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Using the Nosiboo Nasal Aspirator Pro for Congestion

 Even though it seems miles away, fall and winter are just around the corner-- which means cold and flu season is just around the corner. (Insert cringe emoji here). Prior to Lindie I hardly thought twice about cold and flu season, but now, with Lindie being more susceptible to sickness while she's young, we plan our fall and winter days around cold and flu season. (Seriously, this is why we have been traveling SO MUCH this summer-- because we know our traveling days are limited).

Thankfully last year Lindie was only sick once-- her birthday weekend, of course. However, she had tons of congestion on a regular basis beginning in October and ending in April. (That's a LONG six months).
Last week we were gifted a Nosiboo Nasal Aspirator Pro and yesterday we tried it out for the first time. And, honestly, I feel more relieved going into cold and flu season knowing we have it ready to go to suck out all that snot!

There were two things I noticed about the Nosiboo Nasal Aspirator Pro that is different from a typical nasal aspirator. One, it's electric. That being said the suction is stronger than any of the nasal aspirators we've previously used. The suction reminded me of the nasal aspirator we had on hand in the NICU. I remember last winter wishing for that NICU nasal aspirator multiple times, so I'm fortunate we will have something similar this winter with the Nosiboo Nasal Aspirator Pro.

The second thing I noticed is that the nose piece is smaller and more narrow at the tip than what we had previously been using, which means it can go into Lindie's tiny little nose easier and have even that more access to her nasal cavity. (Yay for getting those way back boogies)!
All this being said, we are super happy with the Nosiboo Nasal Aspirator Pro and would highly recommend it to any family (Down syndrome or not) prepping for the cold and flu season with a tiny babe. 

Baker's Barn

Last week I picked up Eliza from the Baker's Barn.
We love the Baker's Barn.
But not as much as we love my sister.
I love going back to her house each summer to see what beautiful things she has added.
It's truly a place that gets better and better with each year.
And these cousins sure love each other too.
Thanks, Aunt Ashley, for a great week with Eliza!
We love you!

Now, for some outtakes-
these are the pictures Eliza took while we were picking zinnias in the garden.
She was very proud of the BUTT shot.
You'll see. ;)

Nice shots Eliza girl photographer!
She's a natural!

Using Visuals to Organize our Art Closet

We've got art ladies and gentlemen. LOTS of art going on in this Swift Abode. So much so that sometimes it can wreak havoc on said Swift Abode in its overflowing corners and closets of our home.

Ah! That's embarrassing.

Growing up I saved everything with hopes of using it for a future art project. Scraps of paper? Art project. Bits of yarn? Art project. Leftover pieces of fabric? Art project. That yucky aluminum can that held our corn last night and my mom tried to throw away? An art project. Everything was saved for the sake of art. I even remember one time accidentally breaking a bracelet of mine only to grab a Ziploc baggie to save the beads for another future piece of jewelry. Oh, Lordy.

As I've gotten older (and have gotten better at purging) I haven't saved quite as much. That being said, we still have a lot of art and art supplies going on in this home and with all the art that Miss Rosie loves to do it sometimes can get a bit crazy up in here.

With that in mind, I've been wanting to give our art closet a makeover. My goal originally was just to get it organized. Then last weekend Chris and I attended the Annual National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in Dallas, Texas. We learned so much information while we were there. Like so much that our minds were kind of exploding a bit when we left. (Seriously, between the two of us we went to ten separate workshops ranging in topics from speech and physical therapy to new, advanced research in the field). 

But one of the key things that stood out to me was about how VISUAL individuals with Down syndrome are. I remember reading about it in the early days of Lindie's life while I sat beside her clear incubator in the NICU.  From what we've heard and read it seems that providing a visual example with most things can help with learning.

This week, with the closet on my mind and wanting to incorporate more visuals in our home for Lindie, and honestly knowing that visuals would only help Miss Rosie too, I organized our art closet with pictures alongside their labels.
This project was super simple. I used nine square boxes we had lying around (although totes would work great too) and images I found online. I just printed and taped them on each box.

