The Energizer Bunny

Today is one of those crazy busy days. It started right away this morning getting the girls up and ready for school. My oldest had to be at school early this morning to do some makeup work she missed while we were at the cheer competition. Of course, that threw off our normal morning routine. After dropping her off, I came back home to finish drying my hair and getting ready. Then I sat down to write this post for today. Well, my computer started acting funny yesterday and was doing it again this morning, so I decided to shut it down and reboot it. That was a mistake! It has already been like 15 minutes and it’s still rebooting. It says it has 22 more minutes left! I’m currently typing this on my phone as I anxiously wait for it to finish. I don’t have a whole lot of time to spare this morning. My youngest has an appointment with the endocrinologist at 12:00, and my oldest has an appointment with the audiologist and ENT at 2:30. I absolutely hate taking them out of school again since they just missed 3 days, but I really have no choice.  It is so hard to get these appointments with specialists even though we are established patients.  I don’t understand why the wait is so long to get appointments. I tried to call and reschedule the endocrinologist appointment, and they didn’t have any availability until the end of August.  Oh and let’s not even forget that you can’t possibly get appointments in the evenings where you don’t have to pull the kids out of school.  I just can’t imagine that there are that many kids that need an endocrinologist that they are that booked solid for months ahead. It is the same with the neurologist, gastroenterologist, and allergist. Let’s not even get into the availability at the EOE clinic. They only see patients one day a month.  It’s insane! Kids who are really sick can’t get in to see a specialist for months! It just doesn’t make sense to me.  It has been this way everywhere we have lived, and I hear my friends talking about it all the time.  There has to be a better system.  

We have to do the ENT appointment today. It cannot wait.  If you remember from a couple of weeks ago, I talked about my oldest daughter’s ear issues.  She has a very narrow ear canal that curves so her ear doesn’t drain properly on the left side and frequently gets a buildup of wax that has to be cleaned out or gets swimmer’s ear even though she hasn’t been swimming.  We went to the ENT 2 weeks ago (it took over a month to get her in), and they did a culture of the gunk that they sucked out of her ear.  It came back positive for “heavy mold.” That’s right! Her ear is full of mold! It’s so gross!  We have been doing two different drops every morning and night for the past 2 weeks. One is for the pain and inflammation and the other drop is actually for athlete’s foot, but it works to kill the fungus growing in her ear supposedly.  It is kind of weird putting drops in your kid’s ear from a bottle that says “Athlete’s Foot.”  Today we go back to see if it is clearing up (I don’t think it is) and to have her hearing checked.  She often says that her ear feels “plugged” and she can’t hear.  We hope that it is just from the wax buildup and the infection and not that her hearing has been damaged.  She is really worried about it.  She is afraid that she isn’t going to be able to hear the beeps. 

I swear it is always something. There is never a dull moment in this family, especially when it comes to medical issues.  If it is something abnormal, it is going to happen to my kids or me.  It’s just the story of our lives! We are going to keep having to see specialists, and I am going to keep getting annoyed that I can’t get a decent appointment time within a reasonable timeframe.  My kids are going to continue to have to miss school. It is like a never-ending rollercoaster. There is no end at all. It just keeps going and going and going. It’s like the Energizer Bunny for sure!  Sometimes I feel like the Energizer Bunny myself because I just keep pushing. I just keep going. I never stop.  I just wish that I had the ENERGY part of the bunny! LOL! I surely don’t have any energy. I guess something is fueling me, though. Did I mention that I am still sick, too? I’m still hacking up my lungs daily and there is so much drainage in my throat. I’m going on a month of this mess now.  At least I don’t feel bad anymore. It’s just an annoyance that won’t go away.  Oh, well, I guess it is what it is.  If anyone knows of some secret trick to getting specialist appointments sooner and in the evenings, please let me know.  I’m all ears!

Anchored,

Disney Packing List

As I have mentioned before, my family and I have been to Disney World many times over the years. It has been a favorite for us for many years.  I feel like we are kind of pros at it by now.  I always have people asking me what they should pack for Disney. I know that before I headed to Disney for the first time with my kids years ago, I was all over Pinterest looking for tips and tricks and what to pack.  I read blog after blog of all the things that people suggested that you bring.  I remember making this massive list of things that I needed to pack before we went on that first trip as a family. Our suitcases were filled to the max.  Then, I ended up carrying this massive backpack loaded down with so much stuff that I was miserable at the parks each day.  My back and shoulders ached every day from lugging that heavy thing around.  What I have come to learn over the years was that I really didn’t need as much stuff as I packed or that I was carrying around.  Yes, when your kids are younger, you are going to need more things.  I totally get that, but you don’t have to bring 10 million things just because you think you might need it.  I have compiled a list of the essentials that I think you really need, but just know that you have to figure out what is best for your family.  Not all of these are things that you will carry with you to the parks.  Some are things that will be helpful in the hotel. I have come to learn that less is more. You really don’t need everything that everyone suggests you bring.  I promise! 

1. Anti-Friction Stick (Amazon)

This is the #1 thing that I make sure we have each trip besides sunscreen.  When I first started using one of these, Johnson and Johnson carried something called Band-Aid Blister Block, which I loved. You can no longer find it in stores, and it is ridiculously priced on ebay and Amazon now.  However, any kind of anti-friction stick will work the same way, like the Dr. Scholl’s one above.  I didn’t learn this trick until after we had been to Disney a few times.  If you have never been there, please note that you are going to be walking for miles every day that you are there.  Your feet are going to hurt and they are going to get blisters.  That first Disney trip, we were all wearing Band-Aids all over our feet because we had so many blisters.  Since I discovered the blister block, we never get blisters when we go anymore.  You just rub it all over your feet and toes on the top, bottom and sides, put on your socks and shoes, and then you will be good to go.  This stuff is amazing.  

