Friday, October 30, 2009

Leaving soon...

My brother Frankie is leaving soon...back to Colorado. This makes me sad.

We are also leaving soon, in a few hours, after I resew one of Batman's ears to make them both point in the same direction {oops!}, after I do Nathan's treatments, after I pack...down to Virginia.

I can't wait to see my brother in law and sister in law, Christopher and Megan.

But first I need to bathe my sweet innocent, 14 month old son.

toilet incident 2 collage

Happy Halloween!!!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

flowers for mom

Over the weekend, my mother in law, Grandma E, volunteered to watch Nathan while Jay and I met up with our friend Breanne and Wally for a double date at a local sushi place. We were having so much fun with our friends that we didn't get home until 1 am. Unfortunately, Grandma E was scheduled to work early the next morning. She is a nurse.

Needless to say, we felt bad, almost like we took advantage of her. We wanted to show her that we appreciated all her help...so we called our favorite florist and ordered an Autumn arrangement.

Pati at Brookside Florist is so good with flowers that all you have to say is "Can you create an Autumn arrangement for our mother/mother in law because we sort of took advantage of her babysitting one a few nights?", and she gets to work, creating the most beautiful arrangement ever!!


Sorry, all I had was a small picture from a cell phone camera.

If you are local (close to Vernon, NJ) you should check out Brookside Florist. If you do, tell Pati that I sent you! I do not get a kick back, I just love her flowers.

They also participate in Teleflora!!

About Brookside Florist
"We are family owned and operated and committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, backed by service that is friendly and prompt. Because all of our customers are important, our professional staff is dedicated to making your experience a pleasant one. That is why we always go the extra mile to make your floral gift perfect."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Best Kept Secret in the County

I am almost reluctant to share this post because it will reveal Sussex County's Best Kept Secret! When my brother, Frankie, came for a visit from Colorado he took me and Nathan here and I almost want to keep it all to my self {and Nathan, of course}. It was a fabulous outing and I got such a sense of relaxation and enjoyment from being {almost} all alone in the woods/hills of Sussex County.

LUSSCROFT FARM
is Sussex County's best kept secret, neatly tucked away in the hills
of Wantage Township, New Jersey.

med wheel 1
The day could not have been any nicer for a visit to this Farm. Immediately I grabbed my SLR and began snapping photographs only to see a message blinking on the screen "No Memory". I left my memory card in the computer at home! I hate when that happens, but thank God for cell phones with the ability to take semi decent photographs.

My attention was immediately drawn to a stone mansion {I will get to that in a moment}, a gorgeous barn surrounded by trees in every color, and a medicine wheel. I was mostly intrigued by the plants that grew within the wheel shaped bed surrounded by stones and wooden stumps not the meaning of the structure itself. I do not subscribe to these beliefs but for those of you who would like to know the symbolism click here.

med wheel 2

Most of the plants had medicinal purposes and of course Nathan would fall in love with the echinacea, not for its property of being an immune system booster but because it is prickly. In fact, he fell into the echinacea several times while attempting to pull the flowers off.

med wheel 3

The gardener, Brian makes his own composted soil and has used much of it on the medicine wheel. I admire how much work he has put into this area of the farm. Although this piece of land is part of the NJ Division of Parks & Forestry, there is nothing is really happening.

med wheel 4

I was super excited to see some Calendula within the spokes of the medicine wheel and may return to grab a few seeds before it gets too cold.

med wheel 5

So we enjoyed our afternoon on the farm. We enjoyed sitting on the bench under the tree, watching the slowly setting sun illuminate the many different colors of Autumn around us.

med wheel 6

Back to the mansion {Turner Mansion, or the Manor House} for a few photographs with my camera phone. The stone work was amazing! Brian told me to take a walk around back if I liked what I saw up front and I am so glad I did.


med wheel 7

The backyard consists of an arcaded stone grotto and viewing deck and a vegetable cellar.

med wheel 8

The vegetable cellar is built into the hillside out of concrete and hollow terra cotta block. What a beautiful two chamber arched vault! Now if it would only stop raining so I can return.

UPDATE:
A friend of mine informed me on Facebook that a lot is going on at Lusscroft Farm. There is a committee that meets once (or twice) a month. The school she teaches at, Ridge and Valley Charter School, helped plant the Medicine Wheel Garden. The committee that meets is really trying to do great things with the farm!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Airway Clearance Techniques

Over the weekend, my handsome scruffy husband, although to me he is handsome either way, filmed me doing Nathan's treatments. Many of my closest friends are still not quite sure how we spend a large majority of our time. This video portrays a typical morning (weekend) treatment session. During the weekdays I am solo. These treatments are repeated in the evening.

