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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Winner

I used random.org to pick the winner for the book Wishing on Willows and it chose #3:

I am having a hard time finding books I want to read. I agree with your thoughts on Chtistian fiction. Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

Sheila - please e-mail me at babys_mama1 "at" yahoo.com with your full name and address and I'll get that mailed out to you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


We went from thunder, lightening, and rain two days ago to waking up with well over 7" of snow on the ground today.
(Ignore Jacob's pink gloves...just be grateful that they match! Finding gloves in this house is a treasure hunt!)
Don't forget to sign up for the drawing for this book, which ends tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jacob's Ladder

Just a reminder that there is a Facebook page for Jacob, which is updated weekly with the latest news. A good way to get information when my mind is too blank to write it here! You can go here to "like" his page.


The Wrong Way

There may not be a right way for a doctor to tell you that their hospital has done all they can and that they are no longer searching for a cure for your son, but there is definitely a wrong way.

I understand that doctors do see some of their patients die. That doctors don't want to give false hope or watch parents put their child through some drastic (and painful) treatment when there isn't much hope of a cure. Doctors do need to be realistic.

Yet, when a parent asks the surgeon whether a port will be placed during surgery and the doctor jumps in with "We will need to talk about this. We aren't looking for a cure. We can give him ICE again or chemo for comfort. No cure."

When we sit down with him after the surgery and he once again utters the same words, only quickly adding that he called the national Wilm's doctor for suggestions but hasn't heard back, but hey, do you have any questions?

Only when I pull out the papers for this study and suggest that he refer us to Mayo does he acknowledge that there is different options. Quickly he points out that this is just a Phase II trial, that nothing has been proven with this treatment before. Yet, goes on to say, "if it were my son I'd do the same."

We ask to be referred. The doctor mentions papers I will have to sign for the records to be transferred. Then we don't see him, nor the surgeon, again. We've been brushed off...handed aside. I have to ask for the papers minutes before leaving the hospital in order to get the ball rolling, myself.

The wrong way to tell a parent about a child's serious illness is not mention that there are possible other choices. The wrong way is to act like the little boy sitting next to his parents is all but dead as he plays his video games and squirms under the watchful eye of everyone in the room. The wrong way is to silently say to everyone in the room "There is no hope."

We left the hospital on January 8th with no hope. We cried for our little boy in the back seat, picturing our family without him. Picturing the days ahead.

As I watched my sweet son run into the house and play with his brother and sister, as I saw him win a new video game, as I sat on the floor playing a board game with him I shook myself out of the hopelessness...I'm not watching a dying boy - I'm watching a boy live.

When my mom found the study for us and got us in touch with doctors I had hope again. This study is not a sure thing. It is in it's trial stages, and it's only a hope that it will work on this type of cancer. Yet, it leaves room for a possible breakthrough, for a possible miracle. It leaves hope.  

I'm upset that the whole two years that Jacob went through treatments that I didn't like his oncologist much but stayed with him. I'm upset that his lack of bedside manners disturbed me time and time again but I brushed it off. I'm upset because as a doctor he should have mentioned every single option available to us instead of just writing us off, letting us walk out the door with no options. There may not be a right way to say certain things to a parent, but there definitely is a wrong way.

I'm unsure of what the future may hold for us, but trust it to God. I'm reminded of January 8th again and again and chastise myself for the way I let a doctor break me of any and all hope.

Psalm 118:8 (KJV)  "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."

My trust is in the ultimate healer, the One who holds the future. Whether Jacob is healed here on earth or in heaven God always offers us hope. And I'm still hoping for a miracle.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Sorry for all the reviews lately but I just can't put my thoughts into words right now, whereas reviews are easy to do!

A new subscription box on the market is the Graze box. It comes with 4 single size servings of snacks each week for $5 a week. This would be a perfect box to have delivered to your office (or hubby's office!) for healthy snacking or something to throw in your car for healthy snacks on the go (it even comes with a napkin!). When I opened this I immediately knew that I would pack these in our snack bag for our long trips to the Mayo clinic.

The best part of this box is that it can be customized to your likes. When you sign up you can look through the list of foods and check any that you wouldn't be interested in getting. Once you try foods you can rate them by how much you like them - that way you are guaranteed not to get the ones you didn't enjoy again and able to try your favorites again in the future. I haven't run across a snack box yet that has this option!

The snacks I received today were "Pomodoro Rustichella", "Hot Cross Yum", "Garden of England", and "Fruit & Seed Flapjack". All look delicious!

If you want to try a box use the code 1FCRKHRD for a free box! Cancel it if you don't enjoy it and you'll be out nothing. Otherwise, it's just $5 a week to have a box of healthy nibbles delivered right to your door (and you are able to cancel at any time!) 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The code above is my own referral link.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

One way to keep my mind busy these past few weeks is by reading. Luckily, I have an endless supply of books in my "to read" pile.

On this dreary day, with icy rain pecking at the windows, I snuggled in my freshly washed sheets and started the book Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert. While I like Christian fiction I will be the first to admit that it can be quite sappy and sometimes have too much of a Biblical aspect. What I mean by that is that some Christian books seem to call themselves Christian by just throwing random verses willy nilly or mention God here and there without it flowing nicely. I'm happy to say that this book did not do that.

