Tag Archives: parenting

Sleep in Luxury at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego #travel

We went to Dan Diego for the LPA National this year, and though it’s only our second National Conference, like last year, I was blown away by the fantastic hotel that was chosen as the main site. The Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego offered many comforts in the rooms, wonderful on-site food, is within walking distance to all-things awesome, and has gorgeous views from both towers (where guest rooms are located)!

When we pulled up to the hotel, it was about 1am. Eight of us unloaded from a shuttle service we’d all taken for a nominal fee from the airport located just a few miles away. Immediately men were there to take our bags and help us to the front desk where I checked in and asked a bunch of questions pertaining to our reservation. Because we were staying there under the conference rate (unbeatable) and when I’d first booked the night of July 4th was full, I ended up needing to make 2 different reservations to get the dates we wanted. Though understandable, I was bummed to learn that we would have to switch rooms the next day, but not to worry about that- we could stay in the room as long as was necessary to get our other room ready- a HUGE relief when you’re talking toddler, luggage and pregnant mama.

#aisforadelaide #hyatt #sandiego #travel #california #sleep

The beds were, clearly, very comfortable!

We started out in the Harbor Tower, getting to our room, searching through our suitcases stuffed with rolled up clothes until we found our PJs and toothbrushes, then passed out in the comfy bed. I was happy that although it was the 4th of July and there was a lot of celebrating going on, I didn’t hear it through the walls. We were able to get a great night’s sleep, and thanks to the time change and a nap on the plane, we were up pretty early!

We wandered out to get breakfast at  Café 222 (I’ll tell you all about that in another post) and then we headed back to the hotel… on our way stopping at an awesome playground and community garden to swing, walk, and talk about outdoor gardening all-year long! It was SO cool to just happen upon a superbly clean (not even a cigarette butt or graffiti in sight) city play area with such a beautiful garden and maintained path.

#aisforadelaide #sandiego #travel #communitygarden #hyatt #manchestergrandhotel

When we got back to the hotel from our breakfast and walk, we packed up anything that had been unpacked, checked out the view and then got a call that my parents had arrived! Addie was just ready for a nap, so Dave went to meet them and collect their luggage  until their room was ready- awesomely, by the time he got down to the lobby, their room was already ready (3 hours before check-in time!) and he helped them get to their room and settle in before he headed out for some snacks.

When he returned, we moved into the room where we would stay for the remainder of our time with the help of a bellhop and a sleeping toddler perched on my shoulder. This time our room was in the other tower, the Seaport Tower, on the 29th floor. Because we had to switch rooms, they actually gave us a higher floor (better view) without asking! The rooms were almost identical, with the biggest difference being that the bathroom layout was a bit different making the door open as you would expect, where the first room it slid open (which was really cool!).

#aisforadelaide #travel #sandiego #manchestergrandhyatt #hotelviews

We had a room with 2 double beds, thinking Addie would be in her own bed, but because she’s two, she ended up in our bed most nights- which made me wish we’d gotten a king, but the beds were comfy and we made it work! The table by the window was great for sitting and looking out over the city and I loved that we had a comfy chair so that I could sit and read while Addie napped (everyone made use of that chair for the same reason!). We also could relax in the room with the single-serve coffee and teas they provided which were actually good! The desk in the room was perfect for getting the work done that I could without WiFi, which was only free in the lobby, and the large TV in the room got PBS- making everyone happy when the adults wanted an extra 10 minutes of prep time and the Miss wanted to go, go, go on an adventure (from the Cat in the Hat theme song!).

#aisforadelaide #manchestergranhyatt #travel #hotelreview #sandiego #toddlerlife

The biggest drawback of the room was the fridge that was not only really small, but didn’t get cold enough to hold anything that could spoil. At conferences, we like to bring or buy food while we are there to save money on eating out, but not having refrigeration made that hard. Being able to rent a microwave for the room, however, is pretty awesome! The sink in the bathroom also seemed really high- and I’m tall. While the look is clean and modern (which I love), it’s not easy to actually use (I stood on my toes to wash my face over the sink without spilling water everywhere).

Finally, the pool! While we didn’t make it to the pool designated for adults only, we did get to spend some time at the 4th floor pool, which was beautiful! We walked right out from the elevators, to the deck, which is easily accessible from either tower and grabbed as many towels as we needed (no need to steal them from your room!), parked ourselves on some chairs near the steps and enjoyed playing the friends, splashing and sipping water. There is deck-service, which is awesome, for anyone who wants to order something to eat or drink right from their chair! Addie and Dave spent a lot of time in the pool- with Addie playing on the steps and jumping in from the side with the other kids. Me? I lounged my big, pregnant belly in the sun for a dose of vitamin D and a nap! The chairs were so comfortable, I would have stayed there had Dave not reminded me we needed to get dinner before Addie’s bedtime!

#aisforadelaide #travel #sandiego #pool #luxurytravel #hotelreview #manchestergrandhyatt #hyatt

We really loved the hotel and all the grandeur it offered while still being affordable (at the conference rate for us), but wish the lobby had been a bit more conducive to meeting people. Last year at the conference the hotel lobby was built in more of a compact and circular feel, with the lounge closer and lobby seating closer together, as well as the hotel restaurants close-by. This made it easier for people to connect and bump into each other. With the lobby being planned in more of a rectangle with the bar at one end and a café at the other, and minimal seating, it was hard to bump into people- although easy to find a place to meet up if you planned it.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt made staying in the city such a luxury- close to good food and meet up spots like the The Seaport Village and within walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter and convention center- this is the place you want to stay, whether business or pleasure, on your next trip to San Diego!

18 Comments

Filed under Reviews, Travel

My Good Life and How I Fuel It!

