Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moments in Time

As I was backing out of the driveway for work this morning, I looked up to see the face of my sweet boy in our picture window.  He was visibly upset and crying.  For a moment I thought, "I'm sure he's fine and Grandma will handle it" (which, by the way, I am confident she would have!).  However, I pulled right back up to the house and went inside.  He was upset because he wanted a minute to rock with Mommy before I left.  Something I promised him I would do but forgot about in the hustle of getting out the door.  I scooped him up and sat down in the recliner.  Within 30 seconds he was happy and smiling again.  We talked for a minute or so then he gave me a big hug and kiss.  He was once again content.  I left for work with a very happy heart.

It literally took only 2 minutes out of my day to reassure Landon of his importance in my life and in this world.  

Every single moment counts.  

Take those few extra minutes today to tell your kids you love them.  Give an extra hug.  Read one more book, even when it's time for bed.  Although you may think they are too small to remember, I promise those moments will remain in their hearts forever.   

This sweet face is the reason I couldn't leave the driveway!

Snuggles before getting out of bed this morning.  Love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Love 4 Landon Foundation

As many of you know, our son Landon was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and hospitalized for 3 weeks last year and for 2 more weeks the beginning of this year.  You can read more about some of that by clicking HEREHEREHEREHEREHERE and HERE.  His whole story is yet to be written and I just cannot bring myself to do it yet.  Getting this much written has been incredibly challenging emotionally.  One day, when the time is right, I will finish it.  

Anywhoo, my main reason for his post is to introduce The Love 4 Landon Foundation, which is our non-profit organization we have started in honor of our sweet, strong Boy Wonder.  We hope to do some really BIG things for others who suffer from IBD.  You can learn more about The Love 4 Landon Foundation by visiting our WEBSITE and our FACEBOOK PAGE

We have a bunch of fundraising events planned in the coming months to help fund our 2nd Annual L4L Gala which will take place Spring of 2013.  There are many ways to help!  Check our website and Facebook page for opportunities.  

This is something I am passionate about.  I want to give back and help others in the ways we have been helped.  The last year has been incredibly challenging for our family and we've been blessed beyond measure by our family, friends and support network.  We would not be where we are today if not for all of the blessings we've received.

Landon is the reason for all of this.  He is awesome.  Period.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Farewell Diapers, Day 3

You know, this whole process has been incredibly challenging!  Landon has been congested, coughing and fighting a head cold since Wednesday-ish.  I took time off work to get him potty trained so I wanted to move forward with it.  I honestly think it may not have been so hard had he been feeling completely well.  My timing sucked but we made it through! 

Day 3 started at 5:40 in the morning to a wet bed and poopy pants. In my bed. Yuck.  We got cleaned up, put fresh sheets, big boy undies and jammies on and went back to sleep for a couple of hours.  I was wiped out from the previous day and from not sleeping well myself because of Landon's snoring due to his congestion.  I just kept reminding myself what I read in the book.... "Stick with it.  It works.  By the end of day 3 he will get it."

Let me tell you, on Day 3 he GOT IT!  Not only was he telling us every single time he needed to potty, he was actually running to the bathroom on his own and smiling while on the potty!  

Pooping.  Honestly, I wasn't sure if he was going to get it.  So many people told me that their boys took forever to poop in the potty and that it was just harder for boys.  I had kind of resigned myself and thought, "I'll just let Mom get him to do it when she comes Monday.  She has a special way with him and I know she'll be able to help."

At 11:28 Saturday morning (Day 3, Y'all!) Landon went in to the bathroom after telling us he needed to potty.  He sat there and I told him I would be right back.  As I walked away, he pushed the door shut.  Next thing I know, he hollers, "I'm all done Mommy!  I went potty and poop!"  And boy did he!  I nearly cried and you all are lucky because I almost took a picture of that poop.  We celebrated BIG.  Boy did we celebrate!  We danced and sang and spun around and smiled!  He was very proud of himself and we were crazy proud too.  I was honestly shocked!  He got a sticker for his sticker poster and he got Elmo slippers.  A BIG reward this time!  I had decided to give different rewards for poop.  He would get a coin to put in his special ceramic piggy bank that he doesn't ever get to touch, plus something else.  This time it was the slippers.  If you're wondering why he doesn't get to touch that piggy bank, you can read all about it right here.

