Thursday, January 28, 2010

All Preemies Are Not Created Equal

I've wanted to write this post for some time now... pretty much since this blog's inception about 18 months ago. I've held off until now because it's important to me not to alienate or offend anyone, particularly another preemie parent.

But here goes:

All preemies are not created equal.

I know no other way to say it. There seems to be this unity among preemie families that is an absolutely beautiful thing. I cannot begin to explain how much I enjoyed the community of spirit that I was a part of on this past Prematurity Awareness Day, November 17, 2009. I absolutely love to hear other preemie parents tell their stories and it warms my heart when I get emails from other moms and dads who are parenting precious children born too early.

But there is more to it than that. I have to be honest with you all...

It bothers me when every other parent of a preemie tries to equate his or her story with mine, especially those whose babies were born, well, somewhere in "the 30's"... 36 weekers, 34 weekers, even 32 weekers...

That sounds petty. Or like it's a competition. It is NOT.

But just consider this for a moment...

If your baby is born 7 weeks early, at 33 weeks gestation, she is most certainly a preemie. You likely view her situation as being very different from that of a full-term infant. And well you should. Realize this... your 33-weeker is closer, in fact, to an absolutely full-term 40-week newborn than she is to my barely 24-weeker. Your baby was 7 weeks early. Mine was born NINE weeks before that.

I started this blog because I don't think there's enough support out there for parents of MICROpreemies- those preemies born before 26 weeks. I remember searching for an online support system and all I could find were general "preemie forums". I'm glad those forums exist, but I think it's important to recognize the unique challenges that very, very premature babies face compared even to their later-gestation preemie peers.

I blog about a whole lot of things now and much of it has nothing specifically to do with a micropreemie. I don't intend to stop that. But I do promise to make sure to talk about "micropreemie stuff" at least once a week moving forward. If you happen to be the parent of micropreemie, please chime in and let me know! If you're not? Please read these posts if you get the chance. I'd love the opportunity to tell you more about these precious tiny inspirations...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mourning A Child

Last week, we learned that the younger brother of one of my son's best friends had passed away- he was two.

Quite literally, I sent out a birthday party invitation and a sympathy card to the family on two consecutive days.

It is staggering. Heartbreaking. Devastating.

People seem to keep asking this one question:

Was he sick before?

The answer is yes, but I can't help wondering... does that really make a difference? Is the grief less real or intense because the child has suffered all along? Should everyone have seen it coming even though this courageous child had triumphed over adversity for over two years? I don't know for sure. I am fortunate enough not to know...

But I DO know that so many expected C. to not make it. So many were, essentially, waiting for the news that she was gone. Given the statistical odds, so many anticipated the worst.

It could easily have gone the other way. We never forget how lucky we've been. I can bring back those feelings of helplessness, terror, and panic in a heartbeat.

Would it have been easier to lose C. than my son or other daughter simply because she was born under less than perfect circumstances?

I don't think so.

And, as we mourn this precious little boy who touched his family in so very many ways, I don't think it much matters that he didn't spend his short life in perfect health.

I think it matters that he lived. That he was beloved. That he made a difference in the world...

And he will be missed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Honey Vanilla Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a fantastic breakfast choice. Wholesome and inexpensive, it's a near-perfect option especially when paired with a protein. Plain ol' oatmeal hasn't caught on around my house though. What does get them running to my breakfast table?

Honey Vanilla Oatmeal


2 c water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 c old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 tablespoons honey*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Bring water and salt to a boil in small saucepan. Stir in oats and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Add honey and vanilla and stir until well-mixed. Serve immediately.

*White or brown sugar can be substituted for honey. This will make it a little less healthy, but still less "sugary" than packaged flavored oatmeal. Making it with sugar also makes it safe for older babies less than one year old (for whom honey is not considered safe).

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Power Of Sin

It was a typical Sunday evening...

