What To Do With Worn Out Kids Items

I don’t know about y’all, but our house is quickly approaching the birthday and holiday season. My older son Tallen’s birthday is in August and my younger son Trace’s birthday is in October. Then we’ll be in the midst of the Christmas Season. It is during this time that I like to go through their clothing and toy items and donate what is no longer needed.

Have you ever sorted through clothing items, but did not want to donate them because they were well-worn or perhaps even had holes?

Well I have the great honor and privilege of sitting on the advisory board at our local Salvation Army. There they can take clothing items and shoes that cannot be sold in the thrift store and sell them as mixed clothing bales. The clothing bales are then used to help cloth many around the world.

So hang on to those denim jeans with holes in the knees or those worn out Nikes. The chances are very high that your local thrift store can still use the items to generate revenue and in turn, use those funds to assist those in need right in your community.

It’s a win – win.

Saturday in the Smokies

This past weekend we had the opportunity to go to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. What a treat! I can’t believe this little vacation spot is only 2 ½ hours from our home and we have yet to visit. Let’s just say, the T’s and I will definitely be making this an annual trip.

After we loaded up the car and drove a quick 2 ½ hours, we lodged at American Patriot Getaways. Comfortable and spacious, the cabin offered beautiful mountain views and a hot tub – a major score with the husband!

Saturday we headed to Pigeon Forge. The boys enjoyed the large selection of amusement rides, miniature golf and go-carts. Someone had a minor meltdown because they were too little. Maybe in a few more years my feisty little Trace! With all the go-cart riding, we worked up a big appetite. We ate lunch at Bennett’s BBQ. The atmosphere was that of the Smoky Mountains. The staff was sweet and food delicious.

After we scarfed down our lunch, we headed to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. My boys loved it – the sharks, the penguins, and the gift shop! There was something for everyone. Afterwards, we took a little break back at the cabin and soaked our sore feet in the hot tub.

We shoveled some more food in our faces and headed down to “walk” the strip. Well that turned into another three hour outing. We stopped at Ripley’s Maze of Mirrors, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and the Guinness World of Records.

The guys passed out at midnight. We hit Interstate 75 South back to Georgia Sunday morning. The guys passed out again. We arrived at home and ate lunch, only to be asked if we were going back.

Next year baby. Next year.

Why We Immunize Our Boys

What a hectic week! Three out of our five days were spent at home with my little Trace. He has strep throat and bronchitis! While at the doctor’s office the nurse went through her laundry list of standard questions. One question she asked was if Trace was up to date with his immunizations. With August being National Immunization Awareness Month, I thought this would be the perfect segway into writing about why I vaccinate my boys.

Safety: I’ve spoken to my pediatrician. I have done the research. Vaccines, like many things are only introduced to the public after extensive and thorough reviews by scientists, doctors, and healthcare providers. Yes, there are risks and possible side effects, but, what doesn’t have a risk or possible side effect? It did not take much convincing. The pros definitely outweighed the cons.

Healthy Lifestyle: My husband and I want our boys to lead the healthiest lifestyle possible. Modern medicine has come a long way since our grandparents or even great-grandparents. Today, our boys can be protected against diseases that historically caused death or paralysis.

Protecting Others: Not only does vaccinating our boys keep them safe, it also keeps everyone they come in contact with safe and helps prevents the spread of disease. Oftentimes, in the educational setting you must show documentation of immunization.

Lowering Medical Expenses: Most medical plans cover immunizations. Do I take the “chance” of one of my boys getting an immunization preventable disease like pertusiss (whooping cough) and having medical expenses associated with the illness, or do I get an immunization that is covered up front? I think the latter.

While the choice to immunize is solely on individual families, I would encourage everyone to consult your health care provider and discuss any concerns you may have.

What I Learned Breastfeeding

I recall being pregnant four years ago with my first son Tallen. I was inundated with information, particularly on breastfeeding. Breast is best. Are you going to nurse? Children who are breastfed are less sick and have less allergies. Seriously, the laundry list of benefits could go on. I continued reading and preparing, however, there are some lessons that cannot be learned in a book.

  1. Breast Milk Coming In. I was under the impression that I would give birth and I would begin breastfeeding. In reality, it takes several days for your “breast milk to come in.” In my case, it was about 3 days. Up until that time make sure your baby gets plenty of colostrum.
  2. Ask for Help. A second misconception that I had was that breastfeeding was natural. That I would “just know what to do.” Let’s face it. I was learning and so was Tallen. I requested to meet with the lactation consultant at the hospital. She made a world of difference. She was kind, patient and really taught me how to feed my baby.
  3. Toughen Up. My mother did not breastfeed so I relied heavily on my Aunt. She told me my “nipples would need to toughen up.” Boy was she right! My nipples hurt for the first two weeks. I couldn’t begin to tell you how much lanolin cream I used. Once I got through that initial phase, it was easy, however, I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to “quit!”
  4. Breast milk is free, right? True, but, the nursing bras, tanks, blouses, nursing pads, and loads of lanolin are not. I didn’t put much thought into these unexpected expenses, but they didn’t break the bank either.
  5. Baby Feeding Machine. You will literally be feeding around the clock! Tallen would wake up to nurse every 2-3 hours. To help ease the sleep deprivation, pump a bottle or two so your spouse can help out.

The final lesson I learned breastfeeding is that not every mother will have the ability or will want to breastfeed. There are so many dynamics that can come into play and we as a society must be mindful not to “mom shame.”