(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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5 Ways to Prepare Your Body for Allergy Season #NaturalProbiotic #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 #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. This post is not a healthcare professional’s opinion. All opinions are my own. #NaturalProbiotic

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The Moments That Make the Hard Parts of Staying Home Worth It

Staying at home with my kids means I’m there through everything. Every smile, every hug, every “first.” That also means I witness every tantrum, every skipped nap, the monotony, and I can’t forget the body fluids. Oh, the body fluids. We may live on a university campus, but I think even our neighbors would be shocked by the amount of body fluids going on in here every day. I’m sure any parent who stays at home would agree that parenting in the trenches 24/7 can get really hard sometimes.

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C Turns Three!

My dear son,

How are you three years old already? You and I used to hang out together all day – just the two of us. Trips to the store, long walks, reading books, playing. I cherish our time alone together like it was yesterday. I’m amazed at how big you’ve gotten. Your strength, courage and resilience inspires me daily. You have been through more this year than any child should have to experience, and I feel like our bond has grown even stronger.

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RSVP for the #AmericasTea Twitter Party – $550 in Prizes!

Twitter Party Disclosure

#AmericasTea-Twitter-Party-5-5, #shop, #TwitterParty, sweepstakes on Twitter

Photo Credit: Growing Up Bilingual

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about making Mother’s Day memorable with Bigelow Tea!  On May 5th at 1:00 pm ET, please join us for the #AmericasTea Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, and giving you a chance to win prizes!

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Baby Jo is One!

Dearest Baby Jo,

One year and one day ago, we took C to the zoo and the park on a Saturday to start a birthday celebration weekend. C was turning two on Monday and we wanted to give him a special weekend before you were born.

C zoo 3

Yes, Mama looked very pregnant there; but we still weren’t expecting you until our scheduled cesarean on May 6 – and you weren’t even due until May 12. I put your brother to bed a few hours later and started to hang up his Mickey Mouse birthday decorations. That’s when the contractions started. They were very strong and only 4 minutes apart. I knew it was time.

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Putting All Of Our Memories in One Place with Blinkbuggy

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Blinkbuggy. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Baby Jo is turning one tomorrow. I cannot believe that one year has passed already. I may or may not be in denial! ;) With everything that has happened this past year, I sometimes feel guilty that I wasn’t able to soak in her first year adequately. We were so preoccupied with C’s medical needs – trips to the hospital, countless tests, doctors, therapy. Even the daily tube feedings take a lot of additional time. I wonder if Baby Jo feels a little lost in translation as we run around to various appointments and the like. On the other hand, it’s the “normal” that she’s come to know.

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30 Before 30: #27 Buy Flowers for Someone

It’s time to cross some more off of my 30 Before 30 list, considering I haven’t written about it in quite some time! A couple of months ago, I completed #27 on my list when I bought flowers for my mom. It was completely out of the blue. I saw this pretty tulips and thought she might enjoy them.

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Baby Jo couldn’t eat her new Stonyfield Organic yogurt pouch fast enough!

Disclosure: I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Stonyfield. I received coupons to facilitate my shopping trip and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I’ve always been very conscious about the quality of food that I’m giving my children, but I have to admit that I’m much more dedicated to quality after C received his feeding tube last summer. For C, he doesn’t eat much orally, so I want what he does eat to be packed with nutrients and free of all impurities: artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives. We buy organic snacks, dairy and as much organic produce as our budget allows. We go through a lot of Stonyfield yogurt each week! I use it as the base of many of C’s g-tube blends. The kids enjoy eating it and so do I.

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It’s Time to Let Go of the Fear

On Biloxi, MS beach

My whole life was ahead of me in 2008. I owe it to her to let go of my fears and really live to my fullest potential.

There’s something that I am afraid of. I’m not talking about roller coasters or spiders (*flails wildly*), I’m talking about failure.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Mischievous Baby Jo

Baby Jo is turning one soon. I love this age – the curiosity, the wonder, the trouble making! Here’s mischievous Baby Jo causing trouble with our stock of diapers:

Baby Jo mischievously empties out diapers

It’s possible to overcome PPD twice!

Letting the light in - beating PPD twice

Two children. Two rounds of postpartum mood disorders. PPD, PPA, PPOCD and antepartum depression (during pregnancy) with Baby Jo. My mental health during and after pregnancy is kind of a crapshoot.

