Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - Milestone

The picture yesterday was a milestone because it was my first time out driving, running errands, in a while. I survived 3 errands and came home exhausted, but I did it!! Recovery is finally in my sights.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Milestone

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - Back Again

Today I'm headed back to the hospital for removal of both kidney stents, laser lithotripsy on my left kidney, and a new stent in my left kidney.  Hopefully when I head back home, the huge stone that has been blocking that kidney for who knows how long will be gone!  The laser treatment has to be done under general anesthesia, but thankfully it's considered outpatient so I should be home tonight.

Expectation is a few days of recovery, then I am hoping against hope that the stent in my kidney will be removed next week, so that I have a few days to recover from that and I will be ready for the trip to Texas that Nate & I have been planning for months.  Well, no matter what I'm going on that trip, but I don't want to be in the pain that I've been in the last month from those stupid stents while we're there.

I am so ready to put this behind me and get back to some sort of normal life again!  It's been a LONG month.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Okay.  I know I wrote a post earlier today that said I probably wouldn't get to a review just yet.  But, I have the pictures and I'm up waiting for a painkiller to kick in so I can get some sleep, so I decided it would be nice to cross this off my to-do list!  I almost sent my family without me because I was feeling awful, but at the last minute I decided that I didn't want to miss the circus.  I'm glad I went!

The show was exciting and colorful and fun!  One thing that is really neat about this circus is the pre-show.  An hour before the circus is scheduled to begin, the audience can head down to the floor and interact with the performers.  There are clowns performing, dancers, animals and more -- and you can get an up-close experience!  Sometimes you can even be pulled into the act and learn a trick or a move from the performers.  In the past, the boys have gone down, but this year they stayed in their seats while Lydia and Bo headed down to the floor.

The show did not disappoint.  Both boys said their favorite part was the guy that was set on fire, then shot across the arena from a huge crossbow.  Really -- that happened!  It was pretty amazing!

My husband loved the elephants and tigers.  My favorite was the ribbon dancers (that danced in the air, since the ribbons were suspended from the ceiling -- magical!)  Lydia liked the clowns again, but was disappointed not to see her green-haired favorite.  She also liked the horses.

The show is non-stop action.  Even though the stage has to be re-set for each act, the clowns entertain the audience while the new props are set up so you don't even realize what's going on in the background. It's a nice mix of amazing human acts interspersed with some animal acts.  The skill and athleticism of the performers is fantastic! 

The show itself lasts 2.5 hours, but if you go for the pre-show (which is included with your ticket) that's 3.5 hours of solid entertainment.  Definitely a great value!  (And don't forget -- if you want to go to the show in Phoenix this week, use the promo code ELEPHANT on to purchase 4 tickets for $44)

If you haven't been to a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show, I highly recommend going.  And even if you went last summer, be assured it's a completely new show!  This is our 3rd year going to the circus, and it's been a ton of fun each year.

More pictures after the cut . . .

The Circus is in Phoenix!

Tonight we are going to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's FULLY CHARGED show.  I have debated about sending my family without me, but have decided that I don't want to miss it and I'll just deal with the pain so that I can see the show!

Tomorrow morning, I'm going into the hospital, so while I usually do a review post after we see a show, I realize that I may not have the chance later tonight.  Because I know it's bound to be a fabulous show, I wanted to share the discount code one last time with my local readers in case they are looking for something to do this weekend!

You can purchase 4 tickets for only $44 by using the special code ELEPHANT at   This special is good at ALL shows, but excludes Circus Celebrity, Front Row and VIP seats.  The circus is in town tonight through June 28, 2011!

And congrats to my circus ticket giveaway winner -- Sheila & her family!  I hope they have a good time tonight!

Hopefully I'll feel up to adding pictures tonight, but if not tonight I will post some when I'm feeling better!  Lydia is still hoping for her green-haired clown!!

*Disclosure: I received tickets for my family & for my giveaway from Feld Entertainment.  No additional compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.*

Wordless Wednesday - Back Again

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Video Ridemakerz Review

A couple days ago I posted a review of Ridemakerz!  The kids wanted to do a video review as well, so here it is!  Don't forget their Father's Day Promotion -- Buy one custom car & get another for free!  This promotion is good this weekend, July 18 & 19, 2011 at all their stores.

*Disclosure: I was invited to visit the shop and my children customized their cars, thanks to the generosity of Ridemakerz, in order to facilitate this review.  Many thanks to Ridemakerz for giving us the opportunity to visit and play!*

Tell Me Thursday - Menu

Having a 10 year old boy at home is extremely helpful when you're too sick to go much farther than from your bed to the bathroom.  He may have needed some prompting, but I'm proud of him for stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for making sure that lunches were served.

Colin created this menu board after being asked repeatedly what was for lunch one day a couple weeks ago.  He listed out a variety of sandwich choices, sides and drink choices.  Nate & Lydia helped him put together my lunch and they served it like true restauranteurs (must be all that reality TV we watch . . . )  And, then Colin made sure that he and his siblings had a healthy lunch to enjoy themselves.

They're all growing into fine young people, and I'm proud of my eldest for making sure we were all fed!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Menu

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Under the Weather

I'm the kind of person that doesn't let much hold me back.  I believe in pushing through and doing what needs to be done -- and I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.  Last summer, I continued teaching even after I was diagnosed with pneumonia because I had committed to those classes. If I ever call in sick, you can believe that I am extremely sick.

So, in early May when I wasn't feeling all that great, I didn't think much of it.  We have been pretty busy -- and the kids' school year was wrapping down, and I was looking forward to days of fewer commitments.  I thought I'd rest once the we got to the end of May.

