November 11, 2013
My brother, Wayne, and Arlo this past summer.
My grandfather, a career green beret, served for twenty years and fought in the Vietnam war. As a little girl, I used to sit on his lap in his big lazy boy recliner and listen to him tell stories about the years he spent there.Papa had a wooden box with a red velvet lining. Inside it housed dozens of fancy looking metals and pins that used to adorn his uniform. We would take them all out and play with them for hours.
Brent’s grandfather was a fighter pilot in WWII. The empty metal shell of a bomb he once carried on mission now lives in Arlo’s bedroom. Passed down from the boyhood bedrooms of both Brent and Arlo’s Papa Allen, it has been the hiding place of toy cars and trinkets for more than fifty year.
My father, an army brat himself, also served as an MP in the Army.
My god father served in the Navy.
My brother in law, a Marine, left my step sister and his first child, a 2 week old baby daughter, to deploy last month.
My brother Wayne and his fiancé Nicole, both crew chiefs in the Air Force, deployed together and are attempting to plan their wedding from across the world as I write this.
I am immensely proud of the men and women in my family who have served and who continue to serve our nation. So much gratitude is warranted, not only for the women and men in the US armed forces, but also for their families who sacrifice their husbands and wives, fathers and mothers in the name of freedom.
To those who have given their lives and limbs, who have missed holidays and birthdays and watched their children grow up in pictures and videos. To those on the war front and on the home front, I thank you today and every day for your service.
November 7, 2013
Let’s Talk: Holistic Immunity Boosters for Children
With cold and flu season in full effect, I’ve stepped up my game when it comes to trying to keep my kids healthy. I tend to slack off a bit during the summer when Everly and Arlo are out of school and the number of ”bugs” making their way through the community are fewer. After both my kids caught a nasty cold virus a few weeks ago, I went into over-drive to restock our supply of immunity boosters. It got me thinking that this might be an interesting topic to discuss on my blog.
Many of the holistic remedies that we’ve tried don’t have a ton of proven research behind them (I’ve listed study data where applicable) - however they also have very few, if any, negative side effects. I think there is definitely merit to many of the home remedies that have been passed from generation to generation, even if there is little interest in the pharmaceutical or scientific communities to study them.
With that said, once I’ve done my own research and decided to pursue a holistic regiment with my kids, I always run it by my pediatrician to get her thoughts and advice.
Here are a few of our family’s favorites:
1. Probiotics. (aka Primadophilus)
What it does: boosting the “good” gut bacteria that wards off many illnesses. (“Although studies are limited and data are inconsistent, two large reviews, taken together, suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo.” Source)
Use for: stomach issues, overall immunity
Our experience: We usually stir probiotics into milk or juice served with a meal. I don’t give them every day - typically twice a week. This flavorless, tasteless powder is easy to disguise in a beverage and we’ve had far fewer stomach issues since we’ve begun using them.
Learn more and discover what foods you can feed your children that have naturally occurring probiotics here.
2. Elderberry Syrup (aka sambucus)
What it does: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, decongestant, shortens duration of cold/flu (“One study found that a lozenge with elderberry extract (ViraBLOC) helped reduce flu symptoms when taken within 24 hours of symptoms starting.” Source)
Use for: respiratory illness, general immunity
Our experience: It tastes delicious, so my kids have no issue taking a teaspoon full by mouth. I usually give them one teaspoon full every day during cold and flu season to boost their immunity and 2 teaspoons a day if they are fighting off a cold. They seem to recover from a cold faster when they take elderberry vs. not. I recommend getting a formula made for kids and following the dosing as directed. Read more here.
What it does: provides age appropriate dose of vitamins and minerals needed for general health.
Our experience: the benefits of giving your kids a multi-vitamin are widely known but I wanted to recommend our favorite. We really like Nordic Naturals Berries. They taste delicious and have no artificial flavors or dyes.
4. Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
What it does: there are a wide variety of benefits dependent upon the oil you use. Essential oils are attributed to everything from fever reduction to anxiety management to easing muscle pain. Research studies have shown the effectiveness of some essential oils in killing bacteria and viral strains
Use for: A few commonly used essential oils-
peppermint - fever reduction, colds, indigestion, head aches
lavender- sleep, cuts and bruises, stress
lemon - runny nose, disinfectant, calming, antifungal
tea tree - insect bite relief, antifungal, acne
Our experience: I’ve just started to get into the world of essential oils, so I’ll have to do a more indepth post once I’ve used them for a long time. We’ve been using tea tree oil on our dogs for some time now as a flea/tick preventative. I give the kids a lavender oil massage before bed to help them relax. More recently, we’ve incorporated an essential oil blend that focuses on immunity and germ fighting into our regiment. I combine a drop or two of a "germ fighter" essential oil (it includes oil of: cloves, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary) with a jojoba carrier oil and apply it to the bottom of my children’s feet before bed. I also add a few drops of the same essential oil to water and spritz it in a spray bottle on our sheets and furniture. It has the added benefit of making the house smell wonderful! There is a ton of information out there on essential oils. You can read more here.
