Sunday, November 29, 2009

Busy Busy Me

Well, it seems that the busy time of life is on me now. With a 3rd grader and a 1st grader, and a getter-into-all-things crawling around, I am just plain old busy. I am attempting to organize a bit better, up until now homeschooling has been a breeze, with only one that was really needing Mommy help. But now they both need help and a person who keeps them on track.

I need to get organized or I will drown in a sea of BUSY!!

So, I am attempting to streamline the whole homeschool process.

For us a major time eater was the I-can't-find-it syndrome. My children are HORRIBLE at looking. They are constantly losing their books/pencils/own head. Workboxing worked well for that, BUT it required me to prep it each night. This was too much to do in the evening. I have switched over to a notebook system. (not to be confused with notebooking) My kids each now have their own binder that has a awesome checklist (thank you Homeschool Tracker) for each days work in it, and the workpages/writing paper for the day right behind the checklist. MUCH BETTER!!!!! I am still keeping the workboxes, so we can use them occasionally. The kids LOVED finding a box with "play set with mommy" in in it.

I needed a place to see at a glance what we were doing each day. I already had a big binder (letter size and a 3" spine) but I never opened it. I couldn't even carry it in one hand while schlepping a baby about the house. I realized that I wanted a tiny binder with my info in it. Sooo.... I bought a cheapo Plan Ahead binder and figured out how to print out Tapestry of Grace and HStracker in teeny tiny pages.. :-D

Ta da! Binder goodness for me! If only it were prettier, maybe covered in Amy Butler fabric, and with a zipper around the whole thing it would be perfect. As it is, it keeps me on track.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bad Blogger!

No, I haven't been keeping up with blogging.... But I am keeping up with homeschooling 2 kids, keeping the floor clean for Baby, and 3 meals on the table each day.

It seems like life has been a whirlwind lately, with barely time to breath in between, let alone gab with all of you lovely people! I've been a bit lax in the joyful home improvement items as well. I did finally get down to business about a month ago, and painted the back splash in my kitchen.

Mark is now 9 months old, and he is crawling all over and getting into everything. I set him down a few a days ago, and when I came back to the room, he had escaped to his sister's room, and was happily engaged in emptying her dresser drawer. :-) It was pretty weird to see a tiny 9 month old performing what looked like a chore. He was standing up with one hand on the middle drawer, busily putting and taking. Too bad he took ALL her clothes out, but only put ONE item back in.

I get the feeling that school will soon be a happy routine, and we will get our work done fast enough to get back to enjoying life a bit more... I know that I need it, and the kiddos must too.

Friday, July 31, 2009

What do you do at 3 am??


Well, after waking at 1am to feed the baby, it became obvious that I wouldn't be sleeping again for awhile. I usually sleep quite well, but the combo of the heat and various worries kept me up. The silly thing is, there is nothing I can do about the worry part. I cannot change other people, nor can I by worrying help them be happy and holy. But alas, once sleep has fled it seems to stay away till I have worn myself out by reading, or as is the case tonight, working. So far I have done 2 loads of laundry, paid the bills, and prepped the household budget for the next month. FUN! :-D

I decided that laundry would be good, because the AC and laundry combo seems to be flipping the circuit breaker too often, and I need the AC tomorrow.

Sleep well, and may the silly worries stay away!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Frugality and the cloth diaper bag

OK folks, lets face it, there aren't many BIG diaper bags out there. Way back in February, I was facing weekly hospital trips (all day out & about) combined with a newborn in cloth diapers.... cloth diapers are MUCH bigger in a diaper bag than paper ones. I was also dragging along 2 changes of clothing, 1 for a spare and 1 for the inevitable plaster casting mess that would be all over the original outfit, at least 1 blanket, a nursing cape, insurance paperwork, wallet etc.

In my soul I wanted nothing more than to spend about $150 on this...Fleurville bag... please note the botanical azure pattern.. DROOL.

BUT... She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12

Yes, I needed a bigger bag, but we didn't have that kind of money. So, I resolved to find something cheaper. Alas, all else cheaper was too small, or just plain old black. Now I like black, but I had been wearing it for about 9 months, and the idea of adding another piece of black to my wardrobe was just horrifying at the time.

On craftster I ran across a review of the Modern Diaper Bag from The Amy Butler Little Stitches book, so I decided to make it. I thriftily borrowed the book from the library, bought the spendy interfacing with a 40% off coupon, and was off to the races!

