Jaime Loves Stuff : 2011

Just... tired

I tend to not discuss anything too political or religious on my blog because this is my outlet. My way to... let it out and for the most part, it's about my life. I need to release the thoughts I can not speak. What's interesting is that I can vocalize about religion and politics but what's in my heart, I can not. Only problem is that, sometimes I can't form sentences because my mind will be going much quicker than my speech. I wonder if I have a speech-language pathology problem. Literally, there are times where I will have what is on my mind but what comes out is completely different. It's odd. It might also be my thyroid because I am have serious fatigue, brain fog and weight gain. Also, my throat just feels... full. I am an idiot about my insurance plan at work. All last year, I used my insurance ONCE. Yeah, ONCE. So, I switched to an HSA plan and now I regret it because I think I need more than one visit. Oh well... such is life.

Oh. The point of this blog today. I was thinking about my life. That is something I do quite often. Every time Emma has a procedure, the dust gets stirred and here I am thinking about life. I am so exhausted lately. Is it stress? Is it my health? It's hard being a parent, period. I am so lucky that Emma is really a good, good girl. She is such a trooper and rolls with the punches. I feel so bad that some days I feel like I fail her in letting her be a child. I have so much to do and there just isn't enough time! My weekends are spent doing laundry, doing homeowrk, cleaning and I am so tired that we don't really go anywhere! I need to get her out and about but it's sooo exhausting for me. Just the thought of going to the zoo makes me sleepy! I think it's my weight, too. I have blown up from a size 6 to a... I am not saying! Ha! Just know it's too big. I haven't gone out with my friends in many, many, many years. I need a girls night out! I don't even know how to do my hair anymore! I look sooo frumpy! I did go with my friend, Pat, out for drinks at a small bar (I just had a coke! Boring! LOL) for Show Tune Sundays! and we went out for dinner. He's such an amazing friend to me. He's taking care of his mother who is rapidly declining from Alzheimer's. I also haven't been on a date in... 3 or 4 years. I just don't feel like dealing with men and the whole crap that is the dating world. I feel like I will be single forever and honestly, it doesn't bother me. The only thing that makes me panicky is that I worry about finances. Maybe I should buy a house and convince one of my friends to be my roommate. Sigh... just rambling, I know. I have been trying to workout more. I am only using hte Wii Fit. Getting to the gym is nearly impossible. Shit, I used to be cute. Yes, this is a pity me post. I need this so... bite me. I am an atheist who loves religions. I think the Torah, Qaran, The Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and The Sutras (I know I am missing some... sorry, am tired and rambling) are the most important books in the world. I am serious. They chronicle man's history and I love them.

Last time I went out, 2008. I was able to meet a few moms who have kids who were shaken also (I'm in the teal blue). It was lovely!

*Yawn* I am going to crash. I am fatigued.

Surgery number.... not sure!

Emma had another surgery last week. As you may recall, two years ago she underwent a cranioplasty to repair her skull from her head injury that allowed her the freedom to live life without a helmet. Let me tell you, talk about being able to exhale as a parent when that huge area that was without bone was closed up! Whoo! Well, anyways, three of the screws from the repair started protruding and bothering her and we elected to remove them. Also, at the same time, she underwent a brain MRI and received her quarterly botox injections in her left arm and leg. Her neurosurgeon, Dr. Shafron, found a small gap in her skull where her brain wasn't protected and called from the OR to see if it was ok if he could try and fill it in with some bone cement. Of course, I said yes! Sadly, the cement didn't take and she still has the gap. She's lived with it this long, I think she will be fine. As long as she doesn't fall and hit that exact spot, of course! He did say we will revisit it in a couple of years. Emma did really well (kids blow me away with their resiliency!) but what was supposed to be an overnight stay, turned into two because she wasn't eating or drinking and was just vomiting. On Friday, she slowly began eating and drinking again (Whew! Thank goodness) and came home. I was starting to get uber stanky. Seriously... I smelled like... well. I won't say anything on THAT. Ha! The really cool part is this was our first time in the brand new Phoenix Children's Hospital Tower! It's beautiful! Private rooms!!!! And of course, the one thing that didn't change: the staff is always top notch! We have been fortunate that since day one of her injury we have had THE BEST doctors and nurses/child play therapists/therapists/etc that we could have wished for. I am dead serious. There is nothing like having people involved in her care that truly care.

