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What I Learned When I Visited a Children’s Hospital

This post is part of the Miracle Marathon campaign.

I had been on this children’s hospital campus once before.

Our youngest, known around here as Double J, had a slight heart murmur at his 18-month check-up and our pediatrician wanted an ultrasound done to check it out. We had an appointment in the outpatient clinic and everything checked out just fine.

I didn’t like that we had to be there, but everything about the place made our little one and me feel at ease – the bright, playful decor, the friendly staff, the child-friendly waiting area. For all of that and for the health of our boy, I was very grateful.

I went back to the same children’s hospital campus last week, not as a parent, but as an observer. I was invited on a tour of the hospital facilities to share them with you as we approach the start of the Miracle Marathon, a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals such as Children’s Omaha. And I learned more than I bargained for.

What I Learned at a Children's Hospital

As soon as I stepped in to the heart cath lab, our first stop on the tour, I learned my first lesson: it would be impossible to leave behind the parent part of me as I went on the tour. The child currently being observed in the lab was a six-year-old boy. I have a six-year-old boy. I was amazed to hear about the specialized work of the doctors and staff in this particular lab. The technology being used was incredible.

Children's Cath Lab

But I couldn’t stop thinking about this sweet boy whose heart was in a fast rhythm that couldn’t be controlled by meds and who needed to be observed for most of the day to figure out just what was wrong. I could only imagine being his parents, waiting to hear the diagnosis, but I could also imagine how thankful I would be to know my son was getting such great specialized care. The closest cath lab for children is three hours away, so this is an important service for children in a large geographical area.

My second big lesson came as we visited the emergency department, where 27,000 children have been seen in the past year. Emergency rooms need to be ready for anything, and a children’s hospital emergency room has to be ready for patients of any size. Laid out in the trauma room were the smallest and largest pieces of equipment that could be used on a patient – from a preemie to a high school football player…

Children's Trauma Room

When you hear children’s hospital, you might think of a child similar in age to your child. That’s how my mind viewed it until I saw this trauma room. Treating a sick newborn is very different from treating an injured high school athlete, but these hospitals are ready for it all.

Children's Cuffs

The different medicines that may be needed in the trauma room are even color-coded by weight to streamline the process of treating a trauma patient. I was in awe of how every detail has been thought of to take the best care of kids in need of medical care.

Children's Med Cart

My third lesson: I should have brought tissues. I was very emotional on the tour, for so many reasons. Touring the NICU, seeing the EMT team load up the ambulance to pick up a preemie from another hospital, talking to an interpreter who enjoys so much her job helping Spanish-speaking families and children at the hospital. It was very powerful to see so many people helping these sick and hurting children and loving on their families as well.

Children's Preemie Cart

Which brings me to the last lesson I will share with you today: Donations to this children’s hospital help fund pivotal positions in the hospital I didn’t even know about. One of the most interesting and important to me is the child-life specialist. A child-life specialist is there in the room to help the child feel more comfortable, to help distract them during a painful procedure, to make a sad, horrible, worrisome experience better in any way they can. This position is so critical, yet not reimbursed by insurance companies, which makes it a position dependent on donations.

A children’s hospital could be a place full of so much sadness, but I learned it is a place of love, specialized care, and hope, and I feel so privileged to share such a special place with you.

Children's Girl Heart

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The Miracle Marathon, a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, kicks off Tuesday, September 16th. It’s not a scary marathon – it’s just a mile a day for 26 days plus 1.2 miles on the 27th day. You can run, walk, bike – just move a mile forward each day. Do it with your kids. Do it FOR the kids. And I would love to have you join my team! You can donate to our local hospital or one local to you! Just go here to sign up and/or donate and get ready to move! {Yes, we have a long ways to go, but every donation – big or small – is important! Please give what you can!}

Have you ever been to a children’s hospital with your own child? What was your experience like?

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Why I Need a Capsule Wardrobe

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This post could also be titled, “Confessions of a Clothes Hoarder.”

I like clothes and fashion a lot. I see nothing wrong with that. Except that my closet is packed and it takes me forever to figure out what to wear.

