Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Halloween!  I do so enjoy seeing all the kids dressed cute!  It'll be a fun night for sure.

ONE: This cutie is having his first Halloween.  He smiled for a grand total of ONE photo in his pumpkin, but that's all I asked for.  Seriously, as we walked out the door into the yard, I prayed out loud, "Lord, just one smile.  Please." Ask and ye shall receive:

The rest looked something like this, those not all were quite this dramatic: 
In happier news about pumpkins and babies, to help Bailey the persnickety chihuahua bond with his baby brother, slather the baby in pumpkin goo.  The kissy fest that ensued was precious.  The dog loves pumpkin nearly as much as his mom.

TWO: One of my favorite candies, KitKat, is in abundant supply right now.  And I'm nursing.  So I can splurge.  Yum.

THREE: The Conqueror is doing SO WELL right now, all things considering.  His mom and dad and all his friends and family can't thank everyone enough for all the love and prayers that are being poured out on them right now.  God is at work, and I personally am soaking up the evidence of His fingerprints.  You can find out how to support them here

FOUR: I still don't have a video or photo of it, but yesterday my Man Cub finally let me see him roll over.  He's been rolling from his belly to his back for a week and a half, but never when I was home.  I could watch that boy roll around all day long!  It's precious, and he thinks he's cool stuff, so he just laughs and laughs as he does it.

FIVE: In my Essential Reward order from Young Living this month, I received Cinnamon Bark, Orange, and Nutmeg as a promo.  We've been diffusing them in the evenings a lot, and they make the house smell so good!  It's relaxing and soothing as we go about our family time.  There are health benefits to diffusing these too, but the government won't let us share those publicly anymore.  Just know diffusing 100% pure essential oils like Young Living are much healthier for you than candles, warmers, etc.  Many headaches are caused by the manufactured fragrances in those items, so steer clear this holiday season when you want to feel your best!

Linking up with:
The Diary of a Real Housewife

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October BarkBox

This month's BarkBox was all about Fall and Halloween fun and flavors.  My two furbabies love all things pumpkin and apple and meat, so this box was quite the treat!

Heartland Premium Weasand Strips ($3) 100% pure Nebraskan cow gullet. Beef.  It's what's for pup snacking.  Yum for them...sounds gross to me.  ;)

Max and Ruffy's Pumpkin Patch Bites ($5.25) We love Max and Ruffy's, and we love pumpkin, so boom.  We're happy campers around here.  Organic, no GMO crud, and gentle on sweet Bailey's tummy.  Tasty to him too.  

American Dog Toys Flash and Glow Ball ($7.99): Come next week, it'll be dark so early around here.  We've been saving this ball for Aggie Belle to have something fun for outside when it's still early but too dark to see her racquet ball.  Love this idea!

Snicky Snaks Cinnamon Crunch Bar ($3.13) The dogs always see us eating granola bars, so why can't they have one of their own?  All American sourced ingredients make this treat a winner.

Snoggz RIP Van Fetcher ($14): I'm not a fan of this toy for two reasons.  1) It's fake scented, and I can't stand fake scents.  Nasty, nasty chemicals give me horrid headaches.  If only folks realized how much fake scents cause their migraines!  2) It's scary looking and we don't do scary type stuff in this house.  Yuck.

Hare of the Dog Rabbit Jerky Stick ($3): More American jerky for a chewy, yummy treat.  These are always a winner!

Bailey approves of this BarkBox!

Total value: $36.37.  We pay $19.  We get asked sometimes why we buy a treat box for our dogs when there are starving kids in our city.  Well, the want a snack and play time during the day.  We could go to Walmart and buy toys and treats there, but we'd pay a lot more than $19 a month if we did.  We've tried.  BarkBox sends us things at such a discount.  And, everything is made in America, so it helps support American companies where as so much of the pet store/box store items aren't made here.  I know that's not a full justification, but we're at peace with this decision. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

WFMW: The Conqueror

Saying yes to standing in the gap for friends works for me....

