How to Make a Planes Runway with Holiday Rope Lights

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PlanesToTheRescue #CollectiveBias

It’s my favorite time of the year and it’s also the time of the year when I realize I’ve forgotten to purchase a few presents. Oops! Like everyone else who either forgot gifts or procrastinated until the last minute, I found myself in the toy section of Walmart. Select Disney Planes merchandise is on rollback right now and I found some great deals! The Walmart rollback items are: Disney Planes Flight to the Finish Speedway Rollback to $24.97; Disney Planes Fire & Rescue Die-Cast Vehicles, 3-Pack Rollback to $14.97; Disney Planes Fire & Rescue Deluxe Talking Vehicle Assortment Rollback to $19.97; Planes Character Assortment die-cast set and the Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue Character Assortment die-cast set are both on rollback at $4.97.

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Hi Teacher, My Son has Special Needs

Hi Teacher, My Son has Special Needs.

C is starting 3k on January 5! He’ll be in school three mornings per week. Those mornings conflict with the group therapies he has attended since February, adding to my anxiety about his transition. We’re excited for him and nervous about the new environment. I think he will *love* school. I think. I hope.

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RSVP for the #MingleNMix Twitter Party

RSVP for the #MingleNMix Twitter Party

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Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about simple celebrations and making the perfect mocktail!  On Tuesday, December 23, from 1-2 pm ET please join us for the #MingleNMix Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing Canada Dry Ginger Ale® and 7UP®, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Brother and Boogers

I appreciate your love, brother, but I have a booger situation here.

Brother and Boogers

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving in the Winter

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving in the Winter

Winter can get long and dreary, especially for our kids who are usually stuck indoors. We need to get creative to expend that energy we so easily use outdoors in warmer weather. It’s so much easier to go for a walk or a trip to the park in the summer! Exercise is great for our bodies and our minds. Here are five ways to keep your kids moving in the winter:

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Romantic Date Night Scavenger Hunt

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YoursandMine #CollectiveBias

With my husband’s long work hours, a one-year old daughter, and a three-year-old son with special needs, I often feel like we’re two ships passing – or shuffling tiredly – in the night. We struggle to find time to communicate and we’re rarely alone. Our son climbs into bed with us so often that I wake in a panic if he’s not there by morning. As we struggle with the stress of work, a young family, and special needs parenting, we’ve discovered the importance of making our relationship a priority. We are scheduling more date nights and I surprised Hubster with this romantic date night scavenger hunt!

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Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. The links below are to a family member’s Lilla Rose business. 

I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. It’s thick, curly and unruly. When humidity strikes, I can either choose to look like a poof ball or put my hair up. The same old hair elastics get a little boring, though. Lilla Rose offers a line of pretty hair clips and jewelry to add some sparkle and fun to your look. Now I don’t need to look like I had to put my hair up on a rainy day. I can put my hair up and still look on point! Dark hair and fluorescent university lighting make this a little difficult to see, but the flexi held my super thick, mid-back length hair.

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3 Ways to Teach Toddlers About the Environment

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Like most people, I want to raise my children to respect the environment and have a knowledge of renewable energy. That’s a pretty complex subject, though. How can I teach two toddlers about something as complex as green power? Learning begins with simple gestures! Here are three things that we do to teach our kids about the environment:

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Cashew Milk Buttercream Frosting

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Have you ever wondered if Santa gets tired of the same old cookies and milk every year? I like to imagine Santa with a more refined palate. Santa probably wants a sophisticated treat during his long night of present delivery. Perhaps this year, we could leave a cupcake for Santa with a creamy cashew milk frosting?

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Self-Imposed Time Out

I looked up from C’s tube feeding to see Baby Jo dragging the chair from his room toward the kitchen. I was surprised to find her facing the dishwasher and reading a book!

Silly girl and her self-imposed time outs.

Baby Jo in self-imposed time out

RSVP for the #EurekaPower Twitter Party

RSVP for the #EurekaPower Twitter Party

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 Photo Credit: Krystal’s Kitsch

Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about keeping our houses clean during the holidays. On Wednesday, December 17, at 3:00 pm ET, please join me for the #EurekaPower Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing how we handle EPIC messes and giving you a chance to win prizes including Eureka vacuums!

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5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Tubie

Disclosure: I received product from Orgain for sampling purposes. I am also an affiliate for Real Food Blends. I’m including these products below because C has used them and I believe in the mission of both of these companies.

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Tubie #LittleMamaJama

Stress runs high during the holidays! When you have a child with special needs, packing, traveling and attending holiday events can be even more stressful. When I’m packing my tubie’s supplies, I will admit to thinking that it would be easier to just stay at home! Here are five tips to avoid that feeling this season:

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Huge Sale at Tiny Prints! #ad

Disclosure: I am a Tiny Prints affiliate and this post includes affiliate links.

