Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Mommy Lesson 700: Nothing to Lose Your Head Over

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I want to first start off by issuing an apology. This apology is to my daughter. Mommy is very, VERY sorry that you were unfortunate enough to bear witness to the events that unfolded this evening. I am certain that the shocking and unsettling incident that occurred will leave you slightly jaded. You may never look at mommy the same, or your Dollie for that matter. I hope that you can forgive me and maybe even forget my unfortunate mistake.

After enjoying a nice family dinner and playing at the play place in our local mall we arrived home just in time for pajamas and bedtime. While picking out her jammies Abi asked if we could change her special Christmas dolly out of her church clothes and into her pajamas too. I said sure and she proceeded to pick out a pair of pajamas for herself and her doll. She then sat down in the floor to change her dolly’s clothes. Peanut expertly removed the shoes and the jacket but struggled with the dress.

She looked to Super Mom for some help and I willingly obliged. I sat cross legged on the floor, the doll standing straight up with her arms up over her head. I nimbly pulled the dress up and over the top, in much the same fashion you would your own child. Things were going great until the dress became stuck around the dolls head. Now, typically when clothing becomes entangled around your child’s head you just tug a little harder. If that doesn’t work, you typically feel for a button or snap that you may have forgotten. If not button or snap is present you just pull really, really hard and eventually the child will be wrenched free of the offending outfit. This doesn’t work for dollies.

Want to know why? Because THEIR HEADS COME OFF! I tugged and pulled and felt the clothes suddenly give and come free of my daughters VERY special Dolly. I was grinning ear to ear until I heard my daughters surprised and terrified gasp. I followed her open mouthed stare to the the neck of the dolly. Smile gone, proud moment over, childhood ruined.

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Abi open and closed her mouth rapidly, rather fish like, gasping for air, unable to say anything. I frantically pulled the decapitated dolly head from the Chinese trap of a dress, and worked desperately to stick it back on. “Ha, oh dear, you know Peanut, um sometimes these things happen. But it’s REALLY easy to fix”. She sat and watched stunned as I attempted to cram dolls head onto dolls body. “She. Doesn’t. Have. A. Head.” I frowned, I mean the darn thing came off so easily, it should back on just as easily, right?

I crammed and twisted for what felt like hours, but I’m sure it was only seconds and finally with a satisfactory click the head snapped back on. I held her up triumphantly and realized that she was looking at me from her backside. “Oh!” I yelped, and quickly spun her head around to the front. I peeked at Abi and found her still sitting there, mouth stuck open. “Hey! Look, there, all better. Mommy fixed her! Yay mommy!” Abi narrowed her eyes at me and snatched her precious Dollie from the dangerous grasp of the beheadding mommy “You. Pulled. Her. Head. Off.”

My attempts at an apology fell upon deaf ears as she set about checking her doll out to insure that I hadn’t detached any other parts. She verified that both arms and legs were still attached before sending me a seething glance and placing her dolly safely in its sleeping bag. She smoothed her hair out and gave her a kiss and placed her gently beside her bed on the floor. Without a word, she looked at me with disappointment, and silently left the room shaking her head. She turned right at the door, sighed and said, “I don’t think that you should play with dolly again”.

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Down syndrome · Uncategorized

Are You Ready?

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I’m a baby blogger. I don’t mean that I neccessarily blog about babies, I just mean that I’m fairly new to the world of blogs, blogging and everything that comes with it. So I am going to blame my lack of posts on my newness. It has nothing to do with the holiday craziness, working, nursing a flu ridden husband back to health, trying and failing to prevent my children from catching the flu and pink eye, nursing them back to health and organizing, reorganizing and giving up at organizing the christmas gifts that my children were blessed with throughout the entire month of December.

However, I CANNOT let another moment go by without sharing this challenge for change that has been thrown down by an incredible woman. Katie at Changing the Face of Beauty has worked tirelessly since 2012 to change the perceptions of society. It started as a website highlighting children of all abilities through photography. The mission was simple; encouraged mainstream media and companies across the globe to include individuals of all ability in their advertisements and promotions. Katie’s intiiative has certainly changed perceptions and is continuing to gain momentum. And why shouldnt it? Why shouldn’t children and adults with disabilities have an opportunity to promote the brands that they know and love?

Recently Katie issued a challenge; #15in2015. The goal is to convince at LEAST 15 retailers to feature individuals representing a variety of abilities in their advertisements during 2015. Using the #IMREADY individuals across the globe have began calling out their favorite retailers, businesses, brands, and the like, challenging them to step up and join in! To be one of the first (of many I’m sure) to come along side this community and show their support for inclusion.

