Sunday, April 3, 2016

How do you go on?

Since I have gotten the ability back to get this blog going again; I come back to the question "How do you go on" Just continue to pick up the pieces of life and keep going. Over everything that has happened, I don't know how to do it, I just wing it. Or how do you even explain everything that has happened. Well you have to start somewhere...

As I sit here in this bed alone and reflect on everything that has happened lately; I am so much stronger then I thought. My mother always taught me "God doesn't give you more then you can handle". I didn't realize how hard it is to verbalize the words in my mind right now.

What I can say is that as my family goes on, we have had a birth, a death, and a separation of a family. We have survived many "1st" since then; but the big 1 year that started all of these is fast approaching.

My heart is racing as well as my mind. Maybe I'm not as strong as I thought I was, or maybe I'm stronger then I really thought....

Monday, March 14, 2016

So Long Ago

Hopefully this blog will finally be back in business. WOW, I just looked at the last post and Wow, over a year ago. Back in March of 2014. So much has changed. While so much is very significant in life, It will take time to get it all out. We have had births, deaths, separations. While no details now in this particular post. Please keep on the look out for what has been going on.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cloth for All Campaign

Eleven years ago on June 9th, my life was changed for the better. My gorgeous, amazing and precocious daughter Rebecca was born. She has always been my inspiration, brings out the best in who I am, and without her insightful question “The Rebecca Foundation’s Cloth Diaper Closet” would have never been.

In celebration of Rebecca we are officially launching our Cloth for All campaign (#cloth4all) designed to break the stigma surrounding cloth diapers. Its purpose is to help teach the world one family at a time that today’s cloth diapers are simple, safe, and environmentally responsible not to mention “OH! So cute!”. We truly believe that regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economical background or geographical location, anyone can cloth diaper.

We put the our team to work behind the scenes reaching out to some amazing companies that we wanted to do a HUGE giveaway celebration for the launch of our campaign and our brand new website. The immediate and overwhelming response from sponsors and bloggers was more than we expected. These amazing companies believed in what we are doing and were 100% on board for celebrating this event by providing some incredible gifts that we will happily pass along to you.


For this giveaway we will have 1 grand prize winner with a total estimated retail value of $1000.00. Be sure to follow this blog and The Rebecca Foundation’s Cloth Diaper Closet Facebook page for updates.

<3 Amanda La Bell
 Founder and Executive Director of The Rebecca Foundation's Cloth Diaper Closet

Disclaimer:  This giveaway is open to the US and Canada only and to readers 18 or older please.  The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.  The participating bloggers and TRFCDC are not responsible for prize fulfillment.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5 Reasons Why I Choose to Cloth Diaper

When Hubs and I decided we wanted to make our family complete with one last child; I started researching money saving ideas for our new bundle of joy. I stumbled upon cloth diapers, I knew very little, but I was very interested. Once I read more and more; I was hooked on doing this for our child. I wish I would have cloth diapered Toddler A. Now, how was I was supposed to approach Hubs about this, HAHA, I just dove in and said "Hey, what do you think about cloth diapers?" I showed him some pictures and articles and he said "OK" OMG, Really it was that easy, I thought it was going to be hard to convince him, but it was way to easy.

When when we found out I was pregnant, and people said well start buying diapers now, and start stocking up, we said "No, thank you, We will be clothing diapering Baby M" Oh you should have seen the looks, and the comments. I remember when my niece came to visit, and we both changed our babes, and she said "I cannot believe you do that, its so gross" I said no its not, Baby M rarely gets a rash, and only leaks if i forget to change him ontime (Yes, sometimes it happens) I said how can you resist these cute prints. I wish I could have converted her, but she was dead set on them being gross, thats ok, but what do you think was on your mothers butt as a baby or me for that matter my dear, Yup, Grandma cloth diapered. Or what about 100 years ago...Yup cloth diapers...Now granted cloth diapering has changed from 100 years ago, when there was prefolds and little plastic pants, Oh how we have evolved :)

The #1 reason why I cloth diaper is the money savings aspect of it. Think about it really, It can cost over $1200 to disposable diaper your baby in just the 1st year alone. Now some kids are not fully potty trained until at least 3 years old, and possibly 4 years old. Do you know what I could do with $1200, yup, pay bills, or put it away for a rainy day...Nah, Id pay bills. So instead of wasting $7.00+ for a pack of diapers that may or may not last me a week, I choose not to, and use these adorable print cloth diapers that serve there purpose as a glorified poop catcher. 

The #2 reason why I choose to cloth diaper is less diaper rashes. Most cloth newbies don't realize that microfiber should not go against your babes skin, and that is where 90% of rashes come from In my opinion. Other times it could be the type of detergent you are using, or possibly not using enough detergent to wash them, so they aren't getting as clean as they should be. There are over a million reason why babies get rashes, but one thing I do know is Baby M rarely gets them. 

