Friday Finds: Etsy Makers

1. The Double Triangle Ring by foxtailboutique | Etsy
2.  Onions and Leaves Tea Towel by leahduncan | Etsy
3. Cactus Pouch  Leather by ameliemancini |  Etsy
4. Modern Pastel Hardwood 7 Bowl Ocean/Sky by nicoleporterdesign | Etsy 
5. Leather Tassel Keychain Tassel Purse Charm Tassel by JillyDesigns | Etsy
6. Wooden Spoons Set of Three by Wind and Willow | Etsy 
7. Organic Cotton Knit Feather Leggins by littlefourclothing | Etsy 
8. The Rhoads Bag : Shibori Canvas by GrahamKeegan | Etsy
9. Feather, Hello, Love & Arrows, and Anchor Cups by LunaReece | Etsy 

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What I want you to know about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Mallory.

I'm Mallory, I'm 16, and I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Those of you who do not know what Ehlers-Danlos is, it means the collagen in my bones and connective tissue, the little I have, does not work the right way, causing joints throughout my body to fall out of place. So I have pretty much dislocated almost everywhere in my body. Let me start from the beginning.

I have played volleyball and basketball ALL of my life. Going into my 9th grade year I made the JV volleyball team for my high school! I was so excited, and later that year I made my club volleyball team, and basketball team for my high school, as well. I've always had problems with my joints but always thought it was normal.

I have always dislocated joints in my body but thought everyone could. In January, while playing a basketball game I cracked a few ribs and went to see an orthopedic surgeon. He looked at my shoulders and was completely taken aback by how loose my shoulder was. He said I needed a corrective surgery as soon as possible. April 9th, 2014, was the first date. Second surgery on the same shoulder from a re-injury, was on June 3rd, 2014. My third surgery was on September 11, 2014, on my left shoulder. 

I have a hip replacement coming up that was supposed to be January 14th, 2015, being currently rescheduled. I also have my right side of ribs higher than the other because they are currently dislocated and doctors can't relocate them. Also I have dislocated my knees, hips, wrists, thumbs, ankles, vertebrae, and jaw. It isn't like being double jointed, it is excruciating
pain, and gets to the the point where I cannot walk for days. 

My shoulders are not healed and I haven't been able to play sports for a year - the one thing I love -but you have to get over it. Hope for the best to happen one day. If you know someone who has EDS be there for them, don't thing they are complaining, or being a baby. They are in ACTUAL AND INTENSE PAIN. I have many friends who will not take it serious and will get mad at me for canceling because I can't get out of bed. I hope to be healed soon and pray physical therapy can help me to ensure no more surgeries are needed. For all the people who have EDS there is always hope for the future just surround yourself with people to support you and that love you and I hope I was able to inform people on the seriousness of this syndrome. This is my story.

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Ten steps to positive summer parenting

