Thursday, June 30, 2011


I'm sitting in here in a PICU room at Riley Hospital for Children with my brave little man.

The Bug is currently sleeping peacefully, but off and on he wakes up, takes a drink of water, calls for me over and over (even if I am standing by his side with my hand on his chest), and wiggles around a bit.  When he's awake, he wants me right by his side.  I don't blame him.

At about 2 this morning, Bugsy woke up.  He was scared, he was agitated, he was groggy.  Through his sleepy fog, he called to me.

"Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!"
"What, Bugs?"
"Mommy, please get me up."
"I can't, Bugs.  You have to stay in that bed for a while."
"Please get me out of the bed."
"I can't, Bugs."
"Oh.  I can't open my eyes, Mommy."
"I know, Bugs."
"Will you please open my eyes, Mommy?  I can't see you."
"I can't, Bugs.  Jesus closed your eyes so your head can get better faster.  Jesus will let them open when He's sure you're ready."
"But I can't see you, Mommy."
"I know, Bugs.  I know."
"I love you even when I can't see you, Mommy."
"I love you too, Bugs."

Pray for us today as we begin recovery.  He's very swollen already and will continue to swell until swelling peaks, probably late tomorrow evening.  I especially ask that you pray for HIS peace as he can't open his eyes or see...and OUR wisdom as we try to explain.


For those of you who aren't "up to speed," yesterday was a very long day.  Our 3 year old, Bugsy, had a VERY long surgery...a cranial vault reconstruction, #3 in a series of recontructions to correct craniosynostosis, premature fusing of the skull sutures.  The morning started (for me) at 4:40am after about 2 hours of restless sleep.  I showered, rushed around throwing the last few things together,  woke up Isaac (and his daddy), and we were off to the hospital.  We checked in at 7 and had blood work drawn.  At 9:33, the nurse wheeled Bugsy away, plastic microphone in hand, saying hello to everyone he passed.  (The surgeons told us, at 10:30 last night, that when they wheeled him into the OR he looked around at all the nurses, and then said into his microphone, "Hello, Girls!" and flashed his dimples at them.)

And then we waited.

We got an update every hour.  "He's been prepped," or "He's open," or "Still reconstructing."  The one that had us scratching our heads was when the nurse told us, "Dr. Havlik is in a sterile field near Bugsy playing with the bones, trying to decide how he's going to put them together."  If you've been in our shoes, you can imagine how awkward that one was to hear!  We kept it as light-hearted as possible, though.  In fact, I asked that the plastic surgeon write "Dr. Havlik was here" on the bones when he was marking them.  (He told the nurse he ALWAYS does that.  If I see him again before we leave the hospital, I'm going to ask him where he wrote it.  I don't believe that he really does that, though.)  

The day went quick in some parts, slow in others.   For me, the hardest part of the day is always the late afternoon/evening.  I hate it when I see the waiting room start to clear out.  I hate it when I know that most of the patients are at home or in their rooms and we're still waiting.  Watching everyone else leave to see their babies, and knowing that we still have hours left is so painful for me.  Knowing that you'll be there when the nurses and receptionists leave, and that you'll be left to answer the phones yourself...

Anyway, at about 10 last night we finally heard that surgery was complete!  A scheduled "7 hour surgery" took about 11 1/2 hours...and with prep and recovery time, he was away from mommy and daddy for 13 1/2. We were able to talk to the surgeons a short time later, and around 11 we finally saw him.  We moved very quickly from the recovery room to the PICU.  We settled in around midnight, and here we are.


To ALL of you: Thank you so much for your prayers.  We felt God's peace in a big way yesterday.

To Tim and Angelita: Thank you for being a much needed distraction these last few days before surgery!  God knew what He was doing when he planned for you to be here at the exact time we'd really need you!  We love you both!

To Greg and Christine: Thank you so much for caring for Little Lou and Stinky when we couldn't!  You guys have been such a blessing!  I'm glad we've been able to support each other!

To Jack: Thank you for taking care of Harrison...and the house!  We appreciate your acts of love and service every time...EVERY time...we need you!

To our parents: Thanks for coming and spending the entire (grueling) day by our sides!  We know he's your grandson, but it still means a lot to have the support!  Thanks, Rick and Sue, for taking the kids home for the next few days.  We'll Skype with Little Lou, at least, later!

To Ashley: Thanks for organizing some meals for when we get home...AND for taking Little Lou for the afternoon Tuesday so I could finish up some of the packing!

To the Billey family: Thank you thank you for feeding us yesterday!  A special thanks to you, Aunt Maribeth, for doing the shopping and bringing the food...and for spending the remainder of the day with us!  (And thanks to pizza delivery boy Gene!)

To Mark: Thank you for stopping by and saying a very special prayer with Bugsy on Tuesday.  He loved it and I really appreciated you thinking of us.  

To anyone else who's helped with anything the last few day: Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.  While we could have done this without you, we wouldn't have wanted to!  You've all made it that much easier.  


