Losing Aaron: Remembering a Superhero from Afar

img_1978This past week has been filled with such sadness, and I am having a hard time finding words to explain why. It took my husband and I almost a week to tell our kids because our hearts were filled with such grief, such pain and such loss. On Monday, October 10, I was reminded about the greatest enemy in life – death. Eight years, I wrote about a sweet young boy, Aaron, who was diagnosed with cancer. For eight years, the world saw Aaron as a fighter, a beautiful soul, a force to be reckoned with and most of all the things, he is most definitely a hero. I say this because Aaron was the first person who I personally knew that had cancer. I really didn’t know much about sarcoma until I heard his mother tell me. Since day one, Aaron showed his strength – his super power.aaron-jadyndscn3272aaron-benUnfortunately, my family would moved away from Aaron and his family a few months after his diagnosis, but we followed his journey online through his parents’ Facebook profile, his Facebook page and also his CarePages.com page. Aaron was a funny kid. He was like any other kid…like my kids, except he had cancer. He didn’t let that stop him from going to school, playing football (and even attending Arizona Cardinal games // cheering for the Denver Broncos, too) and loved playing the outdoors – fishing, swimming or surfing. My family would be fortunate to see Aaron when he visited MD Anderson in Houston a few year ago.img_1981 I think the kids forgot that they were in a hospital, as they laughed, laughed and laughed some more. They ate sweets, talked about Minecraft and acted like zombies. Well, the boys did. 😉 This is how we will choose to remember Aaron – the 11-year-old super boy who defied cancer and is living life in heaven with Our Savior.

Rest easy sweet boy, you fought an unfair fight with the strength of a thousand soldiers, and you did it with grace. No more struggling. Enjoy your feast with Jesus. We love you, and we look forward to seeing you again.

During this time of grief, it has been hard for our family. I have to admit that this IS the truly the hardest part about living abroad – not being able to hug our love ones in good times and times of mourning. Fortunately, for Facebook, we can send messages of condolences. Other ways we learned we can be there for the family are:

Special Delivery
The next best route to communicate aside from the telephone is by email or through the post office. Consider sending a weekly card in the mail for a year — this will be appreciated in the weeks and months that follow the loss when many others have withdrawn support. Consider sending a note of remembrance with a sweet story. If you sense that your friend is having trouble with daily life, you could order practical help for her such as a meal delivery or cleaning service for a set period of time.

Memorialize
In the case of a death, you might consider finding ways to honor the memory of the person. Ideas might include making a donation to a non-profit organization or to the funeral costs, planting a memorial tree, or having a quilt made out of the person’s favorite items of clothing. Tributes such as these show your friends that their loved ones’ are still in thoughts of those around them.

Baby Registry Wishlist: What to Buy

baby-registryThis post was created in partnership with Baby Cubby.

Building a baby registry is overwhelming! Trying to register for a baby can be challenging, so we have put together a wishlist of “what we would tell our pregnant selves now” registry.

TOP 5

#1. Swaddle Blankets like these from Aden + Anais

#2. Front Baby Carrier like the award-winning Ergobaby

#3. Bottle Warmer like this one from Avent, which transitions well in to a baby food warmer too.

#4. Pack ‘N Play like this one from Nuna – don’t forget sheets – these are differently sized than crib sheets.

#5. Changing Table with dresser like this posh Babyletto

Here are some other things that you really need.

5 MUST HAVE

#1. Car seat that can be used to carry baby around, such as Graco SnugRide (always get new!). Remember to have this properly installed before you go to the hospital to have that baby or they won’t let you take him or her home with you. Oops. Extra car seat bases are handy (but not essential) if you have more than one car.

#2.Stroller that can push around car seat – we prefer the bare bones snap-n-go models such as this Graco stroller frame for the first 5 months. Advantage is that they are light and fit easily into the car (also great to borrow since it has such a short shelf life – thanks to Whit for lending me hers).

#3. Diaper Bin – We picked this Munchkin / Arm + Hammer Diaper Pail for maximum stink control; it’s easy and doesn’t require special bags. Inspired by my preschool, I’ve also individually bagged the offending poopy diapers and carried them right outside. Some folks use regular old trash cans and take out the trash every day. Up to you.

#4. Swing, bouncy seat, both – You’ll hear mixed reviews on these puppies, they are great to borrow because the padded parts are fully washable and some tinies don’t really groove with some models. My baby slept in his swing for months, overnight! This bouncer/rocker combo really does last through toddlerdom.

