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Kidlo App: My Thoughts, Feelings, and Recommendations

Good day everyone!!

Sorry for the long absence, I have had a lot of soul searching, thinking and getting my focus back here, and here I am!

And I want to share with you my life saver and something that has improved my sons technical skills in the past few months, Kidlo Apps!

They approached me and asked me to try out their two apps: English Learning For Kids , and Kindergarten Math Games For Kid . My son is going to be 4 in June and has had his struggles with getting up to par with other kids his age as he has developmental and cognitive delays due to his prematurity and these apps have been amazing and helped him a lot along the way.  He has come a long way with watching Blippi and all those fun YouTube videos, but there is only so much you can learn by watching, at some point you need to start doing! He loves tracing the letters, he claims he has a magic finger, and actually gets mad when it doesn’t work on regular paper sometimes, not really understanding that the phone or tablet is different than actual paper.

My daughter has come to love the stories, and she will be 2 in July. She will sit on my lap or the footstool in front of my chair with my phone and play the stories and the songs over, and over, and over, and over….. And over 4 more times again. It’s nice to help me get things done during the day and not worry about Tornado Tally or Speedway Spud following close behind me, well for the most part, we all know as moms that is not the case.

My (almost) 4 year old has started counting to 50 and trying to do simple Math now because of the math time app, as long as you know we are there to help him. He loves counting! He is even trying to teach Tally how to count. If I had a video I would share! (Keep a look out on my Instagram, I may get one soon!) 

The story and song features are great to have the kids kill some time while we are out and about, dealing with doctors and specialists, and stopping the occasional meltdown at the grocery store. We are always on the go and I hate being that mom that hands her phone to the kids to keep them calm but sometimes it’s just easier when you need to listen or have them sit still for longer than 2 minutes. I honestly feel that these apps are worth it in the long run, I would rather have my kids be playing a game that is going to stimulate them in some manner, and have them think and work on those developing parts of their brains, rather than watch other kids play with toys, watch music videos… Kid friendly or not, (Yes I let my son watch a lot of things I shouldn’t… But really they aren’t words he doesn’t hear at home, sadly.)

We all try to be that mom that doesn’t let technology run our children’s lives, but let’s be honest here, in this day and age, the fact that we have our phone always out, taking pictures, texting, calling, surfing the web, posting on social media, watching videos and surfing the web. We have the world at our finger tips, why not try and accept the fact that it is the way our kids are going to grow up. Our job is to accept the inevitable, but spin in it in a way that shows them how to use it in a way that they can learn, that they can show us something with pride, and so that we won’t have to worry about being judged every time you let them use your phone, tablet or in some cases buy them their own tablets.

 

Give the apps a try and ease that mommy guilt for giving into the technological culture for your kiddos!

 

Let me know what you think about the apps!

– Ashton <3

A Single Parent’s Guide: From Cradle to College

A Single Parent’s Guide: From Cradle to College

 A Guest Post By Daniel Sherwin

Parenting is never easy. And when you’re going it solo, you have one less set of hands to help out. But, with a few preemptive measures, you can make your single-parent home a safe haven for you and your kids no matter their ages.

 

Infant

The first two years of your child’s life has her at her most vulnerable. From illness to the inability to explain aches and pains, your baby is 100% reliant on you. Start by giving her a safe place to sleep. A current model crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheets is best. Avoid the temptation to wrap your baby in heavy blankets and instead opt for warm, well-fitted pajamas. Do not place a pillow in your child’s crib and invest in a baby monitor, which will let you complete chores around the house while keeping a watchful eye on your sleeping baby.

 

Redfin offers this advice regarding toxins, which are inviting to a curious crawler, especially when at eye level, “Chemicals and poisonous or toxic substances, such as toilet bowl and window cleaners, oven cleaners, bleach, paint thinner, dish soap, etc., should be kept in a locked cabinet, in a cabinet that is secured with a child-proof safety latch, or in a location that is elevated.”

 

Toddler

As your little one graduates from crawling to walking, he has a whole new world of ways to get himself in trouble. Since you can’t have your eyes on your child 100% of the time, you can prevent falls by using child-proof gates on stairways and keeping climbable furniture away from the kitchen, where a hungry toddler might be tempted to reach for the cookie jar. HealthyChildren.org also stresses keeping children out of the kitchen while you’re cooking and never leaving him unattended near an open source of water – no matter how small.

 

Car safety should also be a priority in the toddler years. And while you won’t likely have another adult to help calm crying child, it’s best to keep him rear-facing until at least his third birthday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers more information on car seats and booster seats.

