Preparing For Our First Back-To-School Mornings

I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but Essley starts preschool in just a few weeks. (Wait, didn’t I just give birth to the kid, like, last week?) And while I suppose I can’t really use the term “back-to-school” to apply to us, since this is technically our first school adventure and it’s not like we’re going back to anything, we’ve been getting into back-to-school mode around here. The preschool Essley is attending is part of the public school system here, so it follows the same calendar as older grades and has some of the same requirements in terms of school supplies, etc. So while it’s only a two day a week program and the students are all two-and-a-half and three year olds, it feels pretty official.

I’m admittedly both excited and nervous, as I always tend to be with “first times” when it comes to my kids, and we want Essley to look forward to going to school, so we’ve been practicing a routine that, naturally, begins with our mornings. I work from home so we’ve gotten pretty used to leisurely mornings that often involve moving slowly, making semi-elaborate breakfasts (especially when Robbie, our house chef, is home between the band’s tours), and lots of time spent in pajamas. Recently we’ve breaking out of that mold in preparation for school by getting dressed and washed up right away, and eating nutritious but simple breakfasts that take less time, like Essley’s favorite, Cheerios with organic fruit. After breakfast Essley usually runs directly to her backpack, puts it on, and loudly proclaims that it’s time to go to school. Establishing this morning routine has been beneficial for all of us. It’s actually kind of fun.

We’ve also been preparing for the back-to-school mornings (and school in general) by shopping for breakfast and after school snack items at Costco. In addition to having everything we need, Costco is currently running a really cool Box Top special called the Golden Box Tops Challenge, where, by purchasing specially marked General Mills products with 8 Box Tops (like Essley’s beloved Cheerios), you can enter to win an additional 100 eBoxTops (!!!). This may be our first year but we’re already well aware of how Box Tops help raise money for and bring major classroom benefits to schools, so this is a really wonderful way for us to get ourselves prepared for getting involved, even at the Pre-K level. And if you don’t have a lot of extra time or money to devote to your kids’ schools, Box Tops are an incredible way to contribute through items that you already have on your grocery list. We’ve also been teaching Essley how Box Tops can help her school, and together we make a game out of cutting them out and putting them into a basket that she’ll be able to bring to her school later on. We have also, of course, entered the Golden Box Tops Challenge. You can enter too! Just click here to learn how, along with more about the prizes and participating products. We think it’s pretty great.

While I’m by no means a back-to-school expert (you honestly can’t get more “beginner” than me if we’re being honest here), for my fellow new-to-school preschooler moms and dads, I highly recommend getting a head start on your school mornings if you can. Even our simple routine of getting up at an established time, getting dressed, making and eating an easy but healthy breakfast, brushing teeth, and encouraging Essley as she pretends to head to school for the day, along with other back-to-school activities like participating in Costco’s Golden Box Tops Challenge, has made the whole experience feel like a something to get excited about instead of dread.

Do any of you have kids heading to preschool this fall? Who else collects Box Tops?


Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. This post is sponsored by Costco Golden Box Tops and Acorn.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Enter Tiki’s Birthday Giveaway for a #MuttNation Prize Pack!

Today we’re celebrating Tiki’s eighth Gotcha Day, the anniversary of her adoption from Texas Humane Heroes! We thought what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway of products from…



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DogTipper

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Population control

population control


Natural History

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Baby Emmett Update

First of all, thank you so much for the comments here on the blog, emails, messages, and comments on Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook offering up your good vibes, prayers, and positive energy in Emmett’s direction. (For those who aren’t aware of what’s going on, you can see the original post right here.) I can’t tell you what it means to our family to know that so many people are focusing on love and health for our little babe. As I said before, I genuinely believe in the power of positive collective thought because I’ve seen it work. I have no doubt that this is part of the reason Emmett is improving. If you can, please keep sending your prayers and healing vibes our way. We are so grateful.

I haven’t posted an update since the original post last Monday because at this point, it’s difficult to give one. We just don’t know enough yet. The medication has – so far – stopped any visible seizures, and that is absolutely wonderful. It only took a few days to stop them, which is also wonderful. However, as soon as we thought we were five whole days seizure free and in a place to start the long (six-ish week) wean, he had another episode that, while we aren’t completely certain was a seizure, looked enough like one that we had to postpone the wean for four more days. Studies have shown that the medication working quickly is key to having a chance at a better prognosis (unlike other types of epilepsy, this type is incredibly dangerous in that as the seizures go on, more and more brain damage accrues and the chances for severe physical and/or cognitive disabilities increase), so this was a disappointment, but it was more of a small bump in the road than anything majorly concerning. We began the wean on Monday, and so far, things are going well. I almost don’t want to type that because I don’t want to jinx it, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the positive things that are happening. We are so incredibly grateful that it seems to be possibly working for our boy. Regardless, it will be a long road, with a 50% chance of the seizures eventually returning in the first year – but if it is working now, it is a major step in the right direction.

