Saturday, December 28, 2013

Depression around the holidays

It took me a while to decide whether or not I really wanted to post about this.

Not everyone knows, but I have been struggling with my depression and anxiety a lot lately. Certain events in life are proving to be more than I can handle, and I find myself holed up in my room more often than not. I had an appointment scheduled with my doctor for today to talk about increasing my meds, but unfortunately, I was unable to make it.

I have been feeling more and more like I'm in over my head. I know I am, and I'm okay with that. I am doing what needs to be done for my family, and will continue to do what needs to be done. I just need to figure out a balance and a few other minor details need to be worked out. Once it's all said and done, life will be that much more calm. But in the meantime, there are bumps, traps, and blockages in the way that I am having to maneuver around.

One of the main ones is the fact that a certain person decided to call CPS on me. This is the same person who had the nerve to call me a car seat Nazi, amongst a few other things, then block me. Long story short, I'm sure she's feeling bad about her life, and saw me in a vulnerable position. Friends who know her said that this is not uncommon for her. I'm not her first target, and I likely won't be her last. It's alright because the worker who was assigned to our case is nice, and is very helpful in making sure that I have the help I need and the resources available. Some that I wasn't even aware of. Blessing in disguise, I guess?

A lot has happened lately that made my depression spiral worse and worse. I have feelings of being left out intentionally when it comes to family things. I don't hear from some family members as often as I thought I would. Mainly my brother. I miss him, but I refuse to always be the one to initiate contact. I may not be working outside of the home, but I am extremely busy at home with 6 kids now, and it would be so nice to just see a "Hey sis, want to get together" text every now and then. I haven't seen him in a while, and we don't even live that far from each other.

Gaining a ton of weight after giving birth to my youngest has caused a lot of damage to my self esteem as well. Usually, you give birth and you lose weight. Especially if you breastfeed. It didn't happen that way for me. I lost some initially, but found myself more hungry the more I nursed. The more hungry I was, the more I ate, naturally. The more I ate, the more I gained. Which also lead me to discover that I was a "bored eater". I was bored, so I ate. Especially since I used to smoke, food became what occupied my hands and mouth. Fast forward a few years later and I can't fit into my favorite jeans. The same jeans I wore when I was pregnant with Gianna. I still have them in hopes that one day, I'll fit back into them. I'm also discovering that pants that were too big on me at one point are no longer too big. In fact, they're starting to get snug. I hate the idea of New Years Resolutions, because why put off later what you can do now, but let's be honest ... I'm enjoying the junk food I'm allowing myself for the rest of the year. I'd like to be back to my prebaby body by summer. Or at least a few pounds closer.

Seriously, I love Christmastime, but at the same time, I am starting to really resent the holidays. It just makes me realize what I am missing out on. I miss my mother. I miss the family get-togethers from when I was a kid. Where everyone was included. I miss still living at home and seeing my brother daily, even if he drove me nuts. I miss just fitting in. Being a part of something. Yes, I have my own family now. I fit in here at home. But its just not the same. I just can't wait for all the holidays to die down. I want to start working on me. I *NEED* to start working on me. Starting with my happiness.

For now, I will settle on being in the rut I'm in. Soon, it will change. It just needs some time to work itself out, and the meds to kick in. There has to be a light at the end of this tunnel, and I will start working on finding it soon. Let's just hope it doesn't take too long to find it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and had the best time with your families and friends!!

We celebrated Christmas Eve at my grandfather's house, a tradition since I was a little girl. I love spending time over there, visiting with family whom I don't see very often. It was great finally meeting my cousins little boy, seeing other cousins that I haven't in a while. Although, what sucked was missing a few cousins that live in other states and couldn't make it.

It was great seeing Gianna have fun with her grandfather, running around and hiding underneath the dining room table.

 Watching my cousins, Mia and (her aunt) Sydney have an intense conversation about the naughty and nice list (Syd agreed to put Mia on the nice list after all).

 Gianna and AJ playing with their new toys.

There are some things that happened Christmas Eve that I missed out on that made me a little sad. Like, the Christmas Eve toast. I didn't know it had happened until after. Bummed me out a bit, especially since I wasn't informed about it last year either, until after as well. Maybe next year will be different ...

Christmas Day was fun, despite it being extra crowded. I'm not used to having so many people in my house, so it was a bit nerve wracking. There was paper all over, toys, books, stuffed animals, etc. Not to mention, I have yet to put away all the clean laundry, so there were laundry baskets floating around as well. I tried to take a pic of each child with their Christmas Gifts, but there were just too many of them ;)

As always, I get a pic of the kids in front of the Christmas Tree. I tried this year, but it took a few shots. Gianna has started to make some silly faces, and she seizes the chance to make one whenever she can. Here are 6 of the shots I took of them:

After all of the silly shots, I ended up with one that I really liked:
And yes, if you look in AJs mouth, you can see a nice size gap. Not only is his top tooth gone, but he lost another bottom tooth on Christmas Eve. Don't worry, the Tooth Fairy made it just fine!

   I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

World Vision Jewelry Set Giveaway

{Disclaimer: I received a bracelet and earring set for review purposes only. A Fulfilled Mommy did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. My opinions and experiences are my own and may differ from your own. This blog is not responsible for prize shipment.}

Bracelet modeled by my beautiful 4 year old daughter.

World Vision is a humanitarian non-profit organization that fights against poverty. World Vision helps struggling children and families in the United States and around the world for several decades. With a small donation of $25, one can select one of 36 handcrafted gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog. This gift option is wonderful because it not only knocks a Christmas gift off of the list, but also helps some one in need. Please consider looking at the World Vision Gift Catalog for your gift giving needs. There are many wonderful options.

