Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 in review

I thought I'd put together a short photo compilation of 2008. I tried to narrow it to one photo for each month, but January had a lot of special times so there are several photos from January.


JANUARY

A big boy turns 4.

Precious new life began.


Family


Family


FEBRUARY


Growing . . .


MARCH



Last major snow of the season.


APRIL


Pneumonia


MAY


Turning 2.

JUNE


T-ball Season

JULY


Goofballs!

AUGUST


Fun times!

SEPTEMBER


That precious new life is with us now!

OCTOBER


Afternoon at the park

NOVEMBER


First 'real' haircut.

DECEMBER


Family

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recycling tip

Since my trash collection company started a new and much better recycling program a few months ago, I have been having the issue of making a zillion trips into the garage to dump items in the cart.

I originally had a plastic grocery bag hanging on the pantry door and would just place items in there until it was full and then I would take it out and dump it. However, this wasn't working extremely well because the pantry door is on a 90ยบ angle to the right of the garage door. This made the garage door collide with the plastic bag full of things each time it was opened, thus creating clanging and banging and just an annoyance.

I realized something had to be done and started scouring the house for an alternative and came across a plastic bag/bin thingy that I was using for as a temporary home for paperwork and other things that needed to find their way to their home upstairs in the filing cabinet.

This is what my trash area looks like now. The orange container is the recycling and I now only make 1 or 2 trips into the garage to dump it each day. It's working really well and even the boys are getting the hang of it and learning what can be recycled!
Be sure to stop by over at Tammy's for more wonderful tips.

I'm still around.

Yep, I'm still here. Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We had Michael's dad and step-mom visiting from Australia all week.

Also, we've all had a very nasty cold that turned into sinus infections for Jacob and me. I'm feeling a bit better and trying to tough it out with only the humidifier, lots of water and tylenol - because of breastfeeding. But, poor Jacob seems to feel extra horrible. He has a sinus headache, earache, congestion in head and chest and several other things hurt - and he's had a fever (which I never had). He has an appointment to see the pediatrician this morning - hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe it's the flu..... ICK. I'm going to have Rachael weighed while we're there - I have NO CLUE how much she weighs, not even a guess.

We did have a wonderful Christmas (especially since Michael got to spend time with his dad, whom he only gets to see once a year) and the boys absolutely loved getting to spend time with grandma and papa!! I enjoyed the time to visit and fellowship, as well.

I'm hoping to get a Christmas post up this week and I have a Kitchen Tip coming tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Banana bread

Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet is hosting a great carnival today - Nourishing Sweets and Treats!! The idea is to post a recipe you enjoy that uses wholesome/natural sweeteners.

I have a wonderful banana bread recipe that uses wonderful ingredients, in fact I altered the recipe a little more today and it turned out wonderfully!

Banana Bread:
Preheat oven to 350°
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 c. sugar *
3-5 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 c. flour **
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Stir dry ingredients together. Mash bananas and add to dry mixture, mix well. Beat eggs with fork until frothy, then add to mixture. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour into a buttered loaf pan. I suggest a 9" pan because an 8" pan just might over flow and who wants to clean that mess....

Bake for approximately 1 hour. (Check at 50 minutes and add time accordingly). Cool for 10-15 minutes before turning onto a rack. I was in a hurry today and didn't let it cool in the pan long enough and the bottom stuck, that's why there aren't any photos..... Total cooling time before slicing should be appx. 1 hour.

* I use Rapadura (evaporated cane juice). I'm fortunate enough to have a wonderful grocery store (King Soopers, in the Kroger family) that actually carries a less expensive brand than Whole Foods.
** Today I used 1/2 c. of oat flour and 1 1/2 c. of hard white wheat.

It was definitely not a relaxing weekend.

Eli has just about sent us all to the crazy-house this weekend.


Here's a short recap of his shenanigans:


* Saturday - he really, REALLY, really needed a nap (he still naps daily) and there was a birthday party to go to in the evening at Pump It Up. We wanted him to be well rested. HA! Big fat HA! He never went to sleep after spending 2 hours in his room, being disciplined countless times and I even (gasp) laid down with him for about 30 minutes. NOTHING. So, he was told he would be staying home with daddy and Jacob, Rachael and I would be going to the party. Then the crying commenced.


So, I came down and about 10 minutes later Michael went up to get him and he had pooped in his diaper and stuck his hand in it..... Then he proceeded to try to wipe it off - on his fan, on the gate, on the door, on his shirt - ICK! Michael brought him out and called for me to come help. We got the bulk of it cleaned off and then stuck him in the shower and he got a good scrubbing.


* Sunday - all was well with the world until just before dinner time. Eli was upstairs playing in his room. Rachael was napping. Jacob and Michael were watching something and I was getting dinner ready. Michael went upstairs to check on Eli because he thought he heard water running - (we keep all the other upstairs doors closed and they have those 'childproof'-lock-things on them). Turns out, Eli has figured out how to open the childproof door knobs.... The next thing I hear is Michael asking me if I smell toothpaste!

Eli had emptied the rest (about half) of their tube of toothpaste in various places around the bathroom and it looked liked he'd eaten quite a bit as well. However, he knew he had made a mess and had started trying to clean it up. He's genius! He got the hand towel down and couldn't really reach the sink knobs so he turned the bath water on and wet his towel and was trying to clean the floor with it (dripping wet). So, Michael disciplined him for messing with the toothpaste and got him all cleaned up while I finished dinner.


The bathroom door is now locked and closed (along with our bedroom door - where there is another bathroom)! It's pretty easy for an adult to unlock with the correct 'tool'. You need something flat like a screwdriver, coin, butter knife, etc. to turn the center of the outside of the doorknob. So, the only other door upstairs (besides the boys') that cannot be locked, is Rachael's.... This boy definitely keeps us on our toes - Jacob would never dream of doing anything so crazy - even when he was 2!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

She's just so cute!

Rachael turned 3 months on Friday!! She's just growing so fast, I'm trying to savor as much as I can.

She giggles all the time and is so incredibly happy, I love it!





Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rachael giggling!

I had Rachael sitting on my legs today while I was on the couch. She sneezed and I said "bless you" and she just started giggling! So, I continued saying it over and over and she just kept going!

Sorry for the video quality, it was taken on my phone.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Birthday

Friday was my birthday and we decided to wait until Saturday to do anything. We had already planned on the boys attending a MOPS parent's day out event at church, so it seemed like a perfect time to have a quiet meal together. I'm not ready to leave Rachael for long periods of time yet, so we took her along with us. Let me just say right now, she is a wonderful baby! Very laid back!

We dropped the boys off at church at 9:00 and then headed to Mardel and Super Target for some shopping.

We then came home for about 45 minutes so we could drop off our purchases, move the stash of unwrapped gifts I had hidden in the garage to our closet and feed Rachael.

Then we headed to a nice, long, quiet lunch at On the Border. When we lived in Oklahoma we got ourselves totally hooked on mexican food. Then we were VERY disappointed when we moved to Colorado and found the mexican food to be sub-par at best. On the Border would not be our choice if we still lived in Oklahoma, but since it's the closest thing here to what we enjoyed in Oklahoma, it's where we go if we need a fix!

While we were at the restaurant, Rachael started to get a little cranky because she had been in her carseat too long. I took her out and held her for a while, but as it started getting close to time for her to nap, she started getting a little cranky again because she wanted to be put down. This is what I devised to get her to nap (the carseat wouldn't have worked)......




I put her down and it took her about 5 minutes to fall asleep - there was no crying or squirming or anything - and there was some LOUD mexican music playing!!! She then slept there for about 45 minutes while we finished our meal at a leisurely pace!

Then it was time to go get the boys.

They were having quiet story time when we got there because it was just after lunch and everyone was relaxing on the floor on pillows and blankets. They all looked so comfy and relaxed!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas photos with outtakes!

We went to Sears to have our annual family/Christmas photos made yesterday and it actually went much more smoothly than I anticipated. Usually someone melts down just a little bit into the session, but this time, they all held up pretty well!!
This is the photo we chose to use for our cards. Everyone looks pretty good in this one and it was actually the first photo taken!!

Now, here are a few of the not-so-good ones:
Jacob being a goofball and having a cheesy grin!

Rachael looks like she's about to fall over in this one!

And Eli being himself!!

I'm participating in DesignHerMomma's outtake carnival, so hop on over and check out the others!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is 2 days out and I haven't even decided what (or if) I'm going to prepare. It's just the five of us. No family close by. No visitors or friends coming over. A few times in the past we've been invited somewhere - not this year. All of our friends have family close by and are spending the holiday with them, I think. So, my dilemma is, since Jacob is going to be 5 in January, is it time to start our own family tradition for Thanksgiving?

