Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: Making The Most Of Sippy Cups

So my son goes through sippy cup lids like crazy. We use several types, but the ones he seems to lose or break are the take-n-toss ones. I hated throwing out all the cups we had accumulated when the cups were in great condition and just needed new lids.

I looked everywhere and couldn't buy just the lids until I went to the company Web site. The Learning Curve sells a 6-pack of the lids for $3.99. The shipping and handling is about $5, so we teamed up with a friend and bought several packs of lids at once. It was great though because we could still use our cups, not waste them, and spend the money on what we really needed, which was just the lids.

It was not the best deal in the world, but I feel so much better about not wastign perfectly good cups. Plus the cups are BPA-free, so I'm not worried about my kids using them.

Confession Time: My Hair

So I have never been too much into clothes, fashion, hair, makeup, etc. my whole life. Some of it is probably because I just wasn't that interested. Some of it was that I was so busy with sports and life and dealing with other (more important) problems to think about it. Still some of it was that I would try to do stuff, not really do a great job and then just get too busy to take time to figure it out.

I am turning 30 this year and decided I really needed to know how to style and blow dry my hair. Yes that's right - I NEVER knew how to blow dry it without it becoming a frizzy mess. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I tried several times over the years and even owned a few blow dryers that would sit wound up in my bathroom until I got rid of them.

I got to the point I was embarrassed to ask anyone because it seemed like common sense to most people - just not to me. I read a lot about it, but I am a hands-on person so unless someone shows me, I have a difficult time picturing it. I figured out the science behind it and how to work the blow dryer with the right attachments to really style it, but it never worked out for me.

My hubby actually asked me about it the other day and he said he just thought I always liked wearing my hair in a pony tail. Well, it was more convenient, but whenever I tried mostly anything different it was disastrous so I just stuck with what worked. I was too busy to figure out the details of doing something - anything with my hair. It is super curly, thick and can be very unruly anyway.

Yesterday I got my hair cut in an easy style to manage and had my stylist give me basic instructions how to blow dry it and style it and showed me. I tried it out this morning and although it was nowhere near perfect, it actually looked halfway decent. I know it will take a lot more practice, but I am excited I actually figured out something it has taken me more than half my life to figure out.

Yeah for small accomplishments;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Enjoying Summer While It Lasts

WE headed to the pulminologist yesterday for a checkup for my younger son who was extremely sick last winter with four hospitalizations totally nearly a month in the hospital. He has severe asthma and acid reflux, but thankfully not several of the problems the doctors were concerned he was facing.

We have had him more or less stable for the last few months and we have enjoyed our new normal. We still do medicines with him every six hours except at night unless he is sick and then we do it around the clock combined with additional medicines. Still he is growing leaps and bounds developmentally. He went from not even rolling over at six months to rolling over both ways, sitting up and nearly crawling within two weeks.

The doctors are cautiously optimistic about his progress. They said this winter will probably still be rough for him, but since he is getting a few months now to grow stronger that should help him a lot.

We are just praying this winter will not be as rough or rougher than last. We have all kinds of medicines to help him fight colds and viruses when he gets too weak to fight them and we are praying we don't have to use them too much because we worry about the long-term effects on his growing.

If you can all keep him and our family in your prayers as summer winds down. We will probably go from being extremely social and out and about to being reclusive again and I am not sure I am ready to handle that again. I will do it because I know it could keep him healthier longer and give him more time to fight off sickness, but I am dreading how long it all is.

Marquette Method NFP: More Info

So I realized I promised additional information as soon as I received it on the Marquette Method and the online charting, forums and reference but didn't actually post the additional information so sorry to those who were waiting. It took them a bit longer to get it out than I was expecting and in between our baby was in the hospital again.

First some quick resources for Marquette Method Model of Natural Family Planning:

Marquette's Natural Family Planning Web Site

Online tracking, forums and professional guidance for method. (It's free for now as they are running it as a pilot online program).

ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor you need (You can also purchase them on eBay and some places teaching the program offer to rent the monitors for a small monthly fee. I believe St. Louis University is one of these programs).

The fertility sticks you need. On average you need about 10 a month.

Our experience with it so far has been a lot better than other methods we have tried. My husband is a scientist and very analytical and he likes it measures my hormone levels and gives us a better estimate of where we are in my cycle.

All of the professionals teaching it have been extremely helpful and open to questions, which is great. I strongly suggest calling them with any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Few Sites To Share

I love the web because you stumble across some great content as you are searching for other items. I am currently developing a hyper-local site for my area and plus my youngest has been relatively healthy (as in he only needs his 4 meds every six hours instead of constant doctors and hospital visits) so I guess I've been spending more time than usual on the web (if that's even possible).

