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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Twelve Days of Family Medical Emergencies - Part Two

When it rains, it pours. If you can believe it, the saga continues, even after Part One. If you haven't read Part One of this story, click here. Go ahead, read it, I'll wait.

McKinley in the Hospital

On the morning of July 6th, I got home from my third visit to the ER. McKinley was already awake, sitting on the couch. She had been complaining of an upset tummy since the night before, and she had already vomited a couple of times. After a few hours of praying her upset tummy would get better on its own, it had already been about 8-10 hours of her not keeping anything down. Now, I feel it necessary to insert here, that I do not typically take myself or my children to the doctor, much less the hospital for every little ailment. But, given the recent events, I felt like she needed to go and be seen. Better safe than sorry, yes?

We got checked in around 6:30pm. The ER doctor asked all of the usual doctor questions, started an IV with fluids, gave her medication through her IV for nausea, and went off to order tests. The radiologist came in shortly after and wheeled her away for a x-ray. The results from the x-ray came back and a plan was developed. The doctor tried three different remedies before giving the unfortunate news, she needed to be admitted.

McKinley in the Hospital
Her daddy came to visit. Talk about a sight for sore eyes. He was just what she needed to let her know it was all going to be okay. This was also before she was admitted...and we had no idea we'd be there for a few days. Notice the "throw up bucket' on her lap. Bless her heart, she couldn't keep anything down, not even with the anti-nausea medication.

To the sixth floor of Wolfson Children's Hospital we went. It was after midnight by now. McKinley's first nurse was so sweet. Her name was Amika. She got McKinley into her non-slip hospital socks, tucked her into bed, showed her how to work the TV remote and nurse call button, and even got me something to eat for dinner. In the ER, McKinley wasn't allowed anything to eat or drink. Now that she was admitted, she could pretty much have whatever she wanted. Amika made sure our first nights stay was comfortable. I mean, as comfortable as one can be in a hospital. After everything that we had endured in the ER we only wanted to sleep. Next step, wait until the morning doctors came in to work, and a new plan would be put into action. Thankfully, McKinley didn't have any more spells of vomiting, so she was able to get some sleep. And, I was also able to get some sleep.

McKinley in the Hospital

The following morning a whole team of doctors came in. Like, eight of them, all at once. It was a bit overwhelming, actually. The lead doctor, I mean, I guess he was the lead, told us the plan, checked her belly sounds, and then told us he'd check back later. We actually never saw him again, LOL, but that's ok. His plan got my girl's belly working again. After many, MANY packets of Miralax, many mini bottles of Gatorade, a handful of stool softeners, a couple enemas, and goodness knows what else, her bowels began to move again. Who knew severe constipation could cause a hospital stay?

After three nights and four days in the hospital McKinley was ready to bust outta that joint! We couldn't wait to get our girl home and get back to enjoying our Summer vacation. Little did we know she wouldn't be the only person in our family to go to the hospital that week. Part three coming soon.

Did you know that constipation is common in children? The cause is usually a sudden change in diet, a child's already poor diet, not drinking enough water, too busy to stop and "go," and other reasons are among common reasons for constipation in children. I'm going to assume, in McKinley's case, it was a diet that consists of LOTS of bread (she LOVES bread) and playing too hard to stop and "go." These are my guesses, we'll never really know. What I do know now is, we will certainly take precautionary measures to ensure our children go everyday. Lots of water, exercise, and a daily probiotic.


McKinley had many visitors. I can't thank each of these friends enough for visiting my girl. Their company lifted her spirits and gave her hope that everything would be a-okay. They brought gifts and sat and colored and played with her. Thank you, friends!

McKinley in the Hospital
This sweet dog came in to visit her, too. This was on her first morning, so she wasn't feeling well at all. You can see it in her face. 
McKinley's Hospital Visitors
McKinley's 2nd grade teacher, Miss Ketner, stopped in to visit. Although she wasn't feeling real well, we decided to take a walk through the halls. I'm glad we did, we found the art and game room!

