Monthly Archives

May 2020

0 In motherhood and family

My baby will not eat baby food!

My 7-month-old will not eat baby food. We started at a little after 4 months, but she would look at me like, why am going to eat that stuff when I want what you are eating. She is the first out of my four kids who just is not into this and has really wanted no more than about 2 bites before pushing it away. My other kids ate their baby food like it was a Thanksgiving feast being served and they loved every bite. We tried all different foods and flavors. We tried feeding her and stopped, trying again a week or two later with no success.  

 Next as most Mom’s do, we read article after article. I read everything on baby fed weaning and cutting food into long strips that they can hold on to, that are soft and easy to mush in her mouth as they learn to chew but I just couldn’t do it. At this point, I am having visions of my little baby choking on food and there is just no way. It is not always easy trying new things when none of your other children cared about what they were being fed. My baby wanted everyone else’s food at 5 months, breastmilk and nothing else. I knew she could eat the baby food I saw her swallow some a few times so what do I do?

 Well, by 6 months she still was not eating, and I was a bit concerned. With this virus going around we did not see her doctor until 7 months. When she walked in the first thing the doctor said is, she must be loving baby food right? I instantly said No, she will not eat it at all! Luckily, her doctor was right on point, she commented that we have to many people in the house eating the good food, why would she want that stuff. To Moms, it is a relief when something you may worry about is not a concern at all to their pediatrician. She said well if you can make whatever she wants mushy then cut it up into tiny piece and she can eat it.. She said a lot of babies skip baby food and start around 5 months doing this Thank God for this because I was at a loss.

 We picked up pre diced veggies, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and a few other items. To my delight she loves them all and although she has not mastered picking the tiny pieces up she does well with a little help. But, you do have to watch her still or she will steal a waffle from you in one moment. She really wants what we all eat, if that food is something we can make safe for her, then she can eat it. My Mommy lesson learned here is not every baby follows the baby books and some just are ready to be bigger than they are.

 Below I listed some food items they recommended to start her with, but they all need to be cooked till they are incredibly soft and then diced into small pieces or cubes. If I were having another baby, I would have tried the baby led weaning and not worry about her choking, so many babies love this method of eating foods when they are ready.

  1. Carrots
  2. Green pea’s
  3. Strawberries
  4. Bananas
  5. Rice
  6. Pasta
  7. Bread
  8. Mangos
  9. Sweet potatoes
  10. Regular potatoes
1 In motherhood and family

Memorial Day in the Shivicks Home

Memorial Day is not a day my family sees as Happy day or a day that we get to party, it is a day to remember and honor our lost loved ones and the lost loved ones of many of my friends. Today we go to a cemetery, sit at a headstone, and spend time with AC2 Matthew Hicks. This man is a sailor, a son, a best friend and most important a father. He has many family members and friends who almost 12 years later still miss him and come to visit him here at his final resting place surround by many others.

AC2 Matthew Hicks was only 25 when he died in Phuket, Thailand. He was young, healthy, enjoyed being a Sailor and loved being a father to our son. He sadly died because of severe complications due to dehydration while on his ship, by the time he got the specialized care he needed it was too late. His family, as well as I, where lucky enough to fly to him and be with him in his final days. His loss was massive for our family and changed life for us all especially our four-year-old son.

From the moment we lost him, I made it a point to make sure Matts presence would always be in our home and we would celebrate his life the way we would if he were still here in person. Memorial Day is a day that when we are in town we spend at his gravesite, we bring food (donuts from a place he always went), we buy flowers and we sit with him. So many families go see their loved ones on this day and to sit and watch all of them come makes me proud. I am proud that people do not just see this day as a BBQ, pool party or vacation day. Many Americans pay tribute and honor those military members who are no longer with us.

Some years when we are not in San Diego, we go to Washington, D.C. to an event held by Taps (Tragedy Assistance Program for survivors), a program where over 2000 family members and children get together for a healing weekend. We remember our loved ones, share them, heal, meet other families, and just get together in an environment that supports our unique loss. It is the most amazing experience anyone in my shoes could take part in and is an amazing way to remember the ones who are gone.

With military loss, there are lots of special circumstances that make the loss extremely complicated. For us, he died in the middle of deployment and our brain tricks itself to just think he is still on deployment and will be back soon. Then the children, many too young to understand the loss of their parent since they are already gone, struggle with understanding they will never come back. The struggles are many and the types of military deaths are so vast. Memorial Day honors all types, no matter the manner of death. They all served this country and deserve to be honored. For many military families, every day is Memorial Day.

There are so many ways American’s can help families, like mine, during this time and they are so simple yet so meaningful and will make you think of Memorial Day a different way.

  1. Go visit your local military cemetery and walk around. Maybe place some flowers or flags.
  2. DO NOT say Happy Memorial Day as it is NOT a happy day to many people.
  3. Learn and teach the meaning of the day.
  4. Fly your flags at half-mast.
  5. Go to a local Memorial Day ceremony.
  6. Find some names of those lost and post them asking for a moment of silence.
  7. Take a moment of silence during your day.
  8. Make red poppies as a craft, learn about them and why they are worn on this day.
  9. Watch a Memorial Day tribute online.
  10. Create a gold star flag and learn what they are.

 So, for 2020, my family will be at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, spending time with Matt, thinking of my Grandpa Ken and my husband Grandfather Granville who served and passed as well and remembering all the others who today is about and their families. To all the Gold Star families out there, please know our family loves you, we appreciate your loved ones sacrifice and they will never be forgotten.

