Sunday, July 24, 2011

Solar Oven

Yesterday we made lunch in a solar oven. It has been so hot lately, I thought we'd put it to good use. It only took a few minutes b/c we just made cheesy bread. There are other, more complex recipes that I didn't want to try. We just kept it simple.
 Cheesy bread... before going outside....
 The kids and me setting it up for the best angle.
And... melted cheese 15 minutes later. =o)

It was really very easy to make. We took a box and lined it with crumpled paper (newspaper works too) as insulation to keep the heat in. Then we lined everything in aluminum foil. In the bottom of the box you line it with black paper (since black absorbs heat -- obviously). Put the food in a glass container (it's hot when it's done so use oven mitts). Then, use plastic wrap over the box to keep the heat trapped. Fun stuff and so easy!! :) You can use a rolled up towel or something to angle the box so the sun shines into it better.


I am part of an Influencers program. They send me free samples of things periodically to review so here is our review.

My kids chose the strawberry Uncrustables and were so excited to try them. They finally got to try them today. They both took big bites of them and chewed them up happily. I asked them what they thought. I'm really not sure what my 3 year old said as she chewed a big wad as she tried to talk (yeah, that whole 'not talking while your mouth is full' rule seemed to not apply for these). She gave me a thumbs up sign when she realized I had no idea what she was saying. My 5 year old son said, "It just taste like a normal sandwich, Mom, but it's good."
As a mom, I find that time is very important and something that I do not have enough of. I am a full time student, homeschool mom, wife, leader of the kids at church (primary president) and we are preparing to sell our home. When I find some time I spend it preparing snacks and food. I sort out snacks and put them in little baggies to keep in the cabinet for the kids to easily grab when hungry. I also wash, peel and cut up fruit and vegetables to put in little baggies that go in a box in the fridge for the kids to get to easily. Sometimes, if we're in a hurry I just have them grab one baggie from the cabinet and one from the fridge while I make a sandwich. I see Uncrustables being handy to have around because I can just pull two of them out that morning and they'll be ready to just throw on the plates by lunch time. Also, putting them in sack lunches will be useful too. My kids liked them and will eat them but they didn't find anything special about it compared to my normal PB&J sandwiches. It did give me the idea to make sandwiches and use the sandwich cutter to make them into fun shapes and put them in the freezer. I don't know if it will work or not but we're going to try it. They will be just as convenient and will taste the same. We will eat the Uncrustables that we have but I don't see us buying more unless I need them for convenience sake.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Christmas in July!!!!

Collin starts school on August 15th, however, it isn't a traditional school. He is going to a virtual charter school. It's public school from home, basically. We are so excited and all of our excitement just spiked today. Collin is ready to start school now. haha! Seventy pounds of supplies just arrived via UPS split into three boxes full of supplies for school. Here's is a picture of what was in the big boxes...
The boxes were split up by subject. It was so fun going through them. Then, I had to organize the contents. Here's what I have as of right now... :)

We are very excited. On the very top are two boxes... the top box is full of the blow up globes, science experiment kit and a mini chalkboard. The box under it that is still in the wrapper (I wasn't ready to open that one with the kids) is the art kit.... paints, modeling clay, paint brushes....etc. The next shelf has the text books, teacher manuals, and picture books for all the subjects. The bottom shelf is exciting! There is writing paper (the kind with all the funny lines so he will learn to write the proper way), a cd for music class, and DVDs (music and history). The little blue boxes are for math. There are 3-D shapes, 2-D shapes, and stack-able blocks. The pink box was really exciting for me. There are dry erase boards, markers, and erasers, site word flash cards, a magnetic book for phonics, little learning to read phonics books that gradually get harder and harder... just fun stuff like that. It was awesome!! =o) A little over 3 weeks till we start. YAY!!! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday, David!!

Today is a rough day for me and has been for eight years. My firstborn son was born today but he didn't survive to his next birthday. In fact, he never made it home. He only lived for five short months and then died in my arms. Today, I normally curl up with his scrapbook and cry but we have already packed up the scrapbook (it's in the storage shed hoping for someone to buy our house so it can come out again) so I'm making a long blog about it instead. Some people have trouble with this story and the pictures so if you're sensitive to this type of thing then don't read. I just feel like I need to get it out since I don't have the scrapbook right now. So, here's David's story.

