Archives for May 2011

Cooper’s Cast

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Our newest baby, Cooper, was born on April 1st of this year. The kids and I came to TX (from Spain) so that I could deliver the baby with a midwife. Jamie came down 2 weeks before Cooper was due. Our plan was for Jamie to stay a few weeks after the birth, then return to Spain. The kids and I would follow as soon as Cooper’s passport arrived.

When Isaac was born, we had trouble getting his birth certificate, and subsequently his passport, because we had him at home unassisted. The midwife assured me that we would be able to get the baby’s birth certificate within a week of his birth. The passport would only take a few weeks after that.

We were set.

We had a plan, our plan.

Little did we know, our plans would change…

Cooper’s Birth

The midwife arrived around 4:00pm on April 1st, one day past Cooper’s due date. Labor was sporadic, so she suggested I take a walk to get things moving along. I labored both standing and swaying, and reclining on a bench. The labor was longer than most of my other labors, but the Lord blessed me with calmness and relief. At 8:19pm, our sweet baby boy entered the world and we were in love. I laid him on my chest and thanked the Lord for another treasure He had bestowed upon us.

I didn’t notice right away, and even when I did, I didn’t realize there was anything really wrong with Cooper. His legs were curled up under his bottom with his feet turning in. I don’t know why, but at the time I just thought that he had been squished up in my belly and needed time to stretch out a bit. In my eyes, he was perfect.

It wasn’t until the next day when the midwife came over for our check-up, that I knew Cooper was crippled. The midwife was so gentle and kind when she suggested that I have him seen right away. She thought he had club feet. Immediately something clicked in my brain and could see, why yes, he does have club feet.

Cooper’s Treatment

We saw the pediatrician that first week of Cooper’s life.  He referred us to a specialist in Houston who treats club feet using the Ponseti method.  When Cooper was 2 weeks old, we began treatment.  Each week, we see the doctor, who massages the baby’s feet and moving them to a slightly new position.  Plaster casts are applied from his toes to the tops of his thighs, holding his feet in place.  He has worn these cast for 6 weeks now.  Next week he will have surgery.  The doctor will release the tendons in the back of his heels, allowing his feet to move from a pointed position to a standing position.

After surgery, he will be in a cast for 3 more weeks while the tendon heals in a stretched position.  The casts will be removed and he will then wear a brace until he is 5 years old.  (The first 3 months he will wear it all the time, then afterwards only at night.)

I am so thankful to the Lord for all He has done and all He has provided.  He brought us here to the states to have the baby.  He provided a wonderful home, through the hands of my gracious aunt.  He put us in a place within driving distance of a wonderful doctor.  He has truly supplied all our needs.

A Change in Plans

Cooper is almost 2 months old now and we are still here in TX.  Jamie is back in Spain.  I miss my husband.  My father-in-law said it best though…”you’re not alone, cause Jesus is with you”.  Yes, Jesus is with me, walking by my side, even carrying me when I fall. 

Our plans have changed.  We don’t know when we will go back to Spain, or if we will go back.  We are waiting to find out if the Air Force is going to move us to another base here in the states.  All we know is that the Lord has us right where He needs us. 

And through it all, the Lord is molding us.  Just as Cooper’s feet are molded by his casts, we are being molded by the hands of God.  He is taking the crippled and broken, and making it beautiful and whole.  He is sanctifying us and molding us into the people He needs us to be–people that love Him above all else, people that lean on Him in times of trouble, people that trust Him and know that He is good all the time!

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isaiah 64:8

Baby Wearing: Types of Carriers

Over the last few years of baby wearing, I have come across so many different types of baby carriers, and even more types of baby wearers. There are moms that wear their babies all day. There are others who only wear them occasionally, or maybe not at all. Maybe dad is the only one that wears baby. There are entire groups devoted to baby wearing.

I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I love carrying my kiddos in a carrier, but physically cannot do it all day. I believe in the benefits of having my baby with me throughout the day, but there are times I just need to put them down for a while.

I think that the type of wearer you are has a great impact on the type of carrier you should use. I know that most baby wearers have their favorite carriers, but for me there are so many factors that play in to choosing one.

Questions to ask before choosing a carrier…

How old/big is the baby I will be carrying? Will I be carrying a newborn or a toddler?

When do I plan on carrying the baby around in the carrier? At home throughout the day, or just on outings?

