August 18, 2014

Rubber Band Lamp Makeover!

By Amy

Sometimes I really suck at making decisions.  Especially when they are as crucial as this one: find perfect, inexpensive, cool/interesting, glorious matching lamps for my bedroom.

Sheesh, talk about pressure.

We'd been mismatched for a while.  Now, there can be a time and a place for non-matching lamps...but the time had passed for this odd couple.  My husband protested, "But we have two lamps that both work fine!"  However, I think he knows by now that the aesthetics of my home are very important to me.  (I'm borderline obsessed.)  But, since I realize that I can't just go blow a bunch of money in the name of aesthetics, I always try to be frugal and DIY/modify what I can find second hand, or look for an awesome sale.

So.  I gently let him know that the time had come, and after 4 years of mismatched lamps, I was indeed going to find a set.

What a horrible pic, but here are the mis-matched lamps.
I searched thrift stores for a while (that's where I go first, it's always fun to fancy up peice of crap) but it soon became apparent that I would not find a matching set.  So, I decided that I needed to just bite the bullet and go spend some money.  I was determined to not pay over twenty for each lamp, so that helped narrow down a bunch of choices.  

I went ALLL over the place.  I looked all over my own town, tried stores in another town, and on a trip to see my sisters in Utah, I went to IKEA hoping for a miracle.  I looked online.  I was driven like a mad woman, consumed by the search for glorious lamps.  I even told my toddler that this was a "Treasure Hunt! Yay!" trying to ease his annoyance at the constant going in and out of stores on the quest.  I taught him to yell, "LAMPS!" whenever he spotted one...which he still does to this day, ha!

I took about a million pics like this on my phone, so I could go home and remember the options at each store:

I was really digging the industrial feel of the architect lamps, but Patrick vetoed them.   Didn't like how they look like an office lamp instead of a bedroom lamp.  I still would have loved two handsome bronze-colored ones, but I pick my battles. :)

My shopping buddy!
I saw so many cool options that were WAY out of the price range.

I really loved the shape of this one!  Such sultry curves!  But the price was less attractive.  :(
It was sometimes hard to visualize what would look good in the space, so I took a couple pairs of lamps home, just to return them later.  One particular pair of teal shades made me physically ill once I got them in my bedroom.  And, another super inexpensive pair were so short, once I got them home and next to the bed, they looked like toy lamps.  Ha.  Oh boy.  

The toy lamps!  Haha!

I planned on covering these shades with fabric...but I just didn't want to deal with it.  Sewing isn't my thing.  I'd rather spray paint!  So, back to the store they went.
At one point of my decision-making struggle, I even called my sister (who lives four hours away) and angrily demanded, "WHY AREN'T YOU HERE IN MY HOUR OF NEED!?"  (She has very good design taste.)  Sorry, Sherie, that was a little ridiculous, I now realize.  But she did talk me through my options for about 20 minutes in Fred Meyer's parking lot.

In every store, I would try different shades with different bases, stand back, try several different combos, then go back to the first combo, etc.  Once, when I was making some sort of frustrated sigh of despair, Hayden said, "Momma, it's ok! Do you need a Fuzzy?"  (That's the name of his beloved blanket, which he probably loves more than me.  Ha.)  I'd also bribe him with Starbursts to keep him happy going from store to store...not my best parenting moment.

Hahaha, oh my gosh, I can't believe I got a pic that documents my pathetic parenting...he is actually trying to bite through the wrapper to get to the Starburst!
After spending WAY too much of my time and life on this not-life-or-death-decision, I finally found the perfect combo in Target.  I face-timed with the hubs to make sure he approved, or at least could deal with it, and brought the beauties home!  Best part?  I actually did end up staying under twenty a piece!  Wahoooo!

They were boring, but I like bare bones, cause it gives me a chance to spiff them up.  :)  

So, here's the process and the end result!  (This is no detailed tutorial, cause I only do fast, easy crafts. No complicated steps for me!)  

I started with plain black bases with plain white shades.  

I wanted to add something fun and geometric, and we already have circles going on with the hanging lanterns, so I wanted to contrast the round shapes by using straight lines.  I already knew I wanted to spray paint them gold to repeat the bedroom's accent color.  Luckily, I had gold left over from the letters above our wedding pics, so I stuck some rubber bands on each base for an easy way to add some lines and rearranged them till I was happy with the design of the front sides of each lamp.

Here's after the gold spray!  (Patrick was kind to give in to the gold...he isn't a big fan.  I love it in small doses; every room needs some bling!)  I wanted to make the lines interesting, so I used wide and thin rubber bands, but the thin ones didn't work as well...the paint kinda seeped under them.  I ended up touching up some of the lines later with a trusty Sharpie.  Maybe I shoulda just Sharpied in the first place...ah well, ya live and ya learn! :)

And, here's a glamour shot of the finished product:

What a pair!  Soulmates, I tell you!

Remember the DIY Love Song Pillow tutorial?
I am at peace.  *happy sigh*  And, hallelujah, no more hunting, buying, and returning lamps!  The quest is complete!

Except, now I see that we could really do with a different living room lamp...  :)   

How about you, friends?  Do you like the final product?  And, have you ever been obsessive with a home decor quest?  (Please tell me I'm not alone!)

