Tuesday Troubles

Stolen (with permission!) from Jen at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom!
The troubles:
-  My parents have gotten really into hiking and they frequently do 14ers. My dad hiked to Everest base camp last year, and will be climbing Mount Rainier next month. Well, R had a sleepover with them on Sunday and after seeing pictures of their hike she absolutely begged N and I to take her on a hike today. We chose a simple path in a canyon not 10 minutes from our house, and maybe half a mile up she goes "I want to go home and watch My Little Pony. I am SO tired of this." I was doubled over laughing at her hilarious little 'tude. Hank was struggling to so we headed back down. I'm hoping we can do a more sucessful hike in the future!
- Speaking of Hank struggling, that is my biggest trouble right now. A few weeks ago at the dog park someone pointed out to me that Hank was limping. It was very slight, and I hadn't even noticed it. Well it hasn't gotten better and although it hasn't gotten worse we decided to take him to the vet. He had to get an x-ray (my good boy didn't even need to be sedated!) and it showed that there's a problem with his shoulder joint. The doctor said it's either an injury that hasn't healed yet, or it's a condition called Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) that occurs when bigger dogs grow too fast and their cartilidge develops abnormally.

Right now our plan of action is to rule out an injury, and help him overall, by giving him an anti-inflammatory medication and a joint supplement. If he doesn't get better than it's certainly OCD and he's going to need surgery or else he could end up permanent lame. Today's exam, x-ray, and medications cost $500 and that could be just the tip of the iceberg if he needs more work done. I knew we were taking a chance getting a breed known for having health problems and a short lifespan, but you never think something will happen to your pup until it actually happens. I'm hoping he feels better and can avoid surgery for both his sake and my bank accounts sake.

- I'd especially like to save money because remember how I took R to the doctor a few weeks ago? We talked to her doctor for maybe 5 minutes and then she had a chest x-ray to determine that she had viral (as opposed to the more serious bacterial) pneumonia. Well would you like to know how much in medical bills we've received for that? Oh just another cool $500. N makes good money and yet we live paycheck to paycheck for this reason. So frusturating!

Ok enough with the negative! Here are some non-troubles:
- R had a sleepover with my parents Sunday night and my mom gave N and I her credit card to be used on whatever date dinner we wanted! How nice is that?! We went to this delicious pizza placed called Mellow Mushroom and I may have ordered two appetizers, a pizza, and a dessert to go and totally regretted even looking at that much food. I didn't eat much of it, but you know, it's nice to get a sampling sometimes, hahaha. It's so nice having time with just N and I. We both always miss R like crazy but she's just so much work.
- My hair has been cherry red for a few weeks now, and I have been getting SO many compliments on it! I don't mean for that to come across as arrogant- trust me, they're not complimenting anything else on me!- but I've never gotten so many compliments on my hair in my life! I actually thought my hot pink hair looked a lot cooler but I got a lot less compliments and a lot more weird looks. I wasn't planning on keeping it red after this dye job fades but maybe I will!
Remember the photoshoot fiasco? Here's our $50 picture:
 And when you zoom in on her face:
 A single tear rolling down her rosy cheek. A truly poetic moment in the dramatic and unspeakably difficult life of a 3 year old. This is another one for the senior yearbook. ;) Oh R!


F#!% It Friday

- Sooooo remember how I was like "oh the Trans Am runs great and doesn't need any mechanical work!" Yeah guess what died this week? We were driving home from R's dance class when it just completely shut off. Luckily I was going down hill and was able to pull onto a side street and start it back up. We drove to Starbucks for our weekly post-dance drink, and then driving home it died again and I couldn't get it to start back up. Luckily we were in our neighborhood, and I was able to push the car (with my foot while steering!) off the road next to a field. Although we were less than a mile from our house it wasn't a fun walk home because I was really upset. When N got home he was able to start it up again and drive it home, but it wouldn't die for him so he couldn't tell what was wrong.

Well he was going to drive it to work today to look at it and it didn't even make it down the driveway before dying. He woke me up and had me start and drive the car while he poured gas directly into the engine. I have no idea how cars work so I have no idea why doing that worked, but we got her back into the garage and N says he thinks something is "stuck in the carburetor." I don't know what that means, and he didn't have time to explain, but he re-assured me it was an easy fix and nothing was blown up. I had to drive the Commander around yesterday and as I joked on Facebook, my wiener felt a lot smaller.

