwork for school
  • School open houses for kids
  • Kids back to school
  • Chore chart for kids for back to school 
So I am not doing too bad on my list. Really the 2 biggest things I want to get done that are still remaining is the dusting and sweeping of living room (since that is where I will be spending the majority of my time when I am home) and having my hubby mopping the floors. I haven't had a lot of energy this week, and my bleeding started again in earnest so I have been resting a lot! 

Today I haven't felt too bad. I did have a panic attack last night when I thought about next week, but I know that is normal. I took the kids to school today and then made a run to Kroger to get milk, yogurt and junk food to get through this weekend and for hubby for next week. Then I came home and laid down to rest. I find that I can be on my feet for a little bit and then if I sit and/or lay to rest then it is better for my body. 

I am hoping to get the rest of the cleaning done this weekend as I think I will be too busy stressing on Monday-- LOL. Actually I have a pre-op appointment at the hospital Monday and I am taking Monday to just try to relax

Well, I need to go feed the kiddos (it's pizza and movie night!)...Hope everyone has a lovely Friday night!    

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I have a date for surgery


So I met with my doctor yesterday morning for a pre-op appointment. Basically to sign final paperwork and to get this soap solution I have to use the night before and the morning of my surgery. He also confirmed that the plan is to take everything except my ovaries, unless he gets in there and sees something wrong with one or both ovaries. He also confirmed that I have a surgery date.

My surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, August 23. 

I have conflicting feelings about this. I will be glad to have the medical issues done. But I am also scared big time. 

I guess for now I am just glad to have a date. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Back to School

Today was back to school for the kiddos. Benjamin headed off to his second year of preschool. Jacob is entering 1st grade and Rebecca is entering 4th grade! Where oh where has time gone? 

Here's to a wonderful 2016-2017 school year for my kids! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Beach time, pool time and our anniversary

I am recapping our family summer vacation to Indian Beach, NC. To read more of our adventure, here are the days I have recapped so far: 
DAY 1: We went to Indian Beach
DAY 2: Ghost crabs and beach and pool time  
DAY 3: Fort Macon, Yummy food and date night
DAY 4: HOT weather and great ice cream
DAY 5, Part 1: Went to Raleigh to meet a friend from Australia
DAY 5, Part 2: 17 sea gulls and walking on the beach at night
DAY 6: Sunrise, Aquarium, mini-golf, Good food and Storms 

Saturday, July 16, was our last full day in Indian Beach, North Carolina. We had done everything on our list that we wanted to do during our vacation, so we just wanted to have a low key kind of day. Saturday also happened to be mine and Bill's 11th wedding anniversary.

We started the day out by going out to the beach for a final morning of playing in the ocean and building sand castles. There was relaxing in chairs and building in the sand and maybe a water fight or 2 with the kids and Bill. 

After our beach time, we decided to head out to The Village Market deli for lunch. I ended up having a yummy chicken salad croissant for lunch. While we were waiting for our food, Ben and I had fun taking silly selfies.

After lunch, we headed back to the condo and decided to spend some time at the pool. The kids loved being in the pool and Jacob even got brave and started putting his face in it. 

Later in the evening, Bill and I left the kids with my sister at the condo and decided to head out for our anniversary dinner. We ended up at a restaurant named "Flipperz" which is funny because I had told Bill before we went on vacation that I did not want to go there, as when we were there 2 years before the service was lousy and the food wasn't good. Well I am glad he insisted. The service was good and the food was also very good. 

I had a drink called a "flip-flop" which was rum, pina colada, and strawberry mix. It was YUMMY! For dinner, I had a steak that was really good as well. And since it was our anniversary, we shared a yummy chocolate lava cake! It was definitely extravagant but your anniversary only comes once a year, right? 

After our dinner, we decided to head back to the condo so that we could take one more walk on the beach at night. The weather was fantastic. The kids had fun filling up a bottle with sand to take home to remember our trip! 

During our walk, the kids had fun running in the waves and having fun. At one point, Rebecca fell backwards and got soaked and just laughed and laughed. It was a wonderful memory of our last night. 

The rest of the evening was spent, packing up all of our stuff, doing laundry, loading the van and getting things ready to leave the next morning. 

On Sunday morning, we returned our keys and headed back on the road to Ohio. It was bittersweet to leave the coast and I do miss it. Our drive home was uneventful, which was good. The kids did like that we stopped at McDonald's for lunch (as we had had a no fast food rule during the week). 

We got home in great time, glad to be back home and basking in the memories of our great week on the Indian Beach coast of North Carolina.