My Granny’s Lap

My grandmother’s lap was always my safe haven.  Her arms were peaceful, loving, comforting.  She was my solace when my young eyes had seen more than they should.

I’d climb up on the arm of her chair with a book and she’d read to me for however long I wanted.  I’d trace my fingers over her freckles and ask almost daily about her mother’s ring with all the pretty stones.  She’d tell me about each one and whose stone was whose.

In hot summer months I’d sit at her knees while she french ‘platted’ my hair.  She’d tell me how her mother used to do the same for her.  When the summer thunderstorms started kicking up, she would turn off all the power reminding us that her house wasn’t grounded.  She’d make my sister and I sit in the middle of the living room away from the windows.  We’d sit on opposite ends of the room and push a car or roll a ball back and forth.  While we waited for the storm to pass, she’d tell us the same ghost stories her parents had told her.  My favorite was about her daddy walking home one rainy night.  He’d hear horse hooves and light a match to see and just before the wind and rain would snuff them out, he’d see ghostly horses that weren’t really there.  My grandma could tell a story like no one else, she always had me captivated.  She’d end each ghost story by saying, “Now that’s the truth,” and she was serious.  We’d beg for this stories time and time again and as the years passed and she was no longer able to tell them, my heart ached and longed for them once more.

When the summer heat got the best of us, she’s freeze cherry koolaid in pop bottles and we’d suck and slurp them all day long.  Whether it was while helping her string and snap beans, or just playing around her house, those frozen cherry koolaids are to this day the taste of summertime for me.  There will never be a better summer time treat.

My grandmother taught me the importance of housework and motherhood.  She taught me there was value in taking care of what you have and putting work before play.  She also taught me the importance of an afternoon treat after all that work.  I still remember her ever-present Diet Riet Cola and there was always an abundance of snack cakes.  I admittedly still go into their kitchen hoping there’s a raisin cream cake to bring back a taste of childhood.

My grandmother could be stern, but she was also gentle and loving.  She loved to call her church friends in the afternoons and talk the hours away.  She especially enjoyed it when company would stop by and she could have a nice long chat.

Caring for others was what she did for as long as I can remember, and becoming a stay at home mother taught me what hard work that truly is.  She never made us feel as though we wore her down, although I’m sure we often tried her patience.  Her house was always open, as were her arms.

I am deeply saddened that I will never again be able to climb up on her lap and have her tell me a story.  But I am ever grateful that the babies I, and other family members, have lost will now have Granny’s lap to climb onto.  I know she’ll love them in all the ways we physically cannot.  And one day, I will finally get to see her holding them as I wish she could’ve on this earth.

The Work of Special Needs Parents

I don’t often talk about the struggles  of being a parent to a special needs child/ren.  I feel guilty because my children are for the most part healthy. They don’t need fancy medical equipment, but they have very real disorders that need a lot of my time.  Apraxia of speech, oral sensory issues related to apraxia, fine/gross motor difficulties,  a phonological speech disorder, congenital trigger thumb, and possible hip dysplasia in my infant.  It takes its toll.  So here’s a brief glimpse into the mind of a special needs mama.

I feel myself buckling a lot lately, thinking I can’t, but then somehow I always do.

I am lucky. For the most part, my kids are healthy. But I am so, so very tired of specialists and therapies. No, my kids do not have any life threatening conditions. You really wouldn’t know that HOURS of our weeks are spent running speech drills, working on coordination, me researching how to best help them. Am I thankful that our life has not been a revolving door of doctors? Yes. But I’m still tired.

There are still days when I angrily ask God, why??? Why can’t we have ‘normal’. We don’t want to be special today we want to be plain ol’ normal, no speech, no upcoming surgery, no doctors calling to ask if we’ve taken our child for this screening or that screening yet.

SpecialNeedsParentingPlease don’t ask me how I do it. The answer is raw and dirty. I cry. Behind closed bathroom doors. In my van in the front seat before I dry my eyes so they can’t see. In bed silently while everyone else is asleep.  I tell myself to suck it the hell up because there was a time when there were no babies. When my womb was empty or healing yet again from another loss.  I get so mad at God all over again because shouldn’t I get to  have it easy after it was SO HARD to become a parent to begin with.