Please continue to keep Bugsy (and mommy and daddy...and Little Lou and Stinky) in your prayers, especially the next several day a we face recovery!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We love you, Bugs!

We're sitting in the surgery waiting room at Riley Hospital for Children.  Any minute now, the nurse should begin her rounds, updating each family as to the progress of their respective little ones.  The last update, which came about an hour ago, was that Isaac was asleep and two IVs had been placed, one in his right hand and one in his right leg.  They were working on putting in an A-Line.  (Here comes the nurse...and another update...)

Prep was completed at 10:40.  Surgery should be under way!

Please continue to keep this little guy in your prayers:

(The Bug in the pre-op prep room, Goofy Juice underway!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


If you have been around here for any length of time, you likely know that my 3 year old is having a very major 12 hour skull surgery in 4 days.  FOUR DAYS.  If your child has ever had surgery of any time, you understand my distraction lately.  Yesterday I had to take my 1 year old to the doctor for a diaper rash.  Turns out he has a bacterial infection on his bottom.  2 antibiotics.  Lots of pain.  Even more tears.  If you've ever had a sick kid, you can understand my further distraction yesterday.  I apologize for not posting a review and giveaway yesterday as I promised.

Stinky should be healing well in a couple days.  Bugsy is getting a little scared about his surgery.  And I am trying to told it all together while I care for sicky Stinky, prepare everyone's things for a week away, prepare Bugsy's tender spirit for what's about to happen, and try to think about Little Lou's birthday in a week and a half.  Things are flying around like crazy here, and I am not getting a moment of peace or rest.  So please understand that, while I am trying to get some reviews and giveaways out to you, I'm a little off.  I'm not myself, and for good reason.

Thank you for your patience.  I will try and get a review up now before I spend the day with my family.  If I have a chance, I will get a couple more up in the next few days.  Please understand and expect that your facebook and newsfeeds will likely be plagued by update posts from me on Wednesday, as I do my best to keep family and close friends updated to the Bug's progress.  And please, please, cut me a little slack.  I love writing and I love that you are reading.  Don't give up on me just yet!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Phil & Ted

Thank you for being amazing.

Thank you for creating awesome, safe products that help mommies and babies be safe and happy.

Thank you for being innovative, both in your products and in your community support.

Thank you for creating a brilliant "recycling" program!

Love, love, love,
A satisfied customer


Okay, so I feel like that's all I need to say, but since I'm supposed to write a review, I'm not sure that is enough.  I teased you over a month ago with pictures of my new (to me) Phil&Teds Sport stroller, and then never told you about it!  I'm sorry about that!  Life's been crazy lately.  Life's been a LOT crazy.

One thing that's made life crazier, and at the same time much more sane, is that I have been exercising more!  If you know me personally, you may know that when I was a kid, I was very active.  In elementary and middle school, I was athletic.  (I was also on the Spell Bowl team.  That's a story for a different day.)  In high school, I was in marching band.  I carried a trumpet or a marching baritone, depending on the year.  I lifted weights.  I was sleek and strong.  I was a runner.  I played volleyball.  I played basketball.  I had energy to spare!  And then I grew up, got married, and had 3 kids.  Energy took a nosedive and so did my drive to be fit and healthy--until recently!  

When I decided to start exercising again, I knew that walking would be a staple and that I'd love to start running again.  I used to love it.  I stopped because of injuries, which still haunt me 15+ years later, but which I am confident I can overcome with training.  I never started again because I got lazy and didn't have the right equipment.  This became especially apparent when I had my third child.  Did you know it's hard to walk/jog/run while pushing a sit-n-stand double stroller?  They're heavy and awkward and weird.  So when I decided to start exercising, I realized I'd need a jogging stroller.  The trouble is, jogging strollers aren't cheap, and I didn't know anyone that could loan me one or hand one down to me.

The Scoop

Phil&Teds graciously agreed to sign me up for their Buggies For Good (BFG) program!  Buggies For Good is a program in which Phil&Teds accepts donations of used strollers, refurbishes them, and donates them to good causes.  There are some amazing stories on the Buggies for Good page of their blog!

I received my Phil&Teds Sport very quickly!

Of course, I wanted to put it together immediately.  It was refurbished and didn't come with instructions, though, and while much of the assembly was really intuitive, there were some parts I was unsure of.  I couldn't easily find the instructions, but a simple chat with a WONDERFUL live online customer service agent later and I had printed instructions in hand.  Overall assembly probably took me about 10 minutes.  I was SOOO excited to try it out!

The kids were more excited about the boxes.

Thank you, Phil & Ted, for providing my children with over three consecutive hours of interactive, quiet, cooperative play!  (Yes, the box is from an explorer, but the stroller itself is a sport.)

We have used and abused this stroller already, and I've certainly got a lot to say about it!

The Good

The doubler seat.  I love that it can be used on the front (infant-toddler formation) or on the back (toddler-toddler formation).  I love that it doesn't really add any length to the stroller either way!  It's great to have a double jogger that's really about the size of a single jogger!