2. Tennis Shoes (Under Armour)

I will tell you that my opinion is that the best shoes to wear at Disney are athletic tennis shoes with socks.  Some would argue with me, but I have found no other shoe that works better for all the walking you will be doing. You do not want to wear shoes that will easily come off on rides like flip flops.  You want a shoe that is supporting your feet and ankles, that won’t cause blisters (don’t go with brand new shoes that have never been worn), and that are comfortable. There are lots of water rides where you will get soaked and your shoes will get wet. Plus, it rains daily in Florida, even if only briefly, and your shoes will get wet. No one likes walking around in wet shoes every day. I personally bring a back-up pair of shoes with me that I keep at the hotel in case my shoes aren’t dry by the next day.  That is totally a personal preference, though. These  Under Armour sneakers are my favorite right now.

3. Extra Socks (Amazon)

For the same reasons as listed above, make sure that you bring extra pairs of socks.  Your socks will get wet! I typically pack 2 more pairs that the number of days we will be there. You can choose to bring them with you in the park if you are someone that hates having wet socks like me or you can just have spares in your suitcase in your hotel.

4. Ponchos (Dollar Tree)

As I mentioned, it always rains in Florida! I don’t think that there has ever been a time when we were at Disney that it hasn’t rained at least once while we are at the parks.  Just this past weekend, it rained 3 days that we were there. I highly recommend that you go to your local dollar store and buy multiple packs of the cheap ponchos.  Trust me, you don’t want to have to buy a super expensive poncho in the parks! You have two options when it comes to dealing with wet ponchos. You can either bring zip lock bags (or plastic grocery bags) to put the wet ones in when you no longer need them, or you can buy multiple and just throw the used ones away when done with them.  Either way works.  I do not recommend that you bring an umbrella.  There are just too many people around to carry an umbrella, and it just adds weight to your backpack. 

5. Sunscreen (R+F) and Face Stick (Amazon)

This is right at the top of the list with the anti-friction stick. They probably tie for first.  You are in FLORIDA, the SUNSHINE state! You will need sunscreen.  It is essential to apply is every morning before you leave for the parks, reapply it at lunch, and then reapply it again in the afternoon. Sunscreen is ESSENTIAL! I cannot stress this enough.  I recommend an SPF of 30 or higher.  If you use anything lower, you will get burned, especially if you don’t reapply. My favorite sunscreen is Rodan + Fields Essentials Body Sunscreen.  It has a light, airy feel to it.  It doesn’t go on thick and it doesn’t make you feel slimy. I prefer to use a face stick sunscreen for my kids’ faces.  I do not recommend spray sunscreens for a couple of reasons. First, they tend to leak and get all over stuff in your bag.  Second, they do not provide as good of coverage as liquid sunscreens do. You will miss spots with a spray.  Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your ears and in the part of your hair.  Those places are prime spots for sunburns that people often forget.  

6. Cooling Towels

Disney has Mickey and Minnie cooling towels that you can purchase in the parks.  They do cost a little more but I highly recommend them. I have seen others recommend the Frogg Togg Chilly Pads (Amazon), which are good, but I do not like them as much as the ones that you can get in the parks.  I don’t like the feel of the Frogg Togg (Amazon) ones or the fact that they get super stiff when they aren’t wet.  No matter which you get, I recommend that you have at least 2 of some kind of cooling towel. It is HOT in Florida! You can get over heated, even in the winter months.  These towels really help to keep your body temperature down.  My kids absolutely love using them.  As you can see, my oldest loves tying hers around her head to keep her head cool, and my youngest likes it draped around her shoulders.  Make sure that you bring them in a zip lock bag so that you can store them back in it without getting your bag wet.

7. Hand-sanitizer clipped to Back Pack (Amazon)

You will need hand-sanitizer.  When you eat lunch or grab a quick snack in the parks, you will want to wash your hands. Clipping it to the outside of your bag makes it much easier to locate whenever you need it.  I promise you that it will be often! 

8. Band-Aids (Target)

A small thing of Band-Aids like this one is all that you need. I do recommend this flexible fabric kind as well.  They hold well in the most tricky of spots even when wet.  If you need anything larger or more than this package contains, there are first aid stations in every park, and they are extremely kind and helpful.  We had to go to one when my nephew was stung by a bee, and the staff there was amazing with him.  

9. Portable Charger (Amazon)

This is essential! I do not recommend that you bring a camera with you to Disney.  It is just one more bulky, heavy thing to carry and keep up with. Trust me, I carried around my big heavy camera for years. It isn’t worth it. This means that you will be taking lots of pictures with your phone. You will be checking ride wait times on your phone.  You will be handing your phone over to little ones for entertainment in long lines. Trust me, you will be using your phone a lot so your battery will get low and you will need to charge it.  A good portable charger is essential! This is the one that I have, and it works great and holds a charge for a long time. 

10. Multi-port USB wall charger (Amazon)

If your family is like mine, you have multiple devices that you need to charge at night including your portable charger from above.  It is nice to have a multi-port USB wall charger that you can easily use to charge multiple devices. These work great to charge phones, watches, portable chargers, and tablets all at once in your room over night. 

11. Sunglasses with Straps (Amazon)

Again, Florida is the sunshine state, and you will want to have your sunglasses with you at all times.  I highly recommend that you also have a strap on your sunglasses so you can easily just let them hang around your neck as you go inside or are waiting in line inside somewhere.  The strap is also good for rides to keep your sunglasses from flying off.  

12. Travel Tissues (Amazon)

I always bring one thing of travel tissues because it is inevitable that someone is going to need one every time that we go.  I have told you before about my hypersensitivity to sounds and sniffling is one of those sounds that makes me nuts.  I like to have tissues on hand for anyone I hear sniffling. 

