Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Evening at the Beach

I first wanted to start out by thanking everyone who reached out to me on the blog or privately as a result of my previous post. You guys are all some tough cookies and bad-asses for what you've had to face down in your life and that you have come through still willing to reach out and lend me a supportive word is pretty darn cool. I'm feeling extremely grateful for you all right now and I hope you all know that you truly have my empathy, love and support as well.

Many of you had some great suggestions that I've had in my mind get into or at least attempt or do more of such as getting outdoors, mindfulness, etc., and I'm excited to venture into some of these things. Maybe we can do it together?

On the note of getting outside more... after being stuck indoors for two weeks due to being sick, yesterday I was desperately craving the beach.

Somewhere in the haze of my illness Fall had come and I hadn't even noticed! While its still in the high 80s during the day, the evenings are starting to cool off and the days are getting shorter.

That horrible heat wave a few weeks back had me pining for the cold weather and everything that comes with it. Yesterday it hit me that summer is over and all of a sudden I wasn't ready to let go of the beach days.

I decided that we just needed the beach urgently so we headed over to Grandma's for dinner, to play with cousin Damian and for a beach sunset while its still warm.

It was a gorgeous evening.

The sun made everything glow orange.

The water was warm and clear.

Winnie splashed in the waves.

Archie and Damian rolled around in the waves and karate chopped them.

The kids got some bonus Grandma time.

I always try to make sure Archie's time after school is full of play and physical activity. With the new house having dirt for a lawn, the tree house and the trampoline not yet up and running, this has been difficult lately. Homework also gets in the way.

But we decided to take a break from that.

Go outside and take a breather.

And it was so worth it. We may need to add it to our weekly routine.

Now if the Fall season could only bring me some pomegranates! I have this yummy recipe I am dying to share!! Coming soon!

Monday, September 28, 2015


I can't tell you how many times I've started writing about this. I've wanted to be open about it, but have never found the right moment.
Over the last year and a half, I have experienced two incidents that have had an impact on my life and family.

Previously I had always heard people use the term, "Panic Attack" and I just thought they meant their heart was racing and their breathing was labored and basically how I spent the entire portion of my life feeling when I was in Scientology.

So when I was loosing consciousness one day, about a year and a half ago, when I was alone in my very rurally located house with my kids and hyperventilating I actually called an ambulance. I thought I was having a heart attack and dying. Actually I knew if it wasn't a heart attack it was a brain aneurysm. So when they, (the paramedics that I had embarrassingly called) told me that they thought I was having a panic attack my instant reaction could only be described as defensive.

Among my thoughts were, "that isn't even a real thing, its just something that dramatic people say", "I only panicked AFTER I was loosing consciousness whilst alone with my children, not before," and "just take me to the hospital now, because I'm about to die! "

I actually said, "Um, I've been through a lot of crazy stuff in my life, why would I be having a panic attack now?"

Over the next few weeks I would learn that panic attacks can happen at anytime to anyone, you don't actually have to be anxious at the time. It is a malfunctioning in your nervous system which misidentifies a harmless situation as something that is life-threatening. This is believed to be caused by some form of an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.

The doctor said she would give me anti-anxiety meds, but I instead opted to see a therapist because I felt it was an isolated incident and didn't feel like anxiety was something that plagued my every day life.

The therapist I saw was a wonderful lady. The only therapist I have ever seen since leaving Scientology. We only had a few sessions.

I feel like the assumption would be that my time in Scientology was finally catching up with me. And in a way, it was. But why now?

I should mention that during the week prior to the panic attack, both myself and Archie had multiple severe allergic reactions. Face swelling, hives all over, entire body bright red and burning resulting in multiple midnight ER visits, allergy testing and misdiagnosis that resulted in us being told we had a "chronic condition" and had to take allergy meds everyday for the rest of our lives. It was "impossible" that it was an insect causing this because this reaction was "systemic". Never mind the unlikeliness that we both were afflicted at the exact same time.

It turned out to be an insect after all called a Kissing Bug that we are both apparently very allergic to and also plagued the previous residents of the house we were living in. So we moved out and have never had any reaction since.

But these reactions and ER visits and seeing my little boy's face swollen like that, coupled by a recent heart attack and stroke in the family had me feeling very mortal. Therein lay my anxiety.

While none of this had anything to do with Scientology per-se, the fact is that I spent the first 21 years of my life KNOWING that when I die, my spirit "thetan" would just move on to another body and I'd live again. I don't know why, but this is the one thing that I never questioned growing up. I questioned a lot of other things but somehow I KNEW that I was a spirit who would live again.

Fast forward to 10 years later and I no longer believe or take for granted that I will live again. I believe that after wasting half of my life in a cult, I have finally worked hard to build a life that I love and this life is the only chance I will ever get to be with the most amazing people I will ever know and love (my kids and husband) and I'm finally in a great place.

The thought that it could all be over in the blink of an eye while driving, the bite of a bug, an unknown heart murmur, brain aneurysm, you name it and staying alive can start to feel like high stakes obstacle course with no second chances! I guess most people deal with this a lot earlier than I am and by the time they are my age, they have learned to live with it on some level.

My sessions with the therapist petered out because, once we discovered it was the Kissing Bug I felt more assured that I could control the situation and perhaps random chronic illnesses weren't trying to Final Destination me and my son. I had also moved too far away from the area for our sessions be convenient.

She had given me some tools to help ward off an oncoming panic attack because my biggest fear was having another one while driving or while alone with the kids. These definitely helped to ease my anxiety.

