Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Month I Forgot

December is almost over and only 3 posts. Yes, it has been that kind of month. A stomach virus laid almost all of us low for a weekend, but knocked Holly out for 2 weeks. I think she is just now recovering. It's a good thing I don't get wrapped up in the pressures of a commercial Christmas, because, honestly, no energy for that at all.

(Although, I must admit, I am already planning the Christmas tree for next year's Festival of Trees!) Pictures are few from Christmas Day. Yes, its been that kind of month. But here's what I do have:
Sous-Chef ready to help bake cookies
The final product. Neiman Marcus Cookies, Iced Sugar Cookies, Toll House,
Peanut Butter No Bake, Peanut Butter Balls, and Butter Spritz Cookies.
I didn't think this was "enough". However, Martha Stewart gave out cookie boxes with only 4 gingerbread trees. FOUR cookies in the whole box! I need to redefine "enough".

Just before our guests arrive a floor board came lose! Santa's helper was on the job.

This box smells yummy! Where the beef?

The Christmas Card!

To cap off the whole month of sleeplessness due to reflux and the virus, Holly had another leaf in her cleft. Sometime during the week before Christmas, but after our last doctor's appointment, she got a leaf in her mouth, up through the gumline into her nose. A good size leaf too. She coughed and refused to sleep for the entire week before Christmas. I found it on the 27th. After she bumped her mouth on a toy. Now three days later, I think, I think, she is going to be really well. No surgery in sight, no virus or cold and no leaf.

Hopes are high for a very Merry New Year and Wishing Peace on Earth to Men of Good Will!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I've still got it!

I thought that my children had outgrown me, but no, I've still got it! They are no longer impressed by the cookies, cupcakes or crafts. And lately dinner has met with lukewarm enthusiasm. Sigh.

But today....we made Peanut Butter Balls. Butter, Peanut Butter, Powdered Sugar and crushed Ritz crackers covered in chocolate! All three came up to me and said, quietly and seriously, "Mom, these... are... good."

Yep, I've still got it. Good thing Holly hasn't seen any of this stuff yet.

Note: I substituted Ritz for Graham, CandiQuik (Food Lion) for chocolate chips and chilled the peanut butter balls before dipping.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

w'ONE'derful!

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. .
Jerimiah 29:11-12
Happy Birthday Holly Marie!
Ever hopeful, just after you were born I signed up for an automatic "what your baby is doing at this age" email. Little could I have known that the milestones marking your first year would never make the list. Of course, you have hit many regular baby milestones, holding your head up, following a toy when it is moved, sitting up, first tooth, first word (ma-ma, second word is "ba" for Bill). Still the other events that have marked the time this year have been so much larger.
When I look back, however, after years have past, I hope I won't remember your first year of surgeries, medicine refills, ear infections or bottle orders. Instead here's what I want to really remember:
This is your second day! The stuffed animals are from Bill and Anna.
Lee Allison picked a nice peppermint candle to smell.
Aunt Teresa got your your first pair of Mary Janes.

This is Valentine's Day, I always want to remember this beautiful sleeping baby.
A few minutes peace at the Triad Catholic Co-op Valentine's Day Party.
(Can you see all the baby hair that has rubbed off on the sides?)

Daddy so loves giving you a bath. He calls this your "spa treatment"!
Big brother loves it when you sit with him for a minute or two.
Here we are at Oak Island.

Anna and I counted the number of seats either given or purchased for you this year. Including the most recent high chair, the count is 13. Car seats, bouncy seats, excersaucers, walkers, strollers and high chairs. Surely there is ONE place you will sit still :-)
Drama Queen!
(No, Holly you can not eat leaves.)
Beautiful, smiling, happy
You all time favorite songs are "Patty Cake" and "Isty Bisty Spider". Honorable Mention goes to the "Prayer Before Meals" (not technically a song, but you should see the grin when we begin to pray that together!)
Happy Birthday Big Girl!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Best Thing Ever

happened today. Holly got the all clear yesterday to begin eating regular food. Not wasting anytime, I sat Holly in her chair, got out the only baby friendly solid thing in the house: Corn Pops. (Main ingredient: corn syrup, always a bonus for Holly Marie!)