Yes, I have been a clothes hoarder and I know I can’t be the only one.

I was first introduced to the idea of a capsule wardrobe with Hayley Morgan’s ebook, The No-Brainer Wardrobe, a few years back. I’ve always loved Hayley’s style, so I was very curious about the mindset and process behind her own wardrobe. This is what I learned about the value of a capsule wardrobe from Hayley:

“Every woman should be able to choose an outfit in much less than ten minutes regardless of her plans for the day, the state of the weather…or her laundry. Meaning, when your feet hit the floor in the morning–you should be thinking more about the delicious cup of coffee that awaits than whether you will look cute in your clothes.”

Yeah, my closet excess often hinders the getting-dressed process, but it had been over two years since I first read the book, and I hadn’t done anything about my hoarding. Then I got a little reminder jump-start form Caroline over at UnFancy, who says this about a capsule wardrobe:

“Simple definition? It’s a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.”

I loved this idea  - fewer, high quality pieces that can be mixed and matched –  but I was still hesitant to actually implement it because, well, I like clothes and I like lots of options.

My mentality has shifted in the last few months, however. I knew that I should be buying better quality basics and less of the cheap, trendy stuff. I knew I didn’t need the same shirt in five different colors. I knew I had a basic style I loved, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the things I wasn’t wearing…you know, just in case.

As I’ve added more fair trade accessories to my wardrobe, I’ve found myself grabbing the basics in my closet more and more often, gravitating to the same tops and bottoms in different combos, and then dressing them up with a fashionABLE scarf or a Root Collective necklace and flats. I realized I was basically dressing from a capsule wardrobe within my overstuffed closet, and it was time to just get rid of the excess.

Why I Need a Capsule Wardrobe

I need a capsule wardrobe because I need simple. I need less clutter. I need fewer decisions in my day. And I also need better. This clothes hoarder still loves clothes, and I tend to be an impulse buyer in the clothing department. Now I know I want well made, classic pieces that fit me and my lifestyle – and I don’t need to add lots of extras!

Here I am, diving in to the capsule wardrobe world. I’m still hesitant to throw out or donate all the clothes that didn’t make my fall capsule wardrobe cut, so I’ve taken some advice from Caroline over at UnFancy, my other online capsule wardrobe mentor. When I cleaned out my closet, I made a donate pile and a “maybe” pile. The clothes I still like and that still fit that aren’t in my fall capsule – the maybe pile – are now in a storage tub in the basement. If I find that I “need” something from there, I can always go grab it. If, at the end of this fall, I find that I didn’t even miss those pieces, I can donate them!

In the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some tools that helped me create my capsule wardrobe, as well as the pieces I finally settled on! Everybody arrives at different pieces, a different number of pieces, and a different style, but I think these tools and this series will be of great value – accountability for me and hopefully some inspiration for you!

I’ll be explaining a lot more as we go, but if you have questions or ideas you’d like me to address in reference to a fall capsule wardrobe, let me know in the comments or at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com!

 

Have you attempted a capsule wardrobe? Do you need to try it?

 

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September Goals

Just popping in quick to go over my goals for this next month! Life happens and I know these won’t all turn out exactly as I think they will, but this is how I’m moving forward! “Goals with Grace” is what Hayley calls it – making a plan, but knowing there is grace for how it all plays out! Don’t you just love that?

First, here were my goals for August and how they turned out…

Read two books – I read or started Speak by Nish Weiseth, Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker, and Bourne by Lisa T. Bergren in August. It was a busy month, but I still snuck in a little reading time here and there!

Run 60+ miles – 56.45 miles…oh so close. I had to push my last long run of the month back two days because of scheduling conflicts – that would have added 12 more on and put me over 60, but oh well!

Two dates with The Hubby – We only had one, but it was lots of fun – Guardians of the Galaxy on $5 movie night with free popcorn in reclining loungers!

Focus during homeschool – Working on it. I get very easily distracted when the boys are taking a long time to get their work done.

Write from the heart – I was able to write a lot more this month – some for fun and some from the heart. I feel like I’ve got a little bit of my blogging groove back which was the whole point!

