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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Grab your Huggies Costco Promotional Coupon! #MC #SnugandDryPlus

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies® Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Buying diapers and wipes can put stress on the budget, but it’s not like you can go without them either. Babies are expensive! I’m always looking for a good deal and a great value when it comes to these kinds of purchases. I think Huggies® Snug and Dry Plus Diapers and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes at Costco are something that I can feel good about purchasing.

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Pick ‘n Save Recipes: garnish your grilled chicken with Melon Salsa! #MyPicknSave #shop

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

Fresh, seasonal produce is quite possibly my favorite thing about summer. So much of family life centers around food. Parties, cookouts, picnics, grilling. Pick ‘n Save is my favorite Wisconsin grocery, because I know they will always have fresh, local produce in stock. My kids like it because of the awesome shopping carts! I always spend an inordinate amount of time in the produce section. There are so many beautiful fruits and vegetables to look at! This week, I picked out a cantaloupe to make a delicious seasonal recipe: melon salsa.

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#ad Fight Hunger: Raising Children to be #HungerHeroes

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

Poverty in the USA remains a big problem. My biggest concern? Hungry kids. Did you know that 1 in 5 children in the US is hungry*? That is a staggering number. I recall the pastor of our church recently talking about how many students, even in an affluent area, are signed up for the local school lunch program. I look at my children and can’t imagine the heartbreak of parents who are unable to provide enough food for their children.

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Family Favorites: Mini Sausage Calzones #FamilyFavorites #shop

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

Family dinner is a fairly new concept in our household. C has been doing very well in his feeding therapy and he now sits at the table, sometimes even for a whole meal! His progress has inspired me to work harder at creating meals that he will like because there is actually a possibility that he will eat!  He loves things with the flavor of tomato sauce. After a little brainstorming, we came up with a way for him to have the sensory experience of creating his food and the incentive of it being something he would enjoy. We decided to make Mini Sausage Calzones!

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Real Food Blends for my Tubie!

Disclosure: I received product from Real Food Blends in exchange for this review. The links in this post are affiliate links. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Real Food Blends for Tubies

“One option is going to be a tube.”

Those words from C’s pediatric GI doctor took me by surprise. I knew my two-year-old was small. I knew he had severe feeding problems. I never imagined what life would have in store for us. Last year, C had a g-tube surgically placed and we started giving him four bottles of formula each day. His behavior was erratic. I noticed sugar highs and lows. I knew there had to be a better way to nourish him than to make him go through sugar crashes and fill him with artificial ingredients.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Cheese Curds!

My little man loves deep fried cheese curds from Culver’s. We indulge him in his favorite treat sometimes. I mean, could my tubie like anything more caloric? Win!

C likes Culver's cheese curds #tubie #gtube

3 Ingredients to a Perfect Mommy Time Out #MyGoodLife #shop

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

“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”

Reason would indicate that my three-year-old needs something, right? Nope. He just wants my attention. He does this to me all day long, and it’s usually while Baby Jo is looking something like this:

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Serve up some Chiquita Bites and WIN a Thirty-One Thermal Tote!

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the manufacturer.  I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog.  My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturer of the product.

C’s feeding therapy group has been going really well. They’re exposing him to a lot of new foods, some of which he used to eat regularly but eliminated from his diet. One of those foods: apples. He likes to “make them crunch!” I can’t even explain the joy in my heart when he requests to eat apples!

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Coconut Lavender Cream

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

I’m just going to say it: I am allergic to dogs and cats.

*ducks*

Don’t hate me, please?! I can’t help it! ;)

I recently broke out in hives after a dog rubbed against my ankles. The itch was terrible and I wasn’t sure what to do. Then I remembered: lavender.

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C and the bottle of juice

My son has always refused every beverage but water (and ice cream!). He has been doing very well in his feeding group therapy. They are exposing him to a wide variety of foods and challenging him to take a bite of each type of food. Before this class, we had him licking each food. He’s moved up a step! He has also been drinking juice with the group. I haven’t purchased any juice for home yet, because I haven’t seen this child drink juice ever and I didn’t want another thing to go to waste. He saw his favorite juice as we were shopping last night and said, “We bring it home and I drink it from a cup.”

