What’s Coming UP…

Planning True Support For Seasonal/Covid Dysthymia

Overcoming Pandemic Depression: Prepping For The Upcoming Spring/Summer

So normally just to get through typical, non-pandemic years and daily struggles I like to plan vacations. I am a planner! When I first had babies I enjoyed planning their giant first birthday parties! I planned beach vacations. I am just the type of person who needs activities, vacations and occasions to look forward to. Since 2020 hit, this has become rather difficult for everyone.

This is an exciting year ahead (as exciting as it can be) in that my older son is turning 13 next week! My husband and I are celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary, my Dad and Mother-In-Law both turn 75 and I turn 40 this coming Fall. I feel the need to celebrate at least with our own little immediate family by vacationing. Vacationing you keep to yourselves, you can social distance, sanitize, Clorox surfaces and wear masks. Any type of a party would be too hard and too risky at this point.

In the past few months I have driven my husband absolutely crazy trying to figure out when and where our next vacation will be…. I thought we had decided on an early May vacation but my older son being in all advanced classes isn’t up to missing and having the extra workload. I think after this year my kids want summer to come and just be done, and be free of the virtual, remote learning. (Although he has no desire to go back into school at all physically.) It is definitely easier to go away when it is Summer and there is no stress of work waiting for him, hanging over his head.

We have all been feeling somewhat of a depression and feeling of being repressed, haven’t we all? In by no means would I ever want to risk causing someone else to get sick, so we take it very seriously to wear masks, stay home, sanitize etc. But it has been a hard year! The back and forth of vacation planning has really given me a sort of manic-depression. In my strong desire to plan a vacation, to have somewhere to go with my family was giving me so much excitement that I haven’t felt maybe since the night before our wedding and before that since I was a little kid. But then the major let down of discussing finances (I haven’t been working and funds just aren’t the same since the pandemic hit) its almost devastating; as selfish as that is. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to anyone that has lost someone due to COVID-19 or that has had a super difficult time with it themselves – my children and I pray every night for anyone that might have it and for the world to heal. But WOW, I have never had this much trouble getting through a winter funk, every before. Every time we had to reschedule, I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces. I know things can be much worse, and I realize that I am blessed and lucky, but I supposed I have been fighting a depression. With the snow refusing to melt, and the endless cold it has been super hard trying to get outside which always help heal my soul.

So now the idea is to go away after school ends. Which means Summer. Which means heat and humidity and masks. I am in the middle of researching breathable masks, so that we can still go and enjoy as much as we can. My Type 1 Diabetic husband and my younger son who suffers with POTS and a hypermobility disorder both struggle walking through the heat and humidity, never mind wearing a mask. Who wants anyone to feel miserable while on vacation? I am in the midst of purchasing better neck fans and cooling clothing, as well as a sun umbrella to help. But since everyone in my family is just plain sick and tired of a lot of nothing, maybe their excitement to be away from home will overcome the added heat and sweat of a wearing a mask. Can you tell how much this means to me?

So in the short-term this week we are having temps in the low 60’s which is super exciting to be able to be outside and feel pleasant! It will melt the snow! We can plan hikes and find new trails. There is nothing like a good hike in nature to help calm your brain and feed your senses! This will surely help my mind, my heart and my emotions. Easter Sunday is only a few weeks away and that always brings renewal and happiness. I have some surprises for my kids in their Easter Baskets this year. We also have a Legoland in New York, just 4o minutes from our home opening up this spring! We will be there vlogging and we will surely be posting on my YouTube channel. There are some other day trips that I am interested in trying before it gets too hot and humid. Just the thought of all these ventures brings me such joy.

One thing that I have ALWAYS done to keep moving forward is working out daily. It is one thing that I always do for ME. I am not skinny by any means but I do enjoy exercise, it is a therapy just for me. Since the pandemic hit and my kids are a little bigger now, I have added walking with my kids to part of my exercise regimen. I really enjoy the walks and hikes I have had with my kids this past year. I am really looking forward to the snow to melt and enjoying the warmer weather with my kids as we move into Spring. Plus with the all virtual remote learning it has been the only exercise they have been getting since we closed the pool in September for the season. One fabulous thing to look forward to is opening the pool the beginning of May.

My husband and I were walking every night after dinner until the Fall time change and then it became too dark to walk. With the time change in less than a week, and the snow melting I am super excited to be able to walk with him again in the evenings. I will have to change my weight lifting routine to maybe mornings or early afternoons while the kids are still in school.

I am currently in the midst of making a giant lawn sign for my son’s 13 birthday next week. Since it is not yet safe to celebrate with family and friends we need to go all out making it special, somehow, don’t we?! I did purchase the “Happy Birthday” part of it from Walmart, but for his name and the number 13, I purchased a foam board along with some other tools for decorating and installation. I will post a list of the the supplies I used and how it was done. Last August while we were lucky enough to have the pool to celebrate my younger son’s birthday, I purchased 20 balloons from the dollar store and decorated the entire deck and pool area. I used some tablecloths to drape over parts of the deck and hung a bunch of birthday decorations.

