Saturday, November 10, 2012

Maple and Avett's Story

     In May of 2011 Ryan and I were informed that if we wanted any more children we should go ahead and try.  I have had endometriosis for years, and I was having surgery once a year to remove it in order to maintain fertility and to help with my pain.  After a couple of months of trying to become pregnant and having no expectations, I got the feeling that I could be pregnant.

     A few days before Father's Day I decided to take a pregnancy test.  It was a little early to take one (I hadn't even missed my period yet), but my boobs were hurting, I had heart burn, and I was nauseated all the time, so I whipped out the pee stick and did my thing. I set it down on the counter, and before I even looked away to flush the toilet, I saw a faint pink line.  I almost hit the floor in disbelief even though every part of my body was screaming "PREGNANT!" I still thought it was too good to be true.

     So, now to call and make my doctors appointment and tell Ryan.  I called the doc and made my appointment for a week later and then began pondering when and how to tell Ryan.  I thought about waiting to tell Ryan on Father's Day, but there was no way I was gonna wait that long. So I wrapped the test up in a box and laid it next to Ryan's pillow.  He woke up and saw me and the box staring him in the face.  He took his time opening the box up asking what the present was for.  I said "consider it an early Father's Day present."  He looked in the box and then looked at me, and we both smiled with excitement.

     We decided to wait to tell Ryan's family after the ultrasound.  We decided to go ahead and tell my parent's in a few days, because they were going out of town. My parents had invited us over for dinner, so we decided I would wear a tank top that said "My Eggo Is Preggo".  When they finally noticed it, they were super excited.  We swore them to secrecy until we had told everyone else.  Days passed pretty quickly and before we knew it it was ultrasound time.  Earlier in the week I had briefly considered the possibility of being pregnant with twins for no other reason than early symptoms and just a feeling I had, but it was most definitely a brief thought.  The nurse called me back to the ultrasound room and got me set up.  My doctor, Sherri, began to do the ultrasound and told us that it's a little early, so we may not see a heart beat yet.  As she searched for the baby I noticed several times that there were two black things flickering in there and thought to myself no way that there are two in there...we didn't even know if we could conceive one.  Then I looked at Ryan and the Doctor said "uh oh guys!" Worry immediately entered Ryan's face.  "Whats wrong?", Ryan asked. "There are two", she said.  Instantly Ryan's jaw dropped and his face turned white as a ghost.  Silence.........then the Doctor and I began to laugh together, and I grabbed Ryan's hand (not only because I was happy but also for fear that he was going to pass out).  We both were in total shock.  Tears of happiness were in my eyes and an overwhelming feeling of being blessed radiated through my body.  Ryan was still silent and in shock.  After days of Ryan not knowing how to process this information, he finally became just as excited as I was.  We couldn't believe how God had blessed us.  We still had to tell Ryan's parents, who didn't even know I was pregnant.  I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say everyone was SHOCKED!

     For the first 3 months of my pregnancy I stayed glued to the couch puking my guts out.  My mom took me to the ER after I had thrown up all day and couldn't seem to get it to stop.  I remember that ER room was so cold that I couldn't stop shaking, so my mom crawled in bed with me to keep me warm. I had to spend one week in the hospital to be treated for dehydration.  When I hit the 15 week mark I began having about 4-5 contractions an hour.  My doctor and I decided not to risk early labor and put me on light bed rest.  More weeks passed, and when I was about 24 weeks along, the contractions got stronger and stronger until I finally decided to call my doctor. She told me to come on in to the office and she would see what was happening.  She put me on the monitor and said, "Okay girl, I don't like what I see.  Lets take you to the hospital."

On November 11, 2011, I checked into the hospital room that would be my home for the next 9 weeks.  When we first checked in we had no clue how long our stay would be.  At first, the doctors didn't know if I would reach the stage of viability for our babies. They told me that we needed to at least make it to 28 week gestation, so we all began to pray for that.

