Archive for September, 2010

Four years ago…

Four years ago today I received one of the best gifts of my entire life.  A beautiful, precious bundle of joy!!  From that day my life has been forever changed.  It’s amazing to look back at pictures of my baby girl and see how much she has grown and changed.  From little, helpless infant to walking, talking, independent little girl.  What an amazing journey it has been.

Happy FOURTH Birthday, Brinley Grace!

Hall Closet Makeover

We have a good sized closet in our main hallway.  It’s pretty much been unused since we moved in, mostly because we moved in during nicer weather and didn’t have big coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc to put in there.  Instead, it has become home to some very random things like mops, Pledge, light bulbs, grocery bags and our fire extinguisher.

(click to enlarge)

With the colder weather creeping up on us, I know that we are going to need to use this closet for it’s intended purpose rather than as a catch-all.  So, I decided to tackle it.  It was a very spur-of-the-moment decision.  I took some quick measurements, grabbed the girls, and drove to Lowe’s to buy some supplies.  There were a few things that I definitely wanted to accomplish with the project and the rest just fell into place.  First, since the closet is over a stairway, the floor is slanted upward which means you can’t really put much on the floor of the closet (but somehow that didn’t really seem to stop the clutter from gathering there!).  Then there was the abundance of grocery bags (aka toxic waste-smelling diaper disposal bags).  Even though we use reusable shopping bags 90% of the time, we still seem to end up with tons of these plastic bags.  So, I was determined to find an answer to this problem.  And finally, how do I make the closet not look so cluttered?  I know, I know, it IS a closet after all, but I just hated looking at all of the crap!

Here is how it turned out:

I am completely thrilled with it.  I installed a shelf near the bottom of the closet.  It can be used for shoes or whatever.  I put a small bin on it so the kids can put things away at their own level (ie hats, gloves, scarves).  I put two larger bins on the top shelf.  One of them has the light bulbs and other miscellaneous stuff in it.  The other is empty for now, but will hold Scott’s and my hats, gloves and scarves this winter.  I was able to eliminate two of the mops from the closet.  One was the Swiffer Wet Jet, which we no longer use (we replaced it with a Shark Steam Mop seen in the picture).  The other one was an old school sponge mop that somehow made it’s way to the new house even though we never used it at the condo.

But, I know the biggest question on everyone’s mind right now is “What did she do with all of those grocery bags?!?”  Pretty sweet, huh?!  I’ve seen these type of bag holder/dispenser things before but for some reason never bought one.  Of course today when I was on the hunt for one, it took me forever to find it.  It’s stuck on the right hand wall inside the closet with some adhesive backing (or you could have used screws).  The box says it holds 30 bags but I was able to get at least 45 in there (yes, I was counting!).  I’m very happy about it.

So, I ended up spending about $40 at Lowe’s on the shelf, hardware, bins and the grocery bag holder.  I know it probably seems silly that I’m so excited about a closet makeover, but I know it’s going to make our lives so much easier once we’re wearing heavy coats and winter accessories.

Stitches, Derma-bond, and Scars – Oh My!

After having had to take both of my daughters to the Emergency Room in their first two years of life for facial lacerations (try saying that five times fast!) I’ve done quite a bit of research on the best ways to reduce scarring in young children.  There are lots of helpful tips on the internet and I’ve learned quite a few things both there and from doctors, a plastic surgeon included.  When my girls’ injuries first happened, I was so caught up on how they would each be left with a terrible scar.  It really bothered me and I was, and still am, determined to make them as invisible as possible.

So, I’m going to share with you some of the things that I have learned in case you are ever in this position with your child, or even yourself!  Please note that my experiences are both with facial lacerations in the forehead region so other areas of the body may have different protocol.

First, if you have any doubt in your mind whether or not the injury may need to be stitched, go to the Emergency Room.  If a wound does require stitches they must be done within a certain amount of time, generally six to eight hours, but the sooner the better.  It’s also important to control the bleeding as much as possible by putting pressure on the wound.

When you arrive at the emergency room, be sure to tell the intake person about how the wound happened, whether or not the person lost consciousness, and the severity of the bleeding.  They should ask you most of this anyway, but be sure to volunteer it if not asked.  Then you will have to wait which is the hard part.

Once you are taken back into the room, be sure that you or your child are being treated by a doctor and not just a physician’s assistant or nurse.  In the case of a facial laceration, or would in another very obvious/prominent area of the body, you may want to seek more than one opinion on it’s treatment.  This is a piece of advice that I wish I had known before taking Nora in.  Also, if the wound is going to require stitches you always want to ask for a plastic surgeon to perform them whenever possible.  Remember you are the patient/parent and you have a right to ask.

Whatever the case may be, stitches, Derma-bond or just a dressing, be sure to care for it properly when you get home.  When Brinley had her stitches we had to put an antibiotic ointment with a band-aid on it for a week and then we had to take her in to the doctor to have the stitches removed.  For Nora’s Derma-bond we were told not to put any type of ointment on it and not to get it wet for the first 24 hours.  So be mindful of the proper care because it’s not always the same.

When I took Nora in to see her pediatrician for her follow-up visit, that is when I found out that I should have gotten a second opinion on the way in which her wound was treated.  Her pediatrician felt that since it was a facial wound that it probably should have been stitched.  Though he didn’t see the wound fresh so he couldn’t say that matter-of-factly.  It killed me to know that I may not have done the right thing for her but I really had no idea that I should have pushed back.  Lesson learned.