PS. I'm linking up this post to the "Do Tell Thursday Link Party!"  Check it out!  There are tons of crafty projects to oogle.. :)

August 12, 2014

SOM Posts Round-Up!

By Amy

Friends!  I loved hosting the give-aways!  (The 2nd give-away is still open, so go enter if you haven't!)  I have always shied away from give-aways; sometimes they seem like they're bribing people for "Likes"...and I want people to "Like" my blog because they actually like my blog, ya know?  But it actually was a really fun way to thank YOU for reading and being a part of SOM!  It also proved to be a great way to bring in new to you new swaggin ladies, hopefully even if you just came for the give-away, you stay for the friends and content and cool stories we share! :)

An important goal of this blog is to hear from MANY ladies, so the more the better!  I love to be provide a platform for all of you who have a story to tell or ideas to share, but don't necessarily want to start your own blog.  Cause everyone deserves to be heard! :)  So, check out the "Wanna Contribute?" tab on the side of this blog for the deets so YOU can be the next contributor! :)  (Do it! ...I'm whispering this while sweeping my hand in front of your face like a Jedi...)
Did it work?  Haha... :)
If you'd rather not write a post, that's fine too, just enjoy reading and add a comment now and then! :)

Since this is the end of the (said with a big echo-y voice) BLOGIVERSARY BONANZA EXTRAVAGANZA, today I am posting a round-up of SOM posts from the past year and a half...many are by me since I post most often, but there's also a lot of awesome posts by guest contributors.  I chose posts that have a high number of views and I feel capture the essence of what SOM is about.  This was SOO hard to narrow down, cause I feel like every single guest post I've received is a gift and has been a privilege to share.  Sincerely THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed!  I love every one, but alas, there wasn't enough room to share them all.

SO, check out the topics that interest you and enjoy! :)

Also.  I am going to ask a cheeky favor from you: in honor of the BLOGIVERSARY BONANZA EXTRAVAGANZA please Share SOM with your friends!  You can choose a specific post from this list to Share or just do a general shout-out about the blog to all of your friends.  You also could tag specific ladies who you think would appreciate being part of our conversations!  When you share, be sure to let your Facebook peeps know what you like about SOM and why they should check it out, or they will just scroll on by!  :)

*BTW, I feel pretty shameless asking you to do this, but I've always done my best to bring you good content and put lots of work, time, and heart into this little bloggy, so I am proud of it!  Plus, there are so many awesome women who've contributed incredible posts that need to be shared--that gives me a boost of motivation to be cheeky enough to ask you to spread the word!*

In conclusion, if you Share SOM and/or a post from SOM, all your wildest dreams will come true.  (Fact.)  Plus, I will be sooo grateful and love you forever!  :)  So Share, Pin, and/or Google + away!

Adjusting to becoming a Momma (since that's what brought about this blog):
A perspective from a stay-at-home momma: I'm a Quitter (Sarah)
Stinkin Hard Turns Into Super Cool: My First Year as a Momma (Amy)
Seriously? Enjoy Every Minute? (Amy)

Fitness and Beauty:
Weight Loss Tips from A Lazy Momma (Katie)
The Life of An International Super Model (Andrea)
Only Skin Deep (Amy)

A raw and honest post about infertility:
To My Friend Battling Infertility (Hannah T.)

Love and Relationships:
How to Be Mistaken as a Newlywed Ten Years Later (Zoie)
An amazing post about divorce: From Heaven to Hell--Giving Love a Second Chance (Kendra)
Our Ridiculous (But Lovely) Love Story (Amy)

Pregnancy and Newborns:
Breaking into the Baby Making Business (Kristina)
Breast is Best But Starving is Worst (Amy)
18 Signs that you Might Be Over 18 Months Pregnant (Amy)

Postpartum Depression:
My Journey: Depression (Kara)
When The Fog Lifted (Maddie)

Sunday Thoughts: Your Spouse Can't Heal You (Amy)
God Sees YOU, Momma (Amy)

Home Decor:
Home Stylin': Sherie's Mid-Century/Modern Home (Sherie)
A Tale of Two Dressers (Amy)
Quick and Easy Craft: Love Song Pillow (Amy)

Living with/overcoming health problems:
Just When I Think I Can't, I Can! (Megan)
Trials, Blessings, Cancer (Hannah P.)
I Almost Died From Leg Obesity (Amy)

What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say (Tracy)
Finding Healing and Hope: Sherie's Experience Having a Stillborn Baby (Sherie)

Family Life:
Southernized (Erica)
Is Foster Care Right For Your Family? (Delilah)
Parents of the World, Take Back Your Friday Nights! (Sherie)
The Thriftiest Man Alive: My Dear Old Dad (Amy)

Not to put you on the spot, but.......did you share?!
If so, THANK YOU! ...and HERE'S A HUG! 

This was back in my college days. :)
If not...scroll back up to that Jedi so he can use his mind trick on you again, "You WILL share this blog." ha! :)  Sharing is Caring!

Alrighty friends!  Have a fabulous week, and hopefully when we talk again, I'll have a brand new little baby!!!  I feel HUGE...I'm about ready to jog some laps and chug some caster oil to get this little babe a movin'!  Ha!

