chronic illnessgiveaway + A Giveaway!

If you have never been exposed to the greatness of, let me introduce you! This is a wonderful organization and ministry that helps families stay connected during times of illness. I have had friends and family members use this amazing service during their time of need, such as during cancer treatments, surgery, or other illness. The sites not only allow you to keep your friends and family updated but allows your friends and family to leave words of encouragement, support, and prayers in the guestbook. Sites, like those from, provide a central location for families to keep family members and friends updated in one central location (versus making and receiving a million phone calls during an already stressful time).

Here is a little more information about CaringBridge:

Families unprepared for a loved one’s health diagnosis can be overwhelmed by medical terminology, treatment decisions and hospital visits. It’s times like these that families need support from extended family and friends. But even trying to respond (much less reaching out) to them using phone or personal emails is overwhelming and exhausting. CaringBridge was created to help these families receive support and provide information, while increasing time available for the patient and their caregiver. CaringBridge sites can be an important tool for families dealing with the stress of a health situation, giving them an appropriate outlet for sharing their feelings and receiving support.

CaringBridge provides free personal and private websites to patients and families when someone is facing a significant health challenge. The site provides a place for users to post journal entries and photos, as well as receive messages of hope and encouragement in a guestbook. Centralizing communication saves time and energy. Everyone can stay in touch, regardless of time zones and area codes. On average, half a million people connect through the site each day. You can create a site for yourself or a loved on at

If you would like to find out more about this amazing organization, be sure to visit their website!

Now onto the giveaway! CaringBridge was generous enough to provide a comfort kit to giveaway to one of my fabulous, amazing readers! The comfort kit includes items such as lip balm and lotion that are handy to keep at your bedside when illness strikes!

Entering the giveaway is quick & easy! Just leave a comment letting me what is one of your must-have necessities when  you flare or are sick! Be sure to add your email address in your comment so I have a way to contact you if you are the winner! The giveaway will remain open all weekend and the winner will be drawn on Monday at 8am!

**Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post. provided the comfort kit for a giveaway to one of my readers. All opinions are 100% my own. I have been touched personally by the awesomeness of this organization and wanted to help spread the word!

Happy Birthday Abby!

I cannot believe my sweet miracle is 2 years old today!

It seems like yesterday that you were this tiny bundle of joy that was placed in our arms and we were completely in love that very instant.

Now you are turning more and more into a little girl as the days go by! You are running, laughing, talking, and singing and every day fill our hearts with joy and love.

You have taught me so much about hope, faith, and love. You have revealed God’s character to me in a way I could have never imagined. You have healed me in so many ways.

I love you more than words can describe! I am so thankful I was chosen to be your mommy!

Of course I can’t mention your birthday without expressing our gratitude to your birthmom who loved you so much to offer you a better life and gave us the honor to be your parents! One day you will understand how much both of your moms love you!

Happy Birthday My Love!

chronic illnessfamilytravel

Celebrating (& Surviving) at the NC Zoo

Abby loves animals. I mean LOVES. Names of animals came right behind “mama” and “dada” as her first words. We have a baby animal book that is read a minimum of 3 times a day and a zoo puzzle that accompanies her pretty much wherever she goes so when we were starting to think of ideas of what to do for her birthday, a trip to the zoo was a no-brainer.

We are lucky to have several small zoos around us that we have been to before (and will likely visit again this summer) but we wanted to do something new and bigger for her birthday so we planned a trip to the NC Zoo. My family drove to VA and luckily John’s family lives really close so we met up and planned for a picnic and exploring. Unfortunately I didn’t factor my spoons into the equation.

Two things we ran into – 1) I think everyone in the state had the same plans for Saturday so the place was absolutely packed. We stood in line close to an hour just to get tickets. Thankfully the place is huge. 2) The place is huge. I mean HUGE. I knew it was big. I looked at the map and talked with some friends who had previously visited but it wasn’t until we pulled in that I actually got it. The Zoo is divided into 2 sections: Africa and North America. The zoo recommends planning a minimum of 2 hours to see Africa as it included 2 miles of trails. North America includes 3 miles of trails and takes a minimum of 3 hours to see everything. If you do the math you can see that to see the entire zoo would include 5 miles of trails and that is not including the distance you may have to walk from parking to the front gate (we ended up in overflow parking which was way out in the middle of nowhere).

So here are my tips for planning and surviving a trip to the NC Zoo as a spoonie as well as pictures from our fun day:

1) Plan to go on a weekday (think Tuesday-Thursday) to avoid crowds. I would also plan to visit in the Spring or Fall versus Summer to avoid the heat.

2) Divide the Zoo into 2 trips – Africa one day and North America the next (we plan on hitting up North America this fall!)

3) Plan for frequent rest breaks. The exhibits are spread out and there are a lot of hills but there are plenty of benches for rest stops between them. You may want to take advantage of the wheelchair rental (both manual and motorized) as well.

4) Pack snacks and drinks! There are gift shops but they are at the very front of the park or in the dead center. If you are prone to drops in blood sugar, you will definitely want to make sure you have something on hand. You cannot take a large cooler into the park but you can carry food and drink in a backpack.

5) Have fun! Realize that you may not see it all and that is ok! Had I had it in my head that we had to see everything before we left, I would have been very disappointed but thankfully I was given a heads up so we were sure to enjoy everything that we were able to get to. Make the trip as enjoyable as possible by taking it slow and taking it all in!

Do you have any summer travel tips you would like to share?