Mom trying to stay warm in my cold room.
Don't be mad mom I had to share this picture :)
On a normal day I had anywhere from 10 to 16 contractions an hour.  On November 13, I had my first experience with being on Mag to try and control the contractions. My contractions had gotten pretty intense, and the terbutaline shots were not controlling them very well anymore, so the on call Doc decided it was best to put me on the dreaded Mag. With my husband by my side, I made it through okay.  I'm not gonna lie.  It was definitely not a walk in the park, but it did it's job, and for that i'm grateful.  When the nurse hung the first bolus of the Mag I remember my body felt as if it was on fire.  For the next few days my complexion remained ashy, my eyes burned, and I stayed nauseous. I am a little fuzzy on how long I was on it, but I remember it was NOT the most pleasant experience...that is for sure.  My first experience with being on the mag did not prepare me for what the second time would be like.  The second time is not quite as vague in my memory.  I remember I had just taken a shower and layed down in my new comfy pjs my cousin Tanya had brought me.  I had just talked to my mother in law, Kathy, and she was on her way.  The on-call doctor had come in my room with my nurse and said she didn't like what was happening with my contractions.  I was having about 12 hard contractions an hour.  He examined me, and I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced.  Off to labor and delivery I went.  I gave my mom a call, and my husband was in class. Mom was on her way, and Ryan would show up after he got out of class. We were all expecting it to be somewhat like the previous experience with the mag.  Boy were we wrong. They got me all set up, and were getting ready to do the first bolus of mag, and I asked for them to wait until my mother in law got there, so they did.

Kathy trying to stay warm in my cold room
  They hung the first bolus of mag, and I handled it just how I expected.  Kathy laid cool wash cloths on my head to help me not feel so on fire.  When my mom got there, they began to hang the second bag.  That is when I started to throw up.  Over and over, I threw up. My mom said my face was grey, my eyes where squinty, and I literally looked like death . . . . ha ha ha.  That night my nurse was Jennifer, and man am I glad I had a nurse that knew me well.  Jennifer had taken care of me a lot.  As the night went on I vaguely remember trying to talk and nothing but mumbling would come out.  At one point I remember having to pee really bad.  I kept trying to yell at Kathy to wake her up so she could help me go to the bathroom, but I'm sure what I thought was yelling was really just a mumble.  I remember seeing a washcloth next to me, so I picked it up and threw it as far as I could, but it only made it to the foot of the bed.  Luckily,  Jennifer walked in to check on me and help me go to the bathroom.  God bless her :)  The next day I was still feeling pretty yucky.  Now, what I am about to tell you may be a little bit of information you may not want to hear, but I must give credit where credit is due.  My best friend in the whole world, Desiree Rowe, came by to visit and wouldn't you know it, I had to go to the bathroom yet again.  Since being on the mag makes your legs not work, I had a bedside potty.  So here I am with my best friend and mother in law talking to me while I used the bathroom.  When I was done Kathy and Desiree helped me back to bed.  Kathy began to clean out my potty chair. While she could have waited for the nurse to do it, she chose to clean it anyway.  Now that is love!  Sorry for the gory details, but I had to share.  Let me just say a quick thank you to Desiree Rowe.  She texted me every single day to check in and send words of laughter and encouragement. I am blessed to have her as a friend.

Over the weeks that followed I spent Thanksgiving, Levon's 3rd birthday, Christmas, and New Years in hospital room 2109.  We partied it up and made the best of it. I had frequent visits from Levon...all of which where sooooo wonderful.  He would stay all night and sleep in my hospital bed with me on occasion, and I loved every minute of it.  On Christmas eve my nurse, Heather, made special cookies for Levon to leave for Santa. That was so special.  Being away from him was so hard I can't begin to describe it.  I was being the best mom I could be by following orders and staying in bed in the hospital to get Avett and Maple here safely, but at the same time, I felt extremely guilty for not being with Levon.  Ryan was working and going to nursing school and trying to take care of Levon and me.  He was so awesome and by far the best husband in the world.  He had all this to deal with and still got A's in school.  He is such a smarty pants.  Thankfully, our families are wonderful and helped in every way they could, taking shifts between staying with me and Levon.  God has really blessed me with a family so willing to help.
   He also blessed me with one of my oldest friends, Anna, who not only came to visit but, baked me brownies and brought me a soft zebra blanket that Levon actually still uses.





Levon's 3rd birthday
Maple and Avett partied it up in utero!
Christmas Eve snuggles
One of my wonderful nurses, Dawn, Brought me a Christmas tree for my room.  


 Levon loved to snuggle in bed with me :) It was the best part of my week when I got to see him.



   On the evening of January 13th I began to have trouble breathing. Not extreme trouble but a little bit.  I also began to cough a lot.  Turned out I was having a reaction to the meds that were controlling my contractions.  I had been contracting a lot for the past couple of days. The doctor took me off the meds, so of course my contractions kept on going.  Our friend Dale brought me my craving of extra wet medium wings from BW3s and hung out for a bit. He hung out until midnight or close to it and went home.  I got my pj's on and laid in the bed, rolled over to my left side, and then miss Maple got the hiccups...she had 3 hiccups in a row and "POP" my water most definitely broke.  I called out to the nurses station where 3 of my favorite nurses were hanging out and said my water had broken, but they thought I was kidding.  So Heather, Dawn, and Jennifer came back to my room and said "are you sure you didn't just pee?" I proceeded to show them the puddle I was lying in.  Off to labor and delivery I went. . . . . As I was being rolled down the hall, I made my phone call to Ryan, who was working that night.  He answered the phone. . ."You're in labor aren't you?" 

