Linking Up WIth Side By Side Design

I am linking up with our charitable blog, Mikey’s Helping Place (MHP), and our friends Tami and Lauren, over at Side By Side Design, to bring you an easy and fun challenge to help sick kids.

Head over to Side By Side Design to learn more about their goal of making 200 cards to benefit MHP’s Operation Smile project and how you can help!

Let’s keep working to make sick children and their families smile!


Operation Smile, Valentine’s Edition

I am reposting the link to our charitable blog below as we have updated our Operation Smile list to include several more sick children who would love to receive Valentine’s from you!  Please help us shower each one with cheerful cards! (If you have already started, please check the updated list for the new names and addresses!)

Thank you so much to everyone who has already said they will be participating!

Mikey’s Helping Place: Operation Smile, Valentine’s Edition

Hit The Road Jack

“Get your flu shots,” everyone kept telling us; “this flu season has been terrible,” all the news channels reported.  Well, this week we all got a chance to experience the magical tour of flu land personally (except for my oldest son who somehow remained immune – thank God)!  I must say that this is one story that the news outlets got right: THE FLU IS DREADFUL!

As an adult, I have gotten the flu more often when I actual receive the shot than when I don’t, so, other than when pregnant, I opt out.  However, everyone else in the house is carefully vaccinated each year (see previous post on the fun that is trying to get 3 kids to get flu shots at one doctors visit).  Apparently, this year’s flu virus wasn’t informed about their vaccinations though because this past weekend, after a fun birthday party for my nephew, my daughter started to feel a little warm.  I gave her some Tylenol and sent her to bed and she didn’t complain (that should have been my first clue).

and so it begins

and so it begins

Later that night, the fever went really high and remained that way throughout the weekend and she also started coughing so first thing Monday morning we headed over to the doctor to get her checked out.  Sure enough, it was the flu.  Fantastic. So glad I had jumped on top of her at the pediatrician’s office a few months earlier so that she could have that shot that would supposedly protect her from this very thing.  Ugh.  She needed some serious drugs pronto.

I hadn’t slept all weekend because I was freaked out by her fever but I hadn’t started exhibiting any symptoms besides exhaustion (which, honestly, is not that uncommon in our house) and muscle aches.  The doctor prescribed Tamiflu for me anyway because, in my role as caregiver, I probably had it/would get it also.  Lovely.

The next day, I started coughing, my younger son started a fever and my husband got the chills.  Oh the fun of having nearly an entire household fall in less than 24 hours, especially when half of the victims are parents who really can’t just lie down until they feel better when the little people are depending on them.  So, the husband went to the doctor while I called our pediatrician and begged for drugs for my boys without having to be tortured by another trip to the office.  As soon as they heard that my husband also had a verified case of the flu and that my 2-year-old had all of the same symptoms, our cups were running over with Tamiflu (sidenote, that junk is EXPENSIVE, even with insurance – no wonder everyone is getting ill!)

My husband and I tried to take turns resting while the kids were laying down and while one of us might be feeling slightly better at the time, but anyone with kids knows how this is much easier said than done.  Luckily, our older son was fine and can handle himself so he escaped to school and then hid himself in his room doing his homework and playing basketball.

It’s now Thursday and my daughter will finally be able to go back to school tomorrow – she was missing it so badly that I contacted her teacher and got some work for her to do at home!  Seriously, she was so desperate that she asked for homework!  Poor baby.  My husband also had to miss 3 days of work, which is unheard of for him.

None of us feel fantastic yet, but we’ve all been on the drugs and fever free now for the required amount of time to allow us back into the general population.  Apparently coughing is both a sign of the illness and the road to recovery – so weird – so we’re still dealing with that, but no one else is susceptible to our germs.   I’m not sure how my oldest survived this ordeal unscathed, but I’m glad he was spared!  It’s so miserable watching the kids be sick, especially for so long (and especially when you can’t do anything about it and  want to just sleep yourself!).  At one point, my youngest, a usual  whirlwind of energy, just said, “pwees” and held his arms out so I would hold him.  He snuggled into my arms and looked up into my face (which probably looked like death warmed over due to lack of sleep) and murmured a tiny, “oh, dear,” before passing out in my lap.  So pathetic to watch.

It’s time to hit the road Jack flu and don’t you come back no more no more no more no more!!!!  Here’s to a much healthier February!

