Homes For Sale With Solar Panels

Looking For Homes With Solar Panels

lodge in Greer AZHey all!! We are considering a move here this year and are heavily contemplating going super energy efficient with our new purchase. My husband is a little extreme with his wants and is thinking we go off-grid as much as possible. I think if we didn’t have the kids I would be more open to that, but I’m not home schooling them, and I’m not sending them to some little dump school in the sticks just because we want to breathe cleaner air. The air in Phoenix is nasty, and if you ever make it up to Greer you know that there are parts of Arizona that would be heavenly to live in. Imagine a cabin off of a creek, something the kids could swim in during the summer, and the dogs could splash in year round. These properties exist up in Greer, but it’s 6 hours from Phoenix and our lives revolve around Phoenix. The kids have grown up here, and have all their friends here and I wouldn’t want to take them away from that. When I was growing up I was always fearful my parents would move away and I would lose my friends,looking back it’s silly, but at the time it was a legit concern. So here we stand, looking to make a move this year and get a little deeper where the traffic isn’t as bad an the air is a little better. We have ruled out Payson and Pine, still small enough towns where I think the kids would end up in more trouble than they do in Phoenix. At least here they are busy with school activities and the city has enough after school programs that we are always on the move. What about Ahwatukee? I have driven through there on occasion and realize that the homes are a little pricer than the one we currently live in but we have the equity to counter the expense. We would both like to have a huge back yard and possibly be against a hill side without neighbors. We would like a swimming pool, an area for the dogs to run, three car garage, and enough real estate that the kids all have their own rooms and we are spaced out a bit more than we currently are. On top of all those amenities and property requests, we really want to go solar. Of all states to live in and be solar, Arizona has to be one of the top states in the country for solar electricity. With that being said, it’s surprising that it’s so hard to find a decent property with the specs we want that includes solar panels. I searched the MLS and was surprised to see few homes on the market with solar panels already installed. I realized at that point that most people who purchased and installed solar panels were probably in their forever homes and weren’t selling anytime soon. This would make sense, I believe the average return on solar panels is like 10 years. Meaning to truly get the savings you are after, you need to be in it for the long run and 10 years is about the lifetime where you really begin to see the savings add up. This is great news for us, our next home will be our forever home and we need a solar realtor to with help us find that house, or help us find a house the is well suited to add solar panels on and make into an energy efficient property. selling homes with solarLuckily for me and my husband I’m pretty handy on this internet thing and can navigate pretty efficiently. The MLS was a dead end for me, I just couldn’t find many homes for sale with solar panels. I decided to reach out to a solar broker hoping that they might either sell houses with solar panels, or know of some homes for sale with solar panels that were not on the MLS. I found a solar real estate broker here in Phoenix named Greg at http://www.solarhomespecialist.com/ and was blown away by the information he was able to provide me for not only locating homes for sale with solar, but also knew how we could convert a home into solar after our purchase. I liked this idea because I have been finding homes left and right without solar panels that fit our needs, knowing we can go in real quick and equip the home with solar panels, and a solar hot water heater was music to my ears. Heading into the summer months, we will continue our hunt for solar real estate, but also keep on the look out for properties without solar. Here we go, the search continues. I will keep you guys updated as we make progress on our hunt for a home. If any of you know a solar real estate specialist, or know of a home for sale with solar panels just leave a comment and a link to the property. I would be extremely grateful. Enjoy the night everyone, bye!

