Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Lovin' A Lemon

Sweet Patience

Between Jasmine (my oldest daughter) and Kiliegh (my middle daughter) I often find myself wondering what the heck is "wrong" with the two of them. I know that sounds harsh, so let me explain. I have three siblings but grew I up as an only child, about the closest thing that I can relate to is the rivalry between me and my only female cousin-who happens to be the same age that I am. Clearly, I know that nothing is truly "wrong" with either of my girls. Their constant bickering however, does drive me nuts! Overall, I think that their pretty fantastic kiddo's and I am so happy to claim them!

Between Jasmine and Kiliegh there is a obvious"love/hate relationship and depending on the minute (not day) they may or may not "like" each other. I know however, when push comes to shove they would both protect each other-if need be and that alone tells me that the love in their relationship is stronger than the annoyance of one another. Their relationship always throws me off when I watch them with Vada, however. It must be an age thing because both Jasmine and Kiliegh are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. with Vada. They are kind and gentle. Sharing and sweet. Patient and playful and the best that I could ever ask them to be. They teach her things and spend quality time talking with her, holding her and just being with her. It's a beautiful thing and Vada's bond with each of her sisters is unique. While I pray everyday that the two of them (J and K) will get along better I also thank God for the sisters that they are to Vada.

Today, Vada, Kiliegh and I went to the park. Before leaving the house Kiliegh grabbed a sucker to snack on along the walk. Vada paid no attention to Kiliegh during the walk, as she as preoccupied with all of things going on around her. It wasn't until we all sat in the field and began searching for four leaf clover that Vada spotted something interesting in her big sisters hand and she refused to let up until Kiliegh gave in and shared.

Luckily, it didn't take too much persuasion from Vada before Kiliegh was all being the first to ever Ive Vada a taste of something as sweet as a Tootsie Pop. Kiliegh even took the time to teach proper eating techniques.

We didn't find four leaf clovers this time but I think both girls were lucky in the experience that they shared together.

When we got home we sat out in our yard to play. We like being out doors, when the heat is bearable.

Again, Kiliegh had something that really struck Vada's interest an again Kiliegh was willing to share it, teach about it and even play a tune. All for her baby sister. I had many "proud Momma moments" today.

On a side note I have been working Vada on sharing. A lot of people think that its too early but I think that its never too early to start teaching good manners or right from wrong. Vada may not fully understand that she cant have everything that others have but if we teach her now she will eventually pick up on it-as any tot would. So far, "sharing" consists of us all being very repetitive and very consistent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prayer Request

At the risk of over stepping any boundaries I am going to be very vague in this prayer request. I believe in the power of prayer and I also believe that by not reveling too much information God will still know who you are praying for-even if you don't.

Yesterday, someone whom my family cares deeply about had a brain aneurysm and is currently in the hospital. She is an amazing mother and friend. She is a strong leader whose love for Christ shines through in everything that she speaks and everything that she does and she is loved, beyond any form of measure, she is loved.

Please pray for a quick recovery for her and for peace not only her but her family and all of her friends who await any and all news about her.

Thank you.

Six Weeks Post-Heart Repair

Six weeks ago I was handing our baby girl off to a complete stranger, a nurse who looked into my tear filled eyes and told me that her child recently had to have heart surgery and that she could understand not only why I was crying but why I was physically trembling as well. I think handing Vada off was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do, I feel as if I may have said that quite a lot over the past two years.

How is it that the day of Vada's surgery felt longer than these last six weeks?

She is doing fantastic now and I thought she was pre-surgery! She is now full of energy (energy that I never realized she didn't have). She is crawling like crazy, pulling herself to an almost stand, sitting up from laying down and eating solids, yes solid foods! She is signing "Momma", "Daddy" and "milk" (which isn't quite new-just improved.) and she shows interest in all of the other signs that are being done. She is staying up more during the day and sleeping more through the night. She is exploring her surroundings and seems much more aware of things, people and her environments. Her skin color is perfectly pink, which is also something I didn't realize was missing (the pinkness of her flesh) and the scar-forget about it! The swelling is already gone and the lump is smoothing down nicely. The scar itself is a tiny scratch that will for ever be a positive reminder of what she battled through to get to where she is today! I say positive because we have all grown in many area's of our lives because of her having to go through all that she has. Growth is good even if the road has been a difficult one.

