Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Covenant Eyes

There's a service we use called Covenant Eyes. It is an accountability service that keeps track of everywhere my family goes online. We get Internet reports for everyone in our house who gets online - we can even have others hold us accountable. It has been a great help to us - it keeps everyone in the home honest so there's no room for secrecy about what's happening online.
You can cover several devices for one low price per month. Raising 4 boys can be a challenge and with all the garbage online we feel safe knowing our children are protected by
Covenant Eyes
You can even add filtering to block the bad stuff.

Anyway, I thought it might be something you would benefit from. You can check it out and sign up for the service here.


PS: They are running a refer-a-friend program right now. If you sign up I get a $15 USD credit on my account!

Monday, August 22, 2016

1st Day of School

 Jacob got a desk for his room and loves having his personal space. He's always first to wake up in the mornings and get started without me telling him.
 Jaron does not like school and has to be reminded when to start. (He takes after Mommy)
 Justus was so excited when Daddy brought home a desk from his job at the Elementary School. He just did not know how he was going to start kindergarten without a desk.
 Jonah loves school so much he did not want to stop. His first day he wanted to keep going all day.

I am so proud of our boys and how they are growing and learning.

Here is another awesome thing Daddy brought home from work. It's a puzzle and they loved it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bone Graft Surgery~ The full story

Jaron and I flew up to Boston Wednesday July 20th.

 He had a speech study on Thursday. They put barium in his nose and had him repeat sentences all while watching his soft palate move in the X-ray machine. We wanted to see if air is escaping out the nose when he talks, resulting in a more nasal voice. It is a little short but no rush to do a pflap surgery. It's optional.
Friday we had pre op visits at the hospital 
Being silly while we waited
Therapy dog came to the hospital to visit the kids.
Then I decided to take him to Lego Discovery center Friday afternoon. Knowing he was about to go through something very uncomfortable I was trying to make this weekend before, as fun as possible.
After a couple hours we were looking around in the gift shop and one of the managers asked me if we needed any help. I proceeded to tell him what Jaron wanted me to buy but I could not afford it. Then I told him we were here in Boston for his surgery. He asked me if we got free tickets from the hospital to get in that day. I told him no, I had to pay full price. He asked me to give him a receipt so he could refund my money.
...then he went to the back room and came back with these two boxes of Legos for Jaron approximately $75 worth of toys given to him for free!
It was $35 admission. When we walked out the door Jaron said "mommy this is the best day ever!"
Saturday and Sunday we relaxed in the hotel room chowing down on all his favorite snacks before surgery Monday morning
We had to arrive at the hospital at 6 AM Monday morning so we got up at 5 AM and called a taxi to come get us. 
All weekend he never said that he was nervous. Then we got to pre op holding Monday morning and he starting feeling nervous about the surgery. They gave him some liquid medicine to drink to calm his nerves. 
He finally went back for surgery at 8 AM and I was updated by the surgical liaison every hour and a half about his procedures. Dr. Padwa was done with the bone graft after about 3 hours. Then Dr. Mulliken stepped in and corrected Jaron's deviated septum. He also took some tissue from Jaron's hip incision and added it to his upper lip for some fullness. They came out to get me about 1 PM and said he was asking "how was mommy?" 
The first night he did not complain of pain. Only discomfort from the nasal packing. He is only allowed clear liquids for 3 days. No chewing for 6 weeks. 
Swelling peaks after 48 hrs
He walked some ~ but short distances. His hip is sore but not terrible. 

We did go outside to the hospital garden a few times and got out of the room as much as possible. 
After staying 2 nights in the hospital we were discharged back to our hotel.

 We will be staying in town for a few post op visits before we fly back home to South Dakota.
We are so thankful for all who prayed for us during this difficult time. Please continue to call his name in prayer as he recovers and struggles with only puréed food for 6 weeks. If you would like to make a donation please click on the link below. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Preparing for Surgery

Its just going to be Jaron and I going for 13 days total. July 20-Aug. 2. He has a speech study and pre-op before surgery. We also have to stay in town a week after surgery for post op visits. So it's not going to be cheap. Staying at a hotel in Boston is expensive and we definitely cannot afford 6 plane tickets for the whole family to go or a hotel room for all of us to sleep comfortably. 
It would be about $6000 for all of us to go.

This will be the first time I have been away from my kids that long. I think Jonah is going to have the hardest time with it. Jaron has never been away from his brothers that long either. They are all so close because we homeschool they are like best friends. Its going to be very hard emotionally. I think having family there would be good moral support for us. Chris has to take off work to stay home with the others. I wish there was a way we could all be together as a family.

After surgery he will not be able to chew anything for 6 weeks! We will have to find a store before surgery to buy him some soft/puree foods that he can eat post op.  I will also be bringing my mini blender with me. We are just praying God provides all our needs for this trip. I have applied for Miracle Flights to get mine and Jaron's ticket. (they only cover the patient and one parent)
I also applied for assistance with hotel and meals with Children's Craniofacial Association.  

I am really trying not to worry about the money. This is a necessary surgery and I am taking Jaron to the best doctors in the country. This is his face, his smile, his future. People judge us by our appearance. First impressions mean a lot in getting a job, making friends and one day finding a wife. I just want Jaron to live a normal life and not feel different or like an outcast. I want him to also be able to chew his food properly and getting this bone graft is going to enable the doctors to make room for more teeth and proceed with the next step in aligning his teeth.

 If you would like to donate to help out with our travel expenses just click on the link below. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dental dilemmas....