On May 16, I decided that I needed to visit my doctor.  I felt rotten, and had what I thought might be a UTI.  I headed into the doctor and told him of my symptoms and also complained of pain in my lower back.  He said "Well, people don't usually get kidney stones on both sides, so I think it's probably just a UTI." and put me on antibiotics.

Since I was on antibiotics, I assumed I'd be fine in a few days, and taught the classes on my schedule that week.  I didn't feel much better, and as the week wore on I actually felt worse.  Friday evening I remember giving Bo a hug and saying that I thought I better return to the doctor because it just didn't seem right that I still felt terrible.  I went to bed early and then woke up around 4:30 in excruciating pain.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: Ridemakerz and Father's Day Promotion

This weekend, we visited Ridemakerz out in Glendale.  It was a long ride for us from the far east valley, but everyone agreed that it was well worth the trip!!  I had never heard of Ridemakerz before, but when I was contacted about the possibility of doing a review, I knew it sounded like something my boys would enjoy.

At Ridemakerz, you create your very own custom car.   They have over 30 bodies to choose from, and each of those bodies can be customized up to 649 million ways! The bodies range in price from $18 to $38.  All three of my kids were amazed at all the possibilities!  The boys chose their vehicle bodies pretty quickly, and I was thrilled that they had a number of options that appealed to Lydia as well.  She ultimately chose a body with a pink paint job. While my kids didn't choose any of the CARS bodies, they had all the CARS vehicles for fans of the movie!

After the body is chosen, there are different sound options.  The cars all come with a standard sound card, and then you can choose another for an additional $3.  The kids listened to all the choices multiple times before choosing an extra sound that was perfect for them!  The kids were able to keep the standard sound, as well as their new sound.

Once that was done, the next step was to decide whether you wanted a low-riding car, or a monster vehicle.  Both Colin & Lydia chose the monster option, while Nate chose to stay low to the ground.  There were a number of different wheels to choose then, as well as a number of different rims.

Again, there were options for everybody!  They had plain rims, rims with dragons, and even rims with daisy flowers!

Review: Method Minne Mouse Foaming Hand Wash

I really like Method products.  I have used their laundry detergents, their cleaners, and their hand soap in the past. I like the fact that they are mostly plant-derived and gentle -- while still doing the job I need!

I think this new line of hand soap is absolutely adorable!  We had the chance to try out the Minnie Mouse Strawberry Fizz foaming hand wash and we declared it a hit!

The kids thought the Mickey ears were fun!  All the kids also liked the scent of the soap.  It wasn't overly sweet -- just a nice, gentle strawberry smell.  It also comes in a Mickey Mouse version that has lemonade-scented soap.

I have seen the soaps for sale at Target and the price is comparable to other Method products.  I hope they come out with refillable pouches for these scents, like they have for other soap products.  I like to refill soap bottles rather than buy more pumps!

*Disclosure: Thanks to Method and Mom Bloggers Club, we received a bottle of Minnie Mouse soap to try out in our home to facilitate this review.  No additional compensation was provided.*

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in Phoenix - Discount & Giveaway

As I mentioned yesterday, the circus is coming to town!  We have thoroughly enjoyed the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus the last few years and are excited to see the all-new, FULLY CHARGED show this June in Phoenix.

Opening night is June 22, but they'll be at the US Airways Center until June 27, 2011.   Lydia has been watching this video over and over again hoping to catch a glimpse of her green haired boyfriend.

I have a special discount code for all my readers!  You can purchase 4 tickets for only $44 by using the special code ELEPHANT at   This special is good at ALL shows, but excludes Circus Celebrity, Front Row and VIP seats.

We will be there Opening Night, thanks to Feld Entertainment.  They have generously given me FOUR tickets to give away to one of my readers as well!  If you would like to join us that night, you can enter the giveaway.

Click to open up the GIVEAWAY FORM.  Enter the correct information and I will let choose one of the entries by June 17, 2011.  Be sure that you are available on the 22nd to attend the show, and that you live in metro Phoenix.  The tickets are good only for that night!

Giveaway Name:  Fully Charged!
Mandatory Question: What is your favorite circus act?

Good Luck!

*Disclosure: I received tickets for my family & for my giveaway from Feld Entertainment.  No additional compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.*

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - Green Haired Boyfriend

This adorable clown performed at the Ringling Barnum & Bailey Circus we attended last June.  Lydia promptly fell in love.  So much so that we had to play "green haired boyfriend" games for months.  She has that picture as the wallpaper on her iPod.  And, a year later, she still remembers him fondly.  And hopes that he will perform again this year at the circus!

Yep!  The circus is coming back to Phoenix this June!  Opening night is June 22, 2011 and they'll be in town until June 27, 2011.  If you want to get a sneak peek of what to expect - click this link for a video! It's an all new show called "Fully Charged" and it looks like a ton of fun.

We only hope that the green haired clown will be there, too!!

Are you in the Phoenix area?  I'll be posting a discount code AND a special giveaway in the next couple days -- so come back soon!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - back home

Yep, I'm home again!  I thought that last visit I wrote about was my last visit -- but I found myself back in the hospital over the weekend.  I spent a couple more days there, enjoying hospital food, blood draws and an adjustable bed. I'm much happier in my own bed, however! 

This picture is of my bedside table, taken yesterday just before I posted.  You can see the big drink cup (pushing fluid on those kidneys!), remote controls, pill bottles and a couple hair bands.  And, my soothing blue bedroom wall.

I'm confident that I won't have any more hospital stays, and plan to continue my recovery from home. I'm not tragically ill; I just need some time to finish recovering. I'm fortunate that my husband is amazing and is able to take care of everything!  I'm also fortunate that my siblings are here to help, as well as some dear, local friends.  Today finds me counting my abundant blessings.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Wordless Wednesday -- back home

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