Baby Jo is turning one next week. I have been completely off of Zoloft for over a month and have been doing well. I knew that the PPDemons were behind me, so I didn’t think that my final appointment with my psychiatrist was going to be emotional for me. It must have been the finality of it all. Closure. I walked out of his office feeling on top of the world. I went through the depths of depression twice. I conquered what sometimes had felt insurmountable. I came out the other side not unscathed, but different. Better, stronger, wiser. More in tune to my own body, my own needs, my own strengths and limitations.

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Enhancing my social TV experience with Beamly

With an infant and a special needs toddler, my days can get really stressful. “I need this! I want that! Waaaah!” *sigh* I like to relax with some of my favorite TV shows after the kids are in bed. But I also like to share the TV experience with others, even if I’m alone in my living room. I’ve recently joined Beamly, THE social and content network for TV and TV fans. Over the next four weeks, I’ll be actively participating in the community. I’d love for you to join me!

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Happy Easter!

I can’t believe these were the best pictures I could get of these two today! We woke amongst an apartment filled with boxes, after moving yesterday. We missed church because we couldn’t find everything we needed in time. Later we enjoyed a wonderful home-cooked Easter dinner with friends from church. The kids are sleeping peacefully and I will be, too. I am exhausted!

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Get a great deal on event tickets with ScoreBig!

Disclosure: I received a credit to make a purchase on ScoreBig for the purpose of this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

ScoreBig

When Hubster and I were dating, we went to NFL games, NBA games, MLB games and hockey games. We bought concert tickets and even went to a few theater productions. It wasn’t until later, when we were married and living on a tighter budget, that we realized we weren’t able to attend all of the events we wanted because the ticket prices were higher than we could afford. If there had only been a place where we could name the price we were willing to pay and get an instant answer. If only there was a place that offered no fees and free delivery. That’s right – there is. ScoreBig offers tickets that are always below box office price, up to 60 percent below face value.

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Easy Gluten-Free Deep Dish Pizza

Disclosure: As a Tastefully Simple blogger, I received product and compensation for this post. The thoughts, recipe and opinions below are entirely my own.

Tangy sauce, gooey cheese, spicy pepperoni and a crust with just the right crispiness. Are your tastebuds dancing?

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Weekend Visits to the ER

Things are never dull at the Novotny household. Sometimes I wish things were a little less interesting, actually. Last Saturday, C was up vomiting every 20 minutes throughout the night. The entire week last week was a saga (aka very long story that I don’t care to dive into!) of trying to get him hydrated just for him to start vomiting again so we could start at square one. On Friday night we ended up at the ER. That visit was a gigantic waste of time and we ended up back on Saturday night, when he got an IV. Here’s my brave little trooper and our silly baby who is very happy to be in Daddy’s arms. :)

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Moms are awesome. #WorldsToughestJob

If you haven’t seen this viral video yet, by American Greetings and Cardstore, you must watch it! They created a real job posting, posted it on real sites and conducted real interviews. Their working job title was, “Director of Operations.” It gave me goosebumps! Enjoy. :)

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What I Haven’t Told You: C’s Sleep Study Results

Three weeks have passed since C had his sleep study done at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It doesn’t feel like it could have been that long ago, yet this time has been filled with shock, stress and uncertainty. I haven’t told you about C’s sleep study results because I’ve been having a difficult time processing it.

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Let’s Talk About the Horror of Noticing My First Wrinkle

*looks back and forth, whispers* You guys. I’m horrified. It appears that I am getting my first wrinkle.

AHHH!

The Horror of Noticing My First Wrinkle #LittleMamaJama

It’s not a smile line, either. It’s directly related to the stress that has defined my life in the past year. It’s a forehead wrinkle from squinting my eyes. I tend to do that when I’m really stressed or concerned. Apparently more often than I ever realized.

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Baby Jo and I Escaped the Rain with The Great Bunny Train at the National Railroad Museum

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets through US Family Guide and the National Railroad Museum to attend this event in exchange for this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

April showers are pouring down this weekend. We could have gotten bogged down by the gray skies, but instead we headed to the National Railroad Museum to hop aboard The Great Bunny Train!

