• 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.


  • 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