CB Disclosure White Background 400 px wide

When I wake up in the morning, I always look to my nightstand where I leave a list of what needs to be done. It’s usually long and lists times, if necessary, but what’s it’s usually lacking is a place for breakfast.

#aisforadelaide #todolist #shop #MyGoodLife #CollectiveBias #cbias

…it’s been especially hard here with Addie not feeling well and having some pain eating solid foods. Naturally, Dave worries about us, but even more so, he worries about my eating and taking care of myself- especially while pregnant. To help both Addie and myself, Dave went on a mission to find some simple solutions for his ladies.

#aisforadelaide #addieanddaddy #shop #cbias #collectivebias #MyGoodLife

A very concerned daddy!

To fuel our mornings, we need quick, easy and transportable and in the breakfast aisle of Walmart Dave found just want he wanted… an easy to mix breakfast shake that I wouldn’t fight him to drink.

#aisforadelaide #cbias #shop #collectivebias #MyGoodLife Shopping at Walmart to Fuel My Mornings

I LOVE milk, but need more than a glass to sustain me until lunch. Nestle Carnation® Breakfast Essentials™ packets are something I come back to again and again. When I was pregnant with Addie, they served as an afternoon snack at work, and now they are what make breakfast so simple for me. In fact, this is the first whole week in my entire pregnancy that I’ve had breakfast with enough calories and complete nutrition. Seriously… 32 weeks today and I’ve finally accomplished breakfast on a routine basis. Go me!

#aisforadelaide #shop #cbias #CollectiveBias #MyGoodLife Fuel Your Morning with Nestle and Carnation Instant Breakfast


I feel like I had the opportunity to have breakfast because Addie has been under-the-weather and so we’re not rushing to her usual classes… but this also leaves us home all day and my sweet lady still not able to eat like her usual self- leaving her little ribs looking rather exposed. Knowing this, Dave and I have gotten really creative with just getting calories in her, but we don’t want to load her up with junk. What we came up with comes from the same family as my breakfast solution: Nesquick®. While Addie has never had any special milk flavoring (just plain, organic 2%), the need to get more calories in her with some vitamins took over, and as I mixed her a cup and we started our day (with lots of appointments), she gladly took it!

While we won’t use Nesquick a lot, it is nice to have knowing there are a few upcoming procedures she will be going through and some of them will render her hopeless in terms of feeding. Milk is the way we usually go to get energy in our sweet girl to just keep her going through the days of recovery. I am so thankful to have found something to help us boost her vitamin intake in  a tasty way!

It’s hard to get up and take care of everything that needs to get done in 24 hours for the house, your kids and family, while remembering yourself, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day! I try to remember that I am not just helping my family thrive by giving them the best nutrition, but by taking care of me  I am setting a good example, too.

Thank you to #CollectiveBias for helping us make breakfast a regular meal in this house again! This is #MyGoodLife… what’s yours?

#aisforadelaide #MyGoodLife #CollectiveBias #shop Fueling my Family's Morning

How do you make sure that you have breakfast every morning while still getting out of the house on time?

GARD Pro Skipped due to post having too many words in it which are on the filter list.

74 Comments

Filed under Reviews

All day, overnight and in between… 10 Must-haves

A friend of mine wrote THIS awesome guest post about 10 things you need in your bag when you’re admitted… but what about those all day and overnight stays?

For us, we just went through a morning admission to Hasbro Children’s as Addie underwent her second ear tube placement and adenoid removal. I’d spent the wee hours of the morning working, and knew that I would need to get work done, unless there was an emergency. Being at 30 weeks, I needed comfort, too. So… my child is in surgery and I need to work, be comfortable and somehow not lose it every time she pain cries (because besides breaking my heart, I’m already lactating when I hear a child cry). How does one accomplish this in one bag? First… make the bag big. Check out these other tips:

What's in the bag for overnight hopitals stays with a toddler #aisforadelaide #hospitalbag #toddler

1. Big bag with long shoulder straps
I used a beautiful silver tote we just got from a friend… it fit everything I needed PLUS the wide open top made it easy to rest my wallet just inside- this gave me access to Addie’s insurance cards, my ID, money… all the good stuff I needed to pull out a million times. The long straps means it can fit over my shoulder and the stroller handles, and it has no pockets, either. I just throw it all in and go- no searching in different compartments for what I need.

2. Stroller
Even if you don’t use it for your child- all of your stuff will have a home-base! For me this meant a place for my bag, diaper bag and a place to throw whatever little things I needed to throw down in the basket- like flip flips, or my just-in-case sweater. Having a place where all of your stuff goes is invaluable. It may all get jumbled- but you’ll sort that out later.

3. Extra clothes/Flips flops for you and your child
I always pack a just-in-case sweater… it’s for if I get cold, need to wrap up as a pillow, to swaddle my girl in her darkest moments. It’s for just-in-case. I wear sneakers when we are at the hospital- keeps my feet warm and clean and I don’t have to worry about tripping, but I pack flip flops just in case, too. I may need to get up in the middle of the night, or shower. Whatever the case, I slide them in the bag so they’re there. I also pack clothes so that I can feel fresh- a new t-shirt and underwear can bring more comfort than one can imagine in stressful times… and for the babe, I always make sure to have an easily accessible outfit (nightgown or loose top and pants) so that she can be in her own clothes, but still work with the docs and nurses. Extra clothes also means that if your child gets sick post-surgery, you won’t end up covered in it for the rest of your stay.

