Sunday, December 20, 2015

Moving On

So what’s happened happened. I’ve accepted that, may not ever understand, but I accept it. Why though, did it have to happen close to the holidays? The first visits and division of property are just awkward!

You want to hit him with frying pan but you can’t. So much insult you wish you could drop, but it wouldn’t help or change anything. Poor kid still doesn’t understand. More than anything seeing my son sad and confused hurts me the most. Mr. R was never one for good timing, I shouldn’t be surprised by this.

How do I explain this to a three year old? Hold back the frustration when a toddler asks why three and four times why life is different? When he acts out because of his own frustration and confusion, I redirect him with reminding him our Elf Doodle is watching him. It’s been kinda ok at working, sometimes Calvin remembers but just doesn’t care. Sometimes we all have days where we just don’t care. Why would a toddler be an exception?


I’ve tried to keep this time of year as much the same around here as usual, we have a tree, an Elf on the Shelf, a few lights and Christmas shows, and excitement.  I do not know what the next holiday season will be like and what will be decided upon. Just for right now, it’s the same as always. 




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Aftermath

I wish I could talk about coping with divorce or how to explain the new situations to a toddler, but I can’t. I’m still trying to figure those things out myself. It’s easy to find articles about anything, but no article seems to ever be just what I needed to hear. I’m not healing yet but I’m done trying to figure out the whys. I haven’t fully accepted some things, but I’m dealing with the situation day to day. My point is, is that there isn’t a perfect formula for this transition.

The question that has nagged at me the most is “How did we get to this point?” I thought we had a fool proof marriage, we did everything right and in the right order. First came love, then pre-marital counseling, then came marriage and then here we came with the baby carriage two years later.  We did all the right things and in the right way, how did it all go so wrong? Things definitely changed after the baby carriage rolled onto the scene. Motherhood did change me in some ways, priorities changed and PPD was a horrible awful demon for me.  I suppose all that combined does sound like a recipe for disaster.

I have to stop there, or I’ll trip and fall down the rabbit hole of asking why and how come. Then will come the endless thoughts of trying to figure out what all went wrong. Didn’t I say I was done trying to figure out all the whys? It’s so easy to slip backwards, but all the thinking and crying has made me weary.


I’m weary, yet the negotiations and agreements haven’t even begun yet. Guess I better get my rest, because there is a long road ahead.





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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Suddenly Single...Mom Edition

It’s been a minute and I need to catch up and get back on track. My world turned upside down six weeks ago when I dropped off the earth. Maybe it was a shatter instead of an upside down? Maybe it shattered when it turned upside down? Whatever happened, it’s in shambles.

Six weeks ago, I discovered my husband was cheating.

I had honestly been suspecting it for two years, call it woman’s intuition if you will, just a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach; but there was no hard proof. I have no idea if that intuition was right for the whole two years but proof was now staring at me from my laptop. There was no denying it, but I didn’t know what to do or think. I just felt a suffocating feeling come over me as I closed my laptop and sat in the dark in the wee hours of the night.

Is this really for real? After everything we had been through, after everything I had put up with, after the pleas to seek counseling; both individual and couple. This is what it came to? This is how it ended? After I took him back after he abandoned us the first time, this was seriously how it was ending??

Seriously….for real?!?

Then the classic scene where the side chic contacts the wife to clue her in because she’s scorned or whatever. Oh yea, that happened, and the final nail in the coffin was hammered shut.

I had done all I could over the last few years.
I could not get through.
Over.
Done.

My only concern is keeping a stable environment for Calvin. I never wanted my child to have a broken home, or to be a single mom but here we are. I don’t want him to have a childhood he will have to recover from later in life. If that means looking like the bad person or being labeled a bitter ex-wife, then so be it.

I have tried to analyze the why’s, what’s and how come’s and I spent weeks crying. I had and still have my own problems along the way with PPD and anxiety. This is no secret, I needed my own help and could only deal with so much.  I can think of a few things I could’ve done differently to make things a little better but I can’t say with 100% confidence that the outcome would’ve been any different. He has a shady heart and it is showing through.


I’m just so done with this. 
Next chapter please, divorce court. 






Monday, September 7, 2015

Coming Out of The Dark

During my pregnancy with Calvin in 2012 I had normal prenatal care with an OB plus a little extra due to a few scares and worries along with way. I had all normal and standard genetic screening, it wasn’t even a question for me. I had an induction due to social and safety reasons. You can read about that HERE. I ended up having an emergency C-section that likely would have happened regardless if there had been an induction or not.

So how did I ever get involved with the natural child birth movement and eventually get fed up with the zealotry? Today, you will find out.

I first caught wind of it in 2010 while shopping for health insurance. An insurance agent told me that other clients told him they used midwives and birth centers because they were cheaper. That was my first trip down the rabbit hole. I Googled midwives in Dallas, where we lived at the time. Homebirth came up of course, and I liked the idea of staying in my home. I brought up my discoveries to the husband who was an EMT at the time and a paramedic student. His response was no way! Meh, it was just ideas and shopping around so I wasn’t off put by his response. 

Moving forward into 2011, we had talked about trying to conceive after I suffered an early miscarriage. I was researching hospital options and birth centers in my area and still taking a peek at this homebirth thing. However, by May I had found the wonderful OBGYN practice that I am still with today. I forgot all about homebirth since I now had a job that provided great benefits and I had a doctor I loved. Moving into 2012 when I was actually now pregnant, I continued researching natural labor and birth techniques. Such as, the old Lamaze breathing, calming solutions like music or focal points ect. I knew I absolutely did not want an epidural, I didn’t mind IV pain relief, but NO epidural. Not to earn a badge of honor, but because I didn’t like the idea of a needle or catheter placed in my spine. I had major spine surgery in 2010 and I just wasn’t comfortable with the idea.