Every March I like to start an early spring cleaning, just in time for Mikey’s birthday. Over the weekend I scrubbed down the kitchen cabinets with polish. I was on my hands and knees cleaning the edges of the floors to where they meet the cabinets with a mixture of water, Dawn dish detergent and vinegar. We have a new black lab puppy so if I don’t vacuum every 2 days the hair just gets out of control. I feel like all I do is clean. But so begins the deep cleaning and wiping down of everything. I wish I could just hose off everything inside my house.

Not really sure what the current plan is for our 15th wedding anniversary at the end of April. If the weather behaves and permits I would really love a dinner that overlooks the ocean – but April is generally super chilly in April – so only time will tell! I despise having to make plans around the weather. 😕

If you have any suggestions or ideas on most breathable masks to wear during the summer, and any suggestions on what we should do for our anniversary coming up, I would love to hear and see your comments below!

What have you been doing to fight the winter blues?

What are your spring plans?

I would love to hear from you.

LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley

LEGO Provides Creative Outlet: Therapy & Inspired Creativity During Pandemic

LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley brings my older son Mikey’s LEGO Collection to 743 sets, with 1,676 Minifigures. This delicately detailed set comes with 5,544 pieces, with 21 bags and 4 books of building fun. Mikey spent between 7-10 hours building this set during Christmas week when he received it as a Christmas gift. Mikey found the windows in this particular set to be most interesting. Needless to say it was his favorite gift! Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley has become one of this LEGO Expert, Builder, and Creator’s all time favorite setsfor NOW. Mikey likes to keep track of all his LEGO Sets and Minifigures in a website called Brickset.com .

Mikey’s Completed Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley

LEGO has always been a source of therapy for Mikey and a creative outlet. LEGO is so very inspirational…. I have always loved Mikey’s interest and love for LEGO. LEGO building teaches children how to follow directions as well as it is inspiring. It is fantastic for fine motor skills. When we aren’t out hiking and I want my kids off of screens, video games & electronics LEGO is what I turn to. Get off the screens and get creative!

I purchased this set along with many others through Rakuten. Sometimes I purchase Legos through the Rakuten site either from the LEGO Store (which offers a lot of neat promotions), Walmart, Target or Kohls depending on pricing. I enjoy online shopping through a site called Rakuten where I get cash back quarterly just by shopping through them. The LEGO Store – www.lego.com usually provides some good cash back deals through Rakuten.

Simply copy and paste this link into your browser:

https://www.rakuten.com/r/VBRAGA?eeid=28187

Next: create an account. Once you have created an account you click on what store you would like to shop from and that is all you need to do.

My January 2021 Cash Back Balance!

I should be expecting my next Rakuten check to come in February. After all the online Christmas shopping, I have earned $101.00 cash back! I am so excited. Some of the stores I enjoy shopping through Rakuten are: Macy’s, Chewy, Walmart, Target, LEGO, Sephora, Ulta, BAM Books A Million, Kohls, Old Navy, BJ’s and more!

When we visit Disney World one of our must-do stops while there is the LEGO Store in Disney Springs! You never know what Lego statues and decorations you find surrounding you. The LEGO Store in Disney Springs accepts Disney Gift Cards – so you can save money if you are a member of BJ’s or Costco which sells Disney Gift Cards at discounted pricing and use them for your LEGO Store purchases in Disney Springs. Am I the only one who still calls it “Downtown Disney”?!

We are excitedly awaiting the opening of Legoland NY! The new theme park that was supposed to open last year but was delayed to the world pandemic of COVID-19 is located closely in Goshen, NY. Just 40 minutes from our North Jersey home. After a year of being inside, we are really looking forward to hitting this park daily.

We are really hoping to check out the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios in Florida this year!

Coming up for Mikey’s 13th Birthday this March, Mikey is asking for LEGO Ninajago City Gardens which is a 5,685 piece set. We are super excited to see how this set comes out and just how long it takes Mikey to build!

Mikey has also spent some time designing and building his own LEGO house.

What are you doing to safely pass the time during COVID-19?

Advertisements

Hiking and Nature; Walking Cures Covid Boredom

Nature Views Fill The Void In The Heart

My how life has changed! Back when Covid hit last March, we were all basically afraid to leave the driveway. It was really hard to relieve some of the boredom and mental anguish of what was going on in the world around us. Having Disney World and Disney Land closed made what was happening in the world all the more REAL. Prayers to the 400,000 Americans that have lost their lives to Covid-19. As someone who was always planning their next family Disney World Trip – I knew I was in for a real struggle, and some real emotional damage. I was someone who not only was planning an upcoming trip, but a trip for the following year after! In 2019 we traveled to Disney World three times! I am forever grateful and thankful for all the wonderful trips we have had, not just in Disney but all over. We went in April 2019 and stayed at Port Orlean’s French Quarter. August we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and New Years Eve through the first week of January 2020 we stayed at the mother of all DW resorts The Grand Floridian.

