Let him be three.

Parenting is hard.  I think I’ve written that sentence more in this blog than any other sentence… but its true.  Kids are wild, they get sick, they are demanding, they don’t sleep, they throw tantrums, etc etc.  They’re tiny little terrors and completely worth every bit of crazy they put you through.  I love my own kids so much I can’t even attempt to describe it here.  They are my life.  However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that parenting them is difficult.  At my best, I feel like I’m only doing an okay job.  That feeling is worse when you’re approached by an outsider about their behavior.

Recently my son started his second year of preschool.  He was so excited to go back.  He loves school.  He comes home and tells us about his day and sings the song they teach him. Being that he enjoys it so much, I was pretty shocked when his teacher approached me one afternoon and asked, “does he always flap his hands?”  I was caught off guard and said “well, yeah.  He always has.  He mostly does it when he’s excited or running.”  She then continued on to ask me “does he have any other obsessive behaviors?”  I was becoming pretty irritated at this point.  She was asking me a ton of questions, in the presence of my child, with no context. Long story short, after only having my son in her class for one week… she had determined that something was wrong with him.  She was concerned about his “parallel playing, hand flapping, obsessive behavior of closing the bathroom door when other children were in there, not listening, etc.”  She recommended having a specialist come in to observe his behavior.

Being the overly paranoid, OCD, stress-case of a mother that I am, I cried all weekend.  I’d only ever seen my son as the perfect little 3 year old that he is.  His hand flapping, which I had noticed over the years, seemed pretty normal to me.  He is growing and learning so much every single day and absorbing everything.  Its a coping mechanism.  I equated it to my obsessive need to lick my lips the ENTIRE time I am shopping at Target.  I don’t know why it happens, but I know that it makes me feel better about being in a crowded store.  I’d noticed that my son is cautious.  I know that he takes a while to warm up.  He will talk to a kid after he gets to know them, in an environment that he feels comfortable.  No, I didn’t know that he slams the door every time a child goes to the bathroom… but I do know that we close the door when we go to relieve ourselves and well… most people do.  And of course he doesn’t listen.  He’s 3 years old.  He has been on this Earth for 3 years.  There is a whole lot left to learn.  He is a CHILD.

Despite knowing these things — I still found myself telling my son to put his hands by his side.  I told him not to flap his hands.  I tried to MAKE him talk to children… almost feeling depressed/irritated when he wouldn’t.  I wanted to scream.  In a few ignorant statements, this teacher caused me to go from seeing my son as a bright, beautiful, perfect little 3 year old to a child that was flawed, socially challenged, with a possible real problem.  I am not perfect.  I had a few moments of confusion and panic, but eventually I realized that I didn’t like the way I felt around my son anymore.  I was seeing his personality as a flaw rather than how I’d seen it just days before– which was unique and beautiful.  Nothing had changed with him.  His mannerisms and behaviors were still the same.  So why did I feel this way?  I was allowing someone’s  quick judgments to cloud my own judgment and perception.  I was allowing the joy I felt about and with my child to be taken.  I wasn’t going to allow it anymore.

Next week we will have a screening done for my son.   He will go to a “special school” to play and professionals will watch and judge him.  I will listen to what they have to say but I won’t take it to heart.  I know my child.  I know his personality.  I know he is cautious, a bit anxious, incredibly smart, hilarious, sweet and wild haha.  I know he has a one-track mind like his dad did at his age.  I know he has trouble approaching groups like I did.  I know that no matter what, I will help him, love him and cherish him every step of the way.

As for his teacher, and everyone else for that matter– I think its important to remember that kids should be kids. A 3 year old should be a 3 year old.  If they slam a door to get a reaction, this shouldn’t be immediately considered an obsessive behavior.  I encourage everyone to stop finding fault in others. I am not naïve to the fact that there are potential disorders that kids could have that need special attention.  However, there are also quirks and behaviors that are typical for a 3 year old.  We need to have common sense.  As for my child, no teacher should have determined that my son had special needs after only knowing him and having him in a classroom for 1 week.  If it turns out that he needs special attention, that’s fine.  But for now, he needs to be 3.  He needs to play, learn social norms, learn how to approach and talk to others.  He deserves the time and our patience to figure this world out.