Changing the Face of Beauty has already made it super simple to join in and challenge whatever retailer you love the most. Take your choice of social media outlet and tag the business (or bussinesses) of your choosing. Add in a few hashtags including #IMREADY, #15in2015, #changingthefaceofbeauty and garnish with a photo! There you go, thats it. It wont take too long, and the resulting change will be monumental.

It can be easy to miss a few little voices, but the public cannot ignore the crowd chant “I AM READY!”. So go on, get to it! And remember “The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of MANY working together is better” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
 

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Gabe has called out #thechildrensplace, #oldnavy, #gymboree, #jellybeans, #thekidscourt, #melissa&doug, #walmart, #mobywrap, #medela, #brightstarts, #target, #carters, #mattel, #toysrus, and #playskool

Do you think they’re ready to represent?

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Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Mommy Lesson 251: Buzz Buzz Chirp Chirp

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The average family in the United States has 2.16 children. While it may be difficult to determine just how one would get .16th of a child, it’s not much of a stretch to say that a large number of children have siblings and almost every child will encounter at least one pregnant woman during their lives. Inevitably the visual of a woman’s swollen belly will provoke certain questions.

These questions might include; what’s in there? How does it come out? They might even ask; does that man have a baby in his tummy? While the majority of these questions are fairly easy to answer, one day your child will ask THE dreaded question; how did it get in there?

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Earlier today the kids and I were driving down the road. Ever curious, Abigail began questioning me about where we were going. I told her that we were headed to a baby shower. She wasn’t sure what that meant, so I elaborated a little further. “Umm, you remember when baby brother was in Mommies tummy and we had a big party for him while he was in there? That’s what we’re doing for the little baby in Shannon’s tummy”. Instead of further questions, she requested a cookie. Being before dinner I told her no, which led her to sit pouting in her car seat. After close to 10 minutes of silent contemplation Abi piped up with “Mommy, how did the baby get in her tummy?”

My fingers clenched the steering wheel and I felt the car serve sharply to the right. I started to stammer, stalling for time. As a mother of two, I am well aware of how they got in there. With my background as a labor and delivery nurse I am capable of remaining calm during high stress situations, yet my palms were beginning to sweat, my heart was racing and I could feel my cheeks getting red and warm. I quickly thought of and rejected several explanations inside my head and glanced into the rear view mirror. Abi sat looking at me, patiently awaiting an answer.

I licked my lips, trying to draw some moisture into my mouth, and took a big breath in, here goes nothing. “Um, well, Abs, um….”. My eyes darted frantically around the inside of the car, know my inquisitive daughter would not accept “they just do” as an answer. After what seemed like a millennium I found the answer, “Hey, Abi? You want a cookie?”

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Sometimes distraction is the best answer. Abi happily chewed her cookie and watched the scenery go by. Swallowing the last bite she glanced up and repeated her question, “But how do they get in there?”. Obviously another cookie was not the answer, I quickly calculated my additional options and settled on avoidance, “Hey, you know what? Why don’t you ask your daddy when he comes home?

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Uncategorized

Every Good and Perfect Gift

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There is a hustle and bustle this time of year that is both overwhelming and wonderful. The lights, ribbons, bows and decor that cover every inch of everything add to the ambience that is Christmas. Christmas is all about giving, right? You don’t have to look long to see advertisements for the latest and greatest gifts of the season. People going from here to there stocking up on goodies for those they love. Packages are prepared with care; their givers eagerly awaiting the moment the paper comes off and they see the look of joyful excitement in the recipients face.

Gifts come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are created and some are bought. Some gifts are appreciated, loved and treasured. Where some gifts are misunderstood, unwanted or discarded. Some gifts inspire jealousy, where some inspire hope. No two gifts are the same, even if they look exactly alike. How they are received makes them different.

Gifts are given in a multitude of ways. They can be wrapped in paper, placed in a festive bag with matching tissue paper, or covered in ribbons and bows. They can be packaged and shipped all over the world or hand delivered. Gifts can be displayed for those awaiting them to see and yearn over, or they can tucked away in hiding places awaiting discovery. Not all gifts arrive the same way, some actually come in a rather unique way….

Her hand was shaking as she attempted to push the hair out of her face. Her attempts were mostly futile as the beads of sweat had made her hair unmanageable and tangled. It clung to her neck with damp tendrils spilling out here and there down her back. Her shoulders hunched and heaved with each fatigued and haggard breath she took. Her entire body saturated with exhaustion. She held on desperately to the wooden pillar gritting her teeth, her knees week and wobbly. Just when she thought she couldn’t bear it any longer the pain slowly lessened, little by little until there it was only a memory. A memory seared permanently into her, making it difficult to concentrate on anything but it’s return. But she tried, oh how she tried, to push the thought out of her head. Her breathing slowed to a more manageable rhythm, in and out, in and out. With each breath she drew she attempted to redirect her thoughts, not on what was to come, but what had been and what would be.

