Friday, July 30, 2010

Fab Five Friday (Saturday Edition)

My friend Emily does Fab Five Friday (sometimes, when she can) and so I thought I would jump back in and give you five of my favorite things this week. :)

1. CSN Stores

A few months back CSN allowed me to give away a Crockpot Smart Pot to one lucky reader and that was the first time I had been introduced to their over 200 stores! They have stores for everything from bathroom vanities, to diaper bags, car seats, kitchen appliances, shoes..the list goes on and on. Their prices seem competitive and they do offer free shipping. They are also doing a sale on car seats right now for 25 percent off! AND they carry my favorite car seat, the Sunshine Radian!

2. Rockin' Green Detergent

If you cloth diaper (or even if you don't), this stuff ROCKS! I make my own detergent for most of our laundry but was looking for something for Hope's diapers that would take the stinkies out and not build up. This stuff seems to be doing the trick. PLUS it comes in awesome scents though it does not scent the clothes. It is FUN! :) And though it seems expensive, you only use a tiny bit so it is just pennies per load!

3. Pedipeds

I am about as thrifty as they come and these shoes don't scream thrifty, but they are awesome. As most of you know, Hope has Epidermolysis Bullosa and we have to be very careful with her skin. A couple of weeks ago, now that she is walking, she had trouble with a pair of shoes she was wearing and blistered on her heel again. These shoes were recommended to me by Ella's mom and they really are awesome. They are as cute as can be, durable and good for the feet! Hope loves them. She even says "shoes?" when I am getting her dressed so I will put them on her.

4. Cabbage Patch Doll Surprise Newborn
This one takes me back to my own childhood. I got one, one Christmas when I was about 6 or 7 and thought I was the queen of the world. I couldn't resist getting one for Hope for her birthday. We opened it just the other day and I could barely contain my own excitement as we tore the box open to find out if it was a boy or girl! It was a girl! Marcelle Hilary Bolte.

5. The CopCo Cold Cup
We are fans of drinks to go and this cup is awesome. We are trying to be a little more environmentally minded and this cup allows us to take beverages with us and refill on the go. PLUS most stores now offer a discount for refills if you are using a reusable cup! When I got Howard this one for Father's day, I had no idea that they come in a huge range of colors so we just have the brown ones, but they are great for adults and kids alike, plus they are dishwasher friendly, which is a MUST in my book!

There you have it! Five of my favorite things this week! :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ben's Birthday Week

We have spent the past week celebrating this awesome dude. We have done an amusement park, Toys R US, Chick Fil A and TONS of other fun stuff in honor of our third baby boy this week. He really is a perfect fit for our family and I thank the Lord for the gift of Benjamin Oliver daily.

More on Ben to come...we are too busy celebrating his birthday WEEK! :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Heaven Day sweet Isaac. We miss you so much but we know you are right where you were meant to be. You will be a part of our family always. Though we will never have a complete family picture this side of Heaven, Ginger found this site and made this family picture for us. This is the family I know in my heart. Our hearts ache today, but rejoice in knowing just where you are.

PS...guess who has been featured on "Too Cute Tuesday" on the Baby Be Blessed Blog?? Go here to see!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Glimpse of Isaac's Birthday Celebration

THIS was the cake Howard and I thought Isaac would have picked...the boys thought differently. HAHA!

Luke picked "Woody"

Ben Picked Lightning McQueen

Fun times at Niagra Falls with the Fahmers.

Family picture with two of the Fahmer boys. :) We would keep them if we could!

Hope and Jeremiah sitting in a tree...I mean The Buffalo Science Museum.

Rita's is always a good choice!


Ben is so cool! :)

Superhero Hope with her cape on! :)

It has been a bittersweet week thus far...we are still trying to find things do do with these days to honor our boy on the days he lived on earth. We miss him so much! We are certain that God is with is one example:

Conversation with Ben on Isaac's Birthday:

Ben: "You mean that EVEN IF Isaac and Asher were here I would still be stuck in the middle of all the kids?!"

Me: "Yes, you would be the middle child no matter what!"

Ben: "So, it will always be a Ben sandwich, on earth, in Heaven and for ALL my lives! UGH!"

Me: "It is a special place to be Ben!"

LOVE that boy! God sure knew what he was doing when he assigned us our kids!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Isaac Matthew

Happy 5th Birthday Sweet Boy! We miss you more than words can even say.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Birthday Eve

That little face and crazy hair still melt my heart and I long to hold him once more.

On this, the eve of Isaac, my precious second son's birthday I find myself feeling more Homesick than ever. While I do enjoy life here on earth, there is so much pain and suffering in this world and I so look forward to the day that every tear is wiped dry and we can rejoice at the feet of our savior.