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Sister, I need a hug.

If only these two played so well together all the time…

Toddler siblings hugging #LittleMamaJama

Sponsored: $50 Costco Cash Card Giveaway! #SnugandDryPlus #MC

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies® Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Baby Blogger Approved! #SnugandDryPlus #MC #sponsored

Baby Jo and I are loving the Huggies® Snug and Dry Plus Diapers from Costco. The SnugFit waistband and Leak Lock® protection keep her dry day and night. My little lady enjoys running, climbing and exploring. I constantly find her climbing into the toy box, standing on top of books and puzzle boxes, and this week I caught her trying to climb onto the coffee table! She sure keeps me busy. I’m glad that Huggies® Snug and Dry Plus Diapers and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes, available at Costco, can keep up with Baby Jo’s adventurous personality.

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Green Bay Packers Shareholder Meeting and 5k

At the Packers Shareholder Meeting

A few years ago when the Green Bay Packers opened up sale of their stock, Hubster had to invest. Being a Packers shareholder was always a dream of his and even though we didn’t have much, we scraped together some money and purchased a share. That share is framed and hangs proudly in our apartment. ;)

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Baby Jo and Mommy’s First Selfie Session

C loves to have selfie photo shoots with me and now Baby Jo is getting in on the fun, too! She decided to play dress-up with her ladybug dress and then climbed into my lap for some pictures. My little baby girl is so much fun. :)

Baby Jo and Mommy's first photo shoot! #LittleMamaJama

Clinging to moments with other parents who “get it.”

I found myself sitting in a break room with five or six other parents. Normally, I leave for a few, brief moments of alone time during C’s group therapy sessions; but they have an iPad set up so that we could watch this session. I was intrigued enough to stay.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Washing Papa’s Truck

C loves to talk about Papa’s truck. Oh the excitement when he got to help wash Papa’s truck!

Washing the truck with Papa

The first anniversary of the feeding tube approaches

It was this time last year when we first met with a pediatric GI doctor. They broke the news to us that C had fallen off the bottom of the BMI chart. Feeding therapy was the plan, a g-tube was only mentioned as the worst case scenario. The thought of a feeding tube for my toddler was terrifying.

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Tastefully Simple Truffle Fudge Brownies topped with Organic Strawberries

Disclosure: As a blogger for Tastefully Simple, I was provided product and compensation for this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

A few years ago, I used to enjoy spending hours baking. The measuring, mixing and creating was a source of stress relief. I felt more relaxed after a few hours spent in the kitchen. The beautiful treats that I created were just a delicious result of my stress relief. Bringing two children into the equation has effectively ended those leisurely days of baking to my heart’s content. Sometimes I yearn to get creative in the kitchen, but am stumped by my lack of time. Tastefully Simple solves that issue for me.

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{FLASH GIVEAWAY} Pretty Muddy Women’s Fun Run!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pretty Muddy. As a 2014 Pretty Muddy Blogger, I received two entries to give away. The opinions below are entirely my own.

Pretty Muddy Dallas 2

What’s better than laughing with your girlfriends? Laughing while blasting through obstacles and getting Pretty Muddy! I’m excited to be offering one free registration code to TWO lucky readers. Enter to win a free entry and tell your friends about this fun run just for women. Pretty Muddy is all about fitness, fun, friendship, and flying out of your comfort zone.

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6 busy mom situations when Stayfree Feminine Care has me covered. #FreeToMove #shop

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

6 busy mom situations when Stayfree has me covered #FreeToMove #shop #cbias

Okay, ladies. I know that this is not a topic we freely talk about, but let’s face it: menstruation happens. When I use Stayfree pads and tampons, I’m able to forget about my period and keep up with my active lifestyle. I’m able to find Stayfree Ultra Thin Regular and Stayfree Overnight in the feminine care aisle at my local Walmart. There’s a cool deal available right now where you can get a $5 Walmart eGift card reward when you buy any three Stayfree, Carefree or o.b. products. There are six busy mom situations in my daily life when Stayfree feminine care always has me covered.