Come induction day (reason why HERE) once contractions began..and began HARD I begged for drugs, which I was furnished with. I was advised I needed to stay in bed for monitoring and so the vaginal medicine I was given would stay in place. The three page birth plan I had made went out the window when I chose the induction route. After several rounds of Demerol I was advised to consider an epidural because I could only be allowed so much of IV drugs, and I had a very long way to go still.

The whole story is HERE, but after several weeks of replaying the events in my head I began to think back to all the reading I did about labor positions and current practices that are so evil and bad. I went through a mental checklist of the “cascade of interventions”, and nearly everything was checked off. Thoughts of doubt crept into my head that I really needed the C-section. If I had just stuck it out and not asked for induction then it would have been a better experience.  If I just not asked for the induction then I would have had the freedom to labor more freely. The C-section wouldn’t have happened, we would have bonded and I would’ve been able to breastfeed. Stupid me! Why did I do that?!? Stupid me! If…IF there was ever a next time, maybe I will just stay home!  The darkness of postpartum depression was setting in.

I was fairly certain Calvin would be an only child due to other problems I had encountered and the difficulty getting pregnant, but I was curious now about VBAC safety and accessibility. It looked grim, it seemed women had to fight tooth and toenail for them. My VBAC search lead me to the virtual doorstep of ICAN of North Texas. The worst doorstep I could have found myself on. They welcomed me and told me they cared and took me further down the rabbit hole of fear and self-doubt.

They had me at, we care about you. No one had said that to me.

I kept up with the village, reading which providers were and weren’t VBAC supportive, which birth centers had the biggest birth tubs and similar topics. They existed to care about women’s feelings and comfort them in the wake of birth trauma. Birth trauma that only happens with providers that are not on the approved VBAC friendly list and if you don’t hire a doula, also from the same list and members of ICAN.

I ran my OB’s name across the village and received either neutral to barely positive opinions. The practice as a whole was on the “not VBAC friendly” list, most said he was kind but you know, guilty by association. Dr. H had told me he was all for VBAC but did not feel that I was a good candidate during my postpartum checkup. Hummm, that sounded like the bait and switch the village spoke of, if there was ever another baby in my future I didn’t feel like that practice had my best interest at heart. No worries though, I had the ICAN village to guide me in assembling my “Birth Dream Team”, provided I could afford it.

I began going to their quarterly C-section support meetings, which is like Alcoholics Anonymous but for women who had had C-sections and were disappointed about it. 

Hi, my name is Mindy and I’ve had a C-section and hated it.

Welcome Mindy, you’re in a warm and cozy environment to have hated your C-section because we’ll constantly remind you of how evil the medical establishment is.

Ok, not their actual introduction but it might as well have been!


I liked going at first and hashing out my emotions that my husband didn’t, or perhaps just couldn’t understand. However, by the third meeting it was starting to feel redundant and unproductive. Every meeting was a totally different roster of women in attendance, so it was the “Hi, my name Mindy and I had a C-section” spill all over again. There was no conversation about how to get past the perceived failure. How there was actually no failure at all. That despite however what happened in the beginning, our babies knew and need us know. It seemed to me that the only therapy recommended was getting pregnant and “rock that VBAC” and show the mean doctors that our bodies weren’t broken.

I’m sitting here in deep depression, constantly thinking of giving my baby away because I feel like I’m f*cking everything up and I get the suggestion to get pregnant again and hire the right “birth team” and the oh so magical “healing VBAC” will make me feel just peachy.

Sheer brilliance ICAN….sheer brilliance! It’s like throwing a drowning person a cement block. Oh by the way, the ICAN member who hosted the C-section support group was a fairly popular doula who shilled her services to women who came to these meetings. No, no conflict of interest at all.

I left that third meeting feeling lower than ever, I buckled Calvin into his seat and threw the stroller into the back of the mom wagon as fast as I could because I didn’t want anyone to see me fighting tears in the parking lot. I cried all the way home. This was just ripping a scab off a healing wound, over and over with each meeting. I decided that this was my last meeting. My marriage was suffering, my relationship with my baby was suffering, and my performance at work was poor. I couldn’t do it anymore, I needed to climb out of this dark place and these people weren’t helping.

I began withdrawing my attention away from ICAN forums and looking for other sources of information and support. I found Dr. Amy Tuteur’s blog and Facebook group where evidence based medicine was talked about and often ICAN and similar organizations were laughed out of the building. There were women there who had similar experiences such as mine with woo-y birth communities, and women who believed in the natural childbirth zealotry until their babies were casualties of the misinformation and unqualified attendants. I was disgusted with how these loss moms were then treated and swept aside by the NCB (natural childbirth) community. Their stories showed American midwifery for what it is, an absolute joke and in some cases a horror show.

Do mistakes happen in the medical community? Yes they do, but what is different is that there are review boards and disciplinary actions that take place. When an American midwife screws up there is no repercussions because their governing bodies close ranks around them. Very rarely does a midwife carry malpractice insurance so suing them is usually not an option or in vain as there is nothing to collect on.


Slowly, I began to crawl out of the darkness as I saw how dark and shadowy the NC B organizations and communities could be. There was no guarantee I would have had any other outcome had anything been done different or had another type of provider. Statistically I would have had a worse outcome. Regardless, I have an awesome, stubborn, creative, crazy, and intelligent little ginger boy! 






