#MC #Sponsored: It’s @Huggies Little Snugglers for My Squishy Newborn

sampleDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies & Target. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

newborn baby

As some of you know, on September 9th, we welcomed our 8th little blessing into the world.

Sawyer came into the world like a champ after just a few hours of being on pitocin. He was healthy, with 10 tiny fingers, 10 tiny toes, and the sweetest little cheeks I’ve ever seen.

huggies little snugglers

A few weeks before Sawyer was born, hubby and I had to take a trip down to Atlanta with Gage. Of course, one of our first stops after Gage’s appointment had to be Target. I love any opportunity I have to go into Target, and I wanted to make sure we had stocked up on Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers for our impending bundle of joy.

We hadn’t been in this Target for quite some time, and I couldn’t remember exactly where the Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers were located in the store. Naturally, I headed to the baby department, but wouldn’t you know it? There wasn’t a single pack or box of diapers to be found in the entire baby department. I did, however, find lots of cute little items that I would have added to our Target Baby Registry – if we had had one this time around. Target has my favorite items for new babies from cribs to toys, and blankets to clothes. I could have spent all day shopping for our new little guy, but I was on a mission. I needed Huggies Little Snugglers diapers. We finally found the diapers in between the grocery side of the store and the retail side, near the pharmacy. It seemed like an odd place for diapers to me, but I guess it was their way of putting the diapers where people could get them if they were just coming in for groceries. I still think I’d put a smaller selection over in the baby department, though, just because that’s the first place most people think to go to get diapers. But, once we found them, we found exactly what we needed and we were able to score a fantastic supply of Huggies Little Snugglers for Sawyer.

And I’m so glad we did!

new baby in huggies

The day Sawyer was born, the nurses got him all cleaned up and handed him back to me. But, I noticed something was wrong. He wasn’t wearing a Huggies Little Snugglers diaper. I am incredibly picky about what newborn diapers I put on my baby, and I really prefer Huggies over anything else at this stage. There are several reasons why:

  • The umbilical cord cut-out that is on each diaper. No folding down diapers around those precious little belly buttons that still have the cord on them.
  • The new GentleAbsorb* liner adds a soft, cushiony layer of protection with hundreds of tiny absorbent pillows. It draws the mess and wetness away from delicate newborn skin.
  • These diapers are cottony-soft inside and out, so I know Sawyer is comfy day and night.
  • The wetness indicator helps me keep a fast eye on when he needs changed, and how often I need to change him… which is crucial those first few days.
  • The flexible, pocketed back waistband helps keep the mess contained in the diaper. No newborn blow-outs for us!
  • The unique, stretchy SnufFit* Waistband provides a gentle, secure fit, keeping Sawyer happy and making Mommy happy too!

I will have you know, I sent hubby home that afternoon and made him come back with a pack of Huggies Little Snugglers for our little guy to use while he was in the hospital.

New Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers are available in grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide. They are available in 5 sizes – Preemie (up to 6 pounds) through size 3 (16 – 28 pounds), and have a suggested retail price of $11.99 for a Jumbo Pack and $22.99 for a Big Pack. (Remember that diaper count varies based on diaper size.)

sawyer in huggies

I also want to make sure you’re aware of the Huggies Sweeps that gives you the chance to win free diapers for a year just by registering your Wish! What wish would you register for? Have a special family member that you wish could be present for the birth? Need a new crib? Maybe you want one last night on the town before the new baby makes his appearance? Personally, I want a nursery makeover. With 5 boys in one room, I could use some help getting things arranged and decorated in a way that spans the ages newborn to 11. (We’re thinking a pirate theme!)

Head on over to the Huggies website and register your wish. Then, head to your local Target store, start your baby registry, and be sure to add lots of Huggies Little Snugglers!

Prayers Appreciated!

ourchildren

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading into our local hospital to be induced. Soon, our family will be complete and baby #8 will be welcomed with open arms.

If you can spare a prayer for a quick, easy delivery with no complications, I would sincerely appreciate it.

Things may be quiet for a few days around here while I adjust to becoming a mom of 8 and snuggle my sweet little newborn as much as humanly possible the first few days.

Thanks for being loyal readers of the blog. I promise to be back soon and things will be better than ever!

#Sponsored: The @LeapFrog #LeapTV System is HERE! Go Pre-Order Now!

sponsored
Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

It’s here! It’s here! The big day has finally arrived! The LeapFrog LeapTV Gaming Console is finally available for pre-sale! I am so excited!

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the LeapFrog website and order your LeapTV Gaming Console today!

Still have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, I’ve been giving you little teasers for the past couple of weeks. You can read them here and here.

Now, I want to leave you with one last video to encourage you to consider the LeapTV System for your family. It’s a chance to get your kids to move their minds and their bodies. Here, take a look:

Direct Link to Video on YouTube

Looks like fun to me!! Head on over NOW and reserve your very own LeapFrog LeapTV System today!

Don’t Forget to Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Don’t Forget! @LeapFrog #LeapTV System is Almost Ready for PreOrder!

sponsored
Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

Remember last week when I mentioned that the LeapTV System is about to be released for Pre-Sale? I just want to remind you that the big day is almost here!

The LeapTV system will be available for pre-order on September 2, 2014.  On that day, you can head to the LeapFrog website, and order your very own LeapTV Gaming Console. It’s as easy as that! It’s created for kids ages 3 – 8 years, and it’s educational and downright FUN!

You saw the video last week. Now, here’s a new video to let you in on more information about the LeapTV system:


Direct Link to Video on YouTube

SO exciting! Your kids are going to love this! I certainly know mine will. It looks like such a fun, easy way to get my kids learning while playing. I’m all for that!

Remember, the big day is September 2nd. Be ready to order your own LeapTV Gaming Console then!

Don’t Forget to Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Get Ready for the New @LeapFrog #LeapTV System – Coming Soon!

sponsored
Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

It’s no secret, I love LeapFrog products! I’ve been a fan of their educational items for years. In fact, if you’ve been here recently, you’ll note that I just recently had the opportunity to review the LeapPad3.

Now, LeapFrog has asked me to tell my wonderful readers about an amazing new product they will be releasing soon. It’s called the LeapTV Gaming Console, and friends, you *must* check this out! It’s educational, active video gaming. It doesn’t get more fun than this! Over the next couple of weeks, I will be giving you more information, release dates and all the need-to-know info. I will let you in on a little secret… The LeapTV system will be available for pre-order on September 2, 2014. That’s just around the corner, and this would make one amazing Christmas gift! Get ready to order yours soon!

For now, I want to generate a little excitement and share this video with you. Check out the LeapFrog “Child Executive Officer” and learn more about this fantastic video gaming system:

Click here to watch it on YouTube.

I am SO excited about the release of this product, and it sounds like something my kids will thoroughly enjoy. I’m all about the kids having fun, but when they are learning while playing, it makes playtime even better.

Thank you, LeapFrog for continually making toys and games better for my kids!

Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Tips and Tricks to Make Breastfeeding Easier

sampleDisclaimer: I received a breastpump from Evenflo in order to facilitate my review and in return for sharing these tips and tricks with you. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

breast pump

As you may know, I am just a few weeks away from giving birth to baby #8. Breastfeeding is an important topic to me, and while I don’t talk about it too often, I always look forward to sharing more tips and tricks with you on the subject.

Recently, I was asked if I would share some Breastfeeding Tips, Tricks, and Myths from renowned lactation consultant and Registered Nurse Shari Criso.

I hope these will help encourage you in your breastfeeding journey. I’ve breastfed 6 of my 7 kids, and plan to breastfeed #8 for as long as I can. As always, if I can ever be of any help, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Shari Criso’s Top 3 Breastfeeding Tips

  • Tip #1: Become as knowledgeable and educated as possible about breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby. Trying to wing it after the baby comes or rely on the staff at the hospital to teach you could be a disaster and the reason why breastfeeding was not successful.
  • Tip #2: Purchase what you will need to makebreastfeeding more comfortable and easier especially in the first few weeks when you are first adjusting and it is usually the most difficult time.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to accomplish this, but assume that you WILL be successful and get what you need. You may be able to get help with breastfeeding at no cost, since your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump – and may offer to cover either a rental or a new one for you to keep.  I like the Evenflo® Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump: $99.99-$159.99
  • Tip #3:  Make sure you are surrounded with support. One of the biggest challenges and reasons for moms not having the success that they want with breastfeeding is not getting the support from the people around them.  Get your partner on board with education and information. A supportive partner is one of the biggest reasons for breastfeeding success. Find friends and other breastfeeding moms who were successful to speak to and line up a lactation consultant before you deliver so you can reach out for help as soon as you need it.

Next, Shari tackles some of the top breastfeeding myths…

Shari Criso’s Top Breastfeeding Myths:

  • Myth #1: A large percentage of our population just can’t make enough milk to fully nourish their babies.
    Fact: Our bodies were made to breastfeed and our species has survived for hundreds of thousands of years this way. It is actually UNCOMMON for a mom to carry a pregnancy, deliver a baby, and then just not be able to feed it. It does not make sense. There are some moms who may have issues with milk supply, but most of the time it is due to inaccurate advice to supplement with formula because of a “perceived” low supply issue instead of a real supply issue.
  • Myth #2: That if your mom or sister couldn’t breastfeed, that you won’t be able to breastfeed as well.
    Fact: I don’t know what happened with a woman’s mom or sister, but I do know that their mother’s mother, and her mother before that, and so on…were able to breastfeed or they would not be here. We come from a line of women that were able to produce enough and feed their babies because that was the only way. Although the ability to breastfeed can have a genetic factor, this is usually not the case. Most of the time the reason that the mom or sister was not able to breastfeed is due to reasons that were not medical issues, but rather misinformation or assumptions about their bodies ability to make enough milk.
  • Myth #3:  That you have to have the perfect diet and lifestyle to make good and enough milk.
    Fact: This is just untrue. If having the perfect diet, enough rest, not too much stress, etc. were major factors in your body’s ability to feed your baby then our species would have died off long ago. People throughout history have lived through some of the most difficult situations and still were able to feed. Although our own health does make breastfeeding easier, it is not critical in making enough or good “quality” milk.  A good diet will keep you healthy, but regardless of what you are eating your milk is rarely effected except in the most extreme cases.
  • Myth #4:  Breastfeeding will change the shape of your breasts.
    Fact: Breastfeeding itself is not the culprit.  Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding includes BMI, age, history of smoking, large pre-pregnancy breast size and number of pregnancies.

I also want to give you a few of Shari’s favorite items to help encourage breastfeeding and maybe even make it a little easier on you.

Shari Criso’s Must-Have Products to Make Breastfeeding Easier

  • Bravado Designs Ultra Comfort Nursing Camisole: $34.99
    www.babiesrus.com
    Easy to wear while pregnant or nursing your new baby. Wire-free, seam-free, and has a long silhouette.

I hope some of these tips, tricks, busted myths, and products help you. I know the thought of breastfeeding for the first time (or the 7th time!), can be stressful, but it every second of doubt or worry you might have now will be gone the moment your baby is in your arms, snuggled up to your chest.

My Review of the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump

While I can’t really review the pump yet… I have been doing my research on breast pumps, and the Evenflo pump had become the clear winner even before I received it for review. I honestly cannot wait to start using this pump. I’m praying it will help me build up a great stash in the freezer so that family and friends can help with feeding.

Since I can’t review it yet, I want to give you some of the features of this pump and why it made the top of my list:

  • 32 settings for optimal control.That is a LOT of settings! That means you’re much more likely to get the suction you need at any given time.
  • 3 assorted flange sizes for different sized moms. None of those “one size fits all” that don’t really fit all. Ensures a comfortable fit no matter what your cup size.
  • Hygienic, closed pumping system. This prevents milk from backing up into the system and tainting the milk or ruining the pump.
  • Plug in or battery powered. Makes it great for on the go or pumping at home or at work.
  • Converts to single pump use easily. For those times when you might need to pump on one side while feeding on the other, or to prevent engorgement
  • PerfectPosition designed for slouch free pumping. Great for when comfort is of the utmost importance.
  • Includes drawstring wet parts bag and access to “Simply Breastfeeding” and “Breast Pumps & Briefcases” educational programs. I haven’t found any other pump that includes such fabulous breastfeeding material to encourage breastfeeding mothers. I love it! And the bag is great for taking it on the go.

Just a few more weeks, and I’ll finally be able to put this pump to good use! I can’t wait! So many fabulous features, and I’m looking forward to putting it to the test.

What Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks have helped YOU most?

#MC #Sponsored: Check Out the #UrbiniBaby Mom Voyáge Website

sponsoredDisclaimer: I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

mom voyage website

I was recently introduced to the Mom Voyage website. Created by Urbini, Mom Voyage is a website where mom bloggers from all over the world come together and share their experiences about pregnancy, maternity leave, and so much more.

I found the site incredibly interesting, and I couldn’t stop reading! I loved reading about the Dutch Pregnancy Cravings. I couldn’t believe how similar *my* cravings are to those mentioned in the post… right down to the pickles and chocolate sauce! (Early in this pregnancy, I would scoop peanut butter from the jar with sweet pickles and drizzle them with chocolate syrup. So weird, right?? I had no idea that Dutch moms were doing almost the same thing!

I hope you’ll take some time to check out the Mom Voyage website. There really are some interesting articles on there, and I can’t wait for more to be added!

I also want to encourage you to connect with Urbini in the following ways:

Guest Post: The Top 10 Safest Countries for Your Next Family Vacation

family vacation

Planning a family vacation can be challenging; you want to find a place to holiday that works with your budget and your vision of the ideal family vacation, but also offers a sanctuary for you and yours. So, where should you travel without having to worry about the safety and you and your family? Below are the top ten safest countries in the world suitable for your next family getaway:

Denmark
Denmark, and the rest of Scandinavia, has enjoyed a long reputation as some of the safest (and most beautiful) places to visit. Though Denmark can be a bit expensive, they also have some amazing free music and food festivals complete with kid-pleasing fireworks displays. As a top contender on Lonely Planet’s list of Best Family Destinations for 2014, Denmark has some great theme parks with fun rides, and Copenhagen is where you can find Hotel Legoland.

Statistically speaking, Denmark is one of the safest countries in the world to live as well:

  • Open Travel states the homicide rate as 0.88 per 100,000 people
  • Low crime rate
  • Low risk of natural disasters

The people of Denmark are remarkably hospitable and kind, so travelling to this naturally beautiful country with your family is a must.

 

Italy
With the Italian way of life centred onthe idea of family, it’s no surprise that Italy comes in second as one of the safest places to visit with your family. The people of this country are described as incredibly welcoming and you will never feel anything but secure in the bustling cities, world-famous restaurants, and kid-friendly beaches.

Lonely Planet lists the following as Italian features that your kids, and you, will be sure to enjoy:

  • Ice cream and gelato
  • Pizza
  • Pasta

Ciao Bambino raves about the pools and play areas in Italian hotels, and you can even sign your family up for cooking lessons.

 

Iceland
This country features a little bit of everything for every taste, and may be about the closest thing you can get to a true winter wonderland (if you decide to travel during the winter season). The worst thing to hear your children say whilst on vacation is the dreaded “I’m bored”, though they won’t have a chance to in Iceland.

Lonely Planet recommends the following family-friendly activities:

  • Horse riding
  • Elf Hunting
  • White-water rafting

This can all be done affordably, with a great exchange rate and travel prices.

 

Canada
Touted as one of the most polite countries in the world, Canadians are welcoming and hospitable, and the hotels and activities are much like what you would find in the United States, though typically more affordable. Safety is a top priority in Canada, with a relatively low crime rate and minimal risk for any natural disaster.

Visiting the various national parks is sure to delight your family, as well as:

  • Niagara Falls
  • The Maritimes
  • Banff National Park

 

Brazil
Brazil is a fantastic place to explore and get caught up in the lasting excitement surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Brazil also has some great sightseeing spots:

  • Iguazu Falls
  • Christ the Redeemer
  • The Amazon Rainforest

And many beaches, colonial towns, and other amazing sights for a memorable holiday.

 

Japan
Japan, though revered as one of the cleanest and most polite countries in the world, ranks lower on our list due to the hazardous recent events that have happened, including the devastating tsunami and earthquake and the nuclear power plant meltdown.

However, the bustling cities and incredible train journeys throughout are a luxury for those wanting to see much in little time. Don’t expect it to be incredibly expensive either; because of the dependency on tourism, travel deals are easy to come by.

 

New Zealand
Another country boasting extreme natural beauty, New Zealand is a great place for families to holiday in. The British Government advises that “weather conditions can quickly become treacherous, especially in winter”, so you may want to plan your vacation for a more weather-friendly time of year.

Though rare, earthquakes have been known to cause significant damage in some cities in New Zealand, including the 6.3 earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011.

 

Belize
As one of the most affordable Caribbean destinations, Belize is a popular place for families to relax on the beach, snorkel, scuba dive, or just enjoy the island culture.

Go beyond just the beach when you visit the spectacular Mayan ruins and cenotes in the interior of the island. Yachting is a lifestyle in Belize; sailing the waters can easily be researched and booked through sites likeonboardonline.com. You could even have a working holiday onboard!

 

Singapore
Asian charm extends into a welcoming, clean, and safe atmosphere in Singapore, where families are welcomed and treated as locals. Open Travel ranks Singapore as the top safest destination in the world, stating that crime and theft are a rarity and a low homicide rate.

There are many activities and sights to partake in when visiting Singapore, and the culture alone is fascinating and never dull.

 

Malaysia
After undergoing a major revitalisation, Malaysia is now focused on providing the very best for its tourists. Children will love Legoland Malaysia and the new Hello Kitty Town, while you and your spouse can relax in the famed Asian gardens or sightseeing tour.

Getting to Malaysia can be an issue as your connecting flights may cross some danger zones, and the region is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.

 

About the Author: Andy Woodbridge is passionate about writing and has often written for a number of industry websites and both online and offline journals.

#MC #Sponsored: BGCA Keeps Kids #CyberSafe with the #CyberTribe

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

I will admit, I am a little more than protective when it comes to my kids and the internet. There is so much BAD out there, that I want to protect their innocent eyes for as long as I can.

Now, I am not dumb. I know that with technology today, it is easier than ever for kids to access the internet, and get involved in all sorts of situations that could potentially be scary.

Even when I was a teenager, the internet wasn’t the best place to “hang out.” Back then, it was chat rooms. I will never forget when I was 16, and I met a guy in a chat room. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and I was young and vulnerable. This guy knew all the right things to say to make me feel better, and I fell for it – hook, line, and sinker. I ended up making plans to meet this guy, all without my parents’ knowledge. I told my parents I was meeting a friend that night, and instead, I met this stranger from online. When I got to the park where I was to meet him, there was a man there – probably in his early 30s. Definitely NOT the guy I had seen pictures of online, and not who I was intending to meet. As I drew closer to him, I noticed he had printed out my picture and was holding it in his hands. So, he was the guy I had been talking to all along. Not the 16 year old boy I thought it was.

Everything inside me was telling me to run, and so I did. Straight to my car, and I drove to my friend’s house, because I didn’t know where else to go or what else to do. I couldn’t go home and confess to my parents what I had just done. I knew it was stupid. I knew my life could have been in danger that night. And, looking back now, as a mom myself, I want to bang my head against a wall. That was probably one of the stupidest things I have ever done in my life. Thank God I was smart enough to get out of there. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.

I wish that back then, we had had something like the BGCA CyberTribe. A safe place for kids to go to ask teens questions about online safety and bullying and get real answers. It’s also a fantastic resource for parents! In fact, I encourage you as a parent to take the “Are You a CyberSmart Parent?” quiz and see how your answers stack up. I ended up being a Cyber Survivor, and proving that I am doing my best to keep my kids safe while they are online.

I also encourage you to ask the CyberTribe any questions you may have about online safety and/or cyber bullying.

You can find the quizzes and ask your questions on the Boys & Girls Club of America’s Cyber Safe Website. All in all, it’s a great site that *every* parent needs to explore. Our kids are worth it!

Here are the two questions I asked the CyberTribe:

1. With easy access to cell phones, laptops, tablets, kids can access things they shouldn’t at any time – day or night. How can I protect my kids from seeing something they shouldn’t see if they click on an ad while playing a free version game on my cell phone?

2. I often feel like the “bad guy” because I won’t let my kids have a social media account until they’re old enough. I constantly hear, “But ALL my friends have one.” What can I say to convince my kids that it’s better for them to wait until they’re ready for an account instead of just giving in and letting them have an account?

I’m excited to see how the CyberTribe responds. I want to do right by my kids. I want to keep them safe while they are online, and I want them to always think before they post anything. This is something we will continue to talk about at length, especially given the number of kids I have!

Also, remember, that through today, June 30th, you also have the chance to win an ipad mini AND $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of your choice. But, hurry! Your chance goes away at midnight tonight! So, get your questions in!

How about you? How important is online safety to you? Have you ever had an experience where you or your child should have taken better precautions online? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

One of My Toughest Days as a Mom

I’ve mentioned in the past that Gage has been dealing with seizures. Well, this past week, things spiraled out of control. Saturday was officially one of the toughest days I have ever faced as a mom.

It was supposed to be a great day, and it really started out that way. I went out to breakfast with a good friend from church, took an early afternoon nap, and then set out for our church’s Easter Egg Hunt at the home of one of our members.

When we arrived at the Egg Hunt, the kids were in heaven. The land these members own is amazing! They have a park, a pavilion, and even a kitchen outside – perfect for large gatherings like this. It was awesome. The kids all had a blast playing on all of the equipment, hunting Easter eggs, and just having fun.

Carly swinging

We finally sat down to dinner, and Gage sat across the table from me with my best friend, and I fed Carly. Hubby had been sitting with me, but he got up to run to the van and get the stroller for Carly. All of a sudden, I hear Steph say, “Angie.” I turn and look, and Gage is having a seizure in her arms. His mouth was full of food, so I quickly fought to clear his airway. I got it clear, and the seizure ended after about 3 minutes. By this time, hubby was back, and HE was who Gage wanted. Gene held him, and it took about 45 minutes for Gage to fully wake up and get back to his old self. Once he did, though, he seemed fine. He was playing, running around, and acting like nothing had even happened.

I did my best to keep my composure while we were still at their house, but inside, I was an absolute mess. When we got in the car to leave, I broke down, and I couldn’t stop.

That night, the kids were all to go to my best friend’s house and spend the night. As hard as it was to let Gage go, I didn’t want to “punish” him. The seizures aren’t his fault, and I knew that if anyone was going to take good care of Gage, it would be Steph. She loves him almost as much as I do. So, we left him with her and headed home.

I spent the next several hours crying uncontrollably. My poor husband tried everything to calm me down and reassure me. Nothing worked. I was an absolute mess. I have no idea why this seizure affected me the way it did. Maybe it’s because Gage wasn’t with me that night after it happened. If I had been able to hold him, maybe I would have been better.

I kept in close contact with Ash (my oldest daughter) and Steph. Checking in on Gage constantly. They both continued to assure me that he was just fine. He was having a blast playing with everything, and I didn’t need to worry.

And then, it happened.

At 10:30pm, my phone rang. It was Ashley. Gage was having another seizure.

Gene and I jumped in the car and flew to their house. (Thank God they only live 2 minutes up the road.) By the time we got there, he was already out of the seizure, and just sleepy.

But, that was it. Two seizures in one day is NOT normal. It was time for someone to listen to me. I called our pediatrician’s after-hours line and asked that I get a call back from the doctor on call.

I ended up talking to our pediatrician’s partner. She said that we needed to get Gage to a children’s ER as quickly as possible, because our local ERs won’t touch a child. Because of where we live, we have two options, and both are 2+ hours away: Scottish Rite in Atlanta, or TC Thompson in Chattanooga. Because it was 11 o’clock at night, and there was a chance Gage could have another seizure in the car, we opted to go to Scottish Rite. A 4-lane highway sounded way better to me than trying to drive over a mountain. And, honestly? With the experiences I’ve had with both hospitals, I prefer Scottish Rite over TC Thompson any day. (Both hospitals are fine, I’ve just had better experiences with SR.)

2 seizures in one dayWe arrived at the hospital shortly after 1am, and it was only minutes before they had us through triage and back into a room. Then, we waited for what seemed like forever to see a doctor. However, once he did come in, (around 2:30am), he was really really nice. I explained everything that was going on and told him that I was tired of feeling like no one cared about getting us answers. He assured us that HE cared and he would get us on the right path.

Around 3am, he wanted us to wake up Gage and get him fully awake. He needed to make sure Gage’s brain was functioning normally after the two seizures. We woke Gage up, and after a full exam, he was declared just fine… no obvious side effects from the seizures. (Praise God!)

After talking to the on-call neurologist, they started Gage on an anti-seizure medicine. (Praise God again!!) He will now take this twice daily. The neurologist also wants Gage to have an MRI of his brain, (in which case he will need to be sedated), as well as another EEG at Scottish Rite so they can look for some other things that TC Thompson didn’t look for in the first EEG. He also gave me a direct line to a neurologist’s office at Scottish Rite and told me to make an appointment with them. Because he was seen in the ER, they will now be able to get him in much sooner than our already scheduled appointment on June 23. He said it could take up to a month, but he said it could be as little as a week before they get him in. At this point, anything is better than June 23.

They sent us home, and honestly, I felt so much better. For the first time, it felt like someone actually cared and actually wanted to help us get some answers.

While Saturday may have been one of the absolute toughest days I have ever faced, it also ended up being the day before I finally got some help with Gage. Maybe now we can get him on track to healing… or at least to the point where I won’t be afraid to let him out of my sight.

As of this morning, I have called the neurologists’ office, and they can see him on April 30th. We have to see a nurse practitioner, but that’s just so we can become an established patient and get in with a doctor sooner. As of right now, the waiting list is 14 – 16 weeks for a new patient to see a doctor. This will help us bypass the waiting list, and get us answers that much sooner.

I am still waiting to hear from his pediatrician. I sent her several messages over the weekend and let her know everything that was going on, and that I would need her to call about the MRI and the EEG. I am praying she does this quickly. If she doesn’t, I’ll be forced to find a new doctor that will be able to help us.

The medicine they have Gage on makes him very hyper. Add that to the fact that he’s 3 years old, and I’m already exhausted. I’m hoping his little body can adjust to the medicine quickly and the meds actually do their job and prevent seizures.

And until we get some real answers, I will keep leaning on this verse:
trust in him

Why I Seem to Have Disappeared… Again

As a mom of seven, and a pregnant one at that, one can only begin to imagine the amount of chaos a “normal” day can contain. That being said, since we got home from our vacation, it has been one thing after another, and I have barely had the chance to sit down – let alone breathe.

Our vacation was wonderful, and I have 3 posts sitting in my drafts right now to tell you all about it. We survived a 5 night cruise to Haiti and Jamaica with all seven kids! And it was awesome! I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

However, shortly after we got home, my son Gage had another seizure. (I posted about his first seizure here: My Child Had A Seizure). The second one came on completely out of nowhere. There were absolutely no warning signs this time. It was my husband’s day off, and we had just come home from getting our taxes done. Gage was laughing and playing and running around the house, chasing my husband. All of a sudden, he hit the floor and went into a seizure. My husband stayed right beside him while I called 911, and we took another trip to the ER. Because he had fallen and hit his head, they ran a CT scan. The first scan came back with some abnormalities, and because those abnormalities were right in the area where they had removed the cyst, they did a more dedicated scan of that area. The second scan came back better, but we still need to discuss the results with a neurologist. He was already scheduled to have an EEG done, and that happened on Tuesday of this week. It required a 2 hour drive to TC Thompson Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, TN. The test was over quickly, and Gage did GREAT. However, thanks to a wreck on the mountain coming home, a detour took us out of our way and caused it to take 4 hours for us to get home. By the time I finally did get home, I was beyond exhausted.

After dinner that evening, my two oldest sons started arguing over dessert. I told them to put the dessert away, get their pajamas on, and get ready for bed. Not two minutes later, one comes running out of the room yelling, “I didn’t do it!” and the other one comes out of the room bleeding from the nose. A trip to the ER and we discovered that my ten year old’s nose was broken in two places. The joy of raising boys! :)

brokennose

We had to meet with an ENT/Plastic Surgeon today, and they will need to put Zander’s nose back into place. Because this will be quite painful, he’ll need to be put under anesthesia. We’ll go back on March 12th to have it taken care of.

So, as you can see, things are quite chaotic around here, and I’m trying to find a moment to catch my breath. I’m doing my best to get things back to normal, but until I know more about what’s going on with Gage, I just can’t commit to anything right now.

Thanks for sticking with me… and if you have any prayers you can spare, I’d certainly appreciate them. I’m longing for things to calm down and life to return to normal chaos without all the doctors and hospitals.

I sure hope things are going well on your end! If you’ve got some good news you’d like to share, I’d LOVE to hear it! Just leave a comment below.

My Child Had A Seizure

trust in him

The title to this post is not something I ever expected to say, but it happened. Wednesday, December 18, 2013, my 2 and a half year old son had a seizure.

The day started out like any other. Gage was his normal self. At dinner time, he refused to eat, but that didn’t surprise me. After all, he’s two, and any parent knows that it’s not unusual for a two year old to decide they just don’t want to eat.

We headed to church a little early that night. The older kids had play practice, so they went upstairs to the sanctuary, and I stayed downstairs in the nursery with Parker, Gage, and Carly. Gage played and was just fine. Laughing, goofing around, playing like there was nothing wrong.

We went upstairs a few minutes before the service was supposed to start, and still, Gage was just fine. He was running from teenager to teenager, laughing and playing.

Then, all of a sudden, that was enough. He climbed up on my lap. This should have sent up a red flag, because he never climbs up in my lap at church. My best friend sits in the pew with us, and he always chooses her over me. It’s not a bad thing, but I should have known something was off when he wanted to sit in my lap.

The congregation started singing, and Gage kept taking his pacifier out of his mouth and looking at it funny. He wouldn’t keep it in his mouth, and he just kept acting like something was wrong with it. Another red flag.

At that moment, I kissed his forehead. I noticed he was a little warm. I thought to myself, “Fabulous. He’s coming down with something. Someone is always sick at Christmas.”

They started singing “Silent Night” and Gage asked me to take off his shoes. No sooner had I gotten both shoes off, and his entire body went stiff. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he started violently shaking.

I got up to leave the sanctuary, turned to my best friend and told her to call 911.

Then, I nearly lost my mind. I clutched Gage to my chest. I didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Somehow, I ended up on the landing between the two staircases in our church, with most of the congregation around me. I can’t even imagine what I looked like during his seizure. I have never  been so scared in my life. I remember praying over and over, “Please, Lord, just let my baby be ok.”

One of the new couples at our church ended up being the biggest blessing to me. I don’t know how, but they convinced me to hand Gage over to the husband. (I didn’t want to hand him over to anyone. I simply wanted to hold my baby and not let go.) But, I did let go. I let Bill hold him, and Bill’s wife, Kelly, held me up when I didn’t have the strength to hold myself up.

Once the seizure started, I lost all sense of time. It felt like an eternity before he stopped shaking. It felt like two eternities before the ambulance arrived.

The EMTs finally did arrive, and they checked Gage over thoroughly and then put him in the back of the ambulance. I climbed back in there with them, and my best friend called my husband at work, and then got in her car and followed the ambulance to the hospital. My husband immediately left work, and drove over the mountain to get to the hospital. I am pretty sure that was the fastest he has ever made it over the mountain. I’m just glad the Lord had his guardian angel on duty that night.

In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Gage’s temperature was 98.4. No fever at all. When we arrived at the hospital, they took his vitals again, and still no temperature of any kind. His little heart was racing like he had just run a triathlon, though.

We spent the next several hours at the ER. The doctors didn’t really know what to tell us. “Some kids just do this,” they said, like it was perfectly normal that my son had just randomly gone into a violent seizure. “He doesn’t have a fever, but I would guess this was just a febrile seizure.”

I was baffled. Don’t you need to have some kind of temperature in order for a febrile seizure to occur? Gage’s vitals never showed a fever of any kind, so how was that even possible? Yes, he felt a little warm when I kissed his head during church, but not feverish. I know fevers. I’ve had horrible experiences with fevers and most of my children. There just wasn’t any fever.

In my mind, all I could think of was Gage’s surgery and the cyst they had removed from his head. Could these two things be connected? Was it possible that this seizure was some kind of side effect of that cyst? Was my baby going to have to endure more tests, more surgery, more poking and prodding?

(It’s pretty apparent that I am a worrier and do not handle emergencies quite well. That has definitely been established after all of this went down.)

The ER doctors sent us home, telling us that there was a 70% chance Gage would never have another seizure again, but to follow up with our pediatrician the following week.

As luck would have it, our pediatrician just moved home to South Carolina, and we were in the process of changing doctors. We hadn’t even had the chance to meet the kids’ new doctor before this.

We made an appointment with the pediatrician for the day after Christmas. She was so kind, and she really calmed my nerves. She wants to get Gage in with a neurology group, (hopefully the same group that did his surgery), and just be sure that this seizure had nothing to do with the cyst. She’s positive that he’s going to be just fine, but she wants to be absolutely 100% certain there isn’t something they’re missing. That makes me feel better.

While I am still recovering from the shock of having my 2 year old have a seizure in my arms, I am so thankful for God’s timing. I am so grateful that I was at church, surrounded by so many people that love me and love Gage. As soon as it happened, those who weren’t huddled around me, comforting me, were up at the altar praying for my son. The entire church pitched in, took my other children home, made sure they were comforted, cared for, loved, and not alone. I don’t even want to think of what might have happened if I had been home alone (or with just the 3 youngest children) when this happened. Even in the midst of the storm, God is still good.

Every part of me wants to worry about the “What ifs” and possibilities of another seizure, but I am resting on God’s promise in Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” I WILL CHOOSE JOY. Even when I am so afraid I cannot stand, I will still rest on His unfailing love.

Do you have any experience with seizures in your children? Were you cool under pressure, or did you lose it like I did?

Retro Baby #Book #Review #Sponsored

Sample Received

Disclaimer: This post is part of a campaign through RoleMommy. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

retro baby
As a mom of 7, I get asked all the time, “How can you afford all those kids?” My response every time is, “Kids aren’t expensive. STUFF is expensive.” So, when I found out about the book “Retro Baby” by Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L, that had the words, “Cut back on all the gear and boost your baby’s development with more than 100 time-tested activities,” I knew I would love it.

And I was right!

Dr. Zachry takes readers through a baby’s first year of life. She details what items are really necessary for baby to have, and she lets you know which ones you can do without. Throughout the entire book, there are pages and pages of age-appropriate activities you can do with your little one to get her developing right on track. The best part? Every activity requires items you already have on hand, or don’t require any extra “gear” at all. That means those 100+ activities are free. Did you hear that? It won’t cost you a penny to help your child develop. Awesome.

Another feature of the book that I really like is that at each stage: Birth to 3 months, 4 to 6 months, and so on, she lists all of the developmental milestones you can expect your baby to display during that growth period. They are really right on target at each phase.

I am super impressed with this book, and it is the one book I believe every new (and experienced!) mom should have on hand. This should be the first book a woman reads after she finds out she’s pregnant, and it should be the one book she continue to come back to month after month once her baby is born. It is easy to read, full of information, and incredibly detailed without boring you or overstimulating your grown-up mind. :)

My youngest child, Carly, is now 9 months old. I tried all of the activities in the Retro Baby book with her, and she definitely has her favorite activities. She loves the “If the Hat Fits…” activity where we put the hat on and off her head and my head. She just laughs when either she or I knocks the hat off. I just love this age. I also get the other kids involved in the activities. I’ve noticed Carly (and my other younger children) learn best when they are watching their older siblings. This is a great way to get them all interacting with each other and having fun together.

I have absolutely enjoyed this book, and this will now be my must-give Baby Shower gift for any new moms-to-be. I am so impressed with the book, and I believe it should be in ever household.

To purchase your copy of Retro Baby, head on over to Amazon.com, where you can find it for $13.22 for paperback, or $9.99 for the Kindle version. It’s an excellent value, and the book is worth every penny!

Also, be sure to follow Dr. Zachry on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the TYLENOL® #SmilingItForward Movement #Sponsored

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Disclaimer: I have received information and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks.

Smiling it Forward

There is nothing sweeter than a baby’s smile. Especially seeing that smile after your baby has been sick. It is so difficult to see your little one so miserable. Fever, runny nose, swollen gums. These are all things that break our hearts as moms. But then, all of a sudden, there’s a silver lining. That sweet baby smile that lets you know she is on the mend and is finally starting to feel better.

Being a mom of 7, I’ve seen lots of sickness, and I’ve seen lots of sweet smiles. And the one medicine I can always count on to comfort my little ones and get them on the road to feeling better faster, is Tylenol. Tylenol helps bring down their fever, dulls the pain of teething, and just helps make everything a little bit better.

Infants’ Tylenol is the #1 brand recommended by pediatricians when it comes to reducing fever, relieving pain in children, and making little ones start to feel better. It’s been used and trusted by moms for over 20 years. (I’ve been using it for 16 years with each of my children.) Infants’ Tylenol relieves minor aches and pains caused by headache, sore throat, toothache, teething, the common cold, and the flu, and it also temporarily reduces fever. For more information about Tylenol, and to view a full list of their products, please visit www.Tylenol.com. (Please be sure to discuss with your pediatrician the proper dosage of Infants’ Tylenol if your child is under the age of 2. If your child is over 2 years old, please follow the dosing instructions on the box carefully. Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your child or any medicines.)

tylenol

Right now, the makers of Tylenol have teamed up with How I Met Your Mother star, and mother of two, Alyson Hannigan, to launch the SMILING IT FORWARD™ campaign. Their goal is to set the power of giving in motion. By sharing smiles of good health, you can help children in need. And it’s so easy to participate! All you have to do is share a photo that makes you smile at www.SmilingIitForward.com. With every photo shared, Tylenol will make a $1 donation to Children’s Health Fund. These donations will help ensure a doctor’s visit is always possible for children in need. Children’s Health Fund was founded by Dr. Irwin Redlener and singer/songwriter Paul Simon. For more than 25 years, they have deployed a fleet of 50 mobile medical clinics to underprivileged neighborhoods. Because of this, thousands of children and families in need are being brought high-quality healthcare to thousands of children and families in need across the United States.

Moms (or anyone!) can log onto www.SmilingitForward.com right now to view the Tylenol Smile Gallery, get to know Mom Ambassador Alyson Hannigan, learn more about Children’s Health Fund, and even get tips to keep their families smiling all through cold and flu season from leading pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann.

While you’re on www.SmilingitForward.com, be sure to upload a photo (or two, or three) of your own to help raise money for this awesome cause. I’ve already uploaded my photo – I shared the picture of Carly at the top of this post. Her sweet, sweet smile makes my day… every day! I’d love to log on to the Smiling it Forward website and see pictures of your smiling children. Not only will we all be smiling at the irresistible faces plastered all over the website, but we can all smile knowing that we are helping to make a difference in the life of a child somewhere.

infant tylenol

To learn more about the Smiling it Forward campaign, visit www.SmilingitForward.com. To learn more about Tylenol, visit www.Tylenol.com. And to learn more about Children’s Health Fund, please visit www.ChildrensHealthFund.org.

#Sponsored: Giving the Gift of Sleep from @Pampers #DDDivas #DivasSleep {Giveaway}

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Disclaimer: This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Pampers Gift of Sleep

I recently had the opportunity to give “The Gift of Sleep” to a new mom in my community thanks to Double Duty Divas and Pampers. What an honor – and what fun I had!

First, I had to think of a mom who had recently given birth and I felt could use the gift of sleep. Having just given birth to my seventh baby this past February, I understand exactly what the gift of sleep could mean to a mom.