 

Young children

At this stage, your child is really gaining a sense of identity and independence, which can lull you into a false sense of security where their safety is concerned. Kids from preschool age to late elementary should never be left home alone — even for just a few moments. Talk to your child’s school about before and after care and summer day-camp programs.

 

Teach your children about fire safety, and make an escape plan in case of emergency. If your child is active make sure he has a properly-fitted helmet for biking, skating, or skateboarding. Make sure he or she understands how to react to strangers and which people are safe should they become separated from you. Today’s segment about “Tricky People” is a great 5-minute read that could change the way you, and your kids, think about stranger danger.

 

Tween/teen

Although they are growing ever more independent by the day, the 9-and-up crowd still need you to look out for their health and well-being. Today, one of the biggest issues facing adolescents is something we use every day and has changed the world for the better: the internet. This is the perfect time to stress online safety. Never allow your children to text, chat, befriend, or instant message someone they do not know in “real” life. This privacy and internet safety Q&A by Common Sense Media is a great place to start.

 

This is also an age where children learn to drive. Make sure they have plenty of practice, understand seatbelt laws, and never drive when tired. Also discuss with your child to dangers of peer pressure, sexual activity, and drugs and alcohol.

 

As a single parent, you pull double duty 24/7. However, you can still keep your children safe if you make safety your #1 priority. For more information on parenting from pregnancy through young adulthood, visit the Centers for Disease Control online at CDC.Gov.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Blippi.

My Love Hate Realtionship with Blippi

Now, let me first off start this by saying I do not hate Blippi or anything that he does to promote education and inspiring curiosity in our small ones…. But that being said:

The songs he makes up and sings with Nicky Notes are on constant replay in my household,and the car, and anywhere my son chooses to grab my phone… And because of that, this mama is about to lose what little of her sanity is left….

Now let’s start this off with how Blippi came to be in our house…. My son has learning delays due to his prematurity and its harder for him to catch on using conventional methods of learning. He didn’t start speaking select words till just over two, didn’t start fully communicating using sentences until August of 2017, and I feel that is part in parcel to Blippi and how he does things. Spud would always watch random videos on our phones we put on for him while out and needed him to be quiet, like specialist appointment, my doctors appointments, and things along those lines. So at one point my husband decided, after his phone went for a fly across the room, that we were going to get him his own little tablet. So we found a cheap android tablet on Amazon, got a case for it and locked up everything we could, downloaded games and Kids YouTube apps. He loved it, now we didn’t let him play alone, and it wasn’t used all day every day. It was just another toy there that he could use from time to time. So one day Spud is sitting on my lap, I am 8.5 months pregnant with his sister at the time, trying to semi relax as everything hurt, and then I remember hearing this for the first time “So much to learn about, it’ll make you wanna shout BLIPPI!” and then he starts in about monster trucks, and my son was glued! He normally clicks away after a while but there was something there that he just found so hypnotizing.

A few days later we are at a Preemie follow up clinic and they are explaining what they feel he is delayed in and what programs we can get him in to and what we can do at home, the paperwork and pan-flits and that kind of thing. Well when we get home we have to book an appointment with our family Doctor so I can put my 3 year old in a specialty early education pre school to help him work on all his delays and get him caught up.

Side note:

This program is amazing and has done wonders!

He was signed up by the end of May and due to Start in September, and he was still speaking very little at this point, key words and that was about it, no matter how much we tried to teach and push the subject, more and more he wanted that tablet and to watch Blippi over and over and over again, I started looking in to all his social medias and followed him, sharing small clips and pictures of my son. From May to August, my son was singing songs, trying to say more words, asking questions and using his manners! I wish I could say it was from out persistence, but I think and feel in my heart that he is doing something on this channel that is speaking to my son on a whole new level that he was understanding and trying to use what he was seeing and learning from these videos. It was just amazing and I am ever so thankful for this, he has no idea how much it has eased my mind.

 

My son went from barely communicating to naming all the major parts of an excavator, and all the tools and parts of a fire truck. My sons school went on a mini field trip to the local Fire Station, and while we were there, my son shocked a few of the fire Fighters. When they were asking kids if they knew what certain tools were , or what certain switches did my son would yell it out and was right or really close 80% of the time.  He had a great time and didn’t want to come home….. That was until he realized we lived half a block away from the fire hall, then he was so happy, and he waves “Hi” and “Bye” every time we drive by it.

