Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Totally Talented Tuesday - sitting up!

All talents welcome! See who else is Totally Talented at Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House!

This week JC is sitting all by himself!! Yay for that 6 month milestone! He's still a bit tippy, but has pretty good balance. There's been a few times I though he was goin' down and he recovered! Now he can entertain himself a bit longer reaching for all the stuff he's not supposed to have.

And sportin' some sweet legwarmers....

Don't know why I love this shot so much!

I Heart Faces - Pout

I ♥ Faces theme of the week is "Pouting"
Pouting PM. I left the snot in, makes the photo more authentic, don't you think??

This is her "mad" face. She snapped right into her "happy" face for the very next shot.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Goodbye Dear Friend

A very dear friend has passed away. I asked for prayers for Ruth and her family on Friday. Early this morning she left this earthly life of pain and cancer to sit whole and healed beside our Lord. She was someone I looked up to, my breastfeeding and cloth diapering guru, and a role model parent to a wonderful family that I had the privilege of being a part of for quite some time. My prayers are again with her family as they say goodbye. I wanted to share a few photos I had....

Where else but at a lake...
At my wedding....

and because you can't have a good time unless you play with your food...

We love you guys!

Not Me Monday - Stellan Style

This week we are honoring Stellan by praying and asking everyone we can to help us in this quest. "Not me!" Monday is hosted by MckMama at My Charming Kids.
I DID NOT pray all week that Stellan will get better. I DID NOT use my Fragments Friday post to ask for prayers for lots of friends and family.
I DID NOT post seeking prayers for Stellan several times during the week on Facebook.
I DID NOT join the FB group Pray for Stellan.
I DID NOT Tweet about prayers for Stellan.
I DID NOT check Twitter all week waiting to see what was going on at the hospital.
I DID NOT ask a local "blog" group that has probably never been to a "real" blog site to visit My Charming Kids, meet Stellan, and pray for him.
I DID NOT write Stellan's name in the snow in front of our flooded park for Stellan's Name Gallery.
I DID NOT ignore a ton of housework in the process. I'd better start cleaning.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And the winner of my first ever giveaway is....


Thanks to everyone who participated! Don't forget to congratulate our winner and check out her giveaways as well. Please check back often, I'll be opening my Etsy shop soon & offering more cool giveaways.....does anyone like Scrabble tile pendants? With YOUR OWN photo on them?? Just sayin......

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fragment Friday - Prayers all around

Friday Fragments?
From Half Past Kissin Time, Friday Fragments. All the little stuff too small to make it's own post, but too good to discard.

I have been praying constantly this week. So for my fragments this week I want to share some prayer requests with you...

First, you all must know Stellan by now. I pick up my little JC and think of Stellan every time, they are the same age and yesterday when I was on MckMama's site my MD thought the photo of Stellan I was looking at was JC. My heart is aching for any mother that has to sit by their child's side and only hope that the good Lord will heal them. Please pray for Stellan and his family.

Stellan's name gallery.

I got a call from my BFF last night. When we were in 6-11th grades we babysat tag-team style for a family ever day after school. We were basically nannies. The kids were "our" kids. That family was truly our second family and we spent many summers with them as well. The mom, Ruth, got breast cancer about 7 years ago. She fought and won...at least until the last year. Cancer appeared everywhere in her body. She still lived with such courage, love, and devotion to God. My friend called to let me know that she was in Pallative care. They're keeping her "comfortable". The kids have come home. Of their 3 kids, the youngest is 17. Last night the hospital was evacuated due to rising flood waters and she was placed in another hospital. Please pray for Ruth and her family.

My other girlfriend's 1 year old is sporadically turning blue. Yes, blue. I saw the video. And the doctors wanted her to wait until mid-April for a new pediatric cardiologist's appointment. We all encouraged her to demand that they at least do an ECHO to let her know that her heart is OK, or not. The baby is turning blue!! She has an appointment this week. Please pray for E. and baby D.

My husband has been activated with the National Guard in Fargo to work on the dikes and help with flood evactuations. He left this afternoon. Chances are we won't see him until possibly Sunday for a short time. They'll keep him on orders most likely until the water recedes and the temporary dikes are cleaned up. Please pray for the National Guard and all the families bracing for the flood.

