Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Truth: Kites?

Have you ever read the book "The Kite Runner"? I read it several years ago, and the thing that struck me was the glass-embedded kite strings. In America we look at kite-flying as a fun, carefree leisureactivity... in the Middle East, it's a vicious competition to cut down your opponent's kite by slicing through their string with yours. This results in slashed and bloody hands as the string plays through your fingers...as I was lying in bed with my daughter tonight, waiting for her to fall asleep next to me, I was mulling over how I felt about my life lately. Rather than feeling like the typical "mom" analogy of the juggler who can't keep all the balls in the air, I feel like the kite-flyer, except I'm fiercely holding onto dozens of tangled up strings, each one cutting into my palms as I grip them tighter and tighter in a futile effort to keep my precariously balanced life afloat. Each one threatening to slice through any of the others in an effort to reign supreme in my life. What I realized tonight is that while I'm the one gripping the bloody strings, God is the wind keeping the kites afloat, and Christ is standing behind me, also holding those same strings, trying to guide me into cutting the superfluous or inherently harmful kites loose. If I were to let go of the tangled mess, He would be there to untangle the lines and release me from the pressures I put on myself. Not only that, He's waiting in the wings to be my personal kite-runner; when I cut loose the wrong kite, He's there to run it down and bring me back the kite that He has restored and made new. The only way for me to untangle the mess is to hand over the strings, all of them, so that He can guide them into the breezes God has prepared for me. All I really need to do is grab on and run behind as He flies the kites ahead of me. Easier said than done...but I know I'm ready to loosen my grip.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Giveaways Around the Neighborhood

Prissy Green is giving away your choice of adorable maternity shirt from Chicken and the Egg.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a copy of the book Willow, and 5 copies of the book I'm So Happy For You. Also, Try Fear, a thriller/suspense/Christian book that I'd love to try!

My Organized Chaos is giving away a gift certicate to the clothing company Happy First. They have gorgeous, real-world wearable clothing that I would love to add to my closet. Also, a gift certificate the wall art company Belvedere Designs. There's a spot in my dining room, right above my computer nook, that I've been looking for a Scripture-based wall vinyl for, and Belvedere has the best Scripture selection I've found so far.

Musings of a Fat Chick is giving away a gift certificate to Auntie's Beads.

Jamie's Precious Peas is giving away your choice of child's skirt from Laken and Lila.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Boldly Going Where Everyone Had Already Been

I am a huuuuuuuge Star Trek fan, have been since I was in elementary school and watched the classic reruns with my mom and my uncle. I have about 75-100 books based on the classic series, I've been to a convention, met Scottie and got his autograph, and have most of the original episodes, and all the movies, memorized. All that to say....I was the absolute last person in my family to actually see the new movie. I was hesitant at first because I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle the new actors playing my beloved characters, but was assured by my mom that they did a great job and that the movie was excellent. So I finally went yesterday afternoon with my mom....and I LOVED it! By the end of the movie, I was thoroughly convinced that I was truly watching a young Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Bones, etc...In fact, it's borderline supplanting X-Men as my all-time favorite movie. I'll have to give it a few more views to see if it stands the test of multiple watchings (my husband is skeptical that any movie will ever replace my coveted X-Men), but I highly recommend this movie. If you are a classic Trekkie, you will love the subtle mannerisms that so closely match the original cast. If you're not, you'll still love the special effects, action, and storyline.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Giveaways at Etsy it Up

The longer I've been a mother of girls, the more girly I seem to get myself. Case in point: fancy hair clips...I used to think they were ridiculous, but I've lately become rather obsessed with them. My girls have the typical bow clips, which are super adorable, but tonight I came across a giveaway for the cutest and most creative I've ever seen. Check it out at Etsy it Up! They're also giving away a beautiful pendant from the Pretty Peacock.

WW: First Parade of the Summer

B and Adeline

Hmmmm...is this full of candy yet?

Yep, they're both mine.

Hoping the rain holds off (it did).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Truth: Movie Review

B knew I had a raging headache today, so he brought home a movie to watch after the girls went to bed. I've been bugging him to rent "New in Town" since it came out on video, and he's been less than enthused, but he made the sacrifice and rented it for us. I've been excited to see it as it's set in a town I used to visit often as a child with my grandma, and as a Minnesoootan, I love to watch movies set in my home state.

"New in Town" follows a Miami executive (Renee Zellweger) sent to a New Ulm, Minnesota factory to downsize the workforce and increase productivity and profit. While there, she battles equipment delays, freezing temps, culture shock, distrustful workers, and the gruff union rep (Harry Connick, Jr). Against her will, she is dragged to local festivities and enthusiastically befriended by her scrapbooking, tapioca-baking secretary.