13. Stroller Fan (Amazon)

If you have small children and you will be using a stroller, I highly recommend that you get a clip on stroller fan.  It will help to keep your little one cool. How cute is this lion one?

14. Ribbon or Scarf for Stroller

Another thing that you will need if you are using a stroller is a brightly colored ribbon or scarf that you can tie around the handle of the stroller. This will allow you to easily find it in a sea of strollers when you park it for a ride.  My brother-in-law even put his favorite college flag on his stroller which could be spotted a long way away.

15. Breakfast Foods

When we lived close enough to drive to Disney, I always packed breakfast foods, plastic utensils, and bowls. When we fly to Disney, I will go to a store nearby and grab a few breakfast items.  I have found that it saves time and money if we eat breakfast in our hotel room before heading to the parks.  You could have yogurt, cereal, milk, muffins, pop tarts, fruit, etc. to eat in your hotel room.  

16. Small Convertible Backpack (Vera Bradley)

For the things that I carry into the park, I like to use a small backpack purse.  I do not like using a big regular sized backpack because it is cumbersome and can get heavy.  I also like ones that can be converted into a crossbody bag as well.  This one from Vera Bradley would make a great bag to take to Disney.  

These things are the things that I think are essential for a successful Disney trip.  Now, some may say to pack many other things including snacks and water.  I have done that many times.  However, it is more stuff to carry and my kids inevitably would rather have a Disney snack over anything that I brought anyway. The other things that others suggest are all great but I don’t think that are absolutely necessary. Now, use what I have suggested as a guide based on your family’s needs. These are just the things that work for my family. Obviously, you will need to pack essentials like clothes, toiletries, swim suits, etc. These are just the things that I think are extra that will make your trip smooth, easy, and fun. After all, it is the place where dreams come true!

Anchored,

The Fierce Fourteen

I’m back!! The last 5 days have been a whirlwind of activity and emotions so this might be a long post. After waking up at 4:45 AM, we flew to Orlando Thursday morning for the weekend of cheerleading. Thanks to an airplane delay, some ticket craziness, and insane traffic, we barely made it in time for my daughter’s practice with her team that evening.  Talk about stressful! Following practice the kids had a team dinner with their coaches while my husband, oldest daughter, and I went to a Hibachi restaurant nearby. That was my first experience with a Japanese steakhouse (I’m kind of a picky eater).  While I wasn’t brave enough to try most of it, I did really enjoy the chicken I got.  I was so hungry by the time we got there, though, that I think my chopsticks would have tasted good if I ate them! LOL! Following dinner we headed back to our hotel so that I could begin the process of curling my daughter’s hair for the competition the following day. I was so glad when I could finally crawl into bed that night, but I did not get a good night of sleep.  I think the stress of the day, the nervousness about the competition, and the fact that the pillows in the hotel where thin as paper kept me up most of the night and every night after. I am so tired this morning!

We spent Friday morning getting ready doing hair and makeup to prepare for the competition.  We left our hotel extra early because we did not want a repeat of the night before.  Our call time is always a few hours before the actual competition so we ended up sitting and watching other teams compete for quite a while before our girls went on.  I think for me personally, watching the other teams just added to my nerves.  The teams that made it to The Summit are the best of the best in the nation.  It was just a huge honor that we made it there at all, and it was all a bit overwhelming.  We were up against 24 other teams on Friday in the Wild Card round.  We knew going into it that we had to be in the top 5 to make it to the finals on Sunday.  Again, the competition was fierce.  When it was finally our turn to perform all of the parents were scrambling and climbing seats just so we could get a good view.  The arena was INSANE! Anyway, our girls performed and the parents all thought it went well.  Maybe it wasn’t their best but none of us saw anything major happen.  Boy, were we wrong!  When the team came out, the parents started to cheer for them until we realized that they were all crying. We could quickly tell that these weren’t happy tears.  Apparently there were a couple of stumbles and things that they believed were going to cost them their spot in the top 5.  All of the parents were then on their phones watching the videos to see if we could see what they were talking about. Even the coaches were devastated.  They kept saying that this never happens with this team.  They had seen the score and knew that it was a low score compared to what the team normally scores.  This team had been killing it all season long.  They have won every single competition this season except the very first one. They work so well together as a team and their coaches have poured their hearts into these kids.  They are all truly something special.  The disappointment was too much to bear for some of them.  

We wouldn’t know who the top 5 teams were until later that evening.  Many of us even debated on whether or not to even go to the reveal because we had been given the impression that it was a lost cause.  I am super proud of this team because despite the downer of the day, they all still wanted to be there together to hear the news.  We all trekked over there at 8:30 PM and huddled together to wait it out.  Of course they were running behind and we had to wait anxiously.  When the lady finally walked out onto the field, our stomachs dropped because we just knew we weren’t going to hear our team’s name called.  I decided that I was going to video the announcement just in case.  The announcer started with the #1 team from the day and then went down in order to the 5thplace team.  By the time she got to the end, we were fairly certain that we were out.  

Let me tell you, when she said that the final team making it to the finals was us, I nearly dropped my phone as you can see.  We were in utter shock! Everyone, including all the parents and coaches, was in tears.  These were happy tears this time.   One of the coaches said that she had been praying all day for a second chance for this team and that God had delivered.  They had gotten their second chance to prove how amazing they truly are. I think the other coach was just in a state of shock.  I was worried that she was going to pass out!  It was such an incredible moment.  We were going to the finals!

We got the day off on Saturday and spent it at Magic Kingdom.  It was so great to be back in our favorite place.  Disney feels like home.  It rained and stormed most of the day so we didn’t get to ride everything the girls wanted to ride because most of the rides were shut down due to lightening. That was a disappointment, but we still had a great time.  

