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

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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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The perfect warm appetizer dip: Jalapeño, Artichoke & Spinach Dip

Disclosure: As a blogger for Tastefully Simple, I receive compensation and product for review purposes. The opinions below are entirely my own.

Summertime is family time in our household. Hubster is home from work at a regularly scheduled time. It makes it easier to meal plan. That means the slow cooker gets put away for the season and we start to cook meals that take longer to prepare. There is something about putting time into a meal that makes it more satisfying. We have more meals with appetizers, grilling and dessert. There is quality time spent together while the food cooks instead of scarfing down a quick dinner before or after the kids’ bedtime.

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RSVP for the #FoodDeservesDelicious Twitter Party!

RSVP for the #FoodDeservesDelicious Twitter Party!

CB-Twitter-Party-Post-Disclosure-June2014-TM

#FoodDeservesDelicious-Twitter-Party-6-23 #shop #cbias

‘ Photo Credit: Adventures in All Things Food

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about easy summer meal ideas using Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing and Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing!  On MONDAY, June 23rd at 3:00 pm ET, please join us for the #FoodDeservesDelicious Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing creative ways to use Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing and Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Best Friends in the Hall

Baby Jo wanted to walk to the car on her own. C proudly took her hand and they walked down the hall together. I hung back a little and simply admired the sweetness of their friendship.

Siblings holding hands in the hallway

{FLASH Giveaway} Win an entry to The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour! #Happiest5k

Disclosure: I’ve received two entries for a giveaway in exchange for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

The Color Run logo

The Color Run is hitting your cities like never before with amazing new participant gear (t-shirt, headband, wrist band and sling bag), fresh music and color crazy race attractions. This is 5K magic like only The Color Run can do! I participated in The Color Run last year and had so much fun that I’ve registered for two events this year. It’s the most fun 3.1 miles you will ever run or walk, with dashes of color, beats to dance to and people cheering! There’s no doubt why it’s called the Happiest 5k on the Planet.

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Please Help Bryan Haltom’s Family Find Justice

When a friend of mine told me about Bryan Haltom’s case, I felt that the least I could do was to offer a platform for this mother who continues to seek justice for her son nearly 18 years after his death. Lynn shares her story below. Please look carefully at Bryan’s picture. He was driving that car when he was murdered.

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My Son is Different

My son is different #sensoryprocessingdisorder

Today I had the crushing realization that my son is different.

No, I’m not delusional. I’m reminded that he is different 3-4 times each day when I administer his tube feedings, every week at his OT and speech therapy for sensory processing disorder, whenever I schedule his listening therapy into our day, and when I glance at the counter and see the stacks of syringes and extensions.

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30 Before 30: #6 Run a 10k

One of the things on my 30 Before 30 list was to run a 10k. There are some people for whom running comes naturally. They can easily run long distances with little to no training.

Ready for our 10k

It’s 5:45am and I’m ready to go!

I am not one of those people.

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Happy Father’s Day, Hubster!

Daddy.

A wrestler.

A comedian.

A comforter.

Happy Father’s Day, Hubster. We love you.

Happy Father's Day, Hubster 2014

I’m Back! Climb Out of the Darkness with Postpartum Progress.

Something big happened yesterday. David Gray performed his song, “Back In The World,” on the Today Show. Mr. Gray has graciously allowed Postpartum Progress to use his beautiful, and perfectly appropriate song, as its official song for Climb Out of the Darkness 2014. Postpartum Progress released this official video yesterday. Every time I watch it, I’m moved to tears.

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It’s the Choices You Make That Define You – Keep Good Going

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's the choices you make that define you. That's a pretty powerful statement, no? We have all had to make choices that have changed the direction of our lives. Have you made a choice that changed your family's future for the better? When other people who depend on us are involved, those choices become even tougher!

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The moment during my son’s therapy that I realized I also have SPD.

C has been having individual occupational therapy sessions for his SPD for two weeks with the same therapist that led his group sensorimotor therapy that he enjoyed since February. His speech therapy was finally approved, too, so we can address his language processing and feeding needs. He had his first session with both of them together this week. Things went quite well. They pushed him and he rose to the challenge. He was close to going over the edge at one point.

