Our Fabulous Dominican Republican Visit at Villa Gordon

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We researched our next Spring Break vacation until we found the perfect spot in Villa Gordon. Hidden away between Sosua and Cabarete was a little community of 10+ homes, a hotel, and an amazing restaurant all behind a guarded gate.

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This beach house was perfect for our extended family of 11 to visit and hang out for the week. With the four bedrooms off to the left side and the main house with two master suites, living room, dining room, and kitchen was a great place to stay for our first trip to the DR. Watch the videos Gordon sends you before you come, it will help a bit. Recognize that you aren’t going to find those light switches for a few days (the one in the kitchen is in the hallway behind you!). Or figure out how they work… (there is an on button? Duh!)

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Enjoy the comfy couches outside with ‘Mini’ the sweet, sweet kitty who sits on your lap. The pool gets shaded in the afternoon. You MUST APPLY SUNSCREEN EVERY HOUR!!! The ocean right outside is dangerous but walk to the point on the right (AFTER the big rock) and it’s shallow a good ways out, or go past the 3rd surf camp (10m walk) to where there are no rocks, gentle swells, and perfect waves for your kids. Or if you surf, rent a board! The life guard walking the beach was a bonus!
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Franklin (one of the best parts of the trip) picked us up from the airport and was our taxi the whole week. He has one of the BEST personalities from anyone I have ever met. Always a smile on his face, a ‘no problem’ to anything we ask, and the kindest man you will meet. Johanny and Cathy, our maids for the week, were very industrious and hard workers and… they made breakfast for us EVERY single morning. It was heaven. They made whatever was in the kitchen (and one morning instead of bacon, they made hot dogs – the kids were thrilled – haha!) so make sure your kitchen is stocked. For extra you can get a house-keepers lunch and everything was so good. Ask for the fish, it was ammmmaaazzing but the chicken was tasty too.
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– Have fun walking outside… peacocks, horses, cows, chickens, roosters, etc.
– Ask the guards to build you a bonfire, it’s pretty cheap. Fun experience (but don’t think you can make smores, they make it BIG!)

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Speaking of the guards… it’s crazy that they walk around with a huge gun on their back! They will walk right up and sit at the tables outside or very close to the house. We couldn’t decide if it was strange that they did that, or that they really NEEDED to be that close to protect us! (We never saw anyone bad walking around, FYI.) They were really nice and we had a good time talking to them. Some days they would walk around, and others they would start raking the leaves. I guess they did a little of everything!

Gordon was awesome at all of our questions. He always got back to us right away and had great customer service. Anything you need will be answered right away from him!

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Cons – There always has to be a few cons, right? Here is what I thought.

– Biggest problem was the wifi. There was one password protected account and two free ones. One for the main master bedroom, the other for the rest of the house. The third, I have no idea. The strongest one was the master bedroom and a slower one worked out in the living room. They were not reliable at all. At. All. Chez Arsenio had a much stronger connection and it was sad the way we ran over there to download our email, or a book on our Kindle. One morning the wifi would work great, the next nothing worked at all. We would unplug, replug and it would work for 10 minutes and other days it wouldn’t work for hours on end. There was a day when three of us were sitting on the master bed downstairs downloading books and email as that was the only working spot. One day I was able to do 30 minutes of video Skype conference call in the master bedroom (moved to regular call after it went kaput) and two days later I couldn’t hop on GoToMeeting to save my life (and my conference!). It’s a nice thought to unplug and go off to paradise but two of us had to work a few days to be able to go on vacation, and no wifi is so annoying. When the living room wifi was out every other day, you couldn’t connect to Pandora to play music in the backyard.

– A specific note that there is no wifi in the 4 bedroom villas at all. So watching a movie on your computer at night is out, or downloading email lounging on your bed is not possible. The wifi also did not work in the upstairs master at all. So if it’s important to you, just be aware! There is always the restaurant if you are desperate. :)

– It’s a typical beach house. I say this as we were debating between two properties. One in Sea Horse Ranch which was double the price, and this one. It’s a comfy house and perfect for all of us to lounge in but there is wear and tear in the house. The water filter spout was broken and hard to get water out of. One of the couches outside was a little worn down (like too many people sat in one particular spot). The outdoor plastic chairs and wooden chairs were uncomfortable. The beach lounges felt like you sunk into them and couldn’t get out. It was a VERY nice house, don’t get me wrong, but might need a little upkeep as time goes on.

– Buy extra toilet paper! :) The maids told us we were out, whoops! Had to run to the store after one of our outings.

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– This is not a con to the house but just an FYI that power goes on and off, and the generators pop on and off. I think that’s just typical of the DR!

– Even though it’s filtered water, some of us got a little sick to our tummies after a few days. Just a little annoyance on a daily basis for most of the group.

I outlined the pros above but we really enjoyed ourselves! Be sure to talk to Anne about stocking the house with food. Be very specific as she is a great shopper. Have their chefs come and cook you a meal, or just walk down to Chez Arsenio for dinner. Even just order a side dish to anything you are cooking. We got potato salad for our first night, and our neighbors got garlic bread that we were eying! We loved having the chefs as they cooked amazing things and did all the dishes! We had them out three nights during our stay.