(I wrote this 6 months ago.  My goal is to incorporate more posts from my previous blog into the blog I have now… –Now that I am coming to terms with many things involving my children and am willing to share them with those I know, and those I don’t.  I read this tonight and still stand by it 100 percent. 6 months later my son is still as wonderful and amazing as he was then.  He struggles with things… but don’t we all?  Also, I hear his teacher has retired- and future toddlers are better because of it. ha!)

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Our FPIES life


Unless you live in a bubble, you’re probably aware of the fact that allergies are on the rise.  I feel like I didn’t know very many kids with peanut allergies, etc. when I was a kid.  Now, at my son’s school there is a “contains peanuts” container for lunch boxes and a “peanut-free” container.  Allergies are running rampant, and as a mother– my children having allergies has always been a huge fear!

When my son was born I introduced foods so slowly.  I closely monitored for any reactions.  I was a complete and total nervous wreck when giving my son peanut butter for the first time.  Thankfully, he was fine.  He showed no obvious signs of food allergies.  When my daughter was born nearly 3 years later, I was much more relaxed about introducing foods. She was a healthy 8 lb 10 oz and around 4 months it seemed that her formula just wasn’t satisfying her anymore!  My doctor suggested introducing a baby cereal.


In July of 2016 I introduced a little bit of Gerber oatmeal cereal mixed with formula.  She loved it and then took a 2 hour nap.  We were happy that she seemed full and satisfied.  When my daughter woke up she was screaming to the top of her lungs.  She seemed miserable.  We made her a bottle and she guzzled it!  Within minutes she was vomiting it back up all over the floor.  She continued to vomit for the next half hour.   We called the ER and they told us she probably had a virus.  We were told to give her pedialyte for the rest of the night.  She seemed much better with no more vomiting incidents.

Fast forward a few weeks, we were at my parent’s house visiting.  My daughter was wanting to eat every 2 hours.  My mom encouraged trying the cereal again.  I tried it, she loved it… she napped.  Two to two and a half hours later she woke up screaming.  I fixed a bottle and her aunt fed her.  She immediately vomited all over my sister in law.  I knew it was the cereal at this point.  I panicked.  I knew she would continue to vomit so I got her to a trash can.  The vomiting was violent so I handed her to my sister-in-law so I could call the ER doctor. She encouraged me to call 911.  At 4 months old my daughter took her first (and I pray, her last) ambulance ride.  In the ambulance she was extremely lethargic.  I knew something wasn’t right.



We arrived at the hospital and she was asleep.  Her vitals looked okay.  They attempted for hours to draw blood and failed miserably.  (Unfortunately this ER was lacking in the skills needed to properly handle an emergency situation with an infant) They didn’t know how to draw blood from a baby her age.  We were there until 4 in the morning and I was told she probably just had a sensitivity to whatever she ate.  I was frustrated and scared.  We had no answers.

I took her to her regular pediatrician and he said that she possibly had a sensitivity as well and to just try something else.  I knew it was something more.  My friend, Emily, had mentioned to me something called FPIES when we were in the hospital.  Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome.  I decided to take my daughter to a pediatric gastroenterologist and pediatric allergist to rule this out.

Unfortunately, it was indeed FPIES.  She had all of the symptoms.  Even down to the mucus/bloody stools she’d had after introducing “regular” formula.  She did okay with hypoallergenic formula.  I remember hearing the word FPIES for the first time and just breaking down.  I felt like a failure as a mother.  I sobbed as I asked her pediatric allergist, “is this my fault?”  Maybe it was all the chips a hoy I ate when I was pregnant.  Maybe it was because I had to stop breastfeeding.  Maybe it was this, maybe it was that.  I couldn’t stop the blame game.  I was sick with worry.  I stared at my beautiful little girl lying there, smiling and as happy as can be… and just broke down completely.

Through the tears, the doctor explained our plan of action.  We would avoid solid food for a few more months and stay on Nutramigen since she was tolerating it well.  Then we would slowly introduce foods.  We had to do fruits and vegetables to begin with and if we passed those… we would move on to other food groups.  He explained that we would want to avoid legumes, grains, dairy and meats.  I remember trying so hard to process everything he was saying and just being lost in my own head.   I didn’t want to hear it.  I just wanted everything to be “normal.”  I wanted to feed her a little taste of bread, or ice cream or anything!  I was terrified that something wouldn’t go okay and she would be back in the hospital.  The fear was paralyzing.


