MISSION: Lasik Eye Surgery – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Who: ME!

What: Lasik Eye Surgery

When: July 2018

Where: LasikPlus, Columbus, OH

Why: Unassisted perfect vision, yo!

I have thought about getting Lasik eye surgery for the last 10 years. I’ve seen each of my family members get Lasik and ask me “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??”. My first evaluation was about 10 years ago. I got the “go” from the doc, despite my astigmatism and young (*ahem*) age. Besides the fact that I’d have to pony up 3 months worth of rent (in DC!) for the procedure, it just didn’t feel right. From what understood, my eyes should be stable for 1-5 years and many times prescriptions will change after pregnancy. At that time I wasn’t married and there were no kids in sight, so I backed out.

Fast forward 10 years and after suffering with increasingly itchy eyes around the spring and fall allergy seasons, it was time to take the plunge. I didn’t really plan to get Lasik this year, (if I had it to do over, I would have maxed out my FSA!) but after my brother’s pseudo-spiritual experience (😂) with Lasik, I had to get on the ball.

After copious amounts of research, I settled on LasikPlus in Columbus, OH. I made an appointment and because of scheduling, took my 4 year old.  He was playing a game on his Kindle and would yell, “YEAAHHH” or “WOOOO”, which freaked out the opthamologist checking my eyes. 😅 She double checked both eyes to make sure the side comments didn’t cause any mistakes. The appointment lasted about an hour and I got my results the same day. I was told I had a beautiful optical nerve and lots of cornal tissue which made me a candidate!! (Do they say this to everyone?) This news was so exciting that I made my surgery appointment on the spot. I had one month to mentally prepare myself.

 

DAY OF SURGERY:

So, if you read our aerial yoga blog post you know that I have a serious fear of the unknown. I have been known to dive head first into “fun ideas” only to FREAK OUT the night before the event. There were lots of thoughts running through my head before I went in for surgery (check out the Glitter Jungle InstaStories).

I had another full eye exam to confirm the results of the exam a month ago. During one of the exams, the tech put numbing drops in my eyes and asked if I wanted a Valium. Before I could answer, my husband said “yes, she would like a Valium.”😒 (I, of course, agreed with him). Once in the final waiting area, I watched a couple of people go in before me and literally walk in and out in 5 minutes, like nothing happened. My name was called and I didn’t even have time to stress.

MOMENT OF TRUTH:

Once I was in the surgical room, (aka giant fishbowl that everyone could see into) I was ushered into the first chair where a plastic dome was taped to my left eye. My right eye was fitted with another device that held it open. The surgeon explained that I would feel some pressure, my eye would go black and then it would be over.  I started my deep breathing and he began the 30 second countdown. My right eye was suctioned to the machine and felt some pressure. My vision went black, but it didn’t freak me out because I just imagined that I had closed my eye because of the pressure. The surgeon got to 3, 2, 1…and I let out a sigh of relief. NO pain at all. They switched the plastic dome to the right side and my left eye was propped open and suctioned. Same 30 second countdown, deep breathing and boom, off to the second chair. Did anyone else initially freak about not being able “to hold my eye open that long” or “thought I might look away”? Yeah, no chance of that with the kind of suction that was going on here.

Once in the second chair, I was informed that I would see a series of Green and Red lights and was instructed do my best to keep my eye on it until the 30 second countdown was over. At this point, I had the plastic dome taped to my left eye and my right eye was held open with a metal device. It wasn’t hard to keep looking at the lights. Towards the end, I did notice that the surgeon had folded the flap back into place and looked like he was painting my eye with a small paintbrush. Kind of disturbing, but I didn’t feel a thing. Same story for the left side.