4. Your own washcloth, socks, pillow
I bring extra thick socks so I don’t have to wear shoes in the hospital room- SO much more comfortable. If you’re a picky sleeper (I really need to become one), your own pillow is a must at the hospital. And towels can be really scratchy and thin. Although an overnight stay doesn’t warrant a shower in the room (at least not for me- I wait til I’m home), sometimes vomiting after a procedure happens and trying to towel off with their linens is bad enough- not to mention washing your face at night. While I don’t pack a whole towel, I bring a wash cloth (color so they don’t get confused), so I can wash my face and sponge bath Addie comfortably.

5. Snacks and cash
Packing a few favorites that are OK to have post-surgery and need no refrigeration (pudding, applesauce, toddler food pouches) is great for your child, especially when first getting them to eat. For me… some crackers with peanut butter, fruit, and something sweet (chocolate!) are musts. I am thankful we have family close so I can get something more substantial to eat, but to have a few things to nibble on when there is nothing else there is key to keeping my mind, stomach and blood sugars as even as they can be. Cash is king, too. I bring it so I can tip the coffee cart or run to the vending machine if I can’t get away to get myself real sustenance for a long time.

6. Wipes… face, hands, diaper
I love wipes. I use them to clean my face when I’m stuck under a sleeping baby, or too tired to move. Cleaning your skin at night is so important… but so are recovery snuggles. To make sure I don’t skip me while caring for her, I keep a pile of wipes next to our hospital bed. Along with those are diaper wipes, pacifier wipes (those are life savers for when the bink drops to the floor), and Mustela Wipes for Addie’s hands and face- these are gentle and smell SO good! Sometimes it is hard to get up and do- to rinse in the sink or wash hands. Wipes make it easy to stay clean and fresh without too much movement- especially important for someone coming off of heavy medication.

Inside the bag for an overnight hospital stay for #baby and #mom #aisforaldelaide #hospitalstay #overnightbag

7. Lotion and chapstick (plus essentials)
While I pack our toothbrushes, a hair brush with an extra ponytail holder always on the handle, there are two other things I don’t enter the hospital without. Hospitals are dry. End of story. I always carry lotion of some sort in my diaper bag, but throw in hotel bottles of lotion (thanks to Dave’s business trips) to the hospital bag and keep one next to the bed. Dry hands are the worst, and sometimes Addie likes a back rub… why not give her a little spa treatment while she’s feeling so down? I feel the same way about my lips. My mouth always gets dry, so I keep a balm or stick close by so my lips don’t crack- and for Addie, too. When she’s only on IV and won’t take fluids, I like to keep her lips moisturized, too. We also bring our own…

8. Water bottle
I bring a big 24oz Tervis water bottle with me everywhere. Dave got it for me in San Diego- our one souvenir!- and it’s my favorite. It’s double-walled insulation means that it doesn’t sweat everywhere and make a mess, the lid locks closed and the space means I have more than just one sip of water at a time. Addie’s water bottle is Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie and is great because it keeps fluids chilled, it’s easy to clean no matter where we are, and the straw portion gives her easy access. Knowing that we both have water in our own containers that won’t spill or sweat everywhere is great for us. I love not having to deal with plastic cups (that Addie spills from and create lots of trash) and a plastic pitcher that sweats everywhere makes the night easier… especially with my history of open containers next to my bed.

9. A recovery bag (gift)
Addie has some awesome uncles and auntie in Philadelphia and they sent her (and me) some goodies that we received in the mail the day before surgery. I packed them all up and gave them to her post procedure (with a hospital gift shop Elmo balloon). Picking through the bag and exploring new books gave us something to pass the time and enjoy when we got home, too!

10. 3 items from home
For Addie, I made sure to pack Elmo, her blanket and her [current] favorite book. A few things from home make for comfort and a sense of calm. For Addie, her blanket and Elmo are needed for sleep (and easily washed at home), and reading is one of the things that both capture her attention and put her to sleep. We love that our hospital has lots of great movies for her, but for downtime, books and a bit of home really help us settle in. For me, I bring my phone charger, Day-Timer, and cell phone. The phone and charger are no-brainers, but the planner has numbers, names, schedules, business cards with addresses to Addie’s medical team, and photos of family. This all encompassing book is my life being dragged around and helps me plan anything that we may need to without hesitation- it’s old and ragged, but it’s been  my lifeline for over 10 years and the most important thing I carry.

Though it sounds like a lot, all of this fit right into my bag!

What do you bring on overnight hospital stays?

This post is not sponsored!

55 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle, Reviews

Five Ways to Help Your Toddler Get Ready for Baby!

With Millie’s arrival just 2 months away, the excitement in the house is palpable! While you can never be fully prepared for a child (NO KIDDING, ADDIE!), there are ways we can try. For adults it’s parenting classes, and books and groups… and for the toddlers in our lives, there’s these 5 tricks:

#aisforadelaide #readyforbaby #toddlertips

1. Tummy time
Bet you thought tummy time ended at some point? This time, it’s for you! Each day, take some time with your child to watch your soon-to-be kick, feel them, talk to them- whatever! As your body changes, talk about it- “mommy’s tummy is so big because your baby brother/sister is growing big, too!” Look at pictures of when you were pregnant with your current child(ren), and use the time to bond- often daddy gets in on the time and we all watch and giggle as my Millie dances in response to all the touch and talk, and all the attention on mama and baby! It’s pretty darn cool- especially when Addie helps put lotion on my belly!

2. Books/Classes
We have taken out a lot of books about being a big sister, waiting for baby, about bringing baby home- you name it. I let our library lead us, walking in and asking what books they have about being a big sibling. I got about 15 choices off the bat and we looked through them all and have taken a lot out in different trips. Addie loves reading about babies and telling me about how they cry, but it’s ok, and she pretends to soothe her dolls and put them to sleep… all things that I feel will make her not only prepared to help, but not be alarmed when Millie cries for things.
We’re also very lucky that our hospital offers a sibling class! Addie will take a class (with us there) where she will learn about babies, get a t-shirt and see the place where Millie will be born- and the class is about 1/8 of the price and time of adult classes! How cool!