The #3 reason why I choose to cloth diaper is less waste. Yes, I am going green a lot lately. With having 5 kids, I do my best to be wise with all my choices, and I hate waste and trash. Do you know how long it takes for just ONE disposable diaper to decompose???? No one knows the exact answer, but it takes an estimated 250-500 years for just ONE disposable diaper to decompose!!!! That is insane, to think that all those diapers used on my 4 previous kids have not fully decomposed...EWWWWW

The #4 reason why I choose to cloth diapers is the fun adorable prints!!! Oh my, if you think it, its can be a print. From superhero prints to character prints to flowers or animals, the sky is the limits with cloth diapers, If you can dream it, it can be a cloth diaper print. Baby M's theme is Camo, you better believe we have one Its Kawaii Camo print. Hubs loves Superman, Yes, we have one of those too, it is a JC Trade. 

The #5 reason why I choose to cloth diaper is how versatile they are...Disposables are made one way, one fit, one cut style. But wait, Not every baby is the same size. With cloth diapers, sometimes you will try several types and not all fit each baby the same. There are AIO's (all in ones) which is like a disposable, but not. There are fitted diapers, Pocket diapers, AI2's, Hybrids, Covers and prefolds. You will find what works for you and your baby the best. My stash consists, of pockets mostly. Some fitteds, I have 1 AIO, and some prefolds and covers. I used to hate pockets, but I have grown to love them. In the beginning we used prefolds and covers. I generally trifolded the prefold, now if i use them, i doeither a jelly roll fold or the angel wing i think its called. 

There are 5 reasons why I cloth diaper Baby M. I have tons more reasons, but those are my top 5 reasons. 

Here is Toddler A and Baby M. He is sporting a Thirsties Duo Diaper in this picture. Its not the one I want to show off, but Facebook is driving me crazy looking for the exact picture I want to show.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Explanation for lack of posting....And upcoming posts....

Here is my other reason besides being tired for not blogging a lot and yes, that is changing, but here it is...

Yes, that is my entertainment center. Excuse the mess. But do you see how the laptop and TV have the exact same screen on them??? Yes, our laptop is hooked up to the TV, and that's how we watch movies or TV shows. We do not pay for cable. We have access to Hulu Plus and sometimes streaming from other site. So its a huge pain in the rear to disconnect everything and pull it down along with the cooling pad. Then when I'm done blogging i have to put it back up there and reconnect everything, plus restarting the laptop, or else the laptop screen will not display on the TV. Yup big pain in the butt....But right now its not in the cards to get another computer right now. 

Now of course the kids don't really play a major part of why i don't blog all the time. But Yes, it is much easier to blog after they go to bed. The house is quiet and I play Pandora on my phone, while I sit on the couch and blog. Its kinda of soothing.

I have a few upcoming blog posts. One of them being my monthly volunteer hours for The Rebecca Foundation. Which will be titled "Why I choose to Cloth Diaper", another post is going to re-visit Family Routines, I know ours has changed since the last time I wrote about ours. And I would like to do a post focusing on our family, being hubs and the kids. Maybe even a "How we met post" Haven't quite decided just yet, how i will work that one. And I am still working on the 2nd Chapter of Mr Max's life :) 

Ok, its late, and I got 2 blog posts in tonight, time to relax and watch a movie and wait for Hubs to come home from work, and I have work in the morning 

Made from Scratch

I don't cook from scratch very often, with 5 kids to feed it tends to get hard to cook daily from scratch. But this past weekend was my weekend off from work, i got a wild hair up my booty and decided to make lunch from scratch while the kids were at church. 

On the menu this past Sunday for Lunch was Homemade Tortillas and re-fried beans, Bean burritos!!!!

I found a great recipe for homemade tortillas from this great website

And re-fried beans are easy to make whether you do it from canned pinto beans or dry beans. Except dry beans takes longer then canned beans. But since i started this on a wimp i used canned beans. And just added 4 cans of pinto beans to a big pot on high to start, i used all the liquid in the cans except one, and next time, I'm only doing liquid from 2 cans. It did take awhile for the liquid to cook out. Add your favorite seasonings and let them get to a good boil them cover and set on simmer, and every so often mash them babies up. Use whatever you have, a fork spatula. A potato masher works the best, but since I don't have one, I used a cup, it worked just the same and better then a spatula which is what i normally use. 

They loved it, but my husband did not, because his job was to roll out the tortilla dough and make the tortillas. i cooked them up and did the beans, then made the burritos for the kids. They were a big hit. They loved them. My tortillas looked nothing like the picture, but they were yummy. Lunch was a great success!!! Now onto dinner.

