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Seattle Seahawks Deaf Player Derrick Coleman Inspires Family – A Story of Hope

A couple of week’s ago I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and saw that The Mister had shared someone’s status update. It caught my attention, and I started reading. It was a letter that a mother had written to the Seattle Seahawks, to tell them how much the new Duracell ad featuring Derrick Coleman has inspired their son. The more I read, the more tears I got in my eyes – compassion for all that they’ve been through, memories of my own complicated pregnancy and then the scare when Abby was born, and the beautifully inspiring message she’d written. I had noticed that she was from the same city I live in, but assumed that The Mister had just shared it because he’s a huge Seahawks fan. When I mentioned to him how moving her post was, he told me that he knew her husband. We live in a pretty big city, but it’s always a small world, right? So I reached out to her, to ask if I could share her story, and her message, since it’s amazing. What follows is her family’s story in her own words, pictures, and video. Big thank you to Nicole and Jeff Wilkinson for sharing this. Grab a handful of tissue before you continue reading it, you’ll need it….

My son Samuel, is a true miracle, he is the greatest gift I have ever received. Doctors determined early in my pregnancy with him that something was abnormal. He was not growing at a normal rate and he consistently measured small. We saw many doctors and specialists in our hometown of Yakima, WA and also at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington. After many tests and scans they diagnosed him with a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia. Skeletal dysplasias are a complex group of bone and cartilage disorders that can affect the fetal skeleton as it develops in utero. The most common form of skeletal dysplasia is dwarfism, but there are approximately 300 different forms and a few types are lethal (meaning the child would be stillborn or die shortly after birth). It was explained to us that Sam’s long bones (arms and legs) were not growing, there was fluid around his heart and his chest circumference was below the 1st percentile. With the chest cavity being so small, it meant he would not have enough space to house fully developed lungs and a healthy heart.

Our baby would not be able to breathe on his own in order to sustain his own life.

After months of waiting and knowing that our baby was expected to die, Samuel Ross Wilkinson was born August 27th, 2008 in a scheduled C-section. All of the medical staff were briefed with his diagnosis and circumstances and the doctors estimated he would live anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes. The plan was to surgically remove the baby, clean him off and wrap him in a special blanket that we brought from home. My husband and I were to be able to hold him for however long we wanted. We had people flying into town a few days after the scheduled birth date because we were planning for a funeral.

Miracle Baby - Seattle Seahawks, Derrick Coleman [Read more…]


Daily Mom-ivation Quote: Making Mistakes is Good

Daily Motivational Quote: All moms need a little encouragement each day, right? Just a few words of motivation, to help us keep folding that laundry, washing those dishes, changing those diapers, and cooking those dinners… So, here’s your daily dose of inspiration. I call it Mom-ivation:

man who makes no mistakes quote

{Credit: Real Simple Magazine Daily Quotes}


This Month is All About Motherhood!

Abby, Maternity Pictures, Pregnancy Photos, Baby Bump

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Becoming a mother is something that completely changed my life. This quote describes it perfectly – Yes, the woman that I was existed, but not the mother. I became a whole different being once I had Abby… She is the best thing that ever  happened to me… I’m sure that most of you are nodding your head right now, in total understanding.

Sunshine Schedule 2012

This site is all about “Busy Mom Solutions” – the best products, the most helpful sites and services, and great tips and info to help you simplify your life, solve those busy mom challenges, and have a little bit more fun along the way. I love sharing new things that I discover with you guys – But sometimes, running everything that goes along with this site, while also trying to run a household, can get super overwhelming! So last month I set up an editorial calendar for the year, with a new theme for each month. Not every single post will relate to the months topic, of course, but it’ll be a fun way for me to stay organized, while providing great related content each month. You can find my whole calendar here – Sunshine Schedule 2012 – and get ready to start seeing some great posts for this months theme: Motherhood!

February is For Mommas!

I have a ton of great products to share with you guys – and I’ll be giving away a few of them too. I found some super cool apps to help moms stay organized on the go. I’ll be sharing {for the first time here} the emotional story of Abby’s birth, and giving you a place to share your stories too. And this month we are finishing up a re-do of the Master Bedroom that Abby shares with me – So look forward to Before & After pics of our new Momma & Playroom Space!