The rest of the day was pretty good!  I'm proud to say he wore the same pair of undies all day because he didn't have any accidents.  He is a potty and pooping pro!  He's kind of funny when he needs to go.  He walks around on his toes and says, "Uhmmmm-hmmmm" over and over and also randomly say, "NO SIR!" as if telling himself he doesn't want to go just yet.  It's really cute.  We just keep reminding him to let us know when he's ready and that he is a big boy now so it's up to him to keep his undies dry and clean.

We spent so much one on one time together, which was really wonderful.  He would give me random hugs and kisses.  I know even though we were in a teaching moment, he thoroughly enjoyed this time and so did I.  We cuddled, read a lot of books, colored, did some crafts, played, laughed and even cried. 

We are now on day 4 and he's rockin' it.  He stayed dry all night and has always stayed dry through his naps.  I was really unsure about not using Pull-Ups and even had some on hand.  I just decided to commit to teaching him to read his body and those Pull-Ups are going to stay in the closet until we donate them.  This process has not been easy but it has been worth it.  I used very simple inexpensive rewards and it worked for us. 

Mama and Daddy are so proud of you, Landon.  Kid, you'll move mountains!  

Elmo slippers - Poop reward!

Moon Dough - Poop reward!

Loving his Moon Dough

Making a cotton ball Snowman

Snuggled up with his big boy undies on ready for a nap

Making a cotton ball snowman

Sticker Poster.  He gets a sticker every time he goes potty or poop and can put it anywhere on the poster he chooses.

One coin for each poop in the potty.  This was really motivating for him because this is a special piggy bank that sits high on a shelf.

One pom-pom every time he sits on the potty but doesn't potty or poop.  He gets to take one from the can and put it in the glass.  Landon thought this was super cool and liked watching the glass fill up.  We emptied it each morning so he got to start fresh every day.

Farewell Diapers, Day 2

First off, I feel like I need to talk about the afternoon of Day 1 for a minute. Remember that super upbeat, excited post when we were first starting? You know, all about how great Landon was doing. Well, it all changed after he woke up from his nap.   He didn't want to poop in the potty and instead popped right in his undies. Over and over and over.   It was a whole mess of accidents.  At one point, he was on my lap and just let loose.  Yep, I totally got pee'd on.  Also, every time he sat on his potty it was melt down city.  So frustrating!   That night we went to bed completely exhausted but I hardly slept because I thought for sure I was going to get urinated on in the middle of the night.

When we woke up, I was pumped because he slept all night and stayed dry. I had a renewed excitement and will to conquer this thing! You wouldn't believe how quickly that faded. The whole day it was accident after accident after accident. Oh, not to mention every time he sat on his potty he had a major meltdown with giant tears streaking down his cute little face.   You'd have thought I burned his blanket or something. Geeze. Oh. Em. Gee. What an insanely difficult day!! I seriously almost gave up today.

In an effort to get him to poop, I introduced the very special, Magic Poop Guitar. He was interested.  He would hold against his tummy and say, "This is my Magic Poop Guitar, Mommy.  It puts magic in my tummy to help me poop!"  At least he was talking about actually pooping even if he wasn't doing it yet.  He held the Magic Poop Guitar a lot and actually started to sit on the potty by the end of the day with only minor tears and cries.  At one point, he started to poop and we ran him to the potty and it actually fell in so he got a big reward!  It's a light up sword which he calls his "balloon whacker".

It was a tough, long, frustrating day so there are minimal pictures.  I promise, Day 3 will be happier!  :-)   

Balloon Whacker!

