Saturday, December 8, 2012

In Loving Memory of My Little Latti

Anyone who has known the love of and for a pet understands the unshakable bond that connects us to them.  I had the opportunity in my life to feel this unconditional love for an animal and on Tuesday of this week had to say good-bye to her, my first baby, my best friend, my sweet little Latti.

I first moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in the fall of 1998.  I was young, 19 I think, and still so immature even though I had already been living on my own for 3 years.  Being an animal lover my entire life, I always knew that when I lived on my own, when I had appropriate living conditions and when I was done spending most of my days travelling for work...that I was going to get my very own canine companion.  I never knew exactly when and had no idea what "type" or breed of dog I wanted, but I knew it was going to be a big part of my future.  Little did I know just how much of my future this addition in my life would be and it was just around the corner.

In January of 1999, my dear friend Kortney called me up and convinced me into going to a pet store with her because there was a cat she was interested in.  Kortney, my boyfriend at the time and I packed in his car and headed down to, in all honesty, a cruddy, little, hole-in-the-wall pet store in a not-so-good area of town.  When we arrived, Kortney led me to this cute puppy for sale that she saw earlier in the day.  Little did I know, her plan all along was to get me to see the puppy (knowing how much I wanted a dog) because she somehow knew I'd fall head over heels.  We went into the small room filled with wall cages, it seemed empty.  Then, I looked up and saw two dogs sharing a cage much too small for the both of them.  The first, a miniature type dog.  The other, a cute little yellow lab mix puppy that would be my Latti. 

Latti was young, about 2 months old.  The pet store employee said she was the last of the litter for sale.  To this day, I think to myself how wrong everyone else was in choosing the other puppies and not Latti.  I really lucked out with her as far as the short time it took to potty train her (a few days), to crate train her, teach her not to chew on my shoes and to leash train her.  By the time she was a year old, she didn't need a leash.  She always stayed right by my side, until the end really.  Anyways, after seeing her I was instantly smitten.  I asked the employee if I could hold her.  She seemed so hesitant seeing as I was quite young.  I don't blame her though...I was only 19, dressed most likely in jeans with holes in the knees and probably wreaked of cigarette smoke (a habit from my past I am not proud of).  But she did anyways.  She handed her to me, warning me that the puppy was very timid.  I could tell.  She clung on to me quite intensely, it was incredibly sweet.  I knew she was mine, and so I took her home.  She cost $65 which included her first set of vaccines (funny little memory).

Latti was a typical puppy, rambunctious and wild.  She chewed on the wood trim on the walls of our rental home, she chewed on my running shoes and bit my fingers when I played with her.  But she quickly learned.  And she quickly became my baby.  I took her everywhere with friends' houses, camping trips, trips back home to visit family, car rides running errands, walks and runs, everywhere.  I'm not sure how much my friends and family appreciated my wild dog running around but they were thankfully accepting.  (My parents weren't too happy about her seeing as they felt I wasn't responsible enough to have a dog.  Understandably so, I probably wasn't and dogs are like children, requiring a lot of attention.  But I learned quickly too.)

Over the years, Latti and I were on the move.  We lived in the mountains of Munds Park, AZ in a beautiful cabin.  Everyday, we went on adventures of exploration of our new surroundings.  I remember fondly of her pouncing through the deep snow like a deer while I followed behind in my snow shoes.  I remember romping in the pretty water sources throughout the mountains and just south near Sedona.  I remember never feeling lonely and feeling relatively safe because she was by my side despite the fact I lived alone for some time pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  We had a blast living in Arizona together...some of the best memories of my life were spent there with her.

We lived in Salt Lake City in between living in other places.  We also spent time in Kansas City where my parents lived.  She really enjoyed swimming in my folk's parents were awesome for letting her cool off in it!  We lived in Miami Beach, FL for about 6 months with my ex-husband.  She swam in the beautiful crystal ocean and ran around the beach like she owned the place.  She also experienced a nasty case of the fleas, no thanks to the possums that lived just outside our apartment. 

We spent time in my hometown of Bismarck, ND while I was briefly married to my ex.  She was a trooper despite the frigid winter temperatures of the upper north.  She was happy anywhere, really.

And we finally ended back in Salt Lake City, our permanent home.  We took many summer trips camping in the endless parks of Utah. I have our best memories lakeside in southern Utah at Lake Powell.  It was there we spent a ton of time with dear friends.  Latti was a huge water dog, never leaving it unless it was bedtime.  Even then, I remember early in the mornings when the sun was peeking out of the red rocks, she would quietly climb out of the small hole in the tent and I would hear her splashing around in the water.  My favorite memory, one I will NEVER forget, was a time when we decided to take a weekend trip to the lake.  As we approached the lake, Latti could smell the water.  She sat up in the backseat, something she never did, and realized where we were.  I rolled down her window and in an instant she had her front paws on the door with half her body out the window.  The minute the car stopped she jumped out and ran for it.  Those memories will always live on.  We were having adventures together, her happiness was my happiness and I have no doubt she felt the same.  Latti was my best friend, and I couldn't think of another whom I'd rather have shared these experiences with.