What part of my body do I want to carry the baby on? My back? My hip?

The greatest advice I can offer parents is try before you buy! You are not going to really know what will work for you without trying it out. Ask friends if you can borrow their carriers, or at the very least, try on the carrier with your baby in it at the store. Most stores would love for you to do so because they want you to find a carrier that is going to work for you (or at least they should).

In the 8 or so years I have been wearing my babies, I have owned 4 different carriers. And honestly, I really like each one of them. They each serve a distinct baby wearing purpose.

Moby Wrap
The first carrier I owned was a purple Moby Wrap. It is a long (6 ft) piece of stretchy, cotton material. It wraps around your body and over your shoulders and ends by tying at the waist. I like the Moby Wrap for newborns especially. It hugs them close to your chest, and you can adjust the material to hold their heads in place. It is very comfortable and distributes the weight of the baby evenly across the back (you do have to make sure the material across the back is stretched out and lying flat).

I don’t feel like the Moby Wrap works well with older babies. Once my babies get more mobile and heavier, I like to switch to the Ergo. The Moby Wrap is also a bit cumbersome as you put it on. It is not one you can just slip on and go.


Maya Wrap
I really like my Maya Wrap, but it has just worn out. It was given to me by another mother, and the material has seen it’s day. The Maya Wrap is a piece of material that has rings attached to one end and is worn as a “sling” over one shoulder. Newborns can be carried up front on your chest and older babies can ride on your hip. The long tail is great for covering up while nursing.
Original Maya Wrap Baby Sling with DVD
Hava Wrap
I feel like the Hava Wrap is the newer model of Maya Wrap. It is very similar to the Maya, except that instead of the long tail, it has a pouch sewn into the end of it to hold a few necessities (keys, phone, pacifier). It also has a bit of padding along the edges and at the shoulder. I like using the Hava and Maya type carriers for newborn babies up until they get too heavy for me to wear comfortably.
HAVA Baby Sling
Ergo
Once my babies get too heavy, I switch them to the Ergo and wear them on my back. There is an infant insert for the Ergo, but I haven’t tried it myself. I especially like having my toddlers on my back when we are out and about. When they are in strollers I feel like they try to get out and touch everything. When they are in the carrier, they are busy looking around, or being lulled by the rhythm of my walking. I really like that the Ergo has a hood that can go over the baby’s head to keep the sun off of them, or to hold their head when they are sleeping. It also has a zippered pouch for storage.
ERGO Baby Carrier

What about you? Do you have a favorite baby carrier? Why do you like it???

Baby Wearing: Reasons to Carry Your Baby in a Sling

Note: I was excited to see the new Nurtured Family add (on the right). Doesn’t Cooper look just like the baby in the ad with their matching slings? 

Cooper in his sling
I remember distictly the first time I ever saw a sling.  I was at a baby expo with my 3rd child, who was 1 1/2 at the time.  My friend, who was with me, stopped at a booth for the “new” Moby Wrap.  Immediately, I loved it.  The idea of carrying your child around with minimal effort, I was all for it.  I bought my first sling that day and carried Maddie around the baby expo, and anywhere else we went.  I would get stopped all the time and asked what it was and where I got it.  In fact, when I met a new friend at a homeschool event, she exclaimed, “I have seen you before.  You are the one with that purple baby carrier!” 

Eight years later I am still carrying my babies around.  I thought I would post a few of the benefits of wearing your baby…

~~Babies love to be carried.  It is so comforting to them when they are next to their mamma’s (or daddy’s) body.  Really little babies like to be snuggled up, laying on your chest.  As they get older, they like to be able to look around and see the whole world.  Most of all, they just like being near us.

~~It is so convenient.  I love being able to stuff my sling in the diaper bag and have it available anywhere I go.  I don’t have to lug out a big stroller, or try to get their carseat in and out of the van.  I just whip out the sling, put the baby in and go.  Not to mention I can use the sling as a cover when I am nursing (depending on the type of sling).

~~Babies learn so much.  When you wear your baby, they go where you go.  They see what you see.  They hear what you say.  Really, they are more involved in the world around them, especially in the day to day activities. 

~~Slings are healthy for your baby.  Newborns are so sweet and precious that everyone just wants to reach out and touch them.  Having your baby in a sling close to your body helps minimalize the amount of touching.  Most people will keep their hands to themselves if the baby is cuddled up in a sling.  I know that all the ladies in the church just love to hold the new baby, and if you are anything like me, I just don’t have the heart to tell them no. Keeping baby in the sling helps deter everyone from asking to hold the baby. 

