September 30, 2011

Date Night: Love Messaging

E and I don't have a ton of time for "dating" these days. Between the kids, 32 school credits, and 40 hours of work each week anything not mandatory gets overlooked. We know from previous experience that the extra stress puts extra strain on our marriage. Today I'd like to share one way we like to help ease that and still feel like a couple through all the work.

We attend school together on a campus where EVERYONE is looking for a spouse. It's kinda crazy but I will probably have 3 or 4 guys open the door for me a day and each one looks at my left had in the process. I just have to laugh but it's kind of fun to use all the pickup lines we hear on each other. We usually do this through texting. In my mind there is nothing better than having a love note waiting for you when you get out of class. It's nothing fancy but it is so nice to know that E is thinking about me even when we're not together. If you need some great ideas to get you started you can see 101 here. I'll just list a few of my favorites. Let me know how it goes!


1. If I bite my lip will you kiss it better?
2. Hershey factories make hundreds of kisses a day, but I'm only asking for one.
3. I wish you were a sine squared and I was a cosine squared, because together we could be one.
4. Can I have your picture? (Why?) So I can show Santa what I want for Christmas!
5. Lets make like fabric softener and Snuggle!

September 29, 2011

Adoptable Pet: Harvard

After our recent visit to the fair E and I have been talking about rabbits so here's today's adoptable pet.

Harvard is a neutered male rabbit that's about two years old. He loves to play and the best part is he's adoptable today from the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals!

Some reasons I think rabbits are great pets is that you can litter train them just like cats so they make awesome house guests. Rabbits are extremely soft and you will love to cuddle with them. There are also many sizes, shapes and colors to choose from so you are sure to find a perfect fit for your family! Make sure you check out Harvard and all the other adoptable rabbits today!

September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Tummy Time

Pre-Christmas Organizing

In many homes it seems to be tradition to have a pre-Christmas cleaning session. It is like spring cleaning but for the toy room and the closet so all the new gifts fit. The Kerr house is not exempt from this project and this year we are so excited to have awesome new rooms to clean. Today I'd like to share with you some of our best organizing tips.

  1. Get sturdy bins. A good bin that is not going to break when your child steps on it is an excellent first step. Broken bins are the first step to a huge mess so we have found this investment to be well worth the money. We also like to use ones with nice handles so the kids can carry them without leaving a trail.
  2. Avoid lids. Especially for little kids, lids are just something else they cannot put back. Lids make a mess, break easily, and in general are just something else to keep track of. We've found that it is much easier to keep things clean if we just leave them off.
  3. Use pictures. For our little kids this is very important. B & C have no idea what "truck" means but if I draw a picture as a label for the box we all know exactly what belongs there and they can then get the right item in the right spot all by themselves.
  4. Have sturdy Shelves. Another important part of every toy room is the shelves. Sturdy shelves save so much space and help keep things organized. Once again, avoid doors as it is just one more thing that makes your room look messy. At the Kerr house we have opted for a set of bookshelves with the backs taken off so our boxes fit better.
  5. Get a stuffed animal net. We got this last Christmas and it has turned out to be a lifesaver! The animals used to slowly overtake my house but now that they are out of reach it has greatly reduced our mess.
  6. Clean up regularly. It has become routine at our house to clean up each night after dinner. The big deal is Mom & Dad do not clean up the toys, B & C do. This has been a great learning experience for them and they now do it willingly while we clean up dinner and do other necessary chores.
  7. Don't be afraid to throw toys away. Get rid of broken toys, toys your kids no longer use, or toys that don't have all the pieces and do not work. Not having all the little pieces for a game the kids have destroyed will save you a lot of pick up time. Just wait till the kids are in bed before throwing them away and they will never be the wiser.
  8. Rotate toys. Another strategy is to rotate toys. Kids often get bored of toys when they play with the same ones day after day. Try rotating which ones are on the lower shelves and/or putting some in a box and putting them away for a month or two. Each time you do this it will be like Christmas all over again.
  9. Don't buy little dinky toys. Don't waste your money on little dollar store toys. It is so much better to save your money or purchase a better quality toy so that it does not break a week later and then lay around your toy room for the next year.
  10. Keep toys out of the kids rooms. This is something we are just beginning to do now that we have an actual toy room but so far it is working well. The boys don't have hardly any toys in their bedrooms which helps me keep them clean and be able to have successful nap times. I think this is especially important for toddlers who are easily distracted.
 I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

September 27, 2011

Cleaning up the Mess

Most of you have probably read about our recent water mishaps if not you can read about them here. As a result we had quite the mess to clean up. The funny thing was that after E wrecked his car last week, still working on getting to that story, we had the insurance adjuster over to look at the car. He then preceded to tell us that he did a plumbing fix on this house just over a year ago.

