My Tubal Ligation Journey Begins

A tubal ligation “journey”!? Yes I will call it that. I mean have you ever typed tubal ligation into Google!? Good grief! Is there anyone who loves it since having it done? Are there any satisfied customers? No really, I am having a hard time finding any “good” stories! All I can find is posts on PTLS (Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome)  and every other side effect or problem people have had. Which is great and informative if that is the info I am looking for, but it isn’t. I think in my mind I was searching more for the “You will be so glad you did this” or the “You will love it” reassurance that I did the right thing even though I feel I did. I just have to say, I am SO sorry to those of you that have had it done and it was not all good and as you expected it to be! At this time, I can only imagine your frustration.

I am a 37 (almost 38) mama of 6 and I had a tubal ligation and an ablation on Feb 3rd. I have always wanted 8-10 children so this choice didn’t come lightly. It weighed on my heart for a few years. I have spent many hours deep in thought, prayer and in my head battle over making the appointment that would ultimately change my life forever.

For a little TMI: I have always had heavy periods and horrible cramps which I controlled most of the time, between children, with the birth control pill and it worked for the most part. But as everyone knows, especially those who watch TV commercials know there are side effects that come with all drugs, period, so I already knew that I didn’t want to take the BCP forever. And not being in a relationship, married or even sexually active taking  the pill and exposing myself to “effects” wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing long term.

6 years ago when my 6th and youngest child was born and I went in for my 6 week check up my then OB/GYN suggested that I get an ablation done. He briefly explained the procedure, he may have explained it in depth but I am pretty sure I blocked him out the second he said I wouldn’t be able to carry a child again. The fact that it would cure the heavy period and cramping sounded great but never ever having the chance to have another child scared me.

Fast forward thru those years of taking the pill even though I didn’t want to, moving to WA state where my periods basically said “What pill!?” and acted as if I was on none on top of the new diagnosis, high blood pressure, my days of ever taking the BCP ended. Isn’t that what I wanted all along? Isn’t that what I prayed for, a solution to not have to medicate my body? A way to not have to deal with this 2+week bleeding and contraction like cramps?

The research began, a tubal/Esure, an IUD,  a patch, a partial hysterectomy… My options appeared to be limited with the period history so my choices were narrowed down for me. It was a tubal or Esure (which is also a type of tubal where metal springs are inserted in your tubes where scar tissue grows and prevents pregnancy) and possibly a partial hysterectomy. I don’t know about you but inserting metal springs into my tubes didn’t sound very appealing along with all the lawsuits that were attached to stories of people getting this done and research that doesn’t date back very far. Is this that new? Did they just creates something to block the tubes and ask people to sign up to try it!? Yikes! And finding a doc that still does a “regular tubal” also proved to be somewhat of a challenge. Along with only doing a tubal will NOT take care of my main problem, the periods. After hearing a certain docs name come up in several conversations with people and asking my PCP I finally found a great doc that would do a regular tubal and an ablation (which they prefer to do together in some cases to further prevent a pregnancy from trying to attach itself to the wall of the uterus after ablation). He said a partial hysterectomy was not needed and if anything would be a last resort if needed down the road.

Now the tests begin. Ultrasounds, biopsies (AKA crotch saw! OUCH!) and blood work to make sure there were no underlying problems before we proceeded with the surgery. Everything is a go in just 1 weeks time! Is this real? Am I really going to go thru with this? Doc office calls to set the appointment for the surgery, GULP! Am I sure this is what I want to do? Ugh so many doubts but yet so much excitement to get this done and over with. Sleepless nights, tears here and there and LOTS of prayer! Just do it Kelly!

Here goes nothing (or everything!). So grateful to my daughter for taking me there, watching her little brother and waiting for me to bring me back home. Grateful for the kiddos at home that are prepared to help clean, cook and keep an eye on the babes for me while I recover from my 1st (and hopefully last) surgery. Several moments of question while I had my IV set up and talked to all the nurses but I was really just ready, ready to begin this new journey, ready to have 1 less thing to worry about in life, ready to put this behind me. Check in at 9am, surgery time 11am, out by 12pm and on my way home by 1:30pm. 2 incisions on my tummy, 1 in belly button 1 above pubic line. Waking up and realizing it was done and I was still alive allowed for some tears for a brief moment, even though the nurse kept saying crying after anesthesia is normal, it wasn’t from the anesthesia. It was from the realization. Had my throat not been so raw from the breathing tube I would have been able to express that to her, owell, hahaha.

Day 1, SO sore. Dizzy, brain fog, a lil nauseous, hungry, cotton mouth, shaky and so tired. 1st night I could not sleep, had the worst vivid dreams and the worst cotton mouth. Can’t take the hydrocodone their prescribed due to itchiness so ibuprofen it is.

