Easter is already next weekend which means Mother’s Day is right around the corner. It’s hard to believe how fast spring is moving along this year.

As a child, I always struggled with picking out the perfect gift for my mom and usually settled on a trip to the nursery to help her plant her yearly flower pots. It was something meaningful to her and it shaped years of memories for me. We always chose experiences over presents.

Now that I’m a mom of 3 (almost 4!) my husband seems to struggle with the same problem and usually just asks me what I’d like for Mother’s Day. If you’re reading this and searching for a wonderful gift this year that will surprise mom and tell her how much she means to the family, I may have an unique idea for you!

I recently stumbled upon an awesome company called PatronArt. PatronArt is on a mission to make original and commissioned art accessible to everyone while helping independent artists thrive. PatronArt was built to connect talented artists with passionate art buyers, and make original art accessible to everyone. Their online concept is simple and inviting as it always helps hard-working artists thrive by purchasing their original pieces of art.

A commissioned piece of art would be an amazing gift idea for mom this year! It sort of combines the present and experience idea I always struggled with for my own mother. PatronArt makes it really easy to get in contact with the perfect artist to make your mom’s masterpiece come to life. Turn your mother’s photo into a beautiful custom artwork through PatronArt as hundreds of independent artists are ready to create that once in a lifetime gift for mom.

We all know mom deserves the best this year, so treat her to a thoughtful, creative Mother’s Day gift she’ll cherish forever!

*This post was sponsored by PatronArt, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Mother’s Day gift she’ll cherish forever.

I always wanted a big family with lots of kids. Only children either want what they grew up with or what they didn’t get to experience as a child. 50/50, right? Well, as an only child, I was always in the camp of wanting a loud house with builtin playmates.

Did we imagine we’d have 4? I’m not really sure there is a magic number when it comes to growing a family, everyone is different. But Lord willing, this will be our grand finale. I’m too old for this, ha!

The reality of having another child still hasn’t really set in yet with me. I’m finally well into my second trimester, but the weeks have seemed to drag on. My first trimester was a beast. I can actually say I was not sick with Luke, Eden or Adam…but baby #4 wants to make his / her mark early! I was throwing up every day after every meal for weeks. Misery. Taco Bell has been my lifeline, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d see it’s pretty much this child’s entire diet. (I kid, but not really.)

I’m due late September around the first day of fall, which is kind of exciting. Fall is such a beautiful time in Ohio. Like the rest of our children we will not find out the gender and wait for his or her birthday.

Some things I’ve noticed with baby #4:

  • Names are particularly hard to chose. Especially if we have another boy. We have a few on a short list, but my mind changes with the wind.
  • People are actually very surprised to learn we’re having another child. I think people have this idea in their head that 4 is a little excessive. I didn’t really think it would come as a surprise to anyone, but it really has.
  • I’m nervous. I think I’m more nervous about this pregnancy than any others. I’m older and have a business to run and a household. My children are a little older and starting to get really busy with school and activities. The thought of going back to the newborn days actually frightens me, but I know we will do just fine!

That being said, I would love to hear from the 4 children camp…. I’ve heard #4 is easy and just blends right in with the rest. If that’s the case, I think we’ll be just fine.

Message me below or send me an email and let me know your experience!!

We just returned from Spring Break last night, and while we didn’t visit a tropical place (Smoky Mountains), the kids still enjoyed their time in the hot tub. I had no fears of them (with the exception of Adam) being in the hot tub with the older kids we were with because they have learned to swim at Goldfish Swim School.

March and April are popular months for families to travel and The American Academy of Pediatrics announced its updated recommendations to prevent drowning in children.

I’m so happy that Goldfish teaches water safety tips at every class level, and they offer free water safety presentations for schools, daycares and community groups. In case you aren’t familiar, here are some super helpful tips from Lisa Armitage, owner of Goldfish Swim Schools in Columbus, Ohio:

      W– Wear Your Life Jacket: This is one of the easiest ways to increase safety in the water. There are plenty of different types of life jackets to fit all sizes – pay attention to proper fit.

·      A– Act. Throw! Don’t go:Do your kids know what to do in a swimming emergency? They should ACT! Their first instinct may be to go towards the person having trouble in the water. Instead, they should throw a life preserver – and don’t go! That way, they aren’t putting themselves in jeopardy as well and are truly able to help.

·      T– Take Swim Lessons: You can start your child in swim lessons as early as four months old where they can begin learning swim and safety skills while building character through guided play.

·      E– Educate. Learn Swim Safety Skills: Key water safety skills can go a long way – such as the crab walk, properly getting in and out of the pool, going under water, rolling on their back, treading water, learning different strokes.

·      R– Respect. Play it Cool and Follow the Rules: Rules are there for a reason, especially when it comes to rules for the pool. Walk, don’t run; make sure an adult is watching; no horseplay. Review rules together as a family before setting your kids loose to enjoy the water. 

Did you know, drowning can be silent and quick, and it kills nearly 1,000 children every year?! To refocus the attention of parents and physicians on one of the leading causes of death among children, the American Academy of Pediatrics is publishing updated recommendations on water safety.

“Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4,” said Sarah Denny, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “Prevention of Drowning. Many of these deaths occur when children are not expected to be swimming or when they have unanticipated access to water. Toddlers are naturally curious; that’s why we must implement other strategies, such as pool fencing and door locks.”

The second age group at highest risk of drowning deaths is teens, said Dr. Denny. Every year, about 370 children ages 10 to 19 drown. “Adolescents can be overconfident in their swimming abilities, and are more likely to combine alcohol use with swimming – compounding their risk significantly. Children of color, especially African American teens are especially at risk.”

In the policy statement, the AAP lays out strategies to protect children at each stage of their life. New parents are advised to be vigilant at bath time and to empty all buckets and wading pools immediately.

All children should learn to swim, and children and teens should wear life jackets while near open bodies of water. Teens can learn CPR and other water safety skills.

Injury prevention has long been a priority of pediatricians, and public health initiatives over the past 50 years have led to dramatic reductions in deaths from injuries related to motor vehicle crashes, sudden infant death syndrome, drowning, and other unintentional injuries. In the past few years, however, the rate of decline in these deaths has slowed.
Drowning remains the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5-19 years. In 2017, nearly 1,000 children died from drowning and 8,700 visited a hospital emergency room because of a drowning event – with toddlers and teens at the highest risk.

If you’re interested in learning more or enrolling your child at Goldfish Swim School click HERE.

*this post is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School, all opinions are my own.*

I know, I know… I’ve broken the number one rule of blogging and haven’t been super consistent. Honestly, I’ve been busy (and a little sick, another post for another day).

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I do, and I know they’re super cheesy and usually fall apart by this time of the year, ahem what’s up with March?! But I still make them and the last two years they’ve stuck. The reason for my absence here isn’t because I made a resolution to cut back on blogging, it’s because I made a resolution to work harder!

Two years ago my goal was to grow my Instagram account. I went from about 2,000 followers to 10k in a year. I know for some that isn’t a huge deal, but I was proud of it because it was organic growth and I didn’t pay for a single follower or like.

Last year my goal was to grow my blog and do more public speaking. If you’re a follower here, you probably noticed I was pumping out 3 blog posts a week last year! Was it annoying to you? Perhaps. But that was my goal and I did it. I also hosted an event last summer, traveled to Washington DC twice to share our RSV story and spoke at several local events. I set my goal and I accomplished it, and I was super proud.

This year I decided to take a different path and grow my business. Did you know I own my own business? Probably not. But I own a digital marketing / social media business, called White Barn Media, that I run out of my home (without a nanny or babysitter, oy!) It’s hard work, but in just three short months I have grown from 2 to 6 clients!

And I love it!!

I know I have been neglecting my blog a bit, due to my workload and that’s no excuse. I miss blogging and connecting with you, so I promise to be more vocal on here in the coming months.

That being said, I am also working on creating an online course for you. I’m calling it The Business of Social, where I will break down everything on the social media front.

  • Are you interested in starting a blog?
  • Do you have dreams of becoming an influencer?
  • Does the idea of working from home running other social media accounts appeal to you?
  • Would you love to quit your day job and earn money on the apps you love?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then The Business of Social is perfect for you. I don’t have a rollout date yet, but I would love to hear from you!

What topics would you like to see me cover in this online course?

I’m excited to get started on my next big resolution / goal in 2019!

Photograph by Autumn Theodore Photography

Sure, in the winter you probably aren’t frequenting the local swimming pool. Especially if you live in the Midwest like we do. Brrrrrr. But there is no doubt it’s still super important to practice winter water safety, if for no other reason… to keep the safety fresh in little swimmer’s minds.

Here are some common myths when it comes to winter water safety, and the facts behind them:

MYTH: It’s cold outside, so we won’t be swimming.

FACT: Just because you won’t be trekking to the outdoor community pool doesn’t mean you won’t encounter the chance to go swimming elsewhere, including:

  • An indoor water park resort. These family-friendly resorts are based on having everyone swim and play in large, heated indoor pools with waterslides, which are very enticing for kids of all ages (regardless of swim ability).
  • Holiday break, winter break, spring break, or visiting family and friends in a tropical locale could definitely mean an opportunity for heading into a pool or the ocean. We’re going to Gatlinburg for Spring Break and there will be access to a pool and hot tub.

MYTH: I don’t let my child go swimming without me, so we’re OK.

FACT: Accidents can happen near ANY body of water, whether or not you are nearby.

MYTH: My baby isn’t even walking yet, so I don’t need to worry about water safety.

FACT: Babies are masters at moving around whether they are walking or not, and they’re also very curious and inquisitive little beings who want to learn and investigate everything they see. Sometimes, that includes bodies of water. By teaching your little one how to swim at a very young age (yes, your baby can start taking swimming lessons before age 1!),  you’ll be giving her the tools she needs should an accident happen in water…because seconds count. Adam will be starting lessons soon!

Goldfish Swim School focuses on water safety

One of the reasons Goldfish Swim School is amazing is because of the emphasis they place during each lesson on water safety, all year long.

*This post is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School, all opinions are my own.*