Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday




This is a sort of fun blog "game" or tradition that many bloggers do...I had some pics and thought it would be fun. I don't know if I'm breaking any "rules" by using so many pictures, but oh well. Sorry I didn't fix the red-eyes. Too lazy to open Memory Manager right now.

Except for the pics OF Malachi, Malachi took all the others (with a *little* help). :)


Eden

Zeke & Josh

Selena

Caleb

Micah

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In General...

I haven't blogged recently because there's nothing really fun to blog. It's been pretty hectic around here, and hectic = boring when I write. :)

I'm 30 weeks pg now. I was supposed to see the doctor this week, but told her I'd be in at 32 weeks unless I felt like I needed to see her. No need to see the scale reading higher than I want it to read, right? And the baby is moving all the time, so I don't really need to hear her heartbeat either at the moment. She was cool with that. Yay for good doctors! The baby is doing a lot of moving. Several people in the house have got to feel her. Hope was pretty amazed. I've been having a few braxton-hicks contractions. Don't know why my uterus needs to "practice"...you'd think it has enough practice already. They are annoying and take my breath away. Especially when I'm trying to hold and take care of other babies/children. The baby has apparently been practice breathing too, she gets the hiccups all the time. What a good girl!!

Malachi is changing more and more every day. He's finally starting to mellow out a little and not be so crabby. He's learning how to communicate without screaming. That's a good thing! He uses a few signs and a few nonsense sentences made up of just sounds. He has a few words that we can understand fairly clearly, but he's definitely not at the same level as other children his age with vocab words. Apparently a lot of people do the talking for him. If he's not speaking more words more clearly at 2 years then I'll probably have him evaluated. In all other areas he's right on track. He's actually a very observant child (must get that from Mitch) and amazes me at the things he is picks up on. He's also trying new foods (even though he usually doesn't like them). This new change in tolerance is a big deal--for a long time ANYthing new (food, clothes, just change in general) made him really crabby.

We finally passed the 100th day of school. This week we are wrapping up lesson 110 of 170 lessons total. We will skip the normal spring break and hold that out for when the baby comes. I love being over the 100-mark. Eden has all A's, Micah has all B's, and Caleb is doing outstanding work. I'm excited to see how Caleb does next year with 3rd grade compared to Eden doing it last year. I think it is going to be easier for him since there is continuity in the curriculum. 4th grade this year for Eden seems to be a little easier for her than it was for Micah last year. Micah is gradually learning to work more independently. Next year will be a real trick with adding Zeke's kindergarten. They are all going to need to step up the independence level...I don't think I can juggle so much!! :)

I just finished the majority of taking inventory for my business. This is where I unroll/unfold every piece of fabric in my room, measure, and refold. I count everything that is consumable, non-fabric items included. I match it up with the original purchase price, and so on. I don't have those final numbers in, but I think it's safe to say I doubled my inventory this past year. I'll laugh if I tripled it. It was a lot of work taking inventory. I thought it would take most of one morning. It took all of one day and I still have a box left to do. Plus I need to count all my mailing envelopes. Then I'll be done--whew! Of course, that won't even be close to being done with taxes. But I have to get those done soon, too, so that we'll really be ready for the baby to come. No waiting until April 15th this year!! My goal is to have it all done by early March. Ouch...did I just say that???

Selena's diabetes numbers continue to show improvement. Hope and I get frustrated daily that things are not more stable than they are. This weekend we are going to a friend's house for dinner. Our friend has a 3rd grader with type 1 diabetes. It will be very refreshing to spend time with her and recieve reassurance and encouragement plus "real" tips from the trenches. Selena has an appointment with an endocrinologist in early June. I can't wait! We are also dealing with issues that are common with children who are adopted or living in a foster care situation. Our friend has also adopted a child...she's going to be a valuable resource!! One of Selena's major issues has been stealing food. Unfortunately, stealing/hording food will cause her numbers to spike. Since we are trying so hard to control this, it just adds to the pile. Last week was bad, but so far this week we are seeing improvement.

I won't lie. With everything that has been going on...and there's certainly a lot going on...I have been dealing with strong bouts of discouragement. It is hard to be my "normal" upbeat self. It's also hard to talk to people...I don't want people to get the wrong impression. I'm absolutely stressed out, but it's not really as bad or dramatic as I probably would make it sound right at the moment if I just opened up and "spilled." So it's a delicate balance of "keeping it together" for me. I've had a few offers or suggestions to get away--to take a day to myself--etc, but I seriously thing that would just stress me out more. There's already SO much that needs to be done around here, now I "need" to do one MORE thing??? LOL I'm happy to put on my mp3 player of relaxing music I've prepared and go lay down for a little while. Or go sew. So I do have a few coping techniques up my sleeve...I'm just not that much fun to hang out with. Things will change soon, they never stay the same for long and I never stay discouraged for long.

