Monday, July 26, 2010

Farewell Blogging World

To all you mom bloggers out there: you are amazing! You're encouragement and creativity brightens many people's days, even when you don't realize it. Thank you!


As for me, I am calling it quits on blogging. I just can't keep up with it and get done what I'd like to get done during the day. I've never been a person that likes the computer, so I'm not sure why I thought I would like this. Well, I do enjoy blogging, so I can't say I don't like it. I love to write and journal and encourage others. I just don't enjoy blogging enough to keep it in my busy daily schedule. To keep up with other blogs, my blog and doing the research on the side is just not worth it for me.


I am more interested in keeping up with my piano playing and starting my business teaching piano. I am also really into my new hobby: soap making. But I find that I am blogging more than I am working with my soaps, and I want it to be the other way around.


So, with that being said, I bid thee farewell. I will, however, keep this blog. I have friends who are always asking me about cloth diapers, so I will still have all the information here for anyone to use. Also, who knows? Maybe blogging will be something I want to pick up in the future.


I hope that all who read this enjoy my ramblings and good luck to you all!


Blessings and Peace,

Christie

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Going on a few min-vacations!

Hey everyone! This will probably be my last post of the week, because I will be out of town here and there until next week. Tomorrow, my little Short Stack and I will be going back to Indiana to see a very good friend of mine, whom I haven't had a chance to actually talk to in FOREVER! So, I am very excited. We should get back in town long enough to pack up again to head an hour south of us to see my hubby's brother and his wife for the rest of the weekend.

Yes, I am buying disposable diapers today. Uh oh!! :-) Although, I guess I could technically do it with cloth if I washed them quickly when we got back home on Thursday before leaving again. But then I'd have to wash them again over the weekend at the in-law's because I don't have enough to last. So, I think I am going to be lazy this one time and buy a pack of sposies. It's been so long since I've bought a package of diapers, that I haven't the slightest clue as to what size Short Stack is in. That, at least, makes me feel less guilty about it!

Now, if only my daughter can keep up with all the traveling. She's a very cautious and sensitive child. Only time will tell!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meal Planning

I realize that I am very different than many Americans when it comes to my food, so I thought I would write about it!

Once I began my GF diet, I decided that not only was I going to change my food content, I would also change my entire view of eating and working out. Of course, it really helped that I stopped my job at about the same time. I have time to exercise now! Working out is now becoming one of my priorities, although I must admit that I am still not as committed as I want to be. But so far, I have had a full month of exercising 5 days a week (pats herself on back).

Anyway, once I began my gluten free diet, I decided that I was going to make my meals smaller and eat 5-6 meals a day now. My breakfast has always been the biggest, and that is still the same. A bowl of 100 calorie cereal plus milk just doesn't do it for me. Today I had about 1/3 cup of Red Mill's Might Tasty Hot Cereal with 2 eggs and some cheese sprinkled on top with a glass of soy milk. Like I said, I like my breakfast!! But often, I run errands during the morning, so I sometimes don't get a small meal/snack before lunch. If I do have a morning snack, it will almost always be some type of fruit.

For lunch, I only eat a sandwich or maybe some carrots and peanut butter, or something similar. Nothing big, because I get really tired right around 1 o'clock, and if I eat a lot, it just makes it worse. Then, around 2 or 3, I will have another meal/snack that usually consists of rice cake and hummus, yogurt with gluten free granola (I love Enjoy Life's Very Berry Crunch granola!), or string cheese, etc...

Dinner is most of the time something with meat, as my husband prefers. :-) I can get him to eat vegetarian if it involves spaghetti, but that's about it, ha ha! I am not a vegetarian, but personally, I think I would be if I didn't have other digestion problems. Anway, for dinner, we usually will have a meat and a vegetable, and sometimes a carb (usually potato or corn).

Now, I'm not very good about eating healthy for my last meal/snack. I will usually break open a bag of chips or scoop up a bowl of ice cream (with a lactose enzyme pill, as I am lactose intolerent) after little Short Stack goes to bed. But everyone needs a vice, right?

This diet really helps me eat healthy, as long as I plan it and have the foods available. I have to go in with the mindset that these snacks are really small meals, because if I don't, I'm reaching for the cookies or the chips. Plus, these small meals help my daughter stay happy during the day too. She snacks along with me, so if she doesn't eat as much at dinner as I want her to, I won't have a battle on my hands because I know she is getting the right foods during snack times as well.

I highly recommend small and more frequent meals rather than 3 large meals a day. It may take a little more planning, especially if you work, but I think it is worth it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ant Quest Day 4

Well, this is Day 4 of my homemade ant trap experiment. No ants have given my borax/sugar solution a taste lately. The first day was amazing. Ants were dropping like crazy! Now, nothing. No dead ants being kicked out of their homes, no line of ants near the traps. Ants are still in my house.

I'm not sure why the homemade traps didn't work. It's been so hot out that I thought for sure the solution would have dissolved and combined. But the water is at the top and the Borax is at the bottom. And, I am guessing the sugar is at the bottom with the Borax, because wouldn't the ants want it if the sugar was mixed in the water at the top?

Anyway, I am too tired to really examine it further. I'm going on 3 days of insomnia. Which is VERY much not like me. I am a fall-asleep-the second-my-head-hits-the-pillow type of girl, and I sleep 9 hours easily with no interruptions. So today I took my zombie self and my all-too-chipper Short Stack to the hardware store and bought as many ant traps as I could and ant spray.

Ok, ants...let's dance.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kiss My Face Peace Soap Review

My good friends over at http://www.stockpilingmoms.com/ asked me to write a review for a new line of soaps by Kiss My Face. I was delighted to get this opportunity to try something new and organic!

Kiss My Face has introduced a new line of soaps called Peace Soap. Peace Soap is an all purpose Castile soap that is also 100% natural. The basic ingredients in this soap are simple: olive oil, coconut oil, hemp oil and jojoba oil. It comes in 4 amazing scents: Grassy Mint, Lavender Mandarin, Pomegranate Acai, and Lemongrass Clary Sage. The Grassy Mint makes me think of Doublemint gum, and when I use it, I always think, juicy!! Ha ha! The Lavender Mandarin has a nice citrus kick to it. The Pomegranate Acai is probably my favorite and smells fruity and sensational. The Lemongrass Clary Sage smells almost like a lemon lime drink.






I think the most important thing to tell you about the new Peace Soap line is why it is called Peace Soap in the first place. 10% of the profits support the Seeds of Peace Organization. The mission of Seeds of Peace is to help young people from regions of conflict throughout the world develop skills necessary to instill peace and coexistence in their region. This organization has been around for 17 years and has earned the recognition of the U.S. State Department as well as international recognition for their conflict resolution model. It has shown success among the youth of Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt, and now includes young people from many other nations as well.


But back to the soap! The label on the bottle says that you can use this Peace Soap "head to toe" and "ceiling to floor." So I thought I would first try it head to toe. I used it as a body wash for a couple days to get the feel of the soap. I found the soap to be very cleansing, but a bit drying for my taste. As a VERY amateur soap maker, I know that coconut oil can tend to dry out the skin, and as it is one of the main ingredients, I was not surprised. However, I did use it as a bubble bath for my 2-year-old daughter, and she had no skin problems with it at all. Kiss My Face is also coming out with a Peace Soap foaming hand cleanser line soon. I think that would be very nice!


I next tried it as an all purpose cleaner. I had no complaints with the way it cleaned. I cleaned out a very grimy baby pool with the Grassy Mint scent, and I loved the fact that the baby pool was clean and smelled amazing!! It made me want to refill it with water and jump back in! I also cleaned the entire bathroom with the Lavender Mandarin and Lemongrass Clary Sage. It cleaned just as well as the conventional products out there, in my opinion. And the best part is, you don't have to wear gloves or worry about what you or your family is inhaling while you clean. Here is a picture of my shower before using Peace Soap,
and after using Peace Soap.


I would also recommend Peace Soap for many other uses that I haven't tried. Their website has tons of ideas for how to use this soap, and most came from users themselves. I really like the idea of taking this soap camping. You can use it for everything while you camp, including washing your dishes, bathing, cleaning food; you name it, it can do it. It is also great to pack for other trips too, as that is the only soap you have to pack!


Whether you use Peace Soap or not, it is worth it to check out the Seeds of Peace organization and all they are doing. If you check out Kiss My Face's website, you will find a Pledge for Peace button. For every 10,000 people that pledge they will send one child to camp for free. I pledged just by liking it on Facebook!