In brief moments, He answers. He gently laughs and reminds me, this is it. This is what I was preparing you for. You worked for it. And now you work FOR THEM. Cry, let it out, then remember the strength you built through all the waiting and the loss. You get to be the mother of special children, and one day, no one will know the struggle until you tell them.

You’ll use it to encourage others who are crying behind  bathroom doors and in front seats of vans. You’ll use it to tell the mom whose child is struggling that one day this will only  be a memory. And I move on. And do it. Just do it, do the work to help the child that you prayed for.

Because the child is here, alive, and well.

Mother’s Day Memories

On this #TBT, I did something a little different.
 
Instead of a picture, I’m going to share some of my favorite memories of the special ‘moms’ in my life.
 
1. Christmas with my mom. Especially as a child although she does it just the same for me as an adult. I figured out Santa very early on, I was always a little wise beyond my years in some areas, others not so much. When I figured it out around 5yo she let me help her with wrapping ALL the presents and would buy me one special small something to play with while we stayed up late on weekends doing all the wrapping. Now, if you know my mama, you know Christmas is her thing. There was not a corner of our house not decorated, she even wrapped the range hood in wrapping paper and let me tell you, to see our house so transformed at Christmas was just magical to me. I always love remembering those late Friday nights, her bedroom strewn with toys and gifts while she taught me how to properly wrap a present and let me ‘test’ our Christmas gifts. She also always took us shopping for a new outfit before every field trip. It was always special to me.
 
2. My grandma had a big impression on me. We stayed with her in the summer, anytime school was out, and after school. She lived right next to us. I’m so sad that dementia is not letting my kids see the granny I grew up with. It’s a hard thing for me to come to terms with. My granny taught me to do chores first thing in the mornings. We’d sweep, polish furniture, wash dishes, all sorts of things. She’d french braid my hair and I thought that was the most relaxing soothing thing I’d ever felt. I still long for that relaxed, pampered feeling some days. Every day mama would pack us a ‘satchel’ full of books and my granny would put both my sister and I on her lap and read us every last one of those books. When it stormed, she’d turn all the lights off reminding us her house wasn’t ‘grounded’. Then she’d have us sit in the floor, away from the windows, and she’d tell us ghost stories for hours. She’d tell us all about her daddy coming home in the rain, lighting matches and seeing horses that weren’t there. Dogs that turned into balls of fire. My granny was the best ghost story-teller I’ve ever come in contact with. And every time it storms, I long to sit down in the floor, Indian style, and listen to her tell me a story. I probably chose to be a stay at home mom in hopes of recreating such a rich childhood like she did for us. There is such beauty in the simplicity that is motherhood and it’s something I have treasured from very early on.
 
3. Aunt Vickie. My aunt also lived next door to us for much of my childhood and we spent a lot of time with her. As I’ve grown older she is more like a second mother than an aunt. And my children think of her as another grandma. She would take us for rides in her meticulously cleaned and waxed car. The leather seats were well oiled and if we didn’t buckle up, we’d go sliding across the back which we thought was fun. She’d take us down ‘spooky’ dirt roads and tell us stories about the ghosts on them. This tradition she has passed along to my boys and they absolutely love it. She’d let us listen to her HUGE collection of CDs and play VHS tapes of The Monkees for us. And she’d let us come to work with her at the library in the summer which was an adventure for us. We’d get to desensitize discarded magazines and books and hide out in the work stations. Of course she’d let us watch our very favorite ghost story tape in the media room too. And I STILL miss those stories! She still spoils my kids and I rotten.
 
4. I miss watching my Granny Ollie quilt by hand. She also liked to tell us stories about growing up which we loved.
 
5. My aunt Anna used to bring my cousins down every Friday so we could play. And we’d often all pile into one car and ride to the Dollar Tree which we loved.
 
6. My aunt Jane would let us come to her house to swim and we spent many Sundays playing at Granny’s with Colby.
 
7. While not part of my childhood, I am very happy that Becky is a part my children’s. They love going to Nana’s house and I love that they are so richly loved and cared for when there.
 