I made a cake today with chocolate cream cheese (!!!) frosting and it is begging to add a couple more pounds to my expanding girth. I'd better go see to that...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Immune!!

I just got a call from the dr.'s office--I am already immune to parvovirus, the bug that causes Fifth Disease. Hurray!! :)

Too bad I wasn't immune to the other bugs that are hanging around here. Runny noses and coughs are lingering on. I thought I should be feeling better by now, but it's holding out. Coughing is really hard when you have a fat baby in your tummy!! :)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Praying for the Fabry Family

I love the world of blogging and how it all spiderwebs together. :) Today I'm going to use my blog to connect (hopefully) a few more of you to two other blogs I love.

Chris Fabry is a name you may recognize if you listen to Christian programming on the radio. He has done work for Moody and Focus on the Family and I have no idea who else. It is not uncommon to flip on the radio and hear him as the announcer, and his voice is easily recognizable. He has lately been hosting his own afternoon radio show, Chris Fabry Live. Ok, so that's the extent of my knowledge about his career. :) Oh, and he just fulfilled a life-long dream to publish a book...the (fiction) story is based in West Virginia and I'd love to read it sometime. It is called Dogwood.

Anyways, so Chris and his wife have 9 kids and that right there is enough to make me love 'em. They made their home for many years in Colorado. In May 2007 they discovered mold in their home. Thus began a heart-wrenching journey for their family. The mold was quite dangerous, and in very high toxic levels. They discovered many negative health effects for all of the family members living at home, most of these are quite surprising. In September they were told by leading mold experts to immediately vacate their home and not take anything with them--the levels were so high and dangerous that nothing could be selvaged. Can you imagine just walking out the door and never coming back? Like as if there were a house fire and you lost everything...only everything is still there and you can't touch it? It gets even more complicated and devastating. They moved out, but they weren't getting better. Our health is our most valuable resource, but their health didn't immediately improve. Homeowners' Insurance does not cover mold, so while their home is completely unliveable, they cannot do anything about it (ie: they are still responsible for the mortgage, etc, yet can't live there). Doctors they were seeing in CO couldn't help treat their vast medical issues at this point. They found specialists in Arizona who could, however their medical insurance is balking at covering this and many bills are unpaid. Still, they felt it best to move to Arizona to seek treatment. Their family was split through many weeks during this transition. Obviously they have been VERY careful to find a new place to live. They found a place that tested free from mold, but when they finally all moved in together they had reactions right away. The culprit this time? Pesticides. Apparently going through the mold issues that they have can cause you to have MCS: multiple chemical sensitivity. They had to move out a day after they moved in, again abandoning some of their belongings which became contaminated. So far they are living in a hotel and still no good solutions in sight. They have one son who is in 12th grade who stayed behind in CO to finish his senior year. They had a post about him on their blog today that just made me cry. It must be SO hard to go through the challenges that they are going through and not see an end in sight. What kind of work is God accomplishing through them? Many, many people have reached out to help them and it's amazing. You can listen to Chris's radio show each day and not even hear the strain of stress in his voice. :) Ok, enough of my babbling, here are the blog links and be sure to read "My Son, The Man."

The Flog (Chris's blog)
Our Mold Journey (His wife's blog)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

CPSIA Updates

Well, there is good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad news, then we can end on a good note, ok?

The LA Times reported that a federal judge overturned a ruling the CPSC had made. A special interest group apparently sued because the panel had said that the phthalates ruling should not be retroactive. Meaning, as long as a product was made before February 10, 2009, it could still be sold and not subject to the new bans. After the judge's ruling, that part of the law is now retroactive. :( Boo!

What is so hard about parents being able to make decisions for themselves??? I mean, no one is out there banning BPA's, right? But yet bottle makers are proudly displaying their bottles that say BPA-free and parents are scrambling to snatch them up! Parents who want products free of phthalates will be cautious to purchase items made after February 10th.

Ok, on to good news. Yesterday the CPSC issued a statement explaining how they plan to enforce the new law. They clearly said in the statement, well, nevermind, I'll just copy and paste it:

Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers should also be aware that CPSC will:

  • Not impose penalties against anyone for making, importing, distributing, or selling

    • a children’s product to the extent that it is made of certain natural materials, such as wood, cotton, wool, or certain metals and alloys which the Commission has recognized rarely, if ever, contain lead;
    • an ordinary children’s book printed after 1985; or
    • dyed or undyed textiles (not including leather, vinyl or PVC) and non-metallic thread and trim used in children’s apparel and other fabric products, such as baby blankets.

