Monday, October 16, 2017

Me too.

When I first saw the post on Facebook about sexual harassment and sexual assault, I froze.  
Me too.

Throughout the day I saw more and more 'me too' posts.  SO MANY people have experienced either sexual harassment or sexual assault or both.  But we are not talking about it.  It's not coming up in conversation.  It's all pushed aside.  

I have barely talked about my sexual assault in it's entirety.  My husband knows the entire story.  I think that's it.  Until now.  Over 15 years later it is so far in the past that I am more emotionally removed from it and can write about it.  

When I told my husband about this, I described it as an incident in which I was almost raped.  For some reason I didn't want to label it as sexual assault.  If you are assaulted, you are a victim of assault.  

I was 20 years old.  It was spring time. My friend and I were enjoying the nice weather.  We had been drinking and playing basketball at her boyfriends house.  Her boyfriend invited some people over to hang out.  There were probably about 10-12 people there.  We played flip cup which was getting me more and more drunk.  I was starting to get to the point of knowing I had way too much so I told her boyfriend I needed to lay down.  He showed me to a room and I laid down.

The next thing I can remember is someone groping me and kissing me even though I was saying no repeatedly.  
It was her boyfriend's 'friend'.  A guy I didn't know and barely interacted with.  I probably spoke 2 words to this guy. But here he was trying to take advantage of me. He locked the door.  I don't know how long he assaulted me for but when it was happening it seemed like forever.  This guy was strong and I was powerless.  

Somehow my friend and her boyfriend got in the room.  Since it was a small party I am assuming they figured out that the dude was not around and wondered where he could be. I remember them shouting and knocking on the door telling him to open it.  To this day I don't know if the guy opened the door or if my friend and her boyfriend managed to get in on their own. 
Regardless, they saved me from being raped. 

Here I was, 20 years old, having a good time with my friends and enjoying myself at a small gathering.  I thought that was a safe environment. There was so little interaction with this guy that there were no warning signs.
It just happened.  

I have no doubt in my mind that he would have raped me if it wasn't for my friend and her boyfriend looking out for me.
Thank you if you're reading this. 

After it happened, I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  I have no idea why.  I did nothing wrong.  The guy was a sleaze bag piece of shit and he sexually assaulted me.  I consider myself lucky because I wasn't raped (that statement is a sad reflection of our society). I had people looking out for me.  Many others aren't lucky. 

Look around.  Most likely someone you know and love has been sexually assaulted.  

so, yea, me too. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Why Our Son is Wearing a Helmet

Technically, it's NOT a helmet.  It just looks like a helmet.  

It's a cranial band called DOC Band.  It treats Plagiocephaly (pronounced play-jee-oh-sef-uh-lee) which is a fancy word for flat head syndrome.  

Alexander has a flat spot on the back of his head on the right.  

Alexander's head is on the right.  

The DOC Band weighs less than 6oz.  Since he's young, he should only have to wear it 6-9 weeks.  He wears it 23 hours a day.  

What causes this?  A lot of factors can cause flat spots.  Back sleeping often cases flat spots but they typically round out after time. My older son, Jayden, had a flat spot directly on the back of his from back sleeping but as he grew the flat spot got smaller. 

In Alexander's case, most likely his flat spot was from being breech.  He was breech until 38 weeks so he spent a good bit of time in my ribs.

Another likely cause is torticollis.  The term torticollis means twist neck.  In babies, its the tightening of neck muscles which makes the baby turn their head to one side, favoring a particular side, which a lot of times leads to having a flat spot on one side.  Alexander has discomfort turning his head to the left so he favors looking to the right which is why the flat spot is on the right.  

Torticollis can be caused by positioning in womb or a traumatic delivery.  I wouldn't say he had a traumatic delivery but he did come rather quickly after starting to push (less than 5 minutes) and the cord was wrapped around his neck.  He was also shifted from breech to head down position a week before delivery. Maybe his neck twisted a bit when he was turned around.  We don't have definite answers.  The important thing is treatment.  
Alexander goes to physical therapy once a week to help stretch his neck and work on his neck and trunk strength.  He's improving everyday and getting stronger.

Don't panic parents.  Most of the companies that make these bands provide a free evaluation and you must be intermediate to severe for them to recommend the band.  Alexander was in the severe category.  

This does not cause any brain damage.  Once this is corrected, he should not have any long term effects from it.  

In general, one thing that helps flat spots is tummy time. 
LOTS of it.  
Tips for Tummy Time: don't start with the baby flat on tummy on the floor.  That is the most difficult tummy time position.  Instead, try putting baby on a boppy pillow on the couch beside you (supervised of course).  This way your baby is eye level with you and can continue to look around at his familiar environment, including mommy and daddy's face.   