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My 10k Training Post-Run Routine Includes Iced Tea #BrewItUp #BrewOverIce #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.  I am also participating in a contest as an additional aspect of this campaign. #BrewItUp #BrewOverIce #CollectiveBias

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: C Finishes a Puzzle by Himself!

My boy loves to work on puzzles and he was in need of a bigger challenge. His aunt and uncle gave him a few puzzles for his birthday last month, and we’ve been working on them regularly. This large floor puzzle with vehicles is C’s favorite and we play it when Baby Jo takes a nap. He recently asked me to help him. When I said I was busy with something, he went ahead and did it himself!

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My Son is Crying Because “Everybody’s Got Armpits.”

C was putting together his puzzle and must have had an epiphany that terrified him: everybody’s got armpits.

Celebrating Father’s Day with a little help from Pick ‘n Save #MyPicknSave #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias

Father’s Day is a special day to celebrate the men in our lives and all that they do for us. I will be visiting Pick ‘n Save, a local Wisconsin grocery, to shop from their large selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats to create a special Father’s Day meal for Hubster.

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California Delicious Gift Basket Giveaway

California Delicious Giveaway
June 6-10, 2014
Open to US

I love giving gift baskets. You can personalize them so much more than a flower arrangement. Customize gifts for the tea lover in your life, a Father’s Day gift, the wine connoisseur and more. These California Delicious baskets are fun to send and even better to receive. So if anyone wants to send one my way, I’m an avid coffee drinker. ;) 

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Review: Soft, Organic Cotton Sleep Sack by Merino Kids

Disclosure: I received this product complimentary for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

There have been many times that a car trip overlaps with the kids’ bedtimes. We often put them in pajamas before we drive home, but we still need to put them into sleep sacks when we get back home. I didn’t know that a car-seat compatible sleep sack existed until I received this Merino Kids Organic Cotton Sleep Sack for review. They actually have a patented safety belt aperture that allows the freedom to move baby from car seat to stroller to crib without disrupting sleep patterns. Very cool.

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C Ate Lunch with Baby Jo!

C eats lunch at the table with Baby Jo

In many households, this would be a normal lunchtime picture. Brother and sister eating at the table together, each of them feeding themselves their food.

In my home, this moment was enough to bring tears of joy to my eyes. My tubie with sensory processing disorder is doing a few amazing things in this picture:

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Baby Jo Goes Shopping

This girl. She’s 90 percent sweetness and 10 percent spitfire.

Baby Jo goes shopping

“Okay Mom, what’re we gettin’?”

So much sweetness.

Baby Jo smiling in the shopping cart

No sorting makes laundry so easy, my toddler can do it. #LaundrySimplified #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #LaundrySimplified #CollectiveBias

When I had my kids, I never imagined I would spend so much of my time doing laundry. Sorting laundry, washing laundry, folding laundry, putting all the little things back in the little drawers. I did two loads of laundry today and three loads yesterday. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but I did four loads the day before that. Do you ever feel like you’re perpetually stuck in the laundry room?

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Checking In: C’s Health

Toddler C gets his EEG
The last detailed update that I gave you all about C’s health was when he had an EEG done to look further into the brain activity that was picked up during his sleep study. I didn’t update you on the results because I was a little confused by them. The EEG was normal; however, I showed a few videos of C’s episodes to his pediatrician. The pediatrician said that if he didn’t have a normal EEG, he would order one based on the videos. He recommended waiting to see if these episodes continued or started to occur more frequently. If so, then we’d look into a longer-term EEG and he’d have to stay in the hospital for it. If not, then we can just move forward. I haven’t noticed any changes in the past month.