The veratility!  I love that there are 4 different ways to adjust the front seat, from upright to totally flat!  I love that it can be used from birth as is, and I also love that there is an optional infant cocoon that offers additional security for a tiny baby.

The ride.  I love the smooth ride my boys get in this stroller!  We have a much cheaper brand of sit-n-stand stroller as well, which now sits in my garage.  The Sport from Phil&Teds is a MUCH smoother ride for the kid!  They're excited when they see it.  Stinky actually comes running!  Steering and handling are great as well.  I do need to pump up the tires a tad, but otherwise, the steering is super easy!

The Room.  The seats are plenty roomy for my munchkins!  In the single or infant/toddler position, the front seat can hold up to 88 pounds!  That's a BIG kid!  And in the toddler/toddler position, the front child can be up to 55 pounds and the back child up to 35 pounds!  This means that, with my children, we've got about 10 more front seat pounds AND 10 more back seat pounds before either of my little guys outgrow their positions!

The handlebar.  I love that the handlebar can be adjusted for taller and shorter drivers.  My hubby is about 6 inches taller than I am, but it's perfect for either of us!

The Bad

The brake.  I get frustrated every time I try to put the brake on or off.  It's a bar across the back of the stroller.  I like that it operates both wheels at the same time, but it is difficult to turn on and off.

The unfolding!  Folding isn't so bad. But the unfolding?  HORRIBLE!  It takes a long time.  It doesn't always work the first time.  I'm left with a baby in the car seat and two kids running circles around me as I try to get this stroller ready.  It's a little annoying that I have to remove the doubler seat every time I fold it, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice for the in-line feature!

The shins.  I told you I haven't run for a long time, so maybe I have crazy form, but I feel like I have to run REALLY weird in order to keep from hitting my shins on the doubler seat.  This isn't a problem when I'm walking, just when I'm running.

The pricetag.  In my "real" life, the one where I'm not a review blogger, but rather a stay at home mom in a one income family that has to make a lot of sacrifices in order to live without that second income, luxury is really not an option.  I understand that the quality and standards of Phil&Teds product are very high, but unfortunately that puts the prices out of range for moms like me.

The Evaluation

Overall, I really enjoy the Phil&Teds Sport!  As with any stroller, there are definite pro and cons.  For me, the pros outweigh the cons.  Most of my cons are more of annoyances, anyway, rather than actual problems.  I have done a lot of reading, and from my understanding, most of my "cons" have been corrected or updated in newer models.  (The Sport is still available from but is no longer available straight from Phil&Teds...although you COULD potentially buy all the parts and build one yourself!) I love my Sport stroller!  

Phil&Ted, you get two thumbs WAY up from this mama!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What was that sound?!?

I jumped out of bed this morning, eager to start my day.  It was 4:46am.  As my feet hit the floor, I was startled by a funny plopping noise behind me.  I turned around just in time to see a pound fall off and bounce across the room!

Okay, okay, so the only thing true about that entire story is that it was 4:46am.  Have I ever told you I'm NOT a morning person?  That's a whole different story, though.  What I'm here to tell you about right now is that mysterious pound that plopped.  

A quick catch-up if you've missed out...

I am two full weeks into a 6-week bootcamp with Jennifer McCay of  The bootcamp is designed to coach mommies like myself into healthier lifestyles.  Jennifer encourages *gasp* healthy eating as well as exercise to revamp your body, regain your mojo, and generally feel healthy!

As I said, I'm two weeks in.  This last week's challenges were to eat at least 2 healthy meals a day and get moving!  Easy peasy.  I knew I could do this!  Overall, I rocked this weeks challenges!  Almost every day, I had 2 (or 3!) healthy meals.  I got moving a few more times than normal.  I'm trying, folks, I'm trying!  In fact, yesterday at the grocery I bought less than a dozen items from the "inside aisles" and that included several cans of beans!

I'll be totally honest, here, and tell you that Saturday I stunk at the challenges.  My kids were out of town, which means the hubby and I go out on a date!  YAY!  This time, we hit up Olive Garden.  I did choose relatively healthy.  I had salad and minestrone soup, no breadsticks.  BUT then he remembered that a local (delicious) ice cream shop had free scoops for dads in honor of father's day.  So, I had a single (read: ginormous) scoop cone of deliciousness.  Then, my cousin got married!  (Congrats, Britty!  Love you girl!)  Wedding food is not notoriously healthy.  I only ate fruit during the appetizer round.  I loved the spinach and strawberry salad!  I kept myself to green beans and chicken with spinach and mushrooms during the main course.  But the cake.  Ah, the cake!

Did you know that when your body is out of the habit of having a lot of sugar, you get a headache after you eat a lot of sugar?  Did you know that when you eat a lot of sugar, you wake up SUPER hungry the next morning?  NOT pretty.

