Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree ...

Friday afternoon, after paying bills and taking care of errands, we stopped at the mall to go get a picture with Santa. It took a few tries and different positions, but we finally got a picture that wasn't too bad! Sofia originally started off by standing on the side of Santa, but she was standing a bit awkwardly so as not to get too close. We ended up having her stand behind him and his chair. I have no idea what AJ was doing with his hands, but he does it often.

 Please excuse the flash spot. I couldn't take a picture of the picture without it showing up.

Later that night, Sofia and AJ went over to our cousin's house to spend the night. Well, Sofia did. AJ ended up coming home in the middle of the night. Saturday afternoon, we decided to go out to get our Christmas tree. This is our first year having a real tree, and I really wanted to take the kids out, and give my husband a bit of Holiday fun. He grew up only having artificial trees in NYC, so he's never had the fun and joy of hunting down the perfect tree, then cutting it down yourself. I grew up with the forest in my backyard. He grew up with apartments and stores in his backyard, drugs in the street. So, this was definitely a new experience for him.

We went to a tree farm about half an hour away (40 minutes if you miss the exit like I did. Oops.) and got the run down of how it works there. They provided the handsaw, and a sled so the kids could ride on that instead of walking in the snow. There were tons of different kinds of trees, different sizes, different shapes. We walked around, and around, and jumped between 346,672,891,450 different trees. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but there were so many different trees! It was hard to settle on just one. We found the perfect one, but then I found one that was even more perfect, and another, and another! The kids decided the first tree was the best, so we went back and hubby cut it down for us.

Fun in the sled and snow while hunting for that perfect tree!

This is it! This is our tree!

After it was cut down, the people who own the tree farm baled it up and secured it to our car for free. While they were doing that, the kids and I went in the garage and enjoyed cookies and hot cocoa. The place we went to takes pictures of you with your tree then posts them on the wall the next year. So, when we return next year, we'll look for ours! Once we had our fill of cookies and warm drinks, we headed back to the car to leave. It was at that point that Anthony and I realized neither one of us paid. I ran back out, paid them (only $20 per tree, no matter how big!), and gave a tip for baling, securing, and us almost driving off. Oops!

We drove to Walmart after to get a tree stand, and some tinsel. When we got home, Hubs and I had the joy of setting it up in the stand. Turns out, the stand we bought was too big for the tree. Hubs took it back and ended up finding the one in the basement that the previous renters left behind. It fit perfectly. After a bit of string and a metal wire rack thingy drilled into the wall, we were able to secure it to make sure it stood perfectly. Then hubby put the lights on the tree. We didn't decorate until Sunday, however. After it was all done, I was able to snap a few pics of the kids with the tree.

I had to buy another garland because the one we had wasn't big enough! I'm still searching for our special ornaments, so once those are found and put up, then we will put the tinsel on.

I love our tree. The black and white ornaments give it a simple, yet beautiful look. The scent isn't as strong as I wanted it to be, but it smells amazing. The cat hasn't tried to climb in it (yet), but he does enjoy laying underneath it.

Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, what holiday do you celebrate? If so, do you have your tree up yet?

             **Don't forget to enter the giveaway HERE! Only 24 days left to get your entries in!**

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Days of No School

I've been out of. On November 14th, I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and it totally threw me off. I thought I scheduled the appointment for a day that Gianna didn't have school, but it turns out she was supposed to. I didn't send her because I didn't realize until it was too late. I wouldn't have been able to send her anyway, because no one would have been home to get her off of her bus.

I've missed appointments because I have been so thrown off with my days. I STILL need to call to set up a new therapist for AJ. I need to reschedule a ton of appointments. I need to reorganize my entire house. I need to figure out what to do with the Christmas tree this year. I need to continue to go through my clothes to put aside those that don't fit me any more. So much that needs to be done.

But first, I need to get through this Thanksgiving break. AJ came home from school today unhappy. I'm not sure why, he said nothing happened. I suspect he's upset that there's no school for the next 5 days. He has a love/hate relationship with school. His teacher is fantastic, he has friends, but he struggles with being overwhelmed. He starts his work and feels like he can't do it. It frustrates him. Mrs. R is awesome, and encourages him to take breaks when he needs to- go sit on the rug, get a drink of water, etc. Little things so that he can escape the work momentarily, then get right back on task. She tells me these breaks have been happening more and more as the school year goes on. It started off as once a day, but now it's more like once per subject she was telling me. I am concerned, but I have faith his teacher is doing all she can to help him. The school psychologist tells me they can't do another eval on him, but without that, requesting an IEP or 504 is pointless. We've been denied twice before because his "behavior doesn't affect his learning" while at school.

I keep saying it, but when we see a new therapist, I sure hope they can help more than his current one. I can't take this much longer. When he came home, he was upset and picked fights nonstop with Gianna. Snatching the tablet out of her hands, taking toys from her, pretending he was going to share the blanket with her then saying "NOT!" and laughing in her face. Gianna adores him, and loves to sit with him and play with him, but it breaks my heart to see him act so mean and bully her like this. I keep trying to tell him that one day, he's going to really regret it. It doesn't seem to phase him in the least.

I don't know if I mentioned it previously, but 2 months ago, we added Seroquel to his medications. We started at half a pill (12.5 mg) every day after school, and just bumped it up to a whole pill after school, and an extra half as needed for agitation and outbursts. I've not yet felt the need to give him that extra as needed, but have no qualms in doing so if I must. I have a feeling that I will need to at least once during this break.

Speaking of break, I am not going to enjoy this break if this behavior continues. I've decided that I'm going to start implementing chores as punishments. This will accomplish two things. One, my house will be clean pretty quickly, and two, it will keep the kids busy. With any luck, one or two additional things will come from it- One, my children will discover they actually like cleaning, so they'll do it willingly, more often. And/or two, they'll hate cleaning so much that they'll be extra kind to each other, and work extra hard to get along. Hey, I can dream, right?!

