Thursday, April 26, 2012

Save Lives: Bloggers for Birth Kits

Do you really know how blessed we are? We who give birth in this country.....I feel like I know, but then I read this statistic:
in rural Papua New Guinea the rate of maternal death is 1 in 7

1 in 7.

I can't help but think about the twins, and how because of their breech and transverse positions had I not had the option of a c-section (which was never something I wanted )we all could have died if I was a woman giving birth in Papua New Guinea.
Lacie Lauree Photography

One of my favorite bloggers has launched a program that can help save these Mama's. This year I am joining her in spreading the word and making kits! You will not believe how simple this is! It's called Bloggers for Birth Kits and it saves lives. 

Clean birth kits can save lives

Did you know that a simple clean birth kit can help save a mom’s life? Did you know that for around $2-3 you can assemble one? Did you know that everything you need to make one can be found easily and quickly at your local hardware store and pharmacy?
Look how simple these clean birth kits are…
And yet, even in their simplicity, they can mark the difference between life and death for a woman unable to get to a regional clinic for birthing her baby.

Clean Birth Kit specifics

1. Soap (for the birth attendant to wash her hands). Use a hotel-size soap or cut a regular bar of soap into 1/8-sized pieces. (Microwave the bar of soap for 30 seconds to soften it for cutting).
2. One pair of plastic gloves (for the birth attendant to wear).
3. Five squares of gauze (to wipe the mum’s perineum and baby’s eyes). Gauze pieces should be about 10×10 centimeters or 3×3 inches.
4. One blade (to cut the cord). You can buy individually wrapped sterile blades at the pharmacist or buy utility blades (much cheaper) at the hardware store. We teach the women to boil the blades for sterilization, so utility blades work just fine.
5. Three pieces of string (2 for tying the cord, 1 for “just in case”). String should be about 30 centimeters or 10 inches long.
6. One plastic sheet (for a clean birthing surface). Sheet should be approximately 1×1 meter or 1×1 yard and can be purchased at your hardware or paint store.
7. One sandwich-size ziplock bag (to pack the contents).

Will you join me?

This year, in honor of Mothers Day, will you join me in making a difference in the area of maternal and infant care in the developing world by contributing to our clean birth kit drive?

How to get involved in Bloggers for Birth Kits:

1. Make a birth kit. Assemble one yourself or gather a group of girlfriends, a moms group, work associates, or a church group (youth group or small group) to make a box full of them!  Mail your kits to: Adriel Booker, Bloggers for Birth Kits, PO Box 6221, Townsville, Queensland, 4810, Australia
Adriel made a video on how to assemble the kits, and you can watch it here!
2. Donate for a birth kit to be made on your behalf. ($10 will buy 5 kits!) All donations for B4BK go toward the assembly and distribution of kits, as well as maternal care education. Make your online donation here. Please be sure to write “Bloggers for Birth Kits” in the box that says “additional comments” so the funds will be allocated properly! You can also donate on behalf of someone for Mother's Day and Adriel will send a card to that person! She has instructions on the bottom of her post here
3. Help raise awareness by posting about the cause on your blog, facebook, pinterest, and twitter. (Please use the hash tag #B4BirthKits!)
4. Add the Bloggers for Birth Kits button to your blog. (See her blog for the code.)

Last year, 2,000 birth kits were made and distributed! Let's double that number this year! So join me, along with Adriel and all the others who are supporting Bloggers for Birth Kits this year and make a difference!

Not just about the Mommy here...

I've been reading fabulous things about Mother's lately.

Encouraging things written by fellow bloggers, the release of Mother Letter's and subsequent link-ups, and little quotes here and there in preparation for Mother's Day.

They are great. They are correct, they have encouraged my heart so very much. 

But behind this Mommy is a Daddy who makes this Mommy the kind of Mommy she is.

I know it's not the case with everyone, but for me it is.

I would not be who I am, without the Daddy in this family. 

He is the calm to my chaos. 
He is the steady to my motion.
He is the encourager to my frustration, the joy to my sadness.
When I am burnt out or needing a break, he gives it to me, graciously. 

He doesn't use his words or actions to destroy, but to build me up and strengthen.