Over the course of the past year and a half since the original attack there were several times where I had the beginnings of another panic attack. But I became very good at managing it. I learned certain procedures like, don't call Dallas, only call my Mom and she would help me. Holding my breath for a few seconds was another trick (unlike the "Just Breathe!" advice) that actually worked very well for me. Nothing ever came close to being a full fledged attack again.

That is until last week.  I had this awful cough that's been going around that last nearly two months! I had pressure on my chest and there was rattling and wheezing going on making it hard to exist in general much less sleep. On top of that, I had just gotten a regular head cold. So now in addition to it being difficult to breath through my mouth, my nose was now blocked.

I went to the doctor and she prescribed me a steroid and so I was picking it up at Target when I started to feel like I was going to pass out. Winnie was with me, playing with her little toy. The feeling wouldn't go away and so I started to panic. In Target! I already couldn't breathe and that made me more frantic. So between trying to breathe and trying to stay conscious and being with my kid, I began having another panic attack and it was out of my control.

Unfortunately my Mom was out of town and so I was left with Dallas to call.  Although he did come and get me, I felt guilty about it which made me even more panicked.

I was finally able to get my wits together after an hour at home and things went back to normal. I haven't had anything happen since.

As I've been dealing with this over the past year and a half, the vast majority of people who I have spoken to about it have been extremely understanding when it comes up in a conversation. Many of them have had their own experiences and even talk about how they have dealt with it themselves.

Others have said things like, "just calm down" or "just learn to enjoy your life and your kids and relax."  This bugs me. Because I have a panic attack doesn't mean that I am unhappy or worse ungrateful, in fact, the very fact that I am happy is a huge contributing factor in why I panic.

Before last week's incident, it was something I thought I had under control and even conquered. Now it has popped up again and so I guess I need to figure it out again. The attacks always seem to be related to something medical. Who knows?- I may try more therapy if I think its necessary. Right after it happens I am freaked out about it, but then a few days later I think, "Its only happened twice in eighteen months, I'll be fine".

I guess the point to this whole rant is that sometimes in life, especially as we get older and have been through more, these issues crop up in ways you would least expect. It happens to all of us, whether we are someone who has survived a cult, or someone who is struggling with loss or even just someone who is a new parent (or not so new).

These issues are nothing to be ashamed of. Its natural to have some rough spots or issues to deal with in life and nobody should feel alone in this. We are all dealing with something, whether or not it is obvious. Some people won't understand, just like I probably didn't until it happened to me.

But I've learned that there are so many people who DO understand and for that I am truly grateful and also more determined each day to learn to be more and more that type person myself.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Sorry for having been MIA last week. We were pretty sick and only started to feel better by the end of the week.

We haven't been up to much lately. Janie from Snuppets sent me a Snuppet to review. They are cute little puppets/reusable snack baggies. Arch loves his little fox guy (especially when it holds a surprise cookie in his lunchbox). They have other cute animal types. Probably the penguin and the hedgehog are my fav - then again the owl is pretty darn cute too!! I like that they are laundry machine washable as opposed to dishwasher-able seeing as I don't have a dishwasher. You will definitely need more than one though! My favorite thing about Snuppets is that they are made by a mom so when I buy them, I'm supporting a family and not some CEO billionaire.

We managed to get in a little flower sniffing after school one day.

Win and I visited the Antique/Princess store.

Here she is in her cute ThredUp get up! They are still my favorite place to buy her clothes.

This is the moment she realized that they didn't have cookies at the Antique store.

I thought this was a cute one of Doctor Daddy cleaning Winnie's ears.

And this one of Win "helping" Arch with his homework.

Archie caught a blue belly lizard which sat on his shoulder for nearly an hour.

At home we are making lots of progress on our retaining wall in the backyard. I'll wait to show you a photo when its all done :)

We've just been working on getting better physically, home organizing and decorating. Lot of exciting things happening in the house to come. I just need to finish some of them!!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Favorite Corn Salad Recipe

I found this amazing recipe on Pinterest before our last beach camping trip. I've made it three times now and it only gets more delicious each time.

For the most part I followed the recipe with one exception - I didn't cook the corn and I think this makes a big difference. It's more fresh this way. I definitely prefer to use the green onions as well and slightly less mayo than the recipe calls for. Here is my version.

Four ears of sweet corn husked and cut off the cob.

1/2 cup cilantro.

1-2 cloves garlic.

6-8 green onions chopped.

1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese.

2 avocados.

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped. You can use a whole one too, but I'm too sissy for that!

1.5 tbsp olive oil, 1.5 tbsp mayonnaise and the juice from 1-2 limes.

1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp chili powder and mix it all up!!

We brought it as a side dish to Aunt Abby's house for dinner. The leftovers make for a great lunch!

The kids hung out.

We had good food and a good time!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Little Dirt Never Hurt

Yesterday Archie declared that he needed forty two dollars in order to get the latest Lego set that he wants.

In response to my standard answer, "Maybe for Christmas", he asked "Can I work for it?"

I told him he could, but it would take at least a month. He was cool with that, so we started up at the orchard with some weeding.

Naturally little sister wanted to help too and naturally, they had to strip down to their underwear in order to weed. Makes sense.

Our soil has a lot of clay and right after the rain, with the loose dirt it would suck the shoes right off our feet. So we decided to go shoeless too!

Archie learned about pulling out the root of the weeds.

This particular weed he noted, smelled like a skunk.

We then smelled all of the different weeds.

We ran into a few stink bugs.

He tricked his sister into using her "short power" to get the weeds in hard to reach places.

Texi policed us.

When we were done, Archie had earned one dollar,  to which he responded, "Could it be two dollars?'

Me: "Nope."

Archie: "Ok, just thought I'd check.'

Then they had a good old fashioned time playing in the dirt with their bare hands and feet. I gave them a few spoons too.

Good times.