Time with God FIRST in my day – SO much better. Not grabbing my phone to check social media first thing in the morning. Not getting caught up in emails before I spend time in the Word. This totally affects my perspective for the day!

September Goals

And now my September goals…

Finish and share my capsule wardrobe series – See tomorrow’s post for the beginning of it all!

Set up a podcast - Not a Home with the Boys podcast, but I’m really excited about this!

Move forward with the next steps for The MOB Society – I started a new series there today and we have a whole lot behind-the-scenes goodness happening!

More water, more veggies – These are my main health goals right now. Fall makes me want warm drinks and comfort foods, so I need to be very deliberate about drinking enough water and eating lots of vegetables!

Declutter living spaces and bedrooms – We just have too much stuff. TOO MUCH.

Spend more time silent before the Lord – There has been too much noise, too much doing, too much striving lately. I need some stillness and quiet with God to recharge for what He has next for me.

I think that’s it for September! I didn’t set a mileage goal, but I am running a half marathon this month! And dates are a priority as well, but we have a BUSY month of traveling and activities, so we’ll have to see what we can squeeze in!

What are YOUR goals for September?

 

Check out Hayley’s “Goals with Grace” and many other lovely goal-setters at her link-up!

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How God is Using My Love for Sports

Even as an upper elementary age girl, I was a fan of Sportscenter. Yep, I’m a girl who loves her Sportscenter. Whether it’s early morning or late night, I count on getting my sports news fix each day and Sportscenter is just the best place for that. Plus, they’re usually pretty funny.

Football is my favorite, but I’ve always been drawn to the world of sports in general. While most people are idolizing sports stars, I love the stories. I love the human interest. I love the lessons we can learn from the very public stage of college and professional sports.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that God put this love of sports in me and then gave me three boys. I know not all boys are interested in sports, but mine are, and we’ve had many great life and faith discussions that began with a watching a football game or tennis match together.

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I’m over at The MOB Society today sharing a new series I’ll be posting every Tuesday to connect boy moms with their sons through sports and faith! Come on over to read more!

LockerRoomLessons

 

What sports do your children like to watch? Do you like watching sports?

 

If you’re a boy mom, I’d love for you to get connected with The MOB Society on Facebook and Twitter! You can also sign up the BoyRaiser newsletter in the top sidebar of the MOB Society website!

 

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Summer Book Club for Moms Check-In #3: The Kissing Bridge

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

It’s our last summer book club for moms check-in! Have you enjoyed these books? I have loved every one and can’t wait for the rest of the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors to be released! Hurry up, Tricia!

Summer Book Club for Moms

If you’re new to the book club, all of the details are right here and you can still join in! Just check-in on the appropriate post for each book and we’ll wrap it all up Friday, September 5th with a giveaway for one person who has read and checked in for all three books!

Whenever you are done reading The Kissing Bridge {before September 5th}, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the book and answer one or both of these discussion questions if you’d like! I love honest discussion, but let’s remember to keep it positive and encouraging to one another!

Here are the questions you can consider when leaving your comment…

1. Millie offered this advice to Rebecca on the trail ride: “Sometimes the best thing we can do with our minds and hearts is to allow ourselves to rest. After all, a heavy heart takes a lot of work to carry around.” How did Caleb and Rebecca find “rest” in this book? How do YOU find “rest?”

2. How did Rebecca and Caleb’s trust in God grow in this story?

Happy discussing and happy reading! Remember – to be entered for the grand prize, you must read and check-in on all three books by Friday, September 5th! Here are the check-ins for the other two books:

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What I’m Loving {August 2014}

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

These “What I’m Loving” or “What I’m Into” posts just make me smile – I love sharing what I love and I love reading what others love! I have a whole lot of new loves this month, especially as I’ve been planning my fall capsule wardrobe which will debut mid-September! Eek! I’ll try to keep this short…

Evy's Tree Josie Evy's Tree Lizzy

Evy’s Tree – Luxury hoodies from the lovely Amy, mom and designer extraordinaire. I will be living in these this fall. Seriously cute and insanely comfortable. So amazing that I have THREE of them in my fall capsule wardrobe.

