Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Daily Struggle

It has been quite a while since I have had time to get on and update all of you.  Things have been crazy here in the Morrison house. There is never a dull moment.  I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now, but never seem to find the words.  Today is no different, but I am realizing the right words may not exist.

As most of you know, I am the mother of two amazing little girls. Zoey is now 18 months and a handful of fun and energy, and Elliana (Ellie) is now 5 months and trying so hard to keep up with her sister.  I am the wife to Robbie, who is an Engineer, car enthusiast, and best of all, the greatest father I know.  My days are busy, and full of laughter and love, but some are also full of pain and frustration.

I have been dealing with a chronic eye disease since my pregnancy with Zoey.  I have had chronic Iritis, Uveitis, and now probably Glaucoma in my left eye for over 2 years now. My health has been a roller coaster the last few years, as I have gone through specialist after specialist trying to find someone who knows how to treat Uveitis. I have had to endure countless medications, countless injections and surgeries, and many nights of tears.  

Uveitis is a very rare eye disease.  It can be simply defined as inflammation to the middle layer of the eye.  It is responsible for 10% of the blindness in the US.  As of now, I have it in my left eye, but my right eye is certainly not in the clear.  Uveitis comes with extremely blurred vision (legally blind for the better part of 2 years), intense eye pain, constant migraines, dizziness, sensitivity to light (Sunglasses inside is no longer something I... mock.) dark floating spots, and most recently, cloudy, hazy vision (due to my pressure being sky high- likely glaucoma).  I have been through so many treatments to manage my Uveitis, it seems unending.  It is a chronic disease with no cure, and I will likely be managing its effects for the rest of my life, and doing everything I can to maintain some vision.  I have been through emotional highs and lows with this disease.  I have spent days crying, and also been so grateful to be able to SEE my girls each day.

The cause of the disease is something they also went through incredible amounts of testing for.  After everything coming back negative, my specialist has told me I have an autoimmune disease of the eye.  My immune system is attacking my eye, and causing the Uveitis.  There are many other causes of the disease, but many of them (such as mine) are still being studied.

So far, I have had Cataract surgery, laser (to remove secondary cataracts), a steroid injection into the eye, ptosis repair (shortening the muscle that controls the eyelid) to repair damage done with the injection, nursing an infection that I got in the incision after the Ptosis surgery, and most recently, I am a part of a study at Duke University for an injectable implant that will deliver a steroid to my eye that will last 1-3 years.  I have been on Prednisone (steroid) to treat the inflammation for 2 years now, and the affects it has had on my body is unreal.  It has caused osteoporosis in my lower back, joint pain, weight gain, stretchmarks (even in places stretchmarks do not belong), and sleeplessness. The goal of the recent injection is to get me off the Prednisone.  Along with that, I am on a cocktail of 6 different eye drops (most of which are 3-4 times a day).  My treatment has been harder than most because I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding since being diagnosed, which makes the list of medications I can take a very short one. I am very excited at the idea of having a better treatment plan.  I am seeing one of the best doctor's in the world for my condition, but as I have heard stories of hope from 5 other specialists I am also weary.

I wanted to share a bit about my story, and what is now my daily life, for a few reasons. First, my disease is not a common one, but with the proper research and awareness, doctors like mine may be able to find better ways to manage the disease.  Less people may go blind, and more mothers, fathers, and grandparents will get to watch their children and grandchildren grow up.  I cannot allow myself to think about not being able to see my babies grow.  I would not wish that upon anyone. Secondly and equally as important, I wanted to remind others that just because someone with a chronic illness looks fine, does not mean that they are not sick. I have a sister in law with MS, and a friend with Lupus, neither of which "look" sick, but their day to day life is a struggle.  Each morning we wake up sick, and we go to bed sick... regardless of how well we may look, because that is far from how we feel most days. Please keep that in mind when you meet someone with one of these conditions.  Also keep that in mind when you see someone with sunglasses on inside.  They may have a condition such as mine.

This was a few months after my first failed injection that caused Ptosis (damage to the muscle that controls the eyelid).