She accepted the sip of drink offered to her, wetting her lips and nodding graciously. She only had time to release the beam, her life line, and stretch her aching fingers briefly before the next pain wracked her body. This time, try as she might, a whimper escaped through her clenched lips. The pain building and building until she felt that it would surely tear her in half. Legs and arms burning under the strain of her attempts to stay upright and trembling in response. Her knuckles were white, the circulation halted through the vice like grip of her fingers. And then, again, just when she felt she couldn’t take anymore, it lessened little by little until she could stand upright again. She drew in a harrowed breath and wiped the mingled sweat and tears from her face. She could hear the encouraging murmurs from those around her. Though soothing it brought little comfort.

As she began to feel the sharp ache and burn building, she attempted to put her thoughts elsewhere, outside of her pain ridden body. She deemed it impossible and considered for a moment shouting out, but muffled her noises into her outstretched arm. She didn’t know how, but something was telling her that it was almost over, she knew that her time was near. It was an unshakable sureness, but with it came the knowledge that the worst was yet to come. She drew in a deep breath and willed her mind into cooperation. I can do this, she told herself, I’ve almost made it.

She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, her mind floating back through the months before. It came to light on a day that began like many others. She awoke and began attending to her daily duties; preparing meals, drawing water and bringing it in and generally caring for the household. Consumed with her chores, she was suddenly startled by the visitor who had arrived without so much as a sound. So quiet was his approach that she didn’t notice him until he was mere feet away from her.

She had only just begun to catch her breath when he spoke, voice clear and with purpose “Mary, favored one, the Lord is with you”. She could feel herself begin to tremble slightly, uncertainty stealing her thoughts. He continued “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found grace with God. You shall have a son and He will be called Jesus, the Son of the Most High. He will reign, throughout the ages, with no end, as given to Him by his Father, God.”

She spoke slowly but deliberately, the terms of her engagement to Joseph clear in her mind, “How is this possible, as I have yet to marry?”
He answered her simply “Through the Holy Spirit, the power of the Most High, you will conceive. The child you bear shall be called Holy, Son of God”. Her answer was succinct “Let it be”. At that he left her to ponder his words, their meaning and her future.

The brief reprieve that her memories had given her was over, Mary could no longer escape the pain that was welling up inside her. She had a sudden sense of urgency and panic, she glanced around frantically, unsure of what she was searching for. The pain was no longer rhythmic, it was ceaseless and unrelenting. The tears poured freely now, and she no longer cared to stifle her cries. She could feel her heart throbbing in her chest, certain that it would explode before this torture had ended. She could sense her body directing her, urging her and guiding her as to where to focus her energy. She closed her eyes and clamped her hands onto the wood, a sound escaped her lips, a cross between a sigh and a moan.

She knew, it was almost time, she could sense it with every fiber of her body. She reached haphazardly for the linens and drew in as deep a breath as she could. With all of her might she willed her body to act and with a final triumphant yell she felt a life defining release and the pain ceased. She swiped at the tears blurring her vision, and reached out for Him. She could see that He was just as exhausted as she, and quickly urged Him to cry. As she crouched there, huddled with her miracle, he began to stir and fuss.

The joy that washed over her, hearing His voice for the first time left her feeling flushed and giddy. Her spirit soared and leapt as she stared into His eyes. She stroked His face, from temple to chin and kissed His smooth, spotless skin. She could feel the kick of His little feet against her side as she cuddled Him into her. She placed her finger in His unclenched hand and sighed with contentment as He closed His tiny fist around it. He was a gift, a perfect tiny and amazing gift. She knew that in too short a time, He would no longer be just hers to hold and cherish. He would become someone else’s miracle, someone else’s perfect and amazing gift. She had no doubt that He would grow to do great things and she was honored to be witness to it. But right now, He was her son, her blessed baby boy, her gift, and so she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger next to her….

The Bible tells us ‘that every good and perfect gift is from above’. God sent Jesus to be born of a woman, to grow, to teach, to heal and to ultimately be offered as a sacrifice in place of you and me. The gift of our salvation, hand delivered in the form of an innocent infant. This good and precious gift is available for all of us; prepared the same, packaged the same, delivered the same, but the difference is how it is received.

This gift has already been wrapped and delivered; it is sitting there, waiting and ready for you. The choice to receive it or not, is yours….