The story was interesting and kept me so occupied that I actually finished the book within a few hours of beginning it. This rarely happens, especially in a house filled with interruptions! Topics within the book hit a personal chord - losing a loved one, dealing with cancer, etc. Usually these topics depress me when I'm reading and I've even been known to stop reading a book completely when I see this topic but I found this book more encouraging than depressing.

An enjoyable book all around!

I now want to offer this advanced reader copy to one of my readers to enjoy! Just leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner on Thursday, January 31st!

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Blogging for Books, a division of WalterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bible Stories That End With A Hug

I feel weird writing a "normal" blog post after the past two weeks of chaos. Sometimes normal is exactly what you need, no matter what is happening.

The book Bible Stories That End With A Hug created by Stephen Elkins is exactly what we needed at this time. I thought that it may be good for all three kids but is way too young for Jacob and Becca so it has become Joe's book. He brings it to me every night and we read it together. This is excellent because with all the changes happening in the family recently it seems to have affected Joe the most. He has been acting out and getting an attitude and having a little quiet time with mommy each night before bed seems to relax and reassure him.

Each Bible story is very short and while I am reading Joe loves looking at the illustrations, which are very cute, colorful, and nicely done. At the end of the story comes hug time, which is Joe's favorite part. I have even found him reading this to his baby doll and he always says "Hug time!" and hugs his doll at the end.

This is such a sweet book, perfect for bedtime or morning devotionals with the littles. It would especially make a great Valentine's Day or Easter gift for the special little person in your life.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Round Three

The past three days found us up at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. We signed Jacob up for a new Phase II clinical study. He started the pills today.

There is no guarantee that this drug will work on his type of cancer or cure him, but it is more hope than "chemo for comfort". Because there is always room for a miracle or a breakthrough.

We will be traveling to the Mayo Clinic weekly (a three hour drive one way) for check ups and blood work but the majority (hopefully all) of his care will be outpatient. That means more family time and less disruptions.

We are all still absorbing this new turn of events. We feel God's peace and comfort around us and continue to ask you for your prayers for our family on this journey.


Sunday, January 13, 2013


It is cancer. The surgeon saw three large areas (two on the outside of the lung, one inside) and just did a biopsy. He said removing them all probably wouldn't be possible without putting his body through unnecessary pain and a long recovery.

He had a chest tube for 16 hours and we were able to go home last evening. He is feeling good this morning, just sore.

The doctors at our hospital once again gave us no hope, just pushing the treatments of comfort with no offer of cure. When doctors give you no hope it can drop you into the darkness. Psalm 118:8 popped into my head that day "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans."

God IS hope. We ask Him to guide our ways and direct our paths on this journey. There is a possible study at the Mayo Clinic which we pray we can get him into. The treatment would not be drastic for his little body but still gives us a glimpse of hope. 

I place Jacob in God's hands and pray that I accept HIS will. But I do not give up hope. For now, as my mind is jumbled and my heart is heavy, I again rely on a Psalm to calm me:  “Be still, and know that I am God." Our path will be directed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This will be short as I feel sick to my stomach just to write this. It looks like the cancer is back. Several areas of concern in the lungs showed up on the CT scan today. The doctor and surgeon feel confident that it is indeed cancer. Jacob will be having surgery on Friday to take several biopsies of the areas. We should know immediately then whether it is indeed cancer or not (which we have been told to prepare for). The surgery can hopefully be done with a scope but if not his chest will have to be opened for the operation. Jacob will be in the hospital for several days to recover from the surgery. Treatment plans do not look good for a second recurrence and decisions will have to be made.

We are in shock but holding on tight to our faith. We ask you for prayers for our peace and knowledge on how to proceed and for Jacob's comfort in the coming days.

Monday, January 7, 2013


*Joe and I made a big batch of Raisin Bran Muffins this morning. The rest of the batter should last us all week. A perfect breakfast with a glass of milk and a banana.

*Jacob's 6 month CT scan is tomorrow. I won't lie, I'm nervous. It was at 6 months last time that he was found to have relapsed. I'm putting my trust in God and am asking for prayers of peace for us the next 24 hours and for awesome scan results.

*Today is a long day of errands, speech for the boys, and trying to catch up on school work. I'm becoming unhappy with our curriculum choice this year (especially the History) so am switching some things up and hope the next few months are easier when it comes to teaching.

*I'm loving the sunshine outside! My curtains are open and the sun (and warmth!) is pouring in.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Simple Savings

Yesterday a friend posted this idea on her Facebook page. I think that it is an excellent idea for those who want to add to their savings account, but especially for those who don't already have a savings account.

It's a 52 week challenge (year long) where every week you put that corresponding amount into your savings account. For example, this is week one so you deposit $1 (EASY!) and the last week is week 52 so you deposit $52. By the end of 52 weeks you will have $1,378.00 saved! I urge all of you who don't already have a savings account to try this.

As my friend pointed out, it may be difficult to deposit so much the last month (this will be over $200 in December, which is also one of the most expensive months) so she suggested going backwards...starting at week 52 and working down. That is what I will do, especially since my goal was to put an extra $50 in savings each week this month.