In conclusion, I am very glad I have some Peace Soap on hand for anything that may come along. It is safe for everyone and everything! The cause it supports is amazing, and I urge you to check it out today. Thank you to http://www.stockpilingmoms.com/ for giving me this product to review!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ant Quest Day 2

Well, I've had my homemade ant traps outside for 24 hours now, and I can't tell if it is working or not. The ants definitely love the stuff, but I'm a little concerned because they are all dead in the traps! Here is a picture of the fatal sugar/borax party.

So, I either didn't fill the jars enough, and the ants just got stuck in there and drowned, or the borax was too strong and they were poisoned before they could get out. I'm thinking they drowned in their own happiness. Either way, they obviously were unable to get the solution back to the nest, which was my goal for ultimate ant oblivion.


I still have some ants checking out the scene as seen in this picture, so I will wait a few more days to see if they are still sniffing around, and if there are other signs the ant traps are working.

In the meantime, my little Short Stack just got some ant stomping shoes from Grandma, and she sure can entertain herself! Ha ha!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Quest to Get Rid of the Ants!!

If you stand in one spot for too long inside or outside my house, you will be taken away by the tiny 6 legged creatures that will eat anything. I'm sitting here at the kitchen table just watching the little creeps crawling into my house from under the baseboards near the back door. They are coming in at every entrance, despite the Terro traps we put out about a month ago. The traps actually are working, or at least they look like it because there are ants all over the traps and dead ones near them. But we just have soooo stinkin' many of 'em and not enough traps. They have officially eaten all but 2 of my potted containers on the deck. My beans are dead, my flowers, my strawberries, and soon, my peppers. My herb pot is really the only place I don't see them. Maybe they don't like basil?

So, I researched online last night, and I found out that Terro traps are nothing more than Borax and sugar water. Well, that should be easy to make, right? So today I'm in the process of trying it. I mixed Borax with sugar and water, and I am going to pour them into baby food jars with holes punched in the lid. I have 11 baby food jars to fill, so I'm hoping that will at least put a dent into the population. I still have to find a hammer and nail and punch holes into the lid, which is why this post is short so I can do it before Short Stack wakes up from her nap. Speaking of Short Stack, it's really cute watching her try to step on all the ants she sees. It's like a Native American dance!

Monday, July 12, 2010

No no no no no no, etc...

Terrible two's, what? It is a VERY good thing that Short Stack is so darn cute. My little Short Stack is like a tasty BBQ sauce. Sweet and spicy. Actually, I think right now she can be described more as a dry "whine."

How funny is it that toddlers can say no so many times, even when they mean yes? She woke up this morning, singing the two letter word, like it was her own sweet dessert that she was savoring on her tongue. "Nooooo, noooo."

As we start our usual morning routine, I asked her if she wanted her eggs and oatmeal. She smiles and says, "No." Of course, she means yes, as the smile indicates. During breakfast, she starts whining, "No" when her sippy lid is on the milk. She wants it off. When I tell her to keep it on for now, she screams, "No!" and the tears start.

After breakfast, she goes to the fridge Alphabet magnets and starts pointing out the letters she knows. I ask, "Can you find the Y?" She lets out a pondering, "Nnnoooo," slow and low as if she were really thinking about it, as she points to the correct letter.

Now, it is time for the dreaded combing of the hair (which has been much better since putting it in rag curls, fyi). This time, it is a forceful "NO!" Then, when she realizes she has lost, she whines, "No, no, no" as if her crocodile tears might work better on mommy than the screaming. They don't.

I ask her if she wants to go see Grandma, and her eyes light up. She asks, "Cinn?" Yes, Cinnamon the dog will be there. She yells, "Bye Bye!" I say, "are you ready to go bye bye?" She ponders again, "Nnnooo."

I know she has so many other words in her vocabulary right now. She can use them if she wants. But "No" is her teddy bear, her blankie, her fall-back plan on any question she may or may not understand. And I only pray there will be a yes coming soon! Ha ha!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gluten Free Products From General Mills

I have to give props to General Mills. They have an entire website for gluten free living. On this website they give a list of their products that are gluten free. I am amazed at some of their products! They have gluten free foods from brand names such as Betty Crocker (including cake and icing!!!!!), Hamburger Helper, Chex, Green Giant, Nature Valley, Larabar, Progresso, and Yoplait. That's pretty impressive. Oh, and Bisquick is coming out with GF foods soon!

Disclaimer: Ok, so I have to admit, I don't eat any of these products with the exception of Chex. I just don't eat processed foods or foods with perservatives. Well, most of the time, at least. It's not that I'm against it, I just find that making foods from scratch myself is cheaper.

But back to the good news. I think that this website is advertising genius. Not only that, but the website says that All General Mills products that meet GF requirements are clearly labeled as gluten free on that product.

If other food companies can do the gluten free labeling on their product labels, I think they would see a lot more money. It takes all the guess work out of grocery shopping and it really takes the stress off of the buyer. I personally have bought one specific brand over another only because the label of the brand I bought said it was gluten free.

This website also has resources, information, and recipes included. One of my problems with going gluten free is finding fun appetizers and snacks for parties that I can eat too. I found so many good ideas from their list.

I am in no way affiliated with General Mills, nor do I know anyone who works for them. But here's a shout out to their marketing department!

bumGenius 4.0!

Well, it looks like Cotton Babies has heard us. Finally, their best selling pocket diaper now comes in snaps! If you like bumGenius 3.0 pocket diapers, but don't like the hook and loop, check out the 4.0's!

There are some other differences in bumGenius 4.0 as well, including:
  • "Generous sizing to accommodate larger babies." I hope this doesn't mean it won't fit thin babies anymore!
  • Replaceable elastic. This will be nice, especially if you want to sell it afterwards and the elastic is shot.
  • New colors!!! They have added 3 colors: Bubble, Sweet, and Noodle. Although it looks like they don't offer it in some of their other colors like Clementine and Ribbit. I'm excited about the purple!

As stated earlier, I am a snap girl only. I actually converted all of my 3.0s into snap closures.

It looks like they are offering preorders, so order yours today! This is a great entry diaper into the cloth diapering world. So, if you have never used cloth diapers, I recommend this as one of a few brands to try first.

Did anyone get to see bumGenius and other cloth diapering mamas on the Today Show this morning? I missed it. :-( This was a fantastic way to get America talking about cloth!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I DID IT!!

I FINALLY figured out how to change this account over!! And it only took me 20 minutes! Seriously, this just makes my day. Ahh, the little things in life. :-)

Possible Blog Change

Here's the deal. I am trying to get this blog moved to a different account, but it doesn't seem to be working. I may have to change blog names all together, which mean I may lose all of my followers! Any help anyone has out there would be appreciated! If not, well, I guess I will have to start from scratch. Wish me luck! I only have about an hour left of Short Stack's naptime, so I may not get it done today. We'll see!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

My husband came home one day and asked me if I could make a BLT pizza for dinner sometime. He had one at a local pizza place and wanted to try it. Well, being gluten free, I was trying to decide whether or not to make my own pizza with pre-made GF personal pizza crusts that cost $7.99 at my grocery store, or try to make one pizza for the whole family. While still being expensive, I chose to try the adventure of making my own pizza dough. It is just easier to be able to make the same thing for all of us so I don't have to worry about cross-contamination.

I got a book from the library that had all sorts of recipes from different flour blends. It was a great book that explained the difference in all these flours and how to get nutrition you may lack being GF. The book is called, "Gluten-Free Hassle Free A Simple, Sane Dietitian-Approved Program for Eating Your Way Back to Health," by Marlisa Brown, MS RD CDE CD. I adapted her recipe for Italian Pizza:

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup warm skim milk
3/4 cup warm water
1 packet dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup rice flour

1. Mix first four flours together. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of flour blend with 3/4 cup warm milk and 1/4 cup warm water. Add yeast, sugar, 1/8 cup olive oil, and 1 tsp salt. Mix together, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 45 minutes.

2. Mix remaining flour with the remaining salt and xanthan gum. Mix together with yeasted mixture with 1/4-1/2 cup warm water and cider vinegar for about 3-4 minutes, until the dough is a nice soft consistency that holds together but is not too wet.

3. Knead and form the dough into a ball; cover and let rest for about 15 minutes. If too wet, add brown rice flour until a nice consistency.

4. Preheat oven to 450.

5. Drizzle a large flat pizza pan with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.

6. Turn pizza dough out of bowl and shape and flatten, spreading out over pizza pan. Add brown rice flour if dough is too wet, and work it in as you fit the dough onto the pan, until the pan is completely covered with pizza dough (leave a thicker ridge around the edges). If the dough is too dry or crumbly, wet hands or a spatula and rub it across the top to smooth it out.

