Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I don't post about politics or religion, it's pretty much irrelevant to our cause for this blog. This blog initially started as a way to educate others about limb differences and help raise funds for Bella and our family to go to Camp No Limits. Today, this all still holds true. Education creates power.

Today my goal is still to educate and help raise funds for Bella and our family to go to Camp No Limits. I've been given the incredible job as a pediatric nursing professor and course lead for pediatrics. I love my job. Like really love it. I love my students and my colleagues. I love the knowledge that they share with me and the collaboration that occurs daily.

Today, I'm bringing politics into this blog... I won't brag or trash either candidate. Today, I will tell you that I'm sad. I'm sad that this election has caused riots. I'm sad protesting is occurring in our cities across the united states. I'm sad that my children are hearing about these horrific acts at school from friends.

The news isn't something we watch with our kids around, truth me told, I can't tell you the last time I did watch the news. Years, I'm certain... To me, unless there's a positive story, I don't want to hear it. While yes, news has a time and a place, it's time and place is not in my home... not taking up space in my heart, not stressing me out, not causing me more grief. There's plenty of negativism in the "real" world that I'm exposed to. News is something I have a choice about and my choice is to remain happily oblivious.

I'm asking you, no matter your religion, your stance on our president elect, or Hillary, your view on politics... try not to bring your children down, try not to lose lifelong friendships... if they were your lifelong friends, I hope this wouldn't be an issue. Try not to let it ruin your day, your week, your month, your year. Spread happiness and kindness. Our kids, our world, our lives could use a little more love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Be still my heart...

*this was saved and never posted*

It's bittersweet when school starts. It's a love hate thing for me. I see Bella's excitement to see her friends again. Our family runs on routine. We ALL do much better when things are well planned and we have a schedule. Heck, we even merged our calendars and started using google calendars to keep track of everything. I like knowing whats coming next and how I can be prepared. It helps to keep me from losing my $hit!

We've been talking up starting school for the last few weeks. After all, it is Grayson's first year in school. I can't believe my little lover is ready for school! It's bitter sweet for sure. He's such a love bug, he's kind and considerate. He's sweet and sincere. He's the best "finder" on the planet, you lose it, he'll find it... quickly! He loves dirt and worms. He LOVES wolves and is passionate about learning all that he can about them. He is the baby that mended my broken heart, coming into my arms two short days after my dad suddenly passed away. I remember little from his early days. I was blessed beyond belief but broken beyond belief as well. I remember nursing him through the tears in the middle of the night. I remember holding him a little longer because his sweet body fit just right in my arms. 

This morning, I watched him start his journey. His journey of learning and making friends. His journey of truly finding his own identity from his siblings. While I know that he has his own personality, his own loves and dislikes, this is going to be life changing for him. This is the only time in his life that will he will spend this much time apart from his siblings. He will grow in a new way. He will discover more of his passions... and with that follows dislikes as well. He will find his own friends, not Bella's friends, not daycare friends that his siblings share, his very own friends. His branch is growing our tree of life. 

Bella was beyond excited. She woke up at 5:45am and raced into the bathroom with a GINORMOUS smile on her face. She's said for the last two days "This year is going to be great, I just know it! I LOOOOOOVE my teacher. She's totally awesome!" Her face and her excitement were priceless. It reminded me of myself on the morning that I married her father. She was ready to head to school at 6am :) However, we contained her until it was REALLY time to start! I was ready before I was dressed, showered or had makeup or my wedding dress on! My mom, Ginny, Jackie and Leslie kept me contained until it was REALLY time!

And so it begins, our first year with two kids in school. Our first year with just Luca in daycare and home with me on my days off. Two kids with homework and school activities.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Homemade DIY shampoo

If you don't know us well, I'll let you in on some insight. We are a little bit crunchy and hippie. We cloth diapered all 3 of our kids. We now use the old cloth diaper prefolds for rags in the garage or when camping. We make our own laundry detergent, we use essential oils, we made our own version of Vicks, we mostly buy used clothes for the kids, we religiously recycle, homemade beard oil. ... yeah the list goes on. We try to do our part to make the environment a better place for all of us. We've been using this for about a year. Ryan and the boys love it. Bella and I had some greasiness at first. We've once again started the whole family on this shampoo due to the lice incident. Research says lice don't like peppermint or tea tree.