Magic Poop Guitar

I couldn't resist posting this one.  This was my cabbage patch bunny when I was little and he loves to wrap it in his blanket and give it kisses.  Very sweet.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Farewell Diapers

Today we all in full potty training mode around here!  So far, this kid is rockin' it heavy metal style!  We started the morning by throwing all of his diapers in the trash.  He was extremely excited about that!  Side note: I totally pulled them out of the trash when he wasn't looking so I can donate them to someone else.  I just can't throw them out when someone else could use them.  However, he thinks they are GONE and that's what matters most.
He had his first accident right away and he cried.  We ran to the potty chair and I reassured him that everything was ok.  He got a sticker to put on his "Sticker Poster" and he was happy again.  About 10 minutes later we were playing and he looked down and said, "NO!"  I asked him if he needed to potty and he said, "Yeah" so we headed back to the potty.  Nothing happened.  He got a sticker anyway for sitting on the potty.  10 more minutes and he had another accident but we ran to the potty and he sat on it.  This time when we were finished he got a pom pom to put in a glass.  So, he gets stickers when he actually goes potty and a pom pom anytime he goes and sits on it.  15ish minutes later, he said to me, "Mommy!  I need to potty!"  We ran to the potty and....success!!!  We danced and sang and celebrated!  He got a sticker.  We had a few more times of going and sitting without anything happening then he told me again that he needed to go and he DID!  After lunch I could tell he needed to poop because he was walking on his toes and making faces.  After many tries, we had no success.  He's napping now in his bed, with big boy undies on, and I am hoping we don't wake up to a big mess! 
All in all, I am very impressed with him!  Things are going pretty much like I thought only he's exceeded my expectations!  For those who know all we've dealt with in the last year, you know what a big deal potty training is to me.  There was a time when I was unsure how I would ever get him trained.  I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to do this with my little guy.  I know that might sound silly but it's really true.  Being able to help him tune in and read the cues from his body and guide him in the right direction is pretty darn special. 
I'm following the 3 Day Potty Training advice and doing what I feel is best for Landon.  I'm not amping up his salt intake, giving extra treats or rewarding with foods.  I am rewarding with stickers, pom poms (which for some reason he loves!), lots of praise and he will get new jammies tonight and tomorrow as a surprise.  Saturday, we will venture out for dinner to reinforce what a big boy he is and how proud we are of him!  I have a few rewards such as glow bracelets, a coloring book and special new crayons that he will get when he poops in the potty.  We are only on Day 1, which I have heard is the most challenging.  I'll post again at the end and let you all know how it goes!     

Big Boy Undies on and ready to face this day!
Coloring to help pass the time between potty breaks
Crayons.  Awesome invention.
Making his masterpiece
Slammin' that hat to keep him warm this morning.  He ONLY wanted to wear undies!  You see how purple those little lips are?!
Goodbye diapers!
Goodbye diapers! 
Goodbye diapers!
He was a very excited boy after throwing those diapers in the trash!
Chillin'.  Literally.  He was freezing but refused to put clothes on.  He is so proud of those undies!

TND15 - Inspiration

Let me tell you a little story about an amazing young lady.  Her name is Emily.  She is 9 years old.  Before she was born, doctors told her Mommy that she wouldn't survive outside the womb.  Her Mommy prayed and prayed.  Emily had to have surgery when she was a tiny baby and only has one functioning lung today.  She is strong and smart and social and kind.  You would have never known she had any health issues.  She is a thriving, happy young lady. 

Emily has family in New Jersey and wanted to do something to help all those who were affected by the devastation caused by hurricane Sandy.  On her own, Emily did some major fundraising.  She wanted to make sure all of the funds went directly to the people, not to FEMA or Red Cross, where it may not be put to use immediately.  With the help of her Mommy, Emily began making phone calls to friends and family members asking for donations to help the victims of hurricane Sandy.  On her own, she was able to raise over $800 and that was in just 2 weeks time.  All of those funds have been donated to a local church in New Jersey and will be used to restock their food pantry, which helps feed those who don't have enough money to purchase groceries.  It will also provide food for their annual Thanksgiving dinner that they put on every year for those in need.  You see, they had already purchased their food for this dinner but it was all lost because of the power outages. 

