eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Parkinson's Update - 27 months after diagnosis, 8 months postpartum

After I had Jaxon, I experienced a brief lull in my symptoms. Even when they came back, they were not as bad as they had been before the pregnancy.

But now, 8 months after his birth, my symptoms are definitely back, though the severity of some of the symptoms is different than before.  

The most constant symptom is the pain in my legs. I have seen websites that state that Parkinson's doesn't cause pain. Yet everyone I have talked to that has Parkinson's has some level of pain. For me, it's not a sharp pain, it's more like the pain you would have if you had exercised very hard or done a lot of walking -a dull ache, if you will. Most of the time it's tolerable and only affects my daily activities slightly, though at night when my legs are tired, I often wish I could just take them off to relieve the pain. I can't say that the pregnancy caused the pain to be more constant. It might be worse than pre-pregnancy because I am on my feet a lot more than when I worked a desk job. Being a homeschooling mom of 4 is much more physically demanding than my "real" job ever was.

My bladder issues are present, but not as terrible as they were prior to pregnancy. I have to say that this issue is one that is made better by being at home most of the time. I have my own bathroom. I never have to wait for a stall to open up. It's never closed for cleaning unless I'm cleaning it, and I can obviously do that at a time that is convenient for me. No one stops me to ask me a question while I'm rushing to the bathroom. Best of all, it's close. No walking down long hallways - I can be at a toilet in 15 steps. 

As for my tremor, I personally feel as if it's not as bad as it used to be unless I'm upset or sick. When I've been sick with a cold or mastitis, my entire body seems to be overwhelmed and all of my PD symptoms are worse, but the tremor is obviously the most noticeable of these symptoms. I still notice the tremor when I try to do certain things that require steady hands, but most of the time it doesn't bother me.

The only symptom I've noticed any real "progression" in is one that I'm not sure I've even mentioned here before - choking. Prior to becoming pregnant with Jaxon, I had not noticed any issues where I choked on my food. But while I was pregnant with him, I choked while I was at work. It happened twice at work and both times it was scary. Both times I was able to cough free whatever had choked me. It happened a handful of other times while I was pregnant. It's happened multiple times since Jaxon was born. Every morning, I cough up phlegm. Yeah, it's gross, sorry. I'm glad I'm coughing it up, instead of it just building up in my lungs. But it concerns me because this is not something I struggled with before and since it indicates to me that things are getting to my lungs that should not be there. It's a little scary to me- I guess because I've read so many stories of Parkinson's patients dying from aspiration pneumonia- caused by the inhalation of food (and drink) during meals.  

My husband and I have talked about the possibility of me starting Parkinson's medication again soon. I have several hesitations on that. I'm not really ready to wean Jaxon yet, and starting on the medicine is very tough on me. There are side effects that I have to adjust to, and I'm not sure I want to do that while homeschooling is in full session. Plus, the main issue that scares me right now is the swallowing, and everything I've read says that typical Parkinson's medication doesn't help with that issue. So for now, we'll just continue on as we are and pray that the symptoms do not get worse. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Love Bugs

Ever heard of a love bug? Not this one...

I'm talking about the one below. The one crawling across my living room. See him there? He's red and black. He actually can fly. But he's a little lazy when he's inside, so he crawls. 

Can't see him very well? How about his brother here on my wall? See him?

I had never heard of a love bug until last month. Then, suddenly, the front of our house was covered in these little bugs. They were annoying us, especially since they come by the thousands. Seriously. 

Apparently, they are typically found in Florida. I was reading a book about DisneyWorld that talked about love bugs and how they fly through the air, mating with each other as they fly or crawl around. It also said their swarming season was in September (that's when they first appeared at our house). While we live in north Alabama, the behavior sounded just like the bugs we had been seeing. So I stopped reading and rushed to Google a picture of love bugs and sure enough, that's what we have. Love bugs. 

There is NOTHING to love about these bugs. 

They come into our living room because they are swarmed right outside the door. The front of our house gets direct sunlight for most of the day. They apparently like that and so it's impossible to escape them. Thankfully, they don't go much farther than the doorway. I don't know what I'd do if they were all over the house- move out, I guess! They are also relatively slow bugs, so it's easy to kill them once they come in. Still, it's annoying.

We don't typically like chemicals, but we hate any bugs in our house, even if they are just by the doorway. It's hard enough to keep Jaxon from crawling over to eat his siblings shoes or the leaves they track in. I certainly don't want to have to worry about him grabbing a bug. So my husband sprayed some bug spray outside of the house, but nothing happened. We still have love bugs. Apparently, they are immune to normal pest control spray.