In Latti's golden years, we travelled a lot less.  I got remarried to the love of my life and we all settled down and began having children.  I regretfully watched as Latti got less and less attention from me as my children were born and grew older.  I always felt so guilty that we didn't spend as much time together but at the same time, I truly felt she understood.  She didn't have as much energy as she did when she was younger and preferred to lay on her bed most the day.  She became a bit arthritic, typical to her breed of dog.  Running with me was no longer fun for her, and every time I tried to coax her with her leash to go with me she cowardly stepped away from me.  I wasn't going to make her do something she no longer enjoyed so we stuck with her favorite sport, playing fetch.  Right around the time I had my first son, when Latti was about 10, she began getting these horrible fatty tumors.  I took her in to have the vet look at them to make sure that was all they were and was told that she was too old to have them removed (which I assumed).  The past 4 years, two of the tumors grew quite large in size...comparable to a large grapefruit.  I felt so bad for her but she never seemed to be affected by them, only noticeable to others.

Latti was a sweetheart with my children.  She never got cross with either of the boys for climbing all over her, interfering with her mealtime or even tugging on her ears.  After Jude was born, I saw, for the first time, her demeanor change to that of a true, loyal protector of the kids.  Whenever we played outside, she never left Jude's side.  She really enjoyed his company as he got older and put up with a lot from both boys.  Some days, I wasn't sure if her loyalty was more towards the boys because they were her family or because of all the food they kept giving her.  She was a lucky girl.

This past August, I awoke and went to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom like I did everyday and to my surprise, Latti couldn't walk on her own.  She kept falling over and was acting extremely sluggish.  After observing her for a few minutes, it appeared she had had a stroke.  She kept leaning and falling to her right side and was unable to eat or drink on her own.  It was heartbreaking to watch and even more to come to the realization that our time together was coming to a close.

After 24 hours of hoping she would get better and with the thought of euthanasia looming in my mind, I found out from my dear friend Heidi that dogs, unlike humans, can overcome strokes.  I took her to the vet the next day feeling a bit more confident with her condition but after he took one look at her, he said she most likely had a brain tumor which caused the stroke.  He taught me how to nurse her back to health but said if she didn't begin improving within a few days that it was time to put her to rest.  He really didn't believe it was possible seeing as she was riddled with tumors and very old.  I went home determined to prove to him and to us, of course, that we could overcome this obstacle.

I fed her soft food and water through a syringe all day long.  I had to carry her outside to the bathroom and coax her to want to walk, eat and drink.  I gave her 90% of my attention, gave her lots of love and snuggles and made her as comfortable as I could.  And within about a week, she had greatly improved.  Over the weeks, she behaved normal again except with the complete loss of hearing.  That was interesting to get used to, but completely okay.  I still had her with me, she seemed her normal chipper self again and I was going to make the best of the remaining time I had with her. 

She acted like a typical old dog, sleeping most the time and deaf.  But she didn't have a problem eating and going to the bathroom on her own and still liked to play in the yard, if only for a few minutes.  She was always excited when we got home and greeted us in her usual way.  She loved when company came over, especially those she knew.  She even had the opportunity to see my parents one last time over Thanksgiving.  We occasionally played fetch or frisbee, but she only lasted a couple of tosses.  I was happy for even that because I knew she still enjoyed the game.  November rolled around the corner where she would turn 14!  I was so proud of my baby girl living so long and felt incredibly lucky to have her all that extra time.  Just last weekend Friday, Latti played a little fetch outside with me, rolled in the grass like she loved to and ran around with the children.  Friday was a good day.  Saturday was not.  Unfortunately, when Saturday came, she took a turn for the worse.  Sunday I confirmed it in my mind and in my heart, she officially was feeling bad.

I could tell when Latti awoke she wasn't feeling well.  She stared at her food but couldn't seem to walk over to it to eat.  I tried to coax her into eating but with no response.  How sad it was to see her staring at her food, knowing she wanted it and needed it but without the willpower to do so.  Sunday morning she had an accident overnight and I had to clean dog beds and walls as well as bathe her.  I knew while giving her a washing that it would be our last.  She felt crummy, I could see it in her sad eyes.

On Monday, I hoped so much that she would eat or drink but her condition remained.  She lay on her bed, looking tired, almost defeated if you will.  I knew her body was giving out on her.  It was heartbreaking to say the least.  I finally got up the nerve to call her vet to ask if he made house calls.  I always knew I would never take her into the vet, a place that she was scared of, and put her to sleep.  Like everyone else wishes for their own beloved pets, I hoped she would die naturally at home, peacefully.  But I couldn't let her die with so much pain and suffering.  After finding out the vet did not make house calls nor did he have any openings for a few days, I knew I couldn't wait.  They referred me to a woman who did make house calls and I called her immediately.

I made the appointment for Tuesday morning while my husband took the boys to school so I could be alone with Latti.  What a dreary, dreadfully sad morning it was.  My heart was breaking.  I couldn't believe I was holding it together until my family left the home.  This really wonderful woman/vet came to our home where Latti was comfortable and felt safe.  She was sweet, loving and respectful to both Latti and I, and I couldn't have asked for a more appropriate experience.  She administered a drug like morphine first so Latti wouldn't feel any more pain.  In fact, she was so relaxed, she sweetly fell asleep laying her head in my hands and in my lap as I stroked her and told her how much I loved her.  After about 15 minutes, she was put to rest with me by her side, lovingly holding her beautiful little face.  I was relieved that my baby girl was no longer suffering.  I wrapped her in a soft blanket, gave her a kiss on her cheek and I said my final good bye to my sweet and loving dog on Tuesday, December 4th at 9 am.  Latti was cremated and returned to me two days later.  For years I planned on burying her in our backyard under my favorite tree but realized that our current home is not our forever home and that if I had buried her here, I would never leave.  So I opted to cremate her.  That way, she will be with me wherever I may go.  I also have big plans on returning part of her to a few of our favorite places we spent together.

