• My Struggles as a Mom to a Special Needs Child – How I Accepted the Unexplainable

    by Reruns blogger | May 09, 2013

    My youngest son was born with special needs in 2010. He had cataracts, hypospadias and failed his hearing test. He spent three days in the NICU to run tests and determine what happened to caused all his medical issues, but we never received any answers. A few months later, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and had to wear a helmet to reshape his head. He is now 2 1/2 and is able to walk, can see with bifocals and hears with his hearing aids. He is delayed and speaks a few words, but is picking up sign language quickly. We are hopeful he will communicate with words soon. Does he have a disorder or disease that caused all this? Well, we may never know.

    In the past two years, he has had CT scans, genetic screenings, three genetics specialists, bone scans, blood work, DNA tests, specialty clinics and more tests than I care to remember. The verdict is always: ‘Mr. & Mrs. McDonald, we don’t know what caused your son’s problems’. For the first few years, I just could not accept that the doctors and all these tests could not figure out why my child had so many medical issues and delays. I wanted an answer. I wanted a diagnosis. I wanted to know what to expect. I wanted to know why.

    But, I may never know why our son was born with special needs and I’m going to have to be okay with that.  I would love to know, but the reality is, some things just can’t be explained.  We’ve exhausted all our resources to find an answer. Even three geneticists are completely stumped. They don’t know what tests to run or where to look for clues to make a diagnosis.

    I still struggle with not knowing, but it is getting easier. My son has excelled despite his disabilities and most days I don’t even notice he is delayed. He is just a fun loving, cute toddler who loves to play, laugh and dance.  His disabilities have kept me up crying many a night, but having him in my life has been a blessing. I have learned so much about patience, acceptance and persistence.  He has changed my life in so many ways and I am so grateful for him.  We may never know what caused all his issues, but it doesn’t matter anymore. He is my heart.

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 7, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning, frugal fun with kids and freebies classes and blogs atwww.momsavesmoney.net. Her e-book ‘The Extraordinary Art of Couponing’ is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.


  • Share

    by Reruns blogger | Mar 13, 2013

    “This is my room not yours.”

    “I was born first. Not you.”

    “I’m 4. I’m the biggest; you’re the littlest.”

    “You need to share.”

    Here we go again.

    My girls are feuding. This time it’s over a toy spoon. Really, why? * Forehead slap.*

    Sure, I could drop into the conversation or separate the two so my house could go back to a peaceful state — but I’m not going to do that. That, my friend, is the easy way out.
    Share
    They need to learn how to work through their conflict.

    Children are not developmentally designed to share. Young children are naturally ego-centric. Oh, that’s Gabriella all the way. She’s 2 and in the “Mine” stage. Giving up something makes her weak. She seeks power… control… independence. She hasn’t quite developed the social skills that her older sister Alejandra posses.

    And so the power struggle begins.

    “Mine,” Gabriella shouts.

    “I had it first,” Alejandra tries to reason.

    “NOOO. MINE.”

    After a few minutes of “mines” pass, I intervene.

    “What’s going on?”

    Alejandra blurts out the situation. Gabriella lowers her head admitting submission.

    Instead of taking the spoon out of anyone’s hand, I ask them how they can resolve the situation.

    Sometimes being the parent means that we have to gently teach them over and over to recognize and value the feelings of others. Also, help children recognize the power in sharing.

    Sharing requires practice, which always includes mistakes along with the successes.

    That day we started with a positive experience. I asked for the spoon.

    “I’m happy when I have this spoon because I like to pretend it’s a microphone,” I said, and then proceeded to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

    After squawking the tune, because I’m not much of a singer, I then handed Alejandra the spoon.

    “I’m happy when I have this spoon because I like to pretend I’m baking cupcakes,” she said. She then spun the spoon around as if she was mixing batter in a bowl.

    Now it’s Gabriella’s turn.

    “Spoon. MINE!!!!”

