Thursday, May 28, 2015

Learning About Essential Oils

I have dabbled with a few essential oils over the past couple of years.  I have used mostly herbs, and herbal remedies.  I make this Elderberry-Echinacea syrup and we take it daily during cold season (only 2-3 times per week otherwise).  I even carry it on the road in deputation!
 
I have made some other herbal remedies including my own salves, lip balm, boo-boo cream, anti-itch cream, and diaper rash cream.  I also have quite a few herbs for tea.  The essential oils I have were mostly for homemade cleaning products.
 
However, with traveling so much this year, and not being able to go to the doctor because we are out-of-network, I wanted to have something else to help boost our health. But the amount of information online about EO's is vast, and conflicting, and confusing.  Each company claims to be the best, or to have a superior method of extraction.  Each have different methods of application.  I didn't know which was best!
 
Somehow I stumbled onto a site called Learning About Essential Oils (Website and Facebook).  There is a corresponding Facebook group called Using Essential Oils Safely.  It is a closed group, so you have to request to be added.  These sites and groups are run by Lea Harris, a certified aromatherapist.  She is not loyal to any one brand of oils.  In fact, you can't mention brand or blend names specifically in the groups!  However, she knows about the properties of different oils and how they can and should not be used.
 
I have a diffuser that I use regularly.  It has helped with headaches during pregnancy when Tylenol is about the only medication I can take.  I have diffused at night when my kids were sick, with a "Sniffle Stopper" blend, and also a "Nighty Night" blend to help them settle down.  I'm just getting ready to make a bug bite soother and spray, and a "scar eraser" for some scars (and stretch marks).  I haven't bought into the idea that essential oils cure everything, but I think they may have their place.  I'm still learning what really works and what doesn't!
 
Here are some things I have learned that I did not know before:
  • EO's should NEVER be applied topically unless they are diluted in a carrier oil.
  • EO's should RARELY be taken internally.  Because of the intense concentration of an essential oil, and the process it goes through to be extracted, it acts differently from its herbal counterparts.  It puts too much on the liver to process EO's if taken internally, especially on a regular basis.
  • Some EO's are not safe for children.  If you have done any reading into EO's, you probably came up with Peppermint and Eucalyptus for a cold or respiratory issues.  However, these both contain a certain plant constituent which slows down the breathing.  In a sick child, it is dangerous to slow their breathing down any more than it already is, so these are not good choices for a child with a cold.  (They are also not safe for pregnant women).
  • I found a line of essential oils specifically blended for children by another certified (and well known) aromatherapist - Robert Tisserand.  These KidSafe blends have been very helpful to a newbie like me!
  • Some EO's are phototoxic, so if you have them on your skin when you go outside, it can be very dangerous. 
Here are a few more tips...



 