Day 2, getting out of bed was hard, what is this shoulder and neck pain from UGH! No voice, raw throat. SO sore, felt like I would rip the stitches. I so do not do good with anyone touching my belly button much less there being stitches in it, YUCK! Thinking some of the nausea was coming from that. Stairs so NOT my friend… Sore during the day and so foggy headed but restless not able to sit still for long. Trying to gather my thoughts feeling a lil lost. But overall not too bad. Honestly expected to feel worse. Still couldn’t sleep. Insomnia… Dreams… Dizzy…

Day 3, Dear Lord… The worst day so far. Throat still raw. Felt feverish, sore, nauseated, dizzy, couldn’t move and couldn’t sit still. Ibuprofen not making any difference. No appetite. Sad and tearful. Kept thinking about all the mistakes I made in my life wondered if this was 1 of them (WTF!?) Who am I!? Drove for the 1st time today, probably wasn’t the safest thing to do… Sorry other drivers near me when I was going 20 in a 40 thinking I was speeding. Thank goodness it was just up the road.

Day 4, a busy day ahead catching up on all appointments. Feeling better, still sore but controlled by ibuprofen, thank you God! Did WAY too much and felt it by evening time felt sick to tummy and dizzy. Sleep calling my name. Frustrated, just want to feel good again and feel normal. Just want to have energy and umph! Want to be able to bend down and get the laundry out of the dryer, is that too much to ask!?

Day 5, today, Feel SO much better!  Slept so good, whew! Ate breakfast for 1st time all week. Sore, but didn’t take ibuprofen till noon. Getting some work done. Still a lil foggy brained but SO much better than the last few days. Still a lil hoarse but not as sore throat. Feel like I can actually go for a walk, a short 1, but a walk. Stairs are a little easier as well. All in all feel pretty good. (fingers crossed its all good from here!)

This is my journey with this experience. I have been asked many questions before the surgery and several questions now as to how this all came about, why I was doing it and how I am feeling now that it is done so I felt it was best to share it all in 1 place. At this point I have no regrets and feel great about my choice. Based on what my doctor has said, I am where I am suppose to be with the recovery period and maybe even doing a little more than expected at this point. Everybody is different and everyone’s body reacts different! Your doctor is your best bet for advice as he/she knows you and your history and how you should be handling your situation. Contact them right away if something doesn’t feel right.

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Here’s to a new chapter in my book of life! One that I am just beginning and looking forward to seeing how it goes.

P.S. If you have an experience with a tubal, ablation, birth control or just want to stop in and say Hi please feel free to do so!

Update Feb 20th: 2 week check up at doc, all is well. Was told I can resume all normal activities as in baths, sex, and tampons if needed. Incisions are healed. Still having “discharge”, doc explained it to be the uterine lining healing process. Can last 2-12 weeks, oh joy!

Update March 4th 2014: 1 month post-op. I feel great! Discharge done. No period yet. No weird “hormonal” issues lots of other women have talked about, like face break outs, or moodiness. Whew!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

A large family-How to keep it all together!

If you are like me, trying to keep track of everything without post its, scrap paper taped everywhere, an occasional pen art reminder on the back of your hand, dry erase boards full, desire for a chalk board refrigerator or wall, an overloaded smartphone calendar etc is IMPOSSIBLE! And with all those things I still miss so much, why? NO organization to the madness!!

The dreaded call from the dentist office stating that this is the 2nd time we missed an appointment and next time we will be charged and/or placed on a “walk in and wait basis” and the next time you see the smiling receptionist there she quickly loses her smile and stares at you with the “how dare you miss appointment and don’t call in so we can see someone who takes their teeth care more serious” look… Ya enough is enough! I like having friends and chatting it up with all office staff everywhere I go! It is time to fix this!

My 1st thought, create my own family calendar that has more than the usual “Calender fit for the whole family” (whose family!? NOT mine!) LIE! 1 that will fit all our 6 of us and has room for other family members that I need to remember stuff for, just because they have grown up and moved out doesn’t mean there isn’t any special dates or appointments that I need to know for them from time to time! They just moved they didn’t fall of the face of the Earth!

I get it, I need a unique calendar and so I shall make my own. Buuttt until then, which could very well be by the time my own kids need it for their families or maybe their families after that, or may always remain an idea or thought, I will have to use 1 that works best for us. 1 that can keep up with this crazy thing we call life in this house. I have searched and have found very few that I like. I get it, most families don’t have 6+ kids, but I do so I need what works for us!

I found this Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Wall Calendar! It is AWESOME! It is filled with monthly projects, because yes I space so much stuff and need reminders like these, it has space for dinner menus (um heck to the YES!), it has plenty of space for all my crazy crew and all their “stuff”, it has space for mom too (yes occasionally I take time to visit the doc or dentist, I know shocking!), it has space for notes and reminders (thank goodness!), the quotes on each page are an added bonus cause sometimes we need like things like positive sayings to keep us on track, and so on! I am SO digging this Amy Knapp chick, she has a clue about life chaos and I like people like that!

