Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Adorable...

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Organic Creamery

We live about 10 minutes away from this all organic farm and creamery, and today we decided to check out the Farmer's Market they have on Friday afternoons. Ella's arrival has really got me thinking about the importance of organic foods and health... apparently studies have been done suggesting that the chemicals, pesticides, and hormones that taint our every day foods may be the reason that girls in particular are experiencing early puberty/breast development. Great. Girls are hormonal enough... I don't really feel like rushing into anything with Ella. I like her just the way she is... sleeping a lot, cooing and babbling rather than talking back... it's a good thing. Unfortunately, while I'm working on it, I have yet to convince Eric that $6 for a 1/2 gallon of milk is well worth it. And the single green pepper that I almost purchased for $3.50 the other day even had me questioning whether having to buy a training bra at the age of 6 would really be so terrible. So while we wait to come into a small fortune, I figured maybe we could just land some all-natural samples by visiting organic pastures... which brings me back to the Creamery:

A few vendors, with healthy grass-fed cows in the background.

Lots of healthy cheese from healthy grass-fed cows.

The $4, 6oz. root beer float that Eric and I shared... made with ice cream made with the milk of healthy grass-fed cows.

The healthy grass-fed cows.

I'm not sure what these chickens eat... but I know it's not grass.

The baby girl... who drinks milk from the mommy... who would like to drink milk from the grass-fed cows... but can only afford the milk from the cows who apparently just eat dirt.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I just learned that Babies R Us is doing a voluntary recall of all bottles that are not BPA free. It is not being advertised by them, but it has been confirmed by many individuals all over the country. You can bring in any baby bottle that you have as long as you have the parts. No need for receipts or boxes or anything else... They will credit you the current price of the bottles and exchange them for BPA free ones! Great news for me considering we probably have $50 of bottles we aren't going to use in the pantry!

Check it out here and here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to the Grindstone...

Last week I endured the traumatic experience of "returning to work" following maternity leave. I'd like to say it was bittersweet... but really, it was just kind of bitter. I had thought that maybe I would get a little tired of being at home with a baby 24/7 for 3 months.... I didn't. I thought I'd kind of look forward to getting out of the house - even for work... Nope. The bitterness has probably been intensified by the reality that as a Float Pool nurse, I have virtually no "friends" to return to the workplace and share the past three months with. I float around to 4 different hospitals, and while I have connected with a few great people at two of those locations, I unfortunately have not been able to be at either of them this past week. I would feel 100 times better if someone would just ask to see my little brag book of pictures... or maybe just ask where I've been for 3 months!! In 5 nights of work... I've only been asked by one person. OH, what I would give to return from this time to my wonderful friends and co-workers at Saint Marys in Reno...

It's not been quite as bad as I make things sound... tears were only shed the first 3 times I left the house... and what gets me through my 12 hour night shift is knowing I'll be able to sneak in and see her sleeping when I get home. Thankfully, she's sleeping through the night and I'm really not missing much - other than the sound of her breathing which I love.

So... I go about my work somewhat alone with my thoughts of all that I might be missing out on at home with the adorable baby girl that has brightened our lives so much. The one great positive of it all, has been the time it has given Eric at home with her. He's on his one month vacation from rotations... and I am so proud of how well he's done with her! You can tell by watching her how much she's bonded to him. Sometimes he gives her a little kiss and talks to her while I'm feeding or just holding her. Then when he walks away, she'll stop everything and twist her head in all kinds of directions trying to follow him. He's mastered feeding her with a bottle... bathing her... taking both her and Max on walks in the evenings together... and yes, even the dreaded diaper change! He handles blow-outs from both ends without difficulty... and in his time off, has selflessly cared for her so I could catch a few more hours of sleep, work-out, or go to the grocery store... alone! I'm not sure if he has enjoyed his vacation half as much as I have! He even got the loft, upstairs hallway and stairwell all painted!

Sunday my mom begins her first shift of caring for Ella while I work 2 days back to back. I suggested to Eric that maybe we didn't need her services since he had mastered everything so well... Surprisingly... he strongly disagrees. :) She will be a welcome sight to us all.

For now, it's time for me to return to the two other babies that I'm caring for this evening. The unit I have been in seems to be full of kids clinging to life... so many devastating illnesses and issues. All I can do is thank God that Ella is healthy. With all that I experience here, and all that I experienced with Ricky... I find myself desperate for reassurance that she will never spend a single night in a hospital. There are no guarantees of course... but I am so tired of seeing so much suffering.

