Saturday, May 25, 2013

Exploration Place

After spending some time out at the cemetery, the four of us went to lunch and then headed to Exploration Place. Abigail has gotten to the age where she'll ride in her stroller and you can take her more places. We had an absolutely fabulous day. It was opening day for the traveling dinosaur exhibit. Olivia loved it. I've taken her to Exploration Place a few times since she was a baby and each time she enjoys it more.

They were all animatronics, so they moved and roared. Once Olivia realized that they weren't really alive, she loved them.

Here is the castle part. Olivia loves this. There are stairs and ramps and rooms all throughout it. She shouted," This is the funnest fun I've ever had!!"

Then off to the flight section where we flew some planes.

Abigail was an angel the entire time. Hours of just smile after smile.

You can pick your exhibits, you can pick your nose, but you shouldn't pick your exhibit's nose. ;-)

Here's the beautiful city I've always called home.

Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Happy Memorial Day

Here I am with my three babies.

It was Abigail's first trip out to the cemetery. Olivia has become so comfortable at the cemetery, it almost makes me sad. It's a weird emotion.

My sweet Grandpa Pink. He's just a short walk from Logan.

May you all have a blessed Memorial Day Weekend.

Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 24, 2013

Olivia’s Story

Olivia is always telling extravagant stories.  So today I decided to record her telling her story.  Then, I watched the video back and wrote the story down.  She drew pictures to illustrate the story and I’m going to print it out and make it into a book for her. LOL! So, without further ado. . .here is her first published story entitled ‘Lupid Tupid"’ My goodness. . .prepare to laugh!


Once upon a time in a dark house there was a blue balloon and there was a blue ball and a purple ball and a purple balloon and they went on a fun adventure. They climbed up a tree and it kind of poked them so both of them got a hole in them. The balls got smaller and smaller. No, the balls stayed their same size, the balloons got smaller.

“What’s happening to me, guys?”

“We poked ourselves and got holes in ourselves.”

“Why did you get holes in you?’

“Cuz we poked ourselves.

“So, that’s why you got holes in you.”

So, they went on big adventure and they found a spooky rock.

They got to a hole, but it was just too big for them to fit in. Then, they found another one and they went in there and it was really dark. So, they went a little farther where the light grew deeper. Then there was a little light shining on the left. I mean on the right. No, the left. And they saw the light on the left. So, they went on the left. They saw a big park with a fun slide. So, they slid down the slide. Then there was a mean man. The blue balloon and purple balloon and blue ball and purple ball didn’t know what to say. They ran as fast as they could to get out of the cave. The man just had a sharp needle to nail something on the wall, not to pop them! He wasn’t a mean man after all. The End

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Lease On Life

About a month ago I started on these new all natural supplements. The results have been amazing!! Let's see. . .I'm not even sure where to begin.

I didn't personally start them for weight loss, although people have seen amazing results with that. However, without even trying, I now weigh less than I did in college. . .12 years ago! And, remember, with Abigail I gained over 40 lbs. I had to buy new capris and shorts today because I need 2 sizes smaller than I had. It was getting embarrassing to wear saggy pants. I think these supplements are awesome for helping you lose weight, especially if you carry your weight around your middle like me. That goes along with insulin resistance/diabetes. Speaking of that, I ate some cookies that I bought for Olivia today. I don't eat cookies that often because of my blood sugar and doing so makes me feel awful afterwards. But, I did tonight and dreaded my blood sugar results. Two hours later, I felt fine and my blood sugar was 108!! 108!

Okay, now on to energy. Those who have been on this journey with me for the past 5 years know that I struggle immensely with fatigue. Awful. I now have these amazing little all natural energy pills. I can't say enough good things about them. Usually I have to stay away from any kind of stimulant because they worsen my restless legs. Not this.

Speaking of my restless legs, I have struggled with them for over 3 years. They are very severe for me. I haven't slept in 3 years without taking a medication for my legs. I've tried many nights unsuccessfully. One time I went a week without any meds and I didn't sleep for a week and ended up in the ER. A few weeks ago, I slept my first night in 3 years without taking any medication for my legs. I cried the next morning. I've gone a few more nights without any restless legs meds, but not every night yet. One reason is that I have been taking cold medicine and it always worsens my legs. But, I am expecting great improvement in the weeks to come.