Speaking of being kind, have you checked out the Boogie Wipes giveaway yet? If not, head on over and enter. Bring your best example of spreading kindness with you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SpinKindness with Boogie Wipes and Boogie Busters! *GIVEAWAY*

As most of you already know, I belong to a fantastic program through Boogie Wipes, which puts me as a Saline Ambassador. What this means is every quarter, I receive a shipment of Boogie Wipes and other fantastic products. Usually Kandoo products (Kandoo wipes, shampoo, hand soap, sanitizer, etc). This quarter also includes DREFT products as well! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a picture of my shipment before my kids tore into it, but my teammate, and fellow blogger, Mammanatty, allowed me to use her photo. Please like her page HERE, and check out her blog HERE.

This quarters focus is SpinKindness. So, what is SpinKindness? It's about making a difference through simple acts and little gifts. It's about being kind to someone, and hoping to create a chain of kindness, hoping to make someone's day just a tad bit brighter. It's the idea of being kind, intentionally. Not just doing something that *might* make someone happy. You know that neighbor you pretend you don't see? Why not say "Hello" to them? It's as simple as that. It doesn't have to be huge, start small! That person behind you in the grocery store short a few cents for their groceries? Maybe you're able to help them? You can read more about it HERE.

We'd love to have you join in our movement! We'd also love to have you enter our giveaway in celebration of this SpinKindness movement! Winner will receive a prize pack direct from Boogie Wipes!! Giveaway starts now, and will end December 26, 2014 at Midnight Eastern. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to the email. If chosen winner does not respond by then, another winner will be chosen. Winners information will be given to Boogie Wipes by the end of December and prize packs will be shipped out shortly after. Please understand that Life in the ODD Lane is NOT responsible for shipping prizes out. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kids say the darnedest things

I thought my appointment with my hematologist was today. Apparently, it's tomorrow. So, I took a trip there for nothing. But since we were already out, I asked Gianna what she wanted to do. She said that she wanted to visit Beepa (grandpa) so off we went to visit him at work.

When we got there, Beepa asked how she was. Her answer was "I'm not sick anymore!" Then she quickly said "But my brother is sick."

This was news to me. I wasn't aware that AJ was sick. So, my dad asked her why he was sick. She replied "He's sick with an attitude!"

At least she's honest ....

After our visit with Beepa, we hit up the local mall to look for a new pair of shoes that fit her at Payless. We found these Mary Janes, and also picked up a pack of mini Gel Pens and Notebook for her Christmas stocking, all Frozen themed, of course.

We were also looking for a pair of sneakers, but couldn't find a pair at that Payless that she liked. I asked the woman there if she could contact another local Payless and see if they had these sneakers in stock. Once it was confirmed that one had them available, they put them to the side for me, and off we went to pick them up. They were running a promotion, buy 2 pairs of kids' shoes and get a free Frozen tote. Even though we bought from two different locations, they allowed Gianna to have the tote for free. She was beyond thrilled!!

And last but not least, HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY to those who have served in the past, who are currently serving, and those who will serve in the future! Freedom isn't free, and I appreciate all the sacrifices you have made to serve your country.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another hospital stay for Gianna

3 years ago, at only 2.5 months old, we learned that Gianna has the same blood disorder that I have, Hereditary Spherocytosis.

It was the worst time of my life. 2 ER trips, a blood transfusion, nebulizer treatments, many many blood draws, and finally, our answer. This was my status on November 3rd, 2011 in response to everyone asking how Gianna was and what happened:

I have never felt more helpless in my life. To watch my poor baby hooked up to IVs, having veins blown because they are so small, needing the transfusion. It was hell, to say the least.

After her transfusion, she looked great! Better color, and she was an entirely different baby. So happy!!
I still have this outfit. It's one of my faves!!

Just recently, we spent another 3 days in the hospital. I took her in to the ER on the 20th because she was very lethargic, hard to wake up, 103° fever, refused to take medicine, and barely drank. We sat in the waiting room for 3 hours before we were brought back to a room. The nurse we had was rude, and insisted on making Gianna take Tylenol. While I understood how important getting that fever reduced was, he was very rude. He mentioned possibly needing to give it to her rectally, and I told him no, she is not allowed anything rectally as it could cause hemorrhaging, especially if she's in an anemic crisis. He said it didn't matter, that they WOULD give it rectally if she didn't take it. 

After stating that, he attempted to give her the liquid Tylenol via medicine syringe. When he put it in her mouth, and squirted it, rather forcefully, she vomited all over. Which then further made him irritated. He stormed out of the room, not even offering to help me clean it. I don't mind cleaning up, after all, it was my child, but I didn't appreciate his obvious irritation with the situation. He stormed out of the room, and didn't return for another 10 minutes. And that was to threaten that she better take the medicine, "or else". We finally got new sheets and new blankets. Especially since she ruined her shirt.

After daddy brought new clothes for her.

The nurse wasn't the only one we had trouble with. The ER doctor was less than willing to listen to my concerns. I did not catch his name, as he said it very quickly when he first came out, then basically ran right out of the room. He never stayed long enough to take my concerns seriously, or even to listen to them all. I requested a blood draw be done, because of her blood disorder. He asked me why. I stated that I wanted to know what her hemoglobin and hematacrit were. He told me those numbers were irrelevant at this point in time. He asked again what I was looking for. I stated that I wanted to know what her numbers were, and if there was an infection in her body. He stated that there WAS an infection, but it was viral and nothing could be done. He asked me if I'd be able to get an appointment with our pediatrician the next day. I told him that I thought discharging her would be a foolish move, but yes, I could get an appt the next day. I also stated that her pedi would order a blood draw if he still refused. Long story short, he FINALLY agreed to one, to shut me up, as he put it. The results came back, and it was determined that she needed to be admitted immediately.

Despite being admitted, we were held in the ER because there were no beds available on the pediatrics ward. The doctor never returned to our room after agreeing to doing the blood work. I have no idea why, and honestly was not unhappy. We finally were taken upstairs around 6am the following day. It was then disclosed to be that her hemoglobin (9.5 a week ago) had dipped down to 6.8. Her specialist was called, and stated that if it went down to a 6, she wanted a transfusion done. The following blood draw put her number at 6.2, and the one after that showed it climbing back up, so no transfusion was necessary. She had an IV in place for fluids, and medication given 'round the clock (Tylenol and Ibuprofen). Her temperature kept going from 99.1­° up to 104.7° at one point. 