I almost heard the angels sing, when she ate the pops without choking and gasping, no gagging or stopped up nose. It was so beautiful! Bill and I sat beside her at the table and worked on fractions and spelling.

And if that weren't exciting enough, Lee Allison completed his math assignment in the most legible, unbelievably neat handwriting I have ever seen. Ever.

Oh yes, I am grateful today.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

People Look East

Want to be more Mary and less Martha?
Have this holiday favorite in mind as you prepare for Christmas Day!

video

People, look east. The time is near

Of the crowning of the year.

Make your house fair as you are able,

Trim the hearth and set the table.

People, look east and sing today:

Love, the guest, is on the way.

Simply Christmas

The debate came up at Thanksgiving, probably at your table too. Which holiday is your favorite, Thanksgiving or Christmas? A strong case was made for Thanksgiving. After all, it is just like Christmas, without all the trappings. A time to give thanks to God, celebrate with family, without the gift-giving pressure.

Christmas, though, will always be my favorite (I HOPE!). Simply because this is The Day. The day Jesus was born. The day that changed the course of history. Definetly worth The Big Fuss. Of course, just like The Grinch noticed, Christmas will come even without the trappings.

To keep the true meaning of Christmas in focus, here are a few simple things we do at our house:

  • Don't watch commercials on tv. Fortunately on PBS there are no real commercials. On our second favorite channel, the Hallmark channel (already broadcasting Christmas movies), the commericals are mostly for diabetes or cholesterol medicines....go figure. Either change the channel at commercial breaks or mute the sound.
  • Don't listen to regular radio. I just realized this the other day. Happily singing Christmas music on some secular station, I began to hear the noisy, very un-Christmas like commercials. Switched the station back to our regular contemporary Christian one. They play some tradition Christmas tunes, many more new favorites but most important is NO "commercial" commercials. Or use your own Christmas collection!
  • Once you have made your Christmas shopping list, ours is simple but heartfelt, plan a day or weekend if you have to shop, then DON'T go to the malls or stores. Most important shop at local owned businesses. They have all the same stuff, and some unique items, and non of the oppressive shop-till-you-drop atmosphere.
  • Visit lighting displays, holiday gatherings at church or walk around your local downtown. Outside. Our downtown area is small but decorated and best of all, no amazon-sized half naked women like in the Victoria's Secret windows in the mall. How very un-Christmas.
  • Plan a surprise night time lighting tour. A very kind friend last year surprised our children by coming to pick them up, pajamas and all, for a night time drive around town to see all the lights! Hot Chocolate included. Fun, fun fun!
  • Finally and best of all, be a Secret Santa. We like to do our own thing, not any formal organized activity. But make something at home, either craft or food, and secretly leave it on doorsteps.

Today is the First Sunday in Advent and I wish each of you, a very merry getting ready time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holly - 11 months

She can stand!

And although back in July, this whole tongue-sticking-out thing was cute...now I am trying to enlist the others help in teaching Holly to CLOSE her mouth! Most of the time she is like this picture. So, we are 6 weeks out from surgery and her mouth looks really good. She is eating stage 1 baby food like a champ, but anything thicker causes her to gag. I suppose it will be slow and steady for her to learn how to eat with her new mouth.

As for the rest of her health and well being, she is doing well. Except for the cold that has gone away and returned. That hasn't helped her sleeping habits either. I did receive a little comfort to know Ellen and Joel were up about as often as Holly (when she doesn't have a cold!) and Joel is as healthy as a horse!
How cute are these two?

Holly and Joel follow or chase each other around the hall. Most of the time Holly stares at Joel trying to figure out how he can walk like that! Hard to imagine her 1st birthday is around the corner!

Thankful for...

  • clear weather for the parade today
  • my husband still has a job
  • Holly is growing and doing well (ok, except for this nasty cold she has for the second time...)
  • that I live in America
  • Bill singing "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth"
  • Lee Allison being so sweet to Holly
  • Anna's ever growing creative talent

So many wonderful thing blessing in our life, family, friends and Faith.

