Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Heart Association. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms

Like most moms, my number one priority is my children. Our day to day lives, as well as the decision we make for our future, revolve around them. So when it comes to our health, I also want to make sure I remember to not only take care of the kids but myself as well. By making a few changes to our daily routine I’ve been able to focus on my health without drastically changing how I’m living or taking too much time on one thing. Because we all know if it takes too much time, it isn’t going to happen.

We want to experience more of life’s precious moments. But to do that, we must be healthy in heart and mind. As the American Heart Association reminds us, the heart is where life’s moments are felt most, and the mind is where we relive them again and again. Making healthy living a priority for moms is easy when you have the right tools! By making these changes we can impact better heart and brain health. You have the power to affect real change!

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms - go on adventures

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms

Make Simple Changes 

Healthy living doesn’t mean changing your whole way of living. It means changing a few small things to make a big impact. Here are a few changes you can implement in your daily lives that have big impacts:

  1. Eat more fruits and veggies – Consider joining a CSA or a food delivery program that delivers fresh produce right to your door! We love Farm Fresh to You’s veggie/fruit deliveries.
  2. Eat less sodium – Read labels and see where sodium is hiding. Then reduce the amount you’re eating!
  3. Drink less sugary sweetened beverages – Do you drink soda? Cut down your consumption or switch it for flavored water!
  4. Increase your physical activity – just add a 30-minute walk in a day! Then increase from there.
  5. Check and control blood pressure – regular check ups with your doctor are important for overall health.

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms - spend time with kids

Find a Work-Life Balance

Sometimes the stress in our lives is made when we try and do too much or take on too many tasks. Finding that work/life balance can help ease stress and reduce health problems. Here are some basic changes to make:

  1. Set office hours and stick to them! If you work outside of the home, this may be easy, but if you work from home like me, office hours are a must. This also applies to SAHMs. You can create a schedule around kids activities, focusing on the home, etc so you are using your time more efficiently.
  2. But also, schedule some family/home hours as well. Between school pick-up and bedtime are the times during the week that I focus on the kids and after 10 a.m. on the weekends is family time. I try not to work on holidays as well so I make it clear that I’m not available on those days.
  3. “Me time” is important as well. I make sure to get out once a month and focus on myself. Whether that’s mom’s night out, getting a pedicure, or getting my hair cut, even as little as one hour is enough for me to recharge. You could even consider creating a Moms group where you get together once a month at each other’s houses just to get some mom time in.


Implement Change One Step At A Time

Don’t rush into these changes all at once. While one or two changes may be ok right now, making too many changes may lead to defeat. Consider adding 1-2 new changes into your routine a week and work from there. By the time you realize it, you may have already implemented some great changes in your life and are already becoming a healthier you.

Remember, these changes are not only for you but for your whole family! Make it fun and challenge the other family members in your home to participate as well! Take a walk at night as a family to tackle increasing physical activity AND spending family time together. Or consider a screen time ban after dinner so you create family time.

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms - mental health days

The American Heart Association (AHA) has resources for healthy living, like recipes, healthy tips and tricks for moms, and information and resources on heart and brain health. They’re working to improve the health of communities by affecting laws through advocacy initiatives. As an organization, the AHA is funding life-saving research and science advances to help people live healthier, longer lives. You can find more resources by visiting Life Is Why.

Looking for more support? The Moms Unite Facebook Group is also a great place for fellow moms to get together in an effort to encourage one another and share tips for leading a healthy life. Check out what they have on Pinterest too!

Everyone has a reason to live a healthier, longer life. What’s yours?

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Top 10 Essentials When Traveling with Dogs

Traveling with the family dog doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s just as easy as traveling with kids. Maybe even easier! We’re sharing our must have essentials when traveling with dogs including a few products from The Nutro™ Company as part of a sponsored series with Socialstars. #HonestToDog

Top 10 Essentials When Traveling with Dogs

I still remember the first day we brought Scout home from the pound. We had just met him the day before and as soon as I got to his cage he put his paw up as if saying hello. I played with him a bit through the fence while my husband Joseph (who was only my boyfriend at the time) went to go see if he was available. They said he was a coonhound beagle mix so we assumed we were getting a medium sized dog. But those paws. Those paws said something else! They were HUGE.

Joseph had to work that day and couldn’t get off early so I had the pleasure of heading down to pick him up after he got the snip snip. He was only 3 months old at the time and came out from behind the corner with a cone of shame around him. I didn’t even bring a collar or a leash. I was so new to this whole pet owner thing. He would be living at Joseph’s house since I lived with my dad and did not have room for another dog. But that didn’t stop me from loving on him and staying with him that first night. Staying up and sleeping on the couch to make sure he was ok and all his needs were met.