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How to Spend Smart: Tips for a Healthy Financial Future

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Spend Smart in exchange for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

In case my recent DIY Toothpaste post didn’t tip you off (haha!), I’m very frugal. ;) We’re a one-income household because I stay home with the kids. That means the budget is tight and I like to keep close tabs on where our money is going. It’s the little things that add up. Hubster and I have a rule that if we want to purchase something over $100, we need to talk to each other about it first. It’s helped keep us both in check by limiting impulse buying. There are some great tips below on how to spend smart. What are some of your tips?

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Climb Out of the Darkness for Postpartum Progress with Team Green Bay!

TEAMGREENBAY14

Each year, 1 in 7 women face maternal mental illness. That is a staggering statistic. In my personal experience, I’ve learned that once you face maternal mental illness once, you’re more likely to experience it again. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression nearly eight months after C was born. I fell through the cracks the first time. My OBGYN only asked me if I was “feeling depressed” at my 6-week appointment. There is so much more to depression than feeling depressed.

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Here’s a Little Throwback Thursday Madness

Since I posted my (Kinda) Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday this week, I thought I would keep with the wackiness that was this week by creating a fun Throwback Thursday post. I hope you enjoy the madness…

There’s the time Hubster gave me a little push as I tried to scale that tree.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Hubster Takes the Kids to the Park

C playing at the park at the first sign of spring

Spring has finally sprung in Wisconsin! Just last week, I had to scrape ice off the windshield before going somewhere. It’s been a loooong winter. Hubster took the kids to the park over the weekend and they had the greatest time together! I wasn’t complaining about the nap I took while they were gone. ;)

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Non-Toxic DIY Toothpaste

Ever since all of C’s medical issues began, I’ve been on a mission to eradicate toxins in our household. Food, laundry, household and personal products…chemicals and toxins are hidden everywhere. Recently, upon C’s seventh request to brush his teeth that day, I realized that there are probably a lot of unwanted ingredients in our toothpastes.

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3 Do’s & Don’ts of Consignment Events

3 Do's & Don'ts of Consignment Events

Go ahead and call me crazy, but there are few things that get me more excited than saving loads of money. Children take up very little space themselves but they require an enormous amount of stuff. It’s disproportionate, really. All that stuff costs a small fortune. At first, it was tempting to buy everything brand new so that my child was the first child to have ever touched this book or that blanket. I’ve lived and learned that kids don’t really need brand new stuff. Even used kids items are often like-new because kids outgrow things so quickly! I love to shop consignment now. I can find things for a fraction of the cost – sometimes with the tags still on them. Cha-ching!

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C Says the Darndest Things

I’m starting a regular feature here with this title. C cracks me up on a daily basis and I’ve simply been doing you a disservice by not sharing his antics. ;)

Toddler at sink doing hair like daddy

This week, I’m going to feature some “C”-isms related to his independent streak. Sometimes he makes me want to pull my hair out, but he sure is funny.

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Blue Pixie Dust and Rainbows to Celebrate The Pirate Fairy on DVD! #ProtectPixieHollow #shop

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

Toddler Excited about Disney's The Pirate Fairy #ProtectPixieHollow #shop

Is there anything better than a new Disney movie release? My son sure doesn’t think so! Ever since our trip to Disney World last year, the boy has been obsessed with all things Disney. It’s an obsession that I encourage because I enjoy it, too. The Pirate Fairy was released this week, so we stopped at Walmart to snag our copy. C was excited to grab the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD that included a free gift: The Pixie Hollow Bake Off DVD with 10 animated shorts! Tinker Bell has a bake off with head baking fairy Gelata (voiced by Giada de Laurentiis) in this bonus movie found exclusively at Walmart. I’m always trying to find more things for C to watch to keep him occupied during his tube feedings and if it includes something related to food, that’s even better.

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I’m Taking the She Sweats Summer Challenge!

After many months of fighting a postpartum mood disorder and having my antidepressant turn me into a human inflatable, I am very excited to announce that I am starting the She Sweats Summer Challenge through He and She Eat Clean! The Summer Challenge is 16 weeks long. I’ll start with the She Sweats 12-Week Transformation and follow it with the Extreme 4-Week Shred.

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5 Tips to Potty Train a Toddler with Sensory Processing Disorder

5 Tips to Potty Train an SPD Toddler

Sensory kids are tough. They generally do what they want, when they want and ain’t nobody going to convince them otherwise! For months, I had anxiety about potty training C. Would he be ready? Would he play games with us, like the first time we attempted? Would he have major meltdowns?

