Minnie & Jilly Out on the Town

Rodents invaded the Lord household this year. No, not those small ugly black creatures that eat all of your food, but two big ones. A mouse and a hamster to be exact. Sydney was that popular mouse we've all heard of and Brooklyn was a Zhu Zhu Pet hamster, named Jilly.
My sisters neighborhood had their trick-or-treating on Saturday so we had our Darin Family party at her house. We ate chili, played games and then went trick or treating. One of the games the girls played was bobbing for donuts. I had never seen this before, but it was so hilarious to watch them. Well, you can see for yourselves. (Excuse the background noise. We're Italian, nuff said).

You have to try this at home. So much fun. It was so easy too. Just fishing line and powdered donuts. That simple.
There is a house at the end of the culd-e-sac that goes all out for Halloween. Almost nightly, we take a walk down and let the girls just look at all the lights. They love it. This was taken in front of their house. I told them last night we won't have a reason to walk down there anymore. She reminded me that there is always Christmas. Can't wait to see what they come up with. (Brooklyn makes daddy where this cowboy hat every year. It's tradition).

We hit about 20 houses and then the girls were done. They were tired. Trick-or-Treating two nights in a row is a little much. Don't think we'll do that again. There is an upside, however, I didn't have to buy any candy. We used what the girls got on Saturday to hand out on Sunday. Saved money and the girls didn't get all the sugar. I'd say that was a win, win for everyone.

I think the girls had more fun passing out candy after they were done, then actually getting it. They sat on the front porch and waited for kids to come. Syd was practically yelling for people to come get candy. She was even telling our neighbor Liz, who was also handing out candy, to come get some of her candy. The funny thing was that Sydney was acting and talking so grownup. She would say things like, "Ooh, that's a scary costume." A little 2 year old came up to get candy and as she was walking away, Syd grabbed a sucker,(her favorite), and stuck it in the mom's purse and said, "Oh here, she'll like this too."

All and all, it was a fabulous weekend with my sweet hubby and girls. So blessed! Now it's time to get ready for Thanksgiving. We will be having it at our house again this year, so I have lots to do. No rest for the weary. Tis the season.

Date Night

I've been looking forward all week to a night on the town with my sweet hubby. The girls are over at my sisters having a slumber party with their cousins.

We decided to go to Chipotle for dinner tonight. It was so yummy. I love Chipotle for their fresh and natural ingredients. I love what their slogan, "food with integrity". I'm on a 12 week detox, more on that later, so this was a great way for me to eat out and eat healthy. All of their meats are organic or naturally raised, which means no hormones, antibiotics, or steroids, and they get alot of their produce from local growers. If you have one in your area you should check them out.
We decided to rent this movie to watch tonight. Have you seen it?

I know it came out along time ago, but we just never have time to go to the movies. Well, that and the fact that it costs an arm and a leg to see a movie in the theatres these days, so we wait til it comes out at Redbox. You can't beat seeing a movie for $1. I've heard it's hilarious, so hopefully we won't be disappointed.

Busy weekend with lots of Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. I hope you all have a great and safe weekend. I'll be spending mine with Minnie Mouse and Jilly, The Zhu Zhu pet.

Wordless Wednesday. Sort of.

Tuesday's Tip-Saving your cell phone

I haven't had this happen to me, thankfully, but I have had many friends who've experienced this tragedy. It usually is at the hands of a child, but as I learned from a girl in our Sunday School class on Sunday, her husband dropped his iPhone into the toilet. She thinks it may be because he wants to upgrade to the new iPhone4. I might have to agree with her on that. Anyway, I told her not all was lost and that it could be dried out. She didn't know that was possible.

So that's my Tuesday's Tip for the day. Did you know your cell phone can be saved by something you have right now in your pantry? You may have even had it for dinner last night, in it's cooked form of course. I am talking about rice. Yes, rice can save your cell phone from being lost forever. Here's how it works.

First Step: Immediately remove the battery. Do NOT try to power up your phone. It could short out the circuits. If you have a smart phone, remove the SIM card as well. If your cell phone is lost forever, your information, like your address book and emails, can be retrieved.