On the afternoon of the 23rd, she was finally discharged. She had been fever-free for 24 hours, using the bathroom regularly, eating appropriately, and otherwise acting like her normal self. They gave her an ice pop (her 4th since bringing her to the ER days prior) while getting her discharge papers ready.

While I wish I could say that this is rare, it seems to be common for us. A few days every few months, she is hospitalized. A virus, a cold, etc. I can't wait for the day we no longer fear colds and other illnesses. 

Ladies and gentlemen, if you made it this far, I hope you take one thing away from this entire long blog post. Please, if ANYTHING is wrong with your children, listen to your gut. Do not take "No" for an answer. If I had not fought with the doctor, verbally of course, we would have never had the blood draws done, and she would not have been admitted. She would not have had the medical attention like she did. Luckily, nothing bad happened to her, but if that doctor had insisted on discharging her, who knows what could have happened at home. We just don't know. My anxiety was through the roof, but I was angry that my concerns weren't listened to. The doctor's reasoning for not wanting to do a blood draw was "It will upset her more than she already is. We don't need to poke her when she's already not feeling well." He paid no attention to the fact that she had a blood disorder. He paid no attention to the fact that her spleen was enlarged. He showed no signs of being concerned with her well being, and neither did the first nurse who saw her. The only one who cared about my baby was me. And I made sure she was taken care of. The doctors and nurses on the pediatric floor were fantastic and made sure everything was taken care of, and that my concerns were addressed and taken care of. 


 You are your child's voice. Make sure you are heard.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Caught in yet another lie

I honestly can't take this any more. My sons lying is OUT OF CONTROL. I just caught him in yet another lie. After just having a massive lying incident the other week, I thought he'd be done. At least, done for a while. This totally cuts into the blog I wanted to write. I will have to save that for another day.

We have to register our dogs. Mine, and my SILs. They were going to sell their Nintendo 2DS or whatever it's called, so they had the funds to register theirs, but couldn't find it. It was supposed to be in the case, along with like 6 games. When they grabbed it, they noticed it felt lighter than it should have been. Open it up, and SURPRISE! The DS and 2 games are missing. I instantly accused AJ. Why? Because he has a history of stealing things. Naturally, I turned to the one with the history of it.

He denies knowing anything about it. He didn't even know it was there. So, it just can't be him. Then, since I accused him, my husband starts yelling at me. "WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO ACCUSE HIM? HE DOESN'T ALWAYS DO THINGS LIKE THIS, YOU KNOW. I'M TIRED OF YOU ALWAYS ACCUSING HIM. MAYBE THEY MISPLACED IT. DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT?!" To be honest, I briefly entertained that thought. But after a very brief consideration, I thought differently. Because he was upset about this, he was upset when our dog ran outside when SIL's husband opened the door. I grabbed her leash and followed her so that she could go to the bathroom if she needed to.

When I brought her back in, he was digging around in the couch to look for it. I decided to go upstairs and look around in the kids' room to see if it was in there. Hmm, what do you know, I found it in his underwear drawer. I came downstairs, directed my attention to my husband and said "And THIS is why I accuse him. Because 9 times out of 10, it IS him. I found this in one of his drawers.". I handed the system to my SIL so I could go back and continue to look for the other missing game. While I was going back upstairs, he kept insisting it wasn't him. Someone planted it there. It wasn't him. It was someone else. He didn't do it. Blah blah blah

Next thing I hear is this loud smack, a scream, and my SIL yelling at my husband for smacking AJ. All hell breaks loose. If it's one thing my husband and I hate is when people try to tell us how to raise our kids. Especially a childless family member. He HATES it. She's yelling at Anthony that she didn't care if AJ played on it. Just that he should have told her. Point of the punishment was because he stole it, then lied to us about having it.

Even after being confronted, he STILL lies about it. I asked him who would possibly set him up. He says "Gianna can reach the top drawer. She could have done it." Ehhhhhhhhhh ... at that point, I called him out, again. "I never stated I found it in your top drawer. I said I found it in ONE OF YOUR DRAWERS. So that there shows me, again, that YOU did it. Stop the lying. All you're doing is digging yourself further and further into this lie. STOP. Just stop it!!!"

I just don't know what to do any more. I can't take it. It's constantly lie after lie. If he continues doing this, he's going to end up getting into serious legal troubles as he gets older. I am at a loss. Punishments don't seem to work. Threatening to call the police doesn't matter. The last time I took him to the police station for stealing money from me, they said, right in front of him, that he was too young to be placed in a holding cell. He is too young for the "scared straight" program.

What would YOU do in this instance? I have NO problem taking things from him, but all of the kids share one room, so I can't take things without punishing them as well. He WILL be going to bed early tonight. He will be banned from ALL electronics for a minimum of a week. I'm debating on taking Trick Or Treating away from him. Or even not allowing him to participate in his classroom's Halloween party. What are some punishments you would dish out in this case?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Announcing the winner of the giveaway .....

...   But first ...

Yesterday was Gianna's appointment with her specialist. Unfortunately, I was extremely distracted while driving, and didn't realize I had went the wrong way. To get to her pediatrician, I have to take one exit (we'll say Exit A), to get to her specialist, I have to take another (Exit B). Because I was talking to my husband about the appointment we had with her pediatrician on Monday, I took Exit A and didn't think much of it. About an hour and a half into the drive, I said to him "Wouldn't it be funny if we weren't going the right way??" ... and then I realized we weren't. Oops.

I called, they said if we could get there around 1, or shortly after (meaning 1:15), we would be okay. We got there at 1:05, and they the receptionist turned us away. I realize it was my mistake, and I take full responsibility for it. We did reschedule for today. And made it there on time today! WOOT! Her doctor said everything looked great. Her spleen is slightly enlarged, but it's not large enough to warrant any concern. We return in a year, unless something happens that requires emergency care.