I quickly want to mention, too, that Jennifer and I have been communicating individually in addition to my participation in the bootcamp.  I'm blessed to be able to take advantage of her Personalized Web-Coaching program and it's super helpful already!  In one recent "session" she coached me a bit extra on meat/dairy intake.  She addresses this briefly in her information anyway, but for certain health conditions, she suggests a totally meat and dairy free diet.  Honestly, I thought that was crazy.  It does seem, however, to be working well for me!  (I am not TOTALLY meat and dairy free, but have almost completely eliminated both from my diet for nearly a week.)   

So, I know you all want to know whether I'm seeing results.  Two weeks in, surely I've noticed SOMETHING, right?  


Last week I weighed in at 186.0.  If you remember, that was 1.6 pounds down from my "official" start, and about 5.5 pounds down from my "unofficial" start at the beginning of June.  Today, I can proudly tell you that scale read:


That's right, folks!  I am down an official 5.8 pounds from the start of the 6 week challenge, and 9.8 pounds this month!  I promised myself I wasn't going to take measurements until the very end, so that I could wow myself with the results...but I lied to myself.  I took measurements last night, and I have lost almost 

5 inches!!

I know this will all slow down.  Soon I will be reporting to you that I lost 2 pounds, or 1 pound, or .4 pounds in a week.  I know that and understand that.  I also know that some of you are thinking the weight is falling off too quickly and I need to eat more because I'm starving myself.  I want to remind you that in the beginning of any "diet" (although this isn't a diet) weight tends to drop quickly and then slow down or level off.  I assure you that I am eating well...and a LOT...but it's healthy food.  I'm satisfied, and occasional stuffed.  I don't like the stuffed feeling.  I'm still learning.  But it's healthy and it feels good!

If you haven't already, please PLEASE check out!  If you're interested, there are 4 FREE videos that will certainly help you start your weight loss journey at!  I highly encourage everyone to at least give health a try!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Here, Home, Hope book review

I recently had the opportunity through One2One Network to read a newly released novel called Here, Home, Hope, written by author Kaira Rouda.

Here Home, Hope is an interesting story about life and love in suburbia.  While it's not my "typical" style of novel, I did enjoy the read.  You'll find very early in the novel that Kelly is making a list, of sorts...a list of "Things to Change" in her life.  She calls it her "T2C" list.  I especially liked that idea.  I'm sure that each of us has something we'd like to change!  Making a tangible list, perhaps on post-its scattered where they're most likely to be seen, is a great idea!  

I'm not in love with some of the "themes" of the book.  While Here, Home, Hope does a great job of covering Kelly's mid-life crisis, there are several "gratuitous" topics that I really think are unnecessary, as the rest of the book is well enough written to carry itself!

Right now you can purchase Here, Home, Hope from Amazon for just $10.20, or just $2.48 for the digital version!

If you'd like to learn more about Here, Home, Hope, you can check it out on YouTube!

I received my copy of Here, Home, Hope from One2One Network at no cost in order to facilitate a review.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My journey to becoming a LeanGreenMama!

Someday I'm going to be a LeanGreenMama.  Someday.  For now, though?  This:

Pretty, huh?  Or not!  These snaps were actually taken a few weeks ago.  Some of you have seen them before.  We're using these as the "before" pictures.  

Before I found LeanGreenMama.

Before I got serious about my eating.

Before I started on a new life adventure, a journey to create a healthy lifestyle.


And now?  Now, it's week 2.  I weighed in at 186.0 yesterday morning.  Hey, that's about 5 pounds in the last 3 weeks, folks!  Five pounds since I found Jennifer and LeanGreenMama.  That's 1.6 pounds down from last week when I officially started the program.  That's progress!

I'm loving the program.  Jennifer is dedicated to helping her clients change their lives.  She's not there to teach you a great diet secret.  She's not there to give you a quick fix.  She's there to change your life!  And so, each week of the Six Week Bootcamp challenge, she proposes a new challenge.  Last week?  Eat ONE healthy meal each day.  ONE!  I don't know about you, but I though one healthy meal a day was easy!  This week?  This week she's challenged us to eat TWO healthy meals a day.  Just two meals.  And get moving.  Just a little.  A little more than normal.  A little harder than normal.  Push just a little.

Today I had a smoothie for breakfast.  Strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, mango, banana, spinach and (eek!) just a little bit of broccoli.  The broccoli somehow didn't make it into my lunch bag, so I just threw it into the blender.  I didn't taste it, but my body appreciated it.  For lunch, I had a couple handfuls of grapes, about 10 baby carrots, and a bunch of broccoli.  Yay!  Two healthy meals!  And then, dinner time.  Salmon patties.  Usually we make homemade macaroni and cheese.  Tonight I grilled potatoes, onions, green peppers, and green beans!  See how I healthified my dinner?!?  Go me!