August 8, 2014

Blogiversary Give-Away Number 2!

By Amy

Wow, I stink at posting more than once a week.  Obviously, since I didn't post this yesterday. :)

I hope that you saw the MayBee Blanket give-away!  If not, go enter!  I am so excited for one of you to win!!! :)  It will close on Saturday evening, and then the winner will be randomly picked.  ANd now, I have a second give-away to thank you awesome readers for being part of SOM!

I love to read, so I thought I'd give away two books I read and LOVED this summer.

Carry On, Warrior and The Fault in Our Stars.

These two books are amazing and both literally made me lol and wol. (weep out loud...aka "the ugly cry".)  If you haven't read them, now is your chance to win them for yourself!  And, if you've already read either of them, then you know both of these are good enough that you gotta have your own copies. :)  

Carry On, Warrior is an amazing memoir that I reviewed a little while back--here's the post about it so you can check it out.  It was mind and soul expanding in so many ways, and just so freakin funny!  I felt like I was a warrior too after reading this book--it made me more ok and even excited to be me, even though I am so imperfect.

Fault in Our Stars is about two teenagers who fall in love--but both are battling cancer.  It is so witty and hilarious and gut-wrenchingly sad--but in a way that doesn't make you want to jump off a cliff,  more of the way that makes you want to bawl and hug close those that you love.  (Yes, they will be weirded out.)  Somehow, this book was able to be tragic, yet hopeful/joyful at the same time.  It left me in a book hangover for like a full day. :)

Guys, I loved these books and I love you, so naturally, I wish I could give all of you copies of these books! Alas, I cannot.  (Thankfully Carry On, Warrior was donated to me by the author to be given away to one of my readers.  Thank you, Glennon!)

To Enter this give-away, leave a comment below telling me a book YOU love! :)

The winner will be chosen randomly by the number of their comment.  Only one comment per person please. :)  This give-away will close on Wednesday of next week.  :)

You guys are awesome! :)

August 6, 2014

MayBee Blanket Give-Away!!!

By Amy

Oh my goodness, I planned on posting this awesome give-away yesterday, but I ended up spending the day at my mom's house.  Then when my son and I got home late in the evening, I was ready to write the post...but my husband had rented Divergent from Redbox (I've been so antsy to see it!) and made desert!  Um, I am not an idiot, therefore when my husband does something truly thoughtful, I'm not about to say, "Oh, sorry, but I need to go be a hermit with my laptop--thanks, but no thanks." No way. So, we put our son to bed, cuddled on the couch and watched a movie!  :)  Then today, I spent most of the day traveling to my friend's wedding, went to a baby shower, and now I am home.  Whew.

So, without further delay, here's the give-away!

My great-aunt Mabel runs her own Etsy shop called MayBee Blankets.

She specializes in making soft, adorable baby blankets, but also makes other sizes, including adult sized blankets.  Good heck, if I had an adult sized one, I would pretty much become like Linus and drag it around with me all day with me.  Come winter, I'd probably just hibernate in it's soft gloriousness and watch Netflix all day.  Sounds fabulous, huh? :)

She has a perfect 5 star rating on her reviews on Etsy, so you know she makes quality blankets.  I am so happy that she was willing to give a baby blanket away to one of you for SOM's Blogiversary week!

OH, and the best part?  If you win, YOU get to pick the blanket, and there are TONS of awesome combinations of fabric and minky colors.  Check it out! :)

I would love this one for my toddler!  He has a sock monkey that he ADORES.

I love the simple navy blue with the white minky.  So classy!  If I ever have a girl, her room will be navy with hot pink, and this blanket would be my choice! :)  Actually, it would be great for a boy too!

Don't they look so soft and cozy to wrap a sweet little babe in!?  I love the variety...there are TONS of other choices in her shop.  There are options like cartoon characters for the front fabric, but personally I really appreciate how she has so many options that aren't cartoony...makes for a more modern nursery. So, if you're like me, and you don't necessarily want Buzz Lightyear or Barbie decor in a nursery or kid's room, the other options are perfect!  :)

I also love how these blankets would make such a unique, thoughtful gift for any friend, neighbor, or family member who is having a baby.  So, if you don't have your own baby right now, you could win an awesome gift! :)

Here's Mabel's story on how she began making these cozy blankets...

"My daughter-in-law introduced me to a wonderful fabric called Minky. I loved the look, and especially the feel of the fabric, so I started making blankets for my grandkids.  (I have been sewing for 44 years.)  Other people saw them, touched them, and wanted their own, so I made them blankets too! In 2010-2011 I was out of work for 11 months with Ovarian cancer.  I went through surgery twice and Chemo.  It was scary and physically draining, but making these blankets was my "healing therapy". Well, more and more people were asking me to make them a blanket, so I started my own business making baby blankets!  Then people asked me if I did adult size, so I started making adult blankets also. Currently I am working as a full-time Registered Nurse, but as I approach retirement, I'm happy to have this business to keep me busy.  I love all the blankets I make.  They are my babies.  Each blanket is handmade by me, especially for you."