I wanted big and less than 50, so here she is about 45ish for total cost. It was really tight to get all the pieces out of the yardage though, so if you are doing the same pattern I would buy extra fabric. Nice pattern, but there is no cutting layout, and most of the pieces are just dimensions, ie. "cut a 12x18.75 rectangle."

Here's the fabric I used...Thank you Joann's....

I didn't read all the directions well, so I cut the long pockets a bit short. To compensate for this, I just eliminated the bottle pockets and replaced them with my own Super-dee-duper wallet pocket, and a pen/lipstick pocket...I am SOO glad I did that! I can reach by my seat while driving and grab a pen or my credit card with no trouble at all... Just be sure to add your own special pockets at the top of the bag. You don't want to be reaching down into the abyss to get the pen or money.

I also added a key fob thingy, so I won't have to dig for the keys anymore.

This baby is big! I've got in it: 4 BumGenius One Size diapers, A wetbag, 1 prefold, Nursing cape, swaddling blanket, extra outfit, wallet, keys, inhaler, phone, coupon folder, sanitizing wipes, etc. and its not even full.... It would be better a bit wider though, about 6-8 instead of the 4-5 it is..... OH the first pic has my Xl carhart sweatshirt hoodie in it too... :-D

Heehee I'm so proud of finally getting the guts to sew this up. My bag is useful and I still love seeing it.... Good thing it's not black. All in all I feel that I did well, yes I could have toted it all around in a giant plastic bag, or 2 bags, but then I would have been sorely tempted to buy that spendy mothership. I probably would have been struggling with a bad attitude as well, but that's a different post. :-D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ahh, the Joys of Motherhood....

This is why I love being a Mom... Being thoroughly whipped at Risk by my 8 year old son. After all, we are training them to be BETTER than us right?

Congratulations Levi!

He had been losing earlier, because of a tactical error, but he stuck it out, and didn't quit despite feeling like he should. After a long struggle, Levi conquered the world!

Mom, Dad and Charlotte will be back to fight another day. :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here you go Agata!

OK, some of you want pictures of the feet, and I have forgotten and put it off for too long... here they are! The wrinkly bits on the top are just a little excess skin he had, that will just go away with time... :-D He seems pretty happy in his brace now, he has figured out how to kick and slam his feet down.

Now, I'm off to try to do the amazing superdedooper SCHOOL SCHEDULE!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Shoes!

Mark got his new shoes & bar today! Praise GOD! His sweet little feet look so great! I will be posting a foot pic later, after his much anticipated bath.
(2 months of casts means pretty smelly & linty little feet)

He was very unhappy and crying like he was in pain right after the brace was put on him, and he continued to cry the whole way back to Mom's house. After about 30 minutes of trying to comfort him at there house, I checked the bar length, and realized that they hadn't quite set it long enough. So, I grabbed a hex key and readjusted it to be as wide as his shoulders. What a change! He went from very teary to talking away at me with a grin. :-)

I am so thankful for the Yahoo group for parents of clubfeet kiddos. If they hadn't mentioned just how to adjust the brace, we would probably be back up at the hospital in a few days with a very unhappy little boy.

God has given us such blessings!

Here he is napping at home.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, I have another story of God's love in the little things...

I have been thinking of small ways to save money lately, and one thing that I had decided to do was buy some cloth napkins. We had been given 2 sets of cloth napkins when we got married, ten years ago. I loved them, but alas, they are wearing out. Beside, 2 small sets of napkins need a lot of washing to be used each day. So, I had JUST decided to buy some yesterday, and then on an unrelated shopping trip to Walmart, there they were, napkins in burgundy and white easy care polyester,for $0.25 each. :-)

I now have 20 white and 10 burgandy. That should last for at least two days!
I also picked up a Christmas present for next year. Original price $20, and I paid $2. :-)

If you have a local Walmart that is a HUGE mess because they are remodeling and moving everything around, go check out the clearance section. There are some deals to be had!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Frugality and the Boys Jeans......

This is a quick and sturdy way to patch a knee, you can do it while bread rises or bakes.

First gather the necessary materials, ripped jeans, donor denim patch material (I used an old pair or stretch maternity jeans) top stitching thread, top stitching needle, sewing machine, scissors and pins.

