Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New - Add My Button to Your Blog/Website!

With a little help from another blogging mom,  Tiffany,   I now have a button that you can use to link to my blog from your website or blog! (I couldn't get the html right for the code box - thanks Tiffany!)

12 Blessings

I'd love it if you could share my blog with your audience!

The code and example are in the top of the right hand column.  Just copy and past the code into a html widget on your blog and it should appear!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Great Grin!

I was taking photos of her in a Snap-EZ Multi-Size Baby Pocket Diaper,
and got this amazing photo of Carese smiling, but it looks like she's laughing!
I love this photo and thought you might too!

And now for a little homeschooling humor (homeschooled children are notorious for bad spelling...I like to think of it as phonetic spelling, but yeah, some kids get it, some kids really struggle). 

 Yesterday when I got up and logged onto the computer, the following was in my Google chat with my interchange between one of my children ("me"), who will remain unnamed, and him ("Daryl"):

Daryl: hello
7:27 AM me: hi dad this is Rachel no one elts is on the canputer
 Daryl: else
7:28 AM computer
  you were kinda close
  Mom up?
7:29 AM me: okay. I have to get off now. I do not know
  obout mom
 Daryl: about
  go do a spelling lesson
7:30 AM me: give me a brake
 Daryl: break
 me: okay
7:31 AM give me a break
 Daryl: better
7:32 AM me: I have to go to now but I can her mom
7:33 AM Daryl: hear................. bye

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Goofy Grin to put a Smile on Your Face!

I just couldn't wait until my next full blog post - Jessica got this photo of Carese during a smile fest!
Isn't that the cutest, goofiest grin ever???

Plus a special announcement!
My Daughter, Rachel, has launched her own home business selling hand crafted items:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2 Months Old and a Happy Momma!

My super happy smile!
Carese turned 2 months old last week.  On her second month's birthday she finally reached the birth weight and height  of our largest baby, Jonathan, exactly.  She weighed in at 8 pounds 13 ounces and 21 inches long.  She was 5% for height and weight no the charts, and her growth curve is good.  The pediatrician was very pleased with her growth!  

I'm number one!
Carese is wearing her "going home" outfit at 2 months
 and swimming in it!
Carese is now having smile fests!  We love these.  She's having them about twice a day, and she'll give us smile after smile for several minutes.  They are so cute!  It even looks like she might be the first to have a real, middle of the cheek, dimple!  

She has officially outgrown all but two preemie clothes.  She is wearing newborn size if it doesn't have feet, and 0 - 3 months for sleepers, but she pretty much swims in them.  She is just fitting in our Snap-EZ Multi-Size Baby Pocket Diapers now, yet still fits in the old smalls with plenty of room for growing still.  Because she has taken 2 months to grow into the smallest current Snap-EZ Pocket Diaper, I am going to start producing a Snap-EZ Multi-Size Infant Pocket Diapers that will fit babies from 4 pounds up to around 11 pounds!  I am very excited about this.
brighter eyes!

So, I still haven't gotten to why I'm a happy momma yet (although all of the above does make me happy of  course) - I'm happy because I had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon today and he says I don't need knee surgery...not yet anyway! 

Don't mess with my binky!
I am allowed to begin to bear weight as I can without pain, slowly working my way back to full weight bearing!  I am to continue to do the physical therapy (he suggested doing the exercises 1 - 2 times a day) and icing my knee 2 - 3 times a day.  If I'm still struggling with pain, I have an appointment in 6 weeks to have an injection of a cortizone type of medication to reduce inflamation.  If I'm feeling no or little pain, I can begin to do regular exercise (like volleyball!) starting in July!  Yeah!

He also said I can begin with a recumbent bike anytime as long I do not experience pain while biking!  PTL!!!!!

I'm so happy I could jump, but I'd probably hurt my knee so I won't!  LOL!

I'll leave you with some photo highlights from Mother's Day, which also made me a happy mother!

Esther playing with her rag dolls and giraffe!

Jason get's to hold Carese for the first time, and she was so good for him!

Jeremy and Esther waiting for the wonderful dinner to begin!

Baby toes sneaking through the knit of her cocoon

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life on "The Shelf"

This comes to you from "On The Shelf." A place that few want to find, but so many can learn lessons that can not be learned anywhere else.  Being "On The Shelf" is where you are when God works in your life to teach you to find your worth in Him and not in what you can accomplish.  My shelf time started 7 months ago, but really intensified after my recent C section.

Recovery from a C section is not a walk in the park - especially from an emergency C section!  Did you know that they only have minutes to get the baby out after a general anesthesia is given to the mother, or the baby will get the general and be born unconscious?  That means that they have do much of the surgery prep before the mother is unconscious (this can be (and for me it was) very painful).  This also means that once the mother is unconscious, they get to the baby as quickly as they can - for me this meant a lot of bruising.  Also, because you have a general, you do not have an epidural/spinal so you are not all...ever.  And because you are unconscious they can't give you morphine until you are awake.  This means you wake up from the surgery with no pain meds on board. This was more pain than I had ever experienced in my life - I now have a new "10" for maximum pain.  So recovery was slow and painful (if I stayed on top of the pain with meds, I still had pains when doing things like turning over in bed, coughing and sneezing).   Add to that we found out that I am allergic to sutures - I had mini abscesses all along the incision - not cool at all.  But it was all worth it to have Carese here, safe and sound...our miracle baby!