When we left Georgia all 4 boys had a cleaning at the dentist and Justus did not have any cavities. Then we moved out here to South Dakota and he started getting a black spot on one of his teeth and saying it was hurting. So I took him to the local dentist in Chamberlain and he said he had several cavities but did not feel comfortable working on a 5 year old so he referred me to nearest pediatric dentist in Pierre (1.5 hrs away)

So we drove out there in April and they did X-rays then informed me Justus had 7 cavities and needed 5 silver crowns!!! I was in tears feeling like the worst mom ever! They would not fill the one that was hurting him that day. She scheduled to have him put to sleep and fix them all at once.
(First Available is June 24th!!!) we left that day with no relief!

So while we waited for his upcoming "surgery", Jacob started having pain in his jaws in the back like his wisdom teeth. So I found a regular family dentist in Mitchell (1 hour away) to get Jacob checked out. We liked him so I asked if they were willing to work on a 5 year old. They were more than willing to try.

So I scheduled Justus an appointment with him to try and do a filling and avoid getting put to sleep. Last week we took Justus to his first appointment and he was a little nervous but the laughing gas helped out a lot and he was able to fill the biggest cavity, so we made another appointment to do some more.

Yesterday we went back to Mitchell for Jaron's orthodontist appointment. Since he got the expander put in his mouth he has lost 2 baby teeth and its making the expansion nearly impossible. So he removed the expander for now and said we need to wait 6 months for him to lose the rest of his baby teeth and hopefully his permanent teeth will grown in for the ortho to anchor a new expander to them. Needless to say Jaron is very happy to have that annoying thing out of his mouth. After his orthodontist spoke to the surgeon in Boston they decided he still needs the bone graft surgery July 25th. Please pray for us as we try to prepare for this trip.

Next, I took Justus back in for another filling and he did even better this time. We also cancelled the "surgery" for the pediatric dentist in Pierre as I felt it was a little extreme and unnecessary. The dentist in Mitchell agreed with me that he didn't need 5 silver crowns.

I am not sure why his teeth are doing so poorly since we moved here. Maybe he's eating more candy, not likely, or maybe its something different in the water. All the boys drink is 99.9% water.
{I think its the water-it leaves spots on everything-evidence of sediment}

Monday, June 06, 2016

Florida Family Fun

My stepmom Tammy was turning 50 and my dad wanted to make her birthday special so he flew me and the boys down to Florida and we surprised her. She had NO IDEA we were waiting for her at her house when she walked in from work that day!
 The plane rides were fun, it was Justus' first time on a plane.

 We got to visit my grandparents Mimi & Papa.
 They swam a lot in Aunt Tonia's pool.
Justus was practicing swimming with Pepe
 The plane train in Atlanta was fun too! We had a 5 hour layover there so my mom and stepdad came to visit.

 They boys also got to meet their cousin December and Uncle Travis from New Hampshire.

 We are so thankful for the opportunity to visit with family and celebrate Meme's birthday with her. It was quite an adventure!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


The way we talk about other people is evidence of how we feel in our hearts. Constantly pointing out other peoples faults and all their past mistakes is not the way to make yourself look better.

We should try to find the good in everyone we meet. I want to befriend the one that everyone else shuns. I like to be friends with the people most would only talk about. I have a heart for those shy people or the outcasts. It breaks my heart to think of someone being left out. I never want to make someone feel like they are not good enough. I try to always put myself in the other persons shoes and how I would feel it I were in their situation.

The guilt I have when I do for myself is overwhelming at times. If I were a millionaire,  I would probably give it all away. I cannot pass a homeless person without giving them something to eat. I cannot pass a crying child in the store without trying to cheer them up. When people come over I cannot let them leave unless I give them something. The feeling I get from doing for others is indescribable.

What is so disappointing is when I am not given the same respect.

{don't get me wrong I am NOT PERFECT by any means, just very compassionate}

I wish everyone would consider others before themselves.

I wish we could all learn to think before we speak and not say things if they aren't necessary.

Life is hard and talking bad about people will only make things harder.

Be an encourager.  Make someone smile. Go the extra mile. Do unto others...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Homemade Scented Play Dough

I recently got creative and wanted to make some all natural play dough for the kids. This is scented with essential oils and smells SO GOOD!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Our Favorite Healthy Granola Bars

I started making these some time last year after I realized I was buying way too many granola bars for my children. I found this recipe online an decided to alter it a little by adding some more healthy ingredients. We take them on road trips, eat them for breakfast, bedtime snack or any time in between. I don't feel guilty about letting our boys have them because I have incorporated some healthy stuff.
In a large bowl combine
3 cups rice cereal
3 cups quick oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 pack of chia seeds (or more if you like)
Set aside...
In a small boiler combine 1 1/2 cups of honey
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
Bring it to a boil for 1 minute

Turn off the heat and add 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is fine)
Dump the creamy mixture onto the dry ingredients and mix very well to make sure all the dry stuff is moistened.
Spread it out onto a cookie sheet then add chocolate chips. I use the miniature semi sweet ones.
I cover with wax paper and squish it as flat as possible (with all my strength) using another cookie sheet on top of it.
Then place the flattened granola in the fridge for a couple hours to let it cool.
Then I cut it into 24 bars. (3 rows of 8)

Last but not least, I wrap each bar individually with saran wrap to keep fresh. I store them in the fridge to retain their shape or they will get gooey and mushy if left out at room temperature.