WE'VE MOVED!! You can now find us at Sunshine and Spoons!

Monday, April 11, 2016

I've Moved!!

You may have noticed that I changed the name on my blog's Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.  Here's why...


I decided to start a new blog!

The new blog will focus on parenting and special needs-two subjects that are close to my heart. 

I hope to see you there!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Random Updates

Okay...so about Little Dude's 2nd Annual Birthday Blessings Bash.  I completely forgot to announce an organization, but I still plan to donate!  I'm donating 20% of my sales during the month of March from my Etsy shop to Gracie's Gowns again this year :)  That comes out to a total donation of $77!  Thank you everyone for supporting this, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Lately, I've been questioning why I blog.  Originally it started as a sort of digital scrapbook for my kids, but now I use Facebook, Instagram, and Chatbooks to make digital and hard copy scrapbooks of our lives.  I had also hoped to turn it into a professional blog that brought in an income for my family, but I'm just not able to put the time into it to do that.  So where do I go from here?  I love blogging, but I don't know if I can justify taking time away from my family and boutique (which is bringing in an income...a small one, but it's still something!) to do something that doesn't give anything back to my family in return.  My reasons for blogging are purely selfish at this point.  I enjoy it and that's why I want to do it.  However, I'm not supermom, as the title of this blog says.  I just don't have time for all of my interests right now.  I love reading, writing, sewing, playing music, singing, and more.  With four young kids and health struggles of my own, some days I don't even get the basics done around here.  So I need to pick and choose what I'm going to do with my time and energy.

So here's the very tentative plan...I will be putting this blog on the back burner for the time being while I figure out what to do.  As special needs and parenting are subjects that are very close to my heart, I would love to start blogging about those to help others who are in the same or similar boat as me.  I'm not sure if I'll do that here or start a new blog and clean slate.  No matter what I decide to do, I want to thank all of my readers from the bottom of my heart.  I've loved interacting with you all and I appreciate every one of you more than you'll ever know.         

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Update on Little Dude's Birthday Blessings Bash

Today kicks off our second annual Little Dude's Birthday Blessings Bash!  However, we've run into a bit of a snag.

In my post a few days ago, I said that I'd chosen Go Shout Love as the organization to donate to this year, but today, I found out that Go Shout Love is going to cease operation as of today.  I'm saddened to hear that as it's a great organization that has touched many lives, but understand that sometimes, finances just don't allow for things to continue the way they were.

So...I need your help choosing another organization to donate to this year!  Nominate one in the comments here or by commenting on the posts asking for nominations on Facebook or Instagram.  I'll go through the nominations and select one on Saturday, March 5th.

Thanks for your help!  Little Dude and I can't wait to see who you all nominate!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Little Dude's 2nd Annual Birthday Blessings Bash

Hey, I'm still here!  My blog has been sadly neglected, but I've been working on a blogging schedule and will be starting up again soon.  For now though, I'm back with Little Dude's 2nd Annual Birthday Blessings Bash!

Little Dude will be TWO next week so it's time to kick this off!  We've been blessed with so much help and so many prayers since Little Dude was born, and so we're giving back by donating 20% of the sales made during the month of March from Annalie's Baby Boutique to a different organization each year.

Last year, we were able to donate $25 to Gracie's Gowns, a non-profit organization that provides personalized hospital gowns to chronically ill and special needs children at no cost to the family. Gracie's Gowns is very special to me because not only was it founded and run by a very sweet friend of mine, but because Little Dude received a gown from her as well.

This year, I've chosen Go Shout Love.  I've followed Go Shout Love on Instagram for about 2 years now and love what they do to support families of children who have rare diseases.  They feature a different family each month to raise awareness for their disease and money to help with medical and related expenses.

Let's make this a great month for Go Shout Love!

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MercyMe It's Christmas Cd Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

​By this time every year, I'm usually just about done with my Christmas shopping and am listening to Christmas music every time Hubby leaves the house (he's a no-Christmas-anything-before-Thanksgiving type of guy).  This year though, I just can't get into the Christmas spirit or bring myself to do anything Christmassy.  It's not because I'm a scrooge though.  To show you why I'm just not there yet, let's play a spot-the-difference-in-the-pictures game.

