Back to work – but NOT full time

This week was my first week back at work – or I should actually say, first day back since I only worked one day this week.

At the end of December 2018, I stopped working full time at the medical facility I work for. I am a medical coder and I work from home. Seems like a sweet job, and it is. But both of my children need me for different reasons at home.

My daughter is 13 months old and is developmentally delayed, only by a few months but she can sort of crawl, she has not really said any real words yet other than mamamama and dadadada, she doesn’t associate words with us though. Up until now, I have been working and taking care of her but now she needs more from me, and she’s getting more and more active. So #1 reason to be a SAHM, my baby. My #2 reason is my son, he has ADHD, a mood disorder, sensory processing issues and we are currently testing him for ASD through his school, he is 10 years old. We are going to home school him starting this next semester, or after his testing.

So for the past 3 weeks I have been off work – I did make an agreement to work PRN (or as needed) with my work, they are amazing. But I was also very sick with an upper respiratory infection and bronchitis these past 6-7 weeks, so I delayed starting up for a few weeks. But now I need the hours, so I am working 2 days a week for 4 hours each day. I also offered my time up for any emergency call outs but that’s different.

I am excited that I can still keep my job – stay on the pay roll. And I can be a SAHM still. My bosses said they understood my decision – I let them know 6 weeks before the change. I actually put in my notice to quit because I did not know it was an option to be PRN – but they called me back and offered me to stay on the pay roll. I was beyond happy.

I am lucky enough to be able to do this.

For those of you who struggle with being able to be there for your kids – look into different careers. I know it is hard. I went to school at night for 3 years, while my husband (bf at the time) watched my son every night so I could get a degree, and then get certified. Now it would have taken less time if I could go more hours but I had to work full time as well in medical records for my local hospital in the mean time, so I had a lot on my plate but it was worth it.

BTW, returning was great yesterday- I got a lot of work done and I felt helpful to my coworkers since I am there to help them out now when they are backed up 🙂

Do you work from home? Would you like to work from home? What got you motivated to change your career if you have been through this too?


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10 Must have baby items

I am a mother of 2 beautiful children. I have my 10 year old, Calvin. And I have my 13 month old, Lillian. Having children that are almost 10 years apart is not entirely too hard, but it’s not the same.

First things first – there were a lot of baby items that people invented over the past 10 years. Big surprise – 50% of them you DO NOT NEED.

So I am here to make you a list of items I found helpful – I will put links to the products on Amazon, so if you would like to purchase or check them out yourself, you have the option 🙂

MUST HAVES:

Grey baby bassinet

Bassinet- I preferred to sleep with my baby in my room for 6 months and I had a bassinet like this one below, the one I have folds up, it was big enough to use up until 6 months of age, it was tall enough as well so I knew my baby could not get out. I am keeping this one for my next child – it was sturdy and easy to clean!

Bottle Warmer – I breast fed and bottle fed my second child. I worked full time so I also pumped. But Munchkin sells amazing bottle warmers. They are heated in minutes and you can set it to be the perfect temperature. The water is easy to fill, those late nights feeding were made easier by having a bottle warmer that I knew would heat up my baby’s food fast.

Pink swaddle blankets, one with just pink, one with black stars, one with black polka-dots

Adjustable swaddle blankets – I had both types of swaddle blankets, the kind with Velcro and the kind with out. THESE are the best because when your baby is screaming and you are trying to settle them, you don’t want to fuss with trying to get them in one of those huge blankets, this is easy, quick, and most come in packs of 3, which is great since most babies spit up – so they will get dirty quick. Also dads love these as well, my husband enjoyed not doing origami every time he needed to change the baby’s diaper.

Stroller/Car Seat combo – I have this exact Graco Stroller/Car Seat Combo. It came in handy when my baby was an infant, I could take her on my walks with me, and now shes old enough to fit into the regular stroller seat area. I trust Graco as a brand as well. The car seat cover comes off easy and the straps can be adjusted. This stroller is durable and I use it on my daily walks to my son’s school with my dog and baby in tow.

Purple turtle plush night light - with stars

Animal Night light – Honestly any night light will do. But I liked this one because it changed colors. It projects just enough light in the room to see what you are doing, but not too much to wake anyone up. And since it is battery operated, I moved it around the house with the baby and I. Now that she is older she has fun looking at it and the light it projects onto the ceiling. The batter life was about 1 month with continual use.

Diaper pail - white with grey edging

Dekor Diaper Pail – No seriously I love this diaper pail. I have had a diaper genie before and I prefer this one much more – it costs less, you can use your own bags in it, it does have the option of using it’s brand bags as well. But the smell of the diapers doesn’t get out much – as long as you change it when it’s full. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and a year after owning it we have had zero issues with it.

Combo Swing/Bouncer – Oh yes we have another combo item – I try to buy things that go together, and I love Graco. I have this one but in a different color – same item though. It is a must for busy moms. I felt relieved that my baby would be rocked to sleep while I finished cooking a meal for the rest of my family, or that she had something to sit in while I took a shower. The cover comes off for easy washing. The head rest goes up and down too, so your baby can lay sitting up or laying back more. We are going to keep this one for our next child as well.