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What I Don’t Say About Being a Special Needs Mom

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I get those words a lot. I usually smile and reply, “You learn to deal with what you have to deal with.” That’s the truth, but there is a lot more to my truth that I don’t add. The truth in its entirety is just too much.

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Save calories with the Fresh Express Salad Swap!

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 MeetSM 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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C finally had his sleep study!

Ready for C's Sleep Study

In the waiting room, ready to be called in for the sleep study!

This sleep study was originally scheduled for January, was denied by our insurance company, we took it through the grievance process, won, and rescheduled a couple times because C kept getting sick. It finally happened earlier this week! I was pretty anxious about it. With C’s sensory processing disorder, he hates having anything on his face or head. Well…they had to stick a ton of monitors and electrodes all over his face, head and body.

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Zoobean curates personalized books and apps for my child – and C loves it!

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

ZoobeanSubscription services are all the rage right now. What’s cooler than getting a box of exciting products at your doorstep each month?! Zoobean is a subscription service that stands out with its mission to build literacy early and often by curating apps, books and resources for individual children. All of Zoobean’s curators are parents and educators or librarians who focus on your child’s age, reading level and interests to create a unique subscription for your child. No two subscriptions are the same because they’re tailored to each child’s unique interests!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Silly Smiles From Baby Jo

Baby Jo pulling herself up at railroad museum

Peekaboo!

We took these pictures while we were at the railroad museum last week. Baby Jo’s silly, mischievous smile cracks me up. It’s the same smile that I can be seen flashing at the camera in some of my baby pictures!

Baby Jo gives silly smile at railroad museum

Cheese!

C Gets Sensory Input from Falling on his Bed

C has a high threshold for certain sensory input, like vestibular and proprioceptive. He likes to fall on his bed either onto his face or backward onto his butt. Here he is falling backward to get the input he needs.

As close to homemade baby food as you can get with Beech-Nut’s new just gentle cooking™.

Disclosure: I am participating in a review program with Beech-Nut and MomSelect. Although I am receiving product and compensation for this post, the thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

just gentle cooking: The New Beech-Nut line of baby food

I’m one of those moms that is a little obsessive about knowing what is going into my children’s mouths. I was already like this when C was a baby, but now that he’s been through all of his health issues I’m even more adamant about proper nutrition and zero additives. For the most part, I made both of my kids’ baby food; but there were occasions when I didn’t have time or it wasn’t possible to travel with a bunch of homemade baby food. Beech-Nut has answered the call of moms like me who are looking to take all of the added junk out of baby food and give our babies real, natural ingredients just like we would make.

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Letting Go of Toxic Relationships

I have a confession to make. There’s an entire side of my family that I don’t really speak with. Naturally, there’s the pleasantries and small talk at funerals and the occasional wedding; but there’s not a relationship there except one formed by blood. It was not my choice, nor was it really my parents’ choice. There are many levels of complexities that I can’t even begin to understand. The bottom line is that the relationship was fractured for numerous reasons, for many, many years.

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C Does Donuts in his Cozy Truck

If this is any indication of his driving habits in 14 years…

Here’s C doing donuts in the living room in his Little Tikes Cozy Truck!

Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Disclosure: As a Tastefully Simple blogger, I received product and compensation for this post. The thoughts, recipe and opinions below are entirely my own.

Gluten Free Coconut Lime Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring is in the air! Okay, well, it was for a day or two before the snow decided to come back. I’m still thinking spring – bright colors, citrus, sunshine and warmer air! My parents both turned 50 years old this month and I wanted to incorporate those thoughts into their cake. Tastefully Simple introduced their new spring-summer line and there are some fun new gluten-free items to try!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Family Time at the Railroad Museum

We’ve had the pleasure of having Hubster hang out with us for the past few days while he took some time off of work. Yesterday, we went to the Railroad Museum and the kids played with their favorite part – the train table! It was fun to watch Baby Jo get in on the fun now that she’s a little bigger. :)

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C’s Blended Diet is Changing His Life

I belong to a few Facebook groups for parents of tubies, kids with severe feeding challenges and blended diets. One mother posted a picture of her son’s new Blendtec blender with hope that a new blended diet will benefit her son. I commented that the blended diet is changing my son’s life. Then I sat back for a moment and let those words really sink in.

