Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes I Feel Like I Need A Bullhorn!

I'm a bit ranty this morning.  My computer is telling me that ranty is not a word but I assure you it is.  So why am I so fired up this morning? 

Because I witnessed yet another parent taking their child to school without a proper seat harness on!

Now, I am a firm believer in not telling people how to parent their kids.  I may offer suggestions or tell you what worked for us but in no way do I doll out the advice anymore.  I have learned my lesson.  No one likes unsolicited advice anyways.  But this isn't advice. 

This is plain o freakin common sense!


Yes, I understand that you ONLY live a few blocks from school.  I DON'T CARE. 

Okay, let's say that you are a great driver and you have confidence that nothing will happen.  Guess What?  I still don't care.  There is a reason they are called accidents.  You can trust yourself all you want but that doesn't stop anyone else from hitting you.

It's a school zone, people drive safe.  Really?  Then why did our city hand out over two hundred tickets during their crackdown the first week of school?  

ANYTHING can happen in those few blocks and heaven forbid you get t-boned or rear ended, YOUR KID is going to be the first one who gets injured because they weren't strapped in properly.  If your car is in motion your kid should be strapped in.  You love them don't you?  Then stop playing the cool parent and letting your child play in the back seat or hang out of the damn window.  It is YOUR responsibility.  Not your five year olds.  I see you buckling yourself in but not your kid?  What is wrong with you?  Do you really need a list of things NOT TO DO? 

DON'T put them in the front seat if they are not old enough. 
DON'T let them hang out of the window.
DON'T throw them in the back seat and drive off.  (I'm looking at you red truck with the lift kit and the racing stickers)

MAKE sure your child is in the proper car seat and buckled in.  

This morning I saw someone take their kindergartener to school in the front seat.  EVERY single day I am watching multiple parents leave school without making sure their child/children are properly seated and buckled in.  It takes two minutes of your time and could save their life if anything happens.  So I don't understand why parents would take that unnecessary risk.  That is why I am so fired up.  It's so simple but seems to be something so many people are missing.  I feel like a crazy lady on the corner with a bullhorn.  I may start screaming at people.

CDC-Child Passenger Statistics

California Department of Public Health-Car Seat Basics

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Try The Gray Stuff...It's Delicious.

While looking through my pictures, I found some random shots I took from the last Disneyland trip.  This last trip seemed to be all about the food.  I'm already a self proclaimed foodie.  I love trying new stuff!  A few years ago, before we had a kid we ventured to Disneyland and hated the food.  We tried a couple of places and we were totally grossed out. 

I am happy to say that the park has stepped up their food game. 

So the gray stuff I was talking about?  The Worcestershire Cream Sauce on the Cajun Meatloaf.  This was from the French Market.  I love Worcestershire sauce already but they turned it into something very yummy.  We recently rediscovered the French Market.  It has become one of our favorite stopping places.  We hang out there for snacks at the Mint Julep Bar and relax under the shade.  If you wait around long enough the live band comes out and plays.  This is one of Clover's favorites.  She loves dancing to the live music. 

Also gray? The seasonal dessert!  

I did manage to work off any desserts that I had.

Before our trip I picked up a FitBit Flex bracelet.  I've always been curious to how much we walk around the park.  One small hiccup in the device is that I noticed that it doesn't do a good job of picking up the steps while I am pushing the stroller.  Yes, my child is five and I still use a stroller.  It works really well at navigating the crowds and gives her a place to take her twenty minute power naps.  

Speaking of navigating, it was a little tricky navigating my food options this trip.  I have still been having tummy troubles and have temporarily given up dairy.  So that means no afternoon ice cream.  Yeah I was totally bummed out too but I found lots of alternatives.  Some of them of the not sweet variety.  One of our favorites...

 Yum!  Take some time and enjoy a corn break. 

 Our buddy was very fond of the corn also.

 At one point I was feeding the duck out of my hand which I think makes me a true Disney Princess.  

This sauce, y'all!  Hot and Spicy on a Banyan Beef Skewer.  Seriously...this sauce.

We have our favorites that we start drooling over on the drive down there.  We affectionately call this "Meat on a stick".  We usually hit this the first day in the park.  I had never been here until last year when my friend mentioned the bacon wrapped asparagus at the Bengal Barbecue.  It's that place that makes Adventureland smell so good.  It serves...meat on a stick.  There is some gratifying about walking around the park all day and then sinking your teeth into some meat on a stick.  My favorite is a Banyan Beef.  But seriously that sauce is hot.  So this time to save my tastebuds and my grumpy tummy, I ordered a Bengal Beef and ordered the Hot and Spicy on the side.  It was a lot easier to control the heat on my meat.  Does anyone have the recipe for this sauce?  Because I feel like that hole I am missing in my life could be because I can't make this sauce at home.  Tie your napkin around your neck cherie, because this stuff gets messy.  Maybe next time I should just bring a container and take it home.  Think they would sell it to me by the gallon?

I would love to go on and on about my favorite park food but the five year old is currently barking at my chair.  So off I go.  And just in case my title gave you and earworm here is the song from Beauty and the Beast.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hey Juju, Why Do You Love Tacos So Much?

So Clover's school had a book fair.  I originally had planned on NOT buying anything since we just did an old school paper book order the week before.  I thought I had went in with an iron willpower not to purchase anything and that was quickly thrown aside because hello...books!  I firmly believe that you can not own enough books.  So this one caught my eye.  It's called Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin.

