Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I love these girls!

So many moments I do not want to forget:

... My big girls randomly choosing to snuggle in the rocking chair and "read" books together (as they do several times a week):
... Karis asking every night to read "just one more Bible story"

...My picky Karlie claiming that she doesn't want quinoa pancakes for breakfast and then eating 6 of them...

...My big girls pretending to go to bed so Abbi won't be mad that she has to go before them... giggling the whole time they dive under the covers and say night-night to Abbi...

...teaching them to play dominos and watching them excitedly learn and want to show Daddy...

...Karis asking to do another page in her reading lesson because she was excited and surprised that she could do it so easily

... a 60 degree day in January when I watched all three of my girls excitedly play water table for the 1st time together:
My crazy Abbi throwing tupperware across the kitchen floor as hard as she could and then racing to pick it up while laughing

Our updated natural medicine cabinet

Last year, I shared my top 25 favorite natural remedies for fighting off sickness. I still use them regularly and prefer them over anything store-bought. But I recently posted this update on POH and wanted to blog it here where I keep all of my natural remedies on file. A lot of these are homeopathic remedies that are completely safe and usually effective as long as you choose the correct remedy. If you don't know much about homeopathic remedies, this post is a great one to start with and then read this this article. My girls take them as well and like them. (And honestly, they work as a fabulous placebo even if I don't choose the correct one right away! LIke I said, completely safe and they taste good as well.) If you are interested in starting to use some, then this kit by Hylands contains most of the basics. I also greatly recommend Naturo Kits. We have the mini first aid kit and it has really been helpful! (And once again, I am not a doctor so do your own research before buying any of this :)

Sabadil -- by Boiron for allergies
Chestal -- a homeopathic cough syrup by Boiron
Arnica Montana - any time someone falls or goes through something traumatic --we use it all the time!
Arnica gel -- for bumps and bruises
Oscillococcinum -- for flu-like symptoms
Belladonna for fevers and inflammations
Nux Vomica for nausea and upset stomach
Chamomilla for teething and irritability -- I give this to Abbi any night when she has a hard time getting to sleep or wakes up more than usual.
Calms Forte by Hylands -- to calm down kiddos when they are up past their bedtime and to sometimes help my husband sleep when he is stressed about work

Elderberry syrup -- easy to make by just boiling elderberries in water, simmering for 30 minutes, then smashing through a strainer and adding honey. It will store in the fridge for up to 3 months. Or you can buy something like Sambucus elderberry syrup on Amazon or vitacost.

Papaya Enzymes -- these are amazing for heartburn, nausea, and acid reflux -- I used them when I was pregnant instead of Tums and use them now if I eat a lot of processed foods or just too much for dinner (HA!)

Activated Charcoal -- for food poisoning or other poisoning, stomach bug, bad bites, or stings

Netti Pot with salt water -- to relieve sinus symptoms

Be Kool soft cool gel sheets to place on forehead to help cool down a fever (Thanks, Hollie, for the great idea!) My kids have never been that cooperative with a cold washcloth, but they were excited to see these "cold bandaids" to put on their foreheads.

Little Noses Saline drops -- for stopped up nose

Wild Weed Salve (from the mini first aid naturokit) -- for bug bites, itchy, dry skin, etc -- it works really well and is the only thing to keep my girls from complaining about a bad bug bite!

How to get something small out of a kid's nose....

I know you are wondering which one of my girls gave me reason to find this useful tidbit. I hate to disappoint you, but thankfully I have not had reason to use this trick yet. It simply sounds like something that will probably happen at some point so I wanted to blog this tip so I'll be able to find it someday when I need it :) I try to avoid the ER at all costs.

If your child pushes something in his nose so far that is seems impossible to get it out, have the child lie down, pinch the opposite nostril, and blow into his mouth. The object will immediately fly out.

Many thanks to A Well-Feathered Nest for posting this tip!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Last weekend, we made a quick trip home to go to Mark's Granny's memorial service. It was a sweet time with family.