Hiring A Marketing Firm

Hiring a Marketing Firm For My Project

Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile since I have made any posts… so sorry! I have been super busy with the kids and work, but have managed to get some other projects off the ground between then and now. May is around the corner and here in Arizona, that is when summer kicks off so I need to have a ton of stuff done before the kids are home with me all day. It will be fun, and I always enjoy having us all together for the summer months, but I can’t ever seem to get anything done with them all home. You would think having the older ones home would help with the younger ones, but that just isn’t how it works. Anyway, I am going to be launching a line of leather goods with the help of my husband. We will be making custom leather goods that we will be selling online. leather rick and forty flaskCurrently we have made a few wallets and partners with a friend here in Phoenix at Hotchkiss Leather on the design of a rick and morty flask. We will be designing and producing small batch orders online through Etsy and Ebay but will also be using instagram to share pictures as products are finished. That will be our grass roots movement, our personal marketing efforts that will launch our leather products online to the world. But there is so much more that goes into getting seen online and I have no idea where to begin. I was going to hire a local marketing firm here in Phoenix but decided to go with some guys out of Oklahoma. We are out there enough visiting friends that we have the opportunity to meet face to face at least twice a year and game pan for the big launch. We ended up hiring a company called Beyond Theroy, a marketing firm in Oklahoma City. They are going to take all our photos of our leather goods and create print media, mailers, Adwords campaigns, and a social media campaign beyond what we are capable or willing to manage. Then again, after the Facebook privacy scandal, I’m not sure I want to promote our products on that platform anymore. I guess we can sort that out with the marketing guys when the time comes, I think it’s super cheap to promote products on Facebook so I won’t dismiss it entirely as an option for marketing. The other thing they are going to help us do is produce some video content. We will be heading out there for a week this summer with the kids and will be using that time to assemble a line of leather goods we will be selling. This will give them the opportunity to produce some videos of us in action that we can use on our Youtube channel. I’m excited about the next six months and all the fun stuff we will be making to share with you all. Leather is a ton of fun to work with and I think you will enjoy what we create. If you want to support our efforts you can visit our Etsy shop for now until our website is launched and we are actually in business. As always, I thank you all for your support and look forward to sharing more if this journey with you. Til next time ;^}

What Is With Trumps Hair

Donald Trump and His Full Head of Hair

Not a fan of the man, but have been intrigued by that head of hair for minute. Couldn’t help but whip this up for you guys. hope you enjoy.

history of trump hair transplant

Presidential scandals are nothing new. President Clinton gave us the interesting deflection to a question about his affair with Monica Lewinsky by responding “It depends upon what the meaning of the word “is”, is”. President Obama had people speculating about his birth certificate and if he had really been born in the United States and Richard Nixon stunned America by resigning his presidency after the Watergate break-ins. While President Donald Trump is only into his first year as our president, he has rocked many a boat already. There’s the government shutdown, the border wall, and his relationship with Russia, just to name a few. While these legitimate topics may truly be the legacy of Trump’s presidency, it could just as easily be “Hair-Gate”; the on-going drama regarding the hairstyle and the authenticity of the hair of our 45th president. The question we should be asking is “does he need a hair transplant?

While increasingly pressing issues to plague our country—potential nuclear war, anyone?—the speculation about whether “The Donald’s” hair is real still makes the news. The guy has been around in the public eye since the 1980’s—with the same hairstyle, no less, yet his hair is STILL a topic of discussion. Many people ponder that if the man is a billionaire, as he so claims, can’t he get a better hairstyle? If he is wearing a toupee, as some speculate, did he pick it up at a half price rug sale? And not only has the style and legitimacy of the hair itself come into question, but the ever-changing color of his hair is also a hot topic. He’s been a brunette, blond, redhead and even invented a few colors of his own, but the coif has remained the same. Does he have several wigs in various shades? Inquiring minds want to know.

For a man who has proven his ego drives his every move, it is interesting that he is so steadfastly clings to the hairstyle that everyone else agrees is hideous. It’s as if he is going to prove the rest of us wrong by maintaining a questionable hairstyle just to antagonize the masses; as if cutting off your nose to spite your face is “winning”. Then again, in the chess game of life, no one is ever going to accuse him of backing down, even when popular opinion begs that he do so, which may bode well for us in other, more important issues that face our country. This could be a great tool; or the end of all existence. If it’s the latter, the only thing left on Earth with the cockroaches will be Donald Trump’s hair!


The “Trump comb-over”, as it is affectionately called by some, features a shelf of hair on top of his head, similar to a diving board. In one huge swoop of hair, it covers the top of his head and goes to the nape of his neck, which must mean the hair itself must be 3 feet long to swoop and cover both the back and the front. He apparently combs it forward and then combs it all the way back and is a firm believer that hairspray cures all bad hair days. Although his hair may look like he is covering baldness or might even be a toupee, he adamantly swears that it is truly all his hair. He has even taken to having people touch it or mess it up to confirm that it is all his. Jimmy Fallon, Megyn Kelly, and Larry King have all had this honor and all confirm that they believe the hair to be his. He has been interviewed countless times about his hair—how he styles it, what he uses to wash it, does he blow dry it—the nagging questions that plague our society. He is on to one thing—anything that gets your name in the news, regardless of whether it is good or bad, it is still publicity, and he thrives on publicity. Even though his hairdo had been universally panned and much has been said about its natural state, he can just brush off whatever he does not like by referring to it as “fake news”.