I am more patient with the boys, and more steady as a Mom because of what he provides for me.

I am so incredibly blessed to be a stay at home Mom, which was my hearts desire from before we had Jack.
He works hard, and budgets hard so that I can stay home and raise our children.

He knows exactly what I do during the day, and he constantly tells me how amazing I am and how incredible it is that I do it day in and day out and how I do it with grace and consistency. 

I never feel under-appreciated or taken for granted.

He comes home from a long day of work and plays with the boys, and does the dishes after dinner and helps keep the laundry moving. He keeps the boys from under my feet if I'm baking or cooking, he comes home and is immediately Daddy.

The support I get from him makes me the Mommy I am. 

I am incredibly blessed. 

Motherhood is hard. That's not new news. 
We need to support and encouragem and lift up each other as Mother's and speak life into one another and give one another grace and I am so thankful for those in my life that do.

 I am thankful for the letter's I read and the blogs I read that give me that extra dose each day to keep on keeping on.

In this house, the Daddy....the Daddy gives this Mommy that same love, support, life and encouragement every day. 
Yes, Mother's Day fast approaches and Father's have a day for them too, but I wouldn't be the Mommy I am without my husband.

That's just the truth. 

By Lacie Lauree Photography

Monday, April 23, 2012

Miscellany Monday

we had a fabulous weekend. although the sniffles are still hanging around, everyone's moods have improved and that's always a good thing.

 Friday I got to sleep in until 10:00am. Yes, you read that right. My sweetie let me sleep until I wanted and boy did that feel good. That evening we got to go on a date! It had been way too long since we'd had a solo date night and our fabulous family friends watched the boys and let us borrow their convertible for the occasion. It was almost 80 degrees and sunny and it was perfect. We took the long road to our destination, ate fabulous food, had fabulous dessert and I actually ate an entire meal, sitting down! And we didn't talk about anything heavy, we just ate and enjoyed each others company and it was perfect. 

Saturday our friend built these garden beds for us! This will be my first attempt at gardening, and I'm planning on zucchini, tomatoes, pole beans, strawberries, peppers and herbs. Wish me luck!

I wrote a Mother Letter here. It's part of a link-up in conjunction with the release of this fabulous ebook. Such a great story, go check it out, write your own if you want and link it up!

Last week my blogging friend Rachel started a series called 10 Days of Intentional Parenting. It's been amazing, and has had a great impact on me. This week she finishes it off with days 6-10. It's not too late to join in! Head over and check it out, you will be so glad you did!


Jack helping out 

We busted out the shorts!

happy monday! link up with Carissa and write your own Miscellany....
Miscellany Monday @lowercase letters

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Mother Letter

Dear Mother,

Do you know what an incredible Mother you are? I am not sure you do...I see you so hard on yourself. Struggling with the day to day, and second guessing your parenting. 

I know the past few years have been rough and I know that your heart aches. I know that you put a lot of pressure on yourself, but step back sweet Mama. See what you and your love have created. 
He adores you. He worships you, he is learning how to love and be passionate because of you.

You are tired and some days are long and weary and they can feel like a never-ending cycle. Do not fret, do not give up. HE is faithful to meet you each and every day.

You have dreams, and desires and drive. You are trusting HIM for things your heart so desperately wants, but do not miss out on the now, the moment you are in. 

Breathe deep, soak it in, look in the mirror and see what I see in you. See the compassion, the giving heart, the beauty, the encourager, the faithful friend and the selfless Mother. Do not forget who you are in Him. 
Do not be trampled by the ugly of the world, but SEE with HIS eyes the treasure before you.

HE has great plans for you Mama, HE will take you to great heights. Trust in HIM and soar. 

You are a Mother, HE has created you so. 

~All my love and hope for you~

This post was written as a part of "My Mother Letter" link-up, in which I write a letter to another Mother encouraging her. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Friday Favorite Things

Linking up with Rachel this Friday in conjunction with
10 Days of Intentional Parenting, today is day 4 and it's fabulous.
 You need to go check it out and join up! These pictures are a part of Day 3's challenge and seeing life through our children's eyes, getting down on their level. These pictures are a mixture of what our days our like with some that Jack asked me to take. Happy Friday!

