Wednesday, June 29, 2016

To the Public Health Nurse Who Saved My Family

Dear Public Health Nurse,

You saved me.  You probably aren't aware of the impact you have had on my family, but I want to tell you that you saved me.

You first started coming to our house 2 years ago to do weekly weight checks on Davy, who had recently gotten his G Tube

You rejoiced with me over each ounce that Davy gained and mourned with me over each ounce that he lost.  You noticed how Anna was also very tiny for her age and started weighing her too, taking a load off my mind as I could finally see tangible evidence of her slow, but steady growth.

To the Public Health Nurse Who Saved My FamilyBut, you didn't just weigh Davy on your portable scale and then leave each week.  You stayed for a while, and you let me talk.  You showed me how to deal with the stress of being a medical mama.  You let me cry and sometimes, you gave me a hug before you left.  You gave me ways to balance Davy's care with the needs of my 3 older kids.  You helped me figure out how to handle sweet little toddler Anna when she acted out to get attention and made me pull my hair out in frustration.  You researched and printed off articles for whatever parenting issue I was currently dealing with, and you gave me valuable information on feeding a failure to thrive child.  You encouraged me to lean on my friends and my family when I didn't have the courage to ask for help.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

85 Totally Awesome Summer Activities for Kids + a Printable

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

When I was asked the question for the 874th time that day, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"Well, if you're so bored, go clean your room!"

Yeah, that went over well with the child who had posed the question. *insert sarcasm here*

About 1 1/2 days into summer break, I realized that I needed a plan which meant that I needed a list.

85 Totally Awesome Summer Activities for Kids with a Printable

Monday, June 27, 2016

Surviving and Thriving When Things Get Tough

Last week was tough.  It was exhausting, heart-breaking, joyful, and tough.

On Monday, I spent almost 8 hours in the car driving Katie to her very first week of summer camp.  As I dropped her and her luggage off at her cabin, I had to ask her for a hug before I left.  Then she was all, "Love you, Mom. Bye." before she walked into her cabin without a backward glance.  I stood outside for a minute trying to absorb what had just happened.  Did my sweet little 8 year old really leave me for a week that easily?  Where were the tears?  Where were the extra hugs as she tried to keep me there as long as possible.  Was this really it?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gutsy Goodness Review and Coupon Code

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

I was searching Etsy for products for my Mother's Day Etsy Finds post when this necklace from a shop called Gutsy Goodness caught my eye.
Invisible Illness Awareness Pendant
Having been recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is often referred to as an invisible illness, the necklace struck a chord with me.  Although I have Ehlers Danlos, I still have hope.  Hope in God.  Hope for the future.  Hope that by the time my children are older, the doctors will know more about treating this awful genetic disease.

I ordered the necklace and messaged the owner to let her know how much I liked it.  She responded and over the course of several convos on Etsy, we got to know each other.

Friday, June 17, 2016

How My Son Taught Me a Valuable Parenting Lesson + a Free Printable

A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen slaving over a gourmet dinner for my family.  And by gourmet, I mean I sprinkled some fancy shredded mozzarella cheese on a Hamburger Helper meal.  The kids were in the living room trying to kill each other playing when I heard this...   

"You be the daddy, I'll be the mommy, and Anna and Davy can be the babies."

What Example Are YOU Setting For Your Kids?Awwww, how cute.  They were playing "house."  I kept one ear and eye on the kids while I stirred the pot of simmering pasta on the stove.

8 year old Katie took her role as mommy very seriously in the game, giving hugs to Anna (3 years old) when she pretended to have an owie and finding a toy for Davy (2 years old) to play with.  6 year old Nano, in his part as the daddy, sat down on the couch with my library book on his lap.

Now I was intrigued.  Kids tend to emulate their parents while playing "house," but Hubby doesn't have time to read books so I wasn't sure what Nano was doing.

Nano sat on the couch flipping through pages in my book for about 10 minutes while Katie stayed busy taking care of her two younger siblings/children and cooking in the kids' play kitchen.  Then he put the book down, put his red baseball cap on, and declared that he was heading to the farm before going into his room to play with his tractors.  I stopped him as he passed by the kitchen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Newsletter and 5 FREE Printables!

Who loves printables? *raises hand*  Who loves getting stuff for free? *raises hand and waves frantically in the air*

Everything I've read about blogging in the last couple of months has emphasized the importance of having an email newsletter so I finally bit the bullet and designed one :)

It will be sent out once a week and include a recap of the last week's blog posts, a personal note from me, occasional freebies and special deals that will only be available to my subscribers, and more!

Everyone who subscribes will receive these 5 free printables in PDF form.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why I'm Not Ashamed to be on Government Assistance

I'm going to come right out and say it.

My family is on WIC, a government assistance program that stands for Women, Infant, and Children.  We have been on it since Katie was a baby.  It provides milk, infant formula, fruits and veggies, bread, cheese, and more to pregnant and nursing women, and children under the age of 5.

If we needed to be on food stamps or any other welfare program, I would be okay with that too.