Second Step: Now you must dry your phone and dry it fast. If you let the moisture evaporate naturally, the chance of corrosion damaging the phone's innards increases. Instead, blow or suck the water out. But don't use a hair dryer--its heat can fry your phone's insides. Instead, opt for a can of compressed air, an air compressor set to a low psi or a vacuum cleaner (a wet/dry Shop-Vac would be perfect). The idea is to use air to push or pull moisture out through the same channels it entered.

Last Step: Submerge your cell phone and the battery in a bowl of uncooked rice. Leave it overnight. By morning, you should be able to put the battery back in and power on your device.
(Photograph by J. Muckle/Studio D. Ilustrations by Gabriel Silveira)

I hope this tip has been a helpful one. If you've used tried this before and it's worked for you, please leave me a comment and let me know.

Make Me Over

Notice anything different? Well of course you do. I got a blog makeover. I am so thrilled with how it turned out. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and finally got everything together to do it. I wanted a blog that was more user friendly and I think we accomplished that. Thank you to Diana at Custom Blog Designs for making it happen for me. If you are in need of a blog makeover, go visit her website. Her prices are very reasonable and she was great to work with. You don't have to get a full makeover either. She 's got alot of different packages you can choose from. Tell her I referred you and you will get a $5 coupon.

If you are looking for a Tuesday's Tip or want my posts on Infertility, you can just click the button at the top of the page and, voila, it's all there. You can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook with just a click of the buttons on the top right. I hope y'all like the new look.

A couple of girls got makeovers of their own this morning. Brooklyn & Sydney got very much needed haircuts. This was Sydney's first haircut ever. Yep. She's 3 1/2 and never had her hair cut before. It was time. I've been dreading it because I didn't want her to lose her gorgeous curls. I think she might keep some of those luscious curls. I have my fingers crossed.

I decided to cut 4 inches off of Brooklyn's hair. It was just getting too tangley and she has a sensitive head and never wants me to brush it, so I decided keeping it shorter is easier to manage. Her hair grows so fast and is really thick, so if she wants it longer, it will grow in no time.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday.

The Next Generation

I have lots to write about, but I've had a long couple of days and I am physically drained. For some reason the last couple of days have been emotionally hard. I'm just sad. I know grief is like that. You can be going along feeling like you have it all figured out and than, bam, just like that you fall apart. I just miss my son. I miss being pregnant. It's that simple really. When those hard times come, I give into the pain and just cry. It helps me feel better. I also think of the girls and how incredibly blessed I am to be their mom. That keeps me going.

I've been meaning to post this adorable video we took of the girls with their cousins. I recorded this after the concert my sisters and I did just a few weeks ago. We call them "The Darins" next generation. It's dark when I shot it so I'll tell you whose wearing what so you know which girl is singing. Brooklyn (green dress), Sydney (green top and jeans), Maiya (yellow and black top) and Sammie (brown dress) will know sing for you "The B I B L E". Enjoy.

A Mother's Love

My sister Stacy, who is 15 months younger than me, is not only a great sister and my best friend, but she's an amazing person as well. She is an inspiration to all those who know her.

She has 3 children, Mario (14), Maiya (5) and Sammie (4). All of her children are adopted. Mario came to live with Stacy and her husband Bill when he was 4. Maiya and Sammie they adopted from birth. What's so amazing about my sister and her husband is that they have open adoptions with their children's birth moms. I think adoption is one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened to our family.

I wanted to post a letter Stacy wrote today on Facebook. It touched my heart so much and I know it will touch yours. I love you Stace and thank you for letting me share your personal story. To my beautiful niece Samantha. I love you sweetheart and I'm so glad I'm your auntie. Happy 4th birthday!

I woke up this morning to a "busy as usual" morning of trying to get Maiya and Mario off to school. After they were off to school with daddy, I immediately heard little footsteps coming to find me. As soon as I saw Sammie, I remembered....today was her 4th birthday.