Here's our recipe
– ¼ cup of distilled water,
– ¼ cup of Castile Soap (in liquid form and be sure it's UNSCENTED)
– 2 teaspoons of jojoba oil,
– 1/8 of teaspoon of peppermint oil, and
– 1/8 of teaspoon of tea tree oil.

Mix the Castile soap and oils first and add distilled water in the end.. This mixture is excellent for dry hair.

Of course there are other recipes out there. This is a recipe that we've tried and have success using. We've tried other recipes that we didn't care for, live and learn! We purchased all of our supplies on amazon. Be sure to use smile.amazon.com when shopping and put Camp No Limits or Lucky Fin Project as the charities you are supporting. This helps kids like Bella get to camp or get the resources that they need!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Are you ready to itch?

A few weeks ago we had head lice at our house... as in we, I mean Bella. I was pulling her blond hair into a ponytail and noticed a few little sesame seed looking things in her hair. Immediately I knew what it was... cue the itching, the scratching, the panicking!
No nits were present, just the lice. I picked the 5 lice out of her hair then proceeded to treat her head. Poor babe! It took over an hour. Ten minutes of treatment time followed by an hour of combing every single hair with the teeny tiny comb that came with our kit. Not our idea of a good Monday.

These are not my pictures but rest assured I took about 10 pictures and sent them to my pediatric nurse friends. I can tell you now that they were all itching and scratching when the text came through. They tried to calm my frazzled nerves but I can tell you now, I'd rather have a yeast infection than head lice at my house. (Yes you read that right! TMI maybe but oh so true!)

Yes we did about 10 loads of laundry on hot. We washed every single thing that they could have been on. We checked the boys, I checked Ryan and he checked me. Talk about a crazy night. Not ideal.

The key is to check for them and treat them as soon as possible. We also did some major education at our house about sharing hats, brushes and hair ties. The thing about school is that the kids coats all hang so close together, if one kid has it then they all could get it.

This time we used an over the counter treatment called "Lice Free". I also know that you use cetaphil and then blowdry your hair and sleep with that in your hair. The next morning you'll have to wash it out and comb through to be sure you get all of the nits.

Contrary to popular belief, lice love clean hair... so don't knock me when I don't wash my kids hair all week :) Kidding... kind of. Needless to say, dry shampoo has become my friend. If you have any recommendations for good dry shampoo brands, sent them my way! We've also been using a homemade shampoo with peppermint oil and tea tree oil. The thing about it was that it left Bella's hair a little greasy looking. I think because it doesn't strip all of the good nutrients from your hair. Now, we are back to using it and just using less conditioner. The tea tree oil and peppermint are said to deter lice... in our case, we'll take all the help we can get!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Perfectly flawed

My aunt posted about missing my grandmother. She died what seems like many years ago... before I had kids. She had ALS. It's a horrific disease. My aunt said she was "perfectly flawed". It made me think about myself and about my kids.

When I went to visit my sister in law before Bella ever started daycare, another mom came in to pick up her son. She said "he was born with a cleft lip, it's not like missing a hand or foot something." I remember my heart sinking as I nursed my little 6 pound love bug under a nursing cover. I don't remember the specifics of what happened but I do know that although Bella has an obvious limb difference, it's by no means a flaw in my eyes.

Bella is perfect. She has flaws just like EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this plant. Some of them have yet to be discovered I'm sure.  I'm her mother and I am not here to put them on the internet... what I will put out here are my flaws. Some of my flaws are also my strengths... one example, I'm SO type A and I like to get things done perfect the first time and I don't like to delegate. This can make life challenging at times and also frustrating. Another thing about it is that it gets done the way I want and then it makes me happy in the end... so what is my flaw is also a strength.

I'm full of flaws. Some are visible and some are not... I challenge you to be perfectly flawed. To celebrate your differences, whether visible or not. I challenge you to support those around you and their flaws as well. Kindness makes a giant difference!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Life and madness

This life is a crazy life but it's our life and I wouldn't trade it for the world...

I'm sitting at our kitchen table trying to work. I'm surrounded by half-eaten bowls of cereal, a reading journal, play doh, a number of water cups, a cereal box, tiny shoes, messy walls and sight words to name a few. I'm also surrounded by this computer, a pediatric textbook (that's a mere 2046 pages), a binder full of exams, printed off powerpoints, highlighters, pens, post its, a flash drive, my cell phone and a purse.