I received the Colors of Africa Bracelet and Earring Set. This is a gorgeous Zakale bracelet and earrings set. These crafts are handmade from recycled materials by Kenyan artisans. The colors are absolutely beautiful. I am really looking forward to wearing this jewelry set to holiday parties.

Check out the following video to see how their Gift Guide works:

Between now and December 31st, there are many worthy causes to give to, spreading joy to others and adding to your own year-end tax deductions. But with so many worthy causes to choose from, how can you know where to give? World Vision offers five tips to help with choosing a charity:
1. Find a charity with a track record; review the organization’s IRS tax status, check how it spends money and makes important decisions. Good places to find this information are Charity Navigator and GuideStart. 2. Be thoughtful about an organization’s overhead and administrative costs; cost efficiency is an important factor when choosing a charity, but effectiveness is the key. 3. Ask questions before you give – visit a charity’s website, send an email, or call if you have concerns. 4. See what others are saying about the charity of your choice via social media and trusted online forums. 5. Watch for scams; be on your guard for emails that ask for credit card or other personal information. Check the Better Business Bureau Charity Reviews website ( before giving.
World Vision is generously giving away another jewelry set to one lucky winner on my blog. You can enter this giveaway by using the Rafflecopter entry form below. (A big thanks to A Fulfilled Mommy for allowing me to take part of the giveaway! And a huge GOOD LUCK to my readers, current and new! I know whoever wins will enjoy this jewelry set!) a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Best Dinner Ever

Never underestimate the pleasure a simple thing as a nice meal out can do for a family. This is long, so I apologize in advance. But please read it.

A friend of mine nominated my family for a local "adopt a family" thing through a local radio station. Our family was adopted by someone (we won't find out who), and a restaurant wanted to have our large family out to eat, completely paid for. When we arrived, the hostess and all the servers came right to us and did everything in their power to make sure we knew that they wanted us to enjoy ourselves and not worry about a thing while we were there. I was terrified the kids would act up. It was a tad bit loud, but what do you expect with 8 kids? They behaved MUCH better than we anticipated. Manners, no screaming, HAFTY*, etc. 

Olive Garden made sure we had a whole section to ourselves so the kids could run around without bothering other people if they felt the need to move around. They made sure we didn't wait long for our food. The kids meals were bigger than they usually were so that we could bring extras home with us. Appetizers, main dishes, and even dessert. It was the best present we have ever received, honestly. 

Not only that, but at the end, the two servers we had brought out gifts for the kids. They saw that our wish list for the radio station just had clothes and warm blankets on them, and they wanted to do a little more for us. The baby got 2 teething toys and a Thomas pillow pet. The other younger kids each got a stuffed animal/pillow and blanket combo, and some extras. My oldest daughter received a Bohemian Bracelet making kit and other things, the 9 year old we have custody of got a Hello Kitty diary and some nail polish. They also gave my husband and I a $25 gift card to Walmart, and my cousin also got a $25 gift card to Walmart. 

We had a great time, and I almost cried. I wanted to so bad, but I also didn't want to at the same time. It was just great. I wasn't expecting to have such a great time at a restaurant. I didn't have to worry about dishes. No cooking. Nothing. They also let us take the poinsettia home. 

My point, if you can afford to take a family who is down on their luck, or struggling with bills, out to eat, please do. Even if it's to IHOP or Denny's. It really eases a LOT of worries when you don't have to worry about a meal or cleaning. I was finally able to kick back and enjoy my family for the first time in a long time. Especially since adding more to it. I truly am blessed, and can't wait to be in the position to be able to do this for another family.

                                  Because I do not have permission from our servers to post their pic on my blog, I did blur their faces. 

*HAFTY stands for Hands And Feet To Yourself.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When a problem arises ...

... sometimes the best course of action is to just step back and do nothing.

Recently, I found out who my real friends were and weeded out quite a few who weren't. Unfortunately, quite a bit of lies were told, and in a forum where I couldn't defend myself, so I was never able to say anything. It really had me seething, and I was so upset that I was shaking. I told another friend (not friends with the other girl) and she helped me calm down. Her best advice was to step back and just take a breather. And that's exactly what I did. I put the computer down, focused on the awesome parent that I am, and continued doing what I do best- being my awesome self.

I'll admit, a few of the things that were said hurt down deep. I stepped back and looked at everything that I may or may not have done to make someone think the things that were said, and I couldn't figure it out. I decided that I no longer care. My kids are happy and healthy. All 6 of them. Well taken care of. Our bellies are full, our backs are clothed, our heads have a roof over them, and there is plenty of ♥love♥ and affection to go around. 

So, after sitting back and thinking (too hard, admittedly) over everything, I just want to thank you. I don't second guess myself anymore. The doubts I had were put to rest. The fear I had was conquered. The stress I had was relieved. 

Or, maybe it was just the meds talking ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Glow stick bath!

The other day, Gianna was not feeling well at all. She had goopy eyes, and had a hard time settling down for sleep. We were nearing the 11:00 mark, and I remembered something a good friend of mine did with her daughter- a Glow Stick bath! It was the perfect thing to settle her, and to allow me to really clean her eyes off.

She had a blast in the tub! Only problem? She refused to come out even after the water went cold. I added more hot water and let her play for another 10 minutes.

Best part about it was the glow sticks were on clearance- $1 for 10 at Walmart. Lights off, glow sticks on, perfect combination!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Congratulations, my little soccer stars!

Dear Sofia,

I am so incredibly proud of you for sticking through Soccer this year. I understand it's hard to get into a new sport and have such enthusiasm for it, but you did fantastic! Sure, sometimes you ran from the ball, or pulled a Daria, but when you loosened up, you really participated. You've been hit in the face, in the gut, in the leg, and hardly cried about it. Seeing you get hit and not being able to run to you was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I knew you'd be alright. You sucked it up and kept on going.  You're a tough girl, after all.

