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Living With Epilepsy

27 Jan

Today’s post is not necessarily related to social media, but I am using the social media tools to help spread awareness about a very important cause, share my story, and let others know about a fundraiser event in Lansing, MI today.  The Epilepsy Foundation is an organization that I hold near & dear to my heart as someone who lives daily with epilepsy, and has experienced grand mal seizures throughout my lifetime. 

According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, approximately one out of 10 adults will experience one seizure during their lifetime.  Nationally, about 2.7 million people have some form of epilepsy. Thirty percent of them are children under the age of 18.  The Foundation strives to close the treatment gap between what is being done for people with epilepsy & what SHOULD be done, Improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society, and empower those living with epilepsy and their families.  Looking at the Foundations second goal, I can not say enough about how thankful that I am for my parents and family members.  After discovering that I had epilepsy, I was never made to feel like I had a “Disability” or that I was different or should be worrying all of the time.  When I experienced a seizure, my family was there to support me, they acted calmly, and gave me the time I needed to recuperate.  I wasn’t made fun of, told that I was weird, etc.           

First Seizure: I experienced my 1st full blown recognized seizure sophomore year of high school, in the middle of a class project down in the high school library – in front of my class, and other classes full of students.  I remember waking to see people hovering over me and asking me all sorts of questions.  I was confused, disoriented & in a bit of a haze….not understanding what was happening.  Then, I truly woke up to see myself being wheeled into an ER and the frightened & worried faces of my parents.

My Scariest Seizure Experience:  One minute I was driving 75 mph south down the highway on my way to work from a friend’s, looking at the Uncle John’s Cider Mill billboard & thinking about BIGGBY coffee.  The next thing I remember is seeing a police officer coming towards me through one door of my vehicle, and a paramedic coming through my driver side door asking me questions….all while looking out the front window and seeing the highway lanes heading north….but I was in some sort of field –  and I knew.  I had another seizure.

Worst Seizure Experience: was the first time a seizure left me feeling sorry for myself, completely helpless, and worthless. This happened a few months ago when I realized that I had had a seizure while making breakfast before heading to church.  And all I can say is that I thank God that I had placed my son safely in an exer-saucer just within sight around the corner- or he may have been severely hurt, not to mention scared.  Now that I have a young son, living with epilepsy has become a bigger deal.

 This is why I am holding this fundraiser today & why the Epilepsy Foundation is so important…..they strive to keep people like me safe, help families like mine understand what it’s like to support someone with epilepsy, and they work towards ensuring that not another moment is lost to seizures! 



Join me at Kelly’s Downtown Pub & GRill in Lansing, MI 


Making Your Own Baby Food

5 Nov

Now that my son is a bit older and has gone through all of the stages of Gerber baby food, in addition to breastfeeding, I thought that it was time to begin making his baby food myself.  In all honesty, this idea was mainly influenced through my desire to save money. Plus, I am recycling those little plastic containers by refilling them with my own concoctions. 

Have any of you out there tried making your own baby food without the fancy baby food processors, etc. that are out there on the market?  I thought the use of a food processor, a little water or breastmilk mixed with boiled veggies would be easy and accepted by my hungry little man.  Not quite as easy as expected!  

Sweet potatoes seemed to go great, along cooked squash…however when it comes to fruit or veggies that may have some skin that I simply can not take off –peas, blueberries, peppers…..well let’s just say that those don’t go over quite as well.  Now enter in the importance of applesauce!!  Thanks for the wisdom of my mom, who had 5 kids of her own to raise, applesauce can be the cure all for almost anything.  This is mostly true and I recommend it.  This way, my son is getting his veggies or ground up meat, along with some added fruit too.  If you don’t like the applesauce idea, I found a cheaper food mill option at our local Target store by KidCo

KidCo Food Grinder at Target

 With my son now having 5 teeth, and a sixth on it’s way, I definitely will be moving on to more cooked veggies cut up really small, cooked meat in shreds, noodles and more, etc.  I don’t know about all of you, but for me it’s been a true learning experience and one that requires some guessing and the help of other friends, parents, mommy Blogher contacts, and BabyCenter advice.  But for all of you parents out there who have also made your own baby food, without buying the William Sonoma-esque food making wonder machines, I feel your frustrations, would love to hear what you found works best, and more power to you!! 

P.S. – I also recommend having someone watch your little one if possible while you block out some time to cook several items all at once to save you time in the long run.