So if you are a nut job like myself and have a large family whether it is your own kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, a retirement home, a pet hotel, a zoo, etc grab yourself 1 of these calendars and organize your life this year! Do it for your sanity (and for your children’s safety!) and for your reputation at the dentists office!

 

P.S. Happy Organizing! If you have any tips or calendars or suggestions please share them with us!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Feeding a Large Family Tips

I often get asked about meals, cooking, shopping for a big family.

“How do you do it?”

“I bet that costs a fortune!”

“Is it hard to cook for so many?”

“Do you plan out your meals?”

“Will you share your recipes?”

And the list goes on…

I am not an extreme coupon-er, although I certainly wish I was! A certain level of jealously hits me when I see all these people saving butt loads of money at the store with coupons and here I am handing the check out person 3-8 coupons saving a few bucks. I have always wanted to do it but can never quite figure it out, the only coupons I ever get are for toothpaste, deodorant, all the name brand laundry stuff etc. And it is for all the stuff I don’t use so am I missing something!? Am I not looking in the right place for the right coupons!? I prefer store brand stuff on most things I but (except for fabric softener and Mac and Cheese, no just no!) And I feel I am saving a good amount of money by doing that so this my friends is how I keep the coupon jealousy down to a minimum! I do however follow the Krazy Coupon Lady’s blog and do follow some of her amazing tips and use some of her coupons etc! http://thekrazycouponlady.com/

As for our family I will share with you what works for us and what we also plan to try to see if it is a fit.

Ever heard of a fruit/veggie co-op? We have used several and really enjoy the produce and the savings! Now these may or may not be located in your city so a quick Google search should let you know. We have used Market on the Move http://the3000club.org/ and they always have an abundance of produce! Not sure if this is only located in AZ but you can always check. 1 we really love and have used for years is Bountiful Baskets! They are in many cities so chances are good you will find 1 near you, if not contact them and start 1! http://bountifulbaskets.org/. They have more than just produce that you can purchase as well, like honey, breads, combo packs etc all at a discount price! Check them out!

Menu/Meal Planning We plan out all our meals, recipes, etc and then make a list based on that for at least 2 weeks and then shop for those items. I use the sales ads to plan the meals and talk about saving time, money & headaches! It saves me from having to go to the grocery store often (which is great for me considering we live 20 min from any major grocery stores) and cooking is so much more fun when you have all you need ahead of time! Plus the kids like knowing what we are having for dinner each night of the week. http://mamabearplus6.com/meal-planning-or-go-with-the-flow/

Quality Discount Meats. We also have used a discount place for meats, chicken, fish, produce, and the best bacon, called Zaycon! https://www.zayconfoods.com/. This is where you buy meats by the case. You can buy the case if you can afford it or go in with another family member of friend to stock up. I have heard there are other places like Zaycon but I have yet to find them so if you know of any please share! Also too, we are considering buy a whole cow and/or pig and spiting it up between our family and my daughter and her hubbys households and may even add a friend on with us. It is a great way to stock the freezer and splitting the cost to make it affordable for everyone. And it supports local farmers, win win!

Grow your own! A GREAT way to feed the fam and eat healthy and what a wonderful experience it is! Seeds are cheap and with effort and love you can have a hearty garden to put food on the table! Our very 1st real garden experience this last summer and I am in LOVE with it! Looking forward to growing it bigger and better every year!

Find your local growers! We spent many days in Greenbluff, which is a local farming area that grows ALL sorts of produce! We would go and pick pounds of fruits/veggies for a great price and so so yummy too! Find a local grower in your area!

Sales! If I groceries on a good sale, I stock up! Meats, boxed sides, household goods etc. Check your store ads weekly so you know what is coming up on sale and can prepare to buy those items and stock up on them. If it is produce that is on sale, buy it, chop it, freeze it, you will be so glad you did! The stuff you cant freeze, create a weekly menu, meals and snacks based on those items that you bought while they were cheaper.

Buy bulk when it makes sense. I say this because it is not always cheaper to buy bulk! On some things yes, but not on everything. I LOVE Costco and I have certain things I will only buy there but there are some items that I can get cheaper like spaghetti sauce hahaha! Always check prices and see if it is a great deal. I love how my teens now always check labels and sue their math skills to see what is cheaper per unit etc. A few seconds of time to do this can add up a great deal of savings over time!

Bulk meals. Something we are new too and just beginning to try is bulk meals. We will be shopping with our family along with my oldest daughter and her hubby to buy bulk, make numerous ready to cook crock pot freezer meals to stock both of our freezers for the winters. I am excited to start this and will surely blog about how it goes. We will include recipes, shopping lists and how the overall experience goes. Stay tuned 🙂

P.S. These are just a few ways that we shop, cook etc and save money! What tips/tricks help you save money!? What would you add to this list!?

 


Mama Bear Plus 6

Hot Cocoa Mama Style

Ahh December… Just saying that word makes me instantly think of the smell of pine or apple cinnamon, the colors red and green, Christmas lights & music, all the awesome Christmas movies that play that make me all giddy,  all the temporary delish coffee creamers and so much more including making me want to drink hot cocoa (yes only in December do I crave this stuff!)!

