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Homeschooling in the OC

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The OC hasn’t been too bad, not bad at all.  We’ve had seventy to eighty degree weather every day since we’ve been out here.  Our journey has been filled with trips to the beach,  tastings at the chocolate boutique, and a new restaurant every day—sometimes twice a day.  Sounds much like a vacation doesn’t it?  The sound of the waves, the taste of the chocolate, the buzz of the wine…that is until today.

Today I, Mrs. Coombs, put my teaching hat on and began home schooling my 9-year-old son for the first time ever.  When I switch hats, I really switch hats.  Did I bite off more than I could chew going from a full-time entrapranuer to a stay-at-home-mom/teacher for the next six weeks?  Maybe so.  Today I was put to the test, or rather my son tested my patience every step of the way today.  Declaring I had made him do four hours of math, when in reality it was 40 minutes, growling every time I would pull out a new assignment, then finally telling me to “shut up” when I told him to sit down and read his story on Houdini.

I don’t know if they give old school whippins at his school back home in WV, but this school will sure as heck give them out.   And I’ve been giving out squat thrusts every time my son needs it.  (Remember those from gym class?)

To add to the chaos of the first day of “cool school”  which is anything but, my beautiful distraction of a four-year-old doesn’t help matters when I’m trying to keep my son focused.  “Mommy I need you.  Come play dolls with me.”  Or “Let’s work on my Highlights sticker book,” which of course Vance would rather be doing.

Those cute little boutiques (that we pass on our mile walk for gym class) that keep calling my name will just have to wait until I get a little more organized.    Image

There was a moment today where there was a complete and utter breakdown of both children simultaneously, yet I somehow managed to laugh and just remain calm.  I thought, “Wow, I’m a saint for even trying this.”  But then I had to remind myself that I am no saint, it was a trade off for all of us to live at the beach for six weeks.  We all have to do our part to make it work….and this is what I signed up for, and by God I will find a way to be better at it with each passing day.   So here goes…

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A New Year, A New Gear

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As I workout on the elliptical switching back and forth on my iPad apps I suddenly realize what I should be doing is reflecting on 2011 and what I need to take away from it.  It was a year in which I learned many life lessons, some of which came the hard way.  It’s hard to admit our failures yet easy to forget them.  Some brilliant man once said the most successful people are the ones with the most failures, which makes a lot of sense to me because you can’t keep a good man down.

So what if in 2012 we were all more conscious of our past decisions and outcomes as we make new choices, embark on new ventures and maybe most important, how we treat and view ourselves?

My 2012 vision is to simplify my life in order to be richer in life, and I’m not talking about the Benjamins. To take more breathing time, more reflection time, and more grounding time.  Because at the end of the day our real riches in life come from memories, sharing our lives with others, and inner peace.  All of which is hard to find on a busy highway.

I have learned we can not do it all and sometimes have to search very hard to really figure out what we are capable of, while keeping our sanity.  Keep what means the most to you and let everything else go….  Wow, that sounds wonderful, yet easier typed than done.  I know myself so well and I’m always go, go, go.  It’s not going to be easy to shift from fifth gear into second, but the time is now for that and thank God I’ve got my husband to pull the E-brake if needed.

So here’s to a new year, to clearer visions and to learning how to fly fish.  (Just kidding, I’m not sure I’ll ever slow down enough for that!)

Never stop learning, never stop living, never stop loving.

Forever a Pisces,
S

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Seize the Day

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Even though it was a rainy, dreary day today, things were looking really sunny for me and Amanda.  We had a great business appointment together today, it was everything it should have been.  Afterward, we decided to head over to Sargasso for lunch.   I was starving!  My stomach was growling so loud at our previous appointment I just knew everyone could hear it.  It sounded like a roaring lion, I’d never heard it this ferocious before, quite embarrassing.

We sat down at lunch and I was excited since Amanda had never eaten at Sargasso, I couldn’t wait to tell her my favs…but as soon as my butt hit the seat and I opened my menu she said, “I can’t eat.”

