Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Little Things Thursdays: #92

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?

1. The Red Bridge
People snap padlocks onto the bridge to symbolize their love. 

On Sunday, we decided to play hooky from church and go explore the old Red Bridge. It was a perfect fall day, the trees were changing, and we wouldn't have to lug coats or even jackets with us. We decided to take advantage of it!
Ellie, Abby, Caleb, and Elijah

We spent time exploring the bridge, stomping through the leaves, and then headed to a nearby play area to let them finish running off energy.
Daddy and Ellie

Elijah...so cheesy!

Abby

Caleb

The kids did well with the adventure for the most part. Our only issue was when Caleb wanted to explore the train tracks and we wouldn't let him. It's that whole "oncoming locomotive" thing that kind of turned us off to the idea. In 25 years, when he is in therapy because "we never let him do anything fun", hopefully this will be sufficient documentation that we were only trying to keep him alive. *wink*

2. Costume Parade and Fall Party at School
I'll write an actual post about what the kids dressed up as for Halloween next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a few snapshots from their Costume Parade and Fall Party at school today!
Abby

Unfortunately, I only have photos of them during their individual Fall Parties. I thought the Costume Parade started at 11am. It didn't. It started at 10am. I'm so sad that we missed it. the principal told me that is was adorable, and I'm sure it was. Ugh...BUMMER!
Ellie

But at least they got back into their costumes for their parties! Each party was different, but in general they had snacks, dance parties, and movie watching. It was fun to see them enjoying themselves.
Elijah

The only downside of the Fall Parties? The fact that we have quadruplets. We needed to be in four different classrooms at the same time. :( We ended up spending 15 minutes in each classroom to try to get to all of the kids during the one hour Fall Party block. It felt a bit rushed and abrupt to us, but the kids were happy to see us when we walked into each of their rooms. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but it is what it is in this type of situation. I'm sure there are many more similar situations ahead of us. What is nice is that our kids will know this as their normal. And we will continue to do the best we can.
Caleb

3. Young Living October Order
I love having "Christmas" every month! I look forward to my order delivery every single time because I always have favorites in my box. I also try to always include one new item to try. This month, I added the Tranquil Roll On and the Deep Relief Roll On. I've heard good things about both, and wanted to check them out for myself! I also had two of the Christmas Roll On Collections in my order (Stress Away and Breathe Again), and all of the monthly freebies! The six oils sitting on top of the book in this photo? All free! :) And all gorgeous fall scents to celebrate my favorite season!

I also cashed in a bunch of my Essential Rewards points this month. I have my account signed up for the Essential Rewards program that lets me earn points back on what I buy. I had almost 300 points (that's about $300!!) in my account and decided to treat myself to a little FREE oily shopping spree! I went with some of the basic oils that I use the most: Lavender, Grapefruit, Thieves, and Peppermint. I also threw in a bottle of Dorado Azul that we really like for when we feel under the weather. Good stuff!

Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Meal Plan: 10/26-11/1


If you are looking for some of the strategies that help us decide what to eat every week, make sure you check out our Meal Tip Series!

Sunday: A friend surprised us by bringing over a pizza!
Monday: Baked Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Salad, French Baguette
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Ham and Egg Breakfast Burritos, Skillet Potatoes and Onions
Thursday: Sandwiches
Friday: Corndogs (It's Sonic's annual $0.50 corndog Halloween promotion!)
Saturday: Leftovers

What is on your menu this week? Leave me some inspiration!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Letters from Dad: #19

(Once a month, I invite Sean to take over the blog and write a little note to our kids. I love that he is willing to leave little nuggets of wisdom for them to look back on when they are older! While many of the posts on this blog are written to share our lives with you, the reader, Sean's "Letters from Dad" series is truly written to our kids. You are welcome to peek in and see what he wants them to know!)

Dearest Children,

This is the moment that you have been waiting for (and Mommy and her readers have been dreading). Which comics you should read first?

First, let’s discuss authors.  Here are Daddy’s favorites, and the particular runs that he loves:

·         Peter David
o   Incredible Hulk
o   X-Factor
o   Supergirl
o   Young Justice
o   Spider-Man
o   Spider-Man 2099
·         Kurt Busiek
o   Avengers
o   Iron Man
o   Spider-Man
o   Thunderbolts
·          Roger Stern
o   Avengers
o   Spider-Man
o   Captain America
o   Iron Man
o   Incredible Hulk
·         Mark Gruenwald
o   Captain America
o   Hawkeye
·         Steve Engelhart
o   Captain America
o   Avengers
o   West Coast Avengers
·         Ed Brubaker
o   Captain America
o   Batman
o   X-Men
·         John Ostrander
o   Star Wars
o   Heroes for Hire
o   Quicksilver

So now you know what authors and their runs I like, so where should you start? If you are looking for comedy (and let’s face it, you’re my children), you’ll want to start with Peter David. Warning, his early run on Spider-Man was more tragic than comedic. I’d start with Young Justice (or as Impulse says “Young Just Us”). It’s geared at a younger audience with the teenage superheroes of Robin, the Secret, Superboy, Impulse, and Wondergirl.