Here’s how it all went down:

After the procedure, the surgeon asked me if I felt ok and advised me to get home and take a 4-6 hour nap. Just like the three people before me, I donned my sunglasses they provided and walked right out of the office. Luckily our hotel was in the same complex and it took us 10 minutes to get to our room. Let me stop here – I am a championship napper. I have joked that I should write a book about how to nap. Of course this day, I could not nap. The nurse told me that there would be 3 uncomfortable stages if I couldn’t nap. The first would be a feeling of onion juice being poured into my eyes, the second would be non-stop watering and third, dry eyes. Each stage lasted from 30 – 60 mins. I kept my eyes closed the majority of the 4 hours. I would not suggest peeking (oops) because that’s when I felt the pain. My suggestion would be NyQuil, if you aren’t a good napper.  I should also mention that I was given a series of 3 different eye drops and vitamins to take over the next few months. These are super important! After my “nap” John and I went to dinner (I wore sunglasses) and walked around Easton. I don’t know what was more impressive, that I didn’t have contacts in or glasses on, or that we were out past 10pm with no kids. 😂

The next morning I woke up and felt great. I put my eye drops in every couple of hours to keep my eyes from getting dry. Waking up and being able to see without glasses was awesome; even better was being able to watch a show before bed without glasses! No more falling asleep with glasses on. Hooray!

It has now been about a month and my eyes feel great! I would definitely recommend Dr. Thomas at LasikPlus in Columbus. He was great and I felt like I was in good hands. It sounds completely cliche, but this was one of the biggest quality of life changes I’ve made in a long time.

Have you had Lasik? What was your experience?

XOXO,

Lauren

 

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How to Survive 10 Years of Marriage – 10 Things I’ve Learned!

Twelve years ago, when this Cancer (water sign) met an Aries (fire sign), this ESTJ (executive – think Judge Judy or Robb Stark) matched with a INFJ (advocate – think Mother Teresa or MLK Jr.) and this politico met an apathetic voter (who has since never missed a vote), there was some serious steam! Let’s also throw in the fact that we are both independent, strong willed, first-borns! While we found our perfect match, I’ll just say that it took us a minute to hit our stride once we moved under the same roof.

We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary which made me want to look through pictures of our wedding but also made me think about how far we’ve come! What?! I didn’t know everything there was to know about marriage at the ripe old age of 25?! HA, no!

Here are 10 of the lessons I’ve learned (yes, just 10 out of the millions of lessons) about making marriage work after you find the love of your life finds you (moves to DC, convinces you that he’s the only one for you and takes you back to your hometown to have two kids):😘