Happy Hour is from 4-6pm at the restaurant and the Arsenio Special was my favorite! Two for the price of one. :)

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Where to Go:
– Monkey Jungle – the kids (and adults!) loved it! It’s about 45m and a really bumpy road at the end. Go!
– 27 Waterfalls – Amazing experience that I personally couldn’t do (kids couldn’t!) but others did and loved. Buy the video option to record your experience, it will be worth it.

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– Cabarete – We didn’t venture over to Cabarete until later in the week and we promptly went back the next day. AMAZING BEACH. Sitting in the sand, having a drink, eating at the restaurants while watching the kite surfers was so cool. The kids loved the waves because it was shallow far out but the waves were gentle. Their favorite place. I really want to go back with my best girlfriends and spend a few days just on that beach.

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– Puerto Plata- We had Franklin drive us out there to the rum factory (so cool for the kids and tasting for us!) and a little sightseeing. We were in a 14 person van and kind of hated it, and we aren’t really sightseeing people… but it was fun.
– Golfing – The men went out golfing and had a grand old time.

Otherwise, just hang out on the beach and at the pool! Perfect vacation and we had such a good time. I would highly recommend Villa Gordon to anyone.

I did a bunch of reviews at places on TripAdvisor too, so friend me over there :)

Glee Goodbye

#GleeGoodbye

Six years of one of my favorite shows.. The pilot was amazing. I still get chills listening to Rachel & Finn sing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.

Yes, the finale was sentimental and sappy with the flash-forwards. Will everyone always rise to the top, achieve their dreams, or be happy at the same time? No. No, that rarely happens with a group of friends. But I still liked it anyway.

I still got chills seeing the flash-back to Finn singing and teared up seeing his picture up on the wall.

The dedication to Mr Shue by Rachel at her Tony win was so awesome. I wish every student at every school would find a teacher that believes in them and pushes them to be their best. What an amazing utopia to believe in.

“See the world not as it is, but as it should be.” A beautiful quote. While the last two seasons of Glee haven’t produced any amazing songs to add to my “Glee Playlist”* (yes, you know I have one!) and the storyline has been a bit ‘meh’, I did appreciate that two hour finale.

Thank you Glee for making me smile every week and have goosebumps rise up when I heard something amazing.

* I lied, I think I’m going to go download Rise Above by Darren Criss now. The harmonies are freaking amazing.

““We will rise/We are young we are the dreamers/We will fly/When the world will not believe us/We will rise above the ashes/Before this whole life passes us by/You and I.””

March Meeting for Brownie Girl Scouts

We finished up our Water Journey and cookie season was finished up, thank god for our cookie moms! We sold almost 2,000 cookies and had a great profit. We went over buying memberships for Girl Scouts, our Jr outfits with the profits and new sweatshirts.

I saw the cutest rhinestone sweatshirts at an event and another Mom had some sparkle shirts that she liked so we asked the girls and they decided they liked sparkle better. We did some voting and then decided to get some color options and prices before we proceeded.

Then we voted on our beach sleepover and I tried to have the girls decide what they wanted to do. Here are some of the questions I asked them. They decided on a theme, a few activities, and that they wanted pasta for dinner and strawberry shortcake with ice cream for dessert. Yippee!

 

Do we want a Theme? Possible ideas – Get Patrols together to organize.

  • Movie theme
  • Western
  • Superhero
  • Science
  • Pajama Party
  • Ocean/Beach themed

 

What will we do?

  • Beach
  • Snack
  • Dinner
  • Games
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Songs
  • Skits? Stories?
  • Movie
  • Dancing (what songs? Songlist?)
  • Breakfast
  • Scouts Own

 

Snack

  • Fruit * Crackers * Cheese

Dinner – Go Out? Or Buy and Eat at GS House? Or Make Food at GS House?

  • Johnny Rockets – Kids Meal is $7.01 including drink – $84
  • Subway – $6 sandwiches – $72
  • Pizza – $15 per pizza – 12 girls – $45
  • Make homemade pizzas
  • ?? Other dinner? Tacos? Hamburgers? Hotdogs?

Dessert – S’mores? Ice cream sundaes

Breakfast – ? Eggs, pancakes, waffles, cereal

 

 

 

Session Four – Five – Six – Seven of Brownie Water Journey

We did several sessions of our Water Journey in October, November, and December.

Yes, I know I’m posting this in March. I suck at updating, okay?

However… the end result is so fabulous and I can’t wait to share it! First, here is the only picture I took of our November meeting.

Eating Snack for Water Journey

Yum, food. I’m kinda hungry. Look at our cute mason jars though? See? Saving water.

So basically the girls talked about how they wanted to ‘Take Action’ or advocate and tell people about how to save water… and they voted to become famous by filming a commercial.

Awesome.

