Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Everyday Obedience :: Now Available for Pre-order!


I am honored to get to be a part of the launch team for this brand new Bible Study that is releasing May 1 from my friend Katie Orr. Katie is head over heels in love with Jesus and is passionate about teaching women how to dig into God's Word. She loves teaching women the practical ways to really study the Bible on their own.  

Don't believe me? Check out this page FULL of resources and how-to posts! Her Focused 15 method is a simple way to open and glean from the Bible even for the busiest of moms.

I can't wait to dive into Katie's 5th Focused 15 Study Everyday Obedience. This description from Amazon has me so excited to get a copy and get started!

"Most of us know that our lives have purpose. But somehow day-to-day moments cloud our perspective and we lose sight of God's grace and purpose for our lives. Everyday Obedience, an easy-to-use, four-week study will help you better understand the correlation of how God's grace coupled with your obedience leads you to unexpected freedom as you walk forward in holy living. In as few as 15 minutes a day, discover God's purpose for you as offered through Colossians 3:1-17. As you gain new understanding of the rich truths of these verses, you will soon find yourself longing to respond to God's grace through joyful obedience to Him."


Everyday Obedience is available for pre-order now and is on sale for $2 off! Pre-order and get these amazing give-aways. Get your copy HERE.


★ THREE beautiful Scripture printables
★ E-VERSION of the study so you can begin studying right away
★ A chance to win a 1-on-1 hour-long coaching call with Katie
★ A chance to win a signed set of the entire Everyday Bible study series
These freebies go away after Friday, March 31st, so don't delay.
Go here http://katieorr.me/obedience/ to claim your free goodies!

While you wait for May 1 to arrive, you can also check out Katie's other studies...

Everyday Peace
Everyday Faith
Everyday Hope
Everyday Love

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My Honest Feeding Story


Once a beautiful new baby is placed in your arms, life as a mom has arrived! Whether this new little bundle of joy is your 1st child or your 5th; the journey of loving a new little human, taking hundreds of baby photos, non-stop feedings, countless diapers, and sleepless nights has arrived!

Along with all of the love and excitement comes a new season of fears and doubts.

Am I doing this right?
Do I breastfeed or bottle feed?
Why is he crying?
I'm so tired, can I do this?

As a mom of 4 children who all survived the newborn months, let me just assure you...

You can do this!
You'll get sleep again one day!
You're not a failure!

The topic of how and what to feed your precious baby can be such a controversial one. Mothers can be found deep in debates about whether breast or formula is best and many aren't afraid to boldly share their opinion and choice.

When The Honest Company asked me to share my feeding story, I didn't quite know what I would say. With my first 3 children, I nursed for the first several months and then supplemented the final couple of months before they turned a year old with formula. Feeding each of my babies felt very typical and normal, and they grew as the doctor's growth charts said they should.

When our 4th kiddo burst into this world, nothing was typical or normal. Zachary's birth was the  start of a completely new journey. Our sweet Zachary is now a busy special needs 5 year old with quite a long list of doctors appointments to stay on track with his medically complex syndrome, Lowe Syndrome.

During the early newborn months, we had no idea about the complexity of Zachary's needs but we did know things weren't quite right. Zachary had 2 separate eye surgeries during his 2nd month of life. He was extremely small and struggled to grow.

I distinctly remember trying to nurse Zachary in the dark and quite hospital room following one of his eye surgeries. I was tired, lonely, and frustrated that Zachary seemed to not be able to eat as much as I would like and that he seemed to just not be growing. His body was so frail and small. The decision was made a week or so later that for whatever reason my breast milk was not enough and we started him on formula. I'd never had one of my babies started on formula so early on and I felt like a failure. Looking back, I wish I could tell my younger self that it was not at all my fault. Symptoms of Zachary's syndrome is just that - weight gain is and will always be a constant struggle.


When Zachary was 4 years old I felt those failure feelings surface all over again as I sat in the surgery waiting room while my son had a G-tube placed. From breast milk not being enough, to formula loaded with added calories not enough, to table food also not being enough to make my child grow, new extreme measures had to be taken. I felt like I hadn't tried hard enough.


Now 5 years old, Zachary's lifeline to nutrition and weight gain is formula fed through a G-tube going straight into his stomach. Sometimes breast isn't best, formula isn't best, and sometimes crazy surgical forms of feeding are best. And it's okay!

Remember those fears we feel with our newborns and the assurances I shared? Guess what! They still hold true!

Whether you breast feed your little one, mix and shake bottles of formula multiple times a day, or find yourself using tubes, syringes, and a pump to feed your little one. It's ALL okay!

You're not messing your little one up!
You're not a failure!
You can do this!

It's not about our preferences or personal opinions all the time.
Obviously more important is the health and safety of our precious little ones, who we wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Be sure to visit The Honest Company for safe, eco-friendly, and affordable feeding options for your baby.