Hair Transplant Or Not?

In addition to the speculation that Trump’s hair is not his own is that the hair IS his, it is just a series of hair transplantation surgeries, a claim that he also denies. Many hairstylists and transplant experts swear that they can see the tell-tale “tracks” where hair is taken from the back of his head and moved to the front of his head and that he has even had rare and costly “microcylinder intervention” hair transplantation procedure and routinely undergoes additional treatments to maintain his full head of hair. Once again, this is vehemently denied by the commander-in-chief, as if going bald and doing something about it makes him appear less virile. Noticeably, too, is that the color has morphed, as well, from a light brown to a sandy blond, to a ruddy red to his current color of gray on the sides and a light ginger color on top. He doesn’t deny coloring his hair, even though he might if he thought he could ruffle some feathers by denying that he does. Some say he has tried scalp reduction to solve his hair problems, but still nobody seems to really know.

is this a hair transplant?

Possibly the best part about Donald Trump’s hair is that it is so easy to mock and that doing so had become a national pastime. Trump’s hair has been immortalized in the hashtag campaign of trumpyourcat, where folks fashion their cats’ hair in homage—or mockery—of the president’s coif. There are also countless websites comparing Trump’s hair to various other likenesses, including a very well-behaved guinea pig, the hair of 33 Barbie dolls or a troll doll. Its color and “texture” have been called a patriotic shade of amber waves of grain, cigarette-stained-teeth-blond and featuring more fly-a-ways than LAX airport and more soft-serve swirl than Dairy Queen. Got to give it to Americans and our ingenuity!

Obviously, people need to concern themselves with the issues that truly matter and that are affecting our country but Trump’s hair has certainly provided a distraction. Coincidence or perfectly executed plan by the Trumpster?

Female Personal Trainer Gilbert AZ

Finding A Female Personal Trainer In Gilbert

girl fitness coach in Arizona

Going into 2018 I had serious weight loss goals set for myself. After having my last kid it has been a struggle for me as a mother to find time to get out and get the exercise needed to drop this weight. Finding a healthy way to do it was also important to me, with so many diet fads out there it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and lose focus on the what is really important. One thing I hate though is going to the gym and not knowing what I am doing, around men and women it’s embarrassing. There are plenty of fitness babes in there that make it look so easy and feel like such a slob trying to run on the treadmill and lift some light weights. I decided recently that I was going to hire a personal trainer. One issue I had during my search was that most of the places I called that offered a personal training program only had men available to work with me. I was calling the smaller local Gyms, not interested in another LA Fitness type Gym that is packed with people. As I called around it seemed like the smaller locally owned facilities were owned and operated by a few guys that were the owners and trainers. While they were all really cool to talk too, and extremely informative, I just didn’t feel comfortable signing up to train an hour a day with some guy I didn’t know, plus my husband wasn’t real thrilled about the idea. So I kept on searching around and found a female personal trainer in Gilbert AZ at http://thebodyshopgilbert.com/site/index.php/  that seemed to be the perfect fit. As a mom and a wife, this made me feel a little more comfortable about training with her. There are things us women go through that men don’t and it makes it easier to communicate during these times when maybe you are cramping and don’t necessarily feel like doing squats. Having a female personal trainer to whisper to about that monthly deal is much more comfortable than having to explain it to some guy. Anyway, I spoke on the phone to the woman who trains there and she was extremely helpful and the feedback I received from her was awesome. That was about all I needed to move forward with a trial session and see what this was all about. To my surprise the first training session was really enjoyable, and although I thought I was going to mildly intimidated by a super fit female trainer we actually hit it off right away and it felt like I was training with a friend. The ability to have some girl talk while you train makes it more enjoyable, talking about topics that we both had similar interests in while I worked out really made the time fly. I am looking forward to this journey with her and wanted to share the story. If any of my female followers live in the Gilbert area you should definitely check out The Body Shop Gym in Gilbert and ask for Stefania. I promise ladies, you will not be disappointed in the results or the time spent with her. She is awesome to work with and has also become a friend. Training with her is fun and informative at the same time. Hope to see some of you in the Gym!

If you are interested in reading about my other Gym experience you can check this article about a Tucson Gym I discovered going into the New Year.

