Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cataract Surgery and Pregnancy

**This is a personal story told from a patient point of view, not for medical advice!**
       In January of 2014 I learned that my Retina Detached in my Left eye! It was a shock that just happened out of the blue without any conditions or circumstances which would normally bring this type of thing on! I was, otherwise, a healthy 35 year old woman! You can read the story about my detached retina and surgery HERE!
       After the surgery I had a gas bubble in my left eye which basically kept me blind, only seeing light, for over a month and a half. As the gas SLOWLY cleared I could start seeing over the bubble. It took over 2 1/2 months for the gas to completely clear. This gas created a large cataract on my natural lens which made the vision in my left eye hazy and warped! I like to give the analogy of someone blowing hot air on a window and fogging up the glass as a similarity to what a cataract looks like on your natural lens!
       Since January, for the past 8 months, my vision in my left eye has been horrible. I had to wait this long to make sure my retina reattached and healed properly before they let me have another surgery. When it finally became time to have a consult with a Cataract Surgeon I was pregnant with my 4th child! (See our birth announcement HERE!) My retina surgeon said that most Doctors wouldn't want to do any procedure on me while I was pregnant but he sent me for a consult anyways. I met with Dr. Christopher Ketcherside who came highly recommended to me in the Kansas City area! (If you live around this area, I definitely recommend him for cataract surgery!!!) After meeting with him the first time he really advised to wait until after I had my baby to have my surgery. I told him a few of my reasons why I wanted to have the surgery BEFORE I have my child. 
  1. I want to look on my baby with CLEAR eyes when I see him the first time!
  2. After the surgery you have to take it easy for the first two weeks! The first week you aren't even supposed to lift anything over 20 lbs. This would be impossible for me since my babies are normally chubby and I solely nurse for the first 6 months of their life! This would push back the surgery for at least a year or more!
  3. Lastly, I maxed out my deductible in the beginning of the year with my retina surgery so I would have a lot less out of pocket to pay getting it gone in 2014!
       After discussing all of these things with Dr. Ketcherside he said it was ultimately my decision when it came to doing the surgery pregnant or not! I then talked to my OBGYN about the procedure to see if she was concerned about anything. She brought up the fact that your eyes slightly change during pregnancy and that would be her only concern. She didn't seem worried about any of the eyedrops, used during and prescribed after, effecting my baby. You might not know this but it's not advised to have corrective eye surgery, like Lasik, while you are pregnant because your prescription sometimes changes.
       Since I was concerned that I was making the right decision by having cataract surgery while pregnant, I decided to look it up online…. Maybe I could learn or feel more at ease if I knew of someone else who had the procedure done while they were pregnant. I literally found NOTHING! First of all, most people who have cataract surgery are over 60 so to find someone who was younger writing about their experience with the procedure would be rare in itself….BUT then for them to be PREGNANT! NOPE….nothing! It doesn't mean it's never happened, it's just that no one has ever blogged about it before and this obviously didn't help me feel any better! However, when I went back in to have measurements done on my eye they basically explained that just because I am pregnant the measurements they were talking to fit me with a new lens should still be accurate! I made my decision to have the surgery after hearing this information. 
       Now, that I knew I was going to have the surgery I had to listen to my options of lenses. This is probably your hardest decision because it will determine how you will see out of that eye for the rest of your life! I am only 35 so, Lord willing, I got a lot more life to live! My doctor said that because I was so young, I was a good candidate for the multifocal lens. I had heard bad reviews from a friend who works with a Retina surgeon so I was very against getting it. However, the doctor actually said that if he were me, this is what he would get for himself. Since he was the one doing the surgery I trusted his judgement and went with what he suggested! HERE'S THE CATCH, Insurance companies only cover a basic lens. If you chose anything else you have to pay for it! Ok, so what was I looking at!?! $2500 for one lens….paid up front!!!! WOW! I'm still in shock from that but how can you put a price on your vision even if you have the money or not!!!!
