To the Friends of Those With Chronic Pain

September 17, 2016 didn’t just mark 9 years my oldest son has been breathing in the air of this world, it also marked 8 years that I’ve been writing this blog. Eight years of over-sharing madness. From marital problems to childhood illnesses, mortifying moments to momentous accomplishments- I’ve put almost all of it out there. What I share is actually carefully chosen, much to some people’s surprise.

In the thousands of blogs I’ve posted here, one subject that has only been mentioned a handful of times is my chronic pain. It’s taken over so much of my life that this blog has almost been an escape from it- but here’s a sobering fact: I live with pain every single moment of every single day.

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Every day I’m surrounded by a mix of people who know about my pain and understand what I’m going through, and those who look at me and see “normal”, because to most people, I don’t look like I’m in pain.

Like many of those who suffer from invisible illness and/or chronic pain, that is on purpose. What we show you, what we allow you to see is carefully cultivated- much like this blog. We don’t want to be looked at differently. We don’t want pity, or judgment. Even people close to me don’t know the full extent of what I go through on a daily basis.

They don’t know that the pain I experience differs, not just day to day, but hour to hour. They don’t know that, while my pain may be physical, it radiates into my emotional state as well. That I never know if one wrong move can make the rest of my day, or the rest of my week, miserable. That I spend a lot of time worrying that I’m going to do something stupid and set myself back. That sometimes, even though I try hard not to let the pain rule my life, that it makes it so I don’t want to go anywhere, or do anything. Even write. Even get off the couch. They don’t know that I don’t avoid making plans to be a bitch, but because I don’t physically know if I’ll be able to keep them and I hate to say I’ll be somewhere and have to cancel. They don’t know that when the pain gets bad, it makes even the simplest tasks seem impossible, and it makes me dread doing things I normally enjoy. It makes me NOT feel like me- and living in a body that doesn’t feel like it belongs to you anymore, like you have zero control over it, is devastating.

How can you be supportive of something that is nearly impossible to understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself?

“How are you doing today?”- It’s a loaded question on both ends. Do they care? Do they really want to know the myriad of pain I’m experiencing today? Do I really want to explain it? Does it matter? What good will it do?

But as exhausting as it is to explain, because I can’t just say “bad”, “good”, or “okay,” I appreciate that you asked. I appreciate that you didn’t just look at me and assume I’m fine. I appreciate that you know and understand chronic pain exists, even if it’s invisible. I appreciate that you care enough to sit through my explanations, or don’t pry when I just shrug and say “okay.”

Thank you for being you, and for accepting me, and those like me. The world could use more understanding in it.

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

Back to School BUGS! Here’s to Trying to Stay Healthy!

Here we are, barely two weeks into the new school year, and I’m ALREADY SICK! Even worse- I can’t blame it on my kids! Whatever this funk is came on the morning of their first day. How insane is that? Honestly, I think it’s because I’ve been absolutely running on fumes. When you don’t take enough time for yourself, it wreaks havoc on your energy, your body, your brain, and your immune system.

Over the past month I’ve dealt with a nasty injury, 8 days in Disney World (which let’s be honest- 20k+ steps per day firstdayisn’t exactly what I’d consider “relaxing”), and then only having two days to get the house restocked with food and supplies to start the year off right. I was exhausted before it ever began–which wore me down enough to let a bug in, and man, it’s been a real doozy.

I’ve been so focused on eating right and hand washing and mouth covering that I really didn’t stop to think maybe I wasn’t STOPPING enough. Even though it seems like it’s all about the kids right now, what with schedules and extra-curriculars and homework and everything else that comes along with the school year- we have to remind ourselves to take time for ourselves or we’re never going to make it through! At least, not without falling down sick way more times than we’d like. Take my word for it!