Please note: I increased the speed as much as the video editing software would allow. The original video was 57 minutes long (with antibiotics, it would be 90 minutes). By tripling the speed I was able to cut the video down to a little under 20 minutes. I also added a few captions here and there.

Cystic Fibrosis Airway Clearance Techniques on a Toddler from Christina Skretkowicz on Vimeo.


I am not asking you to sit through this entire video. When Nathan was first diagnosed I went straight to You Tube to find out what we were in for. Unfortunately, You Tube will not allow me to publish this video until I can separate it into 10 minute segments. At least I found out that Vimeo has no limitations on length. My hope is that someone, somewhere will find this video useful.

PS. If you make it to the end, try not to laugh. Know that, even though I am good, I am not really this fast.

UPDATE: I originally wanted send you all over to read Ronnie's "Top Ten Reason's I Prefer Hand CPT to the Vest". I am in no way saying that I am giving up fighting with the insurance company to have them cover a Vest for Nathan's but it is nice to know how an adult CFer feels about CPT, especially the fond memories of family members pounding on his chest.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday



Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

My neighbors very generously gave us one week passes to this place.
Photobucket

We actually received passes for our entire family, including Nathan, but we were so excited that we just had to call Grandma E to babysit while we enjoyed the spa by ourselves, husband and wife.

The day arrived, the first day of our week long pass, and we donned our gym apparel and packed our gym bag with bathing suits for our post workout soak in the hot tub and swim in the pool. While packing the gym bag I most certainly opted for a real gym bag, my college Rugby duffel bag, or even a bag from the supermarket. There is no way I am so much of mama that I grabbed our diaper bag and shoved our bathing suits in.

If I had used the diaper bag as a gym bag, I would have removed all baby related items including diapers, wipes, etc. Regardless, our workout was terrific. We are not terribly out of shape ever since our first pregnancy with Nathan. Jay did not hold onto the treadmill for dear life.

After running on the treadmill and lifting some weights, we each headed to our appropriate locker rooms to change into our swimsuits. After changing into my tankini top, I did not grab my belly band thinking it was my tankini bottom. Really in the mood to soak in the jacuzzi and sit in the sauna and knowing my husband was waiting on the other side of the locker room, I did not know what to do. I did not pretend my black and white tankini top matched my turquoise gym shorts. Not me! I would not wear sweaty gym shorts in the jacuzzi.

It did not dawn upon me the moment I stepped back into the locker room that I had no dry shorts to drive home in. Quickly I devised a plan which did not involve the borrowing of a towel from the spa. This plan also did not involve the temporary dropping of my drawers for the duration of the car ride.

PS. I also did not get extreme satisfaction from walking into the bathroom twice seeing my husband scraping poo from the cloth diapers into the toilet. This was the first time he ever attempted dunking the diapers and the look of disgust on his face was priceless. What wife would get so excited and fall more completely in love with her husband just by the sight of him cleaning dirty cloth diapers? Definitely Not Me!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Make your own baby wipe solution

I made cloth baby wipes out of flannel remnants and an extra flannel receiving blanket I had in this post. If you wanted to use cloth baby wipes with your cloth diapers (or disposable diapers) then you may also want to use your own wipe solution. This is not essential, we have been using paper towels and plain old water, however I prefer using a wipe solution.

There are many recipes you could use to make your own wipe solution. All you really need is a spray or squirt bottle, water, and whatever else you would like to add.

I did not want to purchase anything new so I found this squeeze bottle that I had gotten in the hospital when I had given birth to Nathan. I poured about 8 ounces of water, a tablespoon of olive oil, a squirt of baby wash, and a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the bottle. The oil separates so I will have to give it a quick shake before each use. Now I can have a pile of my cloth wipes next to the wipe solution and apply as needed. I can even pack it in the diaper bag. How fantastic!

baby wipe solution collage

Common {and not so common} ingredients used in baby wipe solutions:
1. Water, distilled water to prevent mold growth
2. Soap, baby shampoo, baby wash, or liquid soap
3. Oil, baby oil, mineral oil, olive oil, helps to slide the "you know what" off. I am not sure why I added this ingredient to Nathan's wipe solution. CF* poop is already extremely greasy. *Cystic Fibrosis
4. Vinegar, for an antifungal wipe solution
5. Tea tree oil, fragrant and antibacterial
6. Aloe vera gel, certain extracts are antibacterial and antifungal in nature, known for healing and soothing properties
7. Lavender oil, fragrant, soothing, relaxing
8. Calendula oil, cooling and soothing for dry skin and diaper rash
9. Lanolin, to soothe skin

Friday, October 23, 2009

Make your own cloth baby wipes

If you cloth diaper your baby, you may want to use cloth baby wipes.