Ryan made it there very quickly. I was so excited he was able to be there.  My best friend in the world, Desiree,  also made it in time to take awesome photos. My mom barely made it there in time.  My dad was at home with Levon.  My in-laws would have made it there if Garry hadn't fallen back asleep after Ryan called him. . . . way to go Garry ;) 

For the life of me, I cant remember my L&D nurses name, but she was awesome. I had prayed and prayed that I would get to have these babies naturally without any drugs, but that was gonna be tricky. A lot of things had to happen. They both had to be head down, and I had to be far enough along not to have to worry about one of them getting a brain bleed.  So the doctor on call was Dr. Loof. He came in to see how far along I was.  He checked me, and if memory serves me right, I went from 5 to complete in 30 minutes or so.  After he examined me I knew it was time to get this show on the road. He left to get things ready, and he no more than got out the door when I said "you better check me again, because it feels like Maple is coming out." So one peek and he frantically told the nurse to get me to the operating room. You know when you watch a movie of a woman in labor and see the husband doctors and nurses frantically wheeling her down the hall in her bed???? That's what happened. It was hilarious! 
I had to be taken to the OR in case I needed an emergency C-section. They wheeled me in to the OR and wouldn't let Ryan or Desiree in. After they got Ryan masked up, he finally came in. Desiree had to give him her camera to capture some pictures. The doctor told the nurse, "Get her ready for an epidural", and the nurse quickly responded "She doesn't want an epidural". He yelled "What!" As he was freaking out, I told the nurse that Maple was coming out right now, so she checked and yelled out for Dr. Loof.  He turned around and quickly grabbed miss Maple.  They quickly did an ultrasound to make sure Avett was also head down, and I remember someone saying, "he's squirming, but he is head down". With that the doctor told me to push a few times and out came wiry Avett. I got to hold them both for a second before they where rushed off to the NICU. They both were very healthy and only spent a couple of weeks in the NICU.
    I first got to hold Maple.  She was so tiny and precious, she made this sweet little puppy like whimper.  To this day she still makes that whimpering sound.  They quickly scooped her up and handed me Avett.  He was equally precious and tiny but had a little more spunk.  He was grumbling and making this face at me like "put me back in there!"  Oh, how hard it was to watch them wheel my sweet babies away. But I knew they where in great hands.  God had given us all the strength to make it this far, I knew He would take care of my sweet little babies.  I wasn't able to breastfeed them at first obviously, but I was able to pump like crazy and take milk to them down to the NICU.  I am so blessed that they where able to breastfeed throughout their stay at the NICU.  To this day I continue to solely breastfeed them.  I am so grateful I have had enough milk to keep feeding the both of them.
Holding Maple 4 lbs. 5 oz. 

Holding Avett 4 lbs. 7 oz. 

4 days after Avett and Maple were born I left the hospital and headed home.  The moment I had waited for so long was here. I got to walk in my house and hug my Levon.  I opened the front door to the happiest 3 year old ever.  He said, "MOMMY, I knew you'd come home!" and gave me the best hug ever!!!!! Tears of happiness ran down my face...I was finally home. The only thing missing was Maple and Avett, but they would be home soon enough.
 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade cleaning supplies


I love to make my own house hold cleaners. not only is it cheap but its safe. Especially if you have kids.  
White vinegar has so many uses. One of my favorite is to remove smoke odor from wood kitchen cabinets. When we bought our house the previous owners smoked so we painted and cleaned but we still had a smoke smell in our kitchen cabinets.  We poured straight white vinegar in a spray bottle and covered every inch of the cabinets with it.  We haven't smelt smoke since.
White vinegar dissolves dirt, soap scum, grease and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces, yet is gentle enough to use in solution to clean hardwood flooring.

White vinegar is a natural deodorizer, absorbing odors instead of covering them up. I like to add tea tree essential oil not only is it a natural anti fungal and anti bacterial but it smells good too.


Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Mix in a sprayer bottle:
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 drops Tea tree essential oil (not a necessary ingredient but I like using it)

  White vinegar can be used to clean soap residue, bathtub film,  and toilet bowl stains.  3 cups of white  distilled vinegar will deodorize your toilet if left for 1/2 hour.  
  
Toilet bowl soap scum scrub
  Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar.
  Pour into bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Scrub.