I decided not to introduce solids again until my daughter was 8 months.  I was scared and needed time.  I needed to emotionally prepare myself.  We started with squash.  She passed.  We then tried apples, bananas, avocado, blueberries, zucchini, etc.  They were ALL passes!  I prayed and begged others to pray and I got through it.  She got through it and she LOVED (loves) eating!


One thing that has been such a blessing throughout this whole FPIES journey is that my daughter has never been failure to thrive.   Many children with FPIES are failure to thrive and I’m sure that is even scarier.  Claire has always been an excellent eater and, like my son, is a very chunky, healthy baby!  She has stayed at the 99th percentile for weight/height for so long!

At 1 year old my daughter got a traditional allergy test as many children with FPIES have traditional allergies as well.  Thankfully she was not “traditionally” allergic to anything they tested.   She also passed her “chicken challenge. ”  We were so thankful.  This opened up a new food group for our daughter and now she has had chicken, fish, pork, and turkey.  We also got the clear to introduce legumes and even some yogurt.  We are currently working on getting her to whole milk!


At the end of the month we will try corn.  I am praying that we have good results with this challenge as well.  I hope to be able to feed my daughter a wider variety of foods!  Thankfully, with FPIES, most children grow out of the allergy with time.

In the meantime, we have an emergency response plan for accidental ingestion of a trigger food.  We go to the nearest ER and immediately begin fluids.  We call her on call pediatric allergist and he will consult with the ER physician.


For all the FPIES mamas out there, I know your struggle!  I know the fear.  I know the frustration in trying to find recipes your little one can eat!  It is HARD.  Feel free to reach out here/Instagram/Facebook/or email.   I would love to hear your story.  For everyone else, here is a little run down of what FPIES is!

Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (A general run down)

  • FPIES is a rare, non-traditional allergy syndrome.  It affects the GI tract.
  • It does not show up on traditional allergy tests.
  • It is typically diagnosed in the first few months of life, a bit longer for exclusively breastfed babies.
  • Typical triggers are dairy, soy, and grains but can also be chicken, peas, green beans, etc.
  • Children typically show symptoms 2-3 hours after ingesting the problem food.
  • Symptoms of FPIES can include intense vomiting, drops in blood pressure, dehydration, lethargy, body temperature changes, diarrhea, etc.
  • The best course of action is to go to an ER immediately and talk with a doctor about an action plan.  Some doctors are unaware of FPIES and don’t know the proper procedures.
  • Many children grow out of the allergy by the age of 5.

FPIES Support

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep it real

My tip this (almost) Thursday… is to keep it real.  Weird right?  This isn’t really a tip is it?  Well, I’m not really in the mood for a tip.  Lately, I’ve been tired.  I’ve been really beaten down by life and things have just been hard.  I sat around tonight wondering what my tip could be this week and all I could really think about is how I’m feeling right now.  Specifically, how there is no tip that anyone can give me to make things easier necessarily.  So… I decided to just come to the blog with how I feel.  So… my tip is keeping it real.

If I’m being very real… rather than post a tip, I wanted to come here and tell you guys that I’m extra exhausted right now but I can’t do anything but obsessively clean my house.  (Wow! What a work in progress that is… I could work for a year and not be done most likely)  All I can think about is how I want to organize things or what needs to be cleaned next.  I don’t know why …but its the only thing I feel like I have control of at the moment.  I’m also sad for my husband… who is sad, obviously.  I’m sad when my son realizes each day that granddaddy is indeed still in heaven.  I’m stressed beyond belief… and I’m having trouble managing it.

Tonight, I texted my doctor to tell her that I couldn’t remember if I’d taken my medication, and feared I may have taken it twice.  Though I knew this would not be a problem, I compulsively had to text her.  And call the pharmacist.  And my mom.  And my husband.  This panic and paranoia landed me a 9 am trip to her office tomorrow morning.  When things feel out of control I start to spin out of control.  It is my reality.  I have dealt with it for many, many years.  Thankfully, I have amazing healthcare providers that can see it and know when to step in and check on things.

Overall, I think we’re doing a pretty damn good job of handling the absolute insanity that has come our way this year.  My kids are happy.  I get out of bed every morning.  We sometimes make it to story time.  We drive around… we talk, we play and we laugh.  So, even though I have very hard moments, I’m still happy and I’m still blessed.  And I’m not just writing that so that this happy mommy blog post has a happy little ending.  I mean it.  I’m lucky to have my kids, my husband, our home and so much love.