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Uncategorized

What in The Liebster?

 

Wow, it has been a busy couple of weeks, but I wanted to take some time to share some super exciting news; I was nominated TWICE for a Liebster Award. What in the world is that you ask? It’s a blog award given by other bloggers. In order to be nominated, another blogger must like your blog enough to nominate you! And then you are required to answer the questions they sent for you, nominate other bloggers, ask them questions and provide more tidbits of info about yourself.

Thank you, thank you to Jules and Sinziana for your nominations! I am so honored. I did answer each of your questions, however, I participated in the other “rules” one time only. (That was a lot of nominations and questions!!!). So here goes…..

Eleven questions from Sinziana

1. What is your favorite topic to write about?

I love writing about my children, because they’re pretty amazing and adorable and I am kind of find of them! My daughter is my mini me and a mirror into myself (woooo am I scary sometimes!) and my son is my little buddy (he’s kind of attached and so am I!).

2. What kind of free stuff do you like to offer to your readers?

Um, my amazing sense of humor, free of charge, no cost to you, at a moments notice it is available. I also try to offer my support. I write often about my experiences with my son who has Down syndrome and I attempt to be as transparent as possible. I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people through email and comments, and I always attempt to send some kind of response or encouragement.

3. What is your favorite color and where do you use it?

My favorite color is blue. Believe it or not though, there isn’t a lot of stuff that is in my house or wardrobe that is blue!

4. What are your favorite 3 Christmas movies?

Elf, The Christmas Story, and The Nativity

5. If you could change something in your life, what will you change and why?

I wish that I could convince myself to have more confidence when it comes to writing and sharing. I had a friend of mine suggest that I am a reluctant writer, I had to ponder that bit and decided that I am fine with writing and enjoy it immensely, I’m just a reluctant sharer.

6. What is your favorite magazine?

What are magazines? I haven’t had much time to read a magazine in a while. The ones that I do read consist of recipes, craft ideas and nursing journals (I do love me some nursing journals!).

7. Name 3 bloggers that inspire you – and their websites.

Meriah Nichols was she pens a blog called “A Little Moxie“. Her daughter has Down syndrome, but that isn’t what makes this blog so incredible. Meriah is a down to earth, realistic and take no crap from anyone kind of woman. I love her fresh perspective on life.

Amber at “Crazy Little Projects” is another one that I adore. I love to think of myself as crafty (a Pinterest mom wannabe) and her stuff is incredible and doable! I have used a lot of her tutorials for crafts for the kids and to inspire things of my own.

Katie at “For Elysium” challenges me. She also write with a sense of transparency that I appreciate. She loves her children fiercely and is willing to advocate and be a champion for change for her family.

8. What Social Media platform do you prefer?

I like Facebook, a lot. I have a twitter account, but I always have too much to say when it comes to tweeting.

9. What is your dress style?

Anything that will hide whatever mess the kids have made on me. I like comfy, I’m a tshirt, jeans and pony tail kind of girl.

10. List 3 things that you would love to do but you don’t have time right now.

Sew more, read more and write more!

11. What do you prefer to have at dinner?

Anything that is fast and easy. I usually eat what the kids are eating or my husband and I like to make our dinner after the kids go to bed sometimes.

Eleven Questions from Jules

1. What does a typical day in your life look like?

My husband is up at six. Our daughter is up by 7 at the VERY latest, I hear her. She usually spends some time with her daddy. He lets me sleep in until eight whenever he can (that’s right, be jealous). Gabe gets up, he is almost alway poopy, a nice little “good morning parent” gift. Then it’s breakfast, if I eat any (never loved breakfast). Kids get ready to go to preschool, drop off, come home, try to quickly clean up, then off to nap for me. Get up go pick up kids, afternoon snack, dinner, off to work for me (see why I took the nap?). I moonlight as a labor and delivery nurse, off at seven and home to get kids ready for preschool, drop off and home to bed!

2. How long have you been blogging?

Since September of 2014. Three whopping months!

3. Why did you decide to start blogging?

I decided to start blogging when I was pregnant with my son, um he’s two now…. I got my final push to actually go for it, when I saw a friend and blogger posting her amazing statistics, news and articles. She challenged me to move forward.

4. What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Stop reading the comments, unless they are on your personal page

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would like to cruise to Hawaii, I have always wanted to visit there and I love cruise food!

6. What is your dream job?

Getting paid to write and being a labor and delivery nurse. I’ve got one of my dream jobs, just working on the other one.