Bone Marrow Transplant Donor

Donating Blood, Marrow, And Stem Cells

Hey, all. Just a quick post I thought I would share before I called it a night. A friend from work told me today that after weeks of testing it’s been deermined that her daughter has some form of cancer that will require ongoing medical treatment to cure. Apparently, they don’t believe it will be fatal, and they have identified it in time to treat it properly. Still, this stuff is so scary and it can hit so close to home. It’s like that Vegas shooting, my cousin was the brides maid for a girl here in Arizona that was shot at that concert. The Dr’s had told the husband they didn’t think she would rebound and he would need to make a decision to pull th plug or not. the transplant processShe was in a coma after taking a gun shot to the brain. In some meraculous fashion, she has recovered beyond expectations. She will need years of rehab and they don’t know if she will ever recover many cognitive functions. Not to get side tracked by another story, but these things just seem to hit too close to home. As a mom with a zoo of kids and a family I love, I can’t imagine facing situations like either of these. So when my coworker told me about her daughter I burst into tears and felt so sad in my heart for her. I could not imagine dealing with this or even watching my little girl deal with this. But I would have to be strong like any mother would and see to it that we cured the disease and recover to the best of our capabilities. You don’t think about the little everyday things that you can do to help these people, from giving blood at a local blood drive to making sure you are a registered organ donor and signing up to be a bone marrow transplant donor. For my friend’s daughter, she needs a bone marrow transplant and will require a blood transfusion also. So what does it take to donate? I don’t know exactly but I included those links above for anyone who wants to particiate in saving lives. This stuff seems to be abundant lately and I don’t know if it’s somethign in the water, the air, our food supply, or all of the above? It seems like when I was younger we knew of people that died occasionally of cancer or some weird disease, now it seems like there are people everywhere suffering from these illnesses and it would be amazing if enough of us stepped up to the plate and donated blood, marrow, or organs in passing. When I die I want my organs to be donated to someone in need, gut me and burn me. Use the ash from my incinerated body to fertalize a tree and grow one in my memory. I don’t know, I’m rambling now but I think we could all do more to give back to those in need. I have been fortunate enough in my life that I and my loved ones have not ever had any serious health issues. I lost my older brother to a drunk driver when he was 25 and that was the most hurtful experience in my life. Thank God for my family, my husband, and my children for helping me through it. I wouldn’t want someone else to live through that experience of losing a loved one if I could help it. So I have gone out of my way to register as an organ donor, I give blood every other month, and I am going to become a stem cell and bone marrow donor this year. That’s it, til next time friends!

 

Moving My Girl To Edmond Oklahoma

Buying A New Home in Edmond Oklahoma

making more moneyMy girlfriends husband was recently notified that he will be transferred to Oklahoma for work in the coming months. They gave them enough time to pack and prepare, but I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared to just pick up and move. Personally, I love Arizona and would have no interest in moving to Oklahoma, but when the opportunities knock sometimes you gotta answer. Apparently, her husband will be getting a substantial raise that will move them up in the good old tax bracket and the cost of living is a little cheaper in the area they have their eyes on. But my question to her was how much extra money are they paying you? It would take a 6 figure increase for me to want to make the move from Arizona to Oklahoma! Anyway, she wouldn’t tell me the exact amount but suggested it was in that range.

We had a girls date planned, coffee in the morning, some shopping, and then back to her place to get things organized and packed. She is not the type to keep clutter, so this process was going to be pretty smooth. We made good time day one with the trinkets, pictures, and decorative items that were around the house. We met back up a day later to tackle the garage and get the junk out to the curb for bulk pickup. That’s something they do here in Arizona, they will pick up large items from the curbside on scheduled dates. moving to oklahomaMost of the junk in the garage was her husbands, the dust collected on the boxes were a great indication that he shouldn’t miss most of it. In two days we had the walls and tabletops cleared off and the garage cleaned out. The attic was his job, so was preparing the yard to sell the home. He was also in charge of all the painting and touch ups that needed to be done before the house hit the market. Other than that, we were ready for a U-Haul whenever they decided it was time to go.