Friday, June 10, 2016

15 Ways To Support Parents of Children With Feeding Issues

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

It's dinner time and you know it's going to be a battle that will end with your toddler throwing his or her food on the floor or refusing to touch a vegetable because "it's yucky. *insert prolonged whine here*"  

While this is a common problem for many parents, what you may not know is that sometimes it goes beyond picky eating.

My kids are picky eaters and have all, at one time or another, given me countless headaches with their unpredictable and seemingly non-nutritious eating habits.  But when now 2-year-old Davy ended up getting a feeding tube at the age of 2 months, I was thrown into a world I never knew existed.

 15 Ways To Support Parents of Children With Feeding Issues

Sure, I'd heard of teens and adults struggling with eating disorders, but it never occurred to me that babies and children could too.  I soon found out that picky eating and a feeding disorder are two vastly different things.      
It's unknown how many children have pediatric feeding disorders and other feeding issues, but there are more than most people realize.  Just a few of the many reasons for a child's inability to eat are GERD, aspiration, allergies, motility issues, etc.  The list is extensive (you can see a partial list here), and sometimes a cause is never actually found.

Tubie Mama shirt from Sunshine and Spoons
Available in the Sunshine and Spoons Shop

Not all kids with feeding disorders need a feeding tube.  A lot are able to eat food orally, but have sensory issues or need high calorie supplements to avoid losing weight.

Parents of little ones with feeding issues face a lot of challenges and often feel misunderstood and like they don't have support.  Well-meaning friends and relatives can unknowingly make things worse.    

Here are 15 ways you can support a parent of a child with feeding issues.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

12 Must Have Apps for a Busy Mom

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

12 Must Have Apps for a Busy MomAt Walmart a few weeks ago, I pulled out my dinky little non-smart cell phone, and the cashier was aghast.

"I don't think I've ever seen such an old phone!"

Thanks, Mr. Cashier.  Did I just hear an offer to buy me a new phone?  No?  Okay, moving on then.

What the cashier didn't see though was my tablet sitting at home next to my favorite chair.  It doesn't have a data plan, but it does have Wifi capability.  So while I may be old school in public, at home I'm rocking my favorite apps.

You know how it grab your phone (or tablet in my case) to check something and then when you put it back down a few minutes later, 4 hours have magically passed.

Or maybe that's just me.

Smart phones and tablets can definitely be time wasters, but they can also be time savers and make your life a whole lot easier.

Here are 12 apps that I can't live without.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

How Facebook Helped Me Find My Tribe

As I dropped the last of the bags from Davy's 9 day hospital stay in the middle of the living room, I paused to look around.  So much had changed since I was there last, in more ways than one.  

We had recently moved into our new house, and I hadn't had a chance to unpack or rearrange furniture since my time was consumed with trying to get 2 month old Davy to eat and running him to doctors' appointments.  So, during Davy's most recent hospital stay, during which he had surgery to place a G Tube, my in-laws had spent several long days putting my house together.  I had left a house full of boxes and come back to a home.

My family and friends had all pitched in to take care of the 3 older kids while I was at the hospital with Davy and Hubby was at work.  Before being discharged, one of our doctors quizzed us to make sure we had a support system in place since he knew we weren't in for an easy ride.  He was impressed with how everyone came together to help us.  My family definitely wasn't in this alone.

How Facebook Helped Me Find My Tribe

And yet, we still were.  No one I knew had ever had a feeding tube.  I didn't know anyone else who was going through an experience similar to our situation with a medically complex baby.  People were so caring and empathetic and yet, no matter how hard they tried, there was no way that they could truly know how I felt.  So while we had an amazing support system in place, it wasn't the only support system I needed right then.  I needed a tribe.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Becoming a Medical Mom Review

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  
Several days into Davy's 9 day hospital stay at the age of 2 months, I realized that I knew nothing.  I felt ignored by the doctors and confused by the terminology.  I constantly thought of questions to ask, but forgot by the time a doctor made it into the room.  I cried frequently, unable to figure out how to deal with the fact that there was something wrong with my baby boy.  I wanted to know why this was happening.

Becoming a Medical Mom Review

When we were discharged, it only got worse.  In desperation, I bought a plain spiral bound notebook, the kind I used to use in grade school, to try to keep track of all the information and questions I had for Davy's many medical concerns.  I stumbled along and eventually came up with a coping system for navigating my new life as a medical mom.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

15 Ways You Can Use 60 mL Syringes

In my basement, I have a cardboard box full of syringes stashed in a corner.  No, I'm not a drug dealer, these syringes don't even have needles.  I'm a former tubie mom (mom of a child with a feeding tube.)  My youngest son, Davy, had a G Tube for 18 months, but got it removed in September 2015, leaving us with a ton of extra tube feeding supplies.  So what to do with all those syringes?

15 Ways You Can Use 60 mL Syringes

However, I've found so many uses for the cath tip 60 mL syringes that I've turned into a hoarder and am praying I never run out.

I put together a list of ideas from me and a few other tubie moms of ways you can use 60 mL syringes.