Thank you, Jennifer, for allowing me to participate in your 6 Week Weight Loss Bootcamp!  What an amazing program.  Thank you, thank you, for your weekly videos and downloads!  I've printed everything and created a binder.  I'm working on reading through.  I'm working on watching the videos.  I'm trying my hardest to make changes.  I've tried to diet so many times before, but your lifestyle changing program seems to be a perfect fit for my (imperfect) self!

I'm looking forward to sharing with all of you readers my progress over the next 5 weeks (and beyond)!  I can't wait to see where this journey takes me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Three GREAT Prizes! Winners winners winners!

Congrats to all the winners!  You're going to LOVE these prizes!

DrilineBaby Travel Change Pad
Congrats to #66 - Allison!

Closetmaid Mini Cubeicals
#80 - Forget Shyness Reviews!

Rosebud Diaper Boutique Roots Diaper 
#187 - laurenjagertheqt!

A Break from Reality

We ran away for the weekend.  We didn't even TAKE the computer or the iPad.  We both took our iPods, but when we got there, we left them in the car for the weekend.  I sent a couple texts on Friday night to tell our parents we'd arrived and that there was a deer so close we could almost touch it...and then put my phone away for the weekend.  Michael's phone was turned to silent after a couple of middle of the night calls on Friday night. Ahhhh, the serenity of a technology free weekend!  (I missed you, though.  I really did.  But I'm SO glad I had the break!)  Sorry I didn't give you a warning, but I don't love the idea of telling everyone in the world that my house will be empty for the next few days, you know?

We spent the weekend camping in Mammoth Cave National Park (or, at least until our tent flooded and we decided to pack up a day early and come home)!  I'd never been in a cave before, and the kids were super excited to share that "first" with me.  We'd anticipated several hikes, but only a couple of very brief ones actually materialized.  We'd have had time for more, but these kids (who went to the bathroom a collective total of seven times yesterday, once we were home) had to potty every 15 minutes while we were there!  If it wasn't one, it was the other!  We had a nice time, though, despite the rain...and a minor banking hishap...and some car trouble...and a couple of bored kids.  (Note to self: next time, don't forget to take things for the kids to do at the campsite!)

And so, without further delay, a photo journey of our much needed family weekend!

All packed up and ready to go!  Oh, wait...that's probably not a certified child safety seat, huh?

We're on our way!  Stinky'd never been "forced" to watch a movie before, so he was fascinated!  He's typically rear-facing, but we turned him around for the trip.  5 hours each was is a long time to look at luggage while your siblings are watching movies!

We had a picnic lunch at a rest stop.  Stinky enjoyed it!  (I have a TON of messy camping face pictures of this guy.  I won't share them all.)

Who needs roller coasters when you have the hills of Kentucky?

Here we are at the park entrance.  (Don't get too close or you'll probably be able to smell us...this was actually the end of the weekend.  It cost $2 for a 10 minute shower, so we were just stinky and gross.)

Setting up camp

The deer at the campsite across from us.  They actually got a bit closer than this, and then later when it came to our site, we could have just about touched it!

Mapping out our trip

BOY did they ever have her number!  Little Lou received a Junior Ranger Handbook from the visitor's center on Friday night, and spent the rest of the time, any time we were at camp, doing worksheets!  She was in over-achiever Heaven!

Because camping just isn't camping without s'mores!

We ran to Walmart for a few things (18 miles each way, by the way), and got sidewalk chalk and bubbles.  Oh, and shoes for Stinky.  What kind of mother brings 2 left shoes for the baby?  Oi.  Note to self: next time, put the baby's shoes on before we leave home!

Bugsy was content to play with sticks and bugs.

We ate well.  :)

This is the knob of the water spigot.  It's about the size of a golf ball.  The tiny pin prick spider?  That guy caused screaming terror and a refusal to get a glass of water until mommy came to the rescue.  Ridiculous!

Our campsite

Waiting for our cave tour

Inside the first cave!  (Sorry, I haven't had time to edit out the red eyes yet.)  They were actually pretty bored in this cave.  It was just limestone walls...a mining operation existed here years ago.  

This, my friends, is camping hair.  Ick.  This is an amazingly sticky combination of sunscreen, bugspray, sweat, and food.  This boy got cleaned up with baby wipes several times a day, and he had a sponge bath with the very cold potable drinking water on Saturday.

Bugsy was SOOO excited...we got to ride a REAL school bus from the visitor center to the second cave tour!  He couldn't believe it!

Here's just a tiny snippet of the inside of the second part of the cave.  Now THAT's more like it!  The kids were in awe of this part!  It was filled with "pretty" things!

We asked a man to take our picture inside the Frozen Niagara part of the cave.  This was his third attempt.  So, Stinky really is there on my back, and there are columns behind us.

A female cave cricket!  The guide didn't point them out to us on the way in, but he did on the way out.  They were EVERYWHERE!  Ewwww!  They were really cool, though.

This, folks, is probably my last choice of cemeteries when I die.  It made me laugh.  This is just inside the park.