I also had my second interview today at a children's clothing store. I was still incredibly nervous, and honestly considered not even going. But I didn't. I went to Old Navy earlier to buy some new clothes for my interview, so I HAD to go. It turns out, I know the hiring manager. She said she has 3 other people she needs to interview still, but I am still hoping that I get hired. I'd love to work there. I love their clothes, so I can see myself spending much of my check on new clothes for the kids! Maybe getting hired there isn't such a good thing. Hmmm

And now, to announce the winner of the $5 Amazon Gift Card:
Look out for that email! And congrats!!

Thank you all so much for all of your excellent advice!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quick Giveaway! Give me your best tip!

I had an interview yesterday, and though I was incredibly nervous, I did well enough that I was invited back for a 2nd interview Friday evening. I am still nervous! It's been SIX years since I've last had an interview, and I am unsure what to expect.

To celebrate, I'm going to have a little contest. Give me your best advice for someone going to an interview. Anything at all! From suggestions on how to dress, to questions that might be asked, even your most embarrassing interview stories! One lucky person who comments will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

Contest will run until 10 PM, EST.
Fine print: Contest is sponsored SOLELY by me. Please be sure to leave your email address in the comment box below so I may contact you in the event that you win. Winner will have 24 hours to answer my email, notifying them of being the winner, or a new winner will be chosen. I will use to chose a winner. First comment is #1, second is #2, and so on. Sharing the post on either FB or Twitter will give you an extra entry. To claim your second entry, submit another comment that says "Shared on (Facebook/Twitter)". Only comments on the blog will count. GOOD LUCK!!




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HELP! Advice/suggestions needed!

How do you handle the constant lying??

I literally mean CONSTANT. It's like, this kid can't go a second without lying about something. Anything!! I know a lot of this has to do with his ODD, but it's about minor, insignificant things.

Just now, Gianna whined to me that he wouldn't let her wear it. I asked what "it" was, and he insisted it was the cat collar. I asked her if that's what she wanted, and she said no, and pointed to something under his lap. I asked him again, he insisted the collar. I asked again, he said he didn't know. I asked one last time, and told him "This is the absolute last time I ask. WHAT is it?" Once again, he insisted he didn't know. I told him to stand up, he refused. Again "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. Now, stand up." I noticed his hands moving to his lap, and I told him to move his hands. When I started to get up, he shouted "FINE! She wants her headband." and threw it at me.

I'm seriously at my wit's end with him. Minor things turn to huge lies. I did spank him, though it doesn't do any good. And I also put him in the corner. I just don't know what to do with him any more. I am looking into a new therapist because his current one will likely laugh again when I discuss this incident with her.

So tell me, what do YOU do when your child lies?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's been a month

And I'm still not really "into" blogging much. I'm trying to get back into it, I swear. I just get so busy that I forget to post. Or I just get so overwhelmed. So, let's try to see if I can collect my thoughts enough to form an update of sorts.

Sept 12-
My SIL treated us and the kids to a local skating rink. They had a BLAST!! They did need to use the guides, but it was so much fun! Anthony and I enjoyed it as well. We did laser tag as well, and it was amazing! Gianna got into it as well, even though she didn't hit anyone.

Sept 21-
We took the kids and the puppy to a park to enjoy one of the last nice days of the season. Running, jumping, slides, swings, monkey bars ... They played for HOURS!!

Sept 22-
I literally spent ALL day doing laundry and cleaning the playroom. I went through all of Gianna's toys and threw out broken ones, toys that were drawn on, and ones she no longer played with. I fixed her reading corner and put everything together neatly. When I say ALL day, I meant it. I started at about 10 in the morning and didn't finish until a little after 6.

Sept 23-
Gianna started school! She loved it! She claimed she was going to cry all day for me, but didn't cry once! We had a situation with the bus which caused us to be waiting outside from 7:15AM until 9:00 ... when I ended up driving her to school. There's a street in the next town over with the same name as ours, so that's where the bus went. We also had an incident with the monitor on the bus home. She wasn't very pleasant, and I brought it up with our Headstart family advocate.
We also had her 3 year well child check up this day. Her official 3 year old stats are 36" tall and 30.6 lbs! She did need one shot. She wasn't too happy with it. Especially since we weren't expecting it. It was quite the shock to her.

Sept 24-
Second day of school and the bus was late again. Went to the right house this time, but didn't come until 8:30. School starts at 8 for her. We also had yet another incident with the monitor. I spoke with our advocate about it once again.

Sept 29-
AJ lies all the time. Today, his lie was incredibly ridiculous and over nothing serious. He came home from school and all he did was eat, eat, eat. He is on quite a bit of medication, so I'm not surprised that he doesn't eat at school. After his 20 thousandth snack, I told him no more, as dinner was on it's way (pizza). He snuck in the kitchen and ate toast. When I asked him about it, he insisted it wasn't him. I honestly gave him no less than 15 chances to tell me the truth. He lied each and every time. I sent him to bed early that night because, even after FINALLY getting him to admit it, he lied once again. I had enough. Also, he started hitting himself when I punished him.

Sept 30-
I kept G home from school because she was complaining of a belly ache and pointing to where her spleen is. I would rather be safe and have her looked at, than be sorry and something be wrong that we missed. Doctor took her in, even with no open appointments, and looked her over. Said her spleen felt just fine, but ordered blood tests anyways, since haven't had any done recently and have no current numbers on file. Blood test came back the next day. Hemoglobin was 9.5 (previously 8.5), hematocrit up to 29 (previously 25)

We also had AJ's therapy appt this day. It was the absolute WORST visit ever. I got yelled at for being "late" (I was actually early). The therapist and I got into it, and I told her she was of no help to us. Because I told her that her "suggestions" weren't helping, and that they were already things we were doing, she called my husband into the room because I was being "irrational". She and I do not mesh well. She spends more of our appointment time on the phone with her grandkids, or talking to me about her grandkids. I'm sorry, but I don't care. Help my son. That's what we're there for.