Now we are getting to the ‘hate’ part, but that is such a strong word, its a dislike for how catchy and how easily his songs get ingrained in your head…. So I was goofing about on Spotify and wondered if there were any Blippi songs on there, that we could listen to from time to time in the car should we be on a longer car trip… Well there were 2 Albums on there, and I am sure we are responsible for about 100,000 plays on each song…. We did a family vacation to Drumheller and the whole way down (three and half hours) and the whole way back (four hours…. More pit stops for our 1 year old) we Listened to only one album “Blippi Tunes Vol. 2 Machines” and OH MY GOD….. I am sure anyone who has done long car trips with toddlers, you do anything that will keep the calm in such a small confined space, and for us it was this, any time we attempted to change the music there was a full blown grand mall melt down…

He now has sucked his one and half year old sister into the Blippi vortex of learning, and my husband got sick of them fighting over the one tablet and figured out how to stream everything over the TV, so now all I hear is “Blippi Big TV Mommy? Please? Pretty pretty please? *inset cute head tilt leaning against you, Puss in boots eyes, and a pouty lip looking up up at you*…..

Now I know this title is misleading, because really I have so much to be thankful for in the Blippi channel, it opened a door in my sons mind that just allowed him to want to learn and explore things, he is always asking what things are, and what other things do, he knows different kids of trucks and construction equipment. He knows his colours and how to spell now! He tries to read, he is not even 4 years old yet and he is reading words, and spelling the ones he doesn’t know and trying them. This is a kid that at just under 3 years old was told he had moderate to sever speech, cognitive, developmental, fine motor and gross motor delays! This was a kid who I was told in September of 2017 I was told he was going to most likely need an aide when he starts kindergarten and his first 3 years of ‘big kid’ school. Now he is reading, spelling, singing songs, dancing, trying to teach his little sister things he has learned at school and on Blippi. He has made all these leaps and bounds all because of Blippi, he unlocked a door, and created a curious little learner that makes me smile in wonderment and awe at how far he has come in less than a year, and how much he is still trying to learn.

Please, check him out, who knows he may be just the right thing your child needs as well.

 

-Ashton <3

Toilet Talk

Occupational TherapistToilet Talks, Notes, Tips and Tricks from an Occupational Therapist in a toilet training seminar. I hope that you find help in all of this, I took the seminar because I have been struggling to toilet train my almost 4 year old for closing in on 2 years, and my daughter is starting to approach the age to attempt to toilet train, so when the opportunity came up to attend this I jumped at it, and this is a combination of their notes, my notes and fun graphics that took me forever to make…. So please enjoy.

 

The Goals for the seminar were simple, to learn about readiness and pre-toileting skills, establishing a toileting routine, learning how to use visuals to assist with toileting, how to look at reward versus punishments, and how to deal with accidents and other issues. It is important that you start toilet training when you AND the child are ready. If started too early, toilet training can become a power struggle, and that power struggle will effect just how long the toilet training will take and how successful you will be in the long run. Some kids might be under

Four Stages Of Toilet Learningreactive to being wet or dirty while others may be over reactive to those same stimulus.

There are Four main stages of Toilet Learning, there is stage one, Toilet Play. This step can include pretending to use the toilet on their potty, mostly with their clothes on, they become very curious as to what others are doing in the bathroom and they show more interest in the toilet itself, maybe not for using but wanting to learn how that it works. Stage two is Toilet Practice, and this step shows the child wanting to practice certain skills that are needed in wanting to use the toilet. Like practicing flushing the toilet, pulling their pants up and down, getting on and off their potty or the big toilet, squatting down then standing back up again, practicing hand washing and asks for your to check if their diaper is wet or dry, or clean or dirty as they are becoming more aware of what is going on. Stage Three they are showing more interest in wearing “real” underwear and feels the need to urinate by showing gestures (also known as the peepee dance), is verbal and uses facial expressions. They are beginning to hold urine in longer, like when they are playing and really dont want to stop to go pee or feel wet while playing, as they also start to feel the need to be clean more than sitting in their mess longer than necessary. They now have words for using the toilet and tells you when they have to go. They can pull their pants up and down a little more freely, and stand and sits on the toilet or their potty with little to no help. They are also showing signs of pushing and concentrating when they are ready to poop, they are also letting you know more and more when they have ‘accidents’ or need their pull up changed. Stage Four is the final stage, as they are now doing independent toileting.

Tips and Tricks for

There are a few tips and tricks out there for Potty Training, many are ones that your parents used on you and your siblings, then there are the ones your grandparents tell you about, you also can look online for many more, these ones are from the occupational therapist as well as a few from the other moms that attended the seminar with me that have older children that they were able to toilet train with no help as they didn’t have the same delays or different issues that our children have now.

