Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Teething Pains and Amber Teething Necklaces

For as long as the twins have been teething, we have tried to find a solution to help ease the pain of it.  Teething is already sometimes a rough period, but two teething babies can be a nightmare.  Cameron was also more irritated from the teething than Cason was.  He also got his bottom pegs before Cason and his top two are already coming down now.  To ease the teething pains, we tried regular teething rings from the store and chilled them, but they didn't care for those.  They would occasionally suck on a chilled baby washcloth though.

Then, I heard about these amber teething necklaces.  Amber supposedly contains a "natural analgesic" ( succinic acid) that is absorbed through the skin to relieve pain.  These are not the teething necklaces that are chewable as I initially thought they were.  They are only to be worn and they should be short enough that the baby cannot pull on.  Now, I admit that I am also a bit skeptical of anything claiming to do anything.  I never just accept the idea regardless of who it comes from although I do take into consideration other people's opinions when trying to form my own. So, I decided to test them out.  Mostly, because Cameron seemed to be having the most pain from the teething.  So I looked on Amazon and ordered two.  They were about $15 each.

Now one thing is for sure.  They look absolutely adorable with the little necklaces on. Mr. Cameron has backed himself under the ottoman here.

About three days after I ordered them and the twins were wearing them, I was asked if they work.  Well, in my opinion three days wasn't enough time to make that kind of assessment especially when we were constantly on the go and I wasn't truly paying enough attention.  We have had the necklaces now for about 3 weeks and I can say that I have noticed some differences in behavior from Cameron.

Cason (left)  Cameron (right)

Cameron used to scream a LOT when his teeth were bothering him.  You would see him frantically trying to shove something in his mouth to bite on while crying.  What I noticed was he's still shoving things in his mouth to chew on, but he is no longer screaming and crying when he does (for the most part). I did notice him crying a little a few days ago as he was showing a bib in his mouth.  One of his top two is just breaking the gums.  He also used to cry and pull on his ear and dig in it.  He is no longer crying during that either and he doesn't bother his ear as much, but he still bothers it occasionally.  When he does, he kind of seems indifferent to it.

Now being that Cason is 100% on the move all the time, I doubt if he has really has time to even notice his teething pain and/or the necklace is helping with what little pain he does have.  As for Cameron, I would definitely say the amber necklace helps and has made him less irritable.  I keep the necklaces on them all the time even during the bath.  At night, I will take them off, or I will wrap it around their ankle, but it has come off a few times.  I didn't like that because I didn't want them to find them in the bed and eat them.   So I don't put them on their ankles anymore.  I was afraid that they might notice each other's necklace too and pull on it.  However, I 've only had to stop them about 2-3 times.  For the most part, they just don't bother them because there's so much other stuff to destroy in the house.
So I'd say the amber necklaces do help with teething pain.  However, it also could depend on your baby and their level of pain and pain tolerance. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This Never Ending Story

I just sat there.  I watched passerbys happily and nonchalantly smiling and chatting on their way to their various destinations.  I sat there.  Cars pulled slowly and swiftly in and out of the parking lot as people ran their errands.  I sat there.  I could hear the sound of the twins' breathing and Cameron's light snoring from a stuffy nose.  I sat there.  I sat in my car in the Hobby Lobby parking lot and I thought and thought and thought.  I couldn't stop thinking.  What to do? What to do?  I have to do something.  We have to do something.  My head started spinning, my chest got heavy and I felt physically sick to my stomach.  "I can't breathe."

I'm tired of these stories.  I am sick and tired of them.  I want a new book.  I need there to be a better ending because there has to be a better ending then the ones I keep reading.  Isn't there?  Unarmed black man killed.  Unarmed black man killed.  Unarmed black man killed.  Unarmed black man killed.  Unarmed black man killed.  I don't want to read this book any more, but it keeps appearing.  "What are you following me for?"

The pages are so worn and brittle that I have to handle it carefully as not to further damage the intricate web of life that once emerged from it.  All those lives.  All those pages. The delicate ink has been washed away by a steady stream of tears.  I used to love to read, but I don't want to cry anymore. "I love you, too."

The cover - basic, plain, and mysterious shows its wear with bent corners and a little rough around the edges.  One that if not opened and given the chance to be understood gets overlooked and put back on the shelf to be deemed unworthy.

