Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to school and pregnancy updates

I'm pretty sure everyone else's kids have already made it back to school, but today was our first day of school. My oldest is in 4th grade, my middle is in 1st. The first grade teacher is the one that my older daughter had, and we adore her. 

Yeah, I know Ava only has on one sock. She refuses to wear her right sock and will always immediately take it off. Weird, right? 

Yesterday we hit 35 weeks pregnant. I'm at 17 lbs gained and still all belly. We are still trying for a VBAC, which means that I have to go into labor naturally (they won't induce if you're trying for a VBAC since there is more chance for uterine rupture). So we picked up from evening primrose oil and raspberry leaf tea capsules. Neither will cause labor, it just strengthens and tones your uterus, which will hopefully help us with the VBAC. 

Our next appt is on (I think) September 5th. Alli is definitely the most active of all my babies and moves around constantly. The room switcheroo is taking FOREVER. Partly due to my pregnancy slowing me down, and partly because there is just no freaking room in this house to store anything. It's funny, a year or so ago, hubby and I said we'd be in this house for a few years, and now we're saying that in two years or so, it'll be time to look. We'd definitely look in our current neighborhood though, we love it here. 

So that's what's been going on in my world. What's new with you? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Heather's Story about the dangers of asbestos

Last week, a reader named Heather contacted me and asked if she could share her story. Now, being a mom myself, I can only imagine her fear with dealing with cancer while being a new mom. Heather hopes that by sharing her story, she can educate others on the dangers of asbestos, and possibly save others from suffering the same things she's been through. 

Hope for Mesothelioma Patients. 

I was diagnosed with cancer. Is there any other word in the English language, which can sear the soul with such fear and dread? Three and a half months before this frightening news I gave birth to a new baby. My life should have been filled with joy. 

Instead I’m told I have cancer; specifically, malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma cancer is expressly caused by asbestos exposure. Wasn’t asbestos banned years ago? How could you have been exposed to asbestos?

These are the questions I am commonly asked after explaining my condition to others. No, asbestos has not been banned. My contact with asbestos was through secondary exposure. My father worked in construction, primarily drywall taping, mudding and sanding. What seemed like ordinary white dust was actually microscopic asbestos fibers. He unwittingly brought millions of these fibers home through his jackets and work clothes, as well as leaving particles behind in his car. 

When I learned of my diagnosis at the age of 36, the Mayo clinic had known of only one other person who had contracted the disease at such a young age. Typically, older males who have worked in specific trades such as plumbing, heating, electrical, and work on military ships, are the usual candidates for mesothelioma. These men brought home their dirty laundry covered with asbestos for their wives to clean. The wives vigorously shook out the clothes before tossing them into washing machines. Thus began the second generation of Mesothelioma sufferers. 

I was the start of a disturbing trend. I am speaking of the children of those hard working fathers. Men weren’t the only people exposed. Little girls jumped into the arms of their fathers; arms covered with asbestos. Women worked in schools as either teachers or secretaries, in offices and classrooms laden with asbestos. Women became ill. Children going to these schools with asbestos tiles crumbling down around them were the next group to eventually become ill. They were victims even in their homes where attics were filled with asbestos containing materials. Millions of homes across the nation were contaminated with asbestos, unbeknownst to the families living in them. 

Think of all the children who couldn’t wait to hang out with their dads after he had worked all day installing pipes and installation. Picture them wearing daddy’s coat to feed the rabbits, so that they wouldn’t soil their own; coats contaminated with asbestos. These children are the next generation of mesothelioma patients. 

While becoming involved in the mesothelioma community, I have met many young patients. These are young men and women just starting their lives, in their late 20’s and early 30’s. They are starting careers, getting married and having babies. Upon diagnosis their lives have come to a screeching halt, and they are now focusing on fighting and beating the disease. The good news is; people of all ages are surviving due to the many advances in the treatment of mesothelioma.

Having cancer of course is devastating, but I persist in holding onto hope. Those of us in the mesothelioma community do the same as we come together to support one another and share our experiences. We cry together when the road is tough and we celebrate the victories. 

Nothing will change unless there is more awareness. I share my story to bring about awareness and to offer hope. If I can do this for even just one newly diagnosed person, or keep them from living in fear of mesothelioma, then I’ve done my job. I have a purpose in doing the right thing.

Thank you Heather for sharing your story! You can get in contact with Heather and keep up with her story here

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ava's 2nd Birthday Party

I still can't believe that my youngest is 2 years old. How did that happen? We celebrated her birthday party on the 11th. It's crazy. 

August 11th 2010, she was having her second surgery. 

August 11th, 2011, she was having her seventh surgery. 

August 11th, 2012, she was surrounded by family and friends who love her. 