Glad tomorrow is a day to just be grateful and celebrate! Happy thanksgiving to you!

Sweet Potato Cakes

Fall isn't going to last long enough for me to get tired of making these Sweet Potato Cakes! The original recipe calls for a can of pumpkin. But canned yams work too!

From the Cupcake doctor cookbook, slightly modified!
1 - white cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
1 - 16 oz can sweet potatoes (drained) or pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutgmeg
Mix ingredients slowly for a minute. Then on medium speed for 2 minutes. The sweet potatoes will blend pretty quickly in the mixer. No need mash before hand.
The original recipe calls for an organge glaze, but I prefer buttercream icing. You can use your favorite recipe and add 1/2 tsp of orange extract to compliment the spices. Or vanilla is just as yummy! This icing style is my second favorite. Just use a rounf tip, the largest you have, make a dot and pull. Looks ready for a party, doesn't it?




Thursday, November 20, 2008

So Where Are We?

So, where are we?

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over lousy fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from great courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again into bondage."
Alexander Fraser Tyler - Cycle of Democracy (1770)

(copied from another great Catholic Mom blog)

For anyone who has ever...

made ANYTHING from felt!

From a little further down in the same post:

"Is America the best country in the world? We'll see. In my opinion, just like Lucy, we have some s'plainin' to do."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eight is Great!

Guess who doesn't have to ride in a booster seat anymore?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Aldi's

Back to Aldi's these last few months. Haven't shopped there since Big Lee's job was downsized years ago. Grocery shopping is certainly a pitfall for a budget. For years I clipped coupons and shopped with The Coupon Mom's system. I loved playing The Grocery Game too.

Now, however time is rare for me to clip, sort and price compare. Back to Aldi's. Cheapskate Mary insists that Aldi's is like "triple coupon day" everyday. Good enough for me. And I have stayed near, close maybe, to my budgeted amount for groceries for the last two months!

If you had 30 minutes..

what would you do?

A small pattern has begun to emerge in Holly's little life. That's about 30 minutes of sleep every morning sometime between 7 and 9 am. Precious, precious time.

Today Big Lee was off from work and suggested that he use this 30 mins to run to Walmart. I said "Really? Is that what you really want to do in this time?" Then mentioned another option: N-A-P. The circles under his eyes are worse than mine!

Usually my morning choices include a short list: plan for school, get myself dressed, wash dishes or laundry. Sad to say only occasionally do I use this precious 30 minutes for prayer.

How would you spend 30 minutes?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

History in the Making

Whew! The election is over. And although my choice for president was not elected, I am glad for this moment in time. America has elected its first African-American President.

After the our long history of racism, of questionable police tactics, and riots in response to those tactics, a true milestone for our country today. I do sincerely hope that Mr. Obama enjoys the moment. And since he has been elected, here what I really hope:

That every single promise he made on the prolifeobama site comes true. I hope that he is able to enact so many programs and incentives that, yes, women in America will WANT to have their babies. That abortions will decrease so rapidly as a result of these programs, that we won't need to over turn Roe v Wade. That this particular ruling will be outdated as so many antiquated laws still on our books. You know the ones you read about in trivia columns.

I hope that since the racial divide has been conquered, we can join together and conquer the most important divide, regardless of race or economic background. This chasm that separates our country and encourages women to choose death instead of life.

Don't stop praying for Life now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Caution!

Not surprisingly this sign is sold out.
(I want one too!)

Trick or Treat!

When we lived in Charlotte, Halloween was also the season for the migration of ladybugs. Often in between handing out the candy at the door, I would also be sweeping ladybugs off the ceiling. Not something I really enjoyed. But over the years I made peace with the ladybugs. Much cuter than spiders and we had a problem with those at that house too!

Who would have guessed all these years later, in a new home, I would, on purpose choose this costume for my Little One Feather? We joined our cousin Will and friends for a great night out in the neighborhood. Fortunately, no real ladybugs joined the party.