We were on board. I love computer work anyway. So we talked and voted on that. Then they brainstormed for ideas on how to save water. My co was soooo amazing at this step. She is a teacher. So she is awesome at all the steps, actually.

After we had ideas, we broke them into pairs and they each took their idea and wrote a script for it.

Then, I took their individual scripts home and massaged them a little. JUST a little.

Then we filmed.

Here is part of that filming process.
Water Journey Commercial Filming took at least two meetings. It was so much fun though! Yay for our school for letting us use the library. We tried outside and we couldn’t hear a word. Half the words you couldn’t hear since we didn’t have any microphones or anything so THANK GOD for the 400% volume level in iMovie.

We really wanted to be DONE with the water journey. It works for awhile and then we get super bored of it. But the video is done… I’m asking permission from the Girl Scouts of Orange County Council to put it on their main YouTube channel and our principal agreed to show it at the school-wide flag salute later on in March.

So I really had to get that thing edited and done. We showed it to the girls last week and they approved.

Along with the comments of “OMG, so EMBARRASSING” and “The whole SCHOOL is going to see it?” and “WE ARE GOING TO BE YOUTUBE FAMOUS”.

Totally.

Once it’s up, I will post a link here. I wish I had more funny out-takes but I added a small section to the end. It was filmed from three devices and while I ended up with all the end versions, I think some of the mistakes were deleted. Bummer. I should have shared my ‘vision’ of out-takes and actually tried to film the girls goofing off more…

But what happens when you have 12 girls goofing off in school and you only have an hour? Lots of ‘SHHHH’ and ‘MY HAND IS UP’ and clapping to get their attention and tell them to behave. Ahh well.

I still love my last minute of out-takes. Even if they aren’t very funny.

I’ll post it soon!

Session Three – Wonders of Water Brownie Girl Scouts Journey

Session Three happened back in October. Yes, I KNOW I’m posting this in March but you are reading it, aren’t you?

Awesome.

So… file this one under I LOVE meetings run by my co-leader! Go co-leader, go co-leader, woot, woot, woot…

Ahem. Sorry.

So we got those little raindrops that were in the adult book journey. Then we made three posters so the girls could rotate in groups.

Poster #1 – We Love Water

Poster #2 – We Save Water

Poster #3 – We Advocate for Water

Water Journey Posters Water Journey Posters for Skits

There is, uh, no pictures of the finished posters. However this worked really well. We had a cute snack, we used our mason jars for whatever we ate (I don’t remember now).

They cut out the letters, pasted them on the poster board, colored them… and on the ‘We Advocate for Water’ filled out the squares that was their promise of what they would do to save water.

On the raindrops they wrote in what they loved about water on that poster.

Cute Brownie Girls

It worked really well! Then we finished up some no-sew blankets for our local cat foster program who we worked with when we were Daisy’s.

Making Blankets for CatsPerfect meeting!

Commenting

ARGH… I am so irritated by my theme. The place to put comments just disappears! Then I reactivated my theme again, checked, it was all good… and I check it today and it’s gone.

So I’m at this boring theme for now to figure it out later. Sheesh! But thank you to the people stopping by and leaving comments (mostly on my Girl Scout stuff), I need to update on the end of our journey!

Death is Calling

I’m a little addicted to TV shows right now. I’m still reading at a good pace (250+ books this year, woot!) but oooh, there are some darn good shows on this year!

I made the mistake of watching three shows with deaths in them that just floored me. The high end cable shows are really pushing the envelope, I love it.

Newsroom – Why, oh WHY are they ending this show? It is fabulous. I had it on during the day when I was doing some excel work and I was hypnotized. Cramming some amazing storylines into the last 6 episodes of the final season and the ending of episode five just killed me. I kept thinking, oh yes, I knew that was coming. Oh, he will be fine. And then that last line… BOOM.

Revenge – Then I watched the last episode of Revenge. I knew someone was going to die, they were talking about it. I was thinking it would be the obvious person who spoke some good French and might be easily cast off. But nooooo. NO, that would have been too easy. WHY? WHY DID YOU DO IT, REVENGE? I was crossing my fingers for them!

Homeland – And then continued the next day to an extremely tension filled episode of Homeland. Did it seem short to you? It seemed really short. I need more. I actually need more cute little Dev from Smash, who is the ISI head guy to get it on with Carrie. Come ON DEV. I need more Dev screen time. Or Peter screen time. Because Peter is awesome. But Dev is mysterious.

Doing these week by week is killing me. I want to binge watch on them.

But speaking of binge watching… I need to start on The Affair, Nashville, and watch the last two seasons of Son’s of Anarchy and The Good Wife.

So much fabulous TV, so little time.

My Oldest is 9

What the HECK… as my younger baby would say.

I can’t believe she is nine. She is thoughtful, sweet, energetic, full of drama, and inquisitive. She watches things and internalizes but likes to explain and go over her feelings. I never get a full report from friends and schoolmates but she will drop me some info from time to time if she is feeling generous.

She loves to read… just like her Mama… and her tastes are running my way too. She can’t get enough of Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins (the younger version right now).

She’s getting old too fast!

