Friday, April 26, 2013

Love for Lucas

My sweet little nephew passed away yesterday from complications with Evan's Syndrome, a very rare autoimmune disease. He was only 21 months old. For the past seven months his body attacked his own platelets and neurtraphils, and  just recently his red blood cells. He was hospitalized last week with a high fever, heart rate, and listlessness. His health quickly and unexpectedly declined. 
Lucas stopped breathing in the night on Monday and was put on a breathing machine. The low platelet count (1) caused over 100 bleeds in his brain. Doctors tried to relieve pressure, but one of the large bleeds was too close to his brain stem. Lucas never woke up. On April 25, 2013, all his family gathered and sang to him while his 3-week old baby brother laid in the crook of his arm. A short while later his loving parents held him as they removed life support and he peacefully passed. Lucas' kidneys were donated and we are so happy for the family that will have more time with their loved one. 
We are at peace in knowing that he is made whole and with God again. We are praying for continued peace in the hours and days to come. Peace “which passeth all understanding” from the Lord, who promised, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. … Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Philippians 4:7; John 14:18, 27).

I am starting the Love for Lucas campaign to honor this Sweet Boy. 
Some dear friends of mine made pledges of things they were going to do to honor Lucas. Ideas include: take your kids for a walk, find joy in the little (and unpleasant) things, be more patient, show kindness to a stranger, whatever you feel inspired to do in Lucas' name!

I pledge to show my Love for Lucas by taking more time to get down on the floor and play with my kids and speaking more softly.

Eventually I would like to make a book for my sister and brother-in-law documenting all the 
Love for Lucas pledges, showing the impact his short life has made. Please leave a comment here or on the facebook page of what you will do to honor him. 

Let's overwhelm his parents with love and support. 
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
{I sent this picture of Lukie and I snuggling to my sister when she was 
at the hospital having Levi a few weeks ago}

We love you Lukie Luke! I am so grateful for the day I got to have you in my home when Levi was born. Til we meet again at Jesus' feet. I carry your heart in mine. 

With Love,
Auntie Kerstin

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two Years

As this time of year approaches, I have been reflecting on the past two years and how my life has changed, how I have changed. I spent a good part of 2011 in a fog while I was learning how to handle my grief. There were days that I let feelings of envy, or thoughts that not many people truly understood me, creep in and take over. And there were days that I overcame those thoughts with God's grace. And here I am two years past the thick of it, with further perspective. 
I still go back to this quote by Annie Swetchine that got me through my heartaches, "Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all." Statistically speaking, I knew I would encounter women who have been through the same thing I have. I already have. And I was able to understand them. I was able to listen and share, like the women who did that for me when I was going through it. It is important to me that I come full circle. I think the biggest thing I have realized is that we all are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. When we get to the other side of our trial, it is much easier to see how the "dark" is necessary to help us appreciate the "light." 
I have written many posts about my thoughts as I have sought personal growth while my heart was healing. I learned to be more thoughtful. But I need to be even more thoughtful. I have learned to be more grateful, but I can be even more grateful. I learned how to pray with fervor, but I can pray more. I can continually strive to be better, to do better. It's one thing that I can do to honor my babes in heaven. 
Quotes found on my Be Inspired pin board here
An update post coming soon. No, we didn't fall off the face of the earth. ;)

Monday, September 17, 2012


You know it's your third kid when you lose track of how many weeks he is and already go by months. With Bree and Bryce I knew how many weeks they were like I knew how many weeks I was pregnant. Brady Boy is 3 1/2 months old already and such a sweetheart. He is happy and content 99% of the time. The 1% of unhappiness accounts for being overtired and needing to let us know he isn't happy about it. 

Braden doesn't like his arms swaddled anymore, unless he is taking a nap in his swing. He wore this bow tie that matches Bryce's tie to church. Baby in a bow tie=I can't handle the cuteness. 

Bree started 1st grade. I was worried about the transition from half to full day. No need, she loves it. She's doing great. Piano, dance, and homework keep her busy but she still has plenty of time to play and she's the best dish towel folder ever! 

{on her first day of first grade}

Bryce "broke his hair." I attempted to give him a much needed trim and everything was fine until he saw that his hair was coming off his head. Then he flipped out saying his "hair is broken!" I was trying to be sympathetic but I could not stop laughing. Considering that this will be just one of many haircuts to come I had to do whatever I could to keep him from being traumatized. Four suckers, a spray bottle and a buzz cut instead of a trim, but we survived. After his nap that day he pointed at me and said "You ruined my hair!" That kid is so funny! Even today if you asked him about his hair he would tell you it is "broken."
{here I am asking pre-buzz cut trying to convince him to let me finish}

I don't know where the summer went. Not only is it September, but it's already mid-September. The past month has been a busy one. Can you feel the air a bit crisper?! I can't wait for soup and the pumpkin patch! Happy Fall y'all! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pectin-free Raspberry Jam

I made Raspberry Jam and now I just need some homemade bread to put it on. Nice and warm from the oven, please! Here's the recipe in case you want to make some for yourself. It's easy. I promise.
9 cups crushed berries I pureed them in my food processor, but you could use a blender or potato masher. I bought 6 (12 oz.) containers of berries and we had some leftover to eat. The kids already ate all of them--little berry monsters!!!
6 cups sugar Yes, this is a lot of sugar but it's not like you are going to be drinking the stuff. You might want to, but don't. 