I knew then that things were not going to be the same for a while so I needed to find some ways to help my whole family – and also as an outlet, a way to keep myself sane! We needed something we could do together while getting exercise all at the same time. So my sister-in-law introduced me to the All Trails App.

It is difficult to put into words how the time walking outside each day really affects and lifts my mental health and wellness. It gives me something to plan with my family. I know they have said it has been proven that nature cures depression – yes! I am telling you it works. As someone who loves, lives and enjoys to plan – I find myself battling so much sadness. I feel grateful and blessed that we are all OK, & healthy and that we have survived Covid but I still feel this deep sorrow… to be missing out on such precious time traveling with my children; while they are still “small” yet not so small. You know really where I would love to be with them.

Being on the “go” 24/7 came to a screeching halt. I was working at an elementary school, (now on leave) and was able to work around the kids being at school. I would pick them up from school and each night of the week we had a different sport, or club that they were running to. In the beginning of the quarantine, it was nice to have a break, but being the very social person I am, has made it a heavy burden to bear. The scenic views we discover while on the trails are absolutely majestic and soul-warming – reassuring that it will be ok. It will be ok even if we don’t see our family, our friends and our favorite mouse for a while.

We even spotted a frozen waterfall about 2 weeks ago at the Wallkill Valley Wildlife Refuge – picture above.

The only way my children have been staying connected with friends is by playing online, and of course they are online for virtual learning all day. I find hiking to be my only way to disconnect from electronics and find special time with them. I love going on a hike into the woods, only to find a beautiful clearing with water! In the spring and summer these water ways are filled with butterflies, turtles, birds and more. Since it has been winter here in North Jersey it has been a little rough to hike in the cold, but it is still interesting to see what we might find when we venture out.

Additionally, when the kids are finished with school each day we go to our local park which has a beautiful track to walk. This is about a 40 minute walk and we all seem to really look forward to it. We can disconnect from school embracing the good vibes of nature. The movement forcing our blood to flow and fresh air helping lift everyone’s moods and focus. Amazing conversations can happen – most of the time. My youngest is still 10 (who suffers with POTS and EDS) so sometimes he still has a meltdown here and there. We have been lucky enough to spot some wildlife here and there on the park track like snakes, deer and most recently a Barred Owl!

Barred Owl

I have also gotten really excited about the sunsets we see while walking at the park after school as well. There is just something about it that is so beautiful & it brings this calm peaceful feeling. This spring I hope to find pretty flowers and butterflies to photograph while out and about exploring.

Bald Eagle

Hiking is FREE. Hiking is safe: outside – safe and distanced from people. It makes you feel like you are “away” almost on vacation. You never know what you are going to see!

What are you doing to safely pass the time during the pandemic?

Do you have any plans of an adventure into the unknown? Click here for some Walt Disney World Planning Tips

Advertisements

Our Experience with Covid-19 and Tips on What We Did to Treat It.

When you have something as serious as COVID-19, why not try everything in your power to battle it with home remedies and all?

While many people decided to continue to celebrate and partake in Thanksgiving festivities, my husband, our two children and I were isolated to our bedrooms positive with Covid-19 trying desperately not to pass it to my elderly parents who have a slew of pre-existing health conditions. This is our story on how we got through it.

Lucky for us, praying still and knocking on wood, none of us had to be taken to the hospital. Here is what we did to help and prevent it from going to our lungs. ** I am by no means a DR, so please check with your physician first on adding any new supplements, medication etc. to your daily regimen.

I am writing to inform you on everything we did to survive Covid – if you happen to know anyone who has it – there isn’t a lot of information going around for people that have it… and we believe what we did prevented it from going to the lungs.  Feel free to forward this information to anyone you think may have it. It can only help – cannot hurt. But for vitamins and medications everyone should always ask their doctor. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN FIRST.


1) Keep moving – take walks several times a day – even if they are small walks – don’t lay flat / sleep on stomach – or in recliner but try to walk every half hour.  We took the kids for long walks in the driveway 3 times a day regardless if we had fevers. * If the sun is out, get your face in the sun for a few minutes every day.


2) Definitely take acetaminophen and ibuprofen round the clock – especially Ibuprofen or possibly asprin to avoid blood clots because for some reason Covid can cause blood clots. Talk to your physician.


3) We took Mucinex as a preventative. Unfortunately, our kids had cough and congestion so they took it for that but Mike and I took it for a few days to be safe even though we didn’t have coughs. (So yes, children can catch it and their symptoms can be mild – severe).


