I’m very choosy about what I use on the kids, especially since Alma. But, sometimes wading through all the choices can be daunting.
I have to admit I clapped my hands and squealed the first time I came across The Honest Company. I greedily read everything about how it started, their mission and what they offered Moms like me, who are looking for new, progressive options their families.
I love planet friendly, human friendly, CUTE products with sharp design.
Sadly, shipping them to Canada was expensive. Sigh.
When I caught wind that The Honest Company was coming to Well.ca, I clapped and squealed all over again. I let Well.ca know how excited I was and they sent me a few things to try to give my own Honest opinion AND a $30 gift card to give away to one lucky reader so you can try them too!
First up, Honest Diapers
These diapers have CUTE covered in spades. We tested the cherry/chevron combo.
I love that they are unscented, fit well (nice and tight around the legs), and don’t gape at the back. Alma has become a “diaper digger”, sticking her hand back there and pulling out whatever (yuck). These stay nice and snug at times when she’s not wearing a onesie or her tights slip down a bit. They hold wetness well and don’t droop unless she’s seriously soaked them – by which time I should have changed her already so my bad, not the diapers.
Unlike diapers that pass the test on infants then fail once baby starts to go, go, go, Honest Co. diapers held up, no problem. They are great for a toddler on the move. No matter what kooky moves she’s doing.
The next product I tried is Honest Conditioning Detangler in Sweet Orange Vanilla Scent.
Our little one has some serious issues when it comes to matted hair so I was very excited to give this one a go.
First, I need to say this product smells divine. It’s light, fresh and sweet, not too heavy and definitely not “perfume-y”. It was refreshing as I tend to automatically select unscented products for no real reason other than I don’t like overpowering fragrance. We don’t have allergies or scent sensitivities in our home.
Second, it really works well. The spray provides great coverage so you don’t have to load it on. I have flat, straight, fine (knotty) hair and it easily tamed my tangles without weighing down my hair or making it look greasy. It made tamed Alma’s tangles too – which is the real miracle.
The last product I tried was Honest Company Organic Lip Balm Trio
This one was just for me, and thank goodness because I really don’t want to share. These balms use essential oils to condition and soothe lips rather than petroleum-based formulas that seal the lips off.
There are 3 ‘flavours’ in the pack – Lavender Mint, Sweet Orange Vanilla and Purely Simple.
When it comes to lip balm, these are absolutely my favourite I’ve tried. I have one at my desk, one in my purse and one in my diaper bag. I describe them as Velvet For Your Lips. They are so silky and smooth. My lips have been soft and supple without the feeling that as soon as it’s worn off, I need to put it on again. I don’t usually get all worked up about lip balm, but I was waving these around work and singing their praises for days. And, with 3 for only $10.99, they’re a great little pick me up.
I have to say I had high hopes for The Honest Company products and these did not disappoint. I’m not sure what I’m most excited to try next – something else for Alma, or something else for me. I’m fairly certain whichever I pick, it will also find its way onto my most loved list pretty quickly.
Do you want to try some Honest Company products too? Enter now and you could win a $30 well.ca gift card code sponsored by Well.ca!
With free shipping starting at just $29, the winner will be all set to go! Contest starts Sunday November 22 at 12AM and closes November 29 at 11:59 PM. Good Luck! See full rule and regs here.
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It’s not earth shattering. In fact, it’s probably the same advice you got when you first started dating years ago. And, I wish someone had given it me.
Here it is:
Hang on to your friends.
Hang on tight.
There’s going to be a time when they surround you.
They’ll be there for you. They won’t know what to say and will probably say things that they regret or things that make you cringe. They will probably stick their feet in their mouths (Will she ever be normal?). Yikes. But that’s just because they don’t know what to say. How could they? This is all new to them too. They’re learning along with you. If you keep them close, they’ll get better at finding the right language.
There is going to be time when they give you space.
There’s a steep learning curve when faced with a diagnosis. There are appointments, specialists, there is research to do, feelings to feel, a lot of processing time. You’re gonna need to muddle your way through it. You’re going to get really busy. They’ll check in and see how you’re doing. They’ll cry with you and celebrate with you, but you’re heading down a road that can’t fully follow you down. Send postcards. Fly over to their road when you can.