7. Sprinkle top of dough with some olive oil and oregano and let sit for about 20 minutes.

8. Place dough in the oven and precook for about 15 minutes.

9. I used Alfredo sauce as my sauce, then topped it with cheese, bacon, and tomato.

10. Bake for about 25 minutes, until crust is crispy. I left it in for that long, and mine was overdone, but not burnt, so I say 20 minutes.

11. When I took the pizza out of the oven, I added lettuce. My family doesn't like mayo, but if we did, that would probably be drizzled on top.

It was tasty! I will say I won't do it again until winter probably. It's sooo hot here!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Swim Diaper Update

I posted earlier in the summer about my Short Stack's swim diaper woes. Long story short, we bought a swimsuit with a built-in swim diaper that she hates with a passion. I'm too cheap to buy another swim diaper and bathing suit for the rest of the season because Short Stack hardly gets in the water in the first place. And I'm not buying disposables. I just can't bring myself to do it. :-)

So, as an alternative, I decided to use an old diaper cover that I don't like and doesn't work very well. I found a cheap swim top at Meijer. So cheap that the first time I took it off of her, the strap broke! I am not the best seamstress, but at least I know how to tack on a strap, so I didn't have to go back and get a refund. Yes, I'm not only cheap, but I'm lazy too. :-)

Well, the top is a go. It's loose enough she doesn't scream when I have to peel it off of her. The diaper cover as a swim dipe, however, not a go. I put it on her, and she immediately said, "No, No!" It was very uncomfortable to her. I was kind of bummed, because it was this bright orange that perfectly matched the top. Boo! But, I do understand why she didn't like it. Without a diaper insert, the cover was big and kind of bulky, and it didn't form to her well.

So, I'm back to using a pocket diaper cover. It has a soft lining inside, so she has no complaints. I am going to use the same one so that I don't ruin any others. It is my only Haute Pocket diaper I have, but it doesn't fit her well anymore now that she is tall and skinny. It has leaked the last 2 times I've used it as a diaper because her legs are too thin. It has probably the softest lining of all my dipes, too.

Next year, I am just going to buy a cheap reusable swim diaper, and build the swim suit around that!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Successful Woman??

A friend I know was commenting the other day on how much she wanted to be like a mutual friend who went to school, worked, and raised her children all at the same time. She thought that was so cool to be able to "do it all." Another woman I know is currently working a high stress job, starting her own additional business, teaching college classes, and raising her kids. When she talked to me about it, she said she was doing it all to have a nice retirement in the end.

Now I will probably offend some by saying this, but this is what a blog is for, right? To give my opinions? So here goes. As much as we like to think these two examples are the women we want to be, why are we trying to be like this? Aren't we overworking ourselves, compromising our health, our happiness, and our families?

More importantly, in my opinion, who says that this is the definition of "doing it all?" For me, this meant working and taking care of my daughter. I was not taking care of myself, my marriage, my home, and my beloved pets. Even my car suffered with the lack of oil changes and tire rotations because I just didn't have the time. This is not doing it all. This is doing the bare minimum to keep my head above water so that I can bring home a supplemental income. This is what I went to college for and got my Master's degree for. This is what was expected of me.

I think what got to me most in the two examples I gave was that these two women who were doing it all were lacking one major success: their contentment. I know them personally. The first woman has a roommate for a husband and two grown kids who are unable to support themselves financially. The second woman is unhappy and lonely, but adds on other projects to fill a void that she doesn't know is there. On the flip side, I know many many women who should be in the workforce and they are better moms because of it. I have a friend who would probably be at home depressed eating bon-bons if she wasn't working, and that is not good for her child!

Now a-days for me personally, I feel that "doing it all" means to improve my wellness in all forms, spiritually, physically, and mentally. It means to give my husband the time he deserves with the woman he chose to spend the rest of his life with. It means to make sure my daughter gets all my love that I can possibly give, even at the end of the day when we are both tired. And the same goes to my pets as well. I adopted them for a reason, and that wasn't to just sit around a house bored and lonely all day. This is what doing it all means to me.

Every woman is different, isn't that what we teach? So why are we all trying to be the same? So I say, enjoy your life as you are right now, not when retirement comes. Enjoy your children while you can and spend time with them, because that alone can mean success or failure in their adult lives. Whether you are working outside or inside the home, it doesn't matter. Success and "doing it all" depend only on your perspective!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Whole Foods Rocks!

It's July 1st, and I have my windows open! Yay! That's about the biggest thing that has happened to me today. It's been gorgeous outside, and we have enjoyed it by staying home and relaxing. I pulled some weeds, did some laundry, and that's 'bout it so far!

For those who are reading for the first time, I am gluten free now. I'm trying to find recipes that are edible and healthy at the same time that contain different flours in them. I decided to trek it up to Whole Foods (about 40 minutes away, so it's not that bad) to see what they had.

Whole Foods officially rocks my world. Not only did they have every flour I had on my list to try, they had so much more. Most of the brand-name items were cheaper there than at my local grocery store. For example, Whole Foods had Envirokids cereals for 2.89 a box, whereas my grocer sells this same item for 3.99 a box. Food for Life brown rice bread was 3.49 at Whole Foods, and my grocer has it for 4.79. This list continues for many of the items I buy. Plus, they sell so many local items, including local honey. I have been on the search for local honey for a while now to help with my allergies, and I can't seem to find it anywhere, not even the farmer's market. So I was pretty pumped when I found this.

I know, I am just now discovering something that everyone already knows about. Kind of like someone watching Toy Story 1 for the first time. What, you mean you've never seen it?! :-) I think I am still getting used to living in a suburb of a big city. Back in my small town life, we didn't have Whole Foods, or any other specialty store for that matter. We were lucky to get an extra blinking-only-red stop light. So, yes, I may be a bit sheltered.

I can't wait to go to Whole Foods again! I'm going to be stocking up on many things. And they have online coupons too. Yay!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Breaks My Heart?

Don't you ever feel like you need to do something? I'm not talking about the times when the baby is taking a nap, and you are relaxing, thinking, "I should really wash the dishes and scrub the toilet." No, I'm talking about doing something. Something big. Radical. Don't you wish sometimes that you could make a difference in this word that affects tons of people for good?

I do. I want to serve. No. I need to serve. Every fiber in my being is aching to do something, to be a part of something big. I find it so difficult to accomplish this on my own. I have Short Stack's schedule, my dear hubby's agenda, and just "stuff" that needs to get done. If I focus on the hassle of the day, I will never be able to achieve any more than that hassle.

I want to do something that the rest of the world thinks is crazy. I guess I kind of did that with quitting my good paying job to stay at home with Short Stack. But I don't think that's so crazy.

I have so many ideas and thoughts that pop into my head that I can do to serve others. I am like a horse that has yet to be broken. Wild horses have all this power and talent, yet all they can do is run and kick and buck and destroy the corral. When the horse is broken, the horse can channel that power into something useful and with purpose. I have all this power and talent, but I'm running and kicking everywhere because I have not been broken.

The band, Switchfoot, has a song called "Yet." In it, they say, "if it doesn't break your heart it's not enough. It's when you're breaking down with your insides coming out, that's when you find out what your heart is made of."

What breaks my heart? I have so many things, I feel like I have too much compassion sometimes. But if I can find that one thing that stands out above the rest, maybe, just maybe I can channel my talents into something useful and with purpose that can truly change a part of this world.

Maybe I will think more about this as I am doing the dishes and scrubbing the toilet. :-)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Joys of Swimming

Well, I decided to go for it this year and buy a swim diaper that was pretty pricey online because of the brand. I liked the swimsuit my little Short Stack had last year, so I went with the same kind. I bought an Iplay one piece swimsuit that has a built in reusable diaper. Unfortunately, even though my tastes have not changed, Short Stack's has changed. Ugh.

My daughter is TERRIFIED of water. It is a life or death situation with her. Last year, she had fun. I wouldn't say she was confident, but she enjoyed herself. This year we are having to re-teach her, which I expected. I did not expect the shear terror that filled her eyes when she saw other people happily jumping in the water or when she saw mommy dunk her head under and swim the breast stroke. My bad, didn't realize that was going to cause a meltdown.

