Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hair Donations

I saw Facebook posts from La Luna Salon & Spa, of the ladies who donated their hair.  It got me thinking...

Over the last 7 1/2 years, I've donated over 50 INCHES to be made into wigs for cancer patients through Pantene Beautiful Lengths!

I'm thankful to be able to give something, even as simple as my hair, to those who are going through a difficult time.  If my tiny gesture, small sacrifice, can bring a smile to someone's face, than it was all worth it.

17in, Oct. 2007 (at La Luna),

18in, Spring 2009 (Thank you Cara)


17in, summer 2011 (Thank you Jenn)…

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Two Teeth in One Day

My youngest child (for now), my little man, my premie baby.  He's all grown up now, he's lost his 2 front teeth.   Less than 10 hours apart.

I woke up to my kids screaming; I thought something was wrong.  Pregnant women don't usually move as quickly as I did.  So they came running to me.  And there it was, my little guy, holding his first baby tooth.

When his sisters lost their teeth, they were loose for over a month.  The adult teeth were actually growing in behind the baby teeth (it was actually kinds weird, I'd never seen that before.)  And they lost their first (and second) tooth just around their 6th birthdays

But for him, a few days of wigglers, and it was out.  He said he touched it with his tongue and it just fell out.  A whole month earlier than his sisters did.

At dinner that night, I asked him how his other tooth felt.  It was barely hanging on.  So I told him to get me a tissue.  I didn't even have to pull.  It just fell out.  

So now, my baby boy, my sickly little premie, my first child to need stitches and surgery, is without his front teeth.  


Friday, March 21, 2014

Dealing With Mean Girls

Third Grade

That's when it really started for me.  Something about 8 and 9 year old kids, especially girls, that this age is when they try to test the power of control over others.

I'd experienced it for myself, and now I'm starting to see it affecting my daughter.

I'd been made fun of for the clothes that I wore, how long my hair was, my slight Boston accent, stupid petty things.  And yet, it really affected me.  No matter how hard I'd try to ignore it, I couldn't avoid it.  It continued through junior high and high school; I couldn't avoid it.

And now it's my daughter's turn.  She was telling us about a situation, and she told us she tried to talk to the girl, but it sounded like she was trying to dish it back, and failing at it.  She was being made fun of because of how she wears her hair, and because she did Bible Quizzing.

I sat and talked with her, trying not to cry.  I told her that just because that girl might like the headbands with lots of sparkles and big bows, doesn't mean she has to.  They don't stay in her hair very well.  And if it's "too long" (as I was often teased for), maybe she's jealous because her mom cuts her hair short.  My daughter has hair that most women swoon over, asking to borrow her for a little while to take to their colorist so they can get color just like hers.

My daughter is not athletic… she's tried sports, but they're just not her thing.  She's not a bad runner though, but she doesn't want to be a runner.  She likes music and reading.  I'm not going to force her into team sports unless she wants to try it.  But she loves Bible Quizzing.  She's proud of the work that she's done.  But in a public school, she doesn't get an opportunity to share her experiences and talents.  Other kids who aren't active in a church don't see this as a real activity.  She should be proud of her hard work, and even if the kids at school don't recognize her accomplishments, I know many parents who are.

As she was getting ready for school today, I told her that if someone is trying to say something to bring you down, just walk away.  If they continue bothering you, and it's hard to ignore them, just pray for them; because even if they don't seem likable at that moment, Jesus still loves them.

As a mom, who was in her shoes, I just want to protect her.  But most importantly, I need to let her grow and handle things on her own.

Have you had to deal with mean girls?  How did you deal with it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kindness of Strangers

Over the last few weeks, my family has been blessed by the kindness of complete strangers.

Joni from had coordinated a meal sign up for my family for a few weeks.  With the exception of 3 people, we knew none of the families who had signed up to bring dinners.

I know the weather made things difficult and prevented some families from being able to help, but their  kindness is still very much appreciated.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!  We look forward to being able to pass the blessing forward.