Now, I am sure that some of her progress and achievements also has to do with the fact that she is actually six weeks older and when your a baby six weeks is like years to adults, either way, this baby girl healthy and we are grateful to God for her.

One great Smile

Today, my friend Kathee brought her kiddos over and we had a picnic in our front yard. Picnics are one of my favorite things to do so I was excited when Kathee called to ask me if I wanted to have one.

Gideon is Kathee and her husband Issac's oldest child and this boy is fabulous. I think of him as if he were one of my nephews (or niece), in the way that I love him to pieces and I would like to spoil the crap out of him. When ever his family stops by I like to hand him our snack jar and let him pick out a "goodie". They live in our neighborhood so we both visit each other often. Today, instead of the goodie jar he got the bag of cookies and was thrilled about it. This boy is too cute!

He was very interested in getting his picture taken. He's has many great smiles..., even if he is only posing for the camera!

It was a nice time. I especially enjoyed watching our girls interact with each other!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Celebrating Good Health

Two weeks ago Justin and I walked hand in hand to the mail box together. It's in the front of our house, so it's not like this great venture. Justin just happen to be getting home as I was going out to check it. So together we walked.

In all honesty, I am kind of immature when it comes to checking the mail. I thoroughly enjoy receiving letters, cards, packages (even if I ordered them myself). As long as its not junk mail, bills or insurance "stuff", I typically enjoy opening it. I don't know why I am that easily amused, its just a quirt I have.

On this particular day we received a card. The envelope looked like a "fake" card that businesses often send to you as an advertising. It said Ruby Tuesday's on it so I assumed it was a coupon or something and because it was from Tuesdays I began opening it as Justin and I made our way around to our back door. Once I had opened the envelope it was like a slow motion process for figuring out what we were looking at. Ill blame it on lack of sleep for the both of us.

The front of the card had an angel on it, which confused me. I wondered why Tuesdays would be sending out something like this to all of their customers. Instead of opening the card I turned to the back of it where again I confirmed that it did in fact come from a restaurant. Still confused and finally I opened the card. It was then that I put two and two together and realized what it was. Justin's brother and his family had sent us a personalized gift card from one of our favorite restaurants.

The story is even funnier when I tell you Justin's confusing side of it. I never actually got to the point of mentioning who the card was from before I began reading the greeting out loud and as I read what was typed on the card, Justin became lost. He thought that the gift card was a gift from Tuesdays. Like, he thought that I had wrote about the restaurant enough times or that someone had notified the and let them in on the fact that we were huge fans and in return they had designed a gift card for Vada.

Yeah, were dorks!

Anyway, we weren't confused as to when we wanted to use the gift card. We decided to go once Vada was off of her medical restrictions and everyone one was home.

As usual, Tuesday's had a great salad bar, my favorite! The girls enjoyed their chicken strips and shrimp. Justin had Talapia and I even ordered a peach sangria-it was delicious!

Vada enjoyed her self.

Jasmine and Kiliegh did too. Overall, it was a relaxing evening together.

Vada even sported her personalized bib sent all of the way from The Svateks in California. We have had it for over a year now, but I didn't want to use it for fear of ruining it but I finally broke down! Its to sweet not to get some use out of it!

Breaking in the bib was not a problem as far as Vada was concerned.

At the end of the meal, I've got to say, it was pretty cool paying with a personalized picture-gift card.

Thanks Aaron, Calder, Louisa and J! We love and miss all of you!

Bubble Baths and Randomness

Right now I am in the bath, a bubble bath actually! I know, I know...a little more information than you probably needed or even wanted to hear but it's the second time that I have been able to take a bubble bath this week! Both times I have consider each bath a gift from my husband who just happen to top off this bath by bringing me a tall glass of iced Organic Easy Now tea, which I plan  to sip on as I melt into the water and the aromas of Eucalyptus and Menthol (No, I'm not sick, I just enjoy the scents). Justin has even told the girls that they could not come into this particular bathroom until I came out. For all of you Momma's out there I am sure that you can understand how sweet that restriction is! Children seem to need you more when your trying to do something, like talking on the phone, cooking dinner any yes, even taking a bath.

