Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Countdown to Baby

As I look out the window on this snowy night, I realize that although I turned 37 weeks pregnant just yesterday, when I wake up in the morning I will be a mere 2 weeks and 5 days from baby number 5's due date. It is amazing how quickly the months flew by. Especially the last 3.

Being pregnant and nearing the end of the journey and the beginning of a whole new adventure, I am feeling especially thankful these days. Perhaps it is just because it is November and we count our blessings leading up to Thanksgiving Day here in this country. Or maybe it is the hormones. But I can't help but see things through a thankful pair of eyes lately.

I've been finding myself even thankful for the mess around the house, because I know it is the wonderfully full house that I enjoy with all the little people who fill it who help to make it messy by living and loving life here. I'm thankful for each and everyone of those little ones God has blessed my husband and I with. Each with their own mix of Mike and I. Each with their own set of unique challenges for us as parents. They make everyday a new stretch of patience, love and faith. I like the person they have helped to grow me to be.

And that guy who it all started with. My husband. My best friend and partner in all this. I've been so blessed with his talents, his help, his love, his encouragement. He fills my heart with love and helps me remember to try and love myself. I can only hope that I am constantly growing into just the wife he deserves. I would ache to lose all that he adds to my life, and all that I am because he is here with me.

I will watch this snow fill our street and yard out our front window and remember that even as the snowflakes fall by the hundreds, maybe thousands to cover everything with a blanket thick with many tiny white frozen parts . . . that is like my life. Blessing after blessing has fallen upon me and all that surrounds me is covered with blessings and light. I am so grateful.

May you be able to see your life in the best light this month and beyond. The blessings are there to be counted. We have only to lift our heads to see them as such.

Many Blessings and HAPPY Thanksgiving,
:) Kaycee

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Mom's Comments about Lost Balloon Boy

After the recent news story that happened locally here in CO but ended up a national (at least) news story . . . I was reminded of one of my toughest mom days.

First, the local news story: A 6-year-old boy was thought to be trapped in a homemade balloon that traveled over 50 miles and reached possible heights of over 10,000 feet over 2 1/2 hours . . . was eventually found hiding in a box in his family garage attic. There is MUCH criticism flying around the internet and news media of this family. But my heart goes out to them. Their heartbreak and fear today will likely linger within their hearts for years to come. I can say this from experience.

My story may not have involved heights or weather balloons or national news coverage, but it was about 45 minutes of my own personal nightmare. To this day I can't think about that day for very long without having a wave of emotions come over me.

It was a little over 3 years ago. We had 3 children with one on the way (I was 8 months pregnant). The oldest was 5 1/2 and had been playing in our neighborhood cul-de-sac with the 8 neighborhood kids for about a year. We would watch closely out the front window and check in frequently. It had taken a long time to get used to feeling the kids were all safe playing together out there, but 4 of the households had regular communication about the kids and we had even gotten together as moms several times to talk about our rules and expectations while the kids were playing together inside and outside at each other's homes.

This was the end of the summer, and our next oldest had been stuggling with not being able to go out front to play with the kids. He was only 3 1/2 and I wasn't comfortable with him going out in the front. Even though the street was very calm and most drivers watched for their neighbor kids, it didn't seem reasonable to expect him to stay away from the street and be ready for the level of caution staying safe would take. So unless the friends were playing in the backyard, he was left out.

On this day, I had given permission for the 3 1/2 year-old to go across the street with his 5 1/2 year-old brother to the neighbor's backyard to play. They had strict instructions to stay together no matter what and I watched them cross the street and go through the gate across the way.

A little while later, my husband -- a teacher off for the summer -- decided that with the boys occupied, he would take our 2-year-old daughter with him on an errand to one of the local bike stores. He said goodbye and I began to have a few moments to relax (probably even put my pregnant feet up for a few minutes).

Soon, the 5 1/2 year-old came through the front door complaining about something. I don't remember what he was complaining about, because my thoughts went directly to his little brother who was suppose to be attached at the him to him.

"Where is your brother?" I said. "Where is your brother, Honey?"

It took a minute, but he finally registered what I was asking and he responded, "I don't know?"

My heart sank. My senses became heightened and I got down on my knees and looked him right in the eyes. "Honey, you were playing at the neighbor's together. You weren't suppose to leave without him. You were suppose to stay together. Where is he?"

"Over in the backyard," he said, changing his answer.

I took him by the hand and walked directly to the neighbor's house to see for myself. I knocked and asked the mother if she could please check for my son in the backyard. We walked together and checked the backyard. He wasn't there. We asked the kids who were starting to gather. They had been playing together just minutes before. Did they see him? Where had they seem him last? How long had it been since they knew where he was?