So let’s see what next… you all like Spider-Man so I would then do Kurt Busiek’s Untold Tales of Spider-Man before moving over to Roger Stern’s Spider-Man.

Next, you also love Captain America, so I would just read Daddy’s entire collection.

Other complete runs you should try out are Incredible Hulk, read it up until Peter David leaves, then skip all of the issues until Peter David comes back. The Greg Pak run afterwards is completely solid and so is the Mark Waid run.

Avengers is another title you can’t go wrong with. West Coast Avengers/Avengers West Coast is completely solid. There are a couple fill-in issues but they aren’t smacked in the middle of the story so they don’t take away. It might help if you weave the Avengers and West Coast Avengers in together. Also, when you get to Busiek’s run (skip the heroes reborn action) you’ll want to mix in Iron Man, Thunderbolts, Quicksilver, and Heroes for Hire. All those books are rather enjoyable.
So here is the thing, the authors that I listed have long lengthy runs for their titles. They were dedicated to their characters. Comics aren’t made like that these days. Everything is all limited series, and they want to limit the input that the creators have on the titles. It seems that these days, Marvel plans on relaunching their titles every year, so there isn’t as much cohesiveness.

Nowadays, I get my comics from the library, which means that I’m limited to individual stories instead of runs. That’s okay because comics are mostly written that way nowadays. You just have to realize the shift in how comic books are written over the years.

Maybe you’ll want to read the comics that I love or maybe you won’t. If you do want to read them, we’ll read them and enjoy the stories together. The same way, we snuggle up to watch our cartoons.
I’m glad that we can enjoy life together!

Love,

Daddy

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Little Things Thursdays: #91

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?

1. Camp Out
Elijah, Caleb, Ellie, and Abby

The kids LOVE their sleeping bags! Almost every single day, they pull all of them out and find different little spots to bed down in. I snapped this when all of the kids decided to have a camp out while watching a movie. It was so quiet...for about 30 seconds!

2. Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Elijah in the petting barn

Ellie scooping dried corn

I got to go on my first school field trip!!! Er...okay, my kids went on the field trip, and I tagged along (Seriously though, it was my first official school field trip. I was homeschooled! :) ).

Elijah and Ellie went last week, and Abby and Caleb went this week to visit the pumpkin patch! It was a really fun little outing with their classes. The kids learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin, took a hayride, crawled through an inflatable caterpillar, picked out their own pumpkin to take home, and more.

Abby waiting for her turn in the catepiller

Caleb and his teacher

Caleb and Mommy on the hayride

I was just glad that I was able to spend time with each kid and their class! Having the kids go on two different days ended up working out well for me logistically. Some of this quad mom stuff gets tricky!

3. Dinner Helper
I love that Elijah wants to help so much! Sometimes he wants to help too much, but his heart is in the right place! Tonight, he set the table and helped clean everything up after dinner. We didn't ask him to, he just volunteered. Then he figured out that he could lick the mashed potatoes spoon on the way to the sink. Hey, it was a well earned lick after all of his hard work!

4. What One Sister Does, the Other Does Too
Earlier this week, I asked Ellie if I could take a photo of her head for yesterday's post about her second hemangioma surgery. "Ellie? Is it okay if I take a photo of your head?"

She said that was fine, and the next thing I knew, Abby was standing right there saying, "Take a picture of my NOSE!" 
She must have thought that we were taking photos of random facial features. :)

5. Abby....LOL!
And lastly, I have to tell you this hilarious story from Abby's visit to the pumpkin patch. We were all standing outside of the petting barn while the farm guide was telling us the rules for touching the animals.

**Guide: You can feed almost all of the animals in the petting barn, but don't feed the rabbit! Everybody say, "Don't feed the rabbit!"

**Preschool Class: Don't feed the rabbit!

**Guide: Good! Now, we don't want to feed the Mini Horses either. They bite! Everybody say, "Don't feed the Horses!"

**Preschool Class: Don't feed the Horses!


**Abby: Don't count the sheep! Don't count the sheep! DON'T COUNT THE SHEEP!!!


I guess she didn't want anyone to take a nap? Lol!


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ellie's Second Hemangioma Surgery

It's been a full year since we started the process of removing Ellie's hemangioma and correcting the way her forehead looks. She just had her second surgery to further correct it, and the incision looks really promising!