“What?”  I looked up.  Did she forget she had another appointment?  I wondered.

“I can’t eat.”  Then I saw her pop two blue pills into her mouth.  I was confused.  “I’m going to have a seizure.”  She stately boldly and gave me a look of “take charge.”  I knew what it meant and kind of what I was supposed to do because she had briefed me on how to handle this situation a few times over the past two years.

“I need to find a dark place.  And you need to call my mom and tell her to come here now.”

Oh shit, was my first thought, followed by, I’ve got to step up this plate and get her out of this dining room full of people.

“Follow me, there’s probably no one in the back room, that’s for private dinners.”  I knew this place well.  We stood up and she followed me, I grabbed our server and whispered, “My friend feels a seizure coming on, and we need privacy and a dark room.  Can we go in the back dining room?”

“Of course!”  She said and led the way, looking very worried.

I called her mother and told her to come immediately.  Amanda requested to just lay on her back and to find something to put over her eyes.  Sometimes calmness and darkness will ward off a seizure in her case, so that’s what we were attempting to do.   The waitress went to find clean towels but I looked over and found a tightly wrapped used food encrusted waiters apron.

“Um, this looks dirty but it’s black and it’ll keep out the light.”  I suggested.  “And it smells, but maybe that will take your mind off of this,”

“Don’t care, give it to me.”  She giggled.  “I’m sure I’ve smelled worse.”

The waiter walked back in, the staff was so helpful, asking what they should do and if they should have a doctor from Med Express, which, thank gaud, was connected to the restaurant, come over.

Amanda said no, which left me at the wheel.  Oh, crap.  I always wanted to be a doctor, but not like this.  I squatted down beside her and just tried to get her to breathe long deep breaths and to think of relaxing things. Waves, birds, clouds, all that B.S. –cause at that moment it was B.S. I know she wasn’t sitting on the beach somewhere watching the sand get covered in foamy sea water.  “Pretend like you’re floating on a cloud” is much more easier said than done when your brain waves are miss firing and you’re trying to not think about that!

She started to moan and squirm and I knew she was trying to fight it off but was losing the battle.  The waiter came back in and asked again about getting a doctor.

“Amanda!  Do you want a doctor?”  I was starting to sweat, knowing that her seizures are Grand Mal, which is the King of seizures.  Deadly even.   She actually went under brain surgery a few years ago, so this was beyond my realm of cutting a pig open in 10th Grand biology class.   “I don’t care,” she answered.

“Yes, please go get someone.”  I hadn’t practiced CPR in over a decade, the last time I was around it, it was used on me when I was choking on a massive piece of shrimp at a local restaurant.  Don’t you use a spoon in this situation?  OH MY GOD!  Her moaning was getting louder and I was losing her.  She wasn’t answering any of my questions.  Her mom walked in right at the same time a Physician’s Assistant did.

“Did you call for someone?” The PA asked.

“No, we are good.”  Her mother said.  Like this kind of stuff happens every day.  She was so calm and collected.   “I can handle this, she doesn’t like to be around people during this, it makes it worse.”

The PA nodded, walked out and quietly shut the door behind her.   Her mom sat down by her side and started talking to her and trying to get her to relax and then it happened.  She went into a full-blown seizure, just like you would imagine, but worse.  She seized for a good five minutes, and at one point she was literally wrapped around a wine cooler, which was kind of funny because she doesn’t drink.  Nor does her mother, who also found it quite comical in this horrifying situation.   Her mom tried to find a little humor in it all which made me admire her so much more.

We rolled Amanda on her right side and just sat with her until it was over.  I rubbed her leg and guarded the glass in the wine rack from her 4-inch-pointy boot heels.

