Thursday, December 7, 2017

Disney Movie Rewards $5 Gift Cards Now Available

$5 Disney Gift Card - Love Music Mickey
Do you have a Disney Movie Rewards Account? Have you ever purchased a Disney movie and wondered what that long code was on the the inside of the case? For every Disney movie purchase, you can enter codes into your account to earn points. Those points can be turned into gift cards or prizes, and right now you can snag a $5 Disney gift card for 550 points. I was able to snag one today, and it will be added to my Disney stash!
I am slowly chipping away at saving for our next Disney Vacation.
How are you saving?
If you need help planning your next Disney vacation, feel free to contact me for a no obligation quote at castleboundwithcrystal (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"Woody's Lunch Box" Quick Service Restaurant to Open in Toy Story Land

(picture from Disney Parks Blog)
Have you guys heard? Woody's Lunch Box will be opening up in Hollywood Studios' Toy Story Land in Summer of 2018.
The menu has not been released yet, but we do know that it will be a quick service restaurant.
According to the details on Disney Parks Blog, it sounds as if it will be American fare.
The Walt Disney World Resort will partner with Mini Babybel to bring this location to life.
Don't you just love how Disney has the ability to bring our favorite movies to life?
Are you interested in making magical memories with your family?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Growth-Part 4

If you missed 
click the links above to catch up.

That's where I left off from last time.
I was determined to hit the roads again, and run.
 I was determined I would keep doing the things that I loved doing. 
The things that I had become so dependent upon.
The very things that I was told I should no longer do.
The things that I 
to do, especially when stress overcame me.
The sad part is, I was looking inward, and not upward.
This has not only been a physical and emotional journey;
it's been a spiritual journey.
As long as I can remember, I have always dealt with stress by being active.
 Most people think I am calm...
I internalize everything, so it gives off the appearance of "calm."
My family knows that I am a nut case.
And all that bottled up energy needs somewhere to go.
When I was younger, I would go outside and shoot basketball for hours...

 The bouncing ball used to drive my mother bonkers. :-)
When I started homeschooling, running became my outlet.
In case you weren't aware...homeschooling can be a little stressful ;-)
So, I decided I no longer had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome...for all of 1 mile.
I tried multiple times, and every time I was reminded by my body that it was no longer able to do what I wanted it to do.
The stress had no where to go, so it manifested itself through nightmares.
I got to the point where I was afraid to go to sleep because I didn't know what horrible thing I would dream of next.
Every time I started to look inward, searching for an answer to alleviate the stress, the voice of the Lord would say, "It's Me you need, not running."
Being the control freak that I am, I dug my heals in, and said, "No. That's not what I want. I need to run. That's how I will get through all of this."
I can really picture God up there in heaven, sitting back, smiling, crossing his fingers across His chest, and saying, "Okay. I'll just sit here and wait until you're ready. Because you will change your mind."
And I did.
It took several months of anger, crying, being frustrated, and finally realizing that this was not going away.
I had to get over the feeling of hopelessness.
I also had to get through the guilt.
Why would I have guilt?
Because there is a 50% chance of passing Ehlers Danlos Syndrome to your children.
And that little girl right there has it.
She has not been formerly diagnosed because the geneticist wanted to wait until both were 12 years old before testing them.
However, she is on the same timeline that I was on.
She is my mini-me in every way imaginable.
She and I have shed a lot of tears together over the last few months.
Fortunately, the Lord has shown me grace and given me the strength and wisdom to help her work through some of the same mental road blocks.
Little man has not shown as many signs, thankfully. 
He's bendy, but doesn't seem to struggle with the other symptoms. He's got his daddy's hardiness.
So what do I do to stay strong?
I hired a personal trainer, who comes to my house twice a week because I ain't got time to be running all over creation.;-)
She helps motivate me and keeps me on track.
We use this book as our guide book.
It's super boring and slow, but it really does make a difference.
At first, I wouldn't use it because I felt it was beneath me. The exercises were too easy.
Pride sure does get in my way, doesn't it?
But, after a few weeks of using it, and staying true to the exercises, my subluxations are becoming less frequent.
Ehlers Danlos patience will also show signs of gluten intolerance and symptoms of Celiacs disease without being officially diagnosed.
We switched over to Paleo, and it has made a world of difference in both of us.
Joint pain and stomach pain have decreased in both of us, and we generally just feel better.
Sister is on acid reflux medicine currently, and we're hoping to get her off of that in a few weeks. 
I'm also working on a supplement plan that is catered to my needs.

There are days when life is great, I'm feeling good, and the acceptance is there, and then there are days when I feel terrible, and everything hurts, and I get angry about it.
The ick days are when I have to lean extra hard on God.
And can I just say that hubby has been my  rock through this whole process. He has been so patient, and kind. He has watched me battle internally this entire year.
He is there to hold me when I need a shoulder to cry on.
He is there when I need a voice of reason.
He is there to pray for me.
He is there.

No matter how awful I feel, I have him.
I have my children.
I have God.
Therefore, I want for nothing.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Growth- Part 3

If you missed 
you can click the links so you can catch up.