To enter follow these steps:

-Like "Swag On, Momma!" on Facebook. (If you haven't yet...)
-Like "MayBee Blankets" on Facebook.
-Then, leave a comment below saying which blanket you would choose!

Again, you can peruse all the options in the MayBee Blankets Etsy shop.  So many great combinations!

The winner will be chosen randomly by their comment number through "".  Only one comment per person! :)  This give-away will close Saturday at 10:00 pm.

Thanks friends!  Check back tomorrow with some more Blogiversary partyin'!

UPDATE!  This Give-Away has ended. Thanks to all who participated! :)

August 4, 2014

Oh Yes, SOM...We Gonna Party Like it's Your Birthday!

By Amy

I've got some good news, friends....drum roll please.....

Cymbal Crash!

Ok, ok, soooo we are technically celebrating Swag On, Momma's One and a half year birthday.

I planned on celebrating on SOM's actual one year "blogiversary" (ha, so cheesy a word!) back in mid-January, but then, I suddenly landed myself in the hospital with a blood clot.  Besides that painful/scary ordeal, I was pregnant and in my first trimester and felt like crap.  Big time.  So, with the addition of the blood clot, any personal plans and ambitions went to pot for a few weeks.  Hence, I missed it the silly rite of passage for bloggers: The Blogiversary.

But!  August marks a year and a half of SOM; why not still celebrate!?

I took this pic back in the early days of SOM!
Now, I know a Blogiversary may seem a little over-the-top, (especially to non-bloggers) and just a good excuse to re-share "oldie, but goodie" posts that are hidden back in the archive, (haha, I will totally be doing that, I gotta admit!) but for me, this is a pretty big accomplishment!  I, a very scatter-brained, A.D.D. type of person, followed through with a project/idea and kept this blog a runnin for over a year!  Miracle! :)  So, that is worth celebrating!  Plus, SOM has come a long way, and I am proud of the progress.

Also, I've been so honored and humbled to share the words of so many amazing guest-posters.  Many stories have brought me to tears, or made me laugh till I cried, or just choked me up with happiness. (Can you tell I'm a crier? Ha!)  I am grateful and awed by these ladies who have shared their hearts with us, as well as your incredible responses through comments, "Likes" and "Shares."  I am excited to re-share some of these guest-posts again, in case you missed them the first time around!

Plus, the support and love you've shown me when I share my thoughts with you has meant the world. The work and time I've put into this blog has been so worthwhile, even though I was freakin' intimidated to start this thingy.  And, I plan to continue to bring you great content, share your stories, and tell some of my own!  It brings me a lot of joy to connect with you.  :)

SO, let's party it up this week, smash my laptop into a chocolate cake (that's the norm for first birthdays, right?) and I'll give away some swag! :)  There will be a new post every day this week through Friday, (don't worry, they will be short, haha) so keep checkin back!  (Unless my water breaks and I end up in the hospital birthing a baby...then, we'll shoot for the two year Blogiversary instead.  Ha!)

Tomorrow, I'll be hosting an awesome give-away that I am excited about!  A little's a snuggly, adorable give-away!  (Sorry, not a new puppy.  Animals don't ship well.)

Love you, friends!

July 30, 2014

18 Signs that You May Be Over 8 Months Pregnant...

By Amy 

(First of all, for those who find it painful to read about pregnancy because you'd give anything to be pregnant yourself, or for those who aren't to the "having kids" stage yet and just find it uninteresting, please ignore this post.)

Friends, please know that I truly am so grateful to be pregnant and expecting my second child! However, there are some strange, uncomfortable, and ridiculously funny parts of being THIS pregnant that I don't want to forget, so please forgive me for talking about the less-than-enjoyable aspects of being big with child.  Ya know, later it gets all hazy and then you're the 70-year-old lady in the grocery store saying, "Oh, enjoy EVERY moment!" to young moms and soon to be moms, making them feel like crap for all the many moments that they definitely do NOT enjoy.  (I mean, who enjoys puking for crying out loud?)

But...anyway, I hope you can relate to some of the weirdness!  :)

1. You grunt and groan.  EVERY TIME YOU BEND DOWN.  Actually, I'm starting to grunt for most any movement I force my body to make.  It's probably really attractive.

2. Getting out of's like a darn Olympic feat.  I use a strange ritual of rocking for momentum, planting my foot against the bedroom wall for leverage, all accompanied guessed it...more grunting.  I'm pretty sure my body still contains abs...somewhere in there.

3. You feel like you have a HEATER inside of you! (Maybe this is just cause I'm hugely pregnant during the hottest months of the year.  Excellent planning, huh?) Seriously, it's pathetic... I heat stroke in like 3 minutes of standing in the sun.  My poor child.  I used to take him to the park.  Now I'm parked in front of the air conditioner.  The other night, I woke up to my husband all cuddled up to me in bed cause he was freezing!  Oops, maybe that was my fault for blasting our window air conditioner all night in our bedroom on high.  Oh, and even with that, I STILL had my arm and legs out of the covers, cause I was too hot.  Ha!

4. When you see a small space you have to fit through, and you turn sideways...except, that doesn't make you any smaller and now you are now wedged between two objects.  You feel like a fool.  (Even more awkward when you are trying to move past someone and you don't realize how big you are, and you belly bump them!  Ha!)