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Down to Zero: Round Two

Here we go, here we go! Down to zero!

After working with my psychiatrist to taper off of my antidepressant, I finally went down to zero again last week. I anticipated the withdrawal and am relieved to report that it has been much easier than last time, when I came off of Effexor. That doesn’t mean it has been easy.

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Finding Her Perfect Fit for Prom

Disclosure: I am being compensated by JJsHouse for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own. 

JJsHouse.com

A story about a consignment store owner helping a plus-size teen find a prom dress has gone viral this past week. It’s an inspirational story that really spoke to me. I remember experiencing similar feelings of frustration and disappointment in the dressing room many times. While I may not have been looking for a prom dress at the time, it was still devastating not to find that shirt, pants or dress that fit well on my body and made me feel good about myself.

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#ad Check Out The Great Bunny Train at the National Railroad Museum!

Disclosure: I’m posting this on behalf of US Family Guide for The Great Bunny Train at the National Railroad Museum.

The Great Bunny Train

The National Railroad Museum’s first event of the season will be held on April 12-13, 2014!

The Easter Bunny is coming to Green Bay, WI! Each admission to the Great Bunny Train includes a day of entertainment, crafts, and games for children of all ages, including a chance to ride the train and meet the Easter Bunny. Television station WFRV (Channel 5), Green Bay Seven Up Bottling Company, Sunny D, Great Harvest Bread Company, Green Bay Packers and Rasmussen College are event sponsors.

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Beautiful Indulgence: Influenster #JAdoreVoxBox

Disclosure: I received the #JAdoreVoxBox complimentary from Influenster. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

I enjoyed opening up the #JAdoreVoxBox from Influenster and discovering the goodies inside! This Vox Box is all about beauty and indulgence. The Créme Caramel Red Rose Tea was delicious, and C enjoyed sharing the Hershey’s Kisses with me. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: The Kristin/Baby Jo Likeness Continues!

Sometimes I look at Baby Jo and it’s like looking in the mirror. It totally freaks me out when she makes a certain face just like I did in one of my baby pictures – or even one that I still do! I’ve created another mashup collage of pictures of Baby Jo and me at 9 months old. Here’s the one that I did a few months ago. The likeness continues!

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C Gets Vestibular Input from Swinging

Disclosure: This post includes an Amazon affiliate link.

C has a high need for vestibular input with his sensory processing disorder. One of his favorite ways to get that is from swinging in this awesome swing we bought from IKEA. Here’s a video of C “stimming” in the swing!

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Taking Control of my Children’s Diets

“Shake, Mommy? I drink shake!”

We’ve switched C’s diet from 3.5 cans of Pediasure each day through his gtube to a blended diet of mostly organic whole foods. He still asks me if he can drink a “shake” sometimes. I cringe every time, because now it’s even more apparent what that influx of sugar does to him. Within an hour, his behavior is completely out of control. He runs wild, unsure what to do with himself. It results in outbursts, hurting his sister and me, and throwing tantrums. The crazy thing – he used to be like that ALL THE TIME. It was all that Pediasure and sugar coursing through him. Eek.

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Cutie P’Tubies Review & FLASH Giveaway: Making tubies cute one pad at a time!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Cutie P’Tubies in exchange for this review and giveaway. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Cutie P'Tubies

It doesn’t seem to matter which barrier cream we use, how tight C’s g-tube button is, or how active he is…fluid leaks out regardless. We were using gauze for a long time. That always fell off if we didn’t use tape, but if we used tape then C’s skin would break out. I eventually gave up and didn’t put any dressing around it, resulting in some stains in that area of his shirts. During a late night Pinterest session, I came across some adorable g-tube pads. I didn’t even know that these existed! I clicked through to the Cutie P’Tubies Etsy store and found the motherlode of cute for G tube pads, J tube pads, Cecostomy pads and Trach pads.

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Hop Aboard the Bouncin’ Bus for Kids’ Fitness and Fun!

Disclosure: We had the opportunity to try the Bouncin’ Bus complimentary in exchange for this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Bouncin' BusThe Bouncin’ Bus is one of those things that you can’t miss when you see it around the community. We’ve seen it at the On Broadway Farmer’s Market and at various locations around Green Bay and the Fox Cities. We were intrigued, but hadn’t checked it out. I’m so happy that we finally did!