One thing is clear... I am overwhelmingly blessed with the family that I have been given. As of today... we are all healthy. Ricky by far... in the best state of "wellness" that any of us could hope for.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Water Baby

We took Ella to the pool a couple days ago to see how she took to the water. (OK... really we just wanted an excuse to get her in her cute little bikini!) She pretty much hated it at first - I think it was a tad chilly - but after a few dunks by Daddy she really seemed to like it.

She and Daddy swam around for about 20 minutes or so... then he handed her to me and within about 15 seconds this was her:

Apparently she found the whole experience pretty relaxing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Guess what!

My sister Jennelyse has a blog! Check it out here!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gettin' Loved On...

All American Girl...

10 weeks and I've already mastered the "give me what I want or I'm gonna lose it" pout.

Showing off my smiles for Grandma Cook...
We spent the 4th with Eric's family. We had fun getting her all decked out in holiday garb... Eric thinks she'll hate us when she's older for making her look so goofy. Oh well... that's part of the fun of parenthood right?

Big Cousin Emma practicing her babysitting skills!

A couple weekends ago we headed up to Chicago for some bonding with Grandma and Grandpa Brunsting, along with Auntie Susie and Grandma Pat. Mommy enjoyed the extra hands so much... that we wound up staying for three extra days! Who knew it would turn into an extended vacation! Thank you LORD for Grandparents!! We even went to the zoo one day. It sounded like a fun idea... Ella probably would have been happier staying indoors all day... and after a few hours in the heat... I think most of us felt the same way.

Grandma and Grandpa Brunsting. They even gave us a break carrying her around!!

This is how much Ella enjoyed being at the zoo.

I'm starting a collection of these photos of Daddy and Ella. Ummm... when does Mommy get a nap??

This Grandpa guy is hilarious!!

Hey Grandma Pat... thanks for washing my clothes after I pooped all over them!! Mommy says we can always count on you to get those stains out!!

Doing some floor exercises with Auntie Susie.

And another special visit with Great-Grandma...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pardon Our Mess...

We're in the middle of making our blog more asthetically pleasing for you.

In the midst of this remodel, I have lost all of my blog links for all of you that I love to check in on. When you read this, will you please leave a comment with your blog address so I can put it back on the list! Please don't assume I have it already. You know how you call certain people all the time but you don't know their phone number 'cause you just use speed dial? Yeah... it's kind of like that for me with your blogs. I just click the link... no clue how to find you otherwise!!

Thanks for your help!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Little Life. A Lasting Legacy.

Well... she did it. After countless submissions... and a few rejection letters :), my Mom is finally a published author!!! She never gave up, and now we are proud to see her name in print. What we are all even more proud about... is that out of all the stories she has submitted... the one that was chosen was the story of our dear Little Man... Ricky.

The Journal of Christian Nursing accepted Mom's article that tells the story of how Ricky came into our lives, and even named me as co-author since several of my journal entries that I wrote on his website are included. It is a peer-reviewed, professional nursing journal that is distributed throughout the world, and it is published by Nurses Christian Fellowship.

I wish I had a link to share with you so that you could all read it... unfortunately JCN is distributed quarterly to subscribers only. You can click here to see the table of contents for the issue... but I don't think you can download unless you open an account. Mom has ordered a large number of copies... so if you would like one, send me an email ( with your address. I will send it out when we receive them.

All in all, we are very pleased with how it turned out. The editing process is an interesting one... they tend to re-word things and a few of my journal entries are worded in a way that sounds a little less like me... but nevertheless... the point is made. A few details were changed to protect the identity of his family... (his name in the article is "Nicky" which kind of drives me nuts)... BUT... we are thrilled that his story is being told.

It feels good to have several things coming together that illuminate the little boy who was the reason I fell in love with motherhood. It's hard to believe October will mark 3 years since he left us. Nothing feels better than watching God continue to use Ricky's life to speak to those who knew him, and many, many who never did.

Way to persevere Mom. The Lord knew even back then that he was going to use Ricky's Grandma to ensure his story was told. You're right... if it's the only acceptance letter you ever get, we'll all know it was by far the most important.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Long Time Comin'

The bench has finally arrived!! For probably almost 2 years now I have been anticipating the memorial bench that will sit on the campus of the hospital in Reno where Ricky and I spent so much of our time. I received these photos today of what the finished product looks like and had to post them. They are going to pour a concrete slab that it will rest on... and hopefully sometime in October we'll be out there to see it in person.

I can't really express how much it means to finally have some sort of memorial for Ricky! Thank you SO much to any of you who had a part in financially making this possible.

Click on the pics to enlarge and see details...

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

The words "I'm Alive, I'm Alive" come from a lullaby song that I played daily as I prayed over Ricky to be healed... Ironically, it was playing in the room during the moment that I am very sure Ricky finally lost consciousness.