       Here I am,  6 months pregnant, on the morning of my cataract surgery! My husband and I were actually making jokes about taking pictures like this before cataracts surgery. "Who does this"!?! LOL "Hey, I DO…. because I have to blog about it!" =)
       Cataract surgery is normally a quick procedure done in about 10 minutes with just local anesthesia, however, because I am pregnant I did the surgery without any medication except numbing drops and one shot to the eye! I would say the hardest part to this would be the fact that you have to wait so long while they are preparing you for your turn. Getting your eye dilated and numb enough takes a while and I could see anesthesia helping to make time pass quicker. 
       Other than the waiting, the other part that I wasn't prepared for was the cover they put over your face for surgery. They make you hold your eye open while they lay a blue cloth like thing over your face. Then they press it to the eye that you are having the surgery on. They cut away a hole where your eye is but this sticky paper is what holds your eye open for the procedure. A nurse made sure to push the paper down all around my eye so it stuck REALLY WELL! You have a crazy urge to blink BUT you can't!!! The nurse was there squirting something in my eye every 10 seconds or so to keep it wet. The rest of my face and mouth were covered! Even though I had oxygen in my nose, I felt like I couldn't breath because the paper was touching my lips. I asked that she move it up a little from my mouth but it just fell right back down. I ended up using my tongue to push the paper off my lips. Now I know why they asked if I was claustrophobic before I went in the surgery room!
       Once the doctor was there I felt a lot better cause I knew things were going to be over quickly! The actual procedure wasn't too bad. The shot in the eye hurt a little and the light was pretty bright but it was all for a wonderful cause!!! THAT PAPER AROUND MY EYE, HOWEVER,…… OMG... once everything was over it had to be pealed off, SLOWLY! That was the worst part of it! 
       I contemplated not putting this HIDEOUS picture of me after me surgery for the world to see but here I am …. I had to wear a clear eye shield for 24 hours and also at night for the first week to keep my eye protected.
       After 8 months, it feels like the fog has been lifted from my vision!!! I think i am going to be satisfied with the Multifocal lens once thing heal! My eye still isn't perfect.  I went in for tests the day after surgery and I was a little frustrated that I couldn't see better than what I was seeing. The doctor said that as I heal my vision should keep getting better. He also explained to me the importance of me keeping calm, not lifting anything over 20 lbs, and not bending over for the first week or two after surgery! When he did my surgery he made a little incision in my eye,  cut open the "sack" that held my lens in it, pulled out my old lens, and then placed the new lens in the "sack". They don't stitch up the cuts made to the eye…. they just let them heal on their own. So if I lift something heavy or rub my eye, I could break the "sack" and my new lens could just fall back into my eye. SCARY!!! There is also a big risk for infection whig is why I have three different eye drops to use right now.
       I know that there are many more young people out there with eye issues and there has to be more pregnant women along with that statistic! I hope that this will help to ease someones mind about having a procedure done while pregnant. At least in my personal case, my baby is still doing great! Because of my particular situation with my retina detachment, there are still a few more smaller procedures, with a laser, that I will have to go through after my eye heals. But I would say I am on my way to seeing "almost" as good as before everything started in January. I will keep everyone posted on my progress throughout the next few months. To all of my friends…. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support throughout this crazy process! I couldn't have done it without you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our BIG News!