Needless to say, Scout was a very important part of my life. He was my first real big responsibility outside of chinchillas, rats, and hampsters. And he depended on me and Joseph to take care of him. We took him just about everywhere. Road trips, the beach, hiking, walks around the neighborhood, etc. Wherever we went, he went. And as we got married, added to our family – gained 3 kids, gained and lost a dog, and added many more pets after that, and as Scout got older, the trips have slowed down. But we still get out and about for a little fun. And over the years we’ve figured out the essentials when traveling with dogs.

Top 10 Essentials When Traveling with Dogs - walking the dog

Now depending on the size and personality of your dog, some of these may vary a bit. However the basics are all there! And sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re going on a cross country trip with your pooch or simply taking a day trip to the beach. First above all, though, is to get your dog used to the car at a young(er) age. We’d take Scout on trips to the hardware store with us, to the pet store to grab food, and even to a few dog-friendly restaurants to not only get him socialized but to get him used to the car. One dog I had growing up, Simba, would get car sick every car ride and did NOT like to be in the car. I don’t think I’d attempt a long car ride with him if it could be avoided.

Top 10 Essentials When Traveling with Dogs - packing for your pooch

Top 10 Essentials When Traveling with Dogs

  1. Water – You always need to bring water with you when you’re traveling with Fido. Whether it’s a 20 minute drive to the park, a walk around the neighborhood, or a longer trip, water is essential to have with you when you have your pooch at your side.
  2. Poop Bags – Even if your dog is a once a day pooper in the same spot every day (don’t laugh… some dogs are very, er, regular) it’s good to have poop bags on hand (or even attached to their leash) at all times.
  3. Leashes – And that leads me to the next important essential, your dog’s leash. I would suggest keeping the leash attached to their collar even when in the car. It not only is convinient for getting out of the car, but should someone else need to go into your car, they can quickly secure your dog by grabbing the leash.
  4. Car Harness – Just like securing your children in a carseat, a car harness or crate is important to keep your dog safe in case of an accident or emergency. It can also act as a calm place for your dog to retreat to (the crate) if they’re feeling nervous on the trip when you reach your destination. Always keep your dog in the crate when the car is in motion OR harnessed.
  5. Towel/Bedding – if your pooch is sitting in the back seat, putting a towel down underneath them can act as some padding for them, protection for the seat, and an easy way to dry them off if you have an accident or are coming home from the beach. We’ve also found this to be an easy way to make them feel more comfortable if the car seat has an awkward angle. It also comes in handy in the back of the car as it acts like a makeshift bed.
  6. Food – Sometimes bringing food for your dog isn’t needed. But when you’re on a long road trip, or even a day trip to the beach, remembering your dog’s food is important. A food like NUTRO™ Rotations™ dog food can add a bit of variety to their diet and you can even pair it with what you’ve brought for the family to eat so your pooch can enjoy the same meal.  
  7. Food/Water Containers – Even though this is kind of a given, having a few food/water containers with you can help out in a pinch. We like the soft, collapsable containers that will fit in a purse or diaper bag. I keep one in my trunk at all times along with a small tupperware container that holds the collapsable dish, extra leash, poop bags, and a water bottle. Just in case.
  8. Toys – Not only are toys great for your destination to keep your dog happy and entertained, but a favorite toy, blanket, or chew toy can help calm your dog while you’re on your adventure. Something that reminds them of home and security. 
  9. Medications – Not all dogs are on medication however if your dog does need his daily meds, don’t forget to bring them along. I like to bring the whole bottle that includes the prescription information instead of a pill saver just in case. That way I have all of my dog’s info with me. You could also write out a list of medications to keep with you just as you would for yourself when traveling. 
  10. Treats – Keeping a little stash of treats you know your dog likes can be handy when you want to get their attention, have them respond to your commands in new situations, or simply praise them for being good on your trip.

STAINMASTER PetProtect running at the beach

This old boy has definitely left an impact on my life and I’m so happy to have his companionship. We might not be doing cross country trip anytime soon but our beach days are far from over.

Top 10 Essentials When Traveling with Dogs - Scout at 12 years old

Do you travel with your dog?

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Clear The Shelters: Tips On Adopting A Dog

This weekend we headed to the San Diego Humane Society to check out the Clear the Shelters event sponsored by NBCUniversal and Overstock. In an effort to help families find their newest furry member, this sponsored post features tips on adopting a dog. Adding a dog to the family can be such a great thing, if a good fit is found.