My favorite blue eyes and his lovely teething drool......

 little feet of little boys looking out the window....

learning to use big boy toys.....

Sick babies, big boys helping clean up, and little escape artists....

mess makers, fighting over the popper, two sick babies, Jack's little "cotton tail"

mr. handsome aka my firstborn

Have you Heard of Treat??!?!!

Have you heard about the new personalized greeting card company, Treat? Treat is a new brand from the folks at Shutterfly and Tiny Prints that lets you create unique, personalized greeting cards. With more than 4,500 customized card designs at launch, the Treat service offers one of the industry’s largest selections from the best designers, including Hallmark. To ensure that you never miss an important date like a birthday or anniversary, Treat also offers an integrated service that will remind you of all those important events. A Treat calendar can be set up with reminders for anniversaries, events, family holidays and more. Plus, users can use Facebook Connect to link their Facebook and Treat accounts to import friends’ birthdays. 

Treat is an easy and revolutionary new way to make personalized greetings in your own style and personality just in time for Mother's Day! Here is how it works:

  • Choose your card from their thousands of designs, including the Mother’s Day Collection. Personalize it with photos, nicknames, inside jokes, whatever you want to add. This is your chance to make it YOUR card. Be creative. Be funny. Be sappy. Make them laugh, cry, or just smile. You can also add an embedded gift card from stores such as Amazon, Target, Pottery Barn and more.
  • When you checkout, get unlimited cards for $0.99 each through Mother’s Day. Use the code AFFTREAT to get this special deal. Or, you can also choose to get just one card for free. Use code FREETREAT for that. (Note: These offers are good for first time Treat customers only, so you have to pick one or the other. The good news is that this includes previous Tiny Prints customers). If you are ordering more than one card, the $.99 cent offer will save you the most as each card is normally $2.99.
Treat will truly brighten your day…and the day of the recipients of your new cards! So check them out now and take advantage of their two awesome promotions. They have cards for all kinds of occasions including BirthdaysFriendship Cards, Thank You Cards, Thinking of You and more. 

Treat Mother's Day Greeting Cards

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Letter to Myself

Dear Krystle,

You are feeling like this job far outreaches your qualifications. I can see it in your face, at the end of the day when the little feet are all tucked in and you sit and exhale for the first time since you woke up. You are in constant motion, cleaning and fixing, kissing boo-boos and breaking up squabbles, wiping noses and cheeks and changing diapers. You eat after they do, and you usually do it standing and you wonder if you will ever eat a hot meal at the table again.

The boys, they are small and they demand your constant energy and attention and I see in your eyes that you feel like you fail them. You are feeling like you are just surviving and just getting by, each day repeats itself and the walls seem close.
You are wondering if you are making a difference, if you are up to this task.
And you are. Oh, you are indeed. God placed these precious babes in your hands, and not in another’s.  

Each day, they wake up and their grins go from ear to ear when they see you. They call for you, they cling to you. You are their Mommy. You get to capture each moment of their lives in your memory and they see you giving and serving and fixing and kissing and cleaning. They come to you for their food, their drinks, and their books.

You are too hard on yourself. Who do you need to compare yourself to? HE is all that matters. Look to HIM for your patience and relief. If your house isn’t in perfect order and you missed your shower today, life will go on.

Stay on your knees, seeking HIM for your answers, on how to handle the tantrums and the attitude. Seek HIM when you need direction with discipline, not anyone else. Pray for wisdom at each moment of each day and when you feel breathless and overwhelmed, stop and before you breathe out….whisper to HIM your needs and HE has promised to be faithful and supply to you all you need.

These days will never repeat, each day is its own.  Take each moment as it comes, and don’t rush it. Someday soon they won’t need you to dress them, or cut up their hot dogs and bananas. Someday before you even realize it…they will be grown and you will miss the tears that you captured with your shoulder. You will. The noise, the bustle and chaos that is dinnertime will be missed when they are grown and gone.

 So cherish it, even the noise.
 You were meant for this, and for THEM. Nobody else was. Nobody will ever be able to care for them the way you, THEIR Mommy does.

Give yourself patience, grace, and compassion….just as you do for them. Take a deep breath and realize you are making a difference in these boys’ lives.  Kiss, hug, and wipe noses, tickle, chase, feed, clothe, love.

