Monday, May 8, 2017

DiaperDude Convertible Messenger Backpack Diaper bag Review

  This Diaper bag really needs a category all its own! 

   The DiaperDude Convertible Messenger Backpack is the perfect bag for baby wearing parents. It can be worn on your back for front wearing, and quickly converts to a messenger bag for back carrying. 
   Now that my little guy isn't so little and doesn't want to be worn in his Tula much, I still love this bag. The DiaperDude company made this bag with little ones of all ages in mind! 
    My son as an unbelievable amount of medical supplies that I need to tote around with me at all times. With the DiaperDude Convertible bag I can fit all of his supplies PLUS all the things that keep him happy while at appointments, or just at the park. 

This bag has storage for days!! 
The pockets include; TWO giant main pockets, both with mesh pockets for diapers and wipes, one side pocket for paperwork (or for hiding that candy bar you plan to eat in the closet later), 3 small front pockets we use for hearing aid supplies as well as my phone and small toys. 
To convert from backpack to messenger it's really quite simple! 
The backpack straps unhook from the bottom and have their own storage compartment in the back that is well padded so you don't feel anything while carrying the bag. Then the messenger strap is clipped on and your are ready to go chase your kid! 
I love the DiaperDude Company, and the convertible Diaper bag, they really thought about parents when making this product. 

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PlayHut Crawl N' Play Review

      Finding entertainment for a toddler is sometimes difficult. Keeping the attention span of a 3-4 year old is like herding squirrels. And spending a ton of money, well, that really isn't an option for a lot of parents. 
    Playhut has always had reasonably priced play houses, tunnels, as well as other soft structured products for toddlers, as well as older kids. My 9 year old has been known to join in the tunnel fun a time or two. 
    When we have a really rainy day, or a sick day at home (like today) I pull it out from behind the cabinet, it's in its own case, which took me about 10 seconds to fold to fit in there (Not like trying to put an airmattress back in the box it came in, who are we kidding, it's never going to fit). The Playhut Crawl N' Play fits very easily in its case, stuffed behind my cabinet for days like today. 
I hand the entire package over to Cal, opening his Playhut really is one of his favorite parts.

    The Playhut Crawl N' Play comes with one Hut and two tunnels. You can set up a few configurations for the Playhut with the tunnels. Cal loves when I connect the two to make one large tunnel, but we try to change it up every so often to keep things interesting. 

     The playhut folds in on itself, then twists into a circle to fit with the two tunnels into the velcro bag. The bag also has a velcro closure, I was worried it wouldn't be strong enough to stay closed and keep the hut from popping open, but it is pretty strong velcro. The handles on the bag are good quality and could withstand a 4 year old dragging it around the house with a cat inside of it, just for reference. 

    Overall the Playhut Crawl N' Play is one of my son's favorite rainyday activities, and one of mine as well!! 

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Friday, February 24, 2017

This thing could blend my couch.....

The All Mighty Vitamix 

        When Calvin was around 1 year old his doctor told us he would have to switch from infant formula to a toddler tube fed formula as soon as he turned 1 year old due to insurance. 
No big deal right? Wrong. 

       Our little guy had endured so much in his first year of life, and after trying about 4 different types of formulas we finally found one that worked pretty well and he was gaining weight. Changing his formula would be detrimental to his progress and we knew we needed to do something. This was when a good friend stepped in and introduced us to blended foods for tube fed kids. 

      Who would have thought, real food for real kids. Who cares if they have feeding tubes, they deserve to eat real food too!! 

So the journey began.

       The first step was to get a blender that could puree foods thin enough to fit through his gtube. We were to choose from two blenders. The first we had heard good things about, but the vitamix won RAVE reviews from all tube fed parents I talked to! So the medical discount process started and after about 4 weeks we had our blender!!
Tardis blue was what I wanted, of course.

      With guidance from his dietitian at Cincinnati Children's we dived head first in to making blended food for Calvin. And it worked for almost a year!! He was doing great, but then one sickness lead to another and we had to stop, we ended up finding a great formula that IS blended foods, Nourish. But without the Vitamix blender, Cal wouldn't be anywhere close to where he is now. Real foods helped him grow and function better, like it does with all toddlers. 

Now we use the vitamix for purees for him to eat by mouth!!

     After our entire house being ill this week we had fruit that was going bad and I needed to use it quickly. So I made apple, pear, banana, and peanut butter puree with almond milk. This will get eaten by Hannah and Calvin before the weekend is over. 

     As we all know, the peal of apples and pears has the most nutrients, but blending it can be difficult. Not with the Vitamix, like the title implies, I really do believe this thing could blend up my couch. (But don't try that, unless you want to eat couch, and ruin your blender)

The Vitamix has a 64oz container and now comes in Silver, stainless steel, platinum, red, and white (It came in blue a few years ago)

The settings are great for whatever you need. I use the variable setting to get all of my ingredients into the blender, then I use high speed to make sure there are no chunks. Calvin would get sick if I left ANY chunks behind!
This thing can also make soup, and make it HOT! (Amazing, right?)
There is a plunger that helps mash things down into the blades, helpful for greens and hard fruits.
Overall, this is my FAVORITE kitchen gadget for making Calvin's foods, I don't have to worry about peel or chunks getting in his food and causing him to regress. 