A very random collection of what's on my mind:

1. If you love photography and good journalism, check out one of my favorite sites that was just relaunched There you can find some of the coolest online storytelling projects. It's inspiring to see what's out there. A lot of my former classmates' work, both in Internet journalism and photojournalism appear on the site often.

2. Switching gears - I'm loving the series at Rocks In My Dryer called "What I'd Like For You To Know." Shannon, who hosts the blog has been having different people be guest bloggers talking about their experiences. She had a women who has three autistic children, a woman who's husband is deployed and a woman who lost a baby and she has several coming up. I've been reading her blog off and on for a year, but this is by far my favorite thing she's done.

3. Speaking of Rocks In My Dryer, she had a link to an online store with adorable shirts saying Mom to the nth power. So if you have two kids, it would be Mom to the 2nd power.

4. Now totally switching gears ... A friend of mine showed me a baby gift they received when their son was born last year. It is a wooden block with the baby's name, birthdate and all other kinds of info on it and is super cute. They have them at

5. And switching gears AGAIN - I am finding very useful for big purchases. It is not the easiest site in the world to navigate, but if you put in the URL of something you buy, it will send you email updates for the next month if the price drops so you can get the difference. Like I said, it's only worth it for bigger purchases, but I know from watching ads, I can buy something one week and the next week I see it on sale $50 less ... not a great feeling!

OK - enough randomness for one day. Hope yours is blessed!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Date Night!

My very wise mama told me that it is always important to set aside time to be a couple, no matter how little money you have or how busy you are with life.

My hubby and I have followed that advice (thanks mom;) and we have a date night every Saturday night. We only actually get to go out once a month because sitters are very expensive and not in our budget, but we try to create dates at home each week we don't have a sitter.

Well, this past Friday (we could get a sitter for Friday, so it was moved) we actually got to go out. We were thinking of fun, but affordable things to do and I had a silly, ok kind of ridiculous idea. We have season pass tickets to a kid's amusement park nearby and there are rides my kids can't go on - so we never attempt them. I talked my unwilling hubby into venturing into the park for the last hour without the kids.

To say he was reluctant is an understatement. He did not want to go, but we hadn't done anything active, fun and silly with just the two of us in awhile so we went. This park has many water slides and rides and a roller coaster. We hit most of the major ones. We only spent a bit more than an hour there, but by the time we left, we were laughing and promising to do it again. It was a blast! Yes we got some weird looks when people realized we did not have kids with us, but whatever - they probably weren't having as much fun:).

It set the mood for the whole night and reminded us how important it was to just let loose and have fun every once in awhile:). It always is a good reminder we're actually not that old.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Funny Diet

So I was really in the mood for a donut this morning so I went to Dunkin Donuts and picked up half a dozen. I splurged and got a Boston creme, covered with chocolate. I had it sitting on the table when I noticed a little 2-year-old sized bite out of it. I turned around again to fix some baby cereal for my 7-month-old and when I turned around, another few nibbles. By the time I got to really eat it, I probably only ate about half of the donut. It's almost like a built in diet, except I don't want my two-year-old eating my donuts, plus the one we give him. Life with kids is fun and funny.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Beautiful Little Girl

A beautiful 4-year-old girl named Mieko died this morning. She was the child of one of my former colleagues who defied many odds. Born with Trisomy 18, her parents were told there it was unlikely she would live. Trisomy 18 is considered "incompatible with life." Obviously the doctors were wrong. She had many medical challenges, but lived a very full and beautiful life. You can read more of her story at her Caring Bridge web site.

I was so touched by how devoted her parents were to her and how they never complained about the recurring hospitalizations, working odd hours so one of them could always be with her and the countless other things they did so selflessly. I remember watching them before my first son was born praying I could be as good of parents as they were.

Mieko was such a blessing and a joy not only to their lives, but to everyone she met. She had a smile that lit up a room and always seemed so happy, even when she was very sick. She will be deeply missed.

Please pray for her and her family during this difficult time as they celebrate her life and mourn her death.

With Hope

Here we go with another song;). Whenever someone dies, especially a baby or child I think of this song. It is one that helps you smile through the sadness and I think it is so beautiful.

Steven Curtis Chapman \ With Hope

1 Thess. 4:13-14 / Heb. 6:9, 10:23

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thrifty Thursdays: Free Slurpees!

And now for a lighter post:).

I happen to LOVE slurpees, so it is with a smile on my face as I post this next one. Tomorrow (7/11) is free slurpee day at 7-Eleven. You get a free small slurpee at all participating stores. How could you have a bad Friday with that kind of deal?!?!? If anyone can tell me where to find the root beer slurpees that supposedly exist, but we can never find, drop me a line.

Why Carry A Dying Child?