3. Let the chores begin… NOW!
I keep reading that when another baby comes along, we, as parents, often want our older kids to do things that (maybe) we didn’t expect them to do before. So… I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would need Addie to do for herself if my hands were full or if I was just caught up at the moment and asked her to do them for herself before Millie comes- I hope this will help her not feel like it’s because of, but rather in preparation for, being a big sister. I’ve asked her to get the book she wants to read, grab me a diaper for changing, master the stairs, carry her own “wants” out of the house- like Elmo or her water bottle, open the drawer in the fridge where her snacks are (cheese, already washed fruit and prepped cups of milk), find her coloring books and crayons, throw her own trash away… Obviously, the age of your child determines these activities! While most of the time I can help with these tasks now, I make a point not to- which has taught her to say, “no mama, you do it.” It’s a little struggle, but adding the phrase, “But you’re such a big girl! Show me how you do it!” has worked wonders!

4. Talk it up… but be honest
Being a big sister is awesome- I know because I have some pretty amazing younger siblings- but it’s also overwhelming for everyone. Babies cry. Babies puke. Babies smell sour (sometimes). Babies love water. Babies hate baths. Babies are awake all the time, but somehow also always sleeping. And… well… babies are kind of boring. So while being a big sister is a BIG responsibility for Addie- to love, help care for- it’s also a time that may confuse and upset her. Dave and I often hear babies cry when we’re out with Addie and when she points it out and starts to sympathy whine, we are quick to remind her that babies do cry a lot and maybe that baby needs a big sister to make them laugh. This usually makes her smile and try to look and find where the crying baby is. She’s great with gentle hands, but is a bit much  on the personal space- and loves to kiss… everyone. So again, we’re honest and remind her that loving on babies is so nice, but we need to stop when mommy or daddy says. Being open about bringing a baby home (you won’t have a new playmate for a few months) while still exciting is sometimes confusing for everyone (Yay, new baby! Yay, no sleep?)- but it can be done. And if all else fails, you’ll have a toddler who says things like, “Babies are small. Yeah. And they crying.” …to total strangers. Parents-0 Logic of a toddler-1

5. Carve time out for just you and your other child(ren)
When other kids come along, time alone (hello shower, it’s been a while since we’ve been alone in the same room together) is hard to come by any time of day- not to mention the prospect of actually scheduling something, but, like doctors appointments we would never miss, planning specific time to be one-on-one with your other child(ren) is important- for them and you! For weekends- when Dave is home- we plan on taking Addie on small trips so that we can both get time with her and I can still nurse. Making a list of things to do together with Millie, individual with Addie, with both of us and Addie, and with just Millie are all things to consider… oh yeah, and us alone!
Suggestions? Neighborhood events, naptime stories, library activities (where other parents can help you out) and family outings close to home- so if one child needs to leave, coming back to pick up the other parent/child is simple are all on our radar. While being apart isn’t the goal, focusing on age-specific activities, as well as bonding time with baby are important. For us, making a schedule so we know our options, but also being comfortable that things may not work out is key. For this reason, we aren’t planning anything where we need to buy tickets or talking about big activities until we’re ready to go (who wants to disappoint about a trip to the zoo that can’t happen?).
And us? We have neither the money nor desire to go out, but Dave and I love having dates at home. A nice glass of wine and a movie in bed where we talk through the whole thing about different things he’s read and what our next house will have… that’s the perfect night- and we always find time for those.
For more ideas, check out this spread sheet of what we will be doing (the first 3 months) and make your own version to help you plan for the whole family! While grocery trips, Addie’s classes and even peeing would be more fun to do alone, sometimes Millie will have to come along for the ride (and I’ll just have to have an audience).

Activity Sheet Post Baby

How did you prepare your children for a new arrival?

44 Comments

Filed under Pregnancy/Birth

Highlights… better than when we were kids!

In exchange for a blog post, we received multiple issues of Highlights magazine. All opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.

Years ago, I was a Highlights kid. I circled all the differences between pictures, stuck stickers to everything insight, enjoyed reading articles with content designed just for me, and loved doing puzzle after puzzle of different mediums (I’ve always enjoyed word puzzles more than any!)… so naturally, as an adult, I am drawn to the brand again.

When Addie was under a year, I ordered her a subscription to Hello! Highlights magazine for the youngest of babes, from 0-2. They’re awesome- AND impossible to tear. We’ve collected them all to share with Millie!

#aisforadelaide #HighlightsHello #HighlightsMagazine #shop

I was so enamored with how much Addie loves getting her own mail and magazines, that I contacted Highlights to learn more about High Five!, their magazine printed up just for toddlers ages 2-6! I was delighted to get a few free copies so I could share them with Addie… who I knew would love them- I didn’t anticipate how much, however.

On a rainy day, we pulled  out the issues we were sent to try and Addie got right to work.

#Aisforadelaide #shop #highlights ##highlightsmagazine #highfive #highlightshighfive

What strikes you first is the beautiful, full size magazine itself. The covers are all beautiful illustrated and just like mine- with some of the feature articles on the inside. Addie felt pretty cool with her own mag.

#aisforadelaide #shop #highlights #highlightsmagazine #highlightshighfive #jointhefun

She loved reading the short stories, identifying hidden images and actions,  but became engrossed in the Read Aloud in English and Spanish section. The stories are really vivid, and offer lines in Spanish- which Addie repeats often and usually in context (she speaks more Spanish than I do now!), which integrate well into the story. Not only is she using another language, but she’s learning to identify different objects and emotions in Spanish.