5. You are being forcibly beat up from the inside.  Sometimes, the jabs and pushes are so painful they actually take my breath away!  I mean, why the anger, child?!  I am feeding you plenty! (ask my husband, he can vouch for that!)  Heck, I'm even giving you the good brand of ice cream sandwiches, not the store brand stuff!  You should be lovingly massaging me in gratitude! ....or something like that. :)

6. Your skin is AMAZING!  I don't know if you experience this but, during my 2nd and 3rd trimester my skin is glowing and clear, and I feel like I'm in a Neutrogena commercial!  And I constantly am grateful, because this is a freakin miracle for me!  Usually my skin is super crappy--like 14-year-old, crappy.  (Remember when we talked about skin woes and other insecurities about our bodies?)

7. When something falls on the floor and you know you have to bend down to retrieve it, you're irrationally angry about it.  Like, full-on rage.  I usually yell, "Are you freakin kidding me!"...or something of that nature.

8. When you try to go for a walk, you feel like a bowling ball is trying to push out of your nether regions.

9. You never have to suck in or feel self-conscious in a tight shirt, cause...there's a baby in that big gut!  Wahoo!!  Heck, the bigger your belly looks, the cuter!  So grab those cinnamon rolls, oreos, and some cheesey, sour-cream covered enchiladas and stuff yo face!!!  (Disclaimer: do yourself a not eat like this your whole pregnancy, or you will regret it later!  It's a lot easier to lose 25 pounds, then 50 pounds.)

10. You are acquiring some impressive cankles along with some killer tiger stripes on your belly.  And, um, how can stretch marks be worse with #2?!  I've already stretched out once for heaven sake!  And, I haven't exceeded the weight gain I had with my first! (...Yet! ha!)  Oh well.  I guess I need to throw out my bikinis. (Yeah...that's sarcasm.)  You may even hit the jackpot and develop some beautifuly purple varicose veins on your legs!  Time to sport the compression socks, sistah!

11. Your body seems to think that to birth a child, you must gain a certain amount of fat in the love handle region.  Like it is URGENTLY necessary.  Oh, and for me, I think that I am carrying another baby in each boob.  They are getting awkwardly big.  It's pretty bad when the only time you don't show accidental cleavage is when you're in a turtleneck.  And, let me tell you, it is WAYYYY too blasted hot for a turtleneck.  (See #3)

12. Your digestion SUCKS.  (I'll spare you details.)

13. So does your bladder control.  (It's gone, just like your dignity.  Pray you don't develop a bad cough or have a sneezing attack in public.)

14. And...your patience sucks too.  Which is understandable for anyone who generally is feeling uncomfortable, tired, and/or overheated.  Oy, it's not easy parenting a toddler when you have no energy.  Sometimes I just start crying when he's throwing a fit and I'm desperately trying to wrestle him into his dang shoes, and of course we are late for something, and I just am just done!  Then he feels bad when I cry and wipes my tears and says, "Momma, you crying?  You need Fuzzy?" in his little sweet voice, and I can't be mad anymore.  (Fuzzy is his beloved blankie.)

15. You start to re-live some of that 1st tri stuff...extreme, overwhelming exhaustion, queasiness, and you are generally uncomfortable.

A good pregnancy moment...
A much more realistic pregnancy moment.  Thanks, Alyssa for taking this super flattering pic...ha!  
16. Your sleep is wretched--full of tossing and turning.  I try to have a positive attitude, but it's hard not to feel ornery while wearily shuffling to the bathroom to pee for the third time in one night.

17. You are nervous and super excited/antsy for labor and delivery.  Basically, you are SOOO ready for this baby to be safely out of you and placed into your arms!  I'm pretty sure that's how God gets us ready to have our babies.  Towards the end, even if we're terrified to give birth to and then be responsible for our own little human, (or learn how to take care of two!!) we feel so dang uncomfortable that we WANT that baby to come out!  Like, today.

This time around with baby numero dos, I am grateful to have this sweet awareness of what is to come.  I've actually experienced what it is like to love and care for my own child and watch him grow--it's not just an abstract idea this time.  And, even though I am terrified to do the infant stage again (it was a little traumatic with Hayden) I also know how worth it all the effort is!  I can't wait to have another little person to fill my heart and bring more joy into our little fam!  (Here are a couple pics capturing "Yep, it was all worth it." moments....)

Photo by Alyssa Graham

Photo by Alyssa Graham
Having love like this in my life make stretch marks and a belly that will never be quite the same seem like such insignificant sacrifices!  Big deal, ya know?  Oh and life isn't perfect--my son can throw some wicked fits and be very stubborn/sensitive--but the truth is, there are moments when my sweet son fills me with so much joy I feel like my heart's gonna burst and I kinda start crying!

Oh, which reminds me of another Sign That You May be Over 8 Months Pregnant:

18. You are irrationally and ridiculously emotional.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who cried multiple times in the Lego Movie.  I mean, they are animated freakin lego people!  Sheesh.

Ok, which ones did you totally agree with??  Which ones not so much?  What signs did I miss? And, if you didn't experience terrible bladder control...yeah, me neither.


