Friday, July 29, 2011


Today was a good day.  Monday and Tuesday I forgot to take my vitamin.  I take St. John’s Wort and it really helps with my anxiety.  Of course Bear had a terrible day on Thursday and it did not help that my vitamin hadn’t fully kicked in, so I just was on edge all day.  I’m glad to say I’m back to my easy going self today and it feels good.

Back to my topic.


It’s a hard concept in our materialistic society.  I could easily start listing the millions of things we don’t have that I certainly ogle at sometimes…

BMW X5, new technology, central air, 5 burner gas stove, tractor, etc.

The challenge in life is defining what we want versus what we need.  I may want a BMW X5, but I most certainly know that I would never waste the money buying a BMW.  It’s a vehicle, merely a tool to get from point A to point B and gas mileage and reliability are more important than pretty white pain, huge sunroofs and sleek leathery interior.  We have a newer 4 door sedan that gets 35 miles to the gallon.  It’s efficient and easy to maintain.  Having a new vehicle is something we see as a need now that we have a child.  I don’t want the constant fear of breaking down when I take Bear somewhere.  DH has a 1 hour commute each way, it is hellacious on vehicles.  His car is 9 years old and has almost 200,000 miles on it.  He will drive it till it dies (and even then possibly breathe life back into it). 

We do have a flat screen TV on our wall, and a Wii.  Why?  The TV was a gift and the Wii was a present to myself with Wii Fit about 3 years ago now.  Hubs and I have spent a lot of time playing it during the cold, harsh Midwestern winters. 

I have a flat surface stove.  When we moved in we bought new appliances.  Her refrigerator was too small for us, she had no washer and the stove was old.  There was no dishwasher.  I have a disability as a result of a major surgery 4.5 years ago and bending and reaching is very difficult for me. We chose to buy a side by side refrigerator for my comfort.  We also bought a front loader energy-efficient washer and dryer.  For my comfort we bought the pedestals for underneath (and they provide great storage!).  We got a flat surface self-cleaning stove (it was on sale as a display model) and we received a hand-me-down dishwasher free.  We shopped around quite a bit and ended up a store that sells leftover models from the previous year.  Everything was brand new and came with a warranty but we saved a lot of money by not buying the newest ones.  Also, because we bought more than 3 appliances  they gave us an additional 10% off and threw in the new power cords.  In this case we did pay a little more (for a side-by-side refrigerator and front loading appliances with pedestals) but we both deemed the value was in my comfort.  I was going to be using them everyday and if I was uncomfortable I would me less inclined.

Our home was built in 1952.  We have just over 5 acres.  Space was more important to us than a new house.  For the same money I’m sure we could have gotten a similar size house (1500sq ft) that is much newer, but on a much smaller lot.

Outside of groceries we don’t buy much.  Baby clothes are bought a season before on clearance, as are our clothes when we need it. 

Sure we all have wants, but they aren’t what bring happiness and fulfillment.  In fact when I have too many wants, I get overwhelmed.  Only having the needs (and a few wants-can we say KitchenAid ice cream maker?) is stream-lined.  It keeps our home balanced and uncluttered.

How is your home balanced wants versus needs?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Windows Live Writer

Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before?

Man this makes blogging so much easier… I was so sick of going back and forth between editing HTML and then the text itself.  This is much better!  It makes uploading pictures a snap too!  Hopefully I’ll be more inclined to put some up.

Oh, I forgot!  I was being crafty last month and decided to donate 2 quilts to the “Just Relax” fundraiser for Jen Knepper and her family.  They live close to us and are doing time in the same NICU so I felt it fitting.

Now that the fundraiser has passed it’s time to show the quilts!  I made two quilts out of the same material in honor of Evelyn and Ainsley.
Quilt AQuilt B

I used the same backing for both quilts.  I found this adorable, fun polka dot and it seemed to work perfectly with the pinks and purples.DSCN0638

I also made two sets of cloth wipes to go to the fundraiser also.  I know they were paired with other things and I thought they were a good way to introduce people to the fun of cloth diapering.  Had I known CottonBabies was going to have BumGenius AIO’s on sale I may have included 2 of those.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When did tomorrow become last week?

I can’t even say that tomorrow became yesterday because time is flying so fast.   We had house guests this past weekend and we spent some time down in Amish Country.

Mama got a new toy!  I’ve had a garage sale drying rack that I took to college with me (in 2002, and it wasn’t new then) that’s been slowly falling apart.  The plastic has dry-rotted, the legs are bent and it wobbles like crazy!  These were on special for July and we got an extra 10% off…Now I wish we had gotten 2!
Life goes so quickly lately.  Between working and therapy and the beautiful weather it seems like before I know it, it’s Monday again.