The grieving process has been really difficult for me.  I want to be selfish and say I wish Latti was still alive but life doesn't work that way.  I miss so much about Latti that I can't hold back the tears.  Every time I walk into the kitchen I keep thinking she is going to be right there.  I turn a corner and expect her to be staring up at me but she isn't.  I miss the road trips where Latti laid right behind me, excited about where we were headed.  I miss her soft fur and the way she nuzzled her head into me.  I even miss having to vacuum up her fur all over the floor every morning, something I loathed when she was alive because she shed SO MUCH.

I put her doggy dish away today and set up the room where the dogs used to lie together in a different way.  Yesterday, I picked up her toys outside and put them back in the basket, wondering if they will ever get played with again.  Latti's departure is nothing less than the end of an era in my life.  I think to myself that even though her departure from this world is difficult, I take solace in remembering all of our beautiful times together, filled with adventure and love.  I know in my heart that someday we will meet again.  She will always be in my heart and I am grateful for the life we had together.  Writing this memoir has been a strong part of my healing process.  I really wanted to put all of my thoughts into words before time would pass and I'd begin to forget the little things about our time spent together.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share our story.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Mia Mariu Skin Care and Cosmetics Review

I had the lovely opportunity to review some products from Mia Mariu's skin care line and cosmetic line.  I am always interested in great products that care for my skin without damaging it and enjoy using make-up from time to time when going out on a night on the town or for that special occassion.  Who doesn't?!  And even though my husband says I don't need make-up, I know that he secretly likes it when I get dolled up just for him...

Mia Mariu cosmetics is a Dallas based company that socially sells natural health and beauty products online and through independant advisors.  With the help of my lovely Mom, we reviewed 5 Mia Mariu products:
  • Hydrating Stick Gloss in two shades, Beso and Encanto
  • Luminous Lip gloss
  • Anti-Aging Brightening Serum
  • Hydrating Moisturizer with SPF 30+ sample
  • Microdermabrasion set sample
And below is my review of the products:


Hydrating Stick Gloss

Product Description:
Our Hydrating Stick Gloss is a revolutionary hydrating product combining color and hydrating gloss in a stick form. Contains Vitamins A, C and E to nourish your lips as well as minerals and anti-oxidants to protect your lips.

I love this stick gloss for my lips.  The gloss goes on smooth and creamy without over doing it.  Typically stick gloss makes my lips feel dry but Mia Mariu's gloss left my lips feeling moisturized.  I also did not notice my lips dry after wearing the gloss for a few hours.  My choice color is the "encanto" since my lips already have a natural darker pigment to them.  Cost is $15. 

Luminous Lip Gloss

Product Description:
Sparkling shine in a vitamin rich hydrating formula gives your lips an irresistible look. Contains Vitamin A, C and E to nourish your lips. 

Again, I feel the same way about the Luminous Lip Gloss as I do about the Hydrating Stick Gloss.  It leaves my lips feeling moisturized without feeling sticky like many lip glosses do.  It's great for everyday use, which is what I use it for.  It sits in my car or in my purse so everytime I go anywhere I apply it for the day.  Cost is $13.  I'm not sure if I would pay this much for this product not because I don't think it's worth it but because there are comparable products out there that are cheaper.

Anti-Aging Brightening Serum

Product Description:
Bye-bye, dark spots and wrinkles! A must-have age-defying serum that targets sun spots and pigmentation while brightening overall skin clarity. This serum contains anti-aging peptides, skin-brightening botanicals, Aloe and Vitamin B5 Complex to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free. Use AM and PM.

My beautiful mother reviewed Mia Mariu's Anti-Aging Brightening Serum for me.  She applied it under her makeup on a clean face and apreciated the effect it had on the appearance of her fine lines and sun spots.  It contains Aloe and Vitamin B5, two very important ingredients for maintaining healthy skin.  I've seen other products that claim to have the same results but that cost a bit more than Mia Mariu's cost of only $38.  My mother said this is a great product at a great price!

Hydrating Moisturizer with SPF 30+ Sample

Product Description:
Stop UV rays and free radicals in their tracks! Daily protection from the sun is critical to fighting the aging process. Our Hydrating Anti-Aging Moisturizer with SPF 30+ is a luxuriously rich age-fighting moisturizer. This revolutionary formula protects your skin by blocking damaging UVA and UVB rays while also stopping free radical damage. Infused with soothing Green Tea extract, White Birch Bark extract, Pomegranate extract and Vitamins A and E, this antioxidant powerhouse moisturizer helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin nourished and with a more youthful appearance. Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free. Use AM.

