Saturday, August 27, 2016

Victory Junction: Where Kids with Medical Needs Can Be Kids

I was compensated for this post.  All opinions formed are mine. I don't recommend products, companies, etc to my readers unless it's something I truly believe in.

I think we can all agree that every child deserves the chance to be a kid and enjoy life.  That's why we have child labor laws, why toy companies flourish, and why so many parenting books have sections or chapters on letting kids play.

But for kids with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses who spend much of their time at doctors' offices, therapies, and in the hospital, they don't get many opportunities to be a regular kid. They often feel isolated from their peers and lonely. 

That's where Victory Junction comes in.

Victory Junction is a camp located in Randleman, North Carolina and is open to kids between the ages of six and 16 at no cost to the campers or their families.  It provides the chance for chronically or seriously ill children to take a break and just be a kid while in a safe and medically-sound environment.  Their belief statement says it all:

"At Victory Junction, we believe that every child, no matter their illness or diagnosis, should enjoy normal childhood experiences."  

The Nascar themed Victory Camp was started in 2004 by the racecar-driving Petty family in memory of 19 year old Adam Petty, who lost his life in a racing accident.  Adam had the opportunity to visit a similar camp in Florida and dreamed of opening one in North Carolina before his passing.  His parents were able to fulfill his dream by opening Victory Camp.  The camp has hosted over 23,000 campers since it opened.  Programs are also available for families and kids 17-22.

Some of the illnesses served at the Victory Junction are:
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Burn Survivors
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Heart Disease
  • Immunologic Disorders
  • Kidney Disorders
  • Lung Disease
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Rheumatologic Disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Skin Disorders

Each camper's case is carefully reviewed by the camp's medical team to ensure that the proper care continues during their time at Victory Junction.  The medical facility at the camp is called The Body Shop, keeping with the Nascar theme.     

Reading what some of the campers have said about their time at Victory Junction really shows how special the experience is for them.
  • “I was diagnosed a few months ago and this was the first time I was able to forget about my illness.”  - Camper Emma, 16
  • “When you’re diagnosed everything is taken from you, but everything is given back to you here. “ - Anonymous Camper
  • “It makes me the happiest when I get the chance to come to this camp.”   - Camper Chloe, 9

It's not just the campers that benefit though.  These testimonials from parents of campers demonstrate the far-reaching effect that it has. 
  • “Victory Junction is a blessing to my family because it provided my daughter with opportunities that she may not have gotten elsewhere and time to go away from home and make friends with kids who had similar physical struggles and not feel different.” 
  • “It's a blessing for parents especially those that are full time care givers. The break is short but the best gift imaginable. We can sleep in, go to the grocery store without a game plan, simple things nothing major.”​
@VictoryJunction is a camp where chronically/seriously ill kids can have fun & forget about their diagnosis.

Victory Junction is accredited by the American Camping Association and a member of SeriousFun Children’s Network, founded by Paul Newman.  It is a 501(c)(3) not for profit charity supported through the generosity of individual, corporate and foundation donations.  You can find out more about supporting Victory Junction here.

Find Victory Junction on:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

I hope you enjoyed learning about Victory Junction as much as I did!  Drop a comment and let me know if you know a child who would enjoy being a camper there!

             9 Tips for Special Needs Parents

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

10 Rookie Parenting Mistakes I Still Make

I've been a mom for over 8 years now.  During that time, I've made a lot of mistakes.  One would think that 8 years and 4 kids later, I would have learned from my mistakes and would be a little smarter, but...

I have two words for you...Mom Brain. *insert spooky background noise here*  

Here are 10 rookie parenting mistakes that I still make.  Repeatedly.  

1. Vacuuming the dining room floor while the toddler is still eating in his booster seat.  Even if, by some miracle, he doesn't throw half of his food on the floor while laughing hysterically, it will rain mushed up food when I take him out of the booster seat. 

2. Forgetting to pack diapers in the diaper bag.  I have done this with each one of my kids.  One memorable time was when I forgot to take any diapers to church and Anna had not one, but two very messy diapers while we were there.  The first time it happened, I begged a too-small diaper from my sister-in-law, but the second time, I was too embarrassed to ask again.  Thankfully church was almost over so I borrowed a rag from my mom with which to line Anna's carseat and took my oozing, smelly child home.  FYI, after that incident, I left a stack of diapers in the church nursery. 

3. Forgetting to pack an extra outfit in the diaper bag.  All four of my kids have, at some point or another (multiple times), gone home from an event wrapped in a blanket or wearing their much bigger cousin's outfit.  You know, because my sister always remembers to bring extra outfits for her kids.  Showoff.