We’ve got a little Bear trying to be mobile.  His new “trick” is rolling himself up in the blanket he’s laying on and scooting/wiggling across the floor. 

Now that someone (named Bear) is finally starting to get eating (we’re on thick purees now) I’ve given up buying baby food.  I used to just buy it, he would only go through a jar or two a week and I really didn’t have the energy to make it.  Now he goes through 2-4 jars A DAY so I hated all the waste.  We went to our local grocery store and I got ripe bananas (on the last chance cart) for $0.39/lb!  I also bought him some sweet potatoes and carrots.  My biggest task is going to be getting him to try new foods.  So far MOST fruits are a go, while anything green must be poison.

Bear has adjusted well to working.  I think he naps better there than at home.  Yesterday, I baked 4 loaves of break and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (if you’re wondering, Yes, I’m still gluten-free) which was such a learning experience.  I have never kneaded bread by hand, and I haven’t made cookies without the use of a KitchenAid mixer in more than 5 years, so it was a great workout!  I received the stamp of approval and was pleased that all my effort didn’t have to go into the trash.

After days of 100* weather and higher (with the heat index, humidity was in the upper 70%) the Lord has indeed promised good.  I was treated to this beautiful sky while hanging laundry out earlier.

I was listening to the radio the other day and Gary Allan’s “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” came on.  And while it usually has me clenching my teeth at the use of “ain’t” and changing the channel as fast as I can, this time I listened.
Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart
Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day
But the struggles makes you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin' it sweet time
And I cried.  Writing it now brings a tear to my eye.  Because for me some of the most beautiful moments in my life has been the hardest, the most gut-wrenching.  I brought a beautiful baby boy into this world and he was ripped apart from me.  We were about to go home and the next thing we know we’re rushing to a NICU. 

There were days I thought of adoption because he screamed so much.  I thought that surely it meant I was a horrible, horrible mother and that someone else could be doing a much better job for him.  Then I was reassured by lots and lots of other (multiple time) parents that some babies cry no matter what we try to do for them.  And now I have this beautiful HAPPY baby boy.  The happiness took it’s own 9 months to grow, but man did it deliver.  I have struggled with becoming a mother, I have struggled with my own accomplishments and my own abilities.  I have changed my WHOLE life for one little boy.  And at the end of the day?  I’m happier.  Happier than I ever dreamed was possible.

I pray that everyone in the midst of whatever their personal struggles be, can hold onto hope that happiness WILL come.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fear. F-E.A-R. Fear.

A fun four letter word.  Fear.

It's a strange concept. Our society gives off the opinion that fear is bad.  We are supposed to be "strong women", Franklin D Roosevelt said in his inaugural speech that "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself".  Fear is equated with being cowardly. 

I do not fear fear.  I embrace fear.

Fear changes my life.  Fear motivates me to move.  Fear of the unknown, fear of complacency, fear of being closed-minded, fear of failing.

I fear for my son's future.  It keeps me going when I'm trying to work 18 hours a week, attend hours of therapy, and drive 40 minutes to the hospital for his appointments.  Also add in trying to manage insurance issues, medical bills, scheduling medical procedures, and running a home. Add in there the daily therapy stretches we do, and the responsibility of our church requirements, and there isn't much time in the day.  There are days that I'm tired.  I want nothing more than hide under the covers and forget about it all.

But I can't.  So, I think of the fearful future that could possibly lay before Bear and I jump up and get to it.

I fear being complacent. I fear never growing, changing, learning or challenging my beliefs.  It gets me motivated to volunteer, to teach Sunday School, to question my beliefs, to read, to educate myself on a new subject, to fight my for rights.  And most importantly to reevaluate myself and to become the person I dream of.

I fear being closed-minded.  I try to get to know everyone.  My life is in a difficult stage so I try to lend an ear, reach out a hand and help someone going through difficult times also.  I learn others' stories.  I want to know people with different backgrounds than my own. I want to learn so that I can receive others that way God and Jesus receive them. 

There is a fear of failing.  This is not personal failure, that could be considered hochmut (personal pride).  I fear failing my God, my husband, my son, my friends, my church, my family, my neighbours, my community, my world.  This makes me volunteer. To do better for everyone.  To be a better Christian, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better neighbour and so on.  I want to spread my joy.  I want to volunteer to help make someones life easier, I want to give and share all the blessings that have been bestowed upon my family.

Fear can be the greatest gift God gives to us and yet our post-modern society is trying to snuff it out.