Sunday brought the biggest day of all! We had an early start because we were the first team to compete. We were up against the other 4 teams from the Wild Card round on Friday and 10 new teams that qualified on Saturday. It was the best 15 teams in the country competing against each other. The team and parents were all a nervous wreck.  Let me tell you, this team came in it to win it.  They had something to prove after Friday’s disaster.  They went out on that floor and gave it everything they had. They threw up their best performance of the entire season and left it all on that floor. All of their blood, sweat, and tears showed up on that floor.  It was truly amazing to watch.  This time, they all came off the floor crying happy tears. They knew that they had done their absolute best.  They had redeemed themselves, and it was a glorious moment. 

Later that day as we sat watching the kids holding hands and waiting to hear who had won, I was reflecting on the past few days and the entire season.  This team is the truest picture of what hard work, determination, and teamwork will do for you.  They got knocked down big time, at their very first competition together as a team at the beginning of the season, but they didn’t give up. It just fueled them to work harder.  They went the rest of the regular season undefeated and earned their rightful place at The Summit where so many dream about going but never get the chance.  They got knocked down once again on the first day, but they were given a second chance and weren’t going to let it go to waste. They pulled it all together and gave it their all. The competition was tough, and they could have totally given up, but they didn’t.  They were ready to prove to the world how special they are.  They may not have won, but they sure won the hearts of many. The little engine that could, did and did it with such style and grace. I couldn’t be prouder of every single one of them.  They pulled out a top 10 finish and placed 9th in the country.  I would say that is a win in my book!

Couldn’t we all learn something from these 14 fierce kiddos? I know I have been knocked down more times that I can count, and I have given up after many of them.  I felt like I had been defeated and didn’t see the point in continuing to push forward, so I quit. I can only imagine where my life would be now if I hadn’t give up all those times.  If I had just stayed the course and kept pushing through without letting the defeat weigh me down, who knows what could have happened? Let us all learn to have determination and unwavering strength and drive so that we can always push for our goals just like our fierce fourteen!

Anchored,

Top 3 Packing Tips

Happy May Day! Can you believe that May is here already? I know that the first official day of summer is not until late June, but May has always symbolized the beginning of summer for me.  I think that is because I grew up in the south where school always got out before Memorial Day for Summer Break.  The weather here still hasn’t made up its mind on spring or winter.  We had temps in the 30’s Monday morning and then the high tomorrow is 86 degrees.  Either way, we are headed to Florida in the morning for the big cheer competition where it is certain to be H.O.T. I don’t know if I am ready to be back in the heat of Florida.  I know that it hasn’t even been a year since we lived there, but I very much enjoy not having those crazy hot days.  Since we will be cheering and visiting my favorite characters over the next few days, this will be my last post until next Tuesday.  

Today I want to talk about organization for packing since that is what I am going to be doing today.  We have traveled a lot over the last few years, and I think I have gotten packing down to a science.  They key is to be organized. Don’t wait until mere hours before you leave to start the process. Don’t be a procrastinator. Also, don’t just throw things into a suitcase. You are bound to forget something that way.  You have to think it through and plan it out ahead of time.  Here are my top 3 tips to keep you on track and put-together when packing for a trip.  

1. Packing List

The one thing that helps me most of all is a list.  Whenever we are going on a trip whether it is just a few hours down the road in the car or states away on a plane, I start making a packing list several days before we leave.  I keep this running list on my phone so that whenever I think of something that we need to bring, I have the list easily accessible to me wherever I am.  Nothing is too inconsequential to put on the list, including underwear.  I even have my list divided into family member.  Then I list every single thing  (and how many) that family member needs to bring.  This also makes it easier for when my kids are helping pack. I just cut and paste their part of the list into a text message for them, and then they can easily bring me all of the items on the list so that I can add them to the suitcase. Having a list really does make packing easier, quicker, and more organized.  

2. Zip Lock Bags

My second tip for organized packing, especially with kids, is to use gallon zip lock bags to organize each outfit for each day of the trip.  This is something that I started doing for my kids the very first time that we ever went to Disney World when they were really little, and I still do it now that they are older no matter where we go.  First, I will plan out what outfit each of us will wear each day.  Then I start making piles for each day of the trip.  I put everything we need to get dressed for that day in the pile (pants, top, underwear, socks, etc.). When my kids were younger, this even included the bow for their hair that day. Then I use gallon zip lock bags to keep all of those things together in the suitcase.  I label each bag with my daughter’s name and the day of the week she will be wearing it.  Each child will have a zip lock bag for each day of the trip. This is a little time consuming on the front end, but it saves so much time during the trip.  All they have to do is pull out the bag for that day, take it to the bathroom, and get dressed. This method also ensures that we don’t forget any essential items.  I also pack another zip lock bag with their pajamas for the trip and another one for extras (extra underwear, socks, or even an extra outfit) for those emergency situations.  If the trip involves swimming, there will be a separate bag each for bathing suits, bathing suit cover-ups, and flip flops. This not only keeps you organized, it also really helps to save space in the suitcase.  I just line up the bags in rows in the suitcase. 

