Friday Faves Childhood Cancer Edition

When our sweet, 10-month-old Hayes was diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Carcinoma in January of 2016, our world completely shattered. Unbearable, extended hospital stays that separated our family made it difficult to maintain any sense of normality! The side effects of chemo and the constant anxiety of possible unexpected hospital admissions meant worry and sleep deprivation for the entire family. And through it all there was an underlying and unspoken worry that we might lose our son, our baby.
To say this was a hard time in our lives is an understatement. But what got us through was the incredible outpouring of support and love from our friends and family. It helped ease the painful blow that was our journey through childhood cancer.

I often get asked by people what they should do to help families with a newly diagnosed child with cancer. On the HayesTough blog I recently shared 10 ways to help an entire warrior family. Here is the link to read more on that, but for today’s Friday Faves, in honor of Brain Tumor Awareness Month, I am sharing some of the necessities for the child going through treatment. I unfortunately know what a difference they make. Each of the things I am sharing were amazing for Hayes’ quality of life and if you happen to have the heart breaking experience of having a child close to you diagnosed, these will hopefully bring them comfort as well. So to start the list off, Hayes’ aromatherapy stuffed puppy was a life changer!  It is one of those things that truly brought him comfort.  It is weighted, can be heated, frozen and the smell relaxed him when he was stressed.


Aromatherapy Puppy


Aromatherapy Hippo

An interesting thing that happens when you walk into a hospital is this immediate hit of the chemical smell.  I hated it so much.  It depressed me to smell something so stale.  I know it can be worse, but it was hard for both of Hayes and me.  So I began bringing in aromatherapy wall plug ins.  I had one of those plug in wax warmers and I would drop about 10 drops of my favorite essential oil and then fill it with water and turn on the light. Without question, Hayes’ room always smelled like home.

Wall Plug In

Frankincense Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil

Another little known fact about childhood cancer warriors, if they have what is called a port, you have to “access” it every time you need to draw blood or administer medication.  This entails sticking a large thick needle through the skin to the tube that lies just beneath the skin.  It gave me anxiety, so I can only imagine how it is for these sweet kids.  I also sometimes had to give Hayes shots at home.  These two favorites were so helpful for all of these scary polks.  I even was able to give Hayes a few shots while he slept without him waking up screaming.  Made such a difference.

The Buzzy

Shot Blocker

The next thing is this lullaby night light elephant.  While he was sleeping, the comfort of having that sweet music next to him in bed brought Hayes some normalcy and consistency each night and nap time.

Night Light Lullaby Elephant 

The last thing is one of those tragic mecessities I wish I didn’t know about.  From the outside this may seem extremely simple, but I could hardly supply enough in my house.  Poor Hayes would vomit all over the bed in the middle of the night and all I can say is thank goodness for Chux!  I would lay one of these down in his crib and if he threw up on it in the middle of his sleep I could slide it out from under him, throw it away and slip another one underneath him.  All without having to wake him much.  These were SO helpful!  They have also become my go to for my other kids when they have the stomach bug.

Disposable Changing Pad

*Many of these things I include in our comfort kits that we supply to cancer warriors on our website. Go there to donate a comfort kit to a child in need!

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What We Wore: Family Photos

Is there anything more annoyingly stressful than choosing out outfits for a family photo shoot?  It is so unimportant, but I care!  I have been able to come up with a little system in picking family outfits.  I usually have one person wear a busy, patterned outfit or stand out color, that is the first outfit I figure out.  Then I highlight with other colors from the pattern or that subtlety compliment.  I work around the pattern and do subtle textures and slight patterns from there.  Sounds easy enough, but gees…it sucks!  

I started out with my dress.  I mentioned it before, but I love this Target find!  It is so flattering on and I feel like it was the perfect springboard for the rest of the outfits.  

I am so happy with these photos. I was so nervous to take pictures without Hayes, but no doubt I will find a way to incorporate him forever!  The giant green balloon was the perfect representation of him for these pictures!  While there were hard moments, I felt Hayes close. Plus, if you look closely, in some pictures his little orb is ever present! Here is to conquering fears and seeing the beauty in the outcome!  Which one is your favorite?

My outfit

Dress /  Under Slip / Shoes


Steve’s Outfit

Top / Pants / Shoes


Bo’s Outfit

Top / Pants / Shoes


Mia’s Outfit – Old Navy Dress no longer available

Similar Dress / Similar Dress / Similar Dress   / Sandals


Wes’ Outfit

Linen Shirt / Shorts


Reese’s Outfit (similar romper below)

Denim Romper / White Skirt / shoes


Heath’s Outfit

Shirt / Shorts / Shoes


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Currently Loving Friday Faves

On some of my recent Instagram posts I have been asked about each of these.  So I am divulging some of my current faves in my closet and makeup drawer.  Guys, this is super random but for reals, I am obsessed with each of these! The truth is revealed, I am shallow on Fridays!  Here’s to the weekend! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

I used this back pack for my trip to D.C. It is made for a laptop but it has lots of compartments and the color is so dang cute.  So for those that asked, here is the bag/purse I used.


Laptop Back Pack

I am in love with these shoes.  Like beyond obsessed.  They are wedge sneakers and the fact that they are converse just makes me that much more in love with them. I have them in white too, they are that perfect!

Wedge Converse 

White Wedge Converse

Currently loving all of these!

Flowy Top

Black Overalls

Muscle Tank

I have also tried so many different mascaras, but this one is no question my favorite.

Mascara

I have used a lot of different self tanners and recently started using this because it is cheaper than the others. So far I am liking it.  Foam is essential for me and a good mitt is necessary as well.

