Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pirate Baby Shower Ideas

I had the privilege of throwing a Pirate theme baby shower for my good friends! 
Once they gave me this theme, all of these ideas started coming to mind!

First, I will show you my pirate ship fruit platter!
I cut the top of the watermelon as pictured then added the carrot accents with toothpicks!
I searched for skewer sticks to use for the sails but I didn't have any so I used straws. It actually worked out better because I simply had to put toothpicks in the bottom of the watermelon and it held the straws down.
I printed out the saying for the sails and cut them into shapes you see.
Then filled it with all different fruit!
I couldn't resist adding an octopus on top of the fruit! 
It isn't something people are going to eat but it definitely adds to the fun!
Here it is at the shower. Don't forget to get some chocolate coins to add to the decor!
What Pirate shower isn't complete without a Pirate Baby! I love my boy! Sorry for his dirty & drooly  little face! =)
I also created a flag for the area where the presents would go saying "Baby Booty". 
The "pole" of the flag is made of a empty wrapping paper roll folded in half and stapled together.
For my gift to the family I decided to make something that would double as decor for the shower and for the baby's room. I bought a 16X24 canvas and 4 sheets of scrapbook paper looking like rustic wood. I used Mod Podge to glue the paper down to the canvas. I tried hard to not have a paper seam show... if you look close you can see where it's not exact.
I then used black acrylic paint to paint the simple silhouette of a ship.
For the lettering, I didn't feel I could do a good job painting them myself.
If you read my last blog post HERE, I recently had eye surgery so I only have vision in one eye currently. All I did was print it out, Mod Podge the rwo words to the canvas, and then, once the Mod Podge dried, I simply painted around them! After all of the paint was dry I then sealed everything with a coat of gloss Mod Podge!
I can't wait to see how they decorate baby Michael's room but more importantly, I can wait to meet the sweet little guy! <3
Lastly, as I was looking up games to do for the shower. I found a lot of cute ones but a lot of people were trying to SELL them! I decided to make my own and then post them here for FREE!!!
Hey, if I already did the work... why should you have to also?
This first game the players have to match the pirate word/phrase in the first column to the meaning in the second column. This is good for any Pirate Theme party... not just a baby shower! =)
The second game is just a Pirate version of "What's in your purse?"
I hope you enjoy these ideas and hopefully they will help you in planning your next party/shower!

I also have an older post of simple ideas to make a pirate costume out of stuff around the house!
Check it out by clicking on the picture below!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Retina Detachment: My Personal Story


This photo of my left eye was taken over a year ago. I always thought it was so cool. Little did I know that I would be using it for a blog post, like this one, months later. 
As you know my last post was over a month ago. Actually the day I last posted, January 19th, I was dealing with a detached retina in my left eye without even knowing it.

I have decided to blog about my experience with a detached retina from a patient standpoint in hopes to help out others who are going through the same situation or to help you know the signs of a detached retina. Furthermore, as you are reading, know that I am obviously not a Doctor and this is solely about my own personal experience.

First of all, people ask HOW did this happen to you!?
I am only 35 years old and in good health.... a nurse actually told me "It's simply bad luck!"
Although I don't fall into these categories, certain people have a greater chance of getting a retinal detachment: people with a high degree of nearsightedness, family history, eye trauma, or previous eye surgery. If you fall into any of these categories you should have a thorough dilated retinal exam regularly.

