Why I Will Always Buy Stuff from my Friends First

By: Regan Burke

Why wouldn’t I? I mean let’s be real here – direct sellers get a bad rap sometimes. I see it on a daily basis in my news feed. From blog posts to memes, there are plenty of resources dedicated to the bashing and/or shaming of “the biz” of selling stuff to your “friends”. But why? Why would anyone not want to support the mom of two boys on traveling soccer teams rather than the big box store?

To be quite honest, I just don’t get it.

I am not talking about buying things I wouldn’t probably buy already. I am not talking about buying truly junky things that I do not need or wish to possess. I am talking about buying things that make my house smell good from a Scentsy rep instead of Target. I am talking about purchasing makeup from a Younique or Mary Kay rep instead of going to Ulta or the mall. Yes, maybe it would be super simple to stroll through Target and pick up everything I could need or want – and yes, I might have to wait or even drive to meet someone to get my item from a rep, but to me – it is totally worth it to help out a fellow mom.

Here’s why:

  • Nine times out of ten, that rep is a parent, just trying to support a family just like I am. Yes, occasionally those incessant posts about that fabulous product can absolutely seem a little over the top and salesy, but the overall goal of that person is one that I can completely relate to.
  • The products are almost always pretty awesome. I have loved my skin care line from Rodan and Fields. My skin looks fabulous but the added bonus is that I get to help a mom stay home with her two boys. Win-win!
  • I actually like the in-home parties when I am able to go. I get to meet new people, and wine – there’s almost always wine involved. But seriously, who doesn’t like to shop with other grown-ups while also supporting a friend? Again win-win!
  • Buying things online is also amazing when you have a village of small people like myself. Plus wine – there’s usually wine involved their too, and pj’s. I call this a triple win since I can not shop at the mall in piece, with wine, or in my pajamas. I mean I could, but it’s probably frowned upon.

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In all seriousness, I think of making my purchases through people I know because I feel that it is always good to empower other women who are just trying to do the same as the rest of us – survive. Think of the motive behind the actions rather than viewing them like we all view the kiosk person at the mall or the used car salesman. So go ahead, get next year’s mother’s day present from your Premier Jewelry rep and give that person’s child their next ballet lesson. I assure you, the mall won’t miss that one purchase but you will do something amazing for another family just like your while also receiving something you probably would have bought anyway. Remember they win, and so do you!

 

 

A Trip Gone Wrong

Written By: Jennifer Stroble 

We’ve all been there. We’ve witnessed. We’ve experienced. We’ve suffered.

There’s always that one time, in the middle of the shopping trip where your kid just loses all his marbles. Seriously. If it were a job, he’d be a top notch actor for his performance.

Walking into Publix, my kid spots a balloon. “MOMMY, LOOK! May I have it? I WANT IT!” As I politely tell him no, and try to continue walking into the store, he starts screaming at me. Not just any scream, but the “I’m dying because I can’t have what I want” scream. At this point I’m not even five feet into the store, and I’m pleading my 4 year old to please put the balloon back. Please.

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We’d just come from playing at the park, and I’m assuming my munchkin is hungry. He’s begging and pleading for EVERYTHING. We manage to make it to the deli area, even though he’s still whimpering about that darn balloon. After picking up a few items, he manages to lose his mind again. He’s kicking, and acting as if gravity has just become too much. He’s dropping to the ground, sobbing about this balloon. You’d think this balloon was magical. It was apparently SO special. I still persisted. In order to get any further into the store, I put him into the cart. It only got worse. He’s flailing around like a dead fish at this point. The elderly folk are staring at me like I’m the worst mother alive. I could almost hear their thoughts. “Ugh, look at this young mother. She clearly has no grip on her kids.”

Everyone in the store knew exactly where I was based on where they heard my possessed child screaming. I managed to get to the register, and the bagger was simply trying to put the food back in my cart. My demonic child had no intentions of allowing that, because I didn’t purchase this magical item he wanted. He’s slapping at the bagger, and spreading his legs in the cart to take up as much space as possible.

At this point, I hear people snickering, and employees all have that “OH MY GOD, get her out of here” expression. I wanted out of there as fast as I could, and not just because I was hungry. I pick up Keagan to put him on the floor, and politely ask him to hold my hand.

Big pile of “NOPE”.

He runs away screaming as if someone was trying to abduct him. No one is helping me. Meanwhile I have to stay near my infant in the cart. Keagan was being far too violent in order to manage carrying both. After about five minutes of pure torture for those involved, I managed to get him close enough to grab. I carried him out my hip as I struggled to get myself and the cart to the car.