I just want you to know how proud of you we are. I hope you enjoyed Soccer enough this year to want to continue for next year. I'm sure you'll do even better and maybe even make a goal! The important thing is, even though you asked me quite a few times to quit, you made the most of it and started to enjoy it. Grammy would be very proud to know you stuck with it.

We love you very much!!

Dear AJ,

I am also so proud of you for sticking with it as well!! You were amazing, and got right into it. You made a few goals, and more importantly, had a blast. You gave us all a laugh when you constantly told your coach you were hungry and asked if it was time to eat cheeseburgers.

You never once showed that you were afraid of the ball. You got right in there and kicked the ball away from your opponents, while still making sure you were as kind and gentle as could be. You didn't throw it in anyone's face when you took the ball from them or scored a goal. You enjoyed playing against your cousin Joey, even if you did spend a lot of time kicking the ground and talking to him.

Monday, November 4, 2013

**REVIEW** Little Keepsakes hand and foot prints kit

I was recently given a kit to take my baby's hand and foot prints to try out. I absolutely loved doing this with my daughter, though it wasn't the cleanest activity we've done!

The kit comes with 2 good sized sheets of ink for you to place your baby's hands and feet on, 4 cardboard like papers, wet wipes to remove the ink, and instructions on how to do it properly.

The ink came off easily using the wet wipes, and didn't leave any residue left behind. My daughter is 2, but the ink is also safe for newborns so I would have been comfortable using it on my cousins little boy if they were up here at the time of me using it.

Following the instructions, her hands and feet prints came out beautifully! Some parts aren't perfect, but they came out a lot better than I anticipated! I will be purchasing another kit in about a year so that we can keep track of her growth and development.

Purchase your own kit here on Amazon!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yay for Boogie Wipes!! **GIVEAWAY**

By now, you all know that I'm an ambassador for Boogie Wipes. For those of you who don't know, my job as a Saline Ambassador is to get the word out to as many people as possible so that everyone learns about Boogie Wipes. Being a Saline Ambassador allows me to bring you great giveaways. This quarter's box comes at the perfect time. It's the beginning of cold and flu season, and I now have 3 additional people in my house. I am now fully stocked, and ready to face the season!

Here is what I have to offer for a prize pack this quarter:
Grape Scented Boogie Wipes
Fresh Scent Boogie Wipes
Puffs Fresh Faces Vicks scent
Puffs Fresh Faces unscented
2-in-1 conditioning shampoo
Grape scented Saline Mist
stuffed Boogs!

The Saline Mist is new to the pack, and I'm not too fond of things like that, but it might come in handy with the toddlers.

For now, this is the prize pack. I will run the contest until November 1st, 12:00 Midnight EST. One winner will take all the above home.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 20, 2013

**REVIEW** Custom iPhone case

One of the most recent items I have been able to review has been a custom cell phone case for Anthony's iPhone from It's something that I really looked forward to, because I was able to play around and find a picture that I liked and that he would like. One that he would be excited to show off. One that he wouldn't mind using around his friends and his job. So, naturally, I chose one of our kids. I chose their first day of school pic. I love the way Gianna was looking up in adoration towards her siblings. They all looked so happy, and so so adorable!

Using the website was super easy. All I needed to do was click on the iPhone 4/4s link, and from there, I clicked on the big purple button that says "start". From there, it walks you through what you need to do. You can either upload a picture directly from your computer, or you can click the buttons to choose any of your pictures from Facebook or Instagram. You can choose your photo, then choose whether you want it in greyscale, sepia, vintage, or leave it the way it is. I chose to leave the picture the way it was. But I did play around to see what it would look like in the other options. I decided that the original was the best option.

After deciding which picture you want to use, and the color/setting, you just click on Order Case. Enter your name, address, and number, and check out. Your case will ship out within 2 business days (Monday through Friday).

While I loved how easy the website was to navigate, and how easy it was to order, I am a little disappointed in the quality of the case. The picture is a bit darker on the case than it is supposed to be. It's also not as high up, so the phone isn't as well protected as it would be with other cases.

As you can see in the pictures, it leaves ample room for plugs and buttons. The sides and the back are well protected, and have held up wonderfully. My husband has dropped the phone a few times with the case on. However, if he were to drop the phone on the screen, then there really is no protection. Since the case doesn't come up high enough, if it were to fall face down, the screen could likely crack. Since taking these pictures, my husband dropped the phone again, and it actually cracked the corner of the case. It is no longer usable, as it keeps coming off. 

Would I recommend this case to anyone? Absolutely. He received many compliments on it, and it did a great job of protecting the sides and back. I am sure that if he hadn't dropped his phone so often, or if Gianna didn't get her hands on it, the case would have lasted a lot longer. At only $20, it's a lot cheaper than other custom cases we have come across. It would make a great gift at that price. 

From now until November 15, use the code LIOL20 to receive 20% off your order from Have fun creating your case, and enjoy showing it off to all of your friends and family! Remember, they make great gifts, so be sure to order a few! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

**REVIEW** The Tattoo Pill

Have you ever heard of The Tattoo Pill? Well, they are exactly what it sounds like. If you like tattoos, you may be interested in looking into this product.

What The Tattoo Pill is, is a pill packed full of vitamins and minerals that help to allow your tattoo to heal to its fullest potential. A tattoo is basically an open wound that you need to keep clean. It's not as easy as just going to a parlor and having a tattoo done. There is a lot goes into proper maintenance to keep it looking as awesome as it does immediately after having it done. Making sure that your body is healthy to heal it from the inside out is important. That's where this comes in.

30 different vitamins and minerals are in each pill. It is gluten free, and 100% vegetarian. There is no extra sugar added. No artificial flavorings and absolutely no stimulants. 15 of the ingredients are 100% or more of the FDA's recommended daily intake. These are vitamins and minerals that are important to keep your body running in tip-top shape. Not only to help heal tattoos, but to heal any kind of wounds, really.