I think, going forward, the hand washing and mouth covering are still going to be important, but so will be resting, lazy days, SITTING DOWN, and doing what I can to keep everyone in this house plague-free. Luckily, I have my not-so secret weapon Ricola to help–and while I’ve been slacking–the kids have been eating their new delicious Ricola Herbal Immunity Herb Lozanges like they’re candy (because they’re that delicious, and the kids are kind of obsessed with anything and everything healthy). I mean, look who’s healthy surrounded by germ-filled kids, and who got sick?? Plus, they’re all natural, so I have zero worries about letting them eat them whenever they like.
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Ricola Herbal Immunity harnesses the power of herbs, ginseng and vitamins B6, B12 and C to boost immunity strength and fight fatigue– something I SERIOUSLY need right now! They JUST came out in two awesome flavors- Citrus Herb & Honey Herb (both of which are delicious), and you can grab a box (or five) at your local CVS, Walgreens, and/or Rite-Aid.

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Oh, and they’re individually wrapped- which is really great for being on-the-go, or tossing into bookbags.

May we all stay healthy this back to school season! I’ll be over here with my tissues, Ricola, and crossed fingers!

 

I’m sharing #Ricola  in my life as part of a Ricola sponsored series for Socialstars™

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

What to Do When You’re About to Judge Another Parent: A Quick Guide

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As magical as our most recent trip to Disney World was, as it always is, something very ugly happened while we were there. It shook me, and I’m hard to shake.

My 8 year old is going through a negative phase. It feels like I’m living with a hormonal teenage girl some days. And I know–I hope– it will pass, but we’re trudging through the thick of it right now. He can even find a way to be negative at Disney World- HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT?? It makes me mad, but partially impressed.

During one particularly negative moment, in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, I’d just about had it. We’d been over it time and time again–you’re at friggin’ Disney World, dude. Nothing that happens here, not the rain, not the walking, not the lines, could really ever be that bad. He wasn’t hearing any of it. So I told him in no uncertain terms — don’t be ungrateful. And if you can’t manage not to be ungrateful, I could always return all the things I’ve gotten for you since we’ve been here, since you don’t seem to want any of them. Oh, and then I told him he was being a jerk. Because he was.

CUE THE OUTRAGED GASPS! Only, I heard no gasps. What I heard was much worse.

It came from behind me and to the left. “WOW.”

At first, I wasn’t even sure it was directed at me, it being Disney World and full of magic & all, but loud wow-er wasn’t done.

“I’M GLAD THOSE AREN’T MY PARENTS.”

Oh, yeah. That was directed at me.

To my left was an older woman, with a man slightly younger than her and zero children, glaring at me in the most sanctimonious way you can imagine.

Did this really just happen? HERE? At Disney World??

When the shock and anger wore off (and it took a while), it got me thinking. Was what I did wrong? No. What she did was.

We live in a world where people judge without a second thought. Snap judgments coming from left, right, up and down. ESPECIALLY when you’re a parent. It’s not like that was the first time something like this has happened. I’ve been finger-wagged by old ladies for daring to discipline my kids in public, snapped at by old men, and judged by every type of person you can imagine–it seems like that is just the life of a parent these days. And it shouldn’t be. SO, I took it upon myself to create a handy little guide for all of those people out there who feel the need to make judgments on parents in public. I mean, I know it’s super hard to contain yourself, but I think this should be pretty easy to follow.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE A PARENT YOU WANT TO JUDGE:

  1. Think- do I know these parents, or have I only witnessed a tiny bit of their life, and therefore have no accurate basis for my assumption? Is it possible that my snap judgment is inaccurate? If yes- say nothing.
  2. Is saying something to these strangers, in what is obviously a vulnerable moment, really going to HELP them? Will my words make any kind of positive change in their lives? No. It’s not. So say nothing.
  3. Is your judgment coming from the fact that you parent differently and therefore feel that they must be doing it wrong? Stop. You’re wrong. Say nothing.
  4. Is it ANY of your business? No. It’s not. Say nothing.
  5. Did you ever stop to think that maybe you’re just a judgmental asshole? Because if you’re about to open your mouth and rip apart another parent for trying to make sure their kid doesn’t grow up to be a raging a-hole, that’s exactly what you are.
  6. If none of that works, and you still find yourself wanting to open your mouth and shit on a stranger’s parenting, there’s always duct tape. Use liberally.