This post has been a lot harder to write than I anticipated. There have been a flood of emotions as I go back through everything I have been through over these past few months.
However, it's been interesting to think back through the journey, and see how God has been there every step of the way.  
Picking up where I left off...
The physical therapists that I visited for all of my running ailments had an in-service day where they were learning how to treat a particular syndrome. 
All three girls who had been working on me agreed that there was a chance this was what I was suffering from. 
There is a quick test you can do to see if you qualify for further testing. It's called the Beighton Score.
If you look at the picture below, you can see the different things that are tested. 
I scored 9 out of 9. :-(
So that got the ball rolling in forming a diagnosis.
The physical therapists contacted my doctor, who in turn scheduled an appointment with a geneticist. I had to wait three months in order to see this particular doctor, and we had to travel 2 hours to see him.
May 8, 2017, I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type.
That day is pretty much a blur. 
I was asked all sorts of random questions (or what seemed to be random) which all pointed back to this diagnosis. 
I remember breaking down when he told me I had it.
I remember my sweet babies trying to comfort me because they don't like it when they see their momma cry.
I remember my sweet husband sitting there, being a rock for me. (I love that guy so much!)
Even though this was a tough day for me, it was also the answer to all of my health questions over the years.
There are 6 different strands (I think) of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The geneticist told me not to google it because it would scare me to I heeded his advice ;-)
Hypermobility Type is what I have. 
There is also a spectrum for the Hypermobility type, and I am on the top end, thankfully.
Because I have been active my entire life, I have been able to "stay in place" a little better, and stay strong.
I did take a hit emotionally, though.
 I now have to see a cardiologist every year to make sure that my heart looks good. 
In some patients, the heart is effected. I believe the arteries can collapse due to over-elasticity.
That was very scary to hear.
However, my heart is in perfect shape.
I have to have a bone density scan every year...something I knew would eventually know, when I was O.L.D. ;-)
And thankfully my bones look great.
Another praise.
I am no longer supposed to run, due to the impact on my joints. I cannot produce collagen like a normal person, which plays an important role in building joint cartilage. Taking collagen supplements does not make it better.
Not being able to run...Knife to the gut right there. 
I also am not supposed to lift weights, get on a treadmill or an elliptical machine.
I am not supposed to stretch because that makes my symptoms worse.
In order to feel like I get a deep stretch, I have to go further than a normal person which makes the joints looser.
I feel the need to stretch constantly because my body is in a state of constant tension. It's doing it's best to stay together.
So everything I have been doing over the years to stay fit and healthy were taken away from me, and that made me angry.
Two weeks after my diagnosis, I decided I no longer had Ehlers Danlos, and I was going to do what I wanted to do...and as you would have guessed, that didn't work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Non-Candy Halloween Options for the Teal Pumpkin Project

Are you guys finished with your Halloween preparations?
We are still in the process of getting all of our ducks in a row.
I do have our non-candy treats squared away, fortunately.

I purchased all of these items from Amazon.

They were pretty inexpensive, and I hope they are a hit with the kiddos that come through our neighborhood.

Laser finger beams, sparkle rings, miniature turtle erasers, and sticky hands are what I will be giving out.
Since these are pretty small, I will probably be handing out something like Pirate Booty for the ones who are extra little (3 years old and under).

All that we have left to do is finish Sister's costume. She's decided she is going to be a zombie bride.
(insert eye roll)
I hate it. 
I wanted her to be something cutesy and non-evil, but that's not what she wants.
We have to make the costume because everything online was too gory. I hate zombies. I think all of you who love The Walking Dead are a bunch of W.E.I.R.D.O.S. ;-)
How is it possible to enjoy your nightmares come to life??
My boy is going to be a pumpkin goblin.
I'm just glad he wants to participate.
He usually wears a costume long enough for pictures and rips it off due to embarassment.
We'll see how it goes this year!
I will be going as Cinderella this year, and I cannot wait to wear my dress.
Last year I went as Snow White, and can I just say it is so much fun being a princess!
Do you know how precious those little girls were when they got to meet Snow White??
I'm hoping this year will be even better.
We're still working on a costume for hubby. I believe it will involve the purple velvet sombrero we were gifted for last year's dirty Santa. Ha!
So do you dress up for Halloween?
I'd love to hear what you're going to be if you do.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Growth-Part 2

In my last post, I left you hanging.
Sorry about that.
I hate cliff hangers. 
So, I get it. 
However, because there is so much to share about this journey, I felt the need to break it up into several smaller posts.
I left off where my world was about to be turned upside down.
After the races at Disney, I took a week or so off from running to allow my legs a break.  When it was all said and done, I clocked over 100 miles that week between the races and all the walking in the parks.
 I tried to get back into my regular running routine because I had another half marathon coming up in a month, and I needed to stay in shape for that.
My IT bands (a band that stretches from your knee all the way up to your hip) would not loosen up.This is a common injury among runners, and it's due to hip instability.
Here again, I thought I was just like everyone else.
I just needed a little physical therapy and everything would be fine.
 I was not missing this next race for anything.
Hubby was running, and it was his first half marathon.
I wanted to share that with him.
And I did.