Ohhh, it sounds great! How do I use it?! Well, I'm glad you asked! It's really easy. According to their website, they recommend taking it for two weeks before getting your tattoo. This helps to even out any vitamin deficiencies you may have and to strengthen your immune system. You will be going into this tattoo with the ideal level of vitamins and minerals to help facilitate in optimal healing. All it takes is two pills a day. There are no specifications on whether they need to be taken at the same time, or if you can take one at a time over the course of the day. I preferred to err on the side of caution and take them at the same time.

Overall, I personally have not seen any difference in how my tattoos have healed with this, or without it. I certainly didn't feel any worse, no ill side effects. If anything, I noticed less swelling with bug bites or scratches. I will continue to use The Tattoo Pill when I am getting new tattoos, though.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From 5 to 8 overnight

On Monday, October 7th, I was granted temporary custody of 3 more girls. G is 9, M is 4, and S is 3. How they came to be in my custody is a long, complicated story, but it's for the best. Given the options provided, this was the best place for them to be.

Unfortunately, it has put me in a hard place. I now have 6 children to care for instead of 3. We've been doing just fine for the past week, and I assume it will only get easier from here on out. But I am struggling to get G enrolled in school. Because I don't have court ordered custody, the school is telling me that they can't enroll her. They spoke with their lawyer to see if there was a way to enroll her, and he said that they need to contact Grandma (who has court ordered custody) first and ask her a few questions. It's been about a week now, and grandma still hasn't called the school to talk to the principal and lawyer. Without that, I can't get her in. I was able to speak to grandma today, and she assures me that she will call tomorrow morning. I am hoping that once she calls, the school will call me and tell me that G can start the next day.

There is a lot more to this story, but the details are rather hazy, and some don't quite make sense. All I can say for certain is, someone messed up big time, and I'm trying to clean up the mess. ACS, CPS, DSS, etc ... everyone is involved, and I may end up seeking court guidance for custody of them to ensure that they are safe and in a place where they are well taken care of. The alternative ... well, if something were to happen that I had the power to prevent, I would never be able to live with myself. So, I'll endure the hardship for a bit, to ensure that my family, immediate and extended, are safe and together.

I spent all day today running around to get some things together for them. Appointment with Child Support at the local Department of Social Services to locate their fathers and (hopefully) receive some sort of support from them. Then to a car seat check to get new car seats for them (free of charge, thank God), and then to WIC so that I could at least have some basics to keep them fed. It's not a lot, but keeping milk in the house is important now. Cereal has become a main staple as it's fast and easy, and just about everyone enjoys it. I am looking into other programs I can check into for additional help until we adjust to our new norm.

The girls' mother is up here as well for a few days with her youngest children, J is 17 months, and T is almost 4 months. The girls are ecstatic to have mom around, but I know they will be devastated when she needs to go back home. I enjoy having her around as well, since she clearly knows her girls better than I do. She and I go way back, and have always gotten along great. I'm thrilled to spend some time with her again. I am slowly gaining confidence in my abilities to become a mom to 6. Especially in having them so close together in age. The older girls are a great source of help, when they want to be. Seeing that they're 9 and 10, they get along great, and mostly keep to themselves. AJ and the 3 year old don't quite get along well, but I believe that's because they are much too similar. Both are hyper, loud, in-your-face type. I am hoping that they soon learn to get along, since this situation isn't going to change in the very near future. The 4 year old is a little singer. She loves to make up her own songs and dances all the time. If I had the extra funds, I would get her into dance class. Lord knows she would love it!

At this point in time, our biggest concern is making sure we have enough food in the house to feed everyone. I have a friend who has been very generous in getting some clothes for the girls and also some formula for baby T. There are still some things that we are in need of. G will need a backpack for school and school supplies for when she is FINALLY enrolled. Food is always a concern. The girls still need a bed of their own. Sheets, pillows, etc. I do have a Walmart Wish List set up, as I have been asked repeatedly if there was anything specific we need for them. If you would like to help, please feel free! Gift cards for groceries are always appreciated!!!

 All three girls- S on the left, G in the middle, M on the right

 The three toddlers while waiting at WIC

Girlies in their new carseats. (We were parked at the time of this picture)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

**REVIEW** Alphabet Flash Cards by Educational Toys Planet

Recently, I received a pack of Alphabet Flash Cards by Education Toys Planet to try out with my kids and review them for all of you. While I did receive them for free, all opinions are 100% my own and not swayed in either direction by any outside influences.

These Alphabet Flash Cards are recommended for ages 3 and up. My youngest is 2, so I thought I would try them on her. The first thing she did when I opened the shipping package was yank them from me and try to get right into them. As you can see from the back of the pack, she really just wanted them! I also used them on AJ because of his mix up with certain letters.

The cards are bright, and eye catching. They provide excellent visuals to help with letter recognition. What I really loved about them is the rounded edge. The pictures have the rounded edge in the upper right hand corner. When it's in the left, the letters are shown. It makes it a lot easier to sort them and organize them by letters, or by pictures. There are both capitals, and lower case cards. Most cards I have purchased in the past only have one or the other, never both.

The pack also comes with these three index cards for quick reference. I used these with my son by pointing at random letters to see if he could recognize them quickly. I also called out random letters and random words (pear, cake, sun) to test him as well. Goose threw him off, as he thought it was a duck. It's understandable. They really do look similar on these cards. For Gianna, I pointed and she told me what each picture was if she was able to.

There was also a parent card with ideas on activities to try with your child. We did a few of the activities, but Gianna was just too young to really understand. AJ's attention often roamed, so it was hard to do it for long.

