Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First, do no harm

First, do no harm is part of the hypocratic oath that all physicians must take. Personally, I think it would be better as part of the mothers oath that all mothers should take. Isn't it amazing that you have to do more paperwork to adopt a pet than to birth a baby? But, that's a post for another day.

Anyway, my goal is to do no harm to my children. I want to help them thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually. Anytime that I feel like I have harmed my child in any way, I feel terrible. Usually, it's a psycological harm I worry about. Was I too harsh with them, did I raise my voice needlessly, was my frustration taken out on them?  But, I try very, very hard to do all I can to keep their minds, bodies, and souls safe. So, imagine my horror this weekend, when the one piece of equipment that is supposed to keep him safe, hurt my little Phillip.

Just to back up a minute, I am a safety freak. You would think after three kids, I would have loosened up a little, but I haven't. We NEVER go without a carseat. There are no quick trips with a little one sitting in the seat. Olivia was almost 9 when she moved out of the booster seat into the regular seat. Phillip (and Matt) will be in a five point harness until it no longer fits. I research EVERYTHING and stay on top of recalls like a hawk. So, when I bought Phillip's carseat, I was sure it was the one for us. It had safety ratings higher than Britax, it was rated to 100 lbs, had the side impact wings, everything.

Anyway, Sunday, after church, I put the kids in the van to head home. Phillip was talking to Mom, so I started the car, cranked the air way up, put Matt's seat into it's base, Olivia got in her seat, and I buckled P in last. As I got in, he started screaming "Turn the hot off". I assumed he meant the car was hot and told him to chill, it would cool down in a minute. He then started screaming, "It's burning me, it's burning me". I told him he would be fine, and he stopped crying a couple of minutes later. He had missed his nap and I chalked the drama up to being over tired. He is not a crier at all.

We get home, eat some lunch, he and Mike wrestle a while and Olivia points out that he has red marks on his back. I don't look at them, I just tell her they are from him wrestling with Mike. Phillip is VERY fair and the least amount of pressure leaves a red mark on his skin for a few minutes.

Fast forward to bath time. Mike bathes Phillip and they spend about 30 minutes playing and learning (since March he's learned his ABCs, numbers to 30, and numbers to 10 in Spanish during bath time). Right after Mike puts him in the tub, he yells for me to come in there RIGHT NOW! I can hear Phillip crying. I run in there and he points to these three huge red blisters on Phil's back. I asked Phillip what they were (although I already sickeningly realized what they were), and he replied "It's where my carseat burned me, I told you that". My poor baby! The water was making them hurt again. The safety warning label (oh, the irony) on the backrest part of his carseat had gotten so hot that it blistered his skin. I noticed when I was putting him in that his shirt was getting too short and it hiked up in the back but thought NOTHING OF IT!

His poor little back

Oh, the guilt! I cannot believe this happened. We put burn cream on him and now, two days later, they are much better. He says they don't hurt anymore. I told our pediatrician about them and he couldn't believe it. I am always so careful about not letting the metal buckles touch his legs, but I never thought about the nylon tag.

So, I am emailing the company and asking for something to cover the tag or a refund on my carseat. I don't expect anything else, but I do think it's the least they could do. I am also going to ask that they recall that model. I mean, at least 1/4 of the year is hot, carseats are going to get hot. I try to keep them shaded and precool the car when I can, but it's not always practical.

The offending carseat, Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite

So, I have learned two lessons. First of all, don't assume your safety equipment is safe. Second, listen to your kids. Don't assume you know what they are talking about. If I had asked Phillip a couple of questions, I could have figured out what he was talking about. Granted, he would have already been burnt, but I could have treated them sooner. The thought that he soldiered through the discomfort all afternoon long, because I told him it was fine, breaks my heart. Go check your carseats people!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Taking it all for granted

Confession: I tend to take my picturesque, wonderful life for granted. Growing up, I always assumed I would grow up, go to college, meet my soul mate, get married, have a few kids, live in a pretty brick house and live happily ever after. So, it was no surprise to me when I did. After all, it was all in my master plan. Granted, the children did not come in the order/timeframe I expected, but they still came, beautiful, perfect little beings that I pictured in my mind when I was a little girl. Well, I didn't picture that one of them would be red headed, that was a surprise to everyone!