Clear The Shelters Tips On Adopting A Dog

As Scout, our coonhound, gets older I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a companion dog for him to make the transition easier when he does finally pass. When Jetta passed we were so glad to have Scout in our home. And since Scout is now older than Jetta when she passed, and is starting to slow down a lot, we know his time will come soon. So I’m adimate on finding the perfect pooch to add to our family zoo. However my husband thinks we’ve maxed out on the number of pets we can handle. I’m hoping to sway him over to my side once we narrow down the search.

When I heard about the Clear the Shelters event happening at our local shelter, I knew I wanted to check it out. The Clear the Shelters initiative, spearheaded by NBC and Telemundo local television stations, in partnership with, put on an amazing event this weekend at various shelters in the US and Puerto Rico to help find homes for the many many animals living in shelters. Finding forever homes for these animals was the main goal. And finding homes is what they did.

Clear The Shelters event at the San Diego Humane SocietyClear The Shelters event with NBC and Overstock


I took Norah with me as we visted the dogs, cats, and bunnies at the shelter and had a chance to see families find their perfect pet while we were there. It was magical seeing someone walk into a room to meet their newest family member. The joy, the emotion, and and the instant bonds that were made left my heart feeling full.

And I was drawn to one pooch while we were there. A 2 year old beagle mix who looked like he’d be the perfect match for my family. I got all of his information to bring home and discuss with my husband and the family. But by the time we headed out to see if the whole family felt the same way (including Scout) we found that he was already adopted. YAY for him!

The event here in San Diego was a success. I found out on the San Diego Humane Society facebook page that there were 283 adoptions today at their Gaines Street location and 741 countywide! I’m sure that number increased across the country. The animal shelter is the perfect place to find a dog. But there are a few things to consider when looking to add a furry member to ones family.

If you’re looking to adopt a dog, consider these tips before doing so:

Clear The Shelters Tips On Adopting A Dog - know the temperament

Tips On Adopting A Dog

Research. Research. Research.

Finding the right breed for your family is very important. Doing the necessary research ahead of time on the type of dog that will work best for your family will save both you and a dog from a potentially disasterous combo. Know how active a breed is, if they’re known for being escape artists. If they do best in a home with a yard or need lots of frequent walks. Being aware of a breed’s quirks can make it easier to narrow down what would work best for your lifestyle. And size is important too! When we adopted Scout he was a 3 months old little pup . But had HUGE paws. So even though his sign said beagle/coonhound mix, we knew he was going to be a large breed dog. More coonhound than beagle. If we weren’t prepared for his size we might not have had the resources needed for him.

Check The Local Shelters Frequently

Whether you’re looking online at your local shelter’s website, or heading into them in person, be aware that dogs go in and out of shelters quickly. If you’ve done your research and know what type of breed you want to get, make sure to act quickly so that you won’t be heartbroken to find that a dog has already been adopted out already.

Heed The Shelter Notes

All of the dogs at the shelter have a sheet of paper next to them that tell a potential adoptive parent about the dog. How active they are, if they get along well with other animals or kids in the home, etc. The shelters are good about watching a dog and seeing how they react to different situations. They will also note anything that might have happened before they received the animal. Make sure that you take all of this information in and are honest in your adoptive application about your home life and what type of situation the dog is getting into. If you have another dog at home, consider bringing them in to meet the new member before you adopt. And bring in the whole family. Kids and all. You want to make sure you see how the new dog reacts to these changes and people before bringing them home.

Prepare Your Home

Make sure that before you get your pup you have prepped your home for their arrival. Make sure your yard is secure, you have a leash, collar, dog food/water dishes, and a bed or spot for your doggy to sleep. Know in advance what you might need depending on the age of your new pet. A puppy may require a few nights of snuggling and letting out until they get used to going out the doggy dor you have or feeling comfortable sleeping in a new home. Just like having a newborn!

Adopting A Dog Is Forever

By doing your research, finding the perfect match for your family, and being prepared when you take your pooch home, you are sure to find the perfect match for your family and will spend many years happily reaping the rewards of the unconditional love a dog can give. But please remember that shelter dogs have already been abandoned or given up once before. So they need to know that you’ll be their forever parent and this will be their forever home. There’s no taking a dog back or returning them because it just isn’t working out. Know that you’re making a commitment to this animal to love and care for them. And they’ll love and care for you right back!

Clear The Shelters Tips On Adopting A Dog - cats too!Clear The Shelters Tips On Adopting A Dog - and bunnies!

Dogs aren’t the only animals at shelters! You can also find many cats, kittens, and bunnies ready to find their forever home too!