Dinner was just as good. i decided to make pancakes from scratch, and I wish i would have checked my flour situation after making the tortillas from lunch because i probably never would have made homemade pancakes because i had to make them stretch and my kids can eat a lot!!!! But they were full and that's all that matters, and I was shocked they were full. 

Here is the website i used for the pancakes. It is an egg-less recipe. But not because i don't like eggs, we definitely love eggs around here; But i used all the eggs making homemade egg salad earlier in the week. 

It was a big hit. I will definitely use this recipe again. Just making sure i have plenty of flour on hand because my kids love pancakes. 

Cooking for my family takes skill. There are 7 mouths to feed. Regardless of if the hubs is at work, he likes to come home after a long day at work and open the microwave to find a plate made up for him of whatever we had that night for dinner. We really have to make our dollar stretch. Making sure I provide healthy by filling meals. And sometimes its easy to make a huge pot of rice, throw in some canned meat, and some veggies and serve it up, its quick and easy. they are still getting the protein they need, but they are also getting a hearty filling meal and believe it or not, they love it, and even more when i throw some brown gravy on it too. Those nights are lazy nights when i don't feel like standing in the kitchen for at least an hour cooking, and its actually easier then spaghetti, which is another quick go to meal in this house. 

I have nothing against homemade from scratch cooking, but it does not fit well with my family. Honestly crock-pot cooking is the easiest with my family. I can make up all my meals on shopping day, and then freeze them. Put them out the night before and toss it in the crock-pot and let it cook all day while im at work or out running errands and when the kids are all home from school, dinner is done, minus and side items or possibly pasta to go along with dinner.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Welcome Baby Max

About 6-7 weeks after the lose of our Angel baby; We were surprised to know we were pregnant again. We were thrilled and ecstatic but somewhat reserved as we had just experienced a lose. We were very cautious in announcing the baby as we were still mourning the lose of Angel.

At our first appointment the first thing to do was make sure this was a new pregnancy or not. So my fave Midwife brought in the portable ultrasound machine, turned that sucker on and we saw our little bean. She measured our little gummy bear and It was a new pregnancy. If I had possibly been pregnant with twins and lost one and kept the other the ultrasound would show in the baby's measurements, but this little bean measured right on track for 9 weeks along. So definitely a new pregnancy. We were given a due date of 12/16/2012. Oh lord, now we will have 4 birthdays in December.

My pregnancy went very smoothly. I didn't have any serious issues. They did some genetic testing that I did not have with Toddler A. I found out I am a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. I was shocked. I did speak with my sister about this, and she told me in her last pregnancy with her little Baby Z, that she found out she was a carrier as well. So in trying to put together which parent we got the mutation from we determined it was our dad. How easy was this figure this out...We are actually half sisters, we share the same dad, different mom...Thankfully after my husband was tested, he tested negative. So testing stopped there, because the chances of Baby M being born with Cystic Fibrosis, with only 1 parent carrier is slim and rare.

One of my biggest concerns in this pregnancy was that I did not a repeat c-section. Unfortunately Toddler A was a c-section 4 years prior. Our hospital did not support nor allow VBAC which is Vaginal birth after cesarean. So we were on the hunt for a hospital that would allow me to attempt this. We found that Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, would allow me to do just that.So next we were on the hunt for a Dr in Melbourne that would take me as a patient, as time was running out. I chose Hibiscus OB/GYN, Dr Wagaman. Oh how I love this woman, She was awesome, We were so happy we switched to her.

Oh yes that's me 40 weeks ready to go. We did have a false alarm on 12/12/12. Little man was just practicing for the big day. Our last appt was on 12/17/2012, We were basically told that if he doesn't arrive by 12/23/12 to be at the hospital at 6am on 12/24/12 for induction. We had tried everything to get him out. Long walks, heck i was even walking to Walgreen's or even the electric company to get this kid out, but he was just so comfy. We tried sex, NOTHING, He was comfy and was not budging for nothing!!! We even tried the dreaded Castor Oil with zero results. 

On Friday 12/21/12 was my last day of work. Hubby was also ill and i was catching his sickie germs, not good when i was about to have a baby. I went to Walmart later that night and got the last of the chicken in the deli and  I was craving jalapeno poppers, So you better believe I grabbed them too, and went home. At the time the only kids we had in the house was Twin N, Older T was at a friends house, Twin E was also at a friends house, and Toddler A was at his dads house. I ate my glorious food and went to bed...Her comes the middle of the night with the nasty braxton hick contractions, that were just frustrating me. I did get some sleep and woke up in the morning on 12/22/12 in tremendous pain. I started timing contractions, and sure enough those bad boys were coming regular. I continued to time them, and it was getting a bit intense. Now I have to tell you that this was supposed to be the day we took Older T and Twin N and E to their Bio Moms house, Hubs looked at me and said what do we do, I said well we could get into the van and see how far we get, he said yea, we would get as far as Melbourne. 