I remember Thanksgivings growing up because my grandma (mom's mom) would always fix a huge feast and everyone that lived in town (many years this also included my dad's mom) would come over for lunch and then spend some time hanging out. Nothing spectacular or extravagant, but the food and fellowship was always wonderful.

I want this for my children, but in reality, Thanksgiving Day for us, isn't really much different than any other meal of the week. The food might be different, but that would probably be the extent of it. Last year we had pizza and watched football, sort of like any regular Saturday during football season, just on Thursday instead.

What would you do (or what do you do if you are in the same boat)? Any traditions you'd like to share?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rice, rice, rice

I do not enjoy cooking rice. There, I said it!

Brown rice takes so long to cook and I usually forget to start it in enough time to be done when dinner is ready and that just frustrates me. So I came up with a solution: cook a batch of rice in the middle of the day when I'll be home for a while (ie. nap time).

I try to put it on when the boys go down for naps, that way it's done in just over an hour. Then it has time to cool and I can put it in the fridge before the boys get up (hopefully). Then I don't have to think about it until I am working on dinner and all it needs is reheating!

Here's how I do my rice:

2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup brown rice

Bring water to a boil and add rice and give it a stir; Reduce to medium for 5 minutes; Then reduce to simmer for appx. 1 hour (depends on where you live - altitude makes a difference). I set my oven timer for 30 minutes, then check it, just by lifting the lid and looking (yes, I know you're suppose to leave it alone, but I find that it takes different times to cook each time I do it.....). After the first 30 minute check, I set the timer for 10 minutes or more at a time and check until it's done. I realize it takes a little longer this way because I let the steam out every time I take the lid off, but it's better to take longer than have burnt rice - ick.

For more kitchen tips, be sure to visit Tammy!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rachael is 2 months old!


Yikes! Where has the time gone? She actually turned 2 months last Wednesday, but her checkup wasn't until today... I'll have to admit that this 3rd child thing has me very overwhelmed - but I'm going to attribute that to the fact that Michael has been TDY for 4 out of the last 5 weeks and the 2 year old that is off the deep end right now... However, Rachael is an awesome baby! She's very relaxed and happy! And Hallelujah, she's sleeping thru the night already! Yes, I know, I'm very blessed!

Here's a summary of what she's up to:
* Cooing and making those throaty, chortle-ish noises
* Smiling on purpose - all.the.time!
* Holding her head up for several minutes at a time
* Almost giggling when she smiles
* Starting to show some interest in toys
* Beginning to move her hands around to bat at toys
* Sleeping 8-9 hours straight at night

She's so scrumptious, I just wanna eat her up!

The boys (including daddy) are totally smitten with her, as well!

She looks EXACTLY like Eli (especially when he was this age)!

At her checkup today, she weighed 10lb. 15oz. and is 23 inches long. I find her size amusing because Jacob was 9lb. 15oz. and 23.5 inches at BIRTH!

I posted more pics over here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Absolute randomness

Back in January, we were in Australia visiting Michael's family, Michael's dad, Andrew, was playing around on YouTube showing the boys crazy videos, and we caught in on a few. Side bar - Michael was born in Australia to Australian parents (yes, he has an accent!!!) - when his mom remarried, she married a man in the USAF. That's how he ended up over here (in case you were wondering....). I'm not sure what prompted me to think about this yesterday, but I just had to share this with you.

Watch the video before scrolling down to my description, m'kay?



Ever heard of the island of St. Martin? It's east of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean. A popular resort/beach destination. Got it?

So, this is a real airport and there are MANY more videos just like this one of these landings. The first time he showed us a video like this, I thought, "seriously?" That was all I could come up with. After you get over the sheer flabbergastedness (did I just make up a word?!) of this runway, you'll enjoy watching all the videos of the crazy people who stand out there and video the landings and takeoffs.

If you keep looking for videos, you'll come across some that are of takeoffs and the exhaust actually knocks people over..... Who's idea was it to put this runway here?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My flat iron can do more than straighten my hair!!

After getting dressed recently I noticed a place where the hem was turned up on the denim skirt I had on - it was like that when it came out of the dryer. I was just going to leave it that way because I definitely was not going downstairs, pulling out the iron and board and waiting for the iron to heat, all to iron a 6 inch spot on my skirt (and then put it all away, as well).... that's when I realized I had just unplugged my flat iron and if I turned it all the way up, maybe it would be hot enough to fix that little spot!

I quickly plugged it back in and turned it on before it had time to cool off, waited a minute and then placed it on the spot and 'ironed' the hem of my skirt and it worked perfectly! I'll say this works for me!!

I've since used this little trick on another skirt with the same issue and I'm very happy with my results!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recycling



I've been recycling (albiet, half heartedly) for a few months. I'm all for less in our landfills and doing more to help the environment and all, but my trash company only collected 3 categories (newspaper, plastics 1 & 2 and aluminum) and they required it to be separated into paper bags and in a special bin.... So every few days I would have to take my pile of things out to the bin and dump them in the appropriate paper bag. I realize this isn't that difficult, but it was kind of annoying - and lets not talk about the fact that if I chose I could also recycle other items at local places, but I have 3 kids and driving around to make drops at the different locations just didn't seem appealing.

UNTIL..... my trash collector changed their recycling program. I came home 2 weeks ago (on trash day) to discover my recycling bin gone.... ugh. Then I found a flyer on my front door detailing their new no-sort program, that also has a new bin!! In addition to what they already accepted, here's what's been added:
* Corrugated cardboard
* Paper board (ex. cereal boxes)
* Office paper
* Phone books
* Plastics 3-7
* Steel/tin cans
* Empty aerosol cans (with the sprayer taken off)
* Glass bottles/jars
* Magazines

So, I immediately signed up for the program. The new bin is actually a green cart (on wheels), just a smaller size than my trash cart. I'm still waiting on my bin, but it should be delivered this week sometime!

After I see just how much this changes how many trash bags I put out each week, I'll either change my service to be every other week or will do a smaller cart (you're billed differently based on how much trash you put out).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A toy actually worth buying

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a themed edition of Works for me Wednesday this week and I just had to join in this time!

The theme is toys that you have purchased or been given that were actually worth the money spent on them.

My oldest 2 are boys and while the standard Matchbox cars and jet planes are absolutely wonderful, I have found that when they are 'bored' or in need of a change of pace, we break out this:It's a good ole Magna Doodle. But it HAS to be the real thing made by Fisher Price. We have tried the cheap-o store brands and they just don't hold up very well. The Magna Doodles the boys currently have were purchased after Thanksgiving last year and have held up very well. And let me say, they have not been treated the best. They've been dragged around by the cord that attaches the 'pen', thrown, stepped on and just plain abused, but they're still hanging in there.
We use these for everything from learning time (shapes and letters), drawing fantabulous drawings and guessing games (I draw something and they have to try to figure out what it is) and they have provided HOURS of entertainment!
For Christmas they are both getting new ones, so I went out last weekend and bought 2 new Magna Doodles (Target had them on sale for $13.99)!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Politics schmolitics...

I've had just about all I can stand of the anti-opponent ads, the name calling, etc.

I vote by absentee ballot since I'm a legal resident of Florida but live in Colorado (military) so my vote was cast and my ballot mailed in over a week ago.

Here was my (and Michael's) dilemma - we voted for a candidate we didn't really want in office (McCain) to give him a better chance of winning over Obama.

Our real preference would have been to write in Ron Paul or Fred Thompson, however, after agonizing over this, we felt that doing so would be giving Obama a better chance of winning (by giving the only viable opponent less votes). Granted we are only 2 voters, but that's 2 extra voters in Florida and who knows if that will make a difference or not when it comes to the electoral votes.

What do you think? Did we make the right decision in voting for McCain instead of who we really wanted to vote for?

Also, the choice has been made and the vote has been cast so tactful comments would be appreciated. I'm not interested in defending my choice of Fred Thompson or Ron Paul, simply interested in your opinion of the decision we made to vote for someone who was not our #1 choice.

Eli cracks me up!

Let me set the scene:

We were driving to church yesterday and we passed a Wendy's (the same one we pass EVERY time we go to church)...

Note: Eli is only 29 months old and he has an amazing vocabulary and grasp of conversation.

Eli: "That's Wendy's"

Me: "Yes, it is"

Eli: "We eat Wendy's?" (he actually meant he wanted to stop right then and eat there, he must have been hungry!)

Me: "No sweetie, we are going to church."

Eli: "O-Tay"

Eli again: "We eat Wendy's after church?"

At this point Michael and I cracked up laughing because not only was he trying to get what he wanted, but we were amazed that he could think that far ahead and know that after church, the first thing we do is eat lunch!! He's brilliant!

