Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Show Some Support


The agency we worked with during Squeaks adoption, Adoption Center of Hope, is hosting their second annual online fundraising auction. Last year I was in on the bidding. This year I'm bidding and donating a $25 gift certificate for Usborne kids books through my site. I love how supportive this agency is to all sides of the adoption triad. Here's the event description according to their Facebook page:

"Adoption Center Of HOPE's 2nd annual online fundraising auction! The proceeds of this auction provide the necessary resources to help the expectant moms through their adoption plan & beyond. The types of expenses we take care of include clothing, food, rent, childcare for other children, transportation, other bills, school supplies and any other necessities."

Show some love and join in on Instagram, Saturday May 7th starting at 9AM (PST). Bid, win, and share the adoption love! Sneak peeks of auction items are already posted. Go check it out and don't forget to invite a friend or ten!

Friday, April 22, 2016

I know...



I know....

I should be in bed. 
My daughter is deeply and soundly asleep.
She is funny, sweet, insanely smart, and beautiful in a way I am biologically incapable of taking credit for.
My son is lightly sleeping, and making sweet noises as I listen over the monitor.
He is strong, cuddly, handsome, and determined (which I can definitely take biological credit for).
My husband, exhausted from hard work, is snoring in our bed.
He will always love me (in-spite of myself), be loyal to me, and take care of our family.
My parents, happily married, are asleep in my childhood home, five minutes down the road.
They love me unconditionally, love my husband, are awesome grandparents, and would do anything for our family.
My in-laws, also happily married, are asleep in my husband's childhood home, four minutes down the road.
They love me, are glad I married their son, are crazy about our children, and are overwhelmingly generous. 
My home is quiet, warm, comfortable, and safe.
Our cars run, there is food in our kitchen, we have running water, and clothes in our closets.
I am allowed to, capable of, and will be praying to a true, righteous, and living God before I fall asleep, as I wake tomorrow, and until I die.
I have loved ones who have passed on ahead of me waiting for me in heaven.
Facebook posts, the dishes, my nails in need of manicuring, and that stain on the carpet that has been bugging me, hold no weight in eternity.

I know these things. Now go to sleep Kristen.
 

And He's Off!!


There he goes! Our little guy has fulfilled his life-time goal of being mobile. Way to stick with it kid! He is just over seven months. A full three months younger than Squeaks was when she started to crawl. Life is about to take an even bigger leap into happy chaos. Little Dude can now get to all of sisters toys. She is not thrilled as she has entered the "mine!" stage and set up camp. Sharing is a skill we work on daily. Ah siblings. She witnessed her brother's first crawl though and was thrilled for him. It's so fun to watch them grow together.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Preserving Memories The "Lazy" Way


My children will never have a shortage of photographs, mementos, and keepsakes. Making and preserving memories is something I enjoy and value. It makes me happy to have my walls full of pictures of family and friends. 

With two small children it's been difficult to get the pictures on the walls updated, or even just get pictures printed. Life gets busy and before I know it my phone is full of pictures that need to be uploaded onto the computer before I run out of space. Then what? I scroll through my phone or the computer to relive those memories? Meh.

I've been using Instagram to try and keep pictures in order and in one place. Plus I love the little bit of editing you can do. A soft filter is a tired mom's friend. So when I found Chatbooks and discovered I could link it to my Instagram feed I was very excited. Then I got even more excited when I found out that it was only $8 to have a cute little book automatically mailed to me every time I took 60 pictures! Automatically!! As in, I do nothing and approximately every three months (I take A LOT more pictures these days then I did pre-kids) I get a book of memories, in chronological order, with the original dates and captions printed under the pictures. It makes me so happy to see my stack of Chatbooks on my sofa table. I can sit down and flip through them, Squeaks can enjoy them, and guests can see them. Our family memories aren't hidden in our phones or on the computer. I went back and made books from the time I started using Instagram (before we had Squeaks) up till now. So our kids have pictures from practically every day of their lives. I love that.
These books appeal to the ultra organized, slightly O.C.D. side of me.

I have books starting from just after Evelyn passed right up to today. Our family journey in pictures. Love!

