Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Time sure goes fast huh? My bestie reminded me that Emmaus turned 8months old this week. Yah- I totally forgot about that. Whoops.  It has been a busy month. BUT she has changed SOO much this month that I wanted to make sure to get an 8month post in.
probably my fav pic from this month
Emmaus has grown and changed so very much this month. She got her pink helmet to round out her head which is already working! She started rolling from back to front (I think the helmet helped this a lot- because she doesn't roll when it is off)

She has started "making conversation". She looks at you and then speaks to you to get your attention, she changes her pitch and sound of her voice to "explain" things. She has also started patting things and grabbing things and bringing them to her mouth. She cannot find and replace her own binki yet-which is a skill that warms every mamas heart at 2am!
She moved to her big girl carseat- this has posed an interesting problem. Because she cannot sit yet I have to wear her or take the stroller or take the little car seat wherever we go. Most babies transition to the bigger car seat after they can sit. However, her helmet made us transition faster.
Sitting- we are working really hard on sitting. I am hoping (fingers crossed) we can master sitting in the next 2 months and if not, then by her 1st birthday. She is starting to get frustrated that she isn't more mobile, but overall is still a very content baby.
She is eating all sorts of good foods now. We started chicken and yogurt this month. Chicken will stay. Yogurt made her spit up a ton and get an eczema like rash so we will try that again in a while.
Sleeping has had its challenges this month. But we are working to get on a better schedule so we can all sleep better at night.

We followed up in St. Louis this month and will continue to increase he meds/change meds until she is seizure free. She is having none during the day right now, but she had several last night ( I know this because she slept on the couch with me) So we will increase them again this week.

I am so proud of my little gal. At times I get kinda sad that she is so far behind developmentally,  but it is very helpful to see all the progress she has made in the last month. She is the sweetest and makes our lives better every day.
Happy 8months baby girl! Love mommy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Job

Now don't get me wrong... I love my job. But sometimes it is just really hard. I knew nursing would be a challenging profession at times. I knew working nights would be tiring, that working with kids would be challenging at times and working with their parents even harder. But that's not what I mean.  I was not prepared for the emotional challenge that would come after having my own child.

I think maybe it would be less if Emmaus was completely healthy and I couldn't relate so much to what a lot of these parents are going through, or if when I saw a seizing child I didn't see a piece of my daughter in them. Sometimes I care for patients that have conditions that TS patients can also have and I just pray as I leave and enter the room that God would protect my daughter from that condition.
I know I can handle a lot, but there are some things I fear I might not handle very well.

I am so thankful to have co-workers that encourage me, co-workers that pull up a song on the computer to calm an anxious child, that sit in parent-less rooms and rock crying babies. I am so grateful for the staff on my floor.

And I am blessed to come home to this.
A hubby that at 745 in the morning is already playing on the floor with our daughter. A daughter who despite looking like a super grump in this pic is happy, developing, and I hate to point out the obvious but SO DAMN CUTE.

Work was hard this weekend. But thankfully I now get 5 whole nights until I have to think about work again.


Friday, February 24, 2012


I am sorry I've been away. It has been busy around the Ballew house.
I've had a birthday. (got an iphone! major score!)
Celebrated Valentines day. (hubby gave me sweet love notes)

Road Tripped to St. Louie to see Emmaus' Neurologist (she is a great road tripper!)

Played a lot

Worked a lot 

We discovered our feet (I mean Emmaus discovered hers....I was aware I had mine)
Looked at WAYYY tooo manny houses (kinda fun kinda stressful!)
Our current rental was rented out starting may 1. (We are out April 28...wait thats really close huh??)
And now we have put an offer on a house. (fingers crossed, prayers said)
Just waiting to see what happens now.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Cloth diapering 101


So I get a lot of questions about cloth diapers. A lot of people are interested in switching or starting with cloth for their baby. So I've decided to write a cloth 101 blog and give you the run down of all the details.

First of all-
We LOOVEE them. I know it is weird to love diapers so much but we (Dan included) truly do love them.
So we use bum genius 4.0 brand. They are one size (OS) and adjust from about 10lbs-until you grow out of diapers. Fuzzibuns also has a similar style that people like equally well.
Ours snap to fasten them closed but they also have velcro.