Michael: "If you remind me after church, we'll eat there"

Eli: "O-Tay daddy"

And sure enough, after church when Michael asked him where he wanted to eat (we usually eat at home) he remembered!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's only because Michael is away...

Last Saturday I got up (after Michael let me sleep in) and was informed that Eli had thrown up a few times that morning. However, he never got sick again that day so I never really thought much more about it, which was good because Michael left for a 2 week TDY on Sunday morning. Then on Wednesday Eli woke up with these bumps all over his legs. I thought maybe there was some sort of bug in his bed or something and washed his sheets, etc. (oh, and we drove to Denver on Wednesday to pick up my grandmother from the airport - she's visiting for 9 days). But on Thursday the bumps had all turned red, become super itchy and started swelling into welts - and there was diarrhea - ICK. So, I got online and scheduled him an appt. for the next morning (then I connected the dots back to the vomiting on Saturday).

Friday morning I took him in and was told it was just a virus of some sort that had caused him hives. She told me to give him Benadryl (which I haven't done) and gave me some cortisone cream to put on his legs (that helped a ton and he's all better now). And we thought that was the end of the bug.

Friday night (actually this morning) around midnight Jacob came in to tell me he was throwing up.... ugh. He proceeded to throw up a couple of times an hour until about 7:30 this morning and has been gradually eating more and seemed fine at bedtime.

My grandmother and I had felt fine the whole time and we've been keeping Rachael AWAY from the boys and there's tons of handwashing and sanitizing going on in our house. I made a trip out tonight because my grandmother volunteered to watch the kids so I could run some errands. I was gone about an hour and a half and when I returned my grandmother was sick..... UGH again. I feel so bad for her - she came to visit and help me out a little while Michael is gone and now she's sick. She went to bed when I got home (she let me take a nap earlier and I feel fine) so she could rest and hopefully she'll feel better in the morning since the vomiting doesn't seem to last too long.

Currently Rachael and I are fine and I pray we stay that way. She's breastfed so I'm hoping that even if I do get sick, she'll get all the antibodies from what my body is trying to fight off and she won't get sick. Rachael vomiting that much would surely mean a trip to the ER because she's just too small to be that sick.

Please pray for our household.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Um...

Dear Mr. Man in the gold Toyota Four Runner,

If you want to put your own life in jeopardy, that's totally fine with me, but when you swerve out of your own lane doing 75 mph on the interstate, you are then in my territory, jeopardizing my and my childrens' lives. Please PUT AWAY YOUR TEXTBOOK AND PEN AND DRIVE. Sorry for yelling at you just then, but I'm pretty passionate about keeping my children safe and trying to protect them from nutjobs like you. In the future, please wait until you reach your destination before studying for that test (or whatever you were doing). Thank you.

Sincerely,
Bloggin' Mama

Monday, October 20, 2008

I wanna use my cloth diapers... {say that in your whiniest voice}

But Rachael is soooo skinny I can't get any of them to work properly. I have the smallest size prefold, several different brands of AIO's and even some homemade teeny-tiny ones and NONE of them fit her.

In truth, I could make the prefolds work, but the covers (even with the tabs overlapped) swallow her. Maybe I'll try a day of prefolds with no covers and see how many times her clothes get wet.

I'm so tired of buying disposables one pack at a time. I buy them that way because she's still in size newborn and I never know if she's going to grow out of them by the time we need a new pack, and at this point, finding the proper receipt to return any we don't use is just not an option since I have no brain!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 10/20


Whew! It's been a hectic 6 weeks.... I'm finally getting my ducks in a row and getting back to menu planning since Rachael was born!

We were so very blessed to have meals provided from the time I got out of the hospital, nearly every day for TWO weeks! We have some amazing church friends and some wonderful co-workers of Michael! After that we had the freezer meals I had prepared and those lasted us almost 3 weeks. I think, until this past week, I only prepared 3 meals!! It was absolutely a blessing to not have to worry about what I was going to feed the clan when I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water as it was.

I'm finally feeling like my old self again and spent about an hour making my meal plan on Thursday because I knew I had to get to the grocery store before Michael left for 2 weeks - he left today.

Oh, and let me just say once I took stock of my fridge and pantry, I was absolutely appalled at how much junk and processed food we had - including WHITE sugar..... where did that come from? And poptarts - GAH!

One more thing - I'm off dairy for the time being because Rachael seems to have lots of tummy trouble when I have dairy - so anywhere you see dairy listed, I am either skipping that item or if it's something Eli already eats, I already use rice milk as a replacement because of his dairy issues.

So, it's back to the good stuff now (except some fun stuff for the kids on Monday and Tuesday):

Monday:
~ Grilled cheese, fruit
Tuesday:
~ Chicken nuggets, baked tater tots, fruit
Wednesday:
* Thaw meat for Thursday
~ Not sure - driving to Denver to pick up my grandmother from airport and won't be back until right at dinner time
Thursday:
~ Tacos with all the trimmings
Friday:
* Prep chicken and get into crockpot
* Make bread
* Make shortcake
* Thaw meat for Saturday - trying bison
~ Roast chicken, steamed broccoli, bread
Saturday:
* Make chicken broth
* Soak pinto beans
~ Meatloaf (bison), potatoes, corn, bread
Sunday:
* Make refried beans
* Thaw fish for Monday
~ Chicken nachos (using leftover roast chicken), refried beans, cheese, homemade salsa, sour cream
Be sure to visit our host for more wonderful weekly meal plans!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The new normal

I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting my brain back! You know what I'm talking about... those early days (especially once you have more than one child) are killer and it's all about survival. No attempt at routines, just do what you have to do to get thru each day. It doesn't help that I have to be a trouble maker and keep everyone on their toes with medical issues for far longer than anyone expected.

This week has been a pretty good one. Rachael is pretty consistent in her eating patterns (2.5 -3 hour intervals) and most nights she sleeps wonderfully and Jacob and Eli seem to be adjusting fine. The main problem is me learning how to get everyone dressed and fed (and I also have to work in pumping) to get out the door for school on T/TH and for the other appts. that are part of our lives (PT for Eli and lots of medical appts. for me).

I'm starting to feel like we're settling into our new normal now and that I will eventually get a hold on the morning routine. I've managed to work in school work for the boys a few times on the days they aren't at preschool and the house work is getting back to normal. I'm out of the only-do-what-NEEDS-doing phase and feel like I can actually think about getting my homemaking schedule back on track. It's nice to have laundry mostly caught up and not HAVE to do laundry because I let someone run out of undies!!!

I even had enough brain capacity to sit down yesterday and make out my meal plan for the next 2 weeks. I also made my detailed shopping list and was able to get all but 3 items at the grocery store - I recently started shopping at a new grocery store and I LOVE it - they carry much better items and more of the nourishing items that I purchase that I now don't have to get at the expensive health food store.

What I'm not excited about is the fact that Michael is leaving on Sunday for 2 weeks, then he'll be home for 8 days and leave again for another 11 days.... good ole' military! My grandmother is actually coming to visit for 9 of the days he's gone the first trip and it will be very nice to have a little help. I'm totally not ready to go it alone while he's TDY.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Holding my baby a little closer.

I find myself holding my darling little girl a little tighter and more often than I ever held the other two.

I simply sit and watch her - in awe.

I hold her and smell her and stroke her soft skin.

It's not because I love her more than the boys or am giving her any preferential treatment, it's solely because my heart longs to hold on to this baby stage (and every stage) as long as possible because I know there will never be another biological child in my future.

I cry.

My mind knows that if God leads us to it, there is always adoption. I also know that if this is where God chose for us to stop, then it's His will and He is sovereign and His plan is always perfect - even if it hurts and we don't understand.
But my heart still aches.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Birth control - I'm overwhelmed

I had my follow up from the blood clot, hemorrhaging and D&C last Tuesday and I left feeling totally overwhelmed and so very sad (don't worry it's not post partum depression). The dr. and I discussed how well I've recovered from everything and how I just feel tremendously different and BETTER! He scheduled me for another CAT scan as a follow up and I'll need some more blood work to test for genetic clotting factors after I've finished my treatment for the clot in my lung - in a year.

But we also discussed the fact that due to the complications I've faced after my last 2 births, it is in my best interest to NEVER get pregnant again. My mind knows that this is best, because truly, another birth could cost me my life and I'm not okay with that. However, my heart hurts so badly right now that I'm tearing up just typing this post.

Michael and I had been discussing having another child and I was pretty certain that was the direction God was leading us (guess I had that one all wrong).

CAVEAT: I know not everyone will believe the same way I do about birth control, so please just take this as my own personal conviction and not a judgement against anyone else's choice for birth control. What's right for me is not right for everyone and I understand that.