Anyone who knows me knows I will drink my coffee iced all year, yes even on the 5 degree snowy days but I sure do love a good cup of hot cocoa, who doesn’t!? I do however like to spice it up a lil, I mean plain hot cocoa is good buuutt add a scoop of instant coffee grounds (I highly recommend that you skip this step when making a cup of hot cocoa for your children, just saying!) and it is now GREAT and what is even better (yes it can actually get better at this point!) is adding my own amount of those lil tiny marshmallows! Now whoever thought of packaging those for people like me and so many others who love a lil hot cocoa with their marshmallows is genius! And then there are those days when peppermint is calling my name so I may add a small scoop of peppermint chips as well, YUM!

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Do you buy store bought hot cocoa or make your own!? I usually buy several boxes of store bought for the days when I run out of my homemade stuff so the kids don’t go without when my hands are too frozen from snowball fights to whip up a batch of homemade. My kids will drink this stuff daily and on the weekends sometimes several times a day during the cold months! (Just an FYI, you can add lil things like peppermint chips or mini choco chips and it makes it a great way to sneak in some chia seeds or supplements hehe)

Our Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 cup Powdered Coffee Creamer

1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients well, I use a fork or whisk. Store in an air tight container.

FYI: I found a recipe that also uses Ovaltine in it so if you would like a “malt hot cocoa” then you can add 1/2 cup Chocolate Malt Ovaltine to the mix. You can change the ingredients as needed to make it sweeter or add flavored coffee creamer to change it up as well! The possibilities are endless and just think, you have all winter to try all kinds of cocoa!

 A day after Christmas shopping… You know the day that you fight the crowd, spend more than you ever imagined, took an hour to find a parking spot, couldn’t find what you were looking for, forgot several items on your list, and the list goes on. On days like those there are thing like Baileys, Kahlua, Smirnoff Whipped Cream or Marshmallow Vodka, Peppermint Schnapps, Rum… You get where I am going with this! A lil splash when the day is done= Hot Cocoa Mama Style!

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Hot Cocoa shopping right here!


P.S. If you have any great recipes or ideas to share, please don’t hesitate to comment below! Thank you =)

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

Finding life, family and work balance

Since I work from home (and currently go to online school) I always hear people say how lucky I am or how lucky my kids are to have their mom home etc. Yes I feel SO blessed to be able to work from home with them and have a flexible schedule (my wish for all parents that want flexible schedules!) I am home to make meals/dinner, to go to school things, to run them to all their appointments, to run them clothes or money when they forget it and the list goes on.

On a side note: I don’t think my teens feel very “lucky” having mom home. No messing around after school, no ditching school, no sneaking people over and any other things teens look forward to when their parents are away. Not that they would do this if I worked outside the home but there is no opportunities to find out hehe.

Working from home is HARD, it is not all fancy and fairytale-ish as some people and media make it seem! With all the things and more mentioned above it is VERY distracting when trying to get things done! There are days and weeks that fly by that I feel like I wasn’t productive at all. And as those types of days and weeks pass, the list of things to do gets longer and income coming in is affected. I make lists, print calendars and create deadlines and it still doesn’t keep the distractions down! From cell phone to laundry to dogs to cats to house phone to emails to doorbell to cooking to trying to keep the house clean to kids kids kids… There are distractions around every corner. There are days when they get the best of me, what can I say, I am only human!

This month (December) (I know, crazy to do around the holidays but cant keep putting it off!)I have started a new way of making my time productive as well as meeting the needs of the house and family. I have a planner now and started literally making “appointments” for stuff that needs to get done, plus using my printed calendars I have created time slots with beginning and ending times not just jotting 6-8 things that I need to get done each day on it. I need to be more disciplined and make time for the “work” stuff and time for the kids so I am not always saying to them that I need to get this and that done before we can go for a walk or before we go on a bike ride or sledding or just laying with them watching a movie and NOT feeling guiltily about doing it and then half the time not getting to do any of it cause it took too much time to tend to 3 things at once while trying to take a call or write a page in my book or get research done for school. I am determined to balance life, work and family and will continue to look for ways to do so as I live and learn. So starting with this and will see how it goes 🙂

Want to share this awesome blog I so enjoy reading! Plus she has GREAT tools & tips for organizing your life!

http://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/

My kids are in school M-Fri, except for my son who only goes part time 3 days a week, and I pretty much have time from 8-3pm give or take to be productive so starting here and NOW! I will keep everyone posted as I go thru this new structure and system as I have had several emails asking how I balance it all, so I am admitting to the world that I don’t have all the right answers and I don’t have it all together, yes I am scattered a bit but I am a work in progress! Hmm maybe a great idea for a newsletter!