A Sunday morning photo attempt

I get up every morning to this sweet little life and think nothing of it. Because I take it for granted, I sometimes neglect it. Sometimes, I act a little spoiled, I don't take care of things like I should, I snap at little children for acting like (gasp) children, I waste things because I can always buy another (*disclaimer: nothing major is wasted, we are not wealthy people who are burning blocks of money for warmth or anything, just little stuff).

Another Sunday morning photo attempt

My husband, on the other hand, had given up on having any of this. When I met him, he was a successful restaurant manager, who changed jobs every couple of years, always for a little more money, a little better hours, something. He moved from apartment to apartment, city to city, not laying down roots and living a very lonely life. He was 32 and had given up on having a wife, kids, the dogs, the house, the whole thing. So, he is incredibly grateful for everything. He sees the magic in the every day mundane, he delights in the antics of our children, he truly cherishes everything we have and do.

I give up, I will photograph them all together when they are adults!

These days, I'm trying to see the world as he does. I try to look at my little people (especially the oldest) and try to imagine what it would have been like to think that I would never have them. I try to take better care of what we have, as if it is a treasured possession, not something I can easily replace.

I am trying to not take any of this charmed gift of a life that God has given me for granted. So far, it's making me a much happier person!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In regards to my lifelong aspiration to do everything perfectly...

Motherhood is not something that came naturally to me. Motherhood was not something that was on my mind in that season of my life. I was planning a wedding (don't judge, it happens to the best of us), finishing up college, and mapping out the rest of my life. Then BOOM, I was a mama. A non eventful pregnancy turned into a very eventful birth, a hellish few days, and then Mike and I were at home, ALONE, with a baby. I was uber confident my entire pregnancy that I would be a great mother, a natural. I am one of those people that learns quickly, excels at most things I try, how hard could it be? Mike was worried the entire pregnancy that he would suck at it. He was 36, had never so much as held a baby, what would he do?

Guess which one of us was the natural? Mike, of course. It was like the book "Are You My Mother?" and Olivia picked him. I was a drugged up, worn out, miserable person for the first few weeks of her life. I had a severe reaction to one of my pain meds, but didn't know it was a reaction, so I was sick as a dog, thinking it was normal. It is literally a fog, I remember very little. I tried and tried to nurse Olivia, but she would have nothing of it. I cried and cried, she cried and cried, and Mike kept us alive and sane. I would stuggle with her for hours, trying to get her to nurse, trying to pump, tearfully talking on the phone to the La Leche people, to no avail. Then Mike would feed her a bottle, while I sat in the corner, watched TV, and cried. It was a happy time :) But, in my mind, the perfect mother nursed her baby, she put her to sleep in her own bed, she sang lullabys and never got tired. Dang it, I was going to be the perfect mother. At Olivia's one month appointment, our sweet doctor told me that she thought Olivia was lactose intolerant. We switched to soy formula and I made the hard decision to stop nursing altogether. I was devastated, but she wasn't really getting much from me and it was exhausting. She was up from 12 a.m-8 a.m every night/day. I was at my wit's end. So, I started giving her formula exclusively, I put her in the bed with us, and started singing songs I liked. You know what? She was a new baby! She was happy, healthy, and finally seemed to like her mama!

Fast forward eight years. I have a new baby, and quite frankly it feels like being a first time mama again. I have forgotten so much about babies and this baby is completely different. All he wants to do is sleep. He has jaundice and it takes a few days to get him better. My milk takes forever to come in, so we have to supplement with formula. Once my milk is in, I stop the formula and I'm determined to be "perfect" this time. Well, he nearly starves to death and sleeps all the time. I'm not making enough milk for the little guy! So...it's a repeat of last time, I nurse, Mike bottle feeds, I mope. Finally, I throw in the towel. I also don't make him sleep in his bed either, he sleeps with us and is happy as a clam. He's a healthy, happy baby.

Now, here comes Matt. I told Mike it would work this time or I would die trying. However, when I was pregnant, I found out that the stupid, awful, non life threatening disease I have that caused all the infertility issues, weight issues, etc also causes poor milk production. AHA! We have a reason! It's not my fault, well at least not in a way I can control. So, I go bonkers researching what supplements I can take, what I can do to make it work. In the hospital, I start taking herbal supplements. I spend hours with the lactation consultant. When we get home, we are already supplementing with formula. He dehydrated in the hospital and they insisted. Go figure :) But, that's okay, because he's nursing good and taking very little formula. Then, he starts to grow. I can't keep up. Every nursing book out there tell you that your body will keep up, but mine didn't get the memo. So, after having two kids, raised on formula, who are incredibly healthy, bright, and wonderful, what do you think I did? Well, you're wrong. I didn't give up, not yet.