Thursday, August 13, 2015

FabKids Fall Line

I first discovered FabKids in 2013 when Calvin was still mostly in infant sizes. FabKids starts at  toddler sizes so there wasn't much he could wear at the time. I got a few outfits from the monthly picks for him to grow into and canceled. Ok, so I forgot about the subscription for a few months and therefore ended up with a few outfits for him to grow into.

Last month I received a "come back to us" email from FabKids inviting me to re-join for a $20 credit meaning the first outfit would be only $9.95 with free shipping. I took the bait. I was a little disappointed with the selection of styles, most I would classify as skater boy or grunge style. Cool if you like that, but not my thing or what I dress my kid in. I found the nice outfit featured here on the blog today.

Both pieces are a 3T and the denim pants have the "grow with me" feature in the waist band. Very useful for a very skinny waist boy.

FabKids currently has Back to School specials and BOGO for new members. Get your little guy or gal school cool ready! #Back2School











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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trends, Good for Fashion but Bad for Birth

The title says “bad for birth” but trendy health advice or practices are bad for healthcare overall. Everywhere we look there is some new detox, cleanse, essential oil therapy, immune booster and on and on and on. Celebrities of all types endorse these random products, ideas or methods. The Dr. Oz Effect is now recognized as a real disorder. Pure nonsense!

There is so much that irritates me about these charlatans promoting medical woo; but my focus in this blog entry will be on birth and birth related trends.

In 2008 a propaganda filled documentary by a washed up trash TV talk show host was released, which lit a fire in American women to question their obstetric care.  This horrid fire promoted that everything mainstream medicine is bad and scary and that care from often unqualified midwives was much better. The zealotry of the NCB (natural childbirth) movement has become a predominate trend thanks to the little gem of a documentary. A trend that has fueled the pockets of outright unqualified and some barely qualified lay midwives and Certified Professional Midwives (CPM),as well as just as many unqualified and overzealous doulas.

The women who at least stick with real medical care “just in case” of the worst case scenario and choose to hire a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) or OBGYN and birth in a hospital can sometimes demand unreasonable requests from their providers. Erroneous advice given out by the NCB (natural childbirth) community telling women to refuse IV’s, fetal monitoring, and other basic standards of care for the sake of a “beautiful experience”. Labor is…well its labor. While the end result is a beautiful new life and experience; the concept of labor itself being beautiful just flies right over my head!

There are reasons why certain procedures are standard and it is not to ruin anyone’s birth experience. While some procedures may be skipped for some patients, they are essential for others. This is where an open dialog with your care provider is instrumental, but writing a ten page birth plan is setting the stakes a tad too high. By all means, you should feel like you can ask your provider anything without feeling put down or made to feel dumb. Sure, there are bad apples out there in the mix as in any profession, but there is not some massive medical conspiracy out to get the public. That is a fear the NCB community feeds off of.

Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, an OBGYN of more than twenty years and author of The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy had this to say when asked about trendy birth plans; “I.V. access is necessary in the event of an emergency. You certainly don’t want to struggle to get I.V. access if a patient is hemorrhaging or dealing with an acute condition…consent to at least a Heplock would be needed. If a patient insisted on eating her placenta, I’d make her sign a waiver of liability.”  However there is one trend that has gone legit since it starting making the internet rounds several years ago. That is delayed cord clamping, there is enough evidenced based research out there to support this practice according to Dr. Burke-Galloway. So if this is something you are interested in for your delivery, talk to your provider at your next appointment about delayed cord clamping.

So many things get their start via internet circulation and social media sharing, but just because something is on the interwebz does not make it true. About a month ago I started seeing articles about this new thing called “seeding” in my newsfeeds. Seeding is the act of placing gauze in a mother’s vagina several hours prior to a C-section, removing, sealing in a bag, then opening it after the baby is born and wiping the baby down in the gauze as to simulate vaginal birth. I personally did not find enough research done about seeding to call it a “new thing”, and found it appalling that even semi large media outlets would put this out there as the latest and greatest thing. It must have been a slow news day.  To eliminate any doubt I asked Dr. Burke-Galloway about seeding, and my suspicion was confirmed this is not evidence based medicine as of yet stating “…there are no studies involving at least 1,200 babies that could substantiate any significant benefit.”

Please understand the women who fall into this category are not out to be difficult divas. They have fallen prey to the natural childbirth zealots who tell expecting women, who are only looking for the best for their babies, to trust nothing their “med-wife” or doctor says and only they (the zealots) have the good glitter sprinkled outcomes. Some women do have glitter sprinkled birth experiences that result in healthy babies. While there have been many other women who have walked away from home birth or crunchy birth centers with unqualified midwives with empty arms because their baby died because of their negligence. Dr. Amy Tuteur of The Skeptical OB has come to be a watch dog of NCB zealots over the years. Every tragic preventable death she unearths on the internet is just a sad as the last one, and the one before that. It never gets easy to hear and read about.

One of the cases Dr. Tuteur came across in 2014 was that of a woman I will refer to as D, who hired and trusted a Las Vegas based midwife named Christy Collins. She looked legit from all outward appearances, but when D had zero amniotic fluid left at the end of her pregnancy, Ms. Collins had no idea what to do and her lack of knowledge and bad advice resulted in the death of D’s baby boy. Ms. Collins and the rest of the NCB community tried to sweep the death under the rug to avoid any responsibility, which is common in that community when a death happens. There is no accountability in that world. You can read detailed accounts from D herself on her Facebook page In Light ofGavin Michael. Also, you can read about other tragedies HERE and HERE.