7. If your life was a book, what would the title be?

“Shenanigans”

8. If your book was made into a movie, who would play you?

Sara Drew, I think she’s adorable and I would love to be portrayed as adorable, but I also LOVE her goofy haphazard acting. She’s quirky and her sense of humor in “Moms Night Out” is right up my alley.

9. What is one skill you have always wanted to learn?

To shoot a gun. Skillfully, I would like to be able to hit what I’m shooting at…

10. How do you unwind after a stressful day?

Playing with my kids and watching them play with their dad.

11. If you had a whole uninterrupted day to yourself, what would you do?

I would listen to a book on tape while getting an hour long massage, followed by a pedicure, sushi and however long of a nap I wanted.

11 Random Facts About Me

1. I change the lyrics to most songs to suit my needs, or my mood for the day.

2. I am 18 years older than my littlest brother

3. I hated school, loved learning, but hated school

4. I typically introduce myself to my patients by saying “I’m Sherry, I will be your flight attendant for today”

5. I like to play kids video games, because I can win

6. When I can’t sleep at night I count backwards from 599, by twos swapping from evens to odds every ten numbers.

8. If someone in another car catches me dancing fanatically in my car, I usually turn around and pretend like I am doing it for my kids. Even when they aren’t in the car.

9. I loath speaking in public, I always get word vomit, I turn “Bob the Tomato” red and sweat like I’m in the Sahara desert.

10. I once wrote a speech about dog poop, and had to read it in front of my entire communications class. See number 9 to get a sense of how that went

11. I received the Distinguished Cadet award my senior year in high school. Those who know me find it hard to believe that I was in JROTC.

Eleven questions for the nominees

1. What is your favorite thing about being a blogger?

2. Name 3 bloggers that inspire you – and their websites.

3. If you could open up any business, what would it be and why?

4. What makes you smile?

5. What’s under your bed?

6. If you could be committed to a cause/charity, which one would it be and why?

7. If you had a chance to say one thing that would be broadcast to everyone in the world, what would it be?

8. Grab the nearest book. Turn to page 12. Write down the 1st line.

9. What kind of person is your alter ego?

10. What’s your drink?

11. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I am nominating!!!

1. Maggie from YoSoyLaLay

2. Katie from ForElysium

3. Angela from 4 Us Mama 

4. Jessica from Lildonbro

5. Endless Conundrum

6. Human With Uterus

7. Letecia from Embracing Wade

8. Parenting Do Over

9. Beau’s Mommy video blog

10. Jules from One Ruud Mom

11. Brandyn from Life Motherhood and the Pursuit of Hapiness

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Down syndrome · Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Sibling Love

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So the holidays are a pretty crazy time of year for everyone. Add in therapy, volunteering at my kids schools, a sick grandma, work and a blog and something is bound to get left out. Hence the lack of posts lately….I am sorry.

When I was pregnant with Gabe I thought over and over about how Abi would treat her brother. An irrational part of me thought that she would see that he was “different” and not want him. I was worried that she would feel neglected and left out. I had no idea that those things would really happen, but not because Gabe was born with Down syndrome, but because he was born in general!

The first few days we brought brother home from the hospital, Abi was clingy and unhappy. Baby was getting way more time than she was with mommy and she didn’t like that! But after the newness wore off and I perfected the mommy juggle Abi began to tolerate her brother, even going so far as to snuggle him, share with him and cram his pacifier into his mouth every now and then.

Then Gabe began to move. He started first by grabbing and pulling her hair. Then he began rolling front to back and back to front across the floor to get to her. Then he mastered the belly creep and before long he was chasing her down on his hands and knees. Little by little her tolerance of him taking her toys was exhausted and a love hate relationship was formed. He loved her and she hated the fact that he did!

Anywhere Abi was Gabe wanted to be there, watching and staring at her with adoration. Attempting to do the things that she was doing, even if that meant using the specific toy that she had to do so. As a mom, I began to grow concerned when Abi began to tell me that she didn’t like brother, because he took her toys and smelled like cheese, which apparently made her gag. I began to watch, hoping that I would see a glimmer of love somewhere, and that their bond wasn’t really just one sided.

And then it happened. Gabe was playing with another child, who promptly bopped him on the head, twice and made him cry. Out of nowhere came hero big sister, crouching behind poor beaten baby brother, guarding him as if she were a mama grizzly. She glared and snapped her fingers at the little offender and comforted her “Baby Chubs”. Despite what she says at home, when we are out in public, she is his protector and he is her comfort. The two of them always aware of where the other is and often looking up to check on one another.

I know that siblings don’t always get along, but that’s just part of sibling love. It’s a special kind of love, formed out of necessity and tolerance, but grown over time to be an unshakeable bond. I can’t say I always like my brother (sorry ky 😉 ), but if you mess with him, you better watch out for sister! I know that as the years go by we will act as referees in a variety of battles, but deep down I know that Abi loves her brother and that he absolutely adores her.