Look at all that great stuff!

Can I play the Wii too?
Anna and Amery doo-wop, doo-wop!

A quick stop at Grandpa and Grandma's before we go!
Grandma always has the BEST candy!
Here's the crew: Holly, Anna and Bill.
Lee and Lee Allison have gone to an older crowd gathering, sorry no pictures of that!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feasting Season Looms

Someone searched on the phrase "what does enough is as good as a feast mean?" With the many food laden holidays in our near future, I'll take a moment to refresh my memory.

Enough is as good as a feast. Here's the point: Does the first bite taste as good as the last? Usually the first bite taste best, or the last bite tastes the same. Not better. Feasting, or over eating does not add to the flavor of the meal. In the end, you feel worse for having eaten too much.

Enough is as good as a feast. Eat just enough. Until you are full. Not over full. That feeling is as good as, or better, than feasting. In the end you feel better than be stuffed!

Enough is as good as a feast. How do you know when is enough? God created us to know. When you eat, listen for a small sigh. That's when you now you are actually full, but not stuffed to the gills. Small reflection here: I used to think that sigh meant I calmed down enough to really begin eating! I would wait until I was starving to eat, then begin eating, sigh and think, ok, now enjoy your meal. Boy, was I wrong.

Enough is as good as a feast. After several poor eating habit weeks, I will try again to face the onslaught of candy, cupcakes, cookies, and treats with renewed self control. Try to really enjoy the first few bites of each item, and offer up the rest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween? No, Christmas!

The local chapter of the ARC hosts a Festival of Trees fundraiser and competition every year. Businesses sponsor trees, other groups decorate them and then the trees are sent to homes, the hospital or other locations for the holiday season. So much fun!
The Medicine Shoppe sponsors a tree every year, which then graces the home of my aunt. This year, our local homeschool group is decorating the tree!

Our theme is "O Holy Night", with lots of angels made from seashells and lots of star garland to light the night!


Old Christmas cards are transformed into ornaments to portray the Holy Night.


Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men!



Pre-Surgery

Not so many photos of this surgery. After three weeks of fighting off an ear infection, thrush and that nasty bacterial diaper rash, I was just hoping Holly and I would be up for the post-op recovery. And to be honest, she was so swollen after this surgery, really I don't want to remember that.

I tried to get a decent picture with Daddy, but Holly kept moving in front of him! All I have are pictures Daddy obscured by smiling baby!

Last note, while we were waiting for the surgery to begin in June, the soft palate repair, I thought I had dressed appropriately, tried to look presentable for the long day ahead. But somehow I missed the mark that day. Complete strangers approached to ask if I needed help. Even the chaplain came to offer prayers and consolation. Always happy for the extra prayers, but knew I was looking even worse than I felt. So this time I tried a little harder not to look so worn out and stressed. You almost can't see the circles under my eyes!

I know, priority issues, who cares what I look like? Holly was having surgery!

More Cookies!


My parents run The Medicine Shoppe here in town. To help promote their business, I made these trays using those frosting sheets. These are mint-iced shortbread and mint striped shortbread. I hope it does build up goodwill!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Simply Sugar Cookies


This has got to be my all time favorite cookie idea EVER! If you are so inclined to use the computer, print a dozen of your favorite fall scenes on plain white paper. Card stock works best. I added "Thank You" to a few pictures. The pictures need to be about 2 inches round. And the pictures need to fit inside an 8x10 square on the page.
A regular sheet of paper is 8 1/2 x 11. Once you print it, you trim it to 8x10. Like a portrait. Take that to your local grocery store. Harris Teeter and Wal-Mart will do this, Food Lion, maybe. Ask them to print the picture on an icing sheet, like the ones they make for cakes.
The sheet is about $6-8 depending on where you go. Bring the sheet home, bake your cookies, have icing ready. Cut each picture into rounds, ice cookie, and apply picture! I added a chocolate circle for the edge, you could make it neater than me, I bet!
Custom, personalized cookies make a great gift. And if you need more than one tray, just include a few printed cookies, along with several plain iced or even chocolate chip. Yum!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm with Bob

His name's not Joe, but my brother-in-law makes a fine point: When my time comes and God judges me for all my actions in life, there will be many things on my plate. I don't need to pile on my voting record.