National Sam Day

Thanksgiving SCD Style

We had two Thanksgivings this year which is fairly normal. I’ve been making my Paleo/SCD bacon “cornbread” stuffing (which is actually made from Almond Flour). But this year I tested out two new recipes. Green beans and butternut squash casserole. The butternut squash was SUPER sweet so a lot less honey for next time, I think. I’m not a huge butternut person but it was good.

More of my Thanksgiving recipes can be found in my Pinterest Thanksgiving SCD board.

Kid in Pain – Part II

Almost a month ago I talked about the lessons you learn from your kids. How strong they are. How resilient. S is definitely a tough cookie.

I have to write down this story because I want to remember it in a few years. I want to remember the way I broke down when I was in the waiting room. Remember the way that S cried but ultimately conquered her IV. How she was brave through the entire procedure. I also don’t feel too bad writing about the husband since he doesn’t read this blog. :)

We have been to the doctor, gotten the blood tests, the stool tests. Completed the barium x-ray (which was absolutely no fun – the forced disgusting drink, the bar they press and roll around her tummy to force it through her intestines). We did the follow-up. We agonized over which path to take. With the suggestion of her Dr, we decided on the Endoscopy.

Which was the right path? Go slow and follow what the blood tests are saying (nothing wrong? It’s not Crohn’s disease?) or go fast and do all the tests at once? We were convinced through logic to do the Endoscopy first (and alone!) because while the x-ray showed possible inflammation near the ileocecal valve, the rate of false-positive on the x-ray is high. The blood tests were all normal and the latest tests can detected IBD and they were not detected.

So we get up at 6:30am, hop in the car, and arrive at CHOC. At night it looks beautiful.

We wait and wait. Sign papers. Gasp at the cost. Hope insurance will cover most of it. Walk in back to go to our patient room.

The nurses are absolutely lovely. There was over 10 of them and I was getting confused quickly. They kept introducing themselves, saying hi, and then leaving. They made sure to explain everything.

While I knew that S was getting versed to calm her and propofol to put her into twilight sleep, it seemed rather casual when it was explained the week before. I thought it would be a little cup she would sip. I didn’t really consider that they would be doing an IV, that the anesthesiologist would be there.

They were giving us options on if we wanted S to have the versed. At that point, S piped up with ‘you will be holding my hand through the whole thing right, Mama & Papa?’. At which point I looked at the nurse and smiled and said, ‘We might have a little problem here.’ She marked on the chart a YES for versed.

Two of the cute nurses came in and started explaining how the IV would work. They do this shot of air/numbing solution that was really cool. A drop of blood shows on her skin though and S started freaking out. I was standing by her head, the second nurse sitting next to her holding an iPad with games, and my husband was sitting down next to me. As we were going through it, I looked down a few times and saw his elbows on his knees and him looking upset.

As I was in the middle of calming S, holding her down a bit, I didn’t think much of it. S has my little veins so it was hard to find them and that completely sucks. After they get the IV in, they are adjusting it and I look again to the husband and he looks bad.

I go to sit down next to him and he leans against me and puts his hand on my leg. He starts squeezing his hand on my leg repeatedly. Since S was still alternating between freaking out and playing with the iPad that the nurse was holding up for her, I thought he was just upset. He proceeded to lean against me and put his head behind my back but in-between the chair.

I thought that was weird. Is he crying? Maybe he just doesn’t want to show S that he was upset. His squeezes on my knee were more emphatic.

He leaned back up and I looked over at him. He was gone. He was sitting up but he was not there. I put my hand around his neck to keep him steady realizing that he had passed out from watching the IV. My lovely husband can not deal with needles. When I had my epidural, he did the same thing. (Which I was understandably upset at the time, as well! “You are passing out and I’m the one having the baby?”)

S is sitting on the bed looking at her Papa. “What’s wrong with Papa?” she asks.

“Nothing, sweetie. Papa just doesn’t like needles, you know that.” I say with a confident smile as I’m holding up his head. The nurse ran and got me a wet paper towel. At the same time, she was adjusting S’s IV, and doing what she was supposed to be doing to my daughter.

I desperately ask the nurse for something to drink for him, while I say loudly, “Are you okay?”

The nurse brings a small OJ container. I open it and say sternly, “Honey, I need you to drink this.” I send a quick smile over to Sam. She alternates between gaping at her Papa and playing a game on her iPad.

His eyes are blank. There is no one behind those eyes. He is swaying in his chair, as I’m holding on to his neck to keep him steady. His right arm jerks up and bumps into the open container of juice, almost spilling it on his clothes. I move it away quickly. His arm falls down and he sways his body toward mine and starts moaning over and over again.

S looks over again and freaks out more. “What’s wrong with him? What is he doing?”

I reassure her again, and laugh out loud. “He’s fine, he just fainted.” I turn my eyes over to the nurse and make crazy eyes at her.

I have no idea what to do. My daughter needs me to be calm. My husband is behaving like a stroke victim. This is not happening to me.