I am going to conclude this blog entry by saying…begging..please do not accept medical advice from internet strangers over real life care providers and beware of homeopath hype. The pharmaceutical industry catches a lot of heat over the profits they bring in, but the entities and public figures who push herbs, oils and other magical supplements are not giving them away for free. Homeopath rakes in considerable amounts of profits as well, please for your sake don’t overlook that fact. Speaking of care providers, make sure they are a capable provider. Know what your state’s requirements for handing out licenses and verify your provider’s background and credentials.

#NotBuriedTwice



I don't know  the author to give credit, but who ever they are they are brilliant!



Monday, July 27, 2015

The Sea of Formula

My last entry on formula was about the three forms of formula, now I will go into the various types of formula. Walking into the formula isle and staring at all the different color coordinated labels and purposes can be daunting! Hopefully this list will help you be prepared before you take the trip down that isle.

Standard: This is the basic of the basic formulas that most babies will be just fine with. It is cow milk based and loaded with essentialnutrients like DHA and vitamins for first year growth. This would be Similac Advance, Enfamil Newborn and Premium, Gerber Good Start. There have been a few additional choices added to the market over the last few years. Such as organicformulas and just this year Similac introduced Advanced Non-GMO.

Gentle or Sensitive: These names are interchangeable and mean the same thing. Formula that has reduced lactose for babies who do not tolerate standard formula. They may have symptoms such as fussiness, gas with hard or distended belly, constipation or diarrhea. Frequent projectile spit up may also be a sign. These are Similac Sensitive, Enfamil Gentlease, Gerber Good Start Gentle or Gerber Soothe.

Acid Reflux: All babies spit up to some degree, although some do have actual acid reflux and have a hard time holding down their milk. Acid reflux or spit up formula has very small rice cereal particles added to it to make it a tad bit thicker than the standard consistency. Back in the old days parents were advised to add cereal to bottles for this reason or just to make it thicker to fill a baby up so they slept longer. If they are refluxing, this can be a choking hazard. Some old pediatricians out there will still recommend it but there are better options on there in our present day. Doing anything to “make a baby sleep” is not advised…AT ALL! Back to the formula….Similac Spit Up, Similac Spit Up Sensitive, and Enfamil AR.

Soy: It’s soy, fairly self-explanatory. Babies who do not tolerate lactose at all, not even the sensitive variety may be a fit with soy formula. Soy is not a choice for everyone as there are concerns about soy messing with hormones and those who have a history of breast cancer (or the breast cancer gene BRC1) in their family should not consume soy at all. Just is just food for thought, I cannot provide medical advice or tell you what is best for your baby. Please consult your pediatrician with any health concerns about soy. Soy formulas are pretty obvious; Similac Soy Isomil, Enfamil ProSobee, and Gerber Good Start Soy.

Hypoallergenic: this type of formula is for babies with a milk protein allergy. It is one of the more expensive formulas so it’s not one you would probably want to buy willy nilly. I totally understand trying to find the right formula for your baby who may have been having tummy or other troubles. I’ve been there done that, I really do understand! However if feeding troubles have become that bad for your baby it’s time to make an appointment with your pediatrician. Request a sick visit so you can been seen in the next few days or even the same day. Hypoallergenic is generally the next step if sensitive or soy formula is not being tolerated. Hypoallergenic are Similac Alimentum, Enfamil Nutramigen, and Gerber Extensive HA.

Amino Acid base: an amino acid based formula is for babies and even toddler and older kids who have severe milk protein allergies or GI issues. To my knowledge it cannot be bought in retail stores as I have never seen it on the shelf at the big box retailers. When turning to this type of formula it is done so under the direction and supervision of a doctor. I will link to where they can be bought online, however the physician referring you to this type of formula may know of a local medical supply company. Also, your insurance provider may provide some coverage to alleviate some of the cost. The brands that provide amino acid formula are Neocate, Elecare and PureAmino by Enfamil.


WHEW!! It can be hard, I know! Calvin was a reflux baby and still has trouble with reflux time to time as a toddler. The AR’s back then weren’t sensitive or lactose free and the Similac Spit Up Sensitive was brand new and not always readily available. I did buy it when I could get my hands on it, but we ended up using Similac Sensitive and Calvin took Zantac twice daily. He was switched to Prilosec as a toddler. Calvin was five months pushing six before we really found the magic combo. I have so much sympathy for parents of babies with formula trouble.



Its Monday….get your milk on!






Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Selling formula samples Don't be this loser

Last Wednesday I wrote….errrrr…vented about frustrating garage sale group postings. Sometimes when they get constant it does get annoying, but mostly it was meant to be comedic. Last night while scrolling through my local yard sale groups looking for junk I probably don’t need, I came across a type of post that I had forgotten all about during my rant last week. There is no comedy when it comes to this topic as it absolutely burns the piss out of me! Pardon my French, I keep my blog entries clean and professional but not this time.


Selling infant formula samples and coupons.





BURNS THE PISS OUT OF ME!!!! PATHETIC AND LOW!!

These are FREE samples and coupons (sometimes company checks) that the formula companies send out to families for FREE. Sometimes the companies’ mail out to households using a different brand, or perhaps breastfeeding worked out perfectly for the family and there is just no need for them. Regardless of the reason for receiving these FREE items, if you do not need them donate them to a food pantry or just list them as free. All yard sale postings are first come, first dibs and first pickup. No excuse or explanation is good enough for trying to make a buck off of struggling parents. Not everyone qualifies for WIC and formula can add up fast, especially if your baby needs a specialty formula.