Love bug orgies on the corner of our house. 
Remember me saying that I read that love bugs mate as they fly or crawl around? That's so true. They pretty much spend their entire lives making babies. Because of their incredible reproductive abilities, my love bug dilemma doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. 

So...if anyone has any advice on how to kill these bugs, or at least make them stop liking our house so much, I'd be eternally grateful. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Natural House Products Review & Giveaway

I love a clean house. I used to buy and try all the latest cleaning products just to find what worked best. Then I learned that so many of the chemical agents used in household cleaning products were harmful, not just to touch, but even to breathe in. I also learned that many of them don't fully rinse away, leaving harmful chemicals on your counters or toilets for your kids to touch.

When I found out that I had Parkinson's, I read a lot about the causes of Parkinson's. Many researchers believe that Parkinson's is caused by environmental factors such as pesticide sprays on our food, cleaning agents in our homes, toxic substances in workplaces. Yet another reason to get rid of harmful chemicals in our lives. Since then, I have been trying to switch to products that are safer and made from natural ingredients to lessen my children's risk for health problems later in life. I was very excited to learn about Natural House Products.

Natural House Products makes natural household cleaning products that are plant based, eco-friendly, non-toxic, and biodegradable. The cleaners contain good probiotics which naturally digest odors at their source. Best of all, the cleaners continue working until your next weekly treatment. I love that you only  clean once but you get all the effects of a clean toilet, sink and trash can all week long!

So how do they work? The probiotics create a microbial level eco-system right there in your sink, trash can, or toilet. Within this tiny eco-system, enzymes are produced by the probiotics. These enzymes break down odors, waste, food scraps, and toilet paper products on a continuous basis between treatments. 

The cleaners each have a nice, pleasant smell. These cleaners are so easy to use and require very little effort. Trashy comes in a spray bottle. Spray it into the bottom of your trash can. Wipe clean or let it air dry before you put a new bag in the can. Sinky & Flushy are even easier -they are little pouches that dissolve in water. Each pouch is full of the probiotic cleaning agents. For Sinky, you just drop the pouch into the sink and run a little water on it. It starts to foam up, and the foam cleans as it goes - all the way down into your pipes or garbage disposal.  
For Flushy, you do basically the same - drop the pouch into the toilet, let it foam for 10 seconds, scrub with your toilet brush, and then flush. If you have a septic tank, then Flushy's probiotics work in your septic tank to keep your system healthy. Flushy is my favorite of these cleaners because I hate dirty toilets. Flushy is so easy to use and it has a nice minty smell as it foams and cleans. I don't like traditional pine scented cleaners so the minty smell is very refreshing. 
I really like how easy it is to use these products! I would love to see Natural House come out with a probiotic cleaner for countertops! 

Natural House products can be purchased directly from their website, or from Amazon. A 30 day supply of the product is just $4.99 on Amazon, with free shipping if you're an Amazon Prime member.  

You can also stay updated on these great products by following Natural House Products on Facebook and Twitter

Want to see a cute video about how the products work? 

Natural House Products wants to give one of you a chance to try the same three cleaners that I tried. You'll get to try a 30 day supply of Sinky, Trashy, and Flushy! 

Enter by using the super easy Rafflecopter form below!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Growing Up Too Fast- Jaxon at 8 months

Jaxon is 8 months old today. Happy Birthday, sweet boy! He is growing up way too quickly. He's not only outgrowing all his clothes, but he is constantly doing new things. I am amazed by the things he can do. 

He wakes up each morning in a great mood. He is a very happy baby! After I say good morning to him and kiss on him a little, he usually looks over to Jason and grins and starts saying Dada. About 2 weeks ago, he woke up, looked over to Jason and said "Dada, I love you!" He has said Dada before and he's said "I love you" in reply to us saying "I love you" but he had not said it on his own like that! It was so very cute. He seems to be a very verbal baby and jabbering has become an everyday event for him.

He doesn't have any teeth, but I think that will change soon. He still nurses often. He eats baby food, but not very much, maybe about the equivalent of 1/2 - 2/3 of a jar each day. He is very interested in sampling our food and tasting baby foods, but it's very clear he eats for fun and taste, not for nutrition or because he's actually hungry. Because he's slightly anemic, he's taking multivitamin drops to increase his iron levels. The drops are disgusting and they constipate him. I am only giving them to him twice a week right now. I try to feed him iron rich foods like spinach, but since he won't each much baby food, I don't think it helps much, so we are stuck with the multivitamin.
Sampling frozen yogurt at Yogurt Mountain - he
LOVED the pumpkin pie flavor (so did I)!
He gives very sweet kisses when we ask. He tries to pull up on everything. We do not have a lot of safe surfaces in the house for him to pull up on, so we are constantly diverting him. I think if we left him to his own devices, he would be walking by now. I also think that he would have stitches at least twice!