Overstock Pet Adoptions has helped pet lovers search for and adopt animals from thousands of shelters across the country. believes every life is valuable and has used their technology and resources to help save the lives of homeless and abandoned pets. You can find pets to adopt by looking at Overstock’s pet adoption pageOver 40,000 pets have found homes through the technology! How awesome is that? And you can find all of your pet essentials right on the site so you’re home is ready for your new family member.

Did you miss out on this year’s event? Mark your calendar for next year’s event slated for 7/16/16!

Is your family looking to add a new furry member? Have you considered visiting your local shelter?

Surgery Is Scheduled

Surgery Is Scheduled - Gallbladder Surgery

After my gallbladder attack I did a lot of research. Research on the foods I could and couldn’t eat, research on surgery, and research on the effects the surgery would have on my life.

My biggest concern, however, had nothing to do with me, but with Norah.

She still isn’t taking a bottle very well when I’m out and for the most part I can’t leave for longer than 2 hours without her becoming upset and sometimes unconsolable. Especially at night.

So I needed to know that having her with me at the hospital would be OK. And nursing wouldn’t be an issue after surgery. Except I’m getting conflicting responses and information.

I met with my surgeon today to discuss everything. How long the procedure would be (1-2 hours tops), what my diet would be like after the surgery, and then I talked about Norah. And the fact that she won’t take a bottle and my concerns about not being able to nurse.

Surgery Is Scheduled - Gallbladder

He said that the only thing he would have any concern with is the anesthesia in my system. Not to worry about the meds because they could work around that. And he said that I could discuss the type of anesthesia used with the anesthesiologist beforehand so that we use something they’d use on an infant if an infant was being put under.

I felt better. I felt like this wasn’t going to be a problem. And I was ready to schedule my surgery knowing that my little one would be able to be with me and nurse before and after surgery. Until his nurse came in to schedule the date of the surgery.

And she… well she told me differently. She mentioned that most doctors recommend pumping and dumping 24-48 hours after surgery. And then she went on to give me tips on how to get Norah to take my milk. Spoon feeding, using a nursing bra over the bottle to give her a familiar scent, etc. She told me a story of how she had to go to the hospital after one of her little ones was born and dealt with the same thing. And she got me worried all over again.

I did a few internet searches – yes, I know this is NOT the same as my doctor’s word – and from what I can tell I should be fine to nurse after surgery. KellyMom and Anesthesia Web shared research to back up their answers and stories from LaLecheLeague also confirmed that I should be able to nurse after surgery just fine.

For now I won’t stress about it. I’ll go by what my surgeon has said and will wait to talk to my anesthesiologist a few days before surgery. I’ll also still continue to give Norah to daddy on the weekends to try a bottle and will have pumped milk ready for them before surgery next month. Just in case.

As for the actual surgery… That seems easy enough.

Surgery Is Scheduled - laparoscopic surgery

That Time I Thought I Was Going To Die

That Time I Thought I Was Going To Die

Saturday mornings are a mundane routine that I look forward to every week. My middle child always seems to wake up at 6:30 and takes it upon herself to wake me and the baby up because, you know, she wants to start her day. So we make our way into the living room and I make some coffee as she entertains her sister. Fun and laughter ensue as I grab a bowl of cereal for her and me as the baby plays with a spoon. The baby would much rather have our cereal but Honey Nut Chex isn’t really baby friendly.

Then my son comes wandering in. Messy bed head, pjs dishevelled, thumb in his mouth and other thumb clutching onto his manhood making sure it’s still there. He curls up onto the couch near me and grabs a pillow as he watches whatever’s on Disney Junior or PBS Kids. We’re all relaxed in our various states of wakefullness as my husband comes out fully rested (after sleeping with my daughter’s foot in his back). He asks if we’ve gotten the newspaper and one of hte kids always volunteers to run out and grab it since Daddy doesn’t like going outside without his shoes and clothes on (unlike myself who’ll go out in PJs).

I’ll grab another cup of coffee and make my son some eggs for breakfast. Then my husband will enjoy a waffle or two from the freezer batch we made the Sunday before. He’ll eat quickly and hop into the shower so that we can start our day and get on to our first adventure of the weekend.

Last Saturday started like any other Saturday. Except before the husband got into the shower my two oldest started bickering and fighting over one thing or another. And all of a sudden my headache from the night before was back. So he kindly got me some Tylenol and water and then left to take his shower. The kids got distracted by something else and eventually went outside to hunt for bugs. It was just me and baby.

And that’s when it hit. OMG.