It was more than scary.  But the even scarier part is that she used to have these kind of seizures 3 to 4 times a week until she started taking Lifepak Nano Vitamins, which have helped her immensely.  This was her first seizure in a year, which Amanda attributes the lack of her seizure activity to her supplementing with these life-changing vitamins.  Her recovery from these types of seizures used to take two weeks, and she actually made it to our meeting this evening at 6pm, less than 5 hours after this horrific episode.  I couldn’t believe it when she walked through the door.  I was stunned because when she left the restaurant she had a screaming headache…and should have been in bed.

Today could have been tragic, but thankfully it wasn’t.  This will resonate with me forever, though, because it solidifies why I promote some of the best products and the best science in the world.  Ones that do make a difference, ones that do change lives.  Ones that I believe, do save lives.

Amanda I love you, don’t ever scare me like that again.  🙂   But if you do, I will be there to catch you if you fall.

 

http://www.shannoncoombs.nsedreams.com  (help me spread the word)

Live Younger Longer

 

 

 

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Movember Rain….

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I’ve really missed writing, my weekly therapy, my om….lord knows I haven’t had any time for Yoga lately, much less even attempting a 5 minute meditation time-out, much less time to write a blog.  I actually write them in my head all the time, it’s like I have an automatic typewriter ran by a midget up there and he just types away, but he never prints.  Wouldn’t that be nice.

Mmmmmm….Maybe that’s just it!  I need to put myself in time-out.  Not a bad idea really.  With the hustle and bustle of life as I know it, I can honestly count the times I sit my butt on a chair and relax.   I can count it on one finger, and some days it’s the middle one and it’s pointing itself right at me for getting myself into too many projects and not stopping to smell those darn roses that I just keep right on walking by.

Time is our most precious commodity and I sure as heck don’t have enough of it.   And sadly it’s always those life changing moments that really make you wake up and smell the coffee.  Last Friday we lost a dear cousin to cancer, she was 52, leaving behind a son that is 10-years-old.  It happened so fast, and it was heart wrenching.  It made me feel like I was gasping for my own air as I watched her casket close and tears fall all around me, my own drenching tissue after tissue.  How could it be?  She was fine last summer?  And now gone.  Just like that.  I should have gotten to know her better, I kept thinking.  And I kept hearing tic. toc.

All the prayers in the world aren’t going to bring her back, but there were so many lessons she left many of us with.   Life is so precious, we honestly do not know what hand we will be dealt tomorrow.  So treat your dreams as a delicate snowflake but don’t let them melt into your palm and be absorbed by time.   Forget about the fears you have and quit worrying about what everybody else thinks.  Most of the time, they’re not even thinking about us, lol.  Go for whatever it is you want.  We are all going to make mistakes, we are all going to fall down, and that’s ok–that’s perfectly fine.  That’s what we are supposed to do. What matters is that we get back up and go at it again.  What we learn from those pitfalls make us a stronger human being, a better friend, a nicer stranger.  Mt. Everest wasn’t conquered in a day…..

I hope you Mo Bros are supporting Movember and raising lots and lots of money for cancer research and awareness.  I”m giving back on all jeans at Vancesblues.com this month to support the cause….stop in Madeleine’s and see Tareq’s ‘stache….I think he’s secretly putting miracle grow on it because it’s outta control!

Now go get that colonoscopy!  Just don’t do what my sister-in-law did and go anywhere after you drink that juice the doc gives you to “cleanse” yourself!  Bad things will happen, lol.

 

Rest in Peace Lynette.

-S

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Cat-tastrophe

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I haven’t blogged in forever!  And for good reason–my life has been seriously booked between launching yet a third (and final) business, preparing for back to school with my boutique, and to put myself over the edge I rescued two kittens for my children…and I’ve never been a cat person.  However, I fell in love with this long-haired, black striped kitty cat at first site. Or should I say at first hiss.  She was wild, and living in an abandoned boat when my brother found her–along with the other four.  My children and husband are cat fanatics, me not so much.  They’ve been begging since I handed over our last cat (Meow Meow Paris Coco Puff Coombs) to my babysitter and her dog, Buster, five years ago.  After Vance insisted that he taught the runt, now named Cubby, how to box and use a calculator in less than five minutes, I couldn’t resist throwing in the towel.

