Friday, October 28, 2016

Hooray for Halloween

Hooray for Halloween

Written By Renee Arbia

Can you guess what the kids will be this year? 

Life is pretty great in our house right now. We have a new family member who is about to celebrate not just our favorite season, but our favorite holiday. I know many would argue that Christmas is the best holiday, and albeit Christmas is pretty great. However, in our house Halloween is the ruler of all the holidays.

First of all we are Pagan. In the Pagan religion Halloween is the biggest of all holidays and days of the year. It is sort of our New Years. We celebrate all the joys and accomplishments from the past year and look forward to what we will be doing next year. We have a lot to be thankful for this year with the arrival of Imogen (See Imogen’s Birth Story). Secondly, in the Pagan religion, Halloween is the day that the veil between our world and the spirit world is thin making it easier to communicate with spirits, ancestors, and guardians. It is considered a very magical night. This year it also falls on a New Moon.

The second reason we love Halloween is because we love to dress up. I am a mom with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree. I can showcase my theater, home economics, and costume training along with all my friends. I also love that this time of year you really can dress up to be whatever you want to be. No one thinks it’s odd if a boy is a princess or a girl a pirate. A man can even dress up as his mother and people just laugh. This is a holiday like no other; when even a zombie is allowed and encouraged to attend a party. As a stay at home mom, a zombie costume is pretty much what I wear most of the time anyway, I can grab a couple of cobwebs off my never dusted walls and I look awesome!

The third reason we love Halloween is because there is a bunch of candy. Sure, Easter and Christmas have candy along with the eggs and fruit cakes. However, Halloween has only candy. You can take your worn out mommy zombie to any door with a light on, knock on it, say “Trick or Treat” and you are presented with a bowl full of candy for the picking. For the most part no one will turn you down, or be mean, you are not really judged by your costume. The bonus part is you even get extra candy if you bring your super cute kids in costume. For once society is not throwing you and your kids away from the activities and telling you to get back in your house and take your hooligans with you. For once, they are opening their doors and giving you and your kids more sugar! You have an excuse to continue buying candy all throughout the month of October because you may need it for trick o treaters. Also, you can look like a rock star without spending much money. It is hard to top the Thanksgiving feast or the gigantic Christmas tree with white lights and glass ornaments. However, you can look like a rock star for $30 worth of peanut butter cups, some spiders and cobwebs and a few pumpkins.

The last and main reason why we love Halloween is simply the fact that Halloween happens in the best time of year, Autumn! The country is turning into a beautiful landscape of falling leaves in an array of colors. The weather is not too cold and not too hot. It is the perfect time to frolic outside in your favorite costume and eat candy!
We are looking forward to celebrating Imogen’s first Halloween this year. I know it will definitely be something to remember as all our big “firsts” are.

We wish you all a very safe and Happy Halloween!

For more Halloween fun check out some of my past posts!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #Halloween2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

GP: Fun Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

Today's post is a guest post by one of our favorite guest writers. I hope you all enjoy it!

Fun Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall
By: Aleksandre McMannamin

Fall is one of the most delightful seasons of the year, one that usually provides a relaxing change of pace from the hustle and heat of summer. As a homeowner or property owner, this means that there are several responsibilities that you have to get ready for the colder months. However, these chores don’t have to be all business. This time of year also provides an opportunity to have fun with the aesthetics of the season, as you can outfit your home with decor that is fitting for the many festivities that fall provides. If you need some help getting started with these ideas, here are some fun ways to get your home ready for fall...

Seal and decorate windows and doors

Your doors and windows are a great place to start, when it comes to getting your home up to energy efficient standards after summer. Having to replace these in your home can be incredibly expensive. However, simply using non-expanding foam to update the seals on your windows and doors will prevent leaks in your homes heating, and save you plenty of money in energy costs. This doesn’t have to be all business, though. The holidays in fall make it a great time to let your spooky side out and reflect that when you decorate your home. Decorating your windows with fake cobwebs and candles will put your home in time with the season, and you can always make a homemade Halloween wreath with your kids to hang on your front door.

Clean out gutters and spruce up your roof

The changing of leaves is probably the most gorgeous aspect of fall scenery. As they begin to transform into various shades of orange and yellow, the world begins to soften up with a golden glow. However, eventually these leaves will begin to trickle down from their respective tree branches and fill our yards with piles of organic material. One aspect of this beautiful process can be quite damaging to your home, however, and that is when the leaves begin to fill your gutter. If it rains, this can create pools of sitting water on your roof, which can cause leaks and structural issues to develop. For this reason, now is the perfect time to get up on the roof, before the cold season hits, and make sure that your gutters are all in working order. Clear out anything that could cause a problem later, and you could be saving thousands of dollars in repair costs. While you are up there, this also creates a perfect opportunity to adorn your roof with lights and decorations for the holiday season, as it will be much easier to do this before the snow falls

Transition to a fall garage, and get festive!