After my Ptosis surgery:

My eye after Ptosis repair and implant injection.  (I am on dilating drops for my left eye, and through the process my eye has changed to a blue green, while my right eye is still brown)

I also wanted everyone to know that, as I seem to be somewhat caught up medically, I plan to jump back into reviews and giveaways!!  If anyone has suggestions on things to be reviewed or would like to be sponsored in a review, please email me at!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sweet Vi's Soaps- Review and Giveaway!

About Sweet Vi's Soaps:
Jaimie is the WAHM behind Sweet Vi's Soaps. She married to the love of her life, Dean, and they have  two daughters together, Violet 28 months, and Cecilia 13 months. They also have 2 cats, Jez and Reese, but Jaimie says they don't care for her :). 

Jaimie never set out with the goal of becoming a WAHM.  She was browsing the Baby Bump app in spring of 2011 and saw a post by another mom that was making her own shampoo.  She messaged her to ask her how she did it and throughout several conversations she directed Jaimie to a website that has supplies to make your own soap, make-up, perfume and lotions.  She found a make your own soap kit and bought it for herself for Mother's day. She loved the idea that is was natural products that she could actually pronounce, especially after the Johnson & Johnson announcement about formaldehyde (If you are not familiar with this, you should visit here.  They have since finally agreed to remove this toxic chemical from their products but will not finish phasing out the ingredient until 2015!!).  

Her first soap was a Honey Oatmeal Vanilla scent and she fell in love with the scent!  She made a couple and gave them to her mother, sisters, her mom's knit night ladies, and a few others. She still had a bunch left so she gave them to her husband to give to the women at his work. Instead of giving them away he sold them and he started to get more and more requests. She then started playing with a couple different scents and in a month she was selling them in a huge craft market in downtown Chicago. 

She would love to expand Sweet Vi's Soaps to carry lotions and bath bombs as well. Sweet Vi's is named after her first daughter Violet, and would like to have another little section of the business named after her second daughter Cecilia. The business consists of her and her husband.  They go to craft shows once or twice a month, and use it as their "Date" day. Her sister helps out a bit, and is paid in soaps. 

She loves being able to do what she loves and stay home with her girls.  She hopes to inspire them to try new things and never pass up a new opportunity no matter how small, because you never know where it will lead you. 

Fun Facts about Jaimie:

Her Dad and brother play the bagpipes and she is a novice Irish dancer
She is a natural redhead
She married Dean one year to the day after meeting him
She hates driving automatic cars, she loves manual transmissions 
She knows every word to Ob-la-di Ob-la -da, by the Beatles
Favorite movies are Princess Bride and Monty Phyton Holy Grail 
Favorite color is purple, but it has nothing to do with the naming of Violet though, it is a family name. 
She loves Bagpipe music.  She says she gets some strange looks blasting it in the car with the windows down 

Price List:

$4 per bar (+ shipping)
4 bars for $15 (+ shipping)
Soaps are customizable.  She can make any scent in any mold, with an order of 8 bars or more. 

Scent List: 

Relax (Vanilla and Fir Pine)
Baby (Vanilla)

Ginger Lime
Avocado Cucumber

Lily of the Valley
Red Rosé and Thyme
Lavender Green Tea

Coffee Vanilla Bean
Lemon Sugar

What I thought:

I am completely in love with these soaps.  I have been using three different kinds, one in my kitchen, one in my bathroom as a hand soap and a face scrub, and one in the girls bathroom as a hand soap.  I used them as hand soaps because as a mom of two I am CONSTANTLY washing my hands. I am either washing my hands to cook, washing my hands after diaper changes, and everything in between.  Since the weather started changing, I had started to notice my hands losing their moisture but that changed when I started reviewing these soaps.  My hands are nice and soft, and they smell amazing. The scent lasts until I wash my hands again!  

In the girls bathroom I reviewed Red Rose and Thyme.  It smells amazing! Its very floral, but not overwhelming.  I love this scent for a bathroom!  In the kitchen I reviewed the Ginger Lime. At first I though I was going to hate this one as I don't care for Ginger, or the smell of it (or Cilantro... ewww!) but I actually find it very pleasant!  Its clean smelling and fresh.  It fits in perfectly in the kitchen.  Lastly I reviewed the Oatmeal soap in my bathroom as a face wash and a handsoap.  I love the bits of oatmeal in the soap.  It helped to wash away any dead skin I had from my hands and my face and left them soft and smelling super yummy. I definitely plan to try more scents!  

