Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"I'm weddy to be nice!"

Ah, know the nursery rhyme about the little girl who had a little curl...and when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was naughty?  Lily is extremes-usually good extremes, but there's no lukewarm with her.  She LOVES everything, she laughs loud, she talks loud when she's excited, which is most of the time...and she gets soooo mad!  Nothing is off-limits when it comes to her fury, especially with her words, as she can turn around typical mommy phrases ("I said NOW!" or "I mean it!"...and my current favorite "Wisten to ME!") & use them against you.  Well, language like that deserves a little trip down the hall to her rocking chair for a time out.  After a few minutes, you can guarantee she will start yelling "I'm weddy to be nice momma!"

This little girl has quite the vocabulary & practices nonstop every day.  Most of the time you can totally understand what she is saying but she has a few words like "sign-ador" (dinosaur) & "stawe-berry sortcake" (strawberry shortcake) & "cokes" (coats) that can throw you for a loop.  She's also decided she is big enough to go to school & get to wear a "packpack" because she can now sit "applesauce" (meaning she can cross her legs when sitting-apparently this is a rite of passage required in her book).

Tonight, our conversation:
"Momma, you feel good?"
"Ummm...I don't know-do I look sick?"
"Yes, you look sick, you look like you gonna throw need to go do that in the kitchen."
"Will you put me to bed then?"
"No, I'm not big enough to change you (my clothes) buuuut...I can tuck you in.  I'm not big enough to carry you but when you get littler & I get bigger I will carry you right here on my shoulder."

Happy Thanksgiving...I know I'm thankful.

There's nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
Waking to the sunlight, and being cradled by the moon
Catching fireflies at night
Building castles in the sand
Kissing Mama's face goodnight
Holding Daddy's hand
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more 

Running barefoot through the grass 

A little hide and go seek 
Being so in love, that you can hardly eat 
Dancing in the dark, when there's no one else around 
Being bundled 'neath the covers, watching snow 
Fall to the ground 
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more...
(Lyrics from How Could I Ask for More, sang by Cindy Morgan) 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Handmade Calendula Lotion

If I've learned anything with Lily's eczema it's that no one thing works for everyone...and sometimes something that worked at one time doesn't help anymore.  It's a constant tweaking process to figure out how to manage her "hurty" skin.

Fortunately for me, though I wish she didn't have this expertise, I have a dear friend who has dealt with much worse eczema with her little boy for longer than I have had to & she is a constant source of ideas & encouragement for me.  One thing she suggested that really helped is this:
Here's where you get is handmade & all natural & really works on Lilybug.  She has handmade calendula soap as well-we use both on her (just have to keep it out of her eyes).  But it's the first product that actually delivers.

This was what Lily looked like a few weeks ago:
 Now, she's almost completely clear!

(Following another suggestion from Cara, when it gets really bad we also use hydrocortizone cream, then this lotion, then apply either Vaseline or actual Crisco & that clears her up in about 2-3 days.  I just hope to maybe help another baby with this awful condition!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We...are...proud of you, I say we are PROUD of you!

Just have to give a little shout out to this bestie...after a long, uphill both ways, in the snow trek to her masters' degree, my sweet friend Nicole has finished!!  Yahoo!!!  We are looking forward to celebrating Havrilla-style!!
Congratulations's to graduation and completion and Nicolas Sparks books and having a life in the evenings again!

Love ya...

NFP works for me!

I wanted, in honor of October's Respect Life Month and for NFP awareness, to give a short-list for why my husband and I chose to use natural family planning.

1. First and foremost, we use NFP because it is required of our faith.  Being called to the vocation of marriage in the Catholic Church, we realize and embrace the reasons why our faith does not support artificial means of contraception.  This teaching has never changed (despite what some people will tell you) and as with so many other things, we see the infinite wisdom in this "rule" as helping us on our journey to Heaven, not as a bunch of old men telling us what to do.

2. It's natural...and that is a biggie.  I don't like to take medicine unless I HAVE to...being sick is one thing, but when my body is doing exactly what God intended it to do, I don't like the idea of an artificial hormone interfering.  We have such high rates of cancers in our society...I'm not taking a chance of something artificial upping my risks.  There's also the permanent fixes, but again it alters something that's working fine and some of the research out there (especially with men) is pretty scary.  WHY risk it?

3. It's spicy!  'Nuff said!  Heehee!!!

4. It was a BIG ah-ha moment for me when we found out we were going to be blessed with Ava.  I've said before that I would never have "planned"-a.k.a. using contraception-our family this way.  I almost cry when I think that Ava wouldn't be here if we weren't open to God's plan for our family!  Who am I to say "you know, Lily was a difficult pregnancy...I was overwhelmed, felt awful, had a very low-lying placenta that caused me many nights of no sleep while I was scared to death thinking of my doctor cutting through it and me bleeding out on the table (yes, I can be dramatic), so I think we're done."  Our family would be incomplete.  It's scary-I'll give you that...especially as one gets older, but I just have to trust in God and know that a careful, safe life will be lacking blessings I couldn't take a chance on receiving.  If you hold on so tight to everything that means anything to you, you have a have to be willing to open that fist and let God give you more.