On Wednesday afternoon we took Emmett to be hooked up to a 48 hour video EEG that is currently running in our house. This afternoon he will be removed from it, and Monday we have a doctor appointment to see the results. (Damn you, weekend, for making us have to wait so long!) Even though his seizures appear to be gone, until his brain waves normalize, we can’t say for the sure that the medication is working. I’m certain I won’t be able to sleep until after that doctor appointment – not that I can sleep anyway with Emmett on this medication. Man does this stuff make babies cranky. I mean miserably, inconsolably cranky. In addition to just making them feel like crap, it causes severe weight gain and an insatiable appetite, extreme anxiety, acid reflux (we’ve tried two medications to deal with that so far and he still has to nurse sitting up and sleep in one our laps sitting up all night long), and other side effects. Poor dude also has a tooth about to pop through, and, as we came to find out after taking him to the pediatrician Wednesday, an ear infection (this medication also greatly suppresses the immune system). This medication is both a hero and a villain. It can save babies, or at the very least give a possibility of helping their prognosis. But it also strips them (temporarily I am told, thank goodness) of their smiles and laughs and desire to play and interact and replaces those things with constant moaning, crying, screaming, and restlessness. Every time we see even a half smile appear on his face, it brings tears of joy to our eyes. For real.

As horrific as this disease may be, it has already changed us in ways for which we have to be grateful. I cannot imagine ever taking anything for granted with my children again. Or with life in general. I can’t believe the trivial things I worried about before this started. I can’t believe the things I complained about either. Those newborn nights that felt like endless torture were a pleasure cruise in comparison to this! Family, friends, love, simple moments – that is all that matters anymore. I’ve always felt this way, of course, but now I am forced to realize it every single second. Any sort of glimpse of normal I can get feels like a beautiful luxury as well.

And speaking of “normal,” as much as caring for Emmett (and making sure his sister is doing well and not adversely affected by this) is a full time job right now, Robbie and I will both have to return work sooner than later. (Robbie did have to leave for a couple of days last weekend for work, but has mostly been able to take time off since we were initially admitted to the hospital. And thank goodness his mom flew in to stay and help out for the first two weeks so I didn’t have to be alone.) Reality is reality, and medical bills are no joke, insurance or otherwise. We simply have to be bringing in income right now. On top of that, feeling some sort of normalcy is important as well (and something that really resonated with me when we visited a therapist last week to try to make sense of the emotional aspects of this), and that includes working. As you guys know, I partner with brands on a regular basis to produce content here, which is the main way I make my living. I’m very lucky in that the agencies with whom I work have been incredibly understanding and allowed me to break my contracts and cancel my sponsored posts this month to focus on my family. But I will need to produce income again, so depending on what we find out at the neurologist Monday, the plan is to start posting here again in September. It won’t be everyday, and may only end up being a couple of posts a week, or even less. But I do plan to make this space active again, on some level. (I actually have one sponsored post scheduled for the last day of August, and while it took several days of broken up periods of work to be able to put it together, it felt good to focus on something that gave me even a small sense of normalcy.)

I’m going to end things here for now. This is admittedly a poorly written, run-on of a post, but I’m going to leave it as it because it’s real and I’m not in a place where I care much about things being perfect right now. Again, I appreciate you all keeping Emmett in your thoughts and prayers more than I can say. While I do occasionally post personal things here, I try to make it a space separate from my life with my family. Right now though, what’s going on with my family is everything, and I feel compelled to share some of it because, yet again, I believe in the power of collective positive energy. Please cross your fingers hards for positive EEG results on Monday. I will keep you posted here and/or on Instagram as I’m able.

(The top picture was taken two weeks ago, after we got back from the hospital. Although my little man looks as adorable as ever right now all chunky monkey-like from his medication and all wrapped up in bandages around his head from the EEG, I’d just rather share a photo where he’s looking more his regular old self.)

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Get a Free RUN TO RESCUE Bracelet for #NationalDogDay – Pay S/H only!

