Comfort for miscarriage

I’m over at Natural Parents Network today sharing from my personal experiences with miscarriage and how to help another who might be going through the same.  Head on over and check it out!

5 Ways to Comfort a Friend After a Miscarriage (Laura B.)

Photo Credit: Elmo_Malik4ever

Nothing in this life is certain . . . we all know that. Unfortunately, even pregnancies are not certain to end with a perfect, healthy baby in our arms. I’ve had a lot of unwanted experience with miscarriage, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and my husband in those times.

If you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, it’s hard to fully empathize with their feelings. If you know someone who is dealing with a miscarriage, there are ways to support them without overstepping.

Today I’m sharing five ideas on how to help comfort a friend who has experienced pregnancy loss at my post on Natural Parents Network: 5 Ways to Comfort a Friend After a Miscarriage.

Checking in!

Oh this week.  I’m incredibly grateful for all the people who stopped by, called or texted to see how we are doing after burying Nunzio.  It will be a full week tomorrow and I think it is safe to say that we are all doing well, except our poor Vito.  He isn’t the most active of dogs, but he’s just extra sad and lost lately.  As I type this, I’m waiting for a package of special doggie dental spray to arrive.  I’m trying to make sure his health doesn’t fall by the wayside in these years of small children who demand much attention, and I noticed a spot on his lower gum that freaked me out.  And I’m already planning his Christmas stocking.  Poor puppy hasn’t gotten to have anything other than rawhides for Christmas (or his birthday for that matter!) because Nunzio would shred all the toys that we got him.  So my sweet Snuggle Pug is going to get his moment in the attention spotlight, I think!

Did you order your copy of Whitney’s new book yet?  It’s $14 on Amazon right now! I tried two of her recipes on Sunday to honor my mother’s birthday (it’s a yearly tradition to celebrate the life that was lived so we can keep her memory alive for the sake of my children who never got to meet her).  My goodness.  I just ate the last of the Farfalle with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Bacon for lunch.  And yes, I did wait to eat until the kids were in their rooms for quiet time so I wouldn’t have to share.  I did share the Chocolate-Swirl Pumpkin Gingerbread, though.  That recipe made an amazingly moist and decadent 9×13 pan of cake.  I sacrificed my fear and loathing of molasses to make this cake and do not regret it one bit!  So good.  So good that if I hadn’t given away half the cake, I would be in trouble.  Tonight, we are having the Curry and Yogurt Roast Chicken and later in the week her Crispy Polenta with Sausage and Fresh Tomato Ragu.  It’s a good food week here!

Next week, I’m trying a few recipes from either Pinterest or the Pioneer Woman’s second cookbook.  Liam has been in Occupational Therapy for a while now and our therapist pointed out to me that if he is ever going to get over his oral aversions to certain textures, I am going to just have to keep exposing him to food, even if he fights me on it.  So I’m learning to adapt our supper menu so that I get to try new meals, but there is always a familiar element in case Liam can’t handle something.  Case in point: the Pumpkin Farfalle.  He cannot handle bacon no matter how it is cooked.  There is real gagging and throwing up so when I cooked the meal, I made sure to set aside the bacon until I had dished his meal out and then added the bacon to the rest.  I also added in grilled chicken and peas to the meal and am proud to report that he ate 6 peas that night.  He didn’t gag at all, so I have good news to report to our therapist that after 3 years of working with him, he ate the peas.  He didn’t choke (which I think is the main concern for him) and they tasted sweet.

We are currently in the full swing of soccer academy for Liam.  He loves it.  As in, he pestered me daily until the program started and now counts the sleeps until the next practice/game day.  As a parent and someone who used to work in supplemental education, I think the set up is fantastic.  The kids all meet at the field twice a week for 1 hour.  The first half hour is spent focusing on a particular skill and they rotate through stations to do skill specific drills.  Then, they divide into teams and have two games against each other, rotating teams once.  I had been running drills with Liam since last summer when he showed interest in the sport, and although he has the skills, he’s not an aggressive player.  So he participates wholeheartedly when the mood strikes and the rest of the time (largely during the game portions) he’s running around and checking out his shadow in the setting sun.