Don’t be a greedy pathetic low life. Find some junk in your closet to sell if you really need to generate some cash. The cans even state “SAMPLE Not to be sold” on them. I’m sure they mean for them not to be sold. If there are a lot of people getting in the virtual line that means that there is a lot of people in need. Don’t whine about a high demand item being time consuming. Why list it then? Anything posted is first come first serve and pickup.


Do you even know how to yard sale bro?


Oh, I know why. So you could exploit parents in need so you could get a buck. DONATE it and there will be no hassle. Wow, that was easy wasn’t it!


Whew! <sigh> Just don’t do this. There are people out there watching.




God Bless….it’s hump day!





Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baby Oral Medicines

Has your baby started teething yet? Scared of the discomfort teething might cause your baby? 


You are not alone, no one wants to see their baby in pain. It’s tough to console them as they don’t understand what happening to them nor can they comprehend you telling them. They just know they hurt! For several decades parents have been turning to teething medicines such as Anbesol or Orajel that numb the gums to minimize pain. The numbing agent in these medicines are typically benzocaine and there have been recent advisories for them.

The FDA and the AAP have both made stances against the use of any brand of topical teething medicine. I am by no means picking on Anbesol and Orajel, any brand containing benzocaine is not recommended for children under two. Benzocaine can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia which effects the amount of oxygen that is carried to the blood stream. It’s not common but when it does happen it is a very serious condition that can even cause death.

I frequently used Baby Orajel with Calvin as my mother did with me, and I was shocked to read about this! I had heard in 2013 when Calvin did most of his teething that the use of benzocaine should be minimal as possible from his pediatrician. Fast forward to 2014 and now the shared stance is none at all for kids under two years.

Offer a variety of chew friendly toys so your little one can find a texture they prefer for soothing gums. The good old cold rag can be tried or a frozen fruit or vegetable. Such as a carrot stick or banana can be gripped by an infant.



Hang in there parents!  




Milk Monday - The Three Forms of Formula

This week I will discuss the three forms of formula, there are many types of formula but three forms. I will go into the types in a different blog entry. The three types are powder, concentrate and ready to feed.

Powder is, well its powder. Generally speaking, it is mixed with two ounces of water per heaping scoop. Please always read the feeding instructions on the particular formula you are using, but that is general use. Powder is considered to be the least expensive form and is what is distributed by the federal program WIC. However, there may be situations where it is not. Calvin was a reflux baby and even still has trouble with it as a toddler. To help him hold his milk down we added an extra scoop of formula to thicken it. Adding the extra scoop, sometimes scoop and half did not make it the cheapest option. Powdered formula is also not sterilize and there is a small risk a bacteria named Cronobacter can grow in powder products. It is a very small risk but not impossible. You can read more about Cronobacter from the CDC HERE.

Concentrate formula is much like condensed milk as far as mixing goes or frozen concentrate juices. You make X size of bottle and add X amount of water to it and stir, generally two ounces of water per concentrate. If you have a baby like ours who either likes or needs their milk to be thicker this may be the cheapest option. I say maybe since the availability of concentrate formula seems to be hit or miss in different areas and in stores. Not only is concentrate itself spotty in availability but the brands and variety of types available as well. Calvin did tolerate the concentrate very well and because it tends to have less bubbles that creates gas since there is not shaking of powder. It does need to be mixed but it’s stirred rather than shaken.

Lastly, there is Ready to Use formula which is open the container and pour into bottle (heat if baby likes) and that’s it. This is considered to be the most expensive but most convenient. Going back to the topic of reflux, ready to use is what we ended up sticking with as it was just the right weight for Calvin and readily available anywhere that sold formula. We didn't buy ready to use because we were too lazy to measure water. It was necessary for Calvin's health and comfort, who wants to puke their food up all the time?  I also found it for sale in bulk boxes at Babies R Us which saved us money over buying individual jugs. Liquid formula is also sterile, which eliminates the risk of Cronobacter. Read more about Cronobacter here from the CDC.

No matter what form of formula you decided is best for your baby and your wallet keep in mind that infant formula is very regulated by the FDA. All forms have safety standards, although the CDC does recommend liquid over powder, many many babies consume powder formula without incident. If you are currently struggling to find the right formula or if formula is in your future please discuss any concerns you may have with your pediatrician. Pediatricians are well informed on formula as well as may have samples of the different forms and types to see what may be best for your baby without spending money on each one.


Have a terrific week! 




Saturday, July 11, 2015

Seasonal Saturday - Tyler State Park & Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Summer time oh summer time, the season for sun, fun and family vacation. Keeping the kids busy can get expensive between camps and family vacations where everyone will be entertained and enjoy it. Often times there are local outings or events that cost very little or free, such as city parks and splash pads.

Today I am featuring two destinations that are right here in Texas, one local in East Texas and a big name theme park a little farther down south.

Right here in the Tyler area we have Tyler State Park, you can tent camp or rent a cabin if you prefer shelter like me. There is of course the lake with designated swimming and fishing areas. They have a variety of boat rentals (look for Tyler at the very bottom). My family use to go every summer when I was young and rent a cabin, we cooked out every day because that is all that is all the cabin offers, that is unless you leave the park and go into town to a restaurant. These cabins are a traditional cabins, they are shelters with mesquite netting and concrete floor. Be prepared with padding, sleeping back is not enough.  So many memories! Check out the web site forfull details and pictures of the amenities.

