Happy Halloween

We had a wonderful Halloween. Sydney was a monkey and Brooklyn was a ladybug, purple ghost and housewife. Sounds like a weird costume right? Well she wasn't all 3 at the same time. The child kept wanting to change costumes. She is definitely a girl.

First she was a ladybug. She wore her costume to school and to our family Halloween party. Then out of the blue she said she wanted to be a purple ghost. I have no earthly idea where that came from. So off to Walmart I went to get her a couple yards of cheap purple fabric. She wore the ghost costume to our neighborhood Publix for games and candy. Well she decided she didn't like it, which I don't blame her. It was pretty lame and hard to wear. We still hadn't gone trick or treating so what was she going to wear? I decided to run upstairs and get her robe, stick some sponge curlers in her hair and give her a baby doll and make her a housewife. She loved it.

Finally off to trick or treating. It was a nice clear night thankfully. We were out long enough to get a little candy. Sydney got tired first so I took her back to the house, while daddy stayed out with Brooklyn.

Halloween was a success. Now where do I hide the candy?

Tuesday's Tip (Cleaning your ceiling fan)

Tuesday's Tip is how to clean your ceiling fan, mess free. If you are like me, you don't clean your ceiling fan quite as often as you should because it's such a mess. I hate to admit this but the ceiling fan in our bedroom hasn't been cleaned in 2 years since we moved in. It is so dusty. So I found a way to clean it without the dust getting allover the room. I take a pillow case and stick it on the blade and wipe it with the inside of the pillow case. That way the dust falls into the pillowcase and you can take it outside and get rid of the dust and then throw it into the washing machine. You can even spray a little bit of furniture polish into the pillowcase before you clean the blades. Happy cleaning.

A healthier cup of joe

In my quest for better health, I've been looking at the foods and drinks that I like to have and I ask myself is there a better alternative for what I am eating or drinking. Most of the time there is. I have found a new way to drink coffee that I would love to share. I really like coffee and am one that cannot drink it black. It has to be loaded with flavored creamer and sugar for me to really enjoy it. I drink it more in the winter than in the summer I have to say. I love to grab a cup when it's cold outside and sit down and savor every last drop. For a long time I've known the creamer that I put in my coffee is loaded with sugar and then to make it even sweeter I top it off with even more sugar or Splenda. Well over the past few months or so as I've looked at my diet and have been studying a way to eat healthier and more organic foods, I discovered 2 ingredients that have made my cup of joe better for me and I think even tastier than before. I decided to go to Whole Foods to see what my options were. I love Whole Foods because they always seem to have an alternative to the thing that I am wanting to get rid of in my diet. First up, was the creamer. I wanted something natural that was dairy free and soy free. What I discovered was Coconut Milk Creamer. They have it in two flavors, Vanilla and Hazelnut. I decided to take a chance and try it. I know what you are thinking, that it must taste like coconut. Not one bit. I don't taste coconut at all. It is so delicious. The other thing that was amazing about it was that it made my coffee frothy. The second product I discovered for a sweetener is Agave Nectar. This truly is better for you than any other sweetener or sugar out there. I have been reading many health books and every single one of them talks about this sweetner as the hands down best sweetner for you, so I decided to give it a try. Why is this the best sweetner you can put into your body? Because it is pure and has a low glycemic index. This is a great alternative if you are diabetic too. You want to try to buy Raw if you can. The one I bought is not raw because it's a little more expensive and I wanted to make sure I liked it first. My next bottle will be raw. (Raw is the best way to go with really anything you eat. Raw is better because no heat was used in the process of making it that would destroy alot of the nutrients in the sweetner) You can use this in so many other ways than just your coffee. I buy the girls plain goat yogurt that I used to flavor with maple syrup and now I use the Agave Nectar instead. I truly believe this is a must have in my pantry and I will never live without it.

Before picture of how I drank my coffee. I actually just used sugar and creamer not the Sweet n Low. I just threw that in because I know alot of people use Sweet N Low, Splenda or Equal. If you use these please do some research to find out what is really in these little packets. They are extremely harmful to your system. I used to use Splenda until I discovered how bad it was for me and then I switched to pure sugar until I discovered Agave Nectar.

This is how I drink my coffee now. See how frothy my cup is? This is from the coconut milk because I have never had a creamer do that to my coffee ever.

One more thing about coffee. If you drink decaf like I do most of the time, you might want to consider buying an organic coffee. The reason being is that when you buy decaf coffee from the store that is not organic they have used a chemical process to remove the caffeine from the coffee. When you buy organic decaf they use a water process to remove the caffeine. They have a great selection at Whole Foods and if you don't like any product you buy they will take it back no questions asked, even if it's been opened.

