Thursday, February 27, 2014

Swiss Cheese Heart--Health Scare Part 3



   If you have been following, you know I had a health scare after Christmas where I ended up hospitalized for a few days following a TIA ('mini-stroke'). Next, I found out I have a hole in my heart called a PFO (when the flap that everyone has in utero remains open instead of closing).  The next test was a transesophageal echocardiogram where a camera was lowered down my throat and bubbles were injected so that my cardiologist was able to get a closer look at what the bubbles did when they reached my heart.   He found that I have a congential (present at birth) heart defect called an atrial septal aneurysm. This is when the tissue that should go straight across between the two chambers has a bulge in it which makes it look more like a 'U' shape than a straight line. My aneurysm has at least two holes in it which caused the bubbles to go across in the opposite direction of the PFO bubbles which means blood is going across both ways in the top two chambers (and it is not supposed to be going across at all). This can cause to much pressure on the right side of the heart which can lead to all sorts of health issues. The next step is to go in through a vein in the leg and send a catheter all the way to my heart and measure the pressure. If it is too high, I will need surgery in which an umbrella-like device is put in to close off the holes.

          I am scared to have a heart procedure. Of course, there are risks. I don't sign off on those easily, not with four children who rely on me to take care of them. It is interesting that there will be less sedation for this procedure than there was for the transesophageal echo (camera down my throat). I am having a hard time imagining being awake while a catheter is finding it's way to my heart. On a lighter note, I have a fear of saying something lame while under  sedation. I was glad I could not speak during the test with the camera down my throat. I don't want the cardiologist to have to listen to a frantic monologue of my fears about this heart problem, the ones I think about when I wake up at night. That being said, I am lucky that I have an amazing cardiologist who answered my litany of questions during my last appointment. He never once looked at his watch or made me feel stupid for not already knowing the answers. He even took time prior to the appointment to gather articles and pictures online to show me what is going on with my heart. He has done this procedure over 500 times without complications. I am so grateful that I have such a competent doctor who is incredibly humane.

     I wrote the first part of this post before the procedure.  I have since had the procedure.  I don't think I said anything during the procedure.  It was in a brightly lit operating room with the cardiologist and lots of nurses.  The cardiologist took blood samples from my heart so he could check oxygen levels in the blood and measured the pressure with a balloon like device.  He then did the mathematical equation and the pressure is not statistically significant.  This means I will be on yearly monitoring and blood thinners and will not need heart surgery at this time.  I am incredibly relieved!  This is the best news we could have hoped for. 


  


             We have been spending a lot of time at a local park now that we have a membership.  We have been having the Sugar Snaps be 'partners' and hold hands as we walk for safety.  It is cute to see them enjoying the park walking hand in hand.  What has your family been doing lately?  Have you had any health scares?  How did you handle it with your children?  I'd love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.





Monday, February 24, 2014

Preschool Giveaway--Including $50 Amazon Gift Card!



   I have teamed up with a few blogs to celebrate some changes in the True Aim blog and to bring you a Preschool Prize Pack giveaway. The prize pack includes a $50 Amazon Gift card, True Aim's Preschool Curriculum e-book and the M is for Mouse Reading Game. Head over to True Aim and check out the fun learning activities, simple parenting tips, and kid friendly recipes.  It is a great resource for parents of young children. Founder Janine LaTulippe  added new contributors and a new homeschooling category.  Readers will get even more parenting tips and learning activities with valuable information about homeschooling you might not have considered.  

    Like me, Janine is a Mama of 4 under the age of 6 (though her children are not all the same age).  I agree with Janine that a great education begins in the home. Whether you choose public, private, or home schooling, parents have the most influence on their children.  She promises to challenge you to reclaim your children and help you discover the True Aim of parenting and education. Visit True Aim to learn more about Janine!


true aim
 

Enter to Win $100 Preschool Learning Prize Pack! (USA only)

This prize pack includes a full Preschool Curriculum eBook Set, M is for Mouse Reading Game, and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Winner will be chosen 3/5/14.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


      I wish you the best of luck in the contest.  If you have a moment, please let me know if you'd like to see more opportunities to win prizes on Capri + 3. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Little Things go a Long Way--Making our laundry easier

 
This post is sponsored by P&G. Save on NEW Gain Flings and Tide Pods at Target. Text CLEAN to Target (827438) for mobile coupons*.
*Message and data rates may apply. 1 message per request. http://m.target.com/spot/sms/coupon-alrts-terms for Terms, Conditions, and Privacy Policy. By texting the key word to us, you agree to receive an autodialed text message from Target at the mobile number from which you sent your request. Consent to receive messages is not a condition of purchase.