 January 16th, 2014... the day of my son Brenden's 8th birthday... I took my kids along with food and cupcakes to eat lunch with Brenden's teacher and a few friends in the classroom.
I was packing up my stuff to go and all of a sudden I noticed a flash and I felt a little sick for a second, kind of nauseous, but it went away quickly. I just payed no attention to it and went on with my day.
Looking back on this moment, I know this is right when my retina detached!!
By the evening I felt like maybe my contacts needed to be changed and that is why my eye felt a little strange. I changed the next day but it obviously didn't help. I kept seeing little flashes in the lower right of my left eye. I was also beginning to get a little blurry spot in that same area. 
I tried to ignore it but it was very annoying and sometimes really messed with my vision. However, we had my son's big Skylander's Birthday party on Saturday the 18th so I was definitely BUSY getting everything ready to have 9 second grade boys over to play for three hours! 
Progressively, each day my eye got worse, by the 4th day dealing with this I had a very noticeable grey blurry spot in the lower right corner of my vision in my Left eye. Even though it was a holiday on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr., I hauled all three of my babies to the doctors office to get me eye checked.
The first place I went was a normal eye Dr. where you would get a prescription and glasses. They looked in my eyes and said that everything looked good. FIRST LESSON: a regular eye Dr. cant tell if there are any problems with your retinas. I was sent to a specialist. 
I forgot about the fact that my eyes would have to be dilated so thank God Jason met me at the first Doctor's office to drive me and the kids to the next apt.
At the Retina Specialist they told me that I would probably have to have this vegetable-based dye injected into my veins to track the blood flow in my eyes. The main side effect to this would be that I might feel nauseous and throw up right away. WHAT!?! SERIOUSLY!?!
HOWEVER, after just a few pictures.... they knew what was wrong with me so I didn't need to have that procedure done..... THANK GOD!!!

When I finally met with the Dr. he told me that my Retina has detached in my left eye and that it is  also happening in my right eye!! He asked me when the last time I ate was because he wanted to do surgery THAT DAY!!! WOW!!! 
Everything he was saying at this point was going over my head... I was just sitting there happy that he knew what was going on in my eye and that I didn't have to live with all the flashing and the gray blurry spot.
Since I just ate, surgery was scheduled for the next day.
The doctor explained that once the retina detaches, it is kind of like saran wrap that has nothing to hold on to. This explains why my vision was progressively getting worse each day I didn't have it looked at. I was VERY lucky that the detachment didn't go past my central vision because sometimes its hard to get all sight back if it does! 
I have a friend who said his mom lost sight in her eye while waiting for her insurance to approve the surgery for a detached retina!!! SO SAD!!!!

Now to address my right eye. The easiest way to explain it is that my retina is attached like perforated paper and he wanted to laser over the "perforations" which would basically be like adding "tape" so it would make it stronger. This isn't a permanent fix so my retina could still detach in my right eye! (GOOD TO KNOW!)

The dr said I could have my right eye lasered tomorrow with the other procedure or he could do it right now in the office. I opted to have it done immediately.....SECOND LESSON: I should have waited to have it done while under Anesthesia!!!
I tried to find a picture to help show you what happened to me next.
As I sat in the chair the Dr. held a circular tool to my eye, like the one pictured. It held my eye open. For the next 10 to 15 minutes my eye fought that tool.... WANTING to close!!
 The green laser hit my eye and it HURT....BAD!!!! 
 Seriously, I didn't expect to feel it! Haven't you heard that you can't really feel lasers to the eye? I don't know where I got that information from but I could DEFINITELY feel this!!! All I could see was GREEN and feel PAIN!!!! 
At one point the Dr. stopped and said to me, "You need to breath. I can tell you aren't breathing." I have never gotten a tattoo but I would say that this was probably what it would feel like to get one on your eye!!! 

By the way, I just have to note that I have one of the NICEST Doctors ever. It hurt but he was just doing his job to help me.

The next day I had my eye surgery, Vitrectomy, and what I was told was that there were three holes in my eye from the tools inserted to do the procedure (pictured below). They can't stitch them up so you have to be careful for infection and not let anything touch or get into your eye.... so I had to watch not to get water on my face in the shower.
 There was also a gas bubble placed into my eye to help hold the retina in place. I heard that there are short lasting bubbles which dissolve in about 4 weeks or there are longer lasting bubbles which take up to 8 weeks to dissolve. YEP, I got the longer lasting bubble! However, the longer the gas in in the eye, it helps to hold everything in place so I guess I can handle it. lol
One GREAT thing about this surgery is that my eye didn't really hurt afterwards.... I didn't feel sore once waking up from anesthesia. I woke up with a patch TAPED over my eye.