Enjoy my beautiful baby's pictures! (Yes, she will ALWAYS be my baby!)

Fresh out of the operating room

We are on the 8th floor

Sleeping beauty:

Puss N Boots makes every good in the world of a child :)

She loved having a dolly to play with (Thank you Child Life!)

Only my Emma would smile like this after surgery!

LOL!! When she saw her reflection for the first time, she said "I'm a vampire! Grrrr!" That's a chocolate pudding face all the way!


We don't need no stinkin' Panda Express Around Here...

Emma and I are, frankly, addicted to Orange Chicken. We do love Panda Express BUT I have slowly developed an allergy to shrimp. A dangerous allergy, and unfortunately, Panda uses to the same oil they fry their Orange Chicken in with the shrimp they deep fry. I can't risk it. It's too dangerous. I don't understand why, with shellfish allergies as prevelant as they are, restaurants don't have a dedicated fryer/pan/prep area/etc for shellfish. Eh, it would be nice but logistics make it difficult, I am sure. So anyways, Trader Joe's has a wonderful Orange Chicken in their frozen section. I baked those bad boys up, made some jasmine rice with spinach and topped mine with sriracha. The good life! Besides, it's much cheaper than Panda Express!


Don't need no stinkin' Panda Express!

Emma and I are, frankly, addicted to Orange Chicken. We do love Panda Express BUT I have slowly developed an allergy to shrimp. A dangerous allergy, and unfortunately, Panda uses to the same oil they fry their Orange Chicken in with the shrimp they deep fry. I can't risk it. It's too dangerous. I don't understand why, with shellfish allergies as prevelant as they are, restaurants don't have a dedicated fryer/pan/prep area/etc for shellfish. Eh, it would be nice but logistics make it difficult, I am sure. So anyways, Trader Joe's has a wonderful Orange Chicken in their frozen section. I baked those bad boys up, made some jasmine rice with spinach and topped mine with sriracha. The good life! Besides, it's much cheaper than Panda Express!


*Warning: Expletives* The Life of Raising a Child with a Traumatic Brain Injury

Raising a child is difficult. Raising a child with special needs is even more difficult. Raising a child who has special needs because of a traumatic brain injury is even more difficult. There is no rhyme or reason to some of Emma's idiosyncrasies. What worked yesterday, won't work today, what worked today, won't work tomorrow. It's a cyclical issue. Emma's brain is misfiring. She explodes. She doesn't mean to. She has no control. She sometimes can't control her impulsiveness. Many educators DO NOT UNDERSTAND brain injuries and that creates frustration for the classroom, for Emma and myself. I bawled. I bawled really hard Friday. I wanted to just run away from everything. I didn't sign up for this! My daughter was born healthy and normal! I DIDN'T DO THIS TO HER! SO WHY AM I SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES OF SOMEBODY ELSE'S ACTIONS? I know why... I am her mom. I love her and I just want her to be okay. I can't NOT help her. There are a lot of things going on with Emma and I can't explain them, I don't have the answers. I have been asked if she is on any medications for her mood swings and anger/explosive issues. My answer is: NO. Her issues are NOT psychiatric. Her issues boil down to her brain is not functioning properly! Sure, she can be medicated but it won't do a single thing to help with the problems she has! What she needs is coping skills! She needs to learn how to calm herself BEFORE she explodes. Her teachers need to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms BEFORE she explodes to help her help herself before she escalates. I can't give them answers. I can't see what is going on in the classroom. I can't. She will NEVER behave that way in front of me so I can only give them the best tips that I can.

My heart is broken. I cry for her. I cry for the frustrations she has and the fact that I don't know how to fix it! I just want her to be in control of herself and to have fun at school, at her after school program and other aspects of her life and to not be so angry! Damnit. Why? Why did she have to have this happen to her? WHY US????