We were all traipsing up our front steps, having just returned from Sunday supper at Bama and Papa's. I heard my 4-year old son's voice ring out behind me, clear as a bell, almost in song...

"Sin is powerful... we see the power of sin! Sin has power..."

I was appalled. My knee-jerk reaction was to turn around and declare, "No! Sin is NOT powerful. GOD is powerful. Sin is WEAK. POWERLESS. Sin is bad. Just bad."

And I did just about that. I said, "No, honey, sin is bad. It has no power." And I left it at that.

But as I prepared for bed, those words rolled through my head again...

Sin is powerful.

We see the power of sin!

Sin has power.

And you know what? He's absolutely right. We may not like to admit it, but sin has a lot of power. It can consume us. It is such an easy trap to fall into. We are ALL sinful and it is an alluring, dangerous path. The sheer ease and appeal of sin make it powerful. And as far as "we see the power of sin"? You bet. Every day. Who among us hasn't seen someone rise to power, achieve great fame, or attain great riches through sin? Through deceit or trickery of some kind?

Scary thought.

So today I'll expand on that conversation with my boy. It's important that I revisit the idea with him...

Because he's right. Sin has power.

Blessedly, our Lord has more power. And we are called to rest in that knowledge, to find shelter through our faith. To resist temptation.

Nonetheless, I realize that it is important to never forget....

We see the power of sin.

And so do our children.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Big Girl Bed

C. is a little bitty thing.

Sometimes I think it's just because she's always next to her gigantic, off-the-charts brother that I think she's small, but that's not it.

She's just small.

Not real tall. Very light. Slender-boned and fine-featured.

Because of this, there was no "size reason" to move her out of her crib. And, since I don't seem to have the sort of children who try to get out of their cribs (we'll see about G- she's the one most like her mama and I was a terror about that sort of thing...), we were able to keep C. happily in her crib until her third birthday. Honestly, the only reason we were really motivated to convert it to a toddler bed was the fact that I was expecting and had lifting restrictions!

She just turned four on Christmas Eve and she's getting a little long for the toddler bed. She's nowhere near too heavy for it, but she takes up most of the length.


It was time for a big girl bed. A twin-size. All her own.

She got to go shopping for it. Just her and Daddy. I stayed home with the other two so they could peruse peacefully.

In the end, she wound up with a pretty, girly sleigh bed.

Getting bigger and stronger?

Graduating to a brand-new big-girl bed?

Spending one-on-one time with Daddy?

Getting to get up early so the furniture guys could deliver it at 6:57 am?

All Finer Things in my little girl's world...

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday hosted by Amy.

Pucker Up... Even In January

I have to say...

For the most part, I really like winter. I have a high tolerance for cold and I like the "freshness" of it all. I'm much happier shivering than I am sweltering. Of course, I like Fall and Spring the best, but-really- is it just me or do those temperate seasons seem oh-so-much shorter than their more extreme counterparts? So, given the choice, I'd pick January over July.

One thing I don't find charming about these frigid months? My dry lips. I mentioned yesterday that I always wear lipstick. What I did not mention is what I use to keep my lips in tip-top shape so that they're not a flaky looking mess...

First of all, let me tell you a few of the OTHER things I've tried in my quest for a smoother kisser:

  • Medicated Blistex - I was convinced that "tingling" meant it was doing something amazing. Amazingly, what it did was create a near-addiction to the stuff!
  • Vaseline - It looks pretty and shiny but does not last worth beans. (I love the stuff though- I really, truly do!)
  • Aquaphor - Um... this stuff works. I've since learned, however, that it's not really considered "safe" to put on your lips. Now I stick to using it on my chapped winter hands...
  • "Exfoliating" my lips with a washcloth - Please tell me I'm not the only one who's tried this? It left my lips swollen and raw. Clearly, I was too aggressive in my pursuits...
  • Moisturizing lipstick "combo" deals - Mmm, yeah. If it sounds too good to be true and all that jazz... plus, who wants to keep layering on color all day long?
  • "Fancy brand" lip balms - I followed the advice and recommendations of many friends over the years and wound up with a whole lot of glorified Chapstick...
  • Lip products in tiny jars - I hate this delivery method... give me a STICK, people, that I don't have to stick my finger in. Is there anything nastier than the feeling of lip gloss stuck under your fingernail?