Just a few great thoughts from a very great thinker: G.K. Chesterton

"What is quaintly called Birth Control . . . is in fact, of course, a scheme for preventing birth in order to escape control."

"Normal and real birth control is called self control."

"Birth Control is a name given to a succession of different expedients by which it is possible to filch the pleasure belonging to a natural process while violently and unnaturally thwarting the process itself."

"We can always convict such people of sentimentalism by their weakness for euphemism. The phrase they use is always softened and suited for journalistic appeals. They talk of free love when they mean something quite different, better defined as free lust. But being sentimentalists they feel bound to simper and coo over the word "love." They insist on talking about Birth Control when they mean less birth and no control. We could smash them to atoms, if we could be as indecent in our language as they are immoral in their conclusions."

There are many issues being raised as Very Important for this election, the economy, taxes, gas prices, and war. My two cents is that if you are never born, then the rest doesn't matter does it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Have to Go Through It

video

What is the hard palate repair surgery and recovery like? Just like this bear hunt.

Can't go over it.

Can't go under it.

You have to go through it.

There are some things you just have to wade through. This is one of those times. Holly is a strong willed little one. But thanks be to God, I am stronger willed than her. Even though, she doesn't want to drink anything at the moment, I know she has to and will keep offering yummy choices. Like chocolate Silk, since she can't have ice cream or yogurt!

.ps Yes, after 5 days of post palate repair, I do look like Mr. Rosen in the video, slightly unkempt and in need of a hot bath: -) But Holly drank 2 ounces straight from her bottle this morning with just a little resistance! Success.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Its a Hard Knock Life

Sometimes the knocks aren't quite so hard. Holly's hard palate repair is behind us. Now we wait. And look and wait. I've checked stitches three times since Wednesday to make sure they are still there. Silly me. Like me shining a flashlight in her mouth will make the stitches stronger.

The hard palate repair went well. The extra reflux medicine, Zantac, did its job beautifully. As a result, Holly needed less pain medicine than after the other surgeries. All good.

The unexpected things are these: The day after the surgery Holly had a hard time keeping down her formula or pedialyte. I have chalked that up to another unexpected thing, a massive amount of drainage from her nose. If I didn't know she just had surgery I would think this was one nasty head cold or sinus allergy.

And the final thing I didn't really expect, but was prepared for, Holly began yesterday to reject her bottle. Today she is drinking from a sippy cup with little problem. Maybe tomorrow I will offer the bottle again. Who would have ever thought I would be sad about those troublesome Habermans making an early departure?

As far as I can tell from all I have been told or read, this surgery is supposed to be the hardest to recover from. Glad the surgery is behind and we are on day 3 of her recovery. I'll post another time about what is working for post surgery feeding tips.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Holly's Next Surgery

This Wednesday, please join our prayers for Holly's hard palate repair. That the closure will hold, no holes, that the extra reflux medicine will make a difference.

I have often wondered about this verse from Romans 5:3

"Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us."

Do I have "the right stuff", to encounter affliction and have that encounter produce endurance. And should I outlast the affliction, would it in the end give me hope?

Well, after this past month of trying to heal Holly's diaper infection (no mere rash), I may not have the endurance of a Marine, but I am beginning to understand this verse a little better.

I still have HOPE. What I wanted was a week or two of blissful, healthy, happy baby days before this surgery. But what we have ended up with is a few moments here and there, a little victory one day, a set back on another. And now, just days before upsetting the whole apple cart, I believe that, yes, affliction can produce hope. I have not given up yet.

Jesus, I still trust in You.

Shifting Sand

So many thoughts I have wanted to post this weekend, about our economy, St. Francis' feast day, the Life Chain on Sunday and of course Holly's looming surgery (this Wednesday).