While I would love to say that they really did help her, I can't say they did. I think it may be because she is just too young to grasp the concept of letters. She was able to identify quite a few pictures. Just not able to get the letters correct. So, I did work on them with my 6 year old. AJ struggles with a few letters, and often mixes them up (B and D, G and J, etc). These cards helped him to see the letters and associate them with certain words. In just two weeks time (20 minutes each day, 5 days a week), his letter recognition has improved. He still mixes certain letters up, but not nearly as often as he used to. Not only has his recognition improved, his spelling has as well. He will take the index cards, and study the words then ask me to pick a few out for him to spell. So, I consider this an extra perk. Definitely a positive!

In general, I would agree that these cards are more for children older than 3. I will continue to work with Gianna as long as she shows interest. AJ still plays with them and asks me to quiz him, so I will continue to do that with him as long as he would like to. It's a great way for him and I to spend some one-on-one time doing something that he enjoys.

Feel free to check them out using the links above, or jump right into their site by age recommendations:

For 3 year olds

For 4 year olds

For 5 year olds

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

**REVIEW** Glow Bug Cloth Diaper

A few months back, I contacted Glow Bug in hopes of being able to review one of their cloth diapers. I am happy to announce that I have been given one of their pocket diapers featuring the new 360° gusset. (Disclosure: While I did receive this product for free, all opinions are 100% my own and were not swayed in any direction)

Glow Bug was founded by two moms, Sarah and Neta, who became friends after attending the same prenatal Yoga classes. They both welcomed daughters in 2007 and used cloth diapers with them. In 2010, they welcomed their second kiddos- another daughter for Sarah, and a son for Neta. While searching for cloth diapers for their new babies, they found each other to have the same concerns over the already available brands. This led them to start up their own company, and sell cloth diapers that were designed and made with their preferences in mind. Quality, affordable, and functional. Not to mention, super cute!!

The first thing I did when I received the package was tear into it and look it over. Not all diapers are created the same! Looking it over, I had some initial concerns. My first concern was that there were two openings in the diaper. I was afraid that the insert would not stay in place. However, I then noticed the snap that was in the diaper and on the insert. That will keep it from moving all out of place. And when you have a toddler who is into EVERYTHING, keeping it in place is a major necessity.

The other concern I had was the 360° gusset in the diaper. I have such problems with the gussets on disposable diapers and making sure they were flared out to keep the mess in. Thankfully, these are nothing like that. I found that out when I put it on Gianna. Let's just say that they got her seal of approval, because within minutes of putting it on her, she dirtied it. Since she still consumes a significant amount of breast milk, she still doesn't have very solid BMs. The gussets held the mess in perfectly, without the slightest bit of leakage.

I absolutely love the fit on her! The 4 size settings mean that I can use it on her, and any baby smaller AND larger than she is, because we're using the first snap down. The square tabs mean no wing droop, and an even fit around her waist. Lots of snaps around the waist means a great fit for even the smallest of babies. Especially since the tabs can overlap. I really like that, even when it's tight on her, it doesn't leave all these red marks on her like other brands do. It also moves with her. Whether she's doing somersaults, climbing, jumping, running, etc, it doesn't bunch up or ride up.

The day we received the diaper, I put it right on her. I didn't prep it, because we were just too excited. It held up for five hours before starting to get slightly damp on the outside, so this diaper is my first choice for long trips. Now that it's been washed a few times, I'm sure it's even more absorbent. I also like that the inside material, which they call it "SlimDry", seems to be stain resistant. The initial "approval" Gianna gave it didn't even leave any signs of use. That particular day, I didn't get to rinse it out immediately after changing her.

You can purchase Glow Bug diapers from their website, here. At this point in time, Glow Bug does not sell individual diapers, although you may find someone local to you who does. You can check that out here.
They have many different prints, and even solids if you aren't into prints. They also offer a lifetime warranty on their snaps, and a 180-day warranty on the craftsmanship of the diapers. To read more about their warranty, be sure to click here. They are super nice to work with, and have always gotten back to any messages I have sent within a day. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again in the future!

Whatever you do, be sure to enter the giveaway! One lucky person will win a Glow Bug cloth diaper in their choice of Girl Print, Boy Print, or Neutral Print!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 6, 2013

First day of school!

Today was the first day of school for my kiddos. Sofia started 5th grade, and AJ started 1st. I spent all Wednesday night comforting Sofia and reassuring her that she would have a great time. She's a very nervous child, and gets herself worked up about things like this. I reminded her that she did this the night before every single grade, and ended up loving that grade. She started to say something, but I cut her off. We've had this conversation many times, so I knew what she was going to say.

But 5th grade is so much harder than 4th was! And that's exactly the same thing you said about 4th grade. An 3rd grade. And 2nd. And even 1st. And you came back home on the first day saying that you love your teacher, some of your friends are in your class, and you can't wait to go back. So, go to sleep and think about the fun you're going to have and all your friends you're going to see again.

And that she did. With a smile on her face, and NO nightmares. She got right up when her alarm went off, right into the shower, then out and got dressed. She had a smile on her face and was more than thrilled to start the new school year. AJ, on the other hand, was not too thrilled. He woke up saying that he wasn't going to have a good day. He wasn't going to listen, and he didn't want to go. It took a good 10 minutes to get him out of bed. He eventually got out of bed and got dressed, but he wasn't happy about it. Eventually his mood lightened up, and he was excited. Though, still not promising a good day.

8:00 came, and it was time to send them outside. Since their bus is never on time for the first few days, we have to send them out earlier than the time we were told. On their way out, I snapped some cute pictures. Of course, Gianna wanted to be out with them, too.

They both enjoyed their first day of school, and are excited to go back. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Car Seat Love ♥

As most of you know, I am a HUGE car seat safety freak. I get really upset when I see people using car seats incorrectly, especially when they're my friends who I have said something to before.  This is me when people post pics of their kiddos in their car seats.

