I Didn't Let A Few (OK... A LOT) Of Spots Ruin My Weekend

This weekend was supposed to be a fun, fall weekend.  A cool front (one I hoped would stick around...) was on the way, Caitlin was arriving from Cleveland Friday morning and all of the other kids would be trickling in as well.  And things started out really well.  I had successfully recovered from my jet lag and had made plans for Sarah and Parker Ann to join Caitlin and me for lunch after Caitlin's plane had landed.  We would then be going to a Christmas event put on annually by the junior league, A Very Merry Market; I was hoping to pick up a few Christmas gift there.  Our plans were going wonderfully...

        Dressed in her festive Halloween outfit, Parker Ann was ready for the Merry Market!

                                            A cupcake ALWAYS puts a smile on your face!

                                                      Gotta LOVE these "southern" flags...

All went well and Sarah and Parker headed home as did Caitlin and I did..."Baby Jarrell" needed a little nap.  And as I said, everything was going great until later Friday night.  I was sitting on the couch and suddenly began to itch a little bit.  When I got up to put my pajamas on, I noticed several large red spots on my collar bone.  Hmmm....I wasn't too concerned.  Then my back began to itch.  I got up and asked Robby to look and see if I had anything there.  "YES!," he said..."Lots of bumps...go take some Benadryl now."  I got up and took the Benadryl.  Of course, I got sleepy and headed off to bed.  I woke up at some point itching...SEVERELY.  Upon inspection, the itchy spots from the night before had turned into a full blown case of the HIVES!  Not only my collar bone and back had these hives, but there was barely a place on my arms that did not have hives...and they were continuing to break out (ugh!!!).  Obviously, I began to panic.  I wracked my brain trying to determine what in the world could have caused the hives.  I called my doctor, whom I had just seen on Tuesday.  The only thing that I had done differently was to take my flu shot.  Was there any way that the flu shot could have done this to me this many days later?!  We were not sure but I was put on steroids and two other medications to try to get this case of hives under control.  I was going to try my best not to let the hives ruin my fun, fall weekend (sigh...).

I made a trip to the pharmacy to get my medication and Caitlin and Allison rode with me; we were getting pumpkins to decorate for Halloween!  I had seen something new on Pinterest that I wanted to try this year.  We bought some crayons and melted them over the pumpkins...I think they turned out GREAT!

Later that evening, all of the family came in to attend a friend's engagement party.  The weather had turned much cooler and thankfully so...I could hide my "spots" with a long sleeved sweater dress!  But the intense itching continued...

Can you see Caitlin's cute little "Baby Bump"?!  17 weeks...we find out the sex of the baby in just 2 MORE WEEKS!!!

By the end of the evening, my red spots had begun to swell even more and you could barely tell where one began and the other ended...I continued to itch...and tried not to scratch!  I decided Not to go to church on Sunday morning because I was not only miserable by this point but I truly didn't know what was causing these hives.  Everyone wanted Justin and Sarah to bring Parker over for the day and Robby and Caitlin decided she needed to spend the night with us.  She entertained everyone, as usual.  And we ended the weekend with her and Poppi making Gingerbread Waffles...

             She leaned over the bowl..sniffed...and said, "Mmmm, waffles...my FAVORITE!"

By Sunday evening, thankfully the swelling and itching of my hives were getting better; I apparently was getting enough of the steroids into my system.  Well, thankfully in the sense that the hives were getting better, not so thankful that I was now unable to sleep (sigh...).  However, on a positive note, perhaps all of that extra energy I had going could work to my advantage and could get a lot accomplished this week!

Monday morning, I called my allergist and discussed the medications my general practitioner had put me on during the weekend.  He asked some more specific questions about what could have possibly caused this outbreak.  And the answer to one of those questions has apparently seemed to solve the mystery.  You see, I had a slight sore throat the last two days of my New York trip.  I came home on Monday and went to the doctor on Tuesday.  While I was there, I asked to get the flu shot.  And, although they asked me if I had been sick in the last couple of weeks, I did not consider a "slight sore throat" as being sick; after all, it wasn't sore any more.  Well, the though is that I possibly had a viral infection.  That being said, any sort of viral infection makes your immune system compromised and the flu shot can have this effect on you.  NOTE TO SELF:  Do NOT take a flu shot EVER again if you have the sniffles or sore throat or ANY sort of ailment!  LESSON LEARNED!


Trusting God When You Are In The Desert: A Mother's Story...

Good Morning everyone!  First, I hope that everyone out on the east coast is all hunkered down and safe from the storm; my prayers are with you all during this terrible storm.  Having just been in New York City last week, I cannot imagine a storm of this magnitude hitting the city and all of the preparations that have had to be made, including shutting down the subways.  STAY IN...and STAY SAFE!