I thought to myself “It’s over, I survived!” just as the person parked next to me overheard him screeching from his car seat. I thought for sure that this stranger was going to make a snide remark. Instead, they simply said “Been there, done that.” and gave me the sweetest smile. As they walked into the store, they said “It gets better!”

Oh boy, I hope so. Mommy should have bought wine.

 

Jennifer StrobleI’m Jennifer, a 25 year old mother of two amazing boys. Keagan is four years old, and Oliver will be one in September. I’ve been married five years now, and have grown up in the Brandon area. I am a sarcastic, laid back stay-at-home parent with a hectic lifestyle catering to my children and two rambunctious dogs. Each day I’m simply trying to survive the never-ending ride that is parenthood. 

Yes, I Scheduled a C-Section.

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Like most expectant mothers, when I found out I was pregnant with Cash I was exhilarated and so excited to give birth. I wasn’t afraid of the pain, I wasn’t worried about induction statistics, and I fully trusted my OB. I was looking forward to getting my epidural and pushing a gorgeous baby out of my tiny area. However, like most birth stories go, nothing went according to plan. I was induced at 41 weeks and after 24 hrs of cervadil, 24 hrs of pitocin, and 12 hours of pushing, my baby boy came to us via c-section.

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I felt awful. Why wasn’t I good enough? Couldn’t I have tried harder? Couldn’t I have been more active in facilitating labor so that I wouldn’t have had to be induced in the first place? There had to have been something I COULD have done where the end result didn’t put me on an operating table and rob me of that bloody/gooey, legit fresh-out-the-womb, skin-to-skin interaction with my child. I had failed as a mother in the very first task I was given.

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When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I knew things would be totally different. I stayed on top of my eating habits, exercised daily, and I’ve had a super healthy pregnancy thus far. Around 14 weeks gestation was when my doctor informed me that because the practice recently had a lethal uterine rupture, they no longer offered their services for VBAC. I was so disappointed. I was faced with two options: find a midwife who would work with limited OB doctor oversight to facilitate a natural delivery, or continue with my very trusted, well-known OB and schedule a c-section for this child.

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I weighed my options and I did do my research. Any facts, statistics, etc, that you want to tell me I ALREADY KNOW. Here’s the thing: I’m most comfortable sticking with my doctor. I’m most comfortable not taking the risk of uterine rupture. I know it’s extremely rare, yes. I know it’s highly unlikely, and I know that there is also a risk associated going under the knife. I know that no matter how hard I try no matter what, any decision I make about this pregnancy has the potential for an unsavory outcome, and THIS is what I feel best about.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally disappointed that I will never give birth. I’ll never push a baby through my vaginal opening, and I’ll never know what it’s like to labor and immediately have my child in my arms. That is a very disappointing fact for me and I’ve had to deal with it and process this in my own way. But I’ve made the decision that I feel is best for me and my baby, and I’m so tired of other people weighing in negatively as if I’m taking the easy road and not trying hard enough.

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Just like I wouldn’t say “OH NO! You’re doing a TUB BIRTH? Aren’t you worried about hemorrhaging” “Natural birth with a midwife? Let me just tell you how fabulous my OB & Anesthesiologist are and give you their contact info, just in case you change your mind.” I expect that when I tell people my son will be born on a specific date, they will be respectful of the decision that I made. They will respect that I am doing what’s right for me, my body, and my family. Being pregnant is a crazy emotional time, there are so many things to freak out and stress about, being judged by another mom is not going to be one of them for me this time.

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Everyone has a different birth story and no one’s birth is “more brave” or “more meaningful” than another’s because at the end of the day every Mama did just what she knew was right for her and her baby. Every Mama has sacrificed her body for a period of time, lost sleep, been miserably uncomfortable, and has been scared out of her mind that something was going to go wrong at some point. We’re all doing exactly what we’re supposed to for OUR OWN families, and I think it’s high time we start respecting our differences as opposed to forcing our opinions of what’s right on each other.

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I’m having a c-section. I’ll never give birth. And after countless hours of Google searches, baby boards, videos, and blog reading, I’m confident in my choice. I’m not only okay with it, but I’m now actually excited about getting to know the date ahead of time. I’m excited I don’t have to wait for labor. I’m excited that I’ll get to check in to the hospital and have a baby in my arms in just a couple hours, as opposed to having to send out mass updates every few hours. I refuse to feel bad any longer, be judged as if I’m taking the “easy way out”, or live with any remnants of guilt. This is my decision and I’m happy with it.

