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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

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

Perfect…. Music

220px-Ed_Sheeran_&_Andrea_Bocelli_-__Perfect_Symphony_

This song… “Perfect” was my favorite song from this album to begin with. It reminds me of small intimate moments my husband and I had on our wedding day, small things that I haven’t thought of in years, things that most people forget over time. Little things he did, he said, that were very much out of his character that I wont gush about on here, because he does have family and friends that read this…

Andrea Bocelli, his music has been part of my life since I was little. I remember laying in bed, listening to my mom get her paints ready and then just before she would start painting, she would put on Him, or someone similar, or some beautiful classical music that would lull my brother and I to sleep. I hadn’t thought of those days in so long and how I feel they impacted my love and appreciation of music. It made me think about the music I play for my kids, and will it shape them the way my parents music shaped me? Will they have a set taste in music like their father or be fluid like me?

I shared this song with my grandmother, who I remember had more than a few Andrea Bocelli CDs growing up. And I hope this is a special song that we can share and create some sort of memory with. Music plays a huge part of my, because I see it and feel it as a universal language, its something we all have in common. Everyone has a song that speaks to them on some level, we never all share the same tastes, but that’s OK, its OK to be different, because then you have something to share, something to put out there..

Music doesn’t have to playing or even created at that point in time to bring up a memory, or a feeling. Music conveys so much, whether its the instrumental arrangement itself, or the lyrics speak to you on some level. Let me explain an example…

A few years back, a family friend passed away, and I was so sad about it, cried, it hurt. Then we all went on the hunt for pictures of this person, because we wanted to create a slideshow of our life and memories of him. and once the slide show was done we played it through and smiled and laughed at some of them. But something was missing, my mom or dad (not 100% sure which one…) heard a song and it made her think about that friend and how she was feeling at that point in time, of their passing. She put the song over the slideshow and instant tears! For all of us, the same pictures we just looked at before and were laughing with, now had us in tears, all because of a song! Music made the difference. It pulls emotion out, and it, to me, helps heal. I can listen to that song and smile now, thinking about this person, it helps.

Music to me is its own religion, a life force…. I heard a quote many years back and it said “Music is life…. That is why every heart has a beat.” This is something I will remember forever and live by.

I want music like this to continue for years to come…. I want my kids to share their music combined with the music that my parents listened to, with my parents and myself! I want music that combines childhood with adulthood to continue!

A song came out a long time ago, 2004, it was around the time someone I knew in school had committed suicide, it was a strange time for me because I had so many questions about it, and i was sad because this wasn’t a close friend, but I knew him, he was in a few of my classes, he and I had mutual friends. So when our teachers came in homeroom telling us what had happened, I was numb and confused. A few weeks later I hear this song “How Do You Get That Lonely?” By Blaine Larsen, and it asked the questions I was wondering, no answers but it was there, and it helped… I don’t know how but it did….. After a while i started looking up this artist and he was set to release an album soon… And in 2005 I got it, and on that album was a song that brought my music into my dads world.

My dad has always been the person I went to with music and he would listen to it, but in the end he would call it ‘long haired hippy shit”, so I was determined to find something he would listen to and love it, I was so very sure I found it!! “If Merle Would Sing My Songs”, my dad is a HUGE Merle Haggard fan, I grew up listening to his music when every my dad was home from work, and here was a song about this young kid going to Nashville to write songs in hopes that Merle Haggard would sing them…. and the last 3 lines were sang by Merle Haggard himself….

So Dad came home from work, there I was proud as a peacock, busted out the diskman and the head phones, “Dad I have a song I need you to listen to.” He played it off that he wasn’t even going to try and like it…. He put the head phones one, I won points that it was country song, more points when he heard the chorus about wanting Merle to sing his songs…. Then it got to the last part of the song, the last two lines, I watched my dad so intently waiting for that part, and when it hit I knew it, he got this look on his face and smiled… “That’s Merle.” He said, he listened to the song one more time…. Since then it has become one of my dads favorite songs my brother sings. I can play it every now and again and he will smile.

I won, music connecting us again, like it always does and i feel it always will.

I know I went through all kinds of twists and turns, and I hope you get what I am saying here….

‘Music Is Life…. That’s Why Every Heart Has A Beat.”

-Ashton <3

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 

Where Have I Been

Well, my husband started a new job, we went on a small family vacation, starting a new hobby in hopes of creating something, and I have been just getting used to the rhythm of having 2 toddlers!

 

Let’s start with the family vacation, we rented a car packed up the kids and went to Drumheller. We made a pit stop in Red Deer to show the kids the awesomeness that is the Donut Mill. Now anyone who lives in Alberta should know about the Donut Mill, you go from Edmonton to Southern Alberta you must make a pit stop at the Donut Mill on Gasoline Alley.

Spud discovered the magical wall of Donuts. He picked an awesome Triple Chocolate Donut.

 First Bite of Magic.

 Princess Tally enjoying a donut and a mommy selfie!

 

We got to Drumheller at about noon so we decided to go right to the Royal Tyrell Museum, since we could not check into the hotel till 3pm!