I much prefer the 2012 version. :)

We kept it really simple. I made a cake, which was super easy. It was just a modified box cake recipe. I used this recipe for the batter, and this one for the frosting. And holy crap, it was so good! I was going to do the roses in an ombre pattern, but I was too heavy handed when I added the pink dye. Oops. 

Ava had four of her friends over, and we set up an ice cream bar. Sprinkles, whipped cream, cherries, chocolate syrup, caramel, vanilla ice cream. It was yummy and the kids got a kick out of it. Then it was cake time! I was really proud of Ava, she figured out how to blow out the candles. 

What party is complete without a balloon artist? Hubby figured out how to make balloon flowers, so he made those for the girls. 

Ava loved her presents. Most of her presents were a Minnie Mouse theme, so she was super excited. That girl loves Minnie. Here she is, trying out her new Minnie Mouse light up dress shoes. 

I made her birthday outfit. I bought the skirt pattern on etsy, and bought the pink shirt at Hobby Lobby. The "Two" on her shirt I designed on my Silhouette, the "o" is Minnie's head. 

Overall, it was a great day. Super low key, which is what you need when you're throwing a party when you're 32 weeks pregnant. I'm just so thankful to be her momma and wife to this man. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Lollipops!

Did you see that adorable button on my right side? Yup! Krystina from Lollipops is sponsoring LCW! At her shop, you can find the most adorable stationary and prints, I had a hard time picking my favorite! 

Krystina says "Everything from lollipops is handmade and is archival safe, meaning you can keep it for 80+ years without any fading, bleeding, or colors changing. Super fine inks and high res printing 4800 - 9600 dpi !!! This is professional level printing. Our paper is smooth fine art thick paper for that added touch of class."

Wanna know some of my favorites?

Holy cow, I adore this card! It's 5 inches square, and would be perfect for a husband, boyfriend or best friend! It's blank inside, which means you can write anything you want. I think I'd frame this inside a square frame, I think it's adorable.


I love this saying. This print comes in either mustard yellow or turquoise and a couple of different sizes. This would be perfect in all of those gallery walls that I see people put together. The turquoise would be perfect in my house. 

This is one of the coolest things I've seen. Ever been at a park or school function, you meet a mom that you'd love to hang out with or schedule a play date, and there is not a pen or paper to be found? These play date cards are the answer! You can choose from 50 different graphics and 14 different fonts, and Krystina will design your card and make sure it all coordinates. 

Krystina also welcomes custom orders, and all orders ship within 2 business days. Her testimonial page speaks volumes about her work, I know you won't be disappointed! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday, Ava Grace!

Somehow, my baby is turning 2 today. I'm not quite sure how that happened. I know we're 33 weeks pregnant right now, but it still feels like she's a baby. It's amazing how far she has come in two short years. Looking at her now, it seems so crazy that she was that baby in the NICU

Happy happy birthday, Ava Grace. Mommy loves you to the moon and back. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

If You Really Knew Me...

I saw this fun post over at Sometimes Sweet, and thought I would play along! Seemed like a good way to share a bit about myself in a fun way. 

If you really knew me....

You'd know that I think a cold Cherry Coke in a frosted mug, with a bunch of marischino cherries and a bendy straw is one of the best things ever. 

You'd know that I am constantly buying and shopping for big statement necklaces and super long dangly earrings, but then I never wear them. 

You'd know that I'm hopelessly addicted to sea salt and vinegar chips. Absolute favorite brand is Miss Vickie's, but Lays come in a close second. 

You'd know that my dream dog is a harlequin great dane. I will own one someday, probably when all the kids are out of the house. Until then, we're happy with our two small rescue dogs. 

You'd know that I'd do anything to help an animal. Saturday morning, I was woken up at 3am by what I thought was one of the kids crying. I get up, check on them, and nope, they're all asleep. Go back to bed, hear it again. Check on the girls again. After having a heart attack since I'm now imagining ghosts and crying baby demons, I open the back door, and see a black cat sitting there howling. I go outside, fed him a can of tuna, and sent him on his way and went back to bed. When I woke up at 7am, he was sitting on the front porch, and ran inside to hubby's office. I just left him in there, he wasn't bothering anything. When hubby woke up, we made a "Found Cat" note and taped it on the mailbox. Not 5 minutes later, a crying lady was knocking at my door, asking if we found a black cat. I invited her in, she saw the cat and hugged him. She said he got out the night before and she's been terrified that he'd be run over (black cat at night) or hurt (just was declawed). He was a gift from her husband as she recovers from brain surgery. I'm not a cat person, but he obviously needed a friend. 

You'd know that the scariest thing in the world to me a locust. Give me an ax murderer any day, just don't show me a locust. 

