• 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.

  • How to Entertain Kids on Snow Day

    by Reruns blogger | Feb 21, 2013

    Living in Nebraska, it is inevitable that there will be a time when the snow cancels school and the kids and parents are home stuck inside. It’s fun to play in the snow, but kids can only be out for a few minutes before they start to feel the chill. As parents, we know that when boredom kicks in, the house becomes chaotic. So, the challenge during inclement weather is to keep the kids entertained and calm.

    What can you do at home to bust the boredom? 

    1. Bring the snow inside – You don’t have to be outside to play in the snow. Get a bucket and fill it with
    snow. Lay out a plastic tablecloth on your kitchen floor and add plastic kitchen utensils. The kids can
    play indoors with the snow and keep their toes and fingers warm.

    2. Paper crafts – There is a plethora of crafts you can make with just paper. You can use scraps,
    construction or plain computer paper to make origami, paper airplanes, collages (with pictures from old
    magazines) or create a story book together. There are many resources online that let you print coloring
    pages or activities at no charge.

    3. Borrow movies from the library – We cancelled cable several years ago and I’m always worried that
    a storm will knock out our internet and Netflix, so I like to have DVDs for the kids to watch. The local
    library has a huge collection of kid and adult movies, including educational shows, and they are free to
    borrow. Our library lets you keep them for an entire week.

    4. Family game time – Snow days are a great time to create a new family tradition of playing board
    games. Add some yummy snacks and have fun. Our family favorites are Uno, Connect 4 and Apples to

    5. Bake – When it’s cold outside, bake some yummy treats to stay warm. Kids can help measure, stir and
    pour. And, when it’s all done, you will have some snacks to enjoy during the snowstorm..

    6. Dance Party – My kids always have tons of energy and need to get up and move. Anytime they start
    to get bored and rambunctious, I turn on some music and we dance. You can find great kid’s music free
    on Youtube and even some free downloads on Amazon.

    These are just a few ideas to help with snow day boredom. What other ideas do you have to keep kids
    entertained indoors?

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

  • Tiger Love

    by Reruns blogger | Feb 17, 2013

    It was nap time. Gabriella, my 24-month-old daughter, fussed in her bed — but after 5 minutes she doze off.

    An hour later, I heard her fussing again. So I crept into her room to check on her — and what I found had me running for my camera.

    Every child has those moment, those tearful “mommy, I’m so mad” moments where you can’t help but laugh at how silly they sound even when they’re upset. Well, in my daughter’s case, how she looked. These character building moments are important. I’ll explain why later.

    Gabriella sleeps with her favorite stuffed animals. On this particular day, she chose a tiger with velcro paws that stick together. She loves it when I hang the tiger near her head as she sleeps so she can keep a close eye on “tee-ger” as she calls him.

    When she woke from her slumber, she found the tiger was a little too close for her comfort. In fact, he was stuck on her — literally. Somehow one of the velcro paws attached to elastic hair ties. And, well, the photos say it all. 

    Gabi Tiger Collage

    She tried to shake him off. It didn’t work. She tried to yank him off. That didn’t work either. She pulled harder and had no luck.

    “MOMMY,” she yelled.

    “I’m here, baby.”

    “Mommy, bad tee-ger, bad,” she said.

    I annoyed her even more by taking photos of her.

    There was something so sweet, innocent, curious, yet, helpless about that moment that brought joy to my heart.

    “Oh, no, Gabi,” I said. “It looks like you got in a fight with a tiger and you’re losing.”

    She was determined to get that tiger off — and I wanted her to figure it out on her own.

    Sure, I could’ve ripped it from her hair tie, but what would that have taught her? That I’ll be there to rescue her when she needs me?

    She eventually shook that tiger off.

    Sometimes as parents we have to stop rescuing.

    Have you found yourself rescuing your kids a lot lately?

    “My son is so tired, I’ll do his homework tonight.” “My daughter is too busy, I’ll do her chores this time.”

    It’s an easy habit to get into, but if you want to raise a resilient kid, these are major parenting no-nos.

    So start by setting this rule: “We have a new house policy; No more excuses. You need to take responsibility.”

    Then abide by your rule. Simply stop rescuing. It’s one of the simplest ways to influence your child’s future.

    In Gabriella’s case, it was that mean ol’ tiger. She took care of him alright. The first moment she got, she pitched him in the trash.

    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.

  • 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.