So the first thing you can do is establish a toilet language with your child, you can use the actual terms like Urine or Bowel movement or the old stand by peepee and poopoo. Then there also the terms that you want to use for their parts, we are still working on stage one in our house for toilet training so when I am changing my son he is in charge of wiping his ‘macker’ and that is what he calls his penis, and that works for us as well as he calls his bottom his “smelly butt”…. Let’s not start that story. You can also model the stages of going to the bathroom for your child, “Oh I feel like I need to pee, lets got the potty.” They can follow you into the bathroom and you can narrate the steps you are taking. “I am pulling down my pants and big kid underwear. Now I am sitting on the potty, and going pee.” Things along those lines, you can also have a steps on a “Rip Chart” or a check mark sheet your child can check off as you complete the steps now and later when they are completing the steps.

Rip Chart

Rip Chart, each tab is Velcro and can be ripped off as each step is completed

Another step you can try is changing their soiled pull ups in the bathroom so they can start to associate the bathroom with getting clean, you can even start putting the poop from the diaper in the toilet and have them flush it down. Also, dress your child in easy to manage clothing so that they can start practicing pulling their pants up and down. My son when he is in his sweats will do it while he watching TV, not even really for the need to go to that bathroom, just because he wants to, his sister who is only 1 and half is already trying to mimic him, he has cognitive delays while my daughter is right on par with her age, so I will be potty training them at the same time.

Check Chart

Check off each step as they are done.

Establishing some sort of toileting routine will also help you in the long run, you can have your child sit on the toilet or their potty at regular intervals for 1 to 3 minutes, like every 30 minutes or 60 minutes regularly or 20 to 30 minutes after eating and drinking.  Also have your child participate in as many tasks as possible when they are in the bathroom, you can also use a tracking system to determine if your child is already on a routine. If your child has a fairly regular schedule, be consistent in taking them to the bathroom during the times that your child is mostly likely to go. Place your child on the toilet or potty approximately 5 to 10 minutes before their predicted time to go. Try and schedule toilet trails less than 90 minutes apart, timers may assist with keeping everyone on track. A wind up egg timer that you can show your child how to set may help them feel like they are in control of this whole situation.

If your child does not have a regular schedule, your child’s potty habits may be linked to eating, sleeping or physical activity, determine the amount of time between these activities and elimination, you might notice a pattern, also you might want to increase the amount of liquid intake 10 to 20 minutes before a trial to increase success.

Praise your child for appropriate toileting

toilet TRAINING tipsto help motivate your child, praise EVERY step that they do successfully, regardless of how much assistance you provided. Verbal praise should be used whether or not you use a tangible reward, like small preferred food or sticker. Accidents happen, keep calm, avoid getting upset when an accident happens, but help your child clean up. Avoid punishing your child for accidents, accidents can help your child learn what it feels like to be wet and how their body works. Issues that arise, child is afraid of the toilet, your child seems to feel unstable on the toilet, your child wont sit still long enough to go and your child responds poorly to wearing underwear.

Diapers vs. Pull-Ups vs. Big Kid Underwear

-Diapers make potty training less messy, but they dont allow your child to get that necessary feeling of being wet or dirty.

-Pull-Ups also pull away moisture fairly quickly as well

-Underwear provides your child with feeling of wetness which is necessary for learning how to stay dry.

-Let your child pick out ‘real’ underwear. They may have a favorite character like Barbie, Dora, Spider-man, or anything along those lines.

Here are the top ten do’s and dont’s for potty and toilet training. I also have a few other little tips that were shared at the seminar:

  • Try and put the big kid underwear under a pull up, that way they can get some of the sensation of being wet and dirty while you have less of a mess to clean up.
  • Teach girls to wipe from front to back, because we know that the bacteria transferred from back to front can cause infections and problems in the long run.
  • Hand washing should always be included at the end of every child’s bathroom routine
  • When accidents occurs, never leave a child in wet or dirty clothing change the child’s clothing as quickly as possible, and have your child assist you where appropriate.

Here are a few lists of books for parents and children that you can also check out:

List Of Toilet Training Books

I hope this was informative and helped you figure out how you can and will start Toilet Training your little one. Leave me a comment if you have any other tips and trick that you used that were helpful that I didn’t include, or please let me know if you have used some of the ones I did include and they did work for you.

Thanks for Reading

-Ashton <3

A Tired Moms Guide To Self Care

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope 2018 has started off great for everyone!