Our attempt at a picture of all the kiddos who made the trip:
But Abbi was happy to pose with her Nina:
And her sweet Lily:
Karlie was having a blast with her cousins!
Abbi had fun in the laundry basket that Nina would spin for her:

Monday, January 23, 2012

2 in the bed and 4 by the door :)

(this post is a continuation of "favorite Mommy moments" that I want to always remember)

When we made a quick trip back home this weekend, we let the big girls sleep in Nina's basement. In the same bed. Not the most brilliant of plans, but the girls were ever so excited and it was really fun to listen to them. I'm not sure why sleeping in the same bed is so much more exciting than sleeping in the same room, but it undoubtedly was. It took them about 2.5 hours to fall asleep each night because they were having so much fun together. Lots of giggles, tickling, and secrets. I snuck in to check on them when they were finally quiet and found this: So precious!

It was freezing cold outside, but since I had planned for Mark to grill, he was nice enough do it for me. As soon as he went out the door, everyone crowded around the door to watch him. Four Daddy's girls, no doubt about it!

This post is a part of Momentous Monday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Big Three Year Old!

It is very hard to believe that 3 years ago I thought I was coming down with the flu, only to be surprised to find out that my sweet baby girl was stubbornly coming into the world a bit early! Karlie turned 3 years old today and I must say that she has continued to surprise me for 3 years with her incredibly sweet but stubborn personality :) Karlie is a very tiny thing -- built very different from her long-legged big sister and chunky little sister. But don't let her tiny frame fool you -- this girl knows what she wants at all times and nothing will dissuade her!

Karlie is super affectionate and always wanting snuggles. Oh, how I love it! She would read in my arms all day long if Abbi would allow it. It is a good thing she is so tiny because she loves to be carried around by her Daddy every chance she gets! She likes to do stickers more than pretty much anything (other than perhaps hopping or flying around pretending to be an angel.) She loves to eat raisins, home-made tortillas with butter, chicken apple sausage, milk, almonds, granola, cereal, and hotdogs, but please don't try to make her eat anything else because it is a battle you cannot win. (Believe me, I've tried!!! I'm so thankful she likes her raw milk or I would really worry about her eating habits!)

Karlie loves doing schoolwork with her older sister and has picked up on how to sound out words and can actually spell or read the short ones if she decides that she wants to try. If you ask her to come and she begins to run the other way, please don't think she is being disobedient; she is merely giving herself more room to hop to you, as it is her favorite mode of transportation. Karlie has boundless energy coupled with great joy of life and spends much of her day flying around as an angel and singing with Karis. The rest of the day is spent taking care of her many baby dolls and telling me all about them or playing dollhouse. Karlie is very excited about turning 3 but really believes that she can do anything that Karis can do and most of the time she is correct!

Karlie takes great joy in being a big sister and is so proud of everything that Abbi does. She currently tells everyone she sees, "Oh I'm so proud of Abbi for walking!" with a great big sigh of pride. Every time I get Abbi up from a nap, she shouts with joy, "Yay, it's my Abbi-girl!!!" And she wants to give food to Abbi at every meal. But just because she loves Abbi so much does not mean that Abbi can get away with taking her toys! She will yank that toy back not matter how much Abbi screams. But she usually remembers to try to find something else that Abbi can enjoy.

When Karlie got up today, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday breakfast. She said that she wanted cake with balloon icing! That was a surprise, but luckily I had some pancakes frozen and mixed up some quick "cream cheese-butter-maple syrup-vanilla-blueberry icing" so she had purple balloons on her pancakes. She was quite pleased!

We planned to meet Daddy for a birthday lunch so I asked her where she liked to eat out the most. Her response? "The grocery store!" Apparently she loves the random samples. But she finally said that we could go to Mellow Mushroom instead. On the way, we stopped by a bakery and she picked out a chocolate cupcake to eat after her pizza (we are having her cake at her party in two weeks with Abbi's.) Unfortunately, I forgot to take the camera so I don't have pictures of her excitement.