There’s going to be a time when you realize your path is never going to be the same as their path.
This is going to make you feel lots of things. Jealous. Angry. Resentful. It might make you feel bad that you feel all these FEELINGS and none of them are good. It is going to makes your paths feel even further apart. Take a few minutes to look around and find the things that are the same on your path and reach out. (I know, you’re thinking “why should I reach out, I’m the one going through the hard time.”) Reach about because it’s boot season and you need a new pair. Reach out because your favourite coffee is back for the season and you have to have one. Reach out because when you do, you remember that your life has many paths, and your child is just one of them. You’re still in there.
There’s going to be a time when all those early intervention appointments that kept you busy come to an end.
All those therapists you saw all the time and chatted with and had standing ‘dates’ with will move on to other clients and you’ll move on to a new schedule and you’ll realize you didn’t need to see your friends when you had people that really ‘got’ where you were in your life. Your regular therapists and various nurses were living the smallest details of your reality with you and you didn’t have to mention your new haircut. They noticed. But all of a sudden they are gone and 2 years have passed and where does time go? Meet a friend after your haircut. Plan a lunch after speech therapy. Call a friend on the drive to PT.
There is going to be a time when you finally catch a friend at a good time and they are going to say something like “Well I don’t want to complain, let’s talk about something else.”
You’re going to realize that your friends don’t want to unburden to you… you who have so much on your plate. They don’t want to talk about how busy they are, knowing you’re doing twice as much. They don’t want to talk about how tired they are, knowing “my kid doesn’t sleep” means your child actually doesn’t sleep, till like 5 am every day. They don’t want to celebrate their life with you either. They don’t want to talk about their travel plans or their kids’ successes because they know those things aren’t your reality right now. You’re going to realize they feel bad for you. Your life is kind of a downer, with all the appointments and all the uncertainty and the unknown. Let them know you do want to know what’s going on, that you want to hear what’s bringing them down and that you are excited for their lives, their kids (even though there may be days it’s hard to hear it.)
There’s going to be a time when look at the calendar and you realize you can’t remember the last time you ____________.
There’s going to be a time when you realize that, in addition to being tired and worried and so incredibly busy taking care of your special needs child, you are lonely. Having a special needs child is lonely work. And it doesn’t end. So friends who are “giving you space” during this tough time will be waiting a very long time to return. Like, forever. So don’t let that happen. Hang on to your friends. Be gentle when they stuff a foot in their mouths, and then the other shortly after. Don’t begrudge them forever for being happy, or make them feel less than for having an easier time that you. Let them know you could really use a friend. Ask if they can meet near you. Or accommodate a weird schedule. Or keep inviting you to things, even though you often have to say no. There will be days you can say “yes!” So say yes. Then go. Have fun. Make more plans. Hang on. Encourage them to hang on too.
Hang on tight.
Three years ago, Shane headed off to his first day of Montessori. He walked the 1.2km to the school, was mostly potty trained and was already fluent in sarcasm. Alma is the same age today as he was then. Tomorrow he embarks on a new journey at a new school. Once we drop him off, Alma will start the new year at her 2.5h per day reverse integrated special needs preschool. We have a walker prepared for her and her TPSL block starts right off the bat. She’s been accepted into Physio at Holland Bloorview so has weekly visits there too. I am starting to speak fluent specialneedsparent.
When I applied for Shane to enter that Montessori, I had to outline my goals for his education. I wrote that I wanted him to be able to decide for himself what interested him, and develop a lifelong love of learning.
When Alma joined her preschool, I had to do the same. I wrote that I hoped someday she would learn to read, and achieve an independent life, in whatever form that may take.
I hope tomorrow both of them get one baby step closer to those goals.
Today, as I write this, I’m actually standing in brilliant sun and walking in the pouring rain at the same time, which seems fitting.
That’s exactly how I feel.
It’s been a busy time but I still try and make a nice family meal on Sunday. Little Allie is way more interested in saucy, savoury foods than the boy, so now 3 out of 4 of us will eat what’s on the table.
This Shepherd’s pie has 3 things going for it.