Thankfully, we are improving by leaps and bounds. This past weekend, we took her to our church's weekly high school gathering at a pool, and she watched everyone else having a blast, and she decided it was time to put away her fear and go for it. I was so proud of her! She let mommy take her away from the steps and side of the pool. She even put her face in the water a couple of times. Not only that, but she wanted to jump off the side of the pool like the big kids! That was a MAJOR accomplishment. She is still leery and doesn't want to get her head wet, but the shear terror is not there anymore, and she asks to go to the pool now.

As a result of her early terror, her swimsuit is no longer an option. Every time she saw the yellow one piece death trap, she cried. Now she only wants to swim with her diaper. All of my diapers are PUL, so I don't want to use them too much because of the damage the chlorine can do to the fabric.

So, instead of buying a new swim diaper or buying disposable swim diapers, I've decided I'm going to use an old diaper cover that I hate. I have a few hook and loop diaper covers that aren't in good enough shape to resell that I don't think I will use again. After all, swim diapers don't hold in the pee, only the poo. And a diaper cover will do the same thing, right? That is my rationale.

Of course, as soon as Short Stack realizes the water is not an evil baby devouring dragon, the weather gets cool. I love the irony!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Can Rag Curls Help Kick Her Habit?



Happy Monday to you all! My day has been so blessed so far. I am having so much fun staying at home, it's scary! I thought I would share today my little project I have with my daughter and her annoying and painful habit of hair twirling. :-)



So, Short Stack, as we like to call her, doesn't suck her thumb, she doesn't use a pacifier, and she isn't really attached to any one toy. What she is attached to is her hair! Morning, noon, and night, she will twirl her hair around her thumb. She does this much more when she is tired, but she also does it when she's bored, riding in a car, shy, and especially right before she goes to bed and when she wakes up in the morning. She will be awake for a half hour and not tell me, but she will be wrapping that hair around her thumb the entire time.



Now, you can imagine what this does to her hair. I wish I had a picture of the knots that she puts into it. It drives me crazy! Some mornings I will come into her room to find hair all over her crib. I know I'm not supposed to diagnosis myself or family members, but I have to admit, I did get a fear that she was developing trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling that results in hair loss). She doesn't pull out her hair on purpose, though. What happens is she gets her thumb stuck in her hair and rips out her thumb.



I have been trying to find a solution. When she's awake, it isn't too bad, because she responds to my gentle redirection. But when I'm not around, that thumb starts working overtime! I seriously considered dreds for a split second. But, being as I have never done this before, and I love her flowing locks of mousy brown, I thought twice. I tried to braid it before bedtime, but the hair around her forehead came out before she even laid down, and that part of the head is the biggest victim of the perpetrating thumb.



So, I thought I would try rag curls. She can sleep in the rags without it bugging her too much. And with the hair tied up in the rags, it should protect the hair. Yesterday I cut an old T-shirt into strips of about 1 1/2 inches by 5 inches. Then I rolled up small portions of her hair into each strip and tied them in a knot. She looked like she belonged in Little House on the Prairie! It was cute. She was curious about them, but didn't react as much as I thought. During our bedtime story, she tried twirling, but ended up twirling the rag instead. She did pull on a rag in front a few times, and I wonder if it was because it was too close to her face.



This morning when I came into her room, she was able to get that one rag closest to her face pulled out. But I could tell she had just did it because of the amount of the curl in her hair, and it was not in a knot. It worked for the first night! And her hair is CUTE. I tried to get a pic of it right out of the rags on my phone, so these pics might not be the best. This was before I even combed the curls out with my fingers. Hopefully it will work for a while until that thumb is put into his place!! Ha ha!



Friday, June 25, 2010

No Worries, It's Friday!

Ahh, Friday. A day filled with hope and promise. And cleaning. And laundry. And cooking. I love it. Really, I do...for now. Being a stay at home mom for a week has me going gang-buster on the house and cranking up the stereo with some Flyleaf. My daughter is loving it too, even "helping" me dust and dancing in the living room giggling up a storm. I know this energy for housework will probably dwindle in the next coming weeks, so I figured I'd take advantage of it and give the home some much needed TLC.

I absolutely love staying at home. I have complete control over what my daughter eats for snacks and lunch and when she naps. When she has a poopy diaper, I can clean it off right away instead of it sitting in a wet bag all day waiting for me to empty it after work. My lovely daughter is such a moody and anxious child by nature, and now she is on a more stable routine to give her the security she needs to be a happier child. I have taken some stress off of my husband by doing the laundry (it used to be his job), taking care of the trash and the recycling; but most of all, when he comes home from his "oh-what-fun, 8-5, no raise in 5 years" job, he isn't coming home to a screaming child and a cantankerous wife.

The world says I should probably worry about money. Indeed, we may be heading for some financial difficulties. My job gave us quite a boost in our income. And did I mention dear hubby hasn't had a raise in 5 years? So to say we need to cut some corners is an understatement. I should probably worry about this. But how can one worry when one is so happy? This is not the kind of happy that comes from the world. This is the joy that can only come from knowing that your life is in God's hands. This is His plan for me right now. I'm sure of it. So, why should I worry about money? It is an earthly possession. My mind is not on this earth, but what comes next. To God be the glory for the things that He has done, and will do!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cloth isn't all fun and games!

As much as I love to talk about cloth diapers and encourage others to try them for at least 2 weeks, I have a gripe. Well, the gripe might not be about the diapers specifically. Just me complaining.

I bought mostly one-size diapers when I started my stash. In fact, all of the diapers I am using right now are one-size. It seemed like less of a hassle in the long run and cheaper. My daughter was fitting perfectly in the second size of the diapers (there are 3 sizes in all). Now that she is older and close to potty training (I hope), she graduated to the largest size! She's getting big!

As I began the large size on my diapers, I noticed that she is way too skinny for that size, but she is too tall for the medium size. Grr! There is no way I am buying more diapers (although that would be really fun) to fit her for just a few more months. So we will deal with droopy drawers and "wings" at the waist.

My other gripe is that I think I need to change my detergent, and I just recently stockpiled on the detergent I was using. That's right, I have like 8 more bottles in my basement. Ah, the irony. I think I need to change the detergent because my diapers seem to be stinkier in the diaper pail than they used to be. My new ones are great, no problems. But the older ones need a little freshening up. I don't need to strip them, as I am having no repelling issues. All well, at least I can use the detergent for my regular laundry, and at least the smell isn't as bad as a diaper genie. I cannot stand the smell of those things. Just my personal opinion, of course!

In the mean time, I will enjoy my skinny minny, and hope the bottles in my basement do not get together and multiply. :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Flip Diaper

So, I bought a Flip Diaper to try out a while back, and I'm just now getting around to talking about it. The Flip One-Size Diaper System is a diaper that is composed of an insert and a diaper cover. Basically, you place the insert in the cover and that's it. No pins or other types of fasteners are needed because the cover holds the insert into place with a little pocket, or flap, on the front and back. You can choose between a microfiber insert and an organic cotton insert. The cover and the insert are one size, so it grows with your baby.

The cover is very nice. It has contoured legs so it fits snugly to your baby. It has a double row of snaps for closure, so no hook and loop (Velcro) is there to snag your other diapers in the wash. I have not only used this cover with the flip insert, but with other prefolds and WAHM inserts as well. I haven't had a leak yet, and I've used it overnight too. The only problems I have found with the cover is that I only have one! The washing instructions say to line dry the cover, so that might be important to note.

Although I haven't had a problem with the stay dry microfiber inserts from Cottonbabies, I chose the organic cotton insert because I have less stink issues with the cotton than I do the microfiber. It's just my preference. The cotton insert is a prefold diaper that has some serious absorbency power to it. It could beat any diaper I have at the moment in a leak test. My only complaint (and it really isn't a big deal) is that the insert can be a bit bulky. It is not as bulky as a fitted that has the same amount of leak protection, though. I did have a bit of trouble at first getting the diaper to fold under the flap in the cover that holds it in. I mostly had trouble because I wasn't used to the thicker insert. As for washing, no problems. It dries as quick as a pocket diaper insert and quicker than many all-in-ones.

Overall, I would highly recommend this diaper to mommies and daddies. It is easy to use, has superior leak protection, and it is cheaper than my organic all-in-ones. I'm happy with it, and I think others will be too!

~Christie

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'M BACK!!

Well, well, that was quite a hiatus, wasn't it? Did I spell hiatus correctly? The spell checker says I did. Hmm...

I am officially not working...kind of. I have a conference next week: no big deal. I signed up to sub in the school district I work for; I only need to sub 3 days a week to keep on payroll. Again, not a big deal. I am so ecstatic to be slowing my life down. It is liberating, to say the least. I truly feel for those who are unable to do what they want to do in life. For me, I wasn't doing what I wanted to do because I was scared. Now, I have given everything to God. My finances included. I know He will provide. I still fear the unknown, but I will not let it rule my life, because I am so unhappy when it does.