Being a parent is a constant jog! This week alone, I am accompanying my girls to five days in a row of swim lessons. They also have activities at church once during the week. Kiliegh has a dance class. Jasmine has two soft ball games, Karate classes and then on Saturday, were taking her to camp, in Wisconsin, which I might add is a minimum six hours of driving! Therefore, something that seems so small like taking a bath (for mere relaxation purposes) seems like a luxury to me.

Even though things are crazy busy, I am really enjoying this time with Justin and the girls-where were doing things as a family. It's nice to not have to worry as much as I used to. It's even nicer being able to incorporate Vada in our every day activities verses finding someone to take the older girls somewhere or needing to have someone come watch Vada so that I can.

The balancing act between everything that the girls have lined up in a day/week and then the things that I need to do leaves me very tired. Therefore, any extra interests of mine I keep putting aside, like blogging. I have however, begun sleeping in my bed again which makes falling behind on hobbies well worth it! Up until about a week ago all of my nights ended with me sleeping on the floor or on the couch because little V had her sleeping schedule messed up. We co-slept with her, which I think is wonderful to experience together. Now however, putting her into her own bed has become somewhat trickier than it may have been if I just put her there when she first came home. I loved cuddling with her while we slept and when she was less mobile and I love the bond that her and I have so I dont regret co-sleeping with her one bit. Having her sleep with us made my nerves less of a mess. I knew she was breathing and doing well through the night when she was next to me and it also made night time feedings much easier. Now, however, she is all over the place and even with a guard rail up I am nervous that she'll crawl to the foot of the bed and fall off (and our bed is high up). Since I have been so tired I am scared that she'll crawl past me without me waking. So, it's time for her to sleep in her own bed and for the most part once she is asleep, she doesn't seem to mind the transition. It's harder on me probably because I wont let her cry herself to sleep. I don't like the idea of it. So getting her to sleep is a little time consuming than it may be if I did do the "Cry-it-out" method-which is fine.

I have also been focusing a lot of my attention on nap times. I am hoping that if I get Vada's naps figured out the sleeping through the night, (which hasn't happened since she was around five and a half months old-prior to her seizures), will follow. Either way, I feel as if were on the right track to getting blissful full nights of sleep, for V and I both!

It's been a week since the "quarantine" has been lifted and boy oh boy have we made our rounds with Vada. Well, sort of.

We went to the Farmers Market again. There the girls tried some fresh peaches, watermelon and even Vada had a small taste of fudge.

We walked through every part of the market as well as the inside portion. When we ventured to the far back of the outdoor market we found a tent where a nice couple was spinning wool straight from a live (and fully comfortable) Angora rabbit. It was an impressive sight to see. The girls however, were more impressed with the animals themselves.

Before leaving the house on this particular day Kiliegh had emptied her whole piggy bank into her purse. I bet the thing weight at least five pounds and not once but twice Jasmine helped her count out five dollars in loose change for two separate jewelry purchases. (I haven't seen the braclets since.)

One night we met our church's youth group, their parents and some of the church staff at Happy Joe's and we all hung out, ate pizza and caught up on each other lives a little. I realized again during this get together that my social skills are shot! Being house bound for the last two years has done something to my abilities with interacting with others. I now have no idea what to say to people, what to talk about or even how to start a conversation let alone carry one. I guess that just means that I need to be around people more. Either way, it was nice being surrounded by this group of friends, we all have a past together so the conversations were lighter and more care free.

Heidi's daughter Hailey is actually the reason that we go to FUPC-of Moline. "Hail's" inviting Jasmine, my oldest a few years ago to youth group with her. Jasmine went several times with Hailey and her family before I became interested and the rest is history.

Heidi and I as well as Jen (one picture below Heidi) were all in the same "small group", Sunday school class and even Women's bible study class when I was going on a regular basis (before my pregnancy with Vada). Also, Heidi was Kiliegh's reading teacher for two years.