Thanks to:

The Bryan Family
The Cain Family
The Cavin Family
The Charles Family
The Crawford Family
The Crothers Family
The Cutre Family
The Dillingham Family
The Hicks Family
The Hill Family
The Hough Family
The Kryminski Family
The Rasor Family
The Reau Family
The Vogt Family
The Szyperski Family
The Thompson Family
The Vogt Family
The Wilcox Family


Friday, February 28, 2014

Our First Surgery

My little guy was the first of my kids to need a procedure done.

He had his adenoids out a few days ago, though we've been planning for this for a couple of months (delayed due to weather and pregnancy issues.)

Aside from his awful snoring, and possible sleep apnea, his speech and hearing was greatly affected by the 85% blockage his adenoids had caused.  We'd been slowly preparing him for this day, calling it a procedure, and not a surgery.  I don't know why, that just sounded better to us.  When we did use the word "surgery," it was our daughters who freaked out, not him.

The night before we let him stay up to hydrate and snack.  I think he outlasted daddy, who fell asleep on the couch at 10,  Steven went to bed shortly after.  The next morning, we let him stay in bed until we had to go, we didn't want to have to worry about him asking for breakfast.  But he didn't, thankfully.

He brought his favorite puppy with him, and when we were checking in, they even gave puppy a wrist band.  He hated having to put on the hospital pajamas, and when they said he couldn't wear his underwear, just incase he had an accident, he asked if he had to wear a baby diaper (so cute).

The nurses all adored him.  Anytime someone new came in the room, they'd ask "Can you tell me you're whole name?" and all giggled when he did… something about the way he said "The Third" I think.  The anesthesiologist came in to talk with us, again, he was quite impressed with how thorough the answers to his questions Steven gave him.

The anesthesiologist gave me some advice regarding the baby… he could see I was having contractions.  When I told him I was only 31 weeks he explained why the steroid shots are good, and that if I can make it past at least 32 weeks, baby will be perfectly fine.  He filled it with a lot of technical stuff, which I tried to look like I was listening to, but I was here for Steven today.

Steven started to freak out a bit after all the nurses left, and then he heard "Dr. Duck."  Dr. Merrill was absolutely fabulous, and made Steven feel so much better.  And me, for that matter.  I hated saying goodbye to my guy, but I knew he was in good hands.

And quick hands too.  The procedure was done in less than 20 minutes.  I was so anxious to see him.  I guess when it was over and they stopped the anesthesia, he woke up and freaked out.  So they gave him more "giggle gas" to calm him down.

When they brought me to him, he looked so sad.  The nurses were trying to feed him a mashed up popsicle, but he didn't want it.  He just wanted to go home.  And he was mad that there was no TV - the nurses told him in pre-op that he could watch TV.

He got sick as he was being wheeled out to the car, which I was afraid of.  But also kinda glad it didn't happen in the car.

He just relaxed and watched cartoons for a few hours, we both napped for a bit (stressful day for a pregnant mom).  When he woke up, with the exception of a raspy voice, he was almost normal.  I took the advice of friends and programed his Tylenol/Motrin doses for every 3 hours, on the dot, and that seemed to keep any pain away.  He wasn't 100%, but was playing with his toys, and looking at books and moving around just fine.

Two days later, not so much.  I really wanted to take my daughters to their JBQ tournament (Thank you Dillingham Family!), but due to my condition and Steven, hubby wouldn't let me take the almost 4 hour drive.  Which, as much as I hated it, ended up being a good thing.  Poor guy did not have a good morning, and refused to get out of bed for several hours.  I kept up with his meds, but it took a while to get him up and going.

Now, therapy foods:  Room temperature definitely worked best for him.  I had purchased PediaSure, pudding and Jell-o, as well as Go-Gurts and Ice-Pops.  He really only wanted the pudding, Jell-o and PediaSure.  Oh, and my Shakes from New-Trition (though I made him his own at home without ice).  He really wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, but I was told not to let him eat until day 4 or 5.  He didn't like that so much.

We went in to this procedure knowing that his adenoids were huge, and that was affecting the number, and severity, of his ear infections, which in turn affected hearing and speech.  Within the first day, we noticed improvements.  The first time I heard him say "Samantha" and not "Saman-ta" I almost cried.

