Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Comforting Miscarriage Memorial and Hashimoto's Hypothyroiditis

Warning: sad post today. I am a super happy person, but sometimes bad/sad things happen in our lives and we need a little time to recover. We all grieve in our own way. Today I want to share something I bought to help with my grief.

Back in March, I had a miscarriage. I was 46 years old and excited to be pregnant with my sixth child with my wonderful husband. Our other kids were 8, 10, 13, 15, and 16 (almost 17) at the time. They were also excited, as were our friends, our families, our neighbors. I had waited a couple of weeks after my period to take a pregnancy test because my periods had been irregular about once a year. I just figured this was that once-a-year period that went long. One Friday, I took a pregnancy test and was excited to see my nausea and exhaustion now had a reason!

Sadly, the next day I started to bleed. Oh, how I wish I had taken a pregnancy test sooner just to have the idea of this child in my mind and heart longer! I'll spare you the heartbreaking details of the next seven days (at least in this post), but I lost the baby.

In August, I had a dental cleaning with my new dentist. She felt my thyroid area, something I don't remember my old dentist ever doing. She said it was enlarged and I should get it checked out. I said something like, "That's crazy. My doc checks me every year and even does my TSH levels. I'm fine."

Then I started to think. I checked my numbers online from previous years of TSH levels and found them to be a little high according to current standards (6.12 last December). My doctor always told me to just let him know if I was ever more tired than usual. I had been telling him for years about my hair falling out, palpitations, joint issues, trouble focusing, acid reflux, but the puzzle pieces were not put together. At least, not enough to order more thyroid blood tests. I'm not sure why some doctors are so reluctant to order blood tests. Don't their offices make money off of it? I know they do; and they mark up the services astronomically.

Then I found some articles online about thyroid issues causing miscarriage.

I got angry. I got very angry. I blamed my doctor. I blamed myself. I blamed our current medical system. I shut myself in my room and cried so the kids wouldn't know what I was doing.

I lost a human person from my womb. It was a process that took seven days while I was also homeschooling 5 kids and keeping a household together (did I mention that on March 12 my husband was hit by a car while riding his bicycle as well so of course his care was on my mind?). It was traumatic. I would not wish it on anyone.

But like I said, I am a happy person. I don't like to be depressed or down and I fight it all I can when I feel it coming. So for some reason I went to Google and looked for miscarriage memorials. I wanted something heavy that I could pick up, not a plaque to hang on a wall. Something I could visit and talk to, like a grave. I found this seller on Etsy, who not only sold me this stone for a reasonable price, but also offered comforting words.

Our baby's stone (I wasn't very far along but we called this baby a girl since we have 3 sons and 2 daughters; I laugh when I think about hopefully getting to Heaven and meeting this child and a boy asking why I called him Olivia!!!)

I thought this might help to comfort some other grieving families, whether their grief is from losing a grown child, a teen, a young child, a stillborn baby, a miscarriage, any situation.

I put the stone under a lovely tree on our 8 acres. Tomorrow I'm going to move it so it faces the garden and the pond. I might even bring it inside or closer to the house in the winter. I immediately felt some peace when this arrived in the mail. I felt like I had done SOMETHING during a time in my life that nothing could be done.

I pray for anyone who has ever lost a child.

*I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto's autoimmune disorder after asking my doctor for 3 more thyroid blood tests, and then there was also a sonogram on my thyroid. More on that in coming years.

Fall Fun in Kansas City: Maple Leaf 5K Run and Festival

Always on the third full weekend in October, I can't believe I just found out about the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin City, Kansas. I was in a homeschool group with a bunch of other moms having a friendly debate about the Renaissance Festival when this family-friendly Ren Fest alternative came up.

For the record, I went to Ren Fest many times as a kid and it was okay, but I will always remember some of the characters really freaking me out! One of my big goals is to take the kids to a favorite place of mine, Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, but for now we might give this one a shot! If not this year, it will be on the Fall Bucket List for 2019.