     I was excited to have the opportunity to try Tide Pods and NEW Gain Flings. Follow the instructions above to score mobile coupons from Target to try some too. With multiples, you can imagine we have a lot of laundry.  I believe in letting children get messy while doing arts and crafts and playing outside.  I like them to learn about the world around them hands on.   I love the simplicity of being able to toss in a Tide Pod which is a detergent, brightener and stain fighter all in one.  This eliminates the need to put multiple products into the laundry machine.  We put in a load of  laundry reflective of the Sugar Snaps having lots of fun complete with muddy knees and dabs of glue and glitter.  It was hard to believe that one tiny pod took care of it all leaving the clothes smelling fresh and clean.

     They put on their clothes warm from the dryer and we all went outside to enjoy the day.  We basked in the California Winter masquerading as Spring.





We took in the freshness of flowers


and admired a pair of Canadian Geese.




 The Sugar Snaps ran across the grass


 and explored a nature inspired dwelling.


     You can see that we created some more laundry on this adventure.  Next, it was time to try NEW Gain Flings.   I have to admit that I love the name.  Fling is a fun word.  I love that I can fling one into the laundry machine, add the clothes and turn it on.  It's as easy as that. Our clothes came out smelling wonderful!  NEW Gain Flings are small, but they still managed to fit in twice the amount of scent so your clothes will smell amazing.   I am all about making the laundry easier so that I can have a sense of accomplishment and enjoy the day.  



      Happiness is being able to enjoy Ember, our new shelter rescue puppy in an EMPTY laundry basket!

     I am glad that they carry Tide Pods and NEW Gain Flings at Target.  Target is super convenient for us and they even have shopping carts built for multiples!  With more than one child seat, we have room for the Sugar Snaps and our purchases too.   If you want your laundry to be easier and to smell fresh and clean, I recommend giving Tide Pods and NEW Gain Flings a try.  

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I only recommend products I believe in.


    


Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine's Day Fun



     We were excited to have a date night on Valentine's Day.  Our babysitter, who is a warm, wonderful person agreed to watch the Sugar Snaps while we went out and had an amazing four course meal followed by the movie Frozen.  While we were gone, they decorated Palmiere cookies with frosting and sprinkles following a meal of heart shaped red and white ravioli.  I was originally going to make heart shaped sugar cookies for them to decorate.  When I saw the Palmiers, I thought they looked perfect, and much easier!  I heard they had a great time eating their Valentine's Day themed meal and decorating cookies. 




Afterwards. Capri and Grayson had the look of sugar-inspired delight:

 
 
I am  still enjoying these amazing flowers from Greg:
 



     It was a fun Valentine's Day for everyone!  What did you do for Valentine's this year?  Feel free to leave links to your Valentine's posts.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Window Crayon Art



     I decided to bust out the window crayons that Uncle David had given the Sugar Snaps a while ago.  They all stood side by side and colored the window in the door together.  I think the forbidden quality of it makes it more fun.  They could not believe I was allowing (and even suggesting) that they color the window.  They jockeyed for space a bit as it was narrow for the four of them.  Sometimes a couple would reach up while others crouched down to color the bottom. They were so excited to show Daddy their window art 'masterpiece' when he got home.  I think I will save the crayons as something I bring out occasionally so that their level of excitement remains high (and they don't get tempted to go for the walls and floor.) 










     Every time I looked at their artwork on the door, it made me smile.  The artwork washed off easily a few days later.  I think window crayons are a great invention.  Have you tried them with your children or students? 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Valentine's Day Giveaway from Melissa & Doug

 
 
 
      It was so much fun participating in the Melissa & Doug giveaway over the holidays, that I jumped at the chance to be involved in their generous Be My Valentine giveaway.  Melissa & Doug has top quality educational toys and I wanted to give you the chance to win them.  So, I teamed up with all of the bloggers you see pictured below to give you the opportunity to win all the fun Valentine's Day themed products pictured above. 
 








     Check out all the great products you can win below!  There will be three winners who will each receive a complete set!


Each Valentine's Gift Guide Set includes over $90 worth of toys and crafts!


      Which item would you like to win most?  We are not eligible, but if we were, I think I would be most excited about the wooden heart box and I'd have it personalized with the Sugar Snaps' names on it which would be a great keepsake.