But first, let's have a little recap (or you can click here for the longer version with photos):
Ellie: August 2013

Ellie was born with a hemangioma over her left eyebrow. They are fairly common in little kids, but the reason why you don't see a lot of them on adults is because most shrink and fade by the time kids reach kindergarten. We were seeing a pediatric dermatologist for a couple of years after Ellie was born to monitor how it was behaving. A few months after she was born, it ulcerated because of accelerated growth. The poor little girl was in SO much pain. I felt like the worst mother ever for not catching on right away to what was causing her so much discomfort. We were eventually able to clear it up by treating it twice a day at home (it was severely painful to her) and she was put on a drug called, Propranolol to help slow the growth. Unfortunately, when we she stopped taking it, her hemangioma immediately began growing again.

Something wasn't right, and all dermatology wanted to do was watch it.

So we took her for a second opinion with a plastic surgeon, and he immediately told us that it needed to be removed. Hemangiomas are benign tumors, and she had a sub-type that would grow continually until it was surgically removed.

I am SO glad that we went with our gut and looked for a second opinion!

Because of the location of the hemangioma and how large and deep it was, Dr. Andrews suggested a two-part surgery to give her the best chance of looking normal.

Last October, we had the first surgery which was the removal of the hemangioma. At the time, he used a "purse-string" closure to cinch the open wound closed. With the hemangioma taking up such a large part of her forehead, a straight suture would have permanently pulled her hairline down and her eyebrow up. Since we were going for a less-unique look, we definitely wanted to do the two-step surgery to help her look natural. It healed well, but the scar was large. Her hair covered it most of the time, but when she crinkled her nose or cried, it was very visible. So we knew we wanted to pursue the 2nd surgery for her.

And now you are officially caught back up!

Waiting in the hospital for her second surgery
We could have done the 2nd surgery 6-8 months after the first one, but it was recommended that we wait until summer was over. The sun can cause problems with healing scars, so we thought we'd wait until more time is spent indoors. With fall arriving, it was finally time to go back and finish what we started.
The scar from last year

The only problem with fall surgeries is that I knew we would be running the risk of Ellie getting sick with something. Sure enough, we very narrowly got to keep our surgery appointment.

Ellie thought that it was hilarious when the doctor drew on her head. She told him, "We draw on paper, not on people!" Her preschool teacher would be so proud that she remembers the rules. :)

Ellie always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to illnesses. She is our Baby D, was the smallest at 1 lb, 14 oz, has asthma, and deals with all of the other preemie lung stuff that my other kids deal with. She is always the first to get sick, and always gets the sickest out of the bunch. Every cold she gets ends up turning into something more and requires her albuterol inhaler, nebulizer, antibiotics, and steroids to clear her lungs again. Of course, she came down with a cold the Saturday before her Thursday surgery. She has been so healthy too!
Still laughing over the drawing

I REALLY didn't want to push the surgery off any longer. With her being in preschool and our insurance maxed out between my broken leg, multiple rounds of bronchitis, Elijah's split chin, etc, I wanted it done before January 1st rolled around.

The anesthesiologist asked if she would like some "candy gas." He scented her breathing mask with pink bubblegum lip balm and handed it to her so that she could smell it while they were wheeling her back. He was so great with her and took the scariness right now of the situation. Uh...who doesn't want to go get some candy gas?!

So I pulled out my essential oils and started oiling that girl down 3x a day, and prayed that they would provide enough immune support to help us. I'm happy to say that within 48 hours (on Monday), our surgery odds were improving! On Tuesday, I took her to the pediatrician to have her lungs checked, and he cleared her for surgery. When the anesthesiologist listened to her lungs on Thursday morning, there was no sign of the cold she had been battling over the weekend. Yay! Surgery was a go! We were going to get to cross this item off of our to-do list after all!
And then they gave her a hat! She was having a grand old time with all of her accessories by the time she left for the operating room. :)

The surgery was simply a scar revision. Because of the way the "purse-string" suture healed, Dr. Andrews cut all of that scar tissue out and turned it into a straight line suture. Something that will be a lot less visible and if necessary, can be easily covered with makeup as she gets older.

A little rough looking on the other side of surgery. The adhesive tape that they used over her eyes left its mark.

We've been warned that there is always a chance that it could grow back if the Dr missed any part of the tumor. He said that when he was in there, it looked good though. He also told us that he can correct the scar even further in the future if we want him to. Right now, the scar will be at a slant across her forehead, rather than the straight line he was hoping for. We really don't think that a 3rd surgery to fine-tune it will be necessary, but I've also been a 16-year-old girl, so I suppose we can address that in the future if it really bothers her. I think she will be just fine though. She is young and the scar should fade by the time it matters to the teenaged version of Ellie. For now, I'm calling this process complete.
Her eye brow will relax over the next few weeks as the skin heals. It will be a much smaller scar now.