- Speaking of the Commander N thinks that it may be the engine computer that's going bad, not the tranny. He drove it to work twice this week and had it hooked up to his scanner. While he was driving it the "Transmission Over Temp" warning came on, and the scanner said the temp was at 280 degrees- which is too hot. N pulled over and re-started the car and the warning went away and the scanner listed the temp at 160 degrees- which is just fine. Because it couldn't drop over 100 degrees in a few seconds, N thinks the computer is going haywire and sending out a false temp, which is putting the car in a limp mode, i.e. making it drive like crap.

As much of a pain all mechanical cars can be, I definitely prefer them to their computer run counterparts. New cars may drive really nicely for awhile but when those computers go bad everything goes bad and it's a lot more money to replace a computer than it is many other parts. There's going to be a lot of modern cars in junkyards in 20+ years, and car companies are only going to make them with more technology therefore they'll become obsolete quicker, and the cycle will continue.

- In other news R found Woody Woodpecker cartoons on Netflix and I need to find a way to block them. ;)

- Is anyone else as excited as I am for the Duggar Daughter #1 wedding tomorrow? I will be stalking social media like crazy. I recently fell down the rabbit hole known as the Free Jinger forum, and learning about those people's true nature has been both fascinating and scary. I'm rooting for you to break free Jill!

- After forgetting for three days in a row I finally remember to put the pork chops in the crock pot! Woohoo that is a big win over here!

Summer Bucket List

How is it already the 20th of June? Summer is in full swing here in Colorado, and with temperatures hitting the 90s I think it's finally safe to say that we aren't going to have anymore snow (though you never know, hahaha.) Things have been difficult lately but I've been making a concerted effort to get out and about for R's sake, and so I decided to jump on the "summer bucket list" wagon and write out some of the fun things I want to do this summer.

(Real talk: this graphic has been sitting on my desktop for probably three weeks now because I kept forgetting to make this very simple post.)

- I can officially check the first one! I got a gorgeous new swimsuit and though I spent way more than I should have, it's worth it to own something I'll actually wear to the pool.

- Another place I want to wear my swimsuit to is Water World, the biggest water park in Colorado and one of the biggest in the U.S.! I haven't been there since 2010 when N and I took a day off from home renovations to have some fun, and I miss it dearly. This year is the first year R is really old enough to enjoy the kiddie park they have there, and I'm hoping I can get my mom to tag along to watch R while N and I do some of the other fun rides!

- Colorado National Speedway is redneck heaven. I had never even heard of it until N took me for the first time, and it was love at first sight. Race cars, turkey legs, and some of the best people watching in the state. Plus they always have ridiculous races like school buses (the last time we saw buses 3 tipped over before they had to call it a night) and "trains" which are three cars chained together with a driver in the first, and a break car in back. They run these trains in a figure eight so that they crash into each other. It's just so, so good.

- And speaking of turkey legs and people watching the Colorado Renaissance Festival is where it's at. I have unashamedly dressed up for it since high school and nothing is stopping me now. Last time we tried to go R was still in her stroller days and got so hot and cranky she started screaming non-stop and we had to leave. I think she's old enough to try again, and the outfit I bought her still fits! Now if I could just get N to dress up too...

- My sister and I took R to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo before we ran our first 5k in Colorado Springs. It's the only mountain zoo in the U.S. and has a lot of cool interactive things you can do including, you guessed it, feed giraffes! N wants to come too so we're going to head down there with the three of us sooner or later.

- Hiking is always something I've had mixed feelings about. My dad is a huge hiker (he climbed up to Everest base camp!) and thus hikes with my family were always miserable. It was always "we'll stop over that ridge, no the next one, no the next one" and the "lunches" they would pack were sausage, hard cheese, and crackers. Yeah I don't get it either. But after N helped me climb to Hanging Lake when we were dating and the rest of my family abandoned me (I was withdrawing off Effexor and very, very sick) I've always enjoyed hiking with him. We'll see how I fair this year but I think R and Hank would enjoy it too.

- Six Flags may own the big amusement park in Denver, but it will always be Elitches to anyone who has grown up here. This year R is finally old and big enough to go on the kiddie rides, however I cannot go on many (if any) rides myself because of my stimulator. But I'd rather go to see R have fun anyway. We're hoping to go with my SIL and her boys because I think R would be a lot less scared and more willing to go on rides if she had her cousins with her. I think she'll have a great time, but she is SO cautious that I think she'll need some prodding at first.

- The last two are pretty basic. We need to do more regular fun things as a family instead of parking our butts in front of the TV. Plus there's nothing good on in the Summer anyway! ;) I also want to tackle some of the delicious looking recipes I've been pinning on Pintrest for years but have never tried. Mostly the sweets. Pretty much all the sweets.