A Trip to Gentry Farms

Every year the girls school goes to Gentry Farms. This was the first year we got to go with their school. I am so glad we went. We had a blast. Daddy got off of work early to go with us too. We went on a hayride, saw the animals (goats, chickens, turkeys, cows, roosters and pigeons), played in the wheat and corn trough, went through a corn maze and swung on a tire swing. I brought my big girl camera and took lots of pictures.

The Hunt for Spiders

Yesterday daddy took the girls on a daddy/daughter date to The Factory for a spider hunt. The contest was for kids age 3-5. They put out pieces of chocolate candy with spider wrappers and hid them outside for the kids to find. Brooklyn went looking on her own and daddy took Sydney around helping her look. They both did great and Brooklyn one 3rd place collecting 27 spiders. Sydney collected 11. Brian said that Brooklyn probably would have at least got second if not first place had he helped her. The other kids parents were helping them look, but Brooklyn did it all by herself. The prize was a $10 gift card to any store in The Factory. They had a great time and were so excited to show me their bags of spiders when they got home. I have a feeling the spiders will end up in the Halloween bucket to hand out to kids so we don't end up eating them all.

Tuesday's Tip (Avoiding H1N1)

Today's tip I got from my cousin Kelly in California. Thanks Kel for passing it on. It's how to prevent swine flu or any flu for that matter. For someone who is not getting the flu & swine flu vaccine this I was very interested in. You may or may not be curious why I am not getting the flu vaccine for myself or for the girls. The reason being is that the shot has mercury in it and the nasal vaccine has an active live H1N1 virus in it, so I just really can't see myself putting those toxins in my body. That's just the conclusion I have come up with for us. Everyone must do what they feel is best for them and their families. I choose to build our immune systems up the best I can and let them fight it off. It's worked the last 3 years during flu season and I pray it continues to do so.

I'll shut up so you can hear it from an expert. This is good advice whether you have gotten the flu shot or not.

Dr. Vinay Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital , Bombay Hospital , Saifee Hospital , Tata Memorial etc.. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).

The following message given by him, makes a lot of sense and is important for all to know

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4... Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but *blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.*

5. *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. *Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

Daddy Daughter Date

One of the fun things we like to do is daddy/daughter dates and mommy/daughter dates. It gives us one on one time with the girls. Tonight daddy took Sydney Kate to Dick's Sporting Goods to look for a reflective runners bib. He said she had a blast playing with the mannequins. He got some great pictures with his iPhone. Here is one of my favorites because I love her expression in it. This is just classic Sydney. Always smiling.

I stayed home with Brooklyn and we made ice creams sundaes. She had vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and rainbow sprinkles. She loved smushing it around and watching the colors of the sprinkles turn the ice cream different colors. I didn't get a picture of it, but I wished I had.

Tonight when I was putting Brooklyn to sleep she said, "Mommy sorry for being mean today". Oh that melted my heart. She has the sweetest spirit about her, but she has a hard time controlling her anger when she is really mad. I am so glad she recognizes when she has done something wrong. The other night she prayed to Jesus and told Jesus she was sorry for getting mad. I love you my sweet Brooklyn. I so enjoy our times together. You too Sydo.

A Trip to the Discovery Center

Stacy invited us to go to the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro yesterday. They are members there and she had some free tickets for us so I decided to take the girls. We stopped by Moe's because they were giving away free jr. burrito's for their 5th anniversary. So we had free lunch and free playtime. It couldn't have been better. This place is so cool and the girls had so much fun. There is so much to do there. I took lots of pictures from my iPhone and thought I would let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

A Day of Rememberance

Today I remember my sweet firstborn daughter Zoe Renae Lord. For those of you who don't know her story I thought I would post an excerpt from the book I wrote detailing her short life.

In July of 2004, we decided to switch infertility doctors and see a new specialist that we had heard great things about. He was one of the best in the country with a high success rate. We had 5 frozen embryos from our unsuccessful IVF that February and we decided that it was time to give them a chance at life. We met with our new doctor in his office and really liked him a lot. He really encouraged us and said he wanted to run some of his own tests to see what was going on. He told me to come in the next day for an ultrasound to make sure that my uterus was normal. That day was crazy because I had scheduled the appointment around my husband’s exploratory surgery, for something totally unrelated, at the hospital down the street. Brian always laughs because I am a multitasker. I dropped him off at the hospital and went on over to the doctor’s office. My doctor walked in and proceeded to do the ultrasound. I had had many ultrasounds in the past year with all the testing and procedures I had gone through. This one however looked different. I saw something on the screen that resembled a small black circle. That’s the best way I can describe it. I started getting really nervous because I thought maybe it was a tumor. Just then my doctor said, with a smile on his face pointing at the screen, “that is a 5 week gestational sac.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I just said, “What”? The nurse started smiling. My doctor said, “Congratulations, you are pregnant”. I just started to cry. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There on that screen was my little baby. Still too small to even see a heartbeat, but none the less, my baby. Wow, how did this happen? I mean, I know how it happened, but how can this be? I just knew that this was the little miracle that the Lord had given us.

