Sunday, February 8, 2015

The challenging times...

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You might be wondering where I've been again?

I'm still here. Still swimming :) But life has been pretty crazy on our side of the world. Mainly, we've been spending quite a bit of time at the doctors with my little girl.

When she was born, she had a little skin tag on her lower back. Our doctor promptly removed it but advised us to get her back checked. After multiple tests, aka xrays, ultrasound and finally an MRI last Friday suspicions were confirmed - my sweet pea was born with "tethered cord syndrome". When we went for the MRI, she was sedated and kept for observation afterwards due to her young age. We spent 15 agonizing hours locked up in a room with a myriad of nurses coming in and out, with my poor baby covered with all kinds of cords - and she was NOT sleeping or sleepy at all! She had two 30-minute catnaps and was so uncomfortable and tired of people bugging her all the time. And yes, even sedation cannot make this girl nap :) On top of that, she was up half of the night due to being so overtired. But this test also revealed that she has some issues with her kidneys...

We are not sure if the two things are related or not. We will meet with the neurosurgeon on the 19th to discuss our next step. At this point she doesn't show any symptoms of her condition (which is awesome) but we, honestly, don't want to wait until she does because any damage caused by tethered cord is irreversible. At some point, possibly in the near future, she will need a surgery or, potentially, three...

It breaks my heart to think of what my amazing little princess will have to go through:

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She is the sweetest little girl. She loves to smile, hardly ever cries and adores her siblings and parents. She doesn't deserve it...

It's not easy for me to write all those things. We are trying to stay positive and keep faith but, honestly, we are tired, really, really tired. It seems like every time we turn around the corner, something else just hits us in the face... The past few weeks all I wanted to do was hold my babies closer. All four of them...

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Because that's all that really matters...

I hope I will be permanently back soon from my constant impromptu blogging sabbaticals, even if it's just to keep you updated. I have so much to tell you and we will also be tightening our belts even more to pay off all of these medical bills (and I will really need your support to be able to do that!)

But right now I just want to thank you for your prayers and for not forgetting us in these challenging months...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The kind hearts...

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John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”

In the past few weeks since the babies were born we were overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion of those around us. So many reached out to lend a hand and a hug, to support, to help with the kids, to not let us starve... Some of you we've never even met in person, but you kept us in your thoughts and prayers, you sent us cards and generous gifts and other tokens of love and care.

Our hearts were and are so full of gratitude. At the beginning of this week I received a very special gift that left me in awe and brought tears to my eyes - beautiful handmade quilts:

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Every stitch was sewn with love by someone who quietly followed our journey on this blog and kept us in her prayers - a reader and new friend Nancy. I cannot begin to comprehend how many hours of hard work were put into creating them (you all know that I'm not a quilter but I'm always amazed by those of you who are and your talent).

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 And matryoshkis?? Isn't it so thoughtful? My 4-year old thinks so too - he constantly tries to steal that quilt because matryoshka might just be his most favorite toy:) They will be loved and cherished for many-many years.

Thank you again, Nancy! You truly touched our hearts!

I only wish I could pass along all the kindness and generosity that was sent our way but this life is not long enough to do so...

And now I'm getting all mushy :) I better head out to bed. In the meantime, check out the backs of the quilts. Aren't they just so much fun?? Love love love them!

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Have a good night, my lovelies...

Yours truly,

Friday, January 16, 2015

They grow up too fast...

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Well, not really :) But, honestly, it's hard to believe it's been two months already since I gave birth to the little ones. And even though the time still goes slow, they definitely grow in leaps. Here's the proof:

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That was his take home outfit. Crazy, huh?

So yeah, the twinkies turned two months on Wednesday (so 9 weeks today). And had their doctor's appointment. Both of them grew about 3.5-4 inches. She now weighs 10.13 lbs - pretty much doubles her birth weight!! And he's even bigger at 11.1 lbs. It feels a little weird and slightly sad to pack away all those little outfits for good.

And it's yet to get easier but they are definitely a lot more delightful to be around :)

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And if you are curious about this gorgeous quilt they are laying on, then come back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it :)

And how was your week? :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Food waste and a menu, week 1/12-1/18, and a self-imposed mini-challenge

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Ha, better late than never, right?

I know, I was planning on posting about our food waste and meal ideas starting from the beginning of the month, and here we are, almost half way through January... Oh well, I'm still a new Mom and I will milk this excuse until they are in college as long as I can :)

I did plan our menu the past few weeks, I just didn't blog about it :) I do not do the assigned days like I used to. We'll be keeping it flexible for a while. Also, on the days that are especially hard, we might grab a pizza or Subway, and I'm fine with that. My sanity is worth more :) But we try to keep this expense low. In January we budgeted no more than $100 for eating out. Since we don't really go out, I think it's doable.

I also finally finished organizing the refrigerator, and the damage was less than I thought. I threw away a couple of eggs and some lunch meat that have been in our fridge... well, I'm not going to tell you how long it's been :) Let's just say, they were way past their prime time...

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 We also had a couple of freezer burned cucumbers but I have a suspicion that they were already "damaged" when I got them from the store. I didn't know they were bad until I was about to use them in a salad.

And so far our menu looks like this:

Plov, green salad, homemade smoothies (using up fruit from the freezer)
Cabbage and bean soup, rolls
Sweet potato puffs (from the freezer), cutlets, slaw
Sausage and tomato pasta bake (my sis made for us), steamed broccoli, grapes
Stuffed peppers (from the freezer)
Breakfast for dinner

Since we have almost everything on hand, I decided to challenge myself to spend no more than $25 on groceries. That will basically limit us to some produce, bread, milk and, maybe, a box of cereal for the kids because we are running low and after a long night with the babies, cereal is my new best friend...

And what meals are you planning for your family this week?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 2015 goals

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As I mentioned in my last post, this year I'm fully intending to create monthly goals and post them here on the blog. Since it's already the 4th of the month, I think it's time to start rolling, right?

My January goals are pretty simple and can be summed up as "coming back". Coming back from "stork mode" to frugal living and pinching our pennies again:

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1. Pay off all the medical bills. Hopefully, we can be done with it finally!

2. Create a budget and actually use it. We never actually stopped budgeting, even during the very first weeks after the babies were born. But somehow by mid-month we would completely forget about it. By posting here, I hope, I'll start being more accountable yet again :)

3. Make at least $100. Yep, I'm back to work already. What can I say, formula is expensive! Luckily my job is extremely flexible and I can do what works for us. I think, $100 is pretty doable under the circumstances (I made $140 in January) but I'm not going to push myself too much just yet.

4. Start meal planning and tracking food waste again. Yet another thing that I've been slacking on for obvious reasons. We've been extremely blessed with so many friends, neighbors, Church members who brought us delicious dinners. You might remember that I also filled our freezer with yummy meals and we actually still have a few left. We will be finishing them up in the next few weeks. But all of that lead to some food waste, mostly leftovers that we just couldn't finish before it went bad. Now that our fridge is pretty bare, food waste shouldn't be much of a problem :)

5. Check our credit scores. No explanation needed, I guess :)

6. Start working on "for sale" list. As part of my decluttering goal, I also want to sell a few things. I will wait for a little bit to start listing because time is still very unpredictable but it's not going to hurt to start planning. 

7. Buy a couch!

And these are our boring but necessary frugal goals and attempts (minus the couch :). Here's for a good January, my friends!!

Are you working on any special goals this month?

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