Here's a picture I took at this time last year:

Aaaaand, here's a picture I just took about a week ago:

I just can't get into Christmas when it's still fall outside!  We live in Minnesota and I am absolutely LOVING the warm temps and uncharacteristically beautiful weather we're having in November, but it is killing my Christmas spirit. 

When Flyby Promotions sent me a MercyMe Christmas CD to review on my blog, I set it by the stereo and forgot about it since, well, you know.  (See above pictures if you still don't know)  Until I got a reminder email yesterday..."Your review is due today!"  


So I got up this morning, got the big kids off to school, pleaded with the little kids to play nicely with each other (and please, for the love of chai lattes, no pooping until I'm done writing!), and turned on the cd.  

I love it.  It's Christmassy without being in your face jingle bells and Bethlehem stars.  Beautiful music with beautiful lyrics...it's just perfect.  Have I mentioned that I love it?  I'm totally leaving it in the cd player until January.  I think I've found the cd to ease me into the Christmas spirit.  I kind of figured it would be a winner since I love MercyMe's other albums, and I wasn't disappointed.     

Mercy Me It’s Christmas​ CD will be available in Pizza Ranch locations beginning November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.  It has 4 exclusive songs that can only be found on the CD version being sold by Pizza Ranch.  Each CD will be sold for $5 plus tax.  Pizza Ranch will give away the CD with a $25 gift card purchase as well as sell the full album at each of its 200 locations throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states.  "We are so excited to debut our new Christmas album, MercyMe, It’s Christmas, with Pizza Ranch” said Bart Millard with MercyMe. “Pizza Ranch is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission to glorify God. It's the perfect gift to give this Christmas season and the perfect CD to get you in the Christmas spirit.”

See?!?!  Even Bart said it's the perfect CD to get me in the Christmas spirit.  The guy knows what he's talking about.  And just go ahead and give me another reason to go to Pizza Ranch, why don't you?  #pizzaloversunite  

Soooooo, want to win your own copy?  It's easy and your info will never be used except to contact you in case you win, I promise!  You can enter as many or as few of the options in the Rafflecopter wideget as you'd like.  All entries will be verified so play fair :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Little Dude's Latest Accomplishment

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know this, but for those of you who don't, Little Dude has some big news!!

He is officially a supertubie graduate!!!

He kept getting infections on his g tube, and yesterday I brought him in for his second infection in a month.  His doctor and I discussed it and decided that the cons of keeping it in outweighed the pros at this point.  He hasn't used it since March 28th except for meds (which he can also take orally).  The original plan was to leave it in through cold and flu season just in case he regressed, but his doctor and I are both confident that he will be just fine without it.  So without further ado, the doctor pulled it out, we stuck some gauze on the site in case of leakage, and just like that, he was tube free!

So proud of himself!

His stoma has already closed up most of the way and there hasn't been any leaking so far.  I was a little nervous about feeding him after he had it removed because, hello! hole in the stomach!  But he's done just fine and there haven't been any messes yet :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Getting the Genetic Test Results Back

8 weeks ago, I held my screaming son down on a table as two lab techs drew a vial of his blood.  Per his geneticist, we were having him tested for a newly found connective tissue disorder called Loey's Dietz Syndrome along with an array of other connective tissue disorders.  Everything fit and the diagnosis would explain everything that's gone wrong since his birth.

Today, I received a call from Little Dude's genetic counselor with the results of the test.  I held my breath, knowing that no matter what the result was, I would be crying as soon as I hung up the phone.  Crying from relief that we had an answer and sorrow that my son had a genetic syndrome. Or crying from relief that he didn't have a connective tissue disorder and disappointment because we still wouldn't have an answer.  Either way, I knew it would be bittersweet.

The results were negative.

The geneticist didn't recommend any other testing at this time, but wanted to continue to follow Little Dude clinically.  And that was it.   I hung up the phone and cried alone out in the garage where the kids couldn't follow me.

We've spent most of Little Dude's life waiting for the results of different genetic tests he's had done, all with negative results.  This time though, we thought we might finally have an answer, a name to put to whatever it is that has wreaked havoc in my precious baby boy's body.  We thought that the uncertainty of his future would be replaced by certainty or at least become a little more clear. 