I suffer from “Guilty Mommy Syndrome”! I feel bad when I can’t give them all my time and attention. I try to live by the moto “Housework can wait, they will only be little once” Buuutt all my work is “Housework”… And this my friends is how I get SO far behind!
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When my son, who is 6, is home on his non school days he has a hard time with mommy not being able to give him all my time and attention so I have found him several workbooks that he works in while mommy works. We also LOVE ABC Mouse! I also used ABC Mouse when I ran a childcare and used it when I taught preschool. I HIGHLY recommend it! And the best part… Try it FREE for a whole month! Guaranteed you will be sold and your kids will love it, just saying 🙂


Here are some planner/organize your life products! I bought and love so far, the “Mom’s Family Desk Planner”

P.S. Do you have any time saving, balancing life/work, get stuff done tips that you can share!? Please please do! We are all opens ears/eyes here!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Dreams can become reality

I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. I lived there for 36 years, till July 17th of 2012 when I packed up 5 of my 6 kiddos (my oldest daughter would soon learn she too had outgrown Tucson and join her mama along with her then fiancé just 2 short months later) & my 2 labs in my suburban and left behind all I ever known following the moving truck with all we owned in it!

 Tucson, when you get burned out on a place you just know it is time to go & I was burned the heck out. On top of the fact it is not voted to greatest place to raise kids, and I have plenty of those! As for us, we had seen and done it all! Is it a bad place to live? No not really. There are actually people who love it there and will never leave. There are people who have it on their list of places to move when they retire, which is a great idea for those who love the heat and desert!  And even weirder, people vacation there in the summer & never leave the hotel pool!

I was ready for a change! Ready to leave behind the negative memories. Ready to create a new life in a new place with new people. Ready for a peaceful place. Ready for water, lots of water and trees lots of trees! A new beginning!? YES please!

I had been burned out of Tucson for several years but as time went on the urge to go got stronger. Even when I tried to convince myself that I should stay I couldn’t and let’s face it I am good at talking myself into stuff & could not get past the desire to GO! I had spent many hours researching places to move to  over the years that was very family friendly, places that had water, green and trees. Places that had stuff to do, places that had nightlife but not overcrowded with clubs, places that had good schools and affordable living. Places that had NO natural disasters, that it is important you know!

After having a list of 10 I narrowed it down to 5 then to 2. My finals- Colorado Springs & Spokane. How do I choose!? Write them on paper, put them in a hat and draw!? Eeney Meeny Moe!? Look  for jobs in both places and see what happens!? Geez this is hard! As I am praying, contemplating, and struggling with this I decide to start looking for a house. Do you know how scary Craigslist can be!? SCAM City! Found so many nice houses that were attached to scam after scam… Then it hits me! Place my own “searching for house” in both places and see what happens! As I pray God please bring the house that is meant for us in the place you want us to be!  Yes I am a big dreamer aren’t I!? But I can never dream bigger than my God can make happen!

 We received many emails about houses, some scams yes but some real people with real houses in both places. Most not for us but a few that would work.  We got excited over a few and even placed deposits on 2 that fell thru, both in Spokane. Frustration sets in… Maybe He wants me in Tucson. Why would He want to punish me like that!? He taught me patience during those trying months no doubt! Then the email that changed my life came in the early months of 2012! An email from a couple that live in a house and had another house that they wanted to rent out/sell  in a little place right outside of Spokane, Nine Mile Falls. Isn’t the name enough to put a smile on your face!? It just sounds beautiful! After many emails and phone calls back and forth I knew this was it! SO much so I sent my daughter & future son in law to WA to see it & take lots of pictures for me since I couldn’t go due to work (well just being honest, to make sure it wasn’t another scam hehe)

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The week they were there they fell in love with the area, the house, all was a go 110%! My daughter kept saying “Mom this house and area is so you, it is so beautiful, everyone here owns labs, it is somewhere  you will love to no end, you must go! And the kitchen mom, it IS the kitchen of your dreams!” (she wasn’t kidding!) That girl knows me all too well! Spouse at the time lined up a great job offer while I would spend my time working on the business we planned to open there, schools checked out to be beyond excellent, all seemed to just fall into place…

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Fast forward past the crappy next few months of my marriage ending, closing businesses, almost backing out of move (after all what crazy lady would pick up 5 kids and 2 dog and move with no spouse, no job, no plan to a place I had never even visited!), SO many life changes and we are right back to where dreams really do come true! July 17th 2012 we leave “all we ever knew” to a new “all we could ever dream of”!

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P.S. If you could move anywhere, where would you go!? If it is somewhere other then where you live now, what is holding you back!?

Mama Bear Plus 6

When tragedy strikes

What do you tell your children when a tragedy strikes in our world?

How do you respond when tragedy hits?

Do you let them watch the news coverage?

Have you ever considered going to help where the help is needed?