Did you know that this Sunday is the busiest holiday card shopping day of the year? It is…but you don’t have to wait until Sunday to take advantage of an amazing offer from Tiny Prints.

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Behind the Selfie: The True Story about our Night

Behind the Selfie The Truth about our Night

Baby Jo and I took this selfie last night. You see our smiles, but you can’t see anything but this brief moment in time. That’s the problem with selfies. We see all these smiling faces plastered over social media, but do we really know what’s going on? What’s the story behind the selfie?

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RSVP for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party, 12/12

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Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about saving you from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season!  On Friday, December 12th at 12pm-1pm CT/1pm-2pm ET, please join us for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing holiday baking, entertaining, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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DIY Bath Salts Guest Post at Teachable Mommy

Hop over to Teachable Mommy, where I’m writing about how to make your own Coconut Lavender Bath Salts!

Click here.

Coconut Lavender Bath Salts

(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: O Christmas Tree

Is there anything better than the wonder in a child’s eyes during the holidays?

C and Baby Jo at the Christmas tree

When God Taps You on the Shoulder

I’ve been working hard on being a better listener. For me, that meant finding a church that I could call my home and not being anonymous there. I tried and failed twice to join a small group (Hubster’s night schedule is a little insane), but Hubster and I actually just finished one together. The key ingredient: they offered childcare! I wanted to find a church and get involved so that I wasn’t just an anonymous face. I wanted people to notice when I wasn’t there. Accountability, friendships, the feeling that our family was “settled” somewhere.

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Stocking up on Cyber Monday with Simply Aroma

I am an independent consultant with Simply Aroma. The links below are my business links.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would be interested in essential oils, I would have said no. Then I learned more about how the chemicals I was using in my home were toxic and I slowly started using natural ingredients in my home. I started making my own laundry soap, toothpaste, baby wipes, diaper cream and household cleaner. Every night, I use the Lullaby blend to help C fall asleep. I use Bloc to ease my muscle aches. I diffuse OxyZen when we have colds.

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Happy Thanksgiving from my little turkeys!

My plan was to take a nice picture of these two sitting next to each other.

Reality? They ran wild, got sweaty, started disrobing (Baby Jo) and got grumpy (C). Here is Baby Jo trying on every cardigan she owns to perfectly complement her dress, and C animatedly telling a story about how silly she is.

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Sensory Activity: Baking Cookies

Sometimes it’s fun to revisit a sensory activity that was once difficult. C baked cookies with his nana! I was amazed to see how much progress C has made with his tactile and auditory responses.

He touched all the ingredients, mashing the butter and letting the sugar fall through his fingers. When it came time to use the hand mixer, he didn’t get scared! He stood next to his nana as she mixed the dough. He rolled the cookie dough in his hands and dipped it in sugar.

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Until our next dance party, my friend.

It has been years since we spoke in person, but I can still hear your laughter. We shared our secrets while preparing for middle school dances, trying to stay up all night, and creating homemade movies for class. That ad for Super Teen Super Hold Hair Spray was a work of art. I remember waiting anxiously in the hall while we prepared to audition for the school musical. My hands shook, but you weren’t nervous. You loved to sing and dance. You embraced life wholeheartedly, throwing yourself into projects and after-school activities you enjoyed. We chattered endlessly about our crushes.

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Teaching Volunteerism to Our Children

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Experiencing the kindness of others #SimplyHealthy #ad

When difficult times strike, you have the opportunity to witness the kindness of others. We have been in that position each time C visited the hospital. Friends stopping by the hospital, a homemade blanket, a toy car, or a cup of coffee go a long way when you’re struggling. Now that we have experienced that side of volunteerism and kindness, it’s become more important to me to pay it forward. I make an effort in teaching volunteerism to instill that value in our children. Giving to others is an important part of healthy living.

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Snails and Caterpillars: Creative Snack Recipes for Kids!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Do you have picky eaters? I have one picky eater and one problem feeder with sensory processing disorder. Through C’s feeding therapy, I’ve been learning so much about making food look fun. Kids are just like adults that way – if we see something visually appealing, we’re more likely to eat it. If I can incorporate peanut butter and chocolate into a creative snack, that’s even better! I can spread new Reese’s Spreads, available at Walmart, on just about anything to make #AnySnackPerfect. This product was on demo at my local Walmart and it tasted delicious!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: C Fixes His Truck

“Mommy, I have to fix the battery on my truck! I have to change the oil, too.”

This child has me guessing about what he will grow up to be. The way he inspects how things work and memorizes types of cars, it’s entirely possible he will become a mechanic.

