Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finding Joy in Insomnia

I have insomnia. I'm not talking about the occasional restless night of sleep either. I'm talking, only getting 30 minutes to 2 hours of sleep at the most for many many nights. And I'm not going to lie here, it's hard. It's one of the hardest things I've ever been through.

I've always struggled with sleeping well. But it's never been this bad. During both of my pregnancies I took Unisom at night to help me sleep up until the 3rd trimester. Then, I slept like a baby! That is until week 38 when I had to use the bathroom every time I moved in the bed. :) After Jefferson was born I had a hard time falling asleep between feedings. I honestly wouldn't fall back to sleep after I fed him in the middle of the night. I figured it was hormones. But then after I quit nursing him at 7 months it didn't get better. I figured I needed more exercise. So I continued half-marathon training. I was running over 20 miles a week, still not much sleep. I finally broke down and told the doctor. She told me to try a few herbal remedies. I went all gun hoe into the herbal remedies, and I agreed to quit getting out of bed to clean the house when I couldn't sleep. Well, those herbal remedies did nothing to help me. So I went on a medication called Clonozapam. It did okay, but after talking to my sister-in-law and pharmacist I asked to be put on a low dose of Ambien (but it woke me up at 3 AM every night). After a few nights I gave up and eventually I was fine. I quit taking the medicine and things were starting to go back to normal.

After I appeared to get better I thought I was fine. I'd have a few difficult nights here and there, but overall I was okay. Until a few weeks ago when I just quit sleeping. I mean, I wasn't sleeping! I would just lay there, waiting, breathing deeply, focusing on my soft pillow etc. I took all the herbal supplements my doctor told me to again. Nothing helped. I finally went back to the doctor seeing that I was averaging maybe 10 or 12 hours of sleep in a week. She told me she'd put me on Ambien CR and it should last all night. She also referred me to a sleep specialist (that appointment is Wednesday). The Ambien worked pretty good. But it made me really confused. I was forgetting everything that happened from the day before. And I had a killer headache. So I tried sleeping without it. No sleep again. I took it again. That's when I started to hallucinate one night. I won't go into those details. Let's just say your husband isn't supposed to have 4 eyes and there are no dancing monkeys in my bedroom. After I recovered from that night, my husband said no more Ambien.

So, for 2 nights I lived without any medication at all. I don't want to be on medication, I just want to survive until I could get in to the sleep doctor. Well, after 2.5 hours of sleep in 2 nights and tons of internet research, more supplements, a new fan for our bedroom, and new pillows I thought for SURE I'd sleep last night. No such luck. I finally broke down and took the medicine the pharmacist wasn't too thrilled about. It's very addicting, but I had to do something. I then got 5 hours of sleep last night. Wow, it was amazing. It was so amazing.

I must say, I really feel that the Lord is allowing this for a reason. At first, I wasn't very pleased with the Lord. At church, we sing this song that says, "God makes all things work together for our good." Last week, after singing that song, our Pastor stood up and said, that that isn't just a song, it's God's word. So all week, all I could do was think about how God works all things together for our good. Then in my devotions this week I was reading about Joseph and how he told his brothers that he forgave them for throwing him in a pit and then selling him as a slave all because God wanted to use him for good. He used slavery? Jail? All for good? When Joseph had done nothing! We have an amazing God.

Then later last night, I was reading Psalm 23. It's amazing. I've memorized this passage. How comforting! I'm not in the valley of the shadow of death, but I shouldn't fear, God is with me.

When I think about all the things that I could be going through, I'm really selfish to complain and think I'm all alone. God works all things together for our good. I may not see it now, and I may be exhausted pretty much all the time. I may not be able to do everything that I want to do with my children because I'm so tired, but I'm not alone. God is with me, he has a plan. I don't know what it is, but HE has a plan. For now, I'm going to keep trying to sleep, but until that happens again, I'm going to continue to count the many blessings that the Lord has given me.

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rainy Day Learning and Fun

It's raining. It's raining a lot today actually! And it's pretty much going to keep raining. That's okay though. We NEED the rain :). And this just means the mountains will have a lot of snow! Which basically makes the rain beautiful.