Last Tuesday, I was nursing and rocking my babe when Kait the Great called. I knew then it wasn't good news if I was getting a phone call.  Oh, we talk plenty on the phone, but see, we'd been waiting all day to hear from Kait's son's doctor about some tests they'd run.  Secondborn, aka William the Conqueror, was hand crafted with an extra copy of his 21 chromosome (Down Syndrome).  Nearly a year ago, The Conqueror began having some health issues related to that extra chromosome, namely weight loss.  Through lots of intervention and even more prayer, he seemed well on his way to thriving and jiving into his second birthday in about 2 weeks from now.

However, at a recent appointment, blood work was done.  Will's white blood cell count had sunk deep into the basement.  After careful monitoring and more tests, it was discovered that The Conqueror had developed myelodysplastic syndrome, which is pre-leukemia. The good news is that it's about 95% curable because treatment is so aggressive.  This sweet toddler that has stolen all our hearts the last 23 months is facing 6 months of in-patient chemo. 

Y'all.  My heart just sank as my spunky best friend bravely began laying out the game plan for the next six months of their lives.  She had one week to totally reorganize her family's schedules.  And she has.  For better or worse, her hero of a hubby is holding down the fort with Firstborn while a slew of friends, neighbors, and family pitch in.  Kait and Will have just survived their first night (Tuesday) at the hospital.  And from all over, friends and family are covering them in prayer as this newest adventure begins.

And, I do see this as an adventure for them.  Oh, they desperately need a break from the health care world.  Yet, this family keeps facing each curve ball as an opportunity to share Jesus and grow in Him instead of a reason to seek pity (which they despise, by the way) or to complain.  I guarantee that by this time tomorrow, when they've been in that hospital room for barely 48 hours, Kait will know the name of every nurse and his/her whole life story, will have their room completely decorated in fun ways to keep The Conqueror distracted, and be planning a floor wide 2nd birthday party for the man of the hour.  She doesn't have it all together any more than any of us, but she has taught me to face each situation with the joy of the Lord because sometimes, that's all we can do.

There will be emotional tolls on this family in the coming months, no doubt.  It's tough to be away from one kid to care for another, ask my mom.  She and Kait could commiserate for hours over that topic.  So, we pray.  Pray that Kait and the Hero's marriage will stay strong.  Pray that Firstborn adjusts to sporadic visits from Mommy and hardly even notices a disruption in his routine.  Pray for Will that the chemo side effects will be minimal and that his immune system stays oh so strong so that he can maybe get some visits home between chemo rounds.  Will you join us?

But the financial burden is real too.  The hospital is two hours from their home, and they'd like to have as much family time as possible.  Kait has to eat while living in the hospital with her darling one.  There are some medical expenses insurance just doesn't cover.  Another friend of theirs set up a GoFundMe page to help with all of this.  This family would never ask on their own, but I'm so glad another friend has for them.  Even $5 helps and is a gift to help them enjoy the time they will get to spend together in the weeks to come.  Would you join us?  Will you click on that link and share a bit of your love with them?

You can keep up with their journey at William's Warriors.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Growing Pains

Prayer warriors, you're needed:

Since Man Cub was about 36 hours old, doctors have been watching his weight.  He turned 3 months on Saturday, and until 3 weeks ago, we had to take him to the doctor every 2 weeks for weight checks.  He has slowly been gaining weight, and for awhile, he was staying in the 25th% which is perfect because he was gaining and staying on the same growth line. Everybody was happy with that for about a month.