FIVE years ago I lived with an innocence I will never know again. I lived in a world where you get pregnant, and nine months later you have a baby. I was prepared to bring my second son home and was more than excited for the adventure ahead. I guess I knew babies died, but it really never entered my radar. Luke had been born five and a half weeks early, perfectly healthy and went home with us a day and a half later. I figured we were in for much of the same with our next baby boy.

Little did I know that just hours away, I would feel my baby seize within me and turn breach after which, I would sit in a dark room, warm gel placed on my belly, and my boy would appear on the screen. Instead of oooohing and aaahhhing, repeated measurements would be taken, a technician would furrow her brow and send us to consult with a doctor who would moments later ask us to prepare ourselves to hold our boy that day. With tears in her eyes, she would tell me, my son had fluid on his brain and they were uncertain of the outcome. She gave us a moment to gather our thoughts and sent us to the hospital across the street.

Never had I known such shock and numbness. I had no idea how to prepare for a c-section, Howard looked terrified as he prepared to send me into surgery and then board a helicopter with our son.

Little did I know, the helicopter ride would never take place. Unbeknownst to me my son's brain stopped growing about half way through gestation and there would be NOTHING a doctor could do for him. I never could have imagined what the next six days would hold. Such sacred days. Such difficult days, days trying to balance life in a NICU with life with a boy waiting for us at home.

Little did I know how that dark haired boy would change my life. I tried to stay numb, but I fell in love in an instant and physically ache to hold him once more. I never imagined I would know the grief of watching my own son enter this world and six days later make a graceful exit. It is a sacred thing, for sure. Isaac knew only love. I wish I had taken better advantage of those days. My mind was in such a whirlwind that I never really allowed myself to believe he could die.

Tonight as I am reminded of where my heart has been, it is heavy and it hurts. I am not sure yet how we will honor our boy tomorrow. I pray the Lord will lead us to something perfect. I can't believe it has been five years and yet it seems like it has been an eternity since I held that 4lb miracle. I would give just about anything to stroke that amazing thick head of hair one more time. I am convinced that while we move forward, we will never move on. He is a part of who we are as a family, just as much as any of our kids, and though we were the only ones to ever really know him, I am grateful we have had the opportunity to share him with each of you.

I continue to pray that the Lord will take this brokenness and this emptiness I feel and fill my heart with more of Him. I pray that he uses the brokenness for His Glory. I just can't bear to let it go to waste.

If you have not had the opportunity to meet our Isaac, please take a moment if you can and go here to see his video, and here to hear his story.

Thank you for continuing to love us. Though grief often feels so isolating, it is great to know there ARE people out there loving us and praying for us! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grief as Thick as This Humid Air

First of all, what is up with this weather! EW! This girl is NOT a fan of heat and today was a HOT one! Heat is the PRECISE reason our family would never survive any further south! :)

It has been one of those days. You know the kind where you just want to hide under the covers, go back to sleep, and try again tomorrow? Howard let me sleep in this morning because I have been up with Hope a lot lately as she is still recovering from her ear infection and antibiotic allergy attack (she is doing MUCH better). I got up and everyone was having breakfast so I poured myself a bowl of cereal and sat down. I had had a rash of several short odd dreams last night. I was trying to shake them off and just start new. As we began to eat, Howard asked if I was ready to finish the basement today. We are trying hard to simplify and get rid of all the "stuff" in this house and we are preparing for a big yard sale in a couple of weeks.

I said that I would love to get it done and out of the way, but with the kids I wasn't sure how much we would accomplish before bedtime. One of my dreams last night was that our basement flooded. We have had issues with our sump pump before so I figured it was just me reliving that nightmare and thought nothing of it since we haven't had much rain around here, it was well into the 90's today with humidity of about 500% and there would be no reason for a flooded basement. I got Hope down for a nap and the kids headed over to Grandma's and I headed down the steps to help Howard sort and price the rest of the "stuff". I have been struggling with a lot of the baby clothes stuff as I had shared before, but decided to put my big girl pants on and just do it.

I got four steps down when Howard yelled "Don't come down here!". I could hear the water sloshing all over as Howard walked and tears began to well up in my eyes. Over the past few weeks I have sorted and priced nearly ALL of the kid's outgrown clothes and going through the 3T and 5T stuff has been torture. It makes Isaac and Asher's absence so tangible that I feel I can barely breathe again.