For some reason, I am bound and determined to torment myself one more time. I am taking the most random and expensive combination of pills and supplements. I just took 18 pills before I sat down to write this. Is it working? Nope. But, I figure every little bit of breastmilk he gets is good, so I'll keep plugging along. We have a system now, Matt and I. I nurse him first, then I give him his bottle. He stares at me the whole time, so sweet and trusting. He doesn't care where the food comes from, he just feels loved and safe that it keeps coming.

The last few days, I have really questioned my motives. I don't buy into the whole formula conspiracy. I do believe that breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, but I don't think that formula is bad. My other kids thrived on it. But, I find myself watching the faces of others when I give Matt a bottle. Are they judging me, assuming I'm too selfish or ignorant to breastfeed? What do other mothers think of me? I feel the need to tell people the whole story, which is extreme oversharing, but I just want them to know that I'm trying to be "perfect", it just isn't working.

The funny thing is, I don't think twice when I see a mother giving a baby a bottle. Statistics show that a majority of mothers wind up switching to formula. I don't judge any mother as long as they are keeping their child safe. So why do I assume they are judging me? Why do I feel the need to be "perfect"?

It's not just breastfeeding. I spend every day making sure my kids look great, attempt to get them to act great. I make sure the house is near spotless every night before I go to bed, even if it means sacrificing sleep I dearly need. I volunteer in excess, I will go out of my way to make sure my family is happy, no matter what the need. The only thing I don't focus on making perfect is my appearance, which could use some work! All in all, I am an extremely happy person. I adore my husband, I love my children, my home, my job, my church, everything.

Anyway, there is no conclusion to this story, just a brain dump, I guess. Take care, dear readers, I'll be back with something lighter and fluffier soon!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Matthew's Birth Story

Well, I will start at the very beginning. Mid October 2010, I started to suspect I was pregnant. I had all the usual symptoms I had with the others, plus I was horribly nauseated and sick to my stomach. I was without kids, as I had sent them to Mom & Dad's house for the evening. I ran to our local Fred's (we are without a Wal-mart in our tiny town) and bought a pregnancy test. I didn't tell Mike (who was at work) my suspicions, as I had thought I was pregnant a million times when we were struggling with infertility and I felt a bit like the little boy who cried wolf. Also, I had been on the pill (for medical reasons, not conception reasons) up until a couple of weeks before, so what are the odds that Infertile Myrtle was pregnant. Turns out, pretty good. I got the two pink lines. So, I called Mike and he was stunned. Excited, but stunned. I then called my parents, brother, best friends, etc. I also had dinner that night with one of my best friends, Leah, and got to tell her in person. Then, we went and told her mom (also one of my best friends, I like to have friends in both mine and Mike's age ranges). Mike got home that night and we just stared at each other and laughed. Another baby! It felt like we had just had a baby. Granted, it was two years before, but when your kids are eight years apart, two years feels like nothing.

So, I called my doctor and they didn't want to see me until 8 weeks. We had a vacation planned the next week, so off on a 12 hour road trip we go. For the first time in my life, I had morning sickness...ALL DAY LONG. It was a long vacation.
Fast forward 8 months. It has been a miserable pregnancy. I feel guilty saying that, as being pregnant was something I wanted for so long, but it is what it is. I fell on the vacation we took and possibly broke my tailbone. We couldn't get it x-rayed, due to the bun in the oven, but it was either fractured or a bone bruise. Either way, it took about 6 weeks to sit or sleep comfortably. After that, I had severe hip pain until the moment Matt was delivered. And the nausea, don't get me started. Also, from about 32 weeks on, I had contractions off and on. It was a blast.