Emily and her family have also sent several care packages with canned goods, non-perishables and other necessities.  Emily herself decided she wanted to include a gift card for $25 that she had just received for her birthday because she thought maybe another child could use it to replace some of the books they may have lost in the floods.

This amazing 9 year old who doctors thought would not survive is now impacting this world in a BIG way.  If she can do it, can't we all?

I was so very fortunate to get to hear this story face to face from Emily and her Mommy.  If you feel compelled to donate in some way, please contact a church in the disaster area and send a check or your care package directly to them.  There are so many people who are still without power and have lost so much.  Some time has past now and they are feeling forgotten.  I am planning to put together a package to send on my own.  If you have anything you'd like to contribute please comment here and we can get together.

Inspiration comes in many forms and for me this week it was in the form of a beautiful 9 year old girl.  Thank you, Emily.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

TND14 - Work

Today I am grateful for the ability to work.  I'm thankful for my workplace and the wonderful people I get to interact with each day. 

Close Call

I have debated and debated with myself regarding whether or not to make this post.  This one here, I'm being very vulnerable.  I'm opening myself up to criticism and judgement.  I get that.  However, I decided I needed to post this because it could help someone else from repeating my horrible mistake in their own home.  If I am able to help even one other person, then it's worth all the judgement and criticism anyone can lay on me.

First off, we've had a somewhat yucky week in our house.  We're all coming off being sick over the weekend and then Landon came down with a fever Monday evening as well.  Thankfully, Tuesday, he woke up fever free.  I had a horrendous headache that latched on over the weekend and would not go away. 

We are preparing for Potty Training which will commence tomorrow morning!  When I arrived home from work yesterday, Landon and I packed up and headed to the store so he could pick out some new big boy undies.  He was VERY EXCITED as you can see by the video.  We were having a fun night!

We got home and I began to make dinner.  It was going to be a special night because we were all going to eat together as a family.  He had his special gluten free rice pasta and I was making some pasta for Scott and I too.  Fun night!  That's what we were having.   

Then it happened.....

I was taking the pot of boiling pasta to the sink to drain it.  Landon was right under my feet and Scott was just steps away.  As I neared the sink, I said to Landon, "Please move honey, what Mommy has is very hot!"  He started to move and I lost my grip.  It happened that fast.  Hot water right on my sweet boys head.  I believe it actually hit me first then fell to him.  Luckily, Scott saw it all about to go down and scooped Landon up very quickly.  Thank God for the quick actions of Daddy!  Very little of the hot water actually made contact with Landon.  We immediately applied a cold compress to his head and he honestly cried for less than a minute.  I think it scared him most of all.  We put a nice juicy layer of aloe on and then we all ate dinner together. 

Except for a little pinkness on his scalp, Landon is completely fine this morning.  Thank God.  Thank You, God.  Thank YOU.

I, however, am an emotional mess over this.  How could I let that happen to my child?  What a stupid mistake!  If he would have been looking up at me instead of at the floor this could have a much different ending.  I'm supposed to protect him, not be the cause of harm! 

I know my emotions will eventually subside but the lesson I learned will remain for a lifetime.  Never again will I have him, or any other child, at my feet when I have something scalding hot in my hands.  Message received loud and clear.  Lesson learned.  The hard way.  Oh yes, I'm innately aware, it could have been much worse.  I'm grateful for this lesson and that my sweet child is okay. 

Has anything like this ever happened to you?  Please tell me I'm not alone here!  What kind of close calls have you had that you're willing to share?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TND13 - Sisters

"Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other" - Carol Saline

From left to right:  Shannon, Me, Stefany, Kristi.  Sisters!

Not only am I fortunate to have some of the best sisters in the world but I'm also super lucky to be close with all of them.  When stuff gets tough, we are there to support each other and pick each other up.  I trust these women.  I look up to these women.  They all possess unique traits and characteristics which I admire.  Let me tell you a bit about each of them.  They deserve to be highlighted individually.