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Exclusive Huggies Plus Products Available Only at Costco #SnugandDryPlus #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies® Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

As a member of the Huggies Costco Ambassador Program, I’m excited to share the news about the exclusive Huggies products at Costco that will help you Plus Up your baby care! Baby Jo has been testing the Huggies® Snug & Dry Plus Diapers and Huggies Natural Care® Plus Wipes.

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30 Before 30: #29 Hike in a state park I’ve never been to.

It’s time to cross out #29 on my 30 Before 30 list!

The weather on Madeline Island was perfect for our trip. We knew that we had to rent mopeds and ride around the island, just like we had done when we were there four years ago. We rode into Big Bay State Park and decided to walk a trail that the gentleman at the rental store had recommended.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Girls Weekend and #TwinCities Color Run

I went to the Twin Cities this weekend to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world. It’s hard to believe that my friend, Rachel of To Hab & To Hold, and I have only known each other for two years. She’s one of those people that I feel like I’ve known forever.

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C Memorizes Disney Planes Trailer

My little man is so excited about the release of Disney’s new Planes: Fire & Rescue movie that he has memorized the Disney Planes trailer. I managed to capture it on video tonight and although it’s a bit shaky and you get to listen in on some of Baby Jo’s bedtime crying, it’s still fun. :)

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Disney Planes Inspires My Son’s Passion for Learning #PlanesToTheRescue #shop

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

Blade Runners await #PlanesToTheRescue #shop #cbias

There are not many things that my son loves more than his vehicles. He may only be three years old, but C can spot the same model vehicle as ours from the other side of the parking lot, tell me how to get to Nana and Papa’s house, and name each of his planes and cars as he carefully places them into their basket before bed. C’s interest in planes and cars has also sparked his passion for learning. Just like Disney Planes’ Dusty Crophopper learning to harness the power of Radial G, C likes to soak in knowledge about his vehicles.

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Sensory Play: Shaving Cream and Cars

Sensory Play with shaving cream and cars #spd #toddler

We’re always trying to think of new ideas for toddler sensory play for C. He absolutely loves cars and needs to work on being comfortable with different textures, so we bought a super cheap bottle of shaving cream. We sprayed a bunch of shaving cream foam in the bathtub and let him drive his beloved cars through them. He had an excellent time while working with texture and tactile sensory play!

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Adult Sensory Meltdowns

It was only after we started treating C for sensory processing disorder that I realized I have always had it, too. There have always been little things that really bother me (i.e. unexpected noises, a bug flying past my ear, multiple electronic devices on at the same time). I witness C’s sensory meltdowns on a regular basis and now I recognize when he’s reaching his limits; but I never knew that I have sensory meltdowns as an adult. These adult sensory meltdowns look a little different than my toddler’s meltdowns, but they are sensory-related nonetheless.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: The Multitasking Tubie

Here’s my little tubie boy taking care of a couple things at once: listening therapy and a tube feeding! Because he simply wouldn’t be a mini-me without multitasking. ;)

The Multitasking Tubie #gtube #spd

RSVP for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party on 7/15

Twitter-Party-Disclosure-2014

RSVP for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party!

#MyPicknSave-Twitter-Party-7-15

Photo Credit: All She Cooks

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party all about tailgating, backyard BBQs and summer entertaining!  On Tuesday July 15 at 12-1pm CT/1-2 pm ET, please join us for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing light and easy recipes and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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Wondering what the future holds for my special needs child

What does the future hold for my special needs son?

I know that I spend too much time thinking about the future. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for my special needs son.

When C has difficulty listening to directions, I wonder how things will go for him in school. Language and auditory processing is difficult for him with his sensory processing disorder. I wonder how he will handle the pace of a classroom. What extracurricular activities will he be involved in? Will he be able to keep up with directions? Will he process language and turn it into a motor plan quickly enough to participate in his favorite sports? I pray that he won’t be bullied for being slower with processing. The thought of it alone shatters my heart into a million pieces.