Also, using a mirror like this in front of baby encourages him to lift his head.

You can also do tummy time on an exercise ball.  There are a lot of youtube videos that show how to position baby on the exercise ball. 

-Nate and Dana Show 

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Bright Retro Makeover

I never knew how much I loved vintage items until moving into this house.
I love the character.  I love the history.  And most importantly, I love the blank canvas.  
It's an opportunity to put my personal touch on an item and get the
ever-so-satisfying before and after.
Painting furniture is a lot different from painting walls so I started small to get my feet wet. 
I repainted 2 coffee tables. 
And then I took on this beast:
I found this on Craigslist.
Here it is in the dining room. 
It looked alright but it needed something to brighten it up.
 It was too dark. The simple, cheap, but tedious solution was paint. 
Here's what I used:
Valspar furniture paint (color is 'du jour')
Tack Cloth
3M Sandblast Pro sandpaper (100 medium)
one paint brush
one small paint roller
Nate took off all the doors and removed the magnetic hardware.
 Then I sanded all of the surfaces that I would be painting.  NOTE: the Valspar furniture paint states that sanding is not necessary.  I firmly believe that if it sounds too good to be true, then it is, so I sanded.  (Valspar, I'm willing to give it a try...I'll skip the sanding...on a smaller future project). 
After sanding I used a hand towel to wipe down the dust.
Then I used tack cloth to remove any excess grime.
Ewwww grime.  You can see why this step is so important.
I painted 4 coats on this. 
Notice that we removed the back of the china cabinet top....
....and that's because I wanted to paint it a different color.
Tip: paint the back of the backing. The side that is inside the china cabinet is shiny finished surface which makes it the enemy. You want the dull rough unfinished side.
 Nate painted 4 coats on this.
And I did 4 coats on this.
NOTE: you have to wait 8-12 hours between coats.
YAY! putting it back together!
Nate putting the doors back on.
so happy and bright :)
Funky retro. :)
Of course I have before and afters...
you guys know I live for the before and after. ;)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fugly to Fabulous Air Vent

From day 1 this vent has bothered Nate and me. 
It's hideous. It's fugly (blogger wants me to believe that fugly is not a word....oh silly blogger).


We could see right inside the vent even if we flipped it around.  

I looked on the internet for prettier vent covers and found several.  However, spending $200 on a vent cover did NOT seem worth it.  So we made our own.  Here is how we did it....

First, here is a list of supplies:
Wood screws
Cloverleaf aluminum sheet
Wood molding
Flat phillips wood screws
Corner braces
spray paint

We purchased the aluminum sheet from

Corner braces

wood screws
We cut the aluminum sheet and made it smaller.  

Then we cut the trim for the outside.  
(Beer is a must for any project--add that to the supply list)

We used the fugly vent as guide.

Next, we screwed on the corner brackets.

Then we used a staple gun to put the aluminum sheet in place.

We didn't put screws in the inner corner holes
of the bracket because placing screws so close to 
the edge of the wood might cause splitting/cracking.

Almost done.

Now use my favorite item in the whole crafty-do-it-yourself world...

and there it is!

way better. :)

fugly to fabulous.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Why Run?

Why do I run?

Running isn't just exercise for me.  It's personal.

I run for my son, Jayden. I run to show him a healthy lifestyle. I run to show him what the human body is capable of.  I run to show him my strength.

I run for my parents.  I run to thank them for giving me life.

I run for my Nunno.  I run to honor him and what he did for our family. I run to continue on an active lifestyle that he lived.  

I run for my sister, Heidi and others who suffer from movement disorders.  I vow to not take my ability to move as I wish for granted.  

I run for my boyfriend, Nate.  I run because of his never-ending support and encouragement.  

I run for my sanity.  Running is my shrink.  Instead of unloading frustrations to a counselor, I unload mine on the pavement.  My sometimes bruised and shattered soul gets pieced back together stride by stride. 

I run because I'm pretty good at it.  Endurance has always been my strength.  If I have this god-given ability, then why in the world would I waste it? 

I run even harder for the haters.  The people who dislike me because of my beliefs.  The people who can't be happy for me because misery loves company.  The ex who only cares about himself and is failing miserably as a father.  The previous employers who are too money hungry to realize that quality does trump quantity.  The hatred and judgment is fuel for my fire.