#aisforadelaide #spanish #highlights #highlightsmagazine #shop #highlightshighfive

Each magazine is also packed with puzzles (“That’s Silly”, a find it game) and step-by-step images (with captions) showing different activities, like sitting crisscross applesauce, crouch, jump and jog (like a frog!), action rhyming with movement- different each month! And our favorite, a recipe or craft at the end!

#aisforaldeiade #HighlightsHighFive #shop #highlightsmagazine That's Silly

A super cool one we want to make for Daddy is a painted paintbrush! Taking a plain paintbrush with a wooden handle, you turn it into a colorful, polka-dot brush, perfect for spreading sauce over your favorite BBQ! Or in our April issue, where we learned how to make our own play-dough. And in May, we made some delicious Crunchy, Nutty Muffins- perfect because the ingredients were so basic- we already had them on hand, and it was simple for Addie to help me measure and mix! These mags are perfect because they offer SO much in each issue that we can come back to them time and time again and learn something new- plus, Addie loves to try and find things by herself and tell me stories about the pictures each time she revisits!

#aisforadelaide #highlightsmagazine #highfive #learning #toddlers

Addie helping me make Crunchy Nut Muffins- a Highlights High Five recipe!

I am so excited to order Addie her own yearly subscription so the fun can last all year- and every time we pull out the magazines! From rainy day activity, to a magazine to read during quiet times that will surely be needed after Millie’s arrival, High Five! is the perfect addition to our mailbox as a special treat for Miss A!

Also on my radar? Some NEW projects to be released for all ages! Highlights is working on releasing something for us parents, as well as a new magazine series sure to excite… don’t worry- I’ll share more info soon!

What’s your favorite memory of Highlights? Mine is the doctor’s offices that carried them so I could read a magazine in the waiting room, just like my parents!

 

58 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Keep Pushing

I was unable to find anyone who recorded (or even took a picture!) of the LPA Speakers’ Night, but I wanted to share my piece with you. I plan on recording me speaking it, but wanted to share it with you (written) in the meantime. So, without further stalling, here is my LPA Speakers’ Night Piece entitled: Keep Pushing.

#lpaSD2014 #LPA Speakers Night

As I embark upon the birth of my second child, I find the title of my piece ironic.

Keep pushing.

While that’s not my birthing mantra- that one is just breathe- Keep pushing is my mission in life.

Letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, so why do other people expect me to allow such behaviors from them?

The answer is simple. The answer points a finger. The answer stings. The answer is me.

People treat others as they are allowed to. Sad? Pathetic? Lame? You bet. But it’s the truth. We love to take advantage of life- be lazy where we can be. We often, as humans, forget the implications of our language.

We let people call us homo, fat, crazy, midget, whore. Because as a culture stopping these things is too “politically correct”. We fear that we are being “too sensitive”, we aren’t raising tough kids, or we ourselves do not have thick skin.

“Good luck this time!”
“Good for you- trying again.”
“Sucks you didn’t know before she was born.”
“Is there anything they can do for her when she’s older to make her taller?”

Fellow humans have said these things to me. Why does the world view dwarfism as something to be cured, rather than embraced as a difference?

We don’t want to question what others say. We give up our right to know about ourselves when we don’t ask the hard questions.

“I don’t know.”
“We will learn together.”
“Let’s come back to that.”
“This is my first one.”

Doctors have said these things to me. Why is the education about dwarfism so slim that many medical professionals fear the diagnosis of dwarfism- offering patients little education and less options.

My mantra, Keep pushing. For respect, for knowledge.

Do you see it yet? Do you feel the need to push?

There is change that can be made. There is change that needs to be made. There are generations coming up behind you and me, behind the children being born today and the children following them. There are millions of people yet to be born, and thousands will have a form of dwarfism.

But they will not be dwarfs.

They will be painters and doctors. They will be writers and scientists. They will be political leaders and dreamers and veterinarians. Those born with a form of dwarfism will love and be loved. They will change lives and shape the world for future generations. The way we need to now.

There is a need to define ourselves by what we want as a community and let the masses, not the few, lead the way. Television shows that pigeonhole this community, media misconceptions, movies and comedians are things of the past when we push- and keep pushing- to be defined not as little people, but as people. Height doesn’t make someone smart, or happy, or better than. Average height just makes you average.

Be spectacular regardless. Keep pushing.

When a doctor tells me they do not know, I ask, “how will you find the answer?” When I am given news about a health concern and then that same medical professional attempts to leave the room, I ask for further explanation. I ask what our course of action is. I ask what their medical opinion and experience are. What is the timeline. How do we proceed? I push to know more. I push to make them answer. To make them accountable for their diagnosis. I refuse to let Google do my doctoring. I refuse to leave not knowing.

Too many parents email me with the same story. It goes like this: The doctors told me my baby would be a dwarf. They gave me a packet of papers and told me to make appointments for these things. They told me to be prepared, but not for what.

More often than not, I offer my telephone number. I spend hours each week calming mothers-to-be and new parents. Not giving medical advice, but offering an ear and listening to questions that are left unanswered. Unanswered concerns from a doctor who left their patients with a handout and maybe a few people to call.

This is not OK. This is not how patients should be treated. Dwarfism is not unknown. Specialists exist!

In my hours on the phone I’ve looked up local hospitals with clinics, referred many to our own team in Delaware, and always given out the LPA’s website. Hours spent giving the same basic information that needs to be readily available to all patients with a diagnosis of dwarfism. Support, love and most importantly, knowledge.

Keep pushing.