The one thing I am going to work on for me this year, aside from the eternal struggle of Potty training, is taking care of myself. I find that is the one thing us moms have a hard time with, self care. We need to feel the best version of yourself in order to keep your sanity and be the best mom and significant other we can be! I have made a small list of ways we can treat ourselves, without rushing it at night, and incorporate the small children that are around us 24/7, that we love, but sometimes wish would play safely in another room. SO! Here we are:

The Tired Mom's Guide to Self-Care

  1. Lavender Air Fresheners
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    I have these in almost every room, except the bathroom because that has its own stronger smelling on. They are a light pleasant smell , and  is known as a calming and relaxing herb and has frequently been used for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and natural stress relief. One recent study discovered that  the scent of lavender increases the time you spend in deep (slow wave) sleep, though the effects were stronger for women than for men. So, surrounding yourself with that scent will help you throughout the day…. In theory anyways, I still live in a toddler type zoo, but it smells nice
  2. Monster Time
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    I have two or three different masks that I use throughout the month, well I should say that I try and use throughout the month. But when you have two toddlers ripping and running around all day, a house to clean, food to cook, and dishes to do makes life a bit busy. Not to mention school and school related activities, so what can we do, to make sure we take care of our skin and manage children who want to play? Throw on a mask and play monster from the lagoon, or sand pit, or in my case zombie! My son loves it, he passes me one of light sabers and I am an alien Jedi and he is going to fight me, and my daughter just sits and laughs, some times joins in and wants to be chased by the tickle monster. I sometimes do it while the kids are in the bath tub, and I am the sea creature off to get them with shampoo and soap.
  3. Cup Of Tea
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    Sometimes all you need is to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, to sit back and relax and not worry about the mountain of laundry for 20 minutes, or the dishes, or the trash in the bin that you are sure is going to attract wildlife at some point. So, make a nice cup of caffeine free tea, cool of a cup or two (depending on the brood you have) and show them how to enjoy a quiet cup of tea just like mommy, or have a tea party with real tea, its a nice memory and also can be semi relaxing for you.
  4. Book Time
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    I have always tried to read with my kids, their books, my books heck even a magazine or seven in a waiting room someplace. So, to make sure I can have some time to read a book, or my kids need to wind down from something I grab a book and read it. It can be kid friendly or, not so kid friendly depending on how brave you are and how much you know your child will repeat. For my 3 year old I find it relaxing having him on my lap for some quiet and bust out the Harry Potter chapter books and he will sit there and listen, enjoy and even point out certain words or letters that he knows. With my daughter I read what I am reading and he loves it, I think she likes to just hear me talk to her and try and talk like a man, as I am reading Outlander currently and she enjoys sitting with me so I can find some time to enjoy my book and relax and include her in that as well.
  5. DIY Exfoliate Scrubs
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    My son likes to help me with anything and everything in the kitchen, and when i found a few recipes for Do It Yourself face scrubs that we easy to do, non toxic and kid safe I figured why not get him to help me. He loved to mix things with the spoon and help me dish it out into containers. He even uses a special coffee Vanilla one ( 3 Table Spoons Coffee Grounds, 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and as much Coconut oil to make it into a paste) he likes washing his hands and his belly in the tub with it. So why not make a special spa treatment you can share with your little ones?
  6. Music Playlist
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    We all, as parents, are always listening to what our kids want, because it makes them happy. They saying is ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’, but us moms know the truth. If the kids are happy, we are happy and husbands don’t get snapped at for leaving the toilet seat up…. Again. So, what works for me, is i have a Spotify playlist that has a mixture of my kids song that I can stand as well as some of my favorite songs, and we sing and dance and sometimes I will just sit with them and let them look at my phone, or read a book with them while the music, instead of a TV, is on in the background. Our Favorite Right Now Is “The Unicorn” By The Irish Rovers, and “The Narwhal” Also By Them.

    Well, these are some tips that I have been using to make myself sane during the day, and honestly I feel happier and a better person for my kids, sharing certain things with them, and they are happy because they are still the center of my world and enjoying things.

    Please let me know if you have any relaxing tips that you use with your kids as well. Thanks so much for reading!

    -Ashton <3

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Solo Fatherhood

Guest Post By: Daniel Sherwin

Being a single dad is a tough job that gets way less credit than it deserves. In addition to the challenges you’d expect from single parenting, dads have a few unique issues that sneak in from time to time to dampen the day.

 

  1. People assume the mom has a hand in everything good.

 

According to Adam Petzold, a single dad interviewed by HuffPost, anytime his son looks well put together, people automatically assume the mom had something to do with it.

 

  1. Everyone has an opinion, and it’s rarely in the dad’s favor.

 

While the number of single father households is on the rise, there is still a stigma that can be hard to shake. It’s not uncommon for strangers to make innocent comments such as, “You’re doing a great job for a man.” While well-meaning, most dads are never prepared for the way this hurts.

 

  1. Support is hard to find.

 

There are single parenting networks across the country. Most cater to women. Even when men are “welcomed” into the group, it can be awkward. This Forbes contributor and single dad says many support groups are openly hostile to men.