Oh and don't forget...If you liked this post, Like/Share it with your pregnant and mom friends!  :) If you are new here to SOM, Welcome!!  Be sure to follow along through Blog Lovin, Facebook, Email, and/or Google Friend Connect (all buttons on the side)..whichever floats your boat!  We have a lot of fun around here. :)  You guys are the best!

Ps. Read Hayden's birth story here...I mean, if you're into that kind of stuff. :)

Pss. I am linking up this post to the Be.YOU.tiful Link party!  Check it out! :)

July 23, 2014

Raising a Child With a Severe Nut Allergy

Interview with Julie
Introduced by Amy

My sister, Julie is one of the people I look up to most.  She is such a good momma, sister, and friend! (Oh, and an insanely talented artist, can't forget that!)  I asked her to talk to us about her daughter's peanut allergy, because I think it's so important for others to understand.  Sometimes it's easy for us to roll our eyes or get impatient when we are asked to make accommodations for other kids, such as only taking certain kinds of snacks to nursery, daycare, school, a birthday party, etc.  I've even heard moms complaining on Facebook about these requests, and even hinting that the moms are being "over-the-top" or paranoid.  And, ya know what?  I totally get where they are coming from.  We all have our routines and it's hard to adapt or change, especially when we're dealing with picky kids and what they want to take to school for lunch.  Plus, sometimes it's just plain tricky to figure out how to avoid certain ingredients when making something to take to a party or potluck!

But, my perspective has changed since I've watched my sister and her family adjust to dealing with a severe food allergy.  It's kinda crazy, since these kind of allergies are to products that are so commonplace in most of our homes.  Yet, this everyday product is deadly to their child.  I found it interesting to hear my sister's experience--I am amazed by how vigilant they have to be with their daughter.  It definitely causes you to feel more compassion for these children and their families.  Here are her thoughts!

Julie's family!
Ok, Julie, who in your family has the peanut allergy?

My 4 year old daughter, Emily.

Julie with Emily
So what makes a peanut allergy so serious? 

A peanut allergy is one of the most severe.  You go into anaphylactic shock, which is where the person's airways swell, cutting off their breathing, and their body goes into shock.  They break out in hives and their blood pressure drops.  Basically, your body shuts down--your heart is slowing and your airway closes so you can't breath.  Without an epinephrine shot (epi-pen) to re-start your nervous system, you will die.

Yikes!  So, how did you find out your daughter had this allergy?

A little while after she turned one (they recommend you wait till one-year-old to feed a baby peanut butter) I gave Emily a piece of a peanut butter sandwich to try, not thinking much of it.  Suddenly, she went bright red and started screaming.  She stayed swollen and puffy around her mouth and eyes--it looked like she had been stung by a bee on her face.  I took her in to be tested by an allergist, and she is allergic to all tree nuts, like peanuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.

When we found this out, I cleaned and vacuumed my entire house well, vacuumed under everything, including the couches and the car floors and seats so I knew there wasn't any nuts or crumbs from something with nuts in it.

How does having a child with a nut allergy affect your everyday life?

I keep an epi-pen in my purse at all times.  Every time I have a babysitter, I show them how to use it, and leave it on the kitchen counter just in case.  I have a paper with an action plan and phone numbers to call according to the level of the symptoms/exposure.  Once the epi-pen is given, they have to go to the ER, because it can't solve the issue, it just gives you a little time.

I have to read every label.  We have to be so careful, we can't even have products manufactured in a plant which also processes nuts, because of the risk.  I take other food and treats with us wherever we go, cause I can't risk her eating food at someone else's house.  I try to take yummy things that she likes, so she doesn't feel like she's always left out when others have treats that she can't have.  When we have a family party, I email everyone beforehand to remind them not to put any nut products in any food that they bring, since Emily will be there.  Everyone is great about it, and I can enjoy the party knowing my daughter is safe.

What can others do that is helpful?

Be understanding.  If you aren't sure about a certain product being ok, bring the labels so that the mom can read the ingredient list.

What would you say to other moms of kids who deal with this?

If you have reason to think your child might have a nut allergy, or any other allergies, go to an allergist and have them tested.  That's much better than finding out the hard way.

Ok, I have to ask: How do you not live in constant fear?

When I found out that Emily had this allergy, I found support.  I found other moms who have children with peanut allergies and asked them the hard questions to prepare myself.  That's what I would tell other moms in my situation to do.  Ask them about different scenarios, like when they've been in an ambulance, when they've had to rush to the ER, and then you can plan ahead.  You can't freak out in an emergency--it's so important that you are calm so you can act quickly.  You want to be able to be the calm mom in a moment of crisis.  Just prepare and prevent and be careful.  I keep the epi-pen near her at all times.

The most dangerous time for a child with a nut allergy is during their teenage years.  They are expected to carry their epi-pen with them and sometimes they forget.  Plus, they are risk takers and sometimes impulsive or just absent-minded.  Mistakes can happen so fast, so they have to have their epi-pen with them.  There was a teenage boy with a nut allergy in Utah who recently died because he absently grabbed a handful of pretzels and popped them in his mouth, not realising that their were nuts in the mix.  He spit it out immediately, but his body was already reacting...Since he didn't have his epi-pen with him, he went into shock and died before anyone could do anything.  But, my doctor has seen epi-pens save lives, so we have to teach our kids how important it is to be aware of what they eat and to always have their epi-pen.