~Giveaway!~
Enter for a chance to win one of 3 Full Sets of EVERYTHING on the Melissa & Doug Valentine's Day Gift Guide! The giveaway is open to US Residents only and closes at midnight on Friday, February 14, 2014. Complete as many entry options as you like! Hint: If you finish the first entry option below, it will unlock a second set of entry options! Your chances of winning go up dramatically the more entries you get in the hat!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Theresa of Capri + 3 received no compensation for sponsoring this event, nor is she responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Melissa & Doug, LLC. Three winners will be drawn randomly and notified by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim their prize. If they do not respond within the 48 hours, they will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. This post may contain affiliate links.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hole in my Heart--Health Scare Part Two



       If you  have been following, you know I had a health scare over the holidays.  I was diagnosed with a TIA (mini-stroke) which is like a  small earthquake signaling that a bigger quake may follow.  After the episode, I went through denial.  Like a tiny earthquake, a TIA leaves no damage behind.  So, there is no definitive test that can prove that I had one.  I came up with theories of other things it could have been, such as a pinched nerve.  My neurologist was sure I had experienced a TIA and proved that it was not a pinched nerve due to the different symptoms (pinched nerves involve pain and last much longer than TIA symptoms).  My hematologist (who I met in my hospital stay) told me that sometimes there is a connection between a hole in your heart (PFO), a history of migraine headaches (like mine) and TIA's or strokes.





       I followed up with a cardiologist and he wanted to rule that out by doing a bubble echo-cardiogram, where bubbles are injected through an IV and observed as they go to the heart.  The top two chambers of the heart are not supposed to communicate so the bubbles should not pass from one side to the other.  My bubbles went flying from one side to the other without hesitation, confirming I have a hole.  Apparently about 1 in 5 people have a PFO and most do not know it unless they have a problem and a doctor orders an echo-cardiogram.  We all start with an opening between the chambers which, for most people closes while they are infants.  If it does not close, it is called a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO).  If there is a blood clot that misses the normal filtration system (due to a PFO), it can go to the brain causing a TIA or stroke.  The next step for me is a transesophogeal echo-cardiogram where I will be under anesthesia while a camera is lowered through my mouth into my esophagus to get a better view of my heart and find out more about the extent of the problem. 





 
 
      This little health scare has turned into a bigger scare.  If you've read our story, you know how hard it was for us to start our family.  Then, we 'won the lottery' and had four children and an instant family.  I don't look at risk the same way I did before having children.   I want to be here to take care of them.  The thought of having a heart problem terrifies me.  We have explained my hospital stay and the tests as a 'boo boo' and the Sugar Snaps seem pleased that the doctors are taking care of the boo boo.  Capri and Xayden have both decided that they want to be 'grown up doctors' some day and help people.  I am scared of possibly needing heart surgery and I have dark thoughts that I hope I am here to see them become grown up doctors.  Friends and family have offered prayers and moral support which I appreciate. 
 
     We took the Sugar Snaps to the ocean on Saturday because the ocean has always been a place of calm for me with stress melting temporarily away into the waves.  Children are intuitive and I don't want them to pick up on my fear so I try to lessen it until we find out what we are facing.  Seeing the ocean and experiencing their joy as they walked on the beach and explored boats open for a tour did the trick.   I am grateful now that I had the TIA and I have the chance to prevent something worse. I am also grateful for the incredible doctors and nurses that are helping me.  We are taking this one test at a time, one day at a time.
 

They loved touring the boats.





    

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Foam Tray Play



     I was about to throw a foam tray into the recycling bin when I checked the back to see if it was recyclable.  It wasn't.  So, I cut it into four pieces and gave one to each of the Sugar Snaps with one toothpick each. They had a great time scratching it, poking holes and imagining it to be a wide variety of things from a merry-go-round to a boat.  It sparked excited conversations amongst the four of them about all of the exciting things their bits of foam had become.

      It was nice to see them so excited and at the same time, I was amused by all the educational toys and at supplies I have purchased which are not met with nearly as much enthusiasm.  They enjoy the black paper that has rainbow colors underneath when it is scratched with a toothpick, so I thought they would enjoy scratching the tray. I did not think the excitement would last, though given there are no rainbow colors underneath. It seemed that without the colors, their imaginations took  over and they enjoyed it even more. 



Ryder and Xayden enjoyed sharing what they had created with their imaginations.






A Merry-go-round Mama!



Grayson closely observed his creation.
 
 
 
     This spontaneous activity made me realize that I want to add more freeform activities to our home preschool.  I would like to give them a box of random things and let them decide what to do with them.  Often times I get out a box of something specific like pretend food and kitchen supplies and they pretend to shop and cook. They love that, but I think they would also love the addition of something more open ended.  Do you have any ideas or activities that have worked well for you?  I'd love to hear from you. Your comments are always welcome.
 

 
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