3. Travel-Sized Toiletries

My third tip is to use travel-sized toiletries and keep a supply of them at your house.  You should never take full sized bottles of things like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream, contact solution, etc. That is just a waste of space.  I keep a plastic box in the bottom of my linen closet that I have tons of travel-sized items in so that we can replenish our travel bags at any time.  This keeps me from having to make that emergency trip to the store at the last minute to buy stuff. Each of my girls and I have a small travel cosmetic bag that pretty much is only used for travel and stores all of their travel essentials.  In each bag we keep a travel toothbrush and other travel sized toiletries.  All I have to do is tell them to bring me their travel bags and everything is already packed. I just double-check that they aren’t low on anything and replenish it from the box as needed.  Again, this just makes packing faster and easier.  Now, if you don’t want to spend the money to buy travel-sized shampoos or your favorite brand doesn’t come in travel size, you can always get the travel-sized containers and fill them up with your faves.  That is totally a personal preference.  Just don’t pack full sized bottles.  Here is a bonus tip that I read on a blog somewhere years ago that I still use now. I have a special scented body wash that I only use when traveling.  It is one from Bath and Body Works that I love, but it isn’t the one that I use everyday. The reason I do this is because that smell now reminds me of family vacations and trips.  It is like a treat every time I open the bottle while we are away. It just floods me with memories each time, and I love it.  It is forever a scent that I will associate with great memories!

Those are my top 3 tips that will help you to pack quickly and easily all while still being very organized. I am now off to get my family packed and ready to leave tomorrow.  I will see you all back here next week. Pray that I survive my first major cheer competition and the heat of Florida! I have no clue what we are in store for.  One thing is for sure, we will be making more great family memories.  

Anchored and Organized,

Fighting the Fight

I have shared with all of you before that my youngest daughter has had a lot of medical issues in her life.  She has a condition called Eosinophillic Esophagitis.  Because of this she developed severe food aversions as an infant, and these food aversions continue today even though she is now 11 years old. This means that her diet is extremely limited.  When I tell people this, they often don’t really get the severity of it.  I am not talking about your typical picky kid. I’m not even talking about those few extremely picky kids.  I am talking about a severe fear of food.  I am talking about the knock down, drag out, tantrum throwing, crying, gagging, and vomiting type of severe food aversion.  She has spent about 5 years in feeding therapy in order to get her to eat anything besides yogurt and applesauce, which is what she ate for every single meal until she was 4 years old.  I am not exaggerating.  That is literally all she ate.  

Here is the list of things that she will eat for meals now just so you can get an idea of the severity:

  1. Hot Dog-no bun, no condiments, no ends
  2. Pasta-plain, no trace of anything other than butter on in (oh and butter is a fairly new addition), and only eats about ¼ cup
  3. Peanut Butter or Sun Butter Sandwich -no crust, no jelly, and only eats ½ of a sandwich
  4. Chicken Nuggets-only from McDonalds, Chick-fil-a (only the center after she has picked every piece of breading off), or Perdue Simple Lightly Breaded (which I can no longer find), 
  5. Pork Chop-only cooked by me, only cooked in the crock pot, and no seasoning, only eats about ¼ of one pork chop
  6. Chicken-only cooked by me, only boiled, no seasoning, only eats ¼ of chicken breast 
  7. Hamburger-will eat if forced to at a restaurant but picks apart, no bun, no edges, no condiments, only eats about ¼ of patty
  8. Pancakes-only Eggo mini’s, no syrup, will eat from Cracker Barrel or IHop, will only dip in a little syrup at Cracker Barrel
  9. Waffles-only Eggo, no syrup, occasionally with peanut butter
  10. Yogurt-only one specific brand, only vanilla

Fruits:

  1. Apples
  2. Bananas
  3. Grapes (recently has not been eating)
  4. Applesauce (recently has not been eating)-only cinnamon flavored and only one brand

Vegetables:

  1. Green beans-only cooked by me, only 4-5 beans
  2. Red pepper-raw only
  3. Potato-only baked, no butter, only salt

That is the extent of what she will eat at meals besides things like fries, chips, and snack type foods.  It took many years, a lot of tears, and a lot of therapy to get just these few foods. As you can imagine, this makes going out to a restaurant extremely difficult. If they do not have pasta that she can get plain, a hot dog, or a hamburger, we cannot go there because she will not eat.  I pack her lunch every single day of the week for school.  She has a special 504 Plan through the school that allows her to use a microwave at school so that she can heat up whatever I send her.  This limited diet also makes things very difficult for her to go over to a friend’s house.  Up until one weekend a few weeks ago, she had only ever spent the night with one particular friend (or really gone over to any other friends house besides that one) because her mom understood the circumstance and had a shelf in her pantry of just my daughter’s foods.  I knew that whenever she went over there, this mom would fix her something that she could eat.  This past summer, my daughter wanted to go to a sleep-away camp, but I couldn’t let her because I knew that she wouldn’t eat and there was no way for the camp to accommodate her foods.  We are headed to Orlando soon for her cheer competition.  Her team is doing a team dinner one night with a fixed menu. I have to prepare my daughter for several days ahead of time about what the options are (none of which she will eat) trying to talk her into eating that night. My husband and I already know that we will likely have to feed her later that night. This is a daily battle.  It is a battle I have fought every single day since she was born.  Making sure that she has food to eat and that she is eating enough is a full time job. It is always in the back of my mind. It’s exhausting. We no longer send her to feeding therapy because we had made no progress in over a year with getting her to even try new foods.  We basically gave up.  Therapy was causing too much stress and resentment, and we felt like it was not worth it.  I have had to resign myself to the fact that this is who she is and that we aren’t going to be able to force her.  It’s not something that she is going to grow out of like many people and doctors have said to me.  It won’t do any good to just “let her starve because she will eat if she is hungry enough” as so many have told me. Trust me, we’ve tried it. She would rather starve to death than to eat new foods. We now just monitor her weight very carefully.  She has been labeled as failure to thrive because she doesn’t grow and gain weight like she should.  Doctors have threatened her with a feeding tube if she doesn’t gain enough weight. A recent bone test reveled that her bones are a full year behind in growth. I honestly don’t know how she even survives and thrives at all with as little as she consumes in a day.  Last week she had a chorus concert with other 5th grade classes from other schools in the area.  Seeing her standing there among her same age peers was saddening.  She is extremely small compared to every other kid her age. Most people don’t believe that she is 11 because she is so small.  