I don't know what has taken me so long to share our big news with you all! Time is just FLYING by!!!
I have been working on so many new projects but can't share any with you all until you know that we are expecting baby #4 this December 2014!!!!! 
I had BIG ideas of how I wanted to tell everyone that we were expecting again!
I told my husband and he helped create this awesome one minute video staring our kids!
Click on the picture below to watch our announcement called, The Math Problem!
I was TOTALLY shocked when we found out a few weeks ago that we were having a BOY!!!
I thought, "what would I do with another BOY"!?! 
However, God has his plan and after reality sunk in…. I am so excited for another little boy!!!
I had been wondering how I was going to split the children up in bedrooms, while they are small and when they grow up! Right now they all have their own room. 
So how PREFECT it is to have a "little" boys room and put the baby with Garren!!!

Once I found out…. the ideas started pouring in of themes and things I can create!
I can't wait to share with you all what I have done to transform Garren's room!

Here we are… all SIX of us!
Here is the first picture of all of my sweet babies….
Boy, Girl, Boy, and BOY!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

DIY Ponytail Cut On A Little Girl~ Long Hairstyle

I started searching little girls haircuts online and on Pinterest and came across something called the DIY Ponytail Cut. I decided to give it a try on my daughter because her hair was so long…. If I messed it up then I could always take her in to a professional afterwards. 

We have worked really hard at growing out her hair ever since she was 2 1/2 when her brother cut ALL of the front of her hair off….TO THE SCALP! I can laugh about it now.
Basically, I thought it was time for a "style" to her hair. It was just so long and lifeless.
Here is Kiki after I gave her a good hair wash and brushed out her hair REALLY well!
The BEFORE shots!
   
They say to put all of the hair into a ponytail… The further front you bring the ponytail to the forehead, the more dramatic the result. When gathering the hair, make sure the back of the hair is on the bottom side of the ponytail and the top of the hair is on the top when cutting.
It was hard for me to take a picture of the actual cut because I needed my hands. I basically cut at an angle that kept the back of the hair slightly longer than the front. This picture is showing you how little I cut off.
Then to make the cut a little more dramatic, I took all of the hair on the crown of her head in another ponytail. I took off about another half inch or so by angling the cut for the front to be slightly shorter than the back of the hair in the ponytail!
SIMPLE! This whole process was only two cuts and under ten minutes! 
The first picture shows the layers right after I finished cutting her hair and the second picture is after I let it dry a little. As it dried I just loved it more and more!
   
Here is a side view of the layers and the front! 
I don't think I'm gunna pay for a hair cut again for this girl. WELL…. at least until she is older! LOL
I might even use this method for my older boy who loves to wear his hair long!
      
Here is the video I watched before I dared to take scissors to my daughters hair! AND like everyone says after explaining how to DIY haircut…..Don't blame me if this doesn't work out for you!! I am just simply showing you how it worked for me! Hope this can save some of you some money on haircuts!!! Before this I would have NEVER touched any of my children's hair!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Simple Activity/Craft SCORE: Moon Sand

It SUMMER time! I am starting this post out with one of my favorite pictures of Brenden at the pool! Throw Back Thursday! Along with begging to go to the pool everyday, my kids are also asking for a DAILY craft! My son even asked me yesterday, "What is the craft going to be tomorrow!?!" I replied "Sorry Brenden, I don't plan that far in advance!" LOL This can be overwhelming to mommy who still has to get things done around the house! 
I don't know about you but easy and cheap ideas are what I'm looking for!
After yesterdays SCORE on our activity/craft…. I HAD to post!

I'm sure you might have seen this idea floating around Pinterest for a while! I just never tried it before!
We went to a toy store and they had a version of "Moon Sand" out to play with! My kids were asking to buy some and I told them that we will try and MAKE it instead!

Two simple ingredients later costing me only 4 dollars and we had our own Moon Sand!
Mix together 8 cups of flour with 1 cup of baby oil!
With a 5lb bag of flour you can do this twice! It makes a great amout of Moon Sand to play with!

This was an activity that ALL THREE of my kids enjoyed together!!!! That is pretty crazy when there is almost a 7 year span between your oldest and youngest!
 I just simply put a bunch of plastic cups and play kitchen toys in a plastic bin and they had a ball!
 I love seeing all three of them playing together so well!
 They made ice cream cones and I even got in there to sculpt a crazy looking face! LOL
Hey, The stuff is soooo soft and smells so good I couldn't resist!
After you are done just store in a ziplock bag for later!
   