Furniture Polish Recipe

Mix in a sprayer bottle:
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
Shake well and apply a small amount to a flannel cleaning rag or cleaning cloth. Spread evenly over furniture surface. Turn cloth to a dry side and polish dry.

Awesome window\glass mirror cleaner
Equal parts: Rubbing alcohol and water
*also good for cleaning crayon marks of the wall. Use with caution it might fade paint. It hasn't happened to me but its possible.

Computer and iPhone cleaner
Place a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a soft dry cloth and lightly clean. Alcohol is very quick drying so its perfect for computers and iPhones.
Thanks so much for reading!









Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lead in children's juice boxes.

According to a recent news letter from Delicious Living Magazine, the Enviromental Law Foundation has found lead in a variety of children's juice box drinks, baby food, and fruit cocktail.  Why can't we just have safe and healthy food?  This is sad that we should even have to worry about this. Thats just this Momma's opinion though. 

Here is the article: 

Toxic news: Lead found in children’s juice boxes

According to a report filed by the Oakland-based Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), the toxic chemical lead has been found in a variety of children’s and baby foods, including apple juice, grape juice, packaged pears and peaches (including baby food), and fruit cocktail.

ELF tested scores of brands and found that just one serving of several of the products would put children age six and younger over the daily limit for lead. Specifically, for the tainted products, one or more samples exceeded California’s Prop. 65 limit of 0.5 micrograms of lead per serving.

About 85 percent of products tested had high levels of lead, including organic products.

Products with excess lead included:

Gerber 100% Juice Apple Juice

Earth’s Best Organics Apple Juice

O Organics Organic Grape Juice from concentrate

R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord

Del Monte Diced Pears in Light Syrup

Gerber 3rd Foods Peaches [Baby Food]

Safeway Lite Fruit Cocktail in Pear Juice

Products that tested under the limits included:

Eating Right Kids Diced Peaches in Extra Light Syrup

R.W. Knudsen Organic Apple Juice unfiltered

Tree Top 100% Apple Juice.

Experts agree that there is no safe level for lead exposure. The toxic chemical accumulates in the body from every exposure over time. “Lead exposure among children is a particular concern because their developing bodies absorb lead at a higher rate and because children are particularly sensitive to lead’s toxic effects, including decreased IQ,” said toxicologist Barbara G. Callahan, PhD, DABT, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in ELF’s press release. According to the group, lead has been and continues to be released into the environment from decades of lead-based pesticide application, use of leaded gasoline and lead paint, and burning of coal in power plants.

ELF has previously found balsamic vinegar samples to have excessive lead levels. Spectrum Organics responded to that lawsuit by stating lead was naturally occurring in soils in the Modena region of Italy, where most balsamics come from. Spectrums’s website also said, “Based on the Company’s tests, a person would need to consume somewhere between 1.3-2.6 cups (270-630ml) daily of the Company’s various vinegar products to reach the Proposition 65 lead level.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cool off in the heat and make your own popsicles!!!!

Instead of buying my son Levon popsicles that are not very nutritious I decided to make him some popsicles.  By making them I know exactly what ingredients are in them and they actually have nutritional  value as opposed to the alternative.  Here are the steps. . .

Step 1

Buy a popsicle container.



















We found ours at Target. Click here to see pricing on one similar.


Step 2

Pour liquid mixture in popsicle mold.









































Step 3

Put popsicles in the freezer.





















Wait a couple of hours or until your popsicles are frozen and ENJOY!


Here are some of my tasty homemade popsicle recipes:

Banana Orange Popsicles

   1 part pureed organic bananas
   2 part Uncle Matt's organic OJ

Mix together, pour in popsicle mold, and freeze

    Orange Creamsicle

   2-3 big scoops of organic vanilla ice cream
   3-4 cups of Uncle Matt's organic OJ

Let ice cream soften add OJ and mix well. Pour mixture in mold and freeze.

  Groovy Grape Popsicle 

Pour grape juice in mold and freeze. That doesn't really count as a recipe :)




HAVE FUN!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recall on children's over the counter medicines.

Recently a company called McNeil has initiated a recall on many of their medicines.  The reason behind the recall is that some of their products may not meet the required quality standards.


Below is a list of the products on the recall and links for detail about each product:

CLICK HERE FOR RECALL INFORMATION ON CERTAIN INFANTS' TYLENOL® AND CHILDREN'S TYLENOL® PRODUCTS.