Friday is National Dog Day…a time to fetch all the fun you can handle with your dog! We’re celebrating with a very special (and short!) sale: we’ve got FREE Run to Rescue Bracelets…



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DogTipper

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How To Age Like a Rock God

Last night I got to rock out at the last North American stop of the Guns n Roses “Not in This Lifetime” tour. In a moment that made me realize just how old I’ve gotten, I realized the last time they played San Diego- in 1992- I was also there. I was in high school, high on life (and probably a few other things unintentionally, as tended to happen at those arena shows), idealistic about the future. Guns n Roses was the biggest name in rock at the time, at the height of their fame and the zenith of their success.

Things fell apart for them shortly thereafter.

Axl Rose spent the next two decades litigating with his former bandmates, holed up in a mansion somewhere getting plastic surgery and churning out less than awesome music. While his star faded, the rest of us went on with our lives, going to school and having careers and starting families. You know, growing up. Such is life.

I had low expectations for the show, to be honest. The band fell apart due to Axl’s temperamental nature and the shows often started three hours late and ended after one or two songs. When he was on, he was ON, and the rest of the time he was a disaster. He was the rock god equivalent of the vet who burns out in a flame of glory and leaves veterinary medicine forever to hole up on a lake somewhere to nurse their wounds in solitude. (Not that I know what that urge feels like, of course.)

I was not the only one who gave this reunion short shrift. The first time he walked out on stage at a warmup show, he broke his foot and everyone said, “Oh, here we go. This is going to be a disaster.” There’s a reason Spinal Tap was a cautionary tale, they said. Once you leave something great, you’re done. You can never go back. This is no longer going to happen:

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The murmurings were nonstop: Axl’s had a ton of plastic surgery. He looks old (hint: he is, as are we all.) His voice isn’t the same. He can’t move his hips the way he did when he was 20. The band still all hates each other.

All of this is true.

via GIPHY

But they went out there anyway, and played a monster three hour set despite the creaky joints and the lower octaves. They came out on time and nailed everything. It was like being back in 1992 except even better because I can legally drink! When’s the last time you sat in a packed stadium arena listening to a power ballad with fireworks onstage and a 10 minute guitar solo? It was before cell phones for sure. And it was awesome. Yes, things changed, but a lot of those changes were for the better.

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There’s actually something super metal about getting old and refusing to let people stop you from all the stuff you’ve been told you can’t do any longer. About getting up in front of a PACKED stadium with your face looking exactly like what everyone said it would look like and singing about your serpentine with your hips moving exactly two inches in either direction and waiting for the cameras to zoom in on your before flipping everyone the bird- and hearing them all cheer. That takes some brass ones, my friends.

In 2012, a reporter asked him if Guns n Roses would ever get back together and he replied, “Not in this lifetime.”And yet here we are, a little older, a little wrinklier, a little wiser, and clutching our Zippo apps that won’t burn your fingers in lieu of the actual lighters.

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You can change your mind. You can go back. You can embrace what time has changed and laugh about it and refuse to apologize for it and kind of love it. It’s the only way to live, really.

I never in a million years would have thought Axl Rose would be doling out inspirational life messages at 54 years of age but I guess I was wrong too. It’s never to late to burn down the house.

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Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Gender-specific pens and the ensuing hilarity and sarcasm

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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NJ Vet, Dr. Lisa Aumiller, is 1 of 20 nominees for America’s Favorite Vet through the American Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA…

Dr. Lisa Aumiller of HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service 

in Mt.  afv blogLaurel, NJ, has been nominated for America’s Favorite Vet.  She’s the only vet from New Jersey, and I’m hoping to help her bring the title home!

The winner becomes the spokesperson on behalf of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, AVMF, which is the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA. This is not a paid position!  And there is not a vet I know more qualified and dedicated, and would wholeheartedly represent the betterment of care for animals, promote advocacy, and inspire fundraising more than Dr. Lisa Aumiller!

She is a mobile vet and is known for visiting sick pets past 11 pm, starting her schedule earlier than planned, and arriving in the worst snowstorms to make sure her patients are seen. Additionally, Dr. Lisa has two hospital facilities if parents prefer to bring their pets for traditional vet visits.

Her practice focuses on integrative care and wellness, and with the latest technology, she is able to perform cold laser therapy, acupuncture, x-rays, ultrasound, and the like, for pets in the comfort of their own homes!