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Respect,

B

“Dress” like you are hot (but really not in this heat)!

By: Kelly Roque

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     We all know when the “summer” truly hits our sunshine state, the last thing we successfully accomplish is looking fashionable.  Or how about I say, the last thing we feel like is fashionable (or at least the majority of us).  I at times fear the mirror after the hustle and bustle of running my boys around (boys= son and husband), running to the store, running errands and just always running.  I think I can actually feel my makeup sliding off of my face like candle wax and my clothing stick to me like a garbage bag.  However! This does not stop me from trying, in fact, it can be my day’s challenge.  One thing I’ve tried not to loose is looking presentable in the heat (even if I’m the only one that believes I indeed look presentable and favoring sitting in an air conditioned space like a mannequin…ha)!

There comes that dreaded time where you have to get dressed and it is south of 85 degrees outside of your door, weather it be to your Uber job (we are all Uber drivers to the loved ones in our life, no pun intended of course), your office job, a play date or a cool brunch.  So what is the top pick for these days when living in an inferno, alas…a dress of course! Yes…this is far from rocket science but a staple piece that is much alive and easy to achieve.  When it comes to maximum ventilation, the perfectly fitted dress is my #1 choice.  I myself like to go crazy with colors and patterns but cotton is typically my go to.  Being an advocate and owner of organic and sustainable clothing for women, organic cotton is definitely something to choose when looking for favorite finds.  Especially in the heat, it is soft and truly absorbs any moisture throughout the day.  Of course it is not always available when choosing your favorite dresses, so plain ole cotton works just well.  Please…please and please again, stay away from any poly’s and rayons (100% that is, a mix is fine though) because you will find yourself like that garbage bag I’ve mentioned.  Materials are key when it comes to the heat.

Plaid Dress

     Again- you can’t go wrong with a dress but you can if it is continued to be paired with the basic flip flop.  I know we all love a flip flop but change it up a bit and loose the mindset of “if I can’t wear flip flops…I’m not going!” Throw on a sandal sometimes  (note: a flip flop is not necessarily a sandal).  Now, if you are attending an event weather it be day or evening, a small wedge or heel will give any dress and YOU a few more points, I promise.  Don’t always flip and flop, give your leg muscles a run in something elevated, plus you will feel like you look…which is sexy and quite amazing! Speaking of what not to do,  I see soooooo many beauties walking around in exercise clothing and I think to myself, Yep! I am guilty too but I just cannot continue to choose exercising cloths as my “dress.”  At least not everyday that is.  First of all, I feel that it screams “look at me…I have to take Jimmy, Johnny and all of the kids to soccer.”  It has become the obvious choice of mom identity (no ladies- I am not saying we shouldn’t show our mom identity but at times, actual girly/ whimsical/ women’s clothing can make a difference and accent your personality even better verses the neighborhood women’s uniform of exercise clothes).  Lets admit, we are not all running and working out the way we are wearing these work- out clothes.  My husband actually notices this with women and has commented on those that are definitely not exercising but have chosen to replace Under Armor and Nike with their dresses.  It is warranted for some functions but not everyday and for everything (just saying’…we know who we are, I can be guilty at times myself).

Outside of the “dress,” there is a list for this summer that is sure to steer you in the right direction as either a stay at home mom or an office warrior:

Maxi Dresses– Always in, so buy a couple.

Lightweight Denim– Oh this is my fav (weather it be a dress, bottoms or a top).

Cold or exposed shoulders– Now, it took me awhile to accept this one since I felt like a gypsy when I bought my first top.  Can I say how many compliments I got when I wore it.  A winner!

Tanks– We live in the south so this is a no brainer but have fun with them and choose some patterns and stripes.

Skirts– Choose the skirt with pleats please.  Minimal pleats but get some pleats this summer.  When is the last time you wore a skirt (if recent, kudos to you then)!

Comfy Bottoms– Yes, loose bottoms, preferably with a paper bag waste are totally in right now!  The great thing is they can be worn like sweats and won’t stick to your thighs.  🙂

Fab fabrics this summer include patchwork patterns, gingam and stripes.  Let me tell you, I am a patchwork gingam gal…I challenge you to try these fabrics, you will be sure to be noticed.

So- the next time you are wondering what to wear in this heat for just about anything, find “that dress” and rock it like it’s your exercise clothing!