I’ve been told before that my default mode for reacting to the world around me is sarcasm. I trend toward the cynical side of whatever personality-analyzing method you’re using. It works for blogging, I guess, but isn’t always the most attractive quality as a mom. Especially when the kids try to emulate the snark. 
As a parent, I’ve begun recognizing this on a regular basis. There are so many studies on the virtues of positive parenting and optimistic thinking, and sarcasm just doesn’t match up very well with those virtues. So as summer is here and my kids are home with me rather than at school, I’m going to try to be a more optimistic/positive parent. Call it the “Summer of Positive Parenting.”
Here's what I'm trying but have in no way mastered . . .
1. Saying “I’m proud of you, but you should be so proud of yourself.”Kids need to know that we are proud of them no matter what, of course. It helps them to keep a positive outlook about whatever they are trying to accomplish. But I’ve found that this process gets a huge boost when I remind my kids to be proud of themselves. I want them to be pumped about their own accomplishments, from grades to skateboard tricks. It’s not about always winning or getting first place, but about personal pride in having done something well.
2. Being appreciative. Kids do so many things each day that go unrecognized. They may be tiny things that I’ve reminded them to do a GAZILLION times, or big things that they’ve just learned how to do. They may be things that show that my kids are actually aware that other people exist around them. Telling them that I notice what they’re doing and appreciate it helps them feel good about themselves: “I love the way you got dressed today without me asking you” or “I appreciate how you let your sister go first just now.” It’s a way for me to call attention to the positive things they’re doing everyday instead of always pointing what they’ve done wrong.
3. Increasing the number of times I say “I love you.” At our house, we make it a point that “I love you” is the first thing and the last thing that the kids hear from us everyday. Kids need to hear those three words every day, at least once. But what about the rest of the day? There are countless other times throughout the day that I could tell my kids “I love you.” When I pass them in the hallway. When they come inside to grab a drink while playing outside. When they’re with friends and sure to be embarrassed. (Fine...I’ll pick my moments. Maybe.) 
4. Giving them clothing freedom. Each of my kids has their own style and fashion sense. I love that about them. Even when their style choices may be quite different from mine, one way that I can be positive about how they dress is to give them one or more days when they get to wear whatever they want. There will be times that I need to make suggestions or help them with their clothes, but giving them a little more freedom in developing their own style—which means learning not to automatically say “You shouldn’t wear that”—helps them make decisions and feel good about themselves.
5. Giving more hugs. When I’m busy, or when all the kids have different things going on, I tend to forget how important physical touch is. Full-body hugs are one of my favorite ways to tell my son or daughter how much I love them, but there are so many times a day that a quick shoulder hug can make my kids feel loved and important, too. It could make the difference in a day being good or bad.
6. Less nagging. No kid likes to be told to do something by a parent... and then harped about it over and over again. No adult likes it, either. There will be times I may need to gently remind them to do a chore or activity, but for the most part, everyone would be a lot happier if there was less nagging about getting things done. When Mom doesn’t nag, kids can feel positive about being responsible for their own accomplishments around the house. Everyone wins.
7. Less yelling. Nothing sucks the positivity out of a child like being yelled at. (The same goes for adults.) They may have done something wrong, but yelling doesn’t make it any better, especially when it’s about something small. And that applies throughout our family. The kids react better to each other and work through problems better when no one is allowed to yell. In most cases, this helps them communicate and problem-solve without my help. Look, I don’t like to be yelled at. I’m 100% certain they don’t either.
8. Being a better role model. Ouch. If I want my kids to be positive people, then I need to be a positive person. That may mean holding back a negative or snarky comment so that my kids don’t hear it. That also means showing my kids that even if I mess up, get angry, or have my feelings hurt, how I react is important. I want my kids to know that it’s OK to have emotions. We all have them—good and bad. Learning to deal with them in a healthy way is the important part.
9. Cooking together. One thing we’ve started doing over the past year is letting the kids help us in the kitchen. While it can be a challenge, the process of cooking together is always fun. They are learning. They are cooperating. We all end up smiling. Everyone gets assigned some kind of a job. As they get more skilled and more responsible, they'll be able to cook with less supervision. And the older kids can help the younger kids. Best case scenario: There will come a day when I’m not needed in the kitchen at all!
10. More listening. Summer is incredibly busy for us. When I take the opportunity to sit or walk or spend time with my kids and listen to the things they want to say, it tells them that their thoughts and ideas are important. It tells them that I want to know what’s going on in their little minds. When they feel like they can tell me anything, it creates a positive and open line of communication. This is important now, but it’s even more important as they grow older—when there might be bigger things they need to talk about.

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Wednesday's Child: Braydon

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

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What I want you to know about pregnancy after loss

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Lindsey M. Henke, MSW, LICSW.

My first baby died. Yes, she died, after a perfect 40-week, full term pregnancy. She died from an E.coli infection. Nothing could be done.

Then seven months after she died I was pregnant again.