The following weekend we flew out to Oklahoma to check out some properties. I was actually more impressed than I thought I would be with some of the developed areas, I had it in my mind that Oklahoma was like some little house on the prairie like atmosphere with nothing to do. Whatever, I guess that’s what I get for not venturing to the midwest ever. I like the southwest and the west coast line, from California to Washington. Anyway, her husband was being relocated to Oklahoma City and the area his co-worker lived in was called Edmond. new homes in edmond okGuess it would be the equivalent of Phoenix and Tempe. Edmond was really nice though, more of a rural family-friendly area where Tempe is more of a college town. We drove around looking for new homes in Edmond OK that had never been lived in before, I’m talking new development and bathrooms that have never been used. Her man got a raise, so they move up the food chain and she had her eyes on a beautiful custom home. We met with a realtor and they scheduled a meeting with her man to check it out over a video feed and give the go ahead. After some negotiating the deal eventually got done and they will be moving out to Edmond next month. As excited as I was for her, there is a part of me that’s sad. Fortunately, though this custom home has plenty of space for me to come visit, which means I may be out in Oklahoma more often than I ever dreamed of.

After they get moved in and settled I will come back in here and update this post with pictures after they move in. She decorates her home so cute, she should have been an interior decorator! Stay tuned, I’ll make the update as soon as she sends me pics!

The Many Uses of Quartz Natural Crystals

Quartz Natural Crystals In Your Home And Life

Me and my husband have chosen to use Quartz countertops throughout our home during the remodel. We had a few options including granite but ultimately decided to go with quartz because of the price and it was just so beautiful. As I was digging around the internet looking for information about quartz I stumbled upon so many interesting things that I was unaware of. There are some mystic powers believed to surround quartz crystals, which is always an intriguing thought. There is jewelry and every day items around the home that are made up of quartz. Unless you have taken a geology class, you may not know one rock from another. But the more you get to know about the different types of rocks and what they can do, you will learn that not all rocks are created equally. Some elements are denser than others, and some are softer, and more pliable. Stones and rocks have many uses, and some are quite beautiful. Quartz is a hard crystalline (hexagonal-shaped) mineral that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has many uses as well. So here are a few things I found during my search that I thought I would share here on my blog. Enjoy!

Whats Is Quartz Made Of

picture of the earths continental crustQuartz is comprised of both silicon and oxygen atoms and is the second most abundant mineral found in the Earth’s continental crust, and it comes in many varieties. On the Mohs scale of hardness, with one being soft and ten being the hardest, quartz locks in at a 7. A diamond is a ten, for measure. In its purest form, many quartz rocks are referred to as “rock crystal”. The Ancient Greeks referred to rock crystals as “icy cold” because a few philosophers thought that the stone was super-cooled ice, like its appearance suggests. While rock crystal is colorless and translucent, that isn’t so of other quartz stone. Determining quartz when you see it might be a challenge, as there are many different types and colors of quartz. There are colorless quartz versions, some that are pink, like rose quartz, or purple, like amethyst, or even brown and gray opaque quartz, known as smoky quartz. Several of the varieties are considered semi-precious stones and are sold as jewelry or as hardstone carvings.

Quartz In Jewelry

Some of the most popular quartz varieties used for jewelry include rose quartz, which takes on a pinkish hue, due to added iron, manganese or titanium found in the quartz. Amethyst, another popular gemstone, takes on a purple color when the quartz mineral is mixed with iron. Smoky quartz can be brown, gray or even black caused by natural irradiation that releases the silicon inside the quartz. While most quartz jewelry is made with natural stones, there are synthetic versions made to inject colors that would not normally be natural to the quartz mineral. Clear quartz crystals are subjected to a heat treatment or gamma-irradiation, which forms different colors based on the location from which it is mined.

Synthetic Quartz

Synthetic quartz crystals have long been used in high-end quartz crystalstimepieces due to its ability +to convert electrical voltage from mechanical stress, resulting in a positive electrical charge at one end of the crystal and a negative electrical charge at the other end, a process called piezoelectricity. Quartz crystals have an exact frequency standard, which helps the timepiece maintain its accuracy by regulating the movement. In addition to watches and clocks, quartz crystals are also used in computer microprocessors, radios, cell phones, electronic games, and televisions. Since the 1930’s, quartz crystals have been used for many purposes, and to keep up with the demand, synthetic quartz crystals have been produced.