You'd know that I would never, ever belittle or speak negatively about my husband. I never understand why people do that to their spouses, especially on facebook. 

You'd know that my favorite exercise activity is kick boxing. I think it's awesome. Makes me feel like a total bad-ass, and what chick isn't sexy when they're sweating and wearing boxing gloves? 

You'd know that I am not an organized person. At all. Which drives my OCD husband insane. I'm always losing things, or misplacing them. In fact, we just had to drop $25 on a new pool pass since I lost ours. I lost it last year too but was able to find it after hours of searching. 

You'd know I'm blind as a bat. My eyesight is something like 400/20 (or 20/400? Whatever the near sighted one is). For you contact wearers, my left eye is -8.5, my right is -9. I'd love to get some cute rectangle eyeglasses, but they're so thick that I can't. 

You'd know that when I get super anxious about something, my neck and chest breaks out in big, red patches. So embarrassing! 

You'd know that during the fall and winter, 99% of the time you'll catch me wearing knee high boots. 

You'd know that I'm a morning person. Even before having a baby who wakes up at 6:30ish, I RARELY sleep past 6:30. I can never understand how people sleep until noon. I just feel like I'm wasting my entire day. 

You'd know that I'm slightly neurotic about how I sleep. Not so much blanket wise, but I sleep with 4 pillows that have to be just right for me to be able to sleep. I hate hate hate sheet washing day, because it jacks up my perfect pillow placement. 

You'd know that I'm a lightweight when it comes to drinking. One drink and I'm toasty and feeling gggooooooddd. I'm not a beer drinking gal, more into the expensive fruity girly drinks like bahama mama or pina colada. Which is good that I only order one. 

You'd know that I'm way too good at holding a grudge. I try not to be, cause who wants to live like that. But hubby will tell you that I'm the first one to write someone off if I feel they've "wronged" me. Sad but true, but I'm working on it. 

You'd know that I am hopelessly, head over heels, smitten kitten obsessed with my husband. Like, think about how much I love him and it'll make me cry kind of love. I've had my share of bad relationships, which just makes me appreciate him all that much more. Not only did he accept my two kids as his own, he's the best daddy I could have asked for for my kids. Plus, he's hot :) 

You'd know that being a mom was never a dream of mine. I was never the kid who played with dolls, planned my kids names, etc. But here I am, pregnant with number 4, and as much as I want to strangle them at times, I wouldn't trade them for the world. 

You'd know that I'm weird about feet. I can't stand feet, they gross me out! I can't even paint my kid's toes, so hubby does it. Ugh! So gross. And why do people post pics of their feet on facebook? Seriously, it makes me sick to think about it. 

So that's all I can think of. If you play along, leave me a link, I'd love to read it!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bella pouch pattern WINNER!

As I'm sitting here watching UFC with hubby, I just realized that I never picked a winner for the Bella pouch pattern! 

And that lucky winner is.....

Congrats Kristi! I'm going to give Bonnie your email address! You'll love it! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Famous Footwear's Back to School promotions

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm a mom of three, about to be a mom of four. Which means I need to find the best prices wherever I can. I also don't want to be stuck in a store all day. If a store is easy to navigate, doesn't have huge lines, has great prices and has a friendly staff, then this momma is a happy camper.

I know you've heard of Famous Footwear, right? That store with a great selection of shoes? Well, right now they are offering 15% off (20% if the customer is a Rewards member or signs up to be a Rewards member) PLUS Buy One, Get One half off. 

BOGO + 15% off Famous Footwear Coupon


Yes, I said you can save 20% if you're a Rewards member. It's completely free to join! What do you get?

  • earn 1 point for every $1 you spend in store OR online
  • accumulate points to earn certificates up to $100 a year
  • discount offer just for signing up
  • other special insider discounts and perks

​My school age kids are only 6 and 9, but they still want the "cool" stuff. Famous Footwear has such a great selection that they're never dissappointed. Plus, with the BOGO sale AND the 15% off coupon (don't forget to print it and redeem in-store between 8/2-8/18!) you can't go wrong! Plus, if a shoe you want is not in stock, you can get it through home delivery or on OR you can order shoes online, and have them shipped to your store at no charge. You really can't go wrong! 


Visit Sponsor's Site

Birthday girl, a day late. 29, version 4

So, your favorite blogger had a birthday yesterday. I turned 32 29, version 4. It didn't go exactly as planned, but I think as a mom, you learn to roll with the punches. 

My middle daughter has been vomiting for the past couple of days, and hasn't even been able to keep down water. Since we're a one car family, and I'm pregnant, my husband's boss let him work from home so he could help with Jasmin and take her to the dr. She had her appt at yesterday at 2:55, and they prescribed her Zofran, and so far, she's been able to keep down water and Gatorade. This morning, we're trying dry toast and keeping our fingers crossed.  So yay!