After 3 weeks I was finally able to manage with only Ibuprophen (prescription strength).  At 4 weeks we tried my first Walmart shopping trip.  I wore out very fast and ended up waiting on a bench for the girls to finish the shopping.  Then on the way out I mentioned to the girls that I still felt all loosey goosey in my hips and knees (from the hormone "relaxin" which prepares your body for birth).  When I got into our truck, my right knee made a snapping sound and hurt a little.  One week later I could barely put weight on that knee so I went to the doctor - they said I had a torn meniscus, gave me a knee brace and referred me for physical therapy, planning to do an MRI later if it didn't respond well to PT.  The therapists did some tests on me and determined that I did not have a miniscus tear, but a probable ACL tear (definitely a worse injury than a meniscus tear). So I went back to the doctor and requested an MRI so we would know for sure what we were dealing with.  After over a week waiting for the insurance to approve it, I got my MRI last Thursday.

Friday we got the verdict - it's damage to the medial articular cartilage (the cartilage at the end of the femur, on the inside of my knee).  There is a "defect" that goes through to the bone in one area, plus the overall surface is irregular and thinning and there are marginal osteophytes (commonly called bone spurs and "is most common from the onset of arthritis - great!  I'm to young for arthritis!) at the edges of the cartilage.  These types of problems are what eventually lead to knee replacement, not good!   I was at the therapists office when I got the call, but only the assitants were still in. They recommended that I use a crutch over the weekend to reduce weight bearing.  I did some research and found that "RICE" is recommended for this injury - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - so I worked on those over the weekend and found some relief (Thursday night after shopping at Costco I was in bad pain - an 8 on my new pain scale, now I knew why).  Finally on Monday I heard from the doctor's office - no weight bearing and they wanted me on two crutches.  So for over 4 weeks I've been walking on this knee - probably causing the irregular surface problems in there from shrapnel out of the hole I put in there at the original time of injury.  Tuesday I went back to PT and got to talk with him about my diagnosis...he let me know that an ACL tear would have been better.  He has advised me to get a referral to a orthopedic surgeon to get surgery (microfracture surgery ) to repair the defect before it gets larger and possibly deal with the other two problems in there.  We had to change some of my exercises, and they added a new one since I can't bear weight on that leg now.  It started to sink in when one of the assistants came over and said to me - "I'm so sorry about your knee"...this was someone who thought I had an ACL tear - that really didn't make me feel very good about this at all!

So, I am doing very well on recovering from my C section, but it has definitely been complicated by the knee injury.  My kids are having to help their invalid (I like to say in-valid) mother still - I can't even carry Carese around unless I have her in a front pack...can't carry laundry...

Way back in October, when I had been down with a cold for 3 weeks, I commented to one of my closest friends that I hated being laid up and that I felt that God was bringing this into my life to teach me to learn something, but I wasn't sure what is was.  I was hoping that this learning session would be over soon....little did I know that I would still be laid up 7 months later with no quick end in site.  I went from cold to worse cold to sinus infection after sinus infection, to limited activity due to high blood pressure/high cardiac output, to recovering from a C section and now a knee injury.  I've learned to delegate more than ever in my life, to be content with less than perfect housework, to not jump in there and do it for them when they are not doing a "mother's level cleaning" but to talk them through what they missed or leave it alone).  I've also learned to appreciate good health and I'm hoping to have it back again someday.  But I think this time of trials is more that just about me - this is developing many Christ-like qualities and practical skills in my family.  They are learning to be helpful, considering others before themselves, learning to be diligent workers.  I have not been able to do any housework (except for my laundry, and now I even need help with that) for 8 months, and they have had to step up to the plate and do everything.  The tasks are spread out, even down to Elizabeth, our 6 year old.  They are not working all day, but they do have more chores than ever before.  They are doing a great job.

But more importantly, I am learning to find my worth outside what I can accomplish.  I have always found worth in what I can do...Daryl has called me his Amazon Woman for years.  I loved to tackled big projects, and would recite to Daryl when he got home what I had done that day.  Now, I'm happy if I have my laundry cared for, Carese fed and clothed.  That's about all I can physically accomplish these days, but it has to be enough.  I need to let the rest go and find my worth in what I can do for my family in non-physical ways - spend time with them, play games, read together (I need to start doing this), watch them play and be there for questions, advice, and listening to their stories.  But most importantly, I need to find my worth in Christ and what He has and is doing for me.  I am His and He is mine.  That should be all I need.  Even if I were bedridden for the rest of my life, I would have value because Christ deemed my life valuable - so valuable that He died on the cross for me before I could even lift a finger.  This is a hard lesson and I'm only grasping a fraction of it...I know I have much to learn and much to unlearn after a lifetime of being influenced by our world that only values beauty and great accomplishments in people.  So if I come to mind, please pray that I would be content in the new place He has placed me (discouragement seems to be lurking, just waiting for my weak moments to come rushing in to devour me). Also that I would learn these lessons well and that He would get the Glory and I would grow in grace under His loving Hand.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life with a newborn...again!