With lots of summer love ♥-

K. Roque

 

 

image1 I’m Kelly, busy mother of one amazing son and a wife to an awesome husband.  Our family of three loves any and all things family and each one of us contributes dearly to the life we’re enjoying together.  We live in the Fishhawk area and value our time spent surrounded by other great families and friends.  I am a WFHM by trade and a writer and entrepreneur by heart. My pass time is an obsession for fashion, home and interior decorating. 

 

 

How Safe is Your Sunscreen?

By: Sharon Letsinger

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Summer is quickly approaching, as we can all tell here in Florida.  The weather is warming up rapidly and outdoor activities are planned around avoiding the hottest part of the day, hugging the shade or finding refuge at pools and splash pads.  With the heat, comes the need to consider what types of products to use to prevent sunburn.

Every Florida parent knows the fun of trying to choose sun protection that is safe, non-toxic, easy to apply and actually works.

Do we get enough sun?

The overzealous use of sunscreen on kids has resulted in widespread vitamin D deficiencies, which are linked to cancer, depression, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and obesity. Recent studies have estimated around 70% of US children are deficient in vitamin D.

Are we really being protected?

Most sunscreens on the market contain chemicals that are known carcinogens, such as parabens and endocrine disrupters like oxybenzone, which when exposed to UV light, may produce free radicals.  These risks, coupled with the risks from vitamin D deficiency, should give us pause in deciding whether to use conventional sunscreen.

What’s safe?

Zinc oxide is a good barrier ingredient that has long been touted as a natural alternative to conventional sunscreen, however, it’s important to distinguish between particle size when selecting sunscreen to use on your family.  Nanoparticles of zinc oxide have been shown to generate free radicals and are small enough to penetrate cell membranes.

Sensible sunburn protection

Given all the confusing information on sun safety as well as sunscreen safety, the ideal scenario would be to take your child outside each day for ten or fifteen minutes, and then seek shade, thus preventing vitamin D deficiencies as well as sunburn. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, and fortunately there is a brand of sunscreen that you can feel good about using.  We selected Butterbean Organics sunscreen for our kids and to sell in our natural parenting shop.  It provides spf 30 protection with large particle zinc oxide and all organic ingredients.  It’s also convenient to use in the pump applicator and spreads easily.

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Bottom line

My super pale boys are out in the sun daily and I don’t regularly use sunscreen on them unless we will be out all day at the beach or zoo and they don’t burn.  I sell safe sunscreen and use it sparingly on my own family, but because of my own research, I think it’s important to allow for daily sun exposure.  Of course, I’m not your healthcare professional, and you should always consult with your own pediatrician for advise.

Here’s to fun in the sun this year!

 

IMG_4421 Sharon is an owner of wrapped up, a natural parenting and babywearing boutique. She has two boys that keep her hands and heart full. http://www.WrappedUpTampa.com

Are you putting your mask on?

By: Michelle Hudock

You are sitting on the airplane, about to take off and they are going over the safety instructions. They talk about the oxygen masks and tell you “Put your mask on first before assisting others.” Your small child is sitting next to you. If you had to make that decision, would you listen? Would you put your mask on first or put their mask on first?

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I know when I sat and listened to them say that I would think to myself “No way! I am putting my child’s mask on first. It is my job to take care of them and put their needs before mine.” This was my way of thinking in several areas of my life. But now I know I do need to put my mask on first.

After our second child was born I was constantly exhausted. He wasn’t the best sleeper and was still up every couple hours way past the time he was “supposed” to be sleeping through the night. I had daily headaches and took Aleve each day like it was a daily vitamin. I would skip meals or wait too long to eat because I was busy taking care of his needs and he had to eat first. But then I found myself even more drained. I would stay in my pajamas all day, skip taking a shower, some days not even look in the mirror to see the hot mess I was. Not only was I taking care of a baby, but I had a Kindergartner at the time who needed me. I had to get her breakfast in the morning and feed the baby, which meant there was no time for me to eat. Then I had to drive her to school that wasn’t close. By the time I got home it was time for the baby to eat again, so that meant I had to wait even longer to eat. This is how my day went. The baby needs his diaper changed, I have to change it. The baby needs to eat, I need to feed him. I have to get our daughter breakfast, take her to school, pick her up from school, get her a snack. It was always something and it meant that my needs got pushed back. I was always putting myself on the back burner. But what did that get me? I was tired, had headaches, I was stressed, moody, and just going through the motions. My husband and I would sit on the couch watching TV each night while we would watch our kids play and entertain themselves nearby. We would doze off most nights. We hardly ever made dinner and mostly ordered pizza, Chinese delivery, picked up Carside to go, or went through a fast food drive thru.