And last, but certainly not least…
~~Slings keep your hands free(er).  I added the “er”  to free mainly for newborns.  I have a itty bitty right now, and I find myself keeping one hand wrapped around the baby in his sling, adding extra support to his head.  I sometimes pull the sling up over his head when he is sleeping, to free up my hands.  For bigger babies, especially if you are using an ergo or other backpack type carrier, your hands are completely free.

Coming up next…Baby Wearing:  Types of Carriers

Audio Interview: Bruce Larson of Sequoia Ministry

Last year was the 150 year anniversary of the Pony Express. I had the privilege of talking with Bruce Larson about the Pony Express and his ministry. Bruce is a historian, a naturalist, and a homeschool dad of 3 grown children. Through his ministry, Sequoia Ministries, he offers all sorts of historical and science related tours and talks. I first met Bruce about 8 years ago. He was giving a talk on the fur trappers of the 1800s. Here he is in costume.

If you are in Sacramento, CA area, it is well worth it to attend one of his historical tours of the area. You can find Bruce on the web at sequoiaministry.ning.com or email him at sparky3777@msn.com.

Listen to the interview now!

Beauty Secrets: Soft Skin

From the time I was a teenager, until just a few years ago, I had a really bad complexion. My skin has always been oily, and broke out frequently. When I was 21, I was convinced that a certain cosmetic line (initials MK) was the cure-all. I used the expensive skin care and make-up for at least 10 years. I continued to have poor skin, and was convinced that I always would.

In my early 30s, I started making my own soap. As I learned more about how good real, natural soap was for your skin, I decided to try it on my face. I was a bit nervous at first, because I thought the soap might make my skin break out worse. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and soft my skin was after washing with my soap. It didn’t take long until I decided I needed to find alternatives to my toner and moisturizer. Here is what I came up with. My skin has never been the same.

My Beauty Secret Regimen

  • CLEANSER:  I wash my face morning and night with soap and warm water. Once a week or so, I like to use an exfoliating cloth to remove dead skin and oil build up.
  • TONER:  Next, I spray my face with a homemade skin toner.  I make it myself and it is so EASY!  I buy a 4 oz. bottle of rose hydrosol from Mountain Rose Herbs.  You could choose any hydrosol based on what you like.  I chose rose because I really like the scent.  I pour half of the hydrosol into a container and save for the next batch.  I add 2 oz. of witch hazel into the hydrosol and mix well.  The hydrosol comes in a glass spray bottle, so it is perfect for misting your face after washing.  Super easy and so refreshing.
  • MOISTURIZER:  Last, I use a moisturing cream that I also make myself.  I was even more nervous to use my homemade moisturizer on my skin, because I have always had oily skin.  I had been conditioned to believe that using oils on my skin would clog my pores and cause me to break out even more.  What I found was just the opposite.  The oils were actually very nourishing.  What was great too, was that I could make custom blends and pick oils that would benefit my skin.  The cream I make does seem a bit heavy at first, but it just takes a bit of time for your skin to soak up the richness of the oils.  Because I was use to the wateryness of the commercial moisturizer, it took some time to get use to.  If I am in a hurry, I sometimes take a towel and dab my face.  Once my skin has absorbed the cream, it is super soft. 

What I really love about my new “skincare” is that it really just seems to balance everything out.  Before, it seemed that most of the cleansers I used would strip my skin.  Now my skin feels soft and clean and, well, normal.

Becoming a Young Man

Fourteen years ago I gave birth to a wonderful 9 lb 15 oz baby boy named Tristan Andrew. I can’t believe the young man he is becoming…makes a mama proud. He is such a huge help to me – mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, and especially with all my technical computer related issues. But most of all, he has a heart for the Lord and his family.

He loves to go fishing and prefers live bait to lures. He wants to make movies and own a school bus when he grows up – a 66 passenger one. He knows all the details about school buses, but he would have to tell you cause I don’t remember. I am sure he will be our child that has the most children himself. He can’t pass by Cooper without rubbing and kissing his head and telling him how much he loves him. I remember when he was little he would tell be he wanted a school bus to fit all his kids in. I hope he gets one and does just that.

Happy 14th Birthday Bubba, I love you!

  

Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
Psalm 112:1-2