The spine is badly damaged but not completely broken.  It's trying to fight.  It's trying to hold on. And so stands the waves of the people steadily bent and twisted and nearly broken.  Keep holding on.  Keep standing.  Keep fighting.  "Mom, I'm going to college."

And how do I pass the book down to seedlings to obtain a knowledge that I never really wanted them to learn?  Do I read the least brutal chapter without giving them the tragic ending?  Do I even pass this battered, unbelievable, and undeniably unfair knowledge down?   We say knowledge is power until it's powerless.  "It's not real."

Oh, but this book is so real.  A long way from the prince charmings and falsified fairy tales of police reports.  The imagery so real, it's blinding.  The poignant messages scrawled upon page upon page telling me over and over again.  The underlying tone that is not spoken of, but implied.  The writing's right there, and it's making the loudest sound of all.

"........" Silence.

Speak up.  Silence.  Maybe you should read this book.  Silence.  But look right here.  Silence.  This story cannot continue to be met by silence from the comfortable looking to remain comfortable.  Stop judging it by the cover and take a moment to open it.  Silence is a door slam.  Silence is a slap in the face.  Silence is a cop out.  Silence won't change things.  Silence won't make laws.  Silence won't keep us alive.  "Why did you shoot me?" 

Well, my God America.  Is this freedom?   This is the land of the free, is it not?  The land that supposedly embraces and embodies diversity.  The land of the people that supposedly stands up and draws together under God to overcome tragedies, adversities, and injustices.   Or is that just us?  The ones of us who are fighting daily not to be the next statistic, the next news story, the next hash tag, the chapter in this never ending story?   "Don't make any sudden moves.  Don't wear a hoodie.  Don't ask for help.  Ask for permission.  Comply with the officer.  Yes mam. No mam. Yes sir.  No sir. Move slowly.  Don't run.  Don't be afraid.  Be afraid.  Don't resist.  Just do it.  Answer the questions.  Put your hands up.  Don't put your hands in your pockets.  Just do as you're told. Don't reach for anything.  Don't get your license.  Do you get your license? Don't talk back.  Don't ask questions."  But still, "that looks like a bad dude."

It doesn't stop.  I'm out of breath.  "I can't breathe. I can't breathe.  I can't breathe.  I can't breathe.  I can't breathe. Why aren't you listening?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Back To School With Box Tops

With tight budgets and school budget cuts, schools are looking for various ways to close the gaps in funding to help educate our youth.  Throughout the year, there are several opportunities to earn/raise money for your child's school.  However, sometimes writing a check just isn't a option.  One of the easiest things to do to support your school is to collect box tops for education. 

Box Tops are found on a variety of products in your local stores - General Mills, Betty Crocker, Ziploc, Mott's and many more.  Each box top you turn in equals .10 for your school!   You may be thinking that .10 doesn't sound like a whole lot.  However, if everyone in your school collected them, think how much money you'd earn.  A school can earn up to $20,000 per year just from box tops!  What could your school do with $20,000?  So get those scissors and start clipping!

Some products even have more than one box top on the package.  We always try to pick the ones with the most and Caleb is very good at this job. 

Check all the way around your box or package to make sure there isn't a box top on.  When you find one, clip it.  We usually just tear if off at the moment and store them into a container until we get ready to turn them in.  Having a designated spot for your box tops makes them easier to keep up with and will likely make you more prone to collect them.

We use a little labeled basket to store them in.  Once we tear them off or cut them out, they immediately go here.  This way everyone knows where to put them and we don't lose any.

Sometimes the school will send home little activity sheets for the students to glue their box tops on. They are usually themed and change monthly.  We've had a few extra ones from the past that we used here.  Most sheets have a spot to glue on 10 box tops.  Although, the sheet that came home last month had more.  This is a fun little activity for the kids to do.  Let them work on their cutting, counting and glueing skills.

There is a place for the child's name and teacher on the sheet.  Make sure to fill that in.  There may even be an incentive at the school for the class who collects the most.  I think we've had parties in the past.

When your sheet is completed, just turn it in to the teacher.  Simple as that.  You've just collected $1 for your school.  Now, how many kids are in one class?  See how that adds up!

Here's what you do with any box tops that you have left over or if your school doesn't provide the activity sheets.  You just put them into a ziplock bag labeled with your child's name and teacher to turn them in.  Although, box tops are more common in elementary schools, check with other schools.  My child's middle school also collects box tops.  She is making sure that she gets them in there, too.