So, birth control was discussed in depth and I have to say that this dr. was very accomodating to our beliefs. I WON'T do hormonal birth control (pills, IUD, Nuva Ring, etc.) for several reasons: * our hormones were never intended to be messed with just to prevent a pregnancy, * I am a high risk for another clot and therefore cannot take certain hormonal varieties anyway, * The other huge problem I have is the abortafacient factor in that most birth control varieties make the lining of the uterus un-hospitable for a fertilized egg to implant - basically meaning that if you do happen to ovulate on the pill and you have a fertilized egg, your uterus cannot accept the egg because the lining isn't thick enough to allow it to implant, thus aborting the baby - granted you'd never know it happened, but I could not live with the thought that I could possibly be aborting babies unknowingly.

In the past, we've relied solely on the barrier method and charting (NFP concepts) and have only gotten pregnant when it was planned and we knew God was directing us that the timing was right to begin 'trying'. However, that is no longer good enough, because no matter how perfectly you use your 'barrier' and how accurately you chart your temperature, mucus and other fertility signs, there is still a decent chance of getting pregnant. For most people an unplanned pregnancy would be ok - while maybe not an ideal circumstance, life would go on and adjustments would be made and things would turn out ok in the end. For me, this is definitely not the case - things likely would NOT turn out ok in the end if I were to get pregnant again.

So, we are left with permanent birth control as our only option. And it's not me who will have to have the procedure. My body cannot endure another surgery (possibly for the entirety of my life) and a tubal ligation is done under general anesthesia as a laparascopic procedure. So, we're down to one last option - a vasectomy. I think it scares me as much as it does Michael. The dr. even said, "call me when he's ready for a consult and I'll put in the referral to the urologist for him." Oy - he's totally serious that we do something quickly.

In a perfect situation we would be older making this decision. But since neither of us is even 30 yet, it's very difficult. Our biggest concern is what if something happens to me and Michael remarries one day and what if he wants more children? While I don't plan on anything happening to me (and there won't ever be a divorce), we truly don't know what God's ultimate plans are for any of us and making such a permanent decision is... well, tough. I know that it can be reversed and if that doesn't work there are other ways of achieving pregnancy, but that still doesn't settle my heart.

Prayer - that's what is needed in this situation. Your added prayers in this situation are coveted and greatly appreciated. Pray for direction and that we'll have peace about the situation.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Milkies!!

Why is it that nursing hasn't been in the cards for me?

* When Jacob was born I didn't have enough support and I was too shy/intimidated to contact a lactation consultant. His latch was terrible - even though the nurses in the hospital swore that there was nothing wrong with it - and he caused cracking, bleeding and TONS of pain (but I also think I may be more sensitive in the milky area because I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance otherwise). I ended up pumping and feeding him breastmilk from a bottle from about 5 days old. However, that only lasted until he was about 8 weeks old because I got a really bad mastitis infection and that combined with bad information and a husband who had deployed when he was 6 weeks old made me throw in the towel. It was sad, but at the time I did what I thought was best, I know better now..... and I regret having given up so early.

* With Eli, I had decided to pump exclusively once home from the hospital based on the fact that I thought I wasn't cut out to nurse, but I do know breastmilk is best and I can produce and pump effectively. So, that is what we did and it was working well. Then when Eli was 6 weeks old I developed huge complications and my body stopped producing milk. It was quite the shock because I went from plenty to NOTHING in a matter of about 24 hours.... Strange, no? By the time I was better, about 4 weeks later, I couldn't be bothered trying to make myself start producing again, so he stayed on formula.

* With Rachael I have managed to be solely pumping again.... argh. Her latch was PERFECT and she was only causing a little soreness (which is normal in the first few days). Then I landed in the ICU and they were only allowed to bring her to me for feedings for very short times. I felt pressured and uncomfortable being on a time limit and it just stressed me out to think that she had to eat all she wanted in the short time span they were allowed to bring her out of the Mother/Baby Unit to the floor I was on, so I had Michael bring my pump to the hospital so I could pump between her feedings and just bottle feed her.

My goal was to get her off the bottle as soon as we got home and I even talked to the lactation consultant before I left the hospital and she gave me some tips on how to achieve this and told me it may take up to 2 weeks to get her completely off the bottle. The second day we were home, I decided to give it a go and it was terrible. I tried all day (every feeding) and realized that I just did not have the energy to do it. Little did I know I was about to experience more complications that would put me back in the hospital and I would be separated from her again and her already being on a bottle actually came in handy.

So here I am, Rachael will be 3 weeks tomorrow and I am exclusively pumping. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do either because I have a 4 yr. old, 2 yr. old and her, but I know it's best and I'll keep doing it as long as I'm able and don't feel too overwhelmed with trying to keep up. It's actually a bit of a blessing to be able to do it this way because I have 17 bags stored in the freezer (7-8 oz. each) already and I'm still able to produce more than she's eating at this point. I don't know how long that will last (I'm taking a bit of Fenugreek and can always increase that if I get low) so it's good to know that I have some in the freezer in case I can't keep up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

2 weeks


After all the chaos following Rachael's birth, I was worried about adjusting to life with 3 children. Michael still had to go back to work on Tuesday. Thankfully my parents were still here for a few days because I definitely was not ready to handle all 3 of them on my own yet. Michael was wonderful to get the boys up, dressed and fed before he left for work Tuesday so all I had to do was get Rachael and myself ready so we could take Jacob to school. It went well and then after Jacob got home from school, my parents took the boys for a 'drive' to look at some of the beautiful scenery around Colorado Springs and that left me with only Rachael for a few hours, which was good because I had to go in and have my incision checked because it has an open spot (it's ok though, no infection and I noticed today that it's a tad smaller than it was a couple days ago).

Wednesday was a lazy day at home and nothing exciting happened - which is good!!

My parents left Thursday morning and that was to be my first day all by myself. I still didn't feel ready so I decided that since it was MOPS day, I would just head there since Jacob had to go to school anyway. That turned out really well since Eli was in class and Rachael just got passed around to friends the whole time we were there!! I really didn't have any responsibility while I was at MOPS. Once we got home, the boys ate lunch and went down for naps. Then when they woke up it was only an hour and a half before Michael got home!!!!

So, today has been my first day to be totally responsible for getting everyone ready (because Rachael had her 2 week checkup this morning) and out the door and you know what, it went REALLY well!! We left on time and I didn't feel frazzled at all!!! Michael met us at the dr. because I'm definitely not ready for that experience all by myself - the boys just don't let me think because they decide to talk nonstop when the dr. comes in the room! We came home, had lunch, I fed Rachael and then EVERYONE took a nap. Once Rachael went down, I got an hour of sleep before the boys woke up!!!! That gets us to now - 2 hours (hopefully) until dad gets home and I don't feel like the kiddies are taking over my brain yet!

Anywho, Rachael weighed in at 7lb. 12oz. and 21.25" in length. - so she's put on 7oz. since birth - yipee! She has a clogged tear duct in her left eye, so the dr. gave me some antibiotic ointment for it. And I have thrush in the milky region, so she gave me some Nystatin cream for me and some Nystatin liquid in case Rachael shows signs in her mouth.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rachael's birth

I have previously posted Jacob's birth story and Eli's birth story so now it's time to tell you about all the craziness we've experienced in the last 9 days.....

I'm really going to try to make this as short and simple as possible because A LOT has happened in this time frame and it would take days to write out a detailed account of those events.

Rachael's birth was a planned c-section because of the previous 2 c-sections I've had. We arrived at the hospital on Friday, September 12 at 5:30 am so I could have my IV's started, finish some last minute paperwork and be prepped for an 8:30 surgery. The surgery went as planned and Rachael arrived at 8:47 am screaming and very healty!!

I spent a couple of hours in recovery and then was reunited with Michael and Rachael and proceeded to my new room for what was expected to be a Sunday afternoon discharge.

Saturday night I started experiencing some mild pain in my right ribcage (near the bottom of the lung) but the nurse and I both thought it might be gas pain because when you have a spinal it kind of shuts down your digestive system for a while and when it starts up again it causes lots of gas and gas pains. However, by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and had also radiated to my shoulder. Pain medicine helped for a while, but each time it would wear off the pain would come back stronger. I finally got to the meltdown point where it hurt to inhale and the pain was just so excruciating I had my nurse call the doctor who was on that night to come check me out.

The dr. came and then decided to send me down for a CAT scan thinking that it was my gallbladder giving me trouble. However, the CAT scan revealed a BLOOD CLOT (pulmonary embolism) in my right lung in the exact place where the pain was. YIKES. (I was on injectable blood thinner throughout the entire pregnancy with Rachael as a precautionary measure since I had had a clot after Eli was born so no one thought that it would be that since I had been off the blood thinner for less than 48 hours when the clot developed).