Follow our family's journey with Zachary on YouTube HERE.


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Thursday, March 9, 2017

All About Therapy - Part 1

This world I now live in with a special needs child includes hours and hours of therapy appointments.  Zachary's first therapy session began when he was 4 months old. He was teeny tiny and the muscles in Zachary's body were so limp and that he could not even hold up his head.

We started weekly therapy sessions a couple of years before we even knew if or what syndrome Zachary may have had. What we did know was that things just weren't right.


Zachary is now 2 months away from turning 6 years old. Together, he and I have attended over 68 months of therapy. That's 292 weeks of therapy sessions and we're talking at least 3 appointments a week so that's a guaranteed 876 appointments. But wait! There were 2 rounds of intensive therapy where he was attending 7 sessions a week plus the other 2 a week so 9 sessions PER WEEK. Then there's the in-home therapy we did for a while. After doing a little math, our little man and I have together attended around 1,000 hours of therapy appointments in his almost 6 years. The crazy thing is, we're just getting started! I'm sure there's thousands of appointments to come in the next 6+ years.

I do that math not to make you sound impressed, but to let those of you who walk this same path know that you're not alone! If you're on a similar journey, you know that as a parent we'll do whatever it takes to help our kids grow and progress - even if it is sitting in an uncomfortable chair for several hours every single week. It's SO worth it!


Therapy appointments are fun, stressful, amazing, eye-opening, bring smiles, and bring tears. Zachary is stubborn, wants to do everything his way, would prefer not to be told to work hard or be pushed or stretched to learn new things, has a scream that can fill the entire therapy clinic, and a giggle that when it creeps into a therapy session will make tears of joy well up in my eyes.


Therapists are amazing people. They've become our friends, support system, biggest cheerleaders, and advocates for our children. Our therapists may make our little ones cry at times but it's all for pushing them to be better, stronger, comprehend more, speak better, eat more, and react to situations better. The list is long.

If you are a therapist of any kind, you are a super hero. If you have been one of Zachary's therapists you are a ROCKSTAR and have more patience than I can begin to describe!


Therapists see the best in our kiddos, seeing the potential when a tired mom has no faith left that even more progress can be made. 



During our Special Needs Life Hacks Webinar this week, Melissa and I talked therapy. There's so much to cover when it comes to therapy that we divided this topic into 3 parts. In our first episode we shared our therapy stories and about the different types of services our kids get. You can watch below or check out the Special Needs Life Hacks YouTube channel for the therapy video and previous episodes.




In the next 2 episodes, we'll share a glimpse into what exactly therapy has looked like for each of our different cases and try to cover many of the little details that are involved. Finally, in the 3rd session we'll chat about some of the heart level things that come up as a mom who is constantly taking her child to and from appointments. We'll even throw in our sanity savers to maybe help you too survive the therapy mayhem!

After spending 1,000 hours in a therapy clinic, I have a few "life hacks" I'd like to present to the hospital board. I think recliners for the parents and a coffee bar sound glorious! Can I get an Amen?!
Friday, March 3, 2017

Life Lately + an EEG Update

We're 3 days into March and I spent some time this morning looking back on February. February opened it's door with GOOD NEWS! I received a call early on February 1 that Zachary's EEG results were looking NORMAL!

While he most likely experienced a seizure in mid January, everything looked great from his morning of testing. We just continue to watch for another episode but it could hopefully be a long time before we see anything worrying again.


As I was organizing medical supplies in Zachary's room a few weeks ago I came across Zachary's very first pair of glasses. He received these after his eye surgeries and after his eyes had healed for a couple weeks so I think he got these first pair of tiny glasses when he was around 10 or 11 weeks old. Small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and still covered in baby formula stains, these tiny metal-framed glasses are a treasure. They remind me of a time so early on when we knew nothing of Lowe Syndrome or what our little boy would face.


I renewed some health and fitness goals in February. While my workouts had been consistent, my nutrition needed an overhaul once again and I needed to push a little harder to break through a plateau and regain my weight loss progress. 

It has been so much fun working through the Insanity workouts. They're oh-so-tough and I feel my lungs burning for the entire 40 minutes. But I can feel my endurance growing and my backside re-shaping if I do say so myself. Pressing hard into cardio is not what I call fun, but it's strangely become something I wake up looking forward to each day. 

I may have lost my mind! :)


Our brand new Starbucks is OPEN! With our gift cards in hand, I was excited to go for coffee on the morning the coffee shop opened.

Peter and I were one of the first in the store that morning and may have been seen sitting in each of the comfy chairs one at a time so our bums were the first in the chairs. Yep. That's us.


"My" new Starbucks is close to home, on the way to therapy, and a super place to take my girl for her to work on her school work.


Besides Starbucks, I have a favorite new homemade drink - Raspberry Good Girl Moonshine! I wrote about it earlier this week so get the recipe and try it yourself!