One, despite having a long ingredient list, it’s pretty easy.
2. It’s delicious.
3. It has wine so I can throw a little in the pan, throw a little in my glass… and enjoy a little island of grownup time in the chaos of late Sunday afternoons. (of course the alcohol cooks off before I feed this to my munchkin).
This recipe is from Chatelaine Magazine. They do it in little ramekins, but I don’t have the patience. I also play around with the recipe – of course, being lactose-free, I mash the potatoes with whatever lactose-free dairy I have around. I sometimes omit the cauliflower and go straight potatoes and I’ve been know to throw in a little extra wine.
I partially think they went with the little servings because it’s really hard to get a tasty photo of a big shepherd’s pie, but trust me, it’s delicious. You can see their photo and the recipe as it appeared in link below.
2 tbsp 2 tbsp 1 tbsp
1/4 tsp 1/8 tsp
250 g Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets, about 1 1/2 cups
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs 18% cream
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 fresh-ground black pepper
500 g lean ground beef, or lamb
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, diced small
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup shiraz
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup no-salt beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan, optional
mom in park: How old is she?
mom in park: Wow.
Yes she has some delays.
mom in park: Oh. Is she walking?
No, not yet. Someday.
mom in park: Huh. Will she catch up?
No, probably not. But I’m sure she’ll surprise us in other ways.
mom in park: She is cute…
Then I snapped this photo and thought about how I see her: flying out in front, her brother smiling behind her.
Swing on sweet girl. Aim for the sky.
One of the little secrets of parenting that no one likes to talk about is that we all want to win. I know, I know, parenting is not a competition.
But it kind of is. It’s a competition with yourself to have your kids turn out in the way that you believe is best for them. I’m not talking about making them something they’re not. (Though sadly, some people see it this way ).
I mean having kids choose to play a sport you played, or go to your alma mater or love reading as much as you do. For instance, my typical child loves language. He has a broad vocabulary, a sense of humour and grasp of sarcasm that exceeds his years and I love it. I’m a word person and I’m so pleased that he follows in my footsteps – #winparenting. I know others who are stoked that their children have grown to pay no heed to expected gender norms, and others still who love that their kids would much rather chase bugs than watch TV. win. win. win.
With Allie, my wins very different. They’re functional wins. A word! yes! A movement that means we’re closer to walking. Hells yeah. But my heart still aches when I think of all the little wants and wishes that will likely never come to pass in the way I imagined before.
Tell a book lover that there’s a chance your child will never have the capacity to read at all, or a runner that their child may never be surefooted enough to make it around the track. Those are the little losses that make receiving a diagnosis sting in the darkest parts a parent’s heart.
As one who tends not to take no for answer, I’m inclined to see those areas as ones that need special attention. They may never happen, but I’m not planning on letting them go without a fight.
As I was watching the inspiring opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games in LA this past weekend, I was very taken by the stories of the athletes, the joy on the face of everyone in attendance and the history of the Special Olympics movement. Wow. I went through a serious amount of Kleenex.
There are countless athletes there this week with the same syndrome as Allie and they are kicking butt. Medals in gymnastics? Swimming? Amazing.
I was particularly taken by the Special Olympian Oath.
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
It will never be me in that athletes parade, but I feel the parents in the stand live the oath too in their own way. In the face of every Mom and Dad cheering, supporting and reveling in the day, it was clear that getting from where they started to the games was a hard fought battle for the whole family. In making it there, they were already winners.
Parenting is a hard sport. Parenting a child with exceptional needs is harder.
We still want to win on our own ways. Sure, we’re told to expect less. But should we listen?
I think I’ll choose not to. Not after seeing those 6500 athletes march proudly into the stadium. Not after seeing those parents rejoicing in the stands.
From this day forth, I will bring all my fullest hopes to the parenting game. I will believe harder and push further and, if I find myself close to giving up, I will find a new way. I will not let others low expectations set the bar for what might be achieved.
Let me #winparenting.
Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.
PS: Two days after seeing the Opening Ceremonies, I enrolled Allie in the Special Olympics program. Did you know they start at age 2? She starts in the fall. I can’t wait. Maybe she’ll be in that athletes parade one day.
