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Monday, November 17, 2014

Random Monday - November 17, 2014

Star has never been jealous of Little Dude despite how much time I've spent holding him.  However, I picked Little Man up the other day and she went nuts.  She kept tugging on my leg and yelling "Out, out!" which is her word for "up."  When I finally put him down and picked her up, she snuggled in and looked up at me with a smile, "My spot." she said with satisfaction.

Little Man: "Mommy, can we glue this feather to the front door?"
Me: "Um, why do you want to do that?"
Little Man: "So everyone would know we have a feather!"
I'm not gluing a synthetic blue feather to my front door. So everyone....WE HAVE A FEATHER. Just so you know.

Little Man was digging through the diaper bag and happened to find a *ahem* feminine product that I'd stashed in the deepest pocket.  Holding it up, he yelled across the house, "Mommy, what do you use this for?!?"
I'm not going to have that discussion with my four old son.  Just...no.

It's officially winter here.  We had our first snow and bought our first snowblower.  Personally, I think a shovel works just as well and is a lot cheaper...says the spouse who doesn't do any snow removal around here.

Little Man loved shoveling even though he basically just moved it in front of the garage door.

I'd forgotten how two year olds throw marathon tantrums.  An hour of screaming over the fact that I gave you the blue cup instead of the red one is really pretty ridiculous and it earns you a timeout in your bed.  Not that I'm talking about any one of my children in particular, of course.  Especially, the two year old.

Princess: "Look at those huge ice cubes hanging outside!"

If you don't read the MommyShorts blog or follow her on Instagram, you're missing out on some hilarious stuff.  To up the ante on the hilarity, her two year old now is gramming as well.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Best Time to Be a Kid

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing items through those links, I will earn a commission. You will not pay more by buying a product through my link. When you buy through my affiliate link, it helps me be able to offer you free items and giveaways. 

Yesterday, it snowed for the first time this year.  Normally, I'm breaking out the Christmas music by this time in November, but I'm running a little late this year.  Something about having four kids and being insanely busy, I think.  But Christmas has definitely been on my mind more in the last week and I've started thinking about everything I have to do to get ready.  Christmas shopping, decorating, cookie baking, ordering Christmas cards, etc.  Last year, we didn't set up our Christmas tree since space was very limited in our apartment so I'm really looking forward to decorating our new house.  The kids keep sneaking downstairs to the basement to peek at the Christmas tree in the closet under the stairs and whisper to each other about how they can't wait for it to come upstairs. 

One of my favorite Christmas traditions from when I was a kid is our reading party.  Yup, you read that right!  A party where everyone picks a cozy spot to read a Christmas book or two and snack on treats while Christmas music plays.  Of course, it's a little harder to relax and read a book when you have young kids, but last year, I was able to have our first Christmas reading party with Princess and Little Man.  I put Star to bed, made hot chocolate, and broke out the Christmas cookies.  Then the three of us sat on the floor and I read Christmas books out loud.  They didn't last long before they started getting tired, but it was fun to see them enjoying a tradition I loved so much as a kid. 

What holiday traditions are you passing on to your children?  Share how you make the holidays the best time to be a kid on Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtags #BestTimetoBeaKid #Contest for a chance to be featured in Gymboree's end-of-year video and to be entered to win a $2,500 shopping spree at Gymboree.  To see official contest rules and checkout all the fun visit this link.  And seriously, a shopping spree for adorable clothes and accessories for your kids...that definitely would make it the #BestTimetoBeaKid!

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Only One?

I recently read this article about a 12 year old boy who is starving because he can't eat and it was upsetting to me.  First of all because this boy and his family have to go through something like this and secondly because of this statement in the article: "He lacks all impulse to eat or drink. And he might be the only person in the world burdened with this bizarre medical condition."  (Italics mine)

The only person in the world?  Really?  Apparently, the reporter didn't bother to do much research on the subject other than on the boy featured in the article himself.  I belong to a support group on Facebook called "Pediatric Feeding Disorders/FTT/GERD/Kiddos with Feeding Tubes" with over 6000 members.  Six thousand members.  That's six thousand parents and caregivers of children with feeding issues.  It's estimated that approximately half a million people worldwide have a feeding tube.  The lack of understanding for pediatric feeding disorders is astounding and quotes like the one in the article only perpetuate the lack of awareness.  

Eight month old Little Dude is one of the many children who have a feeding disorder.  He rarely shows hunger cues and, if it were not for his strict feeding schedule, would go all day without eating.  Every three hours, I make a bottle and work with him to get him to drink it.  Sometimes he drinks the whole thing, but more often then not, he drinks very little or none so I have to feed the rest of his formula through his feeding tube.  Despite my constant efforts to feed him orally, he gets about 50% of his food via his G Tube.  After running dozens of tests, his doctors still have no idea why he doesn't eat.  The lack of diagnosis means that it can be hard to get people to take his feeding disorder seriously.  I've been accused of overreacting or just not trying hard enough to feed him.  Some people see the feeding tube as the easy way out (Sorry, but having a hole in your child's stomach and dealing with tubes, syringes, infections, etc, is actually NOT easy).  Let me tell you, until you have watched your child waste away and starve in front of you, you cannot understand how absolutely heart wrenching that is.    