Maybe next week I’ll come at you with a new tip… a real one.  But for now, this is all I’ve got.  <3.

It’s time for TingTing!

tingting

Guys, congratulations! I am about to expose you to something pretty fantastic hahah.  Okay, so, I don’t know if you’re like me- but I’ve tried multiple times to expose my son and daughter to other cultures, languages, etc.  I want them to know more than I did (and do!)  I also believe they should start learning a foreign language sooner rather than later.

Personally, I started studying Japanese in the 7th grade.  For many years it came to me so easily.  I loved it!  As the years went on it became harder and harder to learn Japanese.  It was also hard because I didn’t know anyone else studying the language!  My parents weren’t very interested… and the only people I had to speak with were fellow students.  Sometimes I wish I’d been exposed to foreign language learning materials at an early age.  I believe it would have helped a lot with learning more complex language concepts.

This week, when I was speaking with my friend Ferren of Artcre.am, I was thrilled to find out that she was working on a new project.  Ferren excels at anything she puts her mind to.  Seriously, her talent is amazing to me.  Her new project is an early learning, Chinese language board book for kids!  I wasn’t sure what to expect when she told me about it… but when I watched her Kickstarter video I was so in love!

Really guys, TingTing is the cutest character.  Through her, you get to learn Mandarin Chinese.  It is designed for young children and can be read to them by anyone- regardless of your proficiency (or lack thereof) of the language! Win!

And I know, I know…Ferren is my friend… my best friend actually.. so you may think I’m just writing about this for that reason- but… no.  I really love this idea.  I think the book is beautiful and the idea is amazing.  I’ve known Ferren for 13 years now, and her love of Chinese is immense.  She studied Chinese in college and went on to study further in China.  She wants to see little ones get those foreign language experiences also– at an even earlier age!

So, below is her Kickstarter page.  Turns out, great ideas take a little bit of money.  I hope you will consider contributing.  I know this project will be a success!  (I also can’t wait for my copy!)

TingTing Goes To School: A Children’s Chinese Language Book

When it rains, it pours

Wow, what a week.  What a month… What a year.  What a …2 years.  This is a rough… rough time in our lives.  Is it okay if I put it all out there?

2016 was extremely difficult for us.  I couldn’t wait for the new year.  I hoped and prayed that the new year would bring with it a rebirth of sorts.  I needed everything negative to be behind me… I needed to move on.   My son started 2016 with lots of illnesses he got from preschool (fun!) and I was a stress case the entire time.   Then in March I had my beautiful daughter.   She is absolutely the most beautiful, wonderful thing to come out of 2016.  She was a healthy 8 lb 10 oz.  I was in love.


Then, the postpartum depression and anxiety really escalated and became unmanageable.  I’d never felt so unlike myself.  I had this beautiful angel of a baby and I couldn’t enjoy her because of a million different irrational fears.  I was out of my mind.  The stress hurt.  I found my therapist and went back to my psychiatrist and I got medication to get things under control.

Fast forward to May and my son had a reaction to penicillin and had to go to the emergency room via ambulance with a very high fever.  He developed erythema multiforme.  His rash looked worse than any google images out there.  I was terrified.  I thought I would fall apart.  However, he recovered and things carried on as usual.


In July, my daughter had two bouts of intense vomiting after eating baby cereal.  The second time we were at my parents for the 4th of July holiday and my daughter woke up 2 hours after ingesting the oatmeal screaming.  She screamed and screamed until she got a bottle, which she promptly vomited all over her aunt.  She then became very lethargic and floppy. I called 911 and my 4 month old was carried via ambulance to the emergency room.  After hours of tests, failed IVs and blood draws… we were sent home.  I consulted her pediatrician that reassured me it was probably just a sensitivity and told me to avoid oats.  I knew it my heart it was more.  I took her to a pediatric gastroenterologist and then a pediatric allergist.  We found out our sweet girl had FPIES.


I cried my eyes out in the allergist’s office.  I wondered if it was my fault.  Maybe it was all the cookies I ate when I was pregnant.  Maybe it was not being able to breastfeed.  Why had I been so selfish to have postpartum anxiety and DMER.  ?  I told myself that I should have fought harder to break through the mental anguish.  I should have eaten better.  I should have been better for her.  The doctor assured me over and over again that this was not my fault.  I would tell myself for a long time that it was.

