Thursday, May 24, 2012

Now a Miracle. My Dad.

My dad. I'll start of by saying how much I do love him and i'm glad he's alive. Around 10 years ago, my dad had a stroke. He's been paralyzed on his left side ever since. Things have been up and down for him healthwise, but as I think back to just a little over two weeks ago, I have to say that what could have easily been the worst thing happened to him.

I'd started calling him around 3 to 4 days before. I just wanted to hear his voice daily, ask him how he was doing, you know? I remember him talking about having trouble breathing. I only took it lightly because it's something he'd complained about a lot, but nothing seemed to me to be any worse than it had been. He talked about getting out and going to Kenosha for the weekend. He doesn't get out much. I assume because it's grown increasingly difficult for him to even get outside, let alone climbing into a vehicle. Nevertheless, it sounded good to me. My sister would be taking him out to a place he enjoyed. He'd be getting out of the house and getting fresh air which was something I felt he needed and had been trying to talk him into.

Saturday came. The day seemed to flow as any other Saturday. Preparations for church, making sure the kids had decent clothes picked out. My daughter washed her hair and wanted me to get it styled. Something not unusual; to get it done on a Saturday in order that we could save a little time on Sunday, but we couldn't find those rubber bands. I had someone call my sister to see if she happened to be out and near anywhere that she could pick some up. She was out and was going to bring some. When she called back, I thought it was just to update me on when she'd be arriving with them, but instead it was a frantic call for us to meet her at a hospital that my dad was about to be taken to. He'd stopped breathing. She didn't know if she would be able to drive herself or handle the pressure of everything that was happening. For me it was a confusion. Was everything going to be okay? If he could be resuscitated would his brain be okay. I just didn't know what to really think or expect, but I wanted my dad to be okay.

We made a round of calls. Fortunately my mom was staying over, so since it was late, I sent the kids up to bed and we made the drive to see what was going on. By the time we arrived my dad was in the ER heavily sedated, the sister who'd called was there along with my youngest sister and the two children that she babysits and shortly after, my oldest, second to oldest and youngest brother arrived. By the time three of my siblings got to see my dad, someone made the suggestion that it would be best to let my dad rest, so I didn't get to see him that first night. I did give me a slight comfort to know that he was giving a hand squeeze and head nod in response to questions, but he was depending on a respirator.

We later found out he had pneumonia and also kidney problems. Since his enzymes were up, it is suspected that he suffered a heart attack. The next couple of weeks would be what seemed forever. Several hospital visits, calls to nurses for updates and explanations of what was going on and what to expect. I went through that zombie feeling people talk about. I experienced that numbness. Questions. What if's. Lots of praying.

Then there was the swelling, due to his kidneys not doing what they're designed to do. My dad had previously refused dialysis during a hospital stay earlier this year. Since conditions got better, he got around it then. The planned coarse of action this time around was diuretics, then a catheter if that didn't work and then a slow, temporary dialysis if that didn't work. The dialysis was a last ditch effort which we wanted to work around if at all possible, but then it pretty much came to either get him on dialysis or let him pass. The slower dialysis wasn't working as effectively as the doctor would have liked, and so my dad is getting a full hemo-dialysis several times a week.

There were times where I saw his eyes open. I got excited thinking finally we could see each other. I knew that with the tubes he wouldn't be able to talk, but at least if we could make eye contact i'd know he wanted to talk and his brain was functioning. But he wouldn't focus on me. Or anything or anyone else. His eyes were swollen. I talked to him, hoping that he could at least understand me. I know that they say skin to skin contact is good. I'd rub his hand and sometimes alternate to his foot, hoping that I was providing some type of comfort. I'd break down in tears not knowing how things were going to turn out. If he would pull through this. Just seeing him hooked up to the machines that were doing for him what his body should be doing for itself. The praying and hoping continued.

Then finally we went for another visit this past Monday. The ventilator was no longer down my dad's throat. They'd talked of doing a temporary tracheotomy just so he'd be able to talk because they'd tried several times, unsuccessfully, to remove the ventilator. He opened his eyes. He first heard my brother in law and spoke to him. He spoke! Mind you my niece was there near his bed in a wheelchair because my brother in law had wheeled her up because her leg had gotten broken in an accident several weeks earlier, and boy did I feel somewhat heathenistic when I stumbled over her cast, anxious to see my dad who was awake and talking.

