Soda Talk

Who loves soda?  And who is strong enough and healthy enough to forego it?

assorted bottle and cans

I have had my ups and downs with it over the years.  I remember it being a treat when I was younger, then drinking it consistently as a teen.

I used to drink regular sodas…Pepsi, Coke (no I am not a die hard fan of either, I swap back and forth depending on my mood), Rootbeer (Barqs is my number one and Mug is my number two-I am not a fan of A&W) and Dr. Pepper.  My thoughts used to be, sugar is better for you than fake chemicals so I prefer regular soda over diet soda and prefer diabetes over cancer.

About 15 years ago, I switched to diet.  I decided my weight was too much of an issue to care about possibly getting diabetes or cancer and I just needed to watch my calories…..and giving up soda just wasn’t an option.

In the past 15 years, I have tried to give it up.  I have gone about nine months without a soda at one point.  One time, I even recall having a sip after a long while and disliking it.  Eventually, that feeling went away and I had another soda and was hooked.

I know that diabetes and cancer are real concerns drinking regular or diet soda.  I just can’t stop.  I have tried Zevia, sparkling flavored water, making my own sparkling water and adding rootbeer stevia and none of it measures up.  Zevia is the best soda option though.  It is made with stevia and erythritol and a lot of it does not even have caramel coloring.  If you can make the switch, I highly advise it.

For me, a nice refreshing fountain Coke Zero is amazing.  There is nothing like it.  Have you seen the commercial at the movie theater when they are pouring the soda in the cup of ice up close……ah it is so refreshing and gets me every time! Canned and bottle sodas don’t hold a torch to a good fountain soda.  Occasionally, the fountain will be over carbonated or too syrupy, but usually they are right on.  And my go-to for the past year or two is Coke Zero.

clear drinking glass filled with brown liquid and ice
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I know I need to stop drinking soda or at least cut back.  I haven’t found the right alternative yet.  I know that cancer is a real risk consuming so many artificial chemicals and I know how terribly ugly cancer can be, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to quit just yet.  One day!

Share your soda stories with me….

Mommy and Me

My girl and I did our first ever Mommy and Me Disney trip for my birthday last month.

We have been to Disneyland dozens of times together.  We have gone as a family with my son and husband. We have included my brother-in-law with our entire family.  We have gone with a couple of friends and their families.  But this was our first Mommy and Me trip.  And I was actually in the park on my birthday for the first time ever!

We like going in groups and switching up who rides with who.  We like staying together as a large group or separating into two smaller groups and meeting back up for various rides.  But going with just the two of us allowed us to go where we wanted, when we wanted.  We didn’t have to check with each person and ask who wanted to go where.  We didn’t have to compromise or have anyone upset.  We didn’t have to eat when we weren’t ready to eat.  We got to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  It was a different experience. One way wasn’t necessarily better or worse, just different.

Max Pass is still the only way to go.  Whether you have two people or fifteen, Max Pass is still the best option, even with the new daily rate of $15 per person.  Thankfully I bought the Max Pass option up front with my Annual Pass this last time.  We literally got every ride we wanted to do done in both Disneyland and California Adventure in 14 hours the first day.  We spent day two hitting up some of our favorites again and enjoying the parade and Animation Academy and checking out Downtown Disney and even enjoying the Christmas Caroling at the Grand Californian.  Day three was more of the same before we flew home that evening.

Being in the park for my actual birthday was fun.  Getting a pin on my true birthday was exciting.  For the first time, we rode in the double decker trolley on Main Street.  We sat upstairs in the front.  We waved as if we were princesses.  People smiled, laughed, recorded us.  Who cares?  It was fun and we will never see those people again.  It truly was a highlight of my day.

Holiday time in the parks is always amazing.  The decorations, the parade, the snow, they all make the season brighter.  We walked off the Winnie the Pooh ride and there literally were only two people in line to see Pooh, so we indulged.  We don’t typically get Pooh pics, but when there is no line, why not?

Every Disneyland trip makes new memories.  They are all special in their own way.  This one will be special because of the quality time I got with my teenage daughter.  We will remember riding the Jungle Cruise four times in three days, just because. We will remember acting like princesses on the trolley, just because.  We will remember Turtle Talk with Crush for her first time, just because.

Make memories.  Have fun.  Love on your kids.  And always remember, Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth.

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Teen Anxiety is Here….

A young, thin, beautiful, acne-free 17 year-old-girl…independent study, Starbucks, Christian Youth Theater, Bayside youth group, driving, dancing, theater…..sounds like a perfect daughter, right?  WRONG!

My daughter is gorgeous. She works, goes to school, is involved in theater, goes to church, has friends, no boyfriend, no drugs.  BUT she struggles immensely.  She is in a constant battle on the inside.

She is not the only one.  Many teenagers, girls and boys, struggle with mental illnesses.  Anxiety and depression are huge and can be easily masked and unseen to the naked eye in many instances.  They smile, laugh, hang out with friends, text, converse on SnapChat and Instagram and appear to be your normal teen.  Inside, they feel they don’t measure up.  They struggle talking in person and to adults.  They are sad.  They are scared.  They don’t know how to act. They want to have that fancy car, and get straight A’s in their AP classes, have the perfect hair with their nails done sporting designer clothes, and fit in with Miss Popularity.  The competition is fierce.  The standards they feel they have to live up to are enormous.  And then bring in the bullying that is outrageous in our era and the suicide attempts and completions that are happening and our teens have it TOUGH!

My daughter uses a special blend of oils I created for her before extra stressful events.  We mix Stress-A-Way, Peace and Calming, Lavender, Bergamot, Harmony, Release, Vetiver, Surrender and maybe another one or two oils I will toss in from time to time. She is working on consistency of drinking Ningxia Red daily and a dose of Natural Calm magnesium each night.  We are encouraging a healthier diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.  She wears a lava bead bracelet. She goes to therapy a few times a month to learn coping skills and ways to manage her depression and anxiety. We are encouraging 8-10 hours of sleep each night and some sweaty, heart pumping exercise most days of the week.  These things are hard for teens to fit in.  They want to drink Dutch Bros and eat Jack in the Box curly fries and stay up and gossip with their friends all night on Face Time.  Try encouraging more good and decreasing some of the not-so-good without saying NO to all the things that make them a silly teen.  As adults, we struggle with discipline for ourselves, eating right, exercising, budgeting, and so forth.  Kids are going to also.  Don’t expect perfection and don’t let them expect perfection from themselves either.

Being a nurse, I saw this in the Emergency Room a lot.  Being a mom of a teenaged girl, I see it daily.  Depression is real.  Anxiety is real.  Mental health is prevalent. Lift your kids up.  Talk positive light into them.  Tell them how amazing they are and all that they can accomplish but let them know you are there for them no matter what.  Hug them, even when they don’t want it. Ask what they are doing and with whom.  Be curious.  Be involved.  Be loving.  Be a friend but be a parent.  It’s our jobs to teach them and love them and to help them be the best version of themselves.

One final note to share with your loved ones….if you text “Home” to 741741 when you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis, a crisis worker will immediately text you back and continue to text with you. Yes, it works. I tried it and got an immediate response!