Monday, October 10, 2016

October is RSV Awareness Month: Learn About RSV Symptoms and Prevention

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. 
All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

My oldest daughter was born in the summer and it was more than a year before she got sick for the first time. I didn't quite know what to expect this past year when I had a baby born in the winter. My youngest was born in February and despite my best efforts to keep her healthy, unwanted germs entered our home and before I knew it, I had a very sick baby. Just 7 weeks after she was born, we were in the pediatrician's office with nasal and chest congestion and a fussy baby that could hardly eat because she couldn't breathe through her nose. She was wheezing, and our pediatrician, along with a nurse and nurse practitioner spent two hours trying to stabilize her oxygen levels. Normal is 100%, acceptable is in the 90%'s. We were sitting steady at 80%.

Infant airways and lungs are so tiny and so fragile and I learned through our experience that it doesn't take much for a baby's illness to escalate to the point of not getting enough oxygen. Thankfully babies - and their lungs - are incredibly resilient. Still, it's scary. As parents, we need understand what's happening, when to seek help, and what we can do to attempt to avoid it.

October is RSV Awareness Month, a great time to learn about what RSV is and how to prevent it. RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Disease - is more common than you might think. In fact, most babies will contract RSV before the age of two. Thankfully, it's not nearly as common for symptoms to become severe enough to require hospitalization. RSV is a seasonal virus that typically shows it's ugly head between November and March. It's the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life.

We did everything we could think of to try to avoid illness in our baby, but with an older child who was unknowingly bringing germs home from school, it wasn't too surprising that despite our best efforts, we ended up with a sick baby. Thankfully we had a team of people that helped her to get well really fast and our hospital stay was short and sweet. We're hopeful that we'll make it through this RSV season without another hospitalization and we'll be sure to do what we can to prevent it - frequent hand washing, keeping baby away from crowds and young children (especially those with colds) as much as possible, washing toys and bedding often to get rid of any stowaway germs, and of course, avoiding any exposure to cigarette smoke.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Halloween Headquarters at Oriental Trading: Costumes and Candy and Crafts, Oh My!

We received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

One of my favorite parts of this time of year is that there is a holiday to look forward to every month for the next several months! We're always counting down the days to something at this time of year. Right now, it's Halloween!

It's so exciting to enjoy fun holidays alongside my children. My six year old starts planning her Halloween costumes on November 1 each year for the following year. She usually changes her mind about 24 times before October 31... usually for the last time about 4 days before the big day, but every idea is super exciting and magical to her, so we just go with it!

This year, as soon as we hit the official first day of fall, we were ready to celebrate! Decorations, costumes, candy, and fun. We were ready for Halloween early this year - thanks to Oriental Trading!

Halloween Headquarters at Oriental Trading has absolutely everything you need to celebrate this year. Whether you're in the mood for festive or spooky, looking for a costume, some decorations, toys, crafts, or even candy, Oriental Trading has you covered. With a huge selection and affordable prices, you won't be disappointed. 

These Jack O'Lantern Dry Erase Stickers are great for decorating your home for the fun occasion! The set comes with one blank pumpkin and two more partially decorated ones just waiting for your finishing touches before hanging.

Our new Peanuts® Halloween Bowl is filled with Black Cat Character Suckers and Mini Swirl Pops. They are cute and something different for us this year. Usually our bowl is full of traditional chocolate favorites. Oriental Trading has those as well, but we went with lollipops this year and loved the look of these. Of course, we've taste-tasted them, and they were winners in that regard too!

Since we've spent much of this year dealing with some food allergies in our youngest, we were glad to see that Oriental Trading has stocked their shop with lots of non-food Halloween treat options. We ordered a Teal Pumpkin this year in honor of food allergy awareness - to signify that we'll have some non-food treats to offer to kiddos who may not be able to eat all the candy. 

We've filled a second treat bowl with these adorable Halloween Bears and Jack-O-Lantern Rubber Duckies. The vinyl bears really are the cutest and they come in sets of 48. My daughter has already gifted one to each of her classmates and we still have plenty to give away on Halloween night! These treats will be a fun option for any visiting kids who may not be able to eat our candy offerings. Most likely, we'll let everyone take one, because who could look at these cute faces and not want one?!

No holiday is complete without stickers, right? Actually in our home, no day is complete without stickers. These Peanuts® Halloween Stickers are great for the season and my daughter has been loving creating crafty cards for her friends with these. The roll comes with 100 assorted stickers.

We've also been doing some seasonal crafting with this Halloween Witch Clothespin Craft Kit. I adore these foam craft kids from Oriental Trading. They are so easy, mess-free, yet totally adorable and very fun for little crafters.

Perhaps most excitingly for this time of year, Oriental Trading has tons and tons and tons of costume options for both kids and adults! If there's something you have in mind, Oriental Trading is sure to have it. And if you just can't think of what to dress up as, Oriental Trading will give you some great ideas!

My daughter has decided to be an angel this year and Oriental Trading had the perfect costume for her. This Angel Costume with Wings & Candle is simple, sweet, beautiful, and perhaps most importantly, practical. I wasn't sure that I would love these feather wings but I do! They look fantastic and really fancy this costume up. You never know what the weather will be like around here on Halloween, but often it's a night to break out the winter jackets. This white angel dress will fit over whatever jacket we use. The only downside to this costume is the lack of halo, but we'll be able to make one of those without too much difficulty. Here's a costume sneak peek... I'm hoping she doesn't change her mind!

I know some of you might be surprised that we're not dressing at Shopkins this Halloween! For all you Shopkins fans, rest assured Oriental Trading does even have a costume for you! Strawberry Kiss and Cupcake Queen are full of glittery goodness, so if Shopkins are your thing this year, Oriental Trading has you covered.

We were so excited for Halloween this year as always, and even more so now that Oriental Trading hooked us up with everything we need for a great night. Check out Halloween Headquarters at Oriental Trading for anything and everything you need this year!
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