I went into preterm labor at 23½ wks. The nurse told me the pain that I had been feeling were my ligaments stretching. Well, guess what -- they were contractions. I called my doctor on Sunday July 6, 2003 and told her that there was something wrong and she told me to meet her in labor and delivery at the hospital and she'd check me out. In route, I started bleeding. By the time I was at the hospital I was already 6 cm dilated. They tried to stop contractions but the ultrasound showed that he was already in the birth canal. At 7cm I pushed David out still in the sac to help protect him. The NICU ambulance was there to take him off to the hospital in GA. I had to stay in South Carolina for the doctors to keep an eye on me. It was horrible. I wanted to go with my baby. I wasn't able to hold him or anything. I touched his foot though.

The next day I was finally discharged from the hospital. David had already had two cardiac arrests and a couple of blood transfusions. Paul drove as fast as he could to get to the hospital. We had the emergency lights on and tried to flag down all the police cars we could so they could escort us or something. But, they all ignored us and let us drive 95 mph down the road. Any other time, they would have pulled us over and ticketed us.

We arrived at the hospital as David was having another cardiac arrest so they didn't allow us back there because they were trying to get his heart started again. This is when they took us to a room and told us all of the bad news... starting with the PDA. This is the Patent Ductus Arteriosus. It is basically a duct that runs from the heart to the lungs. When an infant is in the womb, the lungs aren't needed for air so the blood circulates through them too. On full term babies, the duct closes on it's own. On preemies, it's open and the blood flows into the lungs. This was happening on David. The other problem was that he had a grade III brain bleed. A grade I is the least severe and a grade IV is the most severe so a grade III is pretty severe.

After giving us the bad news they let us in to see our son. He was 1 pound 4 oz and 13"long. They said he was big so at least he had that working for him. For four days we watched him struggling to keep his oxygen saturation up but it kept falling. The medicine to close the PDA wasn't working.

At 23-24 wks old, the baby's heart is roughly the size of the very tip of your thumb. The doctors wanted to go into my son's chest and close a duct that ran from his teeny tiny heart to his itty bitty lungs. We had no other option so at four days old, my son had heart surgery.

This is my hand, and to give you an idea of how small my hand is, I wear a 4 and 3/4 size ring. You can see the tape near the tip of my pointy finger... that's from the surgery. He's also wearing the "shades" because his bilirubin levels were too high and the jaundice lights could have hurt his eyes. His eyes were still fused shut but they wanted to take the precautions. I wasn't going to argue.

Yay!! He could breath! Well, with the help of the intubation tube and machine. Obviously, his lungs weren't developed yet. Then, we had another problem - hydrocephalus. This is when the brain swells. A few things were going on in David's head. The ventricular fluid in the brain normally drains down the brain stem and through the spine but his brain stem was blocked up and the fluid couldn't get out. Also, he had PVL (perventricular leaukomalasia) which is basically pockets of fluid on the brain. He had to have brain surgery for a shunt which would drain the fluid into his abdomen (not his stomach but the abdomen).

These pictures were taken as soon as he was out of surgery. He was still a little drugged up though. In the bottom picture (from left to right) is me, David, and Angie. Angie was David's primary day nurse. She was absolutely awesome!

Things kept going up and down from there. At 6 wks, Paul and I were finally able to hold him.

Can you tell that I was super happy to be holding my baby?

 Eventually, he was able to get out of the heating bed to the isolette.

Here are a few pics of two of the g-parents with David in the isollette. The first one is my mom and the second one is Paul's dad.

David continued to grow and was eventually put on a CPAP which is between the intubation tube and the nasal canula....
He continued to grow. He had 6 more brain surgeries (all for shunt repairs/infections), laser surgery in both eyes for ROP (retinopathy of prematurity -- basically the retina was pulling away from the back of the eye. It's common in preemies), and multiple procedures like PIC lines and such. He got pretty big.