Swaddles – Okay I know what you are going to say – “You already told us the Velcro swaddles were the best!” Yes yes, I know…but I use THESE as burp rags! Why? Well have you ever had a baby spit up on you? Those tiny “burp cloths” do not cover it… at least not with my kids. I use one of these swaddles for everything! That way you do not have to worry about bringing a change of clothes when bringing your baby out with you. Also – these are soft and amazing, and I also used them as swaddles for a while until I discovered the Velcro ones. I just prefer the Velcro ones since they are faster to change.

Car Seat Cover – I will agree with you all that this is SITUATIONAL. My baby was born in December and she was premature- so this item came in handy. It fit my graco car seat – it came off easily and kept my baby safe and warm from the chilly winds of New Mexico.

If you live in a warmer area – this would not be a recommended item.

A Boppy Pillow – I have had this with both of my kid. Seriously, holding a baby can hurt your back – and breast feeding can sometimes become difficult if you can’t get your baby in the correct position. My Boppy helped me with both of those issues. The NICU nurses at the hospital even suggested I go out and buy one if I didn’t already. If it gets dirty you can either use a cover on it, or you can do what I do and just toss it in the wash. It comes in handy later as well when your baby is starting to sit up, you can position this around them. It helped my little one not fall over as easily.

Now those are my top 10 items that I pretty much used every day. I left off bottle brands, and a crib because those can vary depending on your needs. My baby went through 3 different bottle brands before we found one that worked with her reflux issues. And our crib we got at Target, when they had a sale going on. I can make a post about those items if you would like – I just need to know that people actually want to hear what I did.

A few items I have seen online that you do NOT need are:

Bottle stirrers – NO seriously these exist. It like a hand held blender you put in the bottle to mix up formula…. I just shake my bottles gently and we are fine, no need to get another item dirty for me to wash every 2 -3 hours.

Bumbo Seat – I have actually had doctors tell me not to use this item because it can cause issues with babies learning how to sit up properly, they are also not secured to anything so if you baby decides to tip it over – they can fall with no way to turn themselves to not get hurt. It is a bit unnatural for me.

Wipe Warmer – unless you live in subzero conditions this is just a waste of money. My baby doesn’t cry about her wipes being too cold. I heard from a friend that mold can grow in these containers as well. Just count me out on this luxury item.

Baby Face Wipes – okay – so these are wipes for your face. I just use the butt wipes. I don’t see a point in carrying around two different kind of wipes. I have had multiple moms agree – the less in your bag the easier it is to carry and also not lose things in it.

Obviously 10 items isn’t going to cover everything you need for your baby – I will make another post soon about what items are needed in your baby bag 🙂 I have baby bag preferences and I would love to share with you what I personally keep in my bag!

What items did you buy for your baby that you thought were the best? Would you recommend any for my next list? What items do you regret buying or asking for on your wish list? Share any fun, weird, interesting baby items with me in the comments section! :0)

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them.

My Grandmother has Alzheimer’s

This isn’t new news. My grandmother, the woman I was named after, has Alzheimer’s. The last time I saw her was in 2014, after her husband passed away. We went to the memorial and she did not recognize me at all, or my brother. But she was still a happy woman, she let me take a photo with her and give her a hug. She then told me that the man I was standing near looked like he would be a good match for me (and suggested we should date), that man was my brother…. well we got a good laugh out of that later on. She is a sweet woman.

My Grandmother, Donna Siegwart.

But it’s been a few years and some financial issues have popped up. My Aunt Bev is taking care of grandma now (her mother) and due to some technicalities, she does not qualify for medicare. … I know my Aunt Bev and family were trying to resolve the issue but that leaves my grandma with out proper care. She used to stay in a facility that would care for her 24/7, for Alzheimer’s patients but my family can no longer afford that care. So my Aunt, who is retired herself along with her husband, now take care of my grandma themselves, which is proving to be hard on them.

Her care is costly and they need assistance with this task.

So I am going to pass this link on to you all – and ask that if anyone can make a donation to my grandmother’s care – it would be very helpful to my family and I. I personally donate monthly via her bank account – my husband and I set up a direct transfer to help her out – but my family goes have a gofundme page set up to help her, so if you would like to donate or retweet – or forward this link on, please do.

Click here to go to the gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/donna-siegwart-fund

This is my family, my grandma is the one in the middle with the black hat on, and im the one in the black and white striped coat with the blue scarf. This was in 2014, the last time I really got to see her (I live states away)

I hope someday they find a solid cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I have seen a few people who have it and it is hard to see someone lose their memories and functions. It’s hard because I don’t live closer to my family to help them more, and it’s hard knowing they are struggling to let her live out her final years with the help she deserves and needs to much.