That has all been on my heart this week.

On MD's mind:

He's holding a film camera (with no film) and trying to snap a photo. "Say cheese!" he says. He clicks the button then stares at the back of the camera. "Where's the picture?"he asks. Dad says "It needs film, you can't see them yet." Max looks puzzled "What's a film?"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday - Cookies with Love

Cheaper Than Therapy
Do you have a photo worth a thousand words? See ours at Cheaper Than Therapy.

AM told me last night that if we are making cookies, the only way they'll be really good is if we put lots of love in them. That's how you make good food, mom, with love.

Puttin' love in the cookies.


Please take a moment to pray for Stellan and his family this morning.

Prayers for Stellan

Flood Update

The Maple River near our house looks like it has gone down today. It snowed a lot so it's hard to tell for sure. Here's the photos I've taken.

The Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead area isn't expected to crest until Saturday at 41 feet. The previous record was in 1997 at 39.6 feet. CNN is even covering the flood HERE. Obama has signed a declaration of state of disaster for ND & MN. Please keep the flood fighters in your thoughts and prayers over the weekend!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Water Watch Wednesday

Welcome to the Flood of 2009.
An electronic billboard advertises needs for volunteers in Fargo.

We live nearest the Maple River. Here it is Monday at noon. (note the small shed on left)

Same area Tuesday at 3:30 pm. There's the little shed.

My kids and a few of their friends Tuesday.

Old powerline pole in park.

Fire station Monday at noon.

Fire Station Tuesday afternoon. The river comes right up to the doors.
Huge chunks of ice floating down the fast moving Maple River.
Park near Maple River Monday at noon.

Park near Maple River Tuesday 3:30 pm.

We're on the top on CNN's RSS feed!

Totally Talented....Holy Crap It's a Flood

See some talent at Two Of A Kind, Working on a Full House

Yeah, so I'm on my way to dropping off kids at school and I can see all the water flowing down the street. Our entire weekend was filled with listening to radio and TV and hearing how Fargo, ND (yes, or secret cover is now blown) is preparing for possibly the biggest flood in recorded history. They've called off classes at the universities and have allowed even high schoolers to go volunteer to fill sandbags and go out in groups to the community and prepare the fortress walls. I remember being in college in 1997 when the last big flood happened. The crest of the river this time is projected to be a full foot higher!

The flood of 1997.

I'm nominating the youth of the Fargo this morning for Totally Talented Tuesday. They came out in record numbers and filled many many more sandbags than the crews had hoped for. The filling stations remained staffed throughout the night into the morning. They typically use these huge machines to shoot sand into waiting bags held by volunteers. There were so many students to help that they set up a third site for volunteers to use good old shovels and twist ties to fill bags.

This photo is from this morning's Forum. They are in the Fargodome, where the college football teams play and concerts are held. (photo Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor )

I drove back to our little town from Fargo last night. It was pouring rain and the light from my headlights seemed to be sucked up by the fog. On the way there I noticed places where the water had skirted along the sides of the road from the full ditches. I was white knuckled as I puttered along at 40 mph just waiting for that spot in the road where the water had finally taken over. I pictured me with four kids in the back seats trying to drive across and being swept away or something. I am happy to report that we made it home safely. Our yard is a swamp we had to squish through to get to the door. But we made it.

This morning the yard looked better. I wondered where all that water went?

Found it.

There's a foot and a half of it in our basement. Gotta go.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fragments - CP Awareness Day

Friday Fragments?

  • Don't forget its Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day!!! Go HERE to check it out!

  • I work this weekend and I'm sad I will miss our favorite local band playing at the local bar. Most of the guys are brothers and my husband's best friend is one of them. It would have been a really good time! *sigh*

  • M.D. got sick at pre-school earlier today and I had to go get him early. They were having a movie day and got to drink orange soda and eat popcorn. I think the soda got to him and he barfed (this is a VERY underused word!!) outside....on his coat, and snowpants, and gloves, and boots. They put them all in a big garbage bag and it was waiting on the sidewalk outside when I arrived to get him. He was fine the rest of the day.