I was still in shock as I drove to the hospital to check on Brian. Wow, how was I going to tell him? Would he even be in his room? All these fun ideas started popping into my head about how I would tell him. I mean I had dreamed of this day forever and it was finally here. I figured I would wait until he was out of surgery and then tell him. As I walked into his room he could tell that I had been crying. I couldn’t contain myself, I said, “Honey you are not going to believe this, but I am pregnant.” He sat straight up in bed. “Oh my gosh”, he said. What, how? I told him that when the doctor did the ultrasound he saw the sac. He was smiling from ear to ear. We were both so happy. I gave him a hug and we immediately prayed and thanked God for our tiny miracle. Just then the nurse walked in to wheel him away. I think she thought I was really upset and emotional about my husband having surgery. We didn’t let her in on our little secret. I’m happy to say too Brian came through the surgery just fine and with a clean bill of health.

My pregnancy progressed normally and beside being tired in the first trimester it was perfect. I loved being pregnant and I was enjoying watching my belly grow. The day was finally here, week 20, and we were off to the doctor’s office for our ultrasound that would tell us if we were having a boy or a girl. We were so excited. We had a dinner planned that night with my family and we were going to have my nephew Mario let everyone know what we were having. We just couldn’t wait. I got up on the table and the technician started the ultrasound. I knew something was wrong pretty quickly. She just didn’t have a good look on her face. She said, “Honey, I’m seeing something I don’t like. I’m going to go get your doctor”. She walked out of the little room and I just started saying, “Oh God please, don’t let there be anything wrong with my baby”. “Please Lord, No”. I started to shake and I was terrified. We said a quick prayer and my doctor walked in. She looked at the screen and she confirmed the technicians fears. She said, “Krista I am so sorry, but there is no heartbeat.” “What, how can this be”? I remember that I had felt my baby move just a week prior. It was the neatest feeling ever. I can still remember that little fluttering feeling. I was so excited to tell Brian that I had felt the baby move. This could not be happening. Not to me. Not to us. I was numb. I couldn’t cry. I was in shock. I asked my doctor, “What do we do now”. She said that I would have to be admitted to the hospital and deliver the baby. “What”? How in the world am I going to do that. There is no way I can do this, but I knew there was no other option. I have to say that I love my doctor. She just gave me a hug and held me. I knew she was so sad for us. She knew what we had been through to make it to this point and now we had lost our baby. She told me to go home and try to get some rest that I would be admitted the next night. As we left the room my husband just started to cry. I had only seen him cry 2 other times since we had been together, but this time it was even worse. I still couldn’t cry. I just kept saying, “what, how can this be”. We got in the car and drove home. I will never forget driving down the interstate and we started to sing, “Lord I lift your name on high, Lord I love to sing your praises, I’m so glad you’re in my life, I’m so glad you came to save us”. Through our tears, we praised the Lord. It was unexplainable. We just knew that’s what we needed to do. I had heard of stories of people in the midst of their tragedy sing praises to the Lord and I remember thinking, how can they possibly sing praises. But here we were, we just got the worse news possible, but we loved our Lord and we wanted Him to know it.