  1. Make smart deals – Before we got married, we made a list of our non-negotiables – a list of our biggest requests from each other. We really got into the weeds and picked our top 3 or 4 things that we thought we’d be able to keep up. For example: After being a bachelor for several years, John really, really, really, really wanted home cooked meals. While I don’t mind cooking, putting together a full dinner every night was definitely not a top priority for me. However, he offered to always do the dishes when I cooked. BINGO! We had a deal. Now, I have a full dinner 4 or 5 nights a week (SAMS is your friend, people!! Flounder + steamed broccoli + rice = dinner) and leave the dishes for John. If either us starts slacking, the other has some leverage. Ha.
  2. Be your spouse’s biggest fan – I guess I’ve always thought John was good at his job, so that part was easy. It was all the other stuff that we learned together about keeping up a house, taking care of our kids, or making big decisions that had us questioning each other’s ability (ok, mostly me questioning…) to do things the right way. Learning that my way isn’t the only way (although usually the best way….he he) was a serious milestone for this independent girl.
  3. Keep letters/gifts/mementos of your favorite memories around – John is really good about keeping notes/cards. I am not so good. I’m more of a picture kind of person. A way around that is a Pinterest board! We have pinned our special vacations, restaurants and gifts. When times are harder, it’s a great reminder of all of the fun things we’ve done, moments we’ve shared and bucket list of adventures that we have to look forward to.
  4. Lay down the sword (or get two tubes of toothpaste) – Seriously, there are just some things that aren’t worth it. I don’t know why I thought we had to share everything and agree on everything. O.M.G. It was so life giving to learn to “agree to disagree” about the things that aren’t pillars of the relationship (e.g. politics).
  5. Do what works for you – Ever heard that you shouldn’t go to bed mad? That’s actually one of the best things John and I can do! I used to be quite the night owl, but these days (ahem…two toddlers) I pretty much shut down around 10:30pm.  Anyone else get irrational and overly emotional when you are tired?! Yeah, me too. If a disagreement crops up when one of us is tired, it goes downhill fast. We do well to hold our tongues and discuss the next day. Many times it wasn’t even a big deal and we forget it and move on.
  6. Spend time together! I never understood the concept of “date night” before we had kids, but now totally get it. Planning one night a week (or month) to just be “us” has been so beneficial for our sanity relationship. Don’t forget to do the things you did together before you got married. After all, these are fun things that got this relationship to the alter. As our relationship grows and morphs, things we do together have changed too. We can’t take two toddlers to the tennis courts and risk them getting pelted with 50 mph balls.  While we still make time for it occasionally (the babysitting money is totally worth it); a lot of times we would rather spend time having an adult conversation over a relaxing meal.😅
  7. Take interest in what your spouse likes (and remember what you like) – I’m still not awesome at this (primarily because I’m worried it entails hours playing Mario Kart…he he, just kidding). John is good at this. He *pretends* to be excited about good deals I’ve found for clothes/groceries/anything at Target, lives at the pool in the summer, indulges my excitement about Disney World, and listens to my rants about the latest issue in the news. It is also good to have separate interests! Putting pressure on our spouse to be our “everything” is a lot for anyone to bear.
  8. Communicate and be flexible – I have to admit, John and I both are the opposite of flexible, so this has taken some work. (*Note: we are still working on this*) No one likes stepping out of their comfort zone and doing things that they don’t want to or don’t think is the best way, but I’ve noticed that when one of us does this, it makes the other want to do the same (occasionally). Communication is hard for anyone. John is crazy tech savvy, so even the thought of adding information to a paper calendar has him cringing. We have set up a family calendar on our phones and are able to add in doctor’s appointments, who is picking up the kids on what day, and any other piece of information that the other should know. This has saved us a TON of irritation about forgetting to tell the other about the-family-trip-we-have-had-planned-for-two-months thing.
  9. Divide and Conquer – This is especially important for parents. John and I have tried to do it all and then tried the divide and conquer technique. I’ll tell ya, DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL! That will just burn you out and make you tired and grumpy (see #5). Team work makes the dream work. 😂
  10. Show Love – This one seems like it should be the easiest right? I think sometimes its the thing that goes by the wayside. For us, it can be as easy as stocking the Coke Zero stash or stalking the ADIDAS website until I can score a pair of the latest NMD shoes (you can probably tell the love language here right?!😄). Speaking of Love Language, check this out to see what yours and your spouses’ are: Love Language Quiz.

What things have you learned in your years of marriage? Tips? Secrets? New Ideas? We’d LOVE to hear from you.

✌❤💑,

Lauren

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Said No One Ever

Remember back to middle school? We had those scrunchies, wore braces and raisin-colored lipstick, listened to our music with walkmans, watched Clueless, and let’s not forget our Backstreet Boys posters. To get a look into how things are in the 2017’s, I’m deferring to one of my besties, May. She is a middle school counselor (bless her) in Maryland and always provides me with good insight. Here are some of her thoughts (with some of my commentary) that will be useful for not only middle school parents but all of us!

 

 

There’s something deeply powerful about backwards mapping—the concept of beginning with the end in mind, of connecting outcomes to the decisions we’re about to make. The process is widely used in educational settings as well as in day-to-day decision making. It can be as simple as, “I don’t want my tongue to be blue, so I won’t eat that blue jolly rancher,” or “I want to fit in my pants, so I’ll lower my calorie intake this week.” (Been there!)