This facial moisturizer is wonderful for my skin!  It kept my skin feeling hydrated without appearing oily and since I live in an arid environment, a great moisturizer is key!  I love the long list of natural ingredients and it's especially great for sun protection.  A 1.7 oz tub cost $44 which is a good price for such a great product.  I recommend this!

Restauracel-C Thermal Microdermabrasion Set Sample

Product Description:
Discover a new skin!. This fabulous set of two products is your gentle at home alternative to microdermabrasion. RestauraCel-C delivers dramatic skin restoration benefits with our powerful Vitamin C micro resurfacing spheres plus deep thermal action that warms the skin to help open, purify and minimize pores as well as remove dead skin cells aiding in the penetration of other products. Suitable for all skin types, non-irritating, oil-free.

This is the first time I've tried a skin care treatment such as this on my face.  To be honest, I'm not sure I'm the right candidate for such a product.  I have sensitive skin and although the ingredients that aid in the removal of dead skin cells are okay to use, it didn't sit well with my skin type.  I used the product and loved how my skin felt, especially the following day.  But I noticed some unusal breakouts a few days later and wonder if it didn't upset my skin a bit.  So I waited a few weeks and tried the product again but with the same results.  If you are interested and in the market for  an in home microdermabrasion set I recommend Mia Mariu's product a try.  Cost is $55.

None of the above products have been reviewed on the EWG Cosmetic's Database.

A big thank you to Mia Mariu for the opportunity to review some of their great skin care and cosmetic products.  Reviews like this are always so much fun as I get combine my expertise as a past model with being a mother looking for ways to care for my skin while looking and feeling good.

~Mommy Bridget

Disclaimer: Mia Mariu provided me with free samples of their producst to review, and I was under no obligation to review them if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for free product.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Labelling young Children Part III: Telling Our Story

I'm not sure if I have the time to write everything I want regarding labelling our children.  There may be a part IV to this so I can better explain our story.  As many of you already know, we had some struggles the first few years with our son Park's development and behavior.  Park didn't meet the important milestones of communication with us and socially grew distracted.  It was suggested he was autistic so we didn't waste anytime and began working diligently with communication as well as enrolled him in the Early Intervention Program.  He was subjected to rigorous testing but no one was able to find for sure any delays or disorders other than his speech.  Meanwhile, my husband and I reassessed his environment, took a better look at what he was eating and whether there was something else going on.  After many changes in Park's diet, we felt he was going to be okay and that there was nothing wrong with our son.   I was unhappy with his pediatrician and unhappy with a lot of aspects of our country's over willingness to label our children without first asking the most obvious questions: What does he eat?  Are there stresses at home?  Could Park's social behavior be caused from his inability to communicate?  Could his vaccines caused his odd behavior?  We were fortunate, really fortunate that Park continued to progress positively.  And Park is really fortunate that he has parents like us who aren't willing to accept a label without doing a little homework first.

I've blogged about our experience with Park quite a bit.  The whole reason I began my blog was to find an outlet for my struggles with Park and as a mother.  I'm not one of those sugar coated moms who pretends their kids are perfect and that I'm the perfect mother.  I definitely have made some choices as a parent I regret and my kids aren't perfect.  But as a mother, I'm not willing to let a pediatrician or a psychologist or another mommy friend tell me that my child is autistic because he likes to play with trains or that he is "just fine" when I've always known Park had an internal struggle going on that was causing his behaviors and inability to communicate like other children his age.  My husband and I have strong feelings about what we think caused Park's developmental delays but that's not the point I want to get into today.  What I want to say is that there is an epidemic going on in our country's youth and it's sickening and tragic.  While I don't disagree that some labels have tremendously helped some children, I firmly believe we are over-diagnosing, over-prescribing and over-compensating for the unhealthy environment we are bringing our children into.

I was contacted by a mother and writer this past summer about interviewing my family about the pros and cons of labelling children.  She asked many questions about our story and I was more than willing to divulge it all.  This is why I write my blog.  I want to tell others about our story not only to give a little hope to other struggling parents but to let them know there are other ways to help our children other than the usual doctor-diagnosis-prescibing meds route. 

While the story about the pros and cons of labelling children was good, I was disappointed in how our story was portrayed in the article that came out in the October issue of Parenting magazine.  I would post the link to the article but it still isn't up on their web site.  I will as soon as it's up.  Anyways, if you read the article you will think that all we did with Park was remove dairy from his diet and within 5 days he was healed.  Although we did remove dairy from his diet, it wasn't until 3 months after he was tested for autism that we did this.  We did many things to help Park, that being one of them but not the only thing.  I want to make that clear because I'd hate for other parents in the same situation to think that could be the magic cure because it wasn't.  Yes, we found Park had a strong dairy intolerance (the type of allergy that can affect behavior) but he was also eating a snack that had food coloring, I worked very hard with him at home, we did heavy metal cleanses with him and most of all, we had specialists work with him and his communication for an entire year. 