#5. Diaper bag – You actually can use an oversized handbag or a backpack for diapers and associated changes of clothes. But if you can’t resist this rite of passage, pick out a style you like. Consider features like whether it’s too girly to share, if it clips to your stroller, how heavy/ bulky, and how happy you’ll be carrying it when your baby weighs 18 pounds. Whitney liked her Skip Hop and I used little Pack-it cubes chucked under the stroller. It’s a totally individual choice.

Posh Items

#1. Bathtub – We recommend either the Eurobath or the First Years; the Eurobath is quite large and costs more but both are good for newborns to toddlers (we used the Eurobath for three years!). Winning a genius award, we plunked our infant and tub on the kitchen counter to avoid bending and kneeling.

#2. Link-a-doos toy clips handy dandy loops that hold little toys onto the car seat, stroller, diaper bag or high chair. Sometimes, they’re also a favorite chew toy.

#3. My Brest Friend nursing pillow – Love love this thing for early breastfeeding when there are never enough hands; you can buy new or borrow one and wash the cover. A Boppy is also pretty good and has a second life helping your baby with sitting and tummy time.

#4. Baby monitor – The trend today is video and there are too many models for me to steer you one way or the other. Audio-only is also fine. We like to see lights on the parent unit that show you a baby’s distress as well as broadcast it and a small and battery-operated so you can take it with you.

#5. Mobile for crib – One that moves and is interesting from the bottom (baby’s view); used for about 5 months but it could be the difference between showering and not. If you’re feeling crafty, here’s how to make one that’s personalized.

5 OTHER ESSENTIALS

Here are things to have on hand, so you’re not running out to the store for the first couple weeks when you should be resting and bonding.

Health & Hygiene

#1. Nail clippers – The tiny nails of a newborn have to be trimmed more than once a week and it’s hard to guide those clippers. I recommend buying sharp nail scissors as well. Holden wore teeny mittens for the first 3 weeks of his life because we gave up on trimming the nails.
#2. Digital thermometer – you will likely be obsessed with how warm or cold your newborn is. If you tend to be a keep-track-of-everything type mom, you may write it all down or even graph it.
Washcloths – I don’t think there’s anything special about baby washcloths.
#3. Burp cloths – A pack of cloth diapers will do, but better are the ones that are found in the car washing section of a store like Target. You’ll want a stack in every room for the first 6 months.
#4. Baby Tylenol, Baby Orajel, Baby Mylicon, Gripe Water
#5. Baby shampoo and bodywash

Don’t Forget the Diapers!

#1. Newborn diapers – just one pack in case your baby is huge and outgrows ’em right away!
Size one diapers – a big jumbo case cuz you’ll need ‘em eventually.
#2. Diaper wipes – uber gentle for newborn skin… for the first month, I actually rinsed them of all chemicals before using. Whitney had on her list a Thermos for keeping water next to the changing table because she planned to use paper towels and water as instructed by the crunchy Berkeley hospital, but ended up being too lazy.
#3.Diaper bag sized container of wipes – to refill with wipes
#4. Diaper creams
#5. Purrell

Feeding the Baby

#1. Formula – Though this tip is controversial, we believe that even if you plan to nurse, you ought have some of this on hand in case of earthquake, fire, or other emergency.
#2. Formula dispenser – this handy item is for feeding on the go; this BPA-free one by Avent doubles as a snack dispenser for big babies.
#3. Bottle brush
#4. BornFree bottles – 2 sizes (4 oz and 8 oz) with nipples in sizes 1, 2, 3 and some soft sippy cup lids.
#5. Bottle drying rack

4 Things to Consider When Moving Overseas

moving_overseasMy journey overseas began exactly two years ago for me and my family. Living overseas in a brand new country is one of the few life experiences that changes you completely. You are never going to be the same person you were back at home. So much of what we do is taken for granted, and living overseas changes your perspective on life and how you live it – mainly because you start paying close attention to what would normally seem like mundane moments and strangers. Here are four things to consider if you and your family are considering moving overseas.

#1. FOMO. Suffering from fear of missing out.
As depressed as it sounds, FOMO is a real thing, especially with Facebook and Instagram. I mean, you are reminded how you are missing out on your family and friends lives and vice versa. You will want to be there for important moments like weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, and even funerals, but you can’t. Some of your friends will get annoyed with your absence, but it’s beyond your control because you’re on the other side of the world. The distance makes you appreciate your friends and family sooo much more. I’ve learned that if there’s anything in the world that brings family and friends closer, it’s distance – that’s also the true test of relationships.