Jen (below) like I already mentioned is in a lot of the same functions for church. She has two sons who are both Jasmine's and Kiliegh's age and they live four blocks away. Joe (her oldest) and Jasmine have spent a lot of time riding through the neighborhood on their bikes this summer. I like that Jasmine has nice boys to play with.

During my pregnancy Jen kept me well stocked with Dvd's and Panera. She constantly offered to walk our dog, take the girls to church amongst many other helpful things. She is a good friend and neighbor.

This is Rusty. He came to our church a couple of years ago from Texas. He works with the youth and does an amazing job! He is patient and kind and a strong leader to our kiddo's. He also brought with him his wonderful wife and two children. Just recently they had their third child Lylah.

This is Vada and Lylah interacting together.  The head on the left is Sarah, Rusty's wife and then head on the right is me.

Well, I can hear a fussy baby in the background calling for me, so I need to finish things up and attempt more "catch-up" on another day and time. Before I call it a wrap, I want to make sure that I mention  My cousin Terrie. She is around my age has struggled with weight issues for quite sometime now. She is a working mother of two beautiful babes and a wife of a pretty great guy. Recently, she started the Weight Watchers program and for the first time in a long time (maybe her whole life), she is seeing some pretty substantial results! She has decided to start blogging about her journey through the up's and down's of weight loss-blogging can be so therapeutic. Her blog is not intended to promote or endorse Weight Watchers in any way but since she is a active member in the program it is one of her primary topics in her writing. If you are interested you can check out her blog here.

Another new blogger is my Jazzy girl. She is my oldest daughter, an eleven year old sweetie who happens to have a lot of sass but a lot more heart than anything. She thought after watching me for some time that blogging sounded like a fun thing to do. I have no idea where she is going with it or even if she'll stick with it but I thought I would share her link anyway.

Kiliegh, my middle daughter saw that Jasmine, her big sister had started a blog and decided that she too wanted one. I'm still contemplating on that one but I did open up a typing program on the computer and told her to get in some practice and this is what she decided to write about. Cute huh?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fireflies and Moon Lit Skies

I can remember when I was a little girl and when the summer nights seemed almost magical. I always thought it was amazing how I could see the sun and the moon in the sky at the same time. The noises that were made by the bugs,frogs and birds...well, I would pretend that they were being made just for me. I realize now that these things dont just happen in the summertime but as a child I thought that they had. Running through my neighborhood with all of my friends with not a care in the world was another fond summer memory. At that age I had felt as if the world had actually belonged to me. Moments like these had made me feel free and it was through these times that I could pretend the reality of my childhood away. 

One of the most memorable things that I can can vividly recall was catching fire flies. I'd fill a jar with leaves and sticks and hunt those bad boys down. I had a goal that never changed-to catch enough to light my whole bed room once it became dark. I never actually achieved that goal but it was one that I enjoyed working towards every single night.

Another memory that I have is also attached to these impressive bugs and it has to so with tearing off their lighted ends and "wearing" them as rings, Arabian jewels and even necklaces. How I could actually do something like that and where I learned it from? I. Can. Not. Tell-that's something that I do not remember. It was a morbid and disgusting thing to do but something that even to this very day I watch other children do as well (including mine), so I don't feel like I need to go into counseling for it or anything.

Tonight, I watched as Jasmine and Kiliegh hunted down those same magical bugs that captivated my attention so long ago. They too filled a bottle with "bedding" and then after capturing several bugs they went into the bathroom together and shut the door behind themselves. With high hopes and lots of giggles they turned out the lights and waited. While the results they were hoping for were not achieved they continued to be happy with what they were doing and at the end of the night (after setting the bugs free-butts still attached), they asked if they could do it again the following night.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nothing a Little Dye Won't Fix

Towards the end of my pregnancy I was going into the hospital twice a week for NST's. My trips to and from the hospital were my only "outings" and my only times that I was able to get out of bed (Besides the obvious bathroom breaks.). Every day that I drove to our local hospital I drove past Toys R Us and Target-two stores that I really enjoy shopping at. I so wanted to go inside the stores and look at baby "stuff". At this point I had done very little baby shopping and I had defiantly begun the "nesting" phase of the pregnancy, well before I had began the NST's. Everyday that I drove past the two stores the "itch" became a little harder to scratch-so to speak.