Do you struggle with a similar issue? Do you have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

Our trip to the Albuquerque Zoo

Zoo map from ABQ Zoo

Well I talked my husband into going to the zoo today. We live in Albuquerque, so it’s a decent zoo. They have a ton of construction going on right now, so some areas were a mess, but we should have penguins this coming year! We are really excited to see them once they are here. Last year the aquarium got two otters, which are really cute. So it is nice to see some new exhibits come to our little zoo.

I have lived in a few other states that have bigger zoos. But this is not the worst zoo I have been to. We have a yearly pass – which we pay for every March and then we get unlimited visits to the zoo and bio-park, it’s worth the price! The family plan pays for it’s self with in 3 visits of the zoo!

As you can see from the photos above, my kids had fun. We got to watch the seals being fed, we checked out the polar bear exhibit where the polar bear was playing in the water. We checked out the reptiles, the flamingos, the elephants, the giraffes, you name it we saw it. Also we fed the ducks – one of my favorite parts of the trip. So bring quarters when you come!

We saw these adorable baby monkeys climbing over their mother, it was cute
We even saw baby hyenas ! They were pretty cute too!

The weather was not ideal, it was pretty chilly today but it was nice to get out of the house. If you know me, you know my life gets busy between taking care of my kids, and pets, cleaning the house, cooking, and working.

With the cold weather the apes and monkeys seemed to be indoors and not really visible, but the larger animals such as the lions, and tigers seemed to be very active. We went mid afternoon, so we got to see animals being fed and it was not too busy thankfully. So if you are in town- this is a nice option to visit. You can take the small train from the zoo to the bio-park as well – so you don’t have to drive all the way over to the bio-park to see the aquarium.

http://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/biopark/zoo

Click the link above if you are ever in Albuquerque, NM and you want to visit either the bio-park or the zoo.


FPIES – Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome

Last night my daughter started acting odd. She is generally a very happy baby girl and the only time she gets fussy is when she needs a nap. So I decided to lay her down to see if maybe she was tired. With in 10 minutes she was screaming in her room, so I went in and picked her up. She had a wet spot on her bed, so I assumed it was from crying, shes big on the tears when she does cry.

So I brought her into the kitchen where my husband was and handed her off to him so I could make her a bottle. I was thinking, “maybe she is thirsty again?” And I turned around an picked up a bottle near the sink, then I heard something. So I turned around and my husband was covered in vomit. It was on his face, his shirt, his pants, the floor… and the baby was screaming. I grabbed her up and tried to think – what could she have eaten to make her throw up?

This is my baby and I laying on the couch. She I have the towel and blanket just incase, and this is after we took the zofran. So she was not actively getting sick. But she still felt bad.

She’s got FPIES – and the only thing I can think of is a few hours earlier she was holding a tablespoon that was used to measure my son’s cream of wheat. It didn’t look like it had much wheat dust on it but she did have it in her mouth. I thought nothing of it because it was such a small amount. She reacts to wheat, oats, rice, broccoli. pineapple and corn with her FPIES. So the only think that this could be is the cream of wheat…the very small amount of dust that was left on the spoon made her vomit.

This food allergy is just so infuriating. Lillian is getting to the age where she will grab things from me, or find things that she couldn’t grab when she was a tiny baby. So now I need to make sure this toddler doesn’t introduce foods we all eat, but that she is allergic to. I wrote about FPIES in an earlier post, we are very careful with her foods, we read EVERY ingredient, we make sure if we introduce a new food to her that we watch for a reaction. Yesterday I just didn’t think that the spoon had anything on it – especially not enough to make her sick but that shows how sensitive this food allergy is.

Thankfully I had some zofran on hand from a previous visit with the doctor, when they prescribed it to her for vomiting for this exact reason. Just to have around just in case she gets food she is allergic to. She threw up again on me a few minutes later, and then I remembered we had the zofran. We gave it to her and she stopped throwing up (these vomiting sessions can last over an hour usually, but this stopped it after 10 minutes). We then spent the evening laying on the couch and she only had pedialyte after that so that she could get some tummy rest.

Her reaction usually goes like this: Vomiting 2 hours after exposure to the allergen. She generally vomits for 1 to 2 hours, emptying her stomach. Later she generally has fever like symptoms, she feels warm and looks ill. Her face usually goes very pale and then she generally gets diarrhea all the next day.

So far we had the two vomiting sessions and she started to feel warm. But the zofran helped us minimize the other symptoms thankfully. FPIES is still considered a rare food allergy but a lot of babies have it. I belong to an online facebook group for support and a lot of times doctors just misdiagnose this food allergy because the babies don’t get hives or have anaphylactic shock. But having a baby vomit for hours and then have diarrhea is not safe either. With some foods her reaction is more severe. We are lucky this was a wheat exposure and not a pineapple one. Pineapple was a horrible reaction, probably our worst.

Visit the FPIES FOUNDATION for more information

If you have a baby with this food allergy, know that you are not alone. There are groups and other families going through the same thing. Yes it is frustrating when your doctors don’t know what FPIES is …but its real.


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