After this experience we went about our lives as normal and made the decision to hold off on solids for my daughter for a few months.  In those few months we were preparing for my son to start his second year of preschool.  I was nervous that he would get so sick again, but I knew I couldn’t keep him in a bubble forever!  So… In September he started his second year of preschool.


By the end of his first week his teacher came to me with concerns.  This part of the story is probably going to be the absolute hardest to write– but I’ll try.  Long story short, she had concerns that Jack was developmentally delayed.  (I had concerns that she was an idiot — but that had nothing to do with Jack.  That is a whole other story. ) So… we were referred to a service provided through the local school system to have an evaluation for our son.  We took my son to an office downtown and he sat with a clinical psychologist for a while… and I thought he did a great job.  Of course, the evaluation showed that he needed an assessment.  The assessment determined that he had a developmental delay.  I am pretty sure that, had I consented, he would have been diagnosed with autism right there.  I did not consent though… for reasons that I will get to in another post.  In fact, for more detailed information about all of this feel free to visit my previous blog, The Glimmer.


The months that followed were incredibly difficult.  My husband and I spent many nights in bed crying… wondering, researching, asking ourselves how this was possible… etc.  I felt like the ultimate failure of a mother.  Was this my fault?  Is it because I ate poorly, allowed him to have junk food every now and then, let him play on the ipad?  I couldn’t stop with the questions.  Every therapy session was devoted to this.  Through the mental turmoil, Jack was acting out at school.  He was being punished, yelled at, ganged up on and treated awfully by his teacher and the other people at the school.  I had panic attacks after dropping him off in the mornings.  Finally, we made the decision to withdraw him from that toxic place.  My beautiful baby had been treated so badly by ignorant, awful people and I didn’t realize it because they were the ones telling me he was a bad child with all of his problems.  Everyone was telling me something was “wrong” with my child.

Nothing is wrong with my child.  Nothing.  He is exactly the way God made him.  He is beautiful, bright, hilarious, brilliant and perfect.  He loves phones… a lot.  He flaps his hands when he is excited.  He jumps up and down … a lot.  His best friend is his sister.  He adores her.  He strikes up random conversations with strangers on the street– shakes their hands and says, “hello, how are you?”  –He cannot talk to a child.  He can’t say hello to them or acknowledge their presence.  I don’t know why…and he can’t tell me.  These are facts… and these are things we’re figuring out as the days go by.  These are the things that go around and around in my head on a loop.  I lost many months of seeing all of the wonderful in my son and instead focused on the things that supported the fact that “something was wrong with him.”   I will never forgive myself for that… or the people that were persistent in telling me that something was “wrong” with him.  Even if there is a delay, or there is autism… or whatever the hell is going on… nothing is wrong with him.  Everything is right.  He is my love.


As my husband and I dealt with this new reality… we started the new year with putting Jack in a new school and all was well.  His new school was amazing!  His teachers were perfect.  God sent them straight to us.  I prayed about it, I asked for an answer and God delivered.  His teachers truly loved him.  They appreciated the beautiful person that he is.  He never got in trouble one day at school.  He started making art again.  He had progress with students in the classroom.  It was a true blessing.  He started working with an itinerant teacher and she was so supportive and helped him immensely.  He started play therapy and he loves it!  I am so grateful for these resources.  We stopped focusing on what was “wrong” with Jack and helped him with anything he struggled with.  He has overcome SO many fears this year and grown so much.  We are so proud of him.

2017 was looking up and then my husband’s father got sick.  He had complications with diabetes and was in the hospital in March.  He recovered but had to have his leg amputated.  Fortunately we got to spend a lot of time with him in the past few months.  Our family went most weekends to help out and visit with him.  We were very grateful and he pulled through everything and got better.  Then, on May 15 we got a devastating call.  He was very sick again and in the ICU.  We rushed to the hospital and seeing him like that was so painful.  I immediately felt regret for every argument we’d ever gotten in (we had a few misunderstandings… we’re both stubborn and hard headed haha).  The next few weeks were a true rollercoaster.  There were moments of hope and then moments of being let down.  It was like this over and over.  Finally, on June 2 he left us and we have missed him every moment since.