It really does make my heart pound because I fear for what might happen if there were an accident. I post car seat safety tips and links all the time, and just HOPE my friends read it.

At any rate, let me get on to my sheer excitement. I bought Gianna a new car seat today! Did she NEED it? No. Did I WANT it? Absolutely! She was in a Graco MyRide 65, which was amazing and was a nice, roomy seat. As much as I loved it, I wanted something that would cradle her a bit better, so that when she fell asleep, she wasn't craning her neck since there was no added head support. There was a pillow that came with it, but she was able to move it so that it wasn't in the correct position. This new car seat has awesome side support that cradles her. When she falls asleep, I won't have to worry about her head flopping all over. As much as I would love for the extra head pillow and body support to fit her well, it just doesn't.

The kids and I went to Toys R Us, and got the car seat. It was cheaper than I expected, thanks to a 20% off coupon. Unfortunately, because of that coupon, we weren't eligible for the bonus gifts/freebies. It really bummed me out, especially when a friend of mine said that they were able to use the 20% off coupons and get the freebies. I'm planning on calling corporate tomorrow and see what's going on.

After getting the seat, we went home so that AJ could quickly get his soccer gear on, and then head up to his practice. While we were there, Anthony and I got the car seat installed. It fits like a DREAM! The only complaint I have is that there is less leg room in the MySize 70 than in the MyRide 65. She doesn't seem to mind at all. She moved her legs around to keep comfortable, so I'm not worried. She loved the seat as well. I also love that it has a no rethread harness. Just squeeze the level, and pull on the top. Instant, easy fit! So if I have to take any other kids around, I don't have to take the seat out and adjust it and buckle it back. I am IN LOVE with that feature!! I'm just in love with the whole seat. Check out how great she fits in it!

Thumbs up from Gianna!! 

At any rate, the kids start school tomorrow, so I should probably get to bed now. I hope all of you have a wonderful night, and that the school year goes smoothly for your kiddos!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Boogie Wipes Giveaway!!!

This giveaway is going to be a little bit different. I have joined a 10k Giveaway hosted by Kimmyhillbilly's Trailer Park on Facebook. All you have to do is "like" her page here, agree to the rules here, then go throughout that album and "like" all the pictures of the prizes that you want to enter. Be sure to "like" the pages of the sponsors. You can find mine here. Nice and easy!

What is my prize offering, you ask? Well, here it is:
One winner takes all! 
1 8oz bottle of Kandoo Hair Detangler
1 pack of Puffs Fresh Faces, fragrance free, 45 count
1 pack if Puffs Fresh Faces, Fresh Scent, 15 count
2 packs Boogie Wipes, grape and fresh scent, 30 count each
Free shipping in US
Kids not included. 

So, head on over, and check out all of the cool prizes!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

What is there left to do?

Please stay with me. I'm upset, agitated, and my thoughts are all over the place. If I'm confusing, I apologize.

I've hit another snag. It has taken Sofia over 2 months to clean her room. She's done a bit daily, but always slacks off. I can't necessarily punish her for that because I was/am the same way. However, I have been getting on her case more and have started to take things way. I need to get my youngest out of a crib since she climbs out, but cannot until she cleans up to make room for the bed and to make sure things that Gianna could get hurt on are put away. HOWEVER, as I was getting her stuff together to spend the night at Grandma's tonight, I noticed something in her pillow case that wasn't her pillow. She had put her iPod in there to hide it from me.

I took it from her a while ago because she took it outside one day and broke it. It broke because she put it in her invisible pocket and it fell out while she was running. It hit her foot, went flying in the air, and shattered. I took it because 1) she knew it didn't belong outside, 2) she hid it from me, and 3) she lied when I asked about it. This happened months ago, and ever since then, I have had it hidden. This is the THIRD time she has taken it. This last time, I had it hidden in between my mattress and box spring. She KNOWS she's not allowed in my room unless I tell her she can come in. I have not allowed her in my room alone since I took the iPod away from her.

As it stands, because it's taken her so long to clean her room, she is not allowed to go to the local fair, she is not allowed to ride her bike for the rest of Summer, and she isn't having sleepovers or going to be sleeping over at anyone's house. I'm now taking the computer and game access away from her. So, what is left for disciplining her??

She just walked in, and I confronted her. First things first, she started shaking, and telling me she didn't know how it got in her pillow case. She didn't do it. Ten minutes later, after me not budging, she admitted she took it out of my room because she just couldn't live without it. This is the same spiel we went through when I caught her the first time with it in her pillow case. I'm pretty sure I blogged about it previously. Crying, lying, shaking, defensive, etc. Now she's saying that she doesn't care about herself. She cares about me, her father, her brother, and her sister. But not herself. I am fairly certain she's saying that just so that I pity her and give up on the punishments. I told her I was going to shatter her iPod since she keeps taking it and lying. She said doesn't care. I can shatter it if I want to.

I'm going to have to talk to her doctor about this, because frankly, I have no idea what to do. Depression? Normal 10 year old behavior? What?!

What do I do in the mean time? What would you do? Please give me some advice!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

**REVIEW** SpermCheck Fertility

Recently, I was sent a product called SpermCheck Fertility to review. After MUCH begging and pleading on my end, my husband reluctantly gave it a shot. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take part in any of it, because he chose to do it while I was sleeping.

Directly from their website:
SpermCheck® Fertility is a simple, FDA-approved male fertility product that provides quick and reliable results,
 indicating if your sperm count is high enough for successful conception. The SpermCheck® Fertility kit, which 
can be used in the privacy of your own home, quickly informs men whether their sperm count is normal or low. 
This innovative male fertility test can help rule out male infertility or provide answers to conception problems 
prior to visiting a fertility specialist. 50% of the time, male infertility is the cause of conception problems and 
80% of the time, the male is not tested.