This made us very sad as obviously whoever the previous owners hired to repair the damage did an awful job. It made me realize how thankful I am for the people who do home repairs the right way. Weather you do them yourself or hire someone your home is important and making sure it is a safe place to live is an important job.

Thankfully our plumbing is all fixed now, at least until we redo the other bathrooms pipes. Now all I need to do is finish repairing the water damage in the cupboards. Wish me luck!

This post has been brought to you by repairing water damaged floors Austin.

Toddler Tuesday: Holiday Shopping

It's just about that time of year again when you need to start thinking about holiday shopping. Yes, I'm one of the crazy people and I have everything bought except their clothes because it is so hard to guess what size to get for my growing boys. I am however now on the lookout for some awesome outfits for this holiday season. One of my favorite places to shop for discounted clothing is Zulily. They have adorable clothes, and lots of other fun stuff at great prices! Here are some of the items I'm currently watching. Go check it out as they sell out fast!

September 26, 2011

Mom Shop: Head To Toe

About Head to Toe:

My name is Christy. I am a stay at home mother of three girls (ages 11,7,4) and one boy(age 9). I have been selling on etsy since Aug. 7 2007 on a different shop. I was born in Texas and have lived in Texas, all 35 years of my life. I was taught to sew by my mother 20 years ago and still love sewing. I made my first Queen Size quilt when I was 17 years old. I even hand quilted it. I now teach my three daughters to sew. I am doing what I love. Thank you to everyone who buys from my ETSY store HEAD TO TOE.

You may wonder how I came up with my shop name. Just like most moms, I started making and selling hair bows(HEAD) and sewing ruffled ribbon on socks(TOE),so that is how I came up with HEAD TO TOE. Now I am making something totally different, which I enjoy creating with all the different fabrics. I decided to keep my shop name the same. 

My Thoughts:

With allergy season in full swing I felt this was an appropriate shop to feature. These tissue covers are so cute! I wonder if she could make one for our tissue, aka a roll of toilet paper. It sure is ugly! Happy shopping!

September 25, 2011

Blogorama Bonanza Winners

Thanks to all who participated!

Our two lucky winners are:

Kids - LB

Adult - Christine


Winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond.

Straight Talk

This post brought to you by Straight Talk. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you ever wonder if you can save on your phone bill? It is something I've been pondering especially this week with all the crazy extra expenses, like a new car. The biggest thing for me is when I Call a friend I don't want to have to worry about how much money I'm spending. That's why I want to tell you about Straight Talk.

They have me Hook, line and sinker with their great deals. Their "All You Need Plan" is only $45 a month and includes 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30 MB of web data That is more than E and I use put together.

You can get your phone reconditioned for as little as $10 or you can get something fancy and new. You can even get Android on Straight Talk.

Doesn't this sound great! What could you buy with the money you save every month on your phone bill? Oh, and did I forget to mention there are no activation, reactivation or termination fees? That's right, all you pay is your monthly bill. How awesome is that? Get Everything you need for one low price and before you know it the extra will be building in your pocket.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday Project: Nap Time

Today's post is way late because I spent the day catching up on much needed sleep. Between moving and school it's been crazy. Thankfully I now feel better so I'm working on a great project for next week. Hope you all had a great weekend!

September 24, 2011

Saving Saturday - When I didn't use coupons

Ok, so I used one coupon for the yellow shirt and some register rewards I had that were expiring. But in all honesty, going back to school has thrown things off to the point that last weeks coupons still aren't cut. Tomorrow could be fun! 

I shopped Target & Walgreens

Total Spent: $8.28
Total Saved: $68.84 (89.3%)
Rewards Earned: $15.00

EdenFantasys - Add Some Flavor - *Adult*

Are you looking for a great way to add some new flavor to your intimate relationship? If so there are some awesome sales going on right now at EdenFantasys that you should know about because they have some awesome deals going on their lubricants.