We live in a world where bad things happen. Period. We can try our best to keep our kids from hearing about it, if that is your choice but if they are in public school it is impossible to do so. And my thoughts are that I would rather my younger children hear about this stuff from me and/or at home where I can explain and well… kinda sugar coat it and make them feel safe. It is hard to explain to a young child that some people are sick and need help and if they don’t get it then they do bad things or that there may be times when someone is so hurt and sad and that they don’t have anyone to help them feel or get better and they make choices that are unsafe and hurts others or how Mother Nature is not able to be controlled and sometimes she brings big bad storms to different areas. I explain that we will do all we can to stay safe at home and at stores etc and that teachers and school staff are trained to keep them safe from bad people while they are at school. I explain that yes it bad when bad storms it places and take people’s homes and businesses but that we have to see beyond that and see how wonderful it is that people all work together and build relationships and new towns and homes and it is all fresh and new and with it comes many new friendships. Not sure my answers are the best and not sure how other parents answer these questions or concerns but it keeps my kiddos concern for themselves and others at a minimum and we all know that they should not have to worry about the big bad world as children, they will have enough of that when they grow up.

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Honestly it tears my heart up when I hear bad news, duh, doesn’t it hurt everyone!? I am pretty good at not freaking out too bad when I hear of crap on the news or radio in front of the kids but do express my sadness & concern, after all they need to see how we adults handle tragedy so they know they can go thru the emotions as well and will get thru it. Eyes are always on us parents. Yes even in our weakest moments…

We are not big TV watchers in our house and surely do not watch the news very often at all. When needed, I do allow them to watch the news. And I am right there while they watch it and explain what is going on and the updates etc. When something bad has happened I do not allow them to watch the coverage over and over and not after the 1st day. I feel as a small child sees the news coverage it will scare them and make them nervous as it is no matter how much I tell them they are safe and if they keep watching it their little minds may think that it is happening over and over as they may not understand that it is recorded and is just being replayed and oh how SO scary that would be for a little 1.

1 day as we are watching some severe storm coverage and how the towns had been leveled my 7 year old daughter is watching the coverage with me and say “Mommy who is helping them? Who can help them if their cars and tools are all gone in the storm?” I explained that people from all over go and help. I tell her America pulls together and people fly and drive there from all over the US and help them pick up the pieces, hug them when needed, get them to shelter, help them rebuild etc. And she says “Well we have a big family and we could help a lot if we all go there.” She had a great point and what a HUGE blessing that would be to be able to go and help others when help is needed. What an impact that would have on our whole family to truly be able to help out where help is needed and to be able to touch someone else’s life. So on the list of things we NEED to & will do it goes.

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P. S. These are just my thoughts and the way I handle these things and life with my kids. It may not be “right” or “wrong” but it is what works for us. I would LOVE to hear how others handle these types of things! Please share your thoughts!

 Mama Bear Plus 6

Our kids with social media, apps and sexting, oh my!

Every parent says it won’t happen to them or their child. I am here to tell you that you & your child are not excluded from the negative  social media/apps and sexting world. If you have kids of any age, please take a moment to read this and to open your mind up about what is out there at our children’s fingertips, and this is only a small portion of it!

I am a mama of 6. I have said “I have been there done that, it will not happen to my kids I keep an eye on all their activity, I know who they are friends with. I check their phones and FB accounts” and the list goes on. I can tell you that I was not prepared for what I did find out when I dug a little deeper about what my kids were really up too! Always trust that mama instinct! From that point on I want to inform all parents! I want to shout it across the mountain tops! Let’s keep our children’s innocence as long as we can folks!

Remember MySpace!? Was it just me or did it seem like technology was amazing but semi innocent back then compared to now!? I had 1, my older 3 daughters had 1 and it never seemed like it was problematic with negative stuff. But now a whole new world is upon us and we as parents are just trying to stay caught up with it all…

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So I will break down what I know about social media/apps and sexting. I will also include what teenagers from several age groups have to say about each app. Some opinions are from my children and some from some other teens I have talked to. Reminder: These are all just our views on these types of things. They will NOT be the same for every person or family. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Let’s start with FB… Wow what a great thing this is for some people! I have found friends from high school, long lost family members and have connected with some pretty amazing people, like all of you, after all you most likely clicked on my blog link that is somehow connected to FB. It has been a great tool in so many cases. Sadly FB is not such a positive place for everyone, especially the little people. The amount of lies, harassment, bullying, negative drama and straight up ugliness that FB is used for in the teen world is shocking! No not all of it is horrible but it is a great place to get caught up in it all. This is where us parents need to step in. Always have your child’s password, always. Check their messages often, do keep in mind that they will delete the 1s they do not want you to see. If you feel like there is missing info in a message conversation it is probably due to some of the message being deleted. Ask questions, check out their FB friends list. I often look at ages and what some of the people are up to and if I don’t like what I see I delete them for them while I am on their FB. There are rules, new rules due to me finding stuff I did NOT like a few months back when I happened to dig up some disturbing info, like lies and fake pics, and not so positive stuff. FB deleted for 4 months and new 1 was allowed to be created recently with new rules. Break them, FB gone till you move out! These are our children, we are the parents they need to protect them from all we can as long as we can. Rules, only add people you know, no guys over 18, do NOT erase messages, know I will be on it daily and sometimes several times a day, and anything else I can think of as I go along in this world of parenting.