1 In motherhood and family

A Mama living with Anxiety.

Being anxious is nothing new to me. I have always been an anxious person. As I grew older it got worse. Year by year, little by little, my anxiety started consuming my life.  The first time I really noticed it taking a toll on me was in 2008. This was not shocking. That it was the year we lost Matt (my sons’ father) and someone I love dearly. I was with him as he passed. Then I had to fly around the world back to my 4-year-old. I needed to be tell him his father was not coming back. Handling your own grief is hard but being a Mom, we carry our children’s grief too.

I tried controlling it on my own, but it did not work, and I sought help. This help ended with me helping my therapist with her issues and me on medication, which I knew nothing about, made me feel like a zombie and eventually caused me to stop cold turkey. I later found out, that this was a horrible way to stop anxiety medications. From that moment on, I was convinced I needed to help myself.

A life with anxiety is some what like a roller coaster and things can trigger it without your knowledge. For years after this I was doing well, I lived life normal in my eyes and it never really bothered me until I got married. I am not sure what it was. Maybe the miscarriages, the life of a wife as a Marine Corp Recruiter. Could be the move across country, the death of my brother in law Frankie or the thought of the loss for my sister and her children. .

The panic attacks started. The first one I can remember happening was while I was in Washington, D.C. burying my grandfather. I chalked the incident up to me finding out I was pregnant a week later. Sadly, my entire pregnancy was rough. I was anxious at every appointment causing high blood pressure. No doctor would really listen to me about being anxious and I just was not happy. I am also a stay at home mom caring for three kids. Two of which constantly fighting. The third is a teenager who is dealing with his own life issues. It was rough, scary and depressing to me. I love being a Mom. Being a Mom can also be draining. I needed to take care of myself.

After I had Aria, I hoped the hormones would regulate. Maybe I would feel more like myself but one week later I was back in the ER. There was nothing wrong body wise. But my mental health was not good. I most likely was having a panic attack along with severe anxiety. At least the doctor was understanding and listened to me.

Sometimes for myself, I just need someone to talk me off the ledge. To get me out of my head. It is often hard to find someone to do this for you or even understand what its like to live like this. My husband helps me a lot. My kids would set my anxiety through the roof. I was not enjoying being with them all the time because their yelling, screaming, crying, fighting and back talking would cause me to shut down. I really love them so much and I knew I needed to help myself so I could be the mom they deserved. As a Mom we want to present and to enjoy our children.

As Aria keeps getting bigger, my medical insurance finally gets straightened out and I felt more confident in seeing my doctor for my Anxiety. Then Covid-19 pops up and everywhere is shut down. Since I was not chancing going anywhere or wanting to attempt my second chance of getting help during these weird stressful times, I decided I needed to find ways that can help me. Now I know I could do a video call with a therapist but this would not work for me. I began looking for natural ways to help how I was feeling. Somethings worked great. Some only worked for a short time. But thankfully I narrowed things down to these top 10 ways of handling anxiety that worked best for me.

  1. NO CAFFINE (This is hard. I am a tired mom and sometimes I still have some)
  2. Chamomile Tea and as much as I want.
  3. Know when to say no. You do not have to do everything, and you know your limits.
  4. Positive mantra’s (You are ok, this wont last forever, you can do this)
  5. Being aware of your feelings and knowing when you need to walk away
  6. Eat healthy, take vitamins, lots of water and eat more berries/bananas/nuts
  7. Deep breathing. I have an app that helps me with this.
  8. Get outside. Nothing like a change of scenery and fresh air
  9. Have a person you trust who can tell you your ok if you need it (my husband).
  10. Get sleep. This is hard when you are a mom but if you can do it then it HELPS!

If I am consistent with all of this and forgiving of myself for not being perfect every day, these things will work. Anxiety is different for everyone. This may or may not work for you. In the end, if you are struggling with anxiety and you are not living your best life, please see your doctor as I will be seeing mine soon just to continue to care for my mental health in the best way possible. Asking for help is a good thing. It is hard for us Moms to always remember we matter too. We are always being the strong ones. Moms are always needed. Make sure to take care of yourself.

7 In motherhood and family

Welcome to my blog!

Hi! Welcome to my blog, my name Is Jennifer Shivvers. I am a stay at home mom, and I have 4 amazing children: Matthew (16), Gavin (5), Harper (3) and Aria (7 months). I am married to my amazing Husband Geoff and we have been together for almost 8 years. We are currently living in sunny San Diego, California where I was born and raised but my husband is from Iowa. It was my luck that he was a Marine stationed in San Diego and I am so happy we found each other.

I have always joked around calling us the “Shivicks” because we are a blended family. My oldest son Matthew Hicks is from my previous relationship, which sadly ended when his dad passed away while on deployment when I was 24 and our son was just 4 years old. This loss was such a devastation for us all, it caused me great anxiety and loss of hope. I was convinced after this I would never get married or have kids but as God does, he made some other plans for Matthew and me. When I married Geoff and gave birth to Gavin, I wanted to include Matthew’s dad in our life and so I would joke around we are the Shivicks mixing both last names together.

Now almost 8 years later, 3 more kids, 3 miscarriages, multiple moves and so much more here we are. We are living and loving this roller coaster of life one day at a time. Although I have been through much heart ache if you just keep pushing you will come back on top. So now I want to share our raw unfiltered life with you, the good the bad and everything in between raising my family of four. My hopes are I will share something that helps someone, maybe make you laugh, and learn things along the way.

A group of people sitting posing for the camera

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