No family is perfect, but I am blessed with ‘mothers’ who care, love, teach, instill values, and let us have fun. I am not a perfect mother, but I try very hard to be a good one. And these women taught me how to do that. Thank you all.

When Babies Aren’t Babies Anymore

Today, it hit me. I’ve been a mom for over five years, but today I finally got it.
 
For some reason I’ve never been able to envision my children as more than ‘babies’. I’m fully aware that they grow, but in my mind, they are and were always going to stay babies. My five-year old had a little exercise to do on what he might want to be when he grows up. So I asked him and he told me very bluntly and clearly that he wants to be a police officer so he can carry a gun and catch the ‘bad guys’. Now I hear about bad guys every single day from my son. He is an avid superhero lover and loves nothing more than to tell me what superhero he is and how is going to fight those ‘bad guys’. I always just thought of this as play, I never realized he might be doing adult work and thinking about how this play equates to life. I should have, he is a smart boy and like his mama he is alllll about analogies and comparisons. This small child is figuring out this world, whether I’m ready for it or not.
 
He and I had a chat about police officers, their guns, and those bad guys. I am not ready to tell him that the bad guys in the real world don’t carry weapons that shoot freezing webs, that the things they do are far worse than what he sees in all his superhero movies. But part of me knows that this precious boy who I was still seeing as my baby probably already knows more of it than I wish he did. We talked about how police officers might also help those who don’t have as much as others. I showed him articles about real police officers doing toy drives for needy children or helping a mom or dad who couldn’t afford a car seat get one. And he grinned. He grinned so big telling me he’d like to help too. That’s when I broke.
 
Boy to ManThat’s when my heart burst in sadness and happiness all at once. I’m raising a little boy, but I’m raising him to be a man. A man I pray for every single day. An honest, caring, loving, smart man who will do things to make so many proud while making this world a better place. I pray daily for my children’s health, their happiness, and the strength to be the mother they need. I pray that he beats speech apraxia and that he accomplishes much. But I never think about him as an adult. At least I didn’t until today when my mind finally broke that baby mold I’d placed him in. I could see him, my baby, as an equal. Not a child, not my baby, but my grown son. I knew then that I’d always pray, that I’d always be worried and hopeful for him. That it would never stop and only grow. It also meant I’d get to experience his triumphs and joys. Not just the first steps and the conquering of a speech disorder, but a graduation, a true love, a JOB. Today I got it.
 
I always knew that police officers, doctors, firemen, military, etc all had dangerous jobs. They do, whether it be guns or disease they fight against, they put their lives at risks. I never looked at these people as someone’s son or daughter. I knew they were and I was grateful they had the bravery to put themselves out there so wholly to help others, but I never got that behind all of them, there was likely a terrified mama. A mama who was so proud but so scared of what her child was doing. A mama who stayed up at night worried, wishing just maybe that child was sitting behind a desk in an office instead.
 
I have no idea what my children will grow up to be. My only thought is that they grow to be good. That they’re kind to others and have morals and values and that they love. I’m lucky enough that one of them also has more bravery in his youth than I probably have as an adult. Somehow, I’m doing something right and I hope they continue down that right path. For all those terrified mamas behind the brave, the good – thank you. I don’t know how you do it, but thank you for raising courageous good souls who add beauty to this world instead of marring it.

Diaper Bag Pattern Review

Long time no see/write?!?  I’m still sailing along in this pregnancy with our BABY GIRL!  I am seven and a half months pregnant today and I cannot believe how fast it is now going by.

Adding a baby girl to our mix means that I finally get to make bows, pants with ruffles, and all sorts of things I never had the chance to do with two boys.  First on my list was a diaper bag I actually liked.  I have had the same plain black Jeep diaper bag since my oldest was born four and a half years ago.  While I don’t currently carry a diaper bag, I will need one when our sweet baby Rowyn Scarlett gets here.