I WALKED 11 of the 13 miles because I couldn't run. 
It hurt too bad.
However, it was fun, and it's a memory I will always cherish.

I realized after that race it was time to take an extended break, and really hunker down with physical therapy.
The therapists worked so hard to help me find relief.
Bless 'em.
They guided me in hip strengthening exercises, they massaged my IT bands, and they even did dry needling (which hurts like the dickens!! I almost passed out the first time).
Nothing seemed to work. 
I got tired of the therapy not giving me the results I wanted, and as much as I loved the girls who were working on me, I was really tired of seeing their faces.
So I quit going.
I had other things to focus on like my sister's wedding.

The weeks turned into months, and running was no longer and option. This disturbed me greatly because running was my outlet with homeschooling. 
It was imperative that I run in order to cope.
I was a much nicer person when I could run.
Also, I could eat whatever I wanted, and it not really effect my weight.
Since my coping mechanism had been postponed until a later date, I began to deal with my stress in other ways.
 I ate my feelings.
And folks, when you eat your feelings, your skinny jeans become vulgar.
Just sayin'.
I started gaining weight.
I wear a lot of Matilda Jane clothing, and that stuff just stretches along with you.
You don't know how much you have gained until you go to put on your jeans, and the waistband stops at the base of your saddle bags and says loud and clear, "I ain't doin' it."
Even though I had ditched my physical therapists, they did not forget me.
I thank the Lord for their dedication and their kindness because they were able to figure out what was going on with me, and get me to the right doctor, to properly diagnose me.
Never in a million years would I have dreamed I would end up in a geneticists office.

To read Part 1, click

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Growth-Part 1

I have made mention a few times that we switched over to Paleo for health reasons, but I never divulged why. 
Over the last 5 months, I have been on a new health journey, and it has been one of the hardest things to do mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Feelings of hopelessness have been overwhelming at times. 
Deep depression set in for a bit...something that I previously thought only the "mentally weak" struggled with (a prideful thought on my part).
There has been a lot of anger mixed with grief.
And my family has suffered right along with me because all of these feelings weren't staying bottled up. 
So basically the five stages of grief, minus the bargaining stage because I don't bargain. 
Unless it's at a thrift store or a yard sale ;-)
I finally feel like I am in the stage of acceptance. I have pulled myself up by the boot straps, and I'm no longer fighting against who I am and how I am made.
I'm just going with it.

So a little history for you...
I have struggled with digestive issues as long as I can remember. 
I have memories of lying in front of the toilet of our little farm house in Tennessee, clenching my stomach, and sobbing because the pain was so intense.
I was diagnosed with IBS in elementary school, after a humiliating visit to the doctor, and just went about life after that...taking Milk of Magnesia (the worst tasting over-the-counter medicine known to any child of the 80's) when my symptoms would flare.
(That's me on the far dress looks like it should have been wrapped around an arm chair instead of a child, HA!!)

I also struggled with other health related issues along the way, but they all seemed to be random.
I could do funny tricks with my elbows and fingers, and could gross people out with how bendy I was. Unfortunately, my "bendiness" started causing problems when playing basketball in high school.
I believe it was my freshman year when I reached in to steal a ball, that my shoulder subluxed (partial dislocation). 
Super painful.
From there on out, I suffered from shoulder subluxations frequently.
My senior year, I turned my ankle, a common basketball injury, so it didn't seem out of the ordinary.
I continued to have issues throughout my years of college basketball, and when you play contact sports, you assume that injuries will be par for the course.
I wore ankle braces on both ankles, and constantly sprained them WITH the ankle braces on. 
I had surgery on my shoulder as a junior in college to tighten the ligaments because the subluxations were getting so nasty that all I had to do was sneeze and my shoulder would pop out. 
Gross, I know.
Fast forward a few years...
Pregnancy opened new doors to new subluxations.
I had to go to physical therapy during both pregnancies because my hips started to sublux. The physical therapists worked on tightening the muscles around my hip flexors so I could walk without falling apart.
It didn't seem too out-of-the-ordinary because I had always heard that when you're pregnant, things start to loosen and spread apart. 
I thought it was normal.
And things calmed down a bit after the babies were born, thankfully.

Six years ago, I started running. 
It was a great way to relieve stress, and it was helping all my joints stay in place. I was becoming stronger again, and I was feeling great.
There were injuries along the way, but I didn't care.
That was normal for me, and I just pushed through.

I ran my first half marathon in Nashville TN, and I was super proud of myself.
I didn't run the entire way because I started to struggle with my IT bands tightening up, but I finished.
I had caught the running bug, and in a sense, taken on apart of my old identity as an athlete.

I have several half marathons under my belt, and my biggest accomplishments were competing in weekend challenges where I would run or bike in multiple races over the course of two days.
I keep all of my (participation) medals and trophies in my craft closet because, let's be honest, nobody cares :-D!!

The Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend will always and forever be my favorite challenge to participate in.
The Glass Slipper Challenge, a10K race followed by a half marathon the next day, was what started my body's downward spiral.

Little did I know that this would be the end of running for me.

To hear more, make sure to come back.