So here's the burning question...

What do I use???

The same thing I used 25 years ago.


Bonne Bell Lip Smackers.

I love this stuff. I can safely re-apply as needed with no warnings. I can choose from dozens of silly flavors. If I lose a tube, I'm not out a bunch of money. I can let my kids have a swipe or two without worrying about "medications" in there. I love it.

(All the Lip Smackers I have ever had have been purchased in stores. Bonne Bell has not provided me with any to review (though I am more than open to the proposition!) and I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form for this post. I just love the product and wanted to let you know. Thanks.)


This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday, hosted at The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two Things

I am a girly girl. It's true. I love everything about being a girl from polishing my nails to giving birth. (And, yes, I was that girl with the perfectly pedicured toes sticking out as I pushed my son into this world...)

Anyway, it should therefore come as no surprise that I was also the one to get super excited when I was allowed to wear "real" jewelry, make-up, heels, and the like. I loved every minute of fussing over getting ready... choosing just the right outfit, matching my jewelry, curling my hair, doing my nails, etc, etc. I used to carve out huge chunks of time on Friday and Saturday evenings when I was in college to get ready to go out.

I have three kids now.

My world (and focus) has changed.

This doesn't change who I am at heart. So what's a girly girl to do?

Find two things.

That's my advice to you- find TWO things that make you feel polished. For me, I make sure I do two things before heading out the door, even if it's only to my kids' bus stop. I put on earrings and lipstick. That's it. With those two things in place, I feel feminine and put-together. I still like to fuss when I get the chance, but earrings and lipstick will get me through!

Your two things may be totally different- lots of women would place mascara way above lipstick, but I have naturally long, dark lashes but my lips are pretty pale (plus, my husband likes lipstick and that counts for something!)... It could be "a ponytail and a strand of pearls". Whatever. Just find your two things that make you feel polished and put-together.

People will be impressed. Trust me.

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday, hosted at We Are THAT Family.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Having An Epiphany

I heard a little voice behind me.

"Mama, I just had an epiphany."

I turned. There stood my almost-5-year old son, holding onto the art project he'd been working on.

"What was that, A? What'd you say?" I asked, certain I'd misunderstood.

"I had an epiphany- I think I could do the random spots at the same time as the legs and that would be faster for me."

Yep, I'd heard right. He'd said "epiphany". More than that, he clearly knew what it meant. It made my mama heart proud.

Perhaps even more significant? The fact that I know he learned that word when he recently asked me, on January 6th, what "Epiphany" meant and we talked about both the religious significance and the meaning of the word in everyday language.

They listen. Oh, do they listen. May we all remember that as we go through our days!
This post is linked to Finer Things Friday, hosted by Amy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

G's New High Chair

I LOVE this high chair.

Our little baby G. doesn't have a ton of "new" things. She's baby #3, after all, and that's just the way it goes. But when we moved halfway across the country and bought a house with a FAR smaller kitchen than my last, well, space became an issue it hadn't been before. Added to that, I have to be brutally honest and confess that I must not have been the most thorough "high chair scrubber" with my second child because, well, it's kind of scungy looking.

Enter the Fisher Price Space Saver high chair. This baby hooks right onto a regular chair (kind of like a booster seat), but it has all the features of a traditional high chair. I especially love that it has different reclining positions- this is great for when baby isn't quite up to "unassisted sitting" yet. And, well, my husband loves the 5-point harness. For a guy who loves to say "safety first" all the time, that's a very nice feature. ;)

What else do I love? Oh, yeah. The price tag. At under fifty bucks, it wasn't a gigantic investment. A gift card we received back when she was born took care of it. (Thanks, Mr. and Mrs K.!) I had originally pondered getting a wooden high chair because they tend to take up less space. Even used, I couldn't find one for fifty dollars. This high chair worked for us both space-wise and economically.