My hope is that it would provide an easier way to keep things organized AND that Lindie would be able to find things too when it's time for for her to start making her own art projects. (Because if I'm going to expect her future schools to adapt and modify things there, then I need to start adapting and modifying at home, right)? 
I'm also anxious to see how the visuals help Eliza in learning the words on the labels.

What are you doing, would like to do or have done to adapt your home for your little one? I'd love to hear your ideas!


And don't you just love these sweet sisters. They're the best.

Educational Apps for Summer Traveling

our family at Pikes Peak earlier this month

Before we left for vacation last month we downloaded a few apps on our iPad for Eliza. Two of the apps we downloaded were the Kidlo English App and the Kidlo Math Games. We love having educational games on our iPad or phones when the need arrives and, although Eliza doesn't enjoy playing games as much as she used to on the iPad, I personally love having something available as backup.
 The Kidlo English App divides up the content into PreK, K, and Grade 1, which I appreciate since she is younger. It has bright colors and fun songs. Eliza thinks some of the videos are hilarious, and although it didn't keep her attention for too long (again, lately she's been uninterested in the iPad), it was a great resource to have around. The Kidlo English App has everything from basic letters (uppercase and lowercase), to learning phonics, learning to write and spell, identifying common words and colors and shapes. It has an option to download certain letters, categories or everything (if you have enough space!), which is a great option if you don't have constant access to internet. (Like when you're driving in the car 12 hours on a road trip)!
The Kidlo Math Games divides the content into PreK and K and has many of the same features: bright colors, playful songs and an easy downloading option. It has everything from basic numbers, geometry, sorting and organizing, counting, comparison and patterns.

If you are in need of an educational app this summer for your traveling, or really for any reason at all, Eliza and I recommend the Kidlo English App and the Kidlo Math Games!

(The above links are for the Apple app links. If you're looking for the Android links check out the Android Kidlo English App and the Android Kidlo Math Games)!

five mickey button G-tube tips & tricks

Tomorrow will be one year since Lindie girl got her gastrostomy tube (G-tube). Initially, we were terrified of the idea of it, not wanting anything "extra" or "invasive." At the same time, we were exhausted of the daily NICU routine. Lindie struggled with eating during her entire 35 day stay in the NICU, not to mention the days before we arrived at the NICU. We syringe fed. We tried breastfeeding. We tried bottle feeding- bottle after bottle, nipple after nipple- all with no improvement. Finally, at the beginning of April we were ready for the "G-tube conversation" with her doctors.

We chose the G-tube for a couple reasons. One, our local children's hospital won't send babies home on an NG-tube (Nasogastric tube). So even though she did have an NG-tube for a few weeks in the NICU, it was not an option for us to go home with one. And two, we had been going back and forth to the hospital for a month with our two year old daughter. We were exhausted. She was exhausted. Chris was back at work. We were depending on our parents, who had been using their own sick days and personal days to help us get through. Life was crazy. We were ready to be home and begin our lives as a family of four and get some normalcy under our belts. The G-tube allowed that. It allowed us the ability to continue to try to breastfeed and bottle feed, while having the G-tube as a safety net.
I remember struggling with the fear of "just giving in" getting the G-tube and that if we could "just figure something out" we could make Lindie want to eat and then she wouldn't need it.

It makes sense if you know me. I'm a pretty non-invasive gal. I opted for two medicine-free, all natural child births. When I have a headache, I drink more water instead of take Tylenol. And when my kids are sick, I am hesitant to go straight to the meds. So the idea of getting a G-tube felt like a failure.
But Lindie needed it. She needed nourishment and it wasn't best for her to continue hanging in the NICU when she could be at home. It wasn't the best for her and it wasn't the best for our family. So we chose the mickey button G-tube.
On April 4, 2017 Lindie had surgery to put it in. It was pretty typical. She healed and we learned how to feed her with the mickey button G-tube. One week later we went home!
At first the G-tube felt like alien territory. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. I wouldn't leave the house for fear of having to (gasp!) tube feed her in public. I didn't know if a little redness was too much redness or a little moisture was too much moisture. I had no clue!