#2. You become more aware.
Being transplanted to unknown places definitely heighten your senses in every way. As a result, you just become more aware of your surroundings – the people, the places and what is happening in your area. This starts to play out in your everyday life and in work. Awareness and attention to detail is never a bad thing. 😉 It is also true that you gain a better understanding on how the world looks at America. It is crazy how eye-opening some of U.S. weaknesses or challenges seem amplified when you live overseas. Maybe it is because the local people ask you a lot about why things happen in America, or they may ask you if you have the same view, as let’s say the president or people on the international news.

#3. You start to find yourself.
As cheesy as it sounds, it’s so true. You are never going to spend as much time alone as you do when living overseas. I am thankful that I can say with Romans 8:28 that God uses all things for the good of those who love him, even my times alone, actually because of these times alone, it has reminded me of my deepest spiritual need, who is Jesus Christ. You have to get over the stigma of doing things alone, like navigating an unknown territory with people not understanding you. You are going to face the most difficult times of your life, but you also come out stronger and develop an incredible sense of self identity and renewed purpose in life.

#4. I always knew I wanted to live overseas.
Whether it was through study abroad or employment, I just wanted to live overseas. I mean, I found my husband overseas, so I was bound to live here with family, right?! I don’t regret it a single day. I can’t imagine living anywhere else right now. If you’re even thinking about living overseas, I’d encourage you to GO. Run. Don’t walk.

Did I miss anything? Have you lived overseas? Please share you advice and experiences below!

What Every Tween to Teen Girl Needs. PERIOD.

This past weekend, I took my daughter on our annual mother/daughter getaway. This is a time where we eat lots of sweets, stay up late and talk a lot about dreams, aspirations and just life. Speaking of life, my daughter is 11 now, and I am aware that girls can start going through puberty, so it was time for me to start to have the PERIOD conversation. *sigh* Can time slow down right about now?! Ok, ok…back to reality. There’s nothing worse than getting your period when you are not expecting it, especially for your first time, so it is my job as the mom to get my girl prepare for life as a woman – especially since it is all a new experience.

So, during our trip, I decided to take a break from our shopping trip and stop in Müller drugstore. It was time to have a bag filled with everything she needs for that awkward or unexpected moment. This way, if I am not around to help her out, my daughter will never be caught without protection. Here’s what we packed – all the essentials a girl needs to prevent that embarrassing moment.

Cosmetic Bag
Bath & Body Works Sanitizing Hand Gel
Deodorant
Kleenex® On-the-go
Feminine Pads like Always
Lip Smacker

P.S. There’s a new trend of products called period panties like PantyProp. I have never used them, BUT I have heard amazing things about them, especially for tweens and teens.

Puberty comes earlier and earlier for girls these days. Make sure you tween or teen is never stranded without the essentials. PERIOD. 🙂

Balloon Time Brings Fun for the 4th of July

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Graduation Party, Wedding/Baby Showers, Birthday Parties!  Next up – JULY 4th!  If you’re crafty or even if you’re not, Balloon Time Helium Kits can make an already fun party even more festive with their easy to use kit and the creative ideas they have on their website!!  I used the Balloon Time Helium Kit recently for my sons’ graduation party and it was so easy to use!  This is such an inexpensive and super fun way to decorate the next party you’re having!   They also have great ideas for fun activities and games using their balloon themes on their website!

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Here’s a really creative and fun project where you can create your own DIY Star Spangled confetti balloons for your upcoming Independence Day Celebration!!  To find out how go to:  http://www.balloontime.com/party-ideas/holidays/diy-star-spangled-confetti-balloons-fourth-of-july-party-decor/  You can also choose a different idea from their site for your 4th of July celebration like their Balloon Bike Creation!    Not giving a 4th of July party this year?  Go check out the endless ideas that they have for every kind of party!  Your guests will be in awe of you and who doesn’t love to decorate with balloons?!

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To find out how to get started go to:  http://www.balloontime for the steps and the project description.  The Helium Kits come in two different sizes of tanks- Standard and Jumbo with a mix of balloon sizes and coloras, and string.  The tank is easy to use and you will be ready to start decorating!  Where to Buy a Kit?  Use the search on their website to find a store that carries Balloon Time products near you!  Balloon Time Kits are available in most major stores like Walmart, Target, etc. and party good stores worldwide.

balloon time tankBalloon Time Graduation party

Happy Independence Day from Real Posh Mom!