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Finding Peace with Living on Campus

There it was again: another friend posting their new home purchase on Facebook. There I was: living on campus with my family, stuck in a cavernous residence hall with noisy upstairs neighbors. It was a long trek down a sidewalk and across the street to our car, with a toddler in tow and an infant carrier in the other hand. I was so over living on campus. Jealousy was in full force every time a friend or family member purchased a home or even mentioned their house.

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The Holidays Then & Now

The Holidays Then & Now

There was something about the holidays that was magical. The snow falling softly. The warm cup of coffee in hand as we critiqued neighborhood Christmas lights. The gatherings of friends and family.

I have to say, the holidays no longer feel magical. I think a lot of the “magic” of life is gone now. These days, my world revolves primarily around C’s health, therapy and feedings. Everything else just kind of…happens.

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C’s Organic Blended G-Tube Diet

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links and I would make a little money if you made a purchase after clicking on them. C has this organic blended diet habit that I need to support!

C has always had difficulties with food, and I wanted what little food he would eat to be the best food I could afford to offer him. I started buying organic snacks for him when he was little. When he had his g-tube placed at age 2, he was put on Pediasure. Four bottles of Pediasure per day through his tube. I was mortified by how much sugar he was getting, but I felt helpless because he needed those calories to gain weight and catch up on growth.

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A Little Grace

Friends, I need a little grace right now.

I may look at your message, only to be interrupted before I am able to reply.

I may not be able to answer your call, because C is acting out.

I may forget something that you asked me to do, because my mind is racing with therapy ideas and tasks.

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RSVP for the #HealthySavings Twitter Party, 11/18

RSVP for the #HealthySavings Twitter Party on November 18th!

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Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about saving money on the cold & flu products you need at Walgreens! On Tuesday, November 18 at 3:00 pm ET, please join me for the #HealthySavings Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing how you prepare for cold & flu season and giving you a chance to win prizes.

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My Perfect Day Alone

Do you ever daydream about what you would do with a day alone at home?

Hubster gave me the chance to live out my daydream on Saturday. He realized how much he’s gone for work this month and decided to take the kids off my hands for a day. Last week, he was at a conference and as you know – it was not C’s best week. C is experiencing a setback (see here and here) and although my parents helped me out a lot, the week left me physically and emotionally exhausted. Hubster packed up the kids and headed to visit some out of town friends for the day. So what did I do with my beautiful day alone?

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RSVP for the #AnySnackPerfect Twitter Party 11/11 #ad

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Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party where we will be talking all about ultimate snacking solutions for families! On Tuesday, November 11th, at 2:00 PM ET, please join us for the #AnySnackPerfect Twitter Party where we’ll be talking about creative snack ideas to enjoy REESE’S Spreads, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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SPD, Boundaries and Sleep

SPD, Boundaries and Sleep #LittleMamaJama

It’s often said that children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have difficulty with boundaries. They may seek input and, not knowing exactly where their bodies are in space, not be aware of that “personal bubble” that most people respect. They also struggle with sleep issues. Sleep problems combined with boundary issues make for a lot of long nights!

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Special time with Baby Jo

C and I have a lot of quality time together when I take him to therapy and while Baby Jo naps, but she and I rarely have any one-on-one time together. We had a few hours together tonight and I enjoyed every moment!

We watched Frozen, sang along to the movie and did puzzles. She’s getting really good at puzzles!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Brushing Teeth

“Teeeef!” Baby Jo stands at the bathroom door and yells for her toothbrush. There are few things my children enjoy more than brushing their teeth. That does not include an adult helping them to actually brush their teeth, but a form of tooth brushing that is more like chomping on said toothbrush.

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The Ups & Downs of Special Needs Parenting

The Ups and Downs of Special Needs Parenting #LittleMamaJama

Special needs parenting requires more patience and perseverance than I sometimes think I can bear. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I really don’t know why the setbacks surprise me. Maybe it’s because they come on so quickly, seemingly out of nowhere. We’ve barely gotten into a routine with the good progress and we’re struck with a sudden downturn.

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“I hope you have a child just like you someday.”

“I hope you have a child just like you someday.”

What is that? A curse? Because it worked.

I hope you have a child just like you #LittleMamaJama

My 3-year-old son and I are one soul inhabiting two bodies. We are basically the same person. He is me – in the body of a 3-year-old boy, that is.

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Maybe Next Halloween

Do you ever have one of those holidays when everything goes wrong? The kind of day when all you can do is shrug your shoulders, laugh and say, “Maybe next year?”

Halloween 2014 is our “maybe next year” holiday.

First the power went out. Then Hubster was stuck at the car dealership with our only vehicle while it took two hours longer to fix than they anticipated. It got cold in our apartment and the kids, who should not be that attached to electronic devices, were somehow obsessed with the fact that their favorite WiFi-based iPhone apps and TV didn’t work. I portioned out C’s morning meds in the dark. The lights came back on and moments later, Baby Jo vomited exorcist-style down the entire hallway.