Finally, one day, on the way home I pulled into the parking lot of Toys R Us and sat in my car contemplating on if I should take the risk and just go on in. I played the scenario in my head. I would only go in for five minutes. No, I would allow myself ten. Scratch that. I would need at least fifteen minutes to properly scan the baby section. (Yeah, right!) I probably sat in my car for a good half an hour before I decided that I just couldn't risk it. I was disappointed but I knew that if something (anything) did happen with the pregnancy, even if it were a week or two down the road, I would blame myself and my choice to shop when I was suppose to be on strict bed rest. The same day that I sat in my car battling with the idea of shop or not to shop, I went home and got online-and I shopped. I ordered Sophie the Giraffe which I had originally seen in the Mothering magazine that I get, a couple of really cute outfits and a beautiful knitted unbleached organic cotton blanket.

Blankets seem to be the number one gift that people give. Everyone seems to find the cutest of cute when it comes to them. I too, have gave my fair share of cute ones and never complain when a new one comes my way! Baby blankets are a lot like shoes-you can never have enough! Over the last two years we have received a lot of blankets as gifts and truthfully, I have kept them all. Justin's Grandmother has made Vada several blankets (and sweet hats and dresses that all go together), my Grandmother has as well. Annie made Vada a sweet heart blanket, Rhonda from Mud Puddle Roo's (ONE GREAT LITTLE SHOP!) also gave Vada a beautiful blanket and there are many others to add to this list. I can easily say that Vada is well stocked on beautiful and meaningful blankets and we use them all or we will use them at some point in time.

 The blanket that I had ordered however, seemed to be the one that was always grabbed (That and one of Grandma's). I used it to lay Vada on. I used it to cover her up while I was nursing her (After I gave my Hooter Hider away.) I used it to keep her warm, to keep the girls warm and to keep me warm as well. It was a well loved and extremely well used blanket!

At one point in time the blanket went from unbleached to bleached and then bleached again...and again. Still being a beautiful blanket-just a bit whiter than its original color, it traveled with us wherever we went. Because we did use it on a very regular basis I felt that it should go to the hospital with us during Vada's heart surgery. I knew it would probably get some stains on it at some point in time but then I figured I would just bleach it again. What I didn't consider was Iodine. Bleach does not remove iodine from fabrics-in case you were wondering-I tried and tried and for the heck of it I tried one more time before admitting defeat.

I hated that I had these ugly stains on Vada's once beautiful blanket. I felt as if I couldn't take it in public anymore because it looked dirty. I knew that I couldn't justify going out and buying a new one because we have so many others to take its place. Not willing to throw the blanket away I held onto it and for the last couple of weeks it has sat on top of one of my dryers in the laundry room.

Two days ago Justin happened to be standing with me as I was doing a load of whites. He noticed the blanket on top of the dryer and asked if I wanted to wash it with the rest of the load. I began to explain the situation  and told him why I was having a hard time letting this blanket go. I guess, the blanket  has become somewhat of a comfort to me-probably more so than I claim it to be for Vada.  After telling Justin why I was holding onto the blanket he suggested that because I liked tie dyed things that I should attempt to dye the blanket. The next day I bought a kit, brought it home and we began the project of saving Vada's/Momma's blanket!

We began dying the blanket around four in the afternoon. The kit said to let it sit for at least twelve hours after completely covering what areas we wanted to be colored.  The funny thing is that this morning around two, when I was nursing Vada, I did the math in my head. It had only been about ten hours! Needless to say, I was excited to see what Justin and I had created together. So, once he got home this morning I asked if he wanted to go out and take off the rubber bands, rinse off the blanket and check it out. He was excited too, so he needed no real persuasion.

 The blanket ended up beautifully! Much brighter and even louder than it once was but its one of a kind and Justin and I did it together for our baby girl and some what for me as well.

On a final note, I want to thank my Jazzy girl for her help with this project. She took some really good pictures while Justin and I were in the dying process and she also pushed Vada on the swing while keeping her entertained so that we could focus on finishing things up quickly. Thanks sweetie, without you we wouldn't have been able to do the whole project..., including this post! You Rock and I Love You!