The biggest deal will save you 15% on all WET and ID lubes. There are so many to choose from I'm sure you'll find something you'd like to try. This has everything including cool tingle, massage, warming, scented, sugar free, flavored and more.

Also, the ID Juicy Lubes are buy 2 get 1 free. These are flavored lubes that are very out of the box flavor wise. For this deal you can mix and match flavors so feel free to try something new or stock up on your favorites.

There are also a couple of deals where if you buy a toy you get a free lube. These include awesome toys. One way you can get this is to choose ANY LELO product. They have vibrators in every shape and size plus some other fun things like blindfolds and handcuffs.

To find all of these and many other great deals make sure you check out the Promotions page. Also, don't forget to add your free gift to your basket before you check out.

Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

September 23, 2011

Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week

Having worked with the shelter I have to tell you about this awesome program that Petfinder does once a year. Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week is an awesome chance for you to meet some of the animals who get looked over by most people entering the shelters for various reasons. For example, the biggest problem in our area is black dogs. When I was running the adoption center we could have 2 dogs, or cats, one white/brown and one black with very similar personalities that were trained and about the same age. The black one would almost always be there 3-4 weeks longer than the other minimum. The other animals that are hard to adopt are ones that are over two years old. These animals still have so much life left in them, at least eight years, and are usually very well mannered so they make great family dogs. 

I would highly encourage you to check out all the less adoptable animals on Petfinder's feature page or go to visit your local shelter to find your new friend. Or, if you can't adopt right now, gifts of money, food, and other necessary items are almost always appreciated.

This is Precious from AL. She is six years old and would love to find a home with her three year old brother.  They both love to have their bellies rubbed and are mild mannered indoor cats. Precious' special need is to have anti-furball treatments and regular brushing. Contact T-Town PAWS to learn more today.

Date Night: Dos and Dont's of PDA

Did you know that most people draw the line at tongue? Or that the most common thought in people's minds when they see you hugging your partner is "Awww"? To learn more about this and other forms of PDA head over to this great article. Happy date night!

September 22, 2011

Blogorama Bonanza - Giveaway Time

Welcome to Blogorama Bonanza! Thanks for stopping by. Now on to the great prizes.

For the Adults
Total Value: $140.95


A Gift Basket from Snikiddy.

A Set of Wristbands from Yakitoko.

An I Love You in 120 Languages Pendant from NanoStyle.

For the Kids
Total Value: $111.06

Booby Tubes and Natural Nipple Butter from Earth Mama.

The Case of the Purple Diamonds from Gilbert & Taggart.

A Champ 2.0 from GoGreen Pocket Diapers.

A Gift Basket from Buttpaste.

A DVD from SockEye Media.

Preparing the Nursery

Preparing a nursery for your little one is something that I envy. Three kids down the road I have yet to do so. With B it was because I was put on bed rest and spent the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy in and out of the hospital. C of course just decided to arrive early and with B's developmental delays the nursery was the last thing on my mind. With D I had all the good intentions of preparing the nursery. I had it all planed out for our new house so as soon as we moved I could get his room ready. Of course, we didn't end up moving until after he was born and since then we've been frantically trying to get the house put together so we can focus on school.

One thing I have done however is make a quilt for each of my children. This is something special for me to work on prior to their birth and something they can keep for years to come. I still have the quilt(s) my grandmother made for me as a baby/young girl and they mean so much to me. C especially loves "his" blanket and will tell anyone who steals it exactly what he thinks. I also made a matching crib set that all the boys have used. It's not fancy but they like it and the bright fabric and pictures make their room a bright and happy place.

One thing I'm going to do for the nursery as soon as I have two minutes to spare is paint. Our new house is all white upstairs and I'm already planning colors. In the nursery I want to do light blue walls and than my good friend is going to come help me paint something fun. Right now I'm thinking some jungle animals.

The other thing our nursery needs is some curtains. I love the large windows in our new home but sometimes it makes it more difficult to get nap time because it is so bright. I'm still looking for the perfect set of curtains for this room.

For me the most important thing about a room however is the toys inside. My kids don't have tons of toys in their rooms simply because I want them to sleep at bedtime but, the decorations and furniture can all help your child's development. We love to use bright colors with simple furniture. Step stools are a must, they do so much as your child gets older and you can find some very cute ones to match their room. Blankets are also important. C needs a special weighted blanket but for any child having covers they love can greatly help sleep.