Here's some information about the festival from the website:
"The Maple Leaf Festival began as a community event in 1958, inspired by Dr. Ivan Boyd, a biology professor at Baker University. He noted that the third weekend in October was the optimum time to view the changing colors of the Maple Leaves in the area and the perfect time to celebrate the successful harvest.

60 years later, with over 300 craft exhibits, quilt shows and displays, performing arts, music, unique food items and activities for the family, the Maple Leaf Festival is the biggest fall family event in the area and provides an opportunity for local non-profit organizations to raise funds."

You can expect to find: Craft booths, a quilt show, a parade, a 5K run, carnival at night, country music, train rides and more! Oh, and FOOD galore! Yes, including turkey legs!

Maple Leaf 5K Run details can be found here.
Saturday, October 20, 2018, starts at 8 a.m.
Baldwin City, KS

Sounds like a great time!

Handling a Moody, Sassy and Uncooperative Teen Without Causing a Rift

Every parent dreads the day that their sweet, innocent, little angel turns into a grumpy teenager. We
were all teenagers once but nowadays it seems like there are a lot more avenues of trouble they can
get themselves into. The stress of parenting can sometimes get you down and there is an added
stress when your teen is going off the rails a little bit. No matter what your style of parenting is, there
will always be a calm and rational way to deal with those lovable rogues you call your teenagers. As
long as you give them space, allow them to be independent and show them how to learn from their
mistakes, they will soon be on your side again. Take these ideas on board and see how they work for
your little one when the time comes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Educate Them

If you think there is a chance that your teenager is going off the rails and making bad decisions, then you
shouldn’t be afraid to teach them right from wrong. Crossroads Recovery's Underage Drinking Counseling Services,
might help you if your child has been caught up in alcohol related incidents. This will give them the ideal opportunity
to reevaluate their decisions and make better choices when it comes to alcohol in the future.

Give Them Space and Put Your Trust in Them

Your instinct will always be to protect your child and stick to their side as often as possible. This can
often have the opposite effect, because they will feel like you are smothering them and being too
overbearing. Give them enough space to be independent without allowing them to cross too many
boundaries. Once they realize you can trust them, they will feel more inclined to stay true to their
word, so they don’t disappoint you.

Assess Any Serious Warning Signs

When your child is behaving strangely or isolating themselves on a regular basis; perhaps they aren’t
eating or you see they spend too much time on social media. You need to assess they serious warning
signs and have a serious conversation with them. This could just save their lives.

Reason With Them and Draw on Your Past Experiences

Handling difficult teenagers is enough to make any parent lose control now and again, but try to remain
calm. They are mini adults and able to understand most things. Explain what mistakes you may have
made in the past and it may encourage them to steer clear from the same type of trouble.

When your child reaches their teen years it is important to remember that we all went through this at
one stage in our lives. You made mistakes, you were sassy to your parents and you wanted to earn
your independence. You have to make sure you talk to your child and understand what their issues
are; most of the time they are going through totally normal teenage stuff. Be aware of the more serious
signs and you will soon be able to nip any problems in the bud instantly, giving you a happy, healthy
and pleasant relationship with your teenager.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

4 Ways To Take The Stress Out Of Parenting

Parenting can feel like an uphill struggle at the best of times. Although it is one of the most rewarding roles to take on in life, that isn’t to say that sometimes it can become stressful if not managed effectively. You can lighten the load by taking the stress out of parenting, and read below for ideas on how to get started.

Don’t Juggle Too Much
One way to easily burn out and find parenting stressful is by juggling too much. You may want to do it all, and by attempting to do it all you will find you only end up struggling to get anything done. Do one thing at a time, and focus on one task at a time. Learning the ropes and prioritizing is all part of the job of parenting, and through trial and error, you’ll find a routine that works for you. That being said, it’s also important to be realistic; set out enough time if you know that teatime and bath time will take a certain amount of time, for instance, otherwise you’ll find yourself struggling to get your children to bed when they need it. The morning is a particularly important time to work out, so try and get a realistic routine in place, which you will only be thanking yourself further down the line.