Teens say: “FB is really cool, it helps us stay in touch with people from other states as friends have moved, it is also a great place to share pics of our lives. We like it to be able to “spy” on each other and see what our enemies are doing as well. We are friends with people on there that we are not true friends with just to be nosy about what goes on in their life. (hey at least they were being honest!) FB can be really bad. I have had friends that were bullied so bad on there. I have had friends want to kill themselves over things someone else posted about them.”

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Now onto Twitter. I use my Twitter account for my fan/blog page and that’s it. Some people I know live by Tweeting, to each is own! My kids have 1 and I check it often but there is not too much that goes on in that part of the world in this family. Although I do keep in mind that that can change at any moment so my guard stays up.

Teen says: “I don’t use Twitter. I have made several accounts and say I will start to tweet but don’t. I like it to update my every single thing I do everyday, hey some people want to know this stuff. I use it to retweet things I like.”

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Any of you heard of Tumblr? I will explain it as a teens type of blog kinda thing. People follow each other and they post and re-post pics, videos and stuff from each other or the internet. As with anything else, there is good and bad stuff about it. The good, there is some pretty neat stuff that people from all over the world share, some positive upbeat stuff that I would even “re-blog” if I was into that sort of thing. And then the bad… You cannot control what the people you or your child follow posts. There is a lot of sex on there, I mean a lot. And there is no way, at least that I have found, to edit it out or block every sex posts, pic or video unless you just delete the Tumblr. Soo my talk with my kids, if you see something that is inappropriate, unfollow that person, if I am on your account and I see something I don’t like I will unfollow them for you, you are welcome! If it keeps up, Tumblr goes bye bye.

Teens say: “Tumblr is great. I don’t talk to anyone on there but I love all the stuff I can repost that means a lot to me. I love all the gay rights support they post on there that teaches people to love everyone. I love all the great pics from all over the world, it lets me see places I may never see in person.”

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Oh lil ol Instagram. I love the app, I use it often, I follow a few people and so on. For teens it isn’t too bad. There are no rules and people can post what they want. If your child follow those type of people that posts pics of drugs, boobs, sex etc then they will see it in their feed. Again, UNFOLOW those types of people! The good, there is not much bullying or harassing on there, at least not for my kids, yet.

Teens say: “I love Instagram. I love the filters I can use. I am not sure why they started allowing videos but it is cool I guess. I like being able to use hashtags since I don’t use them on Twitter. My cat has his own Instagram”

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And then there is Snapchat… Aww that cute lil ghost figure. That must be a cute lil app. NOT! Being able to send pictures to people of any and everything you want and they can only view it for 3-10 seconds for it never to be seen again, or so you think. Now people are screen shotting your Snapchats and lots of boob and other area pics are floating around the internet, oopsie! No parents, just no.

Teens say: “Oh Snapchat, you mean Sexchat. Funner than texting but gets out of hand very quickly. Fun when you make funny faces with friends. I don’t use it, my parents said no way when they took my phone and opened a not so great Snapchat from a friend.”

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Vine. I use Vine, it is a cute and easy way to upload my kids silliness without losing all my FB friends and family from bombarding my wall with them hehe. Again with this app, it is all about who you follow. And for kids without a smart phone and access to this app, Vine is everywhere! And there are some “not so good for our kids viewing” Vines. All you can do is beware of what your child is viewing as best you can.

Teens say: “Vine is so awesome. I have seen so many great Vines. I am addicted to watching Vines and yes I have seen some Xrated stuff but I just move on. I follow lots of people on Vine and sometimes even the best people post sex Vines. I don’t know what the hype is, I think Vine is so dumb.”

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Now these are the only apps that I am familiar with and that majority of teens including mine use. There are SO many more! I beg of you to please please share with all of us your experience with these or any other apps that you know about and what you have seen with each 1.

Last but not least…Sexting. UGH UGH UGH! This is sooooo awful in this day and age. It can be as simple as :You have a nice butt” to very aggressive sexting and can and most likely will get out of hand very quickly. If your child has a regular phone you can check their messages often, check who they are calling and texting (may or may not do you any good to “prevent” this) and make sure you talk openly with them about what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Now if you child has a smart phone, this can be good and bad. They are open to a whole world of apps and “stuff”, Ipods allow this too with NO way form you to monitor it, just an FYI on that 1! Verizon has the neatest “Family Base” addition that you can add to your lines and have access to it all! I love that idea, until they turn 18 of course! If you have Verizon look it up and if not then check with your provider to see what child safety options they offer and get them! The texting allows kids to be people that they are not and sadly these days kids want to be someone else and better than this person or that so the lies that accumulate is unreal. Keep a close eye parents, our kids are worth it 🙂

Teens say: “Oh sexting, yes I guess you can call it that. Sexting, hmm is that what they call it these days? Yes my boyfriend and I do it, we are not allowed to spend lots of time together so we have intimate conversations via phone or text. Hey at least it is safer than having sex. It has gotten out of hand for me before and it scared me.”