Wouldn't you know that those very sizes of clothing are the ones that I just finished going through a second time?! I had to rewash and resort and price all of them because I had packed them in cardboard boxes that ended up soaked. As I sat there in the damp basement alone, the sounds of the washer, dryer, dehumidifier, fans, sump pump and blaring Ipod as I folded the John Deere tshirt that Asher would most certainly fit into today, I lost it. I sat there tears streaming down my face, missing my boys so much it physically hurt. I looked at the bin of clothes I was packing away for Ben for next year thinking that there should be no gap in clothes, no reason to pack things away, we should just be continually handing things down Isaac should be wearing those 5Ts.

The grief began to consume me and I just sat there on that milk crate shaking and crying. I miss them so much. There really isn't a moment that goes by that I don't think of them. As I watched their brothers play and splash in their wading pool (filled with water Howard pumped out of the basement) this afternoon, my heart yearned to see four boys splashing instead of two. It has been a hard day. Some days are like that. Some days it is work just to breathe and put one foot in front of the other.

Then as it typically does, it dawns on me that this anguish I feel is something that Isaac and Asher will never know. I am thankful for that. I am thankful that I can grieve with Hope, knowing that one day I will see them again, that one day every tear will be wiped away and we will know only joy. Sometimes this world just seems so full of pain and confusion that it is hard to wade through and choose joy over all of it. Those boys knew only love. They lived short lives, but beautiful lives.

My heart hurts, but I know that joy is a choice. I struggle daily to choose joy over allowing my grief to get a hold of me and keep me there. Grief is a place I visit frequently, but I just can't reside there. My eyes are fixed on Heaven and the blessings the Lord has set before me today. I have had the privilege of carrying and birthing FIVE amazing babies. I have two waiting in Heaven who have changed me and taught me more than my seventeen years of schooling ever could have. I have two healthy boys who love each other and love life. They remind me to enjoy the little things and have fun every day. I have a sweet baby girl who we weren't sure would ever be able to live a "normal" life, and she is as feisty and "normal" as any one year old. I have a husband who is a wonderful provider and loves his family with a passion. I am blessed. I hurt, I cry, I love, I laugh, I grieve, I rejoice.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

As crazy as it is, though I know all of this, my heart is extra heavy tonight. It may just be shear exhaustion, but I would covet your prayers that I am able to stay focused, with Isaac's birthday drawing near, I am feeling fragile and like I said, I can't deny my grief, I have lost something(s) so precious and I need to acknowledge it and visit my grief, but I can't live there. Praying tonight for the Lord to fill the empty place in my heart with more of His Spirit.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

Since many of you have written with questions about our new budgeting and quest to get debt free, I have decided to continue with the Thrifty Thursday Posts. I am also working on getting a new blog up and running that will chronicle our thrifty ideas and plans to become debt free more in detail as I am not sure that is the direction I want this blog to go, yet I am excited so many of you have shared ideas with me and are interested in doing the same thing!

Today I headed out with a few coupons to do a little shopping...I always limit myself when I am taking a child or children as it IS tougher with the kids to balance coupons, finding the right items, working out scenarios and keeping kids from wrecking the place.

I first stopped at Rite Aid. They were out of a few things I had stopped by for, but was able to get the Stayfree Maxi Pads. I got 4 packages for FREE! They are buy one get one free this week and I had a BOGO coupon...making both packs free! I had two coupons so I got four packs!! I also got a Crest Pro Health toothpaste on sale for 2.99 with a 2.99 rebate. I used a 1.00 coupon for Crest and a 1.00 Up+ reward and paid .99 out of pocket and will get 2.99 back! I made 2.00! :)

Then I headed to Giant Eagle. I have written before that I cloth diaper. I do. 95% of the time. We recently took a little trip and I used disposables and we have a few overnighters planned in the next couple of months and I have not figured out the "traveling with cloth diapers" thing out yet so I wanted to stock up. I prefer to use ONLY Chlorine free diapers that list the ingredients in the diaper on the package, so that leaves us with Seventh Generation diapers. They can be pricey! They run 10.99 for a jumbo pack of 35 size 3 diapers.

Giant Eagle is running a deal now and if you have a child in diapers and a Giant Eagle nearby, run to your nearest store for this deal! It is AWESOME! When you buy 2 packs of Seventh Generation Chlorine Free wipes, for 7.00 you get a FREE jumbo pack of Seventh Generation Diapers! That is 7.00 for two packs of wipes and one pack of diapers, which is a good deal, but it is made better when you use coupons. Go HERE and print each coupon twice. After coupons today I got 3 packs of diapers and 6 packs of wipes (ALL CHLORINE FREE) for a whopping 12 dollars! YAY!

What are your favorite deal seeking sites or deals for the week?