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4 Ways My Toddler is Covered with Huggies Snug & Dry #MC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

If your child is like mine, she is constantly on the move. There’s nothing that will hold her back! She needs a diaper that can move with her and keep her dry for a long time, so she doesn’t have to interrupt her play for lots of diaper changes. My kids have both worn Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers. I spend entirely too much time at Target (it’s a healthy obsession, right?!) and Target makes it super easy to stock up on diapers and wipes. My daughter’s size is always in stock and easy to find.

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C is 3.5 years old!

When did this happen, C? I remember spending countless hours rocking you in that recliner while my bladder was about to burst. Yet I never moved, because that was the only way we could get you to sleep.

Here you are, 3.5 years old and so tall. Your long limbs dangle when I hold you. When did you suddenly have legs for days?

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Baby Jo is 18 months old!

My sweet Baby Jo.

Your eyes dance when you smile.

You have a heart of gold. Someone briefly mentions an item and you run to bring it to them. As little as you are, you already want to help Mommy tube feed your big brother.

You want to be just like your brother. Playing with cars is your favorite thing to do, even when he’s not there.

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Pick ‘n Save Recipes: Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup #MyPicknSave #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

I look forward to this season every year. Beautiful leaves, crisp autumn air and comfort food. Soup and comfort food are synonymous in our household. There’s nothing like the warm comfort of flavors that have been brewing for hours. Our slow cooker gets a workout this time of year! I can throw all the ingredients in one pot, enjoy the outdoors with my family, and come back to a finished meal hours later. Pick ‘n Save, a Wisconsin grocery, is a great place to stock my fridge with ingredients for a week of no-fuss slow cooking. Our ultimate comfort soup? Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

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Challenge: 100 ounces of water daily. Drink mixes help me do it! #PlatinumPoints #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Challenging myself to go grain-free until Thanksgiving was one thing, but drinking 100 ounces of water daily? That has been my real challenge. As much as I love water, I get bored. Drink mixes have helped me keep things interesting while still achieving my health goals.

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Damaged.

On Friday nights, I catch up on my favorite TV shows. This week’s episode of Law & Order: SVU hit me pretty hard. If you haven’t seen “Pornstar’s Requiem,” it is intense, classic SVU. While I was unable to relate to the victim’s background, her experience in court transported me seven years.

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4 Reasons I am Happier After Surviving Mental Illness

4 Reasons I am Happier After Surviving Mental Illness #LittleMamaJama

It was eight months after I had my first child before I realized that the “new” me was actually sick. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD). Antidepressants and talk therapy brought me back from the abyss. I later realized that I also suffered from postpartum anxiety (PPA) and postpartum OCD (PPOCD). When we decided we wanted a second child, I talked to a therapist and a psychiatrist about it. We had a plan. It’s a good thing we did, because at 34 weeks I was dealing with intrusive thoughts that were increasing in severity. I went back on antidepressants and this time I was able to function and enjoy my baby when she arrived.

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C’s Big News

It was a typical day at C’s weekly therapy for sensory processing disorder. We saw his occupational therapist and speech therapist today. The only difference was Hubster joining me on his day off. Oh, and C’s therapists think he can go down to one appointment per month instead of one per week.

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Three years old and wooing the ladies.

C likes to woo the ladies

My son has been all about holding the door open for people lately. He likes to wait for anyone nearby before closing the door and I’ve noticed that he waits even longer for women.

When our family came back to campus after a day out, he held the door open for a female student. She thanked him and he waved goodbye to her. As she walked into the stairwell, he said, “There was a guy that came in here.”

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RSVP for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party, 10/28 #shop

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Photo Credit: Lemon Tree Dwelling

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about fall entertaining!  On Tuesday, October 28 at 2-3pm CT/3-4pm ET, please join us for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing seasonal foods and Thanksgiving recipes, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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Toddler Fun at Cabela’s

Toddlers are so easily entertained! It’s fun that we’re able to simply take C and Baby Jo to Cabela’s for them to have a great time.

C was really excited about the big fish, particularly the ones in the tunnel.

Toddler fun at Cabela's fish tank

Toddler fun at Cabela's tunnel

Baby Jo loved the loud music coming from this video game. She kept running up to it and pressing the button, then she and C would have a dance party!

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Unplug Your Kids: Connect the Family!

Thursday, October 16, is Unplug Your Kids: Connect the Family night. Carrom Co., the 100-year-old quality family games manufacturer, is launching this new effort to bring families closer together for quality face-to-face time.

Our family will be taking part in this practice and I encourage you to take on this challenge as well! My kids may only be toddlers, but they are already obsessed with their devices. They want to watch Disney Junior or Daniel Tiger and C wants to play games on his iPhone (my old device that does not have cell service). It’s especially challenging during C’s tube feeds. Since he got the tube, we’ve been distracting him during tube feeds by offering him the iPhone or the TV. It’s easier that way!