Thanks again to Dr. Merrill for taking such amazing care of my son.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Looking For "Alternative Therapy" to Compliment Prenatal Care!

(Follow along my story at

I'm currently at 30 weeks, and cannot have any additional treatments after week 34.  They all just stop.  

Now, with the steroid and magnesium, if I deliver at 34 weeks, our NICU time is predicted to be very short, doctor doesn't think it would be more that 2 weeks.

But I don't want to go into labor the week after all my meds stop.  I'd really like to make it to at least 36 weeks this time.  I don't want the fear of NICU time.  

So I'm looking to my Northwest Ohio friends:  if you know of any "alternative therapy" providers with experience in treating high-risk pregnant women in their third trimester, please let me know.  I'd really like to stop taking the Procardia, and I'd really like to make it to AT LEAST March 25 (36 weeks)!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

More Snow Days

I feel like my kids are being cheated out of their education.

First the Common Core rubbish, now, excessive snow days.

They have been in school a whopping 8 days in the month of January.  It's really taking a toll on them; they're tired of being in the house, they miss their friends, they've read all their books (print and on the kindle), and the girls are almost 2 weeks ahead in their Bible Quizzing memorization.

I get it, today the high is -9… it's too cold to let the kids go to the bus stops or walk to school.  Yesterday we had a snow.  I'm not complaining that they shouldn't have canceled schools, I'm just saying, my kids are bored.

With me being on bed rest, I can't really entertain them the way I'd like to.  And I hate to have the TV or video games on all day.  They've done their computer games to practice math (which I hate, but what ever), and the printer is out of ink, so I can't print out any worksheets for them.

I'm thinking I'm going to have to stock up on some more activities… maybe even have them over-nighted from Amazon, just in case there is no school tomorrow, too.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Issues with Common Core Curriculums

Common Core

It's a phrase that most parents I know have come to dread.

I understand that it's just a level of standards that they children need to learn by the end of the year, and how the teachers teach it is their discretion.

However...  The programs that appear to have been made available to the teachers are, in my honest opinion, ridiculous.

I'm annoyed at the fact that my daughters rarely come home with homework.  They can't build a study routine when they don't have studying to do.  We limit screen time, so these practice websites are not my top choice.  I purchased math workbooks to supplement, but it's not enough.  And when they do come home with homework, we are overwhelmed with questions, because it's a printed page, and there is no text book to help them find the answers.

My biggest critique is of this math program; it doesn't cater to my eldest daughter's learning style.  2+2=4.  It always will.  She hates having to learn all these other devices to come up with the same answer.   And the terminology they want the kids to learn.  It's all "grouping;" not carrying over or borrowing.  If you want to make it make sense, use terms that a kid will understand.

My eldest is learning multiplication now.  I don't remember learning it until the fourth grade, she's in third.  But some of the stuff she's brought home looks like algebra, which isn't a bad thing, necessarily.  But the problems are written poorly:

2 x 2 + 2 = __
So, does anyone see the problem with this question?

(2 x 2) + 2  = 6
2 x (2 + 2)  = 8
So which is it that they're asking for?  I had her write it both ways… a week later, I haven't seen the graded assignment, so I don't know which was the answer they were looking for.

Then we get things like this:

This is a practice test.  There is no explanation that each X=1 "creature."  Then, what if the child doesn't know that an ant has 6 legs or the spider has 8 legs, because they haven't covered insects in science.  

For my husband to see homework like this and say "Maybe it is time to look into private school," it's serious.  

I know from the parent-teacher conferences a few months ago that their teachers aren't happy with this curriculum, but don't mind the standards.  Both my girls have exhibited exceptionally high standardized test scores (which is what schools ALL ABOUT, right?) and read/comprehend 2 grade levels above where they are.

But they are bored; not feeling challenged, but confused by the "silly work."

Seriously, though… homeschooling and private school are starting to look a lot better now...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hospital Food

I had to spend the weekend in the hospital with some baby issues.  Baby is healthy, big and strong.  Now just time to build my strength.