I am starting a new phase in my life. This is the first time in about 15 years I have not worked. But this isn't the only thing new. As some already know, I have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is an allergy to wheat gluten (fyi, Celiac is not in the spell checker). I have been a huge carb girl since forever, so this was a shocker. But the transition hasn't been too terrible so far. I've always liked trying and cooking new things, and I never really bought much processed food anyway (for those who don't know, gluten can hide in a lot of processed foods). The biggest difficulty I have found is getting my husband and daughter on board and not contaminating myself with their evil gluten habits. :-)

So, this is my new project. To cook not only for me, but finding recipes that everyone will eat. I would love, love, love to be able to make some bread that my daughter will eat. But being a toddler and a very picky eater, that may take quite some time! So, sorry if all of you cloth diaper lovers get on my blog and see all these gluten free posts. I've become a little obsessed, as any newly diagnosed Celiac should!

I will try not to take up all my time writing about gluten free topics and get some good cloth info in here too. Which reminds me, I have a review to write about the Flip diaper! I will try to get that out tomorrow.

By the way, I just ate my lunch. Tilapia tacos with cucumbers, and yogurt (Tilapia is also not in spell checker). It was actually not that bad! Supper tonight is steak kabobs on rice. Mmm!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking a Break

Hey everyone! I just wanted y'all to know that I am going to be taking a month off of blogging. Obviously, I'm not keeping up with it because of all that is going on here, so I figured I would just post this to let you know that I am still planning on blogging on a more frequent and consistent basis, but it will have to be either after school is out completely, or after things settle down a bit in school (if it ever does).

With this being said, I can now officially share my good news! My wonderful husband has agreed with me to try a year off of working and see what happens financially. I AM NOT GOING BACK TO WORK! WOO HOO!!!!! I cannot tell you how blessed I feel right now. I am amazed at how wonderful God is, and He truly does answer prayers. I fully believe this is God's will for me right now. I will probably go back to work sooner or later, but in what career, the sky is the limit!

Since we are losing a major chunk of our income, I do need to add more piano students...a lot more. Either that, or start selling soaps. Or donating plasma. But I am confident that God will provide.

I will still be answering any cloth diaper questions you may have, so feel free to contact me anytime. So long for now, and I will be back this summer!

~Christie

Friday, April 30, 2010

What do I write about today?

It's interesting how my weeks work. When I'm busy, I can't think of a thing to write about. When I have some time on my hands, I'm full of ideas. As you can see, I'm super busy. Here is what is going on in my life right now.

AP. Those two letters make me cringe right about now. Being the AP Coordinator for a large high school should mean an automatic free trip to the Bahamas. I try not to complain about work, so I won't talk too much about it, but I am super excited to be DONE.

My health. A few years ago, I got a biopsy done, and they found Celiac disease, which is the wheat gluten allergy. Yay. But then they did blood tests and found nothing. Cool. Over a year ago, they found that my liver enzymes were elevated, and they still are. Huh? Turns out, Celiac can cause that. Uh oh. Now, my gastroenterologist has decided he wants to put me on the dreaded diet. Sigh. I don't have the normal symptoms, but I am always sooo tired, and I was sicker than sick all winter with what seemed every contagious disease known to man. I currently have a severe form of GERD (Reflux), and I'm lactose intolerant, and now I need to go on this even stricter diet?? You've got to be kidding me. My insurance better pay for a dietician.

So yeah, that's about what is going on with me. Well, except for one great big awesome thing that I can't talk about yet but soon (no, I'm not pregnant). :-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

What a great day...

No sarcasm in this title. I truly feel blessed to be here today. I read a line in a book this morning that I want to share: "If you are still alive on this planet, it's because He has something for you to do." It seems surreal that I have such an important purpose, but I love to feel needed.

I am loving every minute of the day today. My little short-stack slept in today, which was much needed after spending the week in daycare and not taking her naps. Then after a big breakfast, she let me vacuum, dust, clean the toilets, and get 2 loads of laundry done. All before 10:30! She even played while I was able to get a tiny workout in.

It is cloudy and rainy outside, but I love it. We need the rain, as it has been a pretty dry April. We can't go out and play today, but it's worth it. And it keeps me in the house to get caught up on my cooking. I'm making chicken broth with the leftover bones of the past 2 nights of dinner. I'm making my famous family loved meatloaf tonight, so I know that eating will not be a fight, as it often is with my EXTRA PICKY eater. Then after she goes to bed, it's movie night with the best husband in the world!

So, I hope I have done something today that fits with my purpose in life. Being able to just be at home with my precious family, well, I think it does.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guest Post...Sort Of

My uncle sent me something he received from a pastor at his church, and I just have to share it. It pretty much sums up everything that I believe in regarding the environment and my faith, and I'm excited to see my thoughts put into words. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

STEWARDSHIP AND EARTH WEEK 2010: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

There is a "great gulf fixed" between Christians over the extent to which we should be concerned about earth and the environment. As always, what should determine our approach to this controversial matter is not OUR OPINIONS, but rather, GOD'S WORD. If the "earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof" (Psalm 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26), why should Christians have a blatant disregard for its preservation? Colossians 1:16 says:

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" ...KJV

If all things were created BY HIM and FOR HIM, shouldn't Christians be LEADING the way in our concern for HIS CREATION? You don't have to like Al Gore or believe his book An Inconvenient Truth, or believe that human beings are the ultimate cause of global warming. But as a Christian you should recognize God has entrusted the care of the earth to us (Gen 1:26), that we have not been doing a good job at it, and of whom much is given, much will be required. God has given us this task of stewarding His creation, and we need to do a better job of it.

In 1994, Chuck Colson wrote in his book The Body:

We should be contending for truth in every area of life. Not for power or because we are taken with some trendy cause, but humbly to bring glory to God. For this reason, Christians should be the most ardent ecologists. Not because we would rather save spotted owls than cut down trees whose bark provides lifesaving medicine, but because we are mandated to keep the Garden, to ensure that the beauty and grandeur God has reflected in nature is not despoiled. We should care for animals. Not because whales are our brothers, but because animals are part of God's kingdom over which we are to exercise dominion.

While the animal rights movement has gone to extremes, the fact is that God created us to be stewards of animals. He holds us accountable for how we treat them. "The godly care for their animals...." (Proverbs 12:10, NLT). We are caretakers for the animals, but they belong to God, not us: "For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine" (Psalm 50:10-11, NLT).

When it comes to concern for the environment, I have no interest in following conservatives or liberals. I am called to be a follower of Christ, no matter who that aligns me with on any given issue. I care about defending the unborn and the sanctity of marriage and the value of business, so some would consider me a conservative. I care about the poor and racial equality and the environment and humane treatment of animals, so some might label me a liberal.

I'm with Rick Warren who said, "I'm not left-wing or right-wing; I'm for the WHOLE BIRD!" Who cares about labels? Let's seek to follow the whole counsel of God and refuse to conform to the agenda of others. Just remember, on this Earth Day (April 22), your "re-cycling" can be an act of worship...not of the CREATION, but of the CREATOR!

Blessings,

Derwin Ward
Associate Pastor
Hamilton Christian Center
Hamilton, OH

Passing on the Sunshine!!

For those of you that may remember, my blog award happened quite awhile ago! But, being a type B personality and putting things off (but not procrastinating, mind you, I don't put things off because I don't like to do it, but because I'm a little flaky at times), I'm just now getting to spreading the sunshine!



I totally did not expect to hear from Turning the Clock Back that I received an award. That's awesome! It's my first award, and I love it! Now, it is my job to pass along this award to 12 of my favorite bloggers. Keep reading, there are rules to follow if you accept this award...
Put the logo on your blog or within your post,Pass the award onto 12 bloggers,Link the nominees within your post,Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
See, easy, right? So, in no particular order I will include 12 of my favorite blogs below. Check them out and see for yourself why I think they deserve this beautiful award!


~Christie~

Friday, April 16, 2010

Swim Diapers!

It is almost time to go swimming!!! Woo Hoo! So, I thought I would post on the subject of swim diapers.


What are swim diapers?

Swim diapers are diapers for babies and toddlers that don't swell up like regular diapers. They are meant to trap feces and keep bowel movements from entering the water. They can be either reusable or disposable.


Do swim diapers work?