We did end up changing some medication. Not his therapist ... the RN at the clinic we go to. He is now on 40 mg of Ritalin LA (down from 60), still on 4 mg of Risperidone, .10 mg of Kapvay, and now we have added .125 mg of Seraquol. I'm not seeing much of a change. I am going to be sad when we leave, because I like her, but hopefully the next therapist we see will have an equally amazing RN.

Oct 1-
Got Gianna a new Nirvana t-shirt from Target! We love it!

Oct 2-
My birthday. Met a friend at Friendlys with the kids and we had ice cream. I am still not thrilled about being 30, but it's not too bad ... so far.

Oct 3-
I take that back. Being 30 is HORRIBLE. I was in yet another car accident. Some woman reversed into me at the SAME time I was reversing. I was 3/4 out of my spot when she hit me. It was entirely her fault, but I didn't feel like filing yet another claim this year. I did file a police report though, just to cover my bases. My car is scratched, the paint is peeling, I should have filed a claim so it could be repaired.

Oct 4-
Watched Annabelle with my husband for my birthday. Creepy!! It was REALLY good though!!

Oct 7-
Kids FINALLY have their Halloween costumes. Can't wait for Halloween!

Oct 11-
We took the kids to a local Pumpkin Farm. They had a blast!!

I think Gianna has Pink Eye. Going to take her to the walk in, and then get them ready for bed. It's been a LONG day today. (Now that I'm home, YES, she does have pink eye. No school for tomorrow. 1 drop every 6 hours in her eye until it's clear. Booooo)

Hopefully, I'll keep up with blogging!! I miss it! And if you're wondering, I have decided to file the claim against the woman who hit me. As most of you know, I am VERY much into car seat safety. Despite a minor accident like this, the manuals in my kids' car seats state that they need to be replaced. That is what I intend to do, so I will be pursuing the claim.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Hate After School Time.

Let's just get one thing out in the open before I continue. Yes, I absolutely love my kids. No, I don't always like them. Do I have to like them? Absolutely not. That being said, I shall continue.

I see moms in all different groups I'm in saying things like "Oh, I'm not ready for little Johnny to start school yet!" or "Little Lisa starts Pre-K this year. I am crying so hard!" or even "I took Billy to school today. There were more tears coming from me than him. I don't know what to do with myself."

Meanwhile, I'm over here like "FINALLY. SCHOOL STARTS TODAY!" and "Oh thank God the kids are off to school." Not because I don't want to be around them. But, okay, well, maybe it's a little like that. Reminder, I do love my kids (reminder for you, or for me?!) but the nonstop fighting between them is enough to make even the sanest person lose it. I've tried ignoring them, I've tried redirection, I've tried punishments. Nothing helps. Especially not with AJ's problems.

Let me tell you, if you think that this is a discipline issue, then you are sorely mistaken. I invite any one of you into my home for a full day to see what we go through. Of course, I'm going to ask that you make yourself hidden because my kids are on their best better behavior when other people are around. The fighting isn't as bad. It stops the first time I tell them to stop it. They're more inclined to help out around the house. They don't bicker, or talk back.

Today, oh man. Today the advocate from Head Start came to do a home visit so that Gianna can go to school later this month. While I was talking to her, Sofia came home and immediately started acting up. She RARELY acts up. But sometimes, she just has to show off. And that she did. Immediately started being loud, being silly, and interrupting us while we were talking. Which then meant that Gianna had to start being loud. Eventually, I got them to calm down, but that was only the beginning.

Enter AJ. He comes home at 3:45. From that point on until bedtime (at 7:30), it's nonstop:
AJ, sit down.
AJ, do your homework.
AJ, what did I just say?
AJ, keep your hands to yourself.
Quit tattling, AJ.
Just be quiet for 2 minutes ... PLEASE!
AJ, stop yelling at Gianna.
AJ, stop chasing her.
Gianna, stop taking his toys.
AJ, stop yelling.

I literally mean, nonstop. Shortly after he came home today, he started his homework. That involved him cutting pictures out of a magazine for school. He needed to cut out things that he liked. Gianna sat next to him, just watching him. She did not touch him, nor did she say anything to him. He, all of a sudden, started screaming about her being there. He threw the scissors down, and stormed off. Gianna grabbed the scissors and set them back down on his magazine. He then flipped out because she touched his scissors (they were actually Sofia's scissors). He threw his arms in the air, and started stomping all over. After that little fit, he came back to finish his work. When he finished, he asked me to close the ziploc baggie with his pictures in it. While I was doing that, I asked him to pick up the pieces that he cut out and won't be using. Gianna helped him pick them up, and then he flipped out about that. He didn't want to walk allllll the way to the kitchen by himself (a whole 10 feet). So he decided to throw the little papers on the floor and then throw himself down.

After that episode was over, he picked up his mess, all while muttering nonsense. I ignored him. He started playing with his toys after that- Trio Blocks, wrestling figures, and his toy sword. When he turned around to ask me something, Gianna touched one of his Trio blocks. Because she dared touch it, he started flipping out, screaming at her and stomping around. She handed him the block back, and he snatched it from her. Which then hurt her, and made her cry. Because she started crying, he started yelling at her for crying, calling her a cry baby and a liar (denying wrongdoing is common with ODD kids). Since he chose to hurt her, intentionally or not, I made him put his toys away and sit on the couch. At that point, he started throwing his toys in the toy bin. Fine. At least they're being put away and he isn't hurting anyone. Once he realized I wasn't letting him up, he started with the name calling and attitude again.

I'm horrible. He hates me. He wishes he never came home from school (the feeling is mutual at this point, buddy!!). He's never coming home again (can I pack for you??). Blah blah blah. My only response to all this, is a very unenthusiastic "Okay. I'm sorry you feel that way. I still love you." After a few times of me repeating that, he eventually calms down. It's like something clicks in his head Oh, she still loves me. Maybe I should stop. It's like he's not getting the reaction he wants (he gets great enjoyment out of seeing me cry and beg him to please stop) so he just gives up. Or maybe the rational part of his brain kicks in to snap him out of his ODD rage.

