Monday, November 26, 2012

Making Laundry Detergent...

I have had a lot of friends ask me recently about my laundry detergent!  How do you do it?  It is easy?  How does it smell so good?  I figured, why not put all of the questions to rest, and show you just how easy this actually is!  I did some research a long time ago at homemade detergent recipes for an HE washing machine. This one is the easiest and best I have found.  Are you ready to see just how easy it is???

1 bar of Ivory Soap with Aloe
1 Cup of Borax
1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

That's it!  This is so incredibly cheap to make, and I can make it in about 5 mins or less!  Here is what I do...
I use my food processor to shred the soap.  Then I add a cup of each Borax and Washing Soda.  Run the processor again, and put into my container!

Borax - $3.99/box
Washing Soda - $3.29/box
3 Pack Ivory Soap with Aloe - $1.07 

The Aloe Ivory makes the detergent smell good! 

I don't own a fancy food processor... $25ish at Walmart!  It works great though! 

 Using processor to shred soap!

1 Cup of Washing Soda 

 1 Cup of Borax

 Run processor to mix together...

 I use a yogurt container that I covered with pretty scrapbook paper to hold my detergent!

1 Tbspn of detergent per load!  


 - Jessica

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stationery card

Our Moments Christmas Card
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Strong Enough

I was told about this song by my best friend.  The next day, I was reminded of this song by a family member.  If you haven't heard it yet... it's called "Strong Enough" by Matthew West.

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through

Well, forgive me

Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be

everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

That is just the first verse and chorus, but I like the words to the entire song.  The last month has been a downhill run straight into a tree for me.  One bad day after another, and suddenly my life seems to have crumbled around me.  I don't consider myself a pessimist, I prefer to call myself a realist.  I would prefer not to get my hopes up about something and be let down.  So, I focus on the reality of each situation.  I have been going through 2 very tough situations over the last few weeks... and the reality is... things will never be the same.  For someone who hates change, that isn't something exciting.

Most of my blog readers are aware of the issues going on with Brady.  I have been an open book with most everything there.  Information, my emotions, and updates on progress have been written and shared.  However, the other heartbreak in my life is not one I have talked much about.  I think writing about it, might make me cope with it a little better.  
Most of my life my mom and I didn't get along.  We didn't just "butt heads", we ran into each other at full speed and split heads!  Growing up, I was what one might call... independent!  I wasn't fond of being told what to do.  My mother was a frequent order giver in my life, and I rebelled as often as possible.  It wasn't really until I got pregnant that things really changed.  Getting pregnant will make just about anyone grow up.  I did some soul searching and found that I didn't like the person that would be Abbie's mom.  While I was far from perfect, I at least made some personality and character upgrades.  One of these upgrades was my respect for my mom.  I think on the brink of becoming a mom, you tend to find a new respect for yours.  When I ended up on bed rest at 32 weeks pregnant, my mom was there for me.  She came over after work EVERY day and did whatever needed to be done.  Laundry, cleaning, made dinner, and we did a lot of talking.  I went into labor 4 times total, and she was at the hospital each time.  In fact, I believe she drove me there each time!  She held my hand through long nights of hard labor, and kept me calm.  When Abbie arrived, mom stayed with us for a week.  Helping out and making it so much easier for me to recover from my surgery!
I developed the relationship with her that I had always wanted... a friend.  While being friends with your mom can cause some arguments (especially when you are raising your first child) we had a good relationship.  Things changed slightly when I moved to Richmond, VA, over a year ago.  She was sad to see us leave, but quickly began visiting as often as possible.  She was the only family member at the hospital when Brady was born.  She happened to be visiting for the weekend, and I went into labor a few hours before she arrived.  She held him for a bit, and headed to the house to be with Abbie.  Again, she stayed for a week, and provided more assistance than I can ever thank her for.  When she went home... everything changed.
She and my stepdad, Scott, filed Separation Papers in March.  She met someone while taking a trip to Israel and a relationship began.  I didn't meet Ken until September.  We were visiting Greensboro for a family wedding and it just so happened to be the weekend of my mom's birthday.  We were celebrating 50 years of mom, but she was also celebrating her new engagement.  It wasn't long before there was a date set, and the news of her moving to Utah shattered my world.  In the midst of dealing with everything going on with Brady... I didn't know what to do with all of it.  Her last day at work was Friday, and her moving truck is now packed.  She will turn her apartment keys in tomorrow morning, and head to Utah.  
It feels like a death.  
While I like Ken, and am glad that my mom and he are happy... I feel like I am losing something I missed out on most of my life.  I will see her a few times a year, but nothing like before.  I have made every attempt at "being an adult" that I can, but each time I talk about it, I cry.  Between crying over Brady and my mom... I believe I am all crying out for 2012!  Thankfully the year is drawing to a close!  As Thanksgiving approaches, I am trying to be only grateful, and not focus on the negative... but my heart is sad.  
I have a long history dealing with depression.  Clinical & Post Partum depression darken my past.  If you have ever suffered from depression, or known someone who has... you know how evil it is.  It sucks you in like a black hole, and you beg for it to spit you out.  I am fighting it with every bone in my body.  Matthew West sings "You must think I'm strong, to give me what I'm going through"... and I guess God thinks I am a soldier!  I pray that he gives me the strength to get through all of this.  I know I can get through it, and come out the other side stronger than ever, but it takes time.  