I used Facebook to write a targeted update to the family and close friends who have been waiting for results right along with us.  For them, negative tests results are a reason to rejoice, and understandably so.  But for me, it means something different.  It means that that heavy suitcase of wondering, waiting and wishing for an answer, the suitcase that I was hoping to finally set down, is still mine to carry.  And now, I have to carry it farther than I thought I would.

Right now, Little Dude is doing amazingly well.  Developmentally, he's at about a 10-11 month level and is making progress.  He's 100% orally fed and only uses his G Tube for his meds in the morning and evening.  Due to slow weight gain and some weight loss, we've added a can of Pediasure to his diet each day and that has been helping.  He's been fairly healthy with only several minor colds and a couple of ear infections over the last few months.  He's outgrowing his tracheomalacia, his heart is healthy and he will probably outgrow his murmur on his own, and his GERD seems to be under control.  He hasn't needed a nebtreatment in a while and hasn't had pneumonia for about 6 months now.  He's a happy little boy who brings me so much joy that I just can't stop myself from scooping him up and squeezing him somtimes.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we keep treating symptoms and hopefully, we'll see Little Dude continue to improve.  And maybe someday in the future, we'll have an answer, but that day is not today. 

I'm going to leave you with a picture I took of Little Dude last night because...well, it's cute :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I'm Still Here!

I haven't blogged in a month and a half, I missed Little Dude's 15 and 16 month updates, and I haven't even started adding all of my new products to my Etsy shop. 

The reason for my absence?


Do you remember the summer bucket list I wrote?  I've been focusing on enjoying my children instead of constantly worrying about the things on my to-do list.  I've semi-unplugged, evidenced by the lack of activity on my blog.  You can still see updates on my family on Instagram though!  It's been a good summer-the first good one in three years.  

Here are some updates on the family...

Princess: She's been reading like crazy which is awesome to see since she struggled so much with it during the school year.  She's in the lead for her age group in the summer reading program at the library.  She also just learned how to ride her bike without training wheels.  It took her about 5 minutes to figure it out after the training wheels came off. 

Little Man: He loves riding his bike too although he's not quite ready to lose the training wheels yet.  He's already got a farmer's tan and jumps at the chance to go farming with Daddy.  He's starting to figure out how to sound words out and asks me almost everyday if he can go to school yet.  He's very excited to start kindergarten in the fall!

Star: This kid...she's the cutest, most angelic looking child with her blonde ringlets and big blue eyes.  Don't let that fool you.  She's a firecracker who never stops moving.  She refuses to go potty on the big potty and won't give up her diapers.  She LOVES playing outside and is pretty good about following the rules.  Her favorite activity is swinging.  She's still only 24 pounds at 2 years, 10 months old and we're trying to put some weight on her, but she's just a tiny little thing. 

Little Dude: He's been so active that I think that's part of the reason why he has been having problems gaining weight lately.  He learned how to pull himself up to standing when he was 15 1/2 months old and learned how to crawl on his hands and knees the day he turned 16 months old.  He's had a few small colds and fevers, but nothing serious.  He can drink out of sippy cups, but because he hasn't figure out how to tip a cup up yet, he uses straw sippy cups.  He's officially done with bottles and hasn't needed a tube feeding since March 28th!  He only had two doctor appointments during the whole month of June and one this month so far.  It feels so strange not to spend half our time at the clinic and hospital!

Hubby: Nothing really to report here.  Farm, work, sleep, eat.  That pretty much sums it up :)

Me: I've been having fun coming up with new applique designs for my Etsy shop and designing fabric for my Spoonflower shop.  Other than that, I've been chilling with the kids, keeping up with housework (never-ending!), and hanging out with other mom friends.      

And of course, a few random pictures to round out this post...     

Princess learned how to weave potholders on her little loom.

60 mL syringes (leftover from Little Dude's tube feeding supplies) make great water guns!

Precious little baby feet

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2015 Summer Bucket List

Two years ago, I made a summer bucket list with a ton of fun activities to do with the kids.  I felt bad because the summer before that (2012), I was very pregnant and miserable and didn't do ANYTHING fun with the kids.  Little did I know that less than a month after putting together our 2013 summer bucket list, I would be in my first trimester with Little Dude which meant that I spent the whole summer nauseous and sleeping.  The next summer (2014), Little Dude was...um, difficult to care for, to say the least, and survival, not fun, was on the top of my list.