I decided to do a quick interview with Karlie to remember all her favorites when she turned 3. Here are her responses:
Favorite thing to do outside: RUN!
Favorite thing to do in soccer class: run like a bird!
Favorite thing to do in basketball class: Pass to the rhino!
Favorite CD: Music Machine (One that she got for Christmas that I actually listened to growing up! Oh, the memories!)
Favorite Game: Hi Ho Cherry-O

Favorite Dinner: Raisins. So then I made her tell me her favorite meat dish: hotdogs
Favorite Snack: raisins
Favorite thing to play with Karis: dollhouse and people
Favorite thing to play with Abbi: ball
Favorite place to go shopping: grocery store
Favorite breakfast: pancakes
Favorite exercise: zig-zags

Favorite place to go in car: Virginia!!! (grandparents' house)
Favorite clothes: Anything purple
Favorite Song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Favorite Schoolwork: Doing our letters (phonics)
Favorite shoes: my pretty red ones
What she says most often: "I'm Gabriel!!!" or "Can I have some granola and raisins?" or "But I like to be cold!" or "Pick-a-me-up!" or "Can I do some stickers?"
Oh, how I love my little big girl!

Many thanks to Miranda Knox for the pictures of Karlie in her pretty purple dress!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A little natural relief for babies with GERD

I met my cousin's sis-in-law at her wedding over a year ago and we quickly became fast friends because of our common interests in children and natural tendencies. Around six months ago, she had a beautiful baby girl. Unfortunately, the baby had horrible reflux and was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The baby would be up all night with screaming, throwing up, etc., and it was truly miserable for them. My sweet friend did much research and found some natural ways to help her baby and I thought I would share them on the blog because GERD is becoming more and more common and I thought these tips might help someone else. My friend said that it did not completely "cure" GERD and they still struggle with it, but these techniques have given them about 60% improvement and have been enough to keep the baby off medication. Here is her advice; I hope it will be helpful to others:

1. I stopped feeding on demand. I had done this with my twins for 22 months. But with this baby, at least a night, I changed it to every three hours. This allowed her ample time to digest better.

2. We stopped rocking her to sleep in cradle position. We only do it with her upright.

3. I increased the amount of time I massage her. I have always massaged my babies after bath. With her, I am focusing on her stomach and lower back as well as accupoints (I have a this book that has accupoint information for babies).

4. I began to take her to the chiropractor twice a week, once a week, and now every other week.

5. I try to have chamomile and licorice root (very small amount) tea available (homebrewed) to give her a small amount when she is throwing up or crying a lot. This helps calm her and also pushes her to swallow which helps with the reflux. Sugar water is supposed to have the same effect but I really hate to use sugar on my baby!

6. She sleeps with the mattress tilted and she is sideways, not on her back. Also, she takes naps on her stomach (when I am awake and able to watch her.) I only do this when I am readily available to her since it is risky.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Abbi Grace at 11 months!

This month I have finally allowed myself to believe that my baby is growing up. She forced me to, because she started standing up on her own and taking a few steps at a time. And she is so stinkin' cute about it that I just cannot be sad. This is truly one of my favorite stages and I enjoy every minute of it!!!

Abbi Grace just loves to walk. She cannot do more than a few steps on her own, but she will grab ahold of anyone nearby and try to force them to walk so she can use their legs to move along. It is hilarious! She will walk all over the house holding onto my legs if I let her. She also loves for you to offer your fingers for balance and she can do fine just holding onto one hand.

Abbi is ever so excited that she can now play dollhouse and people with the big girls and this is how I usually find her. She will play here even by herself for the longest time:
Another favorite spot is looking out the kitchen door:
Abbi loves to push her music table around the kitchen at breakneck speed. I am always on edge, thinking it will go faster than her feet and she will smash her face on our hard tile floor, but she always manages to keep up somehow.
I was ever so excited when I realized that I could put her hair in a "Bam-bam" pony tail on top of her head! Between that and her shoes, my baby simply does not look like a baby any longer!
She loves to read books and if I'm not there to look at them with her, she will pull them all out on her own :)
She has continued to be a good eater and has never refused anything I put on her plate. We had hamburgers last week and she ate more than the big girls combined! But nothing gets her excited as much as her fermented cod liver/butter oil combo. Seriously. If she sees Karis getting some and I don't offer any to her, she starts screaming like crazy! And when she sees the bottle, she starts kicking and squealing. It amazes me because I don't even like to smell the stuff. Give me the peppermint flavor to cover up the fish, please!!! Thankfully, she is back to nursing like a pro as long as we are at home. I've started giving her our fresh cow's milk in a sippy at every meal to get her used to it since she is almost a year, but I plan to nurse as long as she wants it.
Abbi is such a joy and I can't wait to watch her grow into a toddler!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Papa Eric!!!! We love you!!!!