So I actually read an article by in One More Soul before heading home and learning of the problems our sister-in-law and brother are facing while five months pregnant with their second child.

It struck me on so many levels, but ultimately because I am a mom and abortion is not a choice for me no matter what prenatal diagnosis we receive. This mom lost two of her babies to the same disease. She wrote this piece while pregnant with the daughter she knew would die much like her older son did. Ultimately though, she was able to savor the time she did have with them.

I could not find the article on the One More Soul Web site, but I found it on another very interesting site, Be Not Afraid. Click here to read Teresa Streckfuss' story.

These two parts were the most striking to me:
Some people think we carried Benedict and Charlotte to term because we don’t agree with abortion, because we are Catholic, or perhaps because our nephew was carried to term after a fatal diagnosis. While these factors probably all played a part in our immediate refusal of the option to ‘terminate’, this is not what it’s all about! It’s about love! It’s about my baby! It’s not about some tragic, fatal medical condition - it’s about my child. We do not possess more strength than other people. It’s not because we can cope where others wouldn’t. There is no way to avoid the sad fact that she cannot live long after birth with this condition, but causing Charlotte to die earlier will not stop this happening. Causing her to die earlier will only take from us the beautiful experience of knowing and loving her.

So don’t pity us for carrying a child we know will die. Carrying this beautiful person is an honour. Grieve for the fact that our baby will die. We wouldn’t wish away the time we had with Benedict, and also this time we are now experiencing with Charlotte, just to save us the pain of losing them. I’ve always thought of it like this; if your 3 year old was diagnosed with untreatable, fatal cancer and had only 4 months to live; would you prefer the doctor kill your child straight away so that you didn’t have to wait for his/her impending death? Or would you prefer to spend as much time as you could with your child and love him/her for as long as you had left?

As a mother who has lost three babies early in pregnancies, I longed to hold them or spend time with them. I never wished I wouldn't have been pregnant with them even though losing them was so painful. I felt like losing them, I came to such a deeper understanding of the value of life. Each of my babies have a name and I often think about them as I watch my beautiful boys play.

I know my experience is not the same as this woman's or honestly any other person's, even those with similar circumstances. Each person walks their own path. But I know the pain and sadness that can accompany a person when they find out their baby is or will likely die. It is so deep and hard to bear, thank God we don't have to bear it alone.

This article was very touching and a beautiful testament to this woman's faith and trust in God. I have read it several times over the past few weeks and am sure I will hold onto it.

And Now For Another Request....

We found out our niece/nephew has some serious health issues. My sister-in-law is more than 5 months pregnant now and the ultrasounds showed some abnormalities. The doctor's haven't given our brother and sister-in-law a good prognosis, so we are all preparing for what may come, but praying for a miracle.

Please join me in praying for the baby and for my brother and sister-in-law. May God grant them the strength to face this storm, the support they need and the ability to love the baby as long as they have him/her here.

Lots of Catching Up

I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind the last few months, but was still unable to put into words what I wanted to say.

We found out my youngest who has been so sick does not have cystic fibrosis. What a relief that was! Most of our doctors assumed he did at one time or another because all we did was not working. I have a whole new respect for families, especially parents dealing with long-term health issues concerning their children.

I also am so grateful for the health insurance we have. I can now fully understand how not having adequate coverage, along with an unexpected health crisis can put a family out on the streets. Gratefully, we were nowhere close, but money definitely got tighter.

One thing my son's hospitalizations and repeated sicknesses, along with his daily medicines have reminded us is not to take life for granted. We are so grateful he is doing better, but know that could change at any moment and we have to appreciate every moment we have.

My husband and I also had many discussions about issues such as banking cord blood stem cells in case our children can be helped by it in the future.

We were also reminded of the power of prayer and the strong support communities we have, even though we are nearly 1000 miles from home. How God has blessed us with so many friends and family of faith!

This is long enough for a blog post, but finding out our son didn't have a serious illness was wonderful and we just spent the last several weeks rejoicing in the news. Thanks for all who continue to pray for him - he's one tough cookie. Please keep up the prayers as he almost was hospitalized a few weeks ago, but rest assured he is doing so much better.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quick Prayer Request

Please take a moment to pray for our unborn niece or nephew. An ultrasound today showed some abnormalities and most parents can imagine how difficult it is to think something may be wrong with your child. We so often take for granted that healthy normal babies will be born and forget all the miracles that go into making that baby thrive, develop and survive. So please keep the baby and my sister-in-law and brother in your prayers as they go for more testing.

About Me

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I'm a mommy, wife and educated woman with an inquisitive mind. I am always looking in ways to challenge and grow in my faith. Many wise people I have known have reminded me if I am not growing, I am going in the wrong direction.