After the story came out, I was contacted by the Today Show who picked up the story which was aired today.  I was initially interviewed as a parent who is against labels.  They wanted to fly out to interview me but didn't because I didn't accept a label for Park and worked hard to cleanse his body and environment first.  We were fortunate that we were correct in our actions, I also know some children greatly benefit from the label.  And I guess you could also say that without Park's label as "speech delayed" he would have never qualified for services within the Early Intervention program so in a way, his label was a good thing.  Because I was on the mend about labels, they decided to drop my story.  I was disappointed that I didn't get to tell our whole story but at least I get to on here:)  If telling our story affects even one family positively then I'm satisfied!  Click on the link below to view the story that aired this morning on the Today Show:


I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed and to share our story.  For me, this is the best thing that could have ever come out of my blog and truly my reason for doing it.  Thank you for following my blog and please message me if you have any more questions about our story.  I'm more than happy to share!

~Mommy Bridget

Monday, October 8, 2012

Labelling Young Children Part II: Are We Over Diagnosing?

My aunt passed this magazine article from WebMD along to me over the past summer.  As many of you know, we spent the last few years with doctors and specialists either trying to diagnose our 4 year old Park with autism/behavioral disorders/language delay (which he has).  I don't want to undermine the big strides Park made with the Early Intervention program but we were always skeptical that doctors were too quick to label Park based on what they felt was "normal" behavior. 

In Park's case, we have been quite fortunate in that he was never labelled and that we refused to allow it.  We found alternative approaches and succeeded in getting him the help he needed while nurturing his individuality.  Because of our approach, we were interviewed for an article on the pros and cons of labelling children that came out this month.  (Unfortunately, I have been unable to get the link to the article yet but will post it and discuss it in my next post.)

Back to the article in WebMB, it's a refreshing outlook on the phenomenon going on in our country of diagnosing young children with disorders.  Again, I want to make it clear that I am not against diagnosing children.  Some children's progress have depended on it.  I am, however, concerned at what I see as over-diagnosing young children.  My son was almost a statistic until proven incorrect.  Anyways, without further ado...I highly recommmend reading this great article found if you click on the link below.  When you get to the periodical, go to page 21.  The article is titled, "Oh, Boy: Is SPD The New ADHD?"


~Mommy Bridget

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Labelling Young Children Part I: The Doctor Diagnosis (a repost of "Please Don't Label My Child")

I am sharing this post I wrote over a year ago with all of you because it is the first part of my upcoming 3 part series I will write about diagnosing children with behavioral issues at a young age. My reason for doing this is, first of all, because I have many new readers and I feel if there was only one thing I'd like my readers to take from my blog it would be my experience with my son Park and his early "medical" diagnosis. The second reason I am reposting what I wrote below is because I was interviewed for a very prestigious parenting magazine this summer on this very issue (which should be coming out any day now) and because I have NO IDEA what to expect from the experience we shared and how they choose to use it, I want to tell my story from the beginning. So, here you all go:

So I know the title of this post seems like a copycat of the book I'm reading right now, Please Don't Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective Choices for Your Child's Emotional Health, BUT...I am at the point now where I am screaming the exact words in my head on a daily basis to those around me who want to give a diagnosis to my son Park.

As many of your know, this summer marks the year anniversary we first heard the dreaded autism word from our son's pediatrician. For those of you who have not, a quick recap:

We took our son in to see his pediatrician because we were worried he might have strep throat. We left with the medical advice to seek professional help for our possibly autistic child. Park has been involved with the country's Early Intervention program ever since that day, has had specialists observe him and tell us that they don't think we need to worry about autism and have seen a remarkable progression in his behavior.

HOWEVER, at a routine visit to see his pediatrician a few weeks ago (the first since last summer), we were told again that she suspects he has autism. To get into more detail, this is how the visit went:

The morning of our appointment, I geared Park up for his first doctor's visit in almost a year. I explained to him that his doctor is really nice, that she cares a lot about him and that she is very fun. When we got to the clinic, Park was a little nervous about having to take his clothes off in a cold room while strangers came in and out talking to us. But when his sweet pediatrician walked in, I reminded him of her and told him to go ahead and say hello. Instead of being nervous around a stranger like he normally would in this situation, Park walked up to her and sat down on the floor where she sat. He began talking to her (which to anyone other than my husband and I is mostly not understood) and asked about her stethoscope and her pen that has a light. She sat on the floor with him for about 5 minutes while asking us questions.

Doctor: "Does he play with other kids?"
Me: "Yes, he loves to."
Doctor: "What does he like to play with?"
Me: "Everything (trains, trucks, the dogs, Dad, the neighbor cat, anything)!"
Doctor: "What does he do when he plays with his trains?"
Me: "I know what you are getting at and no, he doesn't line things up repeatedly. He plays with his trains like any other normal 3 year old boy."
Doctor: "I still think he is autistic. It's not screaming at me, but I do."
Me: "Why do you think that?"
Doctor: "Because it seems as though he has his own agenda."
Me: "What do you mean?"
Doctor: "He wasn't afraid to come up to me. He quickly was interested in my stethoscope and my pen."
Marshall: "He is interested in everything and how it works."
And so on....

At first, I was frustrated and sad and worried all over again. I had it in my mind that we would have him tested again before he began school in the fall. I complained and vented to my family and friends. Then I let her news set in and became a little angry. Why was she so quick to judge my child on the 5 minutes of observation? Why didn't she ask other pertinent questions such as, Is Park sensitive towards other's feelings?, Does he interact with other children his age?, Does he pretend play?, Has he progressed this past year with language and behavior?, What does Early Intervention say about his progression?

