Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Major changes coming our way

I know, I know--its been too long. I've been busy at work and at home. Plus Jenn, Gregg, and Raymond came to visit this past weekend and we had fun! I love seeing them and feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends. I'll try to post a couple photos this weekend.

On a completely different note, we continue to try and figure out what is causing Jasper's eczema. I've added some photos so you can see what a normal breakout looks like. This happens daily if we don't control his environment. We know a few things that we haven't known before. 1.) The eczema comes and goes, and is often worse after being at day care 2) He reacts to heat and has to stay cool to stay happy. 3) He also seems to respond badly to detergents, including free and clear detergents. So based on these three things, I've determined he has contact eczema. Or at least, most of it seems to be contact based. So we are keeping the house cold - which Thomas loves - otherwise Jasper wakes up screaming more often. I also switched to washing his sheets, etc in baking soda and it has made a huge difference. The only problem is, that whatever I do doesn't really matter, he goes to day care and comes back looking worse and it takes days to clear up major reactions.

This is his reaction to his sheets being washed in Tide Free and Clear. Approximately 2 hours after he went to bed he woke up crying; he cried for an hour.

He came home one day from day care with this spotted reaction plus scratches. This is after his bath, he is lathered in Vaseline.

This is what he looks like a day or two after a bad reaction. You can tell its improved, but still very obvious. His skin remains so dry and has a difficult time ever recovering because he keeps having reactions.

So, based on these things, we've decided the best thing to do for him is to keep him at home. There is no other way to even begin to control his environment. Since he seems to be reacting to detergent, I've done some research on eczema and detergent. It is quite extensive. Detergents are in so many things we use - dishwasher detergent, handwash, shampoos, household cleaners, etc. And to make matters worse, detergents attach to dust and dirt particles - which is why it cleans so good - so because we use so many detergent cleaners in our homes, it probably is attached to a lot of dust particles around the house. Which means he is probably breathing it in. Also, I read where one lady said her son seemed to be allergic to every type of food (breaking out with eczema), and in fact it was the residue left on the dishes ... after she stopped using detergent to wash dishes he didn't have any problems with the food. As a result of all this, I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to switch everything over to soap based products. Even a lot of organic products use an detergent base - so it is very tricky. And the residue from detergents cling to fabric - which means that things need to be washed multiple times! uggh. So this is how I'm going to spend the next week or two.

So our plan is to take both Petra and Jasper out of day care and hire a babysitter from 8-12 every weekday. And then Thomas will take over for lunch and nap time, and hopefully, I will be home no later than 5pm, maybe earlier. So please pray that we will find the right person, and soon.

And I know you are all wondering about the last court date. Everything is set for his adoption, however sometimes these things just take time and paperwork. It will probably be July. We've already testified to the judge, so did the department and guardian ad litem so everything is in motion. We don't expect any hiccups.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Court day approaching

Our court date with Jasper is fast approaching. On Tuesday morning, the 21st, we go into court for the Manifest of Best Interest. This is the trial where the judge will decide if in it is his best interest to be adopted. If so, then we can move forward with the adoption within the next month (depending on timing - there is usually only 1 adoption day a month so it will be either May or June). The birth mother signed over her rights about 2 months ago, and the birth father defaulted due to never showing up at court - so everything should be set.

We are still having a time with his face and eczema. We notified day care that we thought he may be allergic to dyes and perfumes. I'm not sure how much they are doing, its hard to get anyone to communicate effectively with us. I honestly feel like they see us as second rate parents, and that they have more experience with children so "they think they know better." It's very aggravating. Anyhow ... Thomas has been replacing his sheets himself on Monday mornings and we are taking several blankets and burp cloths in for him. It has made a difference. There is definitely improvement. Many days over the last two weeks he came home looking great, with very little redness. So this has helped. However, he still has problems. This weekend he looks horrible and I have no idea why. His left cheek is red, puffy, dry, scaly, with little blister looking bumps - over about a 3" sq. area. He also has some bad areas on his neck again.

He's been eating rice cereal for 2 weeks now. And I can officially say he hates it. He is quite a dramatic child. He screams when I try to feed it to him. You should see him try to avoid a spoonful of the stuff - this morning he bent over backwards trying to avoid it. So, I end up putting it in his bottle. I didn't really want to do this but it seems to be the only way to get him to eat it.

The good news is that since he starting eating cereal, he sleeps longer. I can sometimes get 6-7 hours now at once between feedings. I often have to get up still to put a pacifier in his mouth, but sometimes I don't even have to do that. I am finally getting more than 3 hours of sleep at once and it is great. It was 4 months of not much sleep and I am glad things are improving. He still wakes up quite a bit at night. I think everytime he uses the bathroon it wakes him up, and he hates to get woken. He usually pitches an absolute fit if we ever wake him up.

Or course, as I am typing this he is screaming. His face and cheeks are itching him really bad tonight. He won't stop scratching them, even when I hold him or rock him. I finally walked him around outside, he loves being outdoors. It took about 30-40 minutes to get him back asleep and I had to hold him for that to happen. I think it was too warm in his room .. about 72 degrees. When his head gets hot everything gets worse. I don't know what we are going to do when summer comes. I guess we need to move to a cooler climate.