Quartz And Spirituality

Quartz crystals are also known for their mystical powers. The piezoelectricity property of quartz also magnifies energy, making clear quartz known for their healing powers. Crystal quartz is said to provide mental clarity, to aid concentration, and help with memory retention. It is also the crystal used to help people sleep, helping them to comprehend the messages sent to us during a dream state. Many people use quartz crystals to meditate or even communicate with their spiritual guides, but its properties are said to work only if the person is truly a believer it the stone’s mystical qualities. The person using the stone must also have the best intentions; the rock is said to bring harm to someone who does not have pure intentions regarding its use. Believers carry a quartz crystal on them so they are able to touch it whenever they need a spirit boost and it can be used to filter out negative energy from other sources. By providing an invisible force field, the crystals are said to cancel out the energy of harmful forces. Many fortune tellers use crystal balls made out of quartz or made up of some quartz and other materials. In some cultures, quartz is a highly respected stone used in funeral rites or placed in tombs. Used as a passage tomb in Newgrange, located in County Meath, Ireland, the quartz wall at the entrance is hailed as an architectural wonder.

Quartz In The Home

countertops made of quartzWhile quartz may have many specialized uses, it also is a substance used in everyday homes. Quartz is known to withstand pressure and weathering, which makes may be why it has been gaining popularity in recent years as the successor to granite countertops as the choice du jour. Over the past fifty years, Quartz countertops have gained significance as a quality surface material, adding a touch of luxury to bathrooms and kitchens. Since it is pressed into sheets, there are few imperfections, making it a highly desired countertop alternative.  Quartz, unlike granite, does not need sealing to ensure it doesn’t crack; the natural resins that bind the stone materials made up to comprise the quartz holds it together and strengthens it at the same time. Also, if granite is nicked or scratched, bacteria can build up, whereas quartz is non-porous and can withstand pesky germs. When mixed with the resins, these sheets of quartz are heat-resistant, scratch resistant and stain resistant, making them a perfect workspace for a kitchen. Since color can be added to the material, quartz countertops can come in an array of colors. Depending upon what you want and how much you need, the cost to counter your kitchen and your bathroom could get pricey. While it is a commonly found material, the manufacturing cost brings up the price.

Quartz is an all-purpose material that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be broken down into tiny particles, it can be chucked off into small crystalline pieces, or compressed with other substances to create slabs. From its uses in timekeeping, to its mystical properties to its beauty and resiliency in the kitchen, quartz is a miraculous material. Quartz is part of our everyday life, even if we don’t even realize it!

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Croup

This condition is caused by a viral infection. It can be alarming and often occurs at night, but usually passes quickly. Your child will have difficulty breathing, and a short, distinctive barking cough when he breathes out. He may be making a crowing or whistling noise. In a severe attack, he may use muscles around his nose, neck, and upper arms in his attempts to breathe. IF HE HAS blue-tinged skin or signs of a severe attack (see IMPORTANT, below), CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL EMS.

** IMPORTANT **

  • If the attack is severe or prolonged, CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL EMS.
  • If the attack is severe, there is a risk that he is suffering from a rare condition called epiglottitis. Suspect epiglottitis if your child has a high temperature and is obviously in distress, and has not had the Hib vaccination. CALL 911 OR YOUR LOCAL EMS.

 

1. Help your child into a comfortable breathing position. Sit him up in bed, propped by pillows, or sit him on your lap supporting his back. Reassure him.

Croup image 1 with annotation

 

2. Stay calm—if you panic it could frighten the child, which can worsen the attack.

3. If it is safe to do so, create a steamy atmosphere. Take the child into the bathroom, and run a hot faucet or shower, or boil some water in the kitchen

Croup image 2 with annotations

 

4. If he has not improved after 10 minutes, cool air can be helpful. Put him in front of a cool-mist humidifier, open the window in his bedroom, or take him outside briefly to breathe in the air.

 

SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE.

 

FIRST AID FAST FOR BABIES 3D pb 250

 

Excerpted from First Aid Fast For Babies and Children / copyright 2018 DK Publishing

Autism: A Strange Mysterious Thief

When my twins were born in August 1996 autism was distant thunder on the horizon. I’d heard about it vaguely, but it seemed so mysterious and rare I couldn’t imagine it would ever affect me. Since then, diagnoses of autism increased tenfold and it has definitely shaped my family’s life. People often ask me when I first noticed that my son, Fraser, was different. I struggle with what I knew then and what I’ve come to understand. On a beautiful autumn day, I took my two-year-olds for a walk in the fields at the Ontario horse farm where we lived. Suddenly, in mid-stride, Fraser froze. His head was at an odd angle, his hands suspended in the air as he stared into a distance I couldn’t see. I tried rousing him, snapping my fingers and gently shaking his shoulder. He didn’t move for nearly five minutes and then he startled as though waking. That was the moment. Something wasn’t right.