CLICK HERE FOR RECALL INFORMATION ON CERTAIN INFANTS' MOTRIN® AND    CHILDREN'S MOTRIN® PRODUCTS


CLICK HERE FOR RECALL INFORMATION ON CERTAIN CHILDREN'S ZYRTEC® PRODUCTS

CLICK HERE FOR RECALL INFORMATION ON CERTAIN CHILDREN'S BENADRYL® PRODUCTS


CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON ALL RECALLED PRODUCTS FROM APRIL 30, 2010


CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A REFUND OR PRODUCT COUPON


CLICK HERE TO SEE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



Thanks for reading!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Handy way to feed the family fresh and sustainable food at a handy price.

     Recently we decided to take part in a local farm's CSA programs. It is community supported agriculture.  Basically we pay an up front amount for what share we want and for 22 weeks we get a box full of fresh produce and/or meat every week. It is a great way to support local farmers and a great way to be sure you know what is in the food you are eating.  A regular share is enough to feed a small family their basic vegetable needs works out to be about $35 a week.


     *CSA members participate in their own food supply by committing to share in the harvest of a local farm. Members purchase shares in the spring, and each week receive seasonal vegetables: a subscription to the farm’s weekly harvest. A CSA creates a unique relationship between the consumer and the producer – nowadays, not only do many people not know what country or what state their food comes from, they certainly don’t know the farmer who picked the tomatoes they are eating. By joining a CSA you express your support for locally grown food, for clean food, and for the farmers that grow it. CSA may not replace patronizing a farmers market. It does guarantee your access to the best of each week’s harvest. This is a way to be a part of something positive for you and your community. *info from elmwoodstockfarm.com




Important factors for our family when choosing who to do a CSA with:


   -they are good to the animals and let them graze and roam free at all times.
   -they are good to the earth
   -they don't use harsh chemicals on crops
   -they don't use hormones or antibiotics in their meats.
   
  


We chose to do a CSA with Elmwood Stock Farm.  As a CSA member one of their benefits is a farm tour. We went on the farm tour on Mother's Day and had so much fun. Here are a few pictures: 









Know your local farmer and know what your eating.

Some good links to get you started:





Monday, April 5, 2010

Yogurt on a mission!



Attention All Yogurt Lovers!!!!!!!

At our house our fridge continually has a big tub of Stoneyfield Cream Top yogurt inside.  Levon (our son) eats it on a daily basis and LOVES it. Yogurt is a super delicious and healthy snack. 


Below is a copy of Stoneyfield's mission. 

Yogurt on a mission

We’re no greenhorns when it comes to green business. We were on a mission to make the planet healthier even before we were making yogurt. Today, we make it our mission to work towards all sorts of healthy.

Our mission:
We’re committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Healthy food. We will craft and offer the most delicious and nourishing organic yogurts and dairy products.

Healthy people. We will enhance the health and wellbeing of our consumers and colleagues.

Healthy planet. We will help protect and restore the planet, and promote the viability of family farms.

Healthy business. We will prove that healthy profits and a healthy planet are not in conflict, and that in fact dedication to health and sustainability enhances shareholder value. We believe that business must lead the way to a more sustainable future.



Cool stuff at Stoneyfield.com


Read their story:


Read the importance of organic farming:


Coupons and Offers:




When we buy Stoneyfield yogurt we are happy to know that it is a safe and healthy product.  When we buy Stoneyfield products it's nice to know that they stand for healthy food, people, planet, and business.  

When at the grocery store we as consumers vote for what kind of food we want. . . .
Local or not, organic or not, etc.  
Go to the store and vote.


Thanks for reading!






Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lets Make Pizza Dough!!

We found a recipe for pizza dough on Jamie Oliver's website and decided to try it.






Ingredients:
1 kg strong white bread flour, 1 level tablespoon fine sea salt, 2x7g packets of dried yeast, 1 tablespoon of gold caster sugar (we used regular sugar), 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 650 ml lukewarm water.


Sieve the flour/s and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.





















Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size. 






















Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.


Timing-wise, it’s a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don’t roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though – if you are working in advance like this it’s better to leave your dough, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there’s one less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about 0.5cm thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted tinfoil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with clingfilm, and pop them into the fridge


 We rolled our dough ball out into a thin pie.






For our pizza we pre-heated the oven to 500 with a large pizza stone in it. Once the oven and stone where pre-heated we took out the stone and placed the dough on it. Once the dough is on the hot stone you have to add your toppings quickly.  We put our homemade marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh mushrooms, fresh parmesan, spinach, and thinly sliced garlic cloves.

After the toppings are on the pizza put it in the oven and watch it bake.  Watch it closely because it will bake quicky.






















While you're waiting clean up your mess!!!

When the crust and cheese are gold and bubbly take that baby out and EAT IT!!! 
Mmmmmm!

                                                    



Thanks For Reading!!!





















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