Kristi and Landon at his 2nd Birthday Party

Kristi - The leader of our pack, my oldest sister.  She has an infectious laugh and a way of making those around her smile.  She is an optimist and sees the good in everyone and everything around her.  She is highly successful in every aspect of her life.  She is there when times are tough.  No doubt that she will show up.  A lot.  She will offer advice when necessary but is very good at sitting silently and allowing tears to flow.  She gives awesome hugs.  She makes a mean banana bread and will rock your socks with some lemon bars.  

Aunt Shannon at Children's Mercy during Landon's 2nd hospital stay

Shannon - My protector.  She has been from the beginning and even now that I'm all grown up, she still wants to protect me from anything in her power.  Shannon is a giver and will help anyone in need, even if it means putting her own life aside.  There isn't anything she can't do.  Seriously.  She can cook any dish you could possibly want and will usually do it with what she has in her cupboards and freezer.  She's that good.  She is always there when I need her, even if it means driving to Kansas City or flying to Portland, OR!  There is no one on this planet like her.  I don't know how I would have made it through the last year without her.   

Aunt Stef visiting at our house the days after Landon was born

Stefany - She is loyal and dedicated.  When she sets her mind to accomplish something, she does it.  She loves her family and has been there during some of my toughest times in life.  Sending texts, calling, dropping by our house.  She is silly, fun and energetic.  She cares deeply for her loved ones and works her tail off to provide for her children.  If you want some killer chicken enchiladas, show up for Mexican food night at her place.  You won't be disappointed!  She's someone I'm glad to have in my corner.   

Angie and her family...before they completed it with the birth of Colby.  This is the most recent photo I have of her! 

Angie - My sister-by-love.  I got her when I married Scott and I couldn't have asked for a better gift!  Angie is so darn funny!  Anytime she's telling a story I promise you will be laughing.  She has a way with words and actions that will illicit gut busting laughter.  She is kind, generous and a loving Mama to our two nephews.  She has a knack for decorating, so much so that her home looks staged!  In a GOOD way!  It's beautiful.  She makes some seriously good cookies and her cupcakes are divine.  Plain and simple.  She's awesome.

Sister's, I love you all!  Thank you for being such a huge part of my life. 

"Sister to sister we will always be, a couple of nuts off the family tree" - Unknown

TND12 - Health

Yes, I fell a day behind.  Why?  Because everyone in my household has been sick!  SO, it's highly appropriate that I talk about health.

I am incredibly grateful for health and healing.  My kiddo is night and day at a different place than he was a year ago.  After being sick all weekend, myself, the husband and kid are all on the mend.  Often times we take our health for granted, because when we feel good we just go about our business.  Today, I'm focusing on how fortunate we are to have our good health and our ability to heal from illness.  Our bodies are amazing!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

TND11 - Veteran's

Today, as we celebrate our Veteran's, I am feeling grateful for all of our military personnel. God Bless our men and women, past and present, who fight for our freedoms.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

TND10 - Bacon!

Today I am thankful for REAL bacon. That is all.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

TND9 - Faith

Today I am thankful for my faith. It has been tested, broken, rebuilt and solidified in the last year. There were moments when I was unsure how I would get through 2 more minutes, let alone another day. During those times, I quietly prayed. God always delivered. He may not have done so in the ways I expected but I was always given an answer, a sign or reassurance. As I reflect back over my life this past year I can't help but be grateful. Landon getting sick was the worst and best (other than his birth, of course!) thing that has happened in my lifetime. It absolutely changed me to the core. I truly feel like I am a better ME than I was a year ago.

I will be honest, there were times I was so mad at God. It's true. I was angry. However, in the end, it was my faith in God that pulled me through. My faith in Landon and his ability to heal. My faith in all of the wonderful people in our support unit. My faith in my ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to do what was best for my son.

My faith. It's something that cannot be taken away. How grateful I am in that knowledge alone.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

TND8 - Mom

Today I am grateful for my marvelous Mom.  She loves me and supports everything I do.  She never judges me and is one of my biggest cheerleaders.  She is genuinely happy for my successes in life.  She loves my husband and treats him as her own son.  