Hope you have a great summer full of adventures!


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Tuesday Troubles

Stolen (with permission!) from Jen at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom!
From now on out I'm going to do both a troubles and a not-troubles section for this feature. I need to add some more positivity to my life, and since this is the only feature I seem to get to these days (since Tuesdays are one of our least crazy days) I need talk about the good things in my life.
We'll start out with the troubles:
- On Sunday I drove my Commander to my parents house, and when I was almost there my dash display said "Transmission Over Temp." No lights came on, the car didn't ding at me, and it didn't feel like something was wrong so I kept driving and the warning went off as soon as I pulled into the driveway. It did the same thing when I drove it home- it came on when I was almost home, and switched off before I turned the car off (but not before I snapped a picture to send to N.)
He drove it to work today so he can hook it up to his scanner and see what codes it's throwing. Best case scenario is a temperature sensor has gone bad, worse case is the tranny on this car is dying and because they are very insulated units there's nothing you can really do except rebuild/ replace the entire thing. The tranny went out in my old Commander (the red one), and I joked that I'd be super upset if the same thing happened in my new one. AWESOME.

-  We brought the Trans Am to a paint place for an appraisal yesterday and they said we were looking at about $5k! We were hoping for around the $3k range but painting is really expensive so I can't say I'm that surprised. We have a LOT of saving to do!

- I almost slept through a doctor's appointment yesterday. It was just a blood draw so it wasn't that big of a deal that I was 30 minutes late, but I still felt so horrible. I totally spaced a blood draw there a few months ago and I feel like such a crazy person! They must think I'm out of control. I have an actual appointment there on Thursday to go over my blood results and so help me god I will not be late!

- Ok this is only kind of a trouble, it's more just funny: I remember when our good friends came over last year with their half Newfoundland/ half Labrador dog and I thought "oh my gosh I hope Hank doesn't ever get that big because that dog is huge!" Well we saw their dog for the first time in a year last night (our friends have been in New Mexico in the Air Force) and yup, Hank is the same size if not bigger than their dog. N says hands down Hank is bigger but I want to see the two side by side. There's no denying it though: Hank is gigantic!

- I dyed my hair red last week (think, Ariel unnatural red) and while I love the color right now (we'll see how I feel when it fades) I have gotten red dye everywhere! I wasn't paying attention to my wet hair and dye got all over my cream colored office chair. I'm so bummed out!
- The Avalanche not signing Paul Stastny. I can't even talk about it.
And the non-troubles:
- I love my new car so much! Except for the fact that it has really low gearing which means I can't drive it over 60mph or it will damage the engine, it drives really well and I love how quickly it takes off. ;) I may or may not have smelled burning rubber the other day. I guess you can get a ticket for spinning your tires (reckless driving) and N says if I get any tickets I'm in big trouble, haha! Right now N has to put an "overdrive tranny" in it so I can drive it over 60, but other than that it doesn't really need any mechanical work- which is so nice considering all the trouble our other cars are giving us.
N spent his Father's Day installing new carpet in it (because he's such a wonderful husband and also because he's super pumped about that car too), and while he did that I scrubbed every surface until it gleamed. The interior looks 1000x better now, it just needs some minor work like a headliner, new lid for the center console, and eventually the seats re-covered. The only downside to the car is that I've been wanting to spend my time outside washing it or driving it when I really should be inside cleaning my disaster of a house, haha!
- Last night we went out to dinner with our friends and it was SO much fun. N and I don't have many couple friends, and we're really anti-social to boot. They have two daughters that are a few years older than R, and they were so good playing with her that it just warmed my heart. They also have the cutest baby boy and I just want to steal him, haha! I may not want any more babies of my own but I'll love on other peoples babies- as long as I can give them back!
- I woke up feeling down today but when I saw how beautiful it was I took R out for sandwiches and cupcakes. She's been better these past few days about being nice to strangers (i.e. not screaming bloody murder at people who tell her she's cute) and it's been much more pleasant!

Hope you all had a great Father's Day Weekend!


Hopeless Bullshit

My two week wait is almost over. Well that's what I've called it anyway. This wait doesn't culminate in peeing on a stick, it's to insure that I don't develop Serotonin Syndrome while switching medications. You have to do this when switching from an MAOI to an SSRI or vice versa. Two whole weeks without anti-depressants is really difficult, especially when you're going through withdrawals.