Hubs Brother B showed up and said Uh...She doesn't look so Hot, Oh thanks I appreciate that Dude....Then our neighbor J showed up, and he said oh let me grab the phone, you need to call the dr, shes in full blown labor. Brother B rounded up the kids, and took them until things got figured out. Hubs talked to the midwife, and she said lets go, get her up there. And thank god it was our favorite midwife on call. So we called hubs Mom, and said "Its Go Time" and wouldnt you know since it was sooo close to Christmas; Traffic was torture, but she made it to get us. She helped me with my breathing on the way, and ended up putting the hazard lights on and put the pedal to metal and said if we get pulled over, you make it look like that baby is gonna come out in the car, HAHA. 

We did make it to the hospital in plenty of time, thankfully; No Baby M was not born in the car. I was checked in about 1pm-ish. My water still had not broken. But i got hooked up to the glorious monitors, and time to wait. Everyone know what happens in labor....They broke my water around 7-8 centimeters. 

Well I went from 8-10 centimeters in 12 minutes, HOLY Crap are you serious. Your telling me i did it!!! And wait I did not have an epidural or anything, just a shot a stadol to ease the pain, but I still felt EVERYTHING!!! Unlike my Epi with Toddler A. So now I have to push. Lets go, lets push this baby out. I had my Mother in law on my left and Hubs on my right! I can do this. After 2.5 hours of pushing Baby M was born. 

Baby M= Maximillion Lee-Wayne Frazier was born on 12/22/12 @ 10:29pm. He was 8.4lbs and 20.5 inches long. 

Unfortunately when they broke my water, they noticed meconium in my water, which meant Baby M had a bowel movement. So there was a possibility that Baby M had swallowed some, but since there was no distress on the monitors at the time, there was no rush to get him out. Well when Baby M was born he was not breathing well at all. We were all very nervous, It felt like a lifetime for him to cry, I was so scared something was really wrong. Finally he cried, but it was weak. It was found that Baby M did swallow meconium. They gave me the horrible news that he was being taken to the NICU, my whole world had coming crashing down. My baby was leaving me. How could this be, my pregnancy was perfect compared to Toddler A. How could this be, what did i do to deserve this. 

And what was even worse was that since i had developed a fever in labor, that broke immediately after birth, I was not allowed to hold Baby M till i was fever free for 24hrs. The next day they told me I could see him after 3pm, You better believe I was counting down to that moment, and The nurse came in at promptly 3pm and checked my temp and said with a smile "Are you ready to go see Baby M" Oh My God yes, Lady, lets go as I am dragging her out of the room

Baby M, my angel

Mommy and Baby M

Hubs and Baby M

That day that we got to finally hold Baby M, is when we found out exactly what was going with him. He was born with a collapsed lung, better know a pneumothorax. And hopefully it would correct itself with the next day. The lung corrected itself within 2 days. But then poor Baby M contracted Congenital Pneumonia and had to be treated with antibiotics. 

On Christmas day They asked for permission to perform a Spinal Tap to check for meningitis. Which we agreed to. Regardless he had to be treated with a 10 day antibiotic, but they were going to give gim credit for the days he was already on the antibiotic. So as long as the 72 hr results for the spinal tap  were negative for meningitis Baby M would come home in a week. Again i thought what did I do wrong to deserve this. My baby was so sick. The worst part of all was that it was Christmas Day and my baby was not coming home. I was being discharged, but my baby had to stay. I would never wish that on my worst enemy. The feeling to leave the hospital without your baby is heartbreaking. The hospital did let us stay one more day; we left the next day. 

We did visit him only once, because we were on one income at the time, and were not able to afford to drive the 45 minutes to the hospital. We called the NICU 2x a day, because they had 2 nurse shifts, So we got a report on his progress from his day and night nurse. And thankfully everyday Baby M was on track to be discharge on 1/2/2013. Oh the day came, I was so happy to wake up and re-leave my swollen full boobs of yummy delicious milk for Baby M that i was pumping and I had been stock piling in the freezer. I called the hospital as soon as Toddler A woke up. They said Yes, he still being discharged, but the doctor was not there yet. We couldn't wait, we left at 10:30 am for the hospital, I wanted my baby!!!!

Baby M getting dressed in his coming home outfit, bought by my mother in law...Almost there, he was fully fed, which is the golden ticket to breaking out of that joint!!! Just waiting on papers to sign. 

Here we go, already to close this chapter of Baby M's life, and start writing the next chapter in the Book of Life. We left the hospital and got Baby M and Toddler A in the van and headed up to Sanford to get Older T, and Twin N and E from their Bio Moms from Christmas vacation. 

Now if you made it to the end, I commend you :) In the next week or 2, I will write a post looking back on Baby M's 1st year of life, and then another post regarding Baby M's current health issues.