Before being injured:
A couple years after injury:

After years of therapy:

My first attempt at photography and editing

I am a green amateur photographer. I don't mean green as in ecofriendly but as in novice and uber amateur. My friend is getting married in November. I need to practice my photography skills. I offered to take some engagement shots, family photos and pictures of her son. For free, she's my friend and I am happy to do this but I am noooo professional (although I am aiming to get there!). I studied photojournalism, not creative/art photography so I need the practice to learn to take beautiful photos. You can't get good, if you don't learn from your mistakes. I took a TON of photos and I am sad to say, I went into this thinking I was going to ace it and every shot perfect. I have the perfect subjects! K is beautiful, A is absolutely adorable and I just met S and he's handsome, they are perfect, beautiful subjects and there's no way I can get a bad shot! You have models this beautiful, it's a snap... Nope. It's brutally hot. It's Arizona, the sun is evil and my first thought was direct light! MUST HAVE DIRECT NATURAL LIGHT! /facepalm. Helloooo sweat, hellooooo blindingly bright sun so bad you can't keep your eyes open. Real genius! 500 hundred images and there are some good ones but there are some that would have been GREAT if my skills were on the mark (nothing a little photoshop won't fix!). Hey, you live you learn! It's their big day and I want them to have everything absolutely memorable! I can't do any serious editing until I upgrade my harddrive and processor and install Photoshop (I can't wait!). So, right now these have very basic editing and I had fun. I bought a book to study more photography skills and I am taking a distance course through the New York Institute of Photography. I will be ace soon enough and then I will be ready to take their pictures again but will even more flair and creative shots, and in less time *embarrassed face*. They were such troopers letting a novice like me practice on them. I am excited for their happily-ever-after!

Like I said, they were absolute troopers and I really wish I had nailed every single shutter snap. I am still slowly sifting through the images and editing and cleaning them up.

Enjoy these and tell me what you think!

My thought with this one is: I feel safe, I trust you

I like the look of these edits:
PhotobucketPrivate SecretsPhotobucket

The ring:

A private moment:


And of course... a 4 year old doesn't want pictures taken:

I had to bribe him to take pictures by letting HIM take a photo, I think Little Man's gonna be a photog, don't you?

He loves his mom (he has the sweetest face!):

Phineas and Ferb Child's Play Party

Wow! What an insane last two weeks we have had in my home. Last weekend was Emma's 8th birthday and she really really really wanted a party! However, Friday the 5th was the premiere of Phineas and Ferb's movie and I was chosen by Child's Play Party to host a Disney Channel (First ever!) Phineas and Ferb Movie screening party and how can I pass that up? No way! I figure what timing, I can host the Phineas and Ferb party AND Emma's at the same time. We started her birthday at Peter Piper Pizza for fun and games and gave the kids their Phineas and Ferb packs and then we headed home to watch the big movie! It was absolutely adorable! It was a hit. The kids loved the movie so much that they wanted to watch it again! I definitely recommend to watch it if you haven't!

We had so much fun. The kids were full of pizza, cake, Phineas and Ferb tattoos and all kinds of goodies. For the kids who couldn't make it, I still made sure they received their Phineas and Ferb bags filled with AWESOME goodies. Enjoy the photos!

Big thank you to Child's Play Party for providing the packs for the kids to take home and for allowing me to host this amazing party!

DreamWorks Pictures’ The Help Giveaway

The Helps starts in theatres beginning August 10 and is based on the best selling book, The Help.

Synopsis (Courtesy of DreamWorks)
Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.

Deeply moving, filled with poignancy, humor and hope, “The Help” is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change.

The book was amazing, in my opinion, and I can NOT wait to see the movie!

DreamWorks has graciously offered an amazing prize pack to one lucky winner of my blog in honor of "The Help"!


- THE HELP t-shirt in adult female sizes of S, M, L, XL

- THE HELP pocket jotter & pen

- THE HELP fan

- THE HELP nail file/mirror

Contest is for residents of the US (No PO Boxes, please!) and ends August 22nd.

How to enter?

Answer (with your email address): If you could be the start of a cause or help expand on a cause, what would it be? Myself, I would make Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Education available all over the world!

Good luck!

Myblogspark: $25 Walmart Giftcard Giveaway!!!