I use both cloth diapers and sposies (disposable diapers) at different times. If you are accustomed to using disposable diapers and disposable wipes it becomes instinct to wrap the dirty wipe inside the dirty diaper and toss the whole thing into the garbage. The problem is that this instinct carries over to the cloth diapering world. Washing a load of cloth diapers with disposable wipes yields a very lint filled load of clean diapers.

What do you do with the dirty wipe when you are dunking the cloth diaper in the toilet? You can't flush it down, you can't let it sit in the bathroom trash, and you can't carry it across the house to the appropriate trash can.

Using cloth wipers and cloth diapers together makes life so much easier, and also reduces landfill waste! All you have to do is place both the cloth wipe and cloth diaper in the diaper pail (bag, container or whatever else you may use to store your diapers until wash time), launder as usual and enjoy clean wipes and clean diapers when done.

Did you know that disposable baby wipes can actually increase irritation caused by rashes? Perhaps this is the reason why hospitals do not supply disposable wipes when your baby is born.

Today, instead of working on our Halloween costumes, I spent a couple of hours making my own cloth baby wipes using some of the fabric in my scrap pile and one of the many flannel receiving blankets I own.

Would you like to make your own cloth baby wipes? Here is how to make 8 inch by 8 inch square baby wipes.

1. Gather your supplies. I would suggest using flannel fabric. The fabric shown in the photograph below is flannel. You can also cut up a flannel receiving blanket. I also grabbed my cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter (my quilting supplies always come in handy).

cloth baby wipes1

2. Make sure your fabric is ironed and make a straight edge by trimming. Then cut an 8 inch length of fabric.

cloth baby wipes2

3. Cut into 8 inch by 8 inch squares (or whatever size you want your wipes to be). Since I had a lot of this white dotted flannel, I used it for one layer of my two layered wipes.

cloth baby wipes3

4. You can use the same fabric for both layers or you can cut 8 inch squares out of different fabrics. Place fabric wrong sides together so the pattern faces out and zig zag stitch around the edges.

5. You can also zig zag stitch around a single layer of fabric. If you are using material that is thinner than flannel I would definitely recommend using two layers.

In a little less than two hours, taking breaks for lunch, bottles, dirty diapers, etc. I have 16 new cloth baby wipes.

cloth baby wipes4

Thursday, October 22, 2009

caught in the act

I caught Nathan in the act of eating cake off the table here, and yesterday I caught him again. Only this time, the scenario is much worse.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I rounded the corner only to see my charming son using a baseball bat as a plunger in the toilet. We always keep the lid closed but apparently he has discovered a way around that obstacle.

I wonder if this is any indication of his future profession. Maybe he will be a plumber, maybe he will be a member of the Yankees.

Plumber-1-2

One thing is certain. Being caught in the act does not deter Nathan from continuing to do the forbidden. I would definitely include "playing in the toilet" in the forbidden category, especially being that this is the toilet I use for washing his diapers.

Plumber-1-3-2

And look at that, he is in trouble and still flashes a smile for the camera.

PS. The lid of our toilet seat is really not as filthy as it looks. It appears the same even when scrubbed with a bleach solution.

...and the view from our deck this evening, Autumn Sunset

Sunset in October-1-2

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordful Wednesday {French Toast, Autumn Style}

This was initially a very Wordless Wednesday, but then I had to add a few words here and a few words there. Needless to say my Wordless Wednesday transformed into a Wordful Wednesday. This seems to happen alot.

Nathan loves French toast and so do I. I make him French toast almost every morning and sometimes in the afternoon. Today we decided to have our French toast Autumn style with a little orange food coloring and in the shape of Pumpkins of course!

Autumn French Toast-1-2

I also wanted to share an interesting tidbit regarding French toast that I learned from my father, Nathan's Grandpa Frank. Do the French call their toast, French toast? No, they do not! My father grew up across the big pond (the Atlantic Ocean), born in Morocco of a Spanish mother and Dutch father, educated in a French school. Anywho, he shared with me as a child that French toast is also called Pain Perdu, or lost bread. "Lost" bread (bread that is stale and hard) can be reclaimed and softened by dipping it in a mixture of milk and eggs and then frying.