The treatment for blood clots is a couple of different types of blood thinner until you get to an anti-coagulant stage, then the injectable blood thinner is removed and you take a pill for several months. So another dr. came in and talked to me about all that and how they caught it early so the pain should subside quickly since they started the blood thinner back up. By Monday afternoon most of my pain was gone and we thought I was on the mend.

THEN Monday evening my pulse dropped really low (to the low 50's) and stayed there so the dr. wanted to do some tests to make sure nothing was wrong with my heart. They sent someone up to my room to do an EKG, which came back normal rythym, just a slow heart rate.

The dr. wanted to monitor my heart on a telemtry machine for 24 hours so I was sent down to ICU for Monday night and all of Tuesday (at least). This separated me from Rachael. However, they did let her stay admitted and kept her in the Mother/Baby Unit and brought her to me for feedings!!

While I was in ICU I also had an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart to measure electrical activity and check valves and vessel sizes, etc.) which came back normal.

I ended up staying until Wednesday morning when the dr. came in and gave me the all-clear to go home. He said they couldn't find anything wrong with my heart other than my heart rate being low and couldn't find any reason to suspect something serious.

I was home early Wednesday afternoon and proceeded to try to adjust to life with 3 children while healing from a MAJOR SURGERY. I was feeling better every day.

UNTIL SATURDAY mid-day. I was standing in the kitchen (not doing anything strenous or anything I shouldn't be doing) and felt like I was trickling blood. When I went to the bathroom is was definitely more than a trickle and more like a river. (I'll spare you the details of how much blood there was, etc.). I came out and called the hospital and they said to head to the ER because I might be hemorraging.........SCARY. This is when I started to feel a little frantic.

Michael got the kids ready and loaded in the van while I got something to sit on - because there was more blood than I have ever seen in my life. I called a friend and asked her to meet us at the hospital to take the boys or something (at that point nothing was discussed - just that it was an emergency and we needed help). I also called my mom and told her I needed her to come out from Florida and she got on the internet and started looking for flights for that day. Then Michael drove me to the ER at break-neck speed with the flashers on. I cried all the way to the hospital freaking out about what the outcome of this major blood loss might be. THIS WAS VERY SCARY FOR MICHAEL AND I BOTH AND THE THOUGHT OF ME NOT SURVIVING WAS JUST MORE THAN I COULD BEAR - BUT A VERY REAL POSSIBLITY.

We arrived and I was immediately seen and the dr. and nurse put me very much at ease because they were not frantic or panicky in the least. This made me not worry quite so much. The dr. did an ultrasound of my uterus and determined it was full of blood and had actually expanded since I had gone home from the hospital.

I had lots of clots in there and rather than my uterus contracting all the way down as it should have, the clots couldn't be expelled to allow the uterus to contract down and stop the bleeding.

I was then re-admitted and started on a medication to try to make my uterus clamp down properly. After 7 hours and 2 doses, the dr. came back and did another ultrasound and determined that it was actually getting worse rather than better. He decided right then to take me to the OR for a D&C to manually clean out my uterus so it could contract back to where it should be. The risks of this surgery were greater for me than most people since I had the clot already. If the D&C didn't work to control the bleeding, he would take me back in and open me up and do a complete hysterectomy to save my life. HYSTERECTOMY is not something I ever thought I'd hear, especially at 27. There was also a real possiblity of death from this situation. However, I told the dr. to do whatever he thought was necessary to make sure I made it through this because my husband and children need me.

The surgery started about 10pm and I was awake around 11:20. I ended up getting 2 units of blood to keep my blood levels stable and make it easier for my body to recover and not have to reproduce the lost blood.

Let me just say that as soon as I woke up I felt like I was completely better. Nothing felt even the slightest bit 'off'. My belly was 'deflated' and felt so much better than it had before - when I got to the hospital I looked like I was still 6 months pregnant. The dr. told me after I woke up that he cleaned out 1.5 litres of blood and clotting from my uterus. WHOA - that's a lot of stuff.

After the surgery, I spent the rest of the night in ICU on all kinds of monitors, IV's and even a morphine pump for my pain. The dr. came back around 11 this morning and performed another ultrasound and gave me the all-clear and told me my uterus looked and felt wonderful and that I was free to go home once I got my catheter out, walked around and went pee!

The nurse got me all unhooked and while she was working on my discharge paperwork, I walked around with Michael, my parents (who had arrived at around 11pm last night), the kids and a couple of friends who had arrived while drinking a lot of water!! I completed my requirements and then was released to go!!

Let me just say that I am so blessed to even be alive to tell this story today and that I also still have all of my reproductive organs - thought I doubt I'll ever be reproducing again. More than one dr. in the last week has recommended I not ever get pregnant again and though it's hard to swallow, I definitely agree that my health and the needs of my family should come first.

I think I'll have to ask Michael to write a post on what this whole experience was like for him because his mom was here for a few days and could help out with the boys, but I'm sure he felt split in 100 different ways and I can't imagine what was going thru his mind when I was going thru all these difficulties. Thankfully, I'm still in one piece and God is so good to have allowed me to pull thru this.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eli's birth story

Yes, I'm aware that I just had Rachael, but for you to understand all that has happened since Rachael's birth 1 week ago, you must first know the story of Eli's birth..... And yes, I also know that I started this series MONTHS ago with Jacob's birth story!

As with my pregnancy with Jacob, Eli's was very uneventful as well. I was healthy and so was he.

During this pregnancy I had been informed that because of the state laws and malpractice issues, I would not be allowed to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and rather than doing research for myself, I took the word of the Dr. and nurses and scheduled a c-section for May 26, 2006. I have since done TONS of research in an effort to try to have a VBAC with the 3rd pregnancy and have found out that there were a few places in Oklahoma City that I could have gone and a few doctors that probably would have let me attempt a VBAC. I am extremely regretful of not having done more research and I think about it a lot, maybe one day I'll come to terms with it.


May 26 came around and we got to the hospital and some insane hour of the morning and everything proceeded as normal. I was taken into the operating room a few minutes after 8:00 and the surgery progressed from getting a spinal, to a baby boy being born at 8:42 am and then me returning to my room for recovery approximately 30 minutes later - after I had been all closed up and everything.
Eli Scott weighed in at 8lb. 15oz. and 22” long and other than a little excess fluid in his lungs, he was very healthy!!!

I actually recovered from this c-section very quickly and don't remember taking any pain medication after I left the hospital! Michael was scheduled to leave for a 2 month school the second week of July so I was very excited I was recovering so well and not feeling at all overwhelmed with needing to recover AND take care of a 2.5 year old and a newborn by myself for 2 months.

About 6 weeks after Eli's birth I got very ill. (I have a colon condition called ulcerative colitis and to spare your stomachs, let's just say it causes some SEVERE digestive problems and requires loads of treatment to recover from). During the first week that I was so ill, I also started having some bizarre pain in my right leg, just below my knee. This pain made my knee hurt so badly I could hardly walk. It also caused swelling and tenderness in my leg and a fevered spot just below my knee.

The week after Michael left I finally went to the dr. after I'd been very sick for over a week and my leg was just so excruciating I couldn't handle it any more.

The dr. took one look at my leg (and my symptoms) and had me lie down on a hospital-type bed and wouldn't let me get up. I was to go into a treatment room and receive IV fluids because I was so dehydrated, but first she immediately sent me down the hall to have an ultrasound on my leg. That is when I started suspecting something serious.

During the ultrasound, I asked the tech what they were looking for and she told me they suspected I had a blood clot in my leg and they needed to confirm with an ultrasound.... YIKES.
Sure enough, the ultrasound confirmed it and I was sent back to get my IV started and an ambulance was called to transport me to the hospital... WHOA! I believe there was some crying involved and then a frantic call to my friend with whom I'd dropped the boys off before my appointment and then a message left on Michael's cell phone to call me as soon as he had a break in class.

I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon and stayed there for 5 days to receive intense treatment for my colon problems and the blood clot. The boys spent that week being shuffled between a few absolutely amazing friends. I was released on a Saturday and fortunately Michael was able to come home for the weekend – it was a 9 hour drive one way – and take me home. My grandmother was gracious enough to come stay with me (we were living in Oklahoma City at the time) and the boys for a few weeks while I began my recovery. Exactly one week later I had to be admitted to the hospital again for pneumonia and was there for 2 more days....

I decided then that as soon as my dr. would clear me for travel (due to the blood clot I had to wait until my treatment was well established) my grandmother and I would take the boys and drive home to Florida so I could stay with family and have help with the boys while I recovered – there was terrible pain in my leg still and TONS of extremely uncomfortable swelling in both legs due to all the fluid I received while in the hospital. We stayed in Florida for 3 weeks until all my swelling was gone and I could drive safely and take care of the boys. My dad drove us home the week before Michael returned from school.