We just need a more "manly" name for it as Peter takes a mug full back to work with him every afternoon after lunch and the name Good Girl Moonshine just isn't very manly. Ideas?


February also brought the launch of Special Needs Life Hacks! My friend Melissa and I have been having so much fun putting out bi-weely posts and webinars to build up an online library for parents just starting out on the special needs or pediatric medical journey. 

This new project is several years in the making in both Melissa's and my hearts and it's fun to see how God brought us both together and started us on this adventure. 

Check out Preparing for Doctor Visits or Organizing Medical Supplies and share with anyone you think might be blessed by the content. I have a post coming with much more in depth pictures on the Organizing Medical Supplies topic so keep an eye out for that!


We had a birthday in our family this month! Daniel turned 9 and we pulled out all the stops. A homemade bounce house with our trampoline, hundreds of balloons, and the Lego Batman Movie were the highlights.

This kid. I am not exaggerating when I say he's always smiling and always crazy. He's such a joy to have in our family. Happy birthday Daniel!

We made a fun video of our celebrations HERE. Take a look!




There are so many more pictures on my phone from the month of February that I could talk about but I think this post has become long enough. I'm thankful for the fun, the memories, and looking back at how God has walked with us once again through another month.

You can always check out our YouTube channel to see in real time much of what I have shared here. We are having a blast getting our channel started and will be spending our 2017 making memories through the good and the bad of what may be ahead.

Will you walk with us? You can subscribe to our channel HERE.

We actually met our first milestone of 100 subscribers! Now for 1,000...!

Have a great March!

-Jessica

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Raspberry Good Girl Moonshine

I have fallen in love with Good Girl Moonshine.

This amazing drink has become my afternoon go-to. It can be made it in about 2 minutes and is crazy inexpensive.

When I sip on my moonshine all afternoon, I feel like I'm being super healthy but I also feel like I'm enjoying a soda! There are incredible health benefits to apple cider vinegar and ginger. So sip away!

You can find the original recipe here on the Trim Healthy Mama website. With a couple extract variations, I have a drink I won't be getting sick of anytime soon. In fact, I have started making one each day to send back to work with Peter after he comes home for lunch. It's a great pick-me-up for the long afternoon hours.


I make my moonshine in a quart jar and it's just so pretty with a bright cute straw. The fun is getting creative with different extracts! I have used orange extract for quite a while but I recently bought raspberry extract and LOVE it. I've heard people have used different extracts like peach, lime, caramel, you name it.

Why not mix and match? Today I did a dash of orange AND raspberry. I know, I'm getting a bit wild over here!



Raspberry Good Girl Moonshine

Ingredients:
2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar (I now use vinegar with the mother in it)
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Super Sweet Blend (Trim Healthy Mama brand) or a Pinch of Stevia 
          -just enough sweetness to your liking
Splash of Raspberry Extract
Ice Cubes
Water

Directions:
1. Place vinegar, ginger, sweetener, and extract in a quart jar.
2. Add about an inch of water into the jar and stir. This just helps make sure everything is dissolved.
3. Completely fill jar with ice and then add water to fill jar.
4. Stir and enjoy!

I'd love to hear if you give it a try!




Sunday, February 26, 2017

Newland Chronicles

Our family is having a blast with our new YouTube adventure. Creating videos of our days, making memories, and sharing our journey has been so much fun.

We are SO CLOSE to our first 100 subscribers.

Would you take a quick minute to click over to our channel and subscribe?

Here's a look back on our videos from last week.

THIS OLD MAN'S GOT SKILLS!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!


THE NEWLAND'S STORY


TRAMPOLINE BOUNCE HOUSE!



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How to Organize Medical Supplies and Equipment

Once again this is a topic I knew absolutely nothing about a short couple of years ago. I had no idea there were medical supply companies or that needed supplies would get delivered to your door. I also had no clue HOW MANY supplies were required to take care of one child.


Zachary receives deliveries each month from 3 different medical suppliers. The biggest delivery we receive are the supplies for his g-tube feedings. Boxes and boxes of formula, feeding bags, tube extensions, gauze, syringes, and more fill the closet in Zachary's bedroom. 

The second delivery arriving usually a week later is boxes of diapers, diaper liners, bed underpads, and diaper cream. What an AMAZING blessing! Typically when your special needs child turns 3 or 4 insurance will pay for diapers and diapering supplies. Zachary's pediatrician got the ball rolling the prescription for these.

Growth hormone is usually the final delivery each month. The medicine arrives on ice packs along with the needed needles and alcohol prep pads.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who find's it super easy to bring the delivery boxes in the house and then get busy with the rest of the daily tasks and leave the boxes sitting in the living room. My first tip is to deal with the medical supplies and boxes right away.

On our SNLH Webinar this week, Melissa and I are shared our experiences with medical supply companies and tackling organizing the literal piles of boxes of supplies that arrive each month. 

Check out the webinar below...