What ever is going on, school seems to exacerbate it. He has recently had a med change, yet again, and is only taking them in the morning. It started as him taking Ritalin LA 40 mg and Risperidone 2 mg in the morning, and Ritalin LA 20 mg, Risperidone 2 mg, and Clonidine .10 mg after school (around 3:30 during the Summer). But he took them all at once one morning during the Summer, accidentally. It worked well, so the RN at the therapist suggested we continue. Since he's taking all those in the AM, they work for a few hours. So by the time he comes home, they've worn off, and all his pent up frustration and anger from the new school year come out. He lashes out at me and who ever is in his path. Which is why I hate after school time. My anxiety kicks up around 3:30. My shoulders and my neck tense up. I KNOW I'm in for a battle royale.

Our next therapy appointment isn't until the 30th of this month. I'm not so sure I'll be able to last that long. I feel every muscle tensing up when I know he's about to come home. I feel every bad feeling you could possibly feel, creeping up. It's just not a good feeling. The worst thing is knowing that I can't help him. His therapist doesn't do much for him. Unfortunately, she's the only therapist around that we can see. She has these "ideas" on how to help him- 1-2-3 Magic for disciplining (laughable, at best). Taking things away as punishment (he doesn't care). Redirection ... All things we have tried!! This is an ongoing problem, and I feel like I'm drowning in meltdowns and tantrums.

In the meantime, I'll just plug along and hope things get better. Or at least that the newness of school wears off and he calms down.

How has the first day been for you? Any meltdowns? 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy THIRD Birthday, Gianna!!

Wow. I cannot believe my baby is THREE YEARS OLD now!! THREE!! Where has time gone? 

From my teeny tiny 5 pound 7 ounce, 18.5 inch long, badly jaundiced newborn:

To my chunky 21 pound 4 ounce, 27 inch long one year old

To my independent 27 pound, 33.5 inches tall two year old:

And now my (unofficially) 31 pound 8 ounce, 35 inches tall three year old:

She has come a longggggg way. She can count to 10 (and sometimes higher) with assistance. She knows her ABC's and loves to sing them with her BFF Anna. She loves the Frozen movie, and we spent quite some time watching it 5 times a day! We are currently down to once every week, if that. She loves to color with crayons and markers. She is fully potty trained during the day (has been since 18 months old), and we are currently night training her. She will be starting her first year at Head Start this September! We are very excited!! Oh, she also has mastered the scissors quite effectively. See??

I woke up to ^^that^^ right next to me in my bed. And the following on the floor:

This is our end result. Those little ringlets you see on floor in the previous pic came from each side, and those long locks I woke up next to are from the front. She has a baby mullet. 

I seriously spent 20 minutes crying over it Thursday morning. I was sick to my stomach over it. I put the scissors away, and even covered them, just in case. Gianna is more determined than my other 2 combined. She knew I was unhappy and didn't make a sound while I bathed her after discovering her new hairstyle. She didn't whine when it was time to come out. She didn't cry, but she didn't smile either. I genuinely think she understood I was upset. We did get it fixed today, so it looks better. Of course, there is nothing we can do about the mullet in the front, because it's so incredibly short, but at least the rest of her hair is even with the sides. 

Gianna definitely gives us a run for our money, and keeps us on our toes, but we wouldn't change it for a bit. She is healthy, happy, and brings us great joy. She is finally sleeping through the night (in her own bed even!) and she has weaned a little over a month ago. Roughly the same time she started sleeping through the night! Oh, and she is still rear facing in the car with no plans to turn around any time soon. Yay ERF! It has been an awesome 36 months thus far. I can't wait to see what the next hold for us! Though, I could do without the scissors. I don't think her clothes appreciate it much, either.

Happy Birthday, Captain Destructo! We love you so much!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Munchables Chewable Jewelry **REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!!**

I received this product in exchange for a review. All opinions are 100% my own.

As a mother to a kiddo with Sensory Processing Disorder, I know how important it is to have things on hand that my child can chew on. Preferably, something other than his fingers and clothing. AJ will chew on his fingers until they bleed, and he puts holes in his clothes. Neither of those are things I want him to do. Clothing isn't cheap, and as for his fingers? It hurts! Enter Munchables.

Munchables is a WAHM company, located in Canada. This mom set out to provide affordable teething jewelry for moms, that is aesthetically pleasing. But, she not only offers necklaces for mom. She also offers pacifier clips, bracelets, and even children's jewelry. We received a necklace for my son for review purposes.

I messaged Munchables, and soon Laura and I were in discussion for the perfect necklace for AJ. I told her what colors he liked, and she came up with this beauty.

These beads are food-based silicone, dishwasher safe, BPA free, and exceed safety standards. The clasp is designed to snap open in an instant so as to avoid choking risks. The beads can certainly take a lot of chewing, and hold up fabulously. As soon as it came in the mail, it was in AJ's mouth. And there it stayed for the majority of the day. While was chewing, he said it was a weird, but pleasant feeling. It didn't hurt his teeth, like chewing on his shirts sometimes did. He wasn't harming himself, like he did while chewing his fingers. I didn't have to worry about germs getting into his mouth, like I do when he gnaws on other items. Because this necklace doesn't touch the floor, it stays relatively clean. Since I don't own a dishwasher, I hand wash it every so often. Just a quick wipe down with a soapy hand gets the job done.

There are a TON of different beads to chose from, styles, lengths, designs, etc! The possibilities are ENDLESS!! The best part of this company, in my opinion, is the excellent customer service. Laura is so kind and easy going! I am VERY indecisive, and couldn't decide on how I wanted his necklace to look. As I said above, all I did was tell her the colors he liked, and she put together his necklace. It may be simple, but it's perfect for my boy. A big bonus is that they replace the clasp for FREE for the first year of ownership! AJ has a habit of chewing the clasp, and I have to remind him often that it's not made for chewing, but so far we have no issues with it opening and closing.