This summer, I'm not pregnant, not going to get pregnant (No, really, I mean it this time!), and Little Dude is SOOO much easier to care for than last year. 

I decided to take the plunge and put together a 2015 Summer Bucket List for our family.  Without further ado, here it is....

1. Have fun.

2. Have fun.

3. Have fun.

And that's it.  No big aspirations.  No big plans.  No guilt when things don't go as planned.  No expectations other than to have fun.  I just want to enjoy time with my kids.  With all of Little Dude's needs and medical appointments, the three older kids have been somewhat on the back burner for the last year, and I want to make up for that simply by spending time with them as much as I can. 

This summer we will go on walks, play at the park, get out the bubble machine, splash around in our plastic wading pool, and have fun.  If we are able to, we might go to the zoo or a museum or we might not.  This year, the emphasis is on the quality, not quantity of experiences.

What plans do you have this summer?   

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Little Dude - 14 Months

Age: 14 months

Weight and height: 19 pounds and 29.5" tall.

Wearing size: Size 3 diapers and 12 month clothes. 

Likes: Baths!  He learned how to splash in the bath right before his surgery in March and gets excited when I start getting the bathtub ready for him now.  He loves playing with the big kids and tries to follow them around.  He LOVES being outside and cries when the other kids go outside without him.  If they leave the door open, he'll hightail it over there to try to get outside.   

Dislikes: He begs for food now and hates it when we don't share what we're eating with him.  Because he still chokes easily and can't have dairy yet, we can't always share, but I try to find something on my plate that he can eat.  

Eating habits: His feeding skills have doubled in the last month!  Things he choked on a few weeks ago, he's able to handle just fine now.  He eats EVERYTHING by mouth, and the last time I tube fed him was March 28th!  He passed a swallow study with four different textures and thicknesses with flying colors last week so we have no concerns.  He hardly throws up anymore, and I think his reflux has improved.  He eats three meals and one snack a day and is even using a straw sippy cup!  He usually only drinks 1-2 ounces from it, but the other day, he drank all 5 ounces with no problem so we're on our way to phasing out the bottles.  He loves baby food pouches and I use them to supplement his diet after offering him table foods as he's not always able to eat enough of those in one sitting.
Last month, his GI and allergy specialists okayed him to eat gluten which has been great.  He loves crackers, bread, and pasta and the gluten free versions of those foods had a texture that he often choked on so being able to eat gluten has really opened up a lot of things for him.  We'll be introducing dairy to his diet too soon. 

Sleeping habits: He's been starting to phase out morning naps.  He still needs them about half the time, but I learned quickly that if he fights the morning nap at all, he won't take an afternoon nap so I've been watching his cues more closely to determine if he should lay down in the morning or not.  He hasn't been waking up quite as often at night and is down to 1-2 times.  That's not a big deal because all I have to do is give him back his pacifier. and he goes right back to sleep. 

Milestones: He learned how to army crawl up and over things such as the shelf on our end tables and is able to get up on his knees or into a sitting position when he's propped up a little bit.  Still not crawling on his hands and knees, but thanks to his protective belt and cloth G Tube pads, we've been able to avoid irriation on his tube site lately.  He's able to lean on something and stand for a few seconds at a time if I put him in that position.  He even was able to get himself in a partial standing position (leaning onto the seat of the chair with his legs straight) when he tried to climb up on our fisher price toddler rocker.  He's also turned into a little chatterbox which is adorable even though he doesn't say any actual words yet.  He says "mamama" when he's upset so I think maybe he's referring to me, but I haven't seen conclusive proof of that yet.
Miscellaneous: Around 7-8 months, Little Dude got 6 teeth in all at once and then didn't get any more for a long time.  Last month though, he finally started teething again-10 teeth all at once!  He now has a full mouth of teeth.  It was a little rough for a couple of weeks when he had so many teeth popping through the gums at the same time, but we survived and he's back to his happy self now :)  He has turned into a drool factory though!

Developmentally, Little Dude is still 4-5 months behind, but he's making amazing progress and his fine motor skills are right on track.  His therapists, his doctors, and I are all blown away by how fast he's progressing on some things.  I just have to keep reminding myself that although he's still not even close to walking, he'll get there in his own time.

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate each of my readers and would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram!

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