Emily and my son hunting for Easter eggs at Grandma's house!  Of course, my sister carefully chose the right candy for the eggs...lots of jellybeans and smarties!
Once you've done all you can to be prepared for an emergency, you try not to worry and just keep living life!  :)


Wow, pretty crazy, huh?  Can you imagine if people kept cyanide or arsenic accessible in their cupboards, on their counters, and in their kids lunch boxes?  I mean, that is extreme, but for a child with a severe allergy to a food, that food is just as deadly.  I mean, a 15-year-old girl from Canada died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten a peanut butter sandwich hours earlier!  It can be that severe.

Please don't think I'm trying to say that we should ban every product that someone could be allergic too...that isn't realistic or fair or even possible.  But, I am saying, it's good to think about the perspective of others.

So, next time you feel annoyed when you are asked not to bring a certain food to a classroom or party, maybe you could think of this: if you saw another person's kid hanging over a cliff, screaming for help, how fast would you run to pull them to safety?  You'd do it in a heart beat.  It's not even a question, huh?  And, most of us would put our own life in danger to save a toddler from an oncoming car.

Well, when someone asks us to not put peanut butter in any treats that are given to the class, it's pretty much the same thing.  We are saving a life.  Why is that such an inconvenience, when we would do SO much more in another circumstance to save a child?  So, please remember compassion.  These families aren't trying to be anal or too protective, just like you aren't being anal or too protective when you don't let your toddler play in a busy street.  It's a parent's job to protect their child from harm.  These parents just have to worry about an extra danger that most of us don't.

Ok, Ok, I'll get off my soap box now!  :)  Sorry, I just love my sweet little niece so much, and the thought of harm ever coming to her makes me sick.  I just hope that we can all support the kids, mommas, and families affected by severe allergies.  It isn't easy for them, but we can ease their burden by being kind and helpful, and looking out for their child, like we would protect our own from harm.

How about you, friends?  Do you or anyone in your family have a severe allergy?  What precautions do you take?  What is the hardest part?  How can others support you?  (I am allergic to Nitrous Oxide--aka Laughing Gas--and I found out when I ended up in the emergency room when they tried to take my wisdom teeth out!  It was so random and unexpected!  I was puking, and quit breathing like 5 times before they got me to the ER...pretty freaky!)

If you appreciated this post, please LIKE/SHARE!  Also, if you know of anyone who is has a child with a nut allergy or other severe allergy, please pass this on to them!  It can mean so much just knowing that you're not alone. :)

July 17, 2014

I Survived Camping with a Toddler

By Amy

FRIENDS.  After a week of being M.I.A. from the blog I have returned.  (You were waiting all week by your computer, huh!?) :)  This was the first time since the beginning of SOM that I didn't post at least once in a week.  And, let me say, I missed you!  I love your input, stories, and just the coolness that is you.  It means so much to me to be able to Stop, Collaborate and Listen with awesome ladies.  To be heard and validated feels good.  Plus, everytime I get to share a guest posts, I get to help YOU be heard too!  :)  Yep, I missed this cool little space on the internet. :)

So, let me tell you the cause of my MIA.

I attempted the insane: I went camping with a toddler.  

Many of you may be rolling your eyes right now, thinking: "Big whoop, camping with a toddler is no big deal.  In fact, I climbed Everest, carrying my 3-day-old infant in a sling."

If this is you, just know that you blow my mind, and that I am not as cool as you.  I mean, I'm not this ultra pampered girl who is scared of nature...nope--I love hiking and the great outdoors, and I am definitely more comfortable in the country than in the city, but...I have never loved sleeping in nature.  Sad, I know!  What kind of Idaho girl isn't a fan of camping!?  Well, it's simple really.  I like quick access to a toilet at all times (I have IBS), I like a sink so I can take out my contacts, brush my teeth, and wash my hands and face in WARM running water, I like to sleep comfortably, I like to feel clean.  I love day trips in nature, but at night, I crave the security and routine of home.  Oh, and I really don't like to be cold.

But, the fact that I truly do love the campfire and the songs and uninterrupted time with family away from the bustle of normal life usually lure me to the campground despite the physical drawbacks of camping.

But, with a toddler?

I gotta admit, I was quite intimidated about camping 12 hours away, with my husband's family, 34 weeks pregnant, with a 2 year old.

I worried a little about my own physical discomfort being this preg (trying to sleep well on a cot, having to run to an outhouse all through the night, the long trip to get to Washington, and just generally being exhausted at this point in my pregnancy....and HELLO!? what if I GO INTO LABOR IN THE WILDERNESS!?!?!)