    OK. So we haven’t gotten her impulses under control quite yet. But not all is lost.

    After banging the spoon on the hard wood floor in her bedroom for a few seconds, she handed me the spoon.

    She’ll eventually get the hang of this sharing thing. Slowly, but surely. I hope.

    Bio: Josie Loza is a mom to three young children. She blogs about parenting issues, lifestyle and and her family’s quirky adventures on www.momaha.com.

    Go comment!
  • I Knew This Day Would Come…

    by Reruns blogger | Jan 21, 2013
    I knew I’d someday be sitting across from my 4-year-old daughter, kissing her forehead and wishing that she’d stay young forever.
    As I sat among a group of parents at our neighborhood school’s kindergarten information night, I realized that day had come.

    My stomach was in knots. Why am I so nervous?  

    Words

    She’s ready to go to school. She knows her ABC’s. She can count to 30 and beyond. She can write her first name. She knows her address. She knows her mother’s and father’s names. She can dress her self and is a self-starter in social settings.

    We’ve prepared for this day. So why are my knees buckling as I fill out her school registration form?

    Everyone tells me she’ll be fine when she enters school in the fall. She’s independent. She’ll forget all about missing you.

    But it’s not her that I worry about as much as it’s me.

    What if I’m not alright? What if I can’t stop missing her?

    Is it wrong of me to say that I’m not ready to let my piggy-tailed little girl go.

    It’s the real world out there.

    I won’t be able to kiss boo-boos, tie tennis shoes or cut her sandwiches into shapes. At least not during school hours, I won’t.

    I won’t be able to hold her hand and leave wet kisses on her cheeks as she walks into the classroom because — let’s face it — “it’s not cool.”

    Someone else will be responsible for the love of my life every day, and letting go will tug at my heart… just a little bit.

    Sigh.

    I guess it’s that thing we all do as moms. You know, worry about everything.

    Realizing she’s growing up is so hard.

    Letting go is even harder.

    After leaving the information night, Alejandra held my hand.

    “It’s OK, mommy,” she said. “I’ll have lots of friends to play with, and when school is over we can play too.”

    Josie Loza is a mommy blogger and the editor of Momaha.com, a site operated by the Omaha World-Herald. Momaha is an online community for moms to share ideas through blogging. Loza is a mother of two girls and a boy, and she brings her experience and quirky family adventures to the site.

  • How to Host a Giveaway Party

    by Reruns blogger | Jan 17, 2013

    Want to refresh your wardrobe, find new toys for your kids, discover new reading material without spending any money or just get rid of items you aren’t using? Host a giveaway party! How does it work? Invite friends to bring their gently used items to your house (or a suitable location) and let them pick ‘new’ items from other people’s stuff. Everyone will be able to get rid of items they aren’t using and take home ‘new’ items they can use. A giveaway party is a fun way to live green and save money. 

    I recommend you pick a giveaway party theme, so you aren’t overwhelmed with items and to make it easier for guests to go through those items in their home.

    Here are some theme ideas:

    1. Kid’s Clothing – Those of us with children know how fast they grow out of clothes and how expensive they are new. A clothing and shoe swap is a great idea to refresh their wardrobes on a budget.
    2. Kid’s Toys and Games – Kid’s toys seem to multiply in my house and there are so many they don’t even play with anymore. Why not give those toys to someone else and pick some new ones for your kids to enjoy?
    3. Books, Magazines and DVDS – I’ve hosted this party in my home and it was fabulous! We had a huge assortment of DVDs, kid and adult books. Everyone went home with at least one large bag of new reading material and DVDs. After the party, I donated the remaining books (three huge boxes) to the local library.
    4. Kitchen gadgets – Do you remember that rice cooker you got for your wedding that’s still sitting unopened three years later? This is a perfect theme party for foodies. A kitchen gadget or tool that is useless to you may be the perfect addition to someone else’s kitchen.
    5. Adult Clothing and Accessories– Let’s face it: most of us have a huge pile of clothes in our closet that never sees the sunlight. Swap with other people to refresh your wardrobe. Add purses, shoes, jewelry and scarves to the party to get more variety.
    6. Home Decorations – Do you have decorations or candles that you never use? Want to get a fresh look to your home? This is the perfect theme for friends that love to decorate their homes.