My unbelievably wonderful Daddy is turning 60 years old today!! We love him so much and are very excited for him and really wish we could be there with him to celebrate. But since we cannot, the girls wanted to make a few short videos to share with him:

and then Karlie seemed to wake up and she wanted to sing Christmas carols for her dear Papa:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Being thankful for the little moments...

I love being a Mom! There are, of course, moments I do not enjoy (such as when Karlie doesn't stop asking the same question for the 100th time or when Abbi wakes me up at night over and over again or when Karis insists on driving her sister crazy with her singing), but I accept those moments as part of my job and usually can manage to laugh at them later. Most days, I also have moments of bliss (I call them Mommy moments) when I manage to step back out of the craziness and my heart swells with joy and thankfulness. I decided that I really wanted to remember those precious moments so beginning with the new year, I started writing down my favorite memory of the day right before bed each night. It is usually not anything spectacular... just something simple that made me smile. I'm not sure how often I will blog them, but I thought I would start off this week by sharing a few of my favorite moments with some pictures we took yesterday:
1. Watching Karis help Abbi walk -- Karis loves to hold Abbi's hands and help her walk. She isn't very good at it and often pulls her down, but she is so sweet in her excitement about Abbi walking and Abbi just loves the attention and usually just laughs hysterically when they fall down together.
2. Karlie getting excited about feeding Abbi -- I usually just put all of Abbi's food on her tray and let her feed herself, but Karlie seems to get the biggest kick out of helping Abbi. I cannot tell you how excited she gets when I let her give Abbi food and it is so cute!
3. Karis holding her pencil correctly -- We haven't done a lot of handwriting in our homeschool yet because Karis was stubbornly uninterested. She loved dot-to-dots and mazes, but the minute I tried to teach her how to write letters and help her fix her fingers for handwriting, she would get irritated. I decided to wait until she was more interested and we tried again after Christmas. She is now very proud of herself and allowing me to help her hold her pencil correctly!
4. Doing "alphabet movement" with my girls whenever the weather isn't fit for outside time -- I printed out the fun cards and my girls have to choose the next one in alphabetical order. They think the exercises are hilarious and we laugh the entire time. So much fun!

5. In basketball class on Saturday, I suddenly realized that Karis had her arm around Karlie while they waited in line for their turn to pass the ball to the rhino. It was ever so sweet and also a bit funny to watch them try to move up in line together. I love seeing them be affectionate with each other :)

6. Smores in the backyard with my Mark and my girls. The girls LOVE it when we build a fire and were just ever so excited and happy.

7. Listening to Karis and Karlie make up songs about Mary and baby Jesus in the backseat of the van.

This post is linked with A Moment Cherished Momentous Monday

Friday, January 6, 2012

cute conversations

Karlie: I'm flapping my wings, so I'm Gabriel!"
(to Karis): You are gonna have a baby boy and you will call him Jesus and he will be God's son!

Karis: Mama, if we have another girl baby, can we call her Adora? (they have a Dora the Explorer dollhouse and people and always call her "Adora" for some reason)
Me: Umm...I don't think so. But Abbi still needs Mama's milk so we probably won't have another baby anytime soon anyways. We would have plenty of time to think of a good name.
Karlie: Maybe we could call her Hello Kitty?
Karis: How about Cinderella?

Karis: All our baby dolls are girls, but we pretend they are Jesus when we play Mary and Joseph

(At Grandma and Papa's house the day before Christmas)
Karis: I think we need to open a few presents because we can't even walk through here!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I thought I'd celebrate the new year by listing out some of our favorite memories from 2011. I plan to do this every year and put it in our yearly scrapbook. So here they are in no particular oder: Here's to 2011!

1. Abbi's birth
2. Swimming lessons
3. DeLong Lake Day
4. Gatlinburg trip
5. NC Zoo
6. Basketball Class
7. Swimming in Grandma and Papa's pool
8. Karis' first haircut
9. Church beach day
10. First day of school