While I have your attention,
I thought I would add a simple tip for summer swimming!
To keep Chlorine out of your families hair…..
Simply get your hair wet with regular water before jumping in!
Your hair is like a sponge…. If you get it wet before, it won't soak up all the harmful chemicals!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Healthy Klondike Bar (Dairy-free, Paleo)~Review

Once I saw a post on how to make a HEALTHY Klondike bar, by Megan from Detoxinista, I HAD to try it!!!! There is VERY few ingredients and I happen to have them all! Could it be true that you can make ice cream out of mainly cashews!?! 
I tried making it the same day and I had to share it with you all because it is THAT good!!!

Megan's recipe is found on her page, just click the picture below and it will take you there!
Here is my review of this recipe!
First of all, this is definitely a MUST TRY!!! My only complaint is the waiting between processes to get to try your yummy dessert! If you were going to make these for dessert for you family, you would have to start in the morning.
First step is to soak your cashews for two hours.
Then you blend the Vanilla ice cream ingredients together and pour them into a loaf pan lined with parchment and freeze for 4-6 hours.
I found it tough to line the pan with parchment without some folds! I knew this was going to mess up how my ice cream was going to freeze but once you get to the step of cutting the ice cream into squares it really doesn't matter too much! Below you can see that my ice cream rectangle isn't perfect!

Another thing Megan did was cut her ice cream into 8 squares, I actually cut my ice cream up into smaller pieces because I would mainly be feeding my children and I didn't think one serving needed to be so big! HOWEVER, if you do this make a little bit more chocolate because you won't have enough to cover the surfaces!
 I am amazed that you can make chocolate syrup with simply coconut oil, cocoa powder, and maple syrup!!! Have any of you had trouble melting chocolate and getting the perfect consistency!?! With this recipe you don't have that problem AT ALL!!!! I have to say, this chocolate is so good and easy to make that I would make it by itself! You can use this as a healthy version of chocolate hardening shell on top of a sundae or scoop of ice cream on a cone!!! Or how about chocolate covered strawberries!?! 
   
 This is how I covered my ice cream bites! I just set it in the bowl and spooned it over the top until it was covered!
 *One last tip! Just like you have to set out a gallon of ice cream to soften before you scoop it…take these out of the freezer and let them sit few minutes or the "ice cream" is really tough.
This is especially true for giving it to little ones.
You can also cut it up into bite size pieces for really little ones, to cut down on the mess!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY Bird Bath~ Under $20

Ever Since I got a bird feeder, I have been wanting to buy a bird bath.
We have been working really hard on the deck and landscaping since the weather has gotten nicer. I thought a bird bath would be a great piece of art to the outdoor decor along with serving a purpose to our neighborhood birds. I have shopped around for bird baths and they are NOT cheap!! I decided to search the internet for DIY bird bath ideas! I was so surprised to see that it is actually very easy to make your own AND considerably less expensive!
There were so many ideas!!!! Some people used flower pots to make theirs. 
Click on the photo to be taken to the post!
   
Some people used old lamp stands for the base of their bird bath and my favorite was someone who just used birch sticks for their base! 
Really you can use just about anything! 
   
 I wanted to have kind of a "Mad Hatter" look to my Bird Bath. I feel like I lucked out on my trip to the Thrift Store! I got all of these miscellaneous items for around 10 dollars!!! The large pitcher and Asian tea pot are my favorite! 
 The trick to this whole project is simply Gorilla Glue! 
I have never used it before this project so I was pretty skeptical that it would actually hold all of these pieces together. 
First thing I did before glueing anything was fill the large pitcher with rocks to give my bird bath a heavy base. Then I glued my first 3 pieces together. 
I lightly wiped the area I was going to glue with a wet paper towel and then added my glue. It literally only takes about an hour for a strong bond to form! 
The only thing I will watch next time is that the glue foams and expands. You can see the white foam between the mug and red vase. I would be more careful how much glue I use and in wiping it up as it forms because when you spray paint over top of it it really shows up!
   
 I looked through my leftover spray paint cans and found this lavender color. 
   