Right before we left for the hospital

So, on the morning of May 27, we headed up to the hospital. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. They got me checked in, hooked up to monitors, and told me we were just waiting on an operating room. My precious doctor, who I love, came by and checked on my, the anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself. In her introduction, she told me what she would do if anything went wrong. This is key. If a medical professional ever introduces herself with the worst case scenario, you should worry. More on that in a minute. So, about 8:15, they wheeled me to the OR. They had Mike wait in the hall and told him he could come in when my spinal was done, 5 minutes or so, 30 minutes later, he was beyond worried. Meanwhile, inside, the anesthesiologist tried 6 times to get my spinal in. I am in misery. I have never had a spinal be so painful. Finally, one of the nurses pages another doctor and he gets it in on the first try. I didn't get his name, but I would like to get him in my will. I was beginning to panic, thinking they were going to have to put me to sleep. I was asleep when Olivia was born and it is one of the biggest regrets of my life.  It's good that I was, as she was born non responsive, without a heatbeat, so I probably would have come up off the table, but still, I hate that I missed her first moments.

Me, waiting to meet my son

So, I'm finally numb, a worried Mike gets to come in and they get down to business. My belly was HUGE. Now, I'm a chubby girl. Years of PCOS, fertility treatments, and a fabulous cook as a husband have not been kind to me. But, my belly was ALL BABY (so we thought). My doctor and I had been guessing he was around 10 lbs. Dr. Roy cuts into me and right before says "I think we've got a big boy here!" Then he says "Whoa, there is way too much fluid here! Get me the vaccuum". I assume it was a Dyson, only the best for our OR (kidding). Turns out that's why my belly was so huge, I had way too much amniotic fluid and a little baby in there. Then he says, "We have a little boy here" and pulls out this little, red, screaming boy who is peeing everywhere! Mike follows him over to the scale, where they measure and weigh him. He's still average size, 18.5" long and 7 lbs 8 oz, but he is my smallest. His sister was 22" long and 8 lbs 13.5 oz and his brother was 21" and 7 lbs 13 oz (three weeks early). Mike brings him over to me and I talk and coo at him and notice he looks like he has been in a fight. Both eyelids are bright purple/red and his nose is flat. He was pressed so far down he face was smooshed into a bone. During all this, they are suctioning all the extra fluid out, tying my tubes, and closing me up. Mike and baby exit to the recovery room and I follow them soon after.

Our little peanut is here, and he is MAD about it!

Our family is complete!

In the recovery room, I nurse Matt then Mike brings Olivia and Phillip back. Olivia is in love, holding him and loving on him. Phillip is freaked out. He looks at Mike and say "I ready to go NOW". He won't hug me or look at the baby. Slowly, in twos, the rest of the family filters back and meets the little guy. I happily chat with the recovery room nurse. She comments that I'm in a great mood to have just had surgery. It's then that we realize she was my recovery room nurse with Phillip too. She made the same comment then. Both times I told her "If you have ever had an emergency C-section after 26 hours of labor, had a baby born that had to be revived, and woke up from surgery with absolutely NO PAINKILLER WHATSOEVER in your system, a routine C-section seems like a vacation.

In the recovery room, getting to know each other!

They wheel me to my room and I get settled in. Mike is a superhero during times like this, catering to my every whim. He helped me pull my hair back, get comfortable in the bed, and got me a Diet Coke :) Then, I waited for my little peanut to come in. When he got there, I fed him again and spent a long time cuddling him and marveling over ANOTHER baby!  He looks a lot better now that he's cleaned up and promptly goes to sleep. I try to follow suit, but by now the PAIN has hit and hard.

My heart (and hands) are full!

The next few days are a blur. I had some small complications and spent an extra day in the hospital. I was offered one more day, but I just wanted to go home. This was a decision I would regret later in the week, as I was back at the doctors office, but it all worked out. Matthew lost about a pound and promptly dehydrated. My milk wasn't in yet, so we had to supplement with formula. My lactation nurse was a champ. She stayed hours after work one night, dripping formula in his mouth with a syringe while he nursed so that he wouldn't prefer the bottle. Seriously, she was wonderful. He rehydrated slowly, but was fine by the time we headed home. It took him three weeks to get back to his birth weight, and he's still tiny, but healthy.

Father and son

Happy to be headed home (we haven't told him he has to share a room yet)

Observing the new wildlife

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This post uses the word "boobies"

This is just too funny not to post. It does talk about breastfeeding and boobies, so if you are offended, well don't read my blog. Anyway, I am a big fan of breastfeeding. I am not militant about it and my other kids were formula fed at some point, but I do always start out breastfeeding. Obviously, Phillip does not remember this, nor has he witnessed anyone else doing it. However, at 2, Phillip has a healthy appreciation for the female form. He loves boobs. He has told total strangers in low cut tops, "Hey, I like your boobies". He has been admonished several time to not touch boobies. So....