So, from my end, it appears to be relatively simple with some minor guidelines. Wait at least 48 hours since the last ejaculate, but no more than 7 days, or the results may be wrong. Other than that, as long as you follow the directions, it isn't hard.

The kit comes with the instructions, a collection cup for your sample, a solution bottle, a semen transfer device, and the actual test.

You would need to obtain a sample directly into the sample cup, without missing a drop. After that, it needs to sit on a flat surface for at least 20 minutes to allow it to thin out a bit.
After those 20 minutes (but no more than 3 hours), you would remove the transfer device and stir it about 10 times to ensure it's equally mixed. After mixing, you need to use the plunger from the transfer device to retrieve enough semen to go up to the black line, avoiding air bubbles. After retrieving enough in the plunger, you need to deposit it into the solution bottle, slowly. Once it's all in there, place the cap back on the solution bottle, and gently mix it by turning the bottle upside down at least 5 or 6 times, more so if your sample is thick. If you shake it too hard, you might end up with foaming. Let the solution stand for 2 minutes, then gently squeeze exactly 6 drops into the testing window. Your result will be visible at 7 minutes after placing the drops in the testing window. If you read it before, or after those 7 minutes, the results may be inaccurate.

A positive test will have a line next to the 'C' (control) and the 'T' (test) in the windows. That means that the sperm count is at least 20 million per milliliter. If there is no line next to the 'T', then your sperm count is less than 20 million per milliliter. With either result, you should contact your doctor to have more extensive testing done. Especially if you are trying to conceive and are struggling.

Hubby's result was positive. Which is not a surprise to either of us.

All in all, it's a great little tool to reassure your mind if you (or your hubby) have fertility concerns. It appears to cost around $40 for one test. I have not seen them in stores, but this is not something I have actively been seeking out.

The only complaint Anthony had about it was that the cup was too small. He had no issues doing the test himself and did not need to wake me up to ask for help. 

Like them on Facebook HERE.

**SpermCheck Fertility sent me the above product for review purposes only. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. All experiences and opinions are mine and may differ from your own.**
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Gianna!!

Wow. It's so hard to believe that my baby is 2 now. TWO!! Where has the time gone??

We did a party for her on her birthday, Sunday the 25th. Unfortunately, not many people came, despite RSVPing that they would. It was a total bummer, and has taken a toll on my mood lately, and my financial status. However, I am so thankful for those who did come. Gianna had a great time with her friend Anna!

At 2 years old, Gianna:
  • still rides rear facing in her car seat.
  • still breastfeeds at least 5x a day.
  • definitely is in the "terrible twos". As a matter of fact, the Terrible Twos have nothing on her!
  • is more assertive in what she does and does not want.
  • is trying to be more independent.
  • sings along to Bubble Guppies and tries to sing her ABC's.
  • has all four eye teeth coming in at once, but you would never be able to tell.
She is growing into a fabulous little girl, and I am so proud that she is mine! She is very loving, and says please, thank you, you're welcome, and bless you appropriately. Her newest thing is spitting. When she's angry, she will spit. When she's frustrated, she spits. When she's bored, she spits. She just spits. All the time. She still doesn't sleep through the night all the time. Maybe 3 to 4 times a week. She also climbs out of her crib, so we are looking into buying her a big girl bed. We just have to wait for Sofia to finish cleaning up their room so that there is nothing in there that Gianna can get hurt on.

I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for us. Wait, scratch that. Yes I can. I don't want my baby to grow up! I am not ready!!!


ETA: I have been eyeing a new car seat for G for her birthday. We only have one car seat, so it's a pain if we need to go somewhere in Anthony's car, or if someone else needs to take her for a bit. I then have to uninstall the seat from my car, install it elsewhere, and then reinstall it in mine. While I know how to buckle the seat in properly, it still leaves room for error at every uninstall/reinstall. It would make things a lot easier to have an extra seat. Unfortunately, it's just not in our budget at this point. I thought this might be a good start to getting the funds we need to purchase a new seat. If you'd like to donate, please do! If not, no biggie!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The worst feeling of my life

The other day, AJ had his therapist appointment. What happened shortly before the appointment had me so shook up and upset that I haven't been able to really write about it. It also just happened to be my mother's birthday, so it made it even worse of a day for me.

AJ's appointment was scheduled for 1:00. At about 12, we started to get ready. Gianna likes to run around and play when I tell her it's time to get dressed. She thinks it's a game. In order to get her to actually calm down enough for me to change her, I have to lay down with her and rub her back. While we were laying down, we heard footsteps. Not knowing whether it was AJ or Sofia, we pretended to be asleep. Complete with fake snoring. Playing into it, AJ was pretending to struggle with waking us up "Oh gee, mom is asleep. Gianna too! Wake up, sleepyheads!" Gianna replied "NoooooOOOO!" which lead to him saying yes, and them going back and forth, getting louder each time. I was still laying there, on my belly, head turned towards Gianna. At one point, Gianna screamed really loudly. I saw AJ's hand come over my head, and I assumed he was going to rub her back to get her to calm down. But his hand didn't stop on her back. He had it up near her face, and I thought he was going to pat her mouth while she was yelling (to make the wah-wah-wah sound).

Boy was I wrong. What I saw horrified and scared me half to death. His hand certainly was up by her face. He had put his palm on her mouth, and his fingers over her nose so that she couldn't breathe. Not only was he covering her mouth and nose, he was shaking his hand. I *KNEW* it was intentional. I flew up as quick as I could. Watching my baby, who simply adores her brother, panic and her eyes get wide in that split second scared me. AJ? He had NO remorse whatsoever. When I asked him what he was doing, he replied "I wanted her to stop screaming." When I asked him if he realized that he could have suffocated her by doing that, his response was a matter-of-fact "Yeah, and I don't care. I just want her to stop screaming." This wasn't the first time he's done that. I saw one other time, but thought I was seeing things, so I didn't say anything to him. I wish I did, because the fear in Gianna's eyes broke my heart. I sent him to his room, as my main concern was calming Gianna down and getting her dressed still.