It soon became clear that none of them were clear. And as the minutes ticked on, I began to fear the worst. Although our house was in the middle of the dead-end cul-de-sac, this neighbor's home sat on the corner leading out of the cul-de-sac. My thought was that my 3 1/2 year-old was new to visiting neighbors. Was it possible that he had tried to follow his big brother and gotten turned around heading out of the cul-de-sac instead of toward our house?

I believe I did what most parents would do first. #1: I tried to reach my husband. Realizing there was a vague possibility that he had ended up somehow taking the 3-year-old with him. But much to my frustration, he hadn't taken the family cell phone with him, and I couldn't reach him. #2: I went back to my house to search for my son. Even though I had been home and didn't think he could possibly have come back home without my knowledge, I knew it was only smart to check there first.

I burst through the front door with the 5-year-old at my hand. There was no way I was going to let him go. One missing child was enough. We don't have a huge house. So it didn't take long to go from room to room checking everywhere we could think of. Upstairs, downstairs, closets, bathrooms, under beds, under desks, in the garage (no, I NEVER checked the garage attic). Hollering the whole time for my son.

Once I was convinced my youngest son was not in the house, I took the 5-year-old with me and moved our search outside. I began to go door-to-door. See, I figured that although I couldn't be sure where the 3-year-old had gone, I felt if there was a chance he had wandered the wrong direction, then every minute he was missing increased the risk that something bad could happen to him. So with the oldest at my side, I knocked. I knocked and I knocked. And I told everyone I saw what he was wearing. People started coming out into the streets to help us search. A friend called the police. I hauled my very pregnant body, my 5-year-old son, and all my worst fears about my children house by house, block by block. I was not going to sit quietly and wait for police to come and tell us what they would do. I wasn't going to wait for my husband to come home to tell me if he knew anything or not. If my son had taken a wrong turn and was lost in the neighborhood, I was going to search high and low until we found him.

In the end, after an excruciating 45 minutes -- possibly the most painful parent moments I've had so far, my husband drove up and we found out my 3-year-old had been with him the whole time. The boys had met my husband and daughter in the garage before they left and when Mike offered to take them all along with him. The oldest said no, the 3-year-old said ok. My husband had simply not thought to let me know. The 5-year-old hadn't paid enough attention to know what his little brother had decided or even that he had also been invited to go with Daddy.

Within minutes the mystery was solved, my 3-year-old was in my arms, and all my greatest fears were averted. I cried. When the police arrived, I was sitting in the front yard with my 3-year-old in my arms crying and he was trying to understand what had happened while he was out with Daddy. I thought that day was going to end badly. For that little while, the longest little while I've ever had, I thought I might have lost my little guy. And my husband, he was SO regretful. I couldn't be upset with him, he hadn't meant to scare me. He felt horrible. But I had my little guy safe in my arms, so I was in no way upset with Mike. I was grateful. Only thankful and relieved. Overwhelmed with relief.

So, I can see how a family could spend 3 hours or more thinking their son was somewhere he wasn't. I can see how a mom and dad could assume that an older brother was a reliable and helpful witness. I can see that it is possible to know there is a slight chance that your persuit is in vain and to still carry onward JUST IN CASE. I feel for the Ft. Collins family. I know those parents are not soon going to forget the feelings they went through today. Because as far as they are concerned, they lost there little boy today and then found him again. As far as they are concerned, him being in the garage was nothing short of amazing and good.

We can be so quick to judge. So easy to think we have an idea of what is happening from afar. But I hope we'll take a minute to say, we don't always know from afar. Sometimes we have no idea what something is like to go through. Sometimes we can assume the best in people even if that is the boring thing to think. Sometimes we should let our judgemental minds take a break. Or perhaps we should put them in time out. We are all so often just parents doing the very best we can do at the time. Most often we are trying our best.

Since we are making up the reality we are thinking about others, what say we make it a kinder less critical view. What say we make up the nicest possible story this time. And if it is too late for this time, let's try a nicer story next time.

I will never forget the feeling that we were about to be the next parents who lost their child. I'll never forget thinking ANYTHING could have happened to my son. Just because he turned up ok, doesn't erase that 45 minutes.

Blessings to you and your family tonight. Hug them tight. Life is short. Love is HUGE. Don't forget. It is HUGE. Bless you all.

Hug them.

:) Kaycee

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My husband and I recently realized we need to replace our furnace this season. Since the furnace actually kicked in last week during a Colorado cold snap, we are doing our best fast research in order to get the ball rolling in that direction now. Here is an EPA article I came across in some of my searching. I hope you can get some good tips out of it. I know we did!
~Kaycee :)

Fight the Frost this Winter: ENERGY STAR
Offers Tips to Keep Warm, Save Energy and Help the Environment

Improve your home's comfort and save energy and money while doing the right thing for the environment. By using energy efficiently in your home, you can make a difference by preventing air pollution from power plants. Follow these simple recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
  • Know the Facts - The average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, sized and installed correctly, with properly sealed ducts, can save homeowners as much as 20 percent on their annual energy costs.