Check out the Gabe Logan Production, “Sibling Love“!

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Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

You don’t have like it to be thankful

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It’s Thanksgiving, the one day of the year that we are specifically challenged to show our appreciation for the blessings in our lives. While I’m sure that we are all thankful throughout the year, this holiday is an excellent reminder to celebrate and promote thankfulness. All month long I’ve seen people posting about what they’re thankful for; their families, their jobs, their friends, their children, their satisfaction. Each person taking time to recount the blessings in their lives and saying “thank you” for them. My children have brought home hand made projects that express their gratitude for their mommy, daddy, sibling, suckers and even water.

Reading through everything through this month got me thinking; almost everything that everyone is thankful for are things they like. It’s easy to be thankful for those things; suckers are delicious, how can we not be thankful for them?! But, what about the things we don’t like? What about the things that happen throughout the year that aren’t delicious, aren’t so fun, aren’t so wonderful. What about the things that happen that may make you feel frustrated, or disappointed, or even angry? The events that occur that may leave you shaking your head and throwing your hands up in mock surrender; “I just can’t do it anymore, I give up”?

Why do we have to be thankful for those things? 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says; “In everything give thanks”. IN everything, it doesn’t say you have to be thankful FOR everything. I mean, if you stub your toe you don’t have to do a happy dance and shout, why thank you stupid couch! It friggin’ hurts! But, this verse challenges us to be thankful IN everything, in every moment of our lives, whatever season we happen to be in, the good and the bad, in the happy and sad places; give thanks.

How are we supposed to do that? It’s really easy to be thankful when we’re happy, when things are pleasant, when things are easy. But when things aren’t, it can be difficult to be appreciative. Just like it can be hard to see the sun through the clouds, you’ve still gotta try. Try to find the “silver lining”, if you wanna call it that, try to find the things you CAN be thankful for IN your current situation, or season.

I am not an eternal optimist, it’s hard to be thankful when things are tough, but I know what it’s like to not be thankful. To seek out and focus on all of the bad stuff, to only be concerned with what isn’t and what might not be. It’s a sad, frustrating and lonely place. When your focus is solely on those things, it can be hard to see the positive and to find anything to be thankful for. It’s hard, I get it, but here’s the deal: “if you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself” (Techumise).

I’m not always thankful for Gabe’s extra chromosome. I don’t like how it makes him have to work even harder to accomplish tasks that other children seem to breeze through. I don’t like seeing him frustrated because he cannot convince his mouth to make the words he wants to say. I don’t like that he lives in a world with others who may overlook his incredibleness because their focus solely on his lack of ability.

But I am thankful for what has come with it. The community that we have been able to become a part of and the friendships that have blossomed because of it! The understanding that milestones don’t need to occur on a time line. The ability to slow down in life and appreciate the accomplishments of each of my children in a new way. I am thankful for that extra chromosome for showing me a whole new side of ability and with it a different way to view to world. It has taught me about unconditional love and how to be an advocate for both of my children.

You don’t have to like the bee sting to appreciate the honey. I can’t guarantee that I will always be thankful in the moments that are hard and that I don’t understand, but I till always try to find the things I can thankful for. If I ever feel like there is nothing around me that I can appreciate then I’ll look into the past and be thankful for where I’ve been and I’ll look to the future and be thankful for where I’m going. I hope you can do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tutorial · Uncategorized

Tutorial: How To Wrestle An Alligator (Or Suction a Toddlers Nose)

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‘Tis the season. Days are shorter and nights are longer. The weather is colder and the trees have shivered off all their leaves. People are bustling here and there, gathering their goods for the upcoming holidays. Everywhere you look there signs of winter, it’s lovely and wonderful, until you hear it.

It’s a sound that as unique as the individual it belongs to, but as familiar as your childhood home. It’s a sound that any parent can recognize when issued over a mile a way. It’s a sound that can make a grown man shudder. It’s the sound of the first sniffle.

That wretched little sniffle is followed by more and more until finally the quantity of ooze that’s escaping your child’s nose can’t be ignore any longer. The reality of a winter cold is no longer deniable and the sniffle is no longer just a little noise, it’s a problem. A problem that may be accompanied with a cough, a fever, a grumpy child and will probably be followed by everyone else in the household developing a “sniffle” too.

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The problem with this little sniffle is that little babies and toddlers haven’t mastered the art of blowing their itty bitty snot filled noses into a tissue, and it falls onto your shoulder to clear their nasal passageways not only for comfort, but so they can breathe (that last bit is really important). There are a variety of tools that can be used to perform this task, however, I will only be discussing one today.