When starting this, I was just hoping for improvement with either my blood sugar, energy or restlessness and it has helped all three.

I know some people believe diet and exercise to be the only way to go, but sometimes you are so far into a hole that you need a little help getting out. This works with a healthy diet and exercise. I just needed something to help get me to a level playing field. As soon as my broken toe heals, I'm hoping to start some kind of exercise routine. And, of course, diet is so important. I'm exploring gluten free diets, low carb or possibly paleo or the Eat To Live program. The juice that I drink has 22 super fruits in it in one serving. You couldn't get that daily in your diet.

I know how frustrating it is to not feel good and to not know exactly why. I know what it's like to feel completely on your own to figure it out. I would love to help you. If you would like more information, please email me at Just envision how great you could feel a month from now!

Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Just thought I'd share a picture of my sweet girl.  She loves balloons.  Even plain balloons.  She names them, draws faces on them and welcomes them to the family.  Poor Perry the balloon didn't make it a few weeks ago and had to be thrown away.  She tossed in a popped purple balloon too so that Perry would have a friend at the dump.  Only Olivia. :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer is almost upon us! We spent the afternoon at cousin Izzy's house. We used to spend most of our summer afternoons in their backyard. Feels so nice to be doing it again. And with Abigail and my new little niece/nephew we will be doing it for years to come!

Izzy and Abigail

The girls and Gus

And, we got Olivia's feeding therapy approved by insurance. What a hassle! The problem is that the place I want to take her has a long waiting list. I honestly don't think we'll need a lot of therapy. Just enough to get us on the right track. As so many micro preemie mommies have told me, people just don't understand how you have to teach a child to eat unless you've been there. Praying I can get her in this summer and see a difference before kindergarten.

And here are some random pictures that I haven't yet posted.

My beautiful baby

I love my girls!!

So big!

Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mommy/Daughter Day

Olivia and I spent the day just the two of us and I gotta say. . .it was a fabulous day! We had lunch at Bartelli's Pizzeria and then headed to one of her favorite parks a few towns over. Shortly after we arrived, another little girl came and the two became fast friends. Her name was Lilly and she is going to kindergarten next year too ( although in a different town.) They both even had two stuffed animals with them. LOL! Olivia isn't shy, but she usually sticks pretty close by me. Not today! Those two were off on their own adventure! I talked a bit with Lilly's mom who also has a little boy about Abigail's age. We figured we should go see what the girls were up to and this is what we found!!

YouTube Video

And by that time we figured we'd just let them have fun! It was actually quite a milestone for us because I'd never seen Olivia get quite that dirty and enjoy it!! We then walked over to the parents' house of my best friends growing up! Surprise! Can we have a towel? Olivia also got a Popsicle and a water. Then, we trekked back over to the park and by this time, Olivia smelled pretty bad. So, we drove to Walmart nearby and bought some new pants and a towel to put over her carseat. She literally had mud everywhere!! Then, we had ice cream at McDonalds before coming home and taking showers. Whew! What a fun, fun day! It would have been more enjoyable had this not happened yesterday:

Yep, broke my pinky toe. I was getting Abigail's boogie wipes and caught my toe on her recliner. Yeeeouch! I was down for a few minutes and Olivia was like," What do I do?" Man, being a stay at home mom is some dangerous work! It seriously shoots pain up my foot and my leg. I even had to pick up some Tylenol at Walmart while I was out. I'm just hoping I don't bump it on anything again soon.
Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 20, 2013

Eating and Oral Aversions

I am to a point where I really need someone’s help so if anyone is skilled in this area, please let me know.