When I looked down at the pregnancy test on that warm Minnesota July afternoon I did not jump for joy or quiver with excitement inside like I did with my first pregnancy pee stick turning positive. No. I frowned, shrugged my shoulders, then threw the stick in the trash. I was apathetic, indifferent to the possibility of carrying life again, because the first time I tried, I failed miserably. Or at least that is what I thought.

This is how the journey started, and here is what I want you to know about pregnancy after loss.

The first three months that I tried to conceive after loss and got the negative pregnancy result, I would break down in tears. I thought that my only chance at motherhood had passed when my baby died.

When I finally got my positive pregnancy test I went numb. I showed the results to my husband, and there was no jumping for joy or tears of happiness like there was just 16 months ago. We looked into each other’s eyes and shrugged our shoulders, crossing our fingers that we would be able to bring this baby home.

At my first clinic visit my doctor said, “Congratulations,” and I winced as I thought, “What was there to congratulate me about? This baby could die too.”

As I reached the 12-week ‘safe zone,’ I knew in my mind that there was no longer any ‘safe’ part of pregnancy. I didn’t want to share the news with friends and family, as I didn’t want to disappoint them again if this baby died too.

I didn’t buy maternity clothes until I was bulging out of my normal clothes, in fear that I would have to return them. I also hid my pregnancy under baggy shirts and sweaters so I could avoid the heartbreaking questions, “Is this your first” and “How many children do you have?”

As the baby grew, so did my anxiety. With each new kick I feared she would die, too. I didn’t want to attach, to get too close to her, just to lose her like I did her sister.

From 20 weeks on I must have visited the emergency department 15 times until I actually delivered the baby. I was always worried that her movement had decreased or an infection had found me again, always scared that she would be taken from me too.

I had nightmares, constant anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD moments as I got closer and closer to delivery. The longer she was inside of me the scarier it got.

After each ultrasound and NST test I would cry. I would panic in the minutes before the tech placed the ultrasound wand on my round tummy, and once I left the appointment knowing baby girl was okay, tears of relief and fear would flow from my eyes in the car where I could once again grieve my baby that died and hope, but yet still fear, for this one’s life inside of me.

I didn’t have a baby shower. I didn’t buy her clothes. I wouldn’t let my husband bring the car seat to the hospital, because I didn’t want to bring it home empty again.

I would pray, even though I don’t believe in prayer. I would ask her sister, the baby that died, to keep this baby safe. A voice would respond in my mind, not mine, but that of my daughter that died, that said, “Mom you get to keep her. This time you get to keep her.”

I didn’t sleep in the nights and weeks leading up to her scheduled C-section. For two months before she was born I woke up every two hours to count her kicks and make sure she did not silently slip away in the night like her sister did.

As we drove to the hospital to deliver her I poked and prodded at her to keep her moving. I needed her to remind me that she was still there and that she would be delivered alive.

When I heard her scream a sense of relief washed over me. She was alive! Alive! I remember turning to my husband and saying, “She is so warm.” You see, my other baby was cold to the touch when I held her for the first and last time.

But that’s not the end of the journey. The anxiety of pregnancy after loss carries into the postpartum period and parenting after loss.

Two days after she was born I had a mental break down in the hospital--crying, having an irrational fit of anxiety and worry. I needed medication, because I was at a higher risk for postpartum depression and anxiety.

I have postpartum anxiety. I have had it since before she was born, and 11 months later it’s still here.

The fear of losing your child doesn’t go away after you get through the pregnancy after the loss.

I still check each night to see that she is breathing. I still panic when daycare calls me at work. I still mentally prepare myself for having to hear the word, “I’m so sorry. Your baby is dead.”


I will tell you that no matter how hard this journey of trying to conceive, pregnancy, and parenting after loss has been, the moments of joy outweigh the fear of losing again.

I just want you to know that pregnancy after loss is hard--the hardest thing I have ever done after grieving the death of my child. But, when my daughter smiles at me and reaches for me and cuddles with me at night, that makes the horrendous yet hopeful journey worth it.

That is what I want you to know.

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