We just finished watching it, and I have to admit, I'm left with the warm fuzzies. Some Minnesotans may be offended by the obvious stereotyping of local culture, but B and I found it humorous and were able to laugh at ourselves as seen through the eyes of "outsiders". Our quirks were definitely magnified, but we could recognize the underlying truths there, and enjoy glimpses of life growning up in rural Minnesota. The movie had multiple laugh-out-loud moments, a heart-warming (if somewhat corny) message, and very little foul language/sensuality/etc...earning my hearty recommendation, and amazingly, my husband's as well! While it may not prompt the rest of the world to want to vacation here, I think everyone longs for the kind of connection and community portrayed, and made me proud to say that yes, I am a Minnesotan, I do have an accent, a trip to Walmart is like a family or high school reunion, and I am surrounded by people who care about each other and our town. Head out to your local Red Box today, but before you go, google Red Box codes to get your rental for free like we did!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Make It Monday: Green Honey-Ginger Drink

Last month's All You magazine included a recipe for a 90 calorie morning drink designed to reduce bloating and puffiness due to water retention. I thought that sounded like a good idea, and I've been looking for something refreshing to replace my morning Diet Coke, so I decided to give it a whirl. Due to the parsley, it has a really unique flavor, but it has a nice refreshing bite to it that helps to replace the fizzy carbonation I'm used to in the morning.

Blend ingredients until very smooth (you don't want any little parsley bits floating around).

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (leaves and stems)
1/4 cup pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned-no sugar added)
2 tsp honey
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water

I also like to throw in a few ice cubes to make it really chilled. I prefer it sipped through a straw, since there may still be some floaty parsley bits that go down better through a straw.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cleft Palate Check

"Oral-facial clefts are birth defects in which the tissues of the mouth or lip don't form properly during fetal development. In the United States, clefts occur in 1 in 700 to 1,000 births, making it one of the most common major birth defects...

Oral clefting occurs when the tissues of the lip and/or palate of a fetus don't grow together early in pregnancy. Children with clefts often don't have enough tissue in their mouths, and the tissue they do have isn't fused together properly to form the roof of their mouths...
A cleft lip appears as a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip that extends all the way to the base of the nose. A cleft palate is an opening between the roof of the mouth and the nasal cavity...

Kids with a cleft lip or palate tend to be more susceptible to middle ear fluid collections, hearing loss, and speech defects. Dental problems — such as missing, extra, malformed, or displaced teeth, and cavities — also are common in kids born with cleft palate..."

--information taken from kidshealth.org

What does this have to do with me?

Our oldest, Amelia, was born with a cleft palate (soft palate only). We had no idea she had any health issues until two days after she was born and had been struggling with nursing, her pediatrician discovered a tiny hole in the roof of her mouth, way in back by the throat. This meant pumping and feeding the milk to her in special bottles, as she couldn't create a vacuum to suck on a regular bottle. It also meant lots of trips to pediatricians and specialists in the cities. It was decided that she needed to have it repaired, which she had done at six months. The surgery lasted a few hours, and included ear tubes. She spent a night in the hospital, and a few weeks recovering, which meant being fed by dropper, no bottles or nuks. Since the repair, she has had two more sets of ear tubes put in, and is in speech therapy for related speech issues. She also has to see a team of specialists once a year to evaluate her entire ear, nose, throat, mouth area. We had her latest appointment last week, and want to share the most recent info with our friends and family.

1) Although speech therapy has made a huge difference in her sound placement and ability to pronounce consonants, the speech therapists were able to notice air escaping through her nose when it shouldn't be. This most likely means at least one more surgery within the next 2 years to further close off the throat from the nose. As we had been told from the start that she would most likely be done with surgeries after the initial repair, this was extremely discouraging news.

2) She's been battling a double ear infection for 3 weeks. The first round of antibiotics took care of the right ear, but a second round has still not cleared up the left. She has fluid built up in her tube, and is now on drops 3 times a day to try to flush it out. The poor girl is play-acting ear infections on all her stuffed animals now...

3) She has a cross-bite, which will mean a palate expander within the next few years, along with braces.

4) A flap of skin between her two front teeth needs to be snipped out at some point. Right now it gives her an adorable little space between her front teeth, but I suppose she can't have that forever.

5)The hearing specialists would like to have her hearing tested twice a year.

All in all, it was a very long day, starting at 6 am to drive 2 hours to the cities, 3 hours of meeting with a dozen specialists, a 2 hour break for lunch on a college campus with nothing for two small children to do, another half hour waiting for our evaluation meeting, then sitting through an explanation of all that is to come. After running errands in the cities, we finally got home at 6 pm.
I'm trying really hard to be positive, and recognize that we are lucky not to be going through multiple surgeries for a cleft lip or hard palate, but I still hate to think of my girl going through more poking, prodding, surgeries, etc...not to mention the expense now that our health coverage is definitely lacking. For now, I need to focus on continuing to work with her on speech, and worry about the rest when the time comes. I also get so tired of talking to people about cleft palate/cleft lip and the comments about how "gross" "disgusting" "ugly" etc. that is. Our daughter could so easily have had a cleft lip as well, and it would be heartbreaking to know that people thought those things about our precious girl. So please remember that a child with cleft lip is just as loved and cherished as one with a "perfect" face.