And then we were on our way home.  I had to snap this sweet pic.  I know it's a hard habit to break, but I've secretly always wanted a finger sucker.  This little guy knows how to melt mama's heart!  He doesn't do it all the time, but isn't that the sweetest thing ever?

We came home a day early, so we went to Nana and Poppy's and had a bonfire.  We shared some of our hotdogs and s'mores with them.  The big kids both fell asleep by the fire and slept until after 8 in the morning!

Since we had a day left over, we took the kids to an area sprinkler park.  We're pretty sure the day they enjoyed the most was the day we spent "in our own backyard."  Isn't that the way it is, though?  This was Stinky's first time playing at the sprinkler park...but certainly not the last!  He loved it!

The kids had a blast, too.  When you're (basically) 6 and 4, you play a lot differently than when you're almost 5 and 3.  It was fun to see them actually playing together at the sprinkler park!

So, there you have it!  June 2011 Vacation.  We're hoping to take another camping trip in early fall, but we'll remember all the things we forgot this time (hopefully!) and we may stay a little closer to home.  We're back, now...back to reality.  I've got a lot of posting planned for the next two weeks, so be ready!

I hope you enjoyed a little insight into the real family behind the reviews!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An interview with the Bug

Three weeks from this very moment, I will be sitting in a waiting room at a Riley Hospital for Children, nervously finding ways to pass time as I wait to hear the next hourly update about the Bug.  My family will be trying to convince me to get some lunch, and I will be refusing because I might miss the nurse.  I'll be playing on the computer, mindless staring at the tv, trying to hold in the panic.  I'll be laughing and joking with my family and all the while my heart will be pounding and my palms will be sweating and I'll be anxious.

The Bug, though?  The Bug is ready.  He gets headaches.  He doesn't like his "big head" because it isn't like the other kids'.  (Yes, some of them have been sure to point that out to him.)  He's ready for his "broken" head to be fixed.

I sat down with Bugsy a little bit ago to try and capture his thoughts on the whole ordeal.  We've been talking to him about surgery, telling him what will happen, and trying to prepare his as best we can.  He's about as aware as his little 3 year old mind can manage.  Here's the transcript from our chat.  (He and I have talked about this a lot.  I wanted to capture it, though, for him and for you.)

Mommy:  Tell me about your surgery.

The Bug:  They’re gonna cut my head, and they’re gonna put a new bone in it.

Mommy:  Why are they going to do that?

The Bug:  Cause some of my bone is lost.

Mommy:  Where is it?

The Bug:  At my surgery.

Mommy:  What do you think will be different after surgery?

The Bug:  My head.

Mommy:  What will be different about it?

The Bug:  Cause they’re gonna make it a different shape.

Mommy:  What shape do you think it will be?

The Bug:  Umm…a circle!

Mommy:  Are you scared about surgery?

The Bug:  No! 

Mommy:  Do you think your head will hurt after surgery?

The Bug:  I gotta go talk to Mak.  We’re on a safari right now.

And that was that.  Bugsy scampered away to hunt elephants and such.  Mommy, however?  Mommy is left to ponder.  

We've got big plans to cram a ton of summer into these next 3 weeks.  We're going to be living it up!  If you see us, say hi...and ask the Bug about his surgery!  He's pretty proud.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fluffly Friday: Rosebud Diaper Boutique Roots Review and Giveaway


I like fluff.  And I really like fluffy fluff!  The fluffier the better.  By fluffy, I mean soft.  When I opened the bright yellow package from Rosebud Diaper Boutique, I found a super soft ball of fluff!

Yellow is Andrea's "happy color," and she proudly and happily uses it to ship out her wonderful diapers!

The first thing I noticed (besides how cute it is!) is how incredibly soft the inside is!  The inside and the liner are both made of amazingly soft, surprisingly absorbent, bamboo velour.

(The other side of the insert is the same gorgeous lime as the inside of the diaper!)  When I asked Andrea from Rosebud Diaper Boutique what the inside of the Roots diaper is made of, she responded and said, "Squishy ain't it?"  Boy is she ever right!

Now, enough about the feel of the (butter soft) diapers.  The fit is tremendous!  (And no, I don't know why Blogger insists he stand on his head for this pic!)  Stinky is about 24ish (maybe 25?) pounds, so we chose a Roots 2.  The size 1 goes from about 9-20 pounds, and size 2 is for 20 pounds and up.  The Roots diaper by Rosebud Diaper Boutique is SO trim!

It's gotta be that bamboo velour's superior absorption quality or something, but Andrea manages to keep these diapers thin, almost thinner than a disposable diaper, without sacrificing absorbency at all!  Not only is it trim, but there are 4 snaps across each wing, which means you can really get a great custom fit!

AND the wings cross over (even better) AND you can choose whether you want them to cross left over right or right over left!  (I know it looks a little snug in the picture.  I loosened it right after the pic, but then he squirmed too much for another shot!)

Do you want to know my favorite part of this diaper?  (I mean, besides the fact that it's cute, fits perfectly, and is super absorbent?)  My favorite part is that poop slides right off of it.  I think it's got to be the bamboo velour, but I am not kidding when I say that every poo just plops right off, with virtually no residue!  There has been no staining, no stinking...perfection!

What don't I like about this diaper?  You knew I'd go there, didn't you?  What I don't like is that I think the front "tabs" could be a little longer.  You know, I would like them to wrap around the sides just a tad more.  That's it.  That's the only thing I can think of that I would even consider "complaining" about.  I LOVE the Roots diaper from Rosebud Diaper Boutique!

You can purchase your very own Roots diapers from Rosebud Diaper Boutique here on the facebook page, or watch here at the boutique store for their weekly stocking!  Roots diapers are just $20!


If you're feeling lucky...SUPER just might want to enter to win one!  (Contest will end and a winner will be drawn June 17, 2011 at 11:59am EST!)

How to Enter

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For TWO extra entries, go enter the Roots giveaway from Eco Baby Mama Drama!  Come back and tell me you did and your comment #!

Comment on any non-giveaway post and tell me where you commented!

Flats and Handwashing Tell-All

So, it's over.  It's officially, finally over.  What a long week!

A recap, for those who missed it: This past week, May 23-29, I participated in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, as proposed by Dirty Diaper Laundry here.  The gist of the challenge is this: use nothing but flats and covers for 7 straight days.  Handwash everything.  Line or hang to dry.  There was no set limit to the number of flats that could be used, but the covers were limited to 5.  Repeat for 7 days, tell everyone all about it, and fill out a survey.  Easy Peasy!

I hadn't ever used flats, so I didn't really know what to expect.  In fact, the first time I ever saw a flat was when I received my package of Diaper Rite flats from Diaper Junction!  So, flats turned out to be big flat squares of fabric!  I also purchased a 3-pack of Flour Sack Towels from Target.  Next came the task of learning to fold them.  Easy, right?  Except that there are about 47 billion options for folding, if not more.  I tried a bunch of them, and finally decided on the Pad Fold and the Origami Fold, with the Origami being my primary fold.

I have to say, overall the diapering part of the challenge was easy.  Super easy.  I'm not an expert on flats by any means, but I'd like to say I can now fold and pin with the best of them!  I kept 2 stacks of diapers on my changing station (aka dryer).  One stack I had folded Origami-style, for when Stinky laid still, and one stack folded Pad-style, for when Stinky was feelings wiggly.  The pad fold diapers lay easily in a cover.  Use them just like a prefold!  The origami is a little harder to maneuver, but with just a flat, a cover, and 1 safety pin, you get great, absorbent coverage!  As I said, this was my primary fold for the week, even when...especially when...a tummy bug hit at the end of the week!

Ease of handwashing varied depending on the day.  Most of the week, I washed as I went.  It's really easy and quick to just wash a diaper or two and throw them on the line!  I could do that in my sleep.  In fact, I might have!  A couple times I waited for various reasons and ended up with 6 or 7 diapers to wash.  I was washing in the bathroom sink, which is the size of...a bathroom 6 or 7 diapers and it was FULL!  Add water, and I had to move everything off the counter to keep it all out of my "splash zone."  Still, handwashing was not that bad...

...UNTIL.  Handwashing wasn't that bad, even with actually using my hands, until Stinky got a tummy bug.  It hit hard Saturday morning.  I'm talking the wake up at 5am screaming covered in vomit kind of tummy bug.  The mommy has to wash everything withing a 5 foot radius of the crib tummy bug.  I'm talking the 6 dirty diapers in a day kind of tummy bug.  (No stranger to you newbie mamas, but to those of us with 15 month olds, 6 dirties a day is a LOT!)  THIS mama is over-concerned about diapers being sanitary.  More than not wanting to handwash the diapers, I wanted to be SURE they were clean.  So, I jumped the handwashing ship....For 4 diapers.  And then Stinky's belly regulated and I decided to finish my last day strong!  So Sunday, we were back on the handwashing wagon!  I only did 4 diapers in the washer.  I felt good about that!

That's the recap.  It went well.

Here's what I learned:

Flats are absorbent.  SUPER absorbent.
Flats are customizable.  You can fold them to fit your baby no matter how big baby is!
Flats are economical.  The Diaper Rite flats from Diaper Junction are just $16 for a dozen!
Flats are easy.  MUCH easier than I anticipated.  You just have to figure out what works for you.
Flats are better than microfiber inserts.  (I actually learned this after the challenge.  MUCH more absorbent!)
Flats dry really REALLY quickly!  I'm talking less than an hour on the line in the sun.
Speaking of took ALL stains out of my flats!  They're thin, and I think the sun is magical on them!
Handwashing isn't that bad.  I won't do it because I don't have to, but if I did have to, I wouldn't mind.
You'll need more lotion than normal if you're handwashing!
Different covers work better for flats than others.  You need to find what will work best for you, because it's different for everyone.  I still prefer snaps!
Large safety pins are easier to use than diaper pins.  (I can't vouch for snappis...I can't find mine.)
My baby does not digest mandarin oranges.  AT. ALL.
My baby doesn't digest grapes, either.