The jury is still out on this one. According to the CDC, swim diapers may hold in feces, but some contamination may still occur. There just isn't enough research out there to know how effective these diapers are. The CDC focuses primarily on diarrhea and not to go swimming when your child is ill. (insert Duh! statement here).


Why use swim diapers?

It seems that most of the websites out there selling swim diapers report that 27 states now mandate the use of swim diapers in public pools. However, I could not find a list of those 27 states. The only thing I found was a list of states and their pool regulations on the CDC website. With all this being said, a lot of private pools/clubs/spas require the use of swim diapers. Despite what the CDC says, many pools and spas are sold on the swim diaper idea.


Reusable or disposable?

Whether or not you use cloth diapers on a regular basis, using a reusable swim diaper is a great economic choice. Disposables are cray expensive, and if you are a frequent pool user, this can definitely add up. A reusable swim diaper has a waterproof layer on the outside and an absorbent layer on the inside. You can buy one swim diaper and use it for the entire season for anywhere between $4.99-$13.99. It's not hard to take care of, either. You wash and line dry just like you would the swimsuit anyway.


Additional info and websites

Many manufacturers of reusable diapers sell entire swimsuits with the swim diaper sewn right inside. I just bought my daughter an adorable tanksuit from iPlay. I used this brand last year, and the fabric was nice and snug fitting all year long and really held up. That and the designs are fun. They are kind of pricey, but I just couldn't help myself. :-) Here is a picture of her last year in her swim diaper tanksuit.

Here are some websites where you can find reusable swim diapers:






And, please, for the love of all that is sacred, don't let your baby swim with diarrhea! :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Links We All Like For Cloth

I have so many websites that I have used to teach myself about cloth diapers, wipes, and the whole system, but I know that there are so many others out there! So, I thought I would start a list going, but I need your help. If you like a website that you rely on for how to's, purchasing, or anything else cloth diaper related, post a link in the comment section of this post, and I will add it to the list that you can see on the side bar. Here are a few to get us started that I like. If you have your own website or blog for cloth diaper information, feel free to post it as well!

http://www.diaperswappers.com/
http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/
http://www.nickisdiapers.com/
http://www.diaperpin.com/
http://www.zany-zebra.com/
http://www.kellyscloset.com/
http://www.cottonbabies.com/
http://www.diaperjungle.com/

Monday, April 12, 2010

GUEST POST!!!

A few weeks ago, I got the privilege to post on Florida Frugal's blog to talk about the economical benefits of using cloth diapers. Now, I am delighted to have her on my blog to talk about organ donation. Every time I read this article, I bawl like a baby. If you don't read anything else today, READ THIS!!! Hopefully it will inspire you to truly think about the IMPORTANCE of organ donation. This post is also on her daughter's COTA blog as well at http://cotaforsavannaha.com/node/989. Savannah is absolutely beautiful, and you will fall in love with those dark brown eyes; so check out her page if you can!

"April is Organ Donation Awareness Month....3 years ago I would have read this and thought. I am an organ donor. I have it on my driver's license...and never would I have had a second thought about it. I certainly do not think I would have brought up the conversation with my hubby....not a serious one. The most serious conversation about death that we had up until 3 years ago was my threat to haunt him because he said he would freeze my body and make sure I had no socks on....my feet are always cold....that is just wrong!
I think I was a pretty typical organ donor...I knew it was the right thing but never really spoke about it. Then on December 5, 2006 the most precious little girl was born. Her name was Savannah Isabella. I carried her in my body for so long that I remember telling Robert that I just wanted to keep her in there...I could protect her in there...I did not want her to come out of me and into the world where harm could come to her....little did I know the journey she would be facing. Little did I know how much she would change the way I look at the Gift of Organ Donation.
She was here...she was perfect.



I remember the day we went home from the hospital with our baby girl...she had all 5 fingers and all 5 toes...what more could I ask for?
I always new I was lucky. I found a man to love and who loves me unconditionally. I have woken up on so many days and told him that I was just so surprised that it was possible to love him anymore then I already do and yet my love continues to grow...how can I love someone with all of my heart and yet have it grow? I had no idea that the love one has for a child can be so real...so intense...so deep. It is so different then anything I have ever felt before...I loved my baby more then I can ever explain in words...but if you are a mother, a father, then I do not need to explain it.
At 4 months of age I took my daughter to see a man that will always be a hero to us. This man was a pediatric GI...a fancy title for such a caring man. His name was Dr. Leon Reinstein. He was the man who looked at us in the eyes and told us our baby was sick...very sick. "It can be a long list of things"...as he proceeded with his explanation, Robert chimes in and asks, "What is the worst case scenario?"...Dr. Reinstein says, "she could have Biliary Atresia". The rollercoaster began...this same day we were off to get labs drawn and to try to soak in the information we were given...our 4 month old baby could be dying. We got in the car and drove and at some point between the tears we decided to take her to the beach for the first time...this day would not be all about the tears. Here is my Warrior Princess with her Super Papi on this April day with the first of what is to be many bandaids on her little arm from lab draws.

We soon learned that our baby needed a liver biopsy to confirm that she had Biliary Atresia...the first of many hospital visits. On this day we walked in expecting a needle biopsy (scary words for a new mami) and found out her organs had too much fluid around them and this would not be an option. Dr. Reinstein worked his magic and had a surgeon perform the biopsy within hours.
When the surgeon came out he looked at Robert and myself and said, "my heart skipped a beat when I felt your daughters liver" and placed the photos of her liver on the table. She will need a liver transplant to live. At this moment my heart stopped. I could no longer feel my heart beating.

Savannah grew an infection after the biopsy. She had to go back into the hospital...my tiny, perfect little girl had to fight for her life. We sat in a room with 4 other babies and a curtain seperating us...the machines beeping all day long. We had all kinds of doctors coming to visit but the memory we have is of a man with a big smile shaking our legs with a soft whisper in the early hours. It was Dr. Reinstein, he always told us the truth no matter how hard it was to hear but it would tell you with such a caring and comforting way that it gave you hope...hope that she had good people surrounding her and good people wanting to save her.
After 2 weeks in the hospital sleeping in a chair we learned that we had to leave this hospital and find another...you see....this hospital did not do liver transplants...this hospital did not do any transplants. There are special hospitals that specialize in transplants and we had to find one..and a pediatric hospital at that. We had not slept. We have barely eaten. We can barely breathe. Now we have to find a hospital to transplant our child. I got an email from my cousin, Janid. She wanted to know if we had considered The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)...I am forever grateful to her for sending this email. We chose CHOP.
We flew to Philadelphia with Savannah. I remember security putting me in a machine that blows air, they tested all of our formula. They wanted to know why my baby had an IV sticking out of her arm. I remember angry people behind me making statements that you should learn how to speak English if you are going to travel in the U.S. ... they could not see that just a few months prior I was in a doctorate program. I was living my dream of being a Mami. I could not speak English..they were right...I could not speak. I held my baby and just followed the security officers and did what was instructed because I was holding my dying baby. I will never forget those words of hate and anger because I know those words that were spoken were forgotten already by those who spoke them. It reminds me how much we need to care for one another and not be so ready to judge....I know in my heart if they knew...if they only knew...

It was official....our daughter was taken to CHOP and after all types of testing she was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. She was placed on the waitlist for a liver...she had a PELD score. Then it hit me...all of this medical terminology that is thrown around means...she is losing her fight. PELD stands for Pediatric End Stage Liver Disease...how can you be at your endstage of life when you are 4 months old?
Robert and I argued over who was going to give up their liver to save Savvy. He told me he would not allow me for I was still healing from my C-Section...I told him I couldn't let him because I could not live if anything happened to them on the surgery tables. The choice was taken away from us for neither of us was a match.
The rollercoaster of emotions we went through while waiting to learn if Savannah had a match is too intense to type up right now. I have documented our journey in this blog. I had a very sick little girl at home...there was not a lot that the doctors could do...she needed a transplant. I stayed home with her trying to keep her away from germs. We did our best to keep life happy between vomitting, diuretics that would bathe her in urine, feces stories that I am trying desperately to forget, many hours of tears and medicines...we celebrated...this is a picture of her 6 month birthday. We did not know if this would be the only birthday she was to have.

We had many hospital visits. We had little sleep. We spent countless hours on the internet trying to learn ways to help our child. We spent countless hours trying to fundraise for our COTA fund, trying to fight the insurance companies, trying to survive.
After Savannah's last hospitalization in St. Petersburg we made the choice to seperate our family. I decided to move to the Ronald McDonald House in New Jersey which is 20 minutes from CHOP. We feared receiving "The Call" and the clock ticking...not being able to get our precious child to Philadelphia in time.
So much happend during these 8 months. I prayed...I begged GOD to take my last breath as to give it to Savannah. I held my child and tried to will that liver disease into my body...I wanted to fight this for her...but this was not to be.