In October 2014, something changed. One day I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of the same old, same old. I was tired of the headaches, the stress, being moody, and just being a Mombie. (Mom Zombie) I was tired of my pre-pregnancy clothes not fitting right STILL, not feeling confident about myself, not looking forward to date night with my husband and making excuses to get out of it because I didn’t have anything to wear and didn’t like how things looked on me, I was tired of just not feeling good. My husband had some pregnancy sympathy weight to lose too. We both decided we needed to make a change. We started working out in our family room as soon as we put the kids to bed. We made it like an appointment we had to be on time for and “met” each other there. It became our time together and like a hobby which we never really had together. We started making healthier food choices and did meal prepping and planning together. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but we started seeing changes so we kept going. Not just on the outside of losing weight and inches but on the inside too. We started having more energy, I had less headaches, I was able to deal with the stress better by letting it out in my workouts, my moods were better, and I was feeling like a better Mom and Wife. I realized I needed to eat too. I realized in order to feed my baby well, I needed to feed myself well. I started eating 5-6 meals and snacks a day, every 2-3 hours. I thought of it like this- if my baby was hungry and crying to eat, would I make him wait? Would I tell him “Sorry, I don’t have time. You’ll have to wait to eat.” No! And I shouldn’t tell myself that either. We had to make some changes and adjustments and although it took time, it was so worth it. We were making healthy dinners at home together. We were going on walks and bike rides around our neighborhood together. We were playing WITH our kids and not just watching them play. We were setting a good example for them to be active and healthy.  We started seeing more and more positive changes and it became so rewarding! It let us know we were making the right steps towards better health which effected so much on a daily basis. When you feel better, you do better. When you feel better, you are better. Whether your job is at home as a stay at home Mom, you work from home, you work outside of the house. You are a better Wife, a better Mom, a better employee.

 

If you want to see change, YOU have to change.

For things to get better, YOU have to get better.

For things to improve, YOU have to improve.

When YOU grow, EVERYTHING in your life grows with you.

So whenever you start feeling run down and worn out ask yourself “Am I putting my mask on?” You MUST put your mask on first before assisting others!

 

 

10897977_10206241527816591_3774314369757525231_n My name is Michelle Hudock and my husband and I have two kids. Kyla is 10 years old and Kellen is 4 years old. I work from home as a health and fitness coach helping people with their health and fitness goals. I have always wanted to “help people” and I feel like each day I get to do just that! It also allows me to stay home with our two young kids and have the freedom to volunteer at their schools or go to class parties, go with my husband when he travels for work, and to truly enjoy Spring Breaks and Summers while the kids are off school. I love trying new recipes to cook for my family, going to playdates and meeting new Moms just like me, and just being an “Everyday Mom!”

 

 

The day I learned the truth about my daughter and how you can avoid being blindsided by your child’s secret life.

By: Anonymous

I believed I was a good parent. I thought the occasional scan of my 13-year-old’s phone was enough to have a strong understanding of what was going on in her life. I assumed that by following her social media pages (that I was aware of) that I was protecting her from bad influences while allowing her some freedom. I expected her to do the right thing in peer pressure situations. With my entire soul I believed that she had a strong sense of self worth, and would not seek the approval of others. I was naïve. I was wrong. I was flat out stupid.

Luckily for her and for me, I found out the truth before it was too late.

Late one night I received a message from her dad who lives six hours away. He had been on his other daughter’s social media app – musical.ly and found our daughter’s profile. If you don’t know already, this app is used to make your own music videos as you lip sync to your favorite tunes. Users can have a lot of fun editing and perfecting their videos before uploading them for all to see. I knew of the app as our daughter has shown me some of her videos (which were all G-rated of course) and had decided that it was a safe avenue for her to have some fun with music and friends while expressing her creativity. Ha! – WRONG! There is no restrictions on who can lip sync to which songs and guess who was singing and dancing to the worst possible lyrics on the planet?? – MY innocent 8th-grade daughter. Her father and I were appalled and even scared for what this meant.