Christmas is around the corner and these will make excellent stocking stuffers or a great addition to a care package for your hard to buy for family and friends.  

Up for Giveaway:

Jaimie is giving away 2 bars of soap!  Make sure to enter below and check out her FB page here!

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fluffeh Diapers: Review and Giveaway!

About Fluffeh Diapers:

Catherine is the WAHM behind Fluffeh Diapers.  She is currently engaged and plans to marry in August of 2013 at their family cottage.  She has one daughter Sophie who is an 11 month old fire cracker.  She has two furry baby rescue cats, one with only one eye who is Sophie's best friend. Her fiancée works in a cold storage facility driving forklifts and loading trucks for  large food/fast food companies. He works afternoons, but gets to spend time with Catherine and Sophie in the mornings.  Catherine gets her little fire cracker all to herself for dinner and bedtime.

When I asked Catherine how she got started she said she wasn't even completely sure!  She has always been a crafty and creative person.  She has been knitting since she was very young, and taught herself to crochet over this last winter. When the need for crocheted things dwindled over the summer she found herself looking for another outlet... something else to create. She was walking through Walmart and walked by the sewing machines and that was it!  She talked to her  fiancée about it and he agreed that it would be a great new hobby for her. She didn't even know what she was going to sew when she got home. She started with cloth wipes, but quickly got bored and ventured into the world of Cloth Diapers.  

She loves crafting anything! She puts her heart and soul into every diaper she makes and truly loves every minute of it.  She enjoys the difficult or challenging diaper designs the most. Her biggest challenge to date was an American Flag.  She had to cut out red and white stripes and piece them together.  She says that while it was a huge pain, and took a really long time the finished product was amazing (even though she is a Canadian Momma:) ). She really does love a challenge!

Catherine has big long term business plans including opening her own cloth diaper store to sell her cloth products as well as other WAHM/big brand products.  She hopes to one day help families convert to cloth on a daily basis and would love to hold classes and meets in her own store.  She is always thinking up new products, or how to make old ones better.  She is now working on a new idea for a AI2 Design.  

Catherine loves being able to work at home!  She loves being able to listen to her fiancée play with Sophie in the next room.  She gets to listen to them laugh, and play hide and seek or read stories while she works.  She says it doesn't really feel like work when she gets to be with the people she loves the most while she does it.  She also loves that when needed she can nurse her daughter.  She says there is no better break!  She has not had to sacrifice time with her daughter to be able to do what she loves, and she is so thankful for that!

Catherine hopes to teach her daughter that every single person is special, and should be loved. Her 12 year old brother has multiple learning disabilities including dyslexia and dyspraxia.  He can't read, write, climb or swim.  He has difficulties with everyday things such as having a shower, putting on his clothing, and cutting his food.  He has encountered a lot of less than nice people... people that have been very mean, and treated him horribly.  She knows how special children with disabilities are.  They are amazing, sweet, and extremely intelligent people. She wants to teach her daughter that all people deserve kindness, whether they are a reading, writing, climbing person, or someone who needs a little help doing those things.  She does not believe in looking down on people or judging them and she hopes to teach her daughter to love in the same manor.

Catherine's family moved to England to send her brother to a specialized private school that focuses on helping him with his disabilities.  The plan was for her to join them and go to a University there for architecture.  She was finishing up her year at the University of Waterloo studying pure math and was planning on making the move.  She took a year to work at her brothers old school and help the children with similar disabilities because it was so close to her heart. One year turned into two and within that time she was blessed with Sophie. For right now moving to England, studying architecture and being with her siblings is on the back burner.  She has instead settled into a life of cloth diaper making Mommy and she would not change it for the world.  She feels like this is what she was meant to do and while she does miss her family more than she can describe, she loves living in Canada and she loves her new little family. 

Catherine is just starting up her page and there is a lot of really great things to come!! She will be having two giveaways on her page.  One at 100 fans for a cloth diaper key-chain, and the next at 250 fans for a pocket diaper!  There are a lot of awesome things to look forward to on the Fluffeh Diapers page!

Price List:

AIO's- $27.99
Pocket Diapers- $19.99
AI2 Shells- $16.99
Covers- $16.99
AI2 Inserts $7.99
Set of regular and Newborn inserts- $10.99
She also plans to make fitteds but has not come up with a final price on those yet.