Had she asked those questions, I would've explained to her that Park is the sweetest boy I could ever have asked for. He loves his Mommy, Daddy and brother so much. He especially LOVES his little baby brother. He is a great helper, and is so gentle just like we told him to be. He runs and laughs with other kids and with us. He is a jokester. He has a sense of humor. He is always giggling and smiling. He has slept well in his bed for naps and bed time for over a year. He loves to read books. I could go on and on.

I tried to tell her about his dairy intolerance. I brought his lab work in to show her and told her about the huge difference in his behavior since we removed dairy and then gluten from his diet. She didn't even look at the lab work. She dismissed it as not credible "science". I instantly felt disrespected as a mother.

I have done so much to get the help I was told my son needed. I have had him tested in which the specialist kind of laughed and said we had nothing to worry about unless he made no progression in his language in a year. He doesn't hit, he rarely ever gets frustrated. He listens well. I thank my lucky stars how easy he is and what a sweet little guy I have.

I've also been incredibly fortunate to have found professionals and friends who just happen to be mothers as well that support me in my belief that diet and his environment caused his difficult behavior in the past. What I cannot wrap my head around is how medical professionals in the western world are so quick to dismiss that we are over-diagnosing children and so quick to judge those little 2-3 year olds based on the norm or what our country believes to be how a child should behave. I mean, yes, my son has a major speech delay. But he speaks all day long. Everyday yields more understood words. And in the past, he had very questionable behavior. But that is in the past. He no longer displays those behaviors.

(Right now, Park is sitting in his little chair and pretending to read one of Mommy's novels)

So what if Park likes to ask about electronics? Is that wrong to be inquisitive at such a young age? His Daddy is a genius with he most likely inherited that trait. And so what if he asks a lot of questions? Have you met his Mommy? People get annoyed at my questions. Since when is it questionable behavior or "wrong" that a child displays individualistic behaviors? We in our culture are so quick to assume that when a child doesn't "fit in" with the norm that he/she is "defective" in some way.

(Right now Park is taking his "dirty" clothes and toys downstairs to be washed in our washing machine)

My husband and I are proud of our son. He is happy and healthy. He is outgoing and sensitive. He is smart and loving and so much fun to be around...even though he is bold, doesn't always listen and is Mr. Mischievous these days:) So what if he isn't talking as well as he should. It's not like he is never going to speak. I am glad that we had these experiences this last year with doctors and specialists. I've learned so much about the importance of health in my family, I've learned more about myself and how to trust my own instincts when it comes to the well being of my family and these experiences have enabled me to discover safer, healthier choices for Park.

~Mommy Bridget

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tropical Tradition's Virgin Coconut Oil Review and Giveaway-ends 9/6

Tropical Tradition's Virgin Coconut Oil

I had the pleasure to review a really wonderful product by a really great company.  Tropical Traditions sponsored a review and giveaway of their Virgin Coconut Oil on The Curious Case of Mommyhood!

Tropical Traditions is the kind of company I like to support.  They have a strong commitment to family farming and organic standards when producing their products.  The production of their Virgin Coconut Oil began in the Phillipines in 2000 where it was produced using traditional methods in a rural farming community.  Over time, the founders of Tropical Traditions improved the ideas of coconut oil in the states and began a global revolution for coconut oil!

In our household, we have tried a variety of organic coconut oils.  When Tropical Traditions offered a review of their Virgin Coconut Oil I couldn't resist the opportunity.  We use coconut oil daily in our home.  The minute I received their sample for review I couldn't wait to open it and have a taste.  Can I say,"Wow"?!  It has remarkable flavor for an oil.  And the fragrance is perfect!  We also love to use it on our skin at night.
Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality
coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

We love to use Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil for cooking.  Go here for some great recipes that include coconut oil.

Want to purchase Tropical Traditions products?

Go to Tropical Tradition's web site which can be found here.  (If you order any products from Tropical Traditions by using any of my links, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.)
To enter to win a 32 oz. jar of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil:

To enter this giveaway, subscribe to Tropical Traditions email Sales Newsletter found here.  This is mandatory to enter the giveaway.

Additional entries include:
  • Subscribe to my blog (located on the left of my blog's home page) and tell me if you use coconut oil in your home
  • If you do use coconut oil in your home, tell me what you use it for
  • Follow TT on Twitter @tropicaltraditions and @ttspecialdeals
  • Follow the Curious Mommy on Twitter
  • "Like" TT on Facebook (Please do not post "I was sent by..." on their page)
  • "Like" The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Facebook
  • Grab my blog's button and share (please post link)
  • Repost this giveaway on your fb page and post the link with your entry

This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only and will end 9/6 at midnight.

Good luck to you all,

Mommy Bridget

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Art Pack Giveaway Inspired by Rudi's Sandwich Box Designs-ends 8/19

Art Pack Giveaway
Inspired by Rudi's Sandwich Box Designs

Art Pack Includes:
  • sketch pad
  • beret
  • art kit
  • reusable bag
  • 2 product coupons
During the month of July, 18,500 art designs were submitted to Rudi's Organic Bakery for their sandwich box art contest in support of healthier lunch options in school lunchrooms nationally.  And in conjunction with the art contest, Rudi's Organic Bakery out of Boulder, CO is giving away one of their art packs inspired by Rudi's sandwich box designs on The Curious Case of Mommyhood!  Does your child like art?  This art pack has everything your child will need to get started and inspired by art and healthy meals. 