Baby Vaccines

25 Oct

We all have at least heard something regarding the endless debates over the past couple of years, that have been centered around baby vaccinations.  As a new parent, I tried to read up on as much information that I could, and also spoke to some of our friends in the medical field to make up my mind about having my son receive all of his vaccinations. I received my regular updates from BabyCenter this morning in my email box, and I love all of their helpful advice, other parenting blogs, and info. on what to expect my son to be doing soon. You guessed it-this morning’s email contained the hot issue of “Should you have your Child Vaccinated?” 

I also must admit, I was already leaning towards the vaccines since my husband is an elementary school teacher.  And I am going to put this out there, I am not going with the hype of the “all natural” baby scam. Yup,I said it-scam.  You pay how much extra for everything to be all natural or organic, but what added benefits is your child getting over my son who eats regular Gerber food, wears Pampers Dry Max Diapers, and is washed in Johnson’s baby soap? But I won’t get off on another tangent here, let’s get back to the point.  Yes, I want things that are good for my son, sensitive to his developing system, and ultra sensitive skin.  But to a point, I also put some faith in the FDA that they wouldn’t approve certain products and medicines if they hadn’t been rigorously tested and there are items in our products for a reason! 

I know the newer H1N1 vaccines haven’t had many years of testing and there are some cases where there have been negative side effects.  But when my friend’s daughter didn’t get the vaccine due to obvious concerns last year, I observed the negative effects of NOT having the H1N1 vaccine.  She may have been one of the limited cases, but after 3 emergency room visits, several cold medications after the fact, and many sleepless nights for our friends, I was convinced that the benefits to having my son vaccinated against the flu far outweighed the negatives.  I mean, a lot of us may remember playing Oregon Trail as a kid right?  There were all sorts of crazy diseases that you could get and often your character died from them.  So let’s relax….take a deep breath…trust some of our medical professionals and remember  there is a reason many of us aren’t familiar with those diseases today and our children won’t even know about!  My son has received his vaccinations for the flu, all of the vaccinations he needs to date for a 9 month old, and we have only had a clogged tear duct so far (knocking on wood now!) so I think he is doing ok!     

BabyCenter Pertussis Campaign


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 P.S. –You don’t have to listen to me, I just strongly suggest not getting caught up in the media hype and do some research. Talk with your doctor/nurse, and make the decision that is right for you & your child.  Thanks for reading!

Breastfeeding and the Workplace

15 Oct

It is always an interesting experience for any new parent to return to work after being off on maternity leave.  There are a variety of challenges, but in my own opinion, none quite as delicate as figuring out how to feed your baby while at work. I do not want to get into a debate of breastfeeding vs. formula feeding .  That is a completely personal decision and I am just doing what I think is best for my child. But bringing up the topic of a good “ pumping station” to your employer, can be tricky

As stated in another Mommy blog by  Katrina Alcorn , the indignity of pumping at work in a public place like the bathroom or a converted closet, etc is rough and not very accepting.  Even women who work in states that have laws where employers are legally obligated to provide a private pumping station, face problems with their employer. 

Now I am not so focused on the indignity or embarrassment of pumping at work. Like I state in one of my earlier blog posts, after going through labor and everyone looking and working in your private areas – well, let’s just say that I no longer have a lot of privacy issues.  My concern was getting someplace that was relatively clean and hygienic. 

I am obviously a woefully naïve individual, because when I returned to work and asked our facilities manager to have a blind installed in my office window (as many other employees do) I just figured it would be a relatively simple request.  Wrong!  I was actually questioned on the purpose.  Then when I replied, “I just returned from maternity leave and am a new mom..” Silly me, I thought they would get the hint since women have been breastfeeding their children seemingly since the beginning of time.  WRONG AGAIN!  I basically had to spell it out, and then the gentleman told me that I would have to take that up with the CEO of our company.  I did, and thankfully there was no major issue there.  Instead, the main issue resided with other male employees all wondering why I needed a blind in my office  window.  “Who really cares?!” was the thought rushing through my mind, along with “Can’t people figure this out?!” 