What is your nursery theme? Tell us about it, we love pictures too!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seventh Generation blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Our New Backyard

We are so disappointed that it is getting cold outside. Since we have moved, and now have a great fenced backyard, the boys have loved being outside. They will spend all day out there some days and have a grand time. This has however caused a few problems that we have not had in the past.

For starters we have learned that C is allergic to sunscreen, especially on his face. This means they either have to wear their awesome Kerrific sun hats or not go out.Thankfully, they are usually pretty good at putting their hats on and keeping them on, the rest of the time they are used as buckets and are full of dirt, rocks, and grass.

The second problem we have had is that the boys have decided they love to play in the dog's food and water. This makes a HUGE mess and is so frustrating. They are learning, slowly, but I guess that's better than nothing. Do you have any tips or tricks on how to keep toddlers out of the animals' food/water?

The last problem we've been having is that C has been having more asthma attacks. This is so hard because he wants to keep playing when it happens and just can't. It also means that we have had to bring out the breathing treatments which he hates. He had a bad attack yesterday with the babysitter. I hadn't even thought to warn her so we got home and she tells us that C is up and didn't get a nap because he was coughing. It was kinda funny because she was telling me he wasn't like that in the morning and promising me she didn't break him. The good news is that we gave him a treatment and he was back to "normal" before the night was over.

Although they have had fun for the little bit of summer we've had left after moving I can't wait to see their reaction when I can send them out to play in the snow. I know they have snow pants and coats but I need to find them a good pair of gloves so they can continue to enjoy the great outdoors once the snow flies.

What do your toddlers like to do outside? Do they have a special game they like to play? Do you have a special place you like to go ( Tell us about it with a comment below this post!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

September 20, 2011

Toddler Tuesday - Changing Diapers
One of those dreaded things about having children is changing diapers. I have one son in particular who is going through a rebellious stage and driving me crazy because he won't let me change his diaper. As a result his bottom is very red and sore. Today when I was looking around I found this great article with some tips for diaper changing. Here are a few of their suggestions.

1. Keep your supplies stocked
2. Keep messy objects out of reach
3. Keep toys in reach
4. Use your changing table strap

If you have another great idea let me know, we're open to any and all suggestions!

September 19, 2011

Mom Shop: Sew Cute in AZ

About Sew Cute in AZ:

I started sewing about 2 years ago learning a few tips and tricks from my mom before I started really sewing on my own...

I made a car seat cover for my daughter's toddler seat for fun and thought I would list it on Etsy- I had no idea it would grow to having 2 stores, selling over 1200 covers and now requring my husband and mom to help me out.

I try to keep my items as affordable as humanly possible while ensuring hard work isn't wasted.. I love to add new fabrics and help create truly custom items for Etsy customers. I go to textile shows in L.A and Las Vegas as often as possible to keep up with upcoming color trends and designs.

Some of my favorite fabric designers are Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, Amy Butler and Riley Blake.

My Thoughts:

Having made one of these myself I know how difficult it can be. Go check out what an awesome job Miriam does on these seat covers!

September 18, 2011

Sunday Project: Halloween Food

With Halloween just around the corner I've been on the lookout for awesome party ideas. Not that we'll have a party but I love to share the spirit of the holiday with my kids. I found these awesome treat ideas I just had to share. There are so many to pick from you'll have a hard time choosing. Check it out at Our Best Bites.

I think this is the one we are going to do with our kids. So quick and easy but absolutely adorable!

September 17, 2011

Awesome Fish

You may not know but we have 2 fish tanks here at the Kerr house. We recently deep cleaned them and have started with some new fish since we moved so I have been looking at lots of fun ideas about what to do with them. In my search I found this awesome tank!

Wouldn't this be so fun to have at your house! This whole post is full of fun tanks that are unique and beautiful. Where would you love to have your fish tank? I've always wanted one in the wall between my kitchen and family room, like a window only not.