But, I figured I'd be fine.  However, I really worried about my son--who takes comfort in his normal routine--becoming an emotional basketcase.  So many things could go so horribly wrong: What if he wakes up all through the night cause he's not used to sleeping in a tent and we are all MISERABLE?  What if he falls in the fire?  What if he has a blow-out or pukes in the middle of the night and we can't just plop him in the tub then switch his sheets?  What if he throws insane tantrums like he sometimes does at home, and the whole freakin campground can hear him and I look like the world's most incompetent mother in front of my husband's entire extended fam?  What if he runs off and gets lost?  What if he won't sleep past 5 cause the sun comes up early and he's not in his bedroom with dark curtains?  What if it's too noisy/bright for him to take naps so he's a cranky mess?  What if he eats poisonous berries?  What if a bear, or some hairy camping hippy, steals him in the night?  (I know, I know, my fears were getting pretty out of hand by this point.)

But, I wanted to support my husband and I knew how much he would love to go to this reunion.  Plus, I genuinely enjoy his family, so I wanted to go too!  I was just nervous about how Hayden would do and if it would really suck for me camping and traveling during my third trimester.

So, I told my husband that if I could fly, I was game for this trip.  Ha, I know that makes me sound like such a prissy diva, but you may remember a few months ago I had a pretty serious blood clot in my leg, and ended up in the hospital.  I am on blood thinner shots which I've injected in my belly twice a day since then, and I didn't feel good about the risk of sitting in a car for 12+ hours.  (Long car rides can cause blood clots for pregnant women!) It just seemed unwise, since I already got a clot during my pregnancy.  My doctor said flying was a much better option.  (2 hours vs. 12!)  So, Patty got me the tickets!

Oh, AND....of course I was just getting over the sinus infection from H.E. Double Hockeysticks right before the trip.

But, ya know what?  The trip went surprisingly well!  We had a ton of fun with Patrick's family, and the camping was even pretty good!  Luckily, they chose a rockin campsite...there was a big bathroom with hot showers and flushing toilets.  Heaven!!!

I mean, we did have a couple rough patches.  One night I had to run to the bathroom four times with a flashlight.  Hayden threw some massive fits, (I had to give him quite a few time-outs in our tent, and once we even sat in the car cause he wouldn't stop screaming!) but he also had a blast playing with cousins and rooting around in the sand and dirt.  (He was soooo filthy.  Haha!)  He did wake up crying with a crazy, nasty blow-out at 5 a.m. the first morning (I just cleaned him up best I could with a bunch of wipes and changed his pjs) and then he didn't go back to sleep after that (he climbed out of his playpen and smeared my lotion all over the tent floor while Patrick and I were desperately trying to get a bit more sleep.)  Oh, and he freakin lost it at the beach after a couple hours, cause he was cold, wet, and covered in sand.  And he started puking during the family dinner of all my mother-in-law's family, so I hung out with him in the bathroom close to the toilet for a while.

But, despite my worries and a couple crappy parts, it was a really awesome week!  I am really glad we went.  It was so good to be with my hub's family, who live far enough away that we don't get to see them very often.  We laughed our bums off, ate delicious food, played games, and just enjoyed being together.  I got to spend time with my sis-in-law, Alyssa and meet her boyfriend, AND, she took beautiful family and maternity pics for us!  (She's a rockin photographer...if you live in the Portland area, seriously, she is so good!)  I got to play with my son on the beach and he was blown away by the "big, big water!"  :)  We got to stay a few days with Patrick's Aunt Jen and Uncle Brett who were so fun and hospitable, we talked waaay too late around the campfire with his Aunt Anne and Uncle Garth who we love (they are super close in age to us!) and we got to spend time with my hub's hilarious and cool best-friend-since-elementary-school Brandon.

Heavenly Father answered my prayers by blessing me to get healthy just in time for the trip and helping us all to be safe.  Hayden did well in the car with my mother-in-law and teenage bros-in-law, (Thanks to an I-Pad loaded with Daniel Tiger episodes, ha!) and my husband and his dad were safe on their motorcycles.  And, I slept amazingly on my cot with the thickest sleeping pad in the world, which Aunt Jen let me borrow.  And, besides a couple hours where I felt really crappy, (the heat really got to me and I think I became dehydrated) I felt great the whole week.

And, best of all, I didn't have to birth a baby in the woods!  Yay!  :)

So, I let my phone go dead, I only got on my laptop once, and enjoyed a fabulous trip. :)

But, enough talk...I'll just show you!  Here are pics for days...I took a couple, but most are Alyssa's.

Alyssa, my momma-in-law, and I!

Football on the beach!

Haha, to be realistic, I had to include a cranky moment.  

Riding a scooter with Papa! (My dad-in-law)

I love this one! :)  My little Fam!!!
I even got to spend two days with my sisters after flying into Salt Lake City, while my husband, my son, and his fam drove home.  It was so nice to laugh, talk, and be with them! (We missed you, Laura!)  We also went to Ikea, and I spent too much was awesome. :)  I also found that one day away from my son is super relaxing and carefree, but the second day sucks and all I want is to hold and cuddle my little babe!

Then, after driving back from Salt Lake to my Idaho town, it was so fun to reunite with my hot hubby and sweet son, be in our home again, and back to our happy little routine of life.

...Along with loads of unpacking and laundry.  :)

So friends, have you ever braved camping or taking a lot trip with a toddler?  Good experience?  Bad experience?  I'd love to hear!  :)   Any great tips or advice for making travel with little kiddios successful?  (Ha, my uncle recommends Benadryl for long car rides...)