Little Dude at 2 1/2 months old, shortly after having his G Tube placed

Little Dude at 7 months old, 5 months after getting his G Tube

The article concludes with a plea from the parents.  They're desperate to find others going through the same thing as them both for the support and to help them find answers.  It's heartbreaking that they think they're alone in this struggle.

So why aren't they aware that so many others are dealing with similar issues?  Probably because pediatric feeding disorders are not usually talked about.  The general consensus is that children who won't eat are spoiled and manipulating their parents.  Telling someone that your child has a feeding disorder opens you up to a lot of criticism and critiquing of your parenting skills.  Not being able to feed your child, the most basic of parental care, makes you feel like a complete failure as a mother or father.  Parents of children like my Little Dude often hear statements such as "He'll eat when he gets hungry enough.  Babies won't starve themselves!" or "Let me take her home for a while.  I'll get her to eat!"  Both of these comments are untrue and hurtful because they only make a parent who is struggling to feed their child feel even worse than they already do.

If you have a child with feeding problems, know that you are not alone.  There are many groups and pages on Facebook for support and information, internet forums and websites (www.feedingtubeawareness.com is a good place to start and has many resources), and some areas even have local groups where you can meet other parents with similar issues.

If you are blessed to have children who eat normally, don't take them for granted and please don't jump to conclusions or judgement when you see another parents struggling to feed their child.  You can find tips on how to support a parent with a child or children with feeding disorders here.       

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, November 6, 2014

Little Dude - 8 Months

Yes, I know I skipped Little Dude's 7 month update. Oh well, I wasn't aiming for mother-of-the-year so I'm fine with it!   

Age: 8 months

Weight and height: 16 pounds, 4 ounces.  I'll find out his height at his 9 month checkup next month. 

Wearing size: Size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes.  He must have had a growth spurt because all of a sudden, his 3-6 month clothes were too short for him. 

Likes: He's very sociable and LOVES attention.  He loves blankets and snuggling.  His favorite toys are ones that play music.  He LOVES rolling over and has figured out that he can get places by doing so

Dislikes: Being where he can't see me.  He also really hates it when I do his G Tube care every morning-not because it hurts, but because he can't roll over and play when I'm doing it.  To get him to lay still and stop fighting me, I play a Youtube video on my tablet for him to watch while I'm taking care of his tube.  He's a big fan of Baby Einstein, Peter Hollens (his favorite is Ashland's Song-he smiles whenever I turn it on), and Lindsey Stirling

Eating habits:  He gets five 5.5 ounce bottles a day which means that I don't have to stay up late to do the last feeding of the day while he's asleep anymore.  He takes about 50% of his formula by mouth and the rest is tube fed.  He usually gets baby food three times a day-2 tablespoons of rice cereal in the morning and 2 tablespoons of baby food each for lunch and supper.  His excema flared up when I gave him applesauce so after trialing it again with the same results, apples are on his do-not-eat list.  He does seem to have some issues with staying full longer than he should.  He was able to eat a 4 ounce jar of baby food in a sitting and so we tried cutting back on his formula since he was eating so much food, but he ended up losing 11 ounces in 6 days when we did that so for now we're focusing on formula.  He also stays full a lot longer when he eats baby food and isn't able to handle taking formula for long periods of time after eating (longer than normal) so the most baby food I give him at a time is 2 ounces which is still pushing it a little.  He is developing the same eating habits for baby food as he has for formula-sometimes he eats it well and sometimes he doesn't.
Sleeping habits: His sleeping habits have seriously improved.  It kind of happened overnight (pun intended) when I moved Star out of the crib and moved him in about a month ago.  That night, I laid him down awake and he fell asleep.  ON HIS OWN!!!!  Ever since then, I've been able to lay him down awake in the crib (he won't do it anywhere else) most of the time for naps and bedtime and he will fall asleep, usually without crying too much.  Every once in a while, I still have to rock him to sleep, but I find that I can appreciate that a lot more now that I'm not spending literally half my day rocking him.

That smile kills me with cuteness

Milestones: He has SIX teeth already!  They didn't seem to bother him much when they came in so I didn't really notice until they had already popped through.  He has two on the bottom and four on the top.  He's also rolling over like crazy in both directions (right and left although he still prefers rolling to the left), and I saw him push himself up on his arms the other day.  We've been practicing sitting unassisted a LOT (I sit behind him with my hands close enough to catch him without touching him).  He's not ready to sit on his own, but at he's getting better at keeping his balance for short periods of time.    
Miscellaneous: He's gotten sick twice in the last month and a half which, obviously, is bad, but, he managed to stay out of the hospital both times so that's awesome!  His G Tube site looks great right now, thanks to the Granulotion and thankfully his Strep has not come back again so no infections lately.  We're watching it closely though and if there's any change in his stoma, we'll be taking action immediately because it worsens so quickly. 