To enter:

***Also, remember to leave your email address with your comments so you can be reached***

Subscribe to my blog (located on the left side of my home page) and tell me how you keep your child's lunch healthy. This is MANDATORY to enter the giveaway.

Additional Entries:

  • Join the Rudi's Organic Bakery newsletter found here
  • Tell me something about the Rudi's story found here
  • Like The Curious Case of Mommyhood on facebook
  • Follow The Curious Mommy on Twitter
  • Follow The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Google Follower (can be found on my blog's home page)
  • Grab my blog button and share (please post link)
  • repost this giveaway on your facebook page and  post the link with your entry

The giveaway ends August 19th at midnight.  I will contact the winner with 3 days following the giveaway period.  Winner must notify me within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn.

Good luck!!!

The Curious Mommy

Disclaimer: Rudi's Organic Bakery provided me with information of this product to giveaway, and I was under no obligation to host a giveaway it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for a free product.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Please Don't Bring Your Sick Kids Around Here

Ever had this dilemma?  How do you feel about friends or family members bringing their sick and contagious children into your home?  This topic, so widely discussed, has been on my mind for days now while I watch my youngest fight a cold and now while I fight my own.  When is it okay to tell your loved ones to please avoid bringing their cold bugs into your home? 

First of all, I want to say that I am not obsessed with keeping germs away from my children.  When both of my sons were first born, yes, I was quite adamant about visitors washing their hands before they held my sons and I always sanitized my hands when we were out and about.  However, now that my sons are older I purposely don't always wash my hands following a trip to the market where I pushed a grocery cart.  I let my sons go to museums and playgrounds and sometimes forget to have them wash their hands before they consume food.  Despite that this is undoubtedly difficult for me, I force myself to relax a little on the sanitation.  I do this because I know that many germs are good for us.  However, I am not okay with my kids playing with obvious sick children.

Just a few weeks ago I had a long awaited play date set up with a dear friend whose daughter is fighting leukemia.  A few days beforehand a family member brought over his child who was coughing and had a constant runny nose.  I knew right away that I would have to cancel my play date for fear I bring a virus to her home.  And just like a virus's clockwork, my youngest and I both got a cold.  Had I gone to my friend's house for a play date, who knows what could have happened.  As of last week, her daughter's blood test results showed she has absolutely no working immune system at this time.  None.  She is quarantined at the moment. 

While there is plenty of evidence supporting the importance of children being exposed to "bugs" from things like dirt and even fecal matter early on aid in the efficiency of their immune systems later in life, there is NOT evidence to support the exposure to viruses doing the same.  In fact, children exposed to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or bronchitis are more likely to develop asthma later on in life.  According to P.G. Hall and P.D. Sly, Between 50 and 90% of hospitalizations for bronchiolitis amongst children in the U.S. are directly attributable to RSV and substantial increases have been documented recently in admissions in North America, paralleling the spiralling increase which is occurring in asthma in pediatric and adult populations throughout the developed world. (Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2002, Vol. 196, no. 10, 1271-1275)

Influenza or the flu is also known to increase one's risk for asthma.  So when do we draw the line between good germ and bad germ exposure?  I would say when the germs can be spread by inhalation.  So why is there such a stigma in our society when we politely request parents to leave their sick children at home?  Not only would they be doing everyone else a favor, they would be allowing their children to rest and GET BETTER.  I understand that many parents work and struggle with being able to remain home with their ailing babies.  But there are still so many stay at home parents that continue to expose others of their sick children.  I guess the best choice for me now is to avoid inviting those parents into our home altogether.

~Mommy Bridget

Monday, July 9, 2012

Peter Rabbit Organic's Five New Flavors Review

Peter Rabbit Organics Five New Flavors

Once again, we had the pleasure of reviewing Peter Rabbit Organic's delicious organic fruit and veggie puree snacks.  This time, it was my 1 year old son Jude who got to try the new flavors out but not without letting me take a taste for myself.  Jude LOVED them.  He ate them in very little time, convincing me they were tasty before trying them out myself. 
The 5 new flavors are:
  • pear and apple
  • banana and apple
  • pear and pea
  • pumpkin, carrot and apple
  • peach and apple
I was most excited to try out their vegetable and fruit puree snacks since not only do I want my 1 year old eating more vegetables in his diet but I love the way Peter Rabbit Organics blends the two, making a delicious and truly healthy snack.  My son Jude really loved every new flavor with the exception of the pumpkin, carrot and apple.  This was the first time I gave Jude a Peter Rabbit Organic's puree snack since it wasn't that long ago we introduced foods into his diet.  I didn't think he would know how to hold the pouch and how to extract the food but he figured it out in 2.2 seconds.  And he inhaled them! Now every time we go to Starbucks Jude pleads for a Peter Rabbit Organic's puree snack.

I thought the five new flavors by Peter Rabbit Organics were all quite delicious but like Jude felt the pumpkin flavor was less desireable.  However, if you like the taste of pumpkin I am sure you would love this flavor.  I do not like pumpkin...not even pumkin pie!  So it doesn't surprise me my child doesn't agree with it either.