 

 Waiting for daddy to come and join us! As you can tell Spud is less than impressed to go from a car for 2.5 hours to a stroller.

 The magical Bubble wall! They have a walk through from the beginning of time until now, and it all starts with the Bubble wall.

 The Blue Bubbles are from 2015 when my husband and I took Spud to Drumheller the first time, and the pink Bubbles is Princess Tally at the same age now, the colors were purely coincidental, and my mom pointed it out when I sent her a few pictures.

 

 This isn’t the best picture I  took but this is one my husband wants to take every time we go with the kids. See where our kids measure up against a triceratops. I cant believe how big my little spud is getting.

 

The next day we went to the Hoodoos were we could let Spud walk around and enjoy everything that was to see there. A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney or earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Drumheller is in the badlands of Alberta, and we had a blast, he kept pointing and saying “Look! Look! Whats that? Ooooh!” He was so much fun to watch.

    

Then we drove home, and honestly for the amount of driving we did in 2 days, my kids were amazing! Even though we had to listen to Blippi “Planes Trains and Automobiles” on repeat for about 6.5 hours, it was a great trip.

The day after we got home we went to Fort Edmonton Park for a few hours, I never got to take pictures due to the fact we decided it would be a great idea to give our some some freedom….. 3 years old in a place with lots of places to run and hide, thank goodness my husband walked around with the baby in the stroller.

 We lost her hat somewhere between the house and the car so Daddy bought his little pilgrim a bonnet! Isn’t Princess Tally the cutest little thing? I am surprised that she left it on the whole time we were there.

 We got Spud some hand churned ice cream as we were getting ready to leave.

 And we had a long 3 days, as you can tell. Sweet Little Princess.

 

I have also started a new Hobby! If you follow my Facebook page, you would see my progress in my Crochet Hobby. My mom had been pushing me to learn since I was 13 years old, only took 16 years, but I am hooked!

       

She made me chain 30 feet before she showed me how to do a second stitch, then I had to do 5 feet of that, and so on and so forth. Now I am watching YouTube videos on how to do more stitches and projects, I am currently working on hats for teeny tiny preemies…. Not going well, slip stitches are Evil.

 

Now we are just getting ready for the school year, our little Spud is starting an early education program 4 mornings a weeks and one special field trip day or we met with his Occupational therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, Teacher or his Teachers aide on that 5th day. This is suppose to help him be caught up for when he starts kindergarten, and I want to give him the best start I can.

 

So there, that is where I have been, I am hoping that soon I will be back to weekly blogging.

 

Hope to talk to you all soon!

 

Ashton <3

Welcome

Welcome To Our Preemie Family 2.0!

Here we are, starting over Fresh, what a vast place of possibility!

The grownups have left me unattended with a computer, internet access and a blog! Mwahaha! I cannot wait to see what trouble I can cause here.

Well, we all know, well if you followed my last blog, I am far to lazy and busy to cause to much trouble, but the kids on the other hand, you will be here in the front seat watching what goes on in the troubled and turbulent life of my kids, and how life is unfair because mommy’s favorite word is NO!

I will have a few posts up very soon, some new and some from my old blog that I would like to move over!

Thank you for reading, Please follow me on any and all Social Media I have!

Love, Happiness and Other Pretty Things

Ashton <3

Fed Is Best

I have always tried to stay away from controversial topics such as Breast Feeding vs. Formula feedings. So this post is 100% completely my opinion and my experience. If you want to exclusively breast feed, good for you! Rock it out! I will be the mom giving you a smile and thumbs up in the restaurant or museum. If you are strictly formula, rock that out mama! You are doing what you need to for you baby, and thats being the very best mama you can be, you will also get a smile and thumbs up from me!

My son was 16 weeks early, my milk had most definantly not dropped and I had to work so very hard to get it in and saved every drop for my son. He was on donor brest milk for 4 days before I made enough to feed him. I pumped like clockwork, every 3 hours, tracked every ounce, my spot in our fridge was full before we went to the hospital daily. For 3 months I did this and I was excited soon I would try to breast feed!

Then my supply started to drop out of no where, and I drank the teas, ate the cookies, had more people touch my boobs in a day than I would like to admit. I even took the medicines, but it just dropped off, I was crushed I went from getting a full 50ML to 75ML per boob, per pump to maybe 20ML from both in a matter of 2 weeks. I was heart broken, but no one shamed me for it, they told me I did great, gave my little preemie the best fighting chance he needed by giving him what I did for 3 months. And, I had enough in the freezer to last a while longer, I felt ok when it came to take the feeding tube out and try actual feedings it was a bottle and not the breast, and by the time he was home he was on straight formula. He stayed on formula until he was 12 months adjusted and was never a fussy eater.

Fast forward 2 years and I am in the hospital bed, snuggled up with my new born daughter trying to get her to latch, and I had to come up with some fun ways of that happening…. Sqeezing my boob, then the nipple, pushing it one way while she lay another way…

The 2 person technique, that one was strange with a nurse, and frustrating when trying to tell Hubby what to do…

Finally after 3 days of her getting next to nothing, I pumped next to nothing, less than 20 ML from both breasts, I asked the nurse to get me a small thing of formula, because she was hungry and I wanted to feed her so I could get more than an hour of sleep. She made me feel so bad!