 

  1. Breaking stereotypes is tough.

 

When you think of a nurturer, you think of a woman…maybe a new mom, a grandmother. You wouldn’t picture a bearded, flannel-wearing, manly man. Society as a whole portrays men and women differently. Dads were once boys, who were raised to adhere to these same notions. When they suddenly become the one that has to change diapers, mend broken hearts, and listen as their children recount the actions of the playground bully, they have to learn to be gentle.

 

  1. No one understands why the child isn’t with the mom.

 

There is no denying the bias toward women when child custody is in question. The US Census estimates that women are awarded care and financial support by the courts 82.6% of the time. When dad winds up with full-time parenting duties, it brings questions about the mother…questions that can be hard to answer when your child is within ear shot.

 

Mental and physical toll

 

Single parents, and especially dads, report negative mental and physical symptoms at a far higher rate than their married counterparts. And despite the availability of mental health professionals, men are less likely to seek help, which goes back to societal expectations of strength. These mental and physical health issues have serious consequences on the family as a whole, as men who rate their health poor to fair tend to be un- or underemployed. Worry about money only exacerbates the issues.

 

While you can’t do much to alter people’s perception of your parenting ability, you can take preemptive measures to ensure your family (and your health) doesn’t suffer because of it. Start by discussing your situation with your children in an age appropriate way. Help them prepare for questions by other children and educate them that there are many different family structures, and yours is no better and worse than others.

 

Finally, learn to focus on your own needs in everything you do. As mental health advisors note, “The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.” When you’re a single parent, the easy thing is to ignore the issues, but facing them head on and with a positive outlook may be the best thing for you and your children.

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Image via Pixabay

 

**Thank you Daniel so much for writting this peice, If you want to see more of what Daniel is writting you can check out his blog at www.dadsolo.com

Mommy Book Club 2018

Mommy Book Club Will Start Up Again On January 1st, 2018 and The Book We will be reading is Book One in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Back Cover Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second Honeymoon — when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding boarder clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life… and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scot warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.



I am giving everyone a heads up on this because it is a longer book and some of us… Mainly me… Will need longer than 30 days to read it. 

I hope you all join us in January on my Facebook Page Ashton Taylor – Our Preemie Family for a Facebook live or a discussion board on it. It all depends on how my kids do at bed time that night, lol. 

Thanks for your Time,

Ashton <3 

Reluctant Stay At Home Mom…

I have been a stay at home mom going on 2 years, don’t get me wrong I love it and everything these two have brought to my live.

But I have been working since I was 14, baby sitting and I was a summer nanny to 2 kids one summer. Then at 16/17 I started cleaning wellsite trailer for my uncles leasing and fabrication company, that moved me into customer service at movie rental places, gas stations and a grocery store! I worked all through high school, did bad things and even got myself fired from a job back then. At 21 I started working as my moms assistant doing HR and payroll and rolled out to helping accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the accountant department. I learned I have a knack for certain things, and I took that knack to a 3 day course to become a book keeper. And then at 23 I started at my last job and was there for almost 5 years, and I loved it so so much. But many factors came into play and here I am at home with 2 little toddlers, and a list of things to do that I cant seem to motivate myself to do.

I do dishes, I cook, I tidy and I make sure the kids are bathed with clean clothes always, but my house has gathered clutter and I look at it and say it needs to be delt with but never really get to it.

I am a part time single mom, my husband is home 1 week a month and the routine is just out the window during that one week. I am ok with it, but now as I don’t have a real house cleaning routine, and no real motivation to gut my house it takes me a week after he leaves to get everything back in a functioning order.

I love being the one who gets to bond with my kids and see them grow into little amazing people. I have thought about going back to work on more than one occasion, but it’s not possible to do. Day care averages for my childre , $850 a month for my daughter, and $850 a month for my son, and my son is only part time Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays because he is in school 4 hours a day, and I cannot work Wednesdays because those are important meetings, trips, and many other things that are school related with my son. As you may remember from many many posts about this, Spud is delayed due to his prematurity, so keeping in constant communications with his school is key, and I am a hands on mom when it comes to that, I would rather hear it from the horses mouth than second hand. I have played way to many games of Telephone as a child to know that this would not end well. 