The long pause after people say Allie is adorable and ask how old she is. She is small for her age, so I suppose she could be mistaken for her developmental age. People are really thrown when their 10 or 12 or 14 month old is the same size and further along. They get uncomfortable. They’re not sure what to say. There’s a long, long pause before then say again, just how cute she is.
Sometimes I let them off the hook and tell them about WS and how it affects her. And sometimes I just don’t feel like explaining her. Sometimes I just talk about the weather or the park we’re in or the boy.
At the wading pool, she’s sitting, splashing, squealing. She’s smiling and happy. At that moment, it’s the most important thing about her.
I am definitely a fierce advocate. I strongly believe that spreading the word about Williams Syndrome is the key to inclusion and acceptance and so on.
But sometimes, I just want to let a little girl splash in a pool.
In the middle of that long pause, I hear her laughter, her little songs, her joy.
My words about her syndrome would drown it out.
Sure, people would learn more about what makes her different.
But they’d miss all the parts that make her special.
There may not be a plaque with Allie’s name on it, or a wing of a hospital named after her or all the Williams Syndrome benefactors that are rallying around our fundraiser.
There will likely never be enough zeros on our efforts to be considered newsworthy.
No hand shaking photos. No press release.
There will be a lot of hustle. A lot of late nights and early mornings. A lot of no. And I mean A LOT of no, I can’t help.
But there is also yes. An echoing chorus of yes. Each yes turning someone else into a yes, I’d love to help.
And $5 raised becomes $50, becomes $500 and so on.
Maybe it’s that cute little face. Maybe it’s the conviction of a parent that makes someone with no vested interest want to help.
Maybe it’s just human nature to be part of something – even if it’s small.
Doesn’t everything start out small?
Maybe the fund that just got that plaque and that wing started out small too.
And $500 becomes $5000, becomes $50,000 and maybe $50,000 becomes even more.
And with that comes awareness. Education. Research.
With that comes the best chance for the best life for Alma and everyone living with Williams Syndrome.
And that’s so much more rewarding than a plaque.
Besides, I’m pretty sure if someone made a plaque, I’d try and auction it off for more money…
Thursday the 4th of June is the last day for the 2015 Auction for Alma.
Stop by. Make a bid or a donation to support Allie and all families in Canada living with Williams Syndrome.
That Paul Simon knows some things about things.
“She said a good day ain’t got no rain. She said a bad day is when I lie in bed and I think of things that might have been.”
So one of my amazing sponsors gave some lovely kids books to The Auction for Alma. And one is called “Someday my Love” and it’s the story of a new mom and all the hopes and dreams she has for this baby girl.
Except she missed a few:
Like “Someday my love, I’ll hold you without all these tubes”
or “Someday, my love, I’ll hear you say Mama, and know the 2 year wait was worth it”
and “Someday, my love, we’ll go to a park that can accommodate your walker and you’ll play hide and seek with kids instead of stuffies”.
Plus “Someday, my love, you’ll have a friend”
And, not to give the book away, “Someday, my love, when you’re hair is grey and I’m gone, maybe you’ll know, in your heart, I did the best I could. And hopefully it was enough.”
Yeah, the book doesn’t go like that. The baby arrives, and a page later smiles, then talks and runs and skips. The little girl rides a bike and has besties and then a beau. She has a little baby of her own that the storyteller gets to hold and love like her child all over again. And then the mom is gone at the end, but the girl has a college education and a family. She’s not alone.
There are no bumps in the road. No glitches. No bad days, boo hoos or why me’s.
I used to think that would be our someday before, you know, just before.
Now our somedays aren’t the kind that people write books about. They’re the kind that make people give the pity face, and the deep sighs when they hear about you.
i know this because I’ve been telling a lot of people about you these days.
But as I picked myself up this morning and dusted myself off, I recalled that our somedays aren’t yet written. And with the right amount of hard work and love and luck, our somedays could very well exceed my wildest dreams.
I really hope the person in the auction who gets the books has all the somedays they read inside. But, please know that if you’re like me, and the somedays look a little different, there will be many, many good days that ain’t got no rain.
And nobody is gonna fault you one bit if every now and again, you lie in bed and think of things that might have been.