“Oh hell, let’s just take two of them.”

My brother shot me a look of “Huh?”

“Why not.  If I’m getting one, I may as well get two.  That way each kid has one, and they have each other when we aren’t around.”  It sounded sane enough at the time.  I let the kids pick one and I of course picked the fuzz bucket and named her Zsa Zsa–she just seemed like she was destined for fabulousness and maybe even fame.  “And I”m taking them tonight before I change my mind.  I’ll be back after I go to this birthday party and Petco.”  And off I went.

The kittens, one of which was still being bottle fed, immediately litter trained and ate normal kitty food.  They were pretty darn easy. Getting my three-year-old daughter to leave them alone was the hard part.  She has wrapped them both up as babies, calls them her children, calls me their grandma (I threatened groundation the next time) and teaches them how to play piano and dance.  They love her, but they hate her.

Just when I thought I had mastered the cat thing, Zsa Zsa threw a wrench in my plans.  She was in my sons room and started making this weird sound.  Then she jumped off the bed (thank God) and vomited on the hardwood floor (thank God it wasn’t carpet).  We all started backing up, my first instinct was to call my husband to come clean it up, but he was in Tennessee.  Damn. I bent down to pick the kitty up when (if you’re weak stop reading) all of a sudden a freaking round worn squirmed up out of the vomit and stood up at attention as if to flip me off and say “take that you new cat lover!”  I was in shock!  Mortified.  CAT 911!!!

“AHHHHHHHHHHH  @#$%%$@@!”      “No Effen WAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!”””

I didn’t know what to do.  I just stared at it with my eyes closed.  Trying to talk myself out of vomiting all over the place.  I gathered myself after a few minutes with the realization that no one in the entire world was going to clean the mess up but me.  So I evacutaed the room with kitty in hand, she went straight to the bath, then I cleaned the mess up and headed to Petco–where I ran into a vet that clarified they were round worms and not tape, and bought medicine to de-worm them.  It was ridiculously hard to quarantine the cats from the kids, that was almost harder than cleaning up the spaghetti shaped parasites–no more Italian for me!

The day after the spaghetti incident I found mouse droppings on my stove and on my sons art table–where he had left a piece of peanut butter toast the night before–it was gone.

“AHHHHHHHHHHH”    At this point my husband had been gone 8 solid days.  My sanity was questionable.  My first thought was Why in the  hell aren’t these kittens doing their jobs?  Isn’t that what they are for?  Worms…..mice….I was ready to pack up my kids, maybe the cats, and move the hell outta dodge.   I stood over the art table and thought, Wow, I’m really being tested here.  And if I pass this test without giving away the kittens, without shooting a mouse with a sawed-off shotgun and without jumping off a bridge, I think I will have really grown as a person.

That’s when I heard my daughter scream…….she spotted the mouse running down the hallway by my room, straight to the area in my bathroom where the mice had gotten in.  I went to Lowe’s and bought ten traps…three different kinds.  I trapped two in a row right by that spot witht he old school ones–which worked for me because I wanted those suckers dead, not stuck to some sticky cardboard where I would find them squirming to escape…I picked the dead varments up with a broom,  rubber gloves (which didn’t touch anything) a phillips screwdriver and a grocery bag. I’m sure there would have been an easier way but I was so excited that I had won the battle (but maybe not the war) that the idea of using my kitchen tongs hadn’t entered my mind until much later.  (Just kidding mom).

That was last night at midnight.  Today I disinfected,   I made it through with no serious melt-downs and I still have my kittens who are actually sleeping in my room right now–yet another huge step–I must really love them.

After the week from hell, I feel like I’m stronger than I have ever been before–0r at least my stomach is, (this coming from the girl who ruined a funeral because of a gnat at age four.)  I’m finding out that I have much more patience than I ever knew I had, and also know that I am not easily defeated.