Take Some Time Out
Taking some time out for yourself to mentally reboot is not a bad thing. If anything, your family will benefit from it as you’ll be back to your best self after having some time to let go of any stresses and strains you’ve been holding onto. This can be as simple as having a long hot bath, going for a run twice a week, or booking a massage. The mental and physical benefits on our mental health of having me-time have been proven time and time again, so counter this into your schedule pronto. Visit to get an idea of some of the massages and treatments available.

Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is absolutely essential if you want to be able to manage the day to day roller coaster of parenting. You want to be able to enjoy your time with your children to cherish all the special moments, and you’ll find you naturally have more energy and manage tasks better. Sleep deprivation is a common problem with new parents, but you can find tips online to help pull you through and get back on track.

Ask For Help
You are not failing if you occasionally ask for a helping hand to manage all your commitments. If you are running a household, or have a job, and are having to manage other responsibilities, realize that asking for help is okay. You could work with the other parents at school to help with drop offs and pick ups, or maybe give yourself an evening off and ask your parents or in-laws to watch the children. Accepting help from your network of friends and loved ones can help you mentally reset and take some time, so you don’t exhaust yourself. 

How Influencers Help Businesses Retain and Gain

In marketing, trust is key. Without it, it is hard to develop brand loyalty. Businesses that are not trusted can come up with exceptional service or products, but still stay stagnant because there will be customer churn from time to time. For you to succeed in your business and minimize customer churn, you need to get to your customers in a way that will build long-term relations and inspire trust.

One of the best ways you can market your brand and retain customers is using other consumers to gain the trust of your consumer target market. People will be more likely to buy products when the people they admire say that they have had a good experience with the company’s product or service. This form of marketing is called influencer marketing. This form of marketing provides incentives to consumers to share the company’s information on behalf of the business.

Because influencers are consumers, your target market is likely to find the information more trustworthy. Influencer marketing can help you to grow your business and retain more customers in the following ways:

Improves your social media presence

To have effective marketing, you need to get to customers where they are. The fact is that you will find 81% of the U.S consumers on social media. When you establish a social media presence, you will have a better platform for being successful in modern marketing.

In most cases, many businesses have social media accounts, but they post content to reach their audiences. There are those who pay for sponsored ads, and they get their word out. But when you use an influencer to propagate your business information with details of your social media links, you will open the door for the vast network that an influencer has to learn more about your business and connect with your brand.

Builds customer loyalty

There are different ways in which you can engage with influencer marketing; there are companies that pay influencers directly in different markets; others offer incentives like freebies, discounts, or tickets to concerts for people who share marketing information on their social media, or through email, or in person.

Due to the nature of incentivizing influencers, companies reap a two-fold rise in customer loyalty. Influencers who have earned commissions, won prizes or been positively affected because of their experience with the product or service, tend to be more loyal to the brands they market. On the same spin, new customers who jump on the bandwagon to use the company's products through influencer marketing trust the influencer and this stretches to the brand. This will increase the likelihood that they will remain loyal once they are satisfied with the brand.

Expands your reach

An influencer is someone who is socially active and has many connections. Ideally, influencer marketing is done online, and this requires an influencer who has a large following on social media. An influencer’s reach may depend on the demography of social media networks they have.

Since personal relationships are what influencers use to develop their social media networks, or by sharing similar interests with others, they have an easier time to reach users than a business. For example, most businesses only have a few likes or friends on social media, because users are there to socialize and not make purchases. Now, this makes influencers have a broader reach which businesses use to tap to attract consumers.

Identifies relevant leads and markets

Influencers have connections because of shared interests and personal relationships. Moms, for instance, tend to have their own network on social media. As a result, influencers build niche markets. When you want to use influencer marketing, you can reach a specific niche, and this will generate leads.

Author Bio: Adrian Rubin is a freelance writer and climate change advocate.


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