Saturday, February 15, 2014


1. My new favorite song: How Long will I Love You by Ellie Goulding.  I put it on Jack's anniversary video here last month.

2. the movie About Time.  It's about a guy who finds out that he (and all the men in his family) can travel back in time.  It's about living in the moment, living life on purpose, and taking is all in and nothing for granted.  I know, sounds like a lot of work for a small movie.  Watching it has seriously changed my perspective on being a wife and mother.  It's amazing.

3. Jose Eber infrared blow dryers.  Jack got me mine for Christmas and I LOVE it.  It dries my hair a lot faster than my old one and leave it silky-smooth.  You know that feeling you get after a trip to the salon, when a pro blows out your hair in 26 different sections using $50 products and it feels like warm butter afterward?  This dryer does that at home.  It uses infrared light and dries your hair without heat, from the inside-out.  It also kills bacteria on your hair, making it softer and shinier.  On the Jose Eber site it's about $200, but I got mine on Amazon for a lot less!

4. Bam Bam's BBQ on 1708 South State St. in Orem.  Get the brisket.

5. The shampoo bars at Lush (they look like little bars of soap.  I get mine at Fashion Place Mall, my favorite shampoo bar is called squeaky green).  After we got a water softener, my hair was limp and lifeless.  Lush uses organic materials and no chemicals in their beauty products and the salt content and concentrated soap helps my hair rinse clean, giving it more body.  Because the bars don't have water in them like bottles of shampoo, you can use less and get better results.  They also last forever and are kind to animals and the environment :)  It's actually surprising how much they lather and spread in your hair!  I'm such a product snob when it comes to my hair so I was super skeptical, but if you have soft water (or even if you don't) these are a must.  I have also started using their other cleansers, the Big shampoo and the dry shampoo are great as well.

Vday recap

Jack played with the girls and got them ready while I slept in and took a long bath.  We explained to Livi that it was Valentine's day and then gave her the treat she had picked out at the store the day before.  She was really excited and spent the rest of the day wishing us "Happy Birthday." At random intervals she would burst into the happy birthday song and then say "Happy Berday Mama!  Happy Berday Dada!"  I think she was a little confused, but it was too cute for us to correct her....after the 3rd or 4th time trying.

I got Jack a red North Face jacket that looks oh-so-sexy on him.  He got me a stunning Fossil watch (okay, okay we picked out our own gifts.)  We ran some flowers and chocolates to Jack's mom at work, then dropped the girls off at my mom's with some small gifts for my mom, her husband, and my sisters.

We had a nice long lunch at Outback (wedge salad!!) and walked around the mall for a while.  It was so nice to stroll hand-in-hand, instead of being dragged straight into the Disney store by Liv and then having to haul her out kicking and screaming.

We brought the girls home for their naps and had a nice couple of hours together.  Jack gave me a bouquet of poppies that he had special-ordered (they aren't in season), and I gave him this Q&A journal that documents our answers about certain things for 3 years.  I think it will be pretty fun to fill out! We took Olivia to Jack's mom's in the evening so she could play with her best friend, her cousin Natalie.  Jack, Berlin, and I ate at Bam Bam's BBQ in Orem.  You must try it, they have the best brisket I've ever eaten.

After the girls went to bed, we watched a movie and started filling out our journal. It was a wonderful Valentine's Day together.  I love my husband so much and every holiday spent with him is just amazing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A breakthrough in the Battle with Eczema

  When Olivia was about 9 months old, I noticed rough patches on her arms and legs.  After she turned one it had gotten a lot worse and she had a really bad spot on her shoulder.  Her pediatrician told me it wasn't eczema, but I thought he was wrong so I took her to a dermatologist who confirmed that it was.  He prescribed a cream that cleared up the worst patch, but did nothing more than keep her from peeling.  Basically, we have been dealing with it ever since.  At times it can be heartbreaking.  There are mornings when her sheets are blood-stained from her scratching all night.  We dress her in the long footie pajamas every night, but she can still get to her back and arms. She has to be dressed at all times, and can only take very short baths in lukewarm water once every 3 or 4 days.  I have to pin her down twice a day to rub lotion or oils on her that barely do anything at all.  We have run the gamut of lotions and oils, and tried cutting out certain foods.  There have been days when I have been changing her clothes and have cried looking at the scabs criss-crossing her tiny back and arms and the angry red patches on her legs.  I worry that she will carry scars for the rest of her life that will make her self-conscious to put on a bathing suit.  Every Sunday I carefully dress her in long sleeves and tights so her teachers won't speculate about why she looks so beat up.

  A month ago it got even worse.  I even had to start holding her hands while she went to the bathroom to keep her from tearing at her thighs with her nails.  We had just switched to a new pediatrician when Berlin was born, so I called him.  He referred me to Primary Children's and told me to set an appointment at their Riverton clinic so I wouldn't have to drive up to Salt Lake.  I called them, but they didn't have an opening for 3 weeks, and the opening they did have was on a Monday, which is Jack's busiest work day of the week, which would make it hard for him to watch Berlin while we went I confirmed the date and time, put it in my phone, and proceeded to count down the days.  I kept thinking only two more weeks...only one more week.  We'll finally get something to help her.  Jack had a lunch date with his brothers for one of their birthdays on the day of the appointment, but planned to take Berlin with him so I could take Olivia and not be frazzled.  I packed up all of Berlin's stuff, made sure I had insurance, ID, snacks, and anything Olivia would need in her bag.  That morning I got up early and got all three of us ready.  I asked Jack to make a quick call to the hospital to ask where in the building her doctor was located so we could save time.  They didn't have us scheduled.  Jack handed the phone to me and the (very rude) man told me that I was nowhere on the records and that the dermatologist was not even at the Riverton clinic on Mondays.  He asked if I would like to reschedule.  The next available appointment was in the middle of March.  I burst into tears and hung up.  To tell you the shortened version of it, we called Primary Children's in Salt Lake and they were able to fit us in at 3pm that same day.  Jack had a conference call, but my friend Brooke was able to take Berlin for an hour for us.