He always turns his bibs around like this -
apparently, he thinks they are supposed to be capes!
Things he can say: Dada, mama, BB (his brother's nickname), I love you, bye-bye, baby. 

Things he loves: nursing, mango, bananas, kiwi, frozen yogurt, pizza crusts, french fries, Gerber snacks, the swing at the park, water (pool, bathtub, beach), rides in the stroller, being naked, naps with Mommy

Things he doesn't like: applesauce, hand dryers in bathrooms (they still upset him), getting out of the bathtub, long rides in the car, his multivitamin drops  

The face his brother taught him to make
He's growing so quickly. I've probably said this before, but I wish he would slow down! I'm just not ready for my little baby to be a toddler!

Jaxon is 8 months old today and I wish I could stop time for a little while. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Infantino Right Angle Tummy Triangle Review

When he was younger, Jaxon did not like tummy time. He loved sleeping on his stomach, but he hated being placed on his stomach when he was awake. I have to admit that he did not spend a lot of time on his stomach because I couldn't bear to hear him cry so I didn't make him do a lot of tummy time. If the Infantino Right Angle Tummy Triangle had been available when he was younger, I think it might have made tummy time more enjoyable for both of us. 

The Right Angle Tummy Triangle is a simple concept, but one that can make tummy time less traumatic for babies. The surface lets a baby lay on his stomach at an slight incline, instead of laying flat on the floor. This allows him to look into the mirror or see the toys. Many babies hate tummy time because their face ends up buried in the play mat or blanket they've been laid on. The Triangle eliminates that by allowing baby to be propped up. The toys and mirror provide incentive for the baby to lift his head. To provide a continued challenge for the baby, the toy bar can be raised as baby's neck strength grows.  

The cover is machine washable, which is great since many babies spit up during tummy time. It's not very thick. I think it could be a little thicker to be softer without being dangerous for a baby who might put his face down in it. But considering that babies only spend 10-15 minutes on tummy time a day, its not that big of a deal. Jaxon is a little old for tummy time at this point, but I still put him on this several days in a row and he didn't seem to mind at all, so this might be something that mommies notice but babies don't. 

The mirror is great- Jaxon loves it. I only wish it was slightly larger so he could see more of his face. In addition to the mirror, there is one toy attached to the toy bar, and a small music box that can lay down beside or in front of the baby. Jaxon likes the music box. Because it is not attached, he has played with it a lot. It's easy for him to turn on by himself. It has a 1, 5, and 10 minute timer, which is nice when you are trying to make sure your baby gets enough tummy time each day. Set the timer for 10 minutes and when the music goes off, you'll know he's had enough time on his stomach.

The only issue I have with the Right Angle Tummy Time Triangle is the cost. At $34.99, it's a little on the high side for a device that a baby can only use for a couple of months. After being used for tummy time, the music box can still be used in the car or crib or just to play with. The mirror and dangling toy can also be used to attach to a stroller or car seat strap or just to be held and played with. And if your baby is creative like Jaxon, he or she will use the Triangle as a little ramp to crawl up and over the edge. 

My overall opinion is that for a baby who detests tummy time, the Triangle could be a lifesaver and well worth it's $34.99. 

Jaxon is 4 days away from being 8 months old. I have received the Right Angle Tummy Triangle from Infantino to facilitate my review, but I thought this was a neat toy before I ever found out they were sending me one.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CJ's BUTTer Review

I love CJ's Butter! It's truly amazing and I wish I had known about it several years ago when my first son was dealing with tons of eczema issues. I'm confident CJ's would have cleared it right up!

CJ's BUTTer is safe for cloth diapers, and that was the reason my husband ordered some for me. We wanted to have a cream on hand in case Jaxon got a rash. But when it came, it smelled so delicious, it could not be confined to just the diaper area! I rub it on him after his baths and when he was little I used it on his cradle cap. It smells amazing (I said that already, didn't I?) and while it can be a little oily, it's not greasy in the same way that Aquaphor or Vaseline is.

There are only a few ingredients in CJ's BUTTer, and they are all natural. The ingredient list is shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, lanolin, beeswax, cocoa butter, Vitamin E, and colloidal oatmeal. 

Jaxon's little bottom gets red every time he poops. Every time, without exception. So every time he has a poop, I rub some CJ's on it. By the next diaper change, the redness is completely gone. I have also used CJ's on my lips when they were chapped and my legs when they were dry. When we're out and about, I always have some CJ's BUTTer with me, and so it has also been used to soothe scraped knees and elbows. It's very versatile and extremely useful.