What do you love most about being a mom?

Share some of your favorite things about being a mom in the comments – I would love to feature some of your quotes and stories during the month, so be sure to leave an email that I can contact you at if you’d like to have them shared!


What You Can Do To Help Protect Infants Now

Meningococcal, Meningitis, Infants, Disease, Vaccinations

Protect Infants Now from Meningococcal Meningitis

When I was approached by Mom Central about participating in this campaign, I of course gave an enthusiastic YES right away. Any time that I can use my voice her on my site to help spread the word about important causes, I jump at the opportunity to help. I have heard about Meningitis, and knew that it was a dangerous disease for babies – But I had thought that this was something all babies are vaccinated against regularly. I was shocked to learn more about what a devastating disease this is, and that the CDC does not currently require this to be a part of routine care for babies.

Leading Cause of Preventable Infant Death in the US

I had NO idea that, after neonatal complications and accidental injuries, this disease is one of the leading causes of death in infants. Very scary. One out of every 16 babies who contract this disease will die from it, and among the survivors, one in five will suffer seizures, blindness, amputation, paralysis or learning disabilities. I had no idea. The worst part? Over 50% of these deaths could have been prevented if the baby had been vaccinated. Right now, the CDC is trying to decide whether to recommend that all children ages 2 and under be vaccinated against this disease. Keep reading to see how you can help influence this decision.

Saving Babies Lives, Better Vaccinations

Are you crying by now too?

This absolutely breaks my heart, and I cannot even imagine how life goes on when such a devastating loss happens in your life. I can’t imagine ever going through something like that, and I will do my part to ensure that no other mother has to endure that either. If you’d like to join us, learn more about how you can help…

Protect Infants Now!

  • Ask CDC to Recommend Infant Meningococcal Vaccines – Sign this petition to add your name to the growing number of parents who are showing support for this campaign.
  • Learn more about the Meningitis Angels, and what you do to show support.
  • Visit Protect Infants Now to learn more about the fight to vaccinate and educate to stop Meningitis.

Has your life been affected by this disease?

Have your friends or family ever been touched by this disease? How do you feel about the fight to vaccinate all babies against this tragic disease? Show your support by signing the petition, and share your stories in the comments below.
{I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central and Meningitis Angels. This campaign was made possible in part through support provided by Novartis Vaccines. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name from Mom Central as a thank-you for participating. All opinions in this posting are 100% my own.}

I’m Supporting Brave Women – #BraveWoman #CBias


Stop Domestic Violence

Did you know that ONE in FOUR women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime?

A few weeks ago, I told you guys my own story – how I used to be that ONE out of four women. Sitting down at my desk to write about that time of my life, about dealing with domestic violence – that was THE hardest post that I’ve ever written. It was difficult to let myself think about those times, to be honest about how weak I was, and to share all of that incredibly personal information with others. BUT – I was overwhelmed by the amazing feedback I got from all of you. The comments, the messages on Facebook, and the emails sharing your own stories – they were so powerful, so moving, and I shed a ton of tears for you all too! But I love that most of you also had stories of strength to share, with happy endings. Let’s help other women find a better future too, by supporting!

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates

The Brave Woman campaign is all about helping EVERY woman find her voice. To encourage her to tell her story, to help the next woman realize that she’s not alone. To help others understand that, as the website says, “Leaving a life of domestic violence is a series of moment-by-moment decisions requiring brave choices and bold actions. It can be hard to believe in ourselves when we have been beaten down by circumstance.” I’ve read so many other women’s stories by searching the hashtag on Twitter – #BraveWoman – and this one really stood out to me: Rebecca Parsons, from, describes it like this, “abuse takes away your rational thinking and is replaced by a ‘just let me keep everything perfect so he won’t blow up’ mentality” – and I’m sure that there are hundreds of other women who understand that all too well.

Pledge to end Domestic Violence

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” – Oprah Winfrey

Will you join us in signing the pledge on By supporting each other, we can begin to bring this issue out of the shadows it hides in, and put an end to it.