      (The Commission generally will not prosecute someone for making, selling or distributing items in these categories even if it turns out that such an item actually contains more than 600 ppm lead.)

    Sellers will not be immune from prosecution if CPSC’s Office of Compliance finds that someone had actual knowledge that one of these children’s products contained more than 600 ppm lead or continued to make, import, distribute or sell such a product after being put on notice. Agency staff will seek recalls of violative children’s products or other corrective actions, where appropriate.

  • Ok, so what that means is this: if you fall into one of the categories, the CPSC is NOT going to prosecute you. I will try hard to stay on top of what all this means specifically to me and the products I make, but it sure does sound SO good. Also, Senator DeMint introduced an amendment to the CPSIA, but they tacked it on to the economic stimulus bill. Oh the irony! We'll have to stay posted on that one.

    In other good news, my serger is finally home, 3.5 weeks later. At first they told us the part cost almost $80. I sent Mitch in to talk to them since he originally purchased the serger and it came with a gold star warranty. I checked the Baby Lock website and apparently the gold star warranty still covers parts on my machine. So he went in. There was some mix-up with the warranty, but the store owners agreed to "eat" the cost and pay for the part themselves. I have so many mixed feelings about this. First of all, I love the store--they are Christian-owned and proudly display it throughout the store. Obviously by their actions they operate according to their convictions. On the other hand, it ALWAYS seems like when I have to take a machine in, it's there and often forgotten for much longer than necessary. It turns out that it just took THAT long to get the part in this time, but why does it always take so long? I also feel guilty that they ate the cost of the part. This is the second repair on my machine that they've done that. :( It feels especially bad since *I* did it. It would feel a lot better if the larger parent company were the one fulfilling the warranty. Still, it was sold to us WITH the warranty, and I have the receipt to prove it. I don't want to feel like I am taking advantage of the business, and I greatly appreciate their work, but I also feel like I got what I deserve. Oh well, we've bought two machines there and two vacuum cleaners...these aren't "cheap" machines...so I'm sure they've still profited from us. :)

    Ok, breakfast is over and I'm off to sew. We had so many ups and many more downs it seems like this week...I definitely need an "up." Oh--one more thing--I have updated my Pampered Cheeks website with my pattern info. I haven't put the patterns for sale in my store yet. I'm planning on doing a presale--where I take orders for a couple weeks, then fulfill the orders. I'm going to run the presale at the same time as I run a coop. I'm hoping that I can get orders for over 100 patterns, as it will be cheaper to print them at that volume. Then I will reinvest the profits and order more patterns. When that happens, then I will have an inventory of patterns that will ship as soon as they are purchased. The retail cost of the pattern will be $13/each. Please go look at my patterns! I also got to struggle through writing a cottage license agreement (all those legal terms--yuck!). This will allow someone to purchase a cottage industry license from me, then they can make diapers from my patterns for sale. They can also use certain trademarks so that customers can identify the "brand" and know that they can trust the fit of the diapers. My main reason for making the patterns was so I could do this. To be honest, I really don't like making the AI2's. I'm hoping that someone else will want to take on these popular diapers and make them. :)

    Wednesday, February 04, 2009

    Fifth Disease

    Now, I'm not panicking. Though I am concerned enough to have a bowl of ice cream in spite of recent weight gain. :)

    I think the kids have Fifth Disease. It started about a week ago. Or maybe 2 weeks ago. Micah had a low-grade fever and stayed home from church. Last week Eden had a really strange rash on her cheeks. It was definitely not eczema, since we are familiar with that. Soon Josh had the red cheeks (this past weekend???) and eventually Zeke did. Runny noses and coughs abound...nothing out of the ordinary. One daycare child, bless her heart, got a double ear infection. This morning when I got up one of the first things I noticed was Josh's arms. He was wearing a t-shirt. His arms had a mottled, spidery rash all over them. It was on his legs too. It has continued all day. No fevers though. Malachi had a very low-grade fever last week, then on Monday and Tuesday...nothing even so high as being a "real" fever...more like 99.5 under the arm. Today he woke up and was over 100. So I decided to take him in to see the doctor. His ears looked perfect and his lungs sound great. The doctor commented on his red cheeks, and I told her about the older brothers' arms. She mentioned the Fifth Disease and said it was possible, so I came home to do research. It sure does look like the pictures and match the description on WebMD. I wish I'd gotten pictures of their cheeks when those were red. Here they are:


    I put in a call to my doctor, who will call back tomorrow. I guess I will feel better if they order a blood test to determine if I have it or not. We'll see...yuck-o! Apparently it's very, very likely that I already had Fifth Disease as a child and am immune. The risk is small, but always good to check into I think.

    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    28 weeks

    There you have it, folks, my expanding belly!