Designer Liners Review & Giveaway

About Designer Liners:

Muriel Wiener, one of New York’s most successful executives in the promotional advertising business, has made a career out of developing new concepts for both things that people know they want and for things they never realized they needed.
While recuperating from an accident that was so serious, she could barely see (even her eyeglasses didn’t help much), for the first time in her life, she needed help in the house. And, during the course of her daily activities, this misguided helper committed what for Muriel was the unimaginable…she stuffed a grocery bag into the waste basket.
Even with limited vision and broken glasses she could see that there was a grocery bag in the waste basket, but something red and black was in the bottom, pretty; however, in Muriel's house a grocery bag in the trash is a definite no-no. Upon further investigation she saw it was a logo. Outrage set in, but then came the idea. Put a pretty pattern on the inside of biodegradable plastic bag, or a logo and "dress the mess".
Finally a solution to the age old problem of trash. If someone who had recently had an accident and to heal from the inside out still found this it to be an eyesore, then it should be no less acceptable to any of you or your clients.
Thus designerliners was conceived. If our paper towels have a pretty print and they get thrown out immediately, then the waste basket liner should be shown the same respect.
So from leopard prints to logos you can finally smile at your very own trash!!

Saving Saturday

This was a fairly good week as I didn't get out to shop until Thursday. I shopped Walgreens, Target and Walmart and I got some awesome deals on items for next summer, notice the sandals, t-shirt and toddler camp chairs.

Total Spent: $32.75
Total Saved: $161.84 (83.2%)
Rewards Received: $26.00

September 16, 2011

Date Night: Thinking out of the Box

This week I found some awesome ideas for our date night over at Fake Empire. These ideas would be great for any age group and I encourage you to go check them out. They are so awesome I've had a hard time picking a favorite to share here but I think I'll have to go with the "build forts out of furniture and blankets and wage war with paper airplanes." I can just see E and I having a blast doing this and the best part is there is no planning ahead!

Happy date night!

September 13, 2011

Toddler Tuesday: Original Art

As we work on decorating our new house I'm always up for fun ideas. This one is from over at Happenings of the Harper Household and I thought it was absolutely adorable! What other ways have you had your children create original art for their rooms?

September 12, 2011

Moving to Florida

Guest post from: Mohamed Simon 

We moved not too long ago into a new place in Florida and it was only the terrible real estate market that allowed us to do so. It’s been so great finally realizing our dream to live somewhere warmer and better than where we’ve been in Jersey. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently bad about the Garden State but we’ve really gotten sick of the snow the last few years. The house we bought was a foreclosure so it needs some work since it’s been vacant the last few months but it’s got a great pool and it even has a palm tree in the front yard! I went online and got us direct tv Clermont Fl packages for the TVs and my husband says he’s going to buy a lawnmower soon and we’re still debating what to do about the internal work that needs to be done. I love having a place near the beach and though the economy’s terrible I’m so glad it’s afforded us this amazing opportunity to invest!

Mom Shop: Aid for Abby

About Aid for Abby:

We are here to sell a product in order to save up money to move forward in life. Abby suffers from Autism, Expressive/Receptive Language Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I made the ultimate sacrifice, I gave up all material possessions so that my child could continue receiving medical treatment and therapies. I was just informed as well that she has a mild case of scoliosis. Abby’s care for her autism, speech and OCD are not covered under her insurance policy. Medicaid has denied her as well stating I should obtain services for her conditions through the public school system. I complete applications for assistance on a weekly basis to various organizations but to no avail. Since her diagnosis at the age of 2 1/2 years until now at the age of 11, her cost of care has been my sole responsibility. I do not have any credit cards so I cannot charge her care. Lately, we have been selling Abby’s original artwork on Etsy (AidforAbby). I cannot work outside of the home due to a disability for which I receive a small amount of money each month. It's not easy, I will tell you that. I have the same hopes, dreams and plans for her as I do my other children. Along with the financial burden of medical bills, we want to get back on our feet and replace what we have lost. I’m hoping to raise funds first and foremost for Abby’s continued medical treatments, house downpayment and vehicle to purchase.

We (myself, Abby and her brother Nathan) are what they call a “displaced family”. We do not have a home of our own in which to live, I do not own a vehicle, and I have no other possessions of my own with the exception of the clothing, family photographs and artwork of my children. A neighbor knew of our plight and I firmly believe that God intervened on our behalf. He provides us with a place to stay and I can use his vehicle for transportation. We also have Abby’s therapy dog Buster, who is a beagle. He needs more help than Abby does on certain days! It is not easy to live with a child that has autism as any parent who has a child like mine will attest to. 