You might be thinking, how are trips useful, well they teach skills, and are fun for the little kids, weren’t field trips fun for you in school? But, with all these dilemmas the one thing that hurts is due to the fact that life costs money and I cannot make any, my husband is working camp jobs and losing time with his kids, seeing them grow up through pictires and videos. If I could I would change places with him, but I can’t, my skills are set to start at $18.00 an hour and cap around $25.00 an hour, where as my husbands start at $22.00 and hour and can cap at $45.00 or better. We are just starting his career here, so we are still on the low end when it comes to supporting a family of 4 and a Bijoux, so I am the reluctant stay at home mom. 
I love it…. But I also hate it….. 
-Ashton <3

Farmers Days 2017

Be warned, short blog in words, but will be full of pictures!!

Well we did it! We went to the farmers days parade! And really that is all we did for Farmers Days weekend. After a long talk with my hubby we both felt that the kids were still a bit to little for the fair and rodeo. I should say he felt that way, he was raised a city boy, and I respected his wishes, because we are a team, even if I was upset a bit.

But we did get to go to the parade, and Princess Tally has figured out how to clap and was clapping along with every one around her, before she fell asleep. We met up with Oma and GiGi, they enjoyed the parade with us.

Princess Tally was very happy because she loves her Oma and got snuggled to sleep during the parade. So much do that the loud noises of the tractors, the stock cars, and the hot air balloon did not wake her up. Spud enjoyed all the free candy, but was Tickled right pink when the local grocery store float gave him and apple! He was more excited about the apple, so that to me is a parenting win!

But, like I mentioned before about how Princess Tally was OK with the loud noises, Mister Spud on the other hand was far from thrilled and I had to take him out of the stroller, and he sat on the ground with me and I had to cover his ears so he could enjoy the rest of the parade. He was excited for the fire trucks, tractors, and other “big boy things”,  as he puts it. He kept pointing out all the tires and how big they were. But because he was snuggling with me I didn’t get to many pictures after that. Actually, I got none, but here are the few that I did get. Please Enjoy.

 Tally and her Oma getting settled.

 Waving at the military trucks

 Excited for the tractors, but kept asking me where the green ones were.

 Fighting sleep, about 3 minutes later she was asleep.

 See.

 Spud so excited he got his Canadian Flag.

 Spuds Big green tractors and this is when he crawled on my lap and needed me to cover his ears.

 Couldn’t even make it through lunch after, he was so tired.

 

Thank you for reading! Please follow me on Social Media.

Wish you all Love, Happiness and all kinds of pretty things.

– Ashton <3

Music Is My Fairy Tale

MUSIC IS MY FAIRY TALEI grew up in a house hold that always had music buzzing around. There was either someone playing a record ( you know those big black disk things around since the stone age?), someone (attempting to) play and instrument, or just someone singing a song they had stuck in their head. My brother could watch a Disney movie once and have every single song memorized by the end of it. My dad worked out of town and all my memories of him revolve around music in some manner, when he was home, whether it be dish cloth dew rags, pots and pan band practice to queen albums, or playing guess the song in 10 bars or less. My mom was a painter and at night I remember being all tucked into my bed and hear her classical music playing down the hall while she painted, and my brother and I drifted off to sleep.usic helped me become who I am in some manner of speaking, because when you are a kid you listen to everything your parents listen to, In my case that was a lot of old school country like Merle Haggard, George Jones and Patsy Cline, which I still listen to, to this day. But when I started school my friends introduced me to what their parents listened to and I loved that just as much as what my parents listened to, and I would ask my mom to buy me albums and CDs until I could get them myself with my baby sitting money. Then came the boy band faze of my life, but I was never ever picky when it came to bands and I bought it all and listened to it all. by 13 I had over 200 cassette tapes and 52 CDs, I still listened to what my parents had as well with A tracks, records and their CDs and Cassettes. There was never anything I didn’t like, and when I went through my rebelling faze I just started listening to Marilyn Manson, Eminem, and other “controversial” artists at the time (Can I hope my kids will do the same?).

To me there was a song to help me through everything, when my first friend committed suicide a country song came out at the same time called “How Do You Get That Lonely” by Blaine Larsen, and that helped me in a way, when my grandpa passed away I found comfort in his favorite song, “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner.

This is my last point on the songs, but I went through a time at 16/17 years old where I fell into a bad crowd forgot who I was and just wanted me accepted by everyone instead of enjoying being who I was as an individual, I got into some drugs and while I was getting myself out of that deep hole a friend from Vancouver gave me an EP, by a band Called Marianas Trench and they helped me find me again, and I thank those guys every time I see them. I have had the honor of meeting them and getting to know them. I see them as my friends in a way because of how they had helped me, and I wanted to help them, I learned what I could about street teams and the music industry (the bare bones of it anyways) and tried to help them make a mark in the Canadian music front, along the way I gained great friends and lost some friends, but it all shaped who I am today and who I want to me for my son.