Ok – you might be thinking “So what’s the big deal? She sang a few curse words! Lots of teenagers do that without turning into juvenile delinquents!” Well, that may be true but that unfortunately was just the beginning of our gut-wrenching journey into our daughter’s very secret life. After watching in horror as my daughter cursed through the sex-laden lyrics of songs I’ve never even heard of, that jogged my curiosity which led me to dig a little further. Something told me there was more. I pressed on, and dug deeper –going through her phone with a fine tooth comb. In the past, I had occasionally scanned her phone a few times per month thinking that was enough. What I discovered that night however, was that my daughter did not have the strong sense of self worth that I thought I had instilled in her. What I exposed was a totally different person from the one I thought I knew. This other person wanted to impress other people by proving she was the baddest of them all. She wanted everyone to think she was having sex and doing drugs even though she has had ZERO opportunities to do so. In the past year before this night she had maybe spent the night with a friend twice. In fact, she is always at one of three places – home, school, or her cheerleading gym. Certainly I am aware that kids can find a way to do anything, anywhere these days but something in me, call it wishful thinking if you will, was telling me that this could not be true. Without going into too many details, after a series of tests and doctor’s appointments, we found out the truth – my daughter is a liar who was willing to say anything to her peers for attention.

While I suppose this was the lesser of the two evil outcomes, I knew there was one common denominator – I had failed. I had enabled this behavior through inaction. By not being vigilant through the parenting of my child I created an environment that told my daughter this was acceptable. Children need to be children as long as possible but the world we live in – our culture – tells kids (especially girls) otherwise. With shorter shorts and make-up contouring tutorials, the 13-year-olds of today are like the 18-year-olds of yesterday.

Parents generally tend to feel guilty about an array of things that can sometimes be beyond their control. But this was different. I could not blame anyone for this situation but myself. I know I could have done more to teach her to respect herself. I know I could have taken more time to research my daughter’s life. I have many regrets leading up to this situation and while I can take a lot of corrective measures, the fact is – a lot of damage has already been done. She has already been exposed to so much that cannot be unseen, unspoken, or unheard. If you are reading this and have a child of any age with a smart phone or computer, please allow me to offer these few bits of advice:

  1. Stop giving them the tools to become worldly and mature beyond their years. Smart phones are certainly a key ingredient in that recipe. I’m not saying don’t allow your children to have a phone. I am saying have strict restrictions and always – ALWAYS – stalk them.
  2. Stay up-to-date with the latest of apps and remain in the know about which ones make it easier for your son or daughter to hide things from you. Apps like Snapchat and Kik provide the perfect avenue for this. Ask.fm is another one – kids can ask anonymous questions of each other without fear of anyone knowing who it came from. With raging teenage hormones, I’ll let you imagine the kinds of questions kids ask of one another.
  3. Talk intensively to your children about having respect for themselves and for others. Seek out any programs that are offered in your area that teach kids positive characteristics. One thing that I was most appalled by is how little respect my daughter had for herself, and how little respect boys showed for her. It was truly sickening what she allowed these boys to say to her. Even if your talks with your child end with the ever-endearing teenage eye-roll, wouldn’t you rather know that you had tried rather than assuming that your child will do the right thing behind closed doors?

I wish I knew the absolute right recipe for parenting our children in this world of evolving technology. I pray that not every parent has to endure this – or worse – with their child. I despise that we live in a culture that makes our children feel like they need to do certain things to be cool or popular or pretty or edgy. All I can offer is our very personal experience in hopes that at least one parent will be reached, and the course of at least one other child’s life will be positively affected.

Keep striving. Keep pushing. Never give up on protecting your child even if it means that they won’t like you.

Below are images of what some of the Aps may look like on your Child’s phone.

 

 

Finding the Words

By: Kristina Teeter

What Is Childhood Apraxia of Speech and Why Should We Talk About It?

Written by: Kristina Teeter in honor of Apraxia Awareness Day 2016

When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, I was overjoyed.  There was nothing I wanted more in the world than to be a mommy.  As a little girl playing with my dolls, it was seriously all I dreamed about.  When my daughter made her grand entrance into this world early one summer morning, she instantly rose to princess status.  I remember cradling her in my arms and staring at her sweet face. I couldn’t wait to see her reach her monthly milestones (you know, the ones you read about in the baby books).  So I did what any new mom would do, I waited and I watched (sometimes obsessively).   At about 18 months, I was hit with a big realization: I was waiting and watching and things just weren’t happening. Reese was struggling to meet many of her milestones, especially those pertaining to speech.  She didn’t babble like other babies her age, her sound repertoire was almost non-existent and she didn’t say any words (not even those cute made up ones).  I knew I had to do something.  A family friend advised us to seek assistance through our state early intervention program.  At the advice of our pediatrician we sought the assistance of a pediatric neurologist as well.  After some evaluation, Reese started the Early Steps program and was seen by an early interventionist. Things were going well, but Reese still wasn’t using words to communicate.  At that point we were teamed up with a Speech and Language Pathologist who worked with Reese weekly on her speech and language skills.  Little by little Reese began to imitate sounds.  We were hopeful that she would begin to talk, even if just in single words or short phrases.  We worked on her speech daily, practicing sounds over and over.  By age 3, Reese was finally starting to attempt some words.  She was further evaluated by her SLP and diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).  At the time, I had no idea what Childhood Apraxia of Speech was.  I was simply relieved to have a name to attach to what was causing my baby girl to struggle so much.