Long story short -people finally let it go – thanks to what I believe was some subtle and not-so-subtle comments from me.  Yes, saying out loud to one particularly annoying co-worker: “I have to feed my kid somehow” may have been one of those not-so-subtle hints, but come on.  I’ll admit I was sick of hearing about the stupid blind and all of the off-hand comments about how I could feed my son formula while away at work, and then worry about nursing in the privacy of my own home.  It’s my choice.    I am thankful that I didn’t need to bring up our state law regarding private designated areas for breastfeeding moms. I’ve  figured out how to manage the delicate balance  of pumping and working around 4 hour work meeting, public presentations, and people constantly knocking on my door  so all involved parties are happy.  Unfortunately, some women in the workplace are not as lucky as I am.  So feel free to vent here and together as parents, maybe we can all work towards a better understanding and acceptance of breastfeeding while being a working mother.

“Do the Right Thing”

1 Oct

So after being off on maternity leave I was visiting my office and showing off my new little man to co-workers. Of course, I had the usual questions like “How are you feeling?” “Hasn’t it gone by fast?” “Are you ready to come back?” etc. But in the midst of all of these one of my male co-workers asked me if I would be returning to work soon or would choose to become a stay-at-home mom. And I promptly responded that I would be returning to work.  He instantly replied “Well, I know you’ll do the right thing.”

One little comment, just one short but direct phrase, threw me into such a state of maternal paranoia and panic! While smiling on the outside, I was simultaneoulsy freaking out in my head wondering if I was doing the wrong thing?!?!  Was I a bad mother for (gasp) WANTING to return to work? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was loving my bonding time at home with my son. But I was also missing the constant interaction and busy world of Marketing and running my own program, not to mention adult conversation.  

 Why is it that parents do this?  If you read Inforum’s latest report on ‘The New Mom’ this is suppossed to be one of the best times to be a working mom.  We are suppossedly benefitting from years of adapting into euqal status both as being a mother at home, and a woman in the workplace.  I agree with all of the descriptions of this new mom” report, all while thanking women who for years having been balancing being a working mom.  So why did this co-worker make me feel so small and guilty for my response.  True, it could have meant nothing at all, but still…

Either way, I cam back to work after being off for six and a half weeks, and although I have a few moments of doubt, and definitely miss my son, and all of his life changes that I am missing while working, I know I am where I belong.  I may never master the balance of that seemingly unattainable status of being a “Super-mom“.  For now, though, I congratulate all of the Stay- at-Home moms-that is truly a HUGE undertaking and one not meant for me, and I will continue to be a Mom in training, doing what I can to be the best mom for my son.  

Learn As You Go

29 Sep

Welcome to my Momster Diaries Blog. I started this as a result of an assignment in my MSU New Media Class. As I was reading how to get started and being advised to write about a subject I was passionate about; something that would make me marvel at my own brilliance, I’ll admit not a lot of things were coming to mind that weren’t immediately crossed off the list. There were content limitations, subjects that felt more like work, and costs limitations. I mean, I am a young, married professional with a house and car payment, many home bills, school tuition, low income, oh yeah- and I’m a new mom! Now there is something that could lend seemingly endless content.

Let’s make sure we start off on the right foot here. I’m not claiming to be an expert. After all, as parent knows, parenthood is kind of a learn-as-you go thing. Especially when you are the mom. And in this blog I will strive for no pretensions, no keeping things secret. I’ll let you know pretty much everything I learn as I go; including my not-so small-mistakes.

So let’s talk about becoming a mom. No, I won’t go into any details about labor. We’ll actually slip right past that since thanks to an epidural and exercise, mine wasn’t really all that bad of an experience. But afterwards, I mean come on ladies! Why don’t we have the common courtesy to share with other women some of those little known secrets? Oh yeah, there are plenty of resources  like Expectant Parent classes, What to Expect When Expecting books, countless articles, online publications, pamphlets, etc. all claiming to better prepare you for “the miracle of life”. But why does no one prepare you for the pain of the doctors pushing out the afterbirth or pressing, oh wait-excuse me, “massaging” on your uterus? Now that is pain that an epidural can’t touch! Or what about the total lack of any privacy that you will experience during and after the delivery. Seriously! I was a pretty private individual before I went into labor, but now, nothing bothers me. However, for any new or soon-to-be moms out there, it really is true that once you have your little man or princess in your arms, nothing else really matters!

As I continue blogging my Momster Diaries, I beg you to keep in mind that I definitely do not hold all of the answers. I am no or Empowering Parents expert blog. This is more of a sounding board on experiences, and feel free to join in! By showing off my mistakes or challenges, hopefully we can all share advice, and talk Momma-to-Mommy.

Picture: ” Mother Son grip” courtesy of online entry.