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Bloggers: Accomplish More Sooner with Blogging Concentrated

Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link to Blogging Concentrated. I’m passionate about this conference because I learned so much from it! The thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own.

Accomplish More Sooner336

I’ve been blogging here for nearly 3.5 years, and there came a point in the past year where I realized I needed to make this passion not just my hobby but also a source of income for my family. As a blogger and stay-at-home mom, I wanted to also contribute financially to the family finances. That’s when I started to look into blogging conferences.

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Parenting as a Multiple Choice Exam


Sometimes it feels like parenting is just one giant exam after another. I don’t know if there’s really a correct answer to some of the exams, but I’m sure there are ways to fail. My latest exam had me feeling completely unprepared. Frantic, even. Here’s a breakdown of my most recent exam – tell me how you’d handle it!

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C Greets Baby Jo: “Hi, Little Fishy!”

I think C has been watching too much “Finding Nemo” lately, because he’s started greeting his sister with, “Hi, Little Fishy!” You’ll also hear him saying, “Hi, little guy!” Some family members say this to him. :)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: We Ate at a Restaurant!

Daddy and Baby Jo at restaurant

What’s the big deal, you say? It’s just a restaurant, you say?

This is the first time we have ever taken the kids to a restaurant! Of course, we’ve dined at fast casual establishments like your Chipotle or your Noodles & Company. But a real restaurant? Nope. First time.

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Join Me on 3/11 for the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party!


Photo Credit http://www.chelsa-bea.com/2013/12/winter-salad-roasted-vegetables.html
Does your family enjoy Meatless Monday? Perhaps you’re looking for ways to incorporate different items into your weekly menu. Whether it’s finding more fabulous vegetarian meals, incorporating fish and seafood into your favorite dishes or simply by increasing the amount of healthy greens you consume, creating meatless meals can be a delicious and fabulous way to help your family live a healthier lifestyle! Hubster and I often enjoy meatless meals. When we were living on his graduate assistant income, we utilized beans for a lot of meals. They’re cheap, flavorful and pack a protein punch. Going meatless is an awesome way to spread your grocery budget. It can also save calories! I also enjoy swapping out meat for mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are so flavorful and I love making portobello pizzas or burgers! I invite you to join me at the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party to share meatless meal ideas, talk about how Pick ‘n Save Stores have delicious dinner inspiration and discover how easy it is to give your family delicious meatless dinners any night of the week!

Join me at the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party on SoFabChats!

=&0=& Tuesday, March 11th=&1=& =&2=& 8-9pm CT/9-10pm ET=&1=& =&4=& 5 – $100 Pick ‘n Save Gift Cards=&1=& =&6=&

Review: Create signs, banners, business cards and more with BuildASign.com!

Disclosure: I received a promotional product from BuildASign.com in exchange for this review. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Build A Sign

When you’re a small business owner (or blogger!), branding is an integral part of your business. It’s taken me a while to come into my own brand. In my case, I am my brand. I like to have a business card on hand for conferences and events. My business cards were two years old and in major need of an update to reflect the updates I had made to my brand. I went to BuildASign.com and was able to create my business cards in a matter of minutes.

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It’s Amazing What Real Food Can Do

It's Amazing What Real Food Can Do for a #tubie

It’s been about a month now since C switched from Pediasure to a blenderized, whole foods diet. I’ve seen tremendous changes in him. Cognitively, behaviorally and physically, he is truly thriving.

  • His nails are growing faster than I can keep up with trimming.
  • His hair seems to get thicker every day.
  • His muscle tone has improved and he is more willing to utilize his core muscles by crawling on the floor with his sister.
  • I’ve had to let out his adjustable waistband a few times.
  • When I pick him up, he feels more solid than before.
  • He is no longer experiencing sugar crashes shortly after every tube feed.
  • He throws fewer tantrums.
  • He is more willing to approach new foods, sometimes even putting them in his mouth.
  • His vocabulary expands daily. His ability to put multiple sentences together is blowing me away!

I could not be happier with these improvements. I finally feel like I’m giving my boy the best nutritional advantage that I can; and honestly, it’s the first time in his life that I’m feeling that way. Before the tube, it was exasperation and stress that he was not eating. After the tube, I was uncomfortable with the amount of sugar calories he was receiving but worried about his progress on the growth charts. Now I am relaxed, pleased with the quality food that he is getting, and able to focus on his therapy and progress.