With this surgery comes a major milestone for our family. This is the last of the preemie fixes that we needed to pursue, and we can move on to other things now. Granted, we will still be dealing with some residual preemie related issues (like Caleb's autism), but all of the major, fixable, specialist items have been checked off the list.

We. Are. DONE!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Meal Plan: 10/19-10/25


If you are looking for some of the strategies that help us decide what to eat every week, make sure you check out our Meal Tip Series!

Sunday: Homemade Mac & Cheese, Mixed Veggies, Rolls (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Ravioli, Salad, Biscuits
Wednesday: Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Thursday: Chicken Vindaloo (Indian curry dish), Tumeric Rice, Naan
Friday: Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup, Salad, Rolls
Saturday: Leftovers if we have a lot OR Homemade Pizza

What is on your menu this week? Leave me some inspiration!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Little Things Thursdays: #90

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new to our link-up, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, link-up below. If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a comment. Ready?

1. Birthday Hay Ride
The son of one of my good friends had a birthday party two weekends ago! He just turned one, and since they live on a farm, they had a good old fashioned hay ride/bonfire/farm theme! It's probably not right that I had as much fun as I did at a one-year-old's birthday party. :) The kids loved it too! Everything from roasting hot dogs, to climbing on hay bales, to riding in the wagon, to sneaking sugar cookies when I wasn't looking. I was especially excited to see Caleb loving every single moment of it. He ran around without a care in the world and soaked up every bit of his farm experience. So far, it's definitely been a highlight of our fall!

2. I Went to Branson, and All I Took a Picture of Was....
...these mini doughnuts. How SAD is that?

A friend and I have been talking about doing a girls' weekend in Branson (about 4 hours from where we live) for the last year and a half. We were supposed to go last fall, but she had a baby. We finally got to go last weekend, and it was SO fun! It was just the two of us, and we left the husbands at home with the kids. We went to Silver Dollar City to ride the roller coasters, took a tour of Marvel Cave, and checked out the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. It was a quick trip with us driving down on Saturday morning and heading back on Sunday afternoon, but we crammed a lot in!

As for the mini doughnuts, Sean and I have a bit of an inside joke about mini doughnuts and periodically buy them to munch on while watching movies. They are soooo bad for you, but they are kind of our "thing." So I took the photo of the mini doughnuts....and forgot to take a photo of Renee and I having a Mommy Vacation. I guess I was having too much fun to bother with a camera!

3. Elijah and His Exploration of the Girl's Side of the Closet
Uh....I really don't know what to say here other than that Elijah has taken a sudden liking to putting on the girls' dress up costumes this week. It's kind of hilarious because if you ask him if he feels beautiful, he answers, "yes" with a bashful look. Lol! Gotta love these preschool phases!

4. Expensive Stickers
Abby has a true love of stickers. It doesn't matter what picture the sticker has on it, if it sticks...it gets stuck somewhere. The windows, the floors, the table, random furniture and toys. Once she finds a sticker, it has to go somewhere. Last week, she found a book of stamps. I highly doubt she will ever stick more expensive stickers than she did that day. I ended up on my hands and knees, carefully peeling them up off of our wood floors to try to save them. They have now lost most of their stickiness, but are still usable if I tape them to the envelope...I think.

Ten minutes later, I realized that I missed one. She put it on her shirt. :)

5. Ellie and Caleb
And because I was taking photos of Elijah in a dress, and Abby with postage stamps stuck to her, Ellie and Caleb had to get in on the fun. Or rather, Ellie had to get in on the fun. Caleb found the need to smile for the camera rather torturous.

6. The Aroma Complete
So this is a BIG deal. Like a REALLY BIG deal. If you are an essential oils user, then you will look at that photo above and gasp. If you aren't an essential oils user, you should gasp anyway. The oily team that I'm on had a private contest during August and September. I wasn't trying to win after that contest fiasco earlier this summer, but I ended up coming out on top! AND the prize above is the prize that I won this summer that I didn't get to keep. So I won it again AND got to keep it this time! To put it in perspective, click here and see how much this puppy is worth. *gasp!* This Aroma Complete kit is a huge blessing to us as we head into our first sick season with oils. We are officially more than ready! #BringIt!

Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post below (or leave a comment if you aren't a blogger) and make sure you come back next week to play again!

The link up rules are super simple!
1. Please add the button or a text link to your sidebar or post to share the fun that we are having over here!
2. Please visit at least one other blog linking up and leave some blog love. Maybe you will find someone else's "little thing" is exactly what you needed to read!
3. Please keep your linked post clean and respectful! Any links directing to offensive posts will be deleted.



This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.
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