Friday, February 23, 2018

Cleft Palate Isn't So Scary

When I was pregnant with my youngest son, we were told he would have a few “issues” when he was born. Clubfoot which was a fairly easy fix and cleft palate which was also supposed to be something common that could be repaired over time. We were referred to a cleft palate clinic nearby and started appointments before he was born. This was a great help considering we didn’t have a baby with cleft palate and we didn’t know anyone who went through the same thing.

Of course, we had a million questions and everyone at the cleft palate clinic was extremely helpful, very friendly and optimistic! We spoke with the different specialists they have available for patients and learned a great deal about cleft and what to expect. From speech therapists to hearing specialists to dentists, we started to understand what we were dealing with. (It certainly isn’t as scary as it may seem!)

Our son was born the day before Mother’s Day in 2010 in an ambulance. I must have waited a little too long to call the hospital because a minute after I hung up, my water broke! It ended up he was born just a few miles away from home, in an ambulance and he was healthy as can be! I couldn’t have asked for an easier birth or nicer “doctors and nurses”. A young EMT said, “Um, he’s very healthy and adorable but, he does seem to have something wrong with his lip!” I explained that I was already aware of the cleft and they seemed relieved. This was their first childbirth so they were just ecstatic he was OK.

When we got to the hospital, our family doctor met with us after Deegan was looked over and said, “You know, he doesn’t even have cleft palate. He has cleft lip.” Shortly after this, a cleft palate specialist came to visit and he was just delighted by Deegan’s big dimples and calm demeanor. He discussed the surgeries he would need and gave me information on his appointment at the cleft palate clinic. Everything went smoothly! It was a little hard to get him to eat at first but we eventually figured this out too. (They do make special bottles for cleft babies so there is no need to be alarmed!)

Deegan after his surgery and stitches.

A few months after his cleft surgery!

Deegan is 7 now and has had his surgeries for his club foot and cleft lip and is just left with a little scar and no cupid’s bow. His speech is fine, he does sometimes ask about why his nose is a little different than his brothers or sisters and he recently noticed that he has a slightly different upper lip than his siblings. This makes me sad and we try to focus on keeping his self esteem and confidence up and often! He seems to understand what happened. He actually seems to be very proud of himself for getting through surgeries and overcoming everything and he should be! Most recently, however, we are seeing the effects that his cleft lip has had on his teeth.

Children and even adults who were born with cleft palate or cleft lip can run into a lot of problems with their teeth. It is very important to find a good dentist who has experience with cleft palate because these children do require special care. Some cleft palate clinics will have a dental team on hand but if you don’t have a clinic nearby, finding a trustworthy dentist with experience could be a chore.

They do suggest to make an appointment with a dentist like Karl Jobst Grove OK before any teeth come in. This way, they can start to evaluate what may be needed in the near future. The amount of dental care depends on the severity of the cleft palate or cleft lip. Some may not be as noticeable until after their first teeth appear. From what we are discovering, some may only start after the baby teeth start to come out and the adult teeth start to come in. Whatever your baby might need, do not be alarmed! With proper dental care and treatment, babies with cleft palate and cleft lip will be just fine and can look perfectly fine too. Just like with everything, you might just need a little extra work to get there.

Deegan’s baby teeth came in OK. There are a few that never came in. However, after transferring to our family dentist and he had X-rays, they noted that all but a couple of his adult teeth would come in just fine. So far they have been with the exception of the exact spot where his cleft lip was. We are in the process of moving back to the clinic to hopefully schedule his treatments and surgeries in the future.

It is very important to take very good care of your children’s teeth at home, whether they were born with cleft or not. Brush 2 times 2 times per day! When they are a little older, mouthwash and floss are also extremely important! Our rule is; brush after breakfast and before bed and use mouthwash and floss! There are so many options and flavors to make brushing your teeth fun! One of our favorites is the mouthwash that shows the little particles in the sink so you can see that it’s working. We also have our favorite brands of toothpaste and each kid has their own favorite flavors. (Deegan loves orange and strawberry flavors the most.) Toothpaste with fluoride is especially helpful for maintaining healthy, strong teeth. Our town does not have fluoride in our water so we also opt for multivitamins with fluoride.

Children who were born with cleft lip or cleft palate will be at greater risk for cavities. You can thank weaker enamel and less effective saliva for this. This is something we struggle with and something I’m hoping will be easier for others after more studies are done. It was recently discovered that children born with cleft lip or cleft palate also have abnormal development in salivary gland ducts and they can not properly pump the buffering liquid and protective immune compounds into their mouths.