I had a blog partially written that I was going to share with you this morning (and plan on doing so tomorrow...) when I came across my friend's up-dated blog.  She is the mother of two precious young girls, 5 and 3 years old.  Her 5 year old, Anna Grace was diagnosed with a degenerative disease, MSD, a while back.  The post that she wrote this morning about how she is "Trusting God Through The Desert" was so touching and inspirational that I thought everyone should read it http://annagracesstory.blogspot.com.  I know that you will be touched by this mother's story and her total TRUST in God.  Please join me in keeping this child and her family in your prayers.  God Bless!  And have a wonderful Monday...

How To Recover From Jet Lag...

Obviously, I was a bit jet lagged from my whirlwind trip to New York City.  Actually, flying and traveling to other time zones tends to lend itself to jet lag so I thought I would share some of my remedies to help recover from it.

A good rule of thumb for recovering from jet lag is to count the number of time zones you have traveled through and that number is the number of days it will most likely take you to recover from jet lag.  Jet lag is basically that tired, worn out feeling one gets after flying; that feeling that you just want to lay down on the couch and not move.  Well, my first bit of advice to you would be just that....

1.  Don't plan on doing anything the day after you arrive home from your trip if at all possible.  Oh,
     I don't mean unpack your suitcase and wash clothes, but don't plan any appointments and actually
     do plan to take an extra day off from work to allow your body to rest.  I realize in this day and
     time, most people don't take the time to just "rest" but rest is restorative and we all need it.  If we
     do not stop to rest, our bodies we eventually demand it of us.

2.  Water.  Yes, water is very important when flying AND recovering from jet lag.  It is a good idea to
      drink plenty of water while you are flying since flying itself tends to dehydrate you.  But after
      landing and beginning to recover from jet lag, water is even more important.  If you usually drink
      60 oz. of water daily, increase that amount.  The more you drink, the better you will feel and the
      quicker you will recover from jet lag.  Do NOT drink soft drinks, tea or coffee (no alcohol,    
      which actually dehydrates) during the recovery period since those products do not cleanse and
      hydrate the body like water does.

3.  Stay away from sugar.  When your body is tired, the first thing many people want and tend to do is
      to reach for sweets and carbs.  Try to resist doing this since these types of foods only give you a
      "quick" lift and then comes the crash and that ends up making you feel even worse, thus taking
      longer for you to recover from that already tired feeling that comes from jet lag.  Instead, try to
      eat foods that are not processed, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.  I like to make a tomato
      based vegetable soup.  Not only is this a fresh, unprocessed choice, it is a warm sort of comfort
      food; most likely something you have not indulged in much while traveling.

4.  Get in a "little" exercise.  By "little", I mean something like a yoga class, which lends itself to
     stretching.  Stretching is good any day, not just on a jet lag day, so if you don't want to head out
     to a yoga class then just do some stretches yourself at home.  I would not recommend doing any
    sort of extreme cardio or weight lifting while your body is tired; this might cause some sort of
    unwanted injury.  Just give yourself a day or two and you will be ready to hit the gym full force

5.  Take a hot bath.  When I am jet lagged, I like to pour some restorative bath crystals in my water
     (ones that say they are good for sore muscles and have relaxation properties) and just soak there
     for a while.  You might not think there is much to this, but believe me...you will emerge feeling
     relaxed and rejuvenated.

6.  Rest.  As I said before, people do not think it is important to rest but I strongly disagree.  If you
     are tired, lay down; take a nap.  My son, who is a physician confirmed what I have always
     believed:  "Your body speaks to you...Listen to it."  It gives you signals that you need to rest and
     if you ignore those signals you might ends up much worse off.

I travel quite a bit and these few rules have helped me recover from jet lag over and over again.  I hope that they will also help you.  We only have one body...we should nurture and take care of it!


New York City In A Flash! (Part 2)

Once we had our Metro Passes in our hands, we were set for the rest of the trip.  Although  New York can be considered a "walking city", it is spread out into many areas...many areas that we wanted to visit but didn't want to walk that far to or pay for a bunch of cab rides.  And so the first place we took the subway to was not even in New York; it was Hoboken, New Jersey!  Yep...we went to Carlo's Bakery (The Cake Boss)...

                                              Ahhh...There was SO much to choose from!

Standing in a long line...getting inside and being in a crush of people...waiting for our number to be called...ALL worth it to see this note attached to our box of goodies!

After we finished visiting Hoboken, we hopped back on the train and headed to Bleeker Street, where the Young Designer's Market can be found.  There is anything from jewelry to clothing to handbags at the market.  The area is quaint and artsy...I loved it.  On the way to the market, Baby Jarrell (and Mommy Jarrell...) decided they were craving gelato...

And then, after it turned dark, we headed back to the city to go to the Empire State Building.  I declared this to be one of two places menopausal women love.  While everyone on the observation deck was bundled up, I had my sweater off and was enjoying the cool breeze!

We were again tired and our feet were hurting a little by the time we made it back to our hotel room.  We needed to get our rest. Sunday would be our last day in New York...we weren't about to take it easy; we had to see as much as we could!