 I also wanted to add a cute accent to the top plate which I was leaving white. I found this little trinket at the thrift store. I let my little son Garren hold it, and the next thing I knew the birds were broken off of it! LOL 
   
 It was a blessing in disguise because I ended up spray painting the birds and gluing them to the side of the plate.
 I am thrilled with the finished product! I think next time I might make it just a little bit shorter but I think it is a great usable sculpture to add to our landscape. For now it is resting on our deck until my husband lays landscaping bricks around the side of the house!
   

 This picture shows where I hung my little bird feeder. I can't wait to get the bird bath in the landscaping below. It is so fun to watch the birds at all hours from my kitchen window! It makes washing dishes at little more tolerable! =)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Paleo Blueberry Waffles~ Grain free & Dairy Free

 OK, let me tell you, I don't exclusively eat a Paleo diet but with recipes like these I don't think it would be hard to! We eat a ton of waffles in our home and these waffles are my families new FAVORITE! I have said this before, my husband actually doesn't like waffles but THESE he will gobble up!!! I am telling you they are THAT good!!!

Since this is my blog, I will give you my 2 cents on the whole issue of diet. I think that you need a verity of healthy whole foods in your diet! This is why I would probably never go completely Paleo. If you do research on where your grains are coming from, to make sure they aren't genetically modified, etc. I think it is good to have some whole grains! I am all for using quinoa, buckwheat, oats and many others. The only thing that should totally keep you away from some of these healthy whole grains/seeds would be food allergies! If you are having issues with food, I recommend going on the Paleo diet for at least a month or two to detox your system and then slowly introduce a few whole grains back in to see how it effects you! With that being said, I LOVE Paleo recipes because they are a great option for clean cooking and they give healthy alternatives to using refined sugar and flour.

Since I don't eat exclusively Paleo, I will tell you how I came across this recipe. My sister and niece  came to visit us for a week and my sister is on this diet so I began to research some recipes so she would be comfortable staying in my home. My sister sent me a cookbook by Danielle Walker from Against All Grain. Let me tell you, EVERY RECIPE I have tried in her book is delicious, VERY worth having! 
This is Danielle's waffle recipe from her first cookbook! I originally made a batch of these waffles just to freeze so my sister would have an easy to fix breakfast. Then my family "tried" them (more like devoured) and they immediately became the new favorite. My kids now complain when they have to eat the other waffles I made before which were already in the freezer. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • about 1/2 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
All you have to do is simply blend all ingredients, except blueberries, together in GOOD blender or food processor until completely smooth. 
Spoon batter into waffle iron then sprinkle blueberries over the batter.
Cook according to your waffle maker.

*Tip: if you have a mini waffle maker then I would blend the blueberries into the batter also because the berries will be to big and the waffles don't hold together as well.

I usually end up doubling this recipe because I have a large Belgian waffle maker. This recipe would only make about 3 to 4 large Belgian waffles. Anyways, it's always good to have leftovers to freeze for a quick and healthy breakfast!

This is also a great take along breakfast idea to share with others! I go to a moms group at my church and they are all striving to eat healthy. I decided to surprise them and bring these to our morning meeting! I made a double batch the night before, put them on a cookie sheet, covered them, and threw them in the freezer. In the morning I pulled them out of the freezer and when I got to the church, I threw them in a 350 degrees oven for about 10 minutes and they came out of the oven PERFECT!!!
Most of the moms in my group we asking for the recipe and couldn't believe they were grain free! =)

This is a picture of a double batch on a cookie sheet, minus a few… because my family had to try some!! =) The waffles are about an inch thick.

Toddler APPROVED and with a HUGE smile!!!
A lot of my friends were also asking about a grain and dairy free bread recipe. I haven't tried this yet but I can tell by the ingredients that it is pretty close to the waffle recipe.  This bread looks AMAZING, it is also one of Danielle's recipes!!! It's the next thing I'm going to bake with Kiki during Garr's nap time! I can't wait to try it! Click on the picture below to get the recipe!
I can't thank Danielle Walker enough for her great recipes!

Here is one of my older posts on how I add veggies to my waffles! It's only a matter of time until I change the above recipe to add a little more nutrition to it! =)
Click on the picture below to see the post!

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