Keep pushing so that when someone sees a person of short stature they smile, the same smile they offer any other human on the street. Why? Because a person of short stature is any other human.

Keep pushing to make changes, because if there is such an uprising about a professional football team name change, then there should be a change across the nation of high school sports teams named The Midgets. Because other people do not decide what offends you. Because other people don’t control our emotions. Because being sensitive, caring, respectful people is what defines a civilized culture. That is what humanity means. Because even doctors need to learn something new every day. Because bedside manner isn’t dead (and neither is chivalry, if you were wondering).

There isn’t a facet of our culture that doesn’t need advocacy from our community, so be that voice. Never stop pushing because it doesn’t bother you anymore, or because you think one person can’t make a difference. One voice. One community. One change at a time.

Keep pushing because letting ourselves be defined by anything, even things that are so apparent, like our gender, sexual preference, race or disability is no way to live. It’s no way I will let myself or my children live, and I won’t being defined by anyone but myself.

 

40 Comments

Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

Marvelous Monday

So much to say about what’s been going on, but I keep reflecting on our wonderful experience in California.

If you followed my social media pages, you may have noticed #lpaSD2014 making it’s way around with pictures, quotes, and events… all leading to the LPA National Conference in San Diego. It was amazing.

It is also something that we could not have participated in without the help and support of our parents and my aunt and uncle. Both my parents and Dave’s helped us get there (via flyer miles, rewards, food, and accommodations). I am also extremely grateful for my dearest, who works his tail off at work and then each weekend doing repairs to save up for the cost of eating away from home (yes, a BLT in San Diego is $10!). But it is more than the money. It’s the understanding. My mother-in-law was initially going to come with us (she will be attending workshops with us in Boston in 2017!), but decided that it was just too much for her… however, she still supported us going, which means the world to our family. San Diego is an awesome vacation spot, but the conference, the LPA organization and the knowledge and friendships we gain each year are invaluable to us.

#Aisforadelaide #lpaSD2014 #family #friends #dwarfism

Addie was blessed this year with a gift from a family who lost their child to a rare(r) form of dwarfism with a Lifetime Membership to Little People of America, and we could not be more thankful. Knowing  that Addie will always have access to the best advocacy, community and medical advice, even after Dave and I are not here to guide her, eases my heart. There are so many lesser known facets to the LPA organization that I hope she explores- including scholarships and a deep-rooted community- that having this membership offers her access to all this and so much more- forever! #aisforadelaide #lpaSD2014 #LPANationalConference #SanDiego

With that, the opportunity to go to as many regional (local) and national events as we can gives us all opportunity to learn, play, educate and be educated. Last year, I was a part of a panel that focused on social media and how we present ourselves as a community, and this year I spoke about why I keep pushing (advocating) for more education and awareness. Dave got to learn about different home adaptations and how he can make our house more comfortable for Addie without making it difficult for us. Even the grandparents got to go to some workshops and learn a bit more about what it’s like to grow up as someone with dwarfism, the things they can help Addie with, and just take part in the community.

#aisforadelaide #lpaSD2014 #expo #travel #sandiego

All-in-all… this was an amazing experience. Made that much better by our trip a few hours north to see my Aunt Donna and Uncle Ted. While I am forever grateful to the LPA and being able to experience national events, being able to see my Uncle Ted meant more to me than I can express. My Mom did not find her brother until she was in her 20′s. Adopted at birth, she was able to reconnect years later with a lot of research… and I am so glad she did. My Uncle is amazing- traveling to see us a lot in my youth- and coming to stay with us for much longer than he anticipated, when my Dad passed. We often joke in my family that I was a wild child, but that didn’t really happen until my Dad died. My Uncle saw firsthand how out of control I became and how quickly I down-spiraled. But still, he stayed. Day after day he supported my Mom and did everything he could to help with the daily running of the house, and the big things that my Dad had been too sick to do in his last months of life. Going out to see him, hug him, talk to him and see the spark in his eye was more than I could ask for.

#aisforadelaide #lpasd2014 #family #vacation #travel

He’s sick. I hate that. I hate seeing a man who has rocked the world, serving our country, playing a major role in aerospace development, advancing the programs that offer guide and service dogs to those who need, and most of all being an amazing family man- he’s diminishing in body… but never spirit. I was afraid he would be fragile and was instead surprised to see him, stout as ever, never batting an eye when he needed oxygen or apologizing for needing a break. Quite simply, as Ted has always been, he just is. Maybe that’s where I get my no apologies life-view from… I am who I am, be damned if it upsets you or makes you uncomfortable. And my Aunt Donna, his rock, she’s kind of amazing, too. Her love, support and drive are inspiring. A teacher for years, she set Addie up with all the fun stuff while accepting oxygen deliveries, getting towels for Addie and I to swim, her beaming smile never fading.

#aisforadelaide #family #LPAsd2014 #sandiego #losangeles #travel

There are some days that are really hard. For everyone. I have a family who has taught me, and continues to do so, that there are way more rainbows than rain if we look for them. I am thankful that we got to Cali this summer… for the sun, sand, friendships, education, family.

Have you done a big summer vacation this year? What was your favorite part?

Happy Marvelous Monday, Reader! I hope you have a beautiful week!

64 Comments

Filed under Community, Marvelous Monday, Travel

On being a special needs parent…

I read THIS yesterday as parent after parent on my Facebook feed shared the article. At the time, I was scanning the web from my phone from beneath my dearest Adelaide, softly crying.