Self Tanner

Tanning Mitt

I hope you all have a great weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day.  I think as random as this post is, it is a good indicator that I am trying to keep myself slightly distracted this weekend.  Not that it is necessarily going to be more difficult than any other weekend, because every day is hard.  But, having the label of “Mother’s Day” is a constant reminder.  Thank you all for reading through my mindless Friday posts. Happy weekend.

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Friday Faves: Triplet Baby Survival Guide

Two years ago yesterday we brought our babies home from the NICU.  It is stirring up all kinds of emotions for me.  As you may notice, I call my babies “babies” still. Honestly, I hate to admit it, but they actually are toddlers and a stage of my life that I love is quickly coming to a close! Mothering babies is honestly a joy to me. I could have 100 babies and it wouldn’t be enough. I had just finished up delivering my Triplets and my OBGYN asked me if I wanted my tubes tied while I was laying on the surgical table still open from the c-section. I of course said “Yes” because what woman in her right mind has babies 4, 5 & 6, all at once mind you, and doesn’t feel satisfied.  


I remember the babies were in the NICU and I mourned, literally cried over being done having babies. I HAD 3 BABIES!!! Well, I still feel that I want more and now birthing babies is impossible. Ugh!! I seriously probably have issues! Addicted to having babies has got to be an actual issue that I have.  

I digress though, it is time to start getting rid of baby items and I have been able to reflect on the items that seriously saved us during infancy with the triplets. The things that I am telling you about were life changing. We could not have made it through the chaos that is triplets without each of these. And in most cases, 3 of each of these!


First off, my babies all had acid reflux. I had three angry and uncomfortable babies. I am telling you now, if you are expecting a baby, you NEED the rock n play in your life. Your baby will be the happiest baby in the neighborhood. We had all three babies sleeping through the night by 3 months and I owe it all to the Fisher Price Auto Rock-N-Play. I am willing to give mothering credit where it is due and it is not due to me. No questions asked, Hands Down!

Fisher Price Auto Rock-N-Play

Next, when you have multiples, as it turns out, feeding them is kind of hard. I only have 2 boobs so one baby was always angry during feeding time. After about a month I realized that I couldn’t nurse 3 babies. I felt guilty, but I just physically could not grow a third boob! So I pumped while the babies took bottles filled with my milk. The beautiful discovery was boppy pillows. I would lay my babies on their sides, put a bottle in their mouths and have it propped in. GAME. CHANGER! Get one now!


Boppy Pillow

And on that same note, like I said, I would pump while I fed my babies.  Because I needed my hands while I pumped, I got hands free pumping bras, aka sexy, I am leaking milk out of my boobs, bra.  Great for a night out on the town also!  Because pumping and feeding babies took so long, this is the only way I could do it.  


Hands Free Pumping Bra

The next thing is Aden and Anais swaddling blankets. These are THE best and I can say that because I am definitely a swaddling expert. Not kidding. I could get a doctorate in swaddling, for sure. I remember when Bo was a baby and I swaddled him literally until he was 11 months old. He was a giant baby so when I swaddled him he looked like a yardstick. I joked that when he went to college his roommate was going to have to swaddle him before bed. He slept so much better when he was swaddled so I dreaded the day he was done.

Aden and Anais Swaddling Blankets

So have you seen these frightening little things? They are from Sweden and they are pretty awesome. So bear with me, they sound frightening because you actually suck the snot out of their noses, but it never goes into your mouth. It just sucks it into this little storage bottle! Gross I know. It really is, but you know how frustrating it is when your baby can’t breathe?! This saves you!

Snot Sucker

Next items were for when the babies were a little older. If you have ever seen a triplet stroller, you know how annoying they are. Wide and heavy and SO expensive! $1000 expensive. I could not justify such a huge expense for something that was going to be used for such a short amount of time. We already had a double stroller and after researching endlessly I found this amazing contraption that hooks onto the back of most strollers. You can turn a single stroller into a double and a double stroller into a triple. It is amazing. Plus it has a seatbelt so that your little humans can’t escape! So so worth it, I am telling you!




Universal Attachable Stroller Seat

I got this extender for the handle so that my feet didn’t run into the little cart. I think it is worth it!

Stroller Handle Extender

Last recommendation I have is the Snuza baby monitor.  When the triplets were first born they spent 45 days in the NICU.  They were hooked up to monitors the whole time so when it was time to bring them home I was scared to death to not have those monitors to rely on.  To ease my mind I bought 3 of these.  They monitor movement and breathing and an alarm will sound if for some reason they aren’t ok.  They are pricy but so worth it!  Steve at first thought I was being crazy, but I am sure looking back he is on board!

Snuza Baby Movement Monitor

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Friday Faves: Mom Life Festival Styles

It’s Friday!  Are you ready for my shallow post for the week? No need to bring out the tissues! Just break out the wallet cause I found you some dresses that I am currently obsessed with and a few I have already added to my wardrobe! They are the perfect mix of stylish and mom. I am a big believer that you don’t have to spend a lot to look good. To be honest, I rarely spend over $35 on an outfit because in my opinion, it is probably only going to be in style for a couple of seasons, so no guilt if it is out of style next year! So here is my stylish and affordable post. Win win! Read More

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Friday Faves: Easter Edition

FullSizeRender 20
 One of my favorite days of the year is coming up this Sunday! I love Easter!  I feel like all of my posts lately have been so heavy, it is slightly refreshing to not dig deep and just do a shallow post…to not cry while I type!  Friday’s seem to be the perfect day for those.  A kick off to the happiness of the weekend!
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Friday Faves: Hospital Spa Edition

When Hayes was up at Primary Children’s hospital we stayed in the area of the hospital that was just for oncology patients. The 4th floor, ICS wing that was completely isolated from the rest of the hospital to keep the cancer patients safe from others sickness and infection. There was no privacy and personal care became of little importance.

Read More

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