I’ve had this pattern in my drawer for FAR longer than I should admit.  I kept meaning to use it and just never got around to it.  After finally making my nursing cover, I decided it might be fun to finally dive into this pattern.  The pattern is very detailed and easy to follow, I love Fishsticks Designs patterns for this reason.  I would NOT say this is a pattern for beginners.  You need to be highly organized and label all your pieces because there are A LOT to keep up with.  You also need to have a couple days or afternoons set aside to work on it.  Between cutting out all the pieces and sewing, I spent about ten hours on this bag.  I’m not really a fast or slow sewer, just kind of average I’d say.  I can make a pair of baby/toddler pants or a diaper cover in half an hour.  Or a pair of kid pants in half an hour to an hour depending on detail.  The bag is MUCH more involved than those, but I do LOVE this bag and pattern.

All in all, I think this bag is going to be GREAT for cloth diapers. It is super roomy and I truly cannot wait to pack it in a few weeks after my baby shower.  The fabrics I ended up choosing were gifted to me and they suit my personality and taste SO well!  They also match the nursing cover I made which is just fun for me.  The bag is super roomy, has TONS of pockets from standard to elasticized, even a zippered pocket.  I’m definitely far more in love with this bag than I ever was with the Jeep one!

*Click on a picture to view it larger and read the description.

Sewing Inspiration: Teacher Gifts

While I’d love to tell you guys that I’ve been busy sewing and have tons of new projects lined up for the blog, I sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in several weeks today.  Instead of sewing or writing, I’ve soaked up this final pregnancy and have been basking in all the glory that is non-stop morning sickness for three months.  Baby Boo is sixteen weeks old (gestational age) today and the morning sickness is improving ever so slowly.  Which means that hopefully sewing will be back in full swing soon with new projects for you!

Today’s sewing adventure was a gift for my son’s speech pathologist.  I haven’t talked about my son’s speech apraxia on the blog before, but he started speech therapy at the beginning of this year and we’ve seen him blossom and improve his speech SO much.  He’ll get a new pathologist when he starts school in the fall, but we wanted to show our appreciation for all that our current pathologist has done for him.

My son loves superheroes and his teacher has been kind enough to include them in his therapy.  He can say almost all their names clearly now which is huge!  I of course included him in the gift for his pathologist and he went the superhero route!  He picked out the super cool Avenger’s cup and we used my sewing machine to make a cozy (complete with superhero cape!) for the cup.

I hope you enjoy our fun little project, what gifts have you given your children’s teachers?

Kelly’s Closet Turns 14 {and They’re Giving Away Mama Cloth!}

KC14yrPinkLemonade

We are so excited to help Kelly’s Closet and DiaperShops.com celebrate 14 years of cloth diapering! KC has been my go to for modern cloth diapers and accessories since we started adding to our homemade stash a couple years ago.  Through them we have discovered CJ’s BUTTer, our favorite Thirsties diapers, and a plethora of other brands and products.

Kelly’s Closet first opened its doors back in April 2001 well before bumGenius, Rumparooz, GroVia and Thirsties even existed.  Kelly’s Closet is now home to almost 100 brands of cloth diapers, diapering accessories, and eco-friendly products for the entire family.  They are truly more than just a shop.  While located solely online, they give AMAZING customer service and product support that you won’t find in many store fronts.  They reach through the computer screen and engage with customers every day, providing cloth diaper education and support to thousands daily.

KellysCloset14yrsOn April 1st, Kelly’s Closet kicked off 14 days of giveaways to celebrate. Each day new items have been added and today I’m proud to bring to you a set of two Pink Lemonade Minky Pads.  These pads are fleece backed and are truly my favorite cloth pads!  They’re comfortable, stain resistance, and absorbent.  Not to mention, they’re super soft and pretty.  An even bigger bonus for me is that they were created by a WAHM, and that always gets big props in my book.

Be sure to follow both Kelly’s Closet & Diaper Shops social media pages for more chances to win.
Facebook: Kelly’s ClosetDiaperShops Cloth Diaper Support GroupThe Cloth Diaper Whisperer
Twitter: @DiaperShops #kellyscloset #fluffiversary #clothdiapers
Instagram: @DiaperShops #kellyscloset #fluffiversary #clothdiapers
Pinterest: DiaperShops
YouTube: DiaperShops1

Each giveaway will end at midnight ET on April 14th.