One thing I hear from several people is that they don't buy or use many products that have box tops.  That's okay.  I'm sure you know someone who does that maybe does not have school aged kids, any kids or someone who is older.  You can easily ask them if they don't mind saving them for you and you can pick them up.  Also, don't just collect box tops during the school year.  Collect them the entire year!  Have fun clipping!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Diy School Notebook

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As school starts, along with it comes a multitude of activities and events.  Keeping up with all of it can surely be a headache especially if you have more than one child.  Well, I have 5 and 3 are in 3 different schools.  So there is always paper, paper and more paper!!  To make it easier to manage, I created this school notebook.

This notebook keeps all the kids papers in order and all in one place.  It is very easy to keep up with everything that gets sent home.  (If the kids give it to you)  I just picked up a regular 3 ring binder with a sleeve in front.  I just made a very basic cover for it and bought dividers to create specific sections in my notebook.  I labeled my sections:  schedules, calendars, handbooks, and then labeled a tab for each child.  So I have 6 sections total in my notebook.

I like to use the plastic dividers with pockets so I can stick things inside them.  In the front pocket of the notebook, I have the large county handbook in the pocket.  I also have some larger packets in there as well.
You can blame baby Cason for that torn handbook. 

The first section is labeled schedules.  In this section, I put all the kids' class schedules.  If I need to bring something to the school or am going to eat lunch with someone, it's easy for me to see where they are and at what time.  Sometimes I will also write in the teacher's email beside the class for easy access to contact information.
()bviously, this isn't a real schedule.  However, you get the idea.)

The next section is calendars.  In this section, I put the school calendars,  county calendars and sports schedules and calendars.  This section helps when I'm planning out the monthly events on the family calendar.

Next is the handbook tab.  We will sometimes get a thin school handbook in addition to the larger county handbook.  I put that here.

The next tabs are tabs for each kid.  Any type of communication from their teacher/school goes into this section:  all of the newsletters, syllabi, parent connection papers, etc.

And here is why I like to use the dividers with the pockets.  Anything that really doesn't need a hole punched in it goes into the pocket.  It is also a good place to store any receipts for anything that I've purchased from the school here.

I absolutely love having this notebook because it makes it so much easier to find everything I need.  I clean it out regularly so it doesn't become a giant mess.  Organized and Neat.  It's just a few more pieces of paper that I don't have to hunt for because they are buried under a mound of them!

How do you keep your kids school papers organized? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monthly Activity Planning

Back from a long labor day weekend.  Ours was extra long being that we were also out Friday due to the hurricane and yesterday for a teacher workday.  So today we are back on the grind and back to busy.  This month officially starts a variety of activities for us which means we will be all over the place.  Luckily, I managed to have a system to keep up with it all.  Now, it in no way means that I'll be on time.  It's a nice thought, though. lol

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If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you may have  seen the video of my school notebook.  If not, I'll be blogging it soon. 
So I like to use a large desk calendar that I put on the wall, my school notebook, highlighters and washi tape to decorate and plan out my calendar.

When I finish with it, I like to hang it in the middle of the hall so everyone can see everything.  If there is anything that annoys me most, it's everyone asking me the same thing over and over again.  It's on the calendar.

One of the very first things I like to do when planning out activities on the calendar is to assign everyone a color.  The bills are also in a color.  It just makes it much easier to keep up with each kid's activities.  It also makes it easier for them to spot.  Caleb is 5 and he knows his color is blue.  He knows if he has something that day if he sees blue.  We also try and make sure we put a line through the previous days so he knows what the day is.

Another thing I like to use is washi tape.  Any type of activity or event that spans over a couple of days will have washi tape on it.  It just lets us know that this is an ongoing event.  I also know when it's coming to an end easily and if I need to act soon. 

I start jotting down my events using the events from newsletters, schedules and calendars in the school notebook as well as any others.  As more schedules become available, I'll start adding more events to the calendar.

Then I color code the events and that's it.  Everything is easy to see and find. 

And just so you know how it goes down over here.  Almost everything is done with a baby in hand.  Haha.  Cason is sleeping or else he'd be crawling in the kitchen.  I need to be scheduling a hair appointment!