The nurse called out to get a gurney for him. She wrapped his finger and got a read on his pulse on the machine that should have been dedicated to my daughter. His pulse appeared on the screen and she reassured me it was normal.

All three of us, the two nurses and I, continue to reassure S that everything is okay. This happens to Dad’s all the time and it’s no big deal. I continue to hold up the husband, while he is moaning. I keep trying to speak sharply to him, in the hopes my voice will make him snap out of it. The whole thing was over five minutes long.

Suddenly, he does register my voice. The light comes back into his eyes, that wonderful spark of intelligence, and I can tell that he’s hearing me. The sweat is rolling off his body and he accepts the glass of juice. The gurney is cancelled. He reassures S that he’s fine. She admonishes him that he shouldn’t be around needles anymore. He laughs.

The new Dr who is performing the procedure walks in. He proceeds to question all of our choices, question her diet, query why we aren’t doing the colonoscopy and endoscopy at the same time, and basically freak me out more. Why aren’t we doing that? Well, our main doctor has a different style and we went with her recommendation. I asked her to do both at the same time. Why didn’t I fight harder for that? But the blood tests were all negative. My Mom doubt is killing me. Was it the right decision? At this point, we feel like he’s going to find nothing.

S gets her shot of versed through the IV and the light in her eyes goes dim. She makes us promise that we will hold her hand the entire time. We tell her that we love her. She grabs our hands and asks us to hold her hand as they continue wheeling her into surgery while we are ushered back in to the waiting room. I’m going to be strong.

We sit down and the husband laughs at himself passing out. I listen to him and think to myself, yes, that was traumatic for him. Don’t make it all about you. I last about two minutes before I break in and explain just HOW. EMOTIONAL. that was for me to have to smile at my daughter while I don’t know what my husband is doing since he was out for five minutes. I break into tears. Usually at these things, I hold it in until it’s all done. It’s out now and maybe that’s better.

Twenty minutes goes by. We watch the video screen where it shows her surgery and when she goes into recovery. The Dr comes out. Everything looked healthy. He took biopsies. There was a spot that might look like something, he is checking it out.

He proceeds to lecture us about diet. An 8 year old should be getting 16 grams of fiber a day. I try not to laugh at him as I tell him she gets over 30 grams. I don’t think he believes me. He talks about motility clinics. With-holding could definitely be a problem, we agree, but the pain she has had in the last six weeks is different than what we have been dealing with (constipation) for the last eight years. He lectures about diet, motility, but agrees we are right in moving to the MRI. He repeats that he simply has a different style than our main Dr.

We leave feeling torn. Do we start seeing the new Dr who seemed very educated? Do we stay with our current Dr for now? Even though she is moving back East in five weeks?

The questions will never end.

I also haven’t even gotten into how she woke up from her twilight sleep screaming about apples and ba-nay-nays, demanding to see the Dr, and being an angry 8yo. I don’t want to see her experimental drunk nights in her teenage years cause I think she’s gonna be interesting… :-)

Beyond this story, the biopsies are not in yet but we decided to forgo the antibiotics for SIBO since it was not proven (taking the new Dr’s advice) and move straight to the MR Enterography. It took a lot of calling, texting, listening to automated phone trees, but we have it scheduled this week. Bright and early again.

I have to wait for the pre-op to call me so I can ask questions but reading online, I’m worried we will have to do another IV. She definitely has to drink something again, which sucks. She also has to go into the tube and not be with us.

Seeing as though she keeps making us promise to hold her hand the whole time… this is definitely going to destroy me soon.

Session Two – Wonders of Water Brownie Girl Scout Meeting

It’s another meeting day! The days… the weeks… they fly by soooo quickly! I’m not sure how it happens…

However, here we are! Here is what I had planned.

Two new songs and two new games for the beginning and/or end.

(Go Bananas, I’m a Little Coconut; Ear & Nose, Rising Circles)

** We sang Go Bananas and the girls had a fun time. We need to go over the different verses again though. They loved the house (Rock the HOUSE! Rock Rock, the HOUSE!) and then we played Ear & Nose. They got the hang of it and the ones who smiled, laughed, or talked got out of the circle until it was just two girls. The rest of them were egging on everyone else but the two girls were not cracking! We quickly declared two winners so we could start our meeting as it was already 10 minutes past the hour. 

Flag, Promise, Law, etc.
Green Tea for a Blue Planet – Mom to bring in electric tea kettle, tea, and snacks.

Brownie Wonders of Water Session 2

(At this point, follow the Adult Handbook and Girl’s Guide book – Here are my notes to myself as I find it hard to scan the book and read paragraphs)

What does ‘Green’ mean when we say Green Tea? (Not just a color but good for the environment). *** The girls knew what green meant and had a good time talking about reuse and recycle and what it means to be green. 