Look, kids need discipline. And this discipline might need to occur anywhere- YES, EVEN DISNEY WORLD. Keep your unwarranted, unwanted, misplaced criticisms to yourself.

Posted on September 12, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 2 Comments

Mark Your Calendars- 9/20 is D(isney) Day on Netflix!

September is a seriously good month, y’all. The kids are back in school, the temperatures aren’t making you perspire just by stepping outside anymore, AND AND AND– DISNEY COMES TO NETFLIX!

*runs around house flailing arms wildly*

That’s right, people of earth- it’s the day we’ve all been looking forward to more than the first day of school. It’s the day I’ve been looking forward to more than Christmas- especially considering I just spent all my money at Disney World so I can’t afford to buy the DVDs right when they come out- September 20th is the Day all 2015-2016 Disney releases begin streaming! It’s okay to scream. I won’t judge.

I got the following little teaser e-mail I have to share with you and nearly peed. I’m that excited:

Because some secrets are too big to keep we’re giving you a preview of what’s to come. With all 2015 – 2016 theatrical releases coming exclusively to Netflix, not even an evil father from a galaxy far, far away can bring us down. Trust us, this lineup is nothing close to the bare necessities.

Don’t let the Mad Hatter lead you astray — there’s a lot more coming to Netflix. Just keep swimming to find out what else we have in store; after all, the ocean is calling.

I can’t even decide which I’m excited for the most… I think maybe Alice Through the Looking Glass because I haven’t gotten the chance to see it yet (I don’t judge you, you don’t judge me) and definitely a second dose of Finding Dory. Or how about I just sit down and watch all of them. I don’t need the kids to be home. It can be our little secret.

Up first is the fantastic ZOOTOPIA,

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But if you’re super impatient (like me) and can’t wait that long, here are some Disney titles already streaming to hopefully tide you over!

Disney Collection Spotlight

Tarzan

Tarzan

Finest Hours

The Finest Hours

Holes

Holes

Pirates

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Mulan II

Mulan II

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

Posted on September 9, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

Make Your Disney World Trip Ten Times Easier by Renting from Orlando Stroller Rentals!

Even after all the years, all the trips to Disney World, and our insistence upon trying new things (sometimes to our extreme detriment)- there is one thing we ALWAYS do, and one thing I recommend every. single. time without hesitation: Rent a stroller from Orlando Stroller Rentals!

I know what you’re thinking- But Jenny, aren’t your kids a little old to be riding around in a stroller?

Usually, I’d agree with you. Here at home base, whenever we go to parks we make the kids walk, but Disney is a far different story. When you’re walking 12+ hours a day, with random downpours, and you have to carry along a ton of stuff, a stroller becomes your absolute lifesaver. When the kids legs get tired (and I don’t just mean them making excuses in the first 5 minutes, but literally so tired they may not be able to trudge on and you’re still trying to make the absolute most of your trip by not tapping out early), or your back gets tired from carrying your bag, or you buy too much stuff (like you always will), or the sky opens up- the stroller becomes the go-to. I can’t imagine a trip without it, I dread the day the kids really are too big to squeeze in there for a quick rest, or to hide from the rain!

It's also a pretty sweet spot to nap

It’s also a pretty sweet spot to nap

There are a lot of stroller rental companies to choose from, but while I can’t imagine not using a stroller, I also can’t imagine not using Orlando Stroller Rentals. From the choices, to the prices, to the resort delivery & pick up, to the cooler that comes with the rental, to the rain cover that turns soggy Florida into a dry limousine ride for the kids, to the awesome customer service, no one beats them. I’ve seen parents with other rentals struggling, and every year they come to us and ask us who we rent from, where we got the rain cover, wondering why they didn’t do the same.

Check out this super sweet ride in action:

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Okay, so I suck at getting photos of it because we were too busy using it- but trust me on this one- don’t be left out in the rain!

So before you travel, really look into it, check out Orlando Stroller Rentals, and RENT! DO IT! You’ll thank me later!

 

 

Posted on September 8, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment