#Sponsored: #DrinkDripDrop & Keeping My Family Hydrated @DripDrop @SheSpeaks #Review

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for DripDrop and SheSpeaks. I received samples in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

dripdrop keeps us hydrated

Keeping my family hydrated during cold and flu season is of the utmost importance to me. There are so many options out there. How do you know which one is right for you and your family? I want the best. I want what is going to get my kids hydrated again and back to playing in no time.

For this review, SheSpeaks and DripDrop sent me samples of DripDrop Hydration Powder along with a fantastic water bottle. They couldn’t have timed it better.

As you can see in the photo above, we recently had a real need for DripDrop Hydration Powder. My son Parker ended up with a severe toothache. It was so bad, I couldn’t get him to eat or drink anything. He laid around all day and just cried. (Of course it was a Saturday, and there were no dental offices open.) I was so worried about him getting dehydrated. He quickly became weak from not eating or drinking, and I had to do something.

The only option I had was to offer him a bottle of water with the DripDrop Hydration Powder. I had to get it to room temperature because his tooth was so sensitive, but once I did, it was a hit! He tried both the lemon and the berry flavors, and he couldn’t pick a favorite. He loved them both. (Honestly, I think he loved the fact that he was the only one that got to drink the “special” juice.) :) (Please note: I did put in a call to the doctor’s after hour line and made sure his pediatrician was alright with me giving him the DripDrop powder. She agreed that I had to get something in him and thought the DripDrop powder was a great way to go.)

What impresses me most about DripDrop is that it’s the first hydration solution developed by a Mayo Clinic trained physician to save lives. It delivers 2 – 3 times the electrolytes of sports drinks and 25% more than the pediatric drink options. It is patented and clinically proven to hydrate better than the other available options.

I also love that there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

DripDrop is a product I can feel good about giving my entire family. The next time we have the flu cycle through our household, I can be prepared and have DripDrop on hand. (And with 10 people in our house, you can only imagine what a nightmare the flu is for all of us. It is usually a month long battle with everyone just passing it back and forth.)

I am so thankful for products like DripDrop that are made to help me keep my family safe and healthy when the worst strikes.

Let me encourage you to learn more about DripDrop in the following ways:

Also, please check out the following links for more really great info:

You can read about more moms’ experiences with DripDrop by searching the hashtag #DrinkDripDrop on your favorite social media channels.

Ready to stock up on DripDrop and keep your family hydrated when colds or the flu strike? Head to your local DVS, Walgreens, or HEB store and grab some right now!

Guest Post: Thinking Beyond the Sleepless Nights with Window Treatments

Any prospective parent out there will have undoubtedly stumbled on the “must have” checklists ahead of their new arrival. Most of the time, somewhere on this list (below the cot and other essentials) will be a blackout blind.

The blackout blind is said to be one of the absolutely necessary fittings for any new-born baby. It’s the blind which blocks out all sources of natural light and ultimately, provides baby, mom and dad with that elusive sleep. It might not (in fact, it WON’T) be a full night’s sleep – but some suggest that the blackout blind can provide several hours’ extra sleep every night just because of its basic properties.

blackout blind

Bearing the above in mind, it’s easy to become embroiled in this fitting and forget about all of your other requirements. Yes, a blackout blind will give you those extra hours initially, but you must remember about all of your other eventual requirements as your little one gets older.

For example, let’s take a look at safety. In the midst of all of the negative publicity surrounding blinds and their safety, a lot of people have turned towards cordless options. Fortunately, these can be purchased in a blackout solution – meaning that you can get a best of both worlds approach. However, with a lot of prospective parents having so little time and probably money considering all of the other necessary purchases, it can be easy to simply opt for the cheapest blackout on the market. Try and avoid this, by looking to the future and finding that cordless blackout shade which isn’t going to pose a safety threat to your little one as they begin exploring.

There are other considerations as well though. This next one also focuses on when your little one becomes something of an explorer, and substances seem to stick to their fingers and anything else that gets in their way. Unfortunately, blinds and curtains are usually on the receiving end of such mess – leaving you with a room that looks artistic for all of the wrong reasons.

It’s in these cases where you need to be looking towards the actual material of the blind. While it might be a little more difficult to find one that’s cordless, blackout and maintenance-free, some companies do offer such products. You’ll need to find a blind that can easily be wiped, to get rid of all of those sticky substances and leave your child’s room looking completely accident-free.

Unfortunately, it’s also easy to forget about a different type of factor – the character. While safety and practicality is always going to be of parallel importance, don’t forget that blinds and shades now come in all sort of colors and designs. Even as a new-born, your little one will require stimulation and this is exactly what a good children’s room blind can provide. If you can combine this with all of the practical factors we’ve mulled over, you’ve just found the perfect fitting for your nursery for years to come.

#Sponsored: Beautiful New Colorful Glass Bottles from @EvenfloFeeding

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Evenflo. I received a gift pack in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

evenflo products

I am a huge fan of Evenflo products. You already know how much I love their breast pump as well as their newest exersaucer.

So, when I found out about the release of several new products, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them and test them out. Evenflo sent me the fantastic Milk & Cookies gift pack pictured above. The items included the following:

  • New Tinted Glass Bottles
  • A Tilty TripleFlo Cup
  • Milk Storage Bags
  • Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City

This was such a great gift pack. The cookies were amazing. They satisfied my sweet tooth, and tasted fantastic! And everything was packaged so beautifully.

Now, let me take a moment and tell you what I love about each of the Evenflo products I received.

Evenflo Milk Storage Bags

Made from highly durable military-grade material, these bags are made with 30% less material for a quicker freeze and thaw. I noticed a huge difference when it came time to thaw the milk for feeding. And with the uniquely shaped top, pouring into bottles is so much easier. These are definitely on my list for items all breastfeeding moms must have.

Tilty TripleFlo Cup

This cup is tilted to help make the transition from bottle to cup easier. I also love that the rubber stopper inside has several different flow speeds, making the transition that much easier. While Sawyer doesn’t quite understand the concept of the cup, I think this will be a great item to have on hand once he’s ready for the transition.

evenflo sippy cup

Evenflo Tinted & Vented Glass Bottles

These bottles are beautiful. Available in two different colors, teal and lavender, the bottles also have a gorgeous styling to them. Evenflo took a classic bottle and made it even classier. The bottles each come with a Proflow™ Integrated Venting Nipple. These special silicone nipples direct air bubbles into the bottle instead of into baby’s tummy. What makes these nipples even better is their one-piece design. There are no extra parts to clean or worry about losing.

While I love how beautiful these bottles are, there are a few things I would consider changing to improve them even more.

For starters, the bottles are *perfect* for breastfeeding babies. I had absolutely no issues at all getting the milk from the storage bag into the bottle. It’s almost like the storage bags were made just for these bottles. But, if I used formula at all, things got a little trickier. The opening of the bottle is very small, and it was difficult to get formula from the scoop or the travel container into the bottle without making a mess. I do wish the bottles had an opening that was just a little bigger for that reason.

The nipples collapse fairly quickly and fairly often, so I am constantly pulling the bottle out of Sawyers mouth to let the nipple fill back up with air. Sawyer doesn’t like when you take the bottle out of his mouth, so he gets frustrated. I’ve tried different stages of nipples, so I’m not sure what could be causing them to collapse like that each time. This is the only bottle we’ve used that has this problem, so I’m thinking it is unique to the special nipple. It doesn’t stop Sawyer from eating, though, and this is one of the few nipples/bottles he will take, so it’s not all bad.

The last thing is that one of the bottles broke really easily. Actually, it about scared me to death. I sterilized the bottle before the first use, but when I took it out of the water and put it on the counter to dry completely, it burst into a dozen pieces. Absolutely none of the other bottles did this, so I can’t figure out what happened. Because they are glass, you’ll just have to take extra precautions when taking them out of the heat.

evenflo tinted glass bottles

The bottles are available exclusively at Babies”R”Us and retail for $11.99 for a 3 pack of either the 4 or 8 ounce size. It’s a great value for great bottles. We use our bottles almost every day. Even though there are a few things I might change, I still really love these bottles and every other product Evenflo sent us.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and learn more about these fantastic products by visiting the Evenflo Feeding website.

The Mindful Revolution in Schools {Infographic}

Your online teaching degree will help you achieve many things – better communication in the classroom, new and effective teaching methods and more. What it might not teach you is the importance of mindfulness, which can reduce the stress of both teachers and students dramatically.

Learn more about the Mindful Revolution in our new infographic:

Nova Southeastern University Online Master’s in Teaching & Learning

#Sponsored: Using Window Treatments to Perfect Your Newborn’s Room Temperature

We don’t need to reiterate the enormity of being a parent. As soon as you leave the hospital you’re handed reams of advice, telling you what you can and can’t do and at times, it becomes overwhelming. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this – it’s always going to remain the case.

One issue which nurses and governmental guidance notes place a considerable amount of emphasis on is controlling the temperature of the room that your baby sleeps in. Over the years there has been a lot of attention placed on SIDS and one of the primary causes behind these tragedies is overheating.
baby sleeping
The problem is that it can become almost impossible to regulate your room temperature to the exact levels that are recommended. At the time of writing (and we coin this phrase, as these are figures that seem to change all the time), the suggested temperature for a baby is 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, this is quite an exact figure and most parents are fretting just whether or not they have achieved such a temperature every time nap-time occurs for their newborn. Have you put too many layers on? Too few? What TOG rating should the sleeping bag be? Unfortunately, we (and everyone else for that matter), cannot answer these questions in a general advice article.

What we can do is make temperature control a lot easier for you. If your baby happens to have been born in the summer, it can become an absolute nightmare determining whether or not the room is too hot or cold due to the heat from the sun. This is where your window treatment can be a savior.

Blackout shades are arguably the only option for new parents; this is the product that is almost guaranteed to give everyone in the house more sleep. These blinds have developed substantially over the years and now some are insulated, it’s now possible to prevent the sun’s powerful rays from entering your little one’s room and overheating it. We should also add that during the winter it becomes much easier to keep the heat in your little one’s room, which again makes the whole temperature control issue much easier to contend with.
baby's nursery
It means that you are finally provided with a stable playing field. The weather isn’t going to dramatically influence how hot your child’s nursery gets in the summer and it becomes much easier to regulate the temperature in the room.

Admittedly, the above paragraph might not seem like too much of an aid to a prospective parent. However, once you start balancing the one thousand and one other issues you have to remember, the fact that you don’t have to worry as much about the temperature in your baby’s room will be an absolute godsend. Additionally, even though the difference is probably going to be fairly minimal, the insulated shade options do provide some energy savings. As such, it’s something that we’d thoroughly recommend if you are in the midst of preparing for your new arrival.

#Sponsored: #SeeMuchMore – Keeping Your Family Healthy with a VSP Vision Care Plan #Giveaway

Disclaimer: I will receive a pair of sunglesses in return for my post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. Information provided by VSP.

VSP logoEye exams are important for everyone in your family – from babies to adults, and everyone in between.

Did you know that annual eye exams are important to your overall health? They allow eye doctors to detect early signs of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, among others.

The kids have been back to school for awhile now, but we can’t forget that getting them an annual comprehensive eye exam can help them learn and experience life to the fullest. Have you made their yearly eye exam yet?

It is important that parents should take their children to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam starting as young as six months old, then again at three years old, before kindergarten and every year after that. Because 80 percent of what we learn is through our eyes, an eye exam is essential for your back-to-school “to do” list.

In-school screenings do not provide the same level of detection as comprehensive eye exams. Even the screening the doctors office does at their yearly well care visit isn’t enough to get your child through another year.

Do you know the common signs of vision problems? The can include squinting, head tilting, avoiding “close work,” trouble focusing, continuous rubbing of eyes and headaches.

1 in 4 children has an undetected vision condition that can negatively impact learning. Don’t let your child become another statistic!

But, eye exams, glasses, and contacts can be expensive.

That’s why I want to share with you the benefits of enrolling in vision insurance. With VSP Vision Care, you can:

  • Keep your eyes healthy with highly credentialed doctors who provide the most thorough exams
  • Save money – the average VSP member saves approximately $320 each year with vision insurance!
  • Get access to great eyewear – more than two dozen brands and hundreds of styles to choose from!
  • Enable your family to experience life to the fullest

Please take a moment and check out the following resources:

Our eyes should be one of our top priorities. Please take a few moments to educate yourself on the facts, and learn more about enrolling in a vision insurance program today.

Want to win a pair of Designer Sunglasses worth over $100? Enter using the Rafflecopter gadget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#MC #Sponsored: Raising #RSVAwareness and Offering #PreemieProtection as the Cold Weather Moves In

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

rsv awareness

As many of you know, we recently added a new member to our family. Because we have a newborn in the house, along with 7 other children, I am doing everything in my power to help keep the germs – and RSV – at bay.

Have you heard of RSV? I’m not surprised if you haven’t. In fact, as many as one third of all moms have never even heard of it!

I had my first experience with RSV when I was working in a daycare center. One of our babies in the Infant Room contracted RSV and ended up being hospitalized for several weeks because of it. I remember talking to the mom after her son returned to daycare. She had been so scared the entire time, and she felt so guilty. I made a promise to myself right then that I was going to learn all I could about RSV and how to prevent it from happening to any of my future children.

When Parker was born, there were many complications. The doctor forced me to wait until 37 weeks so he wouldn’t be considered a preemie, he was born very small and with several health concerns, much like a preemie. The doctor was very concerned that he might contract RSV, so we weren’t allowed to leave the house for the first 30 days of his life. That was tough, but combined with my own research and knowledge of RSV prevention, he made it through his first winter safely.

So, what is RSV?

RSV, (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), is a very common season virus that nearly all children contract before the age of 2. In healthy, full-term babies, it typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. RSV is most common from November through March, but it can vary from year-to-year. In the US, it is the leading cause of babies being hospitalized during their first year.

Every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, but babies born prematurely are twice as likely as full term infants to be hospitalized because of RSV disease and/or symptoms.

If your infant exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, please call your pediatrician right away:

  • Coughing or Wheezing that is persistent
  • Bluish tinted color found around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid or difficult breathing, or gasping for breath
  • Fever (especially if the rectal temperature is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)

RSV is a very contagious disease and can be easily spread by touching, coughing, or sneezing. The virus can live on skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV once it has been contracted, so prevention is key.

Here are some tips to help you prevent the spread of RSV disease:

  • Parents should wash their hands often and ask others to do the same. (This goes for siblings too – especially school-aged children!)
  • Keep baby’s clothes, toys, sheets, blankets, and clothes clean.
  • Avoid large crowds and other young children during RSV season.
  • Don’t ever let anyone smoke near your baby.
  • Keep baby away from people who are sick or have recently been sick.

Still want to learn more about RSV? There’s an easy way to do just that! Visit www.RSVprotection.com for lots more information. There, you’ll find out how to talk to your child’s pediatrician about their risk factors for contracting RSV, data about RSV and how it is affecting your area, and real stories about families that have experienced RSV.

I also want to make sure you are aware that this coming Monday is World Prematurity Day. It is a day set aside to raise awareness of preterm birth. According to Wikipedia, approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year. That’s about 1 in 10 of all babies born worldwide. With this special day coming up, we also want to make sure that parents of preemies – and all parents are aware of the risks of RSV and how to prevent it.

Before I close, I want you to take a look at this easy to read infographic:


If you have an experience with RSV, I would love to hear about it. Please leave your comment below.

Quick & Easy #Halloween Decoration (DIY Project)

I love Halloween.

Let me be more specific. I love certain aspects of Halloween.

I don’t love skeletons. Or zombies. Or blood. Or guts. Or demons. Or any such aspect of Halloween.

I do, however, love candy and pumpkins, caramel apples, and cutesy stuff.

So, when it comes to Halloween decor, I tend to go with a more “Fall” feel than Halloween per say.

There is this one exception, though…. and that’s Footprint Ghosts. I find them absolutely adorable, and I love watching how the kids’ feet grow from year to year.

Here was this year’s project:

11x14 sample footprint ghosts

Isn’t that adorable? Those are Gage, Carly, and Sawyer’s feet.

And here is Carly’s board from last year:

8x10 sample footprint ghosts

Want to make one yourself? It’s super easy, and you may already have everything on hand!

Here’s what you’ll need:

items needed for footprint ghosts

Supplies Needed:

  • 11×14 (or 8×10) canvas board painted black
  • White acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Orange puffy paint
  • Paint brushes (one for painting baby’s feet, one for smaller detail)
  • White ribbon (or lace – whatever your preference)
  • Glue (I use E600, because I hang mine on my front door and want it to be weatherproof. You can also use hot glue.)


  • Paint baby’s foot (or feet, depending on the size of your board and the size of your child’s foot) and make foot prints on the canvas board you’ve already painted black. Remember that the toes will be the bottom of the ghost, and place the footprints strategically on the board to make it look like the ghosts are “floating.” Allow to dry.
  • Using the small detail brush, paint circles for the ghosts’ eyes and mouth. (If you look closely, you’ll see that I even added eyelashes to Carly’s ghost in last year’s project.) Let dry.
  • Using the orange puffy paint, hand write the words “Trick or Treat” and “Smell my Feet.” Allow to dry.
  • Now, all that’s left is how you’ll hang it. For last year’s project, (the 8×10 canvas), I simply used a piece of white satin ribbon approximately 6 inches long. Just glue the ribbon to the back of the board, and allow to dry. For this year’s project, I wanted something more. I glued strips of lace on each side of the board, and then used a long strip of lace (approximately 12 inches) to hang it. For both projects, I used E6000 glue, but you can also use hot glue if these will be displayed inside.

Once everything is dry, simply hang to display and enjoy!

I did make sure to write each child’s name and age on the back of the boards so that I can immediately remember the details from that year’s pictures.

If you make one, I’d love for you to share it!

Happy Halloween!

#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!


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!

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


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!

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


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!

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


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
    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, 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.


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.


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.


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 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, 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.


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!


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.


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! :)


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?