Today was busy as are most days. I did 4 loads of laundry without rewashing a single one (Can I get an Amen?!). I met with a student. I met with another mom. I met with a teacher at our child's school. I went to recess with Bella and Grayson. I heard a secret from one little girl about how Grayson told her that he loved her so much he could kiss her (help me God!). I laughed... and I've almost cried.

I'm a full time working mama. My days are filled with emails... hundreds of emails. Emails from students, other professors, school, other moms at my kids school, parties, and random other junk. My mornings are rushed, making lunches, cleaning faces, fixing ponytails, encouraging teeth brushing and racing out the door in the nick of time. My evenings are filled with snacks, dinner, homework, reading, worksheets, grading, more emails, more reading, bath, snuggles and bedtime. There are nights I fall asleep on the couch... more nights than I care to admit.

I wouldn't trade my career for the world. I love nursing, I love pediatric nursing, I love students, teaching, my colleagues at my college, education, labs, lectures, clinical and simulations. I'm teaching my kids about my passion and showing them that I can be successful. I'm helping to afford us to skip the new couch and go camping instead or on vacation. I've traded bedside nursing and long shifts to more time at home in the evenings and no weekends. I've traded missing holidays to being present at every single one.

I wouldn't trade being a mother for the world either. It challenges me many times more than my career. It's filled my house with tiny shoes, messy floors, laughter and most of all love. Someday, I'll miss the many loads of laundry or finding a potato that came down the laundry shoot. I'll miss the tiny handprints on the mirrors and the messy floors. In my heart, I know that I will. I wonder if I'll even feel a little lonely without them here. My kids have taught me to love unconditionally and how to stand up and set a solid example for them.

As mothers and parents, I encourage you to be supportive. I'm on pinterest although most days it makes me feel inadequate. I mean who has time to complete 20 projects, fancy dinners, totally organized houses? Do you remember me saying that I'm proud that I didn't have to re-wash any laundry from forgetting it today? Be kind to each other. I know I could use a little support every now and then to feel more normal.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Facebook depression

I teach a growth and development class for the college where I work. I love love love my job. It makes me feel proud. Proud that I get to shape these individuals into better students, into future nurses, proud that I have a group of dedicated colleagues, that care as much or more than I do, that give 110% all of the time. I'm truly blessed to be combining two of my favorite things, nursing and education.

Last week, I taught about family and social media. There's a thing in our text book called "Facebook depression". Each time I teach that topic I wonder what our world is coming too. Social media has the ability to make people depressed. As if we don't already have enough going on in our world that we need to add to it in a negative way.

Last week I thought about it in a different way. Maybe people get depressed from social media not only from the negativity but maybe it makes them feel like they are not enough. They didn't create the perfect pinterest classroom project, they didn't cook a gourmet meal for their family every night, they didn't get to the gym as much as someone else, their marriage isn't as good as someone else. Social media has the ability to bring out the best and the worst in people. It's an easy outlet for people to express themselves quickly to a number of people and friends.

For me, I post the good, the bad, the ugly. Motherhood and life is enough. I don't need further negativity in my life. I block the posts that bring me down and read more of the ones that lift me up. I love the honesty of some of my friends. One friend posts about going to the gym one day and eating mexican the next. It's all about balance for her... and for me too. One posts funny pictures about her kids and her husband.

This week, I encourage you to use social media to lift people up. Don't post things that are highly controversial, take a break. Don't you already have enough going on in your life? Post about how you find the balance, post about how you manage your time, how you handle your stress, how you find the balance between being a mom, a wife and an employee... Lift people up... See how it helps you and makes you feel.

As for me, I'm still finding the balance. I started my "new" job as a full time faculty just this past summer. I'm struggling to find the balance between doing work at work and bringing it home. I'm struggling to get meals on the table that are healthy and that people eat. I'm struggling to feel like I am a good wife AND a good mom. I will tell you that I'm doing the very best I can. I'm giving 110% of me all of the time. My house is often messy, we really, deep clean it about once a week. There are often backpacks on the floor and shoes scattered around. I'm figuring out that it's okay... someday those tiny shoes will be the same size as mine, some day the backpacks won't be there. Right now, I'm finding the balance between purging and keeping. How do YOU find the balance?