1. Open the inner seam, from about 1-2 " above the ankle, to about 1-2 inches from the crotch.
2. Cut a patch from your donor material... Stretch denim is VERY nice. I like a patch about 3 by 4 inches.

3. Pin the patch to the back of the knee area.
4.Put the topstitching thread and needle on your machine. Sew a shape( I do a square/ rectangle) You will need to cover the area with stitching to keep the patch sturdy. I usually start on the outer edge of my square, then just keep going inward in the square. When I get to the end, I backstitch and cut the thread.

5. Repeat on the other knee, even if there is no hole there yet. If you do not, you will be sewing again in about a week.

6. Sew the inseam up again using the topstitching thread. No, I don't overlock the inner edge, or zigzag. None of my eight year old sons pants have unraveled yet. :-)

So far, this has saved our household about $36 dollars, and I have 2 more pairs of pants to go.
I would love to do a bionicle shape on the knee. If anyone has the ability to draw, please send me a bionicle mask outline, and my son will forever love you!

Now to enjoy my bread... Mmmmmmmmmmm :-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happily poor(ish)........

Like many of you, I appreciate reading about other’s experiences as they attempt to raise their families in the way they should go. I like to read homeschooling magazines, Christian education articles, joyful homemaking magazines, etc. But I would like to see a book written to encourage those who are attempting to do these things with a SMALL budget.

I want to know how the qualifying-for-state-healthcare income level family does multiple children and one income living with graciousness. Let’s hear about stretching the budget to fewer than $400 per month for groceries and consumables (family of 5). What about home schooling in the pages per day style, while not paying $16 for workbooks? Speak on staying content with the Goodwill (almost too spendy now) or garage sale finds. Please, anyone out there on a SMALL income, tell your story. It is just as important to others as the stories of large blessings.

It seems that part of the problem is our cultural (yes, church people too) definitions of success. If you own your home and 10 acres outright, can afford to buy new clothing, and NEVER shop at the Dollar Store or Walmart, then you are a success. However, if you are a family who loves the Lord, and the husband is providing for the daily needs of the household, you shouldn’t feel ashamed to not have $600 per month for health insurance or to live in an apartment. Being poor is not a sin. Living in an old house with wavy and scratched up wood floors is not wrong. Accepting the Oregon Health plan in order to afford a hospital birth is not wicked. Wearing the same pajamas for 8 years is not evil, just a bit depressing at times.

Don’t get me wrong, all those aforementioned lovely things are AMAZING blessings from God, they are just not my blessings. I’m very glad that some of you out there have 2 washing machines and/or freezers, and can afford to buy new clothes for your oldest/biggest child every fall and spring, but I need encouragement from those who have gone before. Let's hear from the veterans of traversing the way of JOYFUL poverty, wearing the same clothing to church every other week, eating Raman soup for lunch and dancing before the Lord in their second-hand shoes …. :-D

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stretching to improve _______.

I was stretching,/flexing Mark's chubby little foot this month, and it got me thinking.

God has really used this whole clubfoot thing to stretch me personally. I am not a person who is comfortable with leading. However, I have had to be the one orchestrating and approving Mark's foot care. I am uncomfortable challenging, pushing, or questioning when it comes to health care. I am very comfortable with western medicine, and find RX and Doctors comforting, and quite effective and helpful.

This whole clubfoot thing has stretched that. First, I had to find a Dr. who used the Ponseti method, and then I had to make sure they were actually using it (some say they do, but misapply the serial casts) I also had to deal with the whole "Akk! Is it a complex clubfoot??" thing. I am still not quite sure about all this. I am gettting better slowly but surely at advocating.

And then there is PORTLAND....
Driving in Portland is really a HORRID experience for me. I have had nightmares about getting on the wrong bridge and ending up in Seattle, or lost within its depths for YEARS! Once a week appointments up on the hill have been very stretching for me. I have learned to get to and from downtown Portland from both Oregon City and Canby. I actually caught myself grinning and jamming to music as I followed my nose home across the river last time.

This has been good for me. STTTRRREEEEECHHHHHH :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Check Out the New Foot Angle!!

Thank you for all your prayers, Mark's tenotomy went well, and he is recovering nicely. He is still a bit grumpy, and just isn't smiling as much, but I'm sure that he will forgive us in a day or two. :-)

It was such a sunny day here yesterday! It was somehow a bit reassuring to see the sun streaming into the hospital room as we waited for him to come out of surgery. :-) God is so good to us!

