Friday, November 11, 2011

Burt's Bees for Sensitive Skin

I am a member of BzzAgent which is a viral marketing company that partners with brands to host campaigns to promote their product. I am a "Bzzagent" which means I get to be invited to campaigns that are matched up with my profile. Usually, they send me a "Bzzkit" filled with products to try, samples to give away, and information to share about the campaign's brand or product.

This past month I was able to participate in a campaign for Burt's Bees new line of face products for sensitive skin. I got a full size cleanser and moisturizer to try out! So far I really like the products. They both have cotton extract in them, which is supposed to be gentle on your skin. The smell of the moisturizer is nice, and it is very lightweight feeling, which is important to me. I also like the cleanser because it feels really gentle on my skin and not harsh like some cleansing products. Burt's Bees uses lots of natural ingredients in their products, which is a huge plus too. Overall, I would definitely recommend this product if you have sensitive skin and are looking for a new cleanser or moisturizer. They also have an eye cream and a night cream, but I haven't tried those.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Answers to Prayers

Thank you everyone for all your prayer for my health and recovery of my leg. I'm very happy to say that as of this past weekend I am over 70% strength in my right quad, which means I can walk without a brace and hold Jonah. Also, it means I can safely drive! I will continue to go to physical therapy for two more weeks to gain more strength. At this point, I will mostly be trying to regain endurance of the muscle.

I really do appreciate all of you who have been praying for our family during this time. God has been so faithful to us to provide help from our families (especially Dan's mom Dotty this past week and a half!), and lots of help from our friends locally as well. It's not always the case that God answers our prayers the way we hope, but in this case we are so thankful to watch how he has answered our petitions and the prayers of others on our behalf. My physical therapist says that the rate at which I am healing is very good and almost as good as we could hope for.

Jonah is doing well. He regained his birth weight and is sleeping well (for a newborn) at night. We are still trying to work on breastfeeding, some days are better and other days I am on the verge of going to formula. We are still trying to make it to 6 weeks for now.

Lucy, our pug, is going to stay with my parents in Texas until Christmas to help us have one less thing to deal with for now. We will miss her, but she will hopefully get more attention and exertion staying with my parents for now.

If you somehow missed what is going on with my leg: During Jonah's birth, either because of the positioning during pushing or maybe pressure from Jonah as he came out, my right femoral nerve was compressed, stretched, or somehow shut down. I didn't feel anything at the time (it may have been masked by my epidural) but once my epidural wore off and I should have been able to walk, I would still buckle and fall. The shut down of the nerve completely shut down my right quadricep muscle and muscles atrophy very fast when they are not doing anything. The nerve should heal 100% on its own ("a matter of weeks" says the neurologist). I am going to physical therapy to build back up my atrophied muscle. The situation is actually really similar to rehab you have to go to when you have ACL surgery because they have to cut through your quad for that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Physical Therapy Update

Today I had my first session of physical therapy for my quad muscle. According to the physical therapist, I'm making really good progress. She estimates I'm already back to 40-50% and that I could possibly be back to 100% in 3-4 weeks of PT. When I hit 60-65% I should hopefully be strong enough to walk on my own, without a brace or a walker, and carry Jonah because I will be able to catch myself without falling if my knee buckles. Yay! Praise the Lord for the healing I already have and a good prognosis for the future! Thank you all for your prayers- please continue to pray for us that I would heal quickly.

We have also been having a very difficult time with breastfeeding. I have been having severe pain while breastfeeding, despite the fact that Jonah has a very strong latch and no trouble with interest. We saw a lactation consultant who thought Jonah had a posterior tongue-tie that was affecting his ability to suck correctly and explained the pain. She referred us to a doctor who we did end up seeing this week. She performed a procedure to clip his tongue tie. Dan and I are feeling ambivalent about the decision to get the procedure and we can't really tell yet if it worked or not. By the end of the visit, we did not feel like we trusted the doctor, and we won't go back to her again. Now we are trying to make a decision about sticking it out with breastfeeding (which is still incredibly painful most of the time) or switch to formula feeding. Meanwhile I am spending all day either sleeping, eating, attached to a breast pump, attached to a breastfeeding baby, or doing my PT exercises. Please pray that god would give us wisdom about making feeding choices for Jonah, and that we would trust Him to provide and not live in guilt whatever we do.

We are calling Jonah our little eaglet because many of his cries sound like baby eagle screeches :)

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jonah & Brittany Update-Day 6

Just a quick update. Jonah is doing great- though I think his days and nights are opposite from ours.