God is so good and I was completely healed when Michael returned home on Sept. 7 (his birthday!!) which is a wonderful thing because we were scheduled to move here (Colorado Springs) the first week of October!

The background or reason I developed the clot in the first place has been debated by several doctors. I don't have the typical risk factors that most people who develop clots have. I don't drink alcohol, don't smoke, don't use birth control and have tested negative for all of the blood disorders that could cause clots. The only conclusion that the doctors can come up with is that during pregnancy every woman is at a higher risk to develop clots, throw in the c-section (MAJOR surgery) and the colon condition and you have the reasons behind why I developed the clot.

Blood clots (also called DVT – deep vein thrombosis when in the lower extremities) can be very dangerous and even cause death if not treated quickly and properly. I am very blessed and feel very fortunate to be alive today because I let the 'leg issue' go for a week before I saw a doctor.
Praise the Lord for His wonderful works!!!

Yes, I had the baby and no I didn't fall off the planet....

I had lots of complications and we spent 6 days in the hospital...... I'll write a post on that later.

However, we have a healthy baby girl!
Rachael Jane
September 12, 2008
8:47 am
7lb 5oz.
20.1"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My newest obsession...

Eli is now mostly potty trained - woohoo - except for poo, but that took Jacob a little while anyway! I'm excited to say that it only took him 2 weeks from diapers to undies! Jacob was much longer because he started going occassionally on the toilet when he was very young - around 18 months. But he wasn't actually fully potty trained until about 25 months. However, Jacob was VERY easy to potty train because he would go if you suggested it, it took him a while to want to do it on his own, but he never fought us on the issue. Eli was completely opposite - he was NOT ready early and WOULD put up the biggest fight if you even suggested it. So we decided around 24 months to not even mention it for a couple of months and then try again and what do ya know - it worked. He decided he was ready and that was that - end of story - no more diapers!!

This somehow brings me to my next point - I've written several posts about switching Eli to cloth diapers earlier this year - you can find them here, here, and here - and in those posts expressed how much I absolutely love cloth diapering!!
Well, my newest obsession is sewing them! I have a friend who also sews and cloth diapers and she had a wonderful pattern she got a couple years ago when her oldest was still in diapers and she is wonderful for letting me borrow it!! Aren't they soooo cute!
Here's what they're made of:
* Exterior - waterproof PUL
* Soaker - 2 layers of 100% cotton batting (Warm and Natural brand) and 2 layers of 100% cotton microfiber terry cloth
* Interior - flannel on these and I have a purple flower print crushed panne velour for the mediums I'm going to make
* 1/4 polybraid elastic
* Industrial poly-resin snaps set with a professional press
I found this lavender flannel monkey print at JoAnn one day when I was just browsing and HAD to have some of it!! Isn't it adorable?
Other than the batting (which I got at Walmart), I got all of my supplies from this website. They have great prices and a large selection of diaper sewing fabrics and notions.
I love to sew and this has just fueled my hobby even more! With the diapers I bought (before I got the pattern), a few other handmade ones I ordered and the ones I have sewn, I am completely stocked on size small (I have about 25) and once we get in a groove after Rachael arrives I am going to start working on stitching up some medium ones so I have them available for when she needs them.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Feeling so blessed!

When we first found out we were having a girl this time around, I was totally happy (not that it would have been any different if we'd been told it was a boy...) but then a few days later I realized that since we had two boys we had virtually nothing girly - or even slightly girlish. I know what you're thinking, buying for a girl is SO much fun - and it truly is - but we have a budget and we allot very little to things like clothing, etc. in a effort to get all our debt paid off.

So, now I have to buy a wardrobe (albeit not a ton of items for those first few months since they grow so fast), but still.... So, the very first thing I did was have Michael pull out all the itty-bitty baby clothes from the crawl space and I sorted through those and pulled out everything that a girl could possibly wear and she not be confused as a boy! I actually came away with more than I though - lots of white onesies, socks, some yellow and green colored clothing and plain colored bibs. Certainly not enough to keep me from doing laundry every 3 days, but a pretty good start!

My other issue that arose was every store still had summer clothing out and when Rachael arrives (next week!) it will be cool out (it's forecast in the upper 60's next week) and we actually need wintery type clothing - so I hesitated to start buying anything because I didn't want it to be useless when she arrives. I had picked up a few sleepers, but not much.

Then, to my surprise a friend of mine who just had her 3rd (and final child) said she would like to give me a whole bunch of 0-3's that her daugther had outgrown!! I accepted this wonderful donation and thanked her profusely! And when I got the clothes from her, they were spectacular and oh-so-cute!! She gave me enough to last thru Rachael's entire 0-3 month stage!! God is so good!

Then...... a friend from church said she'd like to throw a shower for me!! WHOA! How kind of her. There were about 8 of my friends who attended and I came home with more wonderful clothes, hair accessories and other goodies!! How blessed I feel to have such wonderful friends.

There's more - on Tuesday, Michael sent me an email asking if I was available to come to his office on Friday at 2:00 because some of the civilian ladies in his squadron wanted to throw us a shower!! You betcha! He also asked if there was anything specific we still needed - so I responded that we were set on 0-3 clothes so larger sizes would be greatly appreciated. We had a wonderful time yesterday! The boys each got a gift from Captain A (a/k/a Mr. Jim to the kids) and Rachael got lots more wonderful stuff - including 7-8 things in 3-6 and 6-9 sizes!!! We also came away with $50 cash and $100 worth of Target gift cards! How amazingly blessed we feel to have received all of these wonderful items.

And I don't feel like having a heart attack thinking about how much more I still need to find to at least get thru a few weeks without having to shop for clothing for her!!

I am so thankful to all of our wonderful friends from church and Michael's office. We have truly been blessed in an amazing way! God is so good and so long as we are faithful, He always provides!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stocking the freezer

I have been a busy little beaver today! Since I will be having a c-section next Friday - yes folks, I'll have THREE children in 10 short days! And to tell you the truth, I haven't freaked out yet! Probably because I have no time to freak out and that's probably a good thing. I'm not even really nervous. My head does swirl occasionally when I think about schedules and Michael only gets 10 days off work and Jacob goes to preschool 2 days a week and I only have 1 week of practice before I have to get him there on time (along with feeding and dressing everyone!!).... But, all-in-all I'd say I'm doing well.

I sat down a few days ago and made a list of meals that I wanted to go ahead and prepare and get in my freezer for those first few weeks (we'll also be getting a few meals from my MOPS group) and today I made the first batch of meals.

Here's what I made today:


This is chicken enchiladas!! I bought these disposable pans because I didn't want to tie up all of mine in the freezer and they have lids that are handy to write with a permanent marker what's in them! On this one I wrote what it is and the thawed bake time/temp. I think I went back and added the frozen time also.

This is not the healthiest meal - I used store bought flour tortillas and sauce - but the chicken is left over from a whole chicken I made recently.

I also made a smaller pan of these for our neighbor's friend because her son is in the NICU - he was born at 28 weeks nearly 2 weeks ago and I'm betting figuring out what to eat (AND take care of their toddler) just isn't a fun thing right now.




This lovely meal is zucchini parmesean. And it's a tad healthier than the enchiladas. I used fresh zucchini and battered (using spelt crumbs) and sauteed it in coconut oil. Cooked some whole wheat pasta and sadly used a jarred sauce. I layered it in the same way I would layer it on my plate if I were eating it immediately (pasta, zucchini, sauce and cheese).




This is just a quick pizza-ish thing. It's store bought hoagie rolls, sliced in half, topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni's on some. I froze them on these cookie sheets then transferred them into 2 of the same size disposable pans. I put 2 layers in each pan and separated the layers with foil.



I made all 3 of these while the boys were napping today and even got the dishes done and the counters cleaned up before they woke up! However, all of that meant I was standing for a solid 2 hours and at 37 weeks pregnant that's not great for the back. So, the kids are outside playing and I'm sitting down typing this post (yes, I can see them!!).

I also already had navy bean soup, 3 servings of meatloaf and chicken and quinoa stew in the freezer from making extra when I made those meals the last time. And there are 2 frozen pizzas.

Here's what I still have planned for the freezer:

* Brown a batch of taco meat
* Zucchini/carrot muffins (the boys and I LOVE these, Michael doesn't really care for them - he's strange!)
* Shepherd's pie

Also, I'm asking for suggestions on other meals (preferrably ones that incorporate more veggies) that work well as freezer meals to pull out and heat in the oven.

Hop on over to Rocks in My Dryer for more people who need help solving life's conundrums!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 9/1


I'm quite late in posting my menu plan for this week but that's because today is a holiday and hubby is off and it's thrown me off.... Does this happen to anyone else?