But, of course, Pope Benedict XVI says everything the best:

Pope criticises pursuit of wealth

The Pope says God's word is the only veritable reality to build on. The global financial crisis is proof that the pursuit of money and success is pointless, Pope Benedict XVI has told a meeting of bishops in Rome. The head of the Roman Catholic Church said that the disappearance of money as banks collapsed showed that wealth meant "nothing".

The Pope said that people should instead base their lives on God's word. Those who think that "concrete things we can touch are the surest reality" are deceiving themselves, he said.

The crisis in the financial industry has seen billions of dollars wiped off the value of shares, and a number of seemingly untouchable banking institutions have been taken over, nationalised, or have collapsed.

Speaking to the bishops assembled at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said those who seek "success, career or money are building on sand". When he opened the Synod on Sunday, the Pope attacked modern culture, saying that "nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture".

Elections are coming up in the US, how can you protect our nation, "once rich in faith and vocations"? Vote for LIFE. To learn more read here and here.

God, please remove the scales from the eyes of our citizens. Show us the Truth. Amen.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Future and A Hope

Happy Anniversary Lee!
I love this picture the most. We look so confident, young and hopeful.
Not too shabby after 15 years!
Still looking hopeful!


A Little Homeschool Business

Just three years ago, when Lee and I decided we would homeschool, I knew I could not go this alone. Neither should you! There are lots of great ways to get support, online or in person.

The first thing I did was join our local homeschool association. This group organizes many educational and fun opportnities to participate in. Like a PE class (that I would never ever do on my own :-), a spelling bee, talent show, and group testing.

Actually, the very first thing that happened was arranged by God. He managed a meeting between me and a long ago friend from our church. By long ago, I mean 8th grade. A friend from our junior high youth group. Yvonne and I enjoyed our little reunion meeting. But more importantly, I learned about the Catholic Homeschool Coop that she participated in!

I knew that our faith would have to be an important part of our school. And that I would want my children to get the chance to know other Catholic homeschoolers. What a great opportunity! So we joined the coop, before I had even registered our school with the state!

What a great place to be, for all of us! We attend Mass and classes, enjoy some outdoor play time and Mom time. We celebrate Catholic holidays and things that make our faith part of our lives. All very good things!

And now the Catholic homeschool community is growing. If you live in the Forsythe County area, check out this site also! Two moms are joining with Holy Family Catholic Church to provide weekly homeschool enrichment session in Clemmons.

To help spread the word, here are a few key search terms, people may be using to find a local group: Clemmons Catholic Homechool, Winston Salem Catholic Homeschool, Mocksville Catholic Homeschool, Salisbury Catholic Homeschool, Lexington Catholic Homeschool

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Of Hope and Destiny

After this particularly trying two weeks and the many, many personal failures of self-control, one could begin to despair. How can I ever teach my children to be nice to one another when I am breathing fire every time I open my mouth? How can I ever overcome my own weaknesses if I am continually turning to food instead of Jesus? How can anyone, least of all me, achieve Holiness that we are called to, when I fail over and over?

I want to cling to Hope and not despair. I want to set Heaven as my destiny and act accordingly. In the midst of all these swirling thoughts, the Holy Spirit whispered "St. Therese, remember St. Therese of Liseux".

She didn't accomplish great things and her short life was so great that the best of the best in the Catholic Church decided she should be a Doctor of the Church! Then I began to remember the very little things that I had been able to accomplish. The hugs for Bill. The extra beads for Anna to make gifts for Mimi and Aunt Mary. A moment to encourage Lee Allison to keep researching a new computer program.

God is so very gracious to thow me a lifeline in St. Therese experience. Even though these last two weeks haven't been my very best, neither should I despair. As a Christian I have to keep clinging to the Hope that my failures are not fatal. God is merciful.

.ps My mom sent me the "Roses from heaven" (pictured above) this morning. Not knowing I had been thinking about St. Therese all night :-) Thanks Mom and St. Therese.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vicious Red

Holly has a Super Nova Diaper Rash. Beyond Red. I've tried
  • Medicated Baby Powder
  • Balmex
  • DermaCloud Fanny Cream
  • Baking Powder
  • Monistat
  • Lotrimin
  • Mycalog (Nystatin)

Nothing. It is worse today than ever. So back to the doctor we go. And home with a new ointment: Batroban. Apparently, she might possibly have a slight bacterial infection on top of the yeast. One fight at a time. Infection today, yeast tomorrow.