I love it!  Why?  Because I love tacos.  If you replaced the word "dragon" with the word "Juju", you would have the entire first chapter of my autobiography!  

Friday, November 8, 2013

So What is Wrong With Your Head?

Recently, I've had a few questions about my neck/head so I thought I would do a quick write up.  

Hi!  My name is Juju and I have a Chiari (key-are-ree) Malformation.  You can read up on the link if you really wish but I will give you a bit of a run down.  My brain stem sits a little lower than it should. It's amazing how a few millimeters can make that much of a difference.   

I've more than likely always had this.  It is possible for people to live with this condition literally their whole lives and not know they ever had it. 

Out of nowhere I started presenting symptoms.  Two years ago in December I was driving my daughter to dance class.  We were already running late and I can tell you I was pretty stressed out.  Looking back I'm not even sure why I was stressed out.  Clover was yelling at me from the back seat.  She had dropped something and in typical lil kid fashion it was the end of her world.  I whipped back around and handed her her toy, when I turned around to drive, I got dizzy.  Like the world is spinning dizzy.  Within a second it was over.  I turned the corner to dance class and waited it out.  After a little while I felt better but this spurred three months of doctor visits to figure out what in the heck was wrong with me.  Doctor number One said it was my ears.  Doctor number Two said it wasn't.  Doctor number Three sent me to a heart specialist.  Doctor Number Four said it was a panic attack.  Doctor number Five put a heart monitor on me for twenty four hours.  Doctor number Six put my head under a machine and found my Chiari Malformation.

So about three months later they had me somewhat figured out.  So now there was a diagnosis.  What is the treatment?  There really isn't any.  Other than having brain surgery.  There are two different types of surgery they can do.  They can put a shunt in to help the fluid flow more smoothly into my brain or they can push my brain back in my head.  Fun stuff right?  Not to mention pretty scary.  Right now my symptoms are manageable.  The list of things that I can do is far longer than the list of things I can't do.  And for that I am happy.  This may change in the future and that thought scares me but for now all I can do is take it one day at a time. 

Yes, sometimes my neck hurts.  My shoulders ache and some days I just feel totally off.  But I can still go grocery shopping, take care of the house and blog!  I am still taking care of my family and myself.  I have learned how to make adjustments to my life and some of my initial symptoms have faded.

Because my doctor does not want me aggravating my neck, she has me on restricted or short distance driving.  This has been the biggest hurdle.  Not to mention it has killed my social life.  It sucks.  I am very lucky to have a small but great group of friends who don't mind driving all the way over here to hang out with me.  I am very blessed that I have family and friends who don't mind taking a trip to the craft store or helping me get my daughter to dance.  I feel like every time something comes up I am conducting an orchestra to get us where we need to go.  I have swallowed my pride on more than one occasion.  I have also bought my share of gas cards.  My poor husband who hates shopping has taken his fair share of trips to Target.  It's been really challenging letting go of my independence.  To ask and rely on someone to help me out has been a very humbling experience.  It has also shown me how appreciative I am to have great people in my life.  My only hope is that someday I can repay their kindness.

I know in the beginning there was a lot of "why me" conversations with myself.  There was a pity party or two where the only person there was me.  I should have at least made myself a party hat!  Even though I have to wear a neck brace for five hours a day and can't jump on a horse and ride off into the sunset, I like to think I still sit on the positive side of things. 

Not that there is a whole lot of sitting going on around here.  I've got stuff to do!               




Thursday, November 7, 2013

Being Proactive on the Woman Issues

Disclaimer:  This post is going to talk about women issues so this is your warning.  If you keep reading that's on you. 

I used to dread going for my yearly physical.  I wont even try to lie.  I still dread it.  Even if you are prepared there are a hundred and one things you would rather do (like listen to dubstep) than getting a pap smear.  But I go. 


Because it's important.  It's preventative.

I used to not always be so preachy about getting poked.  Then my husband's aunt got diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Here is the part where all the smarty parties tell me that a pap smear doesn't screen for Ovarian Cancer, and you are right.  It doesn't but it will all make sense by the time I get to the end of the post. 

She was diagnosed right around the time we found out we were pregnant with Clover.  I spent more than a few afternoons sitting and knitting in a hospital room while his aunt was working hard to recover.  Originally she went in because she was having stomach issues.  Turned out that a mass the size of an orange that was in her uterus was pushing on her intestines.  She was in her sixties and had never had a physical.  She just didn't believe in them.  Had she even gone in a few years before, they could have felt it as part of her pelvic exam before it was as large as it was.  She had many surgeries to try to remove it all and in the end it bought her a couple of years.  She was a very strong and stubborn woman.  We tried to make the most of the time we were given and I'm glad that my daughter got to meet someone I had admired.  Unfortunately, three years after she was diagnosed her body could no longer keep up and she passed away.

If I took anything away from that experience other than to cherish the time we have, it's to be proactive and make sure I get my yearly poke.

I know it sucks and it's uncomfortable to sit there and for some reason the doctor always wants to talk with your legs in stirrups.  But go do it!  If not for you than for a random internet stranger.  Buy yourself some good chocolate after as a treat or get a pedi as a bribe.  Whatever you gotta do!