The most important factor in minimizing scars though, is the care that comes after the stitches are removed or the Derma-bond falls off.  The number one most important thing is to make sure that you apply sun screen to the area every single day for at least a year.  Even if it doesn’t seem sunny out or it’s the dead of winter, the virgin skin can still burn very easily.  You also want to massage the scar to increase the circulation and help promote healing.  It is recommended to use vitamin E oil and massage it into the scar.  It’s not known whether the oil itself helps diminish the scar or if it’s the massaging.  Maderma or some other scar reducing ointment is also recommended.

I am happy to report that Brinley’s scar from almost two years ago, where she received six stitches, is hardly visible at all.  Granted it is in her hairline, but it still healed very well.  Only time will tell with Nora’s but I have very high hopes.  It already looks 100 times better since the Derma-bond has fallen off.  In fact, we were at a BBQ this past weekend and no one even noticed it.

Every time I think about one of my girls being “scarred for life” it really eats away at me.  But I heard something on the radio this weekend that made me look at scars in a bit of a different light…. “A scar is like a tattoo, but with a much better story.”

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I do not claim to be one.  I also don’t play one on TV.  The advice given above is based solely on my experience of having two daughters who have both visited the ER and were treated for facial lacerations.  Please be sure to seek your own medical advice from a professional.

Conversations with Brinley

Yesterday Brinley came into my room as I was getting dressed.  It’s funny how kids have no sense of privacy or the need to knock.  Not that I mind, really, and not that she hasn’t seen it all before.  But I digress…

Anyway, I was standing there in my towel drying off from my shower.  I dropped the towel, was standing there naked and about to pull on some clothes.  She looked up at me and made a strange face.  Then she said to me:

“Mom, how come you still have boobies if you don’t breast feed Nora anymore?”

I took all I had in me not to burst out laughing at her.  But I didn’t want to feel ashamed or embarrassed or like she shouldn’t ask me those types of questions.  I love how inquisitive she is but sometimes a child’s innocence is sheer hilarity.  I held in my laughter and attempted to explain to her that once you have boobies, they never go away (for the most part) even after you finish breast feeding a baby.  She seemed satisfied with that answer, thank God, and just said, “Ok, mom” and scampered out of the room.

Evolution of a home – living room.

One of the benefits of buying a home that is For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is that you get to know the owner/seller.  I realize that some people may not view this as a benefit, but it our case it was a huge plus.  They were extremely helpful and very informative through the entire process.  They answered every single question that we had to the best of their knowledge.  As the new owners of the home it’s great to be able to get in touch with them if we have any questions (and we have).  They moved out of state but they’re the type of people where if they’re ever back to visit, we’d love to have them over for dinner!

Anyway, another added bonus of “knowing” them is that they were gracious enough to share with us pictures of how the home looked when they purchased it.  This was very neat to us.  It has also allowed us to see how the home has evolved over the years.  It’s quite awesome.  As I mentioned before, our house was built in the late 1960′s so even though it’s new to us, it’s not really new.  The previous owners had the glorious job of removing all of the old wallpaper and painting all of the wood trim white.  Both of which I am extremely grateful for!  When we moved in, most of what we did was cosmetic.

I’m going to share with you bits and pieces of the house as it has evolved through the years.  First we’ll visit the living room.  I call this room the conversation room.  It’s attached to the dining room and off of the kitchen.  We don’t have a TV in this room and it’s used more for sitting and talking or reading.  Our computer nook is also here though our laptop floats around the house with us most of the time.  Anyway, here is what the room looked like, sans furniture, when the previous owners first purchased it a little over five years ago:

It was carpeted, had dingy walls and the window casing appears to be beige.  What you can see is that the bay (or is it bow) window is a huge focal point.  What you can’t see is that there is a beautiful fireplace on the wall to the right of the window.  Otherwise, pretty basic and boring.

Here are the pictures of the same room from when the previous owners lived here:

Here you can see the work that the previous owners put into the room.  They put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, painted the trim and window casing white, removed the carpet and refinished the hardwood floors.  They did an amazing job!  You can also see that fireplace that I was talking about.  And notice how the window lets in a TON of natural light?!  I love it!

When we moved in, we originally had our sectional in this room.  It didn’t fit and was too overbearing here.  We intended for it to go in the family room, but that room was a work in progress and we needed a couch somewhere!  Once the family room was finished, we moved the sectional down there and were left with an empty space.  The girls loved it because it meant more room for them to run around in and create a mess, but we knew it was temporary.  Eventually we purchased furniture for the room and I’m happy with how it’s coming along.  Here are pictures of how the room currently looks:

I took these pictures at night so there’s no sun coming in through the window but you get the idea.  We’re planning to paint the wall behind the love seat and the wall where the fireplace is a lighter shade of green.  We are also currently looking for a new, larger area rug.  I’m sure I’ll put some pictures or something on the mantle eventually and I have to do some decorating in the desk area (pictures/cork board/etc).  Oh and we need to get a more beefy looking curtain rod.  The one that is there looks a bit too wimpy for the window.  Other than that, I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along!  What do you think?

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