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Review: Grandma’s Lye Soap

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

Grandma's Pure & Natural logo

On my quest to rid our personal products of chemicals and dyes, I tried a few soaps from Grandma’s Pure & Natural. These products are made without detergents or chemicals. It’s just pure and natural soap like, their website says, “folks used to make 100 years ago.”

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Baby Jo Likes to Dance to Eminem

So this one time, we were listening to random music and discovered that Baby Jo likes to dance to Eminem…

Design Something as Unique as You with Minted.

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Minted for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

In an age of Facebook announcements, Instagram pics and tweets, I find myself yearning for the personal touch of a paper wedding invitation, birthday card, photo card or birth announcement. There’s something special about opening up that piece of mail and holding that paper in your hand. Call me crazy, but I even love the smell of the cardstock. Yeah, that might be weird, but this is coming from someone that enjoys the smell of a paperback book, too. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: My Bachelorette Party

Okay, so maybe this belongs more on a #tbt post…but I decided to have a little fun today. I went into my archives (aka my Facebook pictures) and found a good one of me and some of my favorite ladies at my bachelorette party in 2009. That was a fun night! Love them. :)

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#ad Book by March 31 and Receive $10 off a Bouncin’ Bus Birthday Party!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Bouncin’ Bus. 

Let Bouncin’ Bus bring the fun to you! Treat your child to a birthday party he or she will remember forever! Bouncin’ Bus is a school bus converted into a mini-gymnastics and fitness center for kids – combining fitness, fun, music and games to ensure your children have a blast. Bouncin’ Bus is fully padded and filled with fun equipment specially designed for the vehicle (i.e. tumbling mats, zip line, rock climbing wall, mini-trampoline). Outdoor bounce house is available upon request. Bouncin’ Bus never moves with children on board and is climate controlled year-round. Bouncin’ Bus birthday parties are designed for children ages two – seven.

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A Toddler’s Phone Conversations

C talks on Baby Jo's phone

Every night as he puts away toys, C has started having phone conversations on Baby Jo’s play phone. They’re pretty funny and random.

“That’s okay. Yeah, that’s okay. It’s good. Yeah, I pick up toys now. That’s okay.”

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Family of Four

Family of Four #LittleMamaJama

I unwrapped Baby Jo’s new toothbrush and slid it into the last open space in our toothbrush holder. There it was, a full toothbrush holder. Four toothbrushes. Something so simple, but it brought tears to my eyes. We have a family of four.

The month before I got pregnant with C, I was told that I had PCOS and it would be difficult for me to conceive children. Having children was not in my five-year plan at the time, but I was devastated. I had always pictured a family. That picture involved four children at the time – two boys and two girls, naturally. ;)

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Find Affordable Prom Dresses at JenJenHouse.com

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Leqee Ltd. for this post. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

JenJenHouse.com

Looking out of my window at all of the snowbanks and ice, it’s difficult to believe that prom season is just around the corner. In just a couple of months, students will be getting dressed up for prom! It’s a big deal to find that perfect prom dress, and JenJenHouse is a great place to browse all of the latest in prom fashion.

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We Celebrated our #DisneySide!

Disclosure: Disney, in association with BSM Media, provided me with complimentary products to host this Disney Side @Home Celebration. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

#DisneySide @ Home Celebration

C wore his Mickey Mouse shirt and socks, Baby Jo donned polka dots and I stayed up until 11:30 pm the night before baking delicious treats. That’s right – we had our #DisneySide @ Home Celebration this week! We shared food, fun and all things DIsney with our friends at our weekly Moms & Me playgroup at our church.

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The Time I Left My Psychiatrist’s Office More Depressed Than When I Went In

I finally, finally had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. The office kept scheduling me for days he had off. I was originally supposed to see him in October. Ha! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get off of Zoloft. Baby Jo is nearly 10 months old and I’m feeling like I’d be perfectly stable without the meds I started when I was 34 weeks pregnant with her. It’s also been making me gain weight like none other and I am DONE with that business.

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App Review: Talking Anya Dress-up & Pet Puppies

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Sprite Kids for this review. All thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Talking Anya games

I think it’s amazing how today’s kids instinctively know how to use iPhones or iPads. C uses my old iPhone and I’m always shocked by how quickly he picks up on a new app. We had the opportunity to try Talking Anya Dress-up & Pet Puppies, a free iOS app for iPhone and iPad where kids can play games, dress, feed and tickle Anya.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: “Mommy”-napped by the girls!

