Prince Erik

8/31/2015 Laura Watkins 2 Comments


So, I stood up way too fast this morning when I got out of bed... Since I've had a a lot of ear pressure lately (from my sinus infection), I wobbled back and forth, desperately trying to regain my balance, before finally falling back into bed. My husband, Erik (who isn't really into Disney princesses), looked up at me and asked, "New legs?" Gave us a good laugh. I love my prince. :)

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disney princesses,

Time Lapse Video: Elsa in Perler Beads

8/28/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments







I love making these! Here's me putting together Elsa from my Disney inspired Princess Collection.

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Giveaways

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from FORTE by JD Spero

8/24/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from FORTE by JD Spero


About FORTE

Back in New York City, piano filled Sami McGovern’s life, but moving upstate has changed everything. Thanks to the coach at Skenesboro High, Sami’s volleyball skills blossom like magic. But success comes at a cost, and the same sports drink that makes her a superstar silences her music. Worse still, to stay in the “in” crowd, she must betray the few true friends she has made in the tiny town. Her one hope: fulfill a prophecy to end the magic before it destroys her . . . and everyone else in its thrall.


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Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from FORTE by JD Spero

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Free Book: Doctor Who - The Time Lord Letters

8/21/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments



Doctor Who: The Time Lord Letters has not been released yet, but you can pre-order the Kindle book for free right now on Amazon! Thank you, Melinda for sharing this!

They've been doing a lot of these free ebooks lately, probably in anticipation of Season 9 of Doctor Who, which will be aired on September 19th. I'm so excited! My family knows I'll be unavailable that day. ;)

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First Day of School

8/19/2015 Laura Watkins 2 Comments


I seriously told them to smile, and this is what they gave me... 

At first, I was thinking how funny this picture was, then realized that I really can't blame them. These kids are way too young to hate school, but last school year was a nightmare for our family. 

Out of these three, our youngest had the "best" experience, which meant that he's so advanced that the teachers didn't have time to teach him at his level, so he spend a LOT of time playing "educational" video games. 

Our daughter, who happened to inherit my overly sensitive nature, was teased and bullied, but not badly enough for the school to really do anything about it. 

But our oldest had the worst time. A few weeks into the beginning of the school year, we met with the principal, teachers, etc. to discuss whether or not he would need a 504 plan again this year. (As some might recall, he has high functioning Autism and anxiety, but he's a very smart, constantly testing above his grade level, etc.) The consensus was that he was doing amazingly well, and other than the need to be reminded to stay on task once in a while and needing a bit more to complete tests, he wouldn't need an aide or any other considerations. This was HUGE for us, and we were so excited for his progress! 

At some point in the school year, he kept telling us that he hated school and never wanted to go there again. "There's too much stress," he would tell us. But, by the time school was over, he was fine until it was time to do homework. I chalked it up to the insane amount of homework they're required to do and tried to help him understand that we had to get through it. We'd spend literally hours (and yes, I do mean "literally" in the literal sense, I'm not exaggerating) trying to get through his homework. The most frustrating part of it was that the homework really wasn't too difficult for him. He had so much stress associated with school work that when homework time came around, he'd stare at the homework page, doodle, and/or cry until I could calm him down and help him realize that he actually could do the work. Once he actually started, he's zip through the work like it was nothing, usually finishing in 15-45 minutes.

I talked to his teachers about this at parent-teacher conferences (he's in a dual immersion program, so he has one English teacher and one Spanish teacher). Both teachers had no idea why he'd have such a hard time or how I could help him. The English teacher said that he was a delight in class and was surprised he was having a hard time at all, and the Spanish teacher was just frustrated that he wasn't taking responsibility and getting his work done. I asked if dual immersion was too much for him, if he'd do better in just English, but the teacher assured us he'd be fine.

In February, we happened to run into his Spanish teacher outside of school. She said hi to him, then asked if she could talk to me privately. I was shocked as she told me how much he was struggling at school. She said that during work time, he would sit for an hour straight just staring at the computer screen and not working. She told us that she was very worried about him, but the way she talked made it seem like we'd done something to cause this and he was just being obstinate or lazy. She asked about our home life, which is stressful at times, but was significantly better that year, and we tried to think why it might be happening. My husband and I talked to our son about it, and all he would tell us was that he was just too stressed at school. 

We rushed him back into therapy. His counselor was amazing, but it took quite a while to figure out what was going on...too late to do anything about it before school ended, but it suddenly it started to make sense. He was only having trouble in Spanish class, the first part of his day, so he'd have panic attacks, but once he moved on to his English class, he was just fine. I still don't know what started it all, but there was something (whether it was an assignment that he needed more help with or just didn't enjoy) that caused the anxiety to start building, until he couldn't handle the stress and just shut down. 

The therapist said it was a pretty natural response to extreme stress, and we're working to help him learn to overcome his anxiety. 

Today, my son was in tears when we had to leave for school. I reminded him of the talk we'd had before, about how this year would be different, better than the last. How we were so sorry that he'd had so much trouble and that as soon as we understood what was going on that we'd started getting help. I told him that we would communicate better with his teachers so we could know what was really going on...that last year would NOT happen again. He stopped crying, and went to school willingly, but still not the happy kid he usually is. 