I have learned so much from my daughter that it would be hard to sum it up in one word. Each day I experience the joy of learning something new from her. I have had the honor of watching her make such tremendous progress in school even with Autism. I take her to all of her other therapy appointments outside of school. My daughter, like other children who have Autism have an inner sense of self. They know who they are and what makes them happy. They don’t seem to be affected by the same time constraints, worries, and anxieties about the future. I have come to appreciate more just living in the moment. After all, the now is really all we have! The past is in our minds and the future is not guaranteed with an outcome that may or may not ever occur.

The three most common early symptoms of Autistic Disorder are a lack of eye contact, a lack of pointing and a lack of responding. Many children with Autistic Disorder have little or no interest in making friends or establishing relationships and often seem more interested in objects than in people. They don’t engage in typical play activities like pretend play, and they use toys differently from typical children, preferring to line them up or else focus on parts of a toy (e.g. twirling the string on a pull toy or spinning the wheels of a new car). This was the case with Abby. She would spend hours lining up toys making sure they were all in perfect order. 

Abby was completely the opposite of her older siblings. While the other siblings had been quite active and verbal, Abby was quiet and reserved. I wasn’t initially concerned because I felt that there was so much noise in the house from the siblings that Abby would not be able to get a word in any conversation. Abby was an easy going infant and toddler and was not a high maintenance baby like the other siblings. In fact, Abby was quite content to keep herself busy with her own activities of lining objects up along the table or floor. About this time, I also noticed that she had sensitive hearing and that these noises would upset her. Noises such as a loud television, motorcycles, applause for an indoor area. She would put her hands over her ears and started to cry. I often thought she could hear a gnat fart as her hearing was that sensitive!

I became concerned around the time that Abby turned 18 months old that she did not have the vocabulary of other children her age. A visit to her pediatrician confirmed that she needed to be referred to a developmental specialist as she only had 5 words at a time where she should have had hundreds. Upon the pediatrician’s recommendation of two physicians, one a neurologist and the other a developmental pediatrician, we made the appointments. When tested, Abby had an IQ of 70, a score that, coupled with the fact that she showed significant deficits in communication skills, social skills and everyday adaptive behavior, Abby was ultimately give a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder.

Only people who have an autistic child can possibly know how it feels to hear the news of his or her own child being diagnosed with “Autism Spectrum Disorder”. How your world comes crumbling under your feet, how your heart wanted to stop the very moment, unable to block out what you had just heard. This was I and I am sure was the same way my husband felt when he heard the devastating news. Unfortunately, he never overcame the denial phase. Probably he was more in denial than me, for my motherly instinct was that something is wrong. At first, everything appeared okay. Our daughter, an energetic infant, full of smiles, growing lovely in all aspect, developing to her age, was able to talk, at least 5 words that she could utter and then at some point, she started to regress, in progress. 

These were some of the signs of Autism. I can recall trying to get Abby to say the word “milk” was a four hour struggle, with crying and tantrum, only pointing towards the refrigerator refusing to say “milk” just simply walk away and curled up on the sofa. Most of the time, I simply can’t get her to do anything; she was always in a “quiet state” staring. Abby will not make “eye contact”, sometimes response to her name, in a quick glance to us. She was very quiet, kept to herself most of the time even Abby’s food appetite had changed, she became an extremely picky eater. Abby would not interact with babies her own age while she was in a playgroup, keep clinging to me, or will play in a corner by herself. These were some of the changes had me wondering “Why?” Abby was a healthy baby otherwise; we live a normal healthy life, with no wild lifestyle, that can cause damage to my baby or myself. I previously had three normal deliveries of three healthy and normal babies before she was born. We were told it was not our fault as parents, and that the cause of autism remains unknown. 

Abby was also tested by the local school system for inclusion in early intervention programs that are available. She qualified and at the early age of 3, she started Special Education Class with a therapist assisting her. Most of the basic school lessons and basic understanding of the concepts of things around her were presented in a visual way, by using picture cards. As a mother, I am very pleased with her achievement and have seen a tremendous change of who she was and who she is at present. She continues to strive to make progress towards her IEP goals. Beside her school lessons coming along fine, she now has a best buddy at school that she relates to. 

She has mastered the basic techniques of doing things for her age group, like putting on her shoes, clothes (have trouble sometimes with her pants buttons) although she still does not pick out her own clothes to wear, using the potty, (had fully mastered the potty at age 5), and trying to brush her hair.

