Thursday, August 28, 2008


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?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho to the Beach We Go!

Trying to get a picture of me and Holly, using the timer on our camera.
We are getting ready to go on a loooong awaited family trip. To prepare, I searched the net for advice on traveling with a baby with GERD (or Reflux). Can you believe the actual advice on the Infant GERD site was: don't go. Wait until next year.
In the beginning, I may have agreed. Holly could barely sit in a car seat to drive for 10 minutes. But she was still an infant too. Now, with the Reflux somewhat under control, and with a few short road trips behind us, I would never dream of waiting longer for this trip.
Meet my friend, Diana. Her son, now 10 years old, must have had GERD. But back then no one knew what that was. Oh, Thomas cried and cried and cried. My heart broke for them both. Thinking about today still makes me sad for them! But this did not stop Diana. Her motto: Why should I suffer alone? Let's go!
Good advice. Why stay at home with everyone miserable AND alone? Go!
Tips for traveling with a baby with GERD: Make sure you bring the baby's medicine, and Mylicon too. Plan to stop often. Try to time your driving with sleeping if possible. A Tucker Sling will fit over the pack and play mattress, bring it. This won't be the easiest trip we've ever taken, but wait till next year? No way. Holly will do exactly the same things at the beach that she is doing here. Let's go!
Unless there are other things (like surgery and recovery) in your way, a change of scenery is really a good idea. If your baby has GERD, take a few minutes to think about it. Where can you go? How far can you drive? What can you manage? It is possible!
Most of all think: Trip not Vacation. The change of scenery will do everyone good. Most of all you (and me!). It may not be the family vacation you see in the commericals, but family trips are fun too!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Surgery Date

Made it to the plastic surgeon and home, safe and sound. Holly's third surgery date is Wednesday, October 8th. I think this will be a morning appointment. Sure hope so. The first two were afternoon, made for really long hard days. Either way, glad to have the date.


Not for the faint of heart, but in need of serious conversion and prayer:

Ecuador, All involved with the report on the effects of abortion on women, and all the women considering abortion in New York City.

Simply Cake

I love really simple dessert ideas. Especially to take to a gathering. This one is more Sandra Lee's Semi-homemade, than Martha Stewart. But it is soooo good:

Buy a really, really good Angel Food cake. Maybe from a local bakery.

Cut the cake horizontally in 2 layers.

Mix 12 oz Cool Whip, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 small carton of flavored yogurt.

Ice the cake! Yum! My favorite variation is raspberry yogurt, with raspberries on top of the cake. Second is lemon.

(You could use real whipped cream instead. I haven't tried that though. Wouldn't that be decadent!)

Have you seen the news about Julia Child today? In similar news, a Tarheel, George Watts Hill is featured in Our State magazine. The article ends with the note that the James Bond character "Q" is based on Mr. Hill's role in espionage during the War.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tidbits and Updates

I have started a few posts, but never got to finish them, so I will just put a summary here:

  • Holly's Summer has included 1 Surgery, 2 ear infections and 1 case of thrush. In addition to many hours of fun watching and playing with her brother and sisters. As for my hope that July would be "doctor's office free", not quite. Anyway, including tomorrow's visit to the plastic surgeon we will have made 5 visits in 7 days.
  • I am beginning to feel like I need a disclaimer that says I don't have that weird syndrome where mothers bring babies to the doctor for their own personal attention. At this point with Holly, when a doctor/nurse asks, "Is she doing better?" I just say "I don't know, would you please check her ears." That's all I want. I need that darn light and a short class on the color of a normal ear drum.
  • What you say to a doctor is not as important as HOW you say it. I made the mistake of using the word "reflux". Should have used "acid". Got a long lecture on how there-is-absolutely-no-medicine-on-the-market-today-to-treat-reflux-in-any-possible-way. Did learn that a common cold can increase the ACID in a baby's stomach. (Note to self: use ACID from now on. Also, avoid saying "spit up". That is automatically dismissed as "my laundry problem" not an actual painful thing for Holly. Hey, how often do you "happily spit up" your supper?)
  • The balance of power has shifted in the yard. We are finally seeing the more beautiful side of Mother Nature. Once the wasp population was drastically reduced, we have gotten to see birds, butterflies and all sorts of beetles return to the yard. Who knew? The wasps are not completely gone. At least I can sit by the swing with the children and relax a little.
  • Fruit flys: Check. Little Black Ants: Check. Mom improved my vinegar solution by one ingenious step. Soak a towel, or paper towel, with white vinegar. Place that where the ants are coming in. Haven't had anymore since.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful weather today, stopping by to visit friends and family and ending the day at the neighborhood pool. Hope the rest of summer is as nice for us and you too!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

C is for Cookie

That's good enough for me. I have been missing the opportunity to bake lately, especially cookies. Rolled, iced cookies take a little more time than I have right now. Just to remind me that there is more to my life than Curious George:

These two sets of cookies were for an engagement party:

These are my all time favorite, made for my parents Golden Anniversary!

And finally, just because I had forgotton how cute this cake was! My nephew, JP, outgrew me this year and requested a "professional" cake from the store. I can't compete with a cake that has a Batman, that actually flies :-)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Got Boys?