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RSVP to the #LaundryBliss Twitter Party, 10/29 #shop

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Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party to talk about achieving #LaundryBliss! On Wednesday, October 29th, at 1 pm EST, please join us for the #LaundryBliss Twitter Party where we’ll be sharing tips on getting your laundry done efficiently and effectively. You’ll also have a chance to win prizes!

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“I see a ghost.”

My son’s elaborate imagination is freaking me out.

When we turned out the lights tonight, he looked toward the corner and told me that he saw a ghost. Then he told me that he saw two ghosts!

I believe in ghosts and have had my own experiences – so has C. When he was a baby, he would look at something that wasn’t there and start smiling and laughing. It freaked me out then and he’s freaking me out now!

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Baby Jo wants to help tube feed her big brother.

My Baby Jo is tender-hearted, always thinking about the people she loves. C mentions that he’s thirsty and she runs to find his water. I say it’s time to go and she gets everyone’s shoes out of the closet.

For as long as she can remember, she has witnessed us tube feeding C. Three or four times each day, we gather his syringes and medications, hook up the extension and start pouring his blended food into the syringe. My sweet 17-month-old daughter wanted to help me tube feed her big brother tonight.

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Thankful for my Babies on a Bench

Sometimes I look at these two and am so thankful.

Thankful that they love each other so much.

Thankful that they enjoy playing together so much.

Thankful that C is thriving, even when some days are difficult.

Thankful that they are growing, growing, growing.

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Welcome to my #BehindTheCounter experience at Papa Murphy’s! #PapaMurphysMom

 

As a MomSelect member, I attended a #PapaMurphysMom #BehindTheCounter event where I received delicious pizza. As always, the thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Grand Opening in Menasha WI #PapaMurphysMom

When I first stepped into the new Menasha, WI, location of Papa Murphy’s, I was impressed by the bright, modern interior. Dan and Wes greeted us and it was immediately evident that they love what they do!

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My baby is getting big

Can someone please tell Baby Jo to stop growing so quickly? I cannot handle it.

Her favorite saying is, “Uh-oh, Mommy!” She’s climbing everything – her changing table, the coffee table, the kitchen table. She runs down the hallway saying, “Go, go, go!”

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It was a happy weekend!

We actually had a family weekend and I cherished the time we had together. It was the first Sunday in about three weeks that Hubster didn’t need to work.

I put Baby Jo’s hair in pigtails for the first time. It lasted for about 40 seconds.

Baby Jo wears pigtails #LittleMamaJama

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Tubies and carpet don’t mix – until now. #GoodbyeWorry #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

When C had his NG-tube and then his g-tube placed last August, I did not anticipate all the other “stuff” that comes with having a tubie. I have never cleaned up so much vomit in my life. For a while, it felt like we lived in a scene from The Exorcist. I did my best to clean the surface of the carpet and tried to forget about what was lurking deep within our carpeting.

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RSVP for the #JuniorCelebrates Twitter Party 10/10

RSVP for the #JuniorCelebrates Twitter Party

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Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do, and we’re excited to host a party about how you can celebrate with your little ones! On Friday, October 10th at 2:00 pm ET/1:00 pm CT, please join us for the #JuniorCelebrates Twitter Party where we’ll be sharing ideas for using Disney Junior costumes and party supplies to help your child celebrate special occasions. You will also have a chance to win prizes!

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My son, we’ve come so far.

As you reached over and pulled me into a tight hug at bedtime, I held you close and realized how well you are doing. I no longer hug you tightly and only feel bones. Your hands have a little more padding to them. There’s a layer – albeit tiny – of body fat between my hand and your ribs. You are growing taller every day, reaching new heights and forcing us to put certain items higher to keep them out of reach.

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Pick ‘n Save Recipes: Tailgating with Beer Cheese Dip #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Football season is here #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias #shop

I know we’re not the only ones who eagerly await the return of football season each year! C has been talking about football for months, Hubster has been plotting his fantasy football picks and I’ve been looking longingly at my Green Bay Packers jersey. Well, wait no more – football season and tailgating have returned! I like to go to Pick ‘n Save, a Wisconsin grocery, to stock up on ingredients for our favorite tailgating recipe, Beer Cheese Dip. It’s a fan favorite and it’s no wonder why. I mean, beer? Cheese? Sounds like Wisconsin perfection.

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It feels good to give: C and his Pediasure

When we switched C from a formula diet to a blended g-tube diet, we were left with a huge stock of Pediasure that we didn’t know what to do with. It sat in the closet for a long time, a reminder of the pre-tubie days of begging him to drink some and the NG tube and early g-tube days of formula feedings. I noticed in a Facebook group for local moms that there was a woman whose child was dealing with a failure to thrive diagnosis. I read the desperation in her post, that emotion all too familiar for us. I immediately thought of all of the Pediasure collecting dust in our apartment.