Today, Isaac took the sweet babe in to make sure he didn't have thrush (he doesn't!), but we discovered he's only gained 6 ounces in 3 weeks.  That means he's dropped to the 10th%.  This isn't good.  Babies need to stay on the same percentile line on growth chart.  The fact that he's been bouncing down the lines isn't an ok thing at all.  At this age, he should be gaining 6-7 ounces a week, and he's only gained 6 ounces in three weeks.  The doctor isn't flipping out on us yet, thank goodness.  She hasn't mentioned formula (I had a few choice words when that was brought up by someone isn't the issue-trust me), and she thinks his eating patterns are solid for his age.  She'll see him again in a month, and I know she'll reevaluate then.  We're just befuddled.  He eats like a champ.  There is plenty of milk supply for him.  He's always been allowed to eat until he's full, not just until I'm ready to be done nursing.  When Isaac texted me at work today to tell me Man Cub had only gained 6 ounces in 3 weeks, my heart just dropped.  There's this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something must be wrong.  Why else would a healthy, giggly, active, alert well-fed baby not be gaining weight in better increments?  Yes, I was a petite little thing as a baby, but not like this.  And I was terribly sick, and he's not. 

We have some plans in place to help him slowly eat more, but will y'all be keeping us in your prayers?  Gracious knows I'm no fan of chubby babies, but I need my little guy growing steady on that 25th% line again.  And if something is wrong with him, pray for healing and that our doctor will figure it out soon so we can address it quickly.  It's probably nothing, but I do believe our prayers will keep it at 'nothing'.  Our God is bigger than this and all my worries!  Thank you for loving our sweet family!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Man Cub is dressing as an Aggie Yell Leader, Bailey as an Aggie football player, and Aggie Belle as the Aggie's number one fan for Halloween this year.  Together they make quite the adorable 12th Man.  We wanted to try to snap some cute photos of this adorable ensemble, so we headed to a local church's pumpkin patch yesterday.  There were lots of places to take photos, but trying to get a 3 month old and two pups to all look in the same place at once with a crowd was a task.  I think we managed a few decent pics though.  I'm looking forward to making the pumpkin patch an annual tradition. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Man Cub: 3 Months

Precious Child,

You are full of so much joy!  Daddy and I praise God daily for the joy that you have and that you bring to others.  You find such delight in people and end up bringing smiles and laughs to all you meet.  We pray that God will always use you and that you will always find such pleasure in being a vessel of His great love.  We love you so much!

You are becoming a sleeping champ!  On October 6th, we decided to move you to your own room.  You had begun to move around in your sleep, and the noise was keeping us up.  I think all three of us started having longer stretches of sleep once you made it to your crib.  We had to get you bumper pads last week because you kept scooting into the rails and getting your arms and legs stuck.  That would wake you up, and we'd have to come rescue you.  You will still only sleep on your tummy.  You now go to bed each night between 8-8:30, wake up once to eat around 3-3:30, and then go back to sleep til 7-7:30.  It's wonderful.  Your naps are still a bit tricky to pin point, but most days consist of two cat naps and two longer naps of 1.5-3 hours.  

You're still so scrawny, and I love it!  You're getting a few rolls, so I know you're eating enough.  The doctor finally told us we can stop coming in for weight checks about 2 weeks ago.  Thanks goodness! You're growing, just slowly.  You are so good at eating, and will nurse or take a bottle of mommy's milk without a fuss.  Daddy loves giving you a bottle, an Nanny and Dede have enjoyed giving you several this month too.  

You still love standing up!  You will stomp your feet when you're sleepy, which is about the only time you really get mad.  Your mama thinks it's hilarious because it reminds her of your mommy.  Bah.  You will now hold your own bottle...when you want to.  Daddy has caught you rolling over a few times, but of course you decided to start doing that the week Mommy went back to teaching, so I've yet to see it.  You love to kick your legs on your playmat to hit the critters hanging from it.  The Bumpo seat is a new favorite hangout of yours.  Being in the back seat alone is no longer your greatest fear which has made taking you places so much easier.  Daddy likes to carry you around in the Baby Bjorn, and you now enjoy when he does it.  You still like the church nursery, and you do well during worship sitting with Mommy.  You gave Bailey a belly rub for the first time yesterday, and you both enjoyed it.  You like to stroke your hand against something while you nurse, so Bailey is learning to take advantage of that and squeeze in under your arm while you eat. 