Now, a little more down south in San Antonio there is SixFlags Fiesta Texas. I’ve never been there, therefore I don’t have a personal account but it is a part of the Six Flags family so you will see the Warner Bros. characters as well as Warner Bros. themed rides. According to their web site they feature a FREE water park that is attached to the main park. A little different than other Six Flags parks where their water parks are separate parks with separate admissions and passes. What a big help to a parents wallet! You need some water fun in the hot Texas sun.

JULY SALE ON PASSES AND MEMBERSHIPS UP TO 44% OFF


Their web site boasts that they are the most handicap accessible theme park in the nation. Fiesta Texas rents wheelchairs and scooters and accommodates hearing impaired guests. You can check out their statement HERE.

Happy Saturday and vacation!









Friday, July 10, 2015

Fashion Friday - Dress Barn and PlanetBeachShop.com

Hope everyone had or still having a wonderful Friday! Who’s seeing the Minions movie on opening night? Calvin loves loves loves Minions and we will go next weekend when hopefully it won’t be so crowded.


Fashion Friday deals! Summer is in full swing and what are some things that come with summer?  Dresses, shorts, and tans!


Dress Barn has several sales that are currently in progress for dresses and shorts. FYI, they carry plus sizes too! Little Black Dresses for the summer parties starting at $40 or $50 for plus sizes.




Shorts and Capri’s starting at $32.50! Don’t forget a top to match, BOGO 50% on tops.




  
No matter category you make selections from, take $10 off orders of $50 or more OR take $50 off orders of $200 or more! The coupon codes are kinda funky, but hey whatever, thanks Dress Barn!

Code for $10: AFFN3JN10 
Code for $50: AFFN3JN50



It has long been established that too much sun can be harmful. Sunless self-tanners are a great option and PlanetBeachShop.com has a variety to choose from. Free shipping on orders of $75 or more! No coupon code needed.





Have a great weekend ya’ll!







Thursday, July 9, 2015

Take Time Out for Yourself Thursday - Drop-in Daycare

It’s Thursday and time to take a parent time out.

As a stay at home parent I know how exhausting it can be to have a toddler glued to my hip 24/7. Albeit rewarding beyond materialistic measure and I wouldn’t trade Calvin for anything, parents still need a little break sometimes too.

Not everyone has family nearby, or if they do the family members might have full schedules and may not be able to babysit so a parent can break away for some along time.  I’m in the second category and I discovered drop-in care with the local daycare. Drop-in care is cool and convenient as you pay a fee for the day which typically will cover food. All is needed is diapers, wipes a backup outfit and any other age appropriate supplies. For my two year old it is pull-ups, wipes and a backup outfit, oh and a spill proof cup. The daycare provides all food and drinks.  

If drop in care is affordable in your area, seriously utilize it! Even if once only once or twice month. In our little town the local daycare is $30 a day, at a North Dallas daycare close to where we use to live was $50 a day. Drop in care obviously will have a wide range of cost from region to region.

The first daycare Calvin was in as an infant was a horrible experience and I completely understan d being leery of strangers, but there are plenty of great care givers out there. Listen to your kids cues, their attitudes about going to the daycare. Are they happy and excited or do they totally melt down at the mention of daycare.  I recommend dropping in at a different time other than when they are expecting you just to see what’s going on when they aren’t expecting a look over.

Go get a manicure, meet a friend for lunch, grocery shop in peace. Everyone needs some along time or me time as some call. Me time can be whatever you want it to be. Say NO to guilt!


Give yourselves some time too moms and dads!  





Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wild Card Wednesday - Garage Sale Groups

We all know about them and probably members of at least one on Facebook. Garage sale groups, where we put our too small clothes, outdated curtains and toys the kids no longer play with but also scope out deals for ourselves. It’s the modern day version of putting our crap on the lawn or going to other’s yards and sifting through their crap. The concept is simple but even drama can arise from a virtual lawn of stuff.

The guilt trip post: “I need to sell these items to pay my light bill”. Hey, I’ve been there, more than once actually; but adding a sad story to the description won’t make anyone buy your stuff if they don’t want or need it.

Outright asking for money: “My kids have no food and I have no money. Does anyone have a few dollars they can spare or food they don’t want?” Some variations of them include the person offering to clean donator’s houses or promising to pay it forwards or something but just no! No, no, no!! This is nothing more than panhandling on a street corner. If there are truly kids who have no food there are multiple resources out there for families.

ISO (fill in the blank) for real cheap: “ISO of a dresser and it has to be cheap”. So this is not drama but I just find these posts so funny.  Seriously, I thought we were all in a garage sale group looking for expensive stuff to buy. Granted there are those few people out there who do put a high value on their stuff but for the most part, most stuff is reasonable resale price in my own experience. I understand you may be able to afford a certain range but instead of saying “cheap” or “really really cheap”, just say “around $40”. That would better match potential sellers to what you define as cheap.



Happy crap…I mean treasure hunting!







Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teething Tuesday - AppeTEETHERS


Back in our grandma’s day all they knew about teething was to give the baby a cold or frozen cloths to get through the teething blues.  In present day there are endless options down the baby toy aisle for teething discomfort. Toys that your freeze that can be purchased in all sorts of silly shapes and characters, silicone toys and plastic textured toys.