McKinley's Hospital Visitors

McKinley's Hospital Visitors
Our besties, Cheyenne, Tonya, and Hailey came to visit. Cheyenne was so sweet with McKinley. She helped her push her IV pole around the hallways. 
McKinley's Hospital Visitors
You can see she was beginning to feel better. Her daddy came to visit her after work one day, and they went down to the play room to get some painting in.
McKinley's Hospital Visitors
Once back in her room, Daddy did a little painting of his own. He painted his princesses toenails. 
McKinley's Hospital Visitors
Grandma and Papa came to play, too. 
One of McKinley's best cheer friends came two times to see her. The first day Presli came McKinley was still really sick and not feeling well. You could tell that Presli was unsure of the situation, she was quiet and kept her distance. The next time she came, McKinley was feeling a LOT better and, well, these two were acting super silly!
Cheyenne also came twice. McKinley sure has some great friends!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Play Sports, Play Clean with GOODWIPES. #WipesOnWheels

This post is sponsored by The Women Bloggers and Goodwipes. All opinions are my own. 


When my oldest son was maybe four, we signed him up for t-ball. At that age, the kids are more interested in the dirt, than they are in the game. He "played" one season. A couple of years later, we gave soccer a try. Two little boys in soccer is just as cute as you would think it is. I had always dreamed of being a Soccer Mom. It seemed as though my dreams of being a sports family was coming true. Actually, though, soccer only lasted one season. Let's face it, at that age, the boys were just running up and down the field. Neither of them had much time, or interest, with the ball.

Fast forward a bunch of years, our next door neighbor asks Jonah to come play football on the team he coaches. Football? I was hesitant. It's a full on contact sport, you know? But, I let him play and suddenly I became a Football Mom. Since that day, almost four years ago, we haven't looked back. Then, two years ago, we found Allstar Cheerleading for our oldest daughter. We were becoming a family full of sports. Now, we have two boys in football and two girls in cheerleading. And, we're a family full of stinky kids, when I pick them up from practice. 

Play Sports, Play Clean with GOODWIPES

My kids are either on the field or in the gym for a few hours a day, after they finish a full day of school. When I first heard of Goodwipes, I knew I needed to throw a package of them in each of their gym bags. Since they aren't able to come home and shower before practice, I want them to always feel their cleanest. After weight lifting class, my oldest son can quickly wipe down, smell great, feel great, and get to his next class. After practice, before the boys get in my truck, they can wipe down, so I don't have to smell them all the way home. After practice, my girls can wipe the sweat from their faces and not be dripping sweat all the way home. If while at practice they need to go to the bathroom, they can wipe and feel completely clean, so they can get back on the field or on the mat and practice at 100%. After all, when they feel good about themselves, they can perform at their best!

Play Sports, Play Clean with GOODWIPES

Some FUN info about Goodwipes - 

*They're the only flushable and biodegradable feminine wipe on the market. Other fem hygiene wipes use pH/skin-threatening ingredients and are certainly not eco-friendly like Goodwipes. Don't worry, guys, there are wipes for YOU, too!
*They have great, rehydrating ingredients like aloe, chamomile and vitamin E with NONE of the bad stuff like alcohol or parabens which can dry you skin. 
*Goodwipes smell great and feel super smooth and soft, too!

Goodwives in McKinley's Cheer Bag #WipesOnWheels

We've used another brand of "wet TP" for years. Wiping with something other than toilet paper just makes you feel cleaner. I've replaced our other brand with Goodwipes, and we're all feeling our cleanest. 

Goodwives in McKinley's Cheer Bag #WipesOnWheels

I was really excited to find out that these are available nationwide at 638 Walmarts in the feminine hygiene section! Click on the following link to find a location closest to you.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Your First Look at A Wrinkle in Time Official Trailer

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 15: (L-R) Actors Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Storm Reid of A WRINKLE IN TIME, director Ava DuVernay of A WRINKLE IN TIME, and President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey took part today in the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney's D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. A WRINKLE IN TIME will be released in U.S. theaters on March 9, 2018. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Reese Witherspoon; Oprah Winfrey; Mindy Kaling; Chris Pine; Storm Reid; Ava DuVernay; Sean Bailey (Copyright 2017 Getty Images, used with permission from Walt Disney Studios)

Here's your FIRST a look at Disney's upcoming A Wrinkle in Time...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Twelve Days of Family Medical Emergencies - Part One

Jacksonville Beach Pier with the kids
(photo clearly doesn't depict our medical emergencies, but does show the fun time we were having prior to it all beginning.)