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Gluten-Free Caprese Chicken

I love the flavors of summer, the freshness of tomatoes and herbs, the abundant zucchini. Fresh mozzarella paired with tomatoes? Perfection.

We had several zucchini and tomatoes in our CSA share. Instead of making the typical zucchini casserole or homemade salsa, I wanted to get creative. What could I do with zucchini that I hadn’t already done? Then it dawned on me: zucchini ribbon noodles! Or zoodles, if you wish.

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#IAmProtective because I am a special needs parent. #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

C peeks from behind door #IAmProtective #CollectiveBias #shop

“Good morning, Mommy!” C pops open his bedroom door to greet me, if he hasn’t snuck into bed with us during the night. We start the day with cuddles, his brushing and lotion sensory protocol and a tube feed. C has sensory processing disorder, gastroparesis and a g-tube. Thankfully, the doctor appointments are less frequent now, but we still find ourselves racing to therapy appointments multiple days each week. My days are filled with blending tube feeds, administering tube feeds, portioning out medicines and vitamins, therapy, implementing what we talked about in therapy and then the usual tasks associated with being a mother of two toddlers. I sometimes find myself wondering what my family would do if something happened to me. How much life insurance do I need?

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The Day I Became a Fierce Half-Marathoner

I signed up for my first half marathon when I completed my first 10k in June. After completing that race and crossing it off my 30 Before 30 list, I felt on top of the world. I wanted to give myself a new challenge – something I never imagined I’d be able to do. Hubster required a little convincing, but we signed up together and the date was set.

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Toddler Tea Parties are easy with Finish dishwasher cleaner! #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

“Mommy, let’s play tea pot!” That is C’s way of requesting a tea party. He enjoys pretending to pour tea for Baby Jo and me, serve us cookies or scones, and take turns using the tea pot. I wanted to create a special memory for him, so I decided we would have a tea party with real food and beverages. I needed a great deal on dishwasher detergent. Who has the time to hand wash a bunch of toddler tea party dishes? Not me! I headed to Walmart for apples, crackers and dishwasher detergent for our party.

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GiveForward: Because Love is Greater Than Hate

Disclosure: I am receiving compensation in exchange for this post. As always, the thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

When I heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge prank that was done to a 14-year-old autistic boy in Bay Village, OH, I was horrified. Instead of being doused with cold water, the boy was subjected to a bucket full of saliva, urine, feces and cigarette butts. I was disgusted by the cruelty of the prank and could not bring myself to watch the video. It made me think of what I would do if something like that happened to C. The Bay Village community was outraged and rightly so! GiveForward.com was outraged, too, and they launched a fundraiser to show this boy that love is greater than hate and to celebrate him for coming forward about this incident.

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C Gets an MRI

When the EEG with video monitoring revealed abnormal activity in two parts of his brain last month, C’s neurologist ordered an MRI to check for structural abnormalities. He came down with the cold that wouldn’t stop and we rescheduled twice, but he finally had that MRI on Monday morning! As usual, he handled it like a champ.

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Parents! Vote Now to Help Kids Have More Fun – One Playspace at a Time

Disclosure: As a member of the Children’s Claritin Mom Crew, I receive product samples and promotional items to share and use as I see fit. No monetary compensation has taken place and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.

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When It’s Scary to Raise a Family on Campus

This post may include affiliate links that make me money if you made a purchase after clicking on them. I have to support C’s organic blended diet habit! 

With the exception of one year of newlywed life, I have been living on campus for nine years. Campus has always felt like a safe place for me. Residence halls require card access, campus police is always nearby, and two of the three campuses I have lived on had security cameras. All considered, it’s one of the safest environments around.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful Lake Erie

The wind was brisk, but the view was stunning. Here’s a little taste of beautiful Lake Erie from Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point during Bloggy Con ’14.

Beautiful Lake Erie from Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point #iheartCP #BloggyCon14

Our Bloggy Con ’14 Adventure!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that would make me money if you make a purchase after clicking on them. Gotta feed my tubie’s organic blended diet habit!

Things got a little quiet around here late last week as I prepared for Bloggy Conference ’14. My friend and roomie was unable to attend, so Hubster decided to take Friday off and make the 9-hour drive to Ohio with me! We dropped the kids off at with their grandparents and embarked on the longest road trip we’ve ever taken as a couple. I’ll freely admit that while we enjoyed the time together, we did not enjoy sitting in the car for that long! Flying might have been more expensive, but it just might be worth it when a 9-hour trip turns into 10 long hours on the road.