  • Keep it Clean - A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system monthly. Some filters only need to be changed every 3 months. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it's operating efficiently and safely - check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.

  • Bundle Up Your Home - Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. The more heat that escapes, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy. Home Sealing can improve your home "envelope" - the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors -- and can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation-pay special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.

  • Tighten Your Ducts - If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system's overall efficiency by 20 percent. Sealing your ducts can save up to $140 annually on energy bills and help you consistently heat every room.

  • Don't Oversize - If you're replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home -- bigger isn't always better. An oversized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. Correct size and proper airflow will ensure that your equipment works efficiently, saves you money, and helps protect our environment.

  • Put Your Home to the Test - Doing a home improvement project this fall or winter? ENERGY STAR has online tools to evaluate your home's energy performance and offer solutions to increase comfort and energy efficiency. Visit www.energystar.gov/homeimprovement. Have your utility bills handy for savings calculations.

  • Consult a Professional - Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Visit http://www.natex.org/ to find a contractor whose technicians are certified by NATE (North American Technician Excellence), the leading industry-supported testing and certification program. Your contractor should properly size your equipment, test airflow, and perform a quality installation.

  • Cash in on Special Offers - Concerned about the cost of new heating equipment? Check with your local utility or visit the rebate finder at www.energystar.gov/rebatefinder to see if there are any special deals on high efficiency heating equipment. Manufacturer rebates are usually offered in fall and early spring. Ask for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment - it might cost more up front, but will offer you greater savings and comfort for years to come.

  • Shop Smart - If your heating equipment has been poorly maintained and is 15 years or older, it's probably time for a more efficient replacement. Ask for an ENERGY STAR when buying the following equipment:

Furnaces - One in four furnaces in U.S. homes is more than 20 years old. Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15 percent more efficient than standard models.

Heat Pumps - Today's electric and geothermal heat pumps are much more efficient than those installed just 10 years ago. When installed in a home with a well-sealed home envelope, heat pumps will provide great value and comfort for your energy dollar. An ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump is 30 percent more efficient than comparable new equipment and can save you as much as $200 annually. A qualified electric heat pump is 20 percent more efficient and can save you about $130 annually.

Boilers - An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be 7 percent more energy-efficient.

Programmable Thermostats - Regulate your home's temperature with four programmable settings and you can save about $100 annually on your energy bills.


http://www.energystar.gov
ENERGY STAR Hotline 1-888-STAR-YES


This is an article from the EPA website. To see the article online go to: http://www.epa.gov/naturalevents/fightfrost.html

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stainless Steel Help to the Rescue!

My shiny sink

I just shined up my stainless steel faucet with my Shaklee Get Clean Kit! I used the microfiber window cleaning cloth and the Butterfly strength Basic H2 (which is just 2 DROPS of Basic H2 for 16 oz. of water!) and I think it turned out beautiful!

If you or anyone you know is cleaning stainless steel around their home or office, I would highly recommend saving money and getting even better results with this combination out of the Shaklee Get Clean Starter Kit.

Note: You can also buy Basic H2, the spray bottle kit, and the cleaning cloth all separately!

Happy Cleaning,
:) Kaycee

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I found it! Help to make Twitter make sense to me!

I have been on the popular social networking site called "Twitter" for several months now. But until this week, it really didn't make much sense to me. Unless I wanted to follow a celebrity, or get updates for a show or news network, I really couldn't see what the purpose would be.

As a mom, it would have to be VERY useful to fit into my list of worth while things to do. As a home-business owner, it was going to have to be a way I could promote my business or stay connected with my customers. I couldn't see how Twitter had any of those qualities.

Then I found www.twittermoms.com. All of a sudden, Twitter came alive for me! Now I can have my twitter site and it has a PURPOSE. One that makes sense to me. Both my mom side and my business owner side!

So, if you are a Mom, I highly recommend you check out this site if you haven't stumbled on it already. And you can visit my twittermoms page here:

http://www.twittermoms.com/profile/KayceeFarrell

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to school health insurance . . .

Being a mom with 2 boys in elementary school and 1 daughter going to preschool soon, the H1N1 "scare" is something I have watched develop over the last several months. Now that they are all back at work and mixing germs with their friends on a daily basis again I realize that many other moms are going to be running to the doctor's office in the next month or so to get their kids' their flu shots -- plural now.

I faithfully resist this plan of attack. I vow to use the perhaps old fashioned method of defense against the threat of "new" or old viruses this year for my kiddos and myself (as a pregnant mom). We will be sticking to our routine of building up our immune systems so as to be ready to fight off any foreign invaders. Keeping our bodies in the best possible shape to deal with that which may come along.

