Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Angel Babies

The online community can be a wonderful thing. But there are days when it gives me cold and heartbreaking glimpses of the world outside of my shiny happy bubble. There are days when I just want to grab my girls and curl up in a little ball around them and keep them safe and warm with me. 

These days started when I became a member of the March '09 Mommies board on the What to Expect website. Within a month, I read about several mothers who had lost their babies, whether to miscarriage, still-birth, or sickness after birth. Angel Babies, they call them. 

I read their stories and cried. I tried to stay in touch with the women I had made friends with, and I sent messages of condolences to the ones I hadn't yet met. 

And I prayed that I'd never read another heart wrenching story like theirs again. As hard as it is for me just reading it, I can't imagine how hard it is on the women who have to write them. 

Over time, I began making friends on Twitter and through my blog and other blogs and found myself reading more stories about these Angel Babies. A friend will post about someone she knows, someone whose blog she reads, and she says, "Go read her story - it could save your child's life."

So I go. And I read. And I cry. I think about how lucky I am to have happy, healthy children and I hug them tighter than I did before. 

I'm not a particularly religious person, but when I read these women's sad stories, I pray for them. I pray to whoever may or may not be listening that they find some sort of peace in their loss, even if it is a long time before it comes. 

I try to find reason in the stories, but is there any? Sure, there are new precautions I take now that I would have never thought about before. I ask all of my pregnant friends to be sure to ask for a pulse oximetry reading on their newborn at around 24 hours after birth. I diligently watch my children any time we are in a home with a pool. I am in the process of anchoring all of my heavy furniture to protect from tipping. My children are safer because of these stories, but I feel like it's at the cost of another child's life. 

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this post or why I'm even writing it. All I know is that I'm sitting here, my cheeks stinging from the tears left there to dry, and I need to get something out. 

I guess I just want to say to all the Angel Baby parents out there that your stories have affected me in a very deep way and I think about you and your little ones often. Thank you for sharing with me, even if it hurts.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What I'm Listening To: Bluegrass and Folk

Lately, I've been finding my musical tastes reverting back to those of my childhood, but a little more sophisticated (or at least I'd like to think so). As a kid I listened to a lot of country music, and while I'm not taking a full swing back to country, bluegrass and folk music is creeping its way back into my life.

It started with Lauren O'Connell...

...and My Terrible Friend...

...and has moved onto a band that I am completely and utterly obsessed with right now: Mumford and Sons.

(Caution - this video contains the F-Bomb. I personally don't mind it, but you might.)

Seriously. These guys are amazing. I downloaded their cd then went out and bought it and have been jamming out to it for the last week.

This song is among my favorites on the cd. It starts out small and quiet and slowly builds and builds and becomes just.... ah... I can't even describe it. I love it. Crank it when you listen to it. I get shivers when I hear it.

So - what kind of music are you guys into these days?  Leave me some links in the comments. I love most every type of music, so don't be afraid I won't like it. I probably will.

Update on comment problems: I am able to moderate my comments now but I am working on removing IntenseDebate from my page. I will be changing to a different moderation site soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giving the Masses What They Want: Kawaii Diaper Feedback

A few months ago, I began using a tracker on my blog. It allows me to gather information from you guys - where you're viewing my blog from (generally speaking, of course), how many of you are looking at what, which posts are most popular, etc. By far, my most popular post is my review of Kawaii cloth diapers that I wrote back in March. Believe it or not, this post is seriously popular - more than twice as popular as the second most popular post (which was the alternative breast cancer awareness Facebook game info).

Because of that, I thought I would come back to the topic and expand on my original review of Kawaii diapers, as well as ask for any questions or comments you might have about them.

When I first bought my Kawaiis, I was still fairly new to cloth diapering. The only cloth diapers I had prior to them were gently used, so this was my first purchase of new diapers. I am still very much in love with these diapers though. They have stood up against some pretty tough competitors and are still among the very first diapers I reach for when the laundry is done.

The lining, which was incredibly soft and fleecy when I first bought them is not so soft anymore - but like all fleece, it's bound to wear a little in the wash. It still works wonderfully as far as wicking away moisture and keeping Kairi's bottom dry and comfortable. It washes well and while I've had some issues with staining, the stains generally come out within a few uses and washes.

I spoke in my previous review of the absorbency of the inserts:

The diapers came with two inserts each, which I am very happy about. I had read in various review forums that the inserts weren't very absorbent, and it's true. There is no way I would be able to use these diapers with just one of the inserts given, and Kairi isn't a heavy wetter. The inserts are really thin, about half the thickness of the microfiber inserts I have for my other diapers. But doubled up, they work alright. Not GREAT, but alright. I haven't had TOO many leaks. I do intend on buying some different inserts though and just using these as back ups.

I never got around to ordering different inserts and have mostly just stuck to using both inserts at all times. In comparison to other cloth diapers, the absorbency this way is pretty decent. I'm able to leave Kairi in a diaper overnight without leaks - which seems to be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cloth diapering.

The fit on these diapers is still phenomenal as well. Kairi has definitely gotten bigger since I first bought them and they look like they will last us until she is potty trained.

