Spread Awareness For RSV Prevention & World Prematurity Day #MC #RSVAwareness #PreemieProtection #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Today is World Prematurity Day and I'd like to share a story that is very near and dear to my heart. Sunday, September 27th, 2009 was a very scary, yet important, day for our family. My husband had a stomach virus all weekend and, as I was feeling miserable, I was certain he'd passed it on to me. By 4pm, my stomach was hard as a rock and I was afraid that maybe I was actually having contractions, so we headed to the hospital, praying everything would be okay. Liam Alexander DeBord was born a few short hours later due to a placental abruption, which meant an emergency C-section had to be performed immediately. When he was born, he cried with vigor and weighed over 7 pounds even though he was 5 weeks early. The doctor thought this was a very good sign, but within minutes, they noticed he was having issues breathing. Being premature, Liam's lungs had not fully developed and, for the next three days, he needed assistance via breathing tubes and intubation. This was such a scary, uncertain time for our family and one that will never be forgotten. Thankfully, our doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing and helped us with every little obstacle in our way.

While Liam was in the NICU, my husband and I were required to take a special preemie class before bringing him home with us. During this class, we met many other parents of preemies and got to also hear their stories. Listening to each of them talk about their little babies, some of which were only a pound or two at birth, was not only educational, but reinforced the importance of prenatal care. We were lucky that Liam was only in the NICU for two weeks. Many of the other babies had been there for months and months.
Liam only a few hours after he was born!
Part of the class was also dedicated to infant breathing, infections, and prevention of those possible infections and viruses. RSV Prevention was at the top of the list and something the teacher taught about in great detail. While RSV is a typical seasonal virus for full-term children that causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, it can be extremely dangerous for preemies. In fact, preemies are 2x more likely to get RSV! This is one of the reasons no other children are allowed in the NICU and there is a visitor limit set.

I have to admit that I knew little about RSV before I took this class. The truth is, one out of three mothers has never even heard of RSV. Liam was our second child and this class was the first time I'd heard about it! Even scarier, one of the smaller babies in the NICU had RSV and it was quite an ordeal of the preemie who already struggled with breathing before her symptoms began. RSV quickly became very close and personal for our NICU family and something we were vigilant to prevent.

What are the symptoms of severe RSV Disease? The most prevalent symptoms are coughing and wheezing, along with trouble breathing. If your child is having trouble breathing, such as rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths, please contact a medical professional immediately. Other symptoms include a temperature of 100.4 or more, extreme fatigue, difficulty feeding, and bluish coloring around the fingernails and mouth, which is caused from lack of oxygen.

Remember, there is NO treatment for RSV, so it's very important for parents, close friends, and family members to help protect children by taking preventative steps year-round. RSV is very, very contagious and can be spread through touching, sneezing, and coughing. During RSV season, these are some very important steps to preventing RSV disease:

  • Frequently wash hands, toys, and bedding.
  • Avoid crowded areas and other young children.
  • Never let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Stay away from others who are sick and/or contagious.
 I cannot stress enough just how important it is to stay vigilant and to prevent against RSV. I was shocked to read that RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life. There are approximately 125,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year and up to 200 infant deaths caused by RSV disease. This is why, as parents, we must educate ourselves and also continue to educate others about the dangers of RSV disease. Prevention is key and something we practice year-round. My kids wash their hands frequently while at school and I make them wash hands as soon as they get home, too.

What do you do to prevent RSV disease in your home? Do you know anyone who has had RSV? Please share this post with any parents, caregivers, or parents-to-be! Do your part to help prevent and spread the word about RSV disease!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

CaringBridge Connects People With The Healing Power of Words #MC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I've shared information with you in the past about my son, Liam, and his experiences with Neurofibromatosis and his diagnoses of brain tumors, something he will fight the rest of his life. When he began chemotherapy about two years ago, we met with a social worker for the very first time who suggested checking out CaringBridge to not only connect with others going through similar health issues, but to share our story with others.

As a blogger, I've learned just how powerful words can be. I simple comment of support can really turn a bad day into something better. Other days, I just feel overwhelmed and, though I fail to express my emotions aloud, writing them out would be so therapeutic and CaringBridge was the perfect way for me to really get out my feelings and share our story with others.
CaringBridge was created in 1997 as a place for people to remain in contact with friends and family members to receive support when they need it most. Just as we learned, CaringBridge is an amazing way for people to navigate a very emotional journey, to share support and to receive support.

If you know someone who could benefit from what CaringBridge has to offer, please share this post with them and also let them know you care. A quick note, visit, email, or hug can really make a difference and brighten someone's day. Let them know that not only are friends and family there, but CaringBridge offers an entire online community that is supportive, caring, and understanding.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Build Your Phone Plan With Virgin Mobile Custom #CustomMom #MC ##SprintMom #Sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review. 