Added these pics 8.18 as I failed to do so earlier. As you can see, only the clasp has any signs of wear and tear after being heavily chewed on for over a month.

If you have a teething baby, or a child with SPD, please consider Munchables!! You won't be disappointed! One lucky reader will win a Munchables item of THEIR choice! All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pout Pout Fish book FLASH GIVEAWAY!!

This review and giveaway is hosted by A Fulfilled Mommy. All opinions are her own. However, I don't promote what I don't agree with. Please check it out and enter to win!

Disclaimer: I received these books for free for review purposes only.

Our family has had the chance to read a lot of great books this last month. Here are the titles that made the top of our list.

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

The Pout-Pout Fish is a cute little character who helps children ease into going back to school. Written by Deborah Diesen, children can follow Mr. Fish through anxieties most children face when starting school. Writing their name, learning their shapes, and learning how to count...however will they learn it all?! 

At the bottom of this post, you'll find a Giveaway Tools form for a chance to win a copy of The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

Sunne's Gift

Sunne's Gift follows a young girl who becomes a victim of bullying because of her difference in appearance. Although this book features an ethnic theme, children from all walks of life can relate to this book as bullying is unfortunately so common these days. Children can learn about loving themselves in this wonderful story. Learn more about Sunne's Gift.

Baby's First Block Books

If you have an infant, these books are really cool! These books are shaped like blocks and feature contrasting colors that are great for an baby's developing eyesight. It also helps them learn to focus. I wish I would've had these when all of my kids were super tiny! I think Baby's First Blocks would make a great shower gift.

Enter to win a copy of The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I sold my son to the Circus

No, not really. Although sometimes, I wish I could! Unfortunately, the circus isn't taking any new people, though.

AJ has been acting even worse than ever. Once school ended, he just wasn't happy. He's been miserable, mean, and actually physically hurting people on purpose. Specifically, he was targeting Gianna because she's smaller than him. He would pinch her when he didn't think anyone was looking, smack her, etc. Just the other day, I caught him pushing her off the chair. It's gotten out of hand. I brought in the big guns for his most recent appointment with his therapist. I scheduled it so that my husband could join me. I needed the support.

While our concerns weren't ENTIRELY addressed to our expectations, it did go better than if I had gone alone. AJ's medication was increased, so we are giving that a whirl. He is now on 40mg Ritalin LA and 2mg Risperidone in the AM, and 20mg Ritalin LA, 2mg Risperidone, and .25mg Clonidine between 1 and 3:30 PM.

It took a week before we could try this combination out. Only because our son is the only one in his area on Ritalin, apparently, and NO pharmacy had them in stock. They had to order them. So, we went a full week with NO medication at all. That was fun ... not. He was mean, hurtful, rude, impatient, violent, and so on. His words were hurtful, and he made me really wish I could sell him to a circus. Or even just give him away!

We have since tried the new dosage, and I'm still not seeing a huge difference. He's still argumentative, mean, violent, and just can't. sit. still.

However, we may have found something to help him. We've noticed that he's the only one in the house without an electronic device of his own, and he seems to have a hard time with that. He's constantly stealing Gianna's Kindle, or just snatching it out of her hands. Anthony and I have talked about this briefly before, and the agreement was that AJ had to prove to us that he could treat a tablet properly- no throwing toys, slamming them into the wall, floor, etc. Personally, I don't think his behavior warranted a tablet. He did not show that he could be responsible, as he has broken a few more toys this past week. But at this point, I'm desperate for some peace and quiet from him, some sense of normalcy, even though our life is anything BUT normal!

This poor little guy was seen Friday afternoon because of his eye. Turns out, he has a sty.

Fortunately for him, my laptop quit working. What that meant was, I needed a new laptop ASAP. I headed to our local rent-to-own store, and rented a computer. Long story short, I found a better deal with a laptop + tablet combo, so I took the original rental back. Since everyone else has their own electronic device, AJ will be using the tablet. He spent a whole half hour wrapped up on it. He put it down when I asked him to, and was actually polite when speaking to me and his sisters. He's like a different child. I'm not sure if his acting out was because of jealousy, or if the tablet is just a brain-suck and this is just a zombie of a child, too wrapped up in the tablet to notice his surroundings. This is only the first day he's actually had it, so I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Being without a computer was hard- I am VERY behind in some reviews that I needed to get. I find myself being committed to many reviews, when that is not the original purpose of this blog. I will be taking a massive step back to get this blog back on the track I originally had for it. I intend to post more about my children, namely my son, and how our lives are constantly on the go. And who knows? Maybe I'll stop seeking out a zoo to sell my kid to.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Surprise Ride Subscription *GIVEAWAY*

Surprise Ride Subscription Box Giveaway

Welcome to the Surprise Ride Subscription Box Giveaway
Hosted by Miss Frugal Mommy & Sponsored by Surprise Ride

About Surprise Ride

“The idea for Surprise Ride came when we, sisters and aunts of two active and curious boys, struggled to find unique gifts that would add value to our nephews’ lives. Having experienced tremendous economic hardship during our own childhood, we remembered a simpler time when what we enjoyed most as kids was getting immersed in activities with siblings and parents. We were fortunate to have a dad who was an artist by profession and facilitated DIY activities. He always encouraged us to bring our imaginations to life. Those projects shaped who we are and our view of the world. We want to help busy parents give their kids that same opportunity to evolve through play. Surprise Ride was born from the desire to have a lasting impact on the lives of children, beyond the latest toy or video game.”

You can discover more about this amazing subscription box service in Miss Frugal Mommy’s review!

Now for the exciting part! One lucky fan is going to win a 1 month subscription to Surprise Ride.  This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older. Enter to win in the giveaway tools below, all entries will be verified, one entrant per household or you will immediately be disqualified. Winner will be contacted via email and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the sponsor and not the participating bloggers. Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pure Raspberry Ketones *GIVEAWAY*

This opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. I have been meaning to actually start my journey into weight loss for a while now, so when this opportunity presented itself, I drove in head first.