You are the MOMMY, and you are a great one.  

~ Love and hugs~ ME

Linking up with Rachel (you should write your own and link up too!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Miscellany Monday

1. I am so sore. 10 miles least, it hurts me! I wasn't fast...but I finished and I remember thinking there was no way I'd ever be doing that kind of mileage. We are setting our sights on this next year. I'm glad I have over a year to prepare...and train better. 

2. Pretty sure I'm ready for the warmer weather only because I hope it means no more least more than a month break. Two out of the three boys have yucky noses now, and the third will be joining them soon I'm sure. I'm not a fan of the hot weather...I enjoy 60-70 degrees with some 80 degree days and so Fall and Spring are my favorites.

3. Do you remember this story? Well, she is going to be my final guest post in the coming week or two and I'm excited for you to hear about where her journey has taken her since I wrote last!

4. That is all I have today. Very exciting. I will be finishing my thoughts on Part 2 of How to Breastfeed Twins this week (here is Part 1)


Jack snapping away :)
linking up with Carissa

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekend Picture Dump

I ran my first 10 mile race on Saturday!
My friend ran with me and I am so thankful! Our husbands both ran and did awesome!
My body hurts!!

That's two miles farther than I've ever run.

Jack had his spring program for school, it was Preschool thru Second Grade this time and it was so adorable. We make froyo a tradition after programs!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Prayer for Karagen

This blogging world is pretty amazing, especially when you belong to a blogging world of mostly Mom's. I have 'met' some fantastic women through blogging, some that I hope to someday meet in person.

It's a pretty cool thing, being able to glean from one another, encourage one another and walk each other through life. It doesn't matter where we live, what we believe, or what we look like....and I love that. 

I have a fellow blogging friend who has followed my blog from the start almost, and she is also a pastor's wife. She is so incredibly sweet, and encouraging. I have followed her story since she started following mine.

She is a Mama to 6 adorable kids and they live in Maryland. And friends, she needs our prayers. 

Crystal's oldest daughter Karagen, who is 8 years old, was just diagnosed with cancer on April 4th. A very rare form which has, in a matter of weeks, taken over her body. From Crystals' blog:
"It's called medulloblastoma, a rare brain cancer.  The difference with Karagen's case (hers is very rare) the tumors in her spine are massive, she has them the entire length of her spine. She has the golf ball sized tumor in her brain, and then smaller lesions throughout the brain."
Karagen. Isn't she beautiful?!
Picture from Crystal's Blog
Karagen started having trouble sleeping, crying and waking up at night in pain about 4 weeks ago. Crystal said that one thing led to another which led them to take her to the ER and she wasn't able to walk at that point. Over the next 24 hours and many tests and scans, they saw a 12 inch tumor along her spine, a tumor in her brain and several smaller lesions throughout her brain. They did emergency surgery to the tumor on her spine to try and save her leg function. They were able to remove about 40% of it. 

Karagen starts her chemotherapy today. This form of cancer is so rare, that it's estimated at only about 400 cases a year in the U.S.

She has a 20%-40% of survival, but God is bigger than that. 
Karagen has a big battle before her, but I believe, along with her family that God is bigger than cancer and while we will pray and hope and trust for complete healing in her body, but as Crystal said, "we desire God's will and best for Karagen first and foremost."

Please pray for this sweet girl and her family. This is a link to her Facebook page which will be updated on her care and progress, if you'd like to join. 

Here is where Karagen Roberts is staying

National Children's Medical Center 111 Michigan Ave. NW Washington, DC 20010.

My heart is so burdened for this family, and I want to spread her story so that the rest of this blogging community can gather around in support for her and her family. 
Crystal, Karagen and her Daddy from Crystal's blog

Fill in the Blank Friday

1.  Today is a good day because Trevor is off and we just get to be together today :)

2.   The best thing I did all week was watch Jack perform in his school Spring Program. So dang cute

3.  The current weather is     rainy       and it makes me feel     sleepy.

4. The best thing about spring is   some days are sunny and some are rainy and I like it. And when it's sunny it's not too hot. 