Fix My Eyes

“Fix My Eyes” by For King and Country – I want to hang the chorus of this song in our living room as our family’s motto. And the actual song is super fun, too. The boys all have it memorized and we sing it at the top of our lungs together in the car. They also put on the best live show.

grey_diamond_ballet_flat_front_sm (1)

Ballet flats – Like my friend Crystal, I am NOT a heels girl. Ballet flats + boots are my thing. The two kinds of ballet flats I can’t live without are from The Root Collective and Tieks. I’ve shared about The Root Collective before and I’ll be telling you more about Tieks soon. The Root Collective just released their new fall line of flats this week – GORGEOUS. Use the code FALL14 to get 20% off right now through September 7th!

Revelation Wellness

Revelation Wellness VIPtv – I’ve told you about Insanity, T25, and the 21 Day Fix, but THIS is what I’ve been looking for all along. Alisa Keeton has created a fitness program centered around the most important thing to me – Jesus. Revelation Wellness has workouts of EVERY level and each one is focused on worship and the Word. I can’t get enough of it. I’ll probably do whole post on it next month. VIPtv is just $10/month, can be played on any device with internet access, and you will LOVE it. If you sign up, just enter my name – Erin from Home with the Boys  - where it says, “How did you hear about us?” We’ll both be entered to win a free year of VIPtv when you do!

What I'm Loving August 2014

Caribou Coffee – This isn’t the nearest coffee shop to me and mine doesn’t have a drive-thru, but it’s still my favorite. Yes, it is worth the drive AND getting my kids out of the car to go grab a Turtle Mocha or Iced Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha. My coffee heart belongs to Caribou.

TV: So You Think You Can Dance, My Big Family Renovation {full series marathon on HGTV next Thursday!!!}

Books: Finishing up the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren

Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy {loved it}, Lego Movie {hilarious}

Last, but not least… 

Labor Day Sales – A long weekend and fun sales – enough said! Here are a few of my favorites:

 What are you loving this Labor Day weekend? Make it a great one!

 Linking up to Leigh’s What I’m Into post! Lots of fun posts to read over there!

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Ballet Flats + Bracelet + Scarf = Under $25 from Cents of Style

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This is one whale of a sale from Cents of Style for Fashion Friday - I think you’re going to love it! Today only, you can get not one, not two, but THREE items for less than $25 shipped and let me tell you how!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

The deal starts with a pair of ballet flats and a bracelet.

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

The flats are super cute, open-toed, and come in gray or sand colors – great neutrals to go with everything!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

For bracelets, you can choose between two different cuff styles in a total of ten different colors!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

Put a pair of shoes and a bracelet in your cart and you COULD stop there. Just use the code LOVELY101 to get the ballet flats and bracelet for just $20.95 and free shipping!

OR… You could also add on this lovely scarf to your order for just $3.99!

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 8/29/14- Ballet Flats & Bracelet- $20.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code LOVELY101

This will pop up as an add-on item when you are ready to checkout! The scarf comes in four different colors! Just remember to use the code LOVELY101 at checkout and all three items – ballet flats + bracelet + scarf – will be yours for less than $25 shipped! And this sale is for TODAY ONLY!

Happy shopping and happy weekend!

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Let Me Introduce You to My Hair’s Best Friend

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I have had more compliments on my hair in the last few weeks than I can remember in a long time. Not bragging, just stating the facts.

Curly Hair

While I’m flattered, I thought it time to reveal the real star behind these great locks. Let me introduce you to my hair’s best friend…

Hair's Best Friend

A curling wand. The Hot Tools HTBW1852 Curly-Q Tapered Nanoceramic Curling Iron, to be exact.

One of my best friends is a hair stylist and she knows the goods for getting great hair, so this was an amazing gift she gave me last year. My hair is stick straight and does not normally hold curl well, but with this curling wand, the style will last for a couple days, only needing a few touch-ups!

Curling Wand

The secret is the high heat, which also makes it slightly dangerous for a klutz like me. And that’s why you MUST wear the glove that comes with it. Just think of it as a nod to the late great Michael Jackson. You can even listen to a little “Thriller” while you curl if that floats your boat.