Brownie Wonders of Water Session 2 Tea & Cups

Today we are having ‘Green Tea’ because our goal is to not waste any water. If you drink it all, you won’t be wasting it. By not wasting it, we are also… what? (Using resources wisely)

Who drinks tea?
Where is tea grown? (China, Kenya, Turkey, and Argentina to start)
What continent are those places on? (Asia, Africa, Europe, Southern America)
What is tea used for? (To drink but other people dye cloth with it too) ** They were amazed by this! They were guessing different things but no one guessed cloth. 
People drink it casually but also in ceremonies that follow special rules. ** We had a Mom in the room who pointed out that they would give tea to husbands in a special wedding ceremony and there were all sorts of different customs, etc. 

Who in your family drinks tea? What time of day do they rink it? What kinds of tea do they drink? What kinds have you tried?

Electric Tea kettle

Watching the water as it goes from a liquid to vapor to solid.
What are the main three states of water? Precipitation, Condensation, and Evaporation. ** Um, I really LOVE to read from a book or a paper and the girls knew solid, liquid, vapor… which was technically correct… 

MOM HELPER – To make tea
See if we can watch the kettle to heat the water.
Heating the water is a quick way to demonstrate the change of water from liquid to vapor, which is called evaporation.

Brownie Wonders of Water Session 2 Different Teas

** We had a good time at this spot. The Mom described all the teas she had brought (and she brought a lot!) The tea kettle took a long time to heat up but we were chatting about different things. The book suggested the girls spell Evaporation and Condensation so we did that and we had some brave (and super awesome spellers) get it right. It dragged a littttttle at this part but I need to learn to let go, and let the girls chat and have a little fun rather than trying to talk over them. It’s a REALLY fine line between keeping their interest or letting them have fun in a quiet way and I think went really well. 

<Read the book for notes>
Remind about composting tea bags ** One girl had a compost bin at her house and described it for everyone. 
Do the ice cubes ** Reminding everyone about how we have the solid ice cube turning back into liquid. 
See about holding a mirror in front of the steam to create condensation. ** Kinda forgot about that during the meeting…

So at this point, we went over the kinds of tea and YUM everyone tried their tea! I was very happy we had some brave girls. Some of them didn’t like it but that’s okay. 

Brownie Wonders of Water Session 2 Sugar with your Tea

Loving and Protecting Water – Basically go over the Girl Guide, pg 54 and on. 

We talked last week about what activities we love about water. Some of you mentioned the beach or water parks or showers. Let’s think of reasons you LOVE water. Do you have special reasons for loving water? What are they?

Today we need to think about a water promise. Which line of the Girl Scout Law is about sticking to your promises? (Responsible for what I say and do). Once we come up with our promise, we can think about advocating, which is all about positive talk and action.

This section went well. We had 9 girls so it was a lot quieter. They each had a desk and as they were sitting in a chair, there was less reason to roll around on the floor and be crazy. 

Troop 2908 of Orange County Yorba Linda

Last 15 minutes – Service Project!
Making cat blankets for Gloria’s Pet Rescue.

No time for this! Pushed to next meeting. The Friendship Circle Leader choose ‘Say When’ as our goodbye song and we did our circle and ended the meeting. 

On to Session Three of our Water Journey..

Help Me Pick Glasses!

So I went to get my eyes checked today. Basically because I’m out of contacts. COMPLETELY out of contacts. Dying for contacts…

The big news here is that when he checked my eyes, my eyes have gotten BETTER since the last time. A quarter better… as in crazy stem cells are healing my EYES. How CRAZY is that? My right eye was always 3.75 and my left was 4.0. Now they are 3.5 and 3.75. He checked it twice just to be sure. He didn’t tell me what it was as he was testing me but they clearly are showing better.

Crazy stem cells, right?

So I’ve been hunting glasses for over two years now. Ughhhh what glasses to get? I tried on a bunch and took some selfies. Do you have any suggestions for me??

My big problem now is that I took all these selfies and I have no idea what picture goes to the specific glasses, haha… Help! What should I get?

 

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Stem Cell Replacement Update – 8 Weeks

I wanted to give an update on my progress from my adipose stem cell replacement for Crohn’s Disease and Interstitial Cystitis.

I’m going to be talking about poop, so if you don’t want to read on, please feel free to skip this!

I feel better. I do. It seems incredible that I would just feel better from stem cell replacement but it is actually working. I sometimes think, do I just feel better because I got a good night’s sleep? Because I ate particularly well today? But no, it’s from the stem cells.

Crohn’s Disease: 

I feel about 50% better. My daily, um, movements look completely different. That changed about two days after I had the stem cells injected into my IV and it really hasn’t deviated. I went from unrecognizable but mostly solid movements once a day to rabbit pellet poops that look like recognizable brown poops. I do feel frustrated that it has swung so far in the opposite direction though. It’s more on the constipated side of things and I don’t know how to radically fix it in my diet. Whenever I have larger meals like steak or something fatty, it might resemble a ‘perfect trophy’ the next morning but I can’t duplicate it on a daily basis. Frequently I might eat something (like cheese) or too much of it, and I’ll go multiple times a day but they are still mostly rabbit pellets which is slightly frustrating however it’s a huge change from what it used to be.