I did this back in January and although the withdrawals were harder physically, I had a lot more hope regarding the change. I did so well the first time I took Parnate (the MAOI) that I had really convinced myself it was my savior medication. When it didn't work the way I had thought it would it only made my depression worse.

I told myself I'd never take an SSRI again after getting off Lexapro and now here I am with a prescription for Prozac in hand. It's almost funny to me that it's taken so long for me to try what is probably the quintessential anti-depressant. I've been trying psychiatric medications for more than a decade now and have tried more meds than I can count on both hands, and maybe both feet.

Something I really despise is the attitude that medication is a "quick fix" or "easy way out" when it comes to psychiatric illnesses. Those people often tout diet, excercise, supplements, and talk therapy- all of which can be beneficial, but none of which will cure a true psychiatric illness. I'm not going to say psychiatric medications aren't overprescribed, they are, but that doesn't mean there aren't people who truly need them.

Taking psychiatric medication is hard. It's really fucking hard. First of all there are side-effects to every medication, and every medication effects every individual differently. It's very rare to be on a medication and feel no side-effects, it's always a delicately tipping scale of pros and cons. When I was on the medication Effexor a few years I gained over 50lbs and completely lost my libido, but I felt so good emotionally I decided to stay on it. Of course it stopped working after a few years, but that's another issue. (Yup, the meds can just stop working for no reason and completely out of the blue.)

There's also the issue of time. It takes weeks to see the full effects of a medication, especially if you have to build up to a certain dose. Building up itself takes weeks. And then getting off? More weeks. And there's always the threat of withdrawals- both emotional and physical. And when things don't work out you've just wasted weeks and months and maybe years.

And you're back where you started.

This is all compounded when you need to be on more than one psychiatric medication. Most people with Bipolar Disorder need to be on both an anti-depressant and a mood stabilizer (to prevent mania.) Finding the perfect cocktail can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It's complicated and oftentimes frustrating. I've lucky in the fact that I've been on the mood stabilizer Lamictal for many years and it works very well for what it is. The price is a different story.

Monday starts another long journey for me. I'm trying to have hope but it's hard and I'm jaded. But I'm not going to give up just yet.



We're expanding our family!

Hey everyone I have some very exciting news! But first I just wanted to let you know that I turned on comment verification for the time being. I got over 1,500 spam comments in less than two weeks and although they aren't showing up on the blog because Blogger is awesome at filtering, they were making my gmail inbox go crazy! Hopefully I'll find a way to stop them with a less annoying way than CAPTCHA but for now I'm going to see if it makes a difference. I've already gotten four spam comments today so we'll see!



Wednesday Whatevers

- Well I did it. I finally withdrew R from dance. After a wonderful recital, she refused to even step in the studio without screaming today. She was distracting the other little dancers and disrupting everything. I just sent an e-mail to her instructor to withdraw her. She loves dance and this hurts me, but either she's not ready for it emotionally or she doesn't know how to behave and those are issues we're going to have to figure out.

- The beginning of the year was terrible. April was terrible, May was not much better, and I had high hopes for June. So far it's been just as terrible. Maybe it's just this whole year. It's hard to be optimistic and keep saying "things will get better, things have to get better" and then they don't or get worse. I'm exhausted.

- Yesterday started my second medication transition of the year. Med transitions are really difficult emotionally and physically, and this one is particularly difficult because I have to be off my medication for two weeks before starting a new one because there could be a deadly interaction. I'm also crushed because I was so, so looking forward to being on this medication again. The first time I tried it, it was wonderful and this time it's not doing anything but send me into hypertension.

- My doctor wants me to try Prozac and I feel like I've come full circle in trying medications. Prozac seems to be the original, quintessential anti-depressant and yet I've never tried it before. I've tried many other SSRI's (drugs in the same class) and have never had much success but now, the pickings are slim on what to try. He's prescribing it with a weight loss drug called phentermine which he hopes will be slightly activating (since I struggle so severely with hypersomnia) and he also believes it will prolong the effects of the Prozac. Every SSRI I've taken before has stopped working at some point or other, and I'm so damn tired of all these changes I'd like to be on something for awhile.

- I don't even want to talk about my stomach.

- I guess if you can't tell, I'm depressed. Or to put it technically, in an extended depressive cycle of Bipolar Disorder. It's funny because Summers are usually my best times. Last year I fell into a deep depression all Summer after the emotional let-down of graduating from college, and this year, well, I don't know. I think all these health problems and having to stay home with R (which isn't very fun) are just getting to me. I've been trying to formulate a post about this but it's been hard. I don't want to drag everyone down, but I do want to be honest. I'll try and work on something.