It's frightening to see my go from happy and playful, to mean and intentionally harming his little sister. I brought it up with the therapist, and she talked with him a bit about it. He said that he was mad at himself for hurting her and wanting to kill her, but he didn't really care. He still had no remorse. He talked about it as if it were no big deal, all the while, playing with the toys the therapist had in the room. She mentioned that she feels he may be depressed, and wanted to talk it over with the RN who is in charge of his medication. We finished with her, and went to the RN. I told her all over again about how it happened, how it was all very sudden. No more than 2 minutes from the time he came in my room to the time he covered her face. The fear on G's face, the panic that set in, the lack of caring from AJ. We talked about how his mood is just getting worse and worse. We increased his Ritalin from 20mg up to 30mg. His Risperidone is still the same- 1mg in the morning, 1mg in the evening. Hoping this is the correct combination now. Watching Gianna be so nervous around AJ is not fun. She adored her big brother, and always wanted to be next to him. It's heart breaking to watch her cower in fear when he's around. It's sad that I can't even run upstairs to get something without having to bring her because I just don't know what he might do. I have never had this much fear in my entire life.

To make matters worse, the 15th would have been my mother's 55th birthday. It was hard enough trying to get through the day, but then to add that on top of it. Later that day, we had soccer practice for Sofia, and I had to try to make it through the fear and upset from the afternoon, the birthday of my mother, and then Sofia started whining that she didn't want to play soccer. Too bad it was already paid for. I am making her play this season, then if she decides that she still doesn't like it after it's over, then she doesn't have to play anymore. But, I am not having her quit before she even gets started. AJ's practices are on Tuesdays, and he likes it so far. Teams will be assigned either next week or the week after. Hopefully they each have someone on their teams that they know. Would make it a lot more enjoyable for them.

In any event, it is almost 2AM here. I have some planning to do tomorrow because in one week, my baby will be two. Her party will be here before I know it. Time flies so fast.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Little surprises make him the happiest

AJ is 6 years old. He has been asking me for a while about getting his ear pierced, but when we suggest that we actually go do it, he changes his mind. Since we had to go back to the mall to get Sofia's ear repierced, he decided that he really wanted it done. I asked him over and over if he REALLY wanted it done. He insisted that he really did. I text Anthony and asked if it was okay. He said fine, so I filled out the paperwork for him to get it done. He decided that he wanted both ears pierced. Since only getting one wouldn't really be much of a savings, I agreed to it. He chose these little skull earrings. I'm not a fan of skulls, but these were really cute.

AJ was so brave, he didn't even shed a single tear. He didn't whine, or even make a noise. The whole day, he was so happy with them. He showed EVERYONE who we came across. It really was a great day for him.

Did you pierce your little boys' ear(s)? If not, would you? Both ears, or one? I'm usually not a fan of both ears pierced for little boys, but it looks so cute on my son! I am happy with this decision, and glad that it was something that he wanted to do.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Home Safety

I never really babyproofed my house for any of my kids. Until I had Gianna. That child is Evel Knievel reincarnated, I swear. She seems to have NO fear whatsoever. One of her favorite activities is to sneak in the bathroom and play with the water. Water from the toilet, sink, even the tub. So, I decided to go ahead and purchase a Safety 1st toilet lock from Amazon. It came in a few days later, hubby installed it, and we were good to go. No more worrying about Gianna putting things in the toilet (including her hands). For extra protection, we bought those handle covers so that she couldn't open the bathroom door. Fast forward about 5 months later, and this is what our toilet lock looks like now.
A lot of good that does us, right? Oh well, at least we still have the handle covered. Though, it doesn't help when people forget to close the bathroom door. Grrrr

My friends son spent the night Friday night while his parents were busy moving. He wanted Mac and Cheese for dinner, so I made it. I had Sofia wash the dishes before I made dinner while I picked up after the boys and Gianna. When she finished, she put the plastic spoon holder thing on the stove so that I could use it. Without me looking, I put the pot of water on the burner right next to the spoon holder. I didn't realize that it was touching the burner when I turned it on. While waiting for the water to boil, I went out into the living room to see what the kids were up to. Within in a few minutes, there was a terrible smell. I ran into the kitchen to see the spoon holder on fire. I turned the burner off and carefully picked it up and put it in the sink. 
Looks like I need to add a new spoon holder to my list of items to buy. Or just stop cooking. Either way ;)

On the bright side, I gave Gianna a bath last night, and gave her a huge Alfalfa style with her shampoo. It was just too cute to not take a pic.

I've been approved for a review of something I've never ever heard of before. Not sure when it will come in, but be on the lookout for it ;)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Poor sick baby

Gianna's temperature has been  ranging between 100.5° and 101.8° since running an errand yesterday. Originally, I thought it was just because it was so hot in my van (no AC) that she was just warm from that. But after giving her some time to cool down in front of the air conditioner in the house, it didn't make a difference in her temp. I gave her some Tylenol, and it only dropped slightly. I ended up going to Walmart to buy some Motrin. That worked a little better than Tylenol, but didn't last too long. This morning, she still had the fever, so I made an appt with her doctor. I'm hoping it's nothing serious.

We have upped AJ's Ritalin to 20mg (2 pills in the AM) because the one wasn't doing anything. So far, I'm not seeing a change with 20mg either. I really hate that this is such a guessing game. I don't like putting pill after pill after pill into his little system. Not to mention, some of the pills just make him worse. I wish it was easier to find something that works for him.

While we're off to G's doc appointment, enjoy this cute pic of her from the other day. My baby just LOVES her Dora cereal!