4) We all used Claritin and Flonase, as well as Saline Nasal Spray and humidifiers in our bedrooms as well as Vicks on the chest at night. The 4 of us take probiotics daily and the kids always take small doses of melatonin.  My husband and I took magnesium at different points during the virus as well. 


5) ESSENTIAL OILS – we strongly believe the Young Living Essential Oils blends we used helped with preventing chest congestion and also helps with fever.  The blend we used are: Frankincense, Thieves, Lemon, Peppermint, R.C. and Eucalyptus.  The Frank, Peppermint and Thieves all have antiviral properties and fight against infection as well as are good for upper respiratory. It is expensive but I have been using them for years when anyone gets sick – helps fight it.  *Apply 3 times during the day and when going to bed on  the neck, temples, spine and soles of the feet. 


6) Vitamins C, D, & Zinc – ask your physician how much is good for you. For our children they said 1200mg of vitamin C a day but we only gave them around 700mg a day and my husband and I took around 1000mg. We tried to eat a lot of fruit during this time.


7) We tried to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible – I made a home made chicken soup and put turmeric, cinnamon and ginger in it…. Turmeric, Cinnamon and Ginger are all natural anti-inflammatories. 

8) Try to eat alkaline foods like almonds and watermelon and bananas. 


9) Stay hydrated – try beverages with electrolytes to avoid dehydration.


10) Bleach surfaces and silverware constantly. We tried to get a lot of throw away plates and cutlery : to make sure we got rid of the virus. 


11) Take baths in Epsom Salts – (we use Dr. Teal’s Bath Wash) supposedly magnesium helps drain the body of virus faster. I have found this information in my efforts researching my son with POTS and working diagnosis for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Covid-19 can definitely affect your hormones, as it did ours…. So do yourself a favor and maybe not join the Covid survivor groups just yet. These groups have many survivors but also many people posting about their several loved ones lost to Covid. Reading too much information made my already-high-anxiety SO high, that at times, I felt like I wasn’t able to breath. When this happened, I just dabbed some R.C. on my chest and that helped incredibly. Out of whack hormones, and anxiety levels can and may last for months after having Covid. We even know of a doctor who committed suicide from having hallucinations that lasted 6 months post positive for Covid.

HALLUCINATIONS, HIGH ANXIETY & DEPRESSION CAUSED BY COVID:

Do not think that children cannot get it, because they can. My children had fevers, lots of chest congestion and cough. They were white as the walls and we still have some lingering effects like our fingers and toes always being cold etc. My 10 year old, Nick who suffers with POTS and has a working diagnosis for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome suffered with hallucinations about 6 days into being positive for COVID. He was hearing footsteps that were not there, and people talking. That was quite scary.

Nick’s anxiety was worrying about death for the whole family, especially since my elderly parents living with us were also postive so it was a very scary experience. Nick also was worrying about things like: at 10 years old now, so he only has “90 years to go”. Now that we are heading towards 2 months post being positive, Nick and my high anxiety levels have started to dissipate somewhat.

COVID CAUSED MY 10 YEAR OLD TO HAVE LOOSE ADULT TEETH

While in the midst of being sick, Nick (10 year old son) had extremely painful canker sores on his gums inside his mouth. It made it hard to keep up with eating and drinking. 2 weeks post positive, Nick’s front adult tooth became loose – where we could see him wiggling it. When I called the dentist he was astonished, and since not knowing any other Covid patients at this point, he said to make sure that Nicky did not wiggle it. After a week, it hardened up, but then another adult tooth towards the back became loose.

Covid also accelerated up my parent’s pre-exisiting conditions. For my father it made his diabetes go to extremes while sick – at times it went as low as a reading of blood sugar level 41 at some points and in the 500’s at others. My Mom already had a lot of back and hip pain – Covid accerlated all of that and also sped up her teeth issues. Four of her teeth have completely rotted in that short amount of time.

COVID CAUSED JOINT PAIN IN MY CHILDREN

Nicky always suffers with joint pain from having a hyper mobility disorder, but my older son Mikey who is heading towards becoming a teenager suffered with joint pain for the first time in his life in the midst of the sickness. While we had fevers and felt awful the joints in Mikey’s feet became painful as well as his knee joints.

Two weeks being post-positive and a week of being fever-free, Mikey had a surprise fever creep back up. As well as pain in his legs and feet. His bloodwork was tested (He had antibodies in the bloodwork) and looked good for being inflammation free but he will need to have an EKG at his next checkup.

ALWAYS THANKFUL & GRATEFUL

While we are so thankful for surviving Covid-19 and not having more severity, we continue to pray for all the countless lives lost to this horrible disease. We pray we soon find cures, answers and a vaccine to help the children as well .