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Ice Mountain Water and our Essential Car Kit for Toddlers on the Go #HealthyHydration #CollectiveBias #ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #Ad

I haphazardly threw sippy cups, snacks, diapers, Ice Mountain water and various items into the diaper bag that Baby Jo loves to empty. As I rushed from one end of the apartment to the other, I called out to C: “Okay, we need to leave in 10 minutes! Get your pull-up and I’ll help you put it on.”

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: The Hipster and the Organic Peach

C sized up in shoes and pants this week! That in itself is a HUGE, joyous event for a tubie parent. It’s a cool, rainy day today and he’s sporting these Gap skinny jeans with a v-neck tee. I can’t handle the cute hipster toddler-ness!

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RSVP to the #MobileTailgate Twitter Party 9/18 #shop

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#MobileTailgate-Twitter-Party-9-18-14

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party to chat about how Walmart Family Mobile can make tailgating a fun and memorable experience!  On Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12pm EST, please join us for the #MobileTailgate Twitter Partywhere we’ll be discussing tailgating fun and fall sports with the lowest priced unlimited plans and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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RSVP to the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party 9/17 #shop

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Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about busy back to school schedules, quick meal and lunch ideas!  On September 17th at 9-10am CT/10-11am ET, please join us for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing Back to School and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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30% Off TOMS at Zulily! #ad

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

I love TOMS! I have three pairs in my collection now, and wear them all the time. They’re super comfortable, adorable and I love that a pair was given to children in need with each of my purchases. You can get your own pair at a great discount, just like I did!

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Here’s My Heart, Lord.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so moved in a church service as I was today. I love my church. Our pastor and his wife are so real. The members of the church are real. They show integrity, vulnerability, honesty and love in all that they do. I love them; I really do.

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5 Potty Training Tips for Your Toddler with SPD #sponsored

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Pull-Ups®. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

5 Tips for Potty Training with SPD #sponsored

Potty training is one of those parenting things that strikes fear in my heart! When we first started thinking about potty training C, I was anxious about different methods, how he would respond and even how I would react to accidents. I have utilized Pull-Ups® Big Kids Academy to help us navigate the potty training stage. There is a plethora of great information and helpful tips on the site! We’re still struggling with potty training on the go, but Pull-Ups® Big Kids Academy has some excellent advice on the subject.

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Homemade Baby Wipes

I am a Simply Aroma Independent Consultant. This post contains links to my business page.

Paying full price for baby wipes? No, thank you. I don’t even like buying baby wipes on sale. They’re expensive! I started making homemade baby wipes about a year ago, and I’ve since perfected our “recipe.” With the exception of cutting a paper towel roll in half, the process of making homemade baby wipes is simple. Baby Jo has a tendency to get diaper rash but when I add lavender essential oil to her wipes, her skin stays smooth and healthy.

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Share your journey to motherhood with Mattel and earn rewards! #ad

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Mattel Expecting Moms Image

Are you currently expecting? Join other expecting Moms in a private online community to discuss the joys and challenges of motherhood, as well as advise Mattel about their toys and games.

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The Clarity of Bedtime

Bedtime provides clarity on difficult days with our #spd toddler #specialneeds #LittleMamaJama

The tension in his little body is visible. I know it is going to be a difficult day. Today, he will be aggressive. It will be difficult for him to follow direction, because auditory processing will not be easy. Motor planning will be harder today so I expect him to run into his sister, body slam me, and roll around on the floor in frustration.

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I joined Simply Aroma, and I am so happy I did. #essentialoils

Simply Aroma Independent Consultant

You may have heard a lot of talk about essential oils lately. Is it a fad? A new health craze? Essential oils have been around for quite some time. The rise of interest in alternative medicine has brought more attention to them in the past few decades. Simply Aroma launched this year as the first party planning company offering host benefits in the field of pure essential oils. Simply Aroma products are certified 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils. As someone with a heart for helping people, Simply Aroma’s mission resonated with me: “Make a positive difference in the lives of our customers and consultants as well as those we come into contact with.”

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Well Beginnings Products at Walgreens #MomsMeet

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

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Jon Stewart and A’Driane Nieves are right.

I’ve been mostly quiet about what’s been happening in this country, because we’ve been immersed in the medical happenings with C. These two videos below are just too phenomenal not to share. The first is about white privilege by Jon Stewart and the second is A’Driane Nieves’ VOTY reading at BlogHer. It may make you uncomfortable. Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. Powerful stuff. Watch them to the end. (Warning: language)

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Hello, Sister.

Is there anything better than witnessing the love your children have for one another? The sibling bond that these two share is so amazing to me. No matter how much they fight (and that is a lot!), their friendship grows every day.