“I pledge to honor and respect brave women and children who tackle the difficult journey of change from domestic violence to a new life. I acknowledge my own moment-by-moment bravery, will remain aware of what is happening to others around me, and speak up against violence in any form. I will stand up for human dignity and safety for women and children.”  

“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

For more information on the Brave Woman organization, please visit Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, watch their totally empowering videos on YouTube, and tell your friends about them too! And I would love for you to join us at our Twitter party on January 17th, 8-9 pm ET to support Brave Woman, use hashtag #BraveWoman to follow along.



My Sunshine, and my Diamond in the Rain…

Diamonds in the Rain Quote

My Sunshine, and my Diamond in the Rain

A year ago, when I was planning this blog I wanted to create, I totally struggled with finding the right name. I went through sooo many, but nothing seemed seemed “right”. So I made a list of things that filled my days – which at the time were pretty crazy. I was a brand new, first time, totally unprepared mom. As I looked through that list, the words Sunshine and Sippy Cups popped out at me – This little girl had instantly become the total sunshine of my life.

Sparkles Make Me Smile

So – She is my sunshine. She is my motivation. She makes me smile when no one else can. This picture makes me think of her, and will hang in on her wall when she moves to her “Big Girl” room later this year. I have always said that Sparkle is my favorite color – and she is a little treasure that definitely sparkles!

Better than a diamond

It’s fitting that this site is named after her – She is the reason I started it. I was laid off while I was on maternity leave, and I had no idea what I’d do. I was a full time college student, with an infant, looking for a job in a terrible economy. So, I figured I’d jump into this new adventure on the web – I love sharing the “Busy Mom Solutions” that I’ve learned along the way, the things that have helped make my life easier. I hope that some of my posts have helped you too. And I love that doing this new job that I absolutely love allows me to stay home with her, and be here every day to watch her grow and change. I treasure those moments more than any diamond I could ever own.

Who takes away your rainy days and fills them with diamonds?

Linking up on Pretty on Pinterest on Sassy Mama in L.A. – Join us!

{This image can be found on my “Quotes I Love” board on Pinterest. Are you a Pinterest addict too? Leave me your link so I can follow you!}


Domestic Violence Survivor: My Story #BraveWoman #CBias

Bave Woman Logo

What Does it Mean to be a Brave Woman?

This post is a tough one for me to write. But the information is incredibly important, and I hope that you all share it with as many women as possible, so that this message, and this information, can reach women who need it. What I want to talk about is an amazing cause that I was recently introduced to, called Brave Woman.

“Leaving a life of domestic violence is a series of moment-by-moment decisions requiring brave choices and bold actions. It can be hard to believe in ourselves when we have been beaten down by circumstance.” is a group that is dedicated to helping the 1 in 4 women who are affected by Domestic Violence – A place where you can share your own story without fear of being judged, a place where you can find support and encouragement to make a change in your life, a place to celebrate every Brave Woman who has overcome her situation.

Why this matters to me

I’ve put off writing this post for a couple of weeks – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about this topic. Then yesterday I read a post from a bloggy buddy of mine, Christy over at Insanity is Not an Option – My Story of Suffering in Silence. She is the bubbliest, sparkliest, happiest person around, and it surprised me to learn that she’d been through such difficult times in her life. The fact that she shared her personal story made me brave enough to share my own – and I then realized that this is what the Brave Woman campaign is all about. By sharing out stories, speaking out about this issue, and letting women know that they’re not alone, there’s not something “wrong with them”, that it CAN get better – it gives them the strength and support that they need to get out. It helps every woman be a Brave Woman.

This video is really powerful. You can see that Domestic Violence is something that can happen to anyone – young, old, black, white, rich or poor. And the tactics that the abusers use are similar in every case – they put you down, make you feel like you’re not worth anything better, and take away your strength to leave. Whether they use words to hurt you, or their fists, what they’re after is control, and too many of them get it.

My Story…

I met a guy when I was 18, and fell into what I thought was love right away. He was a good guy, but he got into drugs. He bought them, he sold them, and he was hooked on them. He had an anger problem, and the drugs pushed him over the edge too many times. I was young, and told myself the same excuses that a million other women have told themselves – “But I love him, ” and “I know he’ll change.” But he didn’t. After a very scary night that ended with me climbing out a bathroom window in my pajamas while he thought I was in the shower, running away alone at night, with no shoes, through a bad neighborhood, and the involvement of the police, I broke it off. But of course, he was sorry, and I went back. I went through this horrible cycle for years – it took the news that he had gotten another girl pregnant for me to finally leave.