My mind immediately went to a sweet woman that I had the opportunity to meet through my local MOPS group. She recently gave birth to her 4th child, a sweet little boy named Jaxon. (Talk about a cutie!) I knew that with 4 children under the age of 9, Christy would appreciate the gift of sleep.)

Pampers sent me a $100 Visa Gift Card to put together my version of “The Gift of Sleep.” So many ideas started running through my mind, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had shopping for Christy, her husband Allan, and their new baby Jaxon. I purchased a bunch of items and put them all into a reusable tote. (After all, what mom doesn’t love somewhere to store stuff?!)

Pampers Gift of Sleep

Want to know what was included in the gift basket?

For Mom & Dad:

  • Large soft, snuggly blanket
  • His & Hers Fuzzy Slippers
  • His & Hers Mugs
  • Sleepytime Tea
  • Soothe & Sleep Bubble Bath
  • Lavender Scented Oil with a vase and decorative reeds

For Baby:

  • Pampers Swaddlers (of course!)
  • Fuzzy Elephant Sleep Sack
  • Soft & Cuddly Elephant Blanket Pal
  • Calming Baby Bath & Lotion
  • Baby Bedtime Washcloths

I wrapped the tote with a large bow, and headed over to Christy’s house to deliver her gift.

Giving the Gift of Sleep

When I arrived to deliver the gift, I discovered that my timing could not have been more perfect. Christy’s husband had been nominated for a very prestigious award, and they were preparing to leave for an overnight trip to attend a special banquet. It was going to be their first night away from baby Jaxon. I’m hoping the items in the basket helped calm them while they were away, and that the items for Jaxon helped him sleep through the night for his caregivers.

It was such a treat to be able to spoil another mom with this gift, and I am so thankful for Double Duty Divas and Pampers for allowing me to do just that.

win the gift of sleep

Pampers knows that sleep is important to moms, and that moms crave a diaper that provides superior overnight protection. It’s just no fun when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night soaked. :( So, Pampers has taken what they know, and they’ve designed a diaper that provides up to 12 hours of protection. No more 3am wake-up calls from a soaking wet baby! Be sure to check out the new and improved Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Baby Dry diapers.

I also want to encourage you to get to know Pampers on a social level by checking them out in the following ways:

I’ve given one mom the Gift of Sleep. Now, Pampers wants to give YOU the chance to win the gift of sleep, either for yourself or for a new mom in your life. One winner will receive a Sleep Sheep Sound Machine, Cozy Blankets for Mom and Baby, and a $50 Gift Card. The giveaway will end October 28th at 11:59pm. To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

End of the Year Teacher Gifts

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This year, I did something very similar to what I did in 2011 at Christmas for teacher gifts. I just changed it up a little bit.

I started by having each of the kids write down 25 – 30 words and/or phrases to describe their teacher(s). I don’t help them with this at all. I make them come up with the words and phrases all by themselves. It sounds like a lot, but once they get going, it’s harder to get them to stop than it was to get them started.

Then, using my photo editor, I turned those words and phrases into a 5×7 sized word art and then put it in a frame. Each teacher also received a blue mason jar full of freshly picked buttercups.

Here are pictures of each of the teachers’ gifts….

First, is Lucy’s teacher, Mrs. Arnick. Lucy was in Kindergarten this year, and this was her first experience with any type of school setting. She ended up just loving her teacher and her class. She excelled in everything and has gone from not being able to read or write anything to reading level 2 books and writing full sentences. (Some sentences I have to have her read to me, but she’s doing great!) Her favorite subject this year was math. She was the first kid in her class to count all the way to 100. (And she does this at least 50 times a day for me at home.) I loved the phrases that Lucy came up with to describe her teacher: “She listens when I talk to her.” or “Reads to us.” “Super good teacher.” Lucy said that her teacher loved her gift. :)

kindergarten teacher gift

Next, we have Jace’s teacher, Mrs. Bridges. I was really worried about how Jace would do in school this year. Last year, he had the most amazing teacher. She is a good, godly woman, and she has become such a good friend to the family. I was sure, though, that Jace’s teacher this year wouldn’t hold a candle to Mrs. Evans. I was wrong. Jace ended up getting a teacher this year that is exactly what he needed: another godly woman who poured her heart and soul into teaching these kids. Jace took to her like glue this year, and he came home crying yesterday (the last day of school) because he’s moving out of the primary school next year and he won’t get to see Mrs. Bridges every day. Jace’s words to describe Mrs. Bridges made me cry, “She loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to show it.” “I can talk to her about anything.” “I can trust her.” Jace also said that she cried when she opened her gift. <3

second grade teacher gift

Lastly, Zander had two teachers this year: Mrs. Garrison and Mrs. Todd. We had a hard time with Mrs. Garrison, but luckily, Mrs. Todd was there to help pull Zander through this year. He finished the year with straight As and a perfect score on the English CRCT. (State mandated end of the year testing.) Plus, he exceeded in every other subject on his CRCTs. I really think that’s because of Mrs. Todd and her help this year. Here is Mrs. Garrison’s gift:

fourth grade teachers gift

When I sat down to work on these (at 11pm the night before the last day of school), the first paper full of descriptions that I read was Mrs. Todd’s. I absolutely lost it. Phrases like “A good person that loves children.” “A godly woman.” “A good influence.” all filled the page. But the one that got me most was, “I can talk to her when no one will listen.” That’s the kind of teacher Zander needs, and I am so thankful Zander got it in Mrs. Todd.

fourth grade teacher gift

I created the artwork with Photoshop CS, printed on cardstock, and put into a 5×7 frame from the Dollar Store. The blue mason jars came from Amazon.  The tags on the jars came from Party On Designs. (It’s a free printable.)

This is a fun, easy gift to create, and it comes from the heart.

Are you doing teacher gifts this year? If so, what are they?