But how the heck do they think they're going to build up someone's strength with that food?

I mean, really?

I was there 3 days.  I had 8 meals during my stay.  3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners.

Breakfast was the same options every day: eggs (scrambled or hard boiled), several choice of bread, a few cereals and juice.  I ordered the same thing each day: Scrambled Eggs, Frosted Flakes, wheat toast & jelly, and apple juice and decafe tea.  I know they probably use a pre-mixed egg product, but each day the texture was different, and usually cold by the time it got to me.  The "toast" was just a slice of bread.  The hot water for the tea was never hot.  Thank goodness for the cereal!

Lunch and dinner, a different story.  My first day, I was not given a full menu to chose from, just the daily options.  I had forgotten that vegetarian options were available (as they had been 6 years ago when I had my son).  So I mostly ordered sides.  Soup, salad, potato, mixed veggies and a dinner roll.

The first day, no problem.  They gave me what I ordered.  But day 2, they made it up!  I had been transferred to a different room, in the wing with all the moms who recently delivered (instead of being with all the moms in labor).  So maybe that's why the nutritional team felt the need to put the gross meats on my plate, and NOT my vegetable medley.  I mean, the chicken could have been edible, if it wasn't mostly bone.  And salisbury steak?  I don't eat beef, but even if I did, that looked gross.  I was offered a grilled cheese, but by the looks of the breakfast "toast," I passed.

Hummus plate, much better
Yay for my nurse, tracking down the vegetarian menu for me.  She got me a yummy hummus plate.

I've been tracking my food intake for a few years, monitoring my diet.  Especially the last 6 months.  This weekend, I was barely hitting 1200 calories, when I need to be getting at least 1700.  I was missing my protein shakes.  I was missing variety.  I was missing food that actually had flavor!  

I know they make thousands of plates at each meal, and that delivery time can affect food temperatures and so forth.  I totally get that.  But seriously?

And I was really surprised by their "Plate Mandate".  On the menu, it had a circle of what your plate should look like: Protein, Vegetables/Fruit, Carbs and Dairy.  However: At breakfast, no fruit or vegetable was offered, only juice.  And juice was listed as a "carb".  I got some flack for posting that image on Facebook.  I know that the sugars in fruits are technically a carb, but when I need to fill 1/4 of my plate with a fruit or veggie, shouldn't you offer one for breakfast?

In the first room I was in, no 'outside food' or additional snacks were allowed.  They didn't care as much in the other room, which was good because I had my husband bring me a shake from NewTrition first chance he could get!  Ahh.. good ol' Monster Cookie never lets me down!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dr. PetPlay is in the House

We recently got a few new iPad games for our kids, that had been free during the Christmas Season.

Dr. PetPlay was one of these games (usually $2.99).

My middle child loves animals (especially cats) and would like to be a vet when she grows up.  So this game was PERFECT for her.  And her enormous collection of stuffed animals made for a full waiting room.

The kids have spent their days being snowed in taking care of their animals.  I was doing some work when I heard an awful cry coming from "The Doctor's Office."  It was my son.  And his beloved puppy Shadow (named after my parent's dog) had not one, but two broken legs!  Thank you creators of Dr. PetPlay for that image for my son.

The tears on his face were real, and the sadness in his voice.  But Dr. Emmalee told him that with some bandaids and rest, puppy would be all better.

We've recently been bombarded with animals who needed homes, temporary and permanent.  After the snowstorm left an animal shelter without heat, my heart broke and I wanted to help.  But I also know the kids wouldn't want to give the animal back, and we're not really in a place to be taking in any animals, especially cats or untrained puppies.

So we'll continue on with the stuffed animals, and visiting adopt-a-thons, waiting for that time when a pet will be a part of our family…. many, many years from now.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tummy Aches Return

In the past, we'd dealt with tummy troubles for our eldest.  Now it's my middle child's turn.

E has been having tummy issues for months, so after discovered the pattern of right after every meal, we cut everything out and went vegan and gluten free for a few weeks.  We slowly added everything back, and found the culprit: dairy.