In the front of the diaper there are snaps that snap up and down. So when your child is tiny you can have them smaller and as your child grows you can go to the next snap to make them bigger. So these diapers should be the only ones you have to by from 10lbs to potty training.
Snaps in front that adjust size of diaper. Snap all the way down for small, middle for medium, and leave unsnapped for large.

Bum genius is a pocket diaper. So that means that when your child soils the diaper you change the whole thing similar to a disposible diaper. There is a pocket in the back of the diaper that a fleece pad slides into.  The pad is the absorbant part of the diaper.  The lining of the diaper is also very soft and absorbant. I was worried about Emmaus getting diaper rash with cloth but they are so absorbant that when I take even her nighttime diaper off her bottom is usually completely dry.
Pocket in back of diaper with pad that slides into diaper.

When a diaper is dirty/wet we take it into the bathroom and put it in the diaper pail. If it is wet we simply pull out the pad and place both the diaper and pad in the pail. If the diaper is poopy we take out the pad put it in the pail, and then use our handy dandy diaper sprayer and spray off the yuckyness into the toilet.  Then when it is cleanish we put the diaper into the pails.
The pail has a pail liner that decreases odor so the bathroom doesn’t stink. And of course use a covered pail.

When we are out and about we take a wet bag. That is a bag that we put our dirty diapers in. Then when we get home we do the above routine.
Wet bag

We wash diapers every other day.  We use a cloth diaper recommended soap called charlie’s soap.

So here is the deal with washing.  You have to use a special soap so that the oils from regular soap don’t break down the absorbent-ness of your diapers. Infact, those oils can cause such issues that they recommend using the cloth diaper soap on all your clothes. So far we have really liked this soap. You get a lot of bang for your buck and it has done great with all our clothes.
So it is kinda a downfall if you have a fabric softener that you LOVE cause you can’t use that anymore either. (We still use dryer sheets on our clothes and that hasn’t caused any problem) Some people use regular detergent on their normal clothes, but it isn’t recommended- so do this at your own risk...but DEFINITELY use a cloth soap on your diapers.

So the washing routine looks like this

11.     Wash in cold no soap.
22.     Wash in hot with soap (just use ¼ of a scoop)
33.     Rinse 
33.5 (We sometimes spin again so we can dry for less time)
44.   Hang dry diapers. Tumble dry pads 
55. Once a month we use 1/4 cup of bleach on all our diapers

So I know I have talked before about the benefits of cloth however lets review.

1. It is cheap! After the initial start up I spend about 4 cents per diaper (which is water and detergent) and with disposable a good deal is 17 or 18 cents. (I figured it out in a previous blog that it takes 5 months of successfully cloth diapering to pay for your investment)

2. Its good for the earth. Yep...all those disposable diapers end up in a land fill...which isn't the best for mother nature.

3. We have had NO diaper rashes. Emmaus has been on several antibiotics for ear infections, gotten two teeth, and with all that poo still no diaper rash. 

4. It really isn't that hard. Just a couple extra loads of laundry a week. 

5. We don't really have blow outs or leaking

Here is a list of what you will need to start up with cloth diapering
18-24 diapers
2 pail liners (one is the wash, one in the pail)
2 wet bags (one is the wash, one in your diaper bag)
Diaper sprayer
Diaper pail (aka trash can with lid from walmart or target)
Diaper Soap

We get our diapers HERE. or you can also buy them Here

A few last helpful hints
*If you get a diaper rash at first you may be using too much detergent. MAKE SURE TO ONLY USE 1/4 scoop of detergent
*You cannot use traditional diaper rash creams so we occasionally use this product to keep her bum healthy. 
*If you are having problems with blow outs or leaking it might be time to make the diapers bigger or switch from the newborn pad to the regular pad. We use a newborn pad along with the regular pad at night for increased absorbency. 

 I hope this is a resource of any of you thinking about cloth.