Although I’ve posted a few updates on her, it’s been a whirlwind since we’ve returned from the LPA National Conference in San Diego… we landed late Saturday night, spent the day jet lagged, but as a family, on Sunday, then had an incredibly busy Monday running from Addie’s physical therapy, the OB and chiropractor for me, and fielding calls from 4 different doctors (have I mentioned that when an actual doctor calls, it’s usually not good?). On Tuesday morning I said goodbye to Dave as he headed to work, and he kissed me extra hard. The look in his eye told me what I needed to know; it pained him that I would be going through a surgery without him and he had no words. Neither did I. He carried our still-sleeping girl to the car for me and kissed her face and head as he hesitantly closed the car door.

I didn’t even cry. After she was under sedation, I calmly left the room, my head spinning as I attempted to control my breathing. I gathered our belongings for our overnight stay and meandered around the corner to the waiting room where, after spending  a solid 15 minutes staring at the surgical board, called my mom. Then I tried on one long-sleeve shirt, but then I was wearing too much gray, so I took it off and put on the blue one- it was from the 5k I did a few weeks ago. You’re strong enough for this, Chelley. I sat down and got out my work. I use 3 different spreadsheets to track my work, sponsored posts, links, blog posts and the like. I took out a pen and started to cross things off and move things around. I planned for a few days of recovery where I could do some work, but not a lot. I took out my highlighter and crossed off everything I’d done. I felt grateful that I have the option to push work aside when I need to because Dave takes care of us.

#aisforadelaide #specialneedsparenting #motherhood #specialneeds

So back to the article. It’s a few days post-tubes (second set) and adenoidectomy and Addie was on top of me, where she’s been a lot since her surgery. Perched on my chest, or curled up around my belly inciting kicks from her baby sister, inside. She was running about 100º and shaking, her little body clad in nothing but a Bumgenius diaper, snoring and sweating through my own tank top. Every now and again, she would stir and cry in her slumber. So I read, and I softly cried, too. If you follow along with the article, I cried because:

1. Sometimes lonely doesn’t describe it. Even when I have a moment to connect with friends and family I cannot express the fear I feel. The fact that everyone in the world could be there to hold my hand, and I would still feel like I was standing alone- especially when I am there without Dave. Because when we do have time to talk, I want to talk about Addie every moment and not at all, and not knowing how to process your own emotions is a lonely place to be.

2. Dave and I are a power couple. We aren’t changing the world, but we’re shaping our own. And we have to work at it everyday. We discuss a lot of medical things, we sleep very little large chunks… but we do it all together. Sometimes we snap and bite, but the lines of communication don’t close. Sleep, fancy cars, and, yes, even intimacy can wait… but not forever. We fight for that. For this. For us.

3. Enough said. I can go mama bear in 1.4 seconds flat, however.

4. All the time. This is also due to my losing a brother, young cousin and father before I was 13. But even more so, as we look deeper into Addie’s spine and decompression and blackouts and sleep… I feel relief when she wakes up. I hate that feeling. I just want to wake up and not have my heart leap and stop until I see her ribs expand and contract with the sweet sound of her breath. I hope this fear won’t last forever.

She is #aisforadelaide #strength #courage #laughter

5. Sometimes I know that my voice means less than my body. The length of my reach engulfing her body as she cringes in pain or fear at an appointment. The way she melts into my shoulder or tucks into my chest as they try to take another set of vitals, insert an IV, measure another limb. The way she won’t wear a mask unless I gently place it over her face. There are no words… just the touch of mom. Recently I learned skin-to-skin is important past infancy, as Addie craves feeling my heart beat and holding my necklace. She reaches into my shirt just to feel my skin, and I crave comforting her. Touch is so healing and speaks louder than words. When I ask her if she’s ok and she grabs my face into her own kisses me and settles into my arms. Words seemingly, in that moment, mean nothing.

6. While Addie doesn’t have speech issues, hearing your child come out of sedation like a lion screaming for you or waking in an apnea episode startled wanting only you… those are the times I cherish her communication most.

So, in light of her adenoids being removed, which gives off the most horrible breath, and my heightened sense of smell, her small shaking body, feverish and gripping, the hours we’ve spent in the same position (painful for me)… this is just what we do. And after the hours. The physical ache and mental exhaustion… the moments left in between. There’s still a light inside.

#aisforadelaide #sarifices #parenthood #specialneedsparenting

…been laying here for hours. Wouldn’t trade a minute.

34 Comments

Filed under Achondroplasia, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Do you believe?

Second in my doula series is Jessica Fuss. When I met Jess, it was at a DoRI event, and I fell in love with her. She’s like a big sister, mother and best friend all in one. Although Jess had another client when I was due with Addie, we remained in touch, and she is still one of my biggest supporters in motherhood! From her beaming smile to her incredible knowledge in all things birth, cloth diapering and motherhood, Jess is such a super-woman! I asked her a bunch of questions, and wanted to share her thoughts with  you and a bit more about her doula services at Soft Touch Doula.

1. What does “doula” mean to you?
To be a doula to me means to take care of a woman…To find out what her needs, her desires, her likes and dislikes, her wishes are…then to do my best to surround her with so much nurturing love that she feels protected and safe to be whomever she needs to be in order to birth her baby in the best way for HER.

It also means for me to provide enough information and assurance to the partner so that I can take away all of his/her fears and worries so they can just be the partner and provide the support they have always wanted to be.

2. What’s your specialty and why did you enter that niche?

My niche is Birth.  I’ve heard it say I’m very good at being that doula who “mothers the mother”.  I’m very nurturing.  It chose to be purely a Birth Doula (not a postpartum as well) because it just fits.  I have always wanted to have ‘something’ to do with birth, ever since I was a little girl and read my mom’s Lamaze books.  When I found out about the role of a birth doula, where I get to purely support and care for the couple, and not to have to do any of the medical care, I knew it was for me.