I was nervous about how my eye was going to look after the patch came off the next day.
What I didn't know to be nervous about was the nurse SLOWLY pulling off the layers of tape to get to my eye. I seriously think I started crying a little from the pain of the process! OMG!

Here is a picture of my eye, the day after surgery....
It actually doesn't look too bad. I dont know if you can tell from this but the white of my eye is swollen.
The first week after surgery, I really felt like I was in the dark. I wasn't allowed to do much, not even read. Thank God for Audible Books and Pod casts! I was allowed to watch TV but the eye that I could see out of was down on a blanket or pillow. With a gas bubble in my eye, I had to hold my head to the right for TWO WEEKS!!!!!
The gas acts as a cast to the eye until it heals. You aren't allowed to lay on your back because the bubble will move to the front of the eye and press against your natural lens.
I do have to admit, I feel lucky that I had to hold my head to the right side because MOST people have to hold their head face down.
I had a lot of neck and pain on the right side of my body for the first two weeks from trying to stay on my right side and I'm soooooooo glad that is behind me.

 The gas has made me feel a little like I am under water, when looking through my left eye. I tried to change a picture of my kids so you can kind of get the idea of what I can see....
The only thing you would have to do now is hold up a clear glass of water in front of the right picture and that is what I have been seeing out of my left eye for the past month.
As you can see.... it is BRIGHT. A lot of times I find it difficult to have that light in my vision because it glares into the vision of my right eye. For this reason, a patch really helps or just keeping the eye shut.
Here is a cute picture at one of my eye appointments..... "Waiting for mommy"!
 Sorry about this next picture.... I hate taking pictures with no makeup! This is showing me a month out of surgery to my left eye and laser to my right eye, BOTH of my eyes are still dilated. I literally have CRAZY eyes because one is dilated larger than the other. Nice to know, after the fact, that when you get your eye lasered like I did, it could damage the nerves that control dilation. SOOOOOO this could actually take up to a year to fix itself!!!! I don't even want to type this BUT in some cases, it never heals. Only time will tell in my case. 
Now as I slowly watch the gas bubble get smaller I can see what looks like a water line in my vision swashing all around. It's a crazy feeling that can make you feel sick sometimes.
I am slowly starting to be able to see over the bubble....
Sometimes I have double vision when looking at something which I heard is normal, Thank God!
However, as I wait for the gas to clear I am PRAYING that it hasn't formed a cataract on my natural lens! This happens a lot but since I am young there is hope that it would heal itself.

 So for another month I will be sporting my sunglasses EVERYWHERE I GO!!!! 

"Yes, I am wearing sunglasses at night! What are you looking at!?!" LOL 

This picture does show the JOY of me holding my baby boy because for a month I was not allowed to!
The dr said that it would put strain on my eye to hold anything over 20 pounds. I think that was the hardest part of this whole process! THAT AND not being able to drive!!!!
It is crazy to have stuff that you rely on daily to be taken away from you.

I want to Thank everyone who made my family a meal during the first three weeks I was down.
It helped so much to know I have so much support around me.
AND what could I have done without My Husband and his parents (Nana & Papa)!?! 
I want to leave you with a facebook post that I wrote on February 12, 
It's so easy to take things that we use and rely on regularly for granted, like sight! No matter how your week or day is going just be happy in this moment that you can SEE this post! You seriously NEVER know when something this important can be taken away from you... No matter your age or health! I am definitely an example of this... But I am thanking God that I still have one good eye at this moment! Let's try and focus on the positives in our lives today! 

August 2014, after 8 months of letting my eye heal, I finally had Cataract surgery to fix my left eye.
I was also 6 months pregnant at the time of surgery!
You can read about it HERE!
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