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Keep Momming

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Shire. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Raising a child at any age is challenging, and when it comes to mothers and daughters, the dynamic can be even more complex. What some may dismiss as “typical tween girl behavior” can sometimes be symptoms of something more serious. Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to report having mostly inattentive Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Since inattentive symptoms can be less noticeable than hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, it is important that moms know what to look for.

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C’s Sensory Anchor

Lining up toys as a sensory anchor #toddler #spd

As soon as C started army crawling around the apartment, he was lining items up in an orderly fashion. We used to think it was hilarious that our baby was arranging shoes in a straight line, but now we know that our son does this as a sensory anchor.

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Our Climb Out of the Darkness: Team Green Bay #climbout

Climb Out of the Darkness Team Green Bay #climbout

Team Green Bay! That’s right – it was just our family of four this year (Hubster was taking the picture above) representing Team Green Bay for the Climb Out of the Darkness for Postpartum Progress. Was I disappointed about that? Yes, I admit to being a bit bummed out that no one wanted to join us. But I don’t want that to take away from the personal significance of this year’s climb.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Hubster and I snuck away for a few days of vacation without the kids. Baby Jo stayed with my in-laws, while C spent time with my parents. They missed each other a lot and it was so sweet to see their reunion tonight. C was jumping up and down, squealing with excitement. He kept kissing and hugging his baby sister and on the ride home, this happened.

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C and Baby Jo Have a Tea Party

I took this video almost two months ago and I can’t believe I didn’t share it with you here! I love how these two play together – you know, when they’re not fighting. ;) They love playing with their tea pot, and here they are having a tea party together.

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Sleepy Boy

Sometimes you need to run around with your cousins until past your bedtime. Sometimes you need to fall asleep immediately on the car ride home; and sometimes you need to sleep sideways in mommy and daddy’s bed until 9:30am.

C had a great weekend. ;)

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Ology™ makes me feel better about cleaning. #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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Let’s see if Tom’s of Maine Anti-perspirant can keep up with me! #FreshNaturally #shop #cbias

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

I’ve been on a mission to switch to natural personal care products. With C’s health problems, using natural ingredients has become very important to me. I have made my own laundry detergent and my own toothpaste, but deodorant? I haven’t dared to go there yet. I naturally sweat – a lot – and I have a fear of putting a natural deodorant to the test only to have it fail me midday. I have a fear of smelling funky! What I did not realize is that Tom’s of Maine has an anti-perspirant. Game. On. Let’s get #FreshNaturally!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Prep Starts Early! #tubie #gtube

We’re 10 months into this g-tube life, and I’m getting smarter about everything. I’ve started preparing now for our vacation that starts on Sunday! So far I’ve made 8 of the 18 feeds that C will need while Hubster and I are away. Doing a little at a time takes the pressure off instead of food prep turning into a 4-hour affair the night before vacation!

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Join us for the #ShareItForward Twitter Party!

Join us for the #ShareItForward Twitter party!
Twitter Party Disclosure

#ShareItForward Twitter Party

Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about sharing memories! On July 3, 2014 at 1:00pm ET, please join us for the #ShareItForward Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing the new personalized Coke® bottles and the best ways to share them, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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Shop for Boys Shoes Online

Disclosure: This post brought to you by LinkVehicle.

When people shop boys shoes online, they will find that boys shoes come in a staggering number of colors and styles. Boys can have every aesthetic imaginable, but it is up to their parents to figure out which one really works for the boy. When boys need shoes, it is wise for parents to consider all the parts of a shoe before they make a final purchase.

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Baby Jo jumps in her brother’s trampoline!

My little one-year-old girl went into her brother’s trampoline and instantly knew what to do. She was jumping and having herself a grand ol’ time! We’ve had to close off the trampoline area with a large gate, because they wanted to be in there at the same time. It started to turn into a toddler cage match. ;)

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Let me help you with those shoes, baby sister.

Hubster and I went away for the weekend to attend a wedding. The kids were so excited to see us when we came home. They had lots of fun with Nana and Papa, but C was very ready to be home. He’s my little homebody! When we got home, he declared that he was going to go for a walk. He even decided to put Baby Jo’s shoes on for her! He’s our little helper. :)

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