Note: Not all essential oils are safe for children. Please do your own research before using any oils on your children.
4. Vitamin D drops
What it does: assists in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Fights infection. (A 2010 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reported that adding a vitamin D3 supplement to a child’s daily routine during the winter could cut the risk of catching the flu.)
Use for: general health and wellness.
Our experience: Vitamin D can be absorbed naturally through exposure to sunlight and through drinking milk. However, Arlo is not a big milk drinker and neither of my kids get much sun exposure during colder months. I include a few drops of vitamin D in their morning beverage.
All of the information I’ve shared is based off of my personal experience but I do not claim to be an expert on any of this. I wanted to share our experience, as so many other mothers have passed on their tips for building healthy immune systems in their children with me. I also didn’t try any of these approaches until my children were toddlers, so I’m not sure what is/is not appropriate for infants.
I’m grateful for all of the medical technology and medications that help us recover and heal from illness, but I also welcome any natural, holistic action I can take on the front end to keep my kids from getting sick. I’d love to hear what your family does to boost immunity and shorten the duration of illness during cold and flu season.
November 4, 2013
Louder than a lion
I’ve been bragging on my boy all weekend. After many months of weekly sessions, Arlo’s speech therapist said on Friday that she’s going to recommend discontinuing all services after the holidays. She feels that he is completely caught up and on par with his peers.
Our experience with early intervention services has been so wonderful. We’ve had the great fortune of getting to know and saying goodbye to both a vision and speech therapist over the past two years. There is nothing quite as wonderful as hearing them say, “Your son no longer needs us.”
Now excuse me, while I pick this boy up and do a celebratory dance around our living room to Katie Perry’s “Roar”.
November 1, 2013
We’re Off to See the Wizard: Halloween 2013
Everly and I have been watching The Wizard of Oz in sections for the past few months. She loves the munchkin scenes and the musical numbers, but we’ve skipped over the scarier scenes with the wicked witch. I think in a few years, she’ll enjoy the entire film, but for now we love watching the characters skipping down the yellow brick road together.
With a new found desire for “sparkly red shoes” , Everly wanted to dress up like Dorothy and the rest of us picked a character from there. Brent and I already had the pieces for our costumes in our closet but I grabbed some raffia, sequins and a plastic file folder at the dollar store to complete our outfits. I made the Glinda crown with the help of my glue gun and a stapler.
Yesterday, our friend Sarah came over and helped take a few photos. Arlo refused to nap and our pizza had yet to be delivered as the light was fading, so our tired, hungry kids were a bit in chaos mode. Everly wanted a lollipop. Arlo wanted to run wild in the park and refused to wear his tinman hat - so this is the best shot we got of the four of us:
I found this sweet little dress on eBay for $12 and the shoes at Target. We already had the toy dog, crinoline and tights. I think Everly made the cutest little Dorothy:
I worried about making a costume for Arlo that he would be comfortable in. I thought about attempting to use cardboard boxes and dryer tubing to make him more robot-y but decided to go with a dressier version in this cute little suit. We joked that he sort of looked like a PeeWee Herman/Tinman hybrid!
Brent’s coat was a San Francisco vintage find, his shirt was from Target, his hat used to belong to his grandfather and his amazing wing tip shoes are from Bed|Stu.
The last time I wore this dress, I was 7 months pregnant with Arlo. It was a gift from my friend, Jen, some years ago. It’s one of those dresses I love but don’t get to wear often, but it was perfect for Glinda.
Oh our poor dogs! They hated their costumes, so we only kept them on long enough to have a good laugh and snap a photo. The looks on the faces of our flying monkey and cowardly lion tell all.
Arlo was totally game to play along once he got a snack and was allowed to wear his favorite ballcap under his tin man hat. He is never without a ballcap, so he was happy to wear this all night long. These photos make me laugh every time I look at them :
It was such a fun night. The Gainers brought Mylah and Benji over to trick or treat once it grew dark and we wheeled the kids around the neighborhood in our wagon. They loved going house to house and it’s always fun for us to connect with those folks in our neighborhood that we don’t know that well.
At bedtime last night, Everly told me she was sad that Halloween was over. She was quiet for a moment then said, “Does this mean I can wear my red glittery shoes whenever I want?” “Any time you want,” I confirmed and with that, she rolled away from me, ready for sleep.
Very soon, the thought of dressing up with their parents in themed costumes will be completely embarrassing, so I’m enjoying these opportunities to go all out together while we can.