It's that time of year again for the kiddos to start heading back to school which means many of us are shopping and getting ready for the exciting new year ahead of us! Also, with the state of uncertainty with our economy and with our schools facing budget cuts, I think it's a good time to start thinking about our schools while we are out shopping. Right now, head over to your local Walmart to find up to 70 participating products that each have 4 Box Tops! Box Tops help raise money for schools by buying what you already buy, clipping the box tops and sending them to your child's school! Easy enough! Shop at Walmart to purchase products from your family’s favorite brands such as Nature Valley, Cheerios, and Yoplait, and earn more cash for the upcoming new school year! You already save money there, so might as well look for those extra Box Tops!

Be sure to check out these websites for more information:
Walmart Website http://bit.ly/WalmartSite
Walmart on Facebook http://on.fb.me/WalmartFbook
Walmart on Twitter http://bit.ly/WalmartTwitter
Box Tops 4 Education http://bit.ly/WalmartBTFE

Now on to my giveaway, ONE lucky winner will win a $25 Walmart Gift Card! How freaking awesome is that??? $25 to spend at Walmart and while you are at it, maybe pick up some Box Tops items?

I have not been one for a lot of rules and regulations for my giveaways, however, when I am hosting a very popular giveaway like this, I like to give you all a chance to earn extra entries to increase your chances of winning! I know we could all use an extra $25 ESPECIALLY NOW with school being back in session!

Here we go:

Mandatory Entry:

Please answer this question WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT: Which Box Tops items from General Mills do you plan to purchase?

Extra entries (each worth one):
(Please answer on separate comments and you MUST include your email address)

1) Tweet about this giveaway and post link in your comment (please make it @historyslover with the hashtag #MyBlogSpark)

2) Follow my Facebook fan page (my Facebook badge is in the right sidebar about half way down) and let me know!

3) Follow me on Twitter, @historyslover and let me know!

4) Blog about this giveaway (leave me a link)

5) Post about this giveaway on Facebook (let me know!)

6) Become a new follower via GFC or blogger follow (if you are a long time follower, let me know too!)

I think that's it!

Good luck!

Giveaway ends August 22nd, I will email the winner after being chosen via random.org

Disclosure: The information and $25 gift card to Walmart has been provided by Walmart and General Mills through MyBlogSpark

Let the Panic Begin!


Once again, le sigh.

Panic is ensuing, again. Ever since Emma was injured nearly 7 years ago, our lives have never been the same. I was unable to work for the first year due to all her needs. Then, I tried to go back to work full time but that wasn't reasonable with all the necessary doctors appointments and therapies she still had. Oh and pending surgeries. So, I went back to work part time. That actually went really well. Part time work, plus college. Then, I thought I could finally transition to work full time. I have been at my place of employment for nearly two years and I love my job, love the company and even my coworkers. However, every single summer I have the same panic: will I have stable care for her? Emma is enrolled in a summer program from 1-5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. My sister takes care of her a couple of the mornings and she goes to college after. I have a caregiver who works on Wednesdays all day (Emma has therapy). Well, Emma was pulled out of the summer program because she needed a break. She hasn't transitioned very well. The summer program is more hectic and faster paced. She's over stimulated. She's an explosive child with her brain damage and that is a perfect storm. She returns on Monday. The clock will start ticking again. I already KNOW she will have meltdowns. It takes the average person 21 days to create a new habit, what about a kid who has the disabilities my daughter has? Pulling her out upset the entire balance and the clock starts all over again. I already know I will get the call next week that she's not transitioning, she's having meltdowns, etc. Hell! I am ready to have a meltdown myself! She hasn't had a chance to transition to the summer schedule, so yes she's melting down and not having a good run of it. So will they ask me to remove her for the rest of the summer? This uncertainty is causing my to panic because I don't know if I will A) have a stable caregiving situation for her and B) have enough caregiving hours available to cover the rest of the summer.

Some days I just want to quit.

I just need to find a way to be self employed until she's an adult. I could be self employed and finish my degree. I could do photography, house keeping, something! But then we both need insurance. Most importantly, Emma has to have insurance. It's too important for her to not have it.

But even if I were to stop working, go to self employment and finish my degree, and I return back to the working world, I will be past 40 and my job history hasn't been very stable for the last 7 years. Will I be able to return to work????

Sigh... just le sigh....

People... these are the long term repercussions of shaking a baby. See. It doesn't end. The damages trickle all over the place and in different areas.

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