As a middle school counselor, I’m always looking for ways to get kids to consider the consequences of the present decisions they are making. This is a difficult task – certainly not for the faint of heart. Developmentally, adolescents are generally impulsive and present-focused, giving little thought to what will come tomorrow. They are naturally impatient, much like toddlers. (Wow, so this doesn’t end?!) But while they embody many raw and intense qualities, I have found that they are painfully accurate reflections of the state of our self-focused culture.

While most of us are well past our middle school years, we often find ourselves facing similar issues (we just don’t have the same excuse that they do!).  So when I impart words of wisdom to them, I’m really talking to myself as well. When you’re trying to get through to middle schoolers, I have discovered that it takes a healthy combination of pithy + snarky + humorous. So, in my quest to communicate how particular actions or inactions produce wanted or unwanted consequences, I have begun using a phrase which really puts things into perspective in a powerful, soundbite that is palatable to the middle school brain (and to my old middle school brain).  Said no one ever. For example, “I’m glad I ate that entire box of Swiss Rolls…said no one ever” (sounds delicious…) or, “I’m glad I didn’t put sunscreen on…said no one ever.”

Here are some that I’ve shared with my middle schoolers to get them to think:


“I wish I had posted that inappropriate picture of myself…said no one ever”
“I wish I had thought more about myself than others…said no one ever”
“I wish I had tried to impress people more…said no one ever”
“I wish I had taken more selfies…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I cheated on that test…said no one ever”
“I wish I had made more lame excuses about why I didn’t do my work…said no one ever”

Most of us have lived long enough to partake of the regret that comes from careless living. So, here is my meager offering as a challenge to the rest of us “old middle schoolers”:

When it comes to life choices:
“I’m glad I spent 2 hours Facebook more…said no one ever”
“I sure wish I had racked up more debt…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I procrastinated taking care of my health… said no one ever” (Eeeek!)
“I’m glad I keep staying awake at night on my phone…said no one ever”
“I should scrutinize myself more in the mirror…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I gossiped today…said no one ever”
“I should really binge-watch more Netflix… said no one ever” (Ouch!!)
“I’m glad I refused to donate that dollar to St. Jude’s at the cash register…said no one ever”
“I really glad I worried today…said no one ever”
“I wish I had smiled less…said no one ever”
“I wish I had put off pursuing my dreams…said no one ever” (Boom.)
“I’m glad I keep comparing myself to people I think are more successful than me…said no ever”
“Boy, I’m glad I planned every square inch of my day without time to relax today…said no one ever”
“I sure am glad we postponed our trip to Europe again…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I was so controlling today…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I didn’t let that car into my lane of traffic so he had to wait…said no one ever (Except when you’ve been waiting over two hours to get over the Canadian border, am I right May?!)
“I’m glad I did a mediocre job” – said no one ever

When it comes to relationships:
“I’m glad I hung onto that grudge for 20 years…said no one ever” (oooh…)
“I wish I had kept the truth from people I love…said no one ever”
“I wish I had spoken without a filter…said no one ever”
“I’m wish I had taken my mom and dad for granted…said no one ever”
“I wish I had dismissed other’s perspectives more…said no one ever”
“I wish I had spent less time with my family…said no one ever”
“I wish I had been less patient… said no one ever” (I hear that collective groan, parents!)
“I wish I hadn’t been so forgiving…said no one ever”
“I wish I had insisted I was right more…said no one ever”
“I wish I had assumed the worst about people more…said no one ever”

When it comes to spirituality:
“I wish I hadn’t read the Bible so much…said no one ever”
“I wish I hadn’t prayed more…said no one ever”
“I’m glad I didn’t stand up for what I believe…said no one ever” (whew, May!)

Reading this list leaves me stinging with regret. I think I hear a resounding OUCH coming from all of us. But the sting is good, because we still have time. Time to start living in the light of who we want to be. And time to minimize future regrets. We need to think past this moment. What will “future you” wish you had or hadn’t done? Socrates famously claimed “the unexamined life is not worth living.” If he was right (and most of the time, he was), then I don’t think any of us will ever be wishing we were less intentional with our time—or less focused on the person we want to become.