I love Halloween. The nostalgia. The glow of pumpkins. The smiles on the faces of people as they open their doors with candy bowls in hand. And the sounds of children laughing through our neighborhood.
On Halloween, there really is no place like home.
October 29, 2013
Brent: I think Arlo has pink eye
Arlo: I not pink eyes! I baby blue eyes!
(I’ve been meaning to post this all week! Arlo’s first legit ”Arlo says”.)
I have no less than ten, one or two paragraph blog posts in my draft folder and have not published a single one because they’re boring and scattered.
Even the few words I’ve written in this post is pissing me off.
And I think I know why.
My new job is a huge source of creative outlet for me right now. I wake up thinking about things I want to accomplish. I go to bed thinking about the next day. It is hard work in the best way and I love it.
My kids - We are making stuff and going places and generally having a ball. Sans camera for the most part because I felt like I was watching too much of my life through a lens and it was separating me from truly enjoying the moment. What’s a blog with scattered posts and no pictures?
Both of the kids are still recovering from a horrid case of the croup (we’re going on two weeks of this crud despite several rounds of steroids and antibiotics for Arlo when his turned into an eye and ear infection!)
Halloween is this week and I’ve had the most fun putting together costumes. I even made the dogs costumes…. I honestly wish there was a competition for people who can make crap with a glue gun because, yall, I’m good. I can’t sew, bake, or paint but I will go head to head with anyone in a glue gun battle. bring it.
We took the kids to their first pumpkin patch where they could pick any pumpkin that they could lift. We’re going to carve them tomorrow night. I only took one picture. One! (This alone should have my mommy blogger street cred stripped.) But it was awesome and we are now the proud owners of an entire family of pumpkins including two tiny pumpkins that represent our dogs.
Brent’s been gone the past two weekends, then I was in Orlando all last week for work and every night in between, we’ve committed to something.
We never made it to the state fair.
Tired of being so busy but also, I like saying yes.
For a long, long time we never committed to anything. We were flighty. and in some ways, I feel like we still are (I just canceled dinner plans at my dad’s house last night). But this year we decided we’ve been on the receiving end of goodness for far too long. It’s time for us to step up and start saying yes. It’s time for us to commit to others. It’s time for us to be givers.
And that has been our family’s goal this year. Life is busy. And we feel a little overcommitted. But we are are going to say “count us in” and mean it.
Count me in at work
Count me in on uninterrupted time with my children
Count me in to loved ones
Count me in to our community and our church.
It feels good.
but at the end of the day, I don’t have much left to say.
And so my blog is quiet and forgotten.
Is there still anyone out there? If there is, thanks for checking in on me. And if you’ve gone, I can’t blame you.
Halloween is on Thursday.
Am I even typing words anymore?
Here’s a picture:
(I wish I knew the source on this photo because I feel like I would be friends with the person twisted and brilliant enough to draw eyebrows on their dog)
This concludes my awkward blog post.
October 14, 2013
(Music: Hilltop Stella by Brent Jordan)
Brent was out of town this weekend, playing music at a Young Life camp in Virginia, so the kids and I took the opportunity to put together a little video for his birthday.
We all snuggled up in our bed this morning and presented it to him. The smile on his face was priceless!
Happy 33rd birthday to a husband and father who has been alive forever and ever, is not the best cook and fills our lives with immeasurable joy.
We love you, wonderful man!
M & E & A
October 13, 2013
How you know Everly is up to no good:
(Loud banging in her bedroom)
October 12, 2013
I emailed the director of Everly and Arlo’s preschool last week about a random tuition question and in her follow up email, she mentioned that she had just left a fire safety program with the local fire department that all the children participated in. She said my two were sitting on the front row together, listening and holding hands.
Everly and I have our best talks at bedtime and we talk often about the special role of being a big sister. We talk about how big sisters are protectors . I encourage her to check in with Arlo on the playground. To invite him to play. To hold his hand in new situations. It’s something I feel like I didn’t do enough of to my baby bro growing up.
To know that Everly was there, holding Arlo’s hand in a big group of kids sets my heart on fire. She’s listening to those whispered conversations we share and she’s acting on it. I couldn’t be more proud.
October 8, 2013
Halloween is Freaking Awesome.
We started discussing halloween costumes back in July this year. We went around and around and finally decided on a Wizard of Oz theme for our family costumes. I’ll share more on that later, but for now, if you’re needing a little inspiration before the end of the month, check out some of my favorite kid costumes from around the internet:
The cast of Duck Dynasty
Dumb and Dumber
Treasure Troll (I couldn’t find a source for this one)
And while this isn’t a kid costume, it wouldn’t be a favorite halloween costume line up without Elton John Cat.
What are your little ones planning to be for halloween this year?