July 2, what started as the beginning of a good day, progressed horribly. I woke up at the beach, all of the kids and some of our friends were there. We were going to enjoy one last full day on the ocean shore and by the pool. Around 10:00am, though, things got bad. I was so nauseous, my body hurt so badly, I was freezing cold, huddled under a blanket that we joked just the night before would keep an Eskimo warm. My son offered to go find me some Pepto Bismol and Gatorade. It didn't work. I hated to have to be the ending point of our fun day, but there was no way I could endure heat and kids, conversation, much less putting on a smile. Home we went.

My husband thought I must've picked up a bug or gotten food poisoning. After all, we had been eating out for every meal, my body isn't used to that. I wanted to go to the hospital. He offered to take the kids to his parents, so I could rest. Hours went by, no relief from the vomiting or the pain was in sight. It felt like labor pain. If you've never experienced labor pain, it felt like knives in my belly and body aches from constant vomiting. I'm sure there's a better description for labor pain, but this was my experience. I had to go to the hospital. Now.

After getting checked in to the ER, and getting much appreciated medication to stop the vomiting and pain, I was wheeled off to Radiation, for a CT scan. And then whisked away for an ultrasound. (No babies, y'all! That factory is closed.) The culprit of all of my anguish? Ovarian cysts.

When the doctor came in to tell me what had been giving me all the trouble, he was cautiously optimistic, that it was an isolated issue and these things happen. "Ovarian cysts are common," he said.

So, I get home and crawl into bed. After all, I needed to let all of that pain medication wear off, and I prayed for no more vomiting. I was beginning to feel better. Until July 4th.

Y'all, on July 3rd, I felt semi-back-to-normal. And then, on July 4th, it came back with a vengeance. Back to the ER I went. Again, they gave me pain medicine via IV, something to stop the vomiting, and told me it was ovarian cysts. However, this time they added to my diagnosis, and I was told I also have fibroids. I was told to go home and make an appointment with my GYN, because the ER isn't equipped to help me. #soconfused

I prayed that THIS TIME I would go home, crawl into bed, wake up the next morning, and the pain all be gone. Well, it didn't happen that way. I rolled around, writhing in pain for the next two days. Even if I wanted to make an appointment for the GYN, I was too terribly sick to do so.

Can you even believe I can keep going? On July 6th, I went BACK to the ER. Same thing, pain meds, anti-nausea medication, ovarian cysts, make an appointment with the GYN. Maybe they gave me enough pain medication to last me, maybe my REAL ailment calmed down enough for me to deal with what was ahead. Because, on July 6th, after I got home from the ER for myself, I had to take McKinley.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

5 Back-to-School Shopping Tips

5 Back to School Shopping Tips

Last week a postcard showed up in my mailbox informing me that Middle School Orientation is in 3 weeks. THREE weeks, people! Didn't Summer just begin??

While I'm sad for the Summer to be coming to a close, I'm equally excited {if not more so} for the kids to go back to school. When I was a kid growing up, back-to-school season was my most favorite! Freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebook paper, and a Trapper Keeper {!!}. Kids these days have NO idea what a Trapper Keeper is...only the greatest notebook of all time! Children of the 80's, am I right??

I'll have four kids in school full-time this year. While I'm no expert in what's right and wrong in back-to-school shopping, I have learned a few things along the way. After all, Jake will be starting 9th grade this school year. Including preschool and VPK, that's like 10 years of solid experience.

Today I'm sharing 5 Back-to-School Shopping Tips that I've learned along the way.

/1/ Start Shopping NOW! - Back-to-School supplies sales begin to pop up the weekend after the 4th of July. For real. It seems early but, it's great for a multitude of reasons. Keep reading. Each week, pick up a Sunday paper and scour the ads for the best deals.