I gave her a big hug and said..."Sam, 4 years ago today, I"...then I stopped. I was about to say "I held you for the first time"...but that wasn't true. I specifically remember meeting her for the first time and not being able to take my eyes off of her...but I didn't hold her that day. She was in the arms of her first mom, Jacquie, right where she should be. She was so beautiful. I will never forget that little face as we drove back to our hotel room and wondered how it would feel tomorrow to get the chance to hold her and even feed her. The next day I held her and tears rolled down my face as it felt AMAZING!

So today, we celebrate her birthday,..the day I first laid eyes on Sammie. 4 years ago, my little bundle of joy came into this world and changed our lives forever. But today we also celebrate Jacquie. What a blessing she has trusted us with. What a courageous decision to continue to carry Sammie for 9 months. What a selfless act of love to give us a gift that would bless us forever. Jacquie, we love you and celebrate with you on this day...Samantha's 4th birthday! We love you.

Jesus Calling Devotional

I've said it so many times, that I will refrain from telling you again how much I love this devotional. I will let it speak for itself. May your heart and soul be touched by the love of Christ today and may you know just how much He loves and cares for you.

Tuesday's Tip-Toy Control

Have you ever awoke in the middle of the night to comfort your crying child, only to step on a piece of Lego in the dark? Ouch, right? I have done that so many times, I finally got to the point I had had enough. So what is a mother to do? Give away all of their toys? Now that would be drastic, but I was almost to that point.

We have a good sized house and so the toys were everywhere. One day I decided something had to be done, so I sat the girls down and had a talk with them. I told them that some of their toys had to go. They had way too many and they needed to share with kids who didn't have any toys. I had great timing too, because Brian was going on a missions trip to Haiti, so he could take them with him and give them to the kids at the orphanage where he would be staying. This was a perfect time to teach them about giving.

We got a big trash bag and started going through their toys. I seriously couldn't believe how much they had. Then I went a step further. I went to Target and bought a box for each of their rooms. Upstairs we have our bedrooms and a little playroom and I got rid of all the toys upstairs and they were only allowed to keep what would fit in their box. It has been 3 months and it has worked perfectly. I can't tell you how great it is not to get up and walk through a minefield.

Clean up is easy at night too. They know where their toys go. The playroom is no longer cluttered with tons of toys. It's a nice relaxing place for us to hang out and be together as a family. The rest of the toys that were not donated went downstairs to the basement. That gives the girls 2 rooms where they can play with their toys. It's nice because it keeps the main floor clean and clutter free and keeps me sane.

It will be that time again to go through the toys to see what else we can donate. Christmas is around the corner and I know they will get a few more toys, although I am trying to keep that at a minimum. We're doing a cool thing with the girls that I will share a little later on in another post. It's a great way to teach them how to save, give and invest their money.

In case you are wondering, I got the boxes at Target. They are on sale right now for $7.99 until 10/23. That's a good deal for how big they are. They hold a lot of toys. Hopefully this is a practical tip you can try in your home.

Under the Deep

Chagganooga Part 2: Sunday morning we woke up and headed to the Aquarium. It’s the only aquarium we’ve ever been to, so I don’t have anything to compare it with, but I think it’s beautiful. The location is great as it overlooks the Tennessee River.

The aquarium is divided up into 2 huge buildings. The first building we went into was the "Ocean Journey". It houses the penguins, stingray petting zoo, jellyfish, sharks and the butterfly garden.

I love this picture because Brooklyn looks completely bored out of her mind. We told her to make a scared face and this is what she came up with.

Building 2 is called the "River Journey". Here you will see the reptiles, sea otters, amphibians, fish and the biggest turtle you've ever seen in your life. I just realized I didn't get a picture of it.

After we finished going through the aquarium, we let the kids run around outside and play in the streams that they have. It was a beautiful, warm day so it was perfect for getting wet.

The girls keep asking us when we will go back to "Chagganooga". To say they loved it, would be an understatement. If you are interested, you can visit their website here. The aquarium is ranked one of the highest rated in America. It was definitely a weekend to remember.


(Warning! Post with alot of pictures. I took about 500.)
It's pronounced Chattanooga as you all know, but Sydney likes to call it "Chagganooga" so we just roll with it. We decided we needed a family getaway after everything we've been through in the last two months, so we left early Saturday morning and headed 2 hours east. We invited our good friends Brandy and Daniel with us and their two kids Grace and Griffin. We had a blast!