I know that there are many other moms out there who have children that have feeding issues or something similar.  I know how exhausting it can be.  I know how stressful it is.  I know how many nights you lie awake wondering what else you could have done to prevent this. You worry about your child’s health. You worry about her growth.  You wonder why? Why me? Why my kid? I know how it feels when other moms shame you. I know how it feels to listen to everyone else’s version of what you should do. I know you worry about how others treat your child.  I also know that, like me, you will keep fighting the fight. You will keep moving forward despite all the setbacks.  That’s what we as moms do.  We have to. It’s our job. If not us, than who? Well, I am here to tell you that we’ve got this! We can do hard things.  They only make us stronger.  They make our kids stronger.  I encourage you to not be discouraged. Don’t listen to everyone else. Do what you think is right. Don’t give up. Keep fighting the fight.  I am on your side, and we can do this crazy little thing called motherhood. 

Anchored, 

Fashion Finds: Rompers & Jumpsuits

Today I want to talk about the ever popular trend of the romper/jumpsuit.  These have been widely popular for several years now.  I will admit that when the trend first started, I was totally scared of it.  I had it in my head that I was too old to wear a romper or that they wouldn’t look good on me.  I have since changed my mind.  I have come to love them.  Now, I will say that I can’t wear just any romper.  I have to find ones that suit my body type. I am long waisted so I have to find ones that cinch or tie in just the right place and have a longer torso or else I have a permanent wedgie! It’s true!  Rompers that are super short really don’t work for me.  I actually prefer jumpsuits that are pants or wide leg capris, but I do have a couple short rompers.  I have come to learn that anyone can pull off the romper/jumpsuit  look if you find the right one. I have found a few different types that I think are super cute. All of them won’t work for everyone, but I feel certain that there are one or two that you can find that would work for you.  Many of these are currently on sale up to 40% off so catch them before the sale is over!

Flutter Wrap Romper (Loft)

Floral Wrap Skort Romper (Loft)

Beach Border Wrap Open Back Jumpsuit(Loft)

Square-Neck Linen-Blend Jumpsuit (Old Navy)

Tie-Belt Flutter-Sleeve Jumpsuit (Old Navy)

Waist-Defined Sleeveless Keyhole (Old Navy)

Stripped Strappy Square Neck Waist Tie Jumpsuit (Target)

Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Stripped Jumpsuit (Target)

Sleeveless Wide Leg Belted Romper (Amazon)

Off the Shoulder Casual Romper/Jumpsuit (Amazon)

Sleeveless Ruffle Trip Wide Let Jumpsuit (Amazon)

Floral Surplice Bell Sleeve Romper (Express)

Don’t be afraid of the romper/jumpsuit.  I promise you that there is one out there that would look amazing on you.  Let me know what you find!

Anchored,

Book Club: Normal People

I cannot believe that April is almost over.  This year is totally flying by.  The end of the month means I’m giving you my take on this month’s book club book, Normal People(Amazon) by Sally Rooney and telling you what my next pick is for May. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with Normal People.  I wouldn’t say that the book was awful because it did hold my attention for the most part. However, I didn’t think there was enough plot development for me, and I thought it was a little choppy the way it jumped ahead months at a time.  I just felt like there were things that were left out that I as the reader wanted to know. This book came with high praise and tons of buzz about it, so I was expecting more.  It just didn’t excite me enough, I guess.  Had I not picked it as our book club book to review, I may not have finished reading it.  I don’t know why really. I just didn’t love it. I would be very interested to hear what you all think if you read along with me.  

This story was about two people that met as kids, Connell and Marianne.  Both came from very different backgrounds.  In fact, the two met because Connell’s mother (a struggling teen mom) was the housekeeper for Marianne’s family.  Connell was the popular football player while Marianne was the lonely, girl who kept to herself with secrets of a tumultuous family life. They pretended not to know each other for all of their high school years while they had a secret romance behind closed doors.  Their roles sort of reversed when they ended up at the same college.  Marianne became the boisterous, popular girl while Connell became a quiet reserved guy. They develop this weird connection to each other over the years as their relationship continued off and on throughout their lives.  There was a lot of turmoil within each of them individually that seemed to really affect their relationship as well. Even though they both dated other people, they just couldn’t seem to resist this hold they had on each other.  There relationship was very strange and, at times, unhealthy.  There was a lot of psychological things that both of them needed to work through, and I am not sure that they ever fully dealt with all of it in the end. Again, I didn’t love this book.  It is hard to put into words why I didn’t like it, but I just didn’t. Let me know what you thoughts, though!

My pick for next month’s book is one that I have heard great things about from friends who have read it, and the reviews are very good.  It is also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and a #1 New York Times Bestseller.  My next selection is Where the Crawdads Sing (Amazon) by Delia Owens. Here is what Apple Books had to say about this book,

“Abandoned by anyone who should care, Kya lives deep in the swampy North Carolina lowlands. She understands the creatures that live there and waits for someone to understand her—but the locals in town call her Marsh Girl. Delia Owens’ enchanting mystery follows Kya’s exhilarating and terrifying first steps into the outer world, and the murderous betrayal that happens when she lets two young men get close to her. Thanks to Owens’ lyrical prose, we could hear the rustling of the cypress leaves and were pulled headfirst into her complex, emotional story.”

Will you come along this journey with me this month? Happy reading!