Catherine will be doing her first stocking on October 1'st and trust me when I say... YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS IT!!

What I thought:

I have used a lot of diapers!  I like to try any brand I can get my hands on or can afford. I am a bit of a fluff addict and that makes me a hard one to please.  I have been cloth diapering Zoey since she was a few weeks old, and Ellie since birth.  I have used all types of diapers, hybrids, fitteds, AI2's, Pockets, AIO's and on and on.  That being said I was excited to try out Katherine's fluff, but in no way did I expect to be as impressed as I am.  

I reviewed two newborn AIO diapers for Miss Elliana.  I am so in love with these diapers I find myself hoping Ellie never grows out of them!  They are a fabulous fit, and are one of the few newborn diapers I have seen that has a rise adjustment to go from tiny little ones on up.  We got these when Ellie was in the 6 pound range.  They fit her great then, and still fit her now and 9 and a half pounds with room to go.  It has elastic at the back to allow for a more comfortable fit than a lot of her other newborn diapers, and the legs were adjustable enough that I could fit her chicken legs without having any leaks.  It is the only newborn diaper in which we did not have any leaks at all, and the only diaper I really trust for night time.  We use them at nights for 6 hours without any leaks at all, and could go all night if she was sleeping through the night.  She is a very heavy wetter (as in she pees as much in those six hours as Zoey does in the 11 hours she sleeps at night) and we have had great success with these at night! 

They are also luxuriously soft and absorbent! The inner is made of a bamboo velour, and is layered and stitched similarly to a Bum Genius Elemental, but is much softer, and holds a lot more.  They are sewn so well it's hard to believe that a person did this on a sewing machine!  They are almost too perfect.   I have found myself looking for imperfections in these diapers, and have yet to find any at all.  They are by far my favorite diapers we have owned, and if I had it my way, my stash would consist of nothing but these diapers.

I can't wait to try these on Zoey and let you all know how they do for Toddlers!  These are a must have!!

Up For Giveaway:
Catherine will be giving away an amazing AIO diaper in the winners choice of print.  

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fluff n' Stuff Bowtique- Review and Giveaway!!

About Fluff n' Stuff Bowtique:

This is my second review with Jenny, and each time I work with her I find another reason to love her!  She is a fabulous WAHM, business owner, Mommy, and friend!

Jenny is the WAHM behind Fluff n' Stuff Bowtique. She was super easy to work with, and I can't wait to order from her again! Jenny has been happily married for 10 years. Her husband recently retired from the USAF and after that her family moved back to her home town. Jenny is the Mommy to four littles- 3 boys ages 9, 6, and 4 and 1 girl age 16 months. She also is the Mommy to several furry babies- 3 lab mixes and a jack terrier, and 2 cats. 

Her family is her inspiration- Almost every item that she sells she has first made for her family. She loves the freedom of schedule that being a WAHM has allowed her. She likes being able to schedule her life around her family and not the other way around.

Jenny got started making bows for her daughter, and a few months later she and a friend got together to make bows and other goodies for a local craft show. They had so much fun during that craft show that they decided to create their own Facebook page/ shops. Her husband is even adding his own items to the shop! It is truly a family affair!

Jenny offers a lot of awesome products, and one of her favorite items to make are awareness items. She loves helping to raise awareness for ANY cause and she also donates money from each sale to help that cause!

Her main goal for 2012 is to set up fund raisers every month or two to help special causes. She is starting to make coffee coats, sippy cup coats, and she is hoping to add place mats coasters and napkin rings, swiffer dust pads, and even more options for kids clothing. Her husband has started making earrings and other jewelry.