Finally, I must admit that I enjoy that G. has something brand new and all hers. I love hand-me-downs. I do. I enjoyed them when I was growing up too (I'm also the third child), but I definitely liked having things that were "just mine". There's something nice about a brand, spankin' new, unstained, unripped, more "modern" seat for my sweet baby girl...

How about you? Did you purchase anything special and new for your second, third, or beyond child? (Other than diapers or opposite gender clothes, that it ;)). Tell me about it!

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday, hosted at The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nursing Through The Cold?

It's a backwards edition of Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family today... a great chance to ask a question and seek some wisdom!

So here's something that's been giving me issues lately...

Like many of you (I imagine), we keep our heat on rather low through the winter. Our house is not new and it would cost a fortune to keep it at, say, 70 degrees with electric heat. We DO have a fireplace on our lower level but, with two 4-year olds and a six-month old, it's not something I want to mess with right now.


My first child was formula-fed and I exclusively pumped for my second. This third baby of mine is the first to be exclusively breastfed.

And that's great.

Except I'm cold. Really cold. I can't seem to keep my mid-section warm when I nurse her. And that's my question for you all...

How do you stay warm while nursing a baby through the cold months?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Former Mircropreemie's 4-Year Old Well-Child Visit

It's been busy around here, just like at your house. The holidays will do that to you, won't they? Having a child with a Christmas Eve birthday just adds a few more things to my to-do list. And it's not just the "party-planning" (both family AND friend this year!) that adds some work. It's also all the "yearly appointment" jazz that goes along with her being another year older...

C. turned four on Christmas Eve and a week ago I took her in to see the pediatrician for her well-child check-up.

She opted to have her baby sister, G, go first. No problem. G. is doing fantastically and growing like a weed.

Like all well-child appointments, it started with a height and weight check. More than my other two children's combined, C's weight has been a source of stress for us. Not as much now, of course, but for so many days and weeks I can remember poring over her charts and cringing to see if she had gained or lost a few grams. It seemed like the fate of the world was resting on those numbers...

Anyway, at just over four years, C. measures 38" tall and weighs in at 31 pounds, fully dressed. That places her in the 25th and 5th percentiles respectively. That's great news! While I believe that C. is probably genetically predisposed to be on the taller side (we're all WELL above the 25th %...), there's absolutely nothing wrong with those stats-- they're healthy. That's what matters. She will likely always be a small-boned, petite girl and that's just fine.

She was her usual charming, engaging little self, eager to smile and make eye-contact. Developmentally, she's doing rather well. She still receives therapies through her school, but she has no delays that "hold her back". She's able to fully participate in any and all activities. Praise God, yet again!

Finally, it was time to talk shots. In our state, children can get their kindergarten inoculations any time between the ages of 4 and 6. This pediatrician recommended that we split them up and do two shots this time. Okie dokey.

Have I ever told you about my kids and shots? If not, allow me to brag for just a moment. While it seems like dozens of parents have horror stories to tell me about how they had to "pin their kid down" or "they had to bring in three extra nurses" or "she bit the nurse" or "he spit at me" and on and on, my kids are the rock stars of receiving shots. My 4-year old son A. doesn't flinch and says "thank you" when it's done. My daughter C. stares down the nurse and doesn't cry until the end. Used to be she didn't even cry. At six months old, she weighed a whopping eight pounds and just GLARED at the nurse without a tear in her eye. They make me proud.

Anyway, two shots, a couple Tweetie bandaids, and a Sleeping Beauty sticker later, we were out the door.

Another successful year down.

The New Years just keep getting happier.