I like my French toast soggy with a bit of vanilla, cinnamin, butter, and syrup. How do you enjoy your French toast?

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit SevEn cLoWn CirCus.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pow! Bam! Here comes Batman!

With Little Robin's costume nearly complete, I've decided to begin working on the Batman costume. Jay specifically requested me to make his costume as close to the original, classic, 1966, Adam West Batman. T minus 10 days until Halloween and still sew much to do!

Robin's vest still needs some sort of closure and a belt. I worked on Batman's cape pretty much all morning. Larger cape, more fabric, harder to work with, still no pattern. There is a lot of trial and error sewing going on around here...wind bobbin, thread machine, pin fabric, sew a bunch of stitches, rip those stitches out, sew some more, rip another few stitches... I finally compromised with my inner purrfectionista to just get 'er done, the cape will be worn for one day only.

I doubt I will have enough time to make my Catwoman costume nearly as awesome as Batman or Robin. I wouldn't be surprised if I just throw on some cats ears and purr the night away.



The list is long, Batman is far from done. I've yet to complete the cape and yet to begin the cowl, utility belt, gloves, or boots. Yawn, the list is exhausting. I will get it all done, maybe not to purrfection but Batman will make an appearance in good 'ole Lexington along with his sidekick Robin, and purrhaps Catwoman too.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jack-O-Lantern Cake

Things I learned from Cake {and Cookie} Boss Amanda: How to bake {and decorate} a cake.

1. Don't rush! After baking, freeze the layers for at least an hour and then level them.

Pumpkin cake-3-2

2. There may be a lot of cake scraps. Resist the urge to eat them.

Pumpkin cake-2-2

3. Use gel food coloring for brighter icing and cake colors but be forewarned that tasting leaves brighter evidence.

Pumpkin cake-9-3

4. Chilling the cake in the freezer in between steps makes it much easier to work with.

5. Learn the meaning of "crumb coat"* and be patient.

*One layer of icing to seal in the crumbs and freeze for another hour before applying final layer of icing.

6. Inform hubby beforehand which cupcakes will be needed and which cupcakes will be extras. This will avoid him grabbing {and eating} the ones you will be using. Good thing I made extra yellow cupcakes since apparently they looked the most delicious.

7. Decorating is difficult especially when using a Ziploc bag. But maybe this makes no difference.

8. Oooh and Aaah at the end result.

Pumpkin cake-5-2

9. Eat cake for breakfast just because you can't wait to slice into the Jack-O-Lantern and see the candlelit surprise inside.

Pumpkin cake-46-2

10. Share cake with family and friends and avoid the scale for at least one week after baking something so scrumptiously delicious.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gro Baby Bio soakers

The Natural Baby Co is going to send me one of their Gro Baby Bio Soaker intro packages for sharing their wonderful product with you all! Breathable, hypo-allergenic, fragrance free, dye free, plastic free, chlorine free! Could a diaper be any better? Yes! Bio soakers are also biodegradable and compostable!

What are Gro Baby Bio Soakers?
Bio Soakers are their new environmentally friendly disposable insert for cloth diapering on the go.

The lining is supersoft, natural, and compostable! The core is biodegradable and while most other diapers contain between 10 and 20 grams of SAP gel, Bio Soakers contain only 3 grams! The outer portion is waterproof and all natural too! Made especially for the Gro Baby system, all you have to do is remove soiled Bio Soaker and replace with a fresh one as needed.

I use the Gro Baby system in addition to several other types of cloth diapers and am really excited about the potential of the Bio Soakers. If you would like to learn more about Gro Baby, click here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Breathe Song Event

This is too good not to share.

I discovered this music video from CFer Ronnie over at Run Sickboy Run. I read Ronnie's post and then clicked over to CFVoice.com.

What is the Breathe Song Event?

The Breathe Song Event pays tribute to Matt Scales, an English rocker who died from Cystic Fibrosis. "Three U.S. singers with Cystic Fibrosis join the late Matt Scales in an inspiring remix of [his] song, “Breathe.” Matt’s song explores the uncertainly of living with cystic fibrosis, and the hope that colored his days. His musical legacy lives on in a remarkable CF event sure to touch the lives of everyone who experiences it." (CFVoice.com)

View the trailer below and then click here to visit CFVoice.com and watch the complete video. I am currently playing it over and over and over (and maybe shedding some tears in the process). You won't regret watching the video, in fact I am willing to bet this song will be stuck in your head too.