Price List:

  • Single flower on clip - $2.00
  • Double flower on clip - $2.50
  • Tripple flower on clip - $3.00
  • Butterfly on clip - $2.50
  • Hat - $7.00 (specialty yarn $9.00)
  • Child's Character hat - $12.00
  • Adult Character hat - $14.00
  • Baby booties - $5.00
  • Bare foot sandals - $3.00
  • Cup Cozy - $5.00
  • Scarf - $8.00
  • Wash cloth ~ acrylic 6x6 -$2.00
  • Wash cloth ~cotton 6x6 - $3.00
  • Add a color - $0.75 each color

Skirts - 

  • 0 - 2T - $ 9.00
  • 3T - 5 - $11.00
  • 6 - 9 - $14.00 

Shorts -
  • 0 - 2T - $ 9.00
  • 3T - 5 - $11.00
  • 6 - 9 - $14.00

Skirts with attached shorts underneath-

  • 0 - 2T - $14.00
  • 3T - 5 - $18.00
  • 6 - 9 - $22.00

Pants -

  • 0 - 2T - $10.00
  • 3T - 5 - $12.00
  • 6 - 9 - $15.00

Dresses -
  • 0 - 2T - $15.00
  • 3T - 5 - $20.00
  • 6 - 9 - $25.00
Sewn Dresses-
  • 0-2T- $12.00
  • 3T-5 - $14.00
  • 6-9- $17.00

Ribbon & sewn Items-
  • Belts - $7.00
  • Lanyard - $6.00
  • Key chain - $3.00
  • Toy / Paci Clips - $3.00
  • Burp cloth 8"x10 - $3.00
  • Cloth wipe 6" x6" set of 2- $2.00
  • Mini wipe 4" x 6" set of 2 - $1.50 
  • Crayon roll (holds 8 and can be made larger on request) - $4.00
  • Car roll (hold 6) - $4.00
  • Business Card key chain - $5.00
  • small lined pouch - $4.00
  • Medium lined pouch - $5.00
  • Large lined pouch - $6.00

Hair Bows-
  • Set of two mini bow clips - $1.50
  • Set of two piggies - $2.00
  • Korker bow - $4.00
  • Small bow - $2.50
  • Medium bow - $3.50
  • Large bow- $4.50
  • Small looped bow - $3.50
  • Small layered bow - $4.00
  • Medium looped bow - $4.50
  • Medium layered bow - $5.00
  • Large looped bow - $5.50
  • Large layered bow - $6.00
  • Interchangeable bottle cap bows - $7.00 with out bottle caps

Bottle Caps and Accessories-
  • Interchangeable bottle cap clippies - $2.50
  • Add bottle caps - $0.75 each (all bows including interchangeable)
  • Bottle cap key chain - $3.00
  • Bottle cap necklace - $4.00 
  • Bottle cap pin - $3.00
  • Bottle cap earrings - $6.00
  • add beads for $1.00 
  • Bottle cap magnets - $2.00 each

550 Cord Items-
  • Single color Bracelet - $7.00 + Shipping
  • 2 color Bracelet - $8.00 + Shipping
  • Square key chain - $3.00 + Shipping
  • 2 color Square key chain - $4.00 + Shipping
  • Flat key chain - $3.50 + Shipping
  • 2 color Flat key chain - $4.00 + Shipping
  • 1 color Zipper pull, set of 4 - $3.50+ Shipping
  • 2 color Zipper pull, set of 4 - $4.00 + Shipping
  • Lanyard - $4.00 

And here are a few shots from a previous review I did with Jenny:

What I thought:

I reviewed the cutest sister dresses ever!  I have always been really impressed with Jenny's work, but she really blew me away once again!  She carefully picked a fabric that matched my nickname for my girls (my baby birds). Every stitch was made with purpose, and looks fabulous! All of the details are hand crocheted and placed perfectly throughout the dress.  It adds detail without going overboard.  The "Big Sister" and "Little Sister" is hand embroidered, and the buttons are also stitched on by hand.  There was an extreme amount of time and care taken when creating these, and you can see that when you look at them.   

She also made matching bows for the girls to wear with the dresses!  She made one to attach to a newborn crocheted band for Miss Ellie, and she made one on a no slip aligator clip for Miss Zoey.  They looked nothing short of perfect in these perfect dresses.  They are my favorite outfits, and ones I will keep in their baby books to show to their children one day.

Talk to Jenny about ordering any style dress!  She could make memorable dresses for pictures, holidays, birthdays or every day wear!

The girls got to wear their dresses in the mountains while we were visiting my family and everyone loved them!!

And they have worn them a lot at home too!  I am thinking they really should have one for every day!!

Up for Giveaway:

Jenny will be giving away a $10 gift certificate to be used on any regular priced item! (does not include shipping, and expires in 3 months)

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