CASANA (The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America) describes Childhood Apraxia of Speech as, “…a motor speech disorder that first becomes apparent as a young child is learning speech.  For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intellgible speech.”

Imagine knowing what you want to say, but not being able to produce the words clearly enough to be understood.  The best way that I have been able to help young children understand apraxia is by sitting them down and playing the game telephone- that childhood game where everyone sits in a circle and a secret message is whispered one by one to each person around the circle.  By the end of the game the message is never what it was intended to be.  That is what it is like to have CAS.  For children with CAS communicating with peers can be an extremely challenging and frustrating task.

Children with CAS benefit most from frequent and intensive speech therapy by an apraxia trained SLP. Many children with CAS attend speech therapy 5 days a week, as well as practice their speech productions at home. Reese is now just shy of 7 years old.  She still receives both school based and private speech therapy.  Speech therapy has simply become a routine part of our lives.

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Celebrating apraxia awareness and practicing speech at home a few years ago.

It is hard to believe sometimes just how long apraxia has been a staple word in our household.  It honestly feels like just yesterday, Reese was diagnosed.  When I think back to that day I can remember how terrified I was and how many questions were racing through my brain.  Would I ever hear my little girl talk?  Would she ever call me mama?  Would she learn to read?  Would she be teased?  The list goes on.  At this point in our journey I can tell you a few things believe with all my heart:

  1. Don’t let anyone put a limit on your child’s capabilities. Early on, Reese’s prognosis included the possibility that she would never speak.  I refused to believe that.  She now speaks in full sentences and reads above grade level despite the speech challenges she still faces.  Oh… and I did finally get to hear her say “mama.”  It is still music to my ears when I hear her say it.
  2. Early Intervention is key!  Seek an evaluation with your state’s early intervention program and find out what resources are available to your child.
  3. When seeking an evaluation and diagnosis make sure the therapist is knowledgeable in apraxia.  Appropriate diagnosis will help you seek of the appropriate type of therapy.  We have been blessed with world’s most amazing speech therapists.  I don’t know where we would be without them.
  4. You are your child’s best advocate.  Nobody knows your child better than you do.  Speak up, don’t be afraid and fight for what you know they need!
  5. Living with a child with apraxia of speech will teach you many things.  The most important thing I have learned is how to listen.  When you have a child that struggles to communicate you learn the value of every facial expression, body movement and vocalization.  You truly learn to listen with your heart!
  6. Be hopeful and believe in yourself as a parent/caregiver.  There are going to be hard days. There are going to be days when you want to quit.  On those days, remember who you are fighting for and put your boxing gloves on!
  7. Teach your child to embrace who they are.  Reese knows that she has apraxia.  She knows where she started and how far she has come.  I want her to know that having apraxia has shaped her into who she is today.

On May 14th we will celebrate Apraxia Awareness Day.  This day means a lot to families affected by Apraxia, because it is a day where we can truly “SPEAK UP” for our little ones that are still working to unlock their voices.  On Apraxia Awareness Day many families wear blue or create blue ribbons with stars to show their support.  Across the United States, families affected apraxia seek out proclamations from their state to honor this special day.  Other activities include sharing apraxia facts and photos of our apraxia stars on social media, fundraisers that support apraxia related programs and educational speeches/talks at schools and clinics.  Apraxia Awareness Day is also a great day to let families know about the Walk for Apraxia.  This year in Florida alone, there are 5 walks planned. The walks raise money that directly supports CASANA’S research and programs, such as I-Pads for Apraxia.  If you want to learn more about apraxia please visit the CASANA webpage at www.apraxia-kids.org.  You will find every resource you need.  If you like social media, you can find the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association on Facebook, as well as apraxia Facebook groups in both your state and city.  These pages are a great way to connect with other families, ask questions and find resources!