Breathe
By Matt Scales
(June 6, 1979 - April 21, 2007)

Through my eyes
I see you
Staring at me
All the time.
So I wish
That it would leave
My body.

I wish I could breathe
Like you, oh, breathe
I know the answer’s out there.
So won’t you help me, please?

Chorus:
Then one day I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe, I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe like you.

Then one day I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe, I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe like you.

I see the future.
It seems so clear.
That one day I’ll breathe like you.

Then I think that
I’m all right
But it keeps changin’
Like the weather.

It’s not up to me
How I feel
How I feel
Inside.

I wish I could breathe
Like you, oh, breathe
I know the answer’s out there.
Won’t you help me, please?

Chorus:
Then one day I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe, I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe like you.

Then one day I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe, I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe like you.

I see the future.
It seems so clear.
That one day I’ll breathe like you.

I wish I could breathe
Like you, oh, breathe
I know the answer’s out there.
Won’t you help me...please?

Cause one day I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe, I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe like you.

Then one day I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe, I’ll breathe
I’ll breathe like you.

I see the future.
It seems so clear.
That one day I’ll breathe like you…like you.

Original “Breathe” Composition © 2006 Matt Scales and Barnaby Pinney.

Here we go again

This is very familiar territory. I have gathered all the necessary paperwork for the mortgage company, again. I did this for Flagstar more than once and now I am sending our papers to our new mortgage company, Nationstar. Please pray that they find us eligible for Making Home Affordable Loan Modification and please pray that this happens quickly.

mortgage-1-2 copy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top Ten Items Recently Found in Nathan's Toy Basket

1. Dust pan
2. Grandma E's tea cup
3. Remote control
4. Used nebulizer cup & mask
5. Multiple spoons
6. My cell phone
7. DVD, scratched
8. A few toys
9. Sippy cup and binkies, saved for later

And last but not least...
10. My munchkin

Inside toybox-1-2

Anything Nathan finds remotely interesting usually ends up in this basket. At least I know where to look when something goes missing.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

also known as

Nathan, also known as Hurricane Nathan, Tornado Nathan, Taz {Tasmanian devil}, Destructo Junior, etc.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother cleaning the house in the first place. I am sure Jay thinks I never clean but I took some before and after photos one day as proof that the house was momentarily clean.

TV Room.
Living Room B&A

Playroom.
Playroom B&A

Kitchen.
Kitchen B&A

Living Room.
LivingRoom2 B&A

Keep in mind that our house looks more like the before photos most of the time but at least I have photographic proof that I do in fact clean up. Unfortunately it is a losing battle with my whirlwind of a son and his path of destruction.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

little red wagon

I have been wanting a little red wagon to pull my munchkin through the Autumn leaves of our neighborhood and I recently mentioned this to my father in law. When Grandpa Bill heard this desire of mine, he informed me of the little red wagon packed away in his basement that was used by my husband and his brothers when they were youngin's.

Somehow he managed to retrieve the little red wagon from the basement and deliver it to our house today. I was so excited and after a good wiping down, I took Nathan for a little Autumn stroll. Doesn't it look like Nathan approves of our new {to us} little red wagon?

Lil red wagon-2-2

By the way, the little red wagon is also great for holding the mail, and my keys, and my camera, and my water bottle, and Nathan's water bottle, and much much more.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

pumpkin patch

Autumn is probably my favorite time of the year. Mums on the porch {hopefully not eaten by deer}, colorful foliage, driving on roads covered in leaves, hearing the wind outside and seeing the leaves being blown around, and visiting the pumpkin patch.

Just last weekend Nathan took his first hay ride to the pumpkin patch at the farm.

pumpkin patch 1
pumpkin patch 2

The John Deere Tractor brought our hay {and people} filled wagon to pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin Picking-56

There were so many pumpkins to choose from but it did not take Nathan very long to make his decision.

pumpkin patch 3

The twenty pound pumpkin was a bit too large for him to carry but that didn't stop him from trying.

Pumpkin Picking-54

While walking around the costume shop, my hat hating son decided to make a liar of me by trying on not only one but two separate hats.

pumpkin patch 4

Both hats stayed on his head long enough to take a few photographs but trust me he hates hats on his head.

We ate our cotton candy and apple cider donuts and before leaving we just had to see how Nathan measured up.
Pumpkin Picking-99
Looks to be about 2 1/2 feet, to me.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Autumn weekend. Today, I am looking forward to playing with Nathan in the fallen leaves and having the television connected!