Thankful Thursday: Trusting Jesus

Today I want to share something that Lord has been doing in our hearts over the last couple of weeks.  During our short time in Brooklyn in April, I went to see the midwife for a baby check-up.  It was also my 20-week anatomy sonogram.  Baby boy was breech, so it was difficult for them to get all of the pictures they wanted, especially of his heart.  I returned ten days later for a follow-up sonogram. 
At the second visit they discovered that baby’s kidneys are retaining fluid.  This is something that is more common in boys, but it can also be a marker for more serious health problems.  I was so thankful that the midwife I was seeing that day was Jeniffer – she delivered Nolan and the twins, and I have a really good relationship with her.  I felt comfortable asking my questions and talking with her about this difficult issue. 
I decided to have a blood test done which is 99% accurate in pin-pointing the potential problem.  Aside from that, they will continue to monitor the baby’s kidneys via sonogram at each visit until birth, and he will need a sonogram himself very soon after birth to be sure his kidneys have emptied.   
The test results would take at least a week to be returned.  We didn’t really share this during that week of waiting.  We had our own fair share of questions without answers, and we didn’t want to alarm everyone if it turned out to be nothing. 
I have had very uncomplicated pregnancies.  My biggest complaint is acid reflux, but it results in babies born with a head full of hair, so it’s okay in the end.  J  I have sometimes wondered why we have not had to walk through the difficult waters that many of our friends have walked through related to children – whether infertility, miscarriage, special needs babies, morning sickness/bed rest, or health issues in the baby such as reflux, colic, asthma, etc.  Sometimes I wonder if this will be the pregnancy when we get bad news, or hard to handle news. 
But as I walked to the car after my appointment, I had only two thoughts that I remember.  The first was Isaiah 26:3-4.  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee.  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.  My next thought was part of a song entitled, “Bow the Knee.”  The words that the Lord brought to my mind were these:               
Bow the knee.  Trust the heart of your Father
when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
             And when you don’t understand, the purpose of His plan.
             In the presence of the King, bow the knee. 
And I knew that no matter what the test results showed, the Lord was in this and He would sustain us.  I told Him that I would trust Him.   
I didn’t have many worries about it through the next week.  I was busy packing for our trip and we left Brooklyn before the test results came in.  However, a few circumstances came up that made me wonder.  Maybe it was even a doubt.  It was surely a time of deepening trust in the Lord, and leaning on His peace. 
The folks we stayed with on our first weekend in VA have a grandson with the particular problem which was a possibility for our baby.  They talked about his struggles and how he is thriving and baffling the doctors.  Then at the next stop, the missionary staying in the apartment next door just “felt” like he needed to stop by and give us a pamphlet his daughter-in-law wrote about their journey through special needs with their first baby.  With each of these I wondered what God was doing.  Was He trying to prepare my heart for bad news? 
I clung to my verse, and I prayed a lot, but the day before the test results could come in was difficult.  I just wondered all day.  With each wonder, I tried to remind myself that the Lord is in control of this. 
The test took two extra days to come back.  I had decided to call the midwife on Thursday if I didn’t hear anything.  We were packing the van to go to our next stop.  I had just carried my purse to the car when the phone rang.  It was the midwife, and my test came back fine.  Our baby is fine.  (They still have to monitor the kidneys, but it’s not as serious as it could have been). 
I don’t know the Lord’s purpose in all of this. Maybe He just wanted to test our response.  To give us more bedrock in our trust in Him.  But I know that no matter what the test results could have been, the Lord would have walked with us every step of the way.  And I also know that today, I am very thankful for the blessing of another healthy baby.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Left to Themselves

Last night we were busily settling in to a new "home" for a couple of weeks.  Ben was helping me with something downstairs.  When I came up to the room I smelled a new odor in the air.  It didn't take long to realize it was baby powder!
 
Upon further investigation we found that the twins had secluded themselves into a bedroom and found a bottle of baby powder, and had a lot of fun shaking the bottle!  They smelled good, too, and looked as if they had dressed up as 100 year olds for a 100 Days of School party!  Good thing it was bath night!
 


These two definitely enjoy the "double trouble" aspect of being twins!


Wordless Wednesday

From last week, but I never got them posted.  We were driving by a corn field and there was a bald eagle waiting to eat something on the road.  As we paused for it's picture, it took flight!

 


 
 Twins first time in Sunday School (at our church)

Morning walk in Ladysmith, VA

Our first pet, a turtle affectionately dubbed "Tiny Tim"

My Chick-fil-A cows!

Playing together at the playground in Matthews, NC

Monday, May 18, 2015

Double Trouble...Double Cute?

This "twin trouble" story needs a little background.  We are in Virginia en route to Charlotte, NC.  We don't have a Wednesday night meeting, so we are taking our time and spending a couple of days at a Prophet's Chamber in Blackstone, VA. 
 
As we left Ladysmith, VA we stopped and rescued a turtle from getting smooshed on the road.  We saw it, turned around to get it, and then watched as another car almost hit it.  The kids were uber excited about having a turtle in the car, but the poor guy was scared to death and locked tight in his shell for a long time.  At the gas station we got a box and "Tiny Tim" slowly came out of hiding.
 
We arrived at our destination and let Tiny Tim wander in the grass, fed him some strawberries and gave him a turtle bath of water to play in.  He really perked up!  In fact, as we peeked out the window after supper, we found him climbing out of the box onto the deck railing.  He ran around the porch for a while but we assumed he couldn't get down.
 
We were wrong.  The kids were playing hide and seek with Ben when I stepped outside to check on the turtle.  He was gone.  I looked around the porch in the grass but couldn't find him.  I called to Ben who came out to help me find the turtle, while Elaine and Nolan were still hiding in the house. 
 
This is where the Double Trouble team went to work.  With no parents in the house, and no big siblings to tattle, they decided to help themselves to their toothbrushes and toothpaste.  They managed to get both, and had a jolly time "brushing their teeth" until Mom came in to clean up the mess!  There was toothpaste everywhere, but lots of smiles and cuteness from Nehemiah, whom I assume was the instigator.  He had the most toothpaste on his shirt, anyway!