3. How many births have you attended?
Back in 2012 I stopped counting at 100 births attended.  I’m sure I’m up to somewhere around 150.
4. Favorite/most anticipated moment about birth… besides the baby!
Ahhhhhh… :-)  My favorite moment.  My favorite moment is special to me.  It’s when I see by the woman’s soft face, hear by her orgasmic sounds, can tell by her loose body, that she has truly given over to the Birth process.  She has surrendered to the intensity.  There’s no more fighting the surges.  She is now purely allowing her body to flow and open.  If one was in the next room and didn’t know what was going on, it would sound like she is having a wonderful orgasm.  But in reality, the sounds a woman makes at this precious moment in her labor is exactly the same.

5. Hardest part of your work?

The hardest part of this job is most definitely for me the anxiety involved.  There is anxiety of not knowing when each momma will go into labor.  I am pretty much always on-call.  And when that momma does go into labor, who will be available to watch my kiddos.  It’s the unknown that is very stressful.  And the anxiety also carries over into the birth itself in not knowing how short or long the labor will be.
6. What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I think the most rewarding part of being a doula, for me, is knowing that something simple I might have done, (for instance helping her get through that “wall” that often comes up during transition when she often cries  “I can’t do it any longer”, but in reality she’s almost done!) and it has helped to completely change the outcome for that woman’s birth…That simple act of support and encouragement helped her to achieve her goals for her birth.  When I leave after the birth, I quietly smile and know in my heart that I did a good job.
7. A few words that you feel describe motherhood?
Empowering, tiring, amazing, overwhelming, fulfilling, glorious, momentous.
8. What areas do you serve in RI/MA/CT?
Southern MA, Eastern/southeastern CT, all of RI.

9. Your hope for the future of your profession?

My hope is that the Insurance Companies will recognize the role of a doula as incredibly beneficial in that it reduces the need for SO many interventions that cost them money.  I wish for Moms and Dads that the services we provide could be universally covered by their insurance companies.

I love how doulas know they are awesome, but give all the credit to mamas! Raising a child takes a village, but birthing a child is totally teamwork (at least for me!). You can contact Jess HERE, and get to know more about this amazing woman!

What was the most amazing or helpful part of your birth experience?

 

50 Comments

Filed under Pregnancy/Birth

Surgery Day!

So here we are again… Hasbro Children’s Hospital! Addie is headed in for her second set of tubes and an adenoidectomy.  I talked to 4 different doctors yesterday, and though I am pretty much not answering my phone if I see 401-444-#### (which indicates someone from Lifespan Hospital Network calling me), I am thankful that we have such an amazing team, willing to do all the research possible to keep Addie safe and healthy.

As many have read, we’re going through a lot of diagnosing and problem-solving for Addie’s blackout episodes, which included an MRI. Sadly, we did not have full follow through of the order, and Addie will need to undergo another round of imaging so we can get a better idea of what might be happening. For this, we will head up to Boston (in a few weeks)…. for today, we just want to get through the ENT battle.

#aisforadelaide #warriorgirl #HasbroChildrensHospital

After I wrote about needing sedation (Addie is intubated as her airways are constricted), and how incredibly apprehensive that makes me (pregnancy hormones don’t help), many people chimed in. I wish that I could say their words helped, but sometimes they hurt or scared me more. When I lost my father 16 years ago I remember a lot of other people missing “the mark” of things to say- there are a thousand articles about what to say to someone who is grieving, but what about parents and caretakers who are scared? I know that nothing said truly makes anyone feel better, but there are things that have made me feel a bit worse about what’s going on and I wanted to share them with you because many parents have told me they too feel the same way–>

1. Don’t worry.
See, the thing is… I’m WAY past that.
2. It’s not a big surgery.
If my child is in surgery, it’s a big surgery to me. It’s a part of me I’ve entrusted to the Earth in a situation I cannot even try to control.
3. Been there. Done that.
While I am aware we are not reinventing the wheel here, routine surgery for one is not for another. Please, try to not one-up others.
4. I had that, and I was OK. (Or my child did)
I know lots of people with  lots of stories. I know kids that do GREAT under anesthesia. I know kids that have gone into comas from it, too. I know that when Addie wakes up she is a mess, her throat hurts, she’s raspy, she needs to be held and fights needed oxygen. I know that she gets ill, but refuses to drink or eat to help it. I know that she will be OK because we have a handpicked team, but brushing off a parent’s fear doesn’t make them feel better… or at least doesn’t work for me.
5. I know someone who died from that.
No joke. Someone told me they knew someone who had a child who died during a routine surgery- then they IM’d me their prayers. Ummmmmmm… I know things can happen, please don’t share those personal stories with me as I’m scheduling a routine surgery.
6. Try having (insert different procedure here).
This one really gets me. For some society has created a need for constant comparisons. Pissing contests. Who has it harder. I’ll tell you what, I know what hardship is. Maybe it is experience (I am still just a mom to one, and if you think back to those days, you too will remember your feelings were different then than they are now), maybe it’s age, or financial status, or location… or maybe, just maybe, it is how I feel as an individual. And it  is OK for me to feel the way I do. Maybe, someday, I will experience a similar hardship to you- but if you’re that person who feels like your life is harder, it just won’t matter… I’ll never be justified. This is, if you truly think of it, tragic for you.

And now that that’s off the table… I appreciate your kind words, your loving emails, texts, phone calls. So many are pulling for Addie to feel 100%, and for that I could not be more thankful. For those who go through major experimental surgeries, I pray for you everyday and I am thankful for the love and support offered to those families. When any family is going through unusual circumstances, the support system that surrounds them gives them the most strength. Thank you, Reader, for your strength.

lots of love,

13 Comments

Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle