Lucky Mama

 

 

We love puzzles

Posted by on Mar 29, 2014 in Alaina, Featured, Lucky Mama | 2 comments

Alaina is a big fan of puzzles! She started with a pretty simple 24 piece Minnie Mouse one. Then she tackled a 6o piece one that features puppy dogs. This weekend was all about Mike and Sully from Monster’s University!

Daddy and Alaina hard at work

Daddy and Alaina hard at work

Still working to figure out the tricky puzzle

Still working to figure out the tricky puzzle

Success!

Success!

Big grins!

Big grins!

The artsy view

The artsy view

Then of course, she had to tear it apart and start over again.

We left Sully intact and just worked on the Mike side

We left Sully intact and just worked on the Mike side

So excited about puzzles -- and Peter Pan, which was playing at the time

So excited about puzzles — and Peter Pan, which was playing at the time

 

 

 

Toy recall

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in In the news, Lucky Mama | Comments Off

WM-Doll-1 800In case you haven’t heard, Wal-Mart has recalled its My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care Baby Doll. You can read about it here.

Apparently, the doll could get a fever and a cough when she was sick. She came with a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. Sounds pretty neat for the budding doctor. Unfortunately, the circuit board that caused the fever could overheat, causing blisters and burns on that same budding doctor. Umm, not good.

So Wal-Mart has issued a recall. If you have one of the dolls, remove the batteries and return it from Wal-Mart.

 

Growing up

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Alaina, developmental milestones, Lucky Mama, school | 2 comments

It is official. My little girl is growing up.

On July 26, she will turn 5.

The date is significant for two reasons.

1) My baby will be 5! Where has the time gone?!?

2) Alaina slides under the August 1 deadline to start kindergarten.

Say what? Yup, my little girl is going to start kindergarten this fall.

Alaina tries to pretend that she isn't absolutely over the moon about going to kindergarten

Alaina tries to pretend that she isn’t absolutely over the moon about going to kindergarten

I’ve been fretting over this possibility for the past two years. But late last year, Matt and I sat down with Alaina’s daycare teacher and discussed our options. I was leaning toward one more year of daycare/Pre-K somewhere. I was concerned about Alaina being the youngest kid in her class — would she be mentally, physically and emotionally ready for school? Matt was undecided. But Alaina’s daycare teacher was confident that our little girl would be ready for kindergarten.

So last week, Matt, Alaina and I went to a nearby elementary school for kindergarten registration. I was worried about how Alaina would react to a new school environment.

Once again, my child laughed at my fears.

As Matt and I filled out paperwork, Alaina was walking around the cafeteria, hugging all of the office workers who were helping with registration. More than one woman told me that she’d be more than happy to take Alaina home with her.

After filling out the paperwork, we got to check out a kindergarten classroom. As the kids sat around little tables (too cute!) one of the teachers told us a little about what we could expect out of kindergarten.

Alaina really seemed to like the teacher's media board

Alaina really seemed to like the teacher’s media board

Wow, kindergarten is not how it was when I was growing up. At my school in Kentucky, I only went for a half day. We colored, we cut things with scissors, we glued stuff. We weren’t learning to read. We weren’t doing easy multiplication problems. It is amazing how much things have changed in 30 years.

Throughout our visit, Alaina was grinning. In fact, she was a little disappointed when we told her she wouldn’t be returning to her new school the next day.

So I guess come August, I’ll have a kindergartner in the house. When did my baby get so big?

A morning snuggle

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Alaina, Lucky Mama, Motherhood | 1 comment

Being a mom is a tremendous blessing. Of course, like anything else, sometimes in the busy day-to-day, it is all too easy to forget that. But then, your child (or children) will do something to remind you.

This morning was one of those times for me.

I woke up about 3:45 in the midst of a coughing fit. It’s Spring, which means my sinuses are draining. Blech. So I hacked and I hacked until eventually I just got up.

I was eventually able to go back to bed about 4:30 and was not looking forward to my alarm clock going off at 7 a.m.

But something really sweet happened as my alarm started going off. Alaina came into my room, closed the door and walked to my side of the bed. Then she told me, “Mommy, I want to snuggle.”

So I pulled her onto the bed and we proceeded to snuggle for 5-10 minutes. Normally if she wants to snuggle, its a minute or two, tops. But not today.

Today she apparently needed that snuggle time just as much as I did. As Alaina gets older, snuggle time happens less and less, which made today’s wake-up cuddles all the sweeter.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Alaina, daddy, holidays, Lucky Mama | 1 comment

Alaina celebrates her Irish roots (and her love of hats).