Bath time, baths with Mommy, puppy kisses and cuddles, being outside, music, being sung to, your swing, the Bumpo, time on your playmat, when your grandparents and great-grandparents sing and talk to you, laughing, cooing, drooling, squealing, being flown around like Super Man, being tossed in the air, the Bjorn, the sling, eating, sleeping, and grabbing anything you can reach

Being dirty, being hungry, being on your belly unless it's time to sleep, being cold after a bath

Three Month Stats:
Weight: 11 pounds, 10 ounces
Length:  22.75 inches
Eating: nursing/breast milk bottles ~3:30 am, 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm
Bedtime: between 8-8:30 as much as possible
Awake: sometime between 7:00-7:30
Naps: in between nursing times, but how long you sleep depends on what we're doing.
Diapers: Size 1
Clothes: 0-3 months with a few size 3

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Favorites

Oh, this week was not the kick in the butt that I was dreading.  While I despise every bit of leaving my baby to be at work, I do enjoy my time at work because I love teaching and the staff at my school. And a chunk of my students decided to wear all the maroon they could to school on Monday to welcome me back in full Aggie style.  They're bold and brave considering Saturday's awful loss.  The kids and I have had a lot of fun this week. Still, I'll be glad when God says this season is over, and He lets me stay home.  Now, on to the fun stuff.  Just a warning, it's all family related this week.  ;)

ONE: Man Cub has finally decided he likes a carrier other than the sling.  Of course he does this when I'm back at work.  This is what kids do...exasperate their parents.  Isaac is thoroughly enjoying this new carrier loving baby, and they've gone out for all kinds of fun things each day this week.

TWO: These two will be together during the day for 5 more work weeks.  Um, adorbs.  I mean, seriously.  Man time is in full swing while Isaac takes vacation to make my transition back to work easier on me.  It's such a treat for all of us.

THREE: These two own my heart.  Precious fur babies love their mommy, and they are not too fond of me being back at work.  It appears the transition is hardest on them.  They wait in my chair for me each morning for me to join them for my quiet time and nursing or pumping session.  The mornings when Man Cub has been awake and the guys have taken me to school, the pups are in the car too, clinging to me til I get out of the car.  The whimpers and excitement when I get home are so sweet.  Their cuddles will always be some of my favorite things.

FOUR: My parents are home!!!!  After being in French Polynesia for nearly 3 weeks, they made it home safe and tan late Tuesday night.  We've been with them every day since, and that will continue through the weekend.  Oh, be still my heart.  I love that they get to travel, but I can't stand when they're gone for so long, especially with no cell phone coverage.  Why can't they ever pick places like Zambia where we can still talk?! :)

FIVE: Mom brought me back a bottle of Monoi oil to use on Man Cub and me.  It's pure coconut oil steeped with the tiare gardenia flower, the national flower.  It smells divine.  Apparently both oils are great for the skin and hair too.  I'm just barely doling out the oil because I want it to last as long as possible.  Mom said all the mommas in Tahiti were putting it on their babies each day. That just makes an already irresistible baby all the more appealing!!
What are you loving this week?

Linking up with:
The Diary of a Real Housewife

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Circle: Book Report

Kiki at In It's Time hosts a monthly link up called The Circle.  The topic changes each month, which I enjoy.  I like having a new prompt from time to time.  This month was all about books.  Um, I don't read books, I devour them.  Seriously.  I'm enjoying this link up because I'm getting new title ideas for the coming months.

I so enjoyed Joel Rosenberg's The Auschwitz Escape.  The general ideas are based on true stories, but the characters are not.  I have studied the Holocaust for years, and I appreciate stories about the Church's role in aiding Holocaust victims.  Joel is a superb author whose characters are always intriguing.  I also re-read all 7 Harry Potter books this summer. I just adore Harry and the gang.  I'm never ready to part with them when book 7 ends.

Our church now requires When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself for mission trip teams.  I was going to have our team read it anyway before we go to Zambia this summer, so it worked out nicely.  This book has so much truth about how we can accidentally cause more harm than good on mission trips.  If the goal is to fix a problem, it has to be done through introducing people to Jesus and then through lasting solutions to the causes of poverty.  Even if you never leave the country, this book is stock full of ways to help the poor right here at home too.

Davis Bunn has been in my top 5 list of favorite authors for three or four years now.  His story telling is fascinating with enough adventure, mystery, and romance to keep me on edge from page to page.  His newest book, The Patmos Deception, looks to be fabulous.  A Texan in Greece researching where John received the vision for Revelation in the midst of Greece's current economic struggle?  Um, this history and world events nut is already itching to get it!

I've loved reading my whole life.  I liked the Little House Series so much, especially since Half Pint and I share a name.  Well illustrated picture books were always a treat.  But I think my parents dumped the most money in my years-long obsession with all things The Baby-Sitters Club. I couldn't get enough of these friends who loved kids and books and school and dance and boys and all the same things I found fascinating in upper elementary school.

My Bible.  I know that sounds so cliche, but it's true.  Drama, danger, intrigue, betrayal,'s all there, beckoning me to draw nearer to my Savior and His master plan with each turn of the page.

What are your favorite books these days? 

In Its Time

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WFMW: PicMonkey
Linking up with Kristen.

I've wanted my little space on the web to feel more like home for a while now.  I'm not the most tech savvy person, nor am I very creative of my own accord.  Trying to balance my lack of skill with a desire to have my blog reflect myself has been interesting.

I've known about PicMonkey for awhile.  I've used their free version to edit a few things, but the whole site still intimated me a bit.  During nap time lately, I ventured into the land of the unknown photo editing, and decided to give it a whirl.  Um, PicMonkey, I love your tutorial options!  I've started creating super cool graphics, enhanced pictures, and even a watermark for my personal photos that I post on the blog or Pinterest.  I love it!  I even upgraded to Royale membership so I can do even more!  Woohoo!  I'm loving the way my posts are starting to feel like my own without having spend a ton of time or money hiring someone to do it for me.  I'm even thinking about trying to make my own graphic organizers for my students.



What are your favorite photo/graphic sites or apps?

Safari Nursery

When Isaac and I found out we were going to have a baby, we knew we wanted our baby to develop a soft spot for Zambia.  It made sense to us create a nursery that would reflect some part of that beautiful nation.  When we found out Man Cub was a man cub, we decided to go with a Zambian safari theme.

I had seen a mural that I liked on Pinterest, but it was very 'cartoon-y'.  A friend of ours is a super talented artist, and I asked her if she'd be willing to paint a similar mural but with realistic looking animals. Once we had the mural, we were able to decide how we wanted to set up the rest of the room.  We found beautiful furniture at BuyBuy Baby.  I love that there is a hutch to go on the dresser for when Man Cub is older, and the crib will grow with him two.  We also have two nightstands for him for when he's in a big boy bed.

The glider and ottoman are from a former student.  Love it-so super comfy, and it's just perfect.  The quilt is hand-made by Andrew's bonus grandma (my brother's mother-in-law).  The fabric used for it is all from London, and Paula sewed it for us.  It's beautiful, and we use it each night during our middle-of-the-night nursing session.  The painting and banner are from our shower.

Here's the mural without the furniture:

The mobile and animals on the edges of the crib are from Zambia.  We bought them last summer when we were there to have on hand for shower gifts.  Little did we know that a few months later we'd be hoarding them for ourselves!  Isaac made a cover out of Zambian chitenge (fabric) for the mobile stand.

Isaac made the curtains and bed skirt out of chitenge as well.  I tied the elephant diaper holder low on the crib to use as a toy holder.

The wreath is also a treat left over from our shower.  So cute for his door!

This sweet giraffe was a shower gift, and I have a feeling it might turn in to one of Man Cub's treasures.  The dogs had to learn that it wasn't a monster though...

While we're using the dresser as a changing table, we wanted to hang our elephant painting from Zambia.  It's just a stunning painting, and quite sweet for a nursery.  The lamp was a World Market find, and it's perfect!

We so appreciate this little space to love on and play with our dear boy.
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