On the morning of Sunday November 23, 2003 (exactly 20 weeks from the day he was born) we got a phone call before it was daylight saying that David was not doing well. We rushed up to the NICU and all the lights were off except for the lights in one corner... David's corner. We went in there quickly. David's nursery had been quarantined with MRSA a few weeks previous and David had ended up contracting it shortly after. He was the last baby in the nursery to get it. The MRSA had gotten into his ventricular fluid so they put an external shunt in his head to drain the fluid out. Unfortunately MRSA spread to other organs and they were slowly shutting down. Paul and I were told we could either let his organs all shut down until he died or pull the tubes and let him go quickly. He was back on the full respirator mixed with hand bagging him because his lungs were doing so poorly. So, we did the only thing we could think of. Paul gave him a blessing. It was supposed to be a blessing to heal him but the words that came from Paul's mouth were a goodbye to him and telling him how much we love him. Now what we intended but a peace fell on us and we knew what we needed to do. The nurses and doctors were all in there crying with us because they had all gotten attached. Even the ones who weren't on duty came up there to say goodbye. I didn't want to hold David as the tubes were pulled but the doctor knelt down beside me and said that he or any of the nurses would be happy to hold him and he understood that it was terribly hard for me but I would regret it later if I wasn't the one who held him. So, I wrapped my arms around my little man as the tubes were removed. A moment later I felt the life leave and they called the time.

This was the first time we held him with no tubes....

I am grateful for the wonderful ward. With all the donations and the talents of them we were able to provide a funeral and an adorable little outfit, and a headstone for him.

I'm not really sure why this one is turned sideways... I can't get it to rotate on here but in my pics it is... oh well... turn your head. =o)
So, today is his birthday and I'm not really sure what to do for him. We used to celebrate it by providing service for others. This year, I haven't come up with anything. Just forming a big blank. Hopefully, I'll come up with something before the day is over but as of right now.... blank. I just want to stare at pics and cry. *sigh* At least we're sealed for eternity but it doesn't stop my heart from aching.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

Independence Day was spent at our friend's house. There was tons of fun! Swimming!

Food and Games!
 Don't ask what I'm doing in this pic. I think I was laughing at how poorly I was playing. The guys beat us 9 to 3. haha!!
It started raining on us so we had to run inside to play. There were six families total so 12 adults and 13 kids. hehe! It was crowded. =o)


Ronni took off running to the house when the fireworks started. She was terrified and wouldn't come out. I convinced at her to come outside to see one. She was yelling NO. Then, I asked her if she say that one. Cheerfully she yelled, "Yeah, now inside!" LOL! Poor girl. So, she saw one firework and that was it. Collin had fun though. Unfortunately, he was fearless and kept crossing the line I told him not to. He burned his foot and now has a blister from an ember. He also almost got hit by a Roman candle. Ack!! That's when I made him stand by me for a while. After that, he obeyed a bit better. hehe! Needless to say, it was exciting...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Night Terrors - Sleep Walking - Sleep.... laughing???

When Collin was an infant he had night terrors. Night terrors are different from night mares. It's the same part of the brain that causes sleep walking. The person having the night terror screams and cries as if they are terrified. Normally, his/her eyes are open and look awake but he/she isn't. They don't really know what's happening. If he/she wakes up in the middle of the night terror then the person is completely confused, no idea why they are scared but they still feel terrified. They were horrible and Collin had them multiple times a week and he had them for years and still has them sometimes. Once when we went to my in-laws, Paul and I literally had to catch him as he ran around the bed screaming. He was terrified of us. I held him for a long time, singing to him until he wasn't terrified any longer and realized he was safe. Then he switched to sleep walking which was just as scary. He'd walk around the house and any sound, movement or touch freaked him out and he'd cower and whimper in a corner somewhere. I'd get him and cuddle with him on the couch until he was deep asleep again then I'd get him back in bed.

Well, it seems to have morphed into something new... again. Last night, he woke Paul and me up with his laughter. I slowly walked into the living room where the laughter was coming from. He was sitting on the couch with his legs pulled in and his arms wrapped around them, staring at the television (which was off) laughing hysterically. I leaned down and tried talking to him but he just looked around me to the television and laughed again. I sat down next to him and pulled him into my side and he buried his face into me laughing hard again. He had me laughing because it was so funny watching him laugh at nothing. I finally got him to lay down on the couch and left him there to fall back asleep. He was still staring at the television when I walked out but no more laughter. haha! I have to admit though, I definitely prefer the laughter to the screaming and crying. So much better!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chameleon Circuit

So, for those of you who don't know, the Chameleon Circuit is the thing on the TARDIS that changes it to look like the surroundings so it blends in. In 1963 it stopped working and the TARDIS remained a Police Box because the Doctor kind of liked it and never felt like fixing it. Yes, if you haven't figured it out yet, I am referring to Doctor Who. Chameleon Circuit is a band who writes songs about the television show and... YES, I BOUGHT THEIR CD and so exciting about it that I'm actually blogging about it. LOL! I have issues, I know. :) So, here are some songs from it... enjoy.