On December 29, 2007 we received "The Call". Robert was due to leave back home as he was staying with us at the Ronald McDonald House for the holidays. We had driven to Maryland to visit family and friends. We were invited to stay the night and I wanted to for I was starting to lose hope that we would ever get "The Call". I knew that so many simply die on the waitlist...they do not get the chance to fight. Robert insisted we head back to be closer to the hospital...noting every hospital on the GPS down to Philly in case we got the call...he was ready to race to the nearest ER and have her flewn to CHOP.
We arrived at the Ronald McDonald House and got "The Call". It was time to get Savannah to the hospital. There was an immediate joy and then simultaneous tears. I knew my baby was getting a chance...only because another had lost their fight.
We got in the car and drove...Robert actually drove down the wrong side of the exit ramp we were so overwhelmed...luckily it was 2 am with no one on the road and he corrected it quickly.

I wrapped her prayer blanket around her and held my girl. I did not know if she would live through the surgery. How would I be able to hand her off...but if I didn't then she would not live much longer.
On December 29, 2007 the transplant surgeon came out and told us that the transplant was a success. She then said, "This is not a cure. She will have a rollercoaster ride in her life"...and I remember being so grateful and saying, "Thank you for letting us get on the rollercoaster"...Thank You!

On December 29, 2007...our donor angel's family said, YES. YES to saving the life of a stranger. YES to allowing my daughter to live. YES to the Gift of Organ Donation. On this day, my heart began to beat again."

Thank you, Ana, from the bottom of my heart for posting this. Not only for organ donation in general, but to remind us all that unless we are without sin, we have no place to judge others.

~Christie

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'm Back!

Not that anyone was missing me, but I am FINALLY back to blogging! I did not realize what a toll my job would have on me in the spring time. Let me explain...

I work part-time as a high school guidance counselor in a brand new school. New schools = chaos. I never dreamed there would be this much chaos when I accepted the position this past August.

I don't want to work. Everyone knows it, so I finally decided to say it out loud. I love counseling, and I don't want to end my career completely forever. And the school I work at is awesome, mostly because of the people there. But right now, I don't want to work. I want to stay home and have more babies. Stupid economy. Stupid job my husband doesn't like and doesn't get paid enough to do. Blah.

So, because I am only a part time employee, I have no rights to keep my job. My job is going full-time, so I don't want it anyway. That's the last thing I want is to work full-time. But, I get to apply for it if no one else who works full-time in the district wants it. I "get" to apply for all the guidance counselor positions open in the district. So, instead of staying at home, I get to update my resume and start all over in the process of finding a new part-time job, keeping my old one and going full-time, or finding a new full-time job (there aren't a lot of part-time options out there).

I should feel privileged. I should feel grateful that I am employable. But, for some reason, I just can't seem to shake my unquenchable thirst to raise my babies full-time and show them everything I possibly can while I am on this Earth. I have so many reasons for staying at home. But only one reason to stay at work. Money. I hate that word. I could go without it. I would live in a van down by the river if I had to (a little exaggeration, I know, but I can't resist a Chris Farley quote). But I love my family more than anything, and I know that it would seriously stress out my husband. I don't want to do that to him.

All this worrying is giving me nothing but a stomachache. What I am really missing is patience. Such an evil little word, isn't it? My head tells me that God has taken care of me in the past, so He will do the same for my future. My heart tells me, "I have to know NOW what is going to happen next year!!!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Goodbye My Beautiful Piano

It's a sad sad day in my house. I have sold my old family heirloom piano. I hated doing it. But it was time. It is a 1918 upright player piano. Absolutely beautiful mahogany wood. My great-grandfather rebuilt it in the 1960's. And it still plays the rolls (which I have 2 boxes of that are going with it). If I had $10,000, I would keep it in a heartbeat and redo the entire thing. But, alas, I do not have that kind of money lining my mattress. I teach piano, so I really need one that can be tuned without having to replace the strings. And I can't just keep a piano lying around for looks, as I don't have my very own music room. If I had a mansion that's the first thing I would have, by the way.


So, anyway, because I teach piano lessons, and my piano is no longer tunable without serious work, I am buying a newer piano. Oh, how I am going to miss my massive beast of a piano. Every other piano will cower in fear to this thing. So, here's my goodbye.




MY (CHEESY) PIANO FAREWELL
As a young child I was fascinated by you,
sitting in my grandparent's basement on Sundays.
Each roll, each song, each note
would always carry me away.
You taught me beauty, grace, and commitment
as I learned God's gift of music.
You saw me laugh, you saw me cry,
you saw me healthy and then sick.
There were times in my life
that only you were there for me.
Because of this, I cherish you,
and I will always be
forever grateful, forever humbled
of your ability to bring joy
to even the saddest of hearts,
or the young girl or the young boy.

Ok, that's out of my system. Now, on to buying a new piano to make new memories. I only pray my children can find as much joy out of the ivories as I have!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Naked Time

No, not me. Your baby. Have you ever given your baby naked time? A time on a regular basis that you leave a diaper (disposable or cloth) off of your baby? Before you think I'm crazy, hear me out.

A couple of diaper rash & cream facts:
  1. The best medicine for diaper rash is air. Letting your baby's bum air out for a few minutes each day is more healing than any diaper rash cream.
  2. Commercial diaper rash cream and cloth diapers are not friends. Diaper rash cream will clog the pores of your cloth before you can say, "It's leaking!!" I recommend stripping your baby so you don't have to strip your diapers.
  3. Naked time is free. Diaper rash cream is not.
  4. Many cloth diaper retailers sell diaper rash cream that is safe for cloth diapers. I originally bought Northern Essence Tea Tree/Lavender Free All Natural Diaper Rash Salve when Alaina was first born, and I am maybe half way through it. She is 17 months old. I love this stuff too, and it smells soo good. By the way, they also make a cream for yeast infections, but I have yet to need it.

So how do I do naked time? Certainly not right after Alaina drinks! I found that right after bath and right before bedtime was good for Alaina because she didn't have to pee around that time. This time was well after her last feeding, so fluids weren't a big problem. And I would put her on a blanket with prefolds just in case she surprised us. When she became mobile, it got to be a bit trickier, and I will admit, I have had to clean up a couple of "piddles." I know that if she had a lot to drink for dinner, I don't do naked time.

Alaina LOVES naked time. It is absolutely hilarious! She babbles and runs around giggling. Love it!

By the way, I do use creams that are not safe for cloth every once in a while. She has had a couple of bad reactions to acidic foods, and I have used cortisone cream or Aquaphor. I put a liner in between her and her diaper to protect the diaper. The liner is usually a cut-up old receiving blanket.

I will admit, I am nervous if I have a boy, but I still plan to have naked time. I just need to prepare myself now for more peemergencies. :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday's Munchies...Book Review

I was thinking about all the recipes I normally use for my daughter, and I realized that the majority of my inspiration comes from one book. So, I thought I would give the author props and do a book review! I do not know or have any affiliation with her, and this is only coming from my opinion.

When my daughter was born, I received a tip from some mamas at diaperswappers.com regarding making your own baby food. They said to read the book, Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. So, I checked it out, and WHOA! It blew me away.

This book is basically everything you wanted to know that your grandmother did as a young mom and never got around to telling you. It is broken into 5 sections: Feeding Your Super Baby, Preparation and Storage of Super Baby Food, Toddler Recipes, Fun Stuff, and Reference and Appendices.

The first section goes over facts and info about feeding your baby month by month, what and when and how to introduce solids, and introduces the Super Baby Food diet, a diet based on only whole and natural foods. The second section discusses all the food groups as well as how to prepare all of these foods in bulk and store them to make it very easy to manage. Ruth explains many freezing methods of single servings of food, including the infamous ice cube tray method (freezing pureed foods in ice cube trays, then popping them out and storing them in a freezer container). She also stresses the importance of whole grains and making what she calls "super porridge," which, I will admit, as much as I tried to make it and get my baby to eat it, I just couldn't get it thin and smooth enough for her not to gag (but she did have a lot of gagging problems in the first year of life). The third section consists not only of toddler recipes, but of recipes my husband will eat as well! Only if he doesn't know what is in them, of course. :-) The fourth section describes many different arts and crafts and frugal projects to do with your toddler with materials right at home. There are some pretty creative ideas in there that I would have never thought to make! The last section is a great list of references that I keep coming back to time and time again. Ruth includes a complete list of fruits and veggies, how to tell when they are fresh, the best way to prepare them, etc...This section also includes a baby nutrient table and measurement equivalents, green cleaning products, etc...