SO... at 2:10 Olivia headed up to Primary Children's. She asked where we were going and I told her it was time for a checkup and sang her the Doc McStuffins song.  She got a kick out of it, I think she was curious.

First of all, they had free valet.  I pulled up, took Olivia out and was able to walk right in to the building!  Second, the receptionist didn't even ask for my insurance.  They had already confirmed it with the company over the phone! There was no paperwork so fill out and we went right into the waiting room.  They had the best waiting room I've ever seen.  I with all waiting rooms looked like this one.
We only waited for 3 minutes before we were called back.  Liv was weighed and measured and the nurse took us to a waiting room.  Olivia was mad because she had been taken away from all of the fun toys and tried to get out the whole time we were waiting for the doctor, but before long a med student came in and asked us all of the preliminary questions.  Olivia was very intrigued by him, it was pretty funny.  He was a young guy, but had very hairy arms.  Liv walked up and said "What is that?!" and petted the hair on his arms.  It was a little awkward, but he laughed.  When he asked to see her worst spots, I pulled down her pants and showed him the backs of her legs, he said "Oh, wow!  That's pretty rough, I'm glad you came in!"  

The Pediatric Dermatologist came in after a few minutes, she was great.  She checked her skin, asked a couple more questions, and told me that eczema was hereditary and that if people in our families had hay fever or eczema, it was easily passed on.  Olivia is of moderate severity.  2/3 of kids outgrow it, but usually not until puberty.  She recommended pouring 1/4-1/2 of a cup of bleach in to her full bath when her eczema got bad (the bleach helps kill the bacteria associated with eczema), and prescribed an ointment to use twice a day (called triamicinolone acetonide ointment).  She said the stuff we had been prescribed when Olivia was younger was not as strong as this she was prescribing now.  She said that cutting out certain foods wouldn't help because food allergies had nothing to do with acute dermatitis (eczema).  She also recommended a gentle detergent, soaps and lotions with no fragrance, cotton or cotton-blend clothing, and making sure she doesn't get too warm.  

I picked the big tub of prescription ointment up that night, then gave Olivia a bath and slathered her with the stuff, which had the consistency and odor of Vaseline.  The next morning, the redness was vastly diminished.  When I changed her clothes she didn't scratch at all.  It has been amazing.  It has only been a couple of days now, but I think it is really helping:

The scabs on her back are starting to heal she hasn't cried from itching or bleeding.  I feel like I can breathe and relax a little; the unbearable weight in my chest has been lightened a bit.  It sounds like we've got a long road ahead of us (puberty!)  but are finally getting something that helps our sweet girl :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Oakley Berlin- 8 months

Little Ber found her roar this month.  She is fed up with big sister heckling her and sure lets Olivia know when she does not appreciate being bopped on the head with a toy, laid on, hugged too tightly, having toys taken away, or being pushed over while sitting.  She yells at Liv or swings her tiny fists at her.  Any time she gets a chance she will grab a fistful of Olivia's hair and pull to get back at her. It's the best :)  I'm glad she will stand up for herself.

Berlin is 50% for weight and 62% for height.

She wears 6-12 month clothes and size 3 diapers

Still no teeth

Hates to be on her tummy, but I've started putting small snacks just out of reach to get her moving.  She'll probably be like Olivia and only crawl for 2 months before she walks.

Loves to be held and hates to be left alone

Loves solid foods more than nursing, will eat anything, and gets mad when you eat something in front of her without sharing

Will dance to music by kicking her legs and waving her arms

Is so serious!  She smiles easily, but it's hard work to get a laugh out of her and she spends most of the time solemnly observing the goings-on around her

Doesn't care much for baths

Her hair is growing in lighter and it makes me sad :( I hope she stays dark.  It would be so fun to have a blonde and an brunette.  Especially with her blue eyes.

She sleeps from 7:10pm to 7:30am, naps from 9-11am, 12:30-2pm, and 4-5pm.  Nurses at 7:30am, 11am, 2pm, and 7:30pm, has her solid meal at 5pm, and a couple of snacks throughout the day.

Book Club

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Rating: 10 out of 10

Remember reading this book was one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2013? I almost made it ;) I had been ashamed of the fact that I had never read it, and called myself a book lover.  In fact, I'm determined to start reading the classics.  I would hate to die without seeing what all of the fuss is about. In the case of To Kill a Mockingbird, the fuss was right.  It's a beautiful book.  I have been downloading audio versions of all the books I read so Jack can listen to them while he works and we can discuss fine literature ;)  we had just finished a thriller when I read this and told him that To Kill a Mockingbird may not keep his attention as well because it wasn't fast paced.  It's more like sitting on a porch, drinking lemonade (which sounds like a scene right out of the book).  Fantastic read.  I won't provide a synopsis since everyone and their dog already probably knows it.  I myself did not, and it took 18 pages for me to realize the child telling the story was a girl ("Wait, they have a little sister too?  Oh, she is the little sister.  Oh, she is Scout!") If you have committed the travesty I had, of getting to the ripe age of 27 without reading this book, please rectify it immediately.  I love the setting, the time, the message, and most of all the characters.  I'm even thinking of using Atticus as a middle name for a future child...
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