There hasn’t been a lot of Eat. Pray. Love. going on in my life lately, which given the circumstances I can see why.  But it’s time for some inward focus…I can’t wait to see what the universe deals me tomorrow, but I am ready.  Until then…..

Goodnight…..

                    

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Little White Lies…

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For any self-improvement concept to work, it has to be simple.  We don’t have enough time in our busy lives to take an hour out of our day to sit quietly and meditate, nor do we have thirty minutes to sit down and write about our day every day then turn around and analyze it.  So this one idea, this one concept, I have found to be the most helpful in making changes and sticking to them:  Self-Talk….or rather, talk to yourself in a manner that is positive.    Telling yourself you are “already there” could possibly be the biggest key in changing the direction of your life and keeping it in the right direction.  And probably the easiest and less time-consuming self-motivational exercise there is.

 

Stop and ask yourself:  What do I say when I talk to myself?  Are you filling your mind with negative thoughts, which lead to negative feelings, which promote actions that are not in alignment with your goals and dreams? This is self-talk, the things we are telling ourselves.  This can make us or break us.

 

Little White Lies:  When they work…

I’m not big on lying, however, it may be the key to really making changes within yourself.  It goes hand-in-hand with the saying “Fake it until you make it.”  When I look back on all the times I’ve had success in my life versus when I have failed, that concept definitely promoted success—huge success!  By telling yourself you are already there, you trick your mind into believing you are that successful person and magical things really start to happen.   For example, if you tell yourself you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, then you are going to have to drag yourself out.  But if you wake up and are thankful that you have another blessed day to live and be active you will hit the ground running.

 

Out of all the self-motivational techniques, positive self-talk seems to be the easiest to stick with, and the most successful.  Dr. Shad Helmstetter agrees too.  He even goes on to talk about how people go to motivational seminars and get all pumped up but then when you take away the motivator the person loses their momentum a few days later and falls back into the same routine as before.

 

This is so true!  I’ve lived that.  And what I’ve found to be true is that there is no greater motivator for me, than me.  I can be my greatest cheerleader or my own worst enemy.

 

There are four different levels of self-talk that Helmstedder addresses, and I’d like to share them with you:

 

Level 1 Self-Talk:  People spend most of their time in level 1 of self-talk, which is negative self-talk:  When you say something bad or negative about yourself and you accept it.  This is not where we want to be!  Here is an example of Level 1 self-talk:  “Today is not my day.” “I can’t run two miles.”  “I can’t stop eating those potato chips.”

 

Level II Self-Talk:  Level of Recognition and Need to Change

Ex:  “I need to quit smoking.” “I need to start eating better.”  This level still works against us.  It recognizes a problem but creates no solution.  It’s like saying, “I know I need to do that, but I’m not.”

 

Level III Self-Talk:  The level of the decision to change.  It’s the first level of self-talk that works for you and not against you!  You recognize the need to change AND you make the decision to do something about it.   You state the decision in present tense as if the changes are already happening.  For example, you start using terminology such as “I never….”  “I never miss a workout.”  “I never get upset at work.”  “I never eat more than I should.”  “I don’t put off things I could do today for tomorrow.”  “I love my body.”

 

Level IV Self-Talk:  The level of the better you and the most effective type of self-talk we can use.  At this level you are painting a new picture of the way you really want to be.  You are using your vision I talked about in my earlier blog.  Here you are seeing yourself in your mind’s eye as already being that successful image you are striving for.  Level IV Self-Talk is characterized by the words “I am.”

 

Ex:  “I am going for it!”  “I am self-motivated, and I belief in myself.”  “I am eating clean and losing weight and I can see changes in my body daily.”  “I am in control of my life.”  “I’ve made the decision to become the person I’ve always wanted to become.”

 

Can you imagine how your life can drastically change if you are using this technique daily instead of always talking down to yourself?  I challenge you to use this for a solid 24 hours and then reflect back and see how much easier your achievements were.  Try forming this habit to help you out:  When a negative thought pops into your head, push it back out with a positive one!  Lie to yourself until it’s the truth!  It really is that simple.