Due to the lack of full kidney function, the meds that they'd sedated him with hadn't fully processed out of his body, but when I asked him who I was he said my first and middle name along with my maiden name. I reminded him that I was married. He also said some things that just didn't make any sense, but that didn't matter much. It was just so wonderful to hear him speak again.

We still have a road ahead of us, but that sure beats having reached the end of the road. He still has meds that have to be processed out of his body and therapy to go through after he's moved from the ICU, which could be a couple of days or so away yet. I'm just so thankful that God gave my dad another chance. I'm also thankful for a church family who kept and continue to keep us lifted up in prayer through this and for God's faithfulness in giving second, third and fourth chances.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Giveaway: New 2 Box Cheerios Packaging

Have you ever bought cereal from your local Club store only to find two bags inside of a large box? If you've been there, you probably found that that was the first of at least two woes. The second is storing this big box. Oh, but wait, there is at least a third as well. When one of the two bags is empty, do you keep that big box to store the remaining bag or do you try to prop the bag up? Unsuccessfully? Well Cheerios has come up with a solution:

You can now find this Cheerios at your local Sam's, BJ's and Costco club stores conveniently packaged in two boxes. They can be pulled apart and stored a whole lot easier than two bags in a single large box. Some other benefits of this packaging design is that that the amount of air is reduced in the bags which means that 10% more cereal fits and less packaging is used. Also the environment benefits because less trucks are needed which means less pollution. Here's that video again to put things into perspective:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Cheerios® cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Give Mom the Gift of Sleep

If you have a child who rises too early or doesn't stay in bed through the night, this just may be the perfect solution for you to get some much needed rest. It's a Zazoo and even if your child can't tell time, he/she can base getting out of bed on what's displayed on the screen.

I like it that once the child is old enough, the Zazoo clock can take on the appearance of a more mature, adult looking clock. This clock can be used as a digital photo frame and even an MP3 player. There are several options to load your personal files to the clock, which include a usb port, a flash drive or an sd card. 

Up until 5/12, you can save 20% using code Mothersday20. If you order today, you can also receive this in time for Mother's Day. Here's a video so that you can get a better look at the features.


Monday, May 7, 2012

X-celeRacers by Stride Rite

If you have boys who are into Super Heroes, then they're probably going to love these new X-celeRacers. These tie in with the new The Avengers movie, which my boys got to watch at the movies with their dad this past week. I know that having these would be the icing on the cake for them.


Mother's Day Gift Idea: Nudo Olive Oil Products

As moms, we don't always remember to take time to indulge in things for ourselves. We're often busy looking out for our husbands and children, that we look over our own needs.

I was recently sent an offer to review some products from a company i'd not heard of until receiving this offer, and I would not have accepted it had it not been something I personally feel i'm sure to enjoy. What's headed my way?
 Olive oil, dark chocolate and soap made from olive oil from Nudo. Ooh I just imagine the possibilities, and I imagine it's something I won't feel bad about indulging in. I like to cook in olive oil when I want to add extra health benefits. I've also played around with the idea of making an olive oil based bread dip, and i'm thinking this may be the perfect time to try this out. Who doesn't like chocolate, and i'm thinking olive oil soap is going to leave my skin feeling pretty smooth. I'm looking forward to trying these out, and hopefully i'll find time to post up a video review once I do.

If this sounds ideal, or if you want to check out other gift sets for Mother's Day, just click through to see what's offered.

I thought this was cute too, and wanted to share this from the Nudo site:

She fed you when you whined ‘I don’t liiiike it’, she praised you when your painting was a bit duff, she put plasters on your knee when the wound was barely visible. And now it’s time to say ‘Thanks Mum’ with a bit of Nudo panache. When she opens her gift set, containing a tin of Nudo’s divine extra virgin olive oil to say thanks for all that cooking, a luxurious olive oil soap to say thanks for all that scrubbing and a box of beautiful Italian truffles to say thanks for all the love, she’ll have no doubt that it - you - were worth all the bother.
*I will be provided with a set in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thank YOU Oscar Mayer!

I could just do one of those kiss-you-on-one-cheek-and-then-on-the-other-cheek because this is so awesome!                                                                                                                                            


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Giveaway: Rubbermaid Hidden Recycler

Honestly, I have to say i'm guilty of not recycling. It's not something that my family did. I don't recall anyone ever putting much emphasis on it as far as people around me go. I mean I can vaguely remember a school field trip, perhaps to a museum (?) where it was explained to us how the process works.