When I was in the hospital with Matt, Mike went and got the kids and brought them up for us to spend family time together. During that time, I had to feed Matt. Phillip eyes got really BIG and he ran over and said "No, no, baby brother, we don't mess with boobies". He was shocked that no one was disciplining the baby. Well, fast forward a few days and I am feeding Matt in our room. He comes in, asks several questions about what the baby is doing, and stays to chat. Once I am done feeding Matt, I put him in his bed and started putting myself back together. Phillip quickly says "I need to hold you" which is Phillip speak for let me sit in your lap. So, he crawls in my lap and starts pulling up my shirt. I quickly pull it back down and tell him that it's just for babies. He then cocks his head to the side and says "C'mon, gimme a try". I laughed and laughed.

I later found him with his face stuffed in one of the horns of my breast pump, singing his heart out. I told him no, that it was Mommy's and he said, "No, it's a microphone".

Finally, we were on our way to take Olivia to camp, right outside of Nashville. I asked if Mike wanted me to get him a drink when I ran into a store on our way out of town. He said no, he had a Dr. Pepper. I then asked Olivia and my mother in law. Phillip piped up and said "Daddy has Dr. Pepper, Mommy has Diet Coke, Nanna has water, Sister has water, Phillip has juice and Baby Brother has boobies!!". He is killing me with all the boobie humor. What can I say, he's obviously a boob man!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pictures of Matt

Matthew is growing...so slow :) Usually, it's the other way around, but he had a slow start, I guess. I am enjoying having one in the newborn stage a little longer. At 5 weeks, he is 20.5" long and 8 1/2 lbs. That is smaller than his big sister was when she was born. He is such a little guy, but he can hold up his head and coo and smile, so it's the best of both worlds.

Matthew at 2 weeks

Matthew at 6 weeks

I padded the basket on the second one, since he cried at 2 weeks, so he looks a lot bigger in the second one. However, the basket is a mini wicker laundry basket that I used to keeps baby socks and things in, so that give you some idea of the tininess of this guy. Love it!

Here is a feeble attempt of a group shot, no one is looking at the camera, Big Red is pouting, and Matt is about to cry. Ah, our new normal!

This is Matt's first friend, Tigger. He loves this Tigger, he will stare at it for the longest time.

Well, I am working on a birth story post for Matt. I think after that, I am going to do one for each of the other kids. I forget more than I remember these days and I want to chronicle everything while it's still semi-fresh!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Welcome Jenna's Journey Readers

Though I am a lousy blog updater, I am a faithful blog reader. However, I rarely comment. I guess I don't want to seem like a stalker or something. Which is weird, because I LOVE getting comments on my blog. Go figure. Anyway, I am participating in Jenna's Comment Challenge, where I comment on ten blogs a day. Fun, fun. If anyone stops by here from the challenge, WELCOME! Jenna's blog is one of my favorites, so I am happy to participate in this. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Our New Normal

Well, a lot has happened since March. On May 27, Matthew Corwin Bell joined our family at 9:04 a.m. He was beautiful to me, but to the rest of the world he probably looked like a boxer who had been in one too many fights. He spent his last two months VERY low, with his face pressed up against a bone. His nose was FLAT and he has a large strawberry birthmark over his right eye and a small one over his left. Both will fade, the other two kids had them too. Let's just say, for the first few hours, he looked rough. But, since then, his nose has popped out, his complexion evened out, and he looks JUST LIKE his sister.

He weighed 7 lbs 8 oz and was 18.5" longs. He dropped down to 6 lbs 12 oz, but has rebounded back. At 5 weeks, he is 20.5" long and 8 lbs 8 oz. He's our runt. He's still smaller than Olivia was when she was born. We think the due date may have been off a little. They moved it around several times, due to the fact that I was on the pill when he was conceived (is that TMI? Oh, well, it's my blog so I guess it's okay :)). Phillip was 3 weeks early and was larger than Matt, so who knows? He is here and healthy, that's all that matters.

The kids absolutely love him. We have had no jealously whatsoever. I am exhausted, but it's not their fault. It has been a rough recovery for me. The spinal took 6 tries and 30 minutes to get right, so my back was very sore (and had a black, softball sized bruise) for several days. I had a tubal ligation, as well as a C-section, and boy, that's a rough combination. I had no idea. I don't know if I will ever stand up straight again. Also, having a 2 year old who doesn't understand completely that mommy can't carry him or pull at him is difficult. But, I'm finally on the mend, so life is getting easier.

I absolutely love having three kids. It's really not any harder, so far. Matt is an amazing baby, he only cries when he's hungry. Otherwise, we don't hear a peep out of him. I hope to blog a lot more now that the pregnancy from Hades is over. I promise you, I wouldn't have another baby (biologically) for a million dollars. These last nine months have been miseable. Constant nausea, vomiting, horrible hip joint problems, severe back pain, fatigue, and moodiness, all rolled into one grumpy package :) He was worth every minute of it, but I don't care to do it again!

I am on my mother in laws computer, so this is the only picture of the three Bell kids I have. This was in the hospital, I had to move heaven and earth to get them matching shirts, so I was bound and determined to get a picture.

I will be back blogging soon!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday...to me :)

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday. I had a simply wonderful day. It started out with a visit to the OB, where I had to take a glucose test. Woo hoo, I know how to party! It was really fine, any day that I get to hear the baby's heartbeat is a good day in my book. As far as I know, everything was fine.

Then, I spent a few hours with the people who brought me into the world. I am so thankful for my wonderful parents. Without them, I have no idea how I would raise these (almost) three children of ours. Mike works as a restaurant manager, which means two nights a week he is not home until after the kids' bedtime. Obviously, if anything goes wrong and requires two adults, it happens on these two nights. This past week, Phillip fell and hit his head on the corner of my sofa table. He hit it so hard, there was a dent in his head (this is common with toddlers, I found out. Who knew?). Anyway, I felt it best to take him into the urgent care clinic and have it checked out, as it was almost bedtime and putting my groggy toddler to bed with a head injury seemed negligent. So, who do I call? Mom and Dad, of course! They were working up at our church, so I sped up there, left Olivia with Dad and Mom jumped in the car with me. She kept Phillip awake until we got there, then went back to the exam room with us, kept him occupied there, and escorted him to his x-ray (no preggos allowed in x-ray). Everything turned out fine, he just has a big goose egg, but it was scary for a minute when they were talking possible skull fractures. Thank God I had my Mommy with me! I should mention that I had been recovered from a 24 hour stomach flu for about 2 hours when this happened! Whew, what a night!

So, last night was WAY better. Mike took me to dinner at Texas de Brazil in Memphis. We had such a wonderful time together. He and I can talk and talk for hours. We discussed politics, child raising, home improvements, everything we could think of. We wound up staying up until after 1 a.m. talking and laughing (Mom & Dad kept the kids). He is such a wonderful husband, I am a big fan!

My birthday present from Mike was a flip camcorder. I love it already, I can just throw it in my purse and go. I will take a lot more videos now, which is good. I am terrible about taking videos.

Well, I just wanted to get an update on here. I have lots more news I could share, but I should get busy doing something for productive. Just 9 weeks (or less) until Baby Bell gets here. I can't wait!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So inconsistent...that's me!

So, about a month ago, I tried to do a blog post and it wouldn't work. My whole blog was jacked up and I could not get anything to work right. So, I just forgot about it...for a month :) But, I am back now.

We have had lots of exciting news. Baby #3 is a BOY! Phillip will have a brother to grow up with, play with, and most importantly, pass clothes down to (well, it's important to me)! Olivia is actually thrilled at staying the only princess in the family, and Mike and I are thrilled to raise another son! We have tentatively decided on the name Andrew Corwin, but that is subject to change...

We also found out last month that my brother and sister in law are expecting a baby! Their baby will be about three months younger than Andrew. Andrew is six months younger than my uncle and aunt's baby girl, Kaelyn. He is three months younger than my cousin and his wife's baby, Grant. Therefore, there will be many playmates in his future. This is such an exciting and new thing for me. I was the oldest (by five years) of all my cousins and poor Olivia didn't have a playmate until Phillip was born. Phillip has a cousin, Gracyn, that is a few months older than him and now will have a slew of kids a couple of years younger than him to boss around! Yay for family!!

Only twelve more weeks (approximately) until baby Andrew makes his appearance. I have A LOT to do!! I am anxious to see him, but honestly, I am fine with the next twelves weeks CREEPING by, as I don't want to feel rushed. We will see...