Please pray for my mom and Ken as they began their drive across the country tomorrow, and start their own journey together.  I wish them the best.  Please keep me in your prayers as well.  Fighting depression takes an army of prayer warriors, and I appreciate everyone praying for me...

 - Jessica

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Therapy 101

Wearing the Elbow Immobilizer...
I haven't written an update on how either form of therapy is going, and I figured I should before I forget any of the information!  Brady has begun 2 different types of therapy.  Occupational Therapy, focusing on feeding, and Physical Therapy, focusing on left side mobility.  Physical Therapy is once weekly, and Occupational Therapy is every other week.  We got linked with these therapists through Chesterfield Early Intervention.  This is a program that is free to eligible people in our county.  The HUGE upside to this versus private therapy (besides the bill) is that the therapists work with your child in your home.  It really makes the whole situation tolerable and much easier.  They can show me what to do with things I already have around my house, and I can continue working with him on things they have as well! 
Occupational Therapy was first.  Debra is our therapist, and she came to the house on Election Day!  She came at 330, and Brady is usually eating a bottle, but I fed him solids so that the session wasn't a wash!  She watched and gave me pointers on how to increase the use of his tongue and lips while he eats.  Strengthening his muscles in his mouth is important and should help him learn to swallow his food better.  Swallowing anything but a smooth puree to this point has been a challenge for him.  Children who have the brain condition, Lissencephaly, as Brady does, often struggle to swallow food.  She brought a NUK brush, which is basically a round and rubber toothbrush.  We have been working with it each night.  The hope is that when he puts it into his mouth, he will move his tongue toward it.  We have also increased the "lump" in his food.  It is no longer completely smooth.  We don't blend it as long, but still use the same water amount.  This way the food is thicker without being sticky!  Our next step will be to begin adding crumbled graham crackers and things to food to try and increase lump!
Physical Therapy began November 9th.  We have had 2 sessions and things have been hard!  Our first session was basically just feeling everything out.  Checking to see what exactly Brady does in an hour, and how he does it.  The second session was when the work began!  There has been talk of casting Brady's good arm, his right arm, so that he learns to use his other arm more.  However, he isn't an unsupported sitter just yet, so this isn't possible.  So we did the next best thing, which I actually think is better!  The therapist brought an Elbow Immobilizer.  It's a simple brace type wrap that prevents him from bending his right arm.  He cant bring things to his mouth, reach for things close to his face, or bear any weight on it.  He wore it for 10 minutes before he finally had enough.  I was so proud of him for going that long, and so was the therapist!  After that it was all downhill!  He had used his left arm so much (and never really uses it at all) that you could physically see his exhaustion.  Tummy time was a bit of a wash, and he finally melted down enough that I put him in the crib!  He slept for 2 hours!
Cutting teeth is killing us right now.  Brady has 4, that's right... 4, teeth coming in at the same time on the top.  You can tell he is in pain.  He has run a constant low grade fever for 4 days now.  Thank God for Tylenol & IBprofen!  He is up for 2 or 3 hours in the night, and unfortunately, so are we!  This added to the challenge of therapy this past week.  I am hoping that the teeth all break the gums completely before tomorrow night.  BIG DREAMS!  Because of Thanksgiving, we have Physical Therapy again this Monday afternoon, and Occupational Therapy on Tuesday.  Hoping both go well, and that I have my happy and sweet baby boy back by then!

 - Jessica