/2/ Shop Often - Every week each store will have different school supplies on sale. This week you can buy pencils for next to nothing and next week might be 1-inch binders. The more often you go, the less money you'll spend and the less crowds you'll have to fight when it gets closer to the first day of school.

/3/ Shop Tax Free - Check and see if your state offers a tax-free weekend for back-to-school shopping. If it isn't offered in your state, drive to a neighboring state {if gas cost is significantly lower than the tax savings} or contact your local state representative to see if he/she can get the wheels in motion on bringing that savings to you for following years!

On top of the store's sale prices, saving your state's tax percentage is an added bonus! Since I like to shop for supplies each week as the sale ads come out, I usually take advantage of tax-free weekend for the kid's clothes. After all, the clothing is the most expensive part of the shopping list. Also, tax-free weekend is a great time to buy the supplies that are "wants". You know the ones, the FROZEN folders or the more expensive mechanical pencils that they insist are far better than the ones you bought for $0.48 or the fancy-schmancy pens. Basically, anything not on the "official" supply list is generally bought during this time for an added savings.

/4/ Know Before You Go - I noticed this past school year that my kids' school puts a supply list in their end-of-year report card. Genius! This way I'm armed with a supply list weeks before the sales begin and I can make a plan. I can buy more than I need, if the price is right. If I didn't have my list I might wind up buying 3 folders at that amazing sale price when the kids actually need 4...and then I might end up paying full price for the 4th. It's nice to have a list!

/5/ Price Match - This is my most recent back-to-school shopping, "ah-ha moment" tip. In years past I would check out Sunday's paper, make a plan to go to each store that had what I needed at the best price, and go to each store. {let's not even think about the amount of gas was used in this school shopping adventure...} This year is different. I check my Sunday paper each week, gather the sale ads with the items circled that I plan to purchase, and then head to my local WalMart and utilize their Price Match Policy. It's a one-stop shop. Best of all, if the item is Buy One, Get One Free then it's 9 times out of 10 going to be cheaper on the Buy One. For instance, XYZ store had Crayola markers on sale BOGO for $2.98. WalMart's price was $1.27. This means, I was able to get the BOGO offer at $1.27 instead of $2.98. Make sense? {I was able to get each item for 64 cents, instead of $1.49.} It's truly easy and saves SO MUCH MONEY!

Are you ready for Back-to-School? What shopping tip would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

10 Games Kids Can Play On A Road Trip

This post contains affiliate links. What does this mean? When you click through the links and make a purchase, I get a small commission. 

games for kids on a road trip

With the Summer season upon us, and the start of traditional traveling months to begin, I thought I would bring you some hope. After all, road trips are fun. Well, they can be. As soon as "Are we there yet?" and "Can we stop? I have to go to the bathroom." is asked for the one millionth time, you're F I N I S H E D. I've learned over the years the best way to cure the whiney children is to play a game, or three.

Good news! I have TEN great games your kids can play while you're cruisin' down the highway.

1. Telephone - You remember this one! It doesn't matter what generation you were born in, you played Telephone at one point in your life. Your child whispers a story or a sequence of words to someone else in the car. The person he whispered it to then whispers the same story, as close to what he heard as possible. Then, on to the next person. By the time the story gets to the last person it's rarely the original thought and it brings laughter.

2. Twenty Questions - One person secretly thinks of either an object, place or animal. The other people in the car take turns asking yes-or-no questions, like "Is it red?" or "Have we ever been there before?" After the players have asked twenty questions, each player gets a chance to guess at what it could be.

3. The Alphabet Game - One person chooses the righthand side of the road, and someone else choose the lefthand side. The players take turns finding letters in the alphabet, either on street signs or license plates. The idea is to point out all the letters of the alphabet in order, from A to Z. The first person to Z wins.

4. The Theme Song Game - One person hums the tune to a favorite TV show, and everyone tries to name the show as fast as possible. The first person to guess correctly hums the next song.
Mom and Dad, you could play this game with songs from years past. What about the first song you ever danced to? Or, "your song" from when you were dating? This game could be fun for ALL!