The bulb syringe

Anyone who masters the use of a bulb syringe can be likened to a master Jedi. This task could be compared to wrestling an alligator, if done incorrectly one could lose a finger (the probability is pretty low, but I’m sure there is still a risk). Your technique and timing must be perfect and the element of surprise is incredibly beneficial. The less your child knows, the better….

Now my husband and I have tried a variety of approaches; the two man, the under the leg, the football hold and the pretzel. None had proven effective, until we tried the COCOON. The ease with which the copious amounts of goo was able to be removed from my sons nose left me awe struck. It is so easy, that I had to share it.

How to successfully use a bulb syringe to clear noses using the cocoon method:

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Gather supplies: you will need bulb syringe, saline spray or drops, tissue or wipes and a blanket

Lay blanket flat and place child in the middle of it. Wrap one side of the blanket across child and tuck under (make sure the arm is tucked in). Wrap the other side across and secure it under the now swaddled child. Both of the arms should be tucked inside (now those grabby little hands can’t “help”). Drop a couple drops of saline in each nostril, use bulb syringe on each side to pull out the yuck, and voila! Clean nose, happy baby, hand with all it’s fingers.

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Mommy Lessons · Uncategorized

Mommy Lesson 118: Survival of the Mommiest

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Being the mom of a precocious toddler and a 3 month old we have some good days, and not so good days. The good days are filled with belly laughs, meals that are not refused by picky eaters, a lack of poopy diapers and bedtimes that occur on time. Mommy goes to bed smelling like roses and there are little unicorns and dancing rainbows in her dreams.

Then there are the not so good days. These days usually consist of at least one pooptastrophy, missed nap times, the disappearance of favorite shows from the DVR, toys that are MIA, a toddler who assumes that any food will most likely kill her (yes even peanut butter on bread). There is a high likelihood of tears and snot, and not just from the children. On those days, our focus is on one thing; survival. Which means, if I can just make it to bedtime with every member in the house still alive, I’m pretty happy.

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After church, lunch, and a definitely not long enough 20 minute nap Sister was slightly irritable and incredibly hyper. By 6pm Brother sat horrified, staring from his swing as his screaming sister ran around the house wearing a tutu and crown and most of her dinner on her face. He watched with confusion as she bounced her way down the couch towards him, with the single goal of poking him in the face with her giant stick (magic wand).

“Alla-ca-da-la” she chanted with a swish of the stick (magic wand), if landed with a thwack millimeters from the babies fingers. Fearing for his life, I’m sure, or at least the integrity of his appendages, Brother began to cry. I scooped him up and jiggled him around some, partly fearing the upchuck that would most likely occur from the rapidity of movement, and glanced at the clock. 6:02, yay! We made it another two minutes.

I knew Spouse, would not be off work in time to assist with bedtime, so I began the process of alligator wrestling (bathing) early. After twenty incident free minutes both children emerged smelling delightfully of baby shampoo. I gathered up some of Sisters favorite toys and settled down on my bed to nurse Brother before putting him to bed.

I settled Sister on the floor next to the bed with her favorite toys. The evidence of her fatigue appearing in the form if a yawn and the rub of an eye. “We’re going to make it” I thought happily to myself. I gazed down at my youngest, whose eyes were beginning to droop from the effects of a milk induced coma. Lost briefly in the thoughts swirling through my mother logged brain, I missed the beginnings of mischievous giggles.

The flush of the toilet snapped my attention back into the present, I glanced around the room. Sister was no longer in her spot, and was now standing by the toilet shouting encouragingly into the bowl. “Swim Minnie!” She flushed a second time and became annoyed with the lack of effort from her plastic Minnie Mouse figure. “This isn’t working”, she grumbles.

I jumped up and quickly retrieved a drowning Minnie Mouse with one hand while balancing the baby the other. While I washed our hands I explained the dos and do nots of the potty: potty in toys out.

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Seeming to understand she again settled on the floor to play with her “guys” and the dog to play. I had just laid the baby down in his bed and was returning to the bedroom when an unfamiliar sound greeted my ears. It was similar to the sound a cat makes when hurling up a hair ball, but it had a dryer quality to it. It was fairly rhythmic and I had almost placed the noise when I noticed sister was again no longer in the spot I’d left her.

I heard her little voice coming from the bathroom, it was calm and unconcerned, “This is a problem, I’ll go get mommy”.