    I saw the doctor today. Oh what a shock--I'd gained 9.4 lbs in 4 weeks!! Oh no! That brings me up to 30 lbs total already, and there are still 12 weeks to go. :( She didn't seem to mind. She said my tummy was measuring right on for 28 weeks (so I'm not carrying extra amniotic fluid). I don't have swelling in my ankles, so I'm probably not carrying extra fluid anywhere else in my body, either. So it's "real" weight. My nurse was so sympathetic. She said, "Don't worry, it always comes off." She's right, it always does. But as I top the scale at 152 lbs, I realize that this pregnancy, like the last, will also end with me over 160. I'm hoping, but that hope is diminishing, that it will end with a baby closer to 8 lbs than 9 lbs. =P

    Micah came with me to the appointment today. He has always been obstinate to tell everyone, "The baby is a boy." I asked him as I stepped on the scale if he wanted to tell the nurse what I'm having. He put on his shy grin and said, "It's a girl." Of course, my nurse was really excited for me.

    Everything else at the appointment was good. My blood pressure was low. I had my gestational diabetes test, which means SO much more now than it used to. My blood sugar level was only 100 an hour after drinking a 10 oz glucose drink that contained 50 g of sugar. Perfect! :)

    Sunday, February 01, 2009

    Grocery Brag

    So, I was at the grocery store today...it's a weekly event...and as I was checking out, the clerk says to me, "Wow, you eat healthy!" I was kind of surprised. Seriously. We are not healthy eaters. We were blessed (I think) with high metabolism, and we are all "healthy" weights despite our nasty eating habits. :) Enter Selena. This wonderful little girl LOVES to snack on fresh veggies and fruits. It's a treat that nearly has her jumping up and down. With an attitude like that, who wouldn't buy her some celery, right??? I just never expected to hear the words that I did out of the clerk's mouth. I had such a little private pride moment. LOL. Unfortunately, I'm not the main eater of the treats, but anyways...I quickly filled her in on our recent lifestyle change.

    I did have quite the healthy cart of groceries. I'd share my monthly menu if it were easier to upload a pdf file to blogger. If you want to tell me how, then I will. Since we participate in the CACFP, I have to submit monthly menus that conform to food program guidelines and are reviewed by dieticians.

    Yes, chicken nuggets are allowed and do appear on our menu regularly. (The clerk didn't get a chance to see what I bought at Sam's Club before coming to the discount grocery store).

    I still think I'm doing ok on our grocery budget. At the moment there are 3 adults and 7 children ages 11.5 and under living here full time. There are also 3 full time daycare children (that number is going up in February, yay!). In January I typically spent close to $200 per week in groceries. That's less than $20 per person. I think Wendy Jeub, mom to 14, could do better, but it's not too bad, right? Here's what was on my list today:

    3 lbs bananas, leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, 1 cucumber, 2 roma tomatoes, 1 bunch radishes, 2 red grapefruit, 10 lbs apples, 5 lbs navel oranges, 5 lbs potatoes (free item), celery, 2 lbs baby carrots, 1 package shredded carrots, 1 box whole mushrooms, 1 head cauliflower, strawberries, jar baby dill pickles, horseradish, 2 cans pizza sauce, tarter sauce, 1 pack of sliced ham, 1 pack of bologna, 2 5-quart pails of ice cream (on sale!), 4 lbs margarine (also on good sale!), 1 bag plain bagels. Total $65.64

    Obvioulsy the clerk overlooked the 2.5 gallons of ice cream and 4 lbs of margarine, huh?

    At Sam's Club I bought:

    lasagna, american sliced cheese, chicken nuggets, nutty bars (Mitch's treat), 12-pack of tomato sauce, 2 bags blueberry bagels, 90oz Dawn dw liquid, apple sauce, eggo waffles, 18 ct eggs, gogurt, tortilla shells, and 10 lbs ground beef. Total $101.02

    I bought my bread at the bread store, 6 loaves of wheat, 1 loaf texas toast, and 1 pack english muffins, for just under $10 with a coupon.

    We also receive some WIC, so I had 3.5 gallons of milk, 3 containers of juice, 1 doz eggs, 2 lbs cheese, 36 oz cereal, and 1 jar peanut butter. That was the last of my milk for the next 2 weeks from there. We are drinking about 9 gallons of milk per week, and I'm trying to cut back on extras and waste. Milk is required under the food program, though, so I am careful to not cut back where I shouldn't.

    I know I could do better. For example, why buy tomato sauce and then jarred pizza sauce? Why not make my own? Well, I think the jarred pizza sauce tastes better. :P It cost $0.98/can. The tomato sauce only costs $0.55/can. Hmmm....

    I'm getting there!