There are other things I learned as well.  Those are the main ones that pop to mind, though.

One thing I've been struggling with, though, is that I changed the way I fed Stinky so I wouldn't have to clean the "nastier" things out of his diapers by hand.  I'm struggling with it because I am not sure whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.  You see, Stinky has slow digestion, and some things simply don't ever process.  I was careful not to feed him these things because they come out gross.  I was frustrated with myself at first, knowing I was changing his eating for my benefit.  The more I think about it, though, the more I think maybe it was a good thing.  I was much more "in tune" with his belly when I was handwashing.  Maybe that was a good thing.  Maybe I need to remember to avoid the icky stuff altogether.  Maybe.

All in all, it was a great learning experience for me!  And you know what?  I've used flats, by my own choice, several times this week!

Oh...and when you take your pocket diapers off the line, can you use them to do this?

That's right!  All my fresh-off-the-line diapers are in there!

Spring Cleaning Wrap-Up: Closetmaid Mini Cubeicals Review and Giveaway


The next time you're at Target, find this box:

Put it in your cart.

Pick a color (or colors!) of fabric bins. 

Put them in your cart.

Check out.

Now, go home, put it all together, and enjoy!

Closetmaid sent me a Mini Cubeical and 6 fabric bins to review during Spring Cleaning Month!  Now, I'm going to tell on myself a little bit here.  For some reason, I didn't expect to have to put it together.  I don't know what I was thinking.  People, you have to put mini cubeicals together.  Be forewarned.  

When Heather from Closetmaid suggested the mini cubeicals for review, I was immediately excited!  I could think of about a billion uses right off the top of my head.  To be honest, I still haven't settled on a usage just yet!  I'm still playing with them and trying to decide.  But think about it.  The drawers are 7X7X5.75.  They're not tiny.  In fact, they're really a lot bigger than I expected.  If you had room, you could use these mini cubeical sets anywhere!  You could use them in the bathroom for all your cosmetics and hair supplies.  You could use them in a child's room for smallish toys.  You could use them in the kitchen for holding snacks or spices or...  My current choice of uses, though?


Now, I don't know how many diapers you have.  I'm honestly diaper challenged.  I haven't counted recently, but I'd say my stash is probably less than 20 diapers.  I can fit my ENTIRE stash (minus a few flats and all of my prefolds, which I no longer use) in these 6 bins!  5 OS pocket or AIO diapers will fit into each bin.  That means 30 OS diapers!  So, this currently sits on my nightstand in my bedroom, filled with dipes.

My dryer, in the bathroom, is my changing station, so when I take a bin into my bathroom, sit it on the back of the dryer, and use those diapers.  When it's empty, I swap it out for a different bin.  It eliminates a ton of clutter from my bathroom, and makes for a quicker diaper change!

Despite having to put the mini cubeicals together myself, I really like them!  The system looks nice.  It doesn't look like cheapo junk "furniture."  It looks nice, and it's really sturdy.  It's super easy to put together, and it really only took about 10-15 minutes.  I'd highly recommend Closetmaid Mini Cubeicals and Fabric Drawers if you're looking for something to help you get organized!  (Or if you're not looking for something.  If you're like me, you can always use more ways to get organized!)

What don't I like about them?  I'm not crazy about the "offset" design I chose.  If I could choose again, I'd choose the cubeical that has 6 compartments instead.  I thought I'd love the offset because I could just use a couple bins and put little knick-knacks or something in the other spaces, but it turns out I'd rather just use the 6 bins, so the regular design would have looked nicer for me.  I'm also not as thrilled with my color choices as I thought I'd be.  The espresso color is darker than I anticipated, and the blue is dark navy.  (It looks a lot brighter, even in my pictures, than it is in real life.)  If I could choose again, I'd stick with the espresso but pick a different color of fabric for the bins.  These are all really choice issues, though!  I have no problems AT ALL with the functionality or quality of these pieces!

As I mentioned, you can buy Closetmaid Mini Cubeicals at TargetAmazon, and Closetmaid!  They're super cute, very functional, and the cubeicals are just $15!  Bins are an additional $8 for a set of two.  That means you can have an entire adorable Mini Cubeical set for just $39 plus tax!  That's a great deal!  (You can also buy them from!)

Closetmaid has generously agreed to send a set to one SUPER lucky reader!  I love my Mini Cubeicals, and I know you will too!   (Contest will end and a winner will be drawn Tuesday, June 14 at 11:59am EST!)

How to Enter

*Leave a separate comment for each entry*
*Leave your email address with each entry*

Follow My This N That Life with GFC

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Visit Closetmaid and tell me what OTHER product you'd like to try

Comment on any non-giveaway post and tell me where you commented!

I was given these products at no cost to me in order to facilitate a review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.