I have another blog post swirling around in my head, so I should be posting again soon! See you then!!

Monday, January 10, 2011


One thing I forgot to tell you guys about is Swagbucks. I'm sure most of you have heard about them by now, but if not you are missing out on some FREE MONEY. Swagbucks is a search engine, just like Google. You just download the toolbar or go to Swagbucks.com and search there. Every few searches, you are awarded Swagbucks. You can redeem them for giftcards. Most everyone I know uses them for Amazon.com cards. It costs 450 Swagbucks to get a $5 giftcard. I have earned 92 swagbucks in the last 36 hours. Therefore, it's an easy way to get some free Amazon money. If you want to sign up, click on my ad on the left and I'll get some credit too :)

Snow Day, Snow Day

Well, it snowed here in the South! Snow days are a really big deal here, it pretty much shuts everything down. This was a mild snow day, as the roads were relatively clear and we got 4 ish inches where we live. The kids had a great time! Phillip HATED the snow last year, so I wasn't sure what to expect this year. He LOVED it! Olivia always loves the snow. Last year, she stayed out until she nearly got hypothermia. This year, both kids were chilled and ready to go in within an hour.

Here are some cute pictures. I plan on starting the fun giveaways tomorrow. I apologize for the delay, I have been very PREGNANT the last few days. Saturday, Sunday, and today I laid down with Phillip and took a 2+ hour nap. I am exhausted, but all for a good cause. I think it's half pregnancy and half chasing a toddler :)

Getting acclimated to the snow :)
Hmm...do I like it or not?

My goodness, she is getting so big! (And pretty too, if I say so myself)

Teaching her brother to make snowballs!

 Phillip insisted on going for a walk through the subdivision, Olivia followed him dutifully!
Olivia dropped to do a snow angel and Phillip though she fell down, he was concerned!

Friday, January 7, 2011

In which I blog my heart out...

First of all, before you read this post, watch this video. I know, I know, everyone posts Youtube videos all the time, but this one WILL change your life. It changed mine. My friend (and cousin) Becky posted this on her facebook page a while back and it moved me. I used it for the presentation I did at church to get people to sponsor our "Community Kids".

2010 is a year our lives really changed. We are a middle class family. We live comfortably. When we need to make a big purchase, we generally have to save up for it, but we definitely don't go without. We have coasted along through life very proud of ourselves. We both grew up in working class homes and we were very proud that our children would not have to experience the things we did. Now, I'm not saying that my childhood was hard. We had all of our needs met and a lot of our wants...but we knew that money was a limited commodity. Mike and I took the (mistaken) attitude that our child would never know what it was like to have family money problems. If things were ever tight, we certainly wouldn't let our kid(s) know. This was obviously a mistake that resulted in some spoiled, entitled children. We are trying to reverse that brainwashing and teach them to help others with less than them.

Background Story:

In 2000, we had our first child. In 2003, we began trying to have another child. We were diagnosed with fertility problems and spent several years and many thousands of dollars trying to have another child. In the summer of 2007, I told Mike I wanted to take a break. I was so tired of pills, thermometers, and the thought of the elusive BABY consuming every aspect of my life. Mike agreed and we resigned ourselves to being the parents of an only child. In the fall, I began exploring foster care. We had looked into private adoption before, but it was more than we wanted to spend. We talked about it and began filling out the paperwork to become foster parents. We were having a hard time getting our schedules together to do all the training, home visits, etc., so we decided to wait until the first of the year. I got pregnant with baby Phillip in December 2007.

So, we put our foster care plans on hold and prepared for our miracle baby. We have had the best "babymoon" period with him. He's a delightful child, a true miracle. Around his second birthday (September 2010), I began looking into foster care again. By then, the kids we work with at church had been pulling at my heartstrings and I wanted to do more to help kids like them. I didn't say anything to Mike yet, just prayed about it and looked into possibilities. This was in September, also the same month I became pregnant with #3. God has a sense of humor.

So, obviously, I've put that on hold AGAIN. I really feel like God is leading us to do something with foster kids, but since our biological children now outnumber available bedrooms, it may not be foster parenting.