Raspberry Ketones are a fat burner and an appetite suppressor. There are no artificial ingredients, and it is made in the USA. 

The pills are rather large. Luckily for me, I've never had a problem with pills, so this was not a concern of mine. My husband, on the other hand, has a hard time taking pills, so he would not be able to take these. I am not sure if it's okay to break them apart and sprinkle them on something, but again, it wasn't an issue for me so I didn't look into it.

While taking these, I noticed a drastic decrease in my hunger. You must take these half an hour before eating, which was somewhat of a struggle for me. I'm used to getting up and eating breakfast right away, so I had to resist eating for a while. But once that half hour (or so) passed, I noticed I wasn't as hungry as I was before taking it. The recommended dosage is 1 capsule twice a day. I take 1 capsule three times a day, otherwise I'm a heavy snacker. I love my snacks, and it's really had an effect on me.

I also noticed that I'm a little more active while taking these. I may not be running around, but I'm definitely not content to just sit around. I have more energy to play with my kids, more energy to get things done around the house, including catching up on laundry.

For more information, or to order your own bottle, please click HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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** Argan Oil for hair?

Have you ever heard of Argan Oil?

Argan Oil is hailed as the Moroccan liquid gold. The holy grail of hair care. It's claims include leaving your hair silky smooth, soft, and healthy. All without leaving your hair greasy or heavy. HSI Professional sent me a 2 oz bottle of Argan Oil for me to review.

So, how did it stack up for me? Well, I'd love to say it was amazing. All those claims completely backed up, but for me, it just wasn't so. I absolutely loved the smell of the oil, however, and it did leave my hair looking a bit healthier than usual. Unfortunately, I didn't see the tame-frizzing benefits that I was hoping for.

I used it daily, for a month, and still didn't see anything fantastic worth raving about. I have tried it while my hair was wet, dry, damp, before blow drying, air drying, etc. No major changes. Even after a few hours, it went right back to its usual frizzy, out of control self. 

I've also used it in Gianna's hair. She has great hair to begin with, so again, no major changes to report. If you'd like to check it out, you can go HERE and purchase some for yourself. 

Have you ever used Argan Oil before? What were your results?

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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

**REVIEW** Art Print, by Fulcrum Gallery

I received this product for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Not too long ago, I was contacted by a company who had asked if I would be interested in reviewing a piece of art work from their gallery. I checked out the website, and saw SO many things I liked! So, of course, I sent an email back accepting their invitation.

I was given a budget, and told to get whatever I wanted within that budget. There were SO many options to choose from. Circus animals to Disney characters, canvas paintings to portraits, frames to more frames! Just soooo many options! I had a very hard time deciding.

My first choice was a Frozen print, but Gianna is very much into Anna more so than any other character, so we passed on that. Also, since all the kids share one bedroom, I wanted something a little more appropriate for them.

My second choice wasn't a print for a child, but more of a Family Rules type. I really liked THIS one, and THIS one. Unfortunately, I had to pass on them because I just don't have a place to hang it up in my home where it can be seen easily and would look right.

After much struggling, I decided to go with something that would fit all three of my kids. Something that is not too girly, nor too boyish. Since we love Giraffes, I perused through their selection of giraffe prints. I loved THIS one, THIS one, and THIS one. However, none of them "fit" my family right. The perfect one took a bit longer to find. However, once I found it, there was no denying it was the right one. Add some finishing touches, and the following is what I chose:

How could I go wrong with this?! I have 3 kids, and it feels like we're in the circus. There couldn't have been a better print.

On the left is the sticker that was on the back. It states that they take pride in their work and the quality of the materials they use. It is also signed by the person who framed your piece, and the person who inspected it to make sure it was in perfect shape for the customer. I don't know about you, but I appreciate that little extra detail. It makes it feel more personal than just some random piece you pick out at the store, throw in your cart, and be on your way with.

It did come in a large box. The box was MUCH larger than the print was, but that's because they pack it well with lots of impact absorbing foam and bubble wrap to ensure it comes to you in one piece. They do put a notice on the box that informs you to inspect your art work well, to make sure there are no damages. They state that if you find damages, you must contact them within 5 days, and to keep all the packaging material. While my box did take quite a beating, the art print inside was in perfect shape. After taking a million and one pictures, I gave the kids the bubble wrap, threw out the rest, and immediately ooooh'd and aaaaah'd over my new print. The kids did take time away from their busy bubble popping to ooooh and aaaaah over it as well. They were almost as excited as I was! They asked me to hang it up in their room immediately. I happily obliged them.

I chose a spot, and had one of the kids hold it up so I could see what it looked like there. I wasn't happy with my first choice, but did end up placing it above Sofia's dresser, in between the two light fixtures on her wall. I don't have a level, and I couldn't find my measuring tape, so I had to eye-ball it to be sure I placed in perfectly center between the fixtures. After some backing up, readjusting, backing up again, readjusting some more, etc, I FINALLY placed it to where I was satisfied. The kids were happy, I was happy, and hubby ... well, I don't think he cared either way!

So, overall, I was very pleased with the art print. I was able to customize it so that it matched my children's room, and was able to pick from multiple frames. There are a ton of options as for the actual print itself- laminating, multiple canvas options, and a WHOLE LOT of frames! The possibilities are endless. This print specifically took an hour to perfect. Lots and lots of "Honey, does this look okay? What about this? Do you prefer this one?" ... no help from him ;)

Once I was sure I was happy with my choice, I emailed them the link to my finished product. In about 1.5 weeks, I had my chosen product in hand. Or rather, on the wall. It did not take long at all!

The only real complaint I have is that, despite choosing the Non-glare acrylic plexiglass, there is still a slight glare. I understand that nothing is completely glare free, so this isn't a huge concern of mine. I'm sure if I had chosen any other glass or plexiglass option, the glare would have been substantially worse.

If you're looking for some cute new wall art for your kids' bedrooms, I urge you to take a look at their Cartoon Paintings section. You're sure to find something there for your kiddo! Also, check out the rest of the site. You'll find something for every room, and every person in your family.

Go have a look around. What print is your favorite?