Peter Rabbit Organic's fruit and vegetable puree snacks are available online at, and or in stores at Babies R Us, Albertson's, Starbucks, Publix, Whole Foods, Buy Buy Baby stores and REI.  Cost is relatively low ($1.79 per pouch which contains 4 to 4.4 oz) considering they are made with 100% certified organic ingredients!

Thank you to Peter Rabbit Organics for giving us the opportunity once again to do a fabulous and popular review.

Bridget James


Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipe: Trail Mix Balls

This tasty snack turned out to be a big hit in our home, even with our picky eater so I had to share:
Trail Mix Balls

1/3 cup honey
2 T. water
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 ts. vanilla
3/4 cup rice crispies
3/4 cup rolled oats, toasted
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips-optional
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut
1 T. sesame seeds

First, toast the oats by adding them to a dry skillet on medium-high heat just until golden.  Stir frequently.  Next, add your dry ingredients in a bowl (cereal, oats, chips, seeds and coconut) and mix.  In a small saucepan, mix honey and water on low heat just until it liquifies, then remove and add peanut butter and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour the honey mixture over the dry mixture and stir to coat.  Cover and chill 2 hours.  Roll the mixture into balls using damp hands and return to the fridge until ready to eat.

These are so tasty and packed full of great ingredients.


Mommy Bridget

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Amber Teething Necklace Giveaway Ending Tomorrow at Midnight

For those of you with teething babies or soon to be, this giveaway is really great!  I officially swear by Amber Artisan's teething necklace when it comes to aiding in the relief of teething.  To enter this giveaway, click here to the giveaway post for instructions on entering.

Ends 1/16 at midnight.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Amber Artisan Teething Necklace Review and Giveaway-ends 1/16

Do you have an uncomfortable teething baby on your hands?  If so, then you are going to love this review and giveaway.  Lithuanian Amber Artisans delicately and lovingly hand polished this teething necklace made from ancient, 45 million year old Baltic amber that has been shown to time and time again relieve the symptoms of teething in our little ones.

Amber Artisan's Baltic amber teething necklaces and bracelets are made from all natural amber.  Baltic amber is said to be associated with sunlight and warmth therefore producing a calming effect to those who adorn it.  It also contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which works well with your child's body in reducing the discomfort associated with teething.  The Baltic amber necklace is a great alternative to soothe a teething child then over the counter drugs.  To learn more about Baltic amber's healing properties, go here.

I was so thrilled to do this review because not only have I heard how wonderful and effective this necklace is for teething babies but I also had a teething child on my own hands to try it out.  My son Jude began wearing Amber Artisan's Baltic amber teething necklace when I noticed he was about to begin teething his very first tooth.  He wore it throughout the week he teethed his two bottom teeth and we were happy to say the necklace definitely had a calming effect on our little boy.  He showed increased discomfort only one night, which was the night his first tooth emerged.  After his two bottom teeth were out, we removed the necklace for about a month.  

Then this past week, Jude grew fussy again but since our family was fighting off a stomach flu, I was convinced it had to be the flu irritating him.  Then one evening I just happened to catch a glimpse of the top of his mouth and noticed he has two more teeth creeping their way out so I put Amber Artisan's amber teething necklace back on.  He has worn it every day and night for the past three days and hasn't shown any more signs of discomfort.  The teeth have yet to emerge but are quite close.  I am so pleased that we have not needed to give little Jude any medicine to ease any pain or discomfort associated with teething. 

I do believe this beautifully made and hand crafted necklace has had an effect on our 10 month old and we are very satisfied with the product.  The necklace is the perfect size in that it's not long enough to be of any concern but something Jude can easily and comfortably wear throughout his teething experience.  Amber Artisan's teething necklace is a must have for those of you looking for a safer alternative in dealing with pain associated with teething.  And as a bonus, they look adorable wearing it!

I want to thank Amber Artisans for the opportunity to do this beautiful review of their teething necklace.  From my entire family, and especially from our little Jude, we thank you.

Buy it:
You can purchase Amber Artisan's teething necklace or any of their other products directly from their web site here.  The teething necklaces come in two sizes and cost approximately $23.

Win it:
Amber Artisans is giving away a teething necklace to one lucky reader of The Curious Case of Mommyhood!  The winner can choose any style, color and size they prefer.  Open worldwide.

To Enter:
***Also, remember to leave your email address with your comments so you can be reached*** 
Subscribe to my blog (located on the left side of my home page) and tell me another safe alternative for relieving the pain of teething.  This is MANDATORY to enter the giveaway.

You also have the opportunity for additional entries (one each) if you do any of the following:
  • follow The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Google Follower
  • grab my blog button and share (please post link)  
  • tell me what you currently use or have used in the past for teething
  • like The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Facebook
  • tell me a product you like of Amber Artisans
  • repost this giveaway on your facebook page and post the link with your entry
  • follow The Curious Mommy on Twitter
  • tell me something else about Amber Artisans
Again, please be sure to leave your email address with each entry.
You have until January 16th at midnight to enter.
Good luck to you all,

Mommy Bridget 

Amber Artisan's teething necklace was provided to me by Amber Artisans for review.  All opinions on the products are purely my own (please see my disclosure on my "Reviews" page for more information).