Anchored in a Good Book,

Mommy Sick Day

I am certain that most of you did not notice that I didn’t post yesterday.  In fact, I think my grandparents, who are probably my most loyal readers, are the only ones that did. Anyway, I did not post yesterday because I had to force myself to take it easy.  I have been sick since the end of last week.  I went to the doctor on Monday and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and got an antibiotic.  I didn’t sleep well at all Monday night.  My husband even said I was moaning loudly all night long in his ear. Well, when I woke up on Tuesday morning, I was feeling even worse.  By Tuesday night I was running a fever.  Even though I felt a little better when I got up yesterday, I decided that I was going to try to give myself the much needed rest my body apparently needed.  I was going to take a sick day, but a sick day for a mom doesn’t really exist, does it? There is no such thing as a mommy sick day. I may not have written a post and may have taken one small nap; but I still had things that I had to do like get the kids up and ready for school, pack lunches, drive them around all day, and meet with an agent to turn over the keys to our rental.  Today I am feeling about the same as I did yesterday, a little better but not great.  I have had no voice for days, I am coughing like I have been a smoker my whole life (never ever smoked anything), and my head may burst open every single time I cough from the pressure.  I really hope that I am on the mend, though, because I am so over it.  I am starting to think that I will never get my voice back! 

My youngest gave me a lecture yesterday about taking care of myself.  She told me that the reason I wasn’t getting better was because I wasn’t staying in bed all day.  Of course she is right, but how in the world can I possibly spend a whole day in bed? There is too much to do: getting them to and from school, getting them to and from practices, getting them to doctor appointments, fixing lunches, figuring out dinner, writing my blog, running my other 2 businesses, making shirts for my side gig, meet with agents and cleaners to finalize things with the rental house, attend school performances, take the dog to the vet, do the laundry, do the dishes, get groceries (because my kids think we have no food in the house), continue to unpack boxes, and the list goes on and on! How can any mother really stop and spend an entire day in bed when she is sick? It is not possible.  It’s just not.  That is why so many of us get sick and get sick hard.  We don’t take care of ourselves like we should.  My kids see their doctors at least every 3 months for med checks and once a year for a checkup. My youngest sees specialists multiple times a year. As soon as one of them gets sick, I start calling the doctor.  If I asked most of the moms out there when the last time they went to the doctor was, they most likely couldn’t answer me.  We take care of everyone but ourselves.  Shouldn’t we have yearly checkups too? Shouldn’t we see our doctors on a regular basis? We shouldn’t stop seeing doctors regularly just because we hit adulthood.  Your body doesn’t stop growing and changing just because you hit the magic number of 18 years old.  Your body changes throughout your whole life.  Adults should still have yearly “well checks” just like kids do. The only time that we go see a doctor shouldn’t be when we are practically dying and are so sick that we can’t even crawl out of the bed, but so many of us do just that. I am guilty for sure.  I don’t take the time that I need to get well when I am sick.  I just keep pushing. 

I wish I knew the secret to finding the balance of taking care of myself and being a mom, wife, and entrepreneur.  I wish that I could just stay in bed all day when I am sick, but I just don’t know how that is possible to accomplish.  It is never going to change.  I know this. I will continue to run my body into the ground.  It’s what moms do.  It is a part of who we are.  I wish there was a way to change it, but I sure don’t know how. Sure, things like the dishes and laundry can wait, but, unfortunately, there are those things that can’t. It is just a part of the life of a mom.  It is sad but true.  To all you sick mommas out there chugging along the best you can, I feel you! I know that you can’t take a mommy sick day, but try to do only what is absolutely necessary.  Give your body a chance to heal as much as you can.  It is a lesson that I still need to learn because right now I am getting a big fat “F” in taking care of myself!

Anchored,

Kids are Annoying…Sometimes

Well, my doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection just like I expected and prescribed me an antibiotic.  First of all, I am allergic to penicillin, which makes many doctors nervous about what to give me every time I have a sinus infection (which is a lot). When I go to an urgent care place, they always give me a Z-Pack even though I have told them a million times that it never works.  I always end up going back in for another antibiotic.  Since I went to my regular doctor who has already come to know me pretty well in the few short months that we have lived here, she knew not to give me that.  Instead she decided to give me an antibiotic that I have never had before that I can recall. She warned me that it was a cousin to penicillin but that it should be fine.  She said the chance of me reacting to it was only like 3%.  I trust her so I was fine with it.  My reaction to penicillin is not typically life threatening anyway. I usually just break out in hives.  Anyway, I was happy to have something other than a Z-Pack. Well, when I got to the pharmacy, the pharmacist was hesitant to fill the prescription for me. She told me the same thing that the doctor did about it being a cousin to penicillin.  She confirmed with me the type of reaction I typically have and made me fully aware of the risks of taking it.  Then she told me to have Benedryl on hand.  Okay, now I was starting to get a little nervous, but I trust my doctor so I told her to go ahead and fill it.  I have had 3 doses of it now and so far I am fine.  I know that if I am going to have a reaction, it will be a few days before I do.  At least, that is what typically happens.  The bad news is that I woke up feeling worse today than I have felt the whole time.  I didn’t sleep well at all.  In fact, my sleep app said my sleep quality was only at 45% last night and my husband said I made moaning noises in his ear all night. I am coughing my head off and my chest and abs are sore from it. I am practically blowing my brains out of my nose and the pressure in my head is ridiculous.  I know that is all gross and you probably don’t care, but you know I vowed to be honest with what is going on in my life.  This is my reality today.  