My birthday dinner is always spent at Red Lobster (love that place!) but since Jasmin is sick, we'll just go sometime next week, no biggie. Instead, Jake "cooked" last night, and picked up some food after he dropped off Jasmin at home. He brought home a sub for me from Firehouse Subs (love that you get a free sub on your birthday!). He just showed them my driver's license and told them I was at home with a sick kid (you're supposed to go in yourself). And he brought home my favorite dessert, cheesecake! And yes, my husband plays along with my "I'm turing 29 AGAIN" game. 

Hubby did a great job picking out my gifts. Wanna see what he bought?

Anyone who knows me, knows that those just scream "Jen!". I love them. Good thing it's still hot outside right now, because there is no way that jacket is fitting over this belly. :) He bought me a large, which I'm so glad he did, cause there is no way that a medium would fit, it's pretty snug. 

So fingers crossed that Jasmin feels better. She's been quarantined to her room and having "watch movies and sleep all day" days, and I'm pretty much chasing her around with Lysol anytime she leaves the room and touches anything. :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Budgets and coupons and savings, oh my!

So, hubby and I have decided to get serious about saving money. He's making much better money at his new job than he was at his last, but that doesn't mean that we can't try and be frugal. Right now my frugal habits are just to quickly browse the grocery store flyers that we get in the mail, sometimes remember to bring it with me when we go to Walmart, and price match one or two items. Yeah, I'll save a quarter here and there, but I know I could be doing more. 

I've been reading through different blogs and forums about the best ways to save money. Some suggestions are great, some not so much (for our family anyway). Some of the tips we already do, like cut the kid's sugary juice with water. Other tips, like cut milk in half with water (??) I don't see working for our family. But to each their own. 

My girlfriend Angie is one of those people who has a billion things in her basement stockpile. Things like shampoo, soap, razors, toilet paper, etc, all bought for pennies on the dollar and most of the stuff she got for free after coupons, register rewards, gift cards, etc. She's talked to me before how to do this, but I've never really given it much thought. I figured I didn't have time for it, it would take forever to figure out, etc. But I found a few cool forums, and they make it sound so simple. Plus, they give you the prices, links to the coupons (or tell you where to find them in the Sunday paper and what date), what rewards you'll be getting back, etc.

Another tip I read was to buy bulk shredded cheese at Costco, divide it out and freeze it. I never knew that they sold shredded cheese at Costco, we always get the huge bags at Walmart for $9. We go through to much cheese in a week, and one of those big Walmart bags lasts us about a week and a half. So I bought it at Costco (so much cheaper) and splurged on name brand freezer bags (purchased with coupon!) and froze it in bags. We've also been making our own laundry detergent for a while, which has lasted us FOREVER. 

I also bought a Sunday paper this past week. And holy crap, it takes forever to cut out all the coupons! I only got through one insert before I stopped. But I don't think I'm going to cut them out in the future. On the different blogs/forums, it'll tell you what insert/date the coupon you need is, and I figure it'll be easier for me to have the inserts whole, instead of digging through hundreds of coupons in a box. 

I'm going to be starting with CVS. Looks like a lot of people either start with CVS or Walgreens. I've made my shopping list, collected my coupons, and I'll be headed over there tomorrow. I don't see the point of buying a hundred jars of mustard or anything that I'll never use, just the stuff I'd be buying anyway, like make up, body wash, dish soap, etc. Is it weird that I'm excited? 

I did have my first official "savings" trip yesterday. Well, hubby did anyway, since he had the car, but I still consider it my success. I gave him a list of what to get (and even took a pic on his cell phone of what to look for), and got all the coupons together. And my score?

I know, I know, not as impressive as the people who get a billion bottles of shampoo for 61 cents, but I was still pretty happy. Especially since it's stuff that we'd buy anyway. Total spent? $1.32. 

The body was was originally $1.97 at Target, on sale for $1.79. I used a $1/2 Target coupon, and two $0.75/1 manufacturers coupons. So those were $0.54 a piece. 

The toothbrush was originally $2.39, but rang up $1.39. I used a $0.75 off Target coupon, and a $0.50 off manufacturer's coupon. Total cost? $0.14. I thought it was going to be more, but I guess hubby found one on sale that I didn't know about? Or the lady didn't know how to ring up coupons, I dunno. At first, she refused one of the coupons since it didn't specifically say "Suave Kids" but hubby pointed out that the coupon did say that all Suave products were included. Good job, baby. 

Are there any tips that you can give? Is couponing something you already do, want to do, or have no interest in?