Abby does obsess about certain topics such as trains, horses and wheel or circles to the point where nothing or no one else seems to exist. She has a tendency to fixate on specific routine or ritual, have stereotyped or repetitive actions or movements or fixate on parts of objects (e.g. wheels of a train). Abby also has a heightened sensitivity to certain sounds, sights, smells, tastes or textures. Thus, a lot of her artwork is done in circles or wheels. 

Abby also has self-stimulating behaviors called stims. These are self-stimulatory behaviors. Repetitive behaviors, like spinning in circles or twirling hair, they are common in autistic people. They are not unique to those with autism, but the difference between the autistic stims is that they have a way of shutting off the brain to other stimuli. This can be a good thing when the brain is over stimulated and just needs a break. Don’t we wish we all had a way to shut out the world sometimes? But, if a person is in an autistic stim, it is near impossible to get their attention.

I also ask you to put yourself in the shoes of someone who's family is affected by autism. The battle of emotions, stress, guilt, worry, and mental distress can be overwhelming and exhausting. AND the families live with this 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
Of course, like so many individuals and families that are out there struggling, I am no different. Do I wish I could have had a magic wand to change some of the past struggles that my family has endured, yes! Have I learned from these experiences, yes! Would I trade the bond of love that our family has come to enjoy because of all the struggles, no!
So to my daughter who suffers from autism, I love you exactly as you are, today, in this moment. I accept you for who you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are all a mother could ask for. I will love you no matter where this journey in life takes us. All you have to do is keep being yourself. That is what I truly love about you. You are just yourself!
Thank you for being you. Thank you for accepting me with all my faults. You bring so many wonderful things to my life each and every day. Thank you for inspiring me to become a better person and mom to you and others. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for trusting that everything is working out exactly as it’s supposed to. I'm trying the best that I can and someday, yes, we will have a home again to call our own.

My Thoughts:

There could be no greater cause! Please go check it out.

September 11, 2011

Sunday Project: Flubber Sensory Fun

We found a great project this week over at Anderson's Angels. We love sensory fun and this flubber is going to be awesome for the kids to play with, messy but awesome! I remember playing with this when I was little and I'm sure you've probably seen it too but for a refresher head over HERE to see the recipe. 

Have a great week!

September 10, 2011

Mental Illness and Your Town Review

About Mental Illness and Your Town:

A Blueprint for Community Action From Award-Winning Journalist Larry Hayes

Written with authority and compassion, this is the book that rescues mental illness from the shadows and takes the disability into the community.

  • Learn how each person can play a role to help those who so often suffer alone.
  • Hear the stories of the people who’ve found how to triumph over this disability.
  • Discover how everyone can work together to create a treatment revolution that enriches and saves lives.
  • Let this guide open your heart and mind to be inspired and challenged to do the work ahead.

  • My Thoughts:

    This is a great book for those who want to learn how to become an activist for Mental Health. There are awesome ideas about who needs help and how you can help them. If this is something you are interested in make sure you check out the information HERE. You can also read more about the author at his blog which has more great ideas about how you can help in your community.

    Blogorama Bonanza: Earth Mama Spotlight

    Find the perfect gift for mom at Earth Mama! They have wonderful, all natural products for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and baby care. Check them out today!

    Thanks for sponsoring Earth Mama!

    Heart Surgery is a Scary Thing

    Today our important topic is somewhat difficult for me to talk about. This is one of my sweet little cousins KG. This picture was taken when she was just 11 days old right after her heart surgery. Here is some of KG's story as told by her mom. 