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11 Tips for Supporting Parents of Children With Feeding Issues

It's unknown how many children have pediatric feeding disorders and issues, but there are more than most people realize.  Just a few of the many reasons for a child's inability to eat are GERD,  aspiration, allergies, motility issues, etc.  The list is extensive (you can see a partial list here) and sometimes a child never actually gets a diagnosis.

Parents of little ones with feeding issues face a lot of challenges and often feel misunderstood and like they don't have support.  I've put together a list of ways you can support a parent of a child with feeding issues.       

You can read an updated version of this post here on my new blog, Sunshine and Spoons! I hope to see you there!

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Random Monday - November 3, 2014

If you haven't seen it yet, go read my review on "Their Name is Today" by Johann Christoph Arnold and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself.  But only if you have children.  Or grandchildren.  Or students.  Or nieces or nephews.  Or come in contact with children at all.

I have three of the four kids' winter clothes unpacked.  Little Man will just have to freeze in his short sleeved shirts until I get around to re-working his closet too.  Or he could just listen to his ever-so-smart Mommy and wear a sweatshirt instead of whining about how cold he is.

Speaking of switching out the kids' clothes, Little Dude outgrew his 3-6 month clothes and I had to get the 6-9 month clothes out for him.  I may or may not have cried a little while I was packing away his 3-6 month clothes because first of all, there's this and also because he didn't get to wear a lot of his clothes because they weren't G Tube friendly.  I know it's a small thing, but it still bothered me that he missed out on getting to wear some of the clothes passed down from his big brother because of his G Tube.

If you follow me on Instagram, I apologize for the repeat pictures.  But seriously, these kids are so cute, I don't think it'll kill you to look at them again :)

We don't celebrate Halloween for religious reasons, but we still let the kids dress up for school.  I saw a pizza costume at Target and knew that Little Man had to have it as he's insanely obsessed with pizza (he'd be thrilled if he could have it for all three meals and a snack everyday).  But the price tag made me back away shaking my head.  So instead, I headed over to Hobby Lobby and picked up some felt and made one for him.  It was super fast to sew up and turned out really cute.  He absolutely loves it and begs to wear it everywhere we go.

I have a weird sense of humor.  It's genetic.  My whole family is weird.  But even I know it was a little pathetic that I spent several days looking for Little Man's dress-up cowboy hat just so I could get this picture of Little Dude...

Folks, meet Walker Texas Ranger.  Hahahahahahaha!!!!  I slay myself...  *crickets chirping*  Okay, fine.  At least I thought it was funny.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Their Name is Today" Book Review and 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 the 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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

About the book:
Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that threaten to deny children a happy, healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers can turn the tide.  Yes, we can reclaim childhood, says Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books have helped more than a million readers throughout the challenges of education and family life.  In Their Name is Today, he highlights drastic changes in the way our society treats children.  But he also brings together the voices of dedicated parents and educators who are finding creative ways to give children the time and space they need to grow.  Cutting through the noise of conflicting opinions, Arnold takes us to the heart of education and parenting by defending every child's right to the joy and wonder of childhood.

When I started reading Their Name is Today, I sat down with a highlighter so I could highlight the points I liked or wanted to remember.  Before I was halfway done with the first chapter, I'd abandoned the highlighter in lieu of turning down the top corner of the pages I thought contained valuable information because I was highlighting so much.  By the beginning of the second chapter, I'd given that up as well because just about every page had a corner folded down.

The thought that kept going through my head was, "Every person who comes in contact with children NEEDS to read this book."  That includes parents, grandparents, teachers, daycare providers, Sunday School teachers, etc.  The US Department of Education especially needs to read this because the public school system could use a pretty big overhaul as the current system is damaging to so many children.  Believe me when I say that I will definitely be passing this book around to my friends and family and encouraging them to buy their own copies to keep.     

Arnold emphasizes the blessings that children are and how much responsibility we, as adults, have towards them.  Our society sees children as a burden that is to be pushed off on someone else to deal with.  We've forgotten that children are actually adults-in-training and without the care and love they desperately need, they will not grow up to be the kind of adults this world needs to keep going.  Their Name is Today reminds the reader of the importance of children and pinpoints many of the issues facing children and the adults raising them today.  But it doesn't stop there like so many articles I've read.  It continues with solutions and ideas that each parent, each teacher, each caregiver can utilize to help one more child have the childhood they deserve.   

Do you have children?  Babysit?  Teach?  Come in contact with children at all?  Then you are going to want to read this book!  Win your own copy by entering on the Rafflecopter widget below.

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