The shirt says "Daddy's Little Half Pint"

The shirt says “Daddy’s Little Half Pint”

The MS Rap

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in Lucky Mama, multiple sclerosis | Comments Off

This is a pretty awesome rap about multiple sclerosis. There are a couple of exaggerations, which are noted in the video, but still a pretty good explanation about the disease.

 

MS Awareness

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Lucky Mama, multiple sclerosis, Word Herders | 6 comments

1606275_10152192101946072_467403761_oThis week is MS Awareness Week (through Sunday, March 9).

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you’re aware I have multiple sclerosis. If you’re new to the blog, well, I have multiple sclerosis. :)

I was diagnosed in July 2011, about a week before Alaina’s 2nd birthday. But my symptoms started about two months earlier, when I was rushed to the hospital after having a seizure. You see, one Sunday afternoon I had a wicked headache. I told Matt I was going to take a nap in hopes of sleeping the headache off. An hour or two later, he heard me yelling. When he went to our bedroom, he saw me in the middle of a tonic-clonic (used to be called Grand Mal) seizure. (Having viewed videos of people in the middle of a tonic-clonic seizure, I feel so bad for my husband. These are incredibly scary things to watch. I’m sure I was scared during, but I don’t remember anything about it, so there’s that. In fact, I don’t remember anything about the rest of that day. It’s all gone.)

He called 911 and paramedics came to take me to the hospital. Doctors thought I had viral meningitis. They ran lots of tests to look at my brain (including in MRI) and to find the virus, but no luck. As part of my follow-up care, my primary care physician referred me to a neurologist. Since they had never identified the virus and I had been having other MS symptoms since leaving the hospital — namely, pins and needles in my hands, which I was blaming on my anti-seizure drug — she started putting the pieces together and suspected MS. An MRI, taken eight weeks after my hospital stay, confirmed her suspicions.

In eight weeks since the first MRI of my brain, I had a couple of new lesions on the brain, as well as other lesions that had shrunk or grown. They call this waxing and waning of the myelin sheath — and it isn’t good news. Basically, my immune system was attacking my myelin sheath — in other words, my body was attacking my brain.

“Neurons are the structures in the nervous system that allow us to think, see, hear, speak, feel, eliminate and move. Each neuron is made up of a cell body and an axon (the extension of the cell body that carries messages). Most of the axons in the central nervous system are wrapped in myelin, a substance rich in lipids (fatty substances) and proteins. Like the coating around an electrical wire, myelin insulates and protects the axon and helps speed nerve transmission.” – from the National MS Society

When the myelin sheath is damaged, the signals from the brain aren’t transmitted as effectively. The brain and/or spinal cord, doesn’t work properly.

MS is a very personalized disease. My MS is very different from my friends’ MS — but there are some commonalities. Some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, memory loss, the MS Hug (where it feels like something is wrapped tightly around your trunk to the point it causes pain), pins and needles effect, optic neuritis (a diminishing of vision until partial blindness occurs — for many MS patients it is temporary) loss of sensation in your extremities, loss of control of your extremities. The list really does go on and on. However, seizures aren’t a “normal” MS symptom, which is why the doctors at the hospital didn’t immediately think MS.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years to now: I’m doing pretty well. I’m on a daily injection therapy called Copaxone. Its goal is to keep you in remission and extend the amount of time between relapses, also called flare-ups.  I haven’t had a relapse since my original episode. *knock on wood!* I battle fatigue, but if I listen to my body and don’t overextend myself, it is manageable.

In case you’re wondering why the drug I’m on just tries to buy you time between flare-ups: There is no cure for MS. Right now, scientists don’t know what causes MS — they have isolated some commonalities among people who have MS, (for example, having mono or shingles as an adult seems to increase your chances of developing the disease) but they haven’t found the smoking gun. So the therapies, just try to minimize the attacks.

One of the things I’ve done since my diagnosis is try to raise money and awareness about MS. I’m a co-captain of a Walk MS team called The Word Herders. My friend Jennifer started this team after her diagnosis in 2010. April 2011 was the team’s first walk — and I was there. A month later, I was in the hospital and two months after that, I was in the MS camp with her.

She is the chairman of the Central Arkansas MS Walk for the second year in a row — go Jennifer! And I’m once again on the steering committee. We’re planning a fantastic walk for next month!

So I’m ending my story post with a couple of pleas. Please join the Word Herders on Saturday, April 12 in Little Rock’s Riverfront Park for the MS Walk. Its about a mile, so you don’t have to be in good shape to walk it. It is a wheelchair-accessible route. Click here to sign up.

