A new baby is such an exciting time for the entire family. My older two children were 3 and 2 years old when Adam was born, so while they may not have fully understood the entire pregnancy journey… they were thrilled to have a new sibling coming home from the hospital!

Adam was born full-term and weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. We thought everything with him was perfectly normal, until he was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) at 6 weeks old.

It was a terrifying time for our entire family as Adam was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for several days. He was hooked up to breathing machines and oxygen as he fought for his little life.

During that time, Luke and Eden didn’t visit him at the hospital. We made that decision because we knew Adam would be coming home soon and seeing him in the hospital would be such a difficult thing to explain to them. I fully understand that is not reality for all families, as the older children will spend a lot of time in the ICU or NICU.

Many of the questions we were faced with: Why is our baby brother in the hospital again? What’s wrong with him? When will he come home? When can we hold him again? Am I as important as the baby?

I wish there was a simple way to explain what was happening to Adam, but my husband and I had to rely on simple conversation to try to answer their questions to our best ability.

I recently attended a summit with the National Coalition for Infant Health in Washington, DC where parents, physicians, researchers and other advocates gathered to discuss all aspects of infant health. A lot of the conversations spotlighted preemies and what life is like in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

It’s at this summit that I learned about a wonderful organization that is working hard on providing resources for families, teachers and parenting professions. Platypus Media‘s goals are relatively simple. They are educating adults and children about the world around them. They publish books that foster warmth, closeness, literacy, curiosity, and an openness to other cultures. Specifically, they have two products to support siblings of children in the NICU–both are coloring books, a format that keeps young kids involved while they learn. One of the coloring books my children love: Come Home Soon Baby Brother/Sister!

The coloring book does a fantastic job explaining to older siblings why their baby brother or sister is in the NICU. The short story follows an older sibling’s journey at the hospital as he explains to the reader what is happening to his baby brother/sister. The child then encourages the reader to draw a picture of him/her for the baby at the NICU. It challenges the reader to think outside of the box and focus on the health and safety of their baby sibling. It’s also important for the older children to know they are just as important and just as loved as the sick baby, even though mom and dad are spending a lot of time at the hospital.

I really wish I had these coloring books when Adam was in the ICU at Children’s Hospital. Even though the books focus on the NICU, I think they are extremely valuable resources for any family with a small child in the hospital.

You can purchase any of Platypus’s Books on their website, here! They are also available in Spanish.

*The post is sponsored by Platypus Media. All opinions are my own.*

Come Home Soon, Baby Brother! (Platypus Media)

I feel as though you’re either a Bloody Mary fan or not. Frankly speaking, I am a fan. Which is why I was extremely excited to test out Cameron Mitchell’s newly developed cocktail recipes for Double Comfort featuring their blends and spices.

The recipes are incredible….but we’ll get to that later.

One of the reasons I was super excited to partner with Double Comfort was because of their mission. 100% of the profits from their sales benefits local food pantries. To date, Double Comfort has funded over one hundred thousand meals. AMAZING!

The recipes I made were developed by Andrea Hoover, Beverage Operations Manager at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. All 3 are delicious!

 BLOODY MEMPHIS (Bloody Mary)

Prep Glass: Service Glass

Garnish: Soul of the South Spice Rim, Celery Stalk

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1/4 oz. Salted Lemon Cordial (2 oz. lemon juice, 1/4 oz. Saline {20% salt, 80% water})
  • 5 oz. House Bloody Mary Mix
  • 1 dash Memphis Heat

PREPARATION:

  1. Combine all ingredients in service glass.
  2. Add ice to glass.
  3. Stir to combine.

MEMPHIS MARIA

Prep Glass: Service Glass

Garnish: Soul of the South Spice Rim, Celery Stalk

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Patron Tequila
  • 1/4 oz. Salted Lemon Cordial (2 oz. lemon juice, 1/4 oz. Saline {20% salt, 80% water})
  • 5 oz. House Bloody Mary Mix
  • 1 dash Memphis Heat

PREPARATION:

  1. Combine all ingredients in service glass.
  2. Add ice to glass.
  3. Stir to combine.

BLOODY MEMPHIS MIX

  • 1 qt. Pureed San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 7 oz. Beef Bouillon (2 tsp./7 oz.)
  • 7 oz. Water
  • 2 oz. Demitri’s Horseradish Bloody Mary Mix

PREPARATION:

  1. Combine all ingredients in service glass.
  2. Add ice to glass.
  3. Stir to combine.

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Double Comfort Foods

Not really the “buddies” I had in mind…

*this post is sponsored by Double Comfort Foods — all opinions are my own.*

I admit, February is my least favorite month. The cold weather is alright for the holidays and the New Year, but by the time February rolls around…I’m like a 70-year-old snow bird flying down south for some sunshine.

Kidding. I wish I could fly to Florida for the entire month. #goals.

In the meantime, I live vicariously through Luke and Eden as they swim on at Goldfish Swim School during their weekly lessons. Are you itching for spring and ready for your little goldfish to learn how to swim? Summer will be here before we know it.

Good news!

Goldfish Swim School’s unique Jump Start Clinics are specially designed for families looking to get their kids water-ready in a hurry. They’re a great way to introduce kids to the fundamentals of water safety, take full advantage of school vacations, get peace-of-mind before a water-centric vacation or even start the journey to an Olympic gold medal. (I admit, we didn’t watch one second of the winter Olympics. But summer….we’re all in!)

Jump Start Clinics include four or five consecutive days of 30-minute swim lessons that focus on everything from the teaching the fundamentals of water safety to fine-tuning stroke technique. These clinics are so effective, we guarantee you’ll see significant improvement in your child’s swimming skills in just four or five short days!

Registration begins March 1st, TOMORROW!

Here’s the link:

https://www.goldfishswimschool.com/dublin/

https://www.goldfishswimschool.com/westerville/

swim kids

low key post about where they’ll be spending Spring Break

These bottles are great! Especially for young ones who tend to spill a lot…ehem, Eden.

The Twistshake Bottles come in a variety of bright colors and different sizes. The bottle works well as a sippy cup for Eden, but can also be used for baby formula for new moms.

You can even drop some fruit in there to add some flavor to the water, which Luke loves. Not to mention, Twistshake bottle reduce colic for young ones. They are also easy to grip and have a sturdy cap making them super convenient for the grab-n-go mommy, like moi.

Good news! I’m offering 20% off for all my followers. Use SHANISTYIRELAND20 at checkout. Also- free shipping for orders $25 and more!

Pick out yours today at Twistshake.

eden-bottle

bottle-with-luke