I can't control everything in life.  I can't control who likes me.  I can't control others blurred perceptions of who I am.  I can't control unexpected health problems.  But when I'm running, I AM in control.  It's me versus the world and you better believe I'm winning that battle. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Are you familiar with Italian Attitude?

 No we don't.

Do you know a feisty Italian? Have you experienced this? It's ATTITUDE.  My Nunnie (my Italian grandmother) defined this.  I love my Nunnie with all my heart but dear God, she was sassy.  She pulled it off well.  She didn't put up with shit but she was classy and graceful.  

I did not inherit this trait.  In all honesty, I wish I had.  I'm over-emotional and super sappy.  Sounds lovely except for this particular breed of folk puts up with way too much.  I forgive easily and give too much.  But that's just who I am.  

My sister, however, DID inherit the feisty Italian trait.  Lord did she ever.  Along with a sailors mouth to go with it which I quickly picked up on (and THIS is why I was cussing in preschool, mom).  Currently, Heidi is not able to walk without a walker.  Of course it bums me out to see my sister having to use a walker but let me tell you, she's hauling ass with that thing.  Before Nate and I moved into our new home, I was living in Heidi's basement.  One night we were watching TV in the basement and Nate pointed out something.  We could hear walking from upstairs (as we always could) and he said to me "even though she's using a walker now, she's really getting around".  She does.  She has made the best of the situation and has gotten comfortable with using a walker.  

My mom usually takes Heidi to the grocery store but on Friday I joined them along with Jayden.  I was surprised to see how well she did using a grocery cart.  She leaves the walker in the car and uses the grocery cart for support.  I walked beside her or behind just in case she slipped.  When she had to make a sharp turn and the cart was more full of stuff I asked her if she needed help.  Nope.  She didn't need my help.  She's not steady but her innate stubbornness and her feisty Italian attitude keeps her strong.  Mentally AND physically. It's admirable and it makes me proud to be her sister.

And there's never a shortage of snarky comments.  "They're always trying to sell you more" she says to me as the deli boy asked if we are sure 1/2 lb of provolone is all we need.  LOL.  Keep the snarky comments coming, sis.  :)


(okay okay I have a TEENY bit of this in me)

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Answer We Never Wanted to Hear

By far the past 2 weeks have been the most stressful and emotional in my life. 

After many YEARS of watching my sister's health decline, we finally have an answer.  We have a diagnosis.  

Nothing would have prepared my family and I for the diagnosis.  

Chorea-acanthocytosis.  Chorea whatahhh?  My thoughts exactly.  2 weeks ago we got the tentative diagnosis and of course I went to the internet immediately for answers.  The answers hit me like a kick in the shin (always a soccer girl at heart).  As I quickly read the articles I pick up on key phrases that made my heart ache.  And they still do.  "No treatment". "No cure".   

To say that I've been emotional is probably the biggest understatement of the year (and it's only February).  How is this happening to my sister? To my family?  There are around 500 cases of this IN THE WORLD.  There are roughly 7,200,000,000 people in the world.  500 of them have this rare genetic disease.  I still can't wrap my head around that. 

For the past  2 weeks I've been selfishly wondering if I would inherit this disease.  After all my odds of getting this is the exact same as my sisters, 1 in 4.  I spent the last 2 weeks scared to death.  I have never felt so much anxiety.  And at the same time I felt shame.  How could I be thinking about myself right now?  I guess it was fear.  

Yesterday my mom had a phone call with a doctor that specializes in Chorea-acanthocytosis.  She confirmed the diagnosis over the phone.  I had talked myself out of believing this is what it was for the last 2 weeks and now I have to accept it.  I have never felt sadness like this before.  Sometimes it doesn't seem real.  

My mom asked the doctor about other members of the family since this is a genetic disease.  The doctor assured my mom that if I am perfectly healthy right now that there is nothing for me to worry about.  And Jayden will be fine as well. I feel a small sliver of relief.  But that is immediately smothered with the shock of the confirmed diagnosis.

Right now it's an internal battle.  I am overwhelmed with sadness and at the same time I'm telling myself to keep it together and enjoy the time we have with Heidi.  

Last saturday was my dad's 60th birthday.  Happy Birthday Vinny (you old man hehe)!  The entire family went to the WVU vs. Texas Tech basketball game in Morgantown.  We all had a great time.  Kevin and Nate took some great pictures of the family.  This is one of my favorites:

I'm sad. I'm mad. I'm confused. 
I'm a mess inside.  
But we will carry on as we always do and live in the moment.  What we have right now is the present.  The future is uncertain.  

For now I'll continue to ramble on to whomever wants to read my blogs.  You are my therapy.  
(You can bill me later). ;)