Mommy was already in action, sprinting like a graceful gazelle (picture cat wearing socks), and bouncing over the bed with spy like firm (I really actually just tripped over the toys and fell onto the bed, but the momentum was enough to propel me over the side, flapping my arms like a baby bird flying for the first time). I knelt on the bathroom floor, my nursing skills expertly put to work as I performed a head to paw assessment on the gagging dog. I effectively performed the heimlich maneuver on an epileptic beagle who apparently cannot swallow an entire roll of toilet paper and turned my gaze to Sister.

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She blinked at me and shrugged her shoulders. Hey, good job mommy!” she said with a pat on the back. I glanced at the clock again, “Hey! It’s bedtime!” I was almost giddy, I might have been if I hadn’t been eyeballing the dog and wondering if the lack of oxygen did her any harm. She wandered over to the toilet paper roll, sniffed it and gave it a Lick; nope just as dumb as ever, I thought to myself relieved.

After a handful of books and seven rounds of twinkle twinkle Sister was asleep. I peeked in at brother to confirm that he was participating in bedtime as well and then dropped onto the couch. I glanced around, and briefly reviewed the days events. There were a couple close calls and Kia won’t go near the bathroom now, but everyone survived… I heard Sister’s sleepy little voice call out,
“Hey, Mommy? Donald didn’t come back out of the big hole in the bottom of the toilet”. Well most of us did anyway.

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Mommy Lessons · Recipes · Uncategorized

Edible Play-dough

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My daughter LOVES play-dough. She loves squishing, chopping, rolling, plopping, mixing and creating. Her brother? Well he likes to eat it. Therein lies the problem. It can make for a difficult and not so enjoyable time if I spend most of it retrieving bites of soggy, spit covered dough from brothers mouth. Aside from that, sister tends to become hysterical when she noticed that her play-dough pile is depleting. While the colorful poo-poo make changing his diapers entertaining, I do worry about brother actually consuming play-dough.

So, why not only let sister play with it? Well, play-dough is an excellent sensory and fine motor activity! I believe in therapy through play and like finding any opportunity I can for both of my children to participate. Play-dough can be rolled between fingers, squeezed in hands, rolled into balls, cut with butter knife, used with cookie cutters, the options are endless. It also provides an excellent opportunity for brother and sister to play together and interact with each other but maintain a sense of individuality. Simply put, I love play-dough and so do my kids.

What do I do about my play-dough muncher? Make my own safe to consume edible play-dough! I found several recipes using kook aid that looked pretty good, and had almost settled on making that and then I stumbled onto the easiest, most delicious recipe (link here) one could imagine. It consists of two ingredients: frosting and powdered sugar.

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(You can find complete directions here,

The recipe called for 1 cup of frosting. I scooped out one cup and plunked it in the bowl. I then licked my fingers, and the spoon. (My kids, my germs, same thing). I peered into the can and realized, that it took up most of the can of frosting so I figured I’d just use the rest (more play-dough is better right?). Wrong, very wrong. I underestimated the amount of powdered sugar it would take to “dough-ify” the frosting and didn’t have enough. Even after using the amount it called for and the remaining 1/4 bag of powdered sugar I had, the dough was still pretty sticky.

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I took some time to contemplate options and nibble on some dough. Holy sugar high! I shouldn’t have been surprised seeing that the ingredients were frosting and powdered sugar, but wowzers was it sweet. Thinking of a way to thicken it and not add go the sweetness I turned to corn starch. I sprinkled the corn starch onto the counter, separated the dough into smaller balls and kneaded it like bread until the consistency was pliable but not sticky.

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I used my favorite frosting colors and kneaded them through the dough. You may want to wear gloves for this, otherwise your hands will look like the inside of a paint mixer. The end result was a lovely smooth textured, cloud like play-dough that both of the kids will love, mom too!

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A few recommendations for you:
I love to have my kids help with cooking and creating in the kitchen, I would recommend making this during nap time or bedtime as the powdered sugar or cornstarch can get a little (a lot, I mean a whole lot) messy.

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I would not participate in this activity just prior to any special event, as the sugar consumed may increase the activity level of your child. Imagine pinball, but add in screaming, squealing and diapers. This only occurs if the play-dough is consumed, however, it tastes really blasted good, so one should assume that it will be, possibly in large quantities.

You can substitute half of the powdered sugar for cornstarch. The consistency will still be the same, and it’s still suuuuuuper sweet.

Below is the link to the recipe that I used above and two extra ones that are just as amazing!

Edible Play-dough

Chocolate Play-dough

Edible Peanut Butter Play-dough

For those of you who are looking for a healthier alternatives:

“Healthy” Peanut Butter Play-dough 

Gluten Free Edible Play-dough

 

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