    Tips to a Successful Party

    1. Invite Everyone. The more people, the better your party will be and the better the selection. Make sure to clearly explain the idea and expectations of a giveaway party on the invitations.
    2. Co-host with a Friend or Two. They will invite their guest list of attendees, so you will double or triple the turnout.
    3. Ask Guests to Bring Friends. Encourage your friends to invite their friends and family to the party.
    4. Send a Reminder. A few days before your party, email a reminder, or better, give them a quick reminder call. People are busy and sometimes forget. A reminder is always appreciated, plus it gives you a good idea of how many people to expect.
    5. Keep Refreshments Light. It’s a giveaway party, not an eating party. Serve a few beverages and if you want, a few small snacks. Don’t go overboard with the food. (This one is hard for me, because I really like to feed people.)

    After the party, you will probably have many items that still need a home. Instead of asking your guests to take their stuff back home, offer to donate it to a local shelter, thrift store, consignment store, library or kid’s organization.  Your guests will appreciate that you take care of the leftovers and they don’t have to haul it back home. There are many thrift stores that will even pick up the donations, so it won’t take much effort for you to donate the items.

    Giveaway parties are fun and the ultimate in frugality and recycling. I’d love to hear if you plan to host a giveaway party and what theme you will pick. Do you have any other theme ideas or giveaway party tips?

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 6, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning and freebies classes and blogs at www.momsavesmoney.net.

  • My Little Girl, Gabriella

    by Reruns blogger | Dec 21, 2012

    I’m a firm believer that art is in the heart of every child.

    It starts with the first soothing sounds of a mother’s lullaby to brightly colored toys and the comforting touch of a favorite blanket.

    Early exposure to the arts lays a complex groundwork of mental, physical and emotional connections that opens the door to a lifetime of curiosity, learning and creativity.

    During a recent visit to the Omaha Children’s Museum, my 22-month-old Gabriella was fixated on painting. I tied an apron around her to protect her clothes.

    After the first three projects, I tried to move her into a different area to explore. She wouldn’t budge.

    Instead, she handed me a paint brush.

    “You want mommy to paint?” I asked.

    She nodded.

    So there we were painting all sorts of random shapes and swirls. Paint speckles landed on my boots. Globs of yellow paint were on Gabriella’s hands. She didn’t mind as much as I did.  We both looked at the now polka-dotted floor littered with paint droppings. Gabriella placed a piece of paper over it and continued painting.

    Smart girl, I thought. 

    Gabi and Mom

    On that day, she was post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. She was making a masterpiece, one that was bold in color, a bit rough in design, but beauty nonetheless. I yanked that painting from the artist easel and placed a new blank sheet in front of her.

    She became Pablo Picasso. She painted shapes, I defined their edges and she slapped more globs of paint on top.

    New sheet. She was Alejandro Obregon. No, Georgia O’Keeffe. No, Arshile Gorky. NO! Willem DeKooning.

    I turned to hand her a new sheet, but she didn’t need one.

    She had yellow-ish, brown paint smeared across her face. She cracked a smile.

    No, she was my little girl, Gabriella.

    Here are three ways you can honor your child’s masterpieces:

    1. Have a place to immediately post the pictures. Your special place could be on the fridge door or hanging for a clothesline in a child’s play area.
    2. Store the artwork in a shelf, closet or drawer. Save the work for some time before going through which pieces you’d like to keep in a scrapbook.
    3. Preserve the artwork by scanning, saving and print it like a photograph.