If you can’t join us (or be a virtual walker!), then please consider making a donation. The money all goes to the National MS Society. The society is very involved in research and in helping people with MS. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

I also invite you to check out the Word Herders Auction Page on Facebook. Each Sunday/Monday, a new batch of goodies (think handbags, jewelry, watches, artwork, etc) goes on the auction block. The auctions end Saturday evening.

Last of all, wear ORANGE on Saturday and Sunday. And if someone asks you why you’re wearing ORANGE, tell them you want to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis!

The Main Cheese

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in eating/food, Lucky Mama, reviews | 6 comments

Margarita Mama (Heidi) and I were very fortunate to get a sneak peek of The Main Cheese on Monday night.  And according to the restaurant’s website, you can go check it out for yourself now! WooHoo! Cheese for everyone!

A Main Cheese booth

A Main Cheese booth

I LOVED the orange chairs in the waiting area

I LOVED the orange chairs in the waiting area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Heidi, I have been sooooo excited about a restaurant dedicated to cheese. I love cheese in so many of its varieties, except for bleu cheese — just never been a fan of that one. And grilled cheese has always been one of my favorite sandwiches. So The Main Cheese sounded great to me. I’m pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint.

Heidi and I decided to split an appetizer and then try different sandwiches and desserts so we could give you guys a better picture of the restaurant. What can we say, we’re givers. ;)

We started off our meal with the Caponata, which included eggplant, diced tomatoes, black olives, capers, garlic and basil, and was served with pita chips. The Caponata was our second choice — we both really wanted the Artichoke and Cheese Dip.

The Caponata wasn’t my favorite. It was served cold and I think it might have been tastier at room temp. Also, the pita chips were seriously too hard and thick. It was very hard to bite them, which isn’t a good thing when you’re eating a messy dip.

Caponata, $5.25

Caponata, $5.25

Next up for me was The Big Dipper sandwich. I love a good roast beef sandwich with au jus to dip in. This one was pretty tasty. The roast beef was sliced thin, which is always a good thing in my opinion. The homemade au jus had a great flavor — yum! I do wish there had been a little more provolone cheese on the sandwich. I would say The Main Cheese used about the same amount of cheese on their dipper as everyone else does on theirs. I wanted more cheese from a cheese restaurant! So the sandwich was very good, but didn’t cross over into the realm of truly special. More cheese please!

The Big Dipper, $8.45

The Big Dipper, $8.45

Close up of all of the yummy roast beef on The Big Dipper

Close up of all of the yummy roast beef on The Big Dipper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I might be one of the few Southerners in the world who doesn’t like coleslaw. So I swapped my coleslaw for seasoned chips and a dipping sauce. Oh my word, those were some tasty chips! They had a little kick, but not enough to require one to guzzle a glass of water. They were crisp, but not burnt. All in all, definitely worth the extra $1.

Seasoned chips and dipping sauce, $1 substitution

Seasoned chips and dipping sauce, $1 substitution

I also had a bite of Heidi’s Gulf Shores sandwich. That was heaven on a plate, y’all. There was so much delicious cheese and seafood in each bite, I’m drooling a little bit just thinking about it. And the fries were also delish, definitely worth that $1.50 substitution charge.

Now it was time for dessert. I admit, I had been dreaming about The Main Cheese Donut since I first read about it. I love donuts and I love cheese — but the two of them together. I was curious and determined to try it.

It didn’t disappoint. A young man at the table next to us described it as one of the best things he had ever eaten. He wasn’t exaggerating. A glazed donut was cut in half and toasted, with cheese (I think they were using fontina last night) melted between the two halves. I don’t know WHO thought a donut and cheese would go together — but they were a genius. The sweet and the cheesy goodness were the perfect compliment. Yum!

The Main Cheese Donut, $3.50

The Main Cheese Donut, $3.50

All in all, my meal at The Main Cheese was really tasty and the staff was really friendly. They have a small, but good, beer and wine list — my Blue Moon went well with everything I ordered. There were a couple of small tweaks I’d make to certain dishes, but for a soft opening, The Main Cheese seems to have already worked out a lot of the kinks. I’m already making plans to go back and take the family. :)

A very pleased Heidi

A very pleased Heidi

A Song for Saturday

Posted by on Feb 22, 2014 in A Song for Saturday, Lucky Mama | Comments Off

Heavy metal meets jazz?!?!?

I’m a child of the 80s. As such, I grew up listening to Guns N’ Roses — and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” was always one of my favorite GNR songs. There have been several covers of this hit — and of the ones I’ve heard, most of them have been pretty awful.

But this one is really something special. This is how “Sweet Child O’ Mine” would sound all jazzed up, 1920s-style. Scott Bradlee (Postmodern Jukebox) and Miche Braden get the credit for this ear candy. Read all about the project here.

So what do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down?