It got a lot easier with time. I grew more confident and learned how to tube Lindie in a variety of places: doctor's offices, coffee shops, parks and ballet studios- wherever babies eat, I G-tubed Lindie there! (And still do).
Now that's it been a year I feel a lot more confident as a Mama of a tubie. I've grown really thankful for Lindie's G-tube and am so happy we got it when we did. I also feel like I've learned a few tricks here and there when it comes to taking care of a babe with a mickey button G-tube, so I wanted to share some of those.
ONE, don't be afraid to call your pediatric surgeon. Seriously. I called them like five times in the first month home and about four of those times went into the office to get her G-tube checked. Lindie had a good amount of granulation tissue early on while her G-tube site was still healing. I was so thankful for our Pediatric Surgeon and his PAs who were always so helpful and kind. They would usually use some silver nitrate to help get rid of the granulation tissue. And eventually her G-tube site healed enough that the granulation tissue went away for good.
TWO, get yourself some Calmoseptine Ointment. (Also known as butt cream. Seriously! When Chris went to Walgreens to buy it he asked the pharmacy tech where to find Calmoseptine and she said, "Like the butt cream?" Poor guy!)

Early on when we first brought Lindie home her G-tube was still fresh. It took a good month or two to fully heal. In that time we dealt with a lot of redness and granulation tissue. I wish I had known about Calmoseptine then (and maybe I did but was too overwhelmed to remember at the time) but Calmoseptine is so great if you notice any redness. It clears it up quick! I just used some on Lindie tonight!
THREE, use a Boppy while G-tubing. When Lindie was little she had a lot of reflux. She needed to be G-tubed at an incline. We loved using the Boppy for this reason. As she got older, we began to tube her while sitting in a high chair, but the Boppy was so handy before she could sit up on her own.
FOUR, buy some G-tube covers. I was hesitant to buy these at first. Chris and I are pretty frugal, so I didn't want to buy anything "extra" if it wasn't necessary. I thought they were just for looks, but I quickly learned that they're not. For Lindie, the G-tube covers, or G-tube pads, help absorb extra moisture (leaking milk or stomach juices, maybe?) that comes out of her G-tube site from time to time. It's not a lot, but enough that if she doesn't have anything around her mickey button the extra moisture causes redness. However, if we use a G-tube cover then she's good to go! We usually use one all day and switch it out at night before she goes to bed. You can find them on Etsy or Amazon. Our favorite shop is Fashion Tubies.
FIVE, be strategic with clothing. One of my biggest fears is that Lindie will accidentally pull out her G-tube. (Ouch)! We've had a few close calls- once in the bathtub and a few times while feeding her, but typically Lindie is in a onesie or romper so that she doesn't have access to her mickey button. Very seldom will we dress her in anything else just for this reason.

Also, When Lindie wears onesies I dress her with the onesie on top of her pants (like the picture above). This allows easy access to her mickey button without having to take off their pants, which really is no fun in the winter time. I didn't discover this until Lindie was 10 months old, and I wish I had discovered it sooner!

And finally, in the summer I dress Lindie in snap-up rompers because they're so easy for tube feeding. Our favorites snap-up rompers are from Carters. I just bought her five for the summer because they are so easy!
Lindie has had the mickey button G-tube for the majority of her life. If you would have told me a year ago she would still have it and be using it today, I would have been really disappointed. And there is part of me that is bummed that she still has it and uses it daily.

That being said, I am so happy we got it when we did! Because of the G-tube, we are able to work with Lindie at her pace with eating. We are able to do therapy and try new strategies and allow her to have a voice in what she likes and doesn't like and do all this without the stress of worrying about nutrition- all because of the G-tube. For that I am so grateful!

If you're interested in our feeding routine, check out my Feeding Therapy Instastory over at @aimeeswift. I explain all of that there!

T H I R T Y - T W O

We love our man.
And on Monday he turns 32.
We met when we were 18 or 19. In college. We can't really remember the exact moment we met.
He became my best friend when we were 21. We got engaged at 22 and married at 23. And now he's about to be 32! Cray. Cray.
(That also means I'm soon to be 32 as well).

So thankful for him everyday!
Wish him a H A P P Y birthday if you see him!

Also, don't forget to enter the G I V E A W A Y with JORD! Click HERE to enter.
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