Brittany is doing a little better. She saw the physical therapist Friday and has 1 month of 2x/week appointments. She can kick her right leg just a little bit, but in no way can put any weigth on it. The PT gave her some exercises to do every day and she's using a prescribed walker. Her biggest frustration, though, is that she can't pick up Jonah and carry him around.

Thank the Lord for these superstars- Patty and Cary Tanamachi and Kim Vander Velde!

-Dan for the Smiths

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Plum District: $60 voucher to EcoMom for $21 = 5 packages of diapers for $4.20 each shipped

Plum District- a deal of the day site offering both national and local deals- is giving 30% off the purchase of all deals when the promo code plumlove is used at checkout through Friday. Some people are also reporting that if you are a first-time sign-up, they are getting a $10 credit to their account!

Plum District also has a deal on a voucher to this week, a site offering all-natural and organic products for babies, kids, and parents. For $30, you can snag a $60 voucher. But then use the plumlove code at checkout to bump the price down to just $21! Shipping is included.

Visit Plum District under their “everywhere” deals, to find the EcoMom sale.

If you’re in the market for diapers, here’s a great way to get a nice deal on some chlorine-free, eco-friendly ones using this Plum deal.

1. Buy the EcoMom voucher for $21, after using the promo code at checkout.

2. Once your voucher is ready to use, visit EcoMom and go to the diapers. (My voucher was ready immediately.)

3. Add 5 packs of Nature BabyCare diapers to your shopping cart.

4. Go to checkout and enter your PlumDistrict voucher code.

5. Your total should be $0 with free shipping. Proceed through checkout.

That comes out to paying just $4.20 a pack for eco-friendly diapers, or (13.5 cents each for size 3).

Ecomom also has some Melissa & Doug products on sale. I see baby bjorn stuff and cloth diapers too!

Monday, September 26, 2011

$49 - Monarch: 'Transcendent' Dinner for 2 w/Wine, Reg. $127

We love Monarch! Dan and I ate here when our friend Garrett was working in the kitchen, learning to be a chef. This place is really good and this looks like a pretty good deal. I'm considering telling Dan to buy it for my birthday.

$49 - Monarch: 'Transcendent' Dinner for 2 w/Wine, Reg. $127

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Land's End Convertible Diaper Bag for $12 shipped

Convertible Backpack Diaper Bag $11.25 at lands end

Lands end has this Diaper bag for $15,

use code DISCOVER and pin 6956 for additional 25% off and free shipping.

for me it was $11.85 after tax.

There are many colors available.

There are mixed reviews, but Land's End makes pretty good bags so I am risking it :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leard/Tanamachi Shower in Mesquite

This shower was held at my mom's house in Mesquite, TX. It was mostly for my side of the family and friends. Also whale themed!

Dan and I made whale cookies to give as favors! I got the idea to shift the icing color as I went from Beth's cupcakes. Some are light blue, some are dark, some are more grey, some are more blue-green, etc.

Cute whale clothes and some repurposed decorations ;)

My mom's idea to make it look "under the sea"

I get the comfy chair!

VIP's. From left, future grandma "JoJo" Janis, soon to be great-grandma Nana, and future great-aunt Lynda.

Mom really wanted a Mavericks theme - so this is her hold out decoration.

I made these to put together in a book later.

Nana noshing.

Work friends of mom. So glad they could be there!

One of the games - cut up pictures of Dan and me to create what Jonah would look like!

My aunt Lynda embroidered this for us - I love my face but my mom's is even better!

Sweet friend Megan was one of the winners of baby-gift BINGO.

Leard family photo. From left, Uncle Jefferson, Me, Lucy, Dan, Nana, "PawPaw," "JoJo" and Aunt Lynda.

SO HAPPY to see my friend Rachel who lives in Waco!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baby Backpack for Dan

So far, I have yet to buy a diaper bag. Thanks to an AWESOME friend, I was given a gorgeous pre-loved Kate Spade baby bag in great condition, which I plan to use personally. It definitely looks like a purse. I like it that way.

However, I realize that when Dan has baby duty or when we go out together and he needs to carry the supplies, he might be less-than-stoked to carry around what looks like a purse. He assures me that he is willing to carry anything, and I know he will because he loves me. But since he hasn't had as many fun baby gifts yet, I suggested we go to REI and buy him a cool-looking backpack that's water resistant, wipable, and usable as a baby backpack even though it looks nothing like it. We have three now we are trying to choose between, what do you think?

Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

Option #1

Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

Option #2

Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

Option #3

When the REI employee asked if he could help us, I explained what we were shopping for, and how we were actually going to use it as a diaper bag, which meant it needed to be wipable or washable. I could tell he didn't really like the idea of any of those awesome bags getting soiled. He said, "all I can think of is baby poop all over it." I did explain we would use wet bags.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gracey Shower in Dallas

This shower was given to us by Dan's family. Dan's mom Dotty is one of 6 six sisters, daughters of John and Martha Gracey. All the sisters now have so many kids who are cousins, and many of them still live in the Dallas area, so they have throwing baby and bridal showers down to an art. All the Gracey sisters (Dan's aunts) pitch in, plus my sister's-in-law Sarah and Ellen. It was held at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

Beautiful cake made by cousin Lauren.

Diaper cake made by Ellen. She also hand painted the wooden letters for Jonah's room!

My friend Caroline was able to be there!

About to open gifts, Dan is caught on camera.

Dotty explaining her gift to me:

She gave us a subscription to Growing Child, a monthly newsletter that helps you understand your child — why he does certain things at certain times, what he's learning by doing them, and what you can do to help him develop. Each monthly issue of Growing Child matches the age of your child. Growing Child will keep you informed about what to expect at each stage of your child's development, and how to deal with each month's changes and challenges.

Sweet sister.

From left, me, Dan, Memama (Martha Gracey), Philip, Dotty, and Ellen

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trinity Shower in SLO

This week will be mostly some blogging of photos from some of my baby showers friends and family so graciously gave us this summer/fall. To start, the sweet ladies of Trinity Presbyterian in San Luis Obispo gave me a sweet, crafty shower in July while we were in California. It was the beginning of many whale-themed events to come.

Cute whale cupcakes made by Beth Appel.

Favors also made by Beth.

Chip and Beth's house decorated so cute!

Playing a game. Guests had to mold play doh into a baby behind their backs.

Picking the winner

Andrea, on the left, also hosted. Friend Annie on the right. Chip watching strategically from the food area.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Give them Grace - Review, Study & Resources

This summer I was able to help lead a quick book study with some moms on this book, Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. The book has lots of good things in it. There are some things I don't agree with, things I would challenge, but I'd definitely affirm:

  • The authors expose the formula many of us operate on in raising children: Good parenting in, good children out.
  • The authors correct this false formula: "Parenting with grace must not be employed as another formula to try and control God and your children." - page 52.
  • On page 54, "One way to judge is to consider your reaction when your children fail."
  • And page 59, "There are no promises in the Bible that even our best parenting will produce good children. None."
  • "God may use your parenting as a means to draw your children to himself. But he may use other means and at a different time. Or he may use your child's rebellion and disinterest as a way to accomplish his unexpected will." - page 61.
The book has discussion questions for each chapter, some are good, some need work.

As part of our discussion, I also wrote a case study to help us talk about some of the principles, with accompanying questions. You can access it here:

We also read this article from The Gospel Coalition Blog:

Which was somewhat in response to the July/August 2011 cover article from The Atlantic:

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy - Why the obsession with our kids' happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods. A therapist and mother reports.

And I wrote these discussion questions:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DIY Flower Hairpins & Washcloth Lollipops

Made these for friends & family and packaged them with some baby bath products or lotion for a fun & cute gift. Lots of baby showers these days....

I still need some work/help on putting it together for presentation...

I was inspired and helped to make these hairpins by my dear friend Andrea (check out her blog and etsy site). I gave them away as party favors at one shower, game prizes at another, and part of a hostess gift for another.

Monday, September 12, 2011

DIY Wedding Programs Created by Me

These are the wedding programs I created and assembled for my wedding in 2008. I always planned to post pics of the process and never did.

I used red card-stock for the backing, and cream colored paper that I printed the pages from my designs on the computer for the other layers. I used a corner-cutting punch to make the corners curved and then tied all the layers together with gold ribbon.

I had lots of help from friends and family assembling it all as well :)

Here are some more photos

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nationwide Free Night of Theater!

Theatre Communications Group's

Over the past six years the Free Night of Theater program has introduced more than 250,000 new theatergoers to the thrill of live performance. This year tickets will be offered for performances from October 1-31. Tickets become available beginning in September.

This is apparently a nationwide event. Click here for more information on how to get free theater tickets at a location near you:

St. Louis tickets will be given away for the following theaters starting Sept 19:

Avalon Theatre Company (enter to win 2 tickets to Oct 15 performance of PORTRAIT OF MY PEOPLE)

Black Cat Theatre

Insight Theatre (enter to win 2 tickets to Oct 1 or Oct 2 performance of RABBIT HOLE)

The Black Rep

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Upstream Theatre

I am bummed, because since the tickets will be for October, it won't likely be possible for me to go, but I hope someone else does!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sweepstakes loot

About to list all this on ebay

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

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