In other words, as say to my middle schoolers, “I’m glad I don’t think about the consequences of my decisions…said no one, ever.”

 

I mean, mic drop, May – thanks for the words of wisdom! I hope this helps you all, as much as it did me, to take a minute, step back and get some perspective.

 

Guest contributor May Novalis hails from Maryland, where she’s worked with middle schoolers for the last 10 years.  She loves puns, Nutella, Masterpiece theater, morning coffee and connecting with people. You can find May here on SoundCloud!

 

XOXO,

Lauren

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What I Wish Everyone Knew About Motherhood

“You are the trip I did not take;

You are the pearls I could not buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky. //

You are my Honolulu moon;
You are the book I did not write;
You are my heart’s unuttered tune:
You are a candle in my night. //

You are the flower beneath the snow;
In my dark sky a bit of blue;
Answering Disappointment’s blow
With ‘I am happy! I have you!'” -Anne Campbell //

 

 

For me, this sums up #motherhood and parenthood in a nutshell. The sacrifices we make as mothers are real. The sacrifices are costly. Perhaps you’ve had to put certain hopes and dreams on hold to prioritize current family needs. Perhaps life didn’t turn out quite as rosy as you once upon a time imagined it would be. I can sometimes be hard on myself about where I think I should be during this stage of my life. Being self-motivated certainly has its pros and cons! It’s tempting to entertain these futile “coulda, woulda, shoulda” thoughts. But I take one look at my kids, I see what amazing miracles both of them are, and all those fears and regrets fly right out the window. My kids have a way of keeping me centered. Their love and trust in me as their mama humbles me. They help me to remember what is most important in this world and that life, as hard and messy as it can be sometimes, is beautiful.

 

Guest Contributor Sarah Brown is a happy wife, proud mama, and relentless real estate agent living la vida loca in Washington, DC. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, pretending like she knows what she’s doing in her garden, spending time with family and friends, and perfecting her sea salt caramel chocolate chip cookie recipe. You can find Sarah on Instagram @sarahbrowndc!

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10 Types of Moms – Which one are you?

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, here are 10 types of moms I’ve become intimately acquainted with in my three short years as a mother:

1. The Pinterest Mom – I’m not talking about the mom that looks at Pinterest and pins interesting crafts/recipes/outfits. I’m talking about that mom that is so creative she comes up with original ideas or improves upon the original pin.

 

 

2. The Sports/Dance/Cheer Mom – This mom’s casual wardrobe consists of sports t-shirts from the kids’ soccer/little league/football teams or cheer/dance competitions. You will find extra sets of socks, jerseys, athletic shoes, hair ties, and towels in her car. She can also rattle off the most healthy choices at each fast food restaurant in a 10 mile radius.

 

 

3. The Mom of Multiples – She is laid back, doesn’t give a $%!& about all the things first-time moms stress about. She laughs and talks with other moms while her kids are climbing the walls; only stopping the conversation when experience tells her they are going to inflict bodily harm on themselves or others.

 

 

4. The Germaphobe Mom – You know her because she has a mini bottle of hand sanitizer hanging from her bag. In case of a spill, you want her around with her endless supply of Clorox wipes, pacifier wipes, and tissues.

 

 

5. The Efficient Mom – She figures out anything that will make things easier/cheaper/faster. She wants to rock her job and spend time loving her kids; while keeping a smile on her face. You want to know one of these moms! She will make your life so much easier.

 

 

6. The PTA Mom – This mom is a teacher’s dream. She is everywhere and does everything for her kid’s school. Need someone to bring snacks? Need another costume for the end-of-year program? Need someone to coordinate a class gift for the teacher? She’s your girl. Volunteering should be on her resume.

 

 

7. The Rainbow Baby Mom – She is infinitely grateful for her kid(s) and reminds you, in the best of ways, to really appreciate motherhood. Find one of these people! She will be the sun to your clouds.