I recently heard the buzz about the Rubbermaid Hidden Recycler out in the blogiverse, and wanted to see what all of the hype was about. Someone was so kind to share contact information for bloggers who were interested in doing a review. Completing the questionairre for this review got me to thinking I could at least give it a try. Maybe my kids will catch on and pass it on.

Whether you're a current recycler or looking to start, then I think you are going to like the convenience of this recycler by Rubbermaid. It arrived and this is what it looked like in the packaging:

And then I unpackaged it:

I was impressed to find out that it can hold 36 uncrushed cans and it's wide enough that gallon sized milk jugs can fit into it. I also liked that it's lined with a plastic resin, and if things get to dirty, it's also machine washable. It was also really easy to install:

If you don't like the hooks over the cabinet doors, you can also purchase screws to screw it onto cabinet doors.

The Rubbermaid Hidden Recycler is available for around $18. It can be purchased at select retailers and also online.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Product was provided for this review and will also be provided for the giveaway. The opinions expressed are my own.

Giveaway: Cuddle Covers

Cuddle Covers is a great idea for pillows for kids. They're soft pillow pals that your child can play with and use for naptime and bedtime. They are 50% bigger than other pillow animals. There are six fun characters to choose from for boys and girls. We received Izzy the Unicorn.

You can use your own pillow, or purchase the official Cuddle Covers pillow which has prints of the various Cuddle Covers characters.

Putting it together is super simple. All you do is insert the pillow and zip.

From there it's ready to play with, or sleep on.

I like that Cuddle Covers are machine washable. They're also hypoallergenic. This momma also likes to borrow it for my naptime as well. 

Cuddle Covers are available for $19.99 plus shipping and handling. There are also mini pals available for an additional shipping charge which I think are about just as adorable as the full size versions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A free Cuddle Cover was provided for this review. The prize is also being provided by the sponsor. Some info was taken from the Cuddle Covers site, otherwise the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jumpstart is a site designed with children aged 3-12 in mind. Kids can play for free with limitations, or a membership can be purchased for quite reasonable prices.

When a child joins jumpstart, they create a character. From there it's on to exploring worlds and interacting with children. It's designed to be safe because the children don't share any personal information. The names are pre-programmed and chatting is limited with the use of limited phrases that can be selected and used.

My thoughts on Jumpstart. Well, i'm not a fan of dragons at all and I and I keep them away from my children, and that's the only thing that I saw that I personally didn't like about the site. Otherwise, it was a way to keep my children occupied. I like that you can set each of your children up with individual accounts. While I didn't take advantage of this feature, I did learn that if you, as a parent, are on Facebook, you can take advantage of an app that allows you to review and reward your children's activities. I also like that your children can access Mathblaster, which is a fun learning game designed to teach your children math skills including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division along with pre-algebra.

My boys thoughts:

Again, you can try Jumpstart out for free and see how you like it. Memberships are currently available at discounted rates. A monthly membership is $5.99, yearly is $64.99 and lifetime is $129.99.

*I was provided with a free membership for my children. Some info was taken from the site; otherwise the opinions are those of myself and my boys.

Cravebox Update

Just wanted to update anyone who is interested in a Cravebox subscription. Cravebox is out of beta and will be opening to 500 new subscribers. Here are the details from their blog:

Cravebox May Subscription Lottery UpdateHere’s an update on the exciting addition of 500 new members to the Cravebox Subscription program. On Thursday afternoon (May 3rd) we’ll notify our community once the drawing is open and you are able to enter. You will have 3 days to enter the drawing, and it’s NOT first come first served, so don’t worry if you can’t get to the site right away. You are free to enter any time during the 3 day entry period.
Here’s how the drawing will work:
  1. First you will need to login to your account. If you haven’t set up your Member Profile yet, do that here so that you’re ready when it’s time to enter the drawing.
  1. Then, you’ll go to the Drawing Entry Page that we send you. You’ll answer a few questions about yourself and click ENTER DRAWING
  1. On Tuesday May 8th, we will notify all winners. Those winners will need to set up payment for their boxes right away to keep their slot, and we’ll send detailed instructions about our snazzy new payments system.
Remember, if you are already in the Subscription program, you do NOT need to enter this drawing. Your subscription will continue uninterrupted. If you have any problems creating an account, please see our FAQs, or feel free to contact us at[email protected] and we’ll reply to your message within 48 hrs.

 I've been enjoying my Cravebox's, and wanted you to have a shot at getting in too. They're $10/month, shipping included and you can cancel anytime.