Matt is done with golf league for the year, Praise the Lord.  Our Monday nights were loooooong this summer.  And we did not eat well.  Lots and lots of scrambled eggs and bagels those nights.  I think he really enjoyed the opportunity to get out with the guys and do something HE enjoys even though I really had to push him to sign up.  Now his Fall has already been filled with some freelance work building websites and a really neat opportunity to design the concept art for his former roommate’s movie script.  Every time I see something my husband draws I am just blown away by the skill.  It’s phenomenal!

As for me, I’m just keeping my head above water.  MOPS begins in a month and I’m very excited for the year to begin.  I’m still freelance writing and learning a lot through my research.  I finally have a comfortable home schedule and spend a lot of time with my little bestie, Sylvi.  She is growing up so quickly and is promised a big girl bed as soon as she stays dry through the night.  She is dressing herself pretty well and has finally learned how to put her own underwear on!  There were so many funny, funny moments when she was learning! She misses Liam terribly when he’s at preschool and is just desperate to play soccer with him, so I’m trying to figure out a good balance to help her feel grown up, but still my baby!

So that’s what we’re up to!  My quiet time was short-lived today, so it’s back to reality for me.  Good thing I already cleaned up the evidence of my lunch! 😉

Power!!

Cranberry Power Muffins at Natural Parents Network

Natural Parents Network: Cranberry Power MuffinsI have a post today at Natural Parents Network with a recipe for “Cranberry Power Muffins.”

I keep muffins on hand in our home as a quick and healthy afternoon snack for my little ones who love baked goods. I’ve worked on this recipe so that it brings in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. The grains fill you up, and the protein gives you that staying power to make it through the next workout, nursing session, or afternoon playdate.

The muffins are amazing right out of the oven and freeze well in case you like to batch cook. And thanks to all the substance in the batter, these muffins travel very well to family reunions and brunches. Enjoy!

Continue reading at Natural Parents Network ››

Puppy Love

I didn’t think I would be writing this post for a few years. Today I had intended to write a post about sewing dresses for Sylvi’s winter wardrobe.  Instead, I’m going to tell you a very sad tale about our sweet dachshund.

Matt and I found Nunzio at the county pound a month after we got married.  We had gone to purchase a lawn mower and pulled off at the pound to see what they had because we had been talking puppy since before we even bought our home. And there she was, a tiny little baby shivering in the bottom corner of her cage with her sister. They had been found in a ditch a few days prior and although I wanted to take her home that instant, we had to wait 3 more days to make sure no one claimed her. On the following Tuesday, we arrived, dog carrier in hand ready to take our baby home. She joined Vito, who had come home the night before from a “first time breeder” (read: family with purebred pugs who happened to have a litter and wanted to start a business).

The next day, I noticed that Nunzio had thrown up a lot in her crate and mentioned it to the vet at the lab where I was working.  Matt took Nunzio to our vet that afternoon while I was at the lab and he told Matt that the miserable little baby had parvo and he recommended putting her down to spare us all the trauma of having a very ill pet and then her dying.  I fought for her and since I knew how to start ivs and monitor her stats, we kept her at home and took care of her. By the end of the weekend, she was running around again, a scrawny but chipper puppy.  Our vet has always said that Nunzio beat the odds by not only finding a family, but she found a family that just wouldn’t let her quit when she was so sick and loved her enough to help her get healthy.

In the last 8 years, Nunzio has become an indispensable  member of our family. When my mother died, I came home from the hospital and held Nunzio until my tears ended for that moment. All those nights up with babies? Nunzio would get up with me every. single. time. She would lay on the floor at my feet while I nursed, burped, soothed, rocked and wished for more sleep.  When Liam had colic, Nunzio would lay under pillows on the couch and look at me with her giant puppy eyes as if to say she understood I was miserable, but she didn’t so much like the noise.  Nunzio allowed Sylvi to kiss and love all over her as soon as she was moving independently.