Use the link below to get entered and good luck!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b995e59b284/

 

*This post contains some affiliate links.  You can view our full disclosure policy here.

Five Ways To Cope With Morning Sickness

Five Ways To Cope WIth Morning SicknessIf you’re a follower of the blog, you noticed the sudden decrease in posts last month.  And then hopefully you saw that I didn’t just go AWOL, I was being held captive by a little alien invader:) .  I’m happy to report that thanks to my doctor and lots of supportive family, I’m slowly returning to myself.  Week nine and Diclegis have brought some relief that will hopefully have the blog back up and running full steam ahead.

My morning sickness had me sidelined for about a month.  There were days that I barely moved from the couch and where caring for my two children truly felt like a struggle.  My sewing room has been empty and there hasn’t been too much excitement going on in my house lately.  But ya know what?  It’s okay!!!  I cut myself some slack to rest and feel yucky.  I let my body and my mind cope with all the changes going on and guess what?  Life went on!  Nothing catastrophic happened.  I learned that while life is much more fun when I’m participating fully, once in a while when there are more pressing concerns, you can take a break and things will turn out just fine.

Of course, there were times when I couldn’t just sit by and watch.  I still had two children to cook for, play taxi too, and just generally care for.  I still have a house on the market so there was still much cleaning and laundry to do be done.   I shared a few tricks for handling diaper changes when you’re pregnant over at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer last month and many of those tips apply to just generally surviving morning sickness the first couple of months.  Here are the some ways I’ve coped with morning sickness that will hopefully get you through too.

Five Ways To Handle Morning Sickness

  1. Extra sleep.  I know, I know. I have two kids still under 5. I get that midday naps don’t often happen.  But if you can go to bed a little early or catch some weekend naps, it will help.  Being tired only exacerbates the nausea.
  2. Pleasing scents.  We’re all different, if you can find a scent that calms your queasiness, use it.  Citrus and mint are usually the most effective, but if watermelon or your favorite Bath and Body Works lotion brings you relief, rub, burn it, infuse it…just sniff it!  An essential oil diluted with a carrier like coconut oil or scent free lotion can be a god-send smeared under your nose or dabbed on your wrist.  You all know I loooveee some CJs BUTTer.  The minis are great to grab and sniff.
  3. Juice, soda…whatever stays down.  I gave up soda a year ago…don’t miss it.  But during my first months of pregnancy, plain water doesn’t work.  I gag, I throw up almost every single time.  After finding myself dehydrated and constantly dizzy, I tried having a soda. And it stayed down.  I found small sips of cold juice stayed down too.  So I did what I had to do to stay hydrated.  Getting myself back to functioning was more important than keeping up the anti-soda streak.  Once my morning sickness eases, I’ll be back to drinking boat loads of water, but until then drinking it and vomiting isn’t worth it.
  4. Eating less…more often.  If another person ever tells me to eat a cracker for morning sickness, I might get sick on them.  Even thinking about a cracker turns my stomach. Crackers don’t work for me.  But, I found that having about 6-8 small meals a day does work.  Cereal, sandwiches, jello, fruit cups….whatever eases your stomach, try having something to eat every couple of hours.  The minute my stomach gets empty, bam, nausea sets in and it is HARD to break.  Sadly the first trimester is not a glowing picture of health food for me.  But it’s okay.  When your main concern is keeping anything down, you can cut yourself some slack and do the best you can.
  5. When all else fails…call the doctor.  I spent almost four weeks a sick, shaky mess.  My doctor put me Diclegis at a very small dosage and after just one week, I felt brand new.  My blood pressure came back up, I had more energy, and I was not throwing up twelve times a day anymore.  If medicine isn’t your route, it’s okay.  But if you aren’t functioning, getting help from your doctor is an option.  They see pregnant women every single day, they will likely have some tricks to help you.  You don’t want to wait until you’re dehydrated as that isn’t good for you or baby.

*This post contains some affiliate links.  If you make a purchase from one of the links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  You can view our full disclosure policy here.

Why So Quiet?

The blog’s been quiet this month…mainly because of this.