5. My husband and I work together on this-it's not my responsibility alone.  And that brings me back to point #3.

6. It's FREE!!  Who can complain about that one in this economy???

7. I absolutely love the look on people's faces when I say "probably not!" to their question...Are you done?

8. It's effective...really, it is.  Like 99% effective (which is better than most contraceptives).  A lot of times the reason you see large families that use NFP is because we embrace the idea of being more open to life.  It says nothing for the effectiveness of the method.

I'm not judging anyone, I'm just telling you why it works for US...please keep that in mind if you decide to comment!

PDFs you might be interested in:
Humanae Vitae
Evangelium Vitae
Life Giving Love

Books that helped us with this teaching:
Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn
Good News by Christopher West

If you are interested in the method we use, please visit this site: Creighton Model.  It does require education on your part from a qualified instructor that meets with you (a lot at first) so that you know what you are doing, making the method that much more effective.  The beauty of the Creighton Model is the doctor that developed it has made AMAZING strides in helping women become pregnant as well...without typical methods.  

By Request

Ok, the mommies & I were talking today...and I promised to take pictures of my baby wipes, with directions.  This isn't something I came up with, I just looked around on the internet...but my main motivation was because Lilybug has VERY sensitive skin (with horrible eczema) & always had diaper rash.  Once I started using the homemade wipes her baby bottom cleared up!

I have several friends that use cloth diapers & I admire them-after making my own wipes, I would even consider making the switch completely but at this stage in the game, it doesn't make sense to me.  That said, using cloth wipes is a breeze, saves some money & will really help with diaper rashes!!

So, in true Pioneer Woman fashion (though not anywhere as beautiful as hers!), I'm including photos with my directions...starting with the wipes.  The easiest, fastest thing to do is buy the Gerber 8 pk of washcloths.  These are the thin ones that come packaged like this:
The cheapest thing to do is make your own out of flannel.  Plus, they are cuter & we all know that's important when it comes to wiping babies bottoms.  This might be a good time to point out that you might like darker fabrics or ones with a print because they can become stained (why did I pick the yellow one??).
You can buy a quarter of a yard of flannel & make either 6 or 8 (can't remember) washcloths for a little over a dollar.  Just cut them in either 8x8 or 9x9 squares (I think the 8x8 fits better in the case) & sew around them with a sewing maching-I used the serger-like setting on my machine but I think zig-zag would work.  Some sites talked about doubling the fabric, but I left mine a single layer of fabric-again, it was easier to make & I like the thinner feel.

They fit perfect in your wipes case that you already have!!  However, the pop-up function will be disabled.  Heehee...

Next, you have to have a convenient way to keep up with the dirties.  I have this hanging by the changing table so that putting the dirty ones in there is easy.  It's a small wet bag that you might use for cloth diaper changes away from home.  You can get them at Amazon as a two pack in different colors for $10.  I like having two because I have 2 complete sets of wipes.  One that I'm using & are in the wet bag, then another complete set washed & ready to go so that in literally 1 minute I have wipes ready.  Depending on the age of your baby, you will need more or less wipes-I would estimate that I have 20 in each stack & go through them within a couple of days now that I only have 1 baby bottom to wipe.  If you have too many wet at a time, they get musty.

 It has a drawstring on it so that it stays closed & there is absolutely NO odor.

As for the solution...there are SO many "recipes" out there!  I chose a simple one & modified it.  Diaper Jungle had a bunch of them if you are interested.  I take a very precise measuring tool-my kitchen tablespoon-for measuring.  Haha!

Measure 2 cups of hot water into a container.  (Being hot helps the oil blend)  Then mix 2 tablespoons of baby oil, 1 tablespoon of baby soap together.  

I also throw in a few drops of these-tea tree oil & something else (it was my mom's) that is peace & calming.  The tea tree oil has healing qualities in it as well as helping keep the wipes from smelling musty.
Final notes...when I run out of that stack of wipes, I take the wet bag & dump the wipes into the washer with the bag & do a short wash with laundry soap & a tad bit of bleach (that's more for me than anything)-I never combine this load with anything else simply because it makes folding them a BREEZE.  No sorting out wipes from undies, socks & inside shirts.  It has to be easy or I won't do it!  I also take Clorox spray & sanitize the inside of the wipes container just to keep down the musty smell-not a problem, but I don't want it to become one!

And, I wondered at first what the hubby would think of this switch since he's only ever known throw away everything-he really likes them as well (as much as a man can care about wipes!).  He said & I agree that one usually gets even the big jobs done & it's so easy, it's hardly different than using the throw aways!