Looking back now, I recognize the thief that was stealing my son, but then I didn’t know what I was seeing. As a newborn, Fraser frequently went stiff as a board, his limbs so rigid that I could balance him in the palm of my hand. He startled violently at noises and seemed overwhelmed by light, sound, smells, and touch, screaming in response. He also failed to breastfeed productively and had terrible digestive issues. At the twins’ first birthday, Fraser lagged behind his sister, Hallee, in his developmental markers. I worried about that, but our kind country doctor reassured me that boys develop slower than girls and said to give him time. During floor play, Fraser lined his toys up like a train, preferring to play alone. What language he had disappeared. Instead of using words like his sister to request, he often used my hand to point to something that he wanted.

After the staring spell, which recurred several times, we took Fraser back to the doctor feeling concerned that he might be having seizures. We put him through an overnight EEG in hospital, saw two neurologists, and were nearly torn apart by a misdiagnosis and the suggestion that we institutionalize him. Finally, one day when I picked the twins up from daycare, our caregiver told me that a friend who had experience with developmentally disabled children observed Fraser for the day. “That little boy has autism,” the friend said. We saw our doctor and he sent us to a children’s center for developmental disabilities where Fraser was finally diagnosed at age three. Now, we know that early diagnosis with intervention therapies as soon as possible can dramatically improve the futures of autistic children. Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of autism, and if you recognize them in your child, be brave enough to seek a diagnosis immediately. Autism is, indeed, strange and mysterious, an amazing journey in many respects, but with love and intervention, it isn’t always a tragedy.

 

Shannon Wray is a writer and television producer with credits in both Canada and the U.S. Raised in a Hollywood show business family, her aunt is Fay Wray, Canadian actress, and star of the classic film King Kong. Ms. Wray has enjoyed careers in music, book and magazine publishing, television and film. Currently, her family is the subject of the upcoming CBC POV documentary film, Love, Hope & Autism airing on March 18, 2018, and she is at work on a companion book to the film entitled A Different World. Shannon lives in a small mountain village in Southern California with the love of her life and her son, who has autism. Her daughter is graduating from film school this Spring.

Joining Gym In Tucson To Lose Weight

Weight Loss Goals For 2018

getting ready for the gymI didn’t want to blog about this in January because I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of the new year and honestly I still don’t. A happy home, healthy kids, and success in whatever we pursue sounds like enough to make me happy. But all that aside, there is something that would not only make me happier, it would make me healthier and that is weight loss. I got down on seconds over the holiday season and didn’t shy away from anything that was edible through November and December, but now I am truly ready for a change. I have looked into some weight loss programs but an a firm believer that I need a change of lifestyle more than anything. I want this to be a lifelong transformation, not just a few months of eating healthy and exercising and them back to the snack shack for some chips and soda. Arizona is beautiful most of the year and I have no excuse not to be outside in the sun most of the time. I just need a little motivation. My husband is awesome, but we just don’t seem to motivate each other like we used to. We can both just as easily plop down on the couch with a bottle of Pinot and binge watch Game of Thrones, getting out of the house to work out has never been our thing and with all the kids around it’s become even less of an option. I called a Gym in Tucson to ask their personal trainers a few questions about diet and exercise to see how they might manage me as a customer. I spend a few days a week down in Tucson and am usually without the kids so it just made sense for me to start there where my schedule is most free. The girl I spoke with was super cool and and answered most of my questions the best she could, but ultimately suggested that I stop in for a visit, check out the Gym and get some face time with her to see if getting a Gym membership and hiring a personal trainer was the route for me. I’ll be heading in there at the end of the month to evaluate the Gym and see what kind of environment it has. I definitely need some entry level classes to get me started, and have no desire to be thrown in with the wolves.

crossfit gym in Tucson

I have seen the shape some of these girls are in competing in crossfit competitions in Tucson and I could only dream of achieving those kind of results. I need to trim down about 20 pounds so I can fit back into my favorite bathing suit before summer hits. Since the last baby, I just haven’t had the time or motivation to trim this extra weight, but I am hoping that 2018 brings a year of change for me and my family so we can enjoy the pool once again looking happy and healthy.

Look, if the 60+ crowd can get busy like this then I can definitely do this! Stay tuned for progress reports and more blog posts about my journey to be more fit in 2018.