Dr. Lisa personally speaks to parents, texts and emails them, yes, personally, from her cell phone if need be!  Do your pet parents have their vet’s cell phone number?  Do you?  I do… that’s right!  When she is the veterinarian of a furry baby in my care, I can reach out to her anytime.  What vet does this??? Dr. Lisa Aumiller of HousePaws Mobile Vet does  : ) 

She is also most charitable and benevolent with providing medical care to animals, working with over 40 rescues, and is so extremely giving of her time with outreach, raising awareness about wellness and nutrition, holding complimentary educational seminars for pet parents, pet sitters and professionals, free dental screenings and wellness events for pets in the community, and workshops for children.  She held a Martin Luther King, Jr. community service project bringing everyone together to bake healthy treats for homeless animals and a workshop making environmentally-friendly toys to donate to animals in shelters, and continuously sponsors similar events.  She brings live animals and education to children at schools, teaching respect and proper care of animals, provides extensive, complimentary medical care for animals in a makeover project for homeless dogs in a collaborative effort with groomers to facilitate adoptions, and does microchipping for donations, while the community chooses a different nonprofit charity to receive the donations each month.  And for years, Dr. Lisa has been writing an informative column for the county newspaper and answering parents’ questions.

Dr. Lisa’s positive and upbeat personality inspires the community to volunteer; families come together for fun days, pets are welcome and spend quality time with their parents, and everyone enjoys fundraising endeavors!  She’s currently sponsoring events to bring the first local dog park to Riverton, NJ, and strongly encourages pet-friendly social activities by hosting doggie dips for furry babies to enjoy a swim, Yappy Hours sipping Puptinis, and Pup and Me Yoga!

With her down-to-earth personality and philosophy of teamwork, you get to engage with Dr. Lisa and the incredibly friendly staff at HousePaws at the various events, not only when your pet is ill, so you connect on a personal level, feel much more comfortable and truly cared about in time of need!

Year round Dr. Lisa and HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service raise a tremendous amount of money for The Boo Tiki Fund, a non-profit charity where parents may apply for a grant for veterinary care to avoid having to put their beloved pet to sleep, to end suffering by improving their quality of life, even preventing a pet being relinquished to a shelter because a family cannot afford medical care.  And that’s even just a portion of what I’m aware!

My personal experience with Dr. Lisa Aumiller is that she never says no!!!  Her practice has been the main sponsor for South Jersey’s Annual Pet Wellness Symposium I organize and host, and she immediately said yes when asked if she was interested in becoming the certified vet for trainings when a Fido Bag is donated, another voluntary position!  For the past few years, Dr. Lisa has been providing first responders the necessary training to utilize pet-specific oxygen masks and Animal CPR / first aid so animals now have a chance to survive a fire or disaster.  I’ve also brought her animals from the street when other vets recommended euthanasia and she provided life-saving surgery, knowing I hadn’t even begun to raise donations yet.  Another animal I literally took from a cage at another vet’s office who they scheduled to be euthanized!  Dr. Lisa allowed him to live at her hospital until I found a home.  And who do you think took care of him on the weekends and evenings when the staff were off?  That’s right, Dr. Lisa Aumiller herself!  I’ve emailed, texted, called Dr. Lisa countless occasions regarding my personal pet as well as pets in my care in the evening, weekends, holidays, and she always took the time to answer my questions and ensure the pets received appropriate care.

I thank her every opportunity I get for always taking the time to help because not only did it benefit the animals in my care, but Dr. Lisa helped me to become a more educated and skilled pet sitter!

Too good to be true, right?  That’s what I thought when I first met her… But it continued and just gets better and better; hence, her earning the title of a “Veterinary Angel” with me as well as so many others!

Although you may not live in New Jersey, I highly recommend you vote for Dr. Lisa as there is no doubt she will inspire other  vets and set a precedence that being a veterinarian doesn’t stop at treating animals… it’s just the beginning!  Animals desperately need Dr. Lisa Aumiller’s voice as the AVMF’s spokesperson; she needs your vote to make it happen.  Again this is not a paid position, rather, an extension of a vet’s dedication to outreach and education!
HousePawsFinalJan2014
      Click here for the ballot to vote…  vote for Dr. Lisa Aumiller.   You may vote daily until Tuesday, Sept. 1st.  Animals need Dr. Lisa and HousePaws Mobile Vet… and she needs your votes to win!!!
        Learn more about America’s Favorite Vet
To visit HousePaws Facebook Page


PetsitUSA Blog

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Consumer Search Names Halo Spot’s Stew Best Canned Cat Food for 2016

Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe for CatsWe’re thrilled that Consumer Search, once again, named Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe canned cat food the best canned cat food.

They gave it high marks for being grain-free, having high-quality ingredients and lacking artificial preservatives.

In their analysis, they like that, “Halo Spot’s Stew packs high-quality meats and veggies into a stew that looks like people food. The company has a spotless safety record and use no questionable ingredients or fillers. The cans are BPA free, too.”

Thank you Consumer Search for reviewing our product and for naming us one of the best cat foods for the second year in a row.

Halo

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The Curious Incident of the Levitating Chihuahua in the Day-Time

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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