Well that was an ordeal...

Yesterday everything went wrong.

After being sick all week and missing both her classes, yesterday R woke up feeling well enough to go to her recital rehearsal. She was excited to finally be able to dance, and was even more excited that I was going to curl her hair and put makeup on her again. She loves it when I curl her hair!

Per usual I know what time something starts, and then somehow wind up thinking it's an hour earlier, so we got to the rehearsal location an hour early, just as the rehearsal for the first show was wrapping up. They actually let us sit in the audience and watch and I thought it'd be good for R to see the other girls on stage. As the first group left I saw one of the mom's from one of R's classes and she asked me if I was a parent helper. I said no and she said that was probably a good thing because the girls who were cry-prone did much better when their mothers left (yes, R is known for being prone to meltdowns, haha.)

But when the parent helper for R's group arrived (my friend Aimee) we were told that the other parent helper had to pull out of the show completely, which I thought was perfect for me. There were only four little girls in our group so it wasn't unmanageable, and we held their attention through the rehearsal. When it was time to lead them backstage I wasn't nervous at all. R seemed excited and very eager to dance. When they turned the lights down for the intro of the group in front of theirs, one of the little girls said she was scared. R went over to her, gave her a big hug and said, "Don't be scared! There are no monsters, I will protect you!" It was so sweet I almost cried.

And then I did have to cry. Because when it was R's turn to go out on stage she FLIPPED. Crying, screaming, falling, flailing, it was a disaster. Both R's dance teachers (bless their hearts) tried to help her out and hold her, and they even let me come out with her but R was not having it. And something inside me just broke. When we got the girls offstage I decided R and I needed to leave right away, although everyone else was staying to practice bows. I felt awful leaving Aimee on her own, but with just three girls I thought she'd be ok. I needed to get somewhere alone to cry!

And cry, and cry, and cry I did. I couldn't believe I was having my heart broken again by all this nonsense. After the photoshoot disaster I had calmed myself saying that she'd be fine when it was actually time to dance. She LOVES dancing dammit. Let's just say last night I had a meltdown that required a mini-intervention of sorts. Good grief.

I figured we'd just pull her from the recital. As much as I wanted R to dance I knew she wouldn't, and I didn't want to ruin the recital for the rest of the company. Her studio is on the small side and they work their butts off throwing this. Nobody needed the extra stress. N felt otherwise. He thought that maybe she'd be better today and that we should chance it. We've already put so much into this- and R has been practicing this dance for 9 months now!

It was around noon (and check in was at 12:45) and we were still going back and forth on whether we'd take her. I said stay, then I said go, then I said go and I'd stay home, and then I said to hell with it let's just all go and see if she'll do it. I decided that this time I'd stay in the audience and see if the advice of the other mom rang true.

We had even bought custom, collectors tickets!
Aimee was awesome and said she thought R should try again, even though she'd have to be in charge of wrangling her. What a brave soul! I sat in the audience and just about made myself sick with anxiety. I kept starting to cry! Yes, my name is Lauren and I'm a mess and a half I acknowledge that. Anyway, R's dance was the 13th one so I had awhile to wait. I felt sicker and sicker as her dance came closer, and when the act before hers came on I stuffed my purse under my chair and made sure I could see where the steps to the stage were so I coupdate swoop in if she had a meltdown.

Finally it was time for her act to come on and I couldn't breathe. I saw their dance teacher leading the little girls out on stage, and R was smiling from ear to ear. I almost fell over dead with shock. When the music started she started doing her little dance perfectly, she was one of the best ones out there! The entire time I was crying tears of relief and happiness. I couldn't believe things were actually going well. It felt so good to have been prepared for the worst and then seen the best!

She had done it, she had done it, she had done it! And hopefully I'll be able to show you all a video of the dance once we receive the professional DVD. When it was time to come out for bows she did have a little bit of a meltdown. She covered her eyes and made Aimee carry her, but at that time it was actually kind of cute. And more importantly it only lasted for a minute or so.

She was a total grump when I grabbed her after the show and tried to take a picture. But at that time I didn't really care. Can you believe how cute those costumes are though?!

I can hardly express my feelings of relief right now and the complicated emotions I've been going through. This has been a lot more about me than it has been about R (not that I've been showing that to her!) and in the end I would have been proud regardless of what happened- she is 3 and all of this is a lot for someone her age. It's just another down and up on this crazy rollercoaster of parenthood.

And today everything went right.