“You have barely tried! You need to give it more time!” I am sorrybits been 3 days, I feed her for an hour to an hour and a half from each breast and she is starving less than 30 minutes later, I pumped and bottle fed her in the longer gaps and she still wasn’t getting enough. My child was hungry and I was gonna feed her!

I had to sign an “Against Medical Advice” form to get formula for my child… What the actual F!? It made me feel like I was going to be harming my child because I wanted her to feel full for a little bit! I was still pumping, still trying her on the boob, but if I knew she was still hungry I wanted to top her up! Why is to terrible to want to keep your child full and happy?

Once we got, home I still tried to breast feed, pump and formula, I again did the tea, cookies and pills, but it never surpassed 30 ML from both breasts. So after a long talk with my husband, and him telling me I needed to be there for our kids and me making myself sick over this, isn’t healthy for anyone involved. At my 6 week check up, my old school OB told me the exact same thing, he gave me a coupon for some formula to pick up on my way home, gave me a hug and told me I was doing great! I was feeling so much better about this.

As I sat in his waiting room for his nurse to bring out a form for some blood work and a prescription, my daughter started getting fussy so I pulled the bottle out and quickly made one and started feeding her, another mom, who was there with her whole entourage, looked over at me scoffed and rolled her eyes. I just smiled at her and went back about my business of feeding my daughter, and she said to her friend/cousin/sister, making no attempt to lower her voice, said “Breast is best, and anyone who does other than that is lazy and doing a disservice to their child.”

I just hung my head and talked low to my daughter, telling her I loved her and I tried very hard to do the best I could. There were several other moms and families in the waiting room but no one came to my aid, no one would say anything. Here I am 6 weeks post partom, high risk for depression, already feeling terrible about being able to breast feed, and this woman has the nerve to speak out of turn.

I was sad before, when it actually happened, then I became angry about it, now I just feel bad for her.

Breast is optimal, but Fed is the best for your baby.

Thank You for reading, please Like, Comment, and follow me on social media.

Love, Hearts, and Pretty Things

Ashton ❤

Found My Perfect Planner

I am the fussiest person when it comes to day planners. It takes me months to sift through them and decide what ones I like, I have even tried making my own, but hate how they look… I have bought the build your own and never used half the stuff I put in it, I even tried the mommy specific ones that have spots for each family members activity that day. Nothing worked for me, on any level, until I found this one….

The Happy Planner at Michaels!

*Heavenly Choirs Sing*

It has a monthly view that takes up 2 full pages, lots of space to write everything, so you can see your month at a glance and how busy you will be. As you can see my 2 year old has some fun things planned and more to come as the year goes on.

The weekly view is just as big, the only thing I don’t care for is its Monday to Sunday, not Sunday to Saturday. The way each day is lined up you can use it as morning, afternoon and evening planning, or Husband, yourself and kids plans that day. I am using it as my daily to do list, activities for family and/or Kids, and Financial things that are required that day, as well as tracking how much we spent that day and where. (Trust me, that will come in later on in the year.)

Between the months there are quotes on the divider as well as a few note pages at the end of each month for whatever you feel you need. I, personally, will be using them as a spot to write down all the positive things that happened that past month. The whole planner I picked is colorful, and fun, I have also seen this trick a few times with other blogger and I have fun colored fine tipped marker and color code certain things, and I have an erasable pen for planning in things to see where they fit in during that week. I also have colored highlighters for the same purpose.

There is a plastic pouch in the back but I have to many pens for that to work with us.

I picked the bright and happy cover, with positive sayings, just so my husband didn’t walk away with it to use it for work, plus its really cheerful.

The downside to planners are, you, mommy, know exactly what is going on when, where and for how long… That is why I have this!!!!

On my fridge, I take my planner and fill in everything the first of every month so my hubby, when he is home, knows exactly what needs to be done and when. This is for everyone, my 2 year old now likes to help and have his own planner, which is a flimsy composition book he gets to “write” and color in when mommy is working on her planner, calendar and the magical kids white board!

This is posted just outside my son’s room, soon my daughter will move in there with him. The calendar part is just for their activities and lets them know when daddy comes home from working far away and when, sadly, he needs to go back to working far away. Every morning I give my son his special marker and he gets to draw an X through the day before, then I have our routine listed underneath for my husband when he is home, because he is unbelievably awesome and lets mama catch up on some sleep when he is home, as well for any baby sitters who come to watch the kids, or our parents who watch the kids. I have texted pictures of this to each grandparent more than once when they go for sleep overs.

This is my planning method, yes its a bit much, but it works, we are all in the know at all times. I am in charge of finances, but this way Hubby knows where the money goes and when at the same time.

I am hoping to have a fuller breakdown of how I use everything and how it helps in the long run near the end of the year and what I will take with me next year and what I will change.

Thank you for reading, Please Like, Comment, and follow me on Social Media.

Love, Hearts, and Pretty Things

Ashton <3