Having a new baby in the house never gets old!  They are so precious, helpless and snuggable!  Carese is getting fairly spoiled (she has yet to sleep in her new bassinet!), but in my opinion you can't spoil a newborn!  There's plenty of time later to have them sleep by themselves and hang out playing by themselves!

One of the biggest problems in a large family when a new baby arrives is getting access to the aforementioned baby!  Everybody wants to hold the baby!  This time around all the girls love holding her, which was to be expected, but the boys love to hold her as well.  I have decided that I need a "Take A Number" thingy in order to keep straight who gets to hold her next!
Here are some photos of some of the resident baby holders:
Daniel - I love this photo!

Elizabeth and Carese - looks like a baby doll!
The preemie cocoon was created just for Carese by my dear friend, Ruth D
 as she was way too small to use her newborn one!

Reuben - think he's enjoying this?

Rachel with all the little girls!

Jessica - #1 baby holder and helper!
Carese outside in the stroller for the first time!
We are just now beginning to find a new normal.  My recovery has been slow and was complicated by my injuring my knee just getting into our truck.  The doctor said the I was able to injure my knee with so little trauma due to the hormones still in my body from pregnancy making my joints loose.  They believe I have torn my ACL, but we won't know for sure until I have an MRI. We are waiting for insurance to approve the MRI, and I am going to physical therapy twice a week for now.  Just when I was beginning to want to do things around the house, I'm back to being nearly useless.  God is working on me this year - and on our family - He's basically put me on the shelf and teaching me to find my sufficiency and value in Him and not in what I can accomplish every day!

A few weeks ago I was able to attend our local Great Cloth Diaper Change as a sponsor and participant!  I changed Carese's diaper and Jessica had Esther.  So we participated in setting another world record!  A fellow participant took this photo of me there and sent it to me - not too bad for 4 weeks post partum and 10 days after injuring my knee!
Carese 1 week old

Having a baby that is 3 weeks early and small for gestational age has it's challenges.  She started out at 4 pounds 14 oz, and had nothing to lose - literally skin and muscles, but not an ounce of fat.  She could not afford to lose any weight, so we had to use formula while I attempted to get her to latch and pumped to bring in my milk supply.  Since she was so tiny, her mouth was also tiny, so she just couldn't latch, even with a nursing shield.  So we fed her my milk and formula via a bottle for the first four weeks.  

Carese at 3 weeks old

By then she was able to nurse using the nipple shield, and she had gained enough weight that we could push things and we stopped allowing a bottle for a week.  She started out that week at 7 lbs 5 oz.  and ended the week at 7 lbs 1 oz.  But then she turned a corner and started gaining slowly. I had also started adding a small amount to each feeding using a finger feeding technique that uses a tube to get the milk into the baby's mouth while they suck on your finger.  After a week of that we were able to reintroduce the bottle for the extra feedings.  I had enough milk, she just tuckered out at breast feeding before she was getting enough milk to gain weight.

Carese is getting a double chin!
She's 6 weeks in this photo

She gained slowly at first but she was starting to sport a double chin by then as seen in this photo! (7 bs 5 oz at 6 wks), but then at 6 weeks she started gaining quickly and at 7 1/2 weeks was up to 8 pounds 1 oz!   She is eating more at each feeding and has been able to nurse with out the shield for 4 days now.

Carese 7 weeks, 5 days old
8 pounds 2 oz
21 inches logn
She has not only grown in weight, but she has grown in length!  She measured 18 3/4 inches at birth and now measures 21 inches!  She's grown out of her preemie clothes and is now wearing NB, but a few of the sleepers are getting too short!

5 days old, 4 lbs 13 oz 19 inches long!

Here are two  photos of her in her "coming home" Carter's preemie size outfit when she was 5 days old, and now - she's grown a lot, but she's still tiny for an almost 2 month old:

Carese finally grew into her newborn cocoon!
It only took her 7 weeks!

Here she is all snuggled in her newborn cocoon - my dear friend, Ruth D (see the Doyle blog in my blog roll) knitted this while I was pregnant, but when she was born, we knew she wouldn't fit in it, so she quickly made a smaller one (as seen in the photo above where Elizabeth is holding Carese).  Now she has outgrown the preemie size one and fits nicely in this one!

Elizabeth is letting Esther sleep in her bed to help her
 learn to be in a big bed!

Esther enjoying time outside
doesn't she look like a  precious moments figurine?

Above, you can see Esther growing into a big girl - sleeping in a big bed and playing outside with her brothers.  She loves to play outside!  She's talking more, putting on her own coat, running pretty fast, doing small steps without help!  She's also loving being a big sister and sings to Carese as well as petting her and asking to hold her too!