Here's the Simple Solution to that bare baby bottom dilemma: Flannel Backed Tablecloths.

I hoard them. Stock pile, really. Facts are facts and there are plenty of reasons at my house not to use cloth tablecloths for everyday (or even holidays yet, thus the stockpile). Who knew?

Turn those cloths inside out and for Holly's crib tonight, I have a ready to go cheap disposable stack of Plastic Backed Flannel Sheets , and maybe even enough to cover the living room floor tomorrow. We may survive this yet. :-)

(And the silver lining will be a very, very good reason to go buy new for the next holiday!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello Out There!

It is just about 14 days until Holly's next surgery. And the cold weather has set in today.
So take a moment with me to enjoy the last few days of summer: Hey there! What are you up to?
My mom said this guy is 13 years old! I can't believe it. My brother is 13 and he doesn't sing and dance like this guy. Have you met Barney yet? He's GREAT!

Bill said he needed help with his spelling.

This must be just after our field trip to the All A Flutter, the butterfly farm. Mom found this chair on the way home. I like it better than the ADD chair. This one goes places!
My big sister, Anna, always shows me cool stuff!
All of these photos must have been taken just before Holly's most recent ear infection. The antibiotics are over for now, and we are dealing with the side effects, thrush and yeast rash. With such a little time left till the next surgery, please say a small prayer the thrush and rash clear up soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday in the Park

Thankfully, Dan Nicholas is mostly in the shade. The heat did not do me in, as I feared. Even Milli, who is about 7 months along, managed to survive the 90 degree day. We had such a nice afternoon, meeting new friends, seeing for once, other babies with the Haberman bottle!

A few years ago, PBS ran a program about life on the frontier. One wife remarked how lonely her life was out there. Not connected. It is not hard for me to imagine how much more difficult these past 9 months would have been, with out the support of all the people on the Cleft Advocate and Wide Smiles sites. Lonely wouldn't begin to describe it. What a lifeline these connections have been. Thank you, Debbie Oliver and JoAnne Green for seeing a need and reaching out to help the rest of us!

God Bless you all! Check out pictures from our NC Park Day here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

NC Park Day

Can't wait to meet you!

Just a few more days until our NC Park Day in honor of Craniofacial Awareness Month. We can't wait to meet our new NC friends by cleft. This Sunday at Dan Nicholas Park at 1 pm. Covered dish picnic. Y'all come now, ya hear?



Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bake Sale!

St. Ann's Circle is holding an Italian American bake sale in honor of St. Joseph. Partly to raise funds for our new church building.

Here's the background story: In Sicily, where St. Joseph is regarded by many as their Patron Saint, and many Italian-American communities, thanks are given to St. Joseph ("San Giuseppe" in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint.

Here's my contribution to the event:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Late Night TV

"I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently.'' - Craig Ferguson.

Admittedly, I watch too much tv. And it just so happens that Holly gets up most nights when Craig Ferguson's show is on, opposite Conan O'Brien. Before I say anything else, I agree that all late night tv is a moral "free" zone. The interviews ar raunchy and the jokes tasteless.

Can't watch Conan because he is Catholic, admits it and behaves very badly on screen.

That leaves Craig Fergusons show. His jokes are also off-color. But then he will say something redeeming. Like the quote above. Unexpected.

Most of all, I would rather sleep through the night!

Tubes

Holly and I made a solo trip to Winston today. She wasn't impressed by being in the car with out her playmates, Anna and Bill. With no one to distract her, except Mom who was driving, Holly was a little ticked.

Eventually, I found a sunglasses bag, with a drawstring that amused her long enough to fall asleep. She is definitely all about The New Stuff. The regular baby toys were promptly tossed to the ground.