Do you embrace or fear FEAR?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun

I'm becoming a lot more okay with this whole working thing.  I think it was just so shocking to my decision to stay at home that I needed time to adjust.  With that being said, we're struggling with finding the time for therapy and doctor's so I may go down to 2 or 2.5 days/week.

I got a lot of negative feedback for my choice.  My son is 13 months old and he is physically and cognitively delayed.  He plays at about the skills of a 6-9 month old.  He can push up on all fours and roll over, but he cannot sit up, crawl, pull up to stand, stand, or cruise.  He likes to play with objects that spin or make noise and his exersaucer (speaking of which, does anyone have that peapod fold up stander? is it worth it?). 

I get Bear up around 8/8:30 and he has his medicine which has to be taken on an empty stomach.  We get in the car and drive the 20 minutes down to this woman's house.  I have the back room set up for Bear to nap.  When we get there, I buckle him into his infant-toddler rocker and he plays with the toys while I pop up his pack n play and get his toys in there.  Then I come and set blankets up on the floor and set out toys.  Bear has his breakfast in the rocker and then a diaper change and a bottle.  Then he and I play on the floor. 

The woman I care for is on hospice.  She keeps having strokes and the doctors have agreed that there will be no more treatment just management.  However, she has plenty of good days where she is very cognitively alert and basically just enjoys watching Bear.  She asks lots of questions about him and asks to hold him (she lays back in a recliner so I just tuck him in the corner).  If she says she has to go the bathroom I buckle Bear in his rocker and help her in her wheelchair.  I help her stand up in the bathroom and sit back down in the wheelchair, then I push her back and help her back into her chair.  Basically, she has some dementia and at times forgets she cannot walk so she will stand up and fall.  Hence, the need of supervision.  Around 11:30 I make a quick lunch, help her into the wheelchair, push her to the table.  After lunch I push her back and help her into the chair.  She dozes on and off all day.

At some point Bear decides he wants to nap. The first day it was 1:30 PM, the second day is 1PM, and the 3rd day it was 12PM. If we're eating I just leave her in the wheelchair at the table, put him in his pack and play, turn on the sound machine and his toys and leave.  Or I wait till after she's back in her chair. 

Bear usually naps until 3 (or later) so I mop the floors, wash dishes, change bed linens, etc.  The other day I cooked a supper and cake to leave for the husband to prepare when he got home.  Basically, I just keep busy.  Sometimes I take breaks while the floors are drying and we talk, or I read a book, knit, etc.  And when Bear wakes we head home.  Sometimes I end up staying till 3:30 to let Bear sleep a bit more.  So there is very little time that Bear is strapped down and probably gets more one-on-one time with me because the lack of other toys or things to do.

So far I'm enjoying it and feel like I'm really helping the family.  It's not a forever position, as hospice is only used for people with terminal diagnoses.  And it can't be more than 20hours/week or the grant from hospice won't cover my paycheck.

We'll see how my second week goes.  My biggest problem is my piece-of-junk crockpot that shut off on Monday, and the huge thunderstorm that blew through after I decided that my laundry should hang out on the line all day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm a working mama!

I've received the offer of a part-time job taking care of an elderly woman at church.  It's more supervision than actual care and I can bring Bear to their home three days a week for 6 hours.

Then why am I feeling so guilty?  Is it because he's fighting a fever/ear infection, doesn't nap well at their home and I had to wake him up to leave yesterday, they have hardwood floors so he's not able to move around much, and I feel like I'm missing on out things with him?

I'm struggling balancing therapy and doctors appointments with this schedule, but I need to try to make it work before I throw the towel in.  I feel awful that we'll miss out on the music programs we signed up for and that we don't to go on our daily walks (she has a history of falling so she cannot be left alone).  I'm scared he's going to suffer for it.

I'm sure everyone else is out there reading this thinking that I'm overreacting and that a child won't suffer.  But, it's different.  To watch my son be delayed and trying to offer him the world to counter that, I feel like I'm making him miss out on something.  I'm really struggling with all this, to the point I haven't really slept in 2 nights now.  Hopefully as the week progress I'll feel more comfortable.

Would you do it?  We don't NEED the money, of course it would help but we're making it okay.  I did it more to help a family at church out and to get to know them better, but now part of me is regretting it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday Weekend

I got a new computer!!! I'm looking foward to all the fun and fabulous posts I can make now.

Have a happy and SAFE Fourth of July!

Our plans are pretty low-key.  Just maybe trying to swim at the lake tomorrow, and staying cool.  It's supposed to be hot and very humid.
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