You can check out the vitamix at Vitamix ! The price varies by model. 

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Lilo and Stitch to Calvin and Hobbes

      When I left off with Hannah's World Blog we were becoming foster parents. Hannah had just turned 5 and was patiently waiting to love on babies. She would sit in the empty nursery, pile her dolls in the crib and play pretend with her play foster sisters and brothers. She was waiting, and so were we.

       Little did we know, just 2 months after my last blog post a baby would be born, on Valentines day. He was a very sick little boy. He had a birth defect called a TEF/EA where his esophogus wasn't connected to his stomach. He had microcephaly (A small head). His ears weren't the same, and he was Deaf. We didn't even know he existed. He lived in the NICU for 3 months while he grew and tried to learn to drink from a bottle (this never happened). He was given a Gtube so he could get the nutrients he needed to live. He also had a very small jaw and required oxygen 24/7, as well as monitor for his heart rate and oxygen levels.

       The little boy went home with his birth mother at 3 months. But things just didn't work out and he was taken from her after 3 weeks. The details of this have been shared with family, but aren't something I really want to share with the world. We still didn't know he existed.

       Now here comes the amazing part....
       These are some amazing things to know before I tell you about this little boys home coming.

  • The month the little boy went home with his birth mother, we were doing respite and were able to care for a little boy with a gtube (God was preparing us).
  •  I had also taken 4 years of American sign language in high school, just because I found the language fascinating. 
  • The Foster mom that introduced me to our agency, was also a nurse, and had a little one that was reunified the month before The little boy was removed from his birth mother's care. 
  • The week before we got the call for The Little Boy, we went to a foster parent event, and I won an infant car seat, this was the last thing we needed before we could take our first placement. 
  • Everything in our family happens on the 23rd. Birthdays, anniversaries, big events, etc. 
These are all important things to know. Now for the magic....

June 17th 2013 I got a phone call from our agency about a 4 month old baby boy. He had multiple medical needs. I called Michael and we both agreed to say Yes! (In foster care, you can choose to say yes or no to a call for a child). I called my friend (The nurse) and talked to her about his needs with permission from the agency. She said she had gotten the call for The Little Boy first, but they just weren't ready to take a placement yet, so she had recommended us. (Such a God thing, she knew we were meant to have this little boy, and was ready for my phone call) She was my mentor and God Send from then on.

So I called the agency back and said yes! They told me he was in the hospital and that I couldn't take him home just yet, but gave me his information. I left as soon as I got the information to go meet this little boy.

I walked into the room to see a tiny puff of platinum blond hair wrapped in a purple gown hooked up to every wire possible. He was fussing and the lady was trying to calm him without holding him. I swooped in and picked him up, practically climbing into the crib to hold him without pulling any wires.
Nurses came in and helped me get comfortable and he fell asleep in my arms. My little purple boy was called "Stitch" for the rest of his time as our foster son.

Stitch had to have multiple procedures. I wasn't able to know much because I was "Just the Foster mom". This phrase came up many times, and it made my heart hurt every time. Don't ever say "Just the foster parent" to anyone that is fostering. That is like saying a mom is just a baby sitter. We are there for everything, we aren't JUST anything ,we are everything for those children.

June 23rd, 2013 (yes! The 23rd!) I snuggled Stitch up in his little blue outfit with trains on it, put him in our newly won car seat, arranged wires and tubes and left the hospital with our Stitch.
I brought him home to a waiting little girl and Daddy who were so excited to meet him.

Stitch grew quickly, recovering from the past month of his life quickly. We started signing to him and he lit up when we would get his attention. He still didn't look our way when we were talking, so he wasn't engaging much. This was very hard, having a child who wouldn't react to you. 

Stitch learned to sit up around 8 months old, he had a hard time learning to crawl, he was 11 months old when this finally happened.
When he was still small we went to a geneticist and were told "He will likely never walk, talk, or live a normal life. You should consider adopting him very carefully". Those words still hurt today.

At 11 months old Calvin got his first hearing aid. His world and personality opened up. He was able to engage with us, he signed "Milk" for the first time shortly after this, at my brother's graduation party in May of 2014 Calvin said "Mama" for the first time!! My heart melted. At 20 months he finally walked, and by then had almost 100 signs.

July 3rd 2014 we adopted Stitch, who then became Calvin Dean! That was a beautiful day, Hannah was most excited to be an "Official big sister".

Calvin now runs everywhere, although his stamina isn't where it should be and he requires a wheel chair for long distances, like the zoo or aquarium. He has over 250 signs, and multiple verbal words. He loves Mickey mouse and Pj Masks. His favorite person in the world is Hannah (He calls her Nana).  Take that Dr. guy.

We found out around 2 that Calvin has a rare (108 in the entire world) Genetic Condition called Mandibulofacial dysostosis with Microcephaly (MFDM). I started a support group for this condition and it's the only one in the world! We have found over 20 children out of the 108 and the number keeps growing weekly as more children are tested. There are 4 cases in our City alone, which is really rare.

So that is the story of how Stitch became Calvin and we became a family of 4!