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P.S. Please share any comments, info, advice, etc that you have on this topic or 1 related to it! We can all use resources and info to help keep all our children safe! Also too, Pin, share and tell your friends about this and other blogs and info! Sharing is caring 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

Quick breakfast idea!

Healthy Smoothies

For those of you or your family members, especially teens, that like to juice/smoothie daily or just every now & then, for health, fun or just snacks this has proven to make it SO much easier to make them! Instead of pulling all your bags of stuff out you can just grab a baggie full of pre-measured fruit & veggies from the freezer, plus it saves so much room in the fridge drawers! Makes it easy for the kiddos to make them before school as well! I always worry that my teens are not eating right and getting enough nutrition. They run out the door to the bus sometimes without eating breakfast. These smoothie packs help them whip up a healthy breakfast every morning and sure makes mama feel better knowing their tummies are full and they have the vitamins they need to start their day!The packs that I have in the picture have a handful of baby spinach, a spoonful of blueberries, about a handful of fruit mix (mango, strawberry, pineapple)

Fruit Mix

With these breakfast smoothies you can add anything your heart desires! We add yogurt, chia or flax seeds, Carnation instant breakfast, Boost, almond milk, Silk or just water to your pre-made packs. Each pre-made pack consists of a variety of fruits and veggies. The main ingredient in these packs is baby spinach since it is great for you and has little taste. We then add any berry, melon fruit that you would like. And then same with the veggies, avocado, beets, broccoli, cucumber, etc. The grocery stores and Costco sell a variety fruit pack that we generally buy along with a huge bag of the baby spinach. The possibilities with these are endless!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Back to school time already!?

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Ahhh back to school time is near! I do love this time of year and it is not because I want the kids out of the house and in school, in fact it gets a little lonely around here when they are gone all day, when I say this, it is for them more than for me!

I miss them I miss the noise and the chaos I miss the talks, yells, cries, and the fun we have when they are all home all summer. You kind of get used to your days being so full for 3 months straight that when school is back in and they are all safely on the bus and you walk back in the house the silence is somewhat eerie. They need to go to school; they need the interaction with other children, other adults. They need the structure, because let’s face it, this running around all day, playing all day, eating dinner at 9pm and staying up till 12-1 and then sleeping in till 9am every morning can’t last forever. There are things to learn, things to absorb, friends to make, memories to create and numbers to jumble!

The teens can keep themselves busy during the long summer months but the littles need more than an occasional play date. They are bored and mama can only teach & entertain for so long before they are tired of hearing me and wanting social interactions with others.

I wish I could home school, I wish I was disciplined enough to do so but I have to face the facts and those are that I am only so much me and can only be stretched so thin and in all honestly it would not be fair to them for me to pretend like I could provide them all the education they need. So yes, this is me and I rely on the school system to assist me in teaching my kids what they need to know, although I am that picky parent when it comes to schools and teachers. I will not bow my head in shame on the homeschooling subject; instead I will pat myself on the back for facing the reality that I am human and a single mom with no business trying to be a teacher for 4 grades.

The kids all say how much they love back to school shopping… Of course they do! What kid doesn’t! And please tell me what parent does!? I would love to hear from both sides, those of you that just love fight the crowds or deal with that 1 group that loves to stand right in front of what you need and talk about the weather at Wal-Mart’s back to school sections (which really does have some of the best prices/deals!)! Those of you that love to get the 2 page list of stuff they will need for the WHOLE year and your kids need it all today, yes all 50 #2 pencils and 10 spiral notebooks each, those of you that love it when it takes 4 hours for the kids to go over everything on their list and add things to the cart and fish thru it all to take it back out when they find something better, those of you that love when you teens argue over the other 1 picking the same color notebook or backpack even though they are not going to the same school. Geez it is just a color! 

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Then there are those of us that dread this whole process and desire a strong adult beverage about ¼ of the way thru the store as I slowly add up the total in my heads, thinking “I should’ve applied for a small loan prior to entering the stores”, while I am trying to listen to the nonstop chatter, yells for “Mom come see this” from the dressing room, the arguing & the giggles. And then there is the best part, how happy they are getting new stuff, how excited it makes them about the 1st day of school. I do love coming home and watching them unload the stuff into their new backpacks, sharpening pencils, yes all 255 of them and them trying on all their new outfits deciding what they will wear for the 1st day/week of school. This process makes me think back over the summer and all the fun we had and also think forward that a new school year is almost here and all the new experiences & memories they will create & have and all the new friends they will make! And that makes it all worth it & me 1 happy mama bear (as long as I don’t think of the credit card statement that will arrive in a week or 2!) 

P.S. Hey, 4 stores, 5 hours of shopping for 4 kiddos and over $500, I earned this! hehe

IMG_20130826_182717_359Mama Bear Plus 6