Last month I was so excited to attend an event with several other Atlanta bloggers to learn about Virgin Mobile's new Custom plan, which allows users to build their own phone plan exactly the way they want it to be. Of course, I love meeting up with other bloggers and, since my cell phone is with me at all times, I was very interested in learning more about Virgin Mobile. I, personally, had never used Virgin Mobile before, but have always heard great things about their service and plans. Meeting with Sprint/Virgin Mobile executives gave me the opportunity to learn more about them and to also ask questions!
With a room full of bloggers, I wasn't the only one who had questions. Luckily, the executives had everything perfectly planned with a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and a variety of phones they offer.

In addition to the presentation and questions, we took a moment to eat some of the most delicious food! While we ate, the executives continued with their presentation. I was happily surprised when our lunch plates were replaced by dessert! Believe me, I was stuffed by the time I walked out of the building.
After the event, each blogger received a goody bag containing more information about the Virgin Mobile Custom plan, some other fun gifts like ear phones and a cup, and the big gift was our own cell phone! I couldn't wait to get home and play with my new toy. In addition, we received a $35 credit so we could try out the Custom plan ourselves.

About Virgin Mobile Custom
Plans start at only $6.98 per line, so you can also add on other family member. From there, you have complete control with Virgin Mobile's Custom technology. Do you use your phone more for text messages than talking? You can choose a plan with lower talk minutes and a higher text limit. Do you stay online and need more data? Custom allows you to pick and choose and set limits to your personal likings. As if this wasn't already enough, Virgin Mobile Custom stands out even more because, unlike other plans, you can adjust your plan any time you want. Yes, I said ANY TIME you want! If, in the middle of the month, you realize you didn't use as many talk minutes as you thought you would, simply go in and decrease your talk minute limit. So many other plans only allow you to only adjust up, but not with Custom. You can adjust up or down and you will be reimbursed via credit to your account when adjusting down!

Why This is A Great Option For Kids
My kids are much too young for phones, but not my niece and nephew. My parents made the mistake of giving them phones without any types of limits are controls, which backfired and cost them a ridiculous amount for data overages. With Virgin Mobile Custom, limits are already set, so they cannot go over. In addition, you can control which features they are allowed to use, from apps to texts. Another feature that is quite important is a curfew setting, allowing parents do decide when kids can and cannot use the phone. If you want children to study from 4pm until 6pm, all you have to do is set their phone and usage is blocked during those hours. I absolutely love this feature and, unlike my niece and nephew, I can rest assured at night that my kids aren't sneaking online when they should be sleeping, too! It's a great way to keep connected to your children and also keep them safe.

Staying Social With Custom
As someone who is online a great deal of each day, I am all about social media. Who doesn't check Facebook 500 times a day or go on Twitter to see what is trending? Virgin Mobile goes a step further with Custom's Special Offers by allowing users to choose add-ons to the plan. If you use Facebook as much as I do, you can pay $5 extra for unlimited monthly access to it! This means the time spent on Facebook will not count against your monthly data usage. They also have the option for unlimited Twitter, Instagram, and music, each for an additional $5! Looking at my phone, I noticed over 50% of my monthly data is spent on Facebook, so paying $5 would be a great way to save data for other use. 
Do you make International Calls often? Virgin Mobile Custom has several special minute offers for a variety of countries, including Mexico, Canada, India, and the Dominican Republic. You can also choose a World 100 International plan, which includes several different countries.

Our Thoughts
I received the LG Pulse ($79.99 retail), one of three phones especially made for the Virgin Mobile Custom plan. At such a low price, I was expecting a pretty basic phone, but I was completely wrong. The phone takes great photos, has room for apps, and has a wider screen with a crystal clear picture, making it perfect for watching videos, too. My children have pretty much taken over this phone because it is far superior to my other $600+ phone. I'm quite a fan of the bigger screen, too, making it easier to type text and read captions while watching movies. Since it can also connect to our wireless network at home, I've taken to watching movies on it at night before falling asleep because the battery lasts quite a while.

Setting up the phone was so simple, making the hardest part choosing how to build my plan. I simply set my phone and then it was ready for me to create a Custom account. Just as I explained above, I could choose which options I wanted included in my plan and with $35 to spend, I was able to create the exact plan I wanted with some to spare.

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review. 


A Day To Remember Thanks To Cascade #CascadeShiningReviews #DDDivas #sponsored @MyCascade

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Cascade. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Back in September I hosted a fun party over at my sister-in-law's house to share the cleaning power of Cascade Platinum. We had such a great time that I couldn't wait to throw our next party! Luckily, Liam's birthday came at just the perfect time, so we threw a bash that will go down in history. From the decorations and activities, to the food and cake, we had everything planned perfectly and, thanks to Cascade Platinum, everything was shiny, clean, and beautiful. Plus, our adult guests also received gift bags along with the kiddos!

So, let me back up a bit and tell  you about this awesome party. Myself, my mom-in-law and my sister-in-law went Pinterest crazy before the party and, with a Halloween theme we couldn't wait to prepare many snacks and goodies for everyone to enjoy.

Plates for our guests were paper, but, as you can see from just the snack table, we had many dishes to wash before and after the event.

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Cascade. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.