My menu plan for this week is based on using what we have so I don't have to go to the grocery store until this weekend. I'll be stocking up for at least 2 weeks when I go this weekend since we'll be having a baby next Friday. I also don't want to have to go next week because Michael's mom will be coming in on Wednesday and I want to go ahead and have all my freezer meals prepared so I don't have to take time away from spending with her and the kids.

*Monday: Salad with lettuce, tomatoes and peppers from my garden and whatever other veggies are in the fridge.
*Tuesday: Breakfast burritos (fresh tomatoes and jalapeno's from my garden) and cheese.
* Wednesday: Baked Tilapia, steamed corn on the cob and yeast rolls
* Thursday: Whole wheat pasta with stewed tomatoes
* Friday: Philly steak sandwiches
* Saturday: NO IDEA. I'll probably go to the grocery store on Friday night, so I'll plan the next few weeks before I go shopping.
* Sunday: Michael's 29th birthday - I'll prepare him a special birthday meal of his choice. The kids will also pick out a cake for him at the bakery (I'm not in the mood to actually make him a cake .... sigh)
Be sure to visit I'm and Organizing Junkie for more weekly menus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yet another use for plain ole' vinegar!

It seems as though vinegar is becoming my new best friend!

Most of us know of the common uses for vinegar - loads of cleaning recipes for the kitchen and bathrooms, it's a great fabric softener, great laundry stain remover and countless other uses that we use vinegar for.

BUT, did you know that vinegar is absolutely the go-to thing for a sting or bite (bee/wasp/ant, etc.)?

How do I know this you might ask?..... Well, I have a 2 year old and we have lots of wasps!

We have guniea wasps (a/k/a paper wasps). I usually don't worry too much about them - they have their hives in the cracks of our retaining wall in between each of the stones (because the stones aren't square it leaves a triangular space in between the stones) and paper wasps are the least aggressive kind. Pretty much, as long as you aren't bothering their hive, they don't sting. Michael has been so busy that he hasn't had time to 'take care of them' yet, but because they aren't typically aggressive, I usually don't worry about the kids getting stung. Until......

The boys were outside playing with their water table a few weeks ago and all of a sudden Eli was screaming. He ran over to me and said something about an owie on his finger and I asked him what happened and he said "lady bug bite me." (Lady bug is his description for all bugs right now!) I knew that the wasps like to hang out around the water table, but usually they fly off when the kids are playing there, so I kept asking him what happened and he kept saying the same thing.... He wasn't screaming that blood curdling, think he's dying kind of scream so I just held him for a few minutes and kept inspecting his finger and in a little while he calmed down and was ready to play again. I really didn't think he had been stung (maybe he pinched it somehow or something) because of how quickly he calmed down so I didn't think much else about it.

Fast forward about a week. I was sitting out on the patio while they were playing and Eli looked at me kind of strangely, then grabbed his thigh and started screaming. This time I KNEW he had been stung. He was playing out by the retaining wall and was swinging his plastic golf clubs around and just the way he looked at me and then grabbed the area where it hurt told me he'd been stung. He then ran over to me and I could see the sting mark, so we went inside and I immediately called my mom because I remembered being stung by a wasp when I was little and she put something on it that took the pain away. She said to soak a paper towel in plain vinegar and apply to the area. The next thing that happened shocked me...

Eli stopped crying in less than a minute - while I was still on the phone with her - and was ready to go back outside to play!!

I am so thankful for a mom that remembers home remedies that her parents and grandma used when she was growing up!

I know this isn't a true kitchen tip, but because this is a common kitchen ingredient I thought it would be good to post on Kitchen Tip Tuesday and maybe someone else will find it helpful.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu plan Monday - 8/25


I hope everyone had a wonderful weeked!
I have to say that I'm glad I wrote out my menu plan a few hours ago because I have a terrible headache and Michael had to go back to work this evening - it's end of year crunch (end of fiscal year for the military) and he's (along with everyone else) putting in lots of extra hours, thankfully he doesn't usually put in his extra hours until the late evening, but he will go in most nights from around 8-11 for the next several weeks..... It seems like I never see that man! But I'm planning on him being home for dinner every night, so I'm planning regular meals (at least for this week!).
* Monday: Spaghetti with yeast rolls
* Tuesday: Crockpot whole chicken with steamed veggies and mashed potatoes - I'll freeze the extra chicken and we should get at least 2 more meals out of it
* Wednesday: Breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs, salsa, jalapenos, tomatoes and cheese) for the adults and pancakes for the kids
- Take meat out to thaw for Thursday
* Thursday: Meatloaf with green beans and leftover mashed potatoes
* Friday: Homemade pizza night (philly cheesesteak!!)
- Take meat out to thaw for Saturday
* Saturday: Sloppy joes
* Sunday: Zucchini parmesean (carry over from last week)
Must go now, the headache is getting the better of me and the kids still have 20 minutes before bedtime...
Be sure to check out Laura's site for more wonderful menus for the coming week.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Walgreens money maker!

Last night I was in Walgreens getting my weekly deals and I found a money maker I hadn't noticed before!!

Here's how it worked for me:
- Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber starter kit = $5.79 regular price (I thought this came from All You but it doesn't look like it - maybe it came from the paper.... sorry, wish I could tell you)
- I had a FREE mail-in-rebate form up to $5.69 on one starter kit
- I also had a $1 Q from the recent Right @ Home mailer
- AND Walgreens has an Easy Saver rebate of $1.50 on this product until August 30.

Here's the breakdown:
$6.22 = 5.79 + .43 tax
-$5.69 (MIR)
-$1.00 (Right @ Home Q)
-$1.50 (WG Easy Saver)
$1.97 PROFIT!!! Now that's what I call a good deal!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A little of this and that...

This post will be just totally random stuff that is happening in our lives or just going on in my brain...

* At my 35 week checkup this week Rachael's heart rate was 180..... the nurse said "woo, she's a bit active this morning, eh?" She was doing what felt like cartwheels at that moment!!

* Eli might actually be getting this potty thing afterall! My original goal back when we got pregnant was to have him completely potty trained before the baby arrived. I totally gave up on that after some serious 'unready-ness' on his part and we waited a while before we started trying again. We even bought him his own special little potty to sit on because it turns out he doesn't like the toilet. He likes the little one much more and I like that he can sit on it anywhere! He only wet 2 diapers yesterday and so far, only 1 today!! So, there is hope after all. If I can get him totally trained in the next 3 weeks I will be in heaven! Jacob was 100% daytime trained by 25 months, so I had high hopes early on with Eli, maybe I had my sights set too high.... oh well, this parenting thing is a learning process and every child is different. We were at Walmart this morning and I let him pick out a pack of undies for being such a 'big boy' - he chose Diego! We're going to give it a go after naptime.

* 3 weeks ago Jacob came down with what turned out to be some random virus. It started with a severe (almost debilitating) headache that lasted 3 days and could only be eased by ibuprofen and as soon as that wore off it came back. I ended up taking him to the dr. the 4th day because it's just not right for a 4 year old to have that bad of a headache with no trauma or anything. By the morning I took him in, he also had puffy circles under his eyes and a low grade fever. She diagnosed it as a virus and said he's probably get some other minor symptoms, but it would probably go away in a few days. He did get other symptoms. He got a scratchy throat and ended up almost losing his voice and a smidge of a cough. But, like she said, he was better in a few days.

Fast forward a few days after he was better..... Hubby woke up on a Sunday morning feeling icky with a bit of a sore throat and achy. I made him start guzzling liquid Vitamic C to try to stave it off - to no avail. He ended up sicker than I have ever (in almost 10 years) seen him. He didn't just get a scratchy throat - he got an on fire, swollen, red, inferno throat and also almost lost his voice - he also had horrible headaches, flu-like symptoms of fever, achy muscles, etc. (but it wasn't strep). He went to the Dr. Monday morning and was so bad they put him on quarters (for you non-military peeps, quarters is basically when you're ordered to stay home from work and they can't call you in or 'make' you come in). So, he took almost 2 full days off and slept THE ENTIRE TIME. Must be nice to actually have a day off AND get to sleep!!!

Michael was really sick for almost a week and during the end of it, Eli started getting it. However, I think he got it the easiest - he had a croupy cough for a few days (had to have some saline nebulizer treatments) and a scratchy throat and hoarse voice. He never complained of anything really though.... Eli has been better for about a week and I thought I was in the clear since they all got it so quickly to one another.