Olivia was born, as you know, at 23 weeks.  She never had a g-tube and has been 100% orally fed since leaving the NICU.  But, it has been a struggle from the beginning.  More than 70% of premature children have a feeding disorder.  I have really begun to realize the extent of the struggle after watching Abigail eat so effortlessly.  I’ve known of this struggle all of her life and yet I could not get her doctor concerned.  Olivia has never surpassed the 1% on a growth chart, but she maintained her own line. . .until this past year.  I don’t know who can help me.  Therapists at her school cannot help because it doesn’t directly affect her education.  I’ve checked in with Heartspring and they simply left a message on our answering machine saying that she wouldn’t qualify.  I finally found a place who was confident that they could help, Erin Is Hope Foundation, and insurance would NOT cover it.  They said it had to be done by a medical professional and not a speech therapist.  Her doctor is the one that referred us to there!  So, that has been a big fight.  I’m reading all that I can on the subject, but I don’t really know what I’m truly dealing with.  She has oral aversions.  She chews on certain foods, but can’t swallow them.  Hours later, she will still be chewing on the same piece of meat.  Frankly, I’m thinking of going back to school to become a speech pathologist JUST so I can learn how to help my child eat.  I literally cannot find her the help that she needs.  I feel like she’s falling through the cracks.

Here is something interesting I’ve read:

My belief is, children eat the crunchy crackers and chips not just because they like them, but because they only have the skills to eat those foods. They eat those foods because they can breathe around them or they are successful. I don't necessarily think they love those crackers," she said.

In food chaining, the clinician put foods in an order and builds the child's oral motor skills. "We have to develop flexible oral-motor skills," Fraker said. "These kids literally do not know how to sequence the motor patterns to eat food of different textures. For example, with a challenging food like meat, you need to stabilize the bolus of food inside of the cheek, chew a piece off, and then swallow a portion of it and repeat. We teach the mechanics of eating different foods. I tell them, 'You drink soup differently than you eat a pretzel, mashed potatoes or a steak.' If you use the same pattern over and over with those foods, you'll gag, choke, and be unsuccessful."

Clinicians need to consider the sensory side of feeding. Take special note of a child's behaviors. Only 3-12 percent of children have a purely behavioral feeding disorder, yet over 90 percent of what people do to treat it is behavioral, she said. "You've got to build oral-motor and sensory skills, and you've got to get the body feeling well, or the child is going to say 'no.' It's not a behavioral 'no,' it's a 'No, my body can't handle this.”

I found this especially interesting since tonight, while eating beef and noodles, Olivia said, “Mom, I’m still eating this.  I don’t know how to swallow it.” Of course, her teacher sees no eating problems because all she eats at school are snacks like cookies, crackers, etc.  She knows how to eat all of that stuff.  It’s vegetables and meat that she really struggles with.  And when you don’t eat much, you don’t have much of an appetite either.  As a parent, I worry so much about her nutrition and giving her a well balanced diet when all she wants to eat are Pirate’s Booty cheese puffs and chocolate milk.  You want to see your child grow and thrive and be healthy!  Olivia is so skinny that any illness just terrifies me.  Most 2-3 year olds weigh more than she does.  But, it’s not just that she is small.  I was small.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I just know that she isn’t getting the nutrients and calories that she needs to grow.  I am the one that sees her eat every day.  So, if anyone can offer suggestions. . .books, websites, ways to get insurance to cover this, etc., I would be forever grateful.  Nothing is more frustrating as a parent than not being able to get your child the help that they need.  Thank you all so much for listening to my rant.  I want to help her so badly. . .and I don’t know how.

Oklahoma Tornadoes

Living in tornado alley all of my life. . . I feel a great sympathy for anyone in the path of a deadly tornado.  We were in the basement just yesterday under a tornado warning.  It looked as if it was heading straight for our city and somehow we were spared.

But those in Oklahoma today were not.  And what makes it even more heartbreaking is that elementary schools took a direct hit.  I remember as a child being terrified of having a tornado hit while at school.  So terrified that I would get stomach aches (real or not, I don’t know) anytime the sky was dark.  So, if there ever was a tornado warning at school, I was most likely in the nurse’s office.  Now, as a parent, I imagine my fears of having a child at school during a tornado would be 100 times worse.  I’m not sure what kind of storm shelters they had at those schools.  At mine growing up, we basically just sat in the hallway covering our heads with our hands.  We would have never survived a direct hit. In Kansas, we usually know a few days in advance when the potential for really severe weather is there.  I don’t think I could stop my mommy instincts from going to pick Olivia up from school once a tornado watch is issued.  