As most of you know I've been looking for some good craft ideas that are AFFORDABLE for when we can't play outside. I try to make the time I have with Jewell while Jeffers is napping a fun time for her. Yesterday, I had to run to Target. I always check out the dollar section because they seem to have some little craft things we can do for just a dollar. I was excited to find the rubber stickers for windows for a dollar (I didn't want to have to run to the dollar store). Jewell loves stickers, but still has issues with touching certain textures. So I thought we could decorate the windows together and work on texture issues at the same time. I have all sorts of little exercises and practice things I have to do with her each week and I try to make it fun as much as possible. Jewell just LOVES the stickers. She named each object (including the robots). She took it very seriously too. Surprisingly, the texture didn't bother her. Success!

I also found a few growing kits in the dollar section. There was a strawberry kit and a small flower one. I was excited about this because we've been talking about seeds on our walk. Jewell is fascinated with the little helicopters on the ground outside. The little kit comes with a small thing of dried dirt, a small flower pot, and seeds. You put the dirt in some water and you watch it grow while the dirt absorbs the water. Jewell loved this! She kept saying absorb and grow! She then helped me put the seeds on top (while counting them herself). I was impressed. I tried taking pictures, but it was sort of messy and I was focused more on helping Jewell understand what was happening. The plants are now waiting for the sun to come out to help them grow. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Sunday morning we awakened to our first little snowfall this year. It didn't really stick much, but at least we got to see SOME snow. Jewell just loved it. She kept saying, "SNOWMAN, SNOWMAN, SNOW BALLS!" She was so cute. This is the first time she's actually been interested in the snow and not afraid of it. I think reading books about snow has really gotten her interested in it. We are sad it didn't stick, but happy to see it on the mountains that surround us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Liquid Laundry Detergent

What a busy day! As usual, our Saturday was full of things to do and not quite enough time to get it all done. One of the big things on the list today was attempting to make Liquid Laundry Soap. After much searching on Pinterest (love), I decided to go with the Duggar Recipe. I looked at a TON of blogs to figure out which recipe seemed to work best. Finally, I chose the Duggar recipe because well, they have 20 kids...I figure they've done all the experimenting necessary! And I wanted to try liquid because I want to make the dry kind more cloth diaper safe. That way I don't get them mixed up (by the way, the dry kind works great!). And of course, the liquid is soooo much cheaper than the dry kind (note...remember that dream home of mine....closer my friends, each penny saved means I'm closer).

The recipe was pretty easy. But I wanted to make sure I was still able to do it with kids awake. I try to do things like this during nap time, but every time I do something someone wakes up! I'm glad I waited to do this when Matt was home because low and behold, little curiosity was alive and awake!

The recipe called for the ingredients as the dry soap. It's simply borax, washing soda, and a bar of Fels-naptha soap.

First, you grate an entire bar of soap. I used a cheese grater.

Next, you mix 1 cup of washing soda with 1/2 cup borax together in a separate bowl.

You then mix 4 cups of hot water with all of the grated soap. You cook it over medium high heat until the yellow soap is dissolved. This took me about 7 minutes.

You then fill half of the 5 gallon bucket with hot water. As you can see, Mr. Curiosity was very interested in this.

No worries here my friends, I didn't let him endanger himself!

After you fill the bucket half way with water, you pour the hot soap into it.

As well as the powdered mixture.

You then stir with Mr. Curiosity's help of course to make sure it's mixed together very well.

Once you've finished stirring, you need to finish filling the bucket with water. I then stirred it again.

After it's mixed together nicely you're supposed to cover it and let it sit overnight. It's apparently supposed to be sort of gelled in the morning. You stir it again, then fill half of a laundry soap container with the soap, and then fill the other half with water. The Duggar recipe said to shake it up before each use because it does gel. I don't have a high efficiency machine so it will only make about 180 loads for me. But seeing as that it only cost me about $1.50 and makes 10 gallons of soap (again dream home...) I'm happy! Each load calls for 5/8 cup of soap for top loading machine.

By the way, this soap is low sudsing, so it's okay to use in high efficiency machines.

I also made dish soap today, but I'll save that for another day, when I'm not so exhausted!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

My main goal for 2012 is to save money. I want to build our emergency fund to a much higher level, and I want to save for a GOOD down payment on a house. So I've been looking at my spending even more than I did before (which may I just say...I am already very frugal). It's bothered me since I moved out here that we don't have a CVS. And to make matters worse, we don't have Publix or really any stores that do BOGO with coupons! I've increased my grocery budget and household cleaning budget drastically.