Friday, February 17, 2012

SLEEP (again)

Back in the day when I knew everything about parenting (you know back before I had a child) I always knew I would get my child sleep trained and nights would be a breeze.
See the funny thing is that I still am not a fan of co-sleeping. I want my baby in her bed and I want mine to be a place just for the hubby and myself. However although I am not a fan of co-sleeping I AM a fan of sleeping. And I just have no clue how to handle the "MY CHILD DOESN'T SLEEP AT NIGHT" problem. 
I know there are 100 books on this very topic. But is there one about your kid having seizures and waking up? And what to do if they have developmental delays? I mean they say your kid can't affectively self sooth until around 4-6 months. So if my kid is developmentally where a 3-4 month old is do I continue to get her at night cause she can't self sooth? Or do I let her cry it out? And when I let her cry it out and she never does go back to sleep what does that mean? (Besides that we are both awake and miserable) 
I will tell you this. I AM TIRED OF SLEEPING ON THE COUCH WITH THE KID. and just tired in general really. 
I mean I actually look forwards to the weekends (just a little bit) because I know after working all night friday I will be exhausted and get to sleep for 7+ straight hours on saturday during the day. 

She does nap well and I am thankful for that. However, she doesn't really have a nap schedule either. Because it all depends on what the night went like.  And I know a lot of people are very strict about their kids napping schedules but I just can't be that rigid. I'm just not made like that. Plus I know it won't help the night time sleep because of the what's the point?! 

Oh college. I remember you. The days of sleeping ALL NIGHT LONG. AND TAKING A NAP IN THE AFTERNOON. (and all my meals being cooked for me now that I think of it). 

Kid I love you. And you are the only one (and your future siblings) that I would lose this much sleep over. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Loving your valentine

Last night at missional community we talked about love languages. Then I just plain started thinking about love. I know a lot of people think that valentines day is just a hallmark holiday. HOWEVER- It has always been a special day to me. It is a day that should be celebrated. Because how blessed are we to have people around that love us? And that we love?
It's not about the money spent. The cards bought, or flowers given- or even the chocolates although lets be honest those are yummy!
But it is about the thought put into showing someone how much you appreciate them.
Because I don't know about you...but I'm not easy to love for the 364 days in between valentines days. So you have a few days left to think of how to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them.
They are worth your time and thought. I will be interested to see what you all have planned and what your valentines did for you!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The wilderness

I remember standing around Emmaus' hospital bed the night she started having seizures. Our pastor and his wife came up to process and pray with us. I remember telling them that I was just so sure that God would heal Emmaus that our story wouldn't be one of sickness, but of hope. A testimony of the incredible God we serve. And then he told me something very important. Something I never will forget. He reminded me that even though God is capable of healing her NOW...this very minute. He will do what is best for us. He reminded me that God lead his very own people through the wilderness before he showed them the promise land. He did this because he knew they would forget his goodness...forget what he did for them if he lead them straight to the promise land.

And now here comes my bold statement. I think I need the wilderness...because I forget too easily.

Over the last 10 months God has been faithful to us time and time again. He gave us time to process Emmaus would have TSC before she was born. He gave us a beautiful uncomplicated delivery. He made her heart work perfectly despite the multiple heart tumors. He gave us time to adjust to having an infant before she started having seizures. He provided great support and medical care. He has provided financially. He has provided AGAIN AND AGAIN.

So we decided to get this helmet. From the get go the lady told us that United Health Care has never covered the cost of it. They would of course submit the claim, but she had never seen them cover it before. But Dan and I decided it was the best choice for us, for her flat little noggin. And so even though the damn thing cost $1750 (not covered by insurance) it was fine WE would figure it out.
I didn't even ask God to take care of it.
But guess what?! He did. Today we got a letter saying they could cover the cost of the helmet. That is was part of our coverage. I read the letter probably 17 times just to make sure I didn't miss the gist of it or the word NOT or DENIED in the letter.
How is this possible? How is God this faithful to us?

I was so excited. Then I cried. Not tears of joy (although I was happy!)...but because I was so aware of my lack of faith and just total humanness. When will I ever learn that WE(dan and I) will not figure anything out...that we will not work out the details. But that God will. I didn't even think to ask him to cover the cost because I figured the lady told me it never happens so it was impossible.

Funny thing is- God is bigger than impossible.

So tonight I'm standing in the middle of the wilderness. Thanking God for his faithfulness yet again.  The wildness isn't such a bad place to be.
God is good. Emmaus may still have TSC, she still might have seizures, she may be developing at her own pace, but God is providing. He is teaching that little sweet girls mommy lots of good stuff. He is changing me.