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Bedtime Conversations with C

Bedtime Conversations with C

Now that C has turned three, it has become even more apparent that we’re but one soul inhabiting two bodies. He is super chatty at bedtime, just like me, and talks my ear off about anything and everything his little three-year-old mind dreams up. Here is a sample from one of our bedtime conversations:

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I’m Starting a Juice Fast

Why would you juice fast? That’s kind of crazy! Well…I used to think it was a little crazy. Then I watched documentaries like Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, realized how much better I was feeling as I increased my vegetable intake, and remembered how much juicing aided in my healing process when I was very ill with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) as a teen. The influx of vitamins readily absorbed by your body, the cleansing process on a cellular level, the detoxification of every part of your body – I decided it was worth it. I want a fresh start!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: C and Baby Jo’s Photo Shoot

We recently had a photo shoot for C’s 3-year and Baby Jo’s 1-year pictures. A big thank you Kymberly Carlson Photography for her patience with my wild, uncooperative children. :)

Baby Jo with 1-year smash cake

I wanted her to have a monkey smash cake, reminiscent of C’s!

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Brother, the Comforter

“Sister, you’re my best friend, best friend, best friend.”

There’s never any doubt that C absolutely adores his little sister. He lights up when she enters the room, asks her to play cars with him and crawls around the apartment with her. He can make her laugh harder than anyone else.

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Let’s Talk Bathroom Routines! Here’s My 15-Minute Routine. #LetsTalkBums

Disclosure: I am receiving product and compensation from Cottonelle for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

We have 50 minutes until we need to leave the apartment. Hubster jumps in the shower while I tube feed C. When Hubster emerges from the bathroom, there are 25 minutes left for me to get ready. C heads into the bathroom and moments later calls for my help. I walk into the bathroom to find him with his pants down and a mess around his ankles. He didn’t make it to the potty in time and now he will need a bath. I frantically fill the bathtub and give C a quick scrub. Suddenly I’m left with just 15 minutes to get myself ready.

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Falling Beneath the Poverty Line Taught Us How to Budget #SunTrust

P1070117Imagine being 23 and moving to a new state with your husband, where both of you were about to embark on your graduate education. One week in, you start to feel very sick. You decide to take a pregnancy test on a whim – just to rule it out. Surprise! You’re pregnant. You become so ill over the next few weeks that you’re unable to leave your apartment. You’re forced to withdraw from the university and quit your graduate assistantship. Suddenly there you are – in a new state, jobless, unable to attend school, pregnant and too sick to function. The two of you are now dependent on your husband’s menial income from his graduate assistantship.

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A Disney Cars Birthday Party for C’s 3rd and Baby Jo’s 1st Birthdays!

Disclosure: I received product from Tutus by Terrah and Little Bug Shoppe for use at the kids’ party. The thoughts and opinions expressed below are entirely my own.

C is simply obsessed with Disney’s Cars. A Disney Cars birthday party was the only way to go this year. Lightning McQueen, Mater, Francesco, Finn McMissile…the boy is all about his favorite Cars characters. Baby Jo…well, without a preference at the age of one, she was just along for the ride!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Baby Jo likes to eat!

Can I just say that I feel immense relief that Baby Jo likes to eat?! She was recently double-fisting slices of homemade pizza. Gosh, I love that girl.

Baby Jo likes to eat! #LittleMamaJama

C Says the Darndest Things: Episode 2

Welcome to the second installment of “C Says the Darndest Things.” The bigger he gets, the more I’m shocked at what comes out of his mouth. I don’t know where he gets this stuff! *looks around sheepishly*

C Says the Darndest Things Episode 2
While having trouble fitting his water bottle into the basket on his bed, because he put too many cars in there: “Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me right now?!

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Checking In: 10k Training

I started writing this post early this morning. I was halfway done and naturally I didn’t save it before my site went down. Because it’s Monday, so of course right?! ;) Let’s try this again, Monday!

Even with three weeks off of 10k training, I picked it right back up last week and things have been going well. My long run last week was 4.5 miles. I had a power snack when I was done, lots of water and some Arnica tablets. I was very sore that day and quite sore the next day, too. This week’s long run was 5 miles and it went much better than I expected. I battled major soreness during the first mile and thought, “There’s no WAY I’m going to make it five miles!”

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I’m Never Giving Up on the She Sweats Transformation

It’s been six weeks since I told you I was starting the She Sweats 12-Week Transformation. I should be giving you a six-week update, but instead I’m looking at my calendar that only has the first two weeks checked off.