I would do a video, but I think I might kill myself trying to demonstrate this all. Or at least subject myself to serious burns. Pinterest has all sorts of more professional curling wand tutorials and I pinned some on my Style: Hair board. I leave the step-by-step videos to them. But rest assured that if I can do it, you can do it!

I can give you these few tips from my stylist best friend…

  • Spray your hair with a light hair spray before your curl, then section off the top and work on the bottom first.
  • Second or third day hair works GREAT for this.
  • Small sections of hair will give you tighter curls. Larger sections will give you loose waves. I go somewhere in-between usually.
  • Wrap the section of hair around the wand away from your face in the front. Further back in your hair, you can mix up the direction of wrapping.
  • Spray after your curl to set everything.
  • I shake my hair a little after I’m all done curling to give it a little more body.

My hubby loves the “beachy wave” look and I love how long it lasts – win-win! And it’s less than $35 for my hair’s best friend – worth every penny and more!

Have you tried a curling wand?

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Crazy Tennis Fans

So, I haven’t had much time to write lately…can you tell?

BUT, the 2014 US Open Tennis Tournament started this week and my friend Sami and I had the crazy idea to do a draw challenge, kind of like March Madness but with tennis!

And just to prove our choices were in before the tournament started, Sami and I both did a video sharing our thoughts and brilliant picks. You can find her video right here.

You can watch mine below. It was done impromptu. At night. And I ramble. So you’re welcome – this is the REAL me. If you can’t see the video below, click here to watch!

Any other crazy tennis fans like Sami and I out there? We think ESPN Tennis should take us along to a Grand Slam to give the fans’ point of view. You would watch us, right?!

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Be a Hunger Hero

I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

There are hungry kids in underdeveloped and third world countries. While I’m not ok with it, I’ve accepted this fact. I’ve told you about it here. I’ve mentioned the ways Compassion and many other wonderful programs are feeding the bellies and souls of these hungry children in Africa and Asia and Central America.

There are hungry kids here in the United States as well. Somehow that is harder for me to swallow. Hunger across the ocean has become ok to talk about because we have some distance from it. When I hear about the 16 million American children living in poverty and lacking nutritious meals, I don’t want to believe it. In this rich, extravagant country, I can’t bear the thought that a child in my own city could be going without dinner tonight or suffering from malnutrition. But it happens. Right here in America.

I’m not going to just be about making sure the hungry kids in another country have their needs met. I want ALL children, everywhere to have their basic needs met, at the very least. That’s why I’m joining Champions for Kids for the “Be a Hunger Hero” campaign.

Let’s start with the core values of Champions for Kids because that is where they got my attention:

All children should have: someone who cares; a place to belong; a hope for tomorrow; and provision for their journey. All children.

We can help all children and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as shopping at Sam’s Club during the month of August!

hungerheroes

Throughout the month of August, Champions for Kids, Tyson Foods, and KRAFT Foods can help you “Be a Hunger Hero” at Sam’s Club by purchasing any of these products at Sam’s Club, Tyson® Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets {5 lb bag}, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner {7.25 oz} 12 pack, or CAPRI SUN Juice Drink Variety Pack {40 pouches} and help feed* a child in need.

Be-a-Hunger-Hero-logo_white

And we’ll be talking more about being a Hunger Hero on Twitter today! I hope you’ll join us to spread the word and maybe even win some prizes!

Join The #HungerHeroes Twitter Party

  • What: The Motherhood is joining Champions for Kids, along with Tyson Foods, Kraft and Sam’s Club, for a Twitter party to spread the word about hunger relief.
  • When: Thursday, August 21, 2014, at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT
  • Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #HungerHeroes hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP right here!
  • Hashtag: #HungerHeroes
  • Prizes: Five prizes will be given to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 Sam’s Club gift card!
  • Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann
  • Sponsor: @Champions4Kids

Chat with us on Twitter, shop at your local Sam’s Club – do what YOU can to be a hunger hero for a child today!

*4 oz. of protein, 6 fl. oz. of CAPRI SUN, and/or 2.5 oz. of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinners

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