The next 24 hours were a blur. I think the hardest part was telling our families our little baby was gone. We still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl and we didn’t know what had happened. Our families were devastated. They wanted this baby just as much as we did. They really rallied around us and supported us the best they knew how. I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night. How could I. My belly was still there, still big, but life inside of me had been silenced. I would never feel my baby move or kick again. I couldn’t even think of eating. I just kept thinking how in the world am I going to get through this? How is this ever going to be ok? Will my husband be ok? I packed my bag for the hospital and off we went. We got there around 5:00pm on October 7, 2004. They administered meds to start contractions. We had friends and family in and out that night visiting. The amazing thing was that we were doing ok. We could feel the presence of the Lord in that room. As it got later, around 9:00 I started having contractions. They gave me an epidural and some sleep medication so I could get some sleep. I was completely exhausted. It worked. I fell asleep. The next thing I know it’s 5:30 in the morning and the nurse came and woke me up so she could check my catheter. When she lifted up the blanket, my baby was there. I had the baby in the middle of the night while I slept. The Lord was good to allow it to be so easy and pain free. We had a prayed that it would go smoothly and easily and it did. My doctor came in and took the baby to the bassinet. Then she said, “It’s a girl”. Wow a girl. All along we thought it might be a boy, but we had a girl. She told Brian that she had somehow gotten the cord wrapped around her neck twice. It was so tight my doctor had to cut it off. My doctor cleaned her off and put a little dress and hat on her and wrapped her in a blanket. Then she handed her to me. We just looked at her and held her. She was so tiny. She weighed only 4 oz. She was perfect and she was ours. We were able to say goodbye to her and to give her a name. We hadn’t thought about names yet so the nurse brought in a name book for us to look at. I remember thumbing through the pages and coming across the name Zoe. I thought that was so pretty and I loved the meaning of the name. It meant “Life”. My daughter was never going to experience life here on earth, but she would have the best life ever, Everlasting Life. It was perfect. Then we chose her middle name to be Renae, which is my middle name. I never knew what the meaning was behind my middle name so I decided to look it up. I was blown away when I saw what it meant. Renae means “Reborn”. Zoe was reborn, straight into the arms of our loving Father. Zoe Renae was born on October 8, 2004 and her mommy and daddy were very proud parents.

I desperately want Brooklyn and Sydney to know about their big sister. I talk to them about her from time to time and tell them how much I loved her and miss her. We had the girls release balloons on the deck for her tonight. Sydney did it with no problem but Brooklyn didn't want to let hers go. At first I was upset because she wouldn't do it but then I thought this is what she wants to do and I shouldn't make her release it. I really wanted to go to the cemetery where they spread her ashes since we've never been before, but it's about an hour away and it would have been dark by the time we got there so we decided against it. We will go around Thanksgiving when we have more time and we will release 5 pink balloons for the 5 years she has been gone. There is still not a day that goes by that I don't think about her. The hardest is when I see 3 sisters playing together, that is when it hits me that my girls will never play together here on earth. I would give anything for one day to see them play together. I miss you my sweet girl and will see you again one day.

Tuesday's Tip (Sight Words DVD's)

Today's tip is for all you mom's out there with babies, toddlers or preschool aged kids. My friend Brandy introduced me to these videos almost 2 years ago and I love them. Thanks Brandy!Between my mom, my sister Stacy and myself we have 6 of them. They are truly amazing. I will give you an example of how they have worked for us. Brooklyn started watching the series when she was 2. Within a few weeks of watching them she knew her numbers, letters and colors. Then when she was 3, we started watching "Meet the SightWords". This is when it really hit me how amazing these videos were. We would be out and around town and she would say, "Look mommy, in and the". She was looking at the Jack in the Box sign and recognized the words. This would happen time after time and she would try to find words she knew. I couldn't believe it. Each DVD has 15 sight words on it. Sightwords are what they teach in kindergarten and Brooklyn learned them at age 3. I can't take credit for teaching her these words it was all the video. Kids love them because the music is great and it's colorful and they make learning fun. I would really encourage you to get these for your little ones. I'm using them now to teach Sydney her letters and numbers.

They are usually $15 each and you get them either online or at the Teacher Supply Store, but today I was at Costco and saw an amazing deal. You get all 7 in a box set for $59.99. That is a steal. This makes a great Christmas gift! If grandparents are looking for something to get their grandkids that would truly be an investment in your child's learning I would pass this on to them. I love Costco and just like alot of their stuff it only is around for a short time, so you probably want to get these within the month if you are interested. I promise you won't be sorry

On a total random note, I also found these cute Madame Alexander dolls for the girls for Christmas and the best part was the price. Just $24.99. The blonde one is for Brooklyn and the dark haired one is for Sydney. I heart Costco!

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice came to town and we decided to take the girls. I used a coupon and scored tickets for $10 each. The girls have been talking about it for a month. They kept asking me when it was gonna be "the day" and today finally arrived. The girls loved going downtown. We never get to Nashville so we rolled down the windows and let them take in the sights and sounds. It was a beautiful night too. The girls loved the show. It was very entertaining I thought. The only part of the show I didn't like was the Halloween part or Halloweena as Sydney calls it. The girls thought it was scary which I'd have to agree. They basically had all the villains from the different movies in that section. Brooklyn put her face in daddy's lap and Sydney turned around and put her head on my shoulder. Other than that, a good time was had by all. I loved holding Sydney on my lap and seeing her face light up as she watched the show. She wanted to go down and touch them all so bad. It was really cute. We had such a great time as a family. I am incredibly blessed to have such an amazing hubby and 2 beautiful girls. Thank you Lord.


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