The kids and I recently got to hang out with two of my favorite ladies, then they “mommy”-napped me for a night out!

Mall with the girls

It’s wonderful to have people in your life who you know will be there forever. It had been a long time since we’d seen each other, but it felt like no time had passed at all. :)

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Saving Time and Money with Healthcare Clinic Green Bay #HealthcareClinic #CollectiveBias

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. #HealthcareClinic #CollectiveBias

Saving Time & Money with Healthcare Clinic #HealthcareClinic #CollectiveBias

I never expected that becoming a mother would toss me into the front lines in a daily battle against injuries, cavities and bodily fluids; yet here I sit with the baby’s boogers on my shirt while begging my son to come get his diaper changed. Every day is a scramble to keep tiny people fed, changed, safe and healthy. When I need assistance, I want help quickly and don’t want to spend a fortune. That’s why I like Walgreens Healthcare Clinic Green Bay.

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The Blenderized Diet

It’s been about two weeks now since we started C on a blenderized diet of whole foods through his g-tube. He had previously been on 3.5 cans of Pediasure each day, which meant he was getting 63 grams of sugar poured directly into his body daily. That didn’t sit well with me for multiple reasons and now that he wasn’t in a dangerous place with his body weight, we made the decision to take control of his diet.

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Review: OmniPotent Duosity Double Whipped Repairing Treatment #birchbloggers

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

I love trying new conditioning treatments. My curls battle frizz, daily use of products, and daily abuse from hair-pulling tots. I try to show them lots of love when I can. I received the OmniPotent Duosity Double Whipped Repairing Treatment from Birchbox and gave it a try.

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C Gets Frustrated While Playing Flappy Bird

This kid cracks me up sometimes. He’s been into playing Flappy Bird lately, but he gets really frustrated every time. He’ll groan in disgust or say, “COME ON!” We decided to capture one of these moments today. Hope you enjoy our little display of silly faces, too. ;)

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Celebrating Feeding Tube Awareness Week with my Tubie!

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2014

One year ago, I never would have considered the possibility that C would have a feeding tube. I was mortified when it was mentioned as a possibility in July 2013. The thought that my child had such severe feeding challenges that he would require a tube to be surgically placed in order to sustain him…it was overwhelming.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Sledding with Papa

My parents recently moved just ten minutes away from us (from two hours away!) and the kids and I are so happy they did. One of the things that I’ve learned in the past six months is that it really does take a village to raise a child with special needs. C had a great time sledding with his papa during a recent snowfall!

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Our Decisions for C After Birth to Three

C researching therapy options

The last few months have been filled with SO MANY DECISIONS. Yes, sometimes I felt like life was screaming at me to make all of them. I was stressed about doing the right thing, making the right choices, putting C on the right path. I was feeling a lot of pressure on my shoulders.

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Join Me at the #MyPicknSave Twitter Party on 2/12!

#MyPicknSave Twitter Party 2/12 7 PM CT/8 PM ET – Prizes: $550 GCs!

#MyPicknSave-Twitter-Party-2-12

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Does it involve special recipes? Gorgeous flowers? Or a fun Valentine-themed craft? Pick ‘n Save is here to help you with last minute ideas to make your celebration memorable.

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I Signed Up for a 10k!

You guys!!!! I just registered for that 10k that my city does…the one on my 30 Before 30 list. I am SO excited! It’s in June and Hubster agreed to run with me.

That’s all I wanted to say, really. Eeep! :)

Review & Giveaway: Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Beer Bread Mix

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

I’m working on going gluten-free this year. It’s not easy. I mean, who doesn’t love bread? As a Tastefully Simple blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to try beer bread and it is delicious. I like to make it for parties or when we watch sporting events on TV. Going gluten-free means that the traditional Beer Bread Mix was out of the question. Thankfully I don’t need to give it up, because Tastefully Simple makes a Gluten-Free Beer Bread Mix!

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: C Bakes with Nana

We spent a couple days with Nana and Papa while Hubster was at a conference last week. C got to do some fun things with Nana and Papa, like sledding and baking!

C Baking with Nana

He was very excited to help pour and mix the ingredients.

Baking with Nana

But what he loved the most? Sampling the dough!

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