One thing you should know about my father-in-law is that he helped me get a transcription job at his company– this was amazing for having kids.  I could keep the kids and work from home.  This saved on daycare.  Though it was extremely stressful and hard to deal with at times… it was essential for us financially.  There were moments during this job that I struggled with working home alone.  I hate being alone.  It is torture for me to be alone.  I can’t focus, I start to fear things… I struggle.  This affected my work several times over the years but I persisted.  I’d recently grown to appreciate the work nights after the kids were in bed.  I could zone out and think of something other than how hard things had been.  Well, the company my father in law and I worked for is full of drama.  No need to get into any of it here…but the people are less than kind and it has been difficult to be employed there.  However, when I was let go via email this past Thursday I was upset.

We have two kids.   Both with “special needs.”  Formula is expensive.  Therapy is expensive.  Appointments are expensive.  Everything… is expensive.  Though, I didn’t make much money the money I made was essential.  So… here we are.  Still grieving the loss of my father in law and then let go by the company he devoted many years of his life to in the same week as his memorial service.  It adds insult to injury is the expression I think.  I’ve been there for 6 years… and now I am here… trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up… and I’m scared.  I’m lost… and I’m scared.

I’m stressed out.  These are the biggest events in the past 2 years and I feel… a little beaten down by them.  To put it mildly.

Now that I’ve gotten it all out there- I do want to share a few things that have helped me get through the madness:

–Having Claire with no epidural.  I felt strong and amazing.  I had a goal and I did it.
–Trusting my mama gut so many times and being right.
–Advocating for my kids.
–Getting over my own fears because I needed to be strong for Jack.  We have gotten over fears together.
–The love shared in difficult situations.  There are no better hugs than the hugs from my husband when he knows I need one.  He holds me like he’ll never let me go.  These hugs keep me going.  They help me breathe.
–Friends.  Oh God, how would I have made it this year without my friends?  They text everyday, they send cards, come to birthday parties, have a drink, make me laugh, come to my rescue, watch my kids, etc etc.
–Family.  My parents have really stepped in and helped me immensely in the past few years.  My in-laws have helped us.  We would NOT be okay without this help.  Our families are true blessings.
–Tickle fights.  I’ve noticed that in the past few months, all four of us have gotten in the floor several times and laughed for so long it hurts.  These moments are so special.  Our phones are away, the TV is off… and we’re just enjoying each other.  It is euphoric.  It is pure joy shared among 4 people that love each other so much.  I thank God every single time for these moments.  They are amazing.


We’re going to get through all of these things… and we’re going to do it together.  I’m going to be okay. I’m going to try… and fight… and grow and change and learn.  I’m going to pray that things start looking up.  Lately, I’ve been focusing on the negative because it seems there has been nothing but negative… but I need to change my outlook.  Prayers are appreciated.

Have any of you gone through a difficult season in life?  How did you cope?

<3.

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Video baby monitor


When I got pregnant with my first child I wouldn’t accept anything less than a video baby monitor! I know, I know… many people have been fine with audio monitors but I felt it necessary to have a video monitor.  Funds were tight… so I got a a Levana monitor from Groupon.  It worked pretty well for a while.  Eventually, we moved on to a Samsung.  The Samsung was okay but eventually quick working.  Finally, when pregnant with my second, my mother-in-law gifted me with a Motorola Video Baby Monitor with 2 Cameras.

The Motorola was my favorite camera of the ones I tried, but eventually it stopped rotating.  Being able to control the camera was one of my favorite features so this bummed me out!  Then, the cord broke.  I got a new one from ebay, but that one broke too.  I couldn’t find another, so I looked for a cheaper option.

My husband went to Amazon and found this gem!  Wansview Camera

It is $32.99!  Yes, you read that right- it has all the features of these other cameras (more than some) and it is $32.99! win!  So I was skeptical at first… but we got the camera, set it up and it works perfectly!

You set it up, download an app on your phone and there you go.  Your sleeping babies are right there in view.  You can listen in on them, talk to them, change the clarity of the image, etc.  It is amazing, especially for 32 dollars!  I *WISH* I’d had this from the start.  I wouldn’t have wasted hundreds on the other monitors.

Check it out 🙂  And if you have any other items you’ve saved a ton of money on share in the comments! I would love to hear about them.  <3.