So we invested in the lactose pills for her to take at meal times, and started giving her pro-biotic pills daily.  As long as she takes her meds, she's fine.  For the most part, the school has been accommodating to her, giving her dairy free options.  But in the case of snacks from classmates, she's often needing reminders to take a pill before she eats it - even dairy in baked goods upset her tummy.

I've been researching natural ways to help her deal with it, even been given some seemingly contradictory advice.  But the consensus is to just ELIMINATE all dairy for 3 to 6 months, then introduce it.

That means soy/almond milk alternatives, which can be pretty pricy.  She was mostly upset about not being able to have sour cream on her tacos… her favorite part.

Any other Lactose Free families out there with suggestions for me?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Our Take on "Bread and Milk" Videos

Three extra days of winter break…  It would be an understatement to say the kids got a bit stir crazy.

My husband had shown them the infamous "Bread and Milk" YouTube videos, and our theatrical children wanted to make their own.

And so, we did.

We were in fact running low on milk, but the Level 3 Emergency that we were under (making it illegal to be on the roads) was going to be lifted soon.  

Regardless, the kids had a blast making this, and I crack up every time I see my son on the screen.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snomageddon 2014

Well, 2014 has certainly been fun!

Living in the midwest, particularly our part of the midwest, snow can be hit or miss.  We always seem to be on the cusp of any snow storm that has potential to close the county.

Not this year!

Winter Storms Henry and Ion shut us in, even giving the kids a few extra days off of school from Christmas/Winter break.  The hardest part is dealing with the temperatures: The kids WANT to go play in the now, but it's -7 degrees at 1in the afternoon: not really happening.

All bundled up for 5 minutes of play
Snow has kept them in for the most of the past 2 weeks, and they're getting stir crazy in the house.  Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago when we could go for a walk?  Now we can't even step outside the house.  

It was so cold today that we tried the whole "toss boiling water into the air to make snow" thing.  Yup, it totally worked.  And it was awesome!

The girls were able to get ahead on their bible quizzing verses, and our son is enjoying all the toys he got for Christmas. But they really miss their friends and having someone other than their sibling to play with.  School should be back in session tomorrow, right?  

AND with this snow emergency (making it illegal to be on the roads, thus businesses are closed), it only figures that I would get a random pregnancy craving...

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Years Resolutions?

I don't have any real "New Years Resolutions."  Something always happens and I fail.

Especially now with as sick as I've been, I'm not going to try anything too crazy.  I'd say "get healthier," but my doctor doesn't care what I eat or drink at this point, as long as I can keep it down.

With the birth of our 4th child coming however, I really want to try to be more frugal this year.

I coupon occasionally, when it's products that we'd regularly use.  I don't do the 'extreme coupon-ing' for major stocking up; I don't buy 12 newspapers and the thought of ordering coupons by mail is weird to be, but some people swear by it.   But I love reading coupons blogs to see what kind of deals I can get, if I could manage to get my hand on THAT many coupons…

Me and the Coupon Queen herself, Joni Meyer-Crothers at her book signing (

I've started researching to make my own cleaning and beauty supplies… some other DIY things to save money.  

We thought about cloth diapers for the baby, but not sure how the childcare situation will be yet long term, and not everyone is a fan of cloth diapers.

I'm taking the pants that my daughters, which they had received from my cousins, and have grown to tall for (thank you elastic adjusted waistbands!) and turning them into skirts.  I don't have a wide variety of Maternity clothes, but I've found patterns to make my own… the catch is finding the energy to do it…

I know many moms who have started their own side businesses - crafts, skin care, etc.  But I'm not that crafty and you have to spend money and make a ton of products in hoping to sell a few.

I've tried to sit through those survey sites, too, but I never seem to qualify, so it's almost a waste of my time…

I have a Sam's Club Membership, I'd like to start doing more bulk meal preparations, but again, a lot of it has to do with time and energy…

So at this point, I'm just trying to cut as many corners as I can, trying to set money aside for things like Bible Quiz trips, and maternity leave.

What money saving tips are you using?  Any suggestions for me?