We have tried the following scents Orange & Vanilla (makes your baby smell like a creamsicle!), Blueberry Crumble (like a gourmet blueberry muffin), Coconut Lime Dream (beach baby!), and Mango Sugar Mint (a softly sweet, slightly minty smell- the lightest scent of the ones I have tried). I love Coconut Lime during the summer (and often put it on my legs) because it reminds me of the beach. Orange and Vanilla seriously makes me want to gobble Jaxon up. When he wears Blueberry Crumble, everyone wants to eat him! If you're not sure what scent you will like, CJ's sells small sample jars so you can try out a few scents.

CJ's BUTTer comes in several forms: 

  • Stick (I have not tried this)
  • Jar (my favorite) 
  • Spritz (I keep this in the diaper bag because it's easiest to use when I'm out)
  • Tube
The tub is my favorite for applying after baths and such, because I can just stick a finger or two in and grab out what I need and then apply it. I thought I'd like the tube best, but CJ's is very thick and it's hard to squeeze it out (unless the tube has been in my warm diaper bag and then it is easier). 

Recently, my tube of Orange & Vanilla had become extremely hard to squeeze even though there was still a good amount left in there. So today, I warmed up some water and set the tube inside it. 

In just a couple of minutes, it was liquified (be careful - it will burn you). My sample size jar of mango sugar mint was empty, so while the oil was liquified, I poured the Orange & Vanilla into it. 

Within 5 minutes, it had cooled and "hardened" back into a cream. There's still enough in the tube to fill another small sample jar, so once I use all of this up, I'll be doing this again to get the last little bit out of the tube. I don't like to throw useful product away so I was glad I found an easy way to be able to use the rest of it! 

Have you ever used CJ's BUTTer? What is your favorite scent? 

Jaxon is 7 months and 18 days and smells like a creamsicle today. I was not compensated for this review, nor provided a product for review, though I would love to be sent some free CJ's. I just love BUTTer and wanted to share it with my readers! 

Wordless Wednesday - Swinging!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jaxon's First Illness

Wednesday afternoon I began to show the symptoms of a cold. So when Jaxon developed a fever on Thursday afternoon, I thought he just had the same thing I did. It was his first fever ever! He was pitiful and I felt so bad for him! But he had no other symptoms besides the fever. He did nurse all night long. It was like having a little leach attached to me!

We took him to the doctor on Friday morning. He still had a fever and still had not displayed any other symptoms. The doctor checked him out and said he looked good. She said normally she would tell us to just wait a few days and see if anything else happened, but that since it was the weekend and since we live so far away (we're an hour away from the pediatrician), she would be happy to do a blood test to check his counts and ensure that it was a virus. We opted for that. 

Jaxon didn't even cry when they pricked his finger! Such a good boy! The blood test showed that it was viral and that he is slightly anemic. The doctor said I could either give him iron drops or give him more iron rich foods, like spinach and red meat. Since he only eats baby food once a day right now and rarely eats the equivalent of a jar of baby food, I'm not sure I will get enough in him that way to make a difference. So I think we will get the drops.

We took him home and gave him some Tylenol that evening so he could rest. His fever had been a solid 101 ever since it started so I thought he could use a break. It helped and he was able to get a little bit of rest. For some reason, he had not slept well that day even though you could tell he was completely exhausted. He still nursed most of the night. Since I was sick, too, I was worn out!

Saturday morning, he still had a fever, but seemed like he wasn't quite as lethargic. We went and bought some Motrin and gave it to him on Saturday afternoon. While it completely eliminated the fever (Tylenol had only brought the fever down to 99.5), it made him so fussy. He was irritable and wouldn't nap. Needless to say, we did not give him any Motrin that night! He still was restless that night and nursed constantly. 

When he woke up Sunday morning, he did not have a fever! Yay! He had a slight fever later in the morning (99.3), but that's as high as it got, and by afternoon, it was gone on its own. He seemed to be feeling better and actually ate some baby food for lunch.

Last night with Jaxon was rough, even though he seemed to be feeling better before bed. He barely slept and was super fussy (very unlike him). I would offer to nurse him and he just fussed and tossed and turned. Finally I just laid him in his pack and play and he actually got himself to sleep that time (it was about 4:45 in the morning at this point. He had already been up at least 7 times and got up 3 more times between 5 and 8.

This morning, he doesn't even act like a kid whose sleep was interrupted 10-15 times. Maybe I'm feeling the effects enough for both of us! But at least his first illness wasn't too traumatic! And I'm proud that we made it 7 1/2 months before he had his first fever!