    Bio: Josie Loza is a mom to three young children. She blogs about parenting issues, lifestyle and and her family’s quirky adventures on momaha.com

  • Say Yes to the Mess

    by Reruns blogger | Dec 13, 2012

    I love my kids, but being a mom of three small children is exhausting. There are always diapers to change, dinners to make, clothes to wash and messes to clean. It seems like a never ending cycle and I find myself saying ‘no’ to anything that might create any mess at all. Any activity they select, I just see the end clean-up and not the process that involves play.

    My daughter cutting up papers for an art project means little pieces all over the floor. Play-Doh means tiny chunks of that sticky dough all over the table, chairs and floor. Baking results in gooey ingredients all over the counter.  Why do I always say no? Because, I am tired, over worked and detest cleaning.

    But, do I want my kids to remember me as the ‘no’ mom? Well, no. I want my kids to be able to have fun, to make messes, to create, imagine and enjoy activities of their choosing. Being a ‘no’ mom stifles their fun. So, starting today, I pledge to be a ‘yes’ mom and embrace the mess.

    In a child’s view, the mess is the process of creativity and imagination. It is how they explore their world, how they create visions and build their sense of self. Play is important. Messes are important. My kids are important.

    The most valuable thing in my life is not having a perfectly clean house, but having happy kids. I want my kids to use Play-Doh any time they want, to create art and to help me cook. I want to be a ‘yes’ mom; the kind of mom that isn’t perfect, but allows kids to be kids.  I will say ‘yes to the mess.’ Today is a Play-Doh kind of day.

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 6, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning and freebies classes and blogs.

  • Baby Food Adventures

    by Reruns blogger | Dec 06, 2012

    There are so many different methods that parents follow. Some choose to not vaccinate their children, to not leave their house until their new baby is 6-8 weeks old and so on and so on. Everyone has different views and different approaches to their parenting techniques and not a single one is wrong, we’re just different. As for embarking our baby food adventures we’ve decided to follow the Baby Led Weaning method. My son, Jordan, was breastfed for a solid two months. When we made the switch to formula it wasn’t easy and I dealt with a lot of guilt over his formula issues. We tried cereal a few times, after getting the okay from his doctor, and he didn’t do well with cereal either. Jordan encountered gas issues, projectile vomiting, lactose intolerance, soy allergies and would get extremely fussy when he had cereal. So with guilt issues and the fear of Jordan encountering more problems I felt I wanted to stay away from store bought food. I thought there were two options: store bought or home made. Which technically there is only those two options but there is different methods to “home made.”

    I did my research and sought advice from other mothers. I learned about pureeing fruits & veggies but I also learned about Baby Led Weaning. For us, Baby Led Weaning sounded like the easiest way for us and the funniest way for Jordan. With Baby Led Weaning we simply steam veggies and cut them into sticks or break off spears of broccoli, cauliflower etc. and put it on his high chair tray and let him have at it (you can also give veggies raw.) Fruits are cut down to a finger food size and he does as he pleases. The idea of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is that is there is no baby food per say, no hassle of pureeing and mashing up your home-made food instead they are eating real food. From the start they are learning to grab the food and put it in their mouth. For the first year babies aren’t really eating for nutrition but more so for learning. With BLW they are also learning how to chew first then swallow; which is how you eat your food right? With jarred baby food they learn the opposite; swallow first then learn to chew later on. I don’t think Jordan is eating a lot right now but he is sure enjoying learning how to eat! I like that Jordan also feels a bunch of different textures and gets to learn how to put the food in his mouth on his own. We did try a jar of jarred baby food and Jordan spit it out as soon as it entered his mouth. We also tried pureeing a few food items and again he spit them right out. So with being first time parents we have done our research, talked to other parents and spoke with Jordan’s doctor then we explored each route on our own.

    Through our exploring we’ve discovered that BLW is the method for us! Do your own exploring and set out trying each method that seems will work for you! Remember we are all different with the methods we choose so whatever route you take you may come across others who disagree but it’s all about what works for you and your little one!