Announcement

And then we got to see this…

8w3dUltrasound

So I’ve spent a lot of time with my head in a toilet the last month or so.  This baby was a BIG surprise.  Most of my plans for the year have been thrown for a loop as I’m in the midst of some pretty awful morning sickness that keeps me close to the couch or bathroom lately.  If you’ve never experienced severe morning sickness, I hope you never do.  It is truly exhausting.  But, Baby Boo is growing right on track so far and that is indeed reason to celebrate.

I’ll be back…

St. Patrick’s Day Cloth Diapers

StPattysDayCDSt. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and whether you have Irish heritage or not, it can be a fun day to be festive with green and rainbows.  Children love to do festive crafts and pick out festive outfits.  Babies and toddlers don’t have to be excluded and can be decked out down to their diapers.  Here are some of my favorite cloth diapers for St. Patrick’s Day.

Bumgenius always offered fun colors and prints available in all their diaper lines.  Whether you’re a fan of the 4.0, Freetime, Elemental, or Newborn you can catch one of the St. Patty’s Day appropriate diapers.  Grasshopper is a muted, spring green while Hummingbird is a deep, rich green.  You could also grab one of the limited edition black and white prints like Osa and color it in with fabric markers for a festive rainbow diaper.  Flip fans can get the same colors in a fun, versatile cover.   Or you could opt for just a colorful trim with Econobum.

Thirsties is a personal favorite of mine.  I just love their diapers, they fit my children so well and hold up fantastically.  Celery and Meadow are available in a One-Size Pocket, Covers, All In One, and Duo Wrap Cover. If you have a newborn you can grab Celery and fitted lovers can pick up Meadow.

Rumparooz One Size fans can choose from Lazy Lime or Spring.  Or they could sport Invader, Jeweled, Preppy, or Quinn for a rainbow look.  These colors are also available in Lil Joeys, Covers, NB Covers.  You can even grab Lazy Lime and Spring in doll diapers!

Blueberry brings us Kiwi and Geo available in One Size, Covers, and Bamboo.  You can grab Meadow Green or Geo for your newborns.

AppleCheek’s Appletini brings a little fun to the St. Patty’s Day party.

Babykicks gives a punch of true Green.

Best Bottoms covers give us several options:  Dragonfly Ripple, Key Lime Pie, Green Giraffe, Camo, GI Jane, Open Season, and the beautiful rainbow that is Tie Dye or Dragon Scales. Even your potty trainer can have a festive bum with Pistachio and Playful Panda.

Bottombumpers brings us the appropriately named Shamrock as well as Kiwi.

Bummis has you covered with Kale and Pistachio Dot.  If fitteds be sure to grab be sure to grab green chevron.  If you prefer fun prints check out Green or Celery Dot.

Funky Fluff offers a Stay-Dry  or Bamboo Option in Green & Purple or Teal & Lime.

Imagine Baby brings you a bit of luck with their wool cover,  PUL cover, or pocket in Emerald.  Their Rawrgyle leggings are sure to complete the look.

Itti Bitti’s Wasabi and Seaweed offer fun punches of green while Shazam and Chilin’ bring us a rainbow of fun.

Kissaluv’s Grassy Green is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day Cover.  Lime Green is available in a soft fitted.  They can cover your Newborn with Spring Green.  If you’re looking for a print, consider Happy Bugs, Monkeys, Summer Dots, or Zoo Blue.

Moraki’s Green and Hippie are two more great choices.  Their shamrock bottom Celtic Pride was MADE for St. Patty’s Day.

Smart Bottoms offers a fun mix with Bloom, Ella, Emerson, and Tiedye.

SmartBums Sprout is bright and fun.

Tidy Tots gives us several more options with Lime Green, Spring Green, Sea Mist, and Dinosaur.

Tots Bots offers us Sweet Pea and Hey Diddle Diddle.  The striped Thistle is available in a fitted.

Which diaper(s) will you be choosing for St. Patty’s Day?

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase via one of the links, I will receive a small portion of the sale.  You don’t have to use the links when you make a purchase, but we appreciate when you do as it supports our blogging efforts.  You can read our full disclosure policy here.