One piece of homeowner maintenance that always needs to be taken care of, once the summer ends, is getting your garage ready for the colder months. For example, many garages tend to get chaotic and messy during the summer, as tons of activities are happening that require travel. However, if you live in a snowy climate, you are going to need to have space to store your vehicle from the elements. Getting a garage organized and efficient is something that is inherently a fall-time responsibility (if you’re looking for more ideas on how to do this effectively, check out this informative article here). Again, though, this doesn’t all have to be business. Plenty of households utilize their garage to help celebrate the scary season. A garage makes the perfect place to set up your own makeshift haunted house for trick-or-treaters, or even a great room to set up fun activities for a Halloween party. Either way, you’re going to want to do some work on your garage come fall.

Store your summer playthings

When summer ends, it’s time to put all of the sunny playtime tools away until next year. This includes things like camping trailers, hammocks, even sidewalk chalk. Storing your things nicely, according to the season, will keep them nice and useable for next year, and many years after that. Indeed, this is part of the maintenance that comes with being a homeowner. Some of these responsibilities may be more difficult, however. Larger summer fun amenities, such as swimming pools or gardens, take a little knowledge to know how to put away properly (here's an article that has some great tips on how to do this with a swimming pool). However, some things can last for the fall and winter! For example, although a swimming pool would need to be closed, a spa or hot tub can be a great addition to any home during the colder months, as the hot water will feel even better.


Aleksander enjoys wandering the great outdoors and thinking about the ailments that bring ill upon society. A typical day in his life may include learning a dead language, teaching unfortunate children to paint their feelings on canvas, or wiping the sweat from his brow as he finishes work in an immaculate garden. Currently, Aleksandre enjoys writing on a variety of topics for various sites around the interwebs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Believing In Miracles

Believing In Miracles
Written By Renee Arbia

Imogen is now almost three months old. Many have been asking us how she is doing, what is next for her and what has been going on? Turner Syndrome is a fairly complex syndrome in the fact that no two girls with it are the same. 

In girls with Turner Syndrome they are born with only one X. Boys are always XY and Girls are XX,  but with Turner Syndrome the person is missing one X. That is why around 99% of people with Turner Syndrome are girls. 

Due to lacking chromosomes girls with Turners Syndrome can have a host of medical issues, but thankfully nothing that modern medicine cannot fix. However, each girl is different because it is a spectrum disorder. Most of the time Turner Syndrome is not even discovered in girls until they reach puberty and they do not ovulate, it is rare to be diagnosed earlier than age nine in the Turner Syndrome Community.

As I wrote in Imogen’s Birth Story giving birth to a Turner Syndrome baby is very heart wrenching. 98% of baby girls with Turner Syndrome do not make it to birth. Imogen is part of that 2% that survived the pregnancy. She is a rare butterfly in the medical community and in our hearts.

Imogen has a form of Turner Syndrome called non-mosaicism which means every cell in her body is missing a chromosome. In mosaicism only some cells are missing a chromosome and some are not. However, we are told that the type of Turners she has is very textbook. Yet, Turner Syndrome is a spectrum disorder. So there is a big sliding scale as to what to expect. Basically we were literally handed a sheet that tells us at what age she needs certain body parts and systems checked to make sure she is not prone to any issues.

When Imogen was born she had a host of ultrasounds and blood drawn for analysis. We were scheduled to meet with all of her specialists to get an initial rundown of any medical problems we may be facing with her. Right now Imogen has a regular Pediatrician, Endocrinologist, Cardiologist and Urologist. Turner Syndrome girls are at very high risk for problems with their heart and kidneys. Our pediatrician does what he does for Xavier with regular check ups and just keeps tabs on her progress with all of the specialists. Imogen’s Endocrinologist is a big part of her life. She will be responsible for watching all of her levels, and for helping her with growth hormones and hormone therapy. She also helped us to find out her exact type of chromosomal abnormality and informed us all about Turner Syndrome, support groups, summer camps, etc.

Imogen received two more ultrasounds of her heart and kidneys since she has been born. Both of those ultrasounds came back seeing all of her organs working the way they should. We are proud to say that we are specialist doctor visit free for six months which is super big for us to celebrate!

To say that our girl is a miracle is not even half of the amazing spirit she is. When we go to doctor’s appointments we get a lot of doctors, interns and students who want to see the Turner Syndrome baby who defeated the odds against her and is extremely healthy. I was annoyed at the medical community when I was pregnant because they would warn me of the many things that could be wrong with my little girl. I knew in my heart that she was strong and healthy; I just had no way to prove it. Now, she is here and she is proving everyday that miracles exist because she is strong and healthy. For once the medical community is marveling at what I know is a girl made strong and healthy by faith.

We had faith the moment we saw our little girl on the ultra sound, no matter what the doctors told us. We had faith in the weeks of pregnancy that doctors gave us worrisome news. We had faith when we had to have an emergency cesarean due to her heart rate dropping. We had faith when they added a spine ultrasound because they were afraid there was an issue. We had faith when they made doctor appointments with specialist after specialist. We had faith when we were told that although our baby girl has a very rare chromosomal syndrome, she is incredibly strong and healthy.

Our little family has made it through quite a big storm. Right now we are on the other side where the sun is shining and a rainbow has come out. We are spending the next few months celebrating our strong and healthy baby girl and our new family of four!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #inspirational, #parenting, #TurnerSyndrome, #TurnerSyndromeAwareness, #newbornwithTurnerSyndrome, #specialneedsparenting, #Imogen


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