He has improved dramatically at sitting up. He can sit up for several minutes at a time, and he ismoving around pretty well on the floor, turning in circles, scooting backwards, etc. He usually wants me to hold him. But he also likes the Johnny Jumper in the doorway and the exersaucer.

Happy Day at CVS

I can't contain myself. I had an awesome trip to CVS this afternoon. I saved $51 and spent $4!!! A SAVINGS of 93%! If you count the additional extra care bucks I got back to use for next time, you could count my savings at 95%! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sew New

I got an amazing gift from my husband for Christmas - a new incredible, absolutely amazing sewing machine put on lay away. The box I opened on Christmas morning had details for two different Viking Husquavarna sewing machines to choose between. I've been wanting a Viking for years. Over the holidays, I studied the brochures on each machine, read reviews online, and looked at every little special feature for each one.

This past Saturday, he paid it off for me. And I got to bring it home!! I am thrilled.

I am the proud new owner of a Viking Topaz 30 - that sews and embroiders.

Overall, it was crazy expensive. The most expensive item I've ever owned, well other than my engagement ring. But he got a great deal and a lot of free items to boot. Here is a list of everything it came with.

Topaz 30 machine
Embroidery unit
Fab-U-Motion stitch regulator (for quilting, valued at $1300)
74 embroidery designs
27 bonus embroidery designs
lots of feet and lots bobbins
embroidery thread and stabilizer
stabilizer starter kit
3 embroidery hoops
spangle yarn kit
couching foot
embellish with yarn package
venetian embroidery package
martha stewart embroidery trial package
INPSRIRA needle guide
and I bought the three main quilting feet seperately

Easter 2009

I'm a bad mother. This year there was no Easter egg hunts, no Easter baskets ... I'm a pretty pathetic mom. I just didn't see much of a point. Both of the children are way too young to notice anything, and I didn't really want to encourage candy eating. So, instead they got new clothes, and I bought Petra a stuffed bunny. Only problem, she was scared of the bunny. So now its a dog toy.

Last year Easter was pretty miserable. Luckily this year wasn't a repeat. The day was absolutely gorgeous! I realized though that this is the toughest holiday that I have here in Florida. I expect to be with family on this very special day, and that doesn't happen anymore. So Easter has become a dreaded holiday at the moment. I think next year will be better, Petra will be old enough next year to enjoy egg dying and egg hunting.

I did get some photos of the children. Enjoy!

How low can you go?

My hope is that in a few months, we will be spending less than $275 a month on groceries, including diapers and wipes. I think that will be a true challenge. So the question is, how low can I get my bill each week.

I'm behind posting, so I'm probably going to post a series tonight, if I can stay up late enough to accomplish this.

Shopping tonight at Publix was outstanding! I spent a total of $53, and $20 of that was on 2 packages of starbucks coffee and a bottle of wine. The remaining $33 was for the following food:

Natures own bread
2 boxes pasta
2 bottles of apple juice (Juicy Juice)
2 bottles of other juice - grape and apple mixed (Motts)
Soy Milk
Almond Milk
Large Coffemate creamer
Bag of fresh spinach
2 boxes of scalloped potatoes
1 whole chicken
2 boxes quaker oatmeal granola bars
2 packages of wraps (tomatoe and garlic pesto)
knox gelatin
Fiberplus granola bars
3 stoneyfield yogurts
1 stoneyfield smoothie
2 packages yoplait kids yogurt (total of 12 little yogurts)
2 cans of Pam spray
dozen large eggs
2 Kraft BBQ sauce
2 Kens Sauces
2L Diet Dr. Pepper
Revlon nail clippers
2 packages of jello pudding cups (12 cups of pudding premade)

Grand total saved tonight = $67.78

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shopping this week

I picked up some great deals at CVS and Publix this week. Tonight I went to both places - they are in the same shopping center about 2 miles down the road.

At CVS I found wipes 1/2 off, this was unadvertised, so I was thrilled. So I picked up double refill pack of wipes and shaving cream for $2 total. YEAH!

Then, off to Publix I went. I bought 33 items, and honestly the 12-bottle case of beer I bought my DH threw my savings way off ... but he deserves a treat now and then. I spent $54, and saved $65.

And because I want to give some of you an idea of what you can purchase with coupons and sales, here's a short list of some things I bought:
2 bryers ice cream
2 chex mix
2 frozen bags of broccoli
2 cans of cashews
4lbs of Leg of Lamb
2lbs bananas
mesh laundry bag (so I can wash baby socks again!)
Sure Jelly pectin
Large box of ziploc freezer bags
2 rolls of nestle cookie dough
2 english muffins
2 boxes cake mix
knox gelatin
butter baking sticks - I can't believe its not butter
clam chowder
2 jars salsa
hand santizer
cocoa butter
2 glass plus cleaners
cascade dishwasher soap
12 bottles of beer - amstel light

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pictures just for you

Hey, can you tell he likes to smile for the camera?