I've really enjoyed using the Kawaiis and I think I will probably continue enjoying them for many more months to come. I certainly suggest them to anyone who is considering cloth diapering. They are the least expensive diapers I have seen on the market and their quality is great. And as I said before, when the laundry is finished, they are among the first in my stash that I reach for. (My other favorites? Flip covers with Flip Organic Inserts. ...AMAZING. But I'll leave that review for a different post.)

Disclosure: I have not been contacted by anyone to write this post. I am not receiving any sort of benefit from writing this review, nor do I anticipate any sort of payment. This is all just my personal opinion. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Also of similar interest, I wrote a post explaining why my family chooses to use cloth diapers. If you are interested in starting to use cloth diapers or are just curious as to reasons why someone would make this choice, please check out my post here. 

Floor Play

...And I bet by the name of the post you thought this would be dirty.

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Comment

So, I've recently discovered that the site that hosts my comment section has gone screwy. I don't know if they are fixing the problem or if they are even aware of the problem, but I have no way of accessing the comments section of my blog. I can't moderate the comments, although I can see what you folks are saying in my email notifications.

So for the time being, bear with me while I figure something else out. If you have a particular favorite comment hosting.... site... I guess? Let me know. I still am not particularly experienced with this stuff and I can use all the help I can get.

A few things to look forward to:

Now that the fall semester is over, I will be posting some of my essays from my comp class on here. Generally speaking, I wrote them in a rush, so hopefully I will have some time to clean them up, but I may just post them as-is. We'll just have to see.

Also, I have a lot of new pictures of the girls I will be posting. I am also in the process of taking lots and lots of pictures of my kids playing with my friend Sandra's kids - who we haven't seen in almost 2 years and are SO EXCITED to have back in Oklahoma for the Christmas break!!! I drove Sandra to Dallas to pick them up last night and they will be here until the beginning of next month. It's all very exciting and awesome.

Hopefully I'll have better topics to post on in the near future. I'm working on a post about shaving, actually... That one should be interesting, at the very least. I'm sure that someone else has said it all before though. Oh well. It's fun writing it.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great time with their friends and families who are hopefully popping up for the holidays. See you all again soon!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Know Who You Are (And So Do I)

So, I've had a lot going on lately. More than I feel even remotely comfortable sharing publicly, so just know that in ways things have been tough, but we're making it and probably better for it.

Rather than the scheduled post (that, I'm sorry to say, has been delayed) I have a few things to say. If you don't know what's been going on in my life recently, I'm incredibly sorry - because this is going to sound cryptic as all get out. But it has to be said, and if it's said face to face, I will come unglued. I have no idea if the intended audience will be reading, but although this is specifically to someone, I'm writing it more for my benefit than theirs.

So - to the people who brought about the recent changes in my life (you know who you are - AND SO DO I):

I realize that you think you were helping - and I appreciate the thought behind your efforts. However, the method you chose was NOT appropriate. Meddling is usually not a good idea. I would tell you that if you ever have a problem with me in the future to bring it to me personally, but at this point in time, I want nothing to do with you. Ever again. If you see me on the street, in the store, at any gatherings, wherever, we are all probably going to be better off if you pretend that we don't know one another. I want nothing to do with you and I honestly don't know if I will be able to control my anger if confronted with you speaking to me.

You really have NO idea the damage you potentially could have caused. All in your self-righteous method of "help." I'm not trying to be dramatic here, but you almost devastated several people and permanently disrupted several lives. Your method of help was backhanded and conniving. Not helpful. Sure, the results that I am sure - or at least hopeful - you were looking for came about, things could have gone drastically differently and would not have been good for anyone involved.

A couple things I will repeat one more time: I really mean this - Don't talk to me. I want nothing to do with you. If you want to help someone, offer help. Or at least talk to them about it. Don't meddle. ESPECIALLY considering the way that you have lived your life in the fairly recent past (well, one of you at least.) Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

To the friends and family I have that don't know what this is about - I REALLY don't want to talk about this. As of the end of this post, I want to just forget about all of these problems and move on. I realize this post is probably just an invitation for questions from you, but I don't want them. The important facts are that we are all fine, we are all going to be fine, and that the problems are all in the past - especially if these people pay heed to my words and stay the hell away from me.

I'm sorry to those I am close to that I haven't talked to you about these problems. But beyond my message to the people causing them is really all that needs to be said about it.

So now that that's over with, let's all not worry about it anymore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Evil Jungle Chicken Curry: Preface to an Attempt

Tonight I am stepping out of my comfort zone in the kitchen. I am attempting to make evil jungle chicken curry. The small town I live in doesn't have a market where I can get some of the ingredients, so I'm going to have to fudge some of it, but I'm pretty stoked about it.

When Sandra, Richard and I went to the Julia Nunes/Ben Kweller concert last month, we went to a Pad Thai restaurant and that's what I had. I don't know if the appetizers tainted my pallet or what, but it was gross. I brought it home anyway. The next day I was starving and not in the mood to cook, so I heated it up and reluctantly tried it again. And it was DELICIOUS. Kairi liked it too.

So I will be having Sandra over tonight to help me. She knows her way around the more obscure (to me) dishes much better than I do, so I am hoping this won't turn out to be a complete disaster.