What really has me upset is that this was all preventable. The school was supposed to be protecting him, helping him learn and grow. They were supposed to let us know if he needed another 504 plan or if we needed to be more involved. I don't know if the teacher was just over worked and forgot that he might need special considerations, was told to push to keep kids who were struggling in the dual immersion program no matter what,  or what exactly happened...  But there is something incredibly wrong with this situation

Now, I understand why so many of my friends are starting (or already do) home or charter school their children. If home school was possible for us, I would do it in a heartbeat. Part of me wants to see if this year will be better if I'm more involved, if I make enough noise... This year, will my child get the education that is lawfully required? 
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    Last Day of Summer

    8/18/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

    We spent the last day of summer at Cowabunga Bay, a water park in Salt Lake City, then stopped by the Equestrian Center (where I would pretty much like to live) on the way home.










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      Ice Cream, Balloons, and Liquid Nitrogen

      8/13/2015 Laura Watkins 2 Comments

      Don't believe the weird expressions, They ate every bite and asked for more!
      It's impossible to catch them all still and smiling with ice cream in their hands.
      We had so much fun at Subzero's 10th anniversary celebration! The free ice cream was yummy, as always, and they had super cool science demonstrations going on outside.
      Liquid nitrogen's effect on a balloon
      Liquid nitrogen's effect on a balloon

      Check the short videos we took of the demonstrations (below) or read some Fun Facts about Nitrogen!







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        Free Doctor Who Comic Book from Amazon!

        8/12/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


        The Doctor Who comic book they gave out on Free Comic Book Day is available in ebook form on Amazon! Don't know how long it'll last.

        My kids are still learning to how to handle comic books, so they wear out pretty fast around here. I'm excited to have one that won't rip or tear!
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          my battle for better health

          My Battle for Better Health: Allergies, Fibromyalgia, and My Mother

          8/12/2015 Laura Watkins 2 Comments



          When you have fibromyalgia, your nervous system is hypersensitive. Pain, fatigue, etc., is more intense than what others might experience. I've often thought of myself as a wimp, but now, I wonder how others would handle my pain levels? Allergies are a huge problem. I'm allergic to dust mites, several types of mold, and certain trees and grasses. My allergies are year-round and worse when seasonal allergies pop up.

          I experience chronic inflammation, which can leave me completely debilitated, and took a really weird turn this last month. I've always had really sensitive hearing. I hear really high pitched noises that adults aren't supposed to hear, etc. This sounds like fun, but it's gotten to be a source of contention in our house. Loud noises really hurt my ears. I'm always asking everyone to "Can you turn it down?" or "Please don't talk so loud!" In the last few weeks, its been even worse, but I noticed that louder noises started to sound like I was hearing them through a fan. You know how it sounds when you put your face in front of an electric fan and speak into it? All vibraty and stuff? We all used to do it. ;) I started to hear like that more and more, until it started sounding like my ears were plugged, like I was hearing everything from under water. Then, I started getting earaches, nausea, and dizziness.

          The doctor didn't see anything wrong with my ears and decided that it's an inner ear problem caused by my allergies. He said that I'd been prescribed the same allergy medicine for too long, and it wasn't effective any more. So, my allergies were causing fluid to build up in my inner ear. Now, I've got a new allergy medicine, but he's also got me taking a decongestant (to get rid of the fluid), and an anti-inflammatory, which is heavenly! I try not to take the anti-inflammatory medicines (like Advil, etc.) too often, because they can be hard on your kidneys, stomach, etc. So, when I do get to take them, it's a huge difference!

          After a few days, the ear problems are still there, but I did see one immediate change. The morning after I took my first allergy pill, I woke up less tired. I'm not sure if it made me more drowsy, so I slept more deeply, or if I could breathe better, but it was great!

          Another wonderful thing is that my depression hasn't been as bad lately, and trust me, it was bad there for a while. Part of it might be that summer is winding down, and I'm looking forward to having a solid schedule again, but the biggest difference is that my mom got to visit for a few days. I'm telling you, I have the best mom ever! When she and Dad visit, they usually go through my house like a whirlwind, and leave it cleaner than when we moved in. Dad had to work this time, but Mom got to come. She tried to get some cleaning done, but we had errands to run and spent a lot of the time out of the house, playing.

          When you have depression, change is one of the best treatments. They tell you rearrange your furniture, go walking, get out of the house, etc. Getting out did help a lot, but what helped the most was having Mom here. There is nothing like the love and acceptance of a mother. My house was a mess, and I was so ashamed and worried about her seeing it. I've had people be very judgmental in the past who criticize but don't bother to help. Not my mom. We talked about the mess, but she reminded me that how I'm feeling and what's going on around me is not who I am. Being sick, I always feel like I'm being lazy, but she helped me remember that whenever I am able, I am very active and always have been.

          By the time Mom left, life just seemed brighter, everything seemed more possible. I wish everyone could have a mother like mine. The house still needs a lot of work, I still have fatigue, depression, and anxiety, but I've got this.

          My goals

          I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
          I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
          I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
          I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
          I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
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