WRONG - I have had a scratchy throat since Tuesday with nothing else so I have been praying that would be the extent of it. However, I'm thinking it may not be. Since I got up this morning my throat has gotten progressively worse and now hurts and I can barely squeak out any words. I have no other symptoms though. So, in an attempt to pre-empt a raw and horribly sore throat, I've been drinking lots of hot tea and hot water with lemon and honey and even gargling with salty water - BLECK! I really don't want to be that sick at 35 weeks pregnant and with 2 very noisy kids at home with me. The only good thing to the timing is that it's almost the weekend and I can rest, since Michael will be home, if I do end up getting worse.

* My mother-in-law will be arriving from Oklahoma on September 10!!! Yipee! We haven't seen her since Feb. so the kids will enjoy some time with grandma and we'll enjoy having some extra help with the kids for 8 days. My c-section is scheduled for Sept. 12. It will be nice to have her here to help with looking after the boys while Michael and I get a little rest and I take care of myself and Rachael. She'll also get the added benefit of being at the hospital when Rachael is born (I've already arranged for the boys to be with a friend all day that day) and the first grandparent memeber to see and hold Rachael. The other grandparents all live in Florida or Australia.

I guess that's all the rambling I'll be doing for now. I think I'm going to go be a vegetable since my house is fairly clean and I only have 54 minutes until Eli gets up from his nap.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A call to modesty - Part 2

If you missed my first post in this series, you can find it here.

This post is bound to cause some controversy because I will be discussing the very sensitive topic of what we should be wearing. My prayer is that you will be open to my views and read this post with an open heart and mind, you can disagree as much as you'd like. I will not judge anyone who doesn't see things as I do. Please keep in mind, much of this comes from my own personal conviction and God doing some works in me that require me to be completely obedient to His will in this area of my life before He can open the doors to the things I see coming!!

I will be discussing 2 things today:
* Adornment (jewelry, makeup, etc.)
* Clothing

Adornment:

This is a very difficult subject for most Christians (myself included). I definitely don't want to tell you something that isn't in alignment with God's word and I also don't want to be too careful to be 'politically correct' because following God's word and instruction isn't about pleasing the world (Romans 12:2), it's about being pleasing in God's eye. No one will stand in judgment for my life other than me and all I can do is strive to be what He calls me to be.

I'll try to tackle makeup first:

There aren't any specific references in the Bible where anyone is instructed to wear/not wear makeup. There are several references to painting of faces/eyes, etc. and the references lean to both good and bad.

The Bible does tell us:

3- Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4- You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
No where in that scripture does it give a specific command of do or don't, but it does say don't be concerned. One commentary I read in the Full Life Study Bible - KJV says that "gaudy, showy or expensive adornment is contrary to the spirit of modesty that God desires for the Christian wife." This doesn't mean that we are not to wear makeup at all, it simply says to me that we are to be cautious and not let the significance of looking a certain way overtake the true spirit God intends us to have - one of discretion and meekness.

A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout. Proverbs 11:22 NLT

And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself
with crimson, though deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest
thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will
despise thee, they will seek thy life. Jeremiah 4:30 KJV

These two passages speak to vain attempts to 'beautify' oneself. What we show on the outside is a direct reflection of what we are on the inside. The old adage 'don't judge a book by it's cover' really doesn't hold true for those of us professing to be believers in God's word because one should be able to tell just by looking at me that I'm different and if I'm modest on the outside, I'm most likely that way on the inside. Again, I have found no direct references to whether we should or should not 'paint our faces', but I have found numerous passages cautioning us to be careful not to do such things in vain attempts to beautify ourselves or our selfserving nature.

For me: I do wear makeup. I do not wear a lot of makeup. I've even cut out a couple of things that I was wearing - over the years I had let myself add too many 'enhancements' to my makeup routine. I personally wear foundation, blush, a tad bit of eyeshadow and mascara. Nothing dramatic.

Jewelry is next....

Again, I find lots of references in the Bible where jewelry is seen as a good thing and then references (usually to LOTS of jewels/pieces) where jewelry is seen as bad. I have the same thought on discretion and vanity as I do of makeup. What is our purpose for wearing jewelry? Obviously wedding bands and watches have a direct purpose, but I'm talking about necklaces, earrings, etc.

The following scriptures are examples of good adornment and examples of our husbands adorning us with whatever he sees fit for us to wear.

And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2 KJV

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my sould shall be joyful in my god; for
he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the
robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a
bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 KJV

And it came to pass, as teh camels had done drinking, that the man took a
golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten
shekels weight of gold. . . Genesis 24:22 KJV

Ah, so you can see why this is such a conflicting area for most Christians. My prayer would be that you look inside yourself for the reasons why you wear the adornments you do. I cannot tell you personally if what you are doing is correct or pleasing to God because I do not know your heart. I can say for me that I was putting too much emphasis on my jewelry until recently and I now see that even though I wasn't wearing all that much it was definitely for the wrong reasons. Do I still wear jewelry other than my wedding band and watch? It's about 50/50 and really depends on if I think that extra piece of jewelry will call too much attention to me or not. Mostly these days any extra jewelry is a necklace - I haven't changed my earrings in ages and they are very simple small hoops, most days (if my hands aren't swollen - 3rd trimester...) I also wear a ring that was my mother's when she was younger on my right hand.

Clothing

This has actually been a very simple concept for me to grasp. To some it will seem not-so-simple and maybe there are others of you that will come to the same conclusion I have. God convicted me in this area before any of the others and when I started researching everything (to make sure it really was God's will for my life and not the enemy trying to pull me into some trap) it almost seemed like a no brainer for me.

In my last post I discussed what modesty really is and how it pertains to every area of our life. I also discussed some specifics, such as what should be covered, but I didn't really go much further than that.

In my research, I've come to realize that women in "Bible days" wore robes that were long and flowing and were very different from the garments men wore. Here's some research I found on that subject and the difference between the garments men and women wore. It's worth reading the entire post, but if you just want the specifics on the type of garments worn, you'll need to scroll down to the 12th section (they're not numbered, so you'll just have to count them off!!).

From reading the section in the link above you've discovered how different the apparel for men and women was and it's only evolved to what it currently is in the last 60 or so years. Before that, most women would never have dreamed of wearing 'crotched garments' such as shorts or pants because they would be looked at as being in men's clothing.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a
man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for all that do so are an
abomination unto the Lord thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5 KJV

In my opinion (and for my personal life) that sums it up pretty well for me. Crotched garments (pants, shorts, etc.) are not to be worn by women and this is most likely because they actually show the countours of our body (legs, bottom, crotch area, etc.). It doesn't stop at just wearing a skirt ladies, skirts can be inappropriate also. Remember in my last post where I quoted Matthew 5:28 where it says that any man who looks at a woman lustfully has already comitted adultery.... well, skirts and shirts that are too tight, shirts that are low cut or see through/thin are also out because they give a man ample opportunity to look at you in that lustful way (and only my husband should EVER be privy to those seeing those parts of my body exposed by inappropriate clothing).

My opinion about skirts is that they should be at least knee length and here's why:

2- Take the millstones, and grind meal; uncover thy locks,
make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. 3-Thy nakedness
shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I
will not meet thee as a man. Isaiah 47:2-3 KJV

The thigh being uncovered is likened to nakedness.

Here's the actual definition of the term 'thigh' from http://www.dictionary.com/:
1. the part of the lower limb in humans between the hip and the knee.

To me that explains pretty simply that the thigh extends all the way to the knee and all of it should be covered.

Here's my one dilemma in all of this...

I am currently VERY pregnant and expecting #3 in just over 3 weeks. I own a grand total of 4 skirts that I can wear at this point. One of them is completely casual and mid-calf length and I love it, however, I cannot wear it every day - it does need to be washed occasionally! The other skirts I own are a lot more dressy and come just below my knee cap - still appropriate, only I don't feel comfortable 'dressing up' every day to play around the house with my kids. I would really hate for one of them to get torn or a stain and then be unwearable. And there is absolutely no point in buying any more maternity clothing this late in the game - that would be unwise use of our money because I may never wear them again after this pregnancy (because we do not know yet if it is God's will for us to have any more children).

I have spent much time in prayer over this and feel like God is directing me (at least until I can get back into my regular clothes - of which I have plenty of knee length or longer skirts to choose from) that no matter what, I am NOT to expose anything above the knee and the more 'flowy' (ie. not fitted or exposing countours) the better. I have a couple of pairs of capris and 2 pairs of very skirt-like gaucho pants that I've been wearing until this baby arrives.

Whew...

Ok, I'm going to leave you now with some other resources that I've found - please note that I may not agree with everything in each of these articles/posts but have found them very informative and they have lots of great research in them.

* The Bible's Dress Code

* Modest Dress of Christian Females

* Modesty, A Matter of Heart (there is a box on this page with the links to the actual articles)

* Biblical Modesty

* Jewelry, does the Bible say it's a sin?

* The Christian's Dress and Adornment