5. A fashion trend that I'm dying to try out for spring is  nothing really. I'm super exciting. 

6. A person who made me smile this week was   my Mom. We got to have dinner out this week and you can't not smile around her :)

7.  The most delicious thing I ate all week was   Quinoa, black bean, pico de gallo with taco chips. May or may not have been my lunch 3 days in a row (although isn't quinoa supposed to be filling?? I was hungry earlier than usual after eating that....)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

14 Months

*My computer was down, so this is 2 days late and no pictures (yet) :)*

They are fully toddlers. Fully on the move. Fully eating and making messes and they are crazy.

Camden, he has some major separation anxiety with me. His favorite places are in his crib, asleep or in my arms. It's been difficult as of late, combine with several teeth coming through, it's been tough. But I know it's just a phase and soon it will pass. He did make it one whole hour in the nursery last Saturday for church (bonus of going to Saturday night is it only lasts 1 hour!!)

He makes the biggest mess known to man when he eats, and even if he is eating and enjoying a bite, the moment he sees you getting ready to place something else in front of him, he spits out whatever is in his mouth. 

Cam loves to clean. He will go through the rooms and pick up anything on the ground and put it in a bin, or a bucket. It's so cute. Or he will bring it to you, and say something that sounds like "thank you". 

He says: nigh-nigh for bedtime, nana for bananas, gink for a drink, coo-coo for cookie (anything I give him outside of his highchair is a cookie)  ti-tee for the cat, mama, dada, cack for Jack, uh-oh and does a good job copying a ton of words we say to him. 

He and Christian are sleeping from about 7-7 now (YAY!!) and taking two naps around 9:30 and 2:30 for between 1-2 hours. It's awesome. Although I know once they start to transition to one nap, their bedtime will go super super early (like 5:30pm) for awhile. But for now we are good to go!

Christian is a maniac. He is climbing (we have a cleaner and a climber!!) up anything he can, like the chairs and on the train table. Yeah, just one day he climbed on the train table and stood up and was gonna kamikaze off the side! Oh boy. And the kid has a temper! He will throw the ultimate tantrum if he doesn't get his way. Like kicking and screaming and hitting the floor!

But he is Mr. Social. He'll go to anyone, walk wherever he pleases, doesn't care if I'm coming or not. He is the explorer aka wanderer and holds his own with the bigger kids. He and Jack have a special little bond. 
He does just fine being separated from me, and he loves loves loves his Daddy!

He is much more of a neat eater, and eats slower and more deliberate than Camden. 
He is getting some more teeth too (they have 6 each right now)

He is a jabber-er. He will say Mama and Dada and ti-tee and uh-oh, but he does this jabber thing where it sounds like full on real talking, and I'm sure it is...I just can't understand him. But it's the cutest thing ever.

The both love to point at things and read books and play cars. They even make car noises.

They will make monkey sounds if you ask them what a monkey says :)

I took the 3 of them to the park, alone, and wow...exhausting. Jack is pretty good now at staying where he needs to stay and being safe on the equipment, but I can't just leave him to himself either! Christian loves the swing and loves to explore, but Camden hates the swing and just wants me to hold him, or he wants to eat the rocks. 
We only last so long before I strap them back in the stroller. But we are getting the hang of it.

And Target now has these new carts that you can strap 3, yes THREE, kids into! One in the normal cart area, and then there is this big thing with two seats on it in front of that. So awesome. 

We are getting to church now, and it's feeling so good, to each month get a little further past the "crazy days"!

The best time of the day, is after dinner and everyone is happy and full of giggles and we all just play on the floor together until they go to bed. It's heaven. 

And there is more I am sure, but that's what I can remember at the moment. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

A dose of cute...

 Cutest boys ever. 

Easter 2012

What a difference one year makes.
Last year I don't even think I made it to church Easter, just Jack and Daddy.
They were just shy of 2 months...yeah, I was not at church.
Last Year

This Year

This year, we made it to two services. And they went to the nursery for all of one service and part of another. 

And we went over to my parent's house with the rest of the family for Easter dinner.

And they hunted eggs. 

And more eggs

Capa pointing out the tough ones...

Jack and Auntie had quite the competition. :)


And it was exhausting and perfect and lovely.

And I can't even imagine what next year will hold!