I plan to update (possibly with pictures) later tonight or tomorrow. Keep watch for it. Whether it's delicious or a complete flop, it should, at the very least, be entertaining.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Down With the Sickness

The past 24 hours have been kind of hellish for me as a mom. Yesterday when Gracie came home from school, she complained of back pain. I called her to me and asked her to point out where it hurt. After that, I swept her bangs aside and kissed her forehead. Her hot forehead. Immediately I laid her down and gave her some ibuprofen... and got to worrying. 

I'm a bit of a hypochondriac. I say a bit because I realize that most of the time I'm wrong and that I'm probably just being paranoid. But the hypochondriac in me won this time as I began searching I searched for back pain and fevers in children and the results came back with spinal meningitis. 

Just a heads up to the people at (you know, because I'm SURE they're reading this.) - It is really not cool to immediately point the finger to deadly illnesses. Because a lot of times when people have fevers, they have muscle and joint pain, and sometimes that pain is in their back. It doesn't always mean they are going to die. In fact, it rarely means that. 

At any rate, I was worried. The realist in me knew that this web diagnosis was probably just as accurate as the one I got in the 9th grade that told me that I would, for sure, be marrying Leonardo DiCaprio. But that didn't matter. I was still worried. I managed my worry and didn't immediately rush to the ER, but I did spend several hours bugging the crap out of my kid by hovering. 

"You okay sweetie? Can I get you some water? Do you need another blanket? Eat something, please?"

As the night wore on, I was less and less worried, but the thought remained and so I put Gracie to sleep in my bed instead of hers. 

Gracie slept restlessly. She tossed and turned and ended up waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am. Luckily Jason was still up, so he handled her for about an hour until I got up and set her up to lay on the couch and watch movies. I told her if she needed anything to come and get us, but it was still really late, so we all needed to try to sleep. I am pretty sure she didn't end up back asleep though. 

I woke up periodically throughout the rest of the morning and came out to check on her. Each time she was lying quietly on the couch watching a different movie. Her only request was a glass of water. 

I woke up in time to call her in to school. She still had a fever at 7:30 this morning, so I gave her more ibuprofen and headed back to bed. Jason woke up a few times before I ended up getting back up and he checked on Gracie in the meantime. 

When I ended up getting up, I asked if Gracie was hungry. She said she thought she could eat, so I went and got McDonald's pancakes. (Her favorite.) We got home with them, but she wasn't hungry after all, so we just hung out and watched movies all day. 

I decided to call the doctor's office at about 11:30 to see if there were any viruses going around I should be aware of. Gracie's fever wasn't coming down, despite the round the clock regimine of ibuprofen. The receptionist passed Gracie's symptoms on to the doctor and I got a call back at 1 asking me to bring her in. Her appointment was set for 3:15. 

I decided to throw the kids in the tub, hoping it might make Gracie feel a little better. While in the tub though, Kairi decided it would be a fantastic time to clear her bowels. So I cleaned the tub and put the kids back in to re-clean them.

As 3:15 got closer, Gracie became more and more active and acted like she was feeling better. I felt her forehead and it was significantly cooler. Kairi, however, was growing pale, and she felt warm to the touch when I checked her at this point in time. I decided my best bet was to take them both in just to see. 

Gracie's temp at the doctor's office was 99.8 and the doctor said that it was probably just a virus that will pass in 3-5 days. Kairi wasn't really looked at, as it was assumed that if she's sick, she's got the same thing Gracie has. So we got our suckers and headed home. 

I pulled into the driveway and turned to make sure Gracie was getting unbuckled alright before I got out of the car. Just as Gracie got out, Kairi started throwing up. I got her as clean as I could with the napkins I had in the car before taking her inside where I proceeded to finish cleaning her up and making sure she wasn't too upset over what had just happened. Once she was taken care of, I set out to clean her car seat.

Let me tell you something, folks. Cleaning up poop out of a bathtub sucks. Cleaning up vomit out of a car seat, however? Sooooo not fun. I did the best I could with it for the time being, shoved a clean, folded towel in the seat and packed the kids back into the car so we could take Jason to work. 

On our way home, I had the pleasure of having to pull over to clean Kairi up again, as she got sick once more. Yet another cleanup added to my checklist. 

Finally home, I decided to put on a movie for the kids and try to relax. Both of the girls were in high spirits despite feeling crummy and were open to the idea of just relaxing. Kairi came out of the bedroom and wanted to snuggle, so I popped her up on my lap and set to writing this blog post when -- Guess what happened?! If you guessed that she threw up again, you'd be right. This time, all over the floor in front of us as well as my legs and my chair. 

As of right now, the kids are clean, my chair has cleaner soaking on it and I'm rocking a different chair. I'm praying that I have no more vomit to clean tonight, but I have a feeling that we're going to be down with this sickness for at least a short while longer. 

So tell me, guys, what do you do when your kids are sick? Is there any way to avoid the horrendous messes that come with having a small child who is sick? Do you have any tricks or tips on how to keep the kiddos comfortable? Help me out here! I'm really struggling with this one tonight.