Here he is just before surgery with Daddy...

If you have to have surgery and you are a kiddo, Shriner's is a great place for that! Mark was treated very well, we loved all the nurses, and everything went swimmingly. They really are focused on making the kids feel comfortable.

By the time we left we were the proud owners of new baby quilt, Winnie the pooh pillowcase, St. Patrick's day beanie, koala beanie, and a soft block crib toy. They hand out toys for each kiddo who has surgery. It was funny to see a nurse walking around with her arms full of toy packages.

I think the best gift of all was the improved foot angle. :-)

These feet look almost ready to walk!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clubfoot Update.... :-) Shriners rocks!

Mark's feet were examined today, and the swelling on his feet was much better, and both his feet look ready for the tenotomy now. YIPPIE! I was all worried about leaving the cast off for a week, but it seems to have been the best thing to do for that irritated wee foot. :-) Great job Dr. Aiona!

The new plan is tenotomy next week, followed by 2 or 3 more casts. The tendon is super tight on one of his feet, so it really may need 3 castings to get to the right spot after the tendon lengthening.

Soo... please keep Mark in your prayers, we really want to get this done with out a cold delaying surgery further.

BTW, Dr. Sussman will have Mark fitted with the Mitchell shoes & bar! YIPPIE! Just what we were hoping for! This shoe tends to be easier to use, and has less instances of sores developing...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad Mama!

I have a confession to make..... It's pretty awful.....

I don't want to take a shower today. :-)

No, I am not a fan of funk. You see, it's just too cold! The idea of drippy, chilly, wet hair is just too repulsive.

Oh well, I'm off to do the right thing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hooray For Dr. Aiona!

Well, Dr. Aiona was able to do Mark's casting yesterday! Whew, what a relief!! He examined the feet and immediately started shaking his head, and recommended we wait till the fat foot is ready to do the tenotomy. One of the casts had slipped a fair amount the day before the appointment, so it was obviously not ready for the surgery. The other cast looked like it had slipped last week BEFORE we left the appointment, so I was SUPER glad that Dr. Aiona was back in business. He very carefully and gently moved the feet to the right position, and casted them up nicely. They had me stick around a bit to make sure that the feet hadn't slipped while the casts set up.

Dr. Aiona also said that we could get a Rx for the Mitchell shoes & bar, which is an answer to prayer. They seem to be the easiest and most effective brace around nowadays.

Sooo...... No surgery next week, but we would much rather go slowly and get it right than rush and have to recast later. and I feel confident in Dr. Aiona.

It is strange what a HUGE difference having the right Dr. and support team can make. Last week the nurse who removed Mark's casts scraped his leg, (not a big deal) so we were very glad to see the amazingly-good-at-his-job Juan Carlos back on duty. He removed the old casts, and assisted Dr. Aiona with the casting. Mark actually slept through about 1/2 of the casting process, and was MUCH happier after we got home. Last week he was crying when he moved his legs after we got home, but I thought that the cause was the ingrown nail, perhaps it was the slipped casting.

The picture is the stiff/fat/unhappy foot. It looked much closer in size to the other foot this time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Feet!

The top pic is Feb 5th, after 2 weeks of casts... :-) Such a change!

Mark's feet are continuing to be casted, his last CORRECTIVE set will be put on tomorrow, the 25th of Feb. He will then have surgery on March 4th ......."bilateral percutaneous tendo-achilles lengthenings" (fancy talk for snipping his Achilles tendons on both feet.) This will be followed by another casting, but this will be a HOLDING cast, just to hold his feet in position while the surgery site heals, about 3 weeks. He will then be wearing shoes attached to a bar for a while...

One of his feet is a bit worse (less flexible) than the other, and the last time we switched casts, there was an ingrown toenail and a large bruise on that foot. These were a bit worrying to me, but the real thing keeping me a bit stressed is the difference between his feet. One is a lot shorter and fatter than the other, like a bound foot sort of (not as bad as that) but the same area seems to be thicker.... I'm going to be bugging the Dr. about it more this time, when I pointed it out last time he just said oh, yeah it is fatter, and left.