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                                 Reese and Mommy at our first Walk for Apraxia in 2012

 

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Please join me on May 14th to support children that are still searching for their voice!  Let’s speak up for apraxia!!!

13009879_1016540051773199_505321581_o My name is Kristina and I am a working mom of two cutie pies, ages 1 and 6. I currently work as a literacy coach in an elementary school where I hope to ignite the love of reading in each person I meet. In my spare time I love teaching Sunday school, playing with my little ones, watching HGTV, and planning birthday parties for my kids!! I am extremely passionate about educating and advocating for apraxia and autism- two causes near and dear to my heart. The best thing about my life is being a mom!!!

 

 

ENOUGH!

By: Melissa Beckley

I can’t tell you how often this word is in my head. As a momma I always want what is best for my child, and I look around at others who seem to always have it together and the doubt creeps in. Am I ENOUGH? Am I a good enough wife? Am I a good enough mother to my children?

I remember clearly the moment it clicked for me. I was sitting at my now 6 year old’s Christmas program at school. I had a hard morning that day knowing that I was showing up with store bought snacks, an outfit that didn’t match, and my hair was just brushed, but not styled like all the other mom’s hair. I sat in one of the tiny seats in the audience and watched their sweet little performance. My little guy looked out and once he saw me, he smiled the biggest smile and waved at me. I knew then that I was enough.

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I want to tell you that momma, YOU are enough. God surely knew what he was doing when he gave you your children, He knew that YOUR kids would need the love that only you can give them. When you have bad days, fall short and sometimes you just don’t feel it, I promise you that you are STILL enough!

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Whether you’re a momma who is all about the store bought, or loves the Pinterest projects. Whether you love to cook and clean or just really would rather not. Whether you style your hair everyday and look like you could be in a magazine or if you rock your yoga pants and throw your hair into a pony tail. Whether you work out or don’t. Whether you breast feed or bottle feed, or use cloth or disposable diapers. YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are beautiful and mean the absolute world to those little people that call you momma.

Melissa

 

 

untitled-279 copy I’m Melissa, wife to a handsome guy and momma to 5 crazy kids (ages 10 months to 13 years). I am a birth, newborn and baby photographer and I love living in Florida 🙂

 

 

 

A Day In The Life

By: Jennifer Stroble

I can’t remember the last time I accomplished the laundry. The dishes are piling up, and I’m starting to wonder when the ants are going to permanently make a residence in my home. (Only partially kidding).

What? You mean the house looks crazy?

I’ve spent the last two weeks battling sickness running through the household, hopping from one kid to the next, and back and forth between my husband and I.

From the time I wake up, until the time the sweet and sour kids go to bed, it’s a struggle.  My oldest has massive defiance with me, and is constantly whining, or being aggressive. My little munchkin is learning he can crawl. He now navigates all over the house, trying to reach anything and everything he shouldn’t touch, such as power outlets and the dog’s tail.

As a mom, I spend most of my day saying “No!”, “Don’t touch that.”, “Put it back.”, and “That’s not nice.” I’m having to put my kid in time out for not listening to any of those things.

It’s become a regular occurrence where I doubt myself as a mother. I think to myself, “Why can’t I handle this? The house is never clean. My kids constantly push boundaries, and I feel like I’m sinking. The kids must think I’m the worst!” Then something magical happens.

Out of the blue, during dinner one night my 4 year old says “I love you mommy!” while giving me the biggest “bear hug” he could. I ask, “Why do you love mommy?” and he says, “Because you take me to the park….. and to the mall… and you make me cookies.”. Then I realize, he doesn’t care about the dishes, the laundry, nor the fact that he’s spent more time in the corner than out. All he cared about was that I put an effort into spending time with him.

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That’s the moment I realized, it’s all in my head. I’m stressing myself out for no reason. The kids don’t hate me, and the house is a mess because I’m focused on what’s important: My kids!

That magical moment set me straight. However, it still won’t stop me from putting my feet up on Mother’s Day and ignoring the chaos that revolves around house chores and raising children.

Mom, who?

Jennifer Stroble 3 I’m Jennifer, a 25 year old mother of two amazing boys. Keagan is four years old, and Oliver will be one in September. I’ve been married five years now, and have grown up in the Brandon area. I am a sarcastic, laid back stay-at-home parent with a hectic lifestyle catering to my children and two rambunctious dogs. Each day I’m simply trying to survive the never-ending ride that is parenthood