I thought I had learned my lesson…

But I hadn’t. My next serious boyfriend took me down the same path. He didn’t do drugs, but he had major anger problems. I never knew what would set him off. I thought if I could do everything just right, things would be fine. But he would still corner me in a room, screaming at me for hours. Then one night I came home late, and he was angry. Before I knew what was happening, he had jumped out of bed, and knocked me to floor with a pillow, and continued to hit me with it for a long time. The next day I excused it – “I just made him mad. I shouldn’t have come home so late. It was just a pillow – it’s not like he hit me.” But once you get to that level, it doesn’t get better. Over the next few months it escalated. One night he pushed me out of his truck, and I had to go to the hospital for a sprained wrist. I wanted out. I kicked him out. But we worked together, had the same group of friends – no one knew what was going on, and they kept pushing me to stay with him. Then one night we went to a big local festival. I was dancing with a mutual friend of ours and he got angry. He punched me – in public, in front of his sister, our friends, and the crowds. I knew then that if he could do that in public, then it was going to get really bad the next time it was behind closed doors.

Learning to be Brave

I finally had a few friends who supported me in getting away, and that made all the difference in the world. When you have a friend in this type of situation, it can be so hard to understand why she doesn’t just leave. But most of these type of men are incredibly manipulative. I can look back now, and see it. I have no idea how I fell for the BS that I did. What you can do as a friend –

  1. If you suspect abuse, ask. She probably won’t admit it. But she’ll know that someone cares. And she’ll think about it later. And the next time someone asks, she might tell them.
  2. Tell her that you’re there for her, no matter what. Even if she goes back to him 100 times, she will need you on the 101’st time, when she is finally brave enough to leave.
  3. Don’t judge her. Don’t tell her how stupid she is to stay. He already tells her that she’s stupid. Don’t abandon her because you don’t want to watch her mistakes. Be there when she needs you.
  4. And most importantly – Share the Brave Woman campaign with others. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and on their website.

A New Life

My old boyfriend wanted to be “friends”, and I actually tried to do that. I still didn’t see how he was messing up my head – I can see that now. Then I met a new man, and for the first time I realized how bad my previous relationships had been. I remember our first argument – and he asked me, “Why do you apologize so much, like everything in the world is your fault?” I realized, it was because for years, I had been told that everything that went wrong in the world WAS my fault. Just that realization helped me become even braver – to realize that I was a wonderful person, and that NO ONE deserves to be treated any less than that. Being in a stable, safe, and healthy relationship for the first time opened my eyes to how much I had been manipulated in the past. It was the very first time I’d ever been in a relationship that was just calm, and nice, and normal. Today – 6 years later, I’m still with that wonderful man, and we now have a beautiful baby girl. Change is possible – and you CAN do it.

Brave Woman Pledge

Take the Pledge

Visit the website today to take the Brave Woman Pledge. By taking the pledge, you commit to acknowledging your own bravery. You commit to speaking up for other women and children who need a voice. You commit to showing support for every woman who make the choice to change their lives. By showing your support and signing the pledge, you’re helping other women know that they’re not alone, and you can help them to become a Brave Woman too.

Share your story

This is such a personal topic, and it was really hard for me to share my own story. But as one of the women in the video says – I’m not embarrassed by my past. The men who knocked me down so much should be embarrassed. I put up with bad situations for far too long – but I did get out. I have changed that part of my life – and although I still struggle with being strong, being assertive, and demanding respect, I am improving all the time. Reading the stories from women on the site helped me – so maybe my story can help someone else. If you’d like to share your own story, please leave a comment below. Do you know a Brave Woman? Are you a Brave Woman? What advice can you share? Let’s help every woman out there become a Braver – share the website, follow them on Facebook and Twitter – the more people this campaign reaches, the more women they can help!

{Disclaimer: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for CollectiveBias. All thoughts and opinions here are my own, and I’m proud to be a part of this amazing campaign.}