Siblings greeting each other at door #toddlers

RSVP for #BabyDiapersSavings Twitter Party 9/9 #shop

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#BabyDiaperSavings-Twitter-Party-9-9

Photo Credit: The Funny Mom Blog

Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about saving money on diapers while getting all the diaper features you need! On Tuesday September 9, 2014 at 12-1pm ET, please join us for the #BabyDiapersSavings Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing the Parent’s Choice Diapers at Walmart and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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Clip coupons at the speed of life! #WalgreensPaperless #shop

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

I am wholeheartedly in denial that summer is almost over, older kids are going back to school, and Hubster will soon be welcoming a bunch of new students to campus! It was great that our summer was filled with family, friends and fun events; but it flew by as we rushed from one activity to the next. You all know how frugal I am and it bothered me that I didn’t have time to clip coupons this summer. Walgreens paperless coupons helped me save money on our summer essentials efficiently without taking time away from our busy life.

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Abnormal EEG without seizures

I sat here staring at the blinking cursor for several minutes, realizing that even after a nap I am having a difficult time processing all of this. I barely slept last night as I kept vigil over C’s bedside. Every time he spasmed or twitched, I pressed that little button that they told me to press. I was nervous about going to sleep and missing anything. C’s pediatric neurologist came in this morning and gave us the report: it was an abnormal EEG without seizures.

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Another August, Another Hospitalization

Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link. Any proceeds made from this link goes to our son’s continued medical care.

This time last year, C had been in the hospital for a few days to receive a NG tube. Then he went back two weeks later for surgical G-tube placement.

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Chicken Fried Rice and delicious stir-fry with WORLDFOODS #momsmeet

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet℠ program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meets℠ blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: The Dirty Stop Sign

C loves to talk all things cars. He puts his heart and soul into his favorite subject. Loving cars includes talking about going left, right or straight, slowing down and fancy cars. The list is endless! He really likes to talk about this stop sign near our apartment.

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Tubie Hack: Make Syringes Last Longer

#Tubie Pro Tip getting most use out of syringes

When C got his tube, I was shocked by the cost of home medical supplies. Our medical supplier recently changed the types of syringes they use and instead of being able to stretch one 60 mL syringe out for 3-4 days, they were only lasting 1-2 days. I was a little desperate to come up with a hack.

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RSVP for the #TeamJellO Twitter Party 8/28

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#TeamJellO Twitter Party

#TeamJellO Twitter Party 8-28

Photo Courtesy of Happy Hour Projects.com

Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do, and we’re excited to host a party about college football and tailgating! Join us on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 1 PM ET/12 PM CT for the #TeamJellO Twitter Party.

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Traveling Down the Neurology Path

Toddler with Cars suitcase

It took me by surprise when they found abnormal brain activity during C’s sleep study in March. We were there to see why he wasn’t sleeping at night, thinking that it was related to tonsils or adenoids. The tonsils and adenoids were okay, but the abnormal brain activity was alarming. Apparently, it’s the type that is normal in 20 percent of people who experience it. I had a gut feeling that my C wasn’t in that 20 percent. We proceeded with an EEG in April. Those results were normal. Despite capturing some of his staring episodes on video, his pediatrician instructed us to wait and see. Should the episodes become more frequent, we would pursue further testing.

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The Loneliness of Special Needs Parenting

No one ever tells you how hard parenting might be, that you might have a child who often demands more from you than you believe you are capable. No one ever tells you that, should this happen, it will consume all of your time, thoughts and energy. No one ever tells you that special needs parenting will leave you exhausted, exasperated and lonely.

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Gluten-free, organic, non-GMO treats: Ginnybakes! #momsmeet

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet℠ program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meets℠ blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

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I think I just lost an entire week…

I looked at the calendar today and was shocked to see that it was August 13th. Wait, what?! I think I just lost an entire week of my life. Our family anthem the past week should have been, “Another One Bites the Dust.” First Baby Jo, then C…or C then Baby Jo then C again…I can’t even remember. High fevers, colds, cranky, tired children. Then I had a 103 degree fever for two days. It’s been a treat! Here are a few pictures from our past week, though. There were some cute moments amidst the sickness. ;)

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RSVP for the #MyGoodLife Twitter Party 8/21 #shop

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RSVP for the #MyGoodLife Twitter Party!

#MyGoodLife Twitter Party 8/21 #shop

Photo Credit: IRunForWine

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about how we can make the most of everyday moments with Nestle!  On Thursday, August 21 at 12-1pm CT/1-2 pm ET, please join us for the #MyGoodLife Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing light and easy recipes and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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Join the #DropYourPants for #Underwareness Movement and get a free sample! #sp

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Depend. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Are you in need of bladder leakage protection? Over 65 million Americans require incontinence protection, and nearly half of them are below the age of 50. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that we just don’t talk about. We should! It is a common problem. It isn’t something that I have ever talked about, but when I saw Depend’s awesome #DropYourPants for #Underwareness Movement I knew it was time to speak up.

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