5. Restaurant Race - Each player chooses a restaurant, such as Burger King, McDonalds, Panera Bread, etc. Players earn points by spotting their restaurant off the road, on a billboard, on exit markers, on Food/Fuel signs, or by hearing it mentioned on the radio. Impose a time limit -- say, 20 minutes -- and then add up the points.

6. Memory Test - The first person says "A is for ___" filling in the blank with any word beginning with the letter A, such as "apple." The second person comes up with a word for the letter B, such as "baseball," but must also repeat the A word: "A is for apple, B is for baseball." Continue through the alphabet, each person taking several turns and reciting more and more letters and words. By the time you reach the letter Z, that player will recite the entire alphabet and its corresponding words. However, if you're playing with younger kids you may want to choose an earlier letter than Z to be the final one.

7. "I'm Going on a Picnic" Game - Super similar to the Memory Test, but you say, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm going to bring apples." The next person would say something like, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm going to bring apples and bananas." Next person would say, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm going to bring apples, bananas, and cupcakes." You get the idea. You'd go back and forth until you are bringing something to the picnic from every letter of the alphabet.

8. Secret Place Race - You'll need an old school map for this one. But, that could be lots of fun. (You can often find a map at rest stops or visitor stations.) One person looks at a road map and finds a small town, river, or trail. That person tells everyone in the car the place he has chosen. A second player has 60 seconds to look at the map and try to find the secret place.

9. The Animal Game - One person names an animal, then each person in order has to name another animal (no repeating!) that starts with the last letter of the previous animal named. There are no winners or losers in this game. With older children, try the game with TV shows, or geographical categories, such as cities or countries.

10. The State License Plate Game - This game we play on every road trip! Until recently, I thought I made this game up. :) At the start of your journey, grab a pencil and a piece of paper. As you're traveling down the road, pay close attention the license plates of passers by. Every plate has a different state. Write down each one, until you've found all 50 states. Can you find them all? There's a wonderful game board made by Melissa & Doug for this game. (Find it by clicking HERE) Apparently I wasn't as creative in making this game up as I thought.

Here are a few more games that I found for you on Amazon.
50 Road Trip Games
Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Spot It! On The Road
Mad Libs on the Road
Backseat Bingo Playing Cards

Now, as you prepare for your next road trip, you don't have to dread the hours of "Are we there yet?"

What are your favorite games to play, when you travel? Tell me in the comments!

Safe travels!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wild Florida Celebrates Seven Years -- Press Release


Wild Florida Celebrates Seven Years of Airboat Tours, Gator Hugs, Buggy Rides and Slothies by offering FREE admission to its Gator and Wildlife Park

This June marks Wild Florida’s seventh anniversary of providing visitors from all over the globe a world of adventure in the Middle of Nowhere.

Celebrate with more than just airboat hair. Beginning this June, Wild Florida will offer everyone free admission to its Gator and Wildlife Park through the end of 2017. Get an up close and personal look at more than 200 animals ranging from native Florida species to more exotic animals like sloths, lemurs, zebras and more. Explore and interact with these amazing creatures and learn about their heritage, habits and what it’s like to care for these animals. That’s right, hug a “Fluffy” gator or snap a “Slothie” (sloth selfie) or two.

Since the opening, the mission at Wild Florida has always been to provide an unforgettable Everglades experience that promotes a connection with animals while inspiring education and conservation.  

“Over the past seven years we’ve shown hundreds of thousands of guests what real, wild Florida is all about. We have built a world-class attraction in the ‘Middle of Nowhere’ and we couldn’t be happier!” says Sam Haught, co-owner and co-founder of Wild Florida. “The best part about Wild Florida is the WILD part. Wild rides, wild animals, wild memories with your family. We’re much more than a roadside attraction with gators. Wild Florida’s a destination where guests can experience both rescued gators at our park and wild gators in the Everglades.”

Wild Florida has grown from day and night airboat tours to a ½ day experience including the expansion of the Gator and Wildlife Park, dining and event space and ranch buggy tours through some of Central Florida’s working cattle ranches. That’s not all. This year, Wild Florida welcomed several species of Crocodiles and some other fun animals to check out on your next visit.  For additional information, visit