Living here all of my life, I’ve never seen a tornado.  I don’t look for them, of course, but I’ve never even had a really close call.  My anxiety over them has greatly decreased over the years, but it’s still important to always stay on top of what’s going on.  Will my luck ever run out? I hope not.  We just don’t know what each day holds.  But I pray for all of those affected by the storms.

6 Months

Can you believe that Abigail is 6 months old today? Wow. She is such a blessing and fills my heart with so much love. My girls mean the world to me.

She is 16 lbs which is the average weight on my pediatrician's growth hand out. She is almost sitting up independently. Still a little wobbly. I'm sure it's probably because I hold her so much. LOL! Love this girl!!

So, is this photo shoot over now? Haha!

Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vacation Tips–Guest Author

Please welcome Kendra Thornton as she shares her tips on traveling with children. 


Bio: Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!

Vacation Tips From One Mom To Another

While a mother's role can often be stressful, it is true that hard work renders family vacations that much more special. Nothing is more valuable than spending quality time with those you love, and nothing can undermine the importance of being prepared when you embark on your adventure together. Here are some tips I’ve gathered over the years, from one mom to another.

Tip One: As soon as you decide to take a trip, start two detailed lists. One of them should name all the things you need to pack or purchase; the other one should name your tasks, including stopping the mail from being delivered and scheduling the dog sitter.

These lists will not only alleviate your stress but also help you save money that can be better spent on making memories. There is nothing worse than realizing your daughters old bathing suit is too small the day of departure. Figure out if you want to bring snacks or buy your food there. Make sure you know weight limits on suitcases and additional baggage charges. All of these things can be a pain if you encounter them on your trip but are easily fixed by planning ahead. Think about investing in a smart phone app to help you organize all your packing necessities like Packing Pro for the iPhone or Packing List for the Android.

Tip Two: If you are going on a weekend trip, you should look into a hotel in the business district. These hotels make the majority of their money during the week and therefore, often have cheaper rates on the weekends. This is recommended for families with older kids as most of the entertainment will have to be found outside the hotel’s doors.

For those looking for the whole package, look into hotels and resorts that cater to children. Unless you’re staying at a hostel, you’re likely paying for more than your bed when you make your vacation reservations. In order to get the most out of these added expenses, research your options. During my career in the travel industry, I was able to stay at a variety of the top hotels in Honolulu. But when we were planning to take our children to Hawaii, I knew there would be different amenities to consider. For our family, the resort with the closest beach was ideal for easily transporting our three little ones.


Tip Three: Do not fail to remember that this vacation is for you, too. Make sure you schedule time to relax and have fun. This may mean taking a spa day with your pre-teen daughter or golfing with your son. But spending time without the kids can also be beneficial. Family vacations are a time for you to bond and explore together, but that doesn’t mean some time a part wont be good for the entire family.

Let a babysitter keep an eye on the kids so that you will have some time to do what interests you. If you’re staying at a resort, look into a kids club or supervised excursion opportunities for your children. If your husband is with you, try and schedule a date night. Vacations are for everyone to enjoy, so make sure there is a little something for each member for the family.

Tip Four: Make sure you pack extra outfits in your carry-on luggage. Whether you are flying, cruising or taking a road trip, anything can go wrong with your baggage. By packing extra clothing, you will not have to fritter away money purchasing new clothes with marked up price tags.

This is often overlooked for road trips as your luggage is in sight the entire time. However, pulling over and digging through your tightly packed trunk for a new t-shirt is a definite time drain. This is especially true if you’re traveling with infants or car sick little ones.


As we plan our first family vacation, these tips will come in handy.  In the comments section, please add your own personal advice for planning or traveling for your summer vacations!  The season is almost upon us!