So this week I decided it was time to cut some things out. The first thing I'm going to try and make less expensive is household cleaning items. I decided to start with laundry detergent. I'm about out and I really didn't want to go hand over 15 bucks to Costco again, only to soon run out of detergent and have to give them another 15 bucks. Then I saw a friend had recently made her own, and I was completely inspired to do this!

I spent all morning looking up homemade detergents on Pinterest. Oh how I love that site! I decided to go for a powdered mix since I really didn't have time to do all that boiling and stirring. Wow was it easy! And it was so affordable! All you do is mix 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of washing soda, and 1 cup of grated soap. The hardest part was grating the soap! Then I stirred for about 5 minutes, and then put it in my container. I only made that exact batch (which you will see is pretty small) because I wanted to make sure my clothes did okay with the powdered formula.

The Cost
Borax: $3.89
Washing Soda: $2.89
Soap: $1.06

From my research, this soap costs about 3 cents a load. Um, that's pretty good savings! Seeing that I do an average of 7 loads a week! That's 21 cents a week people! So 21 cents times 52 weeks equals $10.92 a year! Wow, I'll be thinking about that when I make that big down payment for the house of my dreams one day :).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Boys...Oh Boys...

It's amazing just how different boys and girls are at such a young age. I keep finding Jefferson in things or on top of things or even eating things that Jewell would NEVER consider doing or getting into. In fact, he's teaching her how to get into things now! She copies the silly boy! Here is a list of things I've noticed about my boy.

1. It doesn't matter how many baths you give him in 1 day...he will always manage to get himself dirty again.
2. If it's an object on the floor it is meant to be used somehow. Either for a chewing toy, climbing or something to help you walk.
3. When you take something away from him, it is the END OF HIS WORLD. Seriously.
4. He's VERY smart witted and tests the waters over and over again just to see if I've figured out his game.
5. The outdoors is the best present you could possibly give him (unless a box is involved, boxes trump all).
6. Climbing is just part of life. It's not something you learn, it's just natural.
7. When he is hungry, he's hungry! =)
8. Doors to the outdoors are meant to be opened, even if he's only 11 months old.
9. Boys are never bored. There is always something they can get into.
10. His favorite hobby is to "unchildproof" the house.

I can honestly say, this boy gives me a run for my money. I can't wait to see him protect his big sister one day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

She's a BIG KID now!

It's official! Jewell is now potty trained and we are down to being a 1 crib household! I can't believe it!!! I'm so proud of our girl Jewell :).

A few months ago my very good friend with 6 kids recommended that I read the book Toilet Training Without Tantrums by John Rosemond. I kept putting it off not wanting to potty train. I just kept hearing that you have to wait until they are "ready." Jewell already wanted to sit on the potty after she went potty so I decided I better read the book. Then one day she threw a tantrum about it so I called my friend. She told me to potty train that day! So I did.

I must say, I was a bit shocked when I read it. He said to potty train between 18 and 24 months because you want to train before the 2 year old battles begin. And, he didn't recommend using rewards like stickers and candy. Um, I'm a teacher Mr. Rosemond, I LIVE by doing that. Instead, he said the reward is going potty independently. But, since my friend had great success with his method I decided to do exactly what the book said (don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing any other method...I'm just explaining his method).

So I started his method. I took Jewell pants off and her diaper. She basically ran around naked for a couple of weeks. Day 1) Accidents all day, Day 2) Accidents again, Day 3) Jewell finally found the potty!, Day 4) Jewell refused to go in the potty all day, Day 5) Jewell only went in the potty!!!! Seriously, after day 5, she's only had 2 accidents and those were in the church nursery when she didn't know where the potty was. I am still shocked. His method definitely worked for our family :). And Jewell takes going potty very seriously! She does wear a pull up for night time only (not naps), but she wakes up dry if I make it to her room when she first wakes up.