I came across a teething toy made by Little Toader's that I found absolutely hilarious! They are called AppeTeethers. Teething toys in the shapes of food, they have a variety from broccoli to bacon and candy. They are the silicone with textures variety of soother.  I found them listed on 
Buy Buy Baby.com for around $10. Pricey teether but great for a laugh!


Which one would be your teething tike's favorite?








Monday, July 6, 2015

Milk Monday - Quick Breast Pump Guide

Milky Monday 7/6/15


Breast pumps. If you plan to breastfeed and return to work after your baby is born you will need one. The current selection of pumps on the market is rather broad and vast compared to what our mothers had to pick from. There are still manual pumps out there, pumps with matching bottle systems and even hands free pumping! I’m very excited to hear and be able towrite that insurance coverage on pumps is in full swing!

There are other reasons it doesn’t hurt to own a pump, like when you are ready and comfortable to start date night again.  You can pump milk to leave with the sitter without having to hurry your date for the next feeding.  In case of an emergency where you will have to be separated from your baby it’s handy to have at least a little bit of stash in the freezer. Over time I’ve heard an array of things happen to new moms where. they suddenly had to be separated, such as, emergency surgeries, urgent dental extractions, needing to start a medication that is not breastfeeding compatible (which can go along with emergency surgery).

Life happens and it just doesn’t hurt to have a little put aside in the freezer.

For the occasional date night and purposes of building your milk stash you will likely be ok with a single manual pump. Even a Medela, one of the best brands out there, cost around $50 for a single manual. Even a single electric can range from $50 - $80 depending on brand. Pumping during an eight hour work day will usually require a bit more efficient pump, what you will need out of a pump will depend on the factors of your work place. Do you have a thirty minute or hour lunch? Do you have your own office you can lock or will you need to borrow someone’s office which will put you on a time crunch? Like many products out there, there are the cheap options, better options and best options. Find out from your manager what pumping in the work place will look like before you make your pump selection.  


You have the right to express breast milk in the workplace! Employers cannot refuse you and they must provide a place to pump other than a bathroom. Anything outside of that will depend on your states individual laws. Take time to Google the laws in your state.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, there are new healthcare mandates that now cover breastfeeding support and pumps! This was not in effect yet when Calvin was born in 2012 so this is new and exciting territory for me!  I have a friend who recently had a sweet little boy and tells me that she didn’t even have to lift a finger to get her pump! She received a very sweet Medela too that was covered at 100%.  The amount of help with filing an insurance claim for a pump seems to be endless. Hospital Lactation Consultants are handing claims, Retailers like Babies R Us are handling claims and even on the Medela web site there is a web tool that matches you with your insurancecarrier to authorized Medela dealers nearest to your zip code. I cannot stress enough how valuable having coverage for breastfeeding support would have been. It was something I desperately needed and sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the hospital to meet with an LC more than once.





Happy milkies!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wildcard Wednesday - ABCmouse.com

It’s wild card Wednesday and today I’m going to feature ABCmouse.com. I signed Calvin up last year at around 18 months, yes, 18 months! We live in a fast paced and highly competitive culture ad world, don’t waste time in getting them started with education. This included teaching computer and mouse skills to use the web site, which was an incredibly stressful task for mama because an 18 month old just wants to go go go. He was also already accustomed to touch screen from using my iPhone and Nook, mouse and keyboard was foreign to him.

Back to ABCmouse, their curriculum technically started at pre-school age but when you sign up and create your account you enter the child’s birth date and ABCmouse will match material age appropriate. The online school is very affordable at $7.95 a month and offers every kind of activity that a brick and mortar pre-school would offer. However, since you are at your house online there is that lack of peer interaction and socialization.

ABCmouse.com is really everything their commercials claim they are, no false advertising there! I have been criticized by some for allowing Calvin to have access to technology with the concern being he (along with the rest of his generation) losing human skills of looking at books and learning to write. The last time I checked Barnes & Noble haven’t closed their stores yet, there are plenty of people still buying and reading physical books, children included. Calvin had a stack of books before he was even born and the collection has steadily grown in the last two and half years. He’s not missing out on the “human skills”, along with technology he also has been introduced to letter tracing and writing his name. ABCmouse.com is an awesome resource and even they encourage letter tracing, coloring ect with crayon and paper. They have a whole section of printouts with a variety of materials to get kids scribbling, coloring and writing.

One last brag, ABCmouse also offers their Early LearningAcademy in App format so you can take the classroom with you anywhere. Now available for all platforms!





Have a happy hump day!






Monday, June 22, 2015

Teething Tuesday - Hyland's Teething Tablets

I think by now most have heard of Hyland’s Teething Tablets due to a constant sharing on Facebook about a recall on the item.


STOP!! STOP!! STOOOOOP sharing this! Please!


There was a voluntary recall by Hyland’s on the product in 2010 due to reported reactions as severe as seizures. The recall is FIVE years old and Hyland’s reformulated the tablets and reintroduced the product in 2011. After scouring Google I could not find any recent information about reactions from the tablets. I am not a doctor or a medical professional of any kind, but from the standpoint of a consumer I would say Hyland’s is a safe product. I personally do not buy homeopathic products in general, but for the people who prefer it, there is no evidence this product is harmful.

Going back to the 2010 recall, from what I read the source of the issue was the Belladonna in the tablets. Belladonna is also known as Deadly Nightshade as it very deadly is large amounts. As to what is considered a large amount of Belladonna varies species to species. I found this helpful description of the plant on Botanical.com, also includes history and various doses.