In the last 6 months, things have changed with Nunzio.  She stopped coming to sleep in our bed because she couldn’t jump up on it.  She started wanting to spend all her time outside on the patio in the sun. Then, her pain level seemed to increase. She hasn’t been able to climb up on low furniture, going up and down the two steps to the back yard was hard for her and she now is refusing to eat or drink. I have been taking her to the vet for Cortizone shots to keep the pain manageable, we’ve made trips to chiropractors, I’ve tried homeopathics, ice, heating pads and just love. Her painful episodes are getting more and more frequent, so much so that in the last 3 weeks, she’s only been able to walk for a collective 8 days.

And then yesterday, we woke to a very ill dog.  Bodily fluids were all over my living room. And I knew.  I had really hoped that she would pass in her sleep; that this level of suffering would not continue.  I called our vet… they are practically on speed-dial at this point. The nurse listened to me cry and cry and offered to schedule me right away, but I still needed to talk to my mother-in-law and my husband.  While wondering if we should wait it out and see if she pulled out of this episode, I watched her snap at and bite Sylvi who was sitting next her kissing her forehead gently. This was the second unprovoked snap at Sylvi in the morning and I couldn’t even bring myself to reprimand Nuznio.  How can you when a precious member of your family is suffering that much?

Today, I’ve said goodbye to my little Puppy Love. Nunzi.  Nunzle-nuz.  Nunzio Carmela Contrascheri Burns.   I can’t believe this day has come so quickly and in such a sad manner.  I had never imagined that it would come this way.  I’m no stranger to death or tragedy, but it’s so sad when it’s your precious baby.  Tonight will be  the first of many nights that I have to put my children to bed without my puppy shadow.  We will miss you, sweet puppy!

More potty talk

Oh the bathroom… do you feel that as a parent you spend so. much. time. in there?!  I have two kiddos and I promise you, some body is always announcing a need for the potty. Since I spend so much time in there, I decided this past Spring it was time for a facelift.  I painted all the cupboards and the air vent white, replaced the hardware and updated the pretties.

Since I’m always in there (seemingly), I manage to keep up with the cleaning while I wait.  I will tell you that I’m a pretty fussy bathroom cleaner, though.  And yes, I always leave the toilet seat up.  See that nifty potty seat, there?  It hides in the lid with a super strong magnet and I’ve discovered if I want my kiddos to develop independence, making it easy for them to get themselves situated is the best route.  So the stool and the potty seat remain for the foreseeable future. Please ignore the hideous grout, though.  I’ve tried everything and apparently you can’t clean 60 years worth of yuck off old grout.  So… I guess we’ll have to re-do it.  Maybe.

I’ve been wanting one of those Mason Jar Soap Dispensers I saw all over Pinterest or Etsy, but wasn’t willing to pay the price (plus shipping), so I gave up my favorite Mason Jar that I found in the attic of our first house and tend to use as a vase, as the soap dispenser base. Since I have black frames in the bathroom, I found a black pump to match.  The tubing had to be trimmed to fit the right length, but the only other piece needed was a canning lid and ring.  I spray painted those glossy black, drilled a hole in the top of the jar lid and hot glued the pump to it.  Easy-peasy, Lemon-squeezy!!

I found a pretty seersucker shower curtain at Kohl’s (which they apparently no longer carry, so I’m glad I bought it when I did!) and it was the simple update I was looking for.  I googled vintage butterfly prints for images to fill the frames in the bathroom… we’ve had photos of the Eiffel Tower in our bathroom since we got married… time for a change!

I’m undecided on painting the rest of the woodwork in the bathroom… on one hand, it would brighten up the room a lot and would so much nice, but on the other, it’s the bathroom where we spend much of our time and I’d probably had trouble keeping little hands out of the drying paint!  Eventually, it will probably get done, it’s just not my immediate to-do list.  Oh and I’d really like to replace the faucet handles.  A little “too” retro for my taste!

So what are you up to these days?  Any fun projects in your home?