With no warning, no explaination, I was suddenly hit by gut wrenching pain in my upper abdomin. It was enough to have me doubled over in pain and wriggling around trying to find a way, a position, anything, to get it to lessen or stop. The baby was looking at me like I was cray-cray. Didn’t understand why I kept going from sitting, to standing, to laying down.

The only thing it reminded me of was when I thought I was dying when I ate calamari for the first time as a young tween. I was maybe 13 or 14 and we were driving home from a friend of my step dad’s house. The only thing I did differently was enjoy the tasty calamari they had made. I was convinced it was food poisoning but after extensive tests at the doctor’s I was told I had a stomach ulcer. That’s right. A stomach ulcer and I wasn’t even 15 yet.

Now 15+ years later I was feeling the same pain in the same spot. So I ran and grabbed a Zantac in hopes that it was an ulcer and I could calm it down. No dice. I told my daugther, who had made her way back inside, that she needed to get her father and bring him to me. He completely ignored her thinking she just wanted to hop into the shower and steal his hot water for herself. So I limped over to him, still doubled over, and banged on the bathroom door, which he locked, screaming at him to get out and get dressed.

I didn’t know where we should go but I knew I needed the pain to stop. I couldn’t handle it. And I’ve carried and birthed 3 kids! Two of which came out naturally and one was unmedicated. So I know a little about pain.

He opened the door and saw my face and quickly went into action. He got dressed, made sure the kids got dressed, as I attempted to get myself ready. I may have brushed my hair but that was about it before I headed to the car with my wallet. Molly followed and got herself buckled up in the back seat as I tried not to cry in the front. I was just praying my husband remembered to grab the diapers. And the baby.

He remembered both and soon he, the baby, and my son were in the car too. But he had no where to go and I was in no condition to help direct him. Definitely another marital challenge to throw in the books. But after a little juggling and frantically wondering which urgent care was closer, then wanting to go to Grossmont hospital when we were already heading west (the opposite direction), he found himself going to the right place and made a quick decision to skip urgent care and take me directly to the ER.

As soon as we pulled up I grabbed my purse and walked in. I had no clue what to do but finally found a check in. As I gave my info, to one person, another asked me questions. One of which was if I had major abdominal surgery recently. I mentioned that I had a c-section but it wasn’t up there. I was down there. Um yeah, that’s kind of obvious. Oy! What pain will make you say.

I finally got fully checked in and sat down in the lobby. I thought that time was moving infinitely slow. Pain was still the same level only while we were in the car it started radiating to my back too. No let up at all.

When my husband and the kids walked in my name was finally called and I started to go back.

I arrived at a bed and was told to change into a gown then pee into a cup. Too bad the curtain at my bed didn’t want to cover the whole area and the gown they gave me had broken straps. I put the gown on backwards (opening in the front) so I could cover myself up enough to ask for a new gown. And the first thing the nurse said to me was that I had it on wrong. I explained why it was on wrong and kindly asked for another gown. This new and improved one actually

Since the kids would be a bit distracting, I tried to message my MIL to see if she could grab the big kids after the nurses got me all settled in with an IV and more info on my situation. Guess my husband had already called her when he parked and she already was on her way. Talk about a speedy reaction time.

The doctor came in and asked me a few more questions about the type of pain, where it was, and if him pushing in certain spots hurt. Yes, yes to it all. He asked if I wanted meds and I explained that I was breastfeeding a kid… I mean a baby… who wouldn’t take a bottle. He really didn’t have any alternatives other than giving me a half dose of morphine in my IV to ease the pain. He also mentioned that he thought it was my gallbladder.

After the doctor’s visit, the student nurse came in to set up my IV and give me the pain meds. By then my husband had come back to find me and once I was all set, Norah joined me in bed. Since it had been about 2 hours since her last feeding, we nursed and she quickly fell asleep in the bed on me. Nursing in that gown was quite awkward. Especially when they had me close it in the back. But we managed. She didn’t seem to mind where we were or what I was doing. She just wanted the comfort of mommy’s milk and a snuggle in my arms.

That Time I Thought I Was Going To Die - napping baby in the ER

About 30 minutes passed when an ultrasound technician came over to take a look inside. I woke Norah up to give her to my husband while the tech did his thing. From his responses and the way he continued to have me move and reposition we knew something was going on in there. After he was done he said he had to consult with the doctor and his boss but the doctor would be in shortly to talk to me.

By then Norah needed a diaper change so Joseph headed off to take care of her. The doctor came back and confirmed that not only did I have gall stones, I had a LOT of gall stones. He was surprised that this was my first attack and went over what my next steps would be. I’d have two options: lifestyle change of cutting out all fat and greasy food in my diet and hope I don’t have another attack any time soon or elective gall bladdder surgery. I was to contact my primary physician and schedule a consult with a surgeon.