When I wake up in the mornings, I really like to not talk to anyone.  I like to immediately take my shower and get ready for the day before I talk to anyone.  I have always been this way.  It is my “me time,” my time to reflect and pray.  When I don’t feel well like today, I really don’t want to talk to anyone. I’m cranky and just am not pleasant. Well, when you have two children that have ADHD who wake up talking non-stop, it is pretty impossible to have your quiet morning time.  It is hard enough on a normal day to listen and pay attention to what they are saying at 90 miles a minute in the morning, but today was especially difficult for me just because I don’t feel well.  My oldest was even extra chatty today.  She must have asked me a million random questions this morning.  It was taking all of the energy I had left to not get impatient with her or show how annoyed I was.  Isn’t that horrible?  I know that it sounds bad, but I can’t help it.  All I wanted to do was crawl back into my bed and try to get some sleep.  I know that all moms get annoyed with their kids every now and then whether they admit it or not.  As horrible as it may seem or to hear out loud, it is the truth. If you were ever to tell me that you never get annoyed with your kids, I would have to tell you that you are lying. If it were the truth, you wouldn’t be a normal human being.  You would be like a robot or alien! I’m not kidding! Every mom/parent gets annoyed with their kids sometimes.  Kids are annoying sometimes. Some parents have it happen more often and some less frequently depending on their personalities and their kids’ personalities. No matter how little or how frequent, it happens to us all, and it is perfectly NORMAL!  It is also perfectly NORMAL to admit that your kids drive you nuts. Thankfully, I have my tribe that I know I can be 100% honest with, and I know that they won’t judge me.  They will commiserate with me and tell me about how much their kids also annoy them. It makes me feel like I am not crazy, and I am not alone.  I’m not a bad mom.  It is totally normal for my kids to get on my last nerve.  Sometimes I explode.  Sometimes I am able to keep it together.  I have learned that it is okay.  Now that my kids are older, I can totally tell them when they are driving me nuts. They often think it’s funny and will attempt to just annoy me further all while they are laughing their heads off. It is all normal.  It is just part of life, the life of a parent. 

Now, if you will please excuse me, I am going to go crawl back in my bed where there is peace and quiet and attempt to go to sleep.  

Anchored,

Mother’s Day Shopping

I hope that everyone had an amazing Easter yesterday and got to spend some great quality time with the ones you love.  My day wasn’t all that great, unfortunately. My family and I did make it to church but much of the rest of the day involved me lounging in the recliner while my family continued to unpack boxes.   I felt horrible.  I am heading in to see my doctor in a little bit because I am pretty certain that I have a sinus infection.  Yay for me! Needless to say, I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around yesterday because I felt horrible. This week I decided to find some great options for Mother’s Day gifts for you all.  Whether you are shopping for your mom, your mother-in-law, another special mom in your life or yourself, I think you will find the perfect gift here. Mother’s Day is only 3 weeks away, but that is plenty of time to get any of these items ordered and have them arrive in time for the big day.  Who knows, you may see something on here that you want for yourself! Feel free to share it with your hubby or kids! <wink, wink>

The Original Family Tree Necklace(Lisa Leonard Designs)

Now, this piece is the most expensive of all of the items on this list, but you can get 25% off plus a free necklace with any purchase this week only.  This necklace is from one of my favorite personalized jewelry designers, Lisa Leonard. I actually own this necklace myself. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I always get comments on it whenever I wear it.  I highly encourage you to look around her site for other beautiful pieces that you may also like while the sale is going on. 

Mother’s Day Set(Trades of Hope)

This set is unique and helps women across the globe. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It includes the following 3 pieces.

Kindhearted Mug-This ceramic, glazed mug is formed, etched, and painted by hand. This cheerful petite mug holds 8 ounces of your favorite morning beverages. A whimsical pink swirl design on the interior is an added fun touch! Created by artisans in Vietnam.

Momento Frame-Frame mom’s favorite 4″ x 6″ photo memories in this hand-carved picture frame with a whitewash finish. Created by artisans in India.

Mayan Blend Coffee-Harvesting the highest quality coffee from across Guatemala’s richest coffee regions, Mayan artisans utilize methods developed over the past 130 years. Full of rich history and flavors reminiscent of their culture and land, these artisans seek more than merely passing down these traditions. This group partners with various universities across the U.S. to help educate and provide medical assistance to their families. Each bag of coffee you purchase goes towards providing a healthy and prosperous future for Guatemalans for generations to come.

Wooden Sign(Amazon)

I think this sweet sign describes just about any mom that I know! Moms are the glue that holds most families together for sure!

Farmhouse Home Sign(Amazon)

I love this sign because you can change out the wreath to match the season or décor in your home.

The Lovely Tote Fashion Crocodile Circle Crossbody(Amazon)

This style of bag is super popular right now.  This mustard color is amazing, but there are other colors available. There is even a smaller version of this purse available as well. 

Soft Notch Collar Pajama Set(Target)

How can you go wrong with a comfy pair of pajamas that are perfect for the warmer weather?  The yellow stripes add just a touch of sunshine to them as well. 

Burnes 4-Opening Collage Family Frame(Target)

I thought this was cute and could be even better if given with family pictures already in it.  

Large Round Basket  (Target) with Embrace Throw(Trades of Hope)

I love a great basket that can hold pillows or throws.  I think they look great by the fireplace.  This throw is AMAZING! I own one myself.  What is so unique about it is that it is handmade by women in India escaping poverty.  It is gorgeous and so soft! 

Hearth and Hand with Magnolia Bamboo Bathroom Tray(Target)

I am not a bath taker myself, but I know a lot of moms love to relax in a warm bath.  This is perfect for those moms that love to read or relax with a glass of wine in the tub. You could throw in a good book or some bath salts with it.

Rae Dunn Mother’s Day Cookie Jar(Amazon)

Rae Dunn pottery is very popular right now.  Most Rae Dunn pieces have a word on them, but I love the flowers on this cookie jar. If you love this, hurry and grab it because quantities are limited! If you miss this one, this is also a great option.

Don’t let the day sneak up on you! It will be here before you know it. I know I would love any of these gifts from my kids or husband this Mother’s Day! I bet one or more of this would fit your style or the the style of a mom you love. Happy shopping!

Anchored,