Saliva is crucial to a healthy mouth. Saliva contains the essential immune compounds that fight tooth decay. A few years ago when Deegan’s baby teeth started to come in, we noticed that one tiny tooth that was located directly where his lip was affected, wasn’t altogether there. We mentioned this to our dentist but he said that with proper brushing he should be fine. When that baby tooth came out we expected to see another tooth shortly after but, it never showed up. There was also a tooth that seemed to be a cavity as soon as it came in. I was pleased to read about their new findings and that they will be continuing research because this could end up opening new doors for both children and adults who struggle with tooth decay, cavities, or any other dental issues.

If you are looking into a career as a dentist or a dental hygienist, please check into Karl Jobst! Maybe you could end up helping to further research on salivary glands that would benefit children and adults born with cleft palate or cleft lip. Not only would this help ease the financial burden on families of these kids, it will help their smiles become bigger and brighter!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil GIveaway

** I received free samples in return for my honest review and promoting a giveaway. All opinions are my own. **

Tea Tree Oil has been know to be very beneficial. It well-known for its powerful antiseptic properties and ability to treat wounds. And for over seven decades, it’s been documented in numerous medical studies to kill many strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi. (Source) It is becoming popular to help things like acne, clean your scalp, a household cleaner, and more. Era Organics has created a face cleaner and cream that is balanced, healthier and can clear your skin without harsh chemicals. Introducing Era Organics Tea Tree Oil Cleanser made for oily, acne prone skin with 7 natural acne-fighting ingredients in one bottle. Their pH balanced face and body wash is made for men, women and teens looking to fight pimples, back acne and oily skin with natural and organic ingredients proven to cleanse pores, reduce blemishes, soothe inflammation and reduce redness.

How It Works:

  • Wash away excess oils, dirt, build-up and dead skin cells while nourishing the skin.
  • Naturally antimicrobial to kill acne-cause bacteria.
  • Moisturize to the base of the skin while boosting its ability to heal and recover.
  • Soothe inflammation and redness while promoting healthy blood flow
  • Open clogged pores and shed dead skin cells to fight blackheads
  • Soften your skin while improving skin texture for balanced, more supple complexion.
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It is safe and effective. The sulfate free cleanser is made with natural and organic, food-grade ingredients. Wash with confidence without chemicals, toxins, paraben free, perfume free and SLS free. Cruelty free, made in the USA. Fight pimples, blackheads and breakouts in minutes a day. ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser moisturizing facial cleanser is made for all skin types to help balance oils, reduce redness, nourish to the base of your skin and help fight acne causing bacteria.

About ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cream:

Extra Strength Nourishing Formula- Most acne treatments are too harsh on the skin, leading to irritation, redness or dry skin. This facial cream is formulated to soothe, nourish and hydrate oily skin, dry skin or combination skin. Perfect for men, women and teens!

It has ingredients your skin will love. They combine powerful natural and organic ingredients to nourish and balance the skin, including: St. John’s Wort, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Salicylic, Zinc, Burdock Root, Dandelion Root & Goldenseal. The natural face moisturizer is non comedogenic, cruelty free and vegan friendly. To make sure people with sensitive skin can use it, it’s also paraben free, non-toxic, no hormone disruptors and gentle – yet effective. You can purchase many different products from ERA Organics on Amazon. The more you buy, the more you save:
  • Save 20% on Qualifying items offered by Era Organics when you purchase 2 or more. Enter code ERA20VAL at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
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Now for the giveaway! There will be 2 winners - each winner will receive the ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser and Face Cream. This giveaway is open to residents of the US only. It will end on 3/1/18 at 1159pm EST. Good Luck! Enter below:
ERA Organics is responsible for fulfilling the prize.

Make Traveling With Kids Fun

Every year we plan a trip or two. (Depending on where we’re going, we can sometimes fit a couple of small trips in.) Our favorite thing to do is to go camping so, we try to fit one of those in for sure. Our second one might be the beach or something educational, like, Williamsburg, VA. Even when we visit an educational site or even visit the beach, we always try to find a good campground nearby.

Believe it or not, we used to do the whole “real camping” thing. We slept in tents, brought coolers and backpacks and cooked our meals with a campfire. That was before we had 4 kids though and before it started getting just a little too hard to get off of the ground in the mornings! We still cook with real campfires but, we might have our food in the kitchen of a cabin instead.

 Don't Overpack! 

I make this mistake every single time. No matter how hard I try, I always pack more than we really need. Not only is it annoying to unpack when we get there but it takes up much needed space and often ends up sitting in the truck anyway.

I make a list for each person but everyone is limited to one backpack of whatever they want to bring but that backpack also has to include their clothing. They can bring books, notebooks, pens, whatever special toys they want and of course, their tablets for the drive.