In the meantime I’d have to cut out fat and greasy food from my diet. Good thing I didn’t start the LCHF diet I was planning on starting, right? Oy!! Could you imagine the pain I’d be in?

So the plan is to continue trying to eat whole foods while cutting out the fats I love. And that’s a lot! Eggs, salad dressing/oil, avocados, butter. So many things in my normal diet that are being cut out. But now the big question. Once my gallbladder is out, can I start the LCHF diet? We’ll see!

Dear N: 5 Months Old

Norah 5 Months Old

Wow. 5 whole months have gone by. As I write this I am watching you giggle in your grandma’s arms as Molly pretends to eat your feet. You have the biggest smile on your face as you grab for your sisters hair and pull in delight as she continues to pretend to bite you and give you raspberries. And as I’ve said before, your entrance into this world and into our family has been seamless.

The amount of personality you have already is amazing. Just like your siblings, you’re a pretty awesome baby. Grandma Ann says you’re such a good baby, better than your siblings. You are so interested in what’s going on and what people are doing around you. Even when we’re around the animals you love to watch what they do. So curious!

Norah 5 Months Sitting Up

We’ve known you’re a strong baby. And by 4.5 months you were sitting by yourself unassisted. No, you can’t get to a sitting position on your own but you have amazing core strength that keeps you balanced. And with this new skill you’re able to have control over your hands when you play which opens new doors at playtime.

With this ability to sit up, we’ve also started to let you sit in the cart at the grocery store after you mastered sitting in a high chair at restaurants at 4 months. And… with your interest in food, and the fact that you’ve swiped a few things from your siblings, we’ve started offering you food when we eat.

So far you’ve had strawberries, green beans, mangos, carrots, avocado, sweet potatoes, bananas, cucumbers, bread, and graham crackers. Since we’re doing BLW you get big pieces of food that you can hold onto and enjoy on your own. You’re a pro. And it seems like you don’t have a preference for any one thing. You’re totally taking after your siblings.

Norah 5 Months Eating Strawberries

Playtime is getting more and more fun as you continually become more interested in what’s around you. We’ve busted out a few toys for you, mainly some wooden blocks, a hape shape sorter, and some hand-me-down toys from your cousin and one of your brother’s friends. But sometimes you get frustrated because you can’t move yourself forward yet. You’re getting good at backwards though!

This month you’ve done a LOT! You’ve been to Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the San Diego County Fair. Lots of animals, rides, people, and fun to keep you curious and busy watching everything and taking it in. Your personality draws strangers to you and many kids and adults like to stop when they see you to say hi or talk to you. You’ve made many a friend.

Norah 5 Months Old playing with Ethan

With all that you’ve accomplished this month, I know that the next will be full of firsts as well and I’m so excited to see you grow and develop. You’re an amazing girl who I love with all of my heart. You’re a joy. Pure joy. I love you.

Unofficial 5 Month Stats: 

18lbs (with clothes/diaper on)

5 Month Comparison

5 Month Comparison

Is Vaccine A Dirty Word?

Is Vaccine A Dirty Word

There’s been big controversy about vaccines lately and moms over the years have had to make the decision to vaccinate their kids or to not vaccinate. With all of the hubub going both ways I’ve heard some ugly things being spewed from the mouths of friends and acquaintances that I thought I’d never hear.

And now with the recent bill being signed into law in California, things are heating up again. And moms aren’t going to have a choice anymore. Under the law, vaccinations would be required of children first entering public school, or when they enter seventh grade, after July 1, 2016.

Judgement has been cast and in my group of friends we don’t even bring up the V word for fear of becoming a pariah. But that shouldn’t be the case. Parents should feel comfortable having an open dialogue with their friends about the safety and benefits – or risks – of vaccines. Especially vaccines for life threatening illnesses that are live in the world today.

Get a Shot Give a Shot at Walgreens

Our family has chosen to go by a delayed vaccine schedule. We discuss vaccines at every well baby visit and make an informed decision when it comes to what vaccines are given and what vaccines are delayed until the next visit. And we don’t mind coming in in-between appointments for a shot only visit.

This means that our kids get every vaccine on the list, but when they are given is more spread out. I personally couldn’t handle giving 4 shots at one visit to my little ones so we have a 2 vaccine max at every visit. Then we come in-between appointments to get the other shots we need. Priority is given to the vaccines our doctor thinks is the most beneficial at that time. When we sit down with our doctor we discuss what illnesses are out in the population at the time and what will keep our children healthy. 