I’ve cheated from my very strict SCD diet and had french fries twice and had stuffed mushrooms at nice restaurants where I’m not totally sure of the ingredients and I have been completely fine. I went to Melting Pot two weeks ago and went TOTALLY crazy and had the brownies and cookies dipped in chocolate… It’s been over a year since I have had brownies, ZOMG. They were amazing.

I do not want to go back to eating gluten though. I’m too programmed against it. Especially since we are dealing with my daughter’s issues and trying to figure her out. I just think it causes too many problems.

I can’t decide if I should experiment more with rice or potatoes or other things to try and get my daily movements (sorry!) to a regular person’s normal.

Interstitial Cystitis:

I feel like this needs more time to investigate but the burning I would feel is mostly non-existent. My other problems that would happen from this disease are noticeably better. The problem with this type of thing is that it’s not an every day issue. It takes time to figure out if I’m actually better. I feel better. I don’t have the same things that would pop up but sometimes I have slightly different issues. In most cases, things are good and I keep crossing my fingers.

Second Stem Cell Procedure 

For auto-immune diseases, they recommend that you have 2-4 procedures to continue the healing process. A nurse in the office had fibromyalgia and had three procedures and it’s been about 8 months since she had the first one. She told me today that she doesn’t even remember what her pain felt like. It’s completely disappeared. The first time things got better, the second time it improved more, and by the third her pain is gone.

Today I had my second one. It went great! The office is super fabulous, I love the people there. When I’m being a paranoid freak, they smile and agree with me and pat me on the head and make sure I’m feeling okay despite everything. haha

IV Prepped

Above, my IV is ready to go. My veins are awful, terrible things so it took a few pokes which were fine, and then some bigger pokes which was zomg, it was okay, and then WHEW she got it! Sparing my ugly small disappearing veins, the nurse tried to get my blood (PRP) directly from the line but sadly after they ‘spun it’ and tried to do their magic, it didn’t work. So we had to do another blood draw. She did awesome though. It just took two pokes and some digging, the second poke she got on the outside and had it immediately. I now have some tips for next time when I see someone else!

I actually forget what kind of magic they were doing but something about separating the cells from the blood… or something. They needed my PRP to spin with the stem cells.

 

My Fat Ready to Go

Above, my fat is ready to go. Twenty cc’s of it, which they take only a portion of. I forget why. I probably should have taken notes.

IV Ready to Go

After all the fat was mixed in, and separated, and the stem cells were gathered, and then spun around ready to do their magic work, the IV was inserted.

IV Bag Full of Stem Cells

The IV bag of good stuff.

So the paranoid freak comes into play here. The bag of solution had been sitting under the air conditioning vent, or at least up in the air closer to the cold air. I’m not sure. So they are putting 500 cc’s of liquid into me (or something like that) and after five minutes my hand gets cold.

Then, right under the line is cold. I’m trying to figure out if the small IV tubing is making my hand cold? I’m keeping a close watch on it. Because I am suspicious and paranoid, I think.

Then the cold starts moving up my forearm.

I casually say something… Is it weird my arm is cold? It my arm supposed to be tingling? I may have had her get a hot towel and warm up the IV bag. Plus then put the hot towel on my arm because it was so cold. I may have done that a few times…

Basically, I think I’m super sensitive. I have small veins. I’m super in tune with my body. Plus I have a healthy apprehension and paranoia going on that makes me start freaking out.

Otherwise, it’s all good!

Calculating Stem Cells

 

After my IV was in, she analyzed the stem cells and found that I had 600 million going in! Yea! That’s with less fat and no tumescent mixed in, so apparently that is fantastic.

It’s been a few hours and I feel great. I’m hoping for continued good results from this. :)

Starting the Wonders of Water Brownie Girl Scout Journey

It’s Girl Scout Time! Our first meeting of the year. The new school year, anyway. Last year we voted on Journey’s and the World of Girls won 7 to 5. Five being ‘Wonders of Water’ so we decided to do that one this year. We had fun with the World of Girls, it seemed like a party every meeting where we had fun snack, talked about the different countries, and had parents come in to celebrate their traditions.

The Wonders of Water Brownie Girl Scout Journey seems to be a little more hardcore. The book really goes over some fun science stuff. I have a goal of finishing the Journey before Christmas but as I say that I LAUGH at my ambition.  Well, I will try.

For our first meeting, I decided to bring snack because the lesson plan had this cool chart of all the fruits and their water percentage. I also established a request to the parents doing snack in the future to bring water that is flavored with a fruit or veggie. I’m making cucumber water and I’m excited to see what the girls thing. I told Sammie about the cucumber water and she said, ‘Mom, doesn’t it just taste like regular water?’.

Sigh. Maybe my hopes are too high.

Well, here is my lesson plan… and here is what actually happened!

NEED:
Butcher Paper about 5 feet long – Kristi to get
Markers & Crayons – Eileen to bring
A Pot of water, a small bowl of water, and a washcloth – Kristi to bring
Glass cups to reuse for our beverages each meeting (Recycle!) – Sonya to bring

Reusuable Water Glasses

What I had planned:

SONG TIME – Pick two songs to sing and/or a game.
Hand Game or Rock Paper Scissors Posse.