  • The path through our yard has melted and is now a swamp. Chuck Taylors are, to my dismay, NOT waterproof.

  • It was -30 degrees a week ago, and 45 degrees this week. My dad always called this area the "Land of Extremes"

  • Mrs. 4444 saw it fit to bestow this on me:
You can find out why if you go to her place...Half Past Kissin Time. You'll also find plenty of other bits and pieces too good to throw, too short to sneak in earlier this week!! Thanks so much for this little recognition, and for making me imagine an interesting visual!!!

That's about all I've got!! Happy Weekend!!

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day!!

Earlier this week I started to tell PM's story HERE. Here's a few more facts about Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy:

IS HEMIPLEGIA A PROGRESSIVE CONDITION? No hemiplegia is not a progressive condition, nor is it a disease. As children experience growth spurts, they may have more problems with muscle spasticity, but this does not mean that the initial injury has gotten worse.

ARE THERE TREATMENTS FOR CHILDREN WITH HEMIPLEGIA? Children with hemiplegia cannot be "cured", but therapies can help with some of the symptoms. Medication can be prescribed for seizures. Orthotics, braces, and splints may help with spasticity and gait (walking).
The average prevalence of cerebral palsy is about 1 in 278 children. This first report of the prevalence and characteristics of CP, the most common cause of motor disability in childhood, are from Georgia, Alabama and Wisconsin. Can you even begin to imagine the numbers if there was a national surveillance?

Now that we have a diagnosis, let me tell you a little about what's gone on this past year. PM sees an Occupational Therapist, wears AFO braces, walks (she's still quite a bit more "clumsy" than kids her age), is talking (I interpret often for Dad) and we are so very fortunate not to have any seizures so far. I've put a little more detail HERE about what we've been doing.


Our friend at Life of Logan is hosting a giveaway in honor of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Please visit them to see how you can send your support and read more about CP!

Please also visit these friends:
Cole at Caring For Cole (and here)(and Cole's mommy the RaMbLeR)
Brendon at Brendon's Smile
Max at To The Max

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday - A Million Years Ago

Cheaper Than Therapy

I dug these photos up the other night. We used to live in a bigger city, closer to everything. It was nice because stores and gas stations were open 24 hours and were only at most 15 minutes away. We had a nice big apartment right downtown. Well, it's nice and big for a newly family of four. Two bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, living room, etc. Now I can't imagine only having two bedrooms. We have waaaay too much crap to ever go back! I also can't imagine hauling 4 kids up 3 full flights of stairs every time we come home, parking as close to the building as we can manage.
It's funny, I don't remember either of these kids being so short. Please disregard all the chipped paint. I'm fairly certain no one ate it.

This one is in our apartment kitchen. The inside of the cupboards were painted candy-apple red when we moved in. I changed them to dark green inside. I thought it looked nice, but I remember showing the place to a prospective renter and they commented on how they'd have to repaint the inside of the cupboards! I fooled them, though, because the real ugly was the Formica I covered in contact paper. I ripped it all off before we left. Enjoy your kitchen!!
Here we have A.M. and I making dinner.

Please check out more photos worth a thousand words at Cheaper Than Therapy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oreo Cookies Are Evil

Yeah, I said it. Evil. And addictive. Seriously addictive. I didn't have this problem before I started having kids. Something in my brain started releasing these sugar-craving hormones. I used to crave things like Doritos or beef jerky. I used to get exercise and not gain weight. Ever since my first pregnancy Oreo cookies have become like crack. And I am apparently a crack whore. I can eat an entire package in an evening. As long as the milk doesn't run out. Just one more. Okay, really just one more. Well, now there's only a few left, I might as well eat them! In the mean time I quit wearing pants with zippers and buttons and move into anything with an elastic waist. Even if it's the wide elastic band of maternity pants I should have put away three months ago.