1. Bring the berries and sugar to a boil on the stove top while stirring. Continue cooking 10+ minutes to gelling point and keep stirring. Remove from heat. 
2. Ladle jam into warm, sterilized pint or half pint jars. Get the quilted ones if you want it to be pretty. 
3. Warm up the lids in hot water (to help them seal) and place them on top of the jar. Make sure you wipe away any jam that got on the jar. If it's sticky where the lid goes it won't seal. 
4. Place the jars in a water bath canner (or big soup pot). You need enough water to cover the jars by a few inches. Place the lid on the pot and wait until it reached a rolling boil. Once it does, set your timer for 15 minutes. 
5. Remove the jars and let them sit for 24 hours (until completely cool). You'll start hearing little popping noises. That means the jars are sealing! 
6. After they have cooled press down in the center of each jar. If it moves then it didn't seal. If there isn't any movement then you are good to go! The jam won't be as thick as if you used pectin, but it does set up more in the fridge. Whenever you open a new jar, make sure the lid is still sealed for safety. :) 
Yield: 13 half pints

Recipe from the Ball Blue Book

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

gDiapers Review

gdiaper Components:
grab a wave little gPants
The  selection of cute colors and prints come in newborn (tiny), 
small, medium, large, and extra large sizes. I'm lovin' the cuteness factor.
little gPant pouch
 gPant Pouches
(snap-in waterproof that goes inside the gPant--
the gPants come with 1 snap-in pouch)
gCloth inserts
  (reusable absorbent liner that goes inside the gPouch)
(disposable inserts that can be FLUSHED down the toilet!)
gCloth liners
gCloth liners
These look like a dryer sheet and can be used on top of a gCloth to catch #2. These are not absorbent, but can be flushed. Exclusively breastfed baby's #2  isn't so bad, so I have not used these yet.
gDiapers swishstick
Swish Stick
(used to break up the gRefill before flushing)

A typical day of diapering:
6:30 changed Braden's diaper into a gDiaper (gClothgPant, and gPouch)
8:00 changed the gCloth, reused the gPants and gPouch.
9:30 changed everything as a tiny amount of pee got on the gPant (but not on his clothes)
12:15 changed just the gCloth
2:45 changed just the gCloth
5:15 changed everything because it was a #2 (gCloth, gPant, and gPouch)
7 ish changed just the gCloth
9:00 switched to a disposable for now (I am using up what I have left at night because I don't have any doublers which are extra absorbent, bulkier cloths to use at night). I am in the process of getting some so I will come back to this.
10:00 started the small load of laundry using a Tablespoon or two of homemade Cloth Diaper detergent (see below)
In 1 day we used 
     3 gPants
     3 gPouches
     8 gCloths

The 411:
I would recommend at least 6 gPants and pouches, and 12 gCloths if you are planning on using them full time. You could certainly try them out first with one or two and a few cloths. You can't plan for small leaks or #2s and I want to change the whole thing with #2s whether there is anything on the gPant or not. 

There are a lot of pros. An obvious one is the cost factor. When you consider the amount you will spend on disposables, buying diapers that can be reused saves you lots of money. It is definitely more cost effective when you can use the system for more than one child. I wish I had found gDiapers when I had Bree six + years ago. 

Disposable diapers contain plastic so they don't break down for 500 years---I had no idea! Yikes! I love that I won't be contributing disposables to the land fills. 

They are easy to use with no snaps! Velcro is much easier to handle, especially when baby is wiggly. I love all the options (gCloth and/or gRefill with or without gLiners) and I love that they are breathable, which is better for baby's skin. And gDiapers are not bulky like some cloth diapers. 

The cons are that it obviously creates more laundry, and who actually likes to do laundry? But honestly, I don't really mind starting the wash before I go to bed. If I hang them to dry overnight, they are ready to use in the morning. I don't think I would have wanted to worry about washing inserts with a newborn, so I would use the gRefills instead. Braden is 2 months old and we are better adjusted for the extra chore. Since the gRefills can be flushed they are perfect for when we are out and about as well (no wet gCloths to trek around). I don't see using the gRefills at home beyond the newborn stage. 

Tips and Tricks:
I purchased all of mine new on Craigslist and ebay. Babies R Us carries them in store (don't forget your 20% off coupon!) Target and Walmart carry them online. And gdiapers has a website where you can buy products and watch videos on gDiapers. 

Homemade Cloth Diaper Detergent
1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax, and 1/2 cup baby oxiclean

I hang the gPants and pouches to try overnight. I throw the gCloths in the dryer because the process helps to make them more absorbent. You don't want to use regular laundry soap on the gCloths because the soap builds up in them and they become less absorbent. When you buy new ones follow the instructions of prepping them by washing without soap on hot and dry them three times. 

Some #2s will stain. I have found that soaking them in oxiclean has got them back to white. And the gCloths can be bleached by the sun. 

Bottom Line:
Win for Mother Earth, win for this Mama.