Diseases and viruses like measles and polio can prove to be devastating to those who aren’t immunized so there’s a benefit to keeping those immunizations up to date. But some parents don’t have the luxury that I do to decide on what vaccines to give and what to hold off on. Some children who don’t receive the proper immunization risk the chance of contracting these life threatening illnesses.

pretend shots

I vaccinate my kids and see the benefits and reasoning behind making sure our kids are vaccinated, however I am also sad about this bill for many reasons. One being the open endedness. Who determines what ‘any other disease deemed appropriate by the state Department of Public Health*’ is? Will we vote on those or will the governing bodies determine those? Can we get titers for the kids before requiring a booster for a vaccine to determine if a booster is needed?

The fact that this list is also requiring a vaccine for an STD be given to our children bewilders me. Will they eventually require the HPV vaccine too? I sure hope not! Also, while I agree with the need for vaccines I can’t believe that this was created purely for the health and wellness of the masses. Is the government reaching a bit too far? 

Is vaccine a dirty word in your social circle? What are your thoughts on this hot topic and do you feel like you can talk openly about it?

*KQED News

15 Water Activities For Kids

Water Activities for Kids - fun and playful ways to use water

Water. Such a simple thing however when my kids start playing with it they go crazy. Maybe it’s like the cardboard box phenomenon. Hand a kid a cardboard box and they’ll be entertained for hours. Give a kid a container full of water and the same thing happens.

Below are a few awesome ideas on just what to do with the water and how to make water play even more fun! Just remember that any water play needs to be supervised. Check out these water safety tips for kids for ideas on what to keep an eye out for.

15 Water Activities For Kids

  1. This alphabet car wash sensory bin is messy and wet! Your kids could have hours of fun with this activity.
  2. For the car wash experience on a larger scale, let your child wash the cozy coupe.
  3. Make giant bubbles in the kiddie pool. You can even stand inside them as you pull the hula hoop up!
  4. This DIY sprinkler limbo activity looks like so much fun. How low can you go?
  5. Take water balloon play to the next level with these messy paint­filled water balloons.
  6. Excavate dinosaurs with this fun salt and water ice melting activity.
  7. Backyard fishing is a great kiddie pool activity that even older kids will enjoy. (Don’t worry… the fish are fake!)
  8. Stay cool and learn about colors with this water and colored ice sensory bin for toddlers.
  9. Make an easy water wall with pool noodles!
  10. Isn’t this erputing ice chalk paint the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?
  11. Sponge bombs are always a hit in a water fight. Less fuss than water balloons!
  12. This DIY giant water blob is a fun full­body sensory activity for the kids.
  13. Make rainbow bubbles in the kiddie pool for colorful sensory play.
  14. A water transfer activity is a great way to learn about mixing colors.
  15. Use squirt guns for an interesting summer painting activity. Fill them with liquid watercolors or fill the guns with water and food coloring if you don’t have watercolors on hand.

What’s your favorite way to get the kids involved in water play?

These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten)

Oh how fast this year has gone. My son has completed his first year of school and I couldn’t be more proud. There are so many things that he learned this year. But I’ve learned just as much.

This is the first year I’ve been a parent to a grade schooler. The first year of Catholic school, of PTG, of being a room mom and so much more. And the first year I’ve worked at home while my kids were in school all week as opposed to part time pre-school and at home with me the rest of the time.

We all had to wake up early, all had to get ready at the same time. And I was lucky if I got a hot cup of coffee before we were out the door and headed for morning drop off.

Last Day of Kindergarten

This Year In Kindergarten I Learned:

1. To play nice with others

My son’s school is small. 1 classroom per grade and each class averages between 14-24 students. Every year it can fluxuate since we have a large military presence here in San Diego and at the schoolbut for the most part the kids my son is in class with now will most likely be with him until he graduates 8th grade and goes to high school. . That means that I’m slowly getting to know a lot of the parents, staff, and educators at this school. And eventually I’ll know everyone by the time all of my kids are here.

There are always a lot of different personalities in a group like this. There’s this mom, or that dad, or that teacher. But because we’re in it for the long haul, I was ready to play nice and get to know everyone at the beginning of the year. That’s hard when you’re brand new to a school. But I put myself out there, volunteered for various events, and made new friends.

2. That my son is awesome

Now I totally already knew this. But it was amazing seeing my son blossom from a preschooler to a grade schooler over this past year. No, he wasn’t top of the class, but he excelled in the subjects he loved and tried hard in the subjects he had trouble with. He went from not knowing all of his letters to being able to write full sentences. Wow.