Don't let his cute look deceive you...he was guilty!


Liberty was involved, but not nearly as much!


Notice the hair!


Glad there's a washing machine at this house!
 
(We found the turtle, too.  Just in case you were curious).
 

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Few Pictures from Our Week

Nehemiah at the park
He just couldn’t take his eyes off the big guys playing basketball, and he inched as close as he could to the court!

Nehemiah playing Basketball
…so the next day Daddy lifted him up to dunk his basketball, but he refused to relinquish the ball from his hands!

Nolan in PeeWee Class
Something makes me think he was told to sit still and fold his hands in class…

Playing with Liberty's New Baby
Liberty got a new baby and accessories from Grandma Godby for her birthday.  She even found it in her heart to share with Nehemiah!

Playing with Liberty's New Baby

Hanging on the Slide
Hanging from the slide together…this is a new “trick” they have discovered.

Happy Mother's Day
My mother’s day card from Elaine!  She had help knowing the letters for the greeting, but the “Love, Elaine” part was all on her own!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Miracles

Today I had a follow-up ultrasound, to get some more pictures of the baby’s heart.  He is breech right now, so it’s hard for them to see everything they want to see!  Though this is only my fourth pregnancy, I have had a lot of ultrasounds!  (One or two every month with the twins!).  Yet I always stare at that screen in amazement – that we can look at our unborn baby and see his development, movement, and anatomy, and detect any possible problems – weeks before the baby ever takes his first breath of air or utters his first cry.  I think if I ever had a job in the medical field, I would want to be a sonogram technician!

Ten days ago the first thing I saw on the screen was our baby boy taking his thumb out of his mouth and then stretching his leg to give me a giant kick.  Today I saw all four chambers of his heart pumping. 

I guess sometimes as a mom of four little people, I get all caught up in the daily moments that make up life.  Wiping noses, changing diapers, grilling cheese sandwiches, giving baths, walking to the park, folding laundry, and answering a million questions.  I don’t know that it’s really sunk in that I’m expecting again.  It’s just part of life right now, and it’s happening quietly while all of the noise and busyness on the outside continues.  There are so many busy moments right now that I haven’t thought about what’s going on inside of me.

But when you see a baby – so very clearly a created little baby – on that screen in the darkened room, you remember that God is in the business of miracles.  He created this little life inside of me and He is growing it and perfecting it until the moment I give birth.  And then the growing process will continue, but He will place a lot more of the decisions and responsibility in my hands, to nurture this baby for 18-20ish years.  It’s just amazing.  It’s a miracle.

Here are a couple of recent pictures of our little miracle.  (Both profile pictures, with the head to the left, and the nose and mouth towards the top).

Its a Boy
In this picture, the baby had just moved his arm down from his mouth.

Baby #5 25 weeks
It looks like his mouth is open here – that’s his tongue sticking out!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Twins!

We celebrated the Twinsies birthday on Monday night.  It started off with a lovely walk down the Shore Parkway path to the playground.  This is one of the first family outings where we haven’t taken a stroller!

We came home to a favorite meal – Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.  Then we opened presents and had cake.  They knew exactly what to do with the cake, and had been asking for it all day!  And of course, there were presents!

Twins 2nd Birthday
The Presents

Twins 2nd Birthday
The Birthday Boy & Girl

Twins 2nd Birthday

Twins 2nd Birthday
Trying to open their gifts

Twins 2nd Birthday
Enlisting help – to the delight of the bigs

Twins 2nd Birthday    Twins 2nd Birthday
Liberty with Mrs. Potato Head (Nehemiah gave her the bruise under her eye), and Nehemiah with his “ha” and “ba-bit-ball”.  Nothing else mattered after the ball was opened!

 

Twins 2nd Birthday
Two small cakes (we don’t want to get too fat with two whole birthday cakes!)

Twins 2nd Birthday

This didn’t go so well, so we tried again!

 

Twins 2nd Birthday
Nehemiah would not relinquish the ball for bedtime, so we let him sleep with it his first night.  He kept dropping it on his head and crying!

Wordless Wednesday

:: Elaine gave me the night off from dishesElaine doing dishes

:: 150th Anniversary of the FDNY – so we got to touch the truck!img_4001

:: Making Mini Pizzas for supperMaking Mini Pizzas

Making Mini Pizzas

Making Mini Pizzas

Making Mini Pizzas

:: Wrestling with DaddyWrestling with Daddy