Which brings us to the Big Girl Bed. It didn't take me long to figure out that it wasn't exactly fair to say no more diapers and keep Jewell trapped in her crib. We debated about what to do. We really didn't want to buy a mattress right now. So we were going to switch the cribs around since Jefferson's bed turns into a toddler bed without having to buy anything else. We tried taking down his crib one night and the kids cried the entire time. They were so upset! Finally, we gave up. So we decided to wait and think about it some more. Then a very sweet family in our church asked us if we needed a bed. We were like, YES! The Lord provided a free twin mattress and box spring! It's amazing how the Lord provides for us isn't it :). We are so grateful.

So this weekend we had 1 goal. It was to switch Jewell from a crib to a Big Girl Bed. And boy did she LOVE IT! She struggled at nap time at first because we hadn't taken down her crib yet, but we did that today and she's done great since then. She is so cute in her bed. She loves being able to get in it all by herself!

Here are some pictures of her in her new bed. We changed the room around when we set it up. Don't worry, I already have LOTS of plans for decorating the walls now :).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

11 Months

My baby boy is no longer a baby. He's pretty much a toddler that will be toddling around way too soon! I guess I'll enjoy watching him get bigger on me :).

Jefferson turned 11 months on the 1st of the year. I wish I could post a picture with his elephant, but he won't sit still! I will keep trying my best, but I can't make any promises. Boys just don't sit still unless they are in their highchair eating, or sitting in their car seat. Yikes!

Here are his current milestones...

  • Weight: 23.8 lbs (last I checked at least)
  • He no longer fits in his infant seat so he has graduated to the bigger car seat, rear-facing.
  • Food: Jeffers is starting to eat some table foods! Yahoo! He is also still eating 4 bottles. He likes the sippy cup, but it's not really making enough of a difference for fluids. The poor kid gets so excited about drinking from a cup that he smiles as soon as the liquid enters his mouth. This causes all the liquid to fall onto his chin :).
  • Reading: Well, he LOVES turning the pages!
  • Clapping: He thinks clapping is so much fun.
  • Planking: Seriously, he's the cutest baby planker you will ever meet! This is what he does on the bottom of chairs.
  • Crawling: Mr. Chubbers crawls everywhere, anywhere, and into everything!!!!!
  • Poison Control: Yes, he opened my childproofed mop cleaner and drank some and proceeded to pour it all over his pants. Boy am I glad for poison control. He was just fine by the way :). And the cleaners have been moved!
  • Sleeping: Jeffers now sleeps from 7:30 to 7:30 and takes 2 naps.
  • Hobbies: Laughing, giggling, and getting into everything, including removing all outlet covers.
  • Talking: So far we're only saying Mama and Dada..but I'm sure he'll take off soon!
  • Teeth: He has his bottom 2 teeth and is working on cutting the top 2.
We love our little Jeffers man. He's starting to play with Jewell so well. They truly are buddies! Jewell even calls him that, "Buddy." Love it. I'm so blessed to have my 2 babes so close together. I wouldn't change it for the world!

Look Mom! I found a box!!!

Mommy, I can push the shoe rack around all by myself!

I know Mom, I'm not supposed to take these out of the trash and eat them...but I did! I mean, who cares if they were stale!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

5 Year Anniversary Trip--Part 1

This year we celebrated our 5 year anniversary. Matt's Mom came out to watch this kids for several days so we could get away for a couple of days. We decided to stay at the George Washington Inn in Washington State. Matt's Dad actually built the Inn which is a replica of Mt. Vernon.

I really can't say enough about how much we enjoyed ourselves at the Inn. The Abbott's graciously put us up for 2 days. We were so spoiled. The breakfasts were amazing! The rooms were incredible too. The view of the water from our room was such a pleasure to enjoy in the mornings. And it was sooooo clean!

While we were at the Inn we visited Hurricane Ridge as our big adventure for the day. We actually couldn't go down the mountain for about 20 minutes because they had to close the road because someone got stuck. It was nice to see all of the snow!

Our room! It had a private entrance from the outside!

On our way to Hurricane Ridge!

This was my favorite part of the Inn. The tub is what I call a "smart tub." It cleans itself 20 minutes after you use it!

We were able to take some pictures.

This was the view from our porch right outside of our room.

This was the view from the front of the Inn.

I really can't thank the Abbott's enough for letting us stay at their Bed and Breakfast. It was so neat to see the finished product of Dad's work. But it was also a great time for us to just spend some much needed time together.