Call me crazy, but I don't feel like putting my kids in the experimental seat when it comes to any "new" drugs or vaccines. No thanks.

So, here is a link to the best defense I know . . .
http://mike-and-kc.myshaklee.com/us/en/about_whats_new.html

Here's to a happy fall, a happy back-to-school, and most of all, happy healthy kids!

Blessings,
:) Kaycee

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The State of Motherhood

I love being a mom. It is like I've heard said, "The toughest job I've ever done," but it is so filled with blessings that far outway the effort put forth. My biggest challenge has to be my own weaknesses.

Yes, by far, the greatest challenge I face as a mom is overcoming my own weaknesses so I can be a good mom. I do think of myself as a good person. Someone who cares about others. Compassionate and faithful. But it is the human trait of selfishness that gets in the way so often of being a good mom.

Being a mom takes making one selfless choice after another. Every time we change a diaper or prepare food we put someone else above ourselves for that moment. It is a great thing. Taking those steps outside of ourselves to care for another human being creates growth and maturity. It gives us empathy and fills our servant's heart with love. But it also takes discipline to do it daily and without resistance.

I hurt with moments of struggle many of my days as a mom. Working out how to give them time and also take time to care for me all in the same 24 hours. I ache with the pain of selfish moments that come back to bite me in the backside. When I choose to let my 2nd grader watch a show afterschool before bringing him to the table to do his homework. When I put off preparing lunch just a little too long to get 3 more things crossed off my "to do" list. When I stay up late.

So, how do we know we are doing the right things? When we have to make life decisions for our children, how do we know we are doing right by them? When we are deciding to put them in Kindergarten this year or next. When we are selecting bedtimes and helping them organize their time. When we help them choose what activities they can and cannot participate in -- how do we know we aren't scaring them for life, instead of doing the best thing for them?

A wise friend once said to me possibly the greatest encouragement I have ever received as a mother. She said, "I know you are a good mom just because you are asking how you can be a better mom." As moms, we will never be perfect. We may never even be perfectly what our children need us to be from one moment to the next. But we can be the best we can be just by asking the question, "What else can I do to be a better mom?"

Blessings and Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My secret weapons for winter immunity!

I have a secret during the winter. I don't give my family medicines. Instead, I use natural methods to boost their immune systems and then use certain supplements to sooth symptoms as they pop up.

Here is my best vitamin cabinet advice for winter immunity:

Take a good multi-vitamin (with iron for women of child bearing age)
-choose food based rather than synthetic
-do your homework to find out what a balanced multi should have
-make sure yours isn't cheaply made (low on biotin is a good test)
-drop it in water to see if it will dissolve

Take a regular immune supplement
-a natural interferon production booster is the best choice

Have an immune booster on hand at onset of illness or exposure
-an echinacea complex (including zinc)
-tablet forms can be swallowed or ground up in hot water for a tea
-can be ground and put into honey for a natural cough supressent

Vitamin C
-a chewable version is fabulous for sucking on when you have a sore throat
-take it regularly AND extra during an illness
-regular doses may help reduce allergy symptoms

Calcium Magnesium
-when taken in a chewable form can reduce heart-burn
-can help reduce of prevent restless or aches in legs
-regular calcium supplementation can decrease bone loss
-magnesium helps us absorb the calcium more efficiently

There you have it. My supplement recommendations for a healthier immune system and healthier winter! If you, like my area of the country, are experiencing some more severe winter weather right now, may you and your families be safe and healthy!

Happy Spring Break! Mr. Sun is right around the corner, and our winter blues can pass. Now you can be stocked up for the rest of this winter and on into ALLERGY SEASON!

Blessings,
:) Kaycee

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year's Note

Now that the new year is here, I am enjoying many things about the year so far. 
 
I love that my children like school and enjoy going.
I like that my extended family are all healthy and living nearby (except my West Coast father).
I appreciate that my husband is just the right man for me.
I notice that even though the winter is incredibly cold this year, we still have plenty of sunny days.
I see that our dog--on her second year as a puppy--is getting more and more to be just the dog we wanted.
Even though I am without a new baby for the first time in 8 years, I love spending time with my toddler.  Just us.
It is amazing to have 2 boys and 2 girls.  I love that everyone gets to experience having a sister AND a brother.
I am so glad that I'm getting better and better at managing the house blessings (chores) part of my life.
I can see a light at the end of the financial tunnel called our money management.
I am going to turn 40 as a healthy and happy woman who has already lived so many of my dreams.
 
So, as we embark on this new adventure called 2009 together, may we have many blessings, but also many challenges because that is where the growth begins.
 
Happy New Year!
:) Kaycee