On Saturday afternoon we went to The Creative Discovery Museum. They had a ton of fun stuff for the kids to do. I think their favorite part was the big sandbox where you could dig for fossils. We spent over an hour there and we probably could've built our own sand box with the amount of sand that was in their pants and shoes.
They had an activity center up on the roof with a huge bubble pool and a chair with a pulley system. I couldn't believe it, but the girls were actually strong enough to pull themselves to the top.

We stayed at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel. It’s an old train station converted into a hotel. We stayed in a regular room, but they do have converted rail cars that you can sleep in. A little too narrow for my taste, but cool none the less. We got to take a trolley ride that they offered at the hotel. The conductor was great and let the kids ring the bell over and over and over again.

Part 2 and our time at the Aquarium will be coming tomorrow so this post doesn't end up being a novel. I know y'all are dying to see more pictures. :)

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Thank you to all the women who shared their story on my blog. I found it comforting to read your stories. Your stories gives other women, who have suffered the same loss, a sense that they are not alone in their journey. I was telling a dear friend of mine who called me yesterday, how I feel a sense of community with women who have lost a child. She understood because she lost her son Max just a year before I lost Zoe. There is such comfort in talking with her because she knows exactly how I feel. Thank you Jen for your words of encouragement to me. They penetrated my soul. Love you sweet friend.

I wanted to share a video of my sisters and I singing on Thursday night. It was so fun to be reunited with them. It had been 5 long years since we had been on the road. Thursday night the stage felt like home once again. This is one of my favorite songs to sing and one of the most requested songs when we did our concerts back in the day. I hope you enjoy it. So you know who is singing; from left to right is Rachelle, Me, Heather and Stacy.

We've got a fun filled weekend planned with the girls and thankfully it's supposed to be a beautiful Fall weekend. What do you have planned this weekend?

We Remember

Today I remember my daughter and my son, both are in the arms of Jesus. I would like to share with you their stories.

Early summer of 2004, during a routine ultrasound, I learned the amazing news I was pregnant. I couldn't believe it. After 3 years of infertility,
and a failed IVF, I was pregnant with our miracle baby. The doctors told us we had no hope of conceiving on our own, but God had other plans.
My husband and I were thrilled, and like any soon to be parents, started talking about names and all the things we couldn't wait to do. My pregnancy
progressed with ease and at 21 weeks, we couldn't wait to hear if we were having a boy or a girl. At 1:30, on October 6, 2004 our world came crashing down.

I knew something was terribly wrong when our ultrasound tech said, "I'm seeing something I don't like. I am going to go get your doctor". She left the room and
all I could say was, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus". My doctor came in and said, "Krista, I am so sorry there is no heartbeat." I went into shock. I couldn't cry. It was
the strangest feeling. She told us I would have to deliver.

I was admitted to the hospital the next day and on October 8, 2005 at 5:30 am our daughter was born still. My doctor knew immediately what had caused her death.
The cord was wrapped around her neck twice. It was so tight that my doctor had to cut it off. We were crushed.

We hadn't decided on a name at that point and I remember a nurse coming in to ask us if we wanted to see a baby name book. I told her we would. I found the name
Zoe which I thought was perfect for her. It meant "life". We decided on her middle name to be Renae which means "reborn". She was "life reborn." So fitting for her.
She was reborn into the arms of Jesus where she would have eternal life. Brian and I got to hold her and our families got to see her and say goodbye. It was the hardest day of my life. Little did I know, that
more pain would be in store for us, just 6 years later.