Anyway, we made it to the ENT and yes, Holly will have tubes put in her ears at the next surgery. With her fourth ear infection behind us and fluid still in both ears, Dr. Kirse said better now than later. We want Little One Feather to be able to hear and speak as well as possible.

Not like she is having any trouble NOW getting her point across... Bill has even noticed what a good life a baby has. But he declined to chance to sleep in a crib and drink only milk.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tooth!

Holly has a tooth! Hooray! One small but very sharp tooth in the bottom front. We are so excited. Bill and Anna have been showing everyone, and Lee Allison has been carefully protecting his hands from Holly's attempts to bite him.

I have totally abandoned the "food fight" with Little Miss One Feather. She likes food. She has no oral aversions since she will cram anything she can in her mouth. And the food was not making a difference in her sleeping habits, like I had hoped. And of the few choices for babies, so many caused her difficulties in one way or another, we will just wait a month or so longer. At least until the next surgery.

One last update: I have heard from a fourth parent that sees our plastic surgeon who has had fistula develop. This has caused me to be anxious. But on Sunday, as I was walking back from the nursery (Holly's first 20 minute visit :-), I saw a statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched. I just thought, Jesus your arms are going to have to be big enough to cover Holly and our doctor too. There is no real explanation for why the fistula occur. And if even if we follow the doctor's orders after surgery to protect the stitches to the letter, there is no guarantee that fistula won't occur anyway. I can't carry this worry. I can't control it either.

Jesus' arms will have to be big enough to cover them both, every day, any way.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heartaches

The feedjit box at the bottom of the blog is one of my favorite things. I love to scroll through the live feed box and see what people searched on that brought to this site.

Everytime though, that I see the search phrase "baby distended belly" or "baby cries all the time" or "baby allergy", my heart aches.

I know you. I have been you. Searching for answers. Wondering why the doctors won't offer any reasonable, believable advice. Why am I having to search the internet for answers? Why do I get that "as long as she is growing, she is fine" speech, even now. When we all know now, she is not quite fine? Better, way better. But not fine.

If you are reading this because you are looking for answers, don't give up. Your baby is counting on you. Be persistent. Can you imagine a doctor telling an adult who is crying all the time, and has a distended belly, and a rash across their chest, and can't have a BM without medicine, and coughs alot and has a constant runny nose: "You're not losing weight, so you are fine. Goodbye." I don't think so.

As the mother of four precious children. I seen countless ear infections, temper tantrums, and loads of spit-up. But nothing like what Holly went through those first few months.

Bottom line: Babies cry for 4 reasons: hungry, tired, wet diaper or burp. Otherwise something is wrong. If your child has any of the symptons I have mentioned, keep looking for answers. And know that you are in my prayers for God to send you the Spirit of wisdom to guide and protect you and your child.

Antique Roadshow?

Twelve years ago, I quit my corporate job to become a SAHM. At that time, we just had Lee Allison. When I went to purchase a play yard at Toys 'R Us, it was an "investment" at the time. I think I paid about $70 or $80 dollars. Twelve years ago.


I loved that baby gate. It was brightly colored, had six pieces, plus a few toys that popped in and out of the frame. It fit just right across the width of my living room, protecting "the good furniture." Which wasn't much, believe me.


Lee played in that gate, Anna and her good friend Thomas played in the gate. When we moved and Bill learned to crawl, we set the gate up on the back porch, just for fun. And he played with the gate.


It is gate time for Holly Marie. We are now calling her Little One Feather. (Maybe because her hair has a habit of sticking straight up?)


I logged on to ebay to see if I could find a similar gate. I found the exact same one! Since the company has discontinued making this product, and EVERYONE knows it is such a good thing, these gates are going for $100 -$200 PLUS shipping! I can't believe it. Even the ones that are broken and missing pieces are listed at $89. Did I say these are 12 years old?
I do have really great pictures of each child, as a baby playing in the gate. Those are safely scrapbooked in baby albums. These pictures get the point across. I loved that gate.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life at The Marsh Mellow

Almost like it was a dream! Were we really there just yesterday?