I make sure to have a backpack just for first aid and toiletries. This way it doesn’t take up too much room or take from anyone else’s space! This is also sometimes where I tend to go overboard since we have so many toiletries per person. So, I started buying special toiletries that can be shared for camping trips. For example; We don’t really need our own special shower gels! One for boys and one for girls is good enough. Same with shampoo. Of course, feminine products, deodorants, razors, and some skin care products will need to be packed per person but for the most part, double or even triple duty products work well!

Sunblock, bug spray, a small first aid kit, ibuprofen, batteries, flashlights, radios, whatever medications (if any) that your family needs are very important to pack. I’m all for buying when you get there but a lot of these things are very expensive when you reach your destination. It’s always best to grab these types of items before you leave.

Mad Libs, Rory’s Story Cubes, and playing cards are something else I like to pack to help pass the time. (Most definitely when you have little ones along!)

Whether camping somewhere local or a few states away, snacks are also important for the trip there! Considering how much snacks and drinks cost at rest stops, it is always a good idea to shop for everyone’s favorites before you head out!

Plan Ahead!

If you’re traveling abroad, for instance, camping in Panama or some other fabulous destination, you’ll probably want to check with your travel agent or Google search what types of clothing you should pack, what you can take on the plane, what will be available when you arrive, and of course you’ll need your passport! You can usually check with the campground or hotel you’ll be staying with also. If you’re planning on an internship with Kalu Yala, they will help connect you with travelers who have been there who can help you with any questions you may have. You can find more about the truth about Kalu Yala on their Facebook page! This way you won’t have to worry about any issues or concerns regarding Kalu Yala problems.

I always map out which route we will be taking so I can check for rest stops, stores, gas stations, and restaurants. Sometimes it pays off to go ahead and start checking websites out for anywhere you plan to visit just to get information on hours, menus, coupons, or even discount or rewards cards. I try to sign up for any types of email newsletters or coupon clubs so that we can save a little extra money. (Packing snacks helps a great deal but, you’re probably going to want to stop for an actual meal a couple of times a day!) It’s also best to map out local restaurants or chain restaurants that are away from the rest stops, turnpikes, or highways. They tend to be less expensive and have a better variety of choices on their menus.

Checking for local shops or any malls where you might want to get some shopping done is also beneficial when planning! You could also sign up for any frequent shopper cards, travel discount books, or even find deals on sites such as Groupon. Depending on how often you plan on visiting, you could also check for coupon and discount books like, Entertainment books for the place you’re going.

You may want to read some reviews online about where you’ll be staying, eating, or visiting. I like to read a variety of different website reviews and I like to keep an open mind considering there may be some very good reviews and some very bad reviews depending on whether that person’s vacation went OK or not. I don’t know how many times I have read reviews for a hotel or a campground that ended up not really being about the actual place itself but more of a rundown on that person’s entire trip. I get it, I mean, we all have bad days and bad vacations sometimes but unloading on a review site and bad mouthing a hotel when your trip started out bad ever since leaving your house, isn’t very cool. Have some questions in mind when reading reviews and find a good reviewer who actually answers those questions rather than paint a horrific picture of “the worst vacation ever!” It’s best to take each review with a grain of salt, whether good or bad. Just like with Kalu Yala criticism.

Of course you should remember to have cash with you whenever embarking on a journey. Not every tiny town, out in the middle of nowhere will accept credit or debit cards. Think of realistic emergencies that unfortunately, sometimes occur and plan accordingly. You may want extra blankets in your vehicle, an extra cell phone battery, cell phone chargers, change for vending machines, health insurance cards, and identification.

Once you create a list of everything you need, buy ahead, plan ahead, take some fun games and books for your kids, kid friendly snacks and you actually head out on your well deserved adventure, you can finally relax and enjoy yourself!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Join The Ester-C Community

** I received free samples thanks to Ester-C, in exchange for sharing online on my blog and social networks. All opinions are my own! **

If you have been following my blog or my Facebook page or Twitter, you're probably aware of my autoimmune disorders. I try to load up on vitamins, iron, avocados, mangoes, pistachios, and anything I can get my hands on that will help build my immune system. (and it has to be pretty scrumptious too!) It's so hard to find something that isn't chalky, icky, trustworthy, and something you'll find again. (It seems there are so many of these pop up "vitamin" companies that it is so hard to keep track of!) I like to stick with well-known brands and it doesn't hurt to have the OK from my favorite pharmacist and doctor!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

BOGO 50% Skyn Iceland

** This post contains affiliate links. I do earn a percentage of sales if you make a purchase. **

BOGO (buy one, get one) 50% off the following products:
Plumping Lip Gels 5-pack
Arctic Elixir Serum
Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels
Nordic Skin Peel and Pure Pore Minimizer

This offer is valid through Tuesday February 13, 2018 at 11:59PM PST.*

You can also use code: WINTOFF15 for 15% off any additional purchases!