 

 

8. The Granola Mom – Natural, Organic, Free Range, Fair Trade, Non-GMO, Cage Free, and Grass Fed are part of her vocab. She makes her own baby food and only gives her fam the best in nutrition.

 

 

9. The Celebration Mom – She throws the most elaborate gender reveals, first birthday and every milestone. She makes everything special and loves making memories. Her child is the center of her universe.

 

 

11. The Fit Mom – We all hate her (unless you are her). She looks fabulous two months after giving birth. She is so disciplined that she gets her 3-10 miles in every day. The jogging stroller and then the double jogging stroller are necessities. Her workout clothes and running shoes are some of the most expensive things in her wardrobe. She motivates you to get off the couch and take a walk around the block.

 

 

While some of these mommas may not represent the “type” they are listed under, they are all MY.PEOPLE. They have helped keep me sane and provided SO many hours of laughter. Thank you mom friends!

Let me know which type of mom you and your friends are!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Find Your Tribe, Love Them Fiercely

 

Welcome to the Jungle! We hope that this blog provides you with a place to escape reality. A place to laugh and cry. And, most importantly, a place to relate. A place where you can say, “these are my people.”

Several friends have asked me why I’m doing this. Why put yourself out there? Aren’t you nervous? Well, the answer is, I’m doing this because I want to be your safe haven. I want to be a beacon of love, laughter and positive energy. My sole purpose is to be an encourager and a validator. I want to be the person that says “Good Job, Momma! You’re doing awesome. That’s, right. YOU!”

Every day we face new obstacles. Some days are easier than others. Some days I feel like I’ve got all my ducks in a row and some days I feel like I have squirrels at a rave. There are times that I’m crazy enough to think *this is easy.* Then life slaps me right in the face and I realize that nothing about being a 30-something wife and mother is easy. Every day presents new challenges. But I’m here to remind you that you’re doing awesome. It’s ok if your kids ate cereal for dinner three days in a row. It’s ok that you grabbed that shirt out of the dirty laundry and febreezed it. It’s ok if you only half-listened to the ramblings of your delirious toddler at bedtime. And it’s ok if you selfishly chose a little gym time over family time today. No matter what, you’re doing ok.

Over the years, more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself looking at other women and constantly measuring myself up to them. The desire to do this becomes even stronger when you become a wife and mother. Constantly wondering how ‘she’ does it all, yet you’re so tired by 8 p.m. that you literally collapse in the bed, once again, and decide that the pile of laundry can wait just one.more.day.

How does ‘she’ find time to work a full time job, exercise daily, be the PTO President, volunteer for non-profits, and be an adorable trophy wife all at the same time? In your mind, it just doesn’t seem fair. The grass always seems greener. Then you beat yourself up, repeatedly. But I’m here to share a little secret with you. ‘She’ looks at you with the same admiration. ‘She’ sees your strengths and focuses on her own weaknesses. ‘She’ isn’t perfect and neither are you. And that’s OK! Perfection is only in magazines and movies. Be real. Just keep doing you. Because that’s exactly what this world needs.

My biggest piece of advice for you (not that you ASKED for it) is to surround yourself with women who build you up and never tear you down. Real queens fix each other’s crowns. Be the energy that you want to attract. Your vibe attracts your tribe. And I have to tell you, I have the best ‘tribe’ this side of the Mississippi. I don’t know how I would survive without my girlfriends and our constant rant sessions. Every day I’m thankful for them and the role they play in my life. Find your tribe and support them fiercely. If you don’t have a tribe, we hope you will join ours here at Glitter Jungle. We hope that you hang around and enjoy this ride with us. Because, trust me, it’s a Glitter Jungle ‘round here, y’all.

XOXO
Jill

P.S. – For all of our male followers, I realize this post was literally dripping with estrogen but, stay tuned. We promise to keep you entertained, too! And, who knows, we might just teach you a thing or two about the ladies in your life.

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