I get a $1 toward my next book, and you get a free book! Score! Just use my code.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Postpartum World: Eczema


Itchy!! Oh, so itchy. Eczema!

The amount of money we have spent on lotions, creams, balms, and oils is insane. I considered loading them all onto my counter to take a picture but then realized I've thrown a handful away out of frustration. At some point I came to my senses and realized just how horribly wasteful that is and kept them, thinking that maybe I could find someone who may want them, but I digress. So much money! 

Now before I get a million comments on what worked for your sister's, friend's, uncle's kids, thank you but I've tried it. I have spent the last six months asking for help, have tried every home remedy out there, and scoured the internet for solutions. We have tried oatmeal baths, vinegar baths, switching soaps, shampoos, and laundry detergents (multiple times). I've taken probiotics to get it into my milk, and I've given him probiotics directly (oh so much gas!). We've seen the allergist, dermatologist, and pediatrician (multiple times). I even made multiple different batches of lotion using my own breast milk (because we all know that stuff is liquid gold). We. Have. Tried. It.

To my chagrin and own detriment, I prayed about it and gave it up to God last. I am the eternal Israelite.  

All red after bath time.
Poor Little Dude. The kid was just miserable. At it's worst, the eczema covered him head to toe. It was always worse after bath time so I cut down on how often I bathed him. Now he only gets one when it's absolutely necessary (diaper catastrophes and so on). Other than that we mostly just sponge bath and that has helped a lot. 

The breast milk lotion did seem to help for awhile, but it just wasn't moisturizing enough. I would have to apply it so often that I was going through each batch super fast. Here's the recipe I used, just in case you'd like to try it. It's still awesome stuff.

You all know I have a very determined personality and I fancy myself a crunchy mom. If not full-crunchy, at least semi-crunchy. Needless to say, when my extensive list of home remedies didn't work, I wasn't thrilled about slathering Little Dude in petrolatum based products full of phthalates. What do you do though when your kid can't sleep because his face itches so bad? A quick calculation in my head says we've tried over twenty lotions, creams, and salves. One Aveeno lotion takes the redness out a bit and seems to sooth the itch for awhile, but the eczema comes right back if I don't use the lotion at least ten times a day. So to the pediatrician we went. In true crunchy mom form I knew western medicine wasn't going to tell me anything I would be happy to hear. Sure enough, steroid cream was recommended. Ugh! This is the point at which a mom has to choose. Her disdain for unnatural products or the comfort and (at this point) general sanity of her child. I tried the blasted steroid cream. It did nothing! I made an appointment with a dermatologist in hopes of a more natural solution and he recommended zinc oxide. Awesome! Now that I'm good with. But again no dice. Now to the allergist. Aside from the fact that the allergist herself was probably the most condescending person I've ever spoken to, she did finally agree to a blood allergy test for our boy. It came back with a very very mild allergy to egg whites and dogs. So mild in fact, it barely counts as an allergy. No help there. Back to the pediatrician. Another prescription and another fail. Back to home-remedies. I started pretty much just spraying him down with breast milk, straight from the source, a few times a day. It relieved the itch a bit but didn't get rid of the eczema.
Hair slicked back after a breast milk "shower".

Then one morning we woke up to blood on our sheets. Little Dude had managed to get his mittens off (a night-time necessity at this point) and had scratched his face until it bled. 

I'm all for natural remedies. Garlic and honey for a cold and cough. Magnesium for poor sleep. Coconut oil for diaper rash. This was insane though. 

Finally I prayed. Don't ask me why I waited so long, I couldn't tell you. Pure pride I'm sure. I prayed that God would give me wisdom to keep an open mind and be able to help my son find rest.

Back to the pediatrician. A third prescription. This time it's not a steroid cream but another cream, not really meant for kids. He explained how it works to me but I couldn't repeat it if you asked me to. I understood at the time so we gave it a try. It's pure chemical-packed-western-medicine-full-of-stuff-I-can't-pronounce goodness. It's working! Little Dude's face has been more clear over this past week than ever before.

I'm not interested in advertising for a pharmaceutical company so if you really must know the name of the prescription email me and I'll tell you. Until then try the home remedies! But first, pray for wisdom.
Happy boy, nearly eczema free, at his well-baby checkup last Monday.
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