I am super thankful for the Shriners clinic, especially since there is no charge..but it has been a little weird. Dr. Aiona, who is one of the recommended Ponseti method guys, is our Dr, BUT, the 2nd time we went in, he had been in an accident... His arm is all messed up, and has been in a cast since, so another Dr. has been casting Mark. Dr. Aiona pops his head in for about 2 seconds, but we don't really get to ask questions. The other Doctor is a nice guy, but he's always got another person shadowing him, at the last appt there were 3 people there, including a Dr. from Australia, listening to the running commentary by the main Doctor explaining how to perform the casting. So, I need to be MUCH more aggressive in pursuing answers before the casting starts, since the Dr's aren't exactly sticking around to chat afterward....

Perhaps the tenotomy will help his short foot straighten out a bit...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...

Almost wordless...

Quiet down bloggers, forums go to sleep,
I'm enjoying my baby, 'cause babies don't keep.

(Yes, I know, too much baby, not enough blog content.. I'll try to get back to that later. )

Wordless Wednesday...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Here are a few things that are bringing me joy lately.

11. This picture! I can use it twice if I want to! Hee hee

10. My laundry baskets! I finally got the laminated label attached to them... soo much neater in the basement

9. My new bedspread. We have been wanting a nice spread for a while. (We still were using one that was a hand me down when we got married 10 years ago)

8. The new color scheme in my bedroom.... (black and yellow gets old after a while, the new faux suede brown walls are so relaxing, and the light tannish that matches the spread will be soo much more soothing than black.

7. My New kitchen rug from goodwill (super nice wool hooked rug for only $14!)

6. All the lovely candles that I light each night...

5. Music :-)

4. My Big children, who are a BIG help!

3. My littlest man, who is just starting to smile and "talk" with fake coughs!

2. My husband and his loving me, even when I drop a ball or two. :-D

1. My Gracious Heavenly Father because "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jer. 29:11

This kind of list can be so uplifting..... What's on your list?

The boy and the casts....Pt. 1.

Mark had his first appointment with Dr. Aiona on Thursday. We rose early (6am) and were at Grandmas by 8. After dropping Levi & Charlotte off, I made my way up to the Shriner's hospital in Portland. This was the first time I had driven up there by myself, and since I am a wee bit Portland-a-phobic, I was a bit stressed. As I spotted the freeway exit the song " Three Little Birds" came on the radio. I couldn't help but grin, God seems to give encouragement in the nicest little ways sometimes. OK, I thought, I'll just relax. Despite a detour, we ended up right on time at the hospital.

I made my way up to the lobby, and was greeted by 2 older ladies, who were handing out stuffed animals to the kids who had appointments. I had to fill out paper work, then wait till we were called, have a nice chat and then wait till we were paged. Mark was weighed (11lbs 6oz dressed) photographed, and smiled at by nurses. After all this the actual casting went pretty fast. I was too busy trying to keep Mark happy to take the planned pics... but I will try for next time.

Mark now has full leg casts, and makes lovely clunking noises if he is set on the floor... It was a bit tricky to figure out the best way to diaper him with casts in the way, but it seems to be going better now. He was great during the appointment, and yelled during the last part of the casting, only because he was a bit hungry, and VERY tired. He seems to need to fuss for about 10-15 minutes before naps. I'll try a bottle again this time, but there are no guarantees!

I am so very thankful that God has us here, in a country with great health care, and giving people. Shriners is a free hospital, and the only two doctors in Oregon who are trained in the Ponsetti method of clubfoot correction are there. Dr. Aiona was great, and we are looking foward to the next cast. :-)

"Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:)

Singin: don't worry bout a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: dont worry (don't worry) bout a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sleep and Joyfulness.... :-)

Ok, with a new baby around the house, sleep is at a premium. I would ideally like to rise at around 6:30, be ready by 6:45, and cook breakfast for all. The few times I have managed to do this, it REALLY helped to create a joyful and ready to go attitude among the children. (and me)

Now the last key to our AM perkiness is Mark... Mark sleeps fairly well, but his long sleep chunks begin around midnight, and are done around 9 am. Since I have had to be comforting, changing, feeding him till 12, I cannot get up early enough. This is a Bummer... Because a day started at 9 is just not long enough... :-D

Oh well, I hope that eventually he will adjust to my schedule.... Hee hee! In other respects he is pretty sweet. He is gaining weight beautifully... last night at 17 days old he was 9lbs, 6oz, up from his original 7lb 14. Yup! 24 oz in only 17 days. My pediatrician's comment was "My compliments to his chef!"