When I was pregnant with both my kids, I played music to my belly and sang songs to my babies all the time. I wanted music to be a profound part of my children’s lives like it had been for me. Then a scary thing happened and I went into labor 16 weeks early with my first, my son. I didn’t know how to handle anything with my son by that point. I didn’t know how to make him comfortable or myself for that matter, because my normal means of comfort couldn’t help a preemie baby…. Or could it?

I did some massive digging and found music therapy was found to be very beneficial to pre-term babies. But all the studies I had read were done with classical music, I do like classical music but we were not going to be listening to that all the time at home, when he did come home. So I bought an i pod mini loaded it with music I loved, music Hubby loved and music that our parents loved, which is what I had been playing for him since I found out he was growing in my tummy. I told the nurses to play it when he was really stressed out and see what happens when Hubby and I would go home for the night. (Who am I kidding Hubby Dragged me out of there to try and get some sleep.) We would come back to find that the music had calmed him down and he was showing signs of major improvement over the course of our stay. At one point in the middle of the night there were 3 nurses attending to a baby across from my son and all of sudden they heard this music being played and they could not figure out where it was coming from, they walk closer to DJs isolette and it is his ipod that he somehow turned all the way up. I remember the nurse telling me it was “Shake Tramp” by Marianas Trench, because she was a fan of them as well and we had bonded over that early on.

Now that we are out of the NICU and at home, music is still a big part of his day, whether it be our dance parties in the living room, that our old mail man loved to laugh and wave at every time he saw us, or the singing and band time he has with my dad who is passing more memories of music down to my children like he did with myself and my brother, as well as my daughter now.

I once read a quote that describes who I am in a very big way:

I Believe In Music, The Way Some People Believe In Fairy Tales.

I am now passing on that love to my kids and passing along they music therapy ideas to other moms I have met in the NICU, I hope it is as useful and up lifting for them as it was for me.

Thanks, now here are a bunch of pictures of me and band member I have met, as well I will add I have kept all my ticket stubs and have gone to over 380 concerts (including bar ones) since I turned 18, that is 11 years….. I should also note that I have been to 5 concerts in the past 7 years.

 

Andrew TSE Me and Daniel Of Ten Second Epic at a music video shoot for them, they were a local band that has since disbanded, but I would recommend looking up their older stuff if you like pop punk type stuff.

Benny Social Code Ben From Social Code, another local band that has disbanded but again, Please look up their stuff online and on Spotify and iTunes.

Cam SOS Cam from State of Shock! Sweet guy, they haven’t put anything new out lately but their stuff is really good.

Chris Hedley  Chris Former drummer for Hedley! They just put out some new stuff that I love with all me heart and would love for you to check out Hedley if you haven’t already.

Dan Tupelo Honey Dan from his Tupelo Honey days, He went from backing vocals and guitar to lead singer, now they are all doing solo stuff, Dan has moved from pop and pop punk/rock, to country! So please look up Tupelo Honey the band, they have a few albums out with Matty as the lead singer, then Dan, and also please look up Dan Davidson and his music. I have known and supported Tupelo and these guys for 11 to 12 years.

 

First Mike PIcture Me and my very first picture with Micheal Ayley of Marianas Trench!! I miss the curl.

Greg Tupelo Honey Greg from Tupelo Honey! Sweet heart in spades!

Kadoo (Simon) SOS Kadoo (Simon) from State of Shock, I am not gonna lie this is one of my favorite pictures every, because I look damn fine! lol

Me and trench Me and the whole of Marianas Trench after stalking, I mean following them on all their Alberta dates. This was the last show and I am bagged!

Morgan Social Code Me and Morgan From Social Code, please look up their stuff.

Patrick TSE Patrick From Ten Second Epic and I from the same music video as before.

Pee-Nuts Pee-Nutz! sweetest merch/ sound guy ever! he helped a few of the local bands out and we knew from the countless shows we went to.

Sandy TSE Sandy and I from the same TSE shoot. He is a huge teddy bear and hugged everyone that came out.

Steve Tupelo Honey Steve From Tupelo Honey, I got along so good with him in the many shows I saw as well as proving to him I could hold my liquor.

Tommy Hedley Tommy Mac and I from Hedley, I think I was trying to mimic his face, or I was a bit tipsy, unsure at this point lol.

Guitar Sammich Of Awesome I would like to call this the Guitarist Glam-mich! We have Dave from Hedley, Matty from Trench and Dan from Tupelo, and luck ol me in the middle!

And this last one of Ian and I….. Lets say alcohol may or may not have been involved….

Ya.....

 

Thank you all for reading,

I am sending you all hearts Love and other pretty things.

-Ashton <3