What really happened: I started the hand game with them as girls were coming in. Every time a girl came in, everyone ran up to hug her, the circle was broken, and it’s REALLY hard to teach this type of game to 10 girls at once. Note to self: Teach it in two smaller groups next time.

The girls were REALLY crazy at this point so I did Rock Paper Scissors Posse so they could scream a bit. They did scream, and that helped get some energy out, but I don’t think they understand it. One problem is that we were uneven so I jumped in to play and I won every time and ended up winning at the end and what kind of fun is that?

Cucumber Water

What I had planned:

Go over Rules and Responsibilities for Troop Meetings. Ask them how the meetings should be run and how they expect everyone to behave.

Talk about service projects. Ask them which ones they want to do. (Indian Xmas bags, due next month; cat blankets; Recycling? Or wait to decide later for a water service project?)

What really happened: This went okay. They were not really stuck on Indian Xmas bags or Recycling, which I was actually thankful for. I didn’t want to do them but I wanted to ASK the girls what they wanted to do, so I’m glad they got to make that decision. They were really excited about cat blankets which is good because I ALREADY SAID WE WOULD DO THEM and had all the blankets. I had Mom’s cutting during  the meeting, thank god for them!

What I had planned:

Snack Time – Ask about first day of school, etc. Have a talk about mean girls.

What really happened: Went about right. We are having some mean girl problems in the group… and it’s always awkward when the mean girls don’t realize they are mean girls but we keep trying to reinforce the message. As I’m talking I’m constantly interrupted with ‘Mrs Davis, can I…’ and I’m so distracted… Thankfully my co-leader is a 1st grade teacher and took this over and explains in much more concise terms what needs to be said.

Talk about the Water Journey – Question: What is their favorite water activity? Go around the circle.

Bring out the fruit – Discuss water content in the fruit.
Watermellon – 92% water           Apples – 84%      Bananas – 74% Cantaloupe – 90%
Grapes – 81%     Oranges – 87%  Pineapple – 87%                Strawberries – 92%

Fruit for Water Journey

What really happened: This went great! I got interrupted again by my daughter who needed medicine before she ate but my Co went around and the girls seemed really into it. Although one girl who was guessing right EACH TIME while I was distracted was looking at my teaching paper… haha. I caught on at the end and gave her THE LOOK.

Talk about Water Around the World – follow the adult how-to guidebook

Troop 2908

Clean water is a right that every person on the planet Earth has.

What is a right?
(Something morally good, justified, or acceptable; entitlement to a specific service or treatment – A right is something that is necessary to have in order to live fully and be healthy and happy.)

What are some other rights that you have?

(Right to life & liberty, freedom, privacy, right to a family, to move around your state & country, of thought, conscience, religion)

So having clean water should be a right that everyone has.

How many people are in the world? 7 Billion.

How many people do NOT have access to clean water? 1 Billion

How does water get dirty?
Is it possible to remove all the trash and pollution from the water?
Can people get sick from drinking dirty water?

Snack Time

What really happened: This went pretty well. The girls really knew what Rights were and some of them had some great points. Others had completely outlandish points which were hysterical and made me laugh. I do love these girls.

Let’s see what it would be like if we didn’t have clean water. Use the pot, bowl, and washcloth and follow the guidebook.

What really happened: More outlandish answers. They didn’t really get it… and really, how can they? They are used to faucets pouring out water. I think the reality of the whole thing is foreign to them. One of them had a great answer of using the small bowl of water to pour on a plant to grow more food and somehow make more water. They are creative, I love it.

Create the Team WOW Map. Have a few girls write Wonders of Water as the heading. Other girls write their names. Other girls write their favorite water activity from our discussion. Everyone contributes to the banner.

Creating Wonders of Water Map

What really happened: This poor banner/map. I should have traced out the words like we did two years ago and they could color them in. It looked like a train wreck, they were writing on both sides. I just shrugged my shoulders at one point. They were happy and coloring, although they were crossing out each others work and scribbling random stuff on there. Oh well.

At that time, I turned on Taylor Swift and started a dance party which they all loved. We played the Human Knot (which they loved and couldn’t solve – one of them must have crossed hands) and then the Friendship Circle Leader choose a song (40 Years on an Iceburg) and then we ended with our friendship circle and we were OUT OF THERE.

Except they all had to run around screaming and using the broom to run into people. So you know, just another regular fun filled meeting.

I’m drinking wine right now, if you couldn’t tell.

What I had planned:

If there is time, talk about rainbows and creating a rainbow. Bring a glass jar with a mirror inside, filled with water. (Kristi to bring.)

What really happened: I was a little sad, the room wasn’t dark it had a skylight! So I tested my water theory at home and it worked but when I tested it before the meeting I could only get a TINY TINY rainbow and I knew that would not keep their attention at all. So I didn’t do this.

Next meeting is in two weeks. Ahhh…. How to better keep them interested? We shall see…