Sunday morning we woke up early and headed to the Metro.  We were going to walk to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge first thing!

I wasn't too happy that they were doing construction on the bridge; our pictures walking up wouldn't be as pretty (sigh...).  But we made it to the top and took some pretty good shots there.  This, I declared to be the second happiest place for a menopausal woman to be.  I once again found myself shucking my sweater off and enjoying the cool air!

After we got off the bridge, we headed to the Avenues of the Americas.  There are lots of familiar shops that can be found there, but we went to some that I had never been to before and actually got some really good deals!  One of the ones I could have spent hours in was, M&J Trimming.  It had all sorts of items for DIY projects.  Caitlin bought some stretchy ribbon to make pony tail holders out of...

I, personally liked this huge display of belting.  You could make any sort of belt you could possibly think of for a fraction of the cost you would buy one for in any store!

                              And this is the display of end pieces to put on the belts you make.

We shopped some more and then made our way down to Rockefeller Center...

We ended the night and our trip with dinner and dessert at Serendipity.  Known for their delicious desserts, the wait time to get in just for one of them can be up to an hour long.  And they don't take reservations for dessert, so I made a dinner reservation!  That way we were able to just walk up and get seated.

I heard that the Frozen Hot Chocolate was the dessert they were famous for so naturally I had to order one.  OK...Caitlin and I shared one!  And it was YUMMY!

We made our return trip to Time Square one last time before we headed back to our hotel.  It had been a fun four days in NYC but now it was time to start packing for our trip back home Monday.  We got into bed late and got only a few hours of sleep before we had to get up at 3:30 a.m. (ugh...) to prepare for our return flight.  It was sad to leave Caitlin at the airport, but I would be seeing her again in a few days.  She would be coming in for a week and a half visit!

As I buckled myself into my seat on the airplane, I was asleep before we ever took off.  I slept for the three hour flight back to Dallas and then for the 50 minute flight back to Alexandria.  And then I came home and took a LONG nap...got up...ate and went back to sleep.  I was super tired and jet lagged but our Girls' Trip to NYC had been well worth it!


New York City In A Flash! (Part 1)

Yesterday I had what one could call a "New York Hang-Over".  Oh, not alcohol induced but activity induced, instead.  Caitlin, my sister and a friend of Caitlin's spent 4 fun-filled days in NYC and I finally hit a wall on my flight home and found all I could do was sleep...and sleep...and sleep some more!

Several months ago, Robby announced that he had three hunting trips lined up for the fall.  While he was on the first one to Colorado, I hopped on a plane and spent the week with Caitlin in Cleveland.  The second one, to Newfoundland, was scheduled for October and that's when I decided that I should also plan a trip...a "Girls' Trip".  And what better place to go than NYC?!

Robby and I have been to New York many times but Caitlin had not been since she was a little girl and my sister had never been.  I also decided to invite Tabitha( who had also never been to NYC...), Caitlin's childhood friend, former college room-mate and maid of honor at her wedding.  Everyone was excited and counting the days until we would all meet up in New York and then it hit me...I had never been the one in charge of a trip like this!  Could I really pull it off and show these girls a good time?  Well, I'll let the pictures speak or themselves...

                     The first thing we did was to take a carriage ride through Central Park.

                                   Next, we walked across the street to The Plaza Hotel...

                                                                Where Eloise lives!

                                        She has an entire gift shop devoted totally to her!

             Then, we walked a little further down the street to F.A.O. Schwartz Toy Store!

We stayed at the Belvedere Hotel, which is in the Time Square area...
So, naturally, we had to wait until it was dark to get the full effect of Time Square!  And we ate dinner down there that first evening at Ellen's Stardust Diner.  This diner is a 50's type of diner, where the wait staff not only brings you food but also song!  They perform the entire time you are eating.

At the end of Day 1, we were worn out and headed back to our hotel to get ready for the rest of this busy Girls' Trip to New York City.

Day 2 found it rainy in the city, but we did not let that deter us; we had a lot to do and see!  We hopped in a cab and headed straight to Grand Central Station...

                                        Grand Central Station is still a functioning train station.

               Just outside the station, a pumpkin carving demonstration was taking place...

                          Yes!  He is carving a person out of a pumpkin...How cool is that?!

    And this is a REAL pumpkin!  It is so huge that they had to climb inside of it to carve it out.

          We headed over to The Boathouse Restaurant, found in Central Park, next.

As soon as we finished lunch, we rushed back to Time Square to stand in line for theater tickets.  We got tickets to "Annie" and saw that show late that evening, followed by an even later dinner.  Day 2 was done.  We retired for the night...worn out again.

Day 3 found the rain gone and it was time for us to navigate the city like "real" New Yorkers...on the subway!

                                                     Tabitha purchasing her Metro Card.

And OH, the places we would go with that Metro Card in one hand and a subway map in the other.  Come back and visit me tomorrow to see more of our "New York City Adventures"!