 

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The Turtle Beats The Hare…

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Sometimes we have to slow down to go faster,” was the advice I gave my nine-year-old son, Vance, the other day–and advice that I need to take myself.    This advice can be applied both mentally and physically.  For instance, Vance is a super bright kid and was blessed to inherit his father’s photographic memory, at least it appears that way since his drawings have such incredible detail.  I don’t think at his age there is any other explanation for that.  But unfortunately at times we can be our own worst enemies no matter how smart we are.  He is an A student but brings home the occasional B in a subject here and there, and that’s mainly because he is going to fast when taking tests.  He brought home a few bad papers in a row and I was aghast.  What had happened to my little man?

 

I went in and had a talk with his teacher, who didn’t seem the least bit concerned that he had gotten a few D’s on his worksheets, me on the other hand was dying inside.  I was a straight A student and so was his dad, if he came home with a C on a report card I would certainly look at that as failure on my part because I know how smart he is.

 

“It’s because he is rushing,” the teacher said with a smile.  “It’s his age and all the kids are doing it.  They think that the first one done is the smartest.”

 

Ah ha.

 

When we went home that evening I sat down with Vance and explained that just because you are the one to get to the finish line first doesn’t mean you are the smartest.

 

“Well, Stephanie is always done first and she thinks she’s the smartest.”

 

“Does she make straight A’s all the time?” I asked him.

 

“No, she get’s B’s too.”

 

“Does what she get’s on her report card, whether it’s all A’s or all F’s effect what you get on your report card?”

 

“No.” he answered.

 

His teacher had gone on to tell me that she wasn’t worried about this grades, she knew that he had already learned all the skills in Math and that he just wasn’t applying them.  So that night I got out his bad papers and I rewrote them on fresh paper and made Vance do all of the problems over.  He got them all right this time except for one.  It made me feel a million times better knowing his teacher was right and he did know what he was doing, but also frustrated that I didn’t address the issue sooner as a parent.  He ended up with a B in Math, which I can live with, but more importantly I got my point across to him.  I want him to know that when you rush you miss opportunities to correct yourself and you also miss attention to details.  He doesn’t rush when he draws–he takes his time and creates masterpieces.

 

Last year handwriting was his weak subject.   And once again he was rushing to get it done.  He wasn’t dotting his I’s or crossing his T’s.  I looked at him one day and said, “What?  A B in Handwriting?  Vance, you have no excuse buddy, you are an artist.  You can make that pencil go whatever way you want it to.  You have the ability to have the best handwriting in the class.”  And from that day on his handwriting changed and now he has beautiful penmanship.

 

Sometimes situations just need a little tweak and are much easier to fix than we think, and sometimes we just need to slow down to get ahead.  And other times we just need to believe in ourselves a little (or a lot) more.  Physically I have found this with running.  I’ve been trying to run for ten years now and every year I re-injure my knees (from a car accident I had when I was eighteen.)  I do the same thing every time, I increase my speed and I start getting such bad knee pain that I give up and say, “I just wasn’t meant to be a runner.”

 

Well, I think I’m wrong.  The past few weeks I have been trying a few other strategies.  First I have slowed down!  I don’t care how fast I’m going, I’m just going for distance—NOT SPEED!  I ran a total of 21 miles in eight days, and guess what?  Not one pain!!  And in that there was a six-mile-run and a seven-mile-run (non-stop).  Never in my life did I ever think I would see that.  It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to do it, but I don’t care.

 

One the longer runs I found myself asking myself why I want this so bad?  Is it to run fast and beat other people?  No.  Is it to succeed at mind over matter and conquer something that has been conquering me for the last decade?  Yes.

 

So with my new mindset to slow down, and new found belief in myself that with patience I can succeed at running longer distances, I’ve been enjoying the outdoors and the time with myself.   It’s somewhat meditating really.  I think being consistent with taking it slow and stretching properly that with time I will have just slowed down enough to build up the muscles around my knees and will be able to go a little faster in the future.