4. Planning errands during naptime.  Last year, I took the kids to the county fair during naptime, sugared them up with mini donuts, and then took them grocery shopping before heading home.  Yes, I am that dumb, and I don't think the grocery store employees were ever happier to see us leave. 

5. Trying to clean and organize the kids' toys while they are home and awake.  It's like eating oreos while brushing your teeth.  Completely pointless.  And yet, I keep trying to do it. 

6. Assuming that silence means the kids are actually napping during naptime.  Every mom knows that silence is to be feared when you have kids.  Sometimes, though, I'm so desperate for the kids to nap so I can finally work, that I let myself believe that the silence means the little angels are in fact sawing zzz's.  And I always pay for it later.

7. Letting the kids nap too late in the afternoon.  Doing this means that they will then assume that their bedtime can be moved to the AM hours.  This also applies to letting your 6 year old sleep in until 11 am which is something I may or may not have done last week.

8. Not hiding the permanent markers.  Seriously.  It's like I don't even use my brain sometimes. 

9. Assuming that the kids won't get into any trouble in the 4.8 minutes it takes for me to take a "mom shower" (a "mom shower" consists of jumping into the shower, throwing soap all over myself, jumping out, and getting dressed while still dripping wet all while listening for suspicious noises which include, but are not limited to crying, screaming, thuds, bangs, and silence).

10. Relaxing for 2 seconds.  Being a mom means that you're always "on."  There is no relaxing.  Ever.  See all of the above for reasons why.
10 rookie parenting mistakes I still make. How about you?

What rookie parenting mistakes have you made?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Share the Love Social Media Linkup #15 - Facebook

Welcome to the Share the Love Saturday Link-Up!  I'm so glad you could join us!

Today we're linking up our Facebook pages!

Share the Love Saturdays - A Social Media Link-up

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Share the Love Social Media Link #14 - Pinterest

Welcome to the Share the Love Saturday Link-Up!  I'm so glad you could join us!

Today we're linking up our Pinterest accounts!

Share the Love Saturdays - A Social Media Link-up

Friday, August 12, 2016

Back to School Bundles with Gymboree & Stitch Fix

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

Who here doesn't like Gymboree?

I don't see any hands raised so I'm going to assume you all do.  Also, I can't actually see you so if you do have your hand raised, you're kind of out of luck.

So have you heard about Gymboree's new partnership with Stitch Fix?  Is your mind blown yet? I know mine is!  I love the cute, quality clothes that Gymboree has for kids and the way that Stitch Fix does the work of putting together an outfit for you. You get the best of both worlds (props to Hannah Montana for that line).

 Back to School Bundles with Gymboree & Stitch Fix

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Could You Have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing something through one of those links does not cost you anything extra, but it does help keep this blog going! 

With Ehlers Danlos Syndrome frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it's important that people know the signs of the genetic syndrome.  It's estimated that 1 in 2500 to 5000 have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or EDS, but so many people, including doctors just don't know what it is.  It's also estimated that 50% of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia actually have EDS.

Could you have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing something through one of those links does not cost you anything extra, but it does help keep this blog going!  

You may also like Could I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

Unless you've been diagnosed with it or know someone who has, you probably haven't heard of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  Among those who have heard of it, many don't actually know what it is.

What is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (pronounced ay-lers dan-lohse) is a collection of genetic connective tissue disorders.  It affects the body's collagen which can lead to symptoms in every part of the body.  Collagen is the glue that holds the body together and when it's faulty, the body can literally fall apart.  Collagen can be found in the skin, eyes, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, organs, gums, etc. which means that all of those systems can have issues due to EDS.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Share the Love Social Media Linkup #13 - Instagram

Welcome to the Share the Love Saturday Link-Up!  I'm so glad you could join us!
Today we're linking up our Instagram accounts!

Share the Love Saturdays - A Social Media Link-up

Friday, August 5, 2016

Breast is Best...Until It Isn't

In case you haven't heard, it's World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), a time to raise awareness and increase education for breastfeeding.

It's a good thing, it really is.  But I've met more than one breastfeeding supporter who took the Breast is Best slogan just a little too far.  Breast is only best if it's working for both mom and baby. 

Let me fill you in on my history with breastfeeding so you'll see what I mean.

I breastfed Katie for a year.  It was an incredibly rough start, and we both cried a lot in the beginning.  I had to supplement with formula because no matter what I did, I just didn't have enough milk for her, but at least we made it to a year.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Special Needs Linkup #6

Welcome to the Special Needs Link Party!  I'm so glad you could join us!  This is a monthly linkup that will remain open until the next one.