    "KG was born on her due date, a healthy 7 lb. 1 oz. beautiful baby girl. We brought her home from the hospital and went on with life as usual. We took her to the pediatrician at 3 days old for a check up and she was given a clean bill of health(except for a little jaundice). Then when she was 5 days old she stopped eating and over the next day or so she became very lethargic and we were concerned. Later in the day she began to turn a sort of grayish color so we took her to the emergency room near our home. 
    "There they told us she wasn't breathing well and they immediately intubated her and put her on a ventilator to help her breathe. However, she was still in distress. She was so severly dehydrated that they couldn't get an IV established after ten attempts! They doctors and nurses continued to do everything they could until she was stabilized and prepared for trasport to a hospital in Boise where she could be cared for in the NICU. There, we were told that they didn't know what was wrong with her but they would keep testing and trying until they found an answer. We were given a parent sleep room for the night and met a pediatric cardiologist first thing in the morning. 
    "During our long sleepless night they had determined that KG had a heart defect called Severe Long-Segment Coarctation of the Aorta. This means that her aorta was kinked and not allowing blood flow to her lower body. We soon received an explanation for what had happened to our baby girl and why it was not caught earlier. When a baby is in the womb they do not breathe with their lungs. Instead of blood flowing out of the heart and to the lungs there is a vessel called a PDA(patent-ductus arteriosis) that bypasses the lungs and sends the blood to the rest of the body. In a normal baby, this PDA closes about a week after birth and is no longer needed. For KG, when the PDA closed she could no longer get blood flow to her body because her aorta was blocked. The ER doctors gave her a medication that reopened the PDA and she was to stay on that until they could repair her aorta with surgery. 
    "KG stayed in the NICU in Boise for 5 days to gain strenght and let her body stabilize. She was sedated and on a ventilator all of that time which made it very difficult to hold her, but we were with her as much as possible. She was then flown via life flight airplane, to Salt Lake City and taken to Primary Children's Medical Center, "where angels walk the halls". Thankfully, Mommy was able to fly with her and stay with her the whole time. Daddy had to drive down soon after with other family members who were also taking care of our then two-year-old. 
    "KG was at PCMC for two days before she had extensive open heart surgery to repair her aorta. The surgery went well and quicker than expected. Then it was just a lot of waiting for her to recover. She stayed in the PICU for about two weeks while she recovered. It was then that we learned that KG has a chromosomal abnormality called Turner Syndrome. For more information we would refer you the the TS Website. After recovering from surgery KG was transferred to a patient room where she stayed for another week learning how to eat and other things a healthy newborn does. Then we were able to bring her home. 
    "Since then, life has been a whirlwind of activities and events. KG is truly a miracle in our life and we are grateful to have been blessed with this child in our family."

    KG is doing well and we all love her to pieces. She just celebrated her 5th birthday and is now attending kindergarten.

    I am participating in a mitral valve repair blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated. However, this is a real story and all views and opinions are my own.  

    Blogorama Bonanza: Snikiddy Review

    About Snikiddy:

    Mom and I are passionate about good health and creating delicious, fun foods that are SIMPLE, WHOLESOME and REAL. That's why we founded Snikiddy!
    At Snikiddy we insist on only THE BEST all natural ingredients. We take pride in knowing that all of our tasty morsels will pass the real test... your family!

    My Thoughts:

    We were sent a bag of Snikiddy Fries to review. The kids loved them! They kept telling me they wanted more of those "ings" which is always a good sign. We also brought these out for everyone who helped us move. Overall they were a big hit so I'd say if you're looking for a good healthy treat Snikiddy is the way to go.

    Saving Saturday - Too Much To Do

    This week I shopped Walgreens, Kmart, Dollar Tree, Staples, and Target.

    The Walgreens manager started yelling at me again (this is the third time this has happened with the same manager) so I got disappointed and didn't do everything I was planning on. Oh well. It's back to school next week so things will slow down anyway.

    Total Spent: $33.15
    Total Saved: $125.72 (79%)
    Shop Credits: $9.00

    Celebrate Doc Johnsons 35th Anniversary at EdenFantasys *Adult*

    That's right, it's time to celebrate at EdenFantasys and to celebrate they are offering up to 30% off select Doc Johnson toys to their Facebook fans. This means there are some awesome deals. Just check it out!

    This iEgg is a bullet with possibilities. It's 2 1/4 inch length will never give away the power it holds with its escalating  pulsating, rollercoaster, surging and vibrating settings. And you can get all this pleasure in your choice of red, blue or purple for the low price of $38.49

    Next up, this awesome Topsy Turvy. This glass dildo has a length of 9 inches and a circumference of 5 inches. It is bold and beautiful at the great price of $34.99.

    This 7 Function Remote Egg is the perfect Christmas gift for your spouse's stocking. This small and discrete vibrator is controlled only by it's remote so you may never know what surprises you will find. At $34.99 you certainly cannot beat the price!

    There are THIRTEEN more toys included in this great sale so make sure you go check them out because today is the last day! You'll also want to make sure you grab your free gift before you check out. Those t-shirts are just calling your name. Remember at EdenFantasys there is always free shipping on orders of $59 and up and not even the postman will know where you've been shopping. Go check it out!

    Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store