The FDA weighed in on the voluntary recall. Their page has not been updated since 2013 and still states that there may be toxicity due to the history of Belladonna (I’m paraphrasing a bit); it is still considered a poison. Hyland’s maintains their product is safe and explains their formula in a nut shell that there is a minute amount of Belladonna and not enough to be toxic.

It’s up to you as the parent what is best for your family and which products you are comfortable giving your baby or big kid.




Have a happy and blessed Tuesday!




Milk Monday - Similac Non-GMO

 6/22/15

Today I am going to feature a new product from Similac called Similac Advance Non-GMO. It is made with Non-GMO sources meaning not genetically modified; not to be confused with their Organic formula. Organic meaning farmed without pesticides and other conventional farm chemicals.


Similac Non-GMO features the same Opti-GRO that most of their other products feature to support eye and brain development. However, it is only available in Similac Advance and not in any of the specialty formula such as Soy, Sensitive or Alimentum. Advance Non-GMO is sold exclusively atTarget or can be purchased online directly through Abbott who owns Similac. Another positive to this new product that gives wider choice to parents is that Advance Non-GMO is roughly the same price as the standard products.


Don’t forget to sign up for Similac StrongMoms! Awesome program that provides $5 company checks each month through the mail. As well as samples, feeding guides and other goodies that will change over time. I received these when Calvin was a baby and they were so incredible helpful!


Happy Monday and get your milkies on! #milkmonday 






Sunday, June 21, 2015

Surprise moment Sunday 6/21/15

Surprise moment Sunday

 There is no question that pregnancy, birth and parenthood comes with many surprises along the way. Many people get surprised by the cost of baby gear the initial startup price. The first baby usually requires a little bit of everything and most all big ticket items. Sometimes parents are blessed with families who can and will provide a big ticket item or two or some people find and make alternate plans to cut out a expense or few. Generally and typically speaking most people will need that little bit of everything and big ticket items too.

During the year it took us to get pregnant after my miscarriage, I had priced items at various stores and online sources. In my family and circle of friends there was no shortage of babies so even that initial research was not shocking or surprising to me. What did come as a surprise to me when it was time to actually buy baby items was how much people actually SPENT on baby items and the nursery! I was aware there were lines of high end and very expensive baby gear but thought only 5% or less of population purchased these high end items. Like celebrities or the Hilton family, oh no..no no no. Every time I was in one of the baby stores it seemed there was a $5000 - $10,000 order rolling out the door, or I ended up in the presence of a conversation of about the party favors for the baby shower costing $200 or some other random exuberant cost.

Jaw on the floor!!!

Most of this was just fluff, the latest in nursery design unique trademarked colors or something supposedly so special. Fluff is absolutely OK if you can truly afford it, key word being “IF”, however if you need to charge up credit cards or open those lovely store cards that sound so good because you’ll get 5% off your next purchase…DON’T DO IT!! Please do not let the retail industry and Susie Jones from pre-natal yoga make you feel guilty if you are not spending wads of cash you may or may not have on a themed designer nursery.

When your baby or babies arrive the most important things they will need are love, food, clothing, car seat and shelter. Limited edition #4 periwinkle changing tables can wait until all the true essentials are in place and you are not over extending your finances so your baby is keeping up with the Jones’s baby.

Just love the babies, don’t blink, time will fly so fast.

Remember….don’t worry about the Jones’s! 


Happy Father's Day!!

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there and the men who stepped in or stepped up to be a father figure when they didn’t have to be. I’m referring to not only the stepdads, but the uncles, brother-in-laws, and close family friends. Whoever you are thank you! Today is your day, and I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!

My own daddy was called home to Heaven on February 18th, 2008 so he is not here for me to wish Happy Father’s Day too. You never know when you won’t have someone anymore, don’t take anyone for granted.


Happy Father’s Day to my awesome husband who does so much for us and who Calvin absolutely adores!

Happy Father’s Day to my Uncle Dave who I’ve been able to seek advice from, confide in, or just plain vent since before Daddy passed away but so much more after he passed. You and Aunt Marsha mean so much to me. Uncle Larry, I love you too! You’ve always been so funny and a cool uncle.

Happy Father’s Day to my Father in Law Dave. Thank you for being supportive during the last few years since your son and I have been married. Not all families are so excited or supportive of a fast courtship.


Stay safe and enjoy your day!!!



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Topics for Days of the Week

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! If not, then hey Friday is right around the corner!


Starting next week I will have designated days for certain topics. This is to ensure I am not getting stuck on one topic or letting myself get lazy with often with how often I am writing a new entry. Also, I want to make sure I am creating enough diversity in the content I am posting. I want everyone to be able to relate take something away. I hope all the readers enjoy this new schedule.


Sunday – Surprise moment Sunday
Monday – Milk Monday
Tuesday – Teething Tuesday
Wednesday – Wild Card Wednesday
Thursday – Time Out for Yourself Thursday
Friday – Fashion Friday
Saturday – Seasonal Saturday


Sundays will be about surprises during conception, pregnancy or parenting. Mondays are all about the milk options we have for our babies and feeding accessories or equipment. Tuesdays are dedicated to teeth. Wednesday will be random topics that get laid upon my heart. Thursdays will be tips or ideas on how to give ourselves time and what can be done with that precious time. Friday, does fashion need any further explanation? I’m not the model type so this won’t be all about me. I will feature anything from hot maternity and nursing styles to kids to money saving tips so mama can add to her closet. Saturday I will feature events or ideas for the current season. May be a national chain or local event. Whatever is out there!


Stay tuned! I’m excited to get started!


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