    Shawna Seaman is a work at home mom with one child who is passionate about remembering what she went through yesterday while getting to today.

    Follow her on Instagram @its_shawna, Twitter @its__shawna and you can visit her Blog.

  • What to Expect When Expecting

    by Reruns blogger | Nov 15, 2012

    When I was expecting I had no idea what to expect! I read numerous of blogs and forums about what to expect but nothing made me feel prepared. I was constantly stressing myself out about the pain I’d feel during labor and delivery and worrying myself about all the “what if’s”. The truth is your going to worry. There isn’t a single blog you’re going to read that will prepare you for what is to come with becoming a new parent. With each and every doctor appointment you attend throughout your pregnancy you’re going to leave with a million and one new questions. You’re going to place your hands on your stomach and rub it and talk to it from the minute you find out. As your stomach grows and stretches you’re going to feel stares from all around. If your hormones are like what mine were you’re going to snap at each person that stares at you! I was scared beginning to end, I hated my insane headaches, I lived off Tums and Milk the entire 39 weeks and 6 days of my pregnancy, I hated that brushing my teeth made me gag and puke and I cried when it was time to go to bed because my back hurt so much. In the same breathe though I loved feeling a kick from inside me, I loved going to my appointments and seeing my weight go up, I loved seeing my son bounce around inside of me on the monitor, hearing his heart beat was the greatest sound I had ever heard. Even me saying this won’t stop your worry but just embrace every minute of your pregnancy and appreciate your discomforts.

    There are so many families that do not have the opportunity of having the joys and pains of pregnancy; at one point we were told we were one of those families. Finding out we were expecting was a huge surprise because we were told I would have an extremely hard time conceiving and I’d most likely not be able to carry full-term. From finally learning to accept the fact that we were going to have long road with starting our family to proving the doctors wrong, I feel so blessed! If you’re told you can’t conceive; keep faith and get a second opinion, doctors aren’t always right! If you’re told your high risk don’t stress yourself out! I was high risk as well and I got to see my son at every appointment through an ultrasound! Yes, being told I was high risk was scary but it’s better to have the extra precautions to prevent the “what ifs!” Some may not agree with this but the worst thing you can is your own research. When I had to do my GBS (Group B Streptococcus) screening I had to do it 3 times before the results finally came back. The lab kept messing the specimen sample up but I of course thought it meant something was wrong and drove myself bonkers educating myself on all the “what ifs” if I was a carrier of GBS. There was one site that I found extremely helpful that gives you just the facts but doesn’t scare you; I still refer to this site for my son as he grows so I can learn about different milestones. Baby Center, is the only site I’d recommend to expecting mothers or new parents. The site provides a lot of helpful information about each new trimester during pregnancy and new developments of your baby birth week by week and month by month.

    Regardless if you have the most supportive husband and family; get in touch with moms as well! Get into mommy groups such as prenatal yoga for example, grow and connect with other expecting mothers. I’ve created a great circle of mothers through social networks but I wish I had that same connection with mothers that were local to me. When you see another pregnant women or another new mom with their baby you automatically feel a connection, so create a bond with new moms! If you have a smart phone there are some helpful apps as well. I know they are available on the iPhone, The Wonder Weeks and AmazingBaby. The Wonder Weeks gives you insight when your baby is hitting growth spurts and when to expect him/her to be fussier than usual. AmazingBaby gives good advice on what activities to play with your child at certain ages to help with his/her developments! It all passes SO quickly. I NEVER realized the meaning behind the statement “they grow so fast” until I had my son, Jordan. I love watching him hit milestones but I also miss being pregnant. So Embrace the journey; embrace the before, during and after!

    Shawna Seaman is a work at home mom with one child who is passionate about remembering what she went through yesterday while getting to today.

    Follow her on Instagram @its_shawna, Twitter @its__shawna and you can visit her Blog.