**For the record, our car also had issues that required some expensive “medicine” this week (and a 3 1/2 hour visit to the mechanic where I sat wanting to puke on the “advisor” I was dealing with), so even our automobiles weren’t immune to the horrid flu! Good times!**

Making Children Smile

show them some love

show them some love

My passion has always been children’s causes because, as a stay home mom of 3, I spend 99% of my time with my kids.  I have been incredibly blessed with 3 healthy children and it breaks my heart to read of parents who have not been as lucky.  When my son was 5, we worked on a few charitable projects together and started a Facebook Page and blog to help promote other small charities, specifically those involving sick kids.  I quickly learned that one of the easiest ways to help a sick child is to send them mail.  Every parent I have encountered has said that when their child gets mail, it brightens even the worst of days.

As such, we started our “Operation Smile” lists, which we update every few months as we hear of new children who are battling illnesses.  We try to send each child a cheery card and ask others who read our blog to try and do the same.  These cards can be store bought or homemade; they can be personal or generic; they can even be postcards just showing the city where you live (the kids love knowing that there are people all over the United States – and even the world – that are thinking of them and praying for their speedy recovery).

We’ve started off 2013 with a new list and, as it is getting close to Valentine’s Day, we thought we would offer up a special challenge to the readers of this blog, especially since this is something that your kids can help with!  Will you help us send cheerful Valentines to the kids on our list?  And, help us spread the word about Operation Smile?  How great would it be to inundate these brave children with smiles and well wishes in time for Valentine’s Day?!

Please go to our charitable blog to get the newest Operation Smile list and then like us on Facebook to learn about more children as the year progresses.  Each of the children listed also have Facebook pages and you can like those as well to keep up with their journeys.

Thank you in advance for your support of this great cause!  I know the parents appreciate the mail as much, if not more, than the kids!  And, please leave a comment if you are planning on participating (and/or sharing on your blog) so we can thank you personally!

Helping Other Children

Our Charity

Per the request of my oldest son, we started a “charity” called Mikey’s Helping Place (the name was his idea – he’s 5, so it makes complete sense). 🙂  Earlier this year he held a Read-A-Thon where he read 50 books in 2 weeks and was able to raise $800 for the adoption division of the Children’s Home Society of North Florida, a place dear to our hearts since both my step-dad and my close childhood friend were adopted.

He was so excited about how well he did for his first charitable event, that he wanted to immediately jump into another one.  Obviously, at his young age, he doesn’t realize everything that goes into raising money, but I love that his heart is in the right place.

We took it easy for a few months, but he kept asking to do something else so right now, we are collecting new toys for the Pediatric Unit at our local hospital. I realize how lucky I am to have 3 healthy children so we wanted to help spread a little sunshine to the children that are in the hospital.

Over the last month, we have been getting both monetary and tangible donations from numerous people and we have been storing everything in our spare closet.  This weekend, we were able to go shopping with some of the donated money and purchased numerous interactive toys for the hospital playroom, per the request of the hospital.

playroom toys

We were also able to purchase smaller items as fillers for the gift bags we intend to make for each patient to keep.

gift bag goodies

Next up, we are hoping to get toys for the toy-box where children pick a gift to keep as a comfort item when they receive various hospital treatments.  We are so excited about how well everything is turning out and the kids can’t wait to be able to deliver the toys to the Pediatrics director on September 30th!

**Check Mikey’s Helping Place out on Facebook to learn more about the toy drive!**

A Heart For Kids

I have always had a special place in my heart for children, but never more so than right now as a mother.  I complain like everyone and get frustrated with the craziness that is my life with three kids age 5 and under.  But, I know I am very blessed and very lucky.

As I have mentioned before, my son has started a charity for kids and one of our objectives is to raise awareness for other individual charities that don’t get much exposure.  We can’t always give money and gifts, but we can always give our prayers and pass on the word to others that might be able to help.

Over the past 2 weeks, I have been contacted by three families currently trying to raise money for a child, each afflicted by different critical illnesses.  Each time I read a new story, my eyes get teary and I have to thank God again for blessing me with three healthy babies.  I know that these children could easily be my kids and it breaks my heart to think of what these parents are going through.

Sometimes there isn’t anything we can do but pray, but I am a firm believer that prayer can work miracles.  I have seen it numerous times throughout my life and I can only pray that those miracles will be extended to the families with sick children.  For now, I am happy that I can help somehow by spreading the word about these brave children and their families, no matter how meager that contribution may seem.

If you have a heart for kids, please visit our charity’s blog, Mikey’s Helping Place, or visit our Facebook page, to learn more about these kids and our current projects.  Also, if you know a charity that needs more exposure, let me know.  We are trying to feature a new small charity each week and I want to keep this going!  My heart truly lies with kids and I want to help each one in whatever way I can!