Brian and I had always dreamed about having a big family. We both come from families with 4 children. I have 3 sisters and Brian has 2 brothers and a sister. By the time Sydney was
2 we started trying again. I suffered 2 very early miscarriages in June of 2008 and January of 2009. In May of this year we learned we were pregnant again. We had been praying for a boy and
I just knew when I found out I was pregnant, that it was a boy. By the time I got past the first trimester, I was feeling pretty positive. I had to believe that I would have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

One night when I was using my dopplar, which I would do on occasion, I had a hard time finding the baby's heartbeat. Normally this would take me a minute or two to find, but I searched for what seemed
like an hour and couldn't find it. I started to panic. I knew in my heart something was wrong. The next morning I called my OB and told him what was going on and he said to come in for an ultrasound.
I couldn't look at the screen. I was terrified. Then he said he saw the heartbeat. I was relieved, until he said, but something is not right. There is an arythmia. He sent me immediately to my high risk OB
for him to look at. Once again, fear and shock set in. I couldn't believe this was happening. Why us again?

When we got to the high risk OB, I was given an ultrasound. I knew right away. The tech said, "I'll be right back". Flashbacks of what happened with Zoe flooded my mind. I began to sing, "Father I adore you and
I lay my life before you, how I love you." Brian sang with me. We just kept singing until the doctor came in. I looked at him and said, "We know". That was it. I know he was incredibly sad for us. It was written all
over his face. Once again I couldn't cry. I was numb. Again, Lord? Why?

I was admitted to the hospital the next day and on August 12, 2010, my son was born. He was precious and perfect. He looked like his daddy and his PeePaw, (Brian's dad who he lost this past January). My doctor
suspected a blood clot in the placenta which, after testing, turned out to be correct. We had our son. We named him Jonathan Andrew. Jonathan means "Gift of God" and Andrew means "warrior". We named him after Jonathan in the Bible and Andrew is a family name on my husband's side. It was perfect.

My story that has been filled with unbelievable heartache, but I choose to trust and believe in a God that knows how the story ultimately ends. I have the amazing priviledge to be a mom of 4 children. 2 in heaven and 2 on earth. I wouldn't trade that for the world.

I would love to read your stories. Use the linky if you have a blog and if you don't have a blog, please share your story in the comments section. I would love to pray for you today and read your children's names outloud tonight when I light a candle for my daughter and son.

Back together again

My sisters and I are reuniting to sing for an awesome cause tonight. We haven't done a concert in 5 years since, we retired to be wives and mothers, and I am so excited to sing with them again. I am thrilled that the girls finally get to see their mommy sing on stage. The last concert we did Brooklyn was crawling around on the stage during sound check. Wow how time flies.

Don't forget tomorrow, I would love for you to join me in remembering those babies that were lost. Please link up your blog and tell us your story. If you don't have a blog, please leave your story in the comments section. I will be lighting 2 candles tomorrow night for Zoe & Jonathan. I would love to have a little ceremony where I read the names of the babies that were lost. I would love to include yours.

Tuesday's Tip-Bow Holder

This is a fun Tuesday's Tip if you have a little girl. Moms of boys, you can partake in this too. It would make an adorable shower gift or birthday gift for a little girl. I promise they will think you are the most creative person in the world. What they won't realize is how easy and how inexpensive it is to make. The whole project costs a little less than $3. How's that for a bargain? Plus it's totally custom.

I went to Joann's and picked up my girls initials. Of course I had a coupon so I believe I spent $1 for each letter. Then I applied 2 coats of craft paint that I already had at the house. While I was at Joann's, I picked up some wide ribbon that matched the colors in their rooms. Brooklyn has pinks, greens and blues and Sydney at the time had pink and brown. I've since changed it to green, pink and yellow so I will probably be repainting hers and changing the ribbon.

Then I took the ribbon and wrapped it around the bottom of the initial and glued it. I used Super Glue because I don't have a glue gun. The last step is to attach a picture hanger to the back and you are done. It's that simple.

I would love to do something special this Friday for all of you who have lost a baby. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day. I will be posting my story in rememberance of my sweet angels in Heaven and I would like you to link up and share your story if you have a blog. If you don't have a blog, please share your story with me under the comments section.

I want to remember your babies right along with you. I know from experience when you are walking this journey you can feel so alone. Everyone around you is having their baby and you feel like you are the only one that is not. I am here to say that you are not alone and I want to honor you and your children. So please join me on Friday as we celebrate and remember our little ones who were gone too soon.

Design by Custom Blog Designs/FreeStyleMama Creations