And the interest he has in learning blew me away. While we struggled each night to get homework done because he’d rather be playing with his toys or finishing a game of Mario with his dad, his teacher always had the best things to say about his work ethic and the fact that he was willing to try and work hard to learn the things he hadn’t mastered yet. That’s all I want from him.

3. I enjoy being involved

I totally didn’t know if I’d cut it as a room mom. Nor did I think I’d have any interest in being involved in the PTG other than attending the general meetings. But I knew that I had time to dedicate and personally chose the career I’m in so that I could be involved. And involved I was.

From organizing class parties with my co-room mom, to finding sponsors for the auction at the Fall Gala the school held as a fundraiser, and eventually to stepping up as the sponsorship coordinator for the PTG at the end of the year, I found that I enjoy being involved in school and being a part of the community it creates.

4. I can use my skill set to my school’s advantage

Who knew that what started out as preserving memories and finding an outlet could turn into a full time job? How would I ever forsee that being a digital influencer could help my son’s school? With the relationships I’ve made and the things I’ve learned running this blog I’ve been able to help reach out to the community and am starting to secure donations and relationships for the school to use.

I think that just about every parent has a skill set that the school could use. And it doesn’t have to be in any official capacity. Simply stepping up and saying, “I can do this” will probably result in benefiting the school somehow. Whether you’re an educator at another school, a digital influencer, a crafter, a photographer, or any other myriad of skills out there. There’s something you can do to help your child’s school.

5. I love a close knit community

When my husband talked about wanting our kids to have a Catholic education I can honestly say I didn’t get it. I agreed to it even before we were married because I knew it was a huge deal to him but until my son actually attended school this year, I didn’t see the difference. And now? I can definitely see the difference. And not only because we’re paying a good chunk of change each month.

With a small private school comes a close knit community, or the semblance of one. I really enjoy hanging out with the other parents in my son’s class and also have seen a glimpse into the relationships other class parents have. By being more involved in the school I know that over time we’ll become even closer with the school community. And that is something I want for my kids.

First and Last Day of Kindergarten

These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

  1. Share everything.
  2. Play fair.
  3. Don’t hit people.
  4. Put things back where you found them.
  6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
  8. Wash your hands before you eat.
  9. Flush.
  10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
  12. Take a nap every afternoon.
  13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
  14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that inside.
  15. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned to read – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

What did you learn this year?

Days of the Week

Driving to school this morning the kids and I went over the days of this week. It’s always funny to me that they have to go over what they’ll be doing for the week on Mondays. They want to know not only what they’ll be doing but where they’re going and what day each event takes place.

Even though for the majority of the year we’ve been going to the same exact place every single day.

It always starts with the same question on Monday morning, “When’s my Off Day?”

Their Off Day is Saturday. Then comes Church Day. Then my daughter’s Other Off Day and my son’s School Day. They each have a School Day Tuesday-Thursday and then Friday is Aunt Louise Day for my daughter while my son goes to school. And then the cycle starts all over again. And I know why they want to know. I get it. Off Days are something I count down to as well. A time where our whole family is together at home. And we can do things with each other. And sleep in.

Days of the week - off day

But throughout these past 9 months each week has been exactly the same. Sure there are fun things thrown in between. A birthday party here, a fun day at Legoland there, or a school or sporting event. And each Monday for my daughter is something different. Zoo trips, playdates, Sea World, beach days, etc. It doesn’t matter. Even if nothing exciting is going on they want to know.

As we continue the countdow to the end of the school year I’m kind of getting nervous at getting these questions. Because it won’t be “When’s my Off Day?” being asked. It’ll be, “Where are we going to day? What are we doing?” And I’m pretty sure it’s my fault.

I’ve always been a schedule person. Needed to have something written down on the calendar to make sure I actually do go somewhere. Or else I’d forget events I already RSVPed to. Or I just wouldn’t go to things that I casually considered. I literally have to write in lunch out of the house or a workout to MAKE me get up and do it. Because I’d just get sucked into the next work project or article. And I wouldn’t get out of the house.

It helps though. I can look on my calendar and know what’s going on. With me. My kids. My husband. My life. And I get a little joy, satisfaction, out of filling out my calendar. Similar to how I feel about filling out my content calendar for this blog. Knowing that I have a plan, even if things change, calms me. And I don’t stress.

So when my kids want to know what day it is. If it’s a School Day, an Aunt Louise Day, or an Off Day, I go through the days of the week with them. Because it’s calming. And we all know what’s going on that week.

Do you schedule your days of the week?

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