I do believe the promise land is on the other side of this journey. But maybe God knew me well enough to know if he lead me straight there I would forget his faithfulness.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Goodnight sweetheart

 Don't let this sweet little face fool you. Or those chubby cheeks...
Or those big blue eyes... don't let them grab your heart.
And certainly don't let her impressive flexability fool you. or the pink helmet, with the huge bow. 
While she's cute during the day....the real "fun" stuff happens at night. 

 My child. When you were this little I expected you to wake up often. I was super patient through those sleepless nights...infact, I even enjoyed those sweet moments in the middle of the night when it was just the two of us.

However, now you are Big. You are not 8 weeks old like your sleep patterns my child you are almost 8 months old! Thank you for being a good napper. But if you don't get a grasp on the night time sleep thing, your mommy may go crazy. She is tired...very very very tired of waking up every two hours with you.
I know you got teeth, then a helmet, and that is a lot to deal with. So I am TRYING to be patient. But the middle of the night girl time has to cease.

love, La

Monday, February 6, 2012

My struggle.

I struggle with feeling included. I kinda always have. I am very aware that feeling excluded is a way that the enemy isolates me. I remember feeling this way freshman year of high school when a lot of new girls joined our class- the feeling of being fearful that I would be replaced in my friend group, fighting (only in my own head) for a position. I remember feeling this way in college. And I have felt it often as an adult.  It really is a problem.
Here is how it goes. I feel left out/not chosen/not desired (Umm wow there are some layers in that huh?!)
Then instead of addressing the issue I say to myself "Fine. We (I obviously pull dan into my isolation) can do this alone" and then I isolate myself further. (GREAT SOLUTION RIGHT?!)
Well truth be told we cannot do this alone. We NEED community. That is how we are designed to live. God created humans to live in community with him. In Genesis it talks about him walking in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve. (Gosh that is the ultimate community huh?) But then we choose sin. And messed things up.
The problem with christian community is that while we are all striving to walk like Jesus did we are still people. Busy, messed up, trying to sort out our own junk, barely surviving, barely thriving people trying to do the best we can. It is imperfect.
I was crying to dan last night (who is such a good man let me say!) about not feeling chosen. About feeling left out.  As I processed with him I asked "are we too hard to be friends with?" "do we come off like we don't need community-like we have it figured out?" "do people just not like us" I realized that me feeling isolated is the enemy doing his job well. Me feeling alone is a success in his eyes.

I'm guessing if this is happening to me over and over and over again. It is happening to a lot of people. I am not writing this so you all will leave comments telling me how loved we are. But because this feeling of being alone is a lie. I know it is a lie, but it is SO HARD to shake. So while I am still feeling the sting of this lie today-I am fighting hard to combat it. I am trying not to isolate myself or have my feelings hurt because we didn't get invited to something. (Even though we had plans and couldn't have gone anyway-umm I know ridiculous- don't judge)

I guess that is all. Oh- and that we were chosen. That God chose us. He chose to sacrifice his son for to save us- and THAT is a huge choice. HE CHOSE US.  And while church, or friends, or family (all broken human things/people) may not do the best job of choosing us. God already has.

Just some thoughts and struggles I wanted to share.
Love, La

Friday, February 3, 2012

Over again

I know I posted THIS post about rolling a long time ago. However- Today for the VERY FIRST TIME all BY HERSELF Emmaus rolled from her back to her stomach. Then she did it again, and again and again. We have spent a WHOLE LOT OF TIME working on this very thing! The funny thing is that it was perfect. She put her feet where we practiced, her arms where we practiced, ect. And even better than that it means she is using her arms and legs to push. ummm thank you Jesus. So I might have taken pictures of the process because she did it so many dang times!  So here you go!

This is where she usually gets to but that arm just gets stuck under her!

                                Arm out!                                                               

And this is where I have pity on her and flip her back over. Darn helmet its just so heavy! 

So super exciting. We are so proud of you little girl!


Sleep & Stuff

Emmaus slept through the night TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW. I think I need someone to pinch me. My child?!?! Slept? ALL NIGHT?!?! 
Anyway- saying it was glorious probably is an understatement. 
We are now getting in the swing of helmet wearing.  And she looks pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. 
And she doesn't even really mind the thing. (I hate not being able to kiss her noggin) 

Okay- well that's all for today. We are off to take a nap. (because somehow it is already friday again and I am off to work all weekend. These weeks sure pass by fast!)

Love, La

P.S. Have you see this thing? Its a hoot.