So here I am. I have finally squeezed my 6 months post-partum rear end into a pair of size 6 jeans. Hold on, now. Don't get too excited. This means my breastfeeding child is 6 months old. For whatever reason my body gets near my ideal weight right about now, then even though I continue to breastfeed past a year, I start putting back on the weight. SO if I can somehow remove my hand from the crack oreo bag right now and work a little I have a fighting chance of staying this size. There are actual studies that show that food like oreo cookies trigger the same addiction chemicals in the brain that things like heroin do. I admire recovering addicts. I can't even put down a snack. So what does this mean for me?? Pass the milk!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Did you know March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month? You may have seen some of our friends' posts about CP. Let me tell you a little bit more. Meet my daughter PM.

PM's birth was completely normal. I only had a 2 1/2 hour labor and no drugs of any kind. She came out perfectly and there was no indication that she should have any problems. We didn't notice the little signs.....
She was a lefty as soon as she started reaching for objects, she rarely used her right hand for anything. We didn't understand what that meant. It wasn't until she was closer to one year of age that we began to question our pediatrician about it. Here is what we finally found out.

PM has Right Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy due to a stroke shortly before or after her birth. Here's what the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association says:

HEMIPLEGIA is a type of CEREBRAL PALSY that results from damage to the parts of the brain that control muscle movements. The term HEMIPLEGIA means that the paralysis is on one side of the body. In children with hemiplegia, the paralysis in the body occurs on the side opposite the affected part of the brain. For example, if the left side of the child's brain is injured, then the paralysis will be on the right side of the child's body.


The symptoms of SPASTIC HEMIPLEGIC CEREBRAL PALSY may differ from child to child and over time. Symptoms may include:
  • difficulty with fine motor tasks like writing or using scissors

  • difficulty with walking and balance

  • stiffness and weakness in muscles on one side of the body

  • seizures

  • delay in reaching expected developmental milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or smiling
  • about one fourth of children with spastic hemiplegia may have an IQ below 70
What happens next? Throughout the week I will continue her story.

Please also visit our friends:

Cole at Caring For Cole (and here)(and Cole's mommy the RaMbLeR)

Logan at Life of Logan

Brendon at Brendon's Smile

Jack at Our Incredible Journey

Max at To The Max

And to our other friends I may have missed, please e-mail me and I'll add your name to our list!!!

PM on her first birthday!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Fragments - Snow Day Aftermath

Friday Fragments?

Because I couldn't say it better myself, Mrs. 4444 says:
"Friday Fragments; those bits and pieces of your week that are too small to stand alone, but too good to let go. It's the next best thing to closure. " Visit her and other's Fragments at Half Past Kissin Time!
  • We spent most of the week indoors as a big fat blizzard rolled through. My husband left earlier than usual for work (overnight, in a town 1 hour away) and couldn't make it back until Thursday morning! They closed the interstates border to border while drifts as high as our van settled it.

  • I really wanted to send the kids outside as they were driving me crazy being cooped up in the house. Problem: -40 degree windchill.
  • I shoveled out my own van and left hubby's side of the driveway for him. It took me over an hour and I'm still sore today. THEN our nice neighbor came by and used a large front-end loader to push all his snow!! *sigh*

  • A.M.'s Destination Imagination group is still practicing. We've even scheduled an extra practice next week. If you're not familiar with it, it's an extra-curricular school group that encourages kids to use their problem-solving skills and creativity to do on-the-spot challenges and our kids will perform a play they've made up involving problem solving. They go to a meet and the older kids can win competitions to move on to state and national competitions!!! This is my first year helping out. Fortunately our kids are 1-2 graders, so this meet is the only one. It's really fun, but I'll be glad when we're done!
  • I started sewing stuff for the Etsy shop I've already signed up for!!! I have lots of baby items as well as Scrabble Tile pendants I'll be making. More about that soon...AND a giveaway!!!

  • Um, I also had to much wine last night. Maybe I should save that for "Not ME Monday"
And I forgot to mention I've been scouting out cloth diapers. I'm actually hoping to win a few before I invest. Here's one such giveaway:

Win a free Bumgenius 3.0 Diaper! This is a valuable All-In-One cloth diaper that you can use for yourself or give as a gift to someone expecting a baby! Go check out Hot Belly Mama's Blog for details on how to win this wonderful All In One Cloth Diaper. Hot Belly Mama will announce the winner on March 30th, after her 30th birthday! Here is the direct link to her blog:
Good luck!