Any questions...leave them in the comments & I'll address them!  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Practice, practice

To practice for this:
 Which was tons of fun, I will say!
Decided on this night that being on this side of the camera is a whole lot more fun...and less sweaty.  Why does having my pictures made make me perspire profusely?  I don't get nervous, I just think it's a work out!  I'll go back to my standby of blaming my 4 kids for this...if they would cooperate & sit still & SMILE dad-gum-it, I don't think I would sweat.  Anyway, this precious family made taking pictures a breeze!

But, back to where I practice for this, Keri & I took the kids to the park for me to get some ideas (& have her help with suggesting backdrops).  Since we have a *few* kids, plus I had a couple extra on me that day, I had some "willing" photo subjects.  They were a hoot!

And then there were some more serious ones...

I love freckles...especially on this sweet little boy!  They fit him like a favorite shirt...

Hard to believe this beautiful young lady was once three years old...and had an idea that it would be fun to make my then-toddler (Macy) into a clown...with permanent markers.  I still chuckle when I think about that...I remember her mom sending me an email, and her scrubbing with everything gentle she could think of to remove it...and then me having to act "stern" so that Camryn wouldn't think it was a good idea!  So funny!

Babies grow into toddlers, and toddlers turn into the blink of an eye.  I pray that these beautiful girls (both inside and out!) will be forever close as I am close to their mommas-our children need good, Godly influences in their lives, surround them with them whenever you can!

Jokingly, we have "ADHD weather" around changes so quickly, but we are blessed with 4 completely different seasons.  You might experience several "seasons" in one day, but variety is the name of the game & I can't imagine living somewhere where you had boring 75 degree weather every single day!
This scene was completely different last Friday, when we got our first (early!) BIG snow of the season.  Wow, did it snow-big, huge, catch-them-on-your-tongue flakes that followed a downpour.  It was wet, people...and because it came so early & was so heavy, it unfortunately broke major branches on beautiful trees that are hard to come by in these parts.

We woke to several inches that day with it still falling heavily.  Lily opened the front door, took one look & said, "Ohhh, my gosh, MOMMA!  I think I want to play in THAT!"  I love toddlers.

Serving others

This past week, my little altar circle prepared a meal & delivered it to the local Ronald McDonald House.  We made yummy taco soup on the very first snow of the season and it was very good!

We were given a tour of the facilities and everyone there-from the staff to the people staying there-were so kind and friendly, so appreciative...made you feel like rock stars!  I was most impressed with the people that we cooked the meal for-they were staying in a foreign facility with a baby or child that was sick, really sick, and they had the time to be friendly.  I don't know how I would be in that situation, but completely focused on your child would be expected and accepted...these families were quick to offer to help & were heavy on the compliments & praise.

As we listened to the stories of the babies & saw their pictures on the walls, I gave thanks to God again for my easy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Get Away

Keri & I, because we have the most awesome hubbies around, got to sneak away to the mountains for some time away...mommies need that just once in a great while to keep US awesome.  My husband had suggested it, knowing how beautiful the trees were and seeing it as an opportunity to practice taking pictures.  

So, we take off...turning what is usually a five hour max drive into a seven hour drive, because that's how we roll.  As we are rounding the last turn of the pass into my favorite, quiet little town, we see snowfall in the headlights. And it was...perfect. Not planned, but perfect.

In the dark, we hop out of the car and I am immediately hit with that most glorious smell of the mountains...and I breathe DEEP.  It can't be bottled, or put in a candle, or reproduced right.  You have to GO there to smell the pines and the mountains and the crisp, cold air.  It always makes me think of another favorite little mountain town where my grandparents used to live-fun memories tied to that smell.

So, this is how we started the morning:
 Really, what else do you need?

Did I mention it was cold?  That needle never moved beyond the 40, but it was welcome.  I was tired of the Texas heat (even our Fall has been a tad on the warm side) and couldn't wait to put on my new hoodie and sit by the fire-a LOT.

So, my Fall foliage pictures turned into what?  Winter pictures?  Kind of a combination of the two.  But it didn't matter...I just wanted to take some pictures and have fun!

As a kid, it seemed like we always went to the mountains and I didn't appreciate it then but a seed was planted in my soul and these mountains are my favorite place to go now.  I hope our kids will always love going too!  Eh, they won't have a choice, now will they?!

If a chef's assistant is called a sou chef, is a photographer's assistant called a sou tog?  Just matter, Keri was there to help me!  And, she filled the most important role perfectly-being interested!  My sweet husband SO would not have cared to have a discussion with me on what my f-stop was just then & what do I need to change to fix that shot.  It's all good!

I also helped her with a little project she's planning to do...I can't wait to see how it turns out!

After relaxing, watching chick-flicks, painting toes, reading books, and cooking in peace for 2 days, it was time to return to our precious families...and Texas was waiting for us with a beautiful sunset of it's own.