If you haven't already bought this book, and you are looking for good reference material to have handy at home, buy this book. Granted, there were some things in the book that failed for me, and there are some ideas that I just can't see myself doing (like making my own sticker glue for stickers). But the benefits of this book FAR exceed expectations.

Not only that, but there is now a Super Baby Food website. Check it out if you are interested!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Buy $10 Get An AIO FREE!!

My good friend Jess just facebooked me with an awesome deal at Kelly's Closet. Parenting Magazine has 2 bumGenius coupons, and the folks at Kelly's Closet are making them available online.

The first coupon is buy $10 worth of Flip, bumGenius, or Econobum, and get a free All In One BumGenius diaper! Use promo code: BGMAGAIO. I've been curious about the hybrid diapers, so I just bought a Flip diaper to try out.

The second coupon is take 10% off a bumGenius 3.0 one size pocket diaper 24 pk promo pak. Use promo code: BGMAGTEN. This is a great deal for those who are just starting their stash and know that they love bumGenius pocket diapers! If you aren't sure which diaper you want, be careful about buying a 24 pack of anything, though.

Also at Kelly's Closet, for 3 days only, take $20 off Smartipants Seconds 10pk at our Bulk Cloth Diaper Store! Use discount code 20SMART ! (You end up getting 10 diapers,10 inserts for $79 PLUS free shipping!!! No limit on how many you can order) However, the offer expires on 3/21 at midnight or while supplies last..

On top of all this, Kelly's Closet also lets you earn "Diaper Dollars Rewards" points for every purchase that get you free merchandise (including diapers). Sweet!

By the way, for those who are wondering about hybrid diapers, these are diapers that have an insert that just lays in a cover. The insert can be cloth or disposable. I haven't tried one, but like I mentioned, I have one on the way, so I will let you know how I like it!

Happy shopping!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Re-usable Homeade Paper Towels

Are you tired of grabbing for a paper towel, using it, then throwing it away? Are you still using paper towels because you don't know what else to use? Me too!

I asked for a roll of re-usable paper towels from Etsy for Christmas, and my husband thought I was crazy. He was like, "we are not getting rid of paper towels in this house!" Needless to say I did not get them for Christmas. Now that I think about it, what a horrible gift to ask for! Cleaning supplies?!?! Really? That's like asking for some toilet bowl cleaner for Valentine's Day! What is wrong with me? All well, if you can't laugh at yourself, then you don't know what your missing. :-)

Either way, I decided that I would start searching for the perfect cloth that mimics paper towels. I tried old boxer shorts, ribbed tank tops, T-shirts, dish cloths, cloth wipes, socks, basically anything cotton. They were do-able, especially for things like cleaning the bathtub. But mirrors and other surfaces that I wanted to look really nice, well, paper towels were what I kept coming back to.

Then I tried my prefold cloth diapers. These are the kind of diapers that you can find really cheap at any store that come in packs. Mine are Birdseye cloth. Bingo! Found my re-usable paper towel. These things are WONDERFUL for cleaning up anything. I used one for cleaning my mirror and my sink faucet in the bathroom, and I've never seen the faucet shinier. They are way more absorbent than paper towels, so no more having to use more than one. I actually prefer them in a stack in the kitchen more than in a stack at the diaper changing station.

I HIGHLY recommend buying a pack of Birdseye cloth diapers for this. You should probably prep them, however, by washing them on very hot a few times to make sure they reach maximum absorbency, and to make sure they are lent free. And think of all the money you can save!!

I may try to slowly wean my hubby from using paper towels. I'm thinking a good place to start is when he is cleaning the inside of the car. Who knows? Maybe I will get REALLY crazy for cloth and put snaps on them to snap together in a roll on a paper towel roll. Or maybe not...sounds like a lot of work. :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is It Thursday Night Already?

I apologize to my small group of readers! Where has this week gone? It's been crazy here. First, my parents, who currently live across the country are in the process of buying a house not too far from here, so we are very excited. That also means my house has been a revolving door ever since with them staying here for a while and visitors and pets, etc...

I love visitors. I have always had this fantasy of inviting everyone over, feeding them a huge meal, having a huge party. It happens sometimes, but honestly, living in a place where you don't know too many people makes it a little more difficult. I also have a policy that if I know you well enough to invite you over more than once or twice, then you are not to ring the doorbell. It is way too formal! I am totally fine with people just walking in (if they are that type of friend, of course).

So, anyway, that's been my week. And I've been up to my eyeballs in AP exam ordering and handling crises at work (is that how you spell the plural of crisis?). I just hope I am helping someone. I worry sometimes that I am so swamped at work that I can't put my all in just one thing, and I am spread out too thin. If there is any school staff person that doesn't feel like this, I would be amazed. I just try to re-focus myself every hour or so on crazy days, and I make myself take a lunch break (sometimes that is only 10-15 minutes) and bathroom breaks.

My post is starting to ramble, so I think I'll call it a day. I apologize for waiting so long to post! I'm not going to gain anymore followers this way! Come on summer time!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A No-So-Typical Saturday.

Saturdays are my favorite day, so why did this one have to be oh-so crummy? It started at the beginning of this week. My daughter started getting a fever, then a nasty cough. She wasn't too bad though until Friday. She stopped eating, playing, and then sleeping. She is a great sleeper, too, so I admit, I'm a bit spoiled. But she woke up about a half hour after I went to bed, then every half hour after that until she got to the point that she wouldn't even let me put her down. Every rattling, wheezing cough made her cry, and she was burning up. Finally, after the 2nd dose of Tylenol kicked in, she slept for about 4 hours. Thankfully, her pediatrician's office is open in the mornings on Saturdays, so needless to say, we made a visit.

The good news from the doctor is that our daughter doesn't seem to be struggling to breathe, although he was listening very carefully to the rattle in her chest. A chest x-ray may be in order on Monday. She does have an ear infection, which is actually the first one she's ever had, so I count my blessings. I really don't know how you poor mamas do it who have babies with chronic ear infections. Do you get ANY sleep??

So after I got home from the pharmacy, I tried to take a quick cat nap before heading out again in the cold rain for a hair appointment that I had to reschedule because of our impromptu doctor's appointment. I realized as I tried to nap that I am a hormonal mess. For some reason not known to any woman on this earth, my body decided to combine the PMS with the MS. I couldn't stop eating cream cheese, and I had a strong urge to scratch the eyes out of anyone who crossed my path.

Already tired and grouchy, I headed out to my hair appointment. I refuse to pay salon prices, so I go to the local cosmetology school. I spent 3 hours in a chair with sweat rolling down my back because it was insufferably hot, and, after every little slice of the scissors, the hair stylist had to get a teacher to check (which is really a good thing so that they don't do something horrible, but today it was annoying, thank you hormones). And I hate my hair cut. Hate might not be the right word. Disdain sounds better. The hair stylist actually showed me a picture of her idea of what she wanted my hair to look like, and I was all for it and excited. The problem was the picture and the do did not match whatsoever. I've always looked younger than my age, and now, I look like my age...not good. Utter disdain.

What's worse is the reaction I received from my husband when I got home. I could immediately tell he didn't like my hair. He hasn't said anything about it since I got home. I'm not even going to ask what he thinks, because I know no matter what flattering comment he would make, I would take it the wrong way.

I now realize that I should never get my hair done when I am hormonal. I am in a much worse mood, and my last hope of feeling more than just a 30-something-year-old mom is gone. Why, oh why do hormones have to exist at such extreme levels? By the way, I'm writing this as I'm eating a bowl of cookies and cream frozen yogurt with a massive amount of Oreos blanketing the top. And I will probably have dessert afterwards. Honestly, food is the only relationship I want to be involved in at this moment. Give me a hotel room by myself with a bag of chips, as many Girl Scout cookies as I can muster, and a bucket of fried chicken PLEASE! And this coming from one who prides herself on making homemade organic goods. I am definitely not myself.

I was hoping that writing this and venting would help me feel better. But honestly, I'm just more annoyed. I try to be optimistic in any given situation, so the good news is that I don't think I've given into my emotions and done or said anything today that would hurt another. So I think I'm going to call it a day and find my pillow before I do anything regrettable. Tomorrow is another day, and I thank God that He has given me one more day to try again.