What happens if you use your hand as a bat and a rock for a ball?
Eventually your fingernail will fall off.
Here's the daredevil looking more darling than devilish:
See Holly, this is how you do stick out your tongue
Look Mom, I can do it. Bill showed me how!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

National Craniofacial Awareness Month

In honor of National Craniofacial Awareness Month, this September, I have so boldly "borrowed" this video from Ellie's website (thank you!).

In addition, I would like to invite any cleft-affected families that can to join ours at Dan Nicholas Park in September. If you are interested, watch this blog. I'll post dates and details as I can.

God Bless Joliet and Julia Grace who both have surgery coming up in the next several weeks.

Clean Your Plate Debate

In repsonse to the 2 Bites post, one reader remarked: I can't do that. My mother's voice is always in my ear: "Clean your plate. Don't waste food. There are people starving in this world."It's like a curse.

Thank you for bringing that up! Here are some practical ways to achieve the goal without actually wasting food.
  • The two bites don't have to be the last two bites, it can be the first. So, spoon two bites back into the pot.
  • Or take an even smaller portion than you planned in the first place.
  • As for a sandwich, make half a sandwich to start with.
  • And finally, if you are in a restaurant, ask for a to go box first. Put half in the box immediately and enjoy it later.

That's for grownups. As for our children and what to teach them? Any food allergies or medical difficulties aside, go with less is more. Put a smaller amount on their plate to begin with and assure them that if they eat all that first, of course they can have more. You will increase the likelihood that the plate is actually clean and decrease the amount scraped into the trash. And you won't have to pass on "the curse."

More on the "clean your plate" in theory later.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Back in January, when we began using the Medela Special Needs feeder in earnest, I did not believe that Holly would ever in a million years improve in her ability to swallow.

Not in a million years.

I am some what cautious in typing this next line, but here goes: Holly can drink out of an old split wide open Haberman nipple.

To all those Cleft Talk and Cleft Advocate moms that told me to save the old ones, you were right! I can't believe it. But you were right! I think that I have placed my last order for replacement parts.

Just don't tell Holly!

Two Bites = Two Pounds

That's the idea. If you leave 2 to 3 bites at EVERY meal (snack or walk through the kitchen) then you will lose 2 to 3 pounds a week.

In addition to my sacrifice focus for the week, I am thinking, is this The Bite that is going to keep me from my goal?

Instead of snacking, I have choosen to:
  1. Pray the Rosary
  2. Do one load of laundry
  3. make cupcakes for my sister
  4. pick vegetables from the garden
  5. Play with Holly on the living room floor :-)
  6. Write this note!

What can you do instead of eating and offer up 2 Bites?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How Blind Are You?

I may have mentioned that I began the Light Weigh during the summer of 2005. That would be the same year "The Biggest Loser" first aired on NBC. I remember looking at the participants as each one weighed in, the men shirtless, the women in those ill-fitting spandex outfits. So embarrassing.

But more than the clothing, I remember saying to Lee, "Do you see that woman? I weigh what she weighs. Do I look like that?" Smart man that he is, he said "No." But facts is facts. And Satan is the great deceiver. I must have looked like that. Shortly after that night, my mom gave me a picture of me and a high school friend, Yvonne. She was 9 months pregnant, I was not. I threw the picture away.

All season, I watched intently the weekly weigh-ins. I was not going through what those people were. But I was still losing the weight. At the end of my 3 - 12 week sessions of Light Weigh I had lost 10 more pounds than Andre. Without walking one mile or counting fat grams or calories. I admired what those people were doing to change their lives, it took a great amount of courage and perserverance. At the same time, I was very grateful God had not called me to that path to achieve weight loss!

But Satan waits at the other end of the scale too. I wonder if I will ever trust my own reflection in the mirror again. The Light Weigh lesson here is this: Satan is ok with half. He will accept your half hearted attempts, the reluctant slip-ups. Satan will accept the doubts that hold you back. But God won't. God wants the whole. The whole of YOU. Not lukewarm, but on fire for Him. Even if I don't trust what I see in the mirror, I must place whole-hearted trust in God's plan for my life. Including The Light Weigh. I must trust that God designed my body to know how to eat healthy and well. Trust that I do know when I am hungry and when I am not. Because, made in His image, I am designed that way!

The grace is knowing God wants all of me, and the path for me to find Him is not complicated or painful or difficult, it is Simply Obedience. What is the blindness in your life? Well, the answer is the same: Committ yourself to God, with as much courage and perserverance as those TV show contestants. You will find the path is simple for you too. Obey Him.

Friday, August 1, 2008

You have to see this to believe it!

I have been trying to capture our precious one on video, but have had a hard time with lighting on the "set", with some "unscripted" guest appearances. You get the idea. But this video below, I could have never planned. You may want to "pause" the music at the bottom of the blog to hear the narration.

How does your garden grow?

Yep, we did that!
By "we" I mean mostly Daddy, Anna and Bill.
With Holly, Lee A and I offering moral support and encouragement!
Holly enouraged Daddy to weed the garden (mostly because she stopped crying as long as he was digging!) Anna and Bill are our major harvesters, with Lee A interested in what's edible today! I am mostly interested in the zinnas, having always had fresh zinnas at my mom's kitchen table in the summer, thanks to my own Dad. Glad to carry on that tradition. (Thanks Lee for getting my flowers to grow so beautifully.)
With such success this summer, the farmers over here are already planning to expand next summer. Happy planning!