I'm fairly happy with our savings account at the moment, but have a large hospital bill coming up (even with co-pays it is expensive having a baby!), have a car repair bill coming up as something is wrong with our van and I'm hoping it's just the muffler, and we need to get a new desktop computer bundle (does anyone know of a good deal going on right now?). So by adding this extra amount to savings it will help cushion those blows.

For those who have no savings at all, or a very small one, this $1,378 in an account will be a huge relief to you. Do not touch it for ANYTHING short of a true emergency though. You can not build up a savings if you dig into it every time you run short on funds and "need" to go out to eat, or buy that top that you want, etc. Pretend that it isn't even there. Add your money weekly and walk away. At the end of the year you will have a nice little emergency fund and then you can start all over again next year, dipping into it only if you have to. Your sense of security having a back up like this will bring you so much peace.

Tip: Put your money in savings the day you get paid, do not wait until the end of the week to see if you have enough left to stick in savings. You always want to "pay yourself first" and once that money is in savings you can work around it. Having that money sitting in your checking account is just an invitation to spend.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Box of Goodies!

I think my favorite subscription box thus far is the Goodies Co. subscription box. Why? It's just $7 a month (yes, that includes shipping!) and is filled with fun food! We loved our first box last month and were looking forward to this month; which did not disappoint!

When we get a subscription box in the mail we all gather around to open it and each choose something out that we want to try. I also like these sample sizes as I can stick a surprise in hubby's lunch as well.

This month included:

*Two Sun Cups (one mint and one sunbutter) which are delicious!

*Effie's Homemade Oatcake

*World Table Chocolate Caramel Cookie Thins (Delicious and a big sized package!)

*Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips (sound yummy!)

*Rocky Mountain Popcorn Cinnamon Sugar (will save for a movie!)

*EatSmart Naturals Garden Veggie Crisps

All of these are new to us foods that we can't wait to sample. Goodies Co. does has a wait list but I was selected after just 2 weeks. For $7 a month you can't go wrong on this. Would be an excellent subscription to send to a college student!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. No referral links are included.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Sisters The Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell

The first chapters of My Sisters The Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell drew me in. I loved reading about the lives of the saints and how the feminism of today is less empowering to women because it strips away what truly makes a woman different.

Reading Colleen's own struggles in life and how she leaned on God was empowering but something seemed to dwindle toward the middle of the book. The lives of the saints begin to read more like a text book and Colleen's story seemed to get jumbled up. I can't quite pinpoint why the book lost me towards the middle except that it seemed to become dull.

By the end of the book I was once again interested in her story and the lives of the saints that she weaved into the book. It was interesting reading the story of a woman on the path to understand her own faith better and to learn about the six saints and their own lives who helped her to do so. I just wish that parts of it had been more interesting, like the beginning of the book.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions are my own.

Healthy Handsoap

One of my goals for this new year is to make most of our health and beauty products and continue making more cleaning products. Some people go all crazy and throw out everything commercially made and make all their products right then and there. That is a sure way to get burnt out and also not the best way to test recipes that you like. I still get some sample subscription boxes and have lots of commercial bought products still but as things run out I am making do with making my own (which also ties into my budget goal this week!).

In November I made my homemade toner and I'm surprised to say that I am still on the first bottle so my price goes down closer to 5 cents a bottle! I use it daily and like what it does for my skin.

Today we ran out of pump hand soap. I could use bar soap which I have plenty of but the kids tend to leave it in the sink and mess with it so I always prefer pump soap by the bathroom sink. I pulled out my handy dandy Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap and poured some into an old foaming hand soap dispenser (I love the foaming dispensers when it comes to castile soap). I filled it half full with the soap and filled the rest with water (this is a very concentrated soap so you could do even 1/3 soap and 2/3 water). A little goes a long way and this bottle should last us along while. I bought this 16 oz. bottle of Bronner's over a year ago and use it several ways and still have some left! I use this brand in several different scents which are great for different uses.

Easy, natural hand soap which is good for the budget and the earth. And I saved about $2 so far this week by making do with homemade handsoap rather than buying a refill at the store. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

A new year marks the beginning of my month long challenge with Carla at Half Dozen Daily and her goals for us this week is:
"Financial Goal Week One: Instead of buying something you need this week, find a way to "make do". Do you grab a coffee each day on the way to work? can you brew at home & use a travel mug? Run out of an ingredient for a recipe? Can you find a substitution? There are many ways to "make do" each & every day... track how much you would have spent."

I'll have to be creative this week as there are many days where I don't spend any money on anything so I'll have to see just how I make do with things things this week. I'll work on a list daily to see what I come up with!

Decluttering Goal Week One: What "thing" clutters up your home the most? Is it clothes? Toys? Books/magazines? Kitchen Stuff? Knick-Knacks? Find a way to get rid of some of these items! Be sure to snap a pic of your declutter!

It used to be clothes all the way but I've done an excellent job recently downsizing our wardrobes. I think both the clothing and books and toys could still be downsized more. Will snap a picture at the end of the week of everything in my donation bag.



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