She has a unique and special bond with each of her 8 grandchildren.  I am fortunate to have her with Landon on the days I am away at work.  She teaches him something new every single day.  I am always amazed at the many different ways she helps him learn.  For instance, I can't ever get him to blow his nose.  I will ask him to please blow for Mommy and he'll respond, "Um, no thank you!"  This morning before I left for work, he's totally blowing his nose for Grandma.  She has a special way with him.  

Mama, you rock a lot!  


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Velveteen Rabbit

I am in shock. My 2 year old child just sat in my lap while I read him The Velveteen Rabbit in entirety. 53 pages and 25 minutes, while he sat quietly enamored. Wow.

What are your favorite books to read to your children? What are their favorites?

TND7 - This Guy!

Every single day I am thankful for my son.  He made me a Mama.  He shows me daily what true, unconditional love looks like.  We have dealt with some difficult stuff in the last year and through it all, he constantly reminds me what a dynamic soul he possesses.  He is one of the strongest human beings I know, both physically and emotionally.  Everything that's been thrown his way in the last year, he has taken like a champ.  When you look in the dictionary, his photo is next to perseverance.  Even at two years old he innately seems to know tenacity and determination.  He will do great things.       

Thank you, Landon, for being the perfect little person you are.  I look forward to walking along side you as you make your journey through this world.  I promise to support you, even when I may not agree.  I promise to always love you with my whole heart and to never give up on you.  You are a blessing.  I am honored to be your Mama and look forward to watching you grow in to the person you are meant to be. 

This Guy.  He is seriously smart, incredibly funny, insanely strong and very loving.  He's more than I could have ever imagined when I prayed for a child.  He's the BEST!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Almond Flour Excitement!!

Look what arrived today!!! Yippeeeee!

It's a much finer grind than the Bob's Red Mill that I have been using. I can hardly wait to to get my hands all up in it!

Yes, I'm a total dork. I am fully aware.

Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins

After several attempts I feel like I've finally gotten it right!  Enjoy! 

Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins

1  can pumpkin
1/3 C almond oil
2 tsp pure grape juice
1/4 C organic all natural applesauce
1 egg (I recommend using free range cage free)
1/2 C raw honey (local if possible)
2-4 tsp sugar in the raw
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 C almond flour

Combine the pumpkin, almond oil, grape juice, applesauce, egg, honey and sugar.  Mix by hand or with a mixer until smooth.  In a separate dish combine all dry ingredients then add to the wet mixture and stir until smooth.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 24-30 minutes.  Yields 24 muffins.


Today I am thankful for all the protesters many years ago that fought to allow women to vote.

Honestly, who you choose to vote for is your business. Just get out there and do it. Your vote counts!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pork. It's What's for Dinner.

It smells heavenly in our house tonight! I've got some pork chops sizzlin' and some pumpkin muffins (I totally revamped my grain free recipe!) bakin'.


Is it dinner time yet?

What's on your menu this evening?

TND5 - Give

Today I'm grateful for the opportunity to GIVE!  No matter what, there is always a way to be generous and give to others.  It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger, holding a door or returning a cart at the grocery store. 

Often times people think about giving in a material way.  Some of the best ways to bless others will not cost a penny.  Send a text to let someone know how special you think they are.  Smile.  Donate items you aren't using.  Act with kindness.  Give generously.   

Be creative.  Give.  I promise, you'll feel like a million bucks afterwards!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh Landon.

So, we're outside enjoying our beautiful fall evening. Landon is riding his trike and he tells me, "I'm dunna doh to dah stow and dit some avocado, some pasta, some yuttees (yuckies is what he calls the food we eat that he can't have) foh Daddy and some squash. Den, I'm dunna doh to Tansas City and dit my fusion."

It was so sweet, cute and smart! It brought tears to my eyes. My 2 year old talks about getting an infusion like it's just a trip to the grocery store. What an amazing little soul he is!

I love him.