So we are exploring our options as far as volunteering. (Everyone who knows me IRL just snickered, because I am over volunteered as it is). Anyway, these kids are just getting to us. The kids we have on Tuesday nights are such an interesting and sad mix of kids. We have a lot of kids, sometimes 50. About 30 of those kids are from the local housing project. Some have really good families that have just fallen on hard times. They have mamas who love them, daddies who provide for them, and a good sense of security. Most of them don't. Most of them live with a single parent, which is not that uncommon in any socioeconomic group, or necessarily a bad thing, assuming the one parent is a good parent. But, these kids are so neglected. Their clothes are dirty, their hair is unwashed. They have dirt under their nails and hollow looks in their eyes. Any love you are willing to give them, they soak up like a sponge. Mike and I go home every Tuesday night talking about them, praying for them, worrying about them.

One of the main things I worry about is if they have enough to eat. When we started our Tuesday program, we fed the kids a snack. They were SO HUNGRY. They would beg for more and steal food. We quickly switched to serving dinner, with all the refills they want. They clean their plates. I worry what they are eating the rest of the week.

I also worry about their safety. Back in September, we had a booth at our towns' Barbeque Festival. We sold candy and cotton candy and advertised the churches new name (http://www.ccchenderson.org/). Several of the kids came by the booth to say hello. They wound up spending the rest of the day with us. They were girls about Olivia's age and they had a great time together. I found out that they had walked there, about two miles, including crossing Hwy 45. It was dark when I found this out, so I told them to call their parents from my phone and see if I could drive them home when we were done. They called and the parents said okay. I bought them all dinner (they had not eaten all day, see why I worry) and they settled in under the quilts I had in the booth (they were severely underdressed). Well, about two hours later, one of the mothers shows up, screaming and making a scene. She is an obvious meth addict, no teeth, drawn face, crazy eyes, about 40 lbs underweight. She is shaking her daughters arm and screaming at her to GO HOME. She had forgotten she told her she could stay. I tried to defuse the situation as best I could, but I don't want to imagine what happened when she got home.

Anyway, God is really dealing with us to work with these kids, with other at risk kids. I think it is so easy to get caught up in the complancy of "good Christianity". To give to your local congregation, attend regularly, volunteer now and then, and call it a day. But Jesus wants more. He wants us to minister to "the least of these". I'm hoping 2011 is the year we will find out what we should be doing. And, I hope the next time I look into foster care, I don't get pregnant :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Well, I promise I didn't (mean to) lie about the giveaways! I have been recovering from bronchitis since before Christmas and just can't seem to shake the last bit of it. That's not that big a deal, I'm just a little snuffly and tired. But...Phillip seems to have come down with something similar. The last few days, he has alternated between being feverish, croupy, and stuffy. He has CLUNG to me like a spider monkey. This is the first time I have been able to sit down to the computer any longer than a few minutes. I called and made him a doctor's appointment for tomorrow and he immediately starting feeling better :) That figures, huh? I'll still take him in, just in case.

That being said, I will start the giveaways tomorrow. I have found several "large" things around the house (too large to ship economically) that I will be offering as local giveaways, as well as some smaller things that I will ship.

I hope that everyone is having a great new year. Thank you so much for all the visits and support of the blog so far! I have had over 300 hits since I started it, which makes me feel loved :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

I rang in the New Year with the love of my life and some of my best friends! We were invited to a super fun party where we gorged ourselves on yummy food and played a fun version of the "Newlywed Game" where we had to answer questions about each other. For example, we had to recount when and where our first kiss was, the first time we cooked for each other, etc. Well, I am pleased to say that Mike and I scored 100%!! I love that man :) I have to say, I'm sure that our marriage is not perfect (whose is), but we do know each other very well! We're not blowing smoke when we say that we are each other's best friends. Last night was our 15th New Year's Eve together!

The kids spent the night with Mom & Dad last night, so I got to sleep in until 9:15! On top of that, I took a nap this afternoon when Mike got home from work. Apparently, I'm starting the new year LAZY! We celebrated Christmas with my dad's side of the family last night. There were about 25 people there, it was madness! It was good to see all of them, since I don't see them often. My dad's father spent the night with my parents last night, so the kids got to spend a little extra time with him (he lives 3 hours away). He and Phillip really bonded, it was cute.

I didn't take a single picture of either event last night, but I will post some when I steal them from my mother and friends. I am planning on starting the giveaways tomorrow, so make sure you stop by! Happy New Year!!