5 Fun Father’s Day gift ideas!


Father’s Day is coming up and that is a pretty important holiday in our house.  Let me tell you why– it is simple really.. my kids have the best dad!  They’re pretty lucky 🙂  I really want to make this Father’s Day special for him so I will have to get creative. I’ve kind of set the bar pretty high in years past.  I don’t know how to top some of our previous gifts.   This year, my husband has requested sleeping in- and I wholeheartedly believe he wants this more than anything ha … so maybe we’ll honor that and come up with something else too.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, here are 5 Father’s Day gift ideas my son and I worked on a few years back.  We were pretty proud of ourselves!  They were cute, cheap, creative and fun.  My husband loved them!  Share your own ideas in the comments, or if you use any of these ideas- share your photos!

Photo Shoot In Daddy’s Clothes

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I’m being told constantly that my son is a mini me of his dad.  I mean, he does look exactly like him.  I decided that for Father’s Day I would dress my son up in my husband’s clothes and do a quick photo shoot!  My son thought it was hilarious to wear daddy’s clothes and my husband loved the pictures!  He framed them and put them in his office.

Photo Collage

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My son and I ventured outside for some more photos but this time we used letter cutouts and made a picture collage for my husband!  Jack had so much fun posing with the letters and when put together they spelled daddy!  We got a cute frame for the photos and my husband still cherishes this sweet gift!

Shirt and Tie Cake

My son, Jack, loves any excuse for cake, so I believe this part of our project was his absolute favorite.  We baked a chocolate cake and decorated it with vanilla frosting!  We baked it in a rectangle pan so it would look like a shirt. (Thanks Pinterest!) We used m&m’s to make it look like the shirt had suspenders and a bow tie!  We got a little extra and used m&m’s with Jack’s face etched on them for the bow tie.  It added a personal touch and turned out SO cute.  To get your own personalized M&M’s you can visit the web site here: m&ms.  (Please excuse the poor quality of the photos! When I took the pics I didn’t know I’d be blogging about it 2 years later! hahah)

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Father’s Day Shirt

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This one was just for fun.  I took one of Jack’s shirts and wrote a message to my husband!  I then let him sit down at his art table and draw a picture for his dad while wearing the shirt.  It was cute and funny to see Jack making art for his dad while wearing a shirt wishing daddy a happy Father’s day!  My husband had a lot of photos from our Father’s Day Celebration!

Father’s Day ART/Coffee Mug

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Before I figured out that art isn’t really my son’s thing, we spent a lot of time doing it! ha.  I loved doing art projects with my little one.  Maybe one day he’ll grow to love it again, or maybe he’ll love other things more.  Thankfully, he had the patience to complete a few projects for his daddy!  The first thing we did was decorate a coffee mug.  My husband loves coffee!! We got this white mug on clearance at Target and got oil based sharpie markers! I applied “DAD” in tape to the mug and then let my son have at it!  When he was finished we put the mug in a COOL oven and let it heat up with the oven.  350 degrees for 30 minutes.   Let the mug stay in the oven for the entire process.  (Heating up and cooling down).  After a few hours apply acrylic sealing spray.  Even with the sealing spray I would still only hand wash your creation!  My husband really cherished this gift! He absolutely loved having a creation made just for him by our little one.

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If you have a lot of photos leftover and are looking for something to do with them, you can always create a photo collage as well.  This one kind of sat around the house for a while as we threw it together last minute– but it was fun to do.  With extra time and patience, we could have crafted it a bit better (ha!) but with a 2 year old, you take what you can get!  This could be fun for older kids that can write their own father’s day poem or cut out magazine images.  We used photos and scrapbook clippings.

I hope you got some fun ideas from our list.  Our Father’s Day a few years back was pretty epic.  We had a lot of fun with it.  Whether we decide to top this one this year, or just let daddy sleep in and give him extra cuddles, the important thing is acknowledging these holidays!  I think it can be easy to overlook these “hallmark” holidays, especially when life gets really busy… but I think they’re really important.  Like I said, my kids are so lucky to have the daddy they have!  He is so loving, funny, smart, sweet and he cherishes us.  We are so blessed.  This will be his first Father’s Day without his own father… and realizing that has made me appreciate these days more.  I wish we’d made bigger deals out of them in the past.  However you choose to celebrate your father will be perfect, as long as you choose to celebrate!

Happy Father’s Day everyone 🙂