I could tell you that I failed. I could make excuses about why I missed four weeks of workouts. The truth? Life happened. C got a stomach bug that lasted over a week and turned into getting IV hydration. He had an EEG. We moved. The kids had their first joint birthday party just two weeks after we moved into our new apartment. The daily grind of special needs parenting continued.

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Let’s support the Body Image Movement. How “Embrace” documentary will create global change. #IHaveEmbraced

Taryn Brumfitt is a woman with a mission. You may have seen her atypical “before” and “after” images circulating the web. Her Body Image Movement perpetuates her message of love and acceptance. It’s time for women to love and accept themselves for who they are. She asked 100 women to describe their bodies in one word. Many of them replied with a negative word and several of them said, “Disgusting.” You’ll see in this video that the women who are calling themselves “fat” or “disgusting” are beautiful, unique individuals. I cringed hearing them talk about themselves that way. Then I realized that I think those same things about myself. Do you?

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Celebrating Moms Night Out with the ladies! #NMNO14 #MNOmovie

Disclosure: I was selected to host a Mommy Party to celebrate National Moms’ Night Out and “Moms’ Night Out,” and was provided with a complimentary party kit. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Did you know that National Moms’ Night Out takes place annually in May? Yes, ma’am! That means you have an excuse to get a sitter, put on those heels (or kick them off!), and pour that glass of wine for an evening of fun with your best ladies.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Rest Time with C

Despite his fierce independence, C is a mama’s boy at heart. He loves to give hugs and kisses. I enjoy when he climbs up for cuddles when I’m lying down. These tender moments are ones I’ll treasure forever.

Mommy toddler rest time #LittleMamaJama

A child who never eats and a child who eats all the time.

Baby Jo licking the yogurt bowl

Baby Jo might eat us out of house and home, you guys.

She wants to eat as soon as she wakes up in the morning. She wants a snack a couple of hours later. She’s hungry again at lunchtime. Then she wants another snack after her nap. Even after all of that food, she still is hungry for dinner every night.

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Why this Mother’s Day was emotional for me

Kymberly Carlson Photography

Kymberly Carlson Photography

I found myself close to tears a few times yesterday. A few times those tears even spilled down my cheeks. Mother’s Day served as a reminder of how difficult this year of mothering has been for me. During this third year as a mom, many difficult things happened.

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Natural, DIY Borax-Free Laundry Detergent

Borax-Free Homemade Laundry Soap #DIY #natural #nontoxic

You all may have thought I boarded the crazy train when I made my own natural toothpaste. Maybe this is even “crunchier” for you, maybe less so. I made my own natural, DIY borax-free laundry detergent this week! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I kept putting it off because I thought it would be a lot of hard work. Making my own laundry soap was actually really easy.

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Celebrating warm weather parties with Tastefully Simple Caramel Macchiato Frappé Mix

Disclosure: As a blogger for Tastefully Simple, I receive compensation and product for review purposes. The opinions below are entirely my own.

We had 12 adults at C and Baby Jo’s birthday party last weekend. I wanted to serve up a fun, out of the ordinary beverage that they would enjoy. Hubster and I are big frappé fans so it was only fitting that we would utilize this Tastefully Simple Caramel Macchiato Frappé Mix. I have to admit that after prepping for a joint birthday party with 12 adults and nine children in attendance, I was thankful for a beverage that was very quick and easy to prepare.

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RSVP for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party

#MyPicknSave-Twitter-Party-5-13 (1)

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party all about celebrating our 2014 Graduates!  On Tuesday, May 13 at 2 pm CT/3 pm ET, please join us for the#MyPicknSave Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing all sorts of great Graduation Party ideas, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: This Picture Perfectly Defines Their Sibling Relationship

I don’t think I could have captured it any better. This single photo perfectly defines C and Baby Jo’s sibling relationship. So much